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Begin Audio Log 398

 

“Twelfth of September. This is Mishima (Redacted) of the Aqueous Arcane, arriving on behalf of Koito Heiji and the Council of Mages. Arrived at Otaru at approximately 8:34. Arrived at site of crash around 8:58.”

There are a few miscellaneous sounds of footsteps crunching along sand and muffled voices. All conduct themselves in a businesslike, brisk manner, except for one voice strung out among the rest in bits and pieces.

 

?: Still here…. Somewhere…. still  has t’ be… take me t

 

The voice fades in amongst the crowd as Mishima carries himself and the recorder away.

“I’m here at the site of the crash. It almost looks too fantastical to be true- lots of rocky formations that go up quite a ways, almost no sand- the sandbar lays just a bit beyond it. The hull’s all smashed up against two of the highest points of the rock formations here, to the point of utter destruction. It doesn’t even look like part of a ship anymore. The stern is just a bit out the water, swaying a lot with the wind. If anyone were in the hull, it’s uncertain if they would have survived…”

A few breaths are taken as a slightly noisy gust of wind breezes by. It is utterly silent in the space where Mishima stands perfectly still before he speaks, voice much softer.

“Reports are saying the crew threw themselves overboard.”

A few more steps are taken into the quiet unknown.

“Despite the fact that it was a cargo ship carrying luxury clothes it doesn’t seem as if much has been stolen. Whether or not we can get a full inventory depends on how sane the sailors are, when they’re interviewed.”

A small pause. There is the rustle of a gloved hand running over his hair.

“I’ll let the mental health professionals handle that part when the mage militia comes by.”

Footsteps transitioning from the soft patter of sand and onto the harsh clanging of metal can be heard.

“So far, it doesn’t look as if there’s anything along the left flank- no claw marks, no teeth. There’s no saying for certain about the other side. I’m going to try having a look inside to see if they might have entered the ship proper. It’s unlikely- not with the sea so near, close enough to hide in. But there’s still a chance.”

There’s the distinct crinkle of paper and another pause.

“I have a Sirensong ward on me; a recorder which has been marked with a clairvoyance target so any Council affiliated Seers within a twenty-kilometer radius can hear; several charms of protection; and medicine made with some of the Silent Siren plant native to this area. The Otaru HQ made sure to supply me with enough to help any victims of the siren I come across, and I’m proficient enough in my arcane to dry any hostile individuals out if needed. If this recording is being projected properly and I don’t return to HQ in [Redacted] hours, it is to be assumed that my mental capabilities have been compromised.”

There’s another pause, filled with only the vague sound of the sea and a slow breath out.

“There’s a hole in the hull, between where it’s crashed and the cliff face. It’s big enough for me to get through.”

There’s the sound of rustling as the recorder is pulled away from Mishima’s mouth and hooked to his belt. There’s the crunch of metal being used as a springboard, along with the quiet thunk of a body hitting against solid steel. Shifting, grunting, then inevitably, the whoosh of air in a fall. The sound of the ocean is silenced as boots land heavily on the rubble of the inside of the ship.

Something is shaken slightly, and a switch is flicked. After that, there is pure, isolated silence. Not even a breeze stirs by. Not even the waves outside are able to lend some sound to the eerie quiet of the destroyed ship.

The recorder is moved back up again and there are muted, uneven clicks against the uneven floor.

“It’s pretty hard to see in here, even with the light… It looks like most of the cargo flooded out from the hull after the initial collision. It certainly couldn’t have been pushed through the hole I climbed through- not by momentum alone.”

The quiet shuffle of shoes sliding along sea slick floors. Slow, cautious strides toeing would be hazards away.

“... There’s very little cargo left inside of here. I’ll need to head deeper into the ship, towards the stern. It’s a bit of an upward climb, but thankfully, things are a little chillier inside this place- perfect for freezing.”

There’s the shuffle, slide, dance around of feet quietly sneaking. The silence gives way to a slow, torturous buzz to the left, humming with cut electricity looking for an outlet. To the right, a shuffle of a different gait joins the mix of the thrumming void.

Pause.

Rewind.

A second pair of feet joins the shuffle forwards. Mishima is so quiet in that moment that his breath is more audible than his voice.

“I may have company. Stand by.”

Mishima’s shuffle slows to a stop. The second pair of feet stop as well, bathing the unknown place in a quiet that whispered. A quiet drip, drip, dripping slowly joins the ranks of vile lack, running an undercurrent throughout the nothingness.

