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Search And Rescue
(2013-04-03 - 2013-04-04)
No description.
Zargabaath Archades has been scrambling over the past day. The unfortunate soldiers from the 9th Bureau involved in the incident have long been evacuated, but three remain unaccounted for: two Judges and Judge Magister Gabranth himself. Considering the state of survivors and dead alike, and especially considering the Dalmascan desert itself, the likelihood of finding them alive has grown very slim indeed.

That hasn't stopped Judge Magister Zargabaath from trying.

The Judge of Reason had taken custody of the investigation mere hours after the incident occurred, and has called in his own men from the 12th Fleet to assist. The search has proven fruitless from the skies, the propulsion from even the smallest of aircraft causing more issues than help, so everyone is on the ground with a Remora on standby in case the search proves to be fruitful.

So far, however, there have only been partially wind-swept tracks heading westerly from the incident site with the occassional sign of blood in the sand or an Archadian Judge armor piece hung in cacti. But still Judge Magister Zargabaath marches on, though he does allow the soldiers under his command to rotate out in order to recover from the harsh environment.
Zeke Zeke actually hadn't been here long. He'd wandered thorug ha portal investigating ot make sure it was safe and decided to get a drink where he ran into this oddball character that called himself Mickey that'd clued him in on a local monster situation. While he wasn't all that versed in land fighting, and i nfact he felt an innate sense of wrongness to this place, he couldn't sit idle. Sure he wasn't good at this sort of search and locate and whatnot but he was used to the logistics of leading men. So he's out here helping as he can with the search taking a less senior patch of work; cataloging and currating the equipment and it's distribution. Sure it wasn't glamerous but you couldn't do anything if you didn't know what you had or where it was.
Riku-Proxy Riku has his journal in hand, his desert attire dusty and worn with the passage of many hours. He goes over his notes for the sixth time, the desert sun beating down overhead and casting a long shadow as he bends over his work. He periodically looks up from what he is doing, listening and taking in everything that is going on around him.

There are times in which he puts the journal down or puts it away in the pursuit of some other task, and right now he does so in order to rub his injured hand with his fingertips. There is a massive burn across the palm of his left hand that, although healed, has left a tender and livid splash mark across his hand as if something burning hot shattered in his grip.

Riku has gone with the 12th Fleet and has followed the investigation from sky to ground and back. He has slept when ordered to, and returns at erratic intervals. He tries to disguise how little actual sleep he has gotten. He looks down at his hand for awhile and then picks up the journal again, tucking it under his arm as he goes in search of more healing salve. He finds Zeke and inquires after it, his expression tired and distant, as if the teenager were many miles away.

"Could I get some salve please? Ive run out of my own stuff." He frowns and then adds. "..Zeke, right?" he looks at them distantly, as if trying to place them.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath is probably a good few hundred yards away from where the supply line has stopped for the time being, his silver-and-red platemail glinting under the sun even as his cape barely sweeps over the sand under his boots. Its highly unlikely that he has actually stopped for rest himself, as none of the Judges or soldiers under his command has actually seen him even sit down since he'd arrived. Certainly haven't seen him remove his helm, at the very least, and it's rare when he says anything beyond orders to readjust the search area.

The fact he has not singled Riku out despite the clear signs that the boy isn't, in fact, resting is probably not an oversight.

The soldiers change shifts, those searching out in the heat falling back for shade, rest, and water while a new group takes their place. The climate is definitely not condusive for extended exposure while in full armor. A few stop by Zeke's location, requesting some rations for their fellows, and none seem to mind a non-Archadian handling logistical affairs. Zeke is helping them out for whatever his reasons may be, and that is good enough given the circumstances. Everyone looks weary and worried indeed, though.
Zeke Zeke consulted his own notes on where what was. After all armies ran on the little things and want of a nail and all. Soon Riku had his Salve and he adjusted the thick wool coat. Yes he still wore that great ruddy thing in spite of the stupid heat. On the one hand it protected him from the sun. On the other IT IS A WOOL COAT IN THE DESERT.

Zeke seemed to suffer any discomfort with a quiet sort of dignety though. No complaints and only a little extra at the water intake. "Riku. Have you any idea what we're walking into?"

