Something Of Note

Ameia wanders into the Music Conservatory at Eas. There is discussion of Lore, regarding Music.

Eas - Arcade

The Conservatory.

Within the complex at castle Eas, close to the Theater, one can find the Music Conservatory. A place devoted not only to preserve the musical culture of the Landers, or to train the next generation of virtuosos, or to research and develop innovative, high quality musical instruments -- a good part of its work is studying of how music works in this world, how it influences it.

Rumors of its creations, of how a Spriggan founded it while enraptured in one of the mysterious 'Strange Moods' that seem to seize Adventurers (and, much more rarely, Landers) have spread among the musically inclined in this world, making the name of a certain Uta Furore one that might be recognized by those in the biz.

Now, whether the face associated with the name would be recognized, that is a different matter.

The Conservatory is where our scene takes place today. Everyone has gone home for the evening, except, it seems, for one Spriggan. She is sitting at a harp, plucking away at it. Stirring strange, deep emotions into the listener, the sheer quality of the execution making them question their very existence.

"Chopsticks" is -not- supposed to sound this good.
Eas - Arcade

Ameia didn't feel out of place at the Conservatory. Actually, it felt refreshingly... familiar to her. Perhaps that was why she was attracted here in the first place. These days, the imp girl spent muchof her time pondering magic and the nature of this world. However, the sight of acoustic halls, instruments, and of course the sound of heart-evoking music, it brought back some fond memories for her.

Speaking of music, though, it was hard for her interest not to be peaked by harp music that was resounding through the Conservatory. Furthermore, was this person playing what she thought she was...?

Following the sound of skillful plucks, Ameia came across the musician. She looked at the Spriggan woman from the doorway, trying not to make a disturbance. Truthfully, she didn't recognise her by her face. However she felt that there was something magical about the way she played.

She knew it was poor manners to interrupt a musician, and she also wanted to hear the rest of the piece. So the girl stayed deathly quiet, just peeking at the harp player from where she stood.

Eas - Arcade

The song continues for a few more bars, and then-

Uta stops playing, abruptly with a twist of her mouth.

"It's going flat," she mutters, and pries herself from her stool, insisting on a particular string, while she adjusts the corresponding tuning pin; one of her pointed ears flick upwards, the better to hear.


As if realizing something for the first time, she turns to Ameia. "Oh. Hi!", she smiles, mildly embarrassed. "I remember you! You're the Imp that came in earlier, like, one minute ago, while I was playing!" She bows in greeting, then continues. "Sorry if I didn't reply, I was too focused on playing to notice that someone was coming in. But right now I'm catching up with the world around me, so, if you have said anything, I'll be with you in a moment!"

Uta sticks her tongue out, and while looking up and away, holds one finger forward, in the universal 'Just a moment, please' gesture. Unless interrupted, she'll stay perfectly still for four or five seconds, after which she'll shake her head and resume normal (for her) interaction. "Aaaand, no, turns out you didn't say anything until I said 'Oh. Hi!'"

Silence. "What... what were we talking about, again?"
Eas - Arcade

With the piece over for now, Ameia waves at Uta, then comes into the room proper. She takes a moment to glance at their surroundings then turns her attention back to the Spriggan and her instrument.

"Oh, it's fine, I was just listen-" she starts. Though, it seemed like Uta was taking a moment to think about something.

In response to her question, Ameia is beginning to feel a little confused herself. "Um, well..." She fidgets with a strand of her own hair. "Technically, I don't think we had started talking yet," she says carefully, as if second-guessing her own memory of the situation. "If we were to though, I suppose I would start by commenting on how beautiful your tone was."

Ameia ponders for a second. "Actually, I've heard live performances before but there was something different about it this time. Is that a magical harp, or something?"
Eas - Arcade

Uta glances sideways to the harp. Then to Ameia.

