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About Morningstar

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  1. Morningstar

    [PP-F3] After Hours

    "C'mon man, we've got plenty of room in the guild. It'd be like old times; Stephen and Joaquin against the world!" "I already told you, I'm not interested in a guild right now. Besides, we don't need to be guildmates to hang out," Stephen replied. Stephen, accompanied by his old friend, Joaquin, wandered through the streets of Delilah. It had been three weeks since they'd reunited and so far, Joaquin and his guild had tried recruiting him seven times. They didn't know how to take "no" for an answer. "What can I do to change your mind? We can offer free equipment." "I don't want your gear man, I want to take on some quests." "Sounds good! If you join us, we'll take you on some quests on the higher floors." "Not what I meant." The night sky was as beautiful as ever. Shimmering stars made the moon look a little bit less lonely. Stephen loved the night time because town's were often empty. There were no big groups of players funneling through the tiny streets, so he could explore without any interruptions. Tonight, Stephen was searching for a shop that held a quest, or so he'd been told. The owner's would craft armor if you brought them specific materials and while he did not necessarily need the gear, there was no harm in taking the quest. "Any chance you actually know where the shop is?" Stephen inquired. "I'm about sixty percent sure I do. I think you go straight through the market area and then take a right," Joaquin replied. "Unfortunately for you, I've got a meeting pretty soon. Let me know if you need a hand with anything." The pair bid each other goodbye and eventually, Stephen made it to the spot where the shop was supposed to be. "Nice. It's not here." @Rosary
  2. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    The night sky was lit up by what seemed like billions of stars. Streets that were so often full of people were nearly empty. The musicians that he had seen earlier were still playing their songs. As he walked past them, one stopped playing his instrument. "No way. Stephen Star?" The man called out to him. Stephen spun around, assuming it was someone random who happened to remember his face. Upon further examination, however, he realized that wasn't the case. "Joaquin?" He asked, starting to walk up to the man. "Man, you're in here too? Small world. I haven't seen you since—" "Since we were like, seventeen?" "Yeah!" Joaquin Hernandez was one of the few real friends that Stephen had growing up. They'd met on the set of Joaquin's debut film. He couldn't remember why he was there or how they'd come into contact; it just happened. "I can't believe I forgot you moved to Japan," Stephen grinned, "Of all people, I never expected to find you in here" "Same to you. These are a few of my guildmates," Joaquin gestured. The three other players smiled and introduced themselves. They sat in a circle, instruments still in hand. To Joaquin's left was a kid named Simon. I say "kid" because he looked like he was about fifteen years old. He wore light blue robes and had hair similar to Stephen's. In front of Joaquin was Grace, a woman with beautiful blonde hair. At her waist was a dagger with a glowing gem of some sort. It's brightness was distracting, but it added a flare to the weapon that suited it. On top of that, she was visibly confident; Stephen could see it from eye contact alone. She almost reminded him of Lexa. An older man with dark, charcoal hair sat to Joaquin's right. He was still strumming on his guitar quietly, listening to the conversation play out. His name was Katar. Finally, there was Joaquin, the handsome Spanish man from Stephen's past. One of his best friends. He wore light armor, much like Simon, but more minimal. His hair was darker than Stephens and quite a bit shorter as well. Stephen recalled a time where the man would keep his head shaved. That appeared to have changed. "Sit with us, man. We'd love to have you."
  3. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    Stephen returned a grin and dropped the apples into the pot once more. This time, he took extra care when stirring. He glanced over slightly to see how the alchemist's face. He looked pleased so far. "Like this?" Stephen asked. "Yes, continue to do that and it should work this time," Zackariah said. The colour of the liquid began to change from clear to a light, almost muted pink. So far so good, Stephen thought, no explosion yet. For a couple more minutes, he continued to stir at a slow pace until eventually, Zackariah said it was ready. "Perfect! It is not often somebody crafts me a health potion this good. Truly excellent work!" Stephen smiled. Maybe alchemy was the direction he'd go; profession-wise that is. Now that he thought about it, a store of his own could be nice. He'd never considered running one, but it could also double as a place for him to sleep. Inns were great and all but, actually, they sucked. He wondered what the rules for living in shops were. "So, is there anything else you'd like me to do?" "You've created me a wonderful potion, so I'm sorry to ask you for more help, but I do have one thing. Could you take this package to a local blacksmith by the name of Lyle Tealeaf?" Zackariah held out an object that was wrapped up in brown paper and tied with some rope. Stephen agreed and directions appeared on his map. "Thank you, my boy. I appreciate the work and I hope you learned something valuable today!" With that, the brunette left the alchemist's shop and wandered back into the streets.
  4. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    If this was all potion making took, it didn't seem like a tough profession. Stephen picked up the slices of apple and dropped them into the pot. Then, he began to gently stir it. "Ah!" A sudden puff of smoke made both Zackariah and Stephen jump. They looked into the cauldron, only to see a pool of dark, murky water. I guess that's what I get for underestimating it. "No worries. I never expect someone to do it perfectly on their first try. Give it another shot," Zackariah said. Stephen had no idea what he'd done wrong. There wasn't much for him to do wrong, or so he thought. Zackariah replaced the liquid and the brunette chopped another apple. He was determined to make a good potion. His gaze moved from the apple, to the cauldron, and then to the alchemist. "So," he began, "where do the rocks come into play?" "As long as it heals them, people don't complain about the ingredients I use," he chuckled.
  5. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    Working over the cauldron was Zackariah. He immediately noticed Stephen and gestured him in. "Ah, sorry. Just finishing up this batch of health potions. I assume you've brought back the materials I asked for?" "Yes, I've got them," Stephen said. "Very well, you can leave them on this table for now," he pointed towards a desk next to him. Stephen placed them down. It was an odd group of items for a potion; a combination of funny looking rocks and apples. He assumed it didn't matter though. Zackariah worked in silence and the brunette respected that, patiently waiting for him to complete his brew. Some time later, it was done. The alchemist poured the liquid into glass flasks and put them away in a wooden crate, which he kept safe in a cabinet near the entrance to the room. "Shall we begin?" Stephen nodded. Zackariah poured a clear liquid into the cauldron and then directed the man to chop up an apple. Agreeing, he picked up a knife that sat on the table and lightly tapped on the fruit. It glowed for a moment before splitting apart into six pieces. He was no cook, so it wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for what they needed it for. "Very good. Now, you may drop it in the cauldron."
  6. Morningstar