He didn't sound apprehensive or fearful. It was a matter of fact question to him and something the others needed to know. "Without the colorful legends and other such nonsense to scare the men if you please." This while helping a soldier adjust something on their uniform.
Riku-Proxy Riku looks absent mindedly into the distance just past Zekes shoulder, face impassive and frozen in that expression for more than a few seconds before whatever animating force sluggishly pours back into his eyes and he focuses on Zeke. A dangerous yellow glint sparks across his eyes for a moment, made even more so by a completely impassive face but when the animation is complete he closes his eyes and smiles ruefully at Zeke. He opens one eye, eyebrow raising as yes.. that is in fact a wool coat. In the desert. And then the other eye opens and his smile grows a little more genuine.

He gingerly twisted the lid from the burn salve and rubbed the concoction smelling sharply of bitterness and pungent spices into his palm with a faint hiss of suppressed discomfort. He wipes off his fingers on his pants before digging out the journal and looking at it for two seconds, an offhand glance only before opening it to a random page and turning it towards Zeke. He flips a few pages before finding the right one. The sketch there, drawn from another bestiary and limited sightings, is somewhat competent.

"A behemoth is rare and powerful monster. Its usually found, when it is found at all.." at this his voice hitches for an instant before he continues. ".. in areas of high mist concentrations. Its big, and fast, and strong. I looked it up and its usually the sort of mark entire clans go after, not just single adventurers." Riku looks at Zeke, then past him.

His eyes trail towards Zargabaath as he speaks. "But.. there are more questions than answers, right now. What it was doing here. Why it wasnt spotted in time. If someone unleashed it on the training grounds on purpose."

Riku paused for a moment, sealing up the salve. "..we just have to wait. Well find.." and his voice trails off for a moment. "Well find answers in time."
The group below was searching for something. So many lives that walked around on the hot sands. So many clueless to what watched them from the rocky hills above. The dark armor almost like a shadow in the sun light. No light touching the black armor hidden by the dark mist that moved around the metal. That moved around, down, and gently playing across the rocky floor.

Those red eyes staring at all those present as they continued to search for something. He had been standing there for who knows the length of time, perhaps not for very long. Yet there the Dark Knight was with his hands resting relaxed across on the top of the hilt of his Soul Blade. The very dark metal of the sword itself not even reflecting any light, with the tip gently resting in the rocks.

The Dark Knight's red eyes slowly skim over to something in the shadows, before they return to look at all those below. Watching. Examining. Evaluating.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath feels a chill. Not the bodily kind of chill, of prespiration evaporating under an abrupt cool breeze. No, this is quite different--deep in his core, as if his very beating heart had been grasped by dead hands. He knows this feeling.

One gauntleted hand rises to touch the ram-like plate over his face, recent scars throbbing in memory resonance, as his other hand tightens into a fist at his side. He can feel the stare even from down here, like a predator stalking likely prey yet undecided whether to pounce or not.

Abruptly, his helm snaps up and he fully faces the direction from where he senses the stare's origin--ahead and to his right, approximately 100 meters away and a fair distance on top of a rocky outcropping laid bare above the sand. Unseen eyes meet distant red, and the Judge of Reason's hands settle onto his hips in a loose grasp.

There is no tension nor intent, just a Judge Magister standing still with his attention directed in a new location. It takes a few minutes for the other soldiers to notice, and even when their gazes are drawn to the strange shadow in broad daylight, even they don't seem to know how to respond.

"Ser who watches from on high." The Judge Magister's voice carries extremely well in the dry, still air--both towards the rocks and back to the supply point. Even his tone is neutral, indicating no emotion except simple logical observation. "Have you seen either behemoth or armored men? Or is your purpose here more dark than mere curiousity?"
Zeke Zeke frowned at the new shadow. It felt... off. "Nothing from my end." He instinctivly went about checking his guns, hissword. Nothing frantic just 'is everything there?' "Chance at parlay before hostilities?" He wasn't sure if diplomacy would work, but he always felt it best to try the easy way first.
Riku-Proxy Riku growls very faintly, the grating sound of it harsh in his throat. It is so faint that it seems Riku isnt aware of what hes doing because he is still smiling that rueful smile at Zeke which is apparently sincere. So the growl of fear and threat is not directed at him. He takes in a deep breath and thanks Zeke, lifting up the salve slightly and pocketing it. His eyes roam the endless sands with the aimless glance of the disinterested and fall out of focus, slowly orienting on the rocky hills for a few moments before sweeping across soldiers and Remora and the supply train.

He does not face the darkness on the rocky hillside. In fact he pointedly looks around the supply train in an attempt to keep his focus in another direction. Pain and discomfort and the ashes of confusion and shock have kindled together into a searing low grade anger that he keeps very carefully contained by his distance.

