The Velvet Room 1

…had the lights on Masaru's car turned on as it was hurtling grille-first towards them? Or was that just his imagination rapidly trying to determine how this wasn't the way he was going to die and apparently failing?
4:11 PM
…then he was very comfortably sitting in a plush, blue chair. In a balcony somewhere, done in soft materials and dark wood.
4:12 PM
There's the unmistakable scent of fabric, lacquer, and distantly…wine? Thousands of empty seats spill out below his rail…and a few other balconies across the way. None of these are occupied, nor the seats for …no, a few seats are occupied by silhouettes.
4:12 PM
The stage? Is almost entirely empty, spotlights kept dark. The only thing there is a grand piano, unattended.
4:13 PM
…and Shousei is /not/ alone in the booth.
4:13 PM Greenling
Shousei leaps out of the chair, heart racing, glancing around. He pinches himself- not thinking clearly quite yet- he had hoped, something in him had hoped, maybe he /could/ dodge that, maybe somehow his brother would be all right, or he was just crazy-

4:14 PM
Now he just… is he dead? He's never been a religious scholar, but he's fairly certain no religion he's aware of has an afterlife that looks like this.
"Master…it would seem that we have a guest." Inches away from him, leaning on the back of the chair, is a servant - dressed in a short dress of the most perfect blue, elbow gloves and stockings to match, and the most remarkable gold-buckle heels. A cigarette box hangs on her hip, and if she weren't faintly smiling, she'd look familiar.
4:17 PM
Aside from the golden eyes and unnaturally fair hair and skin? She'd almost look like Michael.
4:23 PM Greenling
Shousei takes a step back away from the two of them, trying to slow his breath and catch his thoughts. Or something. "I don't-" He glances out over the rail, then to the Michael-looking woman. This… calms him down. Whatever this is, it can't be real. Which means that whatever is going on… well, it means he can't do anything about what's going on in the real world right this second, so he…
4:23 PM
…might as well go along with it.
4:23 PM
That probably shouldn't calm him down, but.
"A reasonable perspective," a old, creaking voice answers to his thought process. Sitting beside him in a tuxedo complete with white gloves, is an old man…or a caricature of a old man - long, hooked, blooshot eyes, truly disturbing eyebrows…and that /smile/. That is the smile at the verge of madness…or genius. "Welcome, my honored guest, to the Velvet Room."
4:26 PM Greenling
…Is that the guy from before?
4:27 PM
"…Hello," Shousei manages. "Uhm."
Why, yes. Yes, it was. "You have exceeded even my expectations. Congratulations!" He smiles wider. "If you have forgotten, which is entirely understandable, my name is Igor."
4:29 PM Greenling
His hands clench and unclench for a moment. He glances at the chair, but he's not sure that was even supposed to be his chair. "Ah… well, it's… thank you." For whatever it was. "I- I don't suppose I'm going to get any kind of explanations of this? With respect- things have been very strange lately." Was I supposed to remember that tarot reading? Crap.
4:30 PM
"I'm glad I'm probably not dead?" Yet. If you have anything to do with that.
"I would imagine so. Few of my guests lead ordinary lives, and fewer still are dead when I have the pleasure to speak with them…" He gestures towards the seat. "Perhaps some explanation /is/ in order."
4:30 PM
….that woman. Is just SMILING at him.
4:32 PM Greenling
He gives her a wary look. That /never/ ends well.
4:32 PM
He sits down gingerly in the chair. "So… I'm, I'm not the only one this is happening to?" He perks up as he realizes what that might imply. Not alone? Not crazy? Not…
"This…is a place at the very heart of the sea of the unconscious. Think of it as a source of guidance on your journey. Time does not pass here, and it may behoove you to take advantage of our services as you go on. Your soul may benefit from what we can provide."
4:34 PM Greenling
…Or maybe he /is/ crazy, but in a useful way. Sort of like Night. … … Wow, that was an asinine thing to think.
4:36 PM
Shousei rubs his eyes. "Ah… thank you for the invitation, then. Could you… I suppose an overview of /why/ I'm here would be appreciated, if you don't mind, and whether it's connected to any of the other… weird shit that's going on." He's trying to be polite, but words. There are no others.
"The…unusual events that you are experiencing are ultimately representative of nothing new. The scale, while dramatic, does not change the basic play, as it were." He gestures towards the stage. "Like those before you, you are here because you have forged a contract. You have taken your potential…"
4:39 PM
"…and have agreed to accept the consequences thereof. A delightful choice, if one has the conviction to stand by it."
4:39 PM Greenling
There's that word again.
4:40 PM
"Forged a contract." He sighs. "Made a bargain with… something. You?"
He waves off the question. "The only obligation of meaning is one made with oneself. Would you not agree?"
4:42 PM Greenling
He shakes his head slightly. "I'm afraid not, but I can understand that perspective." Was that an answer? He doesn't think that was an answer. "Do I get to know the terms of this agreement? Or at least anything I absolutely shouldn't be doing?"