    [PP-F2] Majesty

    Stephen sat at the gate of Urbus, his stare locked onto the intimidating mountains ahead of him. To put it simply, he was nervous. The quest he'd accepted was, admittedly, out of his league. The brunette was a confident guy, but even he knew when he was in over his head. He fiddled with the hilt of his sheathed sword, second thoughts clouding his mind. Maybe this was a mistake. There are other quests I could take, I don't need to do this. I could just do an easier one. He tried to shrug it off, but new it wouldn't be a permanent solution. Stephen knew the only way he'd get out of the situation feeling accomplished was to do the quest. His eyes followed a group of deer as they made their way down a distant mountain path. They walked slowly and without a worry. Of course, they weren't actually real. Stephen was, which meant a single mistake could cost him his life. After minutes of standing still, Stephen opened his friends list. It was short, but normally that wouldn't bother him. His gaze fell upon Elwood, a guild leader he'd met a while back. If the man wasn't so busy, he'd have asked him. Next, a respectable swordsman who went by the name "Joaquin". According to the map, he was on the fifteenth floor and Stephen didn't think it would be worth calling him down. "Screw it," Stephen began, "let's get this over with." @Lessa @Rosary (-1 Yui's Grace)
  7. Morningstar

    [F1-PP] Here's Something to Believe In

    A sudden voice interrupted Stephen's rampaging thoughts. He turned his head towards the player. The first thing he noticed was the man's cursor; it was orange. Normally, he'd proceed with caution around a player like that, but this time he saw no threat. "It is. I usually find myself coming out here when I need a break from things. Something about the quietness helps me reset." Generally, Stephen would go out a little bit further. Two or three miles away from them (at least he thought it was that far) was a small forest that Lexa once showed him. But, assuming he was around nature of some sort, it didn't matter where he went. Peace would find him one way or another. Stephen slid his hands into his cloak pockets. Once, he'd thought that the first floor was a nostalgia trap; that he should move on from it and face the future. Now, he thought it might have been okay to stay a little bit longer. Pulling down his hood, he spoke to the man. "Something on your mind?" @Seul
  8. Morningstar