A second, male voice croaks out, so low and breaking that it rippled in tune with the water.

 

??: Who’s there? What do you want from me?!

 

Mishima breathes into the recorder.

“I’ve used the ripples in the saltwater to gain a general read on his location. He’s standing about two meters behind me and fifteen paces to the right. He isn’t moving.”

Pause. Play.

“He’s shaking.”

 

??: I can hear you! I can hear y-you, there,

 

Even with the distance, the breathing of the second grows louder, unhinged. Like a frightened animal.

 

??: Hello?! Say something! Say- say, have you heard it too?

 

“No doubt about it.” Mishima mumbles into the recorder. “Song poisoned. Poor bastard…”

 

??: Speak up!

Mishima: Yea, I’m here! I’m here to help you out, now that you heard that siren.
??: Siren… siren, that’s what it- singing like that, I should have known it was something like that. Should have known, should have…

Mishima: Hold very still, alright? I’m going to go over now.

??: I didn’t know something so… beautiful. Exist.

 

“Damn. A mundane, to boot.” Mishima sighs.

The water shifts as careful steps are taken with little splashes. There’s a sharp intake of breath and a strangely terrified moan, deep from someone’s throat.

 

??: Careful! Stay back! … I’m warning- you, don’t come. Too close.

Mishima: Don’t worry- I’m not here to hurt you.

??: I… I don’t know about that- gasp, pant at all. Not at all.

Mishima: I’ll stay here, then, for the moment- but I need you to stay with me here, alright? Focus on my voice. Can you see my flashlight?

??: I- I can see it, too bright. Too big a light. I’m not going, though. There’s nowhere.

Mishima: I’ll assume that you mean you have nowhere to go for the moment. Why are you here?

??: I don’t. Know. I’m here, though. I’m right here, and my feet are down there too, so we’re here.

Mishima: Okay. I’m stopping a few steps away from you. Is that okay? Are you okay with that?

??: … Y. Yes.

 

The footsteps stop.

 

Mishima: Hello. My name is Mishima. What’s your name?

??: I don’t. I don’t have one. Not one that matters...

Mishima: … Do you have anything to call you by?

??: … No… I was waiting for…

 

Pause. A barely audible sniffle.

 

Mishima: Right… I’m here to find out about what happened, and to help you find your footing a bit more here.

??: My footing is here. It is!

Mishima: I know. Your footing is here, but we can still get a better grasp on everything. Shed more light, right?

??: Not too much light… too bright. Bright like eyes.

Mishima: Eyes?

??: I saw from the deck. Its eyes.

 

Silence.

 

Mishima: Can you tell me more? About what happened. What was going on when you saw those eyes?

??: … It was quiet. Quiet quiet, where there’s no moon out. I was awake, monitoring. The shore wasn’t far. Everyone else was drunk or piss asleep, or both. It was just me. swallow Just me there. Just me when those eyes started.

Mishima: What did it look like the eyes were doing? … Was it just eyes, that you saw?

??: … Sing…. It sang…. Looked like a man on the cliff at first, very small, ant small on the hill- but then he sang. He sang and grew… and grew… voice cracking and glowed so bright and bright and pretty, singing like that. I’ve never heard a song…

Mishima: … Can you describe the man?

??: He wasn’t a man, anymore, when he sang. The moonlight got brighter. There wasn’t a moon, but the moonlight got brighter. His tail was so long….. Big and blue and glimmering and coiling around the tip of the cliff- he didn’t have legs. Just a tail below the waist, underneath big big wells on its sides. I… I’ve never seen. Eyes.

Mishima: … And what about the eyes?

??: The eyes. The eyes! I couldn’t see its face, just eyes. They were pretty- amber like his song. Sweet. Big. Bigger and darker than the sea…

 

In the darkness beyond, there’s a sharp bang, followed by a subdued shudder. A breath is sucked in, and there is the rustle of clothes.

 

??: Not yet- he can’t be here for me yet! I’m… I’m not…

Mishima: Calm down- it isn’t your siren. Even if it does end up being him, I’ll protect you.

??: Don’t! Don’t protect me- don’t try to keep me, fast. I’m fastened. He can unfasten me.

Mishima: … Is… that the case?