"Thanks," she says, scratching the back of her head and blushing a little. "It's... well... are you familiar with Strange Moods? Adventurers latch onto a thought and go utterly nuts as a consequence: they develop a supernatually induced state of deep focus, and obsess over some task for weeks on end, suddenly losing interest in anything else, including, but not limited to, sleep, food, drink, personal hygiene, self-preservation, and other such minutiae? Once you're done, you snap out of it, you get a pop-up that says that a Goddess noticed your deed, are offered a quest, and if you accept, pling! You're enveloped by light and find yourself exceptionally skilled in whatever field you've obsessed on."


"Also, you now smell terrible, your clothes are in tatters, and your rumbling stomach and throbbing headache fight tooth and nail over your barely functional consciousness to claim either the first decent meal in ages, or a long overdue week of sleep."

The Spriggan in a nurse uniform scratches the back of her head with one hand, again, shrinking in her shoulders, while she points at the conservatory all around. "Long story short, I went through all of that when I built the Conservatory, and now I maaaay sort of have accidentally become a musical prodigy as a result..." she says, grinning sheepishly in... embarrassment? "I didn't mean to! It just... happened."

Regaining some sort of professional attitude, she adds, "That said, they are -extremely- fascinating from both a musical and medical standpoint!"
Eas - Arcade

Llyn is a part of LOONS after all right? She has shared what she knows though it was mostly about things from teh Palace Lands, still useful she didn't have deep lore like say Uta had dug up herself, right? The Undine would have been here long enough to listen to the last little bit of the conversation. "We best take care of that before someone like Morri Pendragon finds you." LLyn has heard abou the Pendragon and made it a note to avoid the entire family. So far so good, right?

"Well Ahoy and all that so what jut are you two up to now? I hear you one of the best singers in Yamato..."
Eas - Arcade

Ameia nods at Uta's explanation. "I see! So your Strange Mood was to do with music." She notes Uta's apparent embarassment, though she's not too sure what it's for. "Well, a Strange Mood can happen to anyone, so I don't think you should feel bad about it. Rather, it seems like a good thing! After all, it resulted in this place, and you're also very talented now."

The imp girl thinks back to other instances of Strange Moods. She's certainly heard of them before, but it was the sort of thing that happened to other people, so to speak.

"While it's awkward that you can't choose when or how you're struck by a Strange Mood, it has resulted in a lot of productivity... I wonder if it's some kind of side effect of being in here for so long."

She puts her hands behind her back and looks at Uta. "Actually, you said they're interesting from a musical standpoint? How so?"

Her attention perks up as Llyn enters the room. "Oh, hello!" she says. "Well, you must be referring to this lady here, by elimination, haha..."
Eas - Arcade

"/This/ strange mood, at least," Uta begins. "But... yes. I guess that, all in all, risking one or more respawns was worth it. No pain no gain, they say, right?"

"Medical -and- musical!", Uta pipes up. Watch out, a nerd has been asked to discuss not one, but -two- of her favorite subjects!

"You know how we can 'inspect' items and people, right?" She moves her index finger in the air, in small circles. "I have the Doctor profession, and system-based medical inspection, in this world, works much like that: to menu-diagnose someone, I can just select the appropriate entry in the menu and... inspect them by touch, sort of like when someone with the appropriate skill appraises an item. Having medical skills on my sheet allows me to see diagnostic flavor text."

Uta inhales. "See, this is where things get weird." A short pause to let that sink in, then Uta pipes up, "Hi Lynn! Or... should I say Ahoy?"


"What were we speaking about? Oh, right! The Pendragons. That's -exactly- where things get weird."

Uta inhales. Again.

Gotta keep doing that. It's how breathing works.

"See, you got it right there. We have no idea of when Strange Moods will happen, or to whom. Or if it's an effect of being around for long. Definitely something to look into, even if I'm under the impression that they happened before the Apocalypse. To Landers, at least. They do seem to be tied to unique achievements; still, even that is iffy. Funnily enough, at first I thought they were the kind of thing that happened only to other people, but -then-..."