4:42 PM
"…Or why it's related to a fantasy video game?"
He laughs at the questions. "As I have said. You need only take responsibilty for your choices. All of the rest…is a matter of perspective. A much more powerful force here than in your reality. Or what remains of it."
4:44 PM
The woman beside him smiles. "Possibility is become the new unreality. Isn't that /exciting/?"
4:44 PM
There is a long glance from the old man to the young woman, who smiles in response. And look. And smile. And look. And smile. And…her smile turns back to Shousei. The look turns back to Shousei.
4:44 PM Greenling
Oh, fantastic. 'Take responsibility'. That never ends badly at all.
4:44 PM
He keeps a blank, polite look on his face.
"You have recently awakened not only to the power of Persona…which, while artfully demonstrated in your 'video game', is no mere trick of pixels…but also to the potential of the Wild Card…within you lie a thousand, thousand possibilities, all aching for expression."
4:46 PM Greenling
…He does remember the tail end of the tarot thing. Walk forward, blindly but certainly. Not knowing what exactly the hell is going on, but still being expected to make his own choices rather than just letting things happen… that would fit.
4:46 PM
It's basically the /opposite/ of what he'd like to be doing, granted.
"…in that, you are perhaps an unusual case, but aren't they all? Regardless, there are many faces which you may present in order to keep your promise and complete your journey. The bonds you build with others shall be instrumental towards your success."
4:47 PM Greenling
In every. Possible. Detail. …He nods, listening.
4:47 PM
"Unusual?" He pushes his hair back behind his ear.
"You are…." He glances towards the stage. "Both weaker and stronger than those I've had the pleasure of serving before. You are, at your core…a non-entity. Perhaps this shall change? I can only watch in hopeful anticipation. Until then? Who knows what roles you may find yourself playing."
4:50 PM Greenling
He blinks, wide-eyed.
4:50 PM
"Eh…" He pinches the bridge of his nose. "Xiao said I seemed to have no soul…"
4:51 PM
"I'm sure- was sure- that that was metaphorical- certainly ridiculous…"
"What is evident to the logic of unreality is necessarily limited. Perhaps your journey will be integral in that sense - a world is much like a person. As a child, it knows little of the nature of things and less of itself."
4:59 PM Greenling
"So I'm not imagining this…" Shousei leans back in the chair and tries to get comfortable, looking back out over the theatre. …It occurs to him there is still someone standing over him. He looks up.
5:00 PM
"May I ask who you are?" he asks the strange woman. "You look a bit like someone I know."
The woman smiles. "Perhaps I am someone you know. My name is Beatrice. Have we met before? Or have you simply…dreamed about me?" She winks. The old man glances. Her smile becomes placid again. The old man's gaze returns to Shousei.
5:02 PM Greenling
He smiles politely, though it doesn't reach his eyes. "You look like a friend of mine…"
5:03 PM
"Nice to meet you."
5:03 PM
She offers a hand. "The pleasure is all mine. Please be gentle with me. I am…inexperieced with our guests." Glance. Smile. Glaaaaance. Smile.
5:08 PM Greenling
…Shousei shakes her hand, if warily. Presuming that's what she wants.
5:08 PM
He calms down a bit. "Sorry, I've just had bad experiences with… attractive women."
5:09 PM
That is probably a terrible way to put anything but it's what he thought so it's what came out of his mouth.
"So you find me attractive?" Glaaaaaance. "I see. I will be assisting you by keeping records of your…acquisitions. Should you have occasion to change your innermost nature and have regrets?" She squeezes his hand gently. "I will be the keeper of your precious memories."
5:11 PM Greenling
He grimaces.
5:11 PM
She reaches into her carved, wooden box and draws a single, large card - the Chariot. As she turns it, he sees himself calling Zouchouten. "Regret is only natural. Even one on a journey has places they wish that they had never gone…"
5:13 PM Greenling
"If I change myself, I- oh. Like… the…" He's putting the pieces together. Slowly, but. This is real. Personas are supposed to represent an expression of your nature, as per the instructions. Like that.
5:14 PM
"Do you mean when I switch between cards like that, you can…?" He's not sure.
"Oh, no. Such sudden changes are entirely under your control. However, should you seek to fuse two Personas…the originals would be lost without me. For a low, low price, I can restore what has cast into the sea beyond."
5:27 PM
Igor clears his throat. "Alas, it would seem that our meeting comes to its conclusion. I do look forward to witnessing your travails. Good luck, and as ever - I am at your service."
5:27 PM Greenling
"…Oh. So you can change them into new things, if you have more than one."
5:28 PM
Shousei raises an eyebrow. "Wait- how do I get back here?"
The curtain closes…not over the stage, but over the balcony, dropping Shousei into darkness…which is immediately pierced by bright headlights soaring for his head.
5:28 PM
5:28 PM Greenling
Oh, fuck.

oh fuck, inDEED.