The cold, hungry feeling of the darkness jams a stick into those ember laden ashes, threatening to roar into sudden flames. "Can I have my journal back?" he asks expressionlessly, tonelessly, completely unconcerned as he pulls his face into some semblance of grim amusement. "And whoever they are, they better not get in the way." he sighs. "It is.. a very.. very big desert after all."
The Dark Knight does not move when he is addressed, he only continues to stand there like a silent stone statue. Yet there was a slow tilt of his helm to one side, now seeming to be staring directly at Zargabaath for a bit. As if looking for deeper then just the armor, but right into the man's very heart.

His red eyes then shift over to Zeke, doing the same before they come to slowly gaze upon Riku. There was then another shift of a tilt to his head. Yet the silence remained, before those red eyes gazed back upon Zargabaath once more. His voice lacking nearly any emotion. It was calm and his words very precise. They echoed in the helm with a deep resonance. "If you seek an armored man. I have what you wish up here. Out cold yet still alive. His life grows shorter." There was then a pause, "..a shame perhaps."

The Dark Knight then slides one hand off his other, before his hand takes the hilt of the blade. It soon glows blue, before it then seems to fade into dark mists, then soon those mists rejoin his armor. "His heart is strong. You are fortunate of that.. very fortunate." He then takes a few steps back, his hand palm up, before moving it over to the side to the shade of the rocks where along side him. It seem to be a rather open invitation.
Zargabaath The soldiers flinch noticeably at the Dark Knight's actions, more than a few reaching for their own weapons in response. Others growl, some wordlessly yet others with threats to his safety if he has endangered their fellow Archadian's. But all are clearly intimidated, though to what degree varies by the individual.


Though the Judge of Reason's voice is deep and calm, the sound of rolling thunder would have been hard-pressed to match the power behind the order. As it is, the soldiers immediately and almost instinctively relax and shift backwards a step, though their gazes are still distrustful.

Judge Magister Zargabaath himself, however, slips his arms beneath his cape and pulls free both of his swords from their holsters on his back. He holds them out to the side, showing the weapons clearly to the Dark Knight, then turns them point-down and drives them deep into the sand at his sides. He then removes a leather pouch from under his chestplate and rests it at his feet before straightening and stepping forwards, his intent made clear.

His voice does not change from the rumbling deep calm even as he advances forwards. "Two unarmed soldiers, one medic--with me. The rest of you, return to the Remorra and await further instruction. Under no circumstance shall any of you," he cants his head to the side, his gaze perhaps cast over his shoulder back towards Zeke and Riku both in particular, "approach nor advance beyond the supply point."

Three soldiers run through the sand to join him at his sides as he walks towards the outcropping, and the four of them scale the rocks as quickly as possible yet without fearfully rushing. The rest of the soldiers fall back as ordered, all of them with expressions varying from fearful to angry.
Zeke Zeke nodded once and remained with the other soldiers, at least for now. Chain of command. Orders." He looked rather calm in spite of everything. "Alright you swabs y'heard th'man.."

Yet he edged closer to Riku. "C'mon lad. We give these lot some space enough t'feel like they can converse." Of course he didn't plan on fully retreating. AFter all he didn't like the idea of just leaving the man to the tender mercies of... whoever this bloke was. "We do exactly as the big man says." ANd yet he wasn't in too big a hurry no matter that he was following hte letter of the order.
Riku-Proxy Riku rocks back on his heels, tucking the journal away carefully. Every movement is slow and careful and precise. He smooths down his clothes, drawing in a choking lungful of heated air that sears his lungs and expels it in a coughing fit and a sigh.

Why were they here? Why were they here if not to grind salt into already inflicted wounds? The words go around and around in his head, sparking flashes of anger and doubt as transitory as heat lightning.

But it was a big universe. Not everything had to happen for a reason. Sometimes things just happened. Sometimes you were just told to stay put and sit on your hands and be good.

Sometimes monsters just killed people.

And there was nothing you could do about it.

Not in front of all these people.

Riku slowly put a hand to his head, kneading one temple as the flashes came closer and closer together. His empty expression slowly fills with anger as he glares at the soldiers, slowly closing his hand until the nails were biting into his skin and edging towards pain.

Riku released his grip, rubbing his forehead of sweat in a gesture far too calculated to be casual. His shoulders relax, tense and then relax again as he lets out a breath very slowly. "Yeah.." he says in a tired voice, "..exactly as he says."