"...Right. The Pendragons. Gwen Pendragon is a dear friend of mine. It was the Early Days, not long after the Apocalypse, and Gwen had been acting strange. She'd been working on a tapestry about the arrival of the Adventurers in this world. The Fourth World Fraction," Uta continues, "so, as is my duty as her Musical Kung-Fu Nurse friend, I medically inspected her." Uta mimes the gesture in the air. Touching, and then following some flavor text on an imaginary pop-up.

"She had a unique status effect, called 'Fey Mood'. The flavor text went, 'The subject is Resonating with this world's Primordial Song'"

Uta leaves a moment of silence to let that revelation sink in.

Or would, if she didn't interrupt it by slapping her forehead. "Oh, how absent-minded of me! I haven't introduced myself!" She bows. "Uta Furore, Aerialist. Musical kung-fu nurse."

To the discussion of 'one of the best singers in Yamato', she adds, "What lady?", looking over her shoulder.
Eas - Arcade

Llyn smiles for a moment at Ameia and listens to her. "Ah well I'm Llyn and it's good to meet you ...." She trails off then goes quiet as Uta drops a good deal of information. Llyn had never got into a mood, heck she'd avoided anything remotely like that as it could have got her crowned when she was free or in trouble when she was.

So she's paying close attention to Uta's information ahd the mention of more on the Pendragons.
Eas - Arcade

Ameia listens to Uta's explanation and recounting of past events, nodding along to her observations.

"So in this case, her Strange Mood coincided with an unusual status effect, which referred to something called a Primordial Song. Well, it can't be the first time someone was diagnosed while under a Strange Mood, right? If we could check it more times, maybe we could get a good idea of how it relates to the mechanics of this world."

The imp wonders if she's seen something similar before. Status effects that can affect the way you think, well, it's not unheard of right?

"Nice to meet you Uta," she says. "I'm Ameia Whiteheart, Magus."

She looks towards Llyn with a smile. "We've met before, right? I think it was quite a while ago, though..." It is pretty hard to forget someone who speaks like a pirate.
Eas - Arcade

Llyn says "Pirate Captain, Rebel, Undercover Reporter." She grins a bit and she says "It has been a while hasn't it. Forgive me I been busy making sure we remain in the good gaces of the locals." There's an air of danger there like she doesn't trust the landers then again given she's from the Palace Lands that is rather understandable isn't it?
Eas - Arcade

"Mystery Shopper?", Uta adds helpfully to Llyn's list of titles. She means it seriously. She's not mocking her.

"All Strange Moods, as far as I can tell, coincide with unusual status effects. They're simply hard to detect, even with the appropriate Pharmaceutical skills. There have been multiple such diagnoses, Doctor Prophylaxis is aware of this as well. We do have some data to analyze if you want, we can meet later and I can share it. And as far as the something called a Primordial Song, -well-..."

Uta returns to her stool. She closes her eyes, and amid the silence, she starts vocalizing a melody.

As the song progresses, requiring more instruments than only Uta's voice, she plucks on her harp, and follows with the strange lyrics in a mysterious language, until the whole song is performed.

"The Primordial Song. It was known as 'Song 40' in the soundtrack before the Apocalypse. In reality ,it is the First song that was sung."
Eas - Arcade

Llyn thinks for a moment and laughs "I can do that too Uta." ITs a new title she can do it and why the heck not it might be fun. She will make note of the sogn commit it to memory and pauses "Wait the song that made the world more or less?"
Eas - Arcade

As Uta's rendition of Song 40 comes to an end, Ameia crosses her arms as she thinks about the situation with the Songs and at least in this case, relation to Strange Moods.

"Well, investigating the status effects that come with Strange Moods is an interesting topic of research," she starts. "But at the same time, Strange Moods manifest essentially as limited episodes of what would be considered a mental illness in the real world. I'm not sure what fruits it would bear even if we did understand it better."

She places her hands on her hips. "But aside from the topic of Strange Moods, it is interesting that a reference to the soundtrack makes its way into unexpected places. Something I've noticed about this world is that things don't usually exist without reason. Perhaps the other Songs are also special in some way."