??: YES! He needs to be the one. He has to be the one. I have to feel it- the claws… those claws, almost as long as the tail…

 

There’s several steps forward and a small yelp, fearful.

 

??: What are you doing? You said you’d stay back!

Mishima: I’m moving closer now. Is that fine?

??: NO! Don’t come close! I can’t be touched by anyone else, no one else,

Mishima: I’m… really sorry to say, but I’m afraid I can’t really honor that request right now. At least for the moment.

 

There’s a slow shuffling coming from the depths of the ship. There’s the sound of something heavy being dragged, and it echoes. The shuffling slowly hits the water, dragging with a sound like snow across skin, the silent shhh-sh-shhhhh of fabric over solid material. The seawater trapped in the wreck around them drips and flows upwards, choking off the sound of nearby electrical humming.

There’s the small pip of something entering the water.

Mishima speaks almost silently. “There appear to be two more victims in here- one is carrying the other. I can’t make out their exact shapes, just because they aren’t deep enough into the water yet- just a bit more…”

 

??: What are you saying? Stop it! Stop whispering like that! I won’t hear him, then, the song,

 

There’s a strangled sound.

 

??: H… Hhhaaah…. the …. The wa-ater…. How is it…. Moving like…… th

Mishima: I’ll… explain later.

 

There’s a strange slithering, the slight trickle of water snaking below the recorder in Mishima’s hold. The slithering of a stream is heard, slowly traveling into the horizon around the bubble of nothing that surrounds both Mishima and this poor hapless victim. The slow dragging is paused, and there’s the final sound of a body thumping against the floor. The dragging, when resumed, sounds more like dragging dead weight.

The whispers begin shortly after.

 

???: hh… his…. Win...gs…. The red ssea. The red sssea, calling, devil in and. Out the moon. Red s…

??: It’s starting again. The singing! He’s! He’s going to be there. Have to…

Mishima: No. Stay here- don’t start going now.

??: … He sounds… so sad…

 

The dragging slowly edges closer, shoes nudging and kicking any debris in the way with strangely pragmatic clinks. Centimeter by slow centimeter, the uneven gait edges closer, and Mishima lets out a slow, steadying breath. There is a click.

 

??: Ah-! The light,

Mishima: Shh.

??: Don’t shush him! Don’t. Let him continue… let me just go to him and… and…

 

The sound of a slightly gruff female voice echoes from up ahead.

 

????: I know you’re… there. Don’t try and hide.

??: We’re not here. I’m not. My footing is elsewhere.

????: Kichijiro? Is that you…?

???: … ttteeeeeth…. Rends fl. Flesh. Sharp as knives, razor sea…

Mishima: So who would you be?

 

The third pair of footsteps stop. There is silence.

 

????: My name is Sayuri. Sayuri Inko.

Mishima: Hello, Sayuri-san. My name is Mishima. I’m investigating the crash and the siren.

Sayuri: S… siren?! Was that what I saw?!

 

There’s a click.

 

Kichijiro: Th…! The li

Mishima: We’ll have much to discuss when we all get out of here- but before then… who is that fellow you have with you?

???: … s… sirensssing…

 

Mishima brings the recorder closer to mutter, “Sayuri-san appears to be wearing a siren ward around her neck. The man with her seems to be… in worse shape than the mundane here.”

 

Mishima: What exactly did you see, Sayuri-san?

Sayuri: … What’s it to you?

Mishima: It’s important for documentation purposes, and… well, I’ll be able to help these two. I want to help them get back to their right mind here soon.

Kichijiro: It’s too loud now- it’s… I’m…

 

Pause. Fast Forward.

 

Kichijiro: What… what’s going on? Sayu-chan? What’s with Sawano-san…?

Sayuri: Okay- it’s good that… you seem alright here. I don’t know what’s up with Sawano- he’s been talking crazy ever since that. That thing.

Sawano: eyes…

Mishima: The siren, you mean?

Sayuri: It looked like… Like that fish man from Hell Boy. I didn’t really think sirens would have looked like that, but then again…

Kichijiro: The… the siren… God, my head- it feels like it’s. groan Splitting…

Mishima: Yeah, it’s going to be for a bit- it looks like you’ve been song poisoned.

 

A bewildered bit of quiet passes.

 

Sayuri: Song… poisoning.