Not precisely how he means, maybe. And the slowness would help. Riku moved slowly but steadily, keeping close to Zeke.

"You seem to have a problem with portals." He notes with the echoes of something like humor. "..or at least a habit of being in all sorts of places. Oddly enough.. I can relate to that."
Those red eyes watching Zargabaath's actions, before they shifted over to Riku. He seem to stare at Riku for a long while. The dark mist around him shifting slightly, like a predator who knew another predator. Those red eyes soon looked upon Zeke as well for a moment. Studying them for just a bit of time.

Then the Dark Knight settles his gaze on Zargabaath as he and his men start to move up the rocky hill side. The Dark Knight then walks over to the shadows, before raising up his hand. The dark mist around him slips into the darkness, seeming to unveil the location of the Judge. Though why he was hiding the Judge is another matter entirely.

He then seems to step away. Where he steps, darkness flows across the rocks, yet dissipates as quickly as it touches it. "As for your other, I fear only an arm remains. Dried blood states it is long gone."

The Dark Knight then stands there, watching what they all do now. "Though tell me sir, as I protected your ally from the sun, what is the name of the boy with the white hair?" Then there was a pause, before his head tilt to one side, "..and yours."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath is the first to reach the summit and notably stands between the Dark Knight and his three soldiers as they climb all the way up themselves. He does not say a word, only needing to aim a hand towards the fallen Archadian Judge and they move immediately to his aid without hesitation, to their credit.

The Judge of Reason stands tall, his stance neutral and unthreatening with his arms at his sides without a hint of tension. But the implied gaze behind the helm... well, to say it is 'piercing' would likely be an understatement. The moving darkness in defiance of the sun's rays gets particular note, as does the Dark Knight's appearance.

There is something far, far deeper at work here. Just being in the man's vicinity is nearly enough to turn his stomach to stone, to say the least.

Judge Magister Zargabaath's helm lowers just a tad, indicating acknowledgement of the Dark Knight's inquiry. "One Archadian life for one Archadian name--my own. I am Judge Magister Zargabaath, commander of the 12th Imperial Fleet." The fact the Dark Knight is interested in the youth back by the Remorra gets no reaction, but is noted accordingly. "I would thank you for your kindness in aiding us, Ser, but I suspect t'was neither kindness nor intent to aid that brought you here." His own helm cants faintly to one side. "Or am I wrong?"
Zeke Zeke just kinda hung around directing traffic. Way he saw it most of these people would get hurt or worse if thigns wetn bad. Plus it was his job t osee to supplies and people were 'supplies'... no wait they were personnel, but they carried supplies!

He didn't make any outwardly hostile or provoking moves. He just kept eyes out for the scenery and watched the army go about it's business. There was a little bit of movement to follow on his part but it was reluctaint, halting, almost as if he wanted to be at the rear of the line on the 'repositioning of avalible forces' or whatever fancy word was used instead of 'retreat.'

Meh. He drank deeply from his water skin. "Blasted sun. Cully Foolish of me t'be out hear. S'not natural t'be this far from open sea"
Riku-Proxy Riku holds onto his anger and his patience by an increasingly gossamer thread. He takes out his journal and goes to talk with some of the imperial soldiers near the Remora. He asks them about anything that they may have found since some of them are from a recently returned search party.

He inquires about anything strange in the area like any other sightings of unusual monsters or unusual activity in the surrounding desert land. His voice occasionally starts to quaver but whoever he is talking to is delivered such a burning stare as to scour the memory or at the very least dare them silently to notice or say anything about it.

He updates his notes, gathers the information and does his best to listen as well as talk.

He does his very best to ignore the knifing pain of the darkness on the hill sawing at the last fraying edges of his control. He eventually returns to Zeke. "I.. yeah.. I remember something about a ship now." He sighs.

"Must be nice, out on the open ocean." His eyes cloud over and become distant for a moment before clearing. " one point, I would have thought it the peak of adventure .." he snorts very faintly. "..adventure. Right."
The Dark Knight only slightly cants his head a bit. It was not the answer he was hoping for, but it was an answer he would get it would seem. "Protective of your men." The Dark Knight states. "Your heart is one of light. You care deeply for them. Perhaps, even risk your life for them?"

The dark mist around the Dark Knight swirls for a moment as the armored figure moves. Each step in the right step with the other. Very methodical about how he moves. Those red eyes piercing right into the eye slights of the Judge of Reason's own. Piercing right in deep. "Man of honor. Man of Light. I shall remember this, Judge Magister Zargabaath."