The imp puts a finger to her face, looking a little uncertain. "I have to admit, I lack knowledge here to make a real judgement. Since you had your Strange Mood and became invested in Song, did you come up with a theory yourself?"
Eas - Arcade

"I do have some hypotheses. But little facts. It is certain that Songs have a deep influence in how this world works. And I am particularly interested in the event known as Prelude to Song, which, accounting for the 50:1 time ratio between the in-game timeline and the out-of-game world, and extrapolating backwards from the Apocalypse, matches roughly with the Flash of Death."

Uta taps her cheek pensively at Llyn's question. "I've had a very interesting talk with the Sword Maiden about this subject," she finally says, as she gets up and walks over to a shelf. She scans the spines of the bundles of sheets stored there, and finally lights up. "There it is!"

What she extracts is a couple of small scrolls, stored among various identical ones atop larger tomes. She unrolls one, and begins reading. "She didn't say outright so, that they created the world -- but it is said that this song I've just sung is a... an adaptation, if you will, of one of the three Songs that have been sung by those who created the world."

She rolls the scroll up, and extends one to each of the other people present in the room. "I have written down all the notes of my discussion, so they could be shared more readily. Feel free to read up and ask me more if you so wish."

(The scroll contains the text in: +bbread alliance/cross/LOONS report: Meeting Sword Maiden about Prelude to Song )

"We've been doing that a lot," Uta replies to Ameia. "Researching the songs, that is. We've made some progress, but there's still a lot we don't know. The exact purpose of these three Songs, for instance. We -do- know, however, that it is often the case that if you sing one the correct song to someone in a strange mood, their obsession will intensify, and they might hum along with you without even without noticing it themselves. Heck, it's more effective to diagnose Strange Moods that way than through medical inspection!" She gestures in the distance. "And something similar was happening to a bunch of Chims just outside the barrier in Ezzo. They were resonating with each of the three songs, in turn. That's where I've first discovered the melodies for those three songs." Uta gestures towards the direction she believes Ezzo to be in, which is nowhere near the direction Ezzo actually is. "You can go there whenever you want, and study them yourself if you want! All contributions are welcome- oh, have I ever told you about the Loosely Organized Open Network of Students?" Uta turns away, and mumbles under her breath, "...we need a name with a better acronym...", before turning to Ameia again, "We all cooperate and share what we find, provided we don't believe doing so will cause major danger to the world at large. Responsible disclosure. We're especially interested in trying to understand the ancient language of the Alv, the one in the Landers' songs and on the Chaos Gates, figuring out how Songs work, and anything else relating to the nature of this world."
Eas - Arcade

Llyn finds the song facinating sas before she's already made her comments about it. "Music seems to have power in this world to some degree that much I do know. it's like something out of Macross when you get down to it. You metr the Sword Maiden...she sounds Odd for a Lander... and i mean that in a good one I might half trust her. Well i do have some degree of skill with song so I could help."

She will start reading with intrest looking over the scroll.

"Seriously the chims?! The bloody chims?! I'll have to look into this."
Eas - Arcade

"The Loosely Organized Open Network of Students..." Ameia repeats that sequence of words aloud. "Um... the LOONS? I feel like this is on purpose..."

She rubs the back of her head, trying not to dwell on the acronym and the flippant humour there. "I see, so it's basically a research organisation."

Having read through the recount of Uta's meeting with the Sword Maiden, Ameia puts the scroll in her inventory.

"Well, from a common sense standpoint, it seems like if you wanted to learn a Song you would need to hear it from someone who knows the original Song. If it's only the creators of the world that know them, then you might be out of luck on that front," she notes.

"However, if players and landers are both able to 'resonate' with the Songs, regardless of where they are, then one question is, how are they hearing the Songs in the first place? Presumably, you must be able to hear the Song in order to resonate with it. Furthermore, you must know the melody in order to hum along with it. So, the Songs must be audible still, it's just that most of us can't hear them, most of the time. Unfortunately, at the end of a Strange Mood, one doesn't remember hearing the Song at all."

