Ensembles

Various systems

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9 votes (+9, -0) 5★

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Entity Classification

Aggressiveness 3/5 Aggressiveness varies between each colony. However, generally, each colony is defensively hostile.
Frequency 2/5 Found in a variety of spaces. Quite rare.
Intelligence 5/5 Completely sapient.
Pritoria Index 3.333/5 Defensive, sapient, and powerful but ultimately rare.

Origin

Long ago, there was a world entirely unseen but heard. The life within and even the terrain was composed of sound to formulate a spectacular symphony unlike anything imaginable by mortal minds. The songs changed the lives of those who entered the valley as they joined the choir and sang with their entire being perfectly along. However, due to an unknown individual's greed, the Valley of the Choir was torn apart in a tragic symphonic dirge, one that rivaled the combined power of every song that came before it. Their lust for capturing the muse caused all to fall apart. The endless beautiful music was silenced in a single moment before picking up again… out of harmony. Of the lifeforms of sound that populated the valley, The Master Ensemble stood tall against the tide of disunity. It was the perfect being of sound that could command silence in others with its overpowering but fabulous presence. With the last screams of the valley, The Master Ensemble lost its hold and fell into infinity. With The Master Ensemble’s fall, the wanderers left in the sound were torn apart note by note until there was an emptiness where the valley once stood.

All the notes, once part of the composition, were scattered across the universe and beyond. They landed without purpose, eternally playing their pitiful empty notes. Over time, these mindless “Notes” died or found other Notes to amass into. However, these groups of Notes were incomplete and quickly dissipated. That was until a new kind of Note began surfacing. The Notes of the wanderers and The Ensemble itself had minds, unlike the Notes of the other lifeforms and terrain. These Notes could think, but more importantly, they had the ambition of the once incredible Ensemble that ruled the valley. So, they took control of the mindless Note groups as their Conductors. The Conductors led the notes in colonies of living soundwaves assimilating lesser Notes and their surroundings into their gestalt. These groups would become known as “Ensembles.”

Composition

Because of the Ensembles' nature and compositions, studying them is considerably complex. Thus, most information on the Ensembles comes from the few cooperative Ensembles and from recovered documents from a lost group of Vagrants who had close connections with the valley before its destruction. The information has been cross-referenced and is most likely accurate.

Ensembles consist entirely of sentient soundwaves as gestalt colonies. Despite being made of sound, Ensembles have a general composition and body. The bulk of each Ensemble is made of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of Notes. These Notes are each an individual sound given life as if in The Valley of the Choir. The noises vary significantly from each other in a multitude of ways, such as pitch, duration, and volume. The noise the Note makes often dictates where the Note is placed in the composition. Each Note in the group fulfills a niche in the mass, whether that be movement, preservation, or servitude to the Conductor who leads the colony. Longer noise-producing Notes, for example, are placed around protected Notes and the Conductor, as the constant noise leaves less room for an attack by an opposing Ensemble colony or a disturbance caused by the environment.

The Conductor in each Ensemble colony is the leader and dictates the entity's personality. Each Conductor is a unique Note derived from the original Ensemble and the discordant wanderers. Each Ensemble colony is also unique in many ways. Size, behavior, type of Notes, general shape, tactics, musical preferences, and intelligence can all differ between Ensemble colonies. These differences are due to the scattered Conductors and the megalomaniacal nature of the original Ensemble from the valley. Part of the Conductor’s role in managing the colony is their control over silence. A Note that goes silent dies unless the Note is forced into silence by the Conductor. This mandated silence differs from a deadly silence because the soundwaves are not broken but brought to a parallel pocket realm within the Conductor’s mind until taken out once more.

Ensembles lack a physical body and don’t have many needs like other living creatures. They do not feast on flesh or flora but instead consume noise itself through a strange process of tearing apart and overwhelming the soundwaves of the noise. This dissipates the noise as well as nourishes Notes within the colony. The nourishment received seems to bolster the strength of the Notes, thus, allowing the colony to target stronger colonies and noises. The only other needs of an Ensemble colony are the preservation of Notes and whatever desires of the Conductor.

Ensembles are not immortal despite lacking a body. As mentioned, Notes that go silent without the Conductor’s influence are killed. The killing of individual Notes is through producing a noise that forces the Note into silence. The most common cause of death in a Note is overpowering louder noises. Conductors are not killed like other Notes. Instead, Conductors are killed by being stripped of their minds and being turned into mindless Notes. The process of destroying the identity of a Conductor is barely understood, and no definitive method has been discovered beside the methods used by rival Conductors. Any Notes still left in the colony without a Conductor are dispersed and taken in by the rival Ensemble or left to die.

Conductors and Notes are unlike any other creatures as they do not obey the rules of our world. Instead, they still follow the laws of the Valley of the Choir. This explains why soundwaves could have sentience and even sapience in some cases. They are remnants of living sound from the valley and are set apart from normal soundwaves. These Notes are enigmas of life that could only be birthed through the destruction of a world set upon a different axis of existence than any other.