The armored figure comes to a halt in his pacing before he inclines his head slightly, his hands kept by his side. "We are only here in passing and perhaps in hopes to find a decent place to eat if we require a meal." The Dark Knight seems to say this in all calmness. No hint of mean attention, sarcasm, or even rudeness. His red eyes gaze over the the judge being treated too. Those red eyes staring for a moment, before they shift back to Zargabaath, looking down slightly at the tad shorter man. There was then a long silence, with no words spoken. Not even the sound of breathing from the Dark Knight.
Zargabaath The soldiers around the Remorra give what information they can to Riku, most welcoming the distraction. Some do give Riku a concerned look, but the withering glare they get in return do indeed keep them from voicing such concerns.

One soldier nearby Zeke and Riku glances up from where he is idily tending to his weapon. "A ship on the sea?" He flips the faceplate and visor up to reveal his face, slicked from sweat. "What is it like?" A few others nearby cant helms or pause conversations to listen as well, similarly curious.

Meanwhile, on the ridge, Judge Magister Zargabaath gives absolutely no outward indication of his thoughts as he continues to watch the Dark Knight. He does not even speak to either confirm nor deny the Dark Knight's observations, knowing that actions speak loudly enough.

It is an odd thing, however, when the Dark Knight levels him with a piercing stare of his own. Such red eyes... one so dark should have gold, should they not? The way he moves, like a mechanical clockwork in perfect timing, is unnerving to see coming from what is most likely a human before him. But still the Judge of Reason remains stoic. "As shall I remember you, Ser Knight of Darkness," he acknowledges in kind.

His mind almost immediately keys on the 'we' in the Dark Knight's statement. This... could turn interesting. "I see. Then I shant keep you longer than you see nessisary." Without averting his gaze, he points to the group of Archadian soldiers with two fingers, then bends the knuckles to point towards the ground. Immediately, the medic finishes patching up what he can while the soldiers lift and carefully move the wounded Judge back down the rocky outcropping. "Whatever your reason may be, you have my thanks for your assistance." He lowers his arm, his helm only slightly tilted upwards to continue meeting the gaze of the taller man.
Zeke "I'm not one to just sit idle man." Zeke's words were soft. "The seas be hard and cruel at times, but they also do be fair minded. You go out. You take your lumps no matter what station. I dunna like battle an have no love of fighting for some arbitrary 'God said so'." He offered Riku a spare water skin he kept on hand. After all he wasn't used to the climate so he had been provided for. Granted he had been joked at for being an outlander but no skin off his back. "Righting wrongs, tilting at windmills." Feh. "Give me a ship, a crew, and tell me there's new land yonderway and a hcance to be th'first t'make contact with a native people that don't yet know how badly the british or spanish or whomever will bloody well ruin their lives in name of God and Country... and Greed. Mustnt forget base Greed no matter what windowdressing used."

What? He's british. He's allowed to insult his own people. "I don't wanna own the world. I just wanna SEE it. That's enough for any man. To see the expanse of God's creation and experiance it." Yet in spite of his words Zeke Just. Kept. Popping. Up and sticking his nose, and sword, between the boogyman and whatever it wanted to eat.

What of Riku though? What had caused a boy barely old enough t'be out on deck, to have such a cynical view of the world(s)? "We get out of this I wanna have a sitdown with ye lad. Try seeing what troubles yer mixed up in see if there's anythin within reason I can do t'help."
Riku 'As long as there is not a hug in the offer' is the thought that gets Riku to actually chuckle slightly. He warms to the man slightly as he takes any excuse to focus his searing attention on anything other than the fuse in his head that has burnt down to the last threadbare strands.

He doesn't want to be there when the explosion comes, but he doesn't really have much of a choice now does he? Riku throws another glance at the hillside and the Judge Magister, and notes with a sliver of relief that they've gotten the wounded Judge on his feet and the distant figures were going to descend the rocks soon if nothing else went wrong.

Riku returned his gaze to Zeke. He has to wade through that accent to make any sense of the words, but eventually he speaks up again. "Thats.. that's a really long story.." he snorts faintly. "I told it to somebody once and.. that story didn't end well." he shakes his head, banishing the topic.

"Tell us a story about the sea, though." he smiles, but the expression in strained and very forced. "Not many here have seen it as maybe you have.
The Dark Knight watches Zargabaath's gestures. How he moves, how he speaks. All of it being examined piece by piece. Bit by bit. His attention fully becoming focused on the Judge Magister before him and less now on those below. Including those leaving.