Ameia puts her hand on her hip. "If any of this checks out, then there are a couple of possibilities. One is that anyone who hears the Song is put into a Strange Mood... and the other is that there are other ways to listen to the original Song. If it's possible to do so without entering a trance, then someone with enough vocal skill could possibly recreate it. That's a reasonable conclusion, right?"

"Perhaps identifying a pattern among what triggers Strange Moods could clue us into the current source of the Songs." She sighs. "Of course, that's a lot easier said than done. If anything, it brings us back to square one, since that's what you would try in the first place."

She crosses her arms after this last comment, seeming to think about something.
Eas - Arcade

"Indeed," Uta comments to Llyn. "I suspect the Sword Maiden's perceived 'oddity' is merely misunderstood wisdom." A moment of reflection, then she shakes her head. "And yes. The Chim-Chim. Exactly them. Do you know more about them? All I know about them is that they seem capable of working with what we would consider science fiction level technology, or sufficiently advanced magic. I don't have enough information to be able to tell them apart yet. What I know at the moment is..."

And there Uta goes to recount what she knows about the Chims.

"It... It was an accident, really..." Uta mumbles, looking away, appearing to be genuinely embarrassed. "It... kind of stuck."

"Pretty much. Very informal. We don't really have codexes of bylaws or even physical assets like meeting rooms or anything. We're just a bunch of people who share freely with each other. Only rule is, 'don't hoard what you find out based on the information you receive, be nice and share back with the team'. Of course, even if really appreciated, we will not ask people to share -everything they know-. Just... you know, progress on the common knowledge."

Uta shakes her head. "Plenty of people have heard these adapted songs. /You/ have heard one of these songs. Right now. There is plenty of evidence that just hearing the song does not trigger a Strange Mood, so I do not think hearing the song alone suffices. And even people in a Strange Mood are not -aware- of the song, at least on a conscious level." Uta sighs, and wanders back to the stool. She sits down, and begins to pluck at the strings of the harp again, absent-mindedly. "It seems to have something to do with world-changing advancements. Continuing the Creation or of the World, if you will, through progress. We seem to have some form of correlation, there. Causation either way is still not clear."

"Oh, another intriguing point about whether or not we hear the song, and whether or not it is conscious -- remember that New Year's event in Alne, exactly one year after the Apocalypse? The High Priestess of the Church of Alba sung this Song:"

Uta inhales, and once again, begins another musical performance.

"That one is the Eternity Song, another of the Strange Mood songs. Back then, plenty of us started singing the lyrics to it, despite never having heard them before, and yet, it was as if we had known it all along..."
Eas - Arcade

Ameia plays with her hair as she speaks. "Well, I wasn't referring to the versions of the Songs that we can hear and play," she says. "Like you said, we've heard those and nothing happens beyond a response from some landers and players who happen to be resonating. I was rather speculating with regards to the original Songs. For instance, the Sword Maiden said we can't sing them as they were during Creation. So, that's why we have versions of them that are similar but don't perfectly replicate them."

"I admit that this requires some conjecture and would remain to be seen, but this was my thinking; is it possible that the Songs that are heard by those in Strange Moods are in fact the original Songs? As we know, anyone in a Strange Mood enters a sort of trance and can't remember what happened afterwards. However it seems to me unlikely that one would be able to 'resonate' so strongly with something that is only an imitation."

"The implications of this would be that the original Songs do exist today, but can only be heard by some people in certain circumstances. This would stand in contrast to the possibility that the Songs are lost forever because nobody alive can truly sing them."

Ameia pauses for a bit, not wanting to get too ahead of herself. "Your research organisation sounds interesting," Ameia says. "It makes sense to me. It's like how research in the real world was often conducted. At the same time, there is knowledge that remains locked up among certain groups. Even if it was of benefit to the common good, it would probably not be shared. Especially if it resulted from projects conducted for less honourable purposes."