Mishima: Yes, song poisoning- it’s a pretty nasty after effect of really strong siren song. Think of it like… if siren song is a drug that makes us humans feel peaceful and blissful and empty, then song poisoning is the withdrawal symptoms from that. Whether or not you get it mostly depends how long you’ve been listening, prior exposure… whether or not you have a sirensong ward, like the one you’re wearing, Sayuri-san.

Sawano: … peacef… ull

Sayuri: Like this necklace?

 

Mishima sighs into the recorder. “Another mundane. I’ll need to fix their memories, after this... “

 

Sayuri: I… got this off of Sawano.

 

Pause. Freeze frame.

 

Sayuri: I mean-! He gave it to me, I mean. I didn’t get anything off of anyone,

Mishima: I’m sure that’s the case… In which case though, I have to wonder…

 

There’s some steps and the small creak of knees as Mishima crouches down.

 

Sawano: humming The sea… the sea turns… and turns teeth and red… s

Mishima: Sayuri-san, if I could ask- where did you find Sawano-san here?

Sayuri: He was… After that weird song started going and everyone started going crazy, and after I got this necklace on, he was… hunched back in his room, trying to get out the window. Looked frantic as all hell too…

Mishima: Is there anything else of note, or…?

Sayuri: I mean, not really? After the song ended though, he got… really weird. Kept rocking in some corner, trying to get a broken pair of headphones to work, with a bunch of CDs and flash drives all over the place. I didn’t hear much from them, but… there was some weird singing coming from one of the headphones that worked like, half of the way. Almost like…

Mishima: … more sirensong?

Sayuri: Yeah! Kind of…

Mishima: Well, I guess that would explain why his own ward wasn’t working.

 

He mumbles into his recorder, keeping quiet so as to not disturb the others there, “He seems far more gone than the other… I don’t know if it’s possible to-”

 

Sayuri: Hey, stop whispering into that thing! We need explanations. What do you mean, it wasn’t working?

Mishima: Ah, right… well. Think about sirensong wards as more preventative than outright stopping the power of a song. It’d be incredibly difficult to design a charm that negated all magical quality to the song- so what it does is just work with mental fortitude. So for someone like you and Kichijiro-san here, who haven’t heard the song before now, the charm would work to defend you against its magic. When it comes to Sawano, I suspect…

 

There’s the rustle of fabric and movement as Mishima moves. “There’s a flash drive in his clothes. I recognize the sign on it… its song magic, alright.”

 

Sayuri: … are you saying he’s been… listening to songs with magical mind control shit like that in it? Why the hell would anyone…

Mishima: Well, like I said- sirensong is a drug to the human mind. Sometimes, people get hooked when they’re looking for quick cures for insomnia, or curiosity. Sometimes, they just have unlucky amounts of experiences with sirens…

Kichijiro: … And then they become… drug addicts?

Mishima: Yes! Pretty much.

 

There’s a small splash as Mishima straightens up. He speaks into the recorder. “Time is currently 9:43. Three victims found, two mundanes, one suspected mage- I’ll administer the cure to the mundane and head out. Sirensong paraphernalia will need to be confiscated from this ship…”

End Audio Log 398

 

 

Item: Class 0 Biohazardous Song

Origin unknown.

Description: One of [redacted] flash drives confiscated from the belongings of Sawano Chuan after the siren related crash of a cargo ship in Otaru. When played, it plays a female siren’s voice on loop, singing a somewhat apocalyptic song.

Analysts suggest that the song was designed to make the listener view the siren in a certain way, as is in accordance with the idea that those under sirensong tend to perceive the singer’s appearance in wildly variant forms. No word has surfaced on whether or not this could be used to make the victim view the siren as human. At this time, it is considered more likely that siren song forces the listener to view the singer as a supernatural being of some kind.

 

WARNING: Only those wearing sirensong wards who have not been under the thrall of a siren in the past six months are allowed to play the following audio.

 

Play.

 

The sea by which you play

Bears the scorching light of day,

So travel back to that loving dark

For which your thoughts away may arc.

 

Shadows fanned out in a strong arc,

The wings are cool with feathers dark

That hold the claws gleaming bright with day-

Against your docile flesh may they play.

 

The red sea calls you close and near,

Waves rolling across your flesh so dear.

Your cries and kiss disappear in plain sight

And only I can correct that blight.

 

Rest your leaves withered with blight,

Tear my teeth rending flesh from sight.

With the sound of my voice in your ear, dear,

A beautiful death is ever so near.