"You are welcome, Judge Magister Zargabaath. Yet I am sure you will scorn that thanks in time." Yet his attention is quickly drawn off as two armored knights come up the other side of the rocky terrain. There armor just as black and the polishing like that of a mirror finish. There eyes just as red as the very Dark Knight before the Judge. Yet they miss the dark mist that the Dark Knight projects from his.

As the Knights approach they suddenly come to a halt as the Dark Knight turns to face them. His red gaze meeting their own. It was a long stare, the Dark Knight almost narrowing his eyes as the dark mist only creeps out a bit further around his feet.

One of the Knights clasps his hand into a fist, before striking the fist against his armor plating and then bowing. "Sir. All is ready. Forgive us for the interruption." He stays bowed for a bit longer, before he rises back up, then the two stand there for a moment before they both look at Zargabaath.

The Dark Knight gives only a soft nod. "Understood. Return."

They both speak at the same time. "As you command." before they turn about face and start to make there way back down.

The Dark Knight then turns to look at Zargabaath once more. "You answered my question. I think I will return the favor. Ask one of your own."
Zargabaath As the trio of 12th Fleet soldiers help the Judge down the rocks, a few soldiers gather at the very edge of the supply point. Bound by their commander's order, they only stay put and watch intently. Others, however, shift a little closer to Riku and Zeke, curious as to the concept of airships in water--or so they would equate it. It is a welcome tension-breaker, and not all of them can assist with the situation.

Fortunately for all involved, Archadian and otherwise, none are able to see what happens on the ridge itself, as the Judge of Reason is blocking what little could otherwise be seen.

Judge Magister Zargabaath's helm turns slightly to level his hidden stare at two knights approaching. He is silent throughout the exchange, keeping his stance completely neutral, but analyzing everything. Or what little he is able to glean from it. It does, at least, confirm the Dark Knight's comment about 'we'.

Only when the two knights depart does the Judge of Reason refocus solely on the Dark Knight. He does not waste time, word, or breath--instead, he gets right to the point. "One as dark as you should have gold eyes. Yet you and those you command have red eyes. Why?"
Zeke Zeke could see the stress and pai netched into Riku's body. No matter how calm the face thre's always a little something and Zeke has seen enough people holding on for the sake of presentability to recognize at least that the emotional water was deep if not how deep or troubled. Still. He started launching into the story of when he ended up accidentilly catching a mermaid in a fishing net. Simple story. His ship was low on food and weeks from port so they had to fish for provisions. Well and good. Cast nets out. Sail a ways, pull up fish if the school you've been chasing doens't scatter.

Trouble is something else was in that school. Something that was part man. Part... Other. "Now then some say merfolk are merely animals that have been made to look just human enough to lure men in to devour." Zeke's tone was lecturing now. "Hogwash and to the bilge with that. They're people like any other merely adapted to their homes. Now then going with the stories that they be vengful and attack ships. That I can believe since after all ye end up having people, strangers that don't bother even pretendng you exist, hunting your homes clean, thrashing about and making all maneer of meyhem. In short being more like raiders than traders and allies."

Water sip. "I've had the pleasure of meeting one that's managed the trick of walking on land and so have learned that at least that one is curious of our owrld and customs an hope to take that home to clear misunderstandings." Nevermind he was talking about Ariel. He wouldn't name her as she had asked for his confidence on the matter.

Emotionally? The talk of sea and routine was actually calming. It was familiar to him after all so why not. Then... Mermaids. Something there. Curiosity. Hope. Joy.... Affection? Whoever this embassary was he had close ties to them, or at lest he wanted such ties.

"Things nobody believes possible. Nobody really seems to know how much we don't know really. S'why I love the sea. Family has been on the ocean since my grandfather's time. It is as familiar to us as surviving out here to you.." Then a small storm in his head, a knot of darkness and pain. "Then I found them in trouble.... " Joy. Hope Pride all shining bright, overwhelming and driving away the blackness. "But when i put out the call. I didn't go in alone. When we accidentilly woke a demon even those dangerous selfish pirates of the harbor we were at aided us in beating it back and save those that could ve saved. I know not what caused it to wake. I just know it woke. Tried taking me. Then got punched in the face by people that didn't want ot see me fall. I owe them."
Riku Riku starts to realize how close he is to the edge because he finds he's been edging slowly closer to Zeke while he talks without knowing he was doing it. The emotions are going off in his head like flashes of brilliant light in a darkened cave.