At Uta's comment regarding the New Year's event, Ameia nods. She hums the melody for a moment, recalling those memories. "Yes, I remember that. It since slipped my mind, though. It makes sense in hindsight that it was one of the Three Songs."

Eas - Arcade

"I think something different from 'hearing' is at play here," Uta mumbles. "But again, just hypotheses." She stands up, and begins pacing around the room, hands behind her back. "But yes, there is so much we still don't know about the Original Songs."

She stops, looks away, and then, after giving some thought of her some consideration, she reprises, "Remember how I said I have many hypotheses, but little proof? One of the hypotheses is that Song sort of... constitutes the Fabric of this world, or at least whatever makes this world different from the one we knew before the Apocalypse. So, in a sense, people in a Strange mood are not 'hearing' songs, per se, hence why the flavor text says 'resonating'. I suspect people are... sort of... -embodying- them. Attuning. Their nature temporarily unifies with them or some such. If this is an actual, real new world? Songs weave the fabric of reality. If this is just our brain tripping on a computer-connected helmet? Probably some brainwaves shenanigans going on."

The discussion of the LOONS draws some silence from Uta.

"That... that is exactly why I latched upon the opportunity to join the LOONS when it was offered to me. If I did not say that I have... ah... 'methodological disagreements' with closed groups that hoard information, I would be lying." Uta turns her head abruptly to look back at Ameia. "Don't get me wrong. I am in excellent relationships with information hoarders. I just... you know, that's not how -I- tick."

Uta thinks a little longer.

"Since I've shared two, might as well share the third Song involved in Strange moods," she begins, and sits at the harp again, to begin another performance, ready to share the details about the piece once she's done.
Eas - Arcade

Ameia watches Uta pace around the room, as the spriggan is clearly thinking hard about something. Hearing her response, she blinks and thinks on it for a moment.

"Well, I guess we already knew that the world here doesn't really operate on physics in the same way it does in real life. If the Songs do underly it, then that would be surprising to me. I could see it though if the Songs were not exactly Songs, but something else. Labels can be cryptic, and maybe they have some relation to music, but not in their entirety.

On the point about tripping, if the helmet can make us feel everything that happens in this world, it should be able induce the Strange Moods too. It's a curiousity as to why the mechanism for it is like this, though. Brainwaves isn't a bad theory. It would be something if the Songs turned out to just be programs that were capable of temporarily brainwashing people..." she says. "Though, that outcome seems a little dark."

Regarding Uta's comment on 'information hoarders', Ameia rubs the back of her head."To be honest, I'd like to say I was as free with what I know as you are. To me, it's in my interest often to share important information, but on occasion there are things I'd rather keep to myself or certain people. I don't have such a clear moral opinion on it."

As Uta sits down at the harp again, Ameia goes quiet and waits to hear her performance of the last Song.
Eas - Arcade

"There is so much we do not know," Uta replies, serious. "But songs do seem to have some sort of fundamental role in this world. Just look how reactive the Landers seem to be to them..."

"And yes, it seems like Songs are not just songs. They are something more."

"Brainwashing or... somehow... reshaping. Kind of experiencing a mental puberty of sorts. Part of you undergoing a growth spurt or something like that? I somehow have the gut feeling that it's not dark. It's certainly unsettling, possibly unpleasant to witness, but... I don't know. I think it actually ends up being for the better. Kind of like chewing might be considered a dark action of destruction, but nutrition is good for you."

Uta nods to Ameia's last comment about sharing information. "I am free with information I believe is safe to share. But yes, I myself have withheld information I felt was potentially dangerous, out of moral concerns. Do not be worried about that."

After some thinking, Uta gestures towards a corner of the room. "Would you like to help us, by the way? We've been trying to record as many of this world's Songs as we could, but we could always use more people. We have developed a phonograph which can record songs on a Shellac cylinder. If you want, you can borrow one, so, if you ever come across a song we haven't recorded yet, you can record it! I once heard a song I Wish I could have recorded to write down properly, but... alas, the moment was too fleting, and missed it."