    [PP-F1] Finding Comfort

    Stephen was in dire need of upgrades to his gear; whether he decided to go with NIGHT or move on alone, that would not change. "I'd love to. You can take me to the good shops," he grinned. The Town of Beginnings was close now. From the pair's position, they could see it's walls quite clearly. Soon enough, the quest would be complete, Stephen would receive his rewards, and he'd be moving on to the next big thing. And, for a short while, that would be his life. Working, becoming stronger, and planning his future in the virtual world. Suddenly, a wave of curiosity swept over him. "I never asked before," Stephen began, "what brought you back down to the first floor?" This question sparked another: what was he still doing on the first floor? He scanned the area ahead of them, wondering when the time for him to leave for good would come. Stephen hadn't noticed, but it was starting to get rather dark. Rain clouds prevented the stars from shining over them. Stephen adjusted his hood slightly, allowing some water to hit his face. He thought he was beginning to see why NIGHT liked the rain. It was, to put it simply, nice. @NIGHT
  9. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    Stephen picked one extra apple for Zackariah before leaping from the tree. "Yeah, I think I've got everything I need for the quest." "Perfect. Zackariah might be an NPC, but he's a good teacher. It's better than most tutorials, anyway," Elwood laughed. Darkness now enveloped the two as the remaining sunlight disappeared. It took some time, but eventually they maneuvered through it and made it back to the Town of Beginnings. The town was lit up, but it was quieter than normal. There were no crowds of people roaming the streets. A couple sat together on a bench a few feet from Stephen and Elwood. They looked happy. Ahead of them, Stephen could make out a group of people with instruments. They were playing and singing to a song that he recognized, but he couldn't quite figure out where he'd heard it. Finally, they arrived at the alchemist's shop. "Well, Morningstar, this is where I take my leave. Thank you for the walk, my friend." "No, thank you. It was good meeting you, King." "It's Daniel. I feel it's only fair, since I know who you are. I'll be seeing you then," Elwood grinned. Stephen waved goodbye before pushing open the door to the shop. The aroma was nicer than it had been before. Wondering what Zackariah was brewing, he walked to the back room and peaked his head inside.
  10. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    "Maybe," Stephen started, "but like I said, I don't think I'm much of a leader." "Neither did I, before I became one. You should give it a shot." A few feet away from them was a lone tree. It's leaves were bright and green and apples dangled from it's branches. Stephen gestured to it. Their destination would be here, for a short time at least. Stephen began to climb the tree. It was about as sturdy as he'd expected; not perfect, but he didn't think any branches would snap. He picked a first apple and tossed it down to Elwood. Then, he picked a second for himself and a third to bring back for Zackariah. The alchemist could either eat it or make a potion out of it. Elwood took a seat at the base of the tree and, rather than jumping down, Stephen sat in the branches. He took a bite from the red fruit. "Good apple," he said. "When I was a kid, we had an apple tree in our yard. It was just a little bigger than this one. This takes me back," Elwood smiled, apple in hand. "We didn't have any fruit trees, but I had a cousin who had plum trees. Whenever we'd visit, I'd spend my time out back eating plums," he laughed. They sat silently for quite a bit of time. Nothing filled the air, aside from the rustling of tree leaves and the crunching of apples. The sunset had faded and left behind darkness. Virtual stars sparkled above them. "We should get going," Elwood said.
  11. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    Elwood met Stephens gaze. "You've felt that pain too; the pain of losing someone. I can see it in your eyes." Stephen turned back to the sky. Clouds rolled over slowly, overlapping the ethereal sunset. He liked to think Lexa was watching over him; his very own guardian angel. Whether it was true or not didn't matter. Belief was good enough for him. "In this world," he started, "I think it's safe to say we all have." Elwood let out a sad chuckle. "You could be right." They moved down the hill, but Stephen stopped at the bottom. He noticed something out of the corner of his eye. To his right, in a small hole, was an odd looking rock. Most of it was pitch black, aside from a few random streaks of purple. It intrigued the brunette, so he decided to take it with him. He wasn't sure if it would be useful for Zackariah, but it was worth a shot. Stephen followed along as Elwood continued forwards. After catching up, he began to speak again. "Her name was Lexa. We met in here, actually. At the very beginning. I loved her more than anything or anyone." "You mentioned something about a guild?" "Oh, yeah. It was her idea. She wanted us to start a guild together. Actually, that's literally the first thing she said to me," he smiled, nostalgia washing over him. "It never came to be?" "No. It never did." "There's still time to change that, friend."
  12. Morningstar