He looks down at his burnt hand and there is a grateful relief that flickers across his face because he.. wants.. but doesn't really need to have. It's an strange feeling, and teetering on that edge with darkness pounding like a headache from the region of the hillside makes everything dull and distorted and coming from far away.

And he follows the threads of the story down and down, and when the call went out, he didn't go in alone. Demons. Taking.

Demons always wanted to take things that weren't theirs to take. He tried to focus but he was slipping sideways and only holding onto the story to keep him stable. About place far away from here, and adventures out on a wide ocean.

Riku looks at Zeke, sight blearring back and forth between smears of light and color and he brings up a hand to cover his eyes, turning away from Zeke for a moment. He covers this up by also taking a seat nearby with an almost boneless weariness."Yeah." he laughs, and the sound is slightly crazed but also highly bemused. "..a friend taught me never to underestimate a good punch to the face. So.." he asks, his voice deceptively calm.

"What happened to the girl in the net?"
The armored knight cants his head at Zargabaath's question. It caused him a long moment of silence before the words he speaks are calm even as his stance remains so. No emotion being shown or even the slight bit of concern. It seem to the Dark Knight knew he was perhaps the big dog here in this standing with the Judge Magister.

"Our eyes are red because we were created with such. It is the mark of our creator." The Dark Knight says simply enough before he starts to turn away from Zargabaath. "Those of us who loose our color are lost and shortly destroyed."
Zargabaath The men who are listening to Zeke's story are enraptured by tales of mermaids and the imagery that Zeke invokes. One of the soliders walks over to Riku and rests a hand on the boy's shoulder--barely touching, but concerned and supportive all the same.

The soldiers reach the sand at the base of the rocky outcropping and begin the trek back to the Remorra. Meanwhile, above them, Judge Magister Zargabaath inclines his helm, though only slightly. "I see." And that is all he says in reply as the Dark Knight turns away. No farewell, no further questions, no indication of thought. He is the living wall between the Dark Knight and the Judge Magister's own men.

'Risk your life for them', indeed.
Zeke Zeke looked at Riku with moere than a bit of concern. "Oi... you alright man?" Then his entire focus shifted. Worry shot thorugh with more than a little panic. Heatstroke he knew but would it be diffrent here? Would the desert take more than the open ocean? "Medic!" Off one of his water skins went and he emptied it over the boy's head and shoulders. Then since he was apparently closest he tried to get Riku to take a sip from anothr waterskin. "Slow drinks lad. Slow drinks." And then he was pulling his coat off and folding it before attempting to get Rikku to lay back. He stood between the sun and the boy. "easy there. Easy it'll be alright." Soft words. Confident. Even his emotions wer calm, focused. Sure he didn't know the desert but he was with people that were and so he only had to worry for a short while.
Riku Riku nods sluggishly and spits out water, looking alarmed and then angry and then very chagrined. When he's sure that he isn't going to alarm anyone, he runs a hand through his hair and laughs tiredly. "Thanks, Zeke.." he makes a motorboat noise as he sighs, letting out a breath as the water does allow him a moments reprieve from the heat if nothing else.

He takes the water skin gratefully. Sips a little bit, tries not to literally sway in place and steadies himself with a hand. "I'm from an ocean world myself." he says softly.

"..I don't handle some things very well." he smiles with chagrin as he eventually hands the waterskin back.
The dark armored knight continues to turn away from Zargabaath. His steps precise, in proper step from one another as he walks. It was almost rhythmatic. His cape never even moving any as he walked. Never swaying. The stance almost perfect.

Yet as he gets a few feet away from the Judge Magister, the darkness around him starts to swarm him even more. The dark mist becoming as thick as ink black, before suddenly it dispersed in a burst of black smoke and the Dark Knight was gone.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath remains standing atop the ridge for a few minutes longer after the Dark Knight disappears in black smoke--in Darkness itself. Then, purposefully, he makes an abrupt about-face to regard the Remorra and the progress of the rescue team.


He lifts one arm and makes a series of arm-motions that are clearly signals, and the soldiers already standing by and waiting lunge forwards as one to assist the rescue team. Zargabaath himself then begins to make his way down the rocky outcropping, though a careful eye would note his movements are... jerky. Too controlled. His men don't see it, far too worried for their comrades and Riku alike.