Behavior

Ensemble colonies vary in intelligence and mannerisms dependent on the ruling Conductor. However, there are a few behaviors that are shared among each colony. Above all else, Ensembles seek to amass as many Notes as possible into their composition. More significant numbers mean more control over the overall song, stability, and better defenses against other colonies. Though, Conductors have a plethora of different methods for acquiring more Notes.

The most common approach to gathering Notes is forcibly tearing apart other colonies. This happens when two or more Ensembles participate in a “Musical Duel.” Musical Duels are a dangerous spectacle that tears apart the surroundings like a localized tornado. The Conductors lead their colonies as living blades or shields in beautiful battles of songs. They compete with one another, throwing Notes at one another in harmony until the battle is won. Musical Duel victories occur when one of the Conductors is converted to a Note or the colony flees the battlefield. In either case, the winner will have received many new Notes to add to their battalion for the next duel.

The more intelligent Conductors use another approach. Rarely, when two colonies meet, the Conductors will converse. They trade information and Notes while on guard. This conversation is much calmer than a Musical Duel but is still a song to remember. The pulls and pushes of the Notes, the tremolos, and the brief moment of silence make this a pleasant scene.

Funnily, Musical Duels can be initiated by Conductors at non-Ensembles. These duels are usually caused by less intelligent Conductors that can't discern between an Ensemble, and the fight ends rather quickly as the opponent has no Notes to give or a Conductor to convert. However, despite having no opponent, the duel is still devastating as the Ensemble may have utilized more destructive noises and songs.

When not dueling, Ensembles traverse the landscapes and rooms of whatever limspace they reside in. They seek information and other colonies to take from. Whenever they encounter a threat, the colonies flee or barrage the attacker with various noises.

Dangers

Even without physical forms, Ensembles are highly dangerous. While mostly tame when wandering, Ensembles can turn into walking disasters in seconds. The most recognized threat of an Ensemble is its capability to cause deafness in listeners. However, Ensembles have many other even more dangerous methods of attack.

Some Notes are specialized to be weapons against non-sound-based threats. They can vibrate billions of times a second at frequencies undetectable to most. If these Notes are thrown at a target, they can pulverize or tear straight through them. These invisible blades could tear through just about anything. However, wise Conductors don’t use them recklessly as they can cause damage to the main body just as easily.

Another weapon against physical targets is a strange kind of unreplicable noise produced by a few Notes that somehow hardens into an unseen but tangible object. This kills the Note but can be used to create cages, walls, or blunt objects for the Ensemble to escape.

Ensembles' most interesting defense mechanism is known as “Arcana Songs.” These songs destroy reason and defy logic as they have many powerful effects that manipulate reality. Arcana Songs are elaborate complex compositions of exact Notes to play a song. These remarkable songs affect the surroundings or targets depending on the song played. Most commonly, the Arcana Songs manipulate the minds of listeners. The songs force emotions, actions, or even visions. These kinds of Arcana Songs are much tamer than the ones that affect the surroundings. For example, one Arcana Song was seen to have turned all the surrounding stones into sand, thus causing the stone towers to crumble. Another Arcana Song drastically lowered the temperature of the room well below freezing. Luckily, Arcana Songs are rare and only used by the most intelligent Conductors who know to conduct the most elaborate and often lengthy songs.

It is rumored that if someone had all the exact noises of an Arcana Song and somehow timed everything exactly, they could utilize the song’s effects. However, the likelihood of replicating an Arcana Song is abysmally small. The pieces are ultimately complex and lengthy.

Additional Information

As Notes and Conductors are incapable of reproducing or growing in number, Ensembles are a dying species. Eventually, Ensembles will dissipate forever, just like the Valley of the Choir.

The more intelligent Conductors can be conversed with. While they are unlikely to bow before wanderers, they will trade information and may even offer protection for a short while. We have a few pieces of knowledge on Ensembles from friendly Conductors.

Some theories claim that Ensembles are trying to recreate the Valley of the Choir. They grow in size because they are trying to replicate their origin. This theory has weight but is countered by the nature of the original Ensemble that has been split across all the Conductors.

Ensembles do not have a set habitat. When they were thrown out of the dying Valley of the Choir, they were strewn across many limspaces and systems. Some spaces and systems are better fit for the Ensembles' survival and are thus more populated. For example, the Backrooms system has many Ensembles because of its emptiness, open space, and lack of major sound-based threats.

The genres of music differ between colonies depending on which Notes are available and the preferences of the Conductor. All sorts of kinds of music have been observed. However, the genre of music has little impact on the behavior of the colony.


Survival Guide

Ensembles are dictated by their Conductor. As each Conductor is different, there is no definitive method for surviving an encounter. However, there are general things to do in case of an encounter.

  1. Avoid making noise that may draw the colony's attention. If successful, flee when capable as silent as possible.
  2. If the Ensemble has found you, determine its intentions. If the Conductor is conversing, determine the tone of the Conductor. Either dissuade or offer information to the Conductor.
  3. If the Ensemble is harsh and attacking, flee while making as much noise as possible to cause discord or block sound-based attacks.
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