    [PP-F1] Finding Comfort

    Stephen was surprised to see the furry creature peek its head out from the bag. Oddly enough, he couldn't remember the last time he'd seen a cat. It brought back memories. "I had a couple of cats when I was a kid. When I was 13, I wanted a tiger. Everyone said it was 'unsafe' and 'illegal' though, so I never got one." He'd never thought about finding a familiar. Maybe talking to the old lady was worth a shot. The rain shot down on them like bullets and one step at a time, they trekked through it. Stephen couldn't relate to the girl's love for the rain. He much preferred sunshine and warm weather. Growing up, family trips to tropical countries were a regular occurrence; specifically, they frequented Mexico. That being said, Stephen respected the realism of the rain. Each drop that touched him felt just as it would have if he were walking down a street back home. It was almost comforting. The fields had emptied themselves. Normally, boars roamed the area they were in. There were none, however. Stephen thought that, maybe, the rain had pushed them towards the forest's edge. The three of them were alone. A peaceful silence filled the air and Stephen felt bad for breaking it. "What are your plans after we get back?"
  13. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    "I won't pretend I was your biggest fan, but there were a couple of your films I did enjoy. My favorite was probably Little Rowboat," Elwood said. "Really? Not a lot of people talk about that one." "A hidden gem, so to speak." "You might be right." They stopped on top of a hill. The sun was beginning to set. Angelic oranges and glowing pinks painted the sky. Two birds flew overhead. They were fast, so fast that all Stephen could make out was their colour. They were as white as snow. "What made you quit acting?" Stephen stared off, unsure of how to answer. "I was tired of living my parents' lives." "Can I give you a piece of advice?" "Yes." "Try to remember who you were before the world told you who you should be." Stephen had been molded into a star by his parents. He left for Japan so he could design his own life, away from the spotlight. Who was he before becoming the great Stephen Star? Perhaps time would tell. For an ex-fast food employee, Elwood was wise. Stephen wondered if that came before or after becoming a "king" of sorts. "Were you happy? Flipping burgers, that is." Stephen asked. Elwood laughed. "I was, actually. I was married to the woman of my dreams. The wedding was a month before all this. It was nothing fancy, but it was all we needed." His expression went grim; Stephen feared the worst. "We joined the game together. At some point along the way, we found ourselves trapped in a dungeon. That was the last time I saw her."
  14. Morningstar

    [PP-F1] Finding Comfort

    At first, Stephen was a bit worried that NIGHT's attack wouldn't activate. Unexpectedly, she blasted forward and finished off the nepent, leaving behind nothing but blue, crystal-like pixels and and odd looking ball. They had finished the quest. "Good work," the man smiled, following along as she strolled on past him. She complimented him on his damage, which in all honesty, he hadn't anticipated either. Sword Arts were something he still wasn't completely used to. He took a quick look at his sword and then at his armor. "It's seen better days. I'm definitely due for an upgrade," he told her, considering visiting a shop after receiving his quest rewards. His damage may not have been bad, but it couldn't hurt to improve his items. The forest had become even quieter than it was before their fight. No more monsters had spawned yet, although he knew that wouldn't last long. They hiked to the edge of the forest when Stephen felt something wet hit his nose. Suddenly, he felt it again; this time on his cheek. "Looks like it's starting to rain." He ran a hand through his now damp hair and lifted the hood of his cloak over it. The cloak was handy—it kept the rain, wind, and basically everything else off of him, while simultaneously being a fashion statement (if that's what you'd call it). "Do you have anything to keep you dry?" They weren't too far from the safezone, but Stephen thought it would be polite to ask. @NIGHT
  15. Morningstar

    [SP-F1] King

    "I would like that," Stephen replied, continuing to eye the flowing river for any more items that he could bring back to Zackariah. The task was much more challenging than he had originally expected. He wondered how a potion made from leaves and metal would taste. "Walk with me," Elwood began, "you can continue your search for materials while we do so." Stephen nodded and followed Elwood down the riverside. The man's dark cape floated in the soft breeze, much like Stephen's cloak did. They watched as a school of virtual fish swam past them. Elwood began to chuckle. "Sorry. I was just thinking about how things were before all of this," he smiled, gesturing to the scenery around them, "it's interesting how much nostalgia can affect us, isn't it?" His tone had changed from his kingly voice to one that you'd expect out of a normal guy. "What'd you do before SAO?" Stephen inquired. "Me? I worked minimum wage, my friend. I was your everyday burger flipper. I've probably made one of yours!" He laughed. For a moment, Stephen felt bad. He'd had so much while this man had nothing. Of course, now it was almost the other way around. "Don't feel bad. Also, don't think I didn't recognize you when we first met, Stephen Star. I've seen my fair share of movies." "Oh yeah? Which one was your favorite?" He asked with a laugh, a little bit surprised that he'd been found out. He felt happy—or perhaps more accurately, he felt understood. These two men, who had lived polar opposite lives, were bonding together over what could be considered nothing. It was times like these that made things worth it, for him at least.