A medic quickly runs over upon Zeke's call and starts checking on Riku whether or not the Judge Cadet wants to deal with it. Heat exhaustion bordering on a heat stroke is taken very seriously in a desert environment no matter what world you're from.
Zeke Zeke nodded slow but stayed between Riku and the harsh sun. "aye. Not that great with this much land around." There was an attempt at humor or at least a lightness to Zeke's words. "As for the girl," He picked up on the story he never finished. "nded up losing the catch, but between me and Jon she got freed and our nets ruined. Managed to pole fish enough t'make it back t'port with. Not sure if I'll see that one again. Hope she's figured to be a little more aware. Shame really. They live in the waters my craft and others run but there's been no organized attempts to talk. Find common ground. Mayhap open for trade and flow of material and information."

He looked over to the army at large and frowned before helping Riku up to a seating position so he could get his coat back. A quick shake late and he stood, watching.

Also it was readily apparent now he was wearing a bundle of guns tied to differing lines looped 'round his neck. Seven pistols and possibly more in addition to the two at his hip. Gee. He doens't believe in going in light doesn't he?

"Still. Even with misunderstandings and history betwix their culture and ours." Hope. Hope and light. "There is one that I hope to keep seeing. She's proven such a facinating person. Wonderful. Adventurous. Kind...." Sigh. "SHe's probably got someone back home an it be foolish of me t'act so but I canna no more help it than I can turn the tides."

He looked up and frowned. "Think the fun's not happening man. Best we get out of here an' save ourselfs risk of further sunstroke ya? Saw this nice little place in town with probably the best sandwiches for miles." Beat. Sudden realizatio nthsi was the ONLY large settlement for miles. "OK fine fine it's somewhere that looked good this morning and didn't have a bartender cawwing at anyone for ordering nonalchoholic."
Riku Riku eventually convinces the medic that he's fit enough to stand, even though he's still dripping from the well intentioned dousing. He smiles at Zeke. "Hold that thought." he murmurs something very quietly for awhile, not saying anything audible, and then starts to walk very calmly and precisely towards the Judge Magister.

He salutes, and then takes out his journal when he reaches the side of the Judge Magister. "Instructions, your honor?" he asks this as if he had been called over and was not actually concerned about the Magister at all. He stands straight in front of them, the jerkiness hidden as the Judge of Reason continues to advance. "Anything I need to write down?"

No. Nothing wrong here at all. Move along. Move along.
Zargabaath The further Judge Magister Zargabaath walks from the outcropping, the more natural his gait becomes even if it still seems forced. Riku's appearance helps mask it entirely, though the boy would probably notice a faint tremor in his gauntleted hands that not even he can hide.

He is definitely holding himself in check, though whether he is on the verge of lashing out or crumbling is not clear.

When he speaks, his voice is even but not quite that familiar calm, strangled emotion roiling just under the surface. "The behemoth is long gone, but we may still have a trail. One Judge recovered alive but heavily wounded. Second Judge confirmed... killed." He pauses at his swords, yanking them out of the sand in a spray of desert dust that indicates far more force than nessisary. "Judge Magister Gabranth..."

He sheathes the swords under his cape and kneels on one knee, reaching for the leather pouch but not quite picking it up yet. He just pauses there. "...Unconfirmed. Still missing."
Riku Riku closes his eyes as a spike of.. something molten hot or as fierce as a star lances through his head, lancing his shaky control. His fingers clench the surface of the journal but he takes his cues from the judge magister.

He keeps spine absolutely straight, eyes locked on the journal as he collaborates his notes and shares what he got from the search party. "Understood, your honor." he does not ask what is burning into his head very slowly like a brand.

He just swallows it, burning all the way down as he remains calm. He was probably going to pay for his enforced calm later... but that was later.

And he could push it off.. just until then.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath emits a long, slow exhale before picking up the pouch and tucking it back under his chestplate. "There is still hope." He slowly rises, his weight uneven for a moment before he fully straightens, and he rests a hand on Riku's shoulder. "There is always hope."

One of the soldiers sprints over to them from within the Remorra, holding a paper in his hands. "Your Honor! The behemoth!"

The Judge of Reason snaps out his free hand to take the paper from the soldier, scanning it quickly before he freezes. Slowly, the arm holding the paper lowers until it hangs limply at his side. "Clearly, Faram means to toy with me," he rumbles semi-ominously, oddly sounding like he's on the verge of laughing despite it.

This scene contained 37 poses. The players who were present were: Zeke, Riku, Zargabaath, Riku-Proxy, Leon