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A Judge of Sandwiches
(2013-04-06 - 2013-04-07)
Riku stops in at Cloud Nine to enlist the help of Mercade and the TDA to track down a mysterious being and a Behemoth...
Mercade Alexander WELCOME TO HAM.

I mean, Cloud Nine. Mercade is having ham. Easter wasn't that long ago, after all, and the Detective was in the mood for a couple slices in a sandwich, stacked tall with hot mustard, lettuce, and onion. Delicious. Serve with a side of potato salad and your choice of drink.

There has been a lot going on lately. Mercade himself has been doing a lot of research and legwork for various things. It keeps him busy even if the overwhelming needs of restoring a world were no longer there. Avira was out doing Avira things, and the TDA was mostly in general maintenance mode at the moment. Nothing exceptional was going on. And so he is here with a late lunch.

Or maybe an early dinner. Whatever. He looks over the sandwich, preparing to dine upon deliciousness. Nothing can interrupt this wonderous platter of porcine pleasure! NOTHING, YUU HEAR ME?

Emo ham interrupts everything.

Riku moves into cloud nine with a sort of dogged persistance, his adventuring attire sand scoured and gritty. Although he was smiling as he looked around the interior of Cloud nine, his face had the haggard look of way too much brooding and too little honest sleep.

That's the thing about emo ham. They never get any sleep. Possibly not in the contract. Regardless, Riku looks rather awkward as he spots Mercade as though sort of chagrined to be in this position again. So, of course Emo Ham just barrels through things like he always does.

He takes a seat and orders a soda (see aforementioned choice of drink) while he takes a moment to rest. It looks like he needed it.

Just as when Mercade is about to bite into the sandwich, he gets a feeling. That FEELING you get when something you need to pay attention to is going on. He has a brief mental debate on whether to ignore it in favor of the sandwich before him, because damn that thing looks good...

But with a mostly internal sigh, Mercade puts down the goodness and turns to look to see what the source of that feeling is. And today's winner is... RIKU.

"Well then." Mercade says, smiling. "Good to see you, Riku!" A moment later, he pauses, and he frowns. "Huh, you look like you've been doing some rough work lately. You going to be okay?"
Riku Riku is in fact the lucky winner of today's sweepstakes.

The prize? Insomnia. Angst. Film at 11. The teenager smiles wearily back to Mercade. "You too, Mercade. It's good to see that everything is pretty quiet here." he takes a sip of the soda and doesn't answer the question for a bit. "I'm.. eventually going to be alright, I think. Just not right now." he snorts.

"I sort of need the help of a detective, but it's not something that can't wait until after lunch. I think.. I'll eat something myself." Riku rubs one temple, trying to remember when he had eaten last and decides that if he has to make that sort of calculation it is time to eat.

So he orders something with grilled cheese in the title and takes another drink of his soda.
Mercade Alexander Perhaps some kind of... GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE?

Mercade squints. "Did you just say that because I'd pester you until you admitted it anyway?" He asks. Nevertheless, he moves over to sit across from Riku. "So you need my help? I'll be happy to give it, of course. You look like hell." He pauses, and then adds, "Again."
Riku "Yeah. Let's go with that." Riku takes another drink of soda and stays very quiet for a few moments as if gathering his thoughts. "I don't know if Will's told you yet, but I've.." he tries to word this properly. "..been taken in by the Archadians. I've even joined their military by special dispension from their emperor." he chuckles.

"Remind me to tell you to story about that. I got into Archades by almost getting my ass kicked by one of their elite judges."
Mercade Alexander "Hah." Mercade grins at the response. He's not sure if Riku is just messing with him or not, but he'll take it. "You're working with the Archadians?" He pauses. "I didn't think they'd be your style... But sure, whatever works... And that must have been a hell of a tale." Mercade says.
Riku "Yeah. It is. " Riku snorts faintly and gets the sandwich in front of him. " The man whom I fought in front of the emperor for permission to be a judge cadet is also my mentor, along with another Judge Magister. " he rubs his eyes for a moment, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he comes to the harder part of this conversation.

"The reason I came to you is because while the empire is very efficient at some things... it's also a huge city, in the middle of a gigantic desert. Things get lost. People even get lost sometimes. But they can't officially bring in outside help without causing.. problems. But I already come from outside, so that's not as big of a problem for me." Riku smiles thinly. "Especially if nobody knows about it right now."
Mercade Alexander "Well, I suppose that's one way to get hired." Mercade replies to Riku. "That must have been a really impressive fight to get the Emperor's attention like that." Mercade arches an eyebrow at the rest. "So this is off the record, huh?" Mercade thinks, rubbing his chin. "Well, I'll help of course. How can we not? People need it. Can you tell me what's going on, or is that going to have to wait?" He seems a little... dubious about the situation though.
Riku Riku nods. "I didn't actually know it was a fight until I got presented." he chuckles. "I don't think they told my mentor Gabranth either. So.. yeah, it was sort of a big surprise to everybody." he slaps a hand over a semi closed fist, rubbing at a burn scar that has consumed half of his palm that he doesn't seem to realize he's rubbing at.

"A few days ago, Judge Magister Gabranth, went on a training exercise outside the city. " Riku gets out the black journal that he used to carry around everywhere, flipping around the pages. "And somebody kidnapped him, and unleashed monsters on the training group to throw everything into chaos."

He shows Mercade a sketch of a behemoth, the bestial predator with horns and scales which was large and imposing. "Behemoths are.. really really big game. Only large adventurer groups go after them and they aren't native to the territory. So.." Riku frowns slightly.

"I'm thinking somebody planted them there. And I think I know also who." He flips a page. There is a sketch of a man clad from head to foot in black armor with a cape behind them. The eyes are the only colored part of the sketch, and are a bright and piercing red.
Mercade Alexander Don't think Mercade doesn't see you doing that, Riku. "I'll have to keep that in mind. Archades seems to be... full of surprises." It's no Baron, but... "Sometimes I feel like we're getting up to our eyeballs in Judges." He grimaces. "Some of them are more trouble than they're worth... And you say someone kidnapped one?"

Mercade leans back in his chair. making an aaaaaah noise. "I get it." They can't let the Judges look weak... He looks at the sketch, pursing his lips. "How the hell did someone capture and move something like this? This doesn't make any sense whatsoever... And you mention they're not even native to the area." He shakes his head. "Whoever pulled /that/ off is pretty saucy."

Mercade looks closely at the man in the armor. He squints closely at it, committing it to memory. "That's a hell of a look. He's rocking the Dark Knight look pretty hard." He looks back to Riku. "So, got any leads?"
Riku Riku nods sluggishly and puts a hand to his face to forcibly stifle a yawn. He takes a moment to indulge in sandwich before continuing. "Well, since I'm going to be one, there's going to be more." he snorts, and continues. "In the fight.. several judges were wounded or killed." he gestures at the book. "This guy conviently.. /found/ one of the them. Just being in the area." the scorn in the teenager's voice is evident.

"Looking at them is.. it's like looking into a hole. There's.. no light in them that I can even see. And I've seen that only once before." Riku rubs his hand again and then realizes he is doing it so wraps that hand around his soda. "The behemoth's trail dragged off to the western desert where it just.. stops." he takes out the Desert Eye Missive.

There are rough sketch of several adventurers but no precise names. "..apparently, some adventurers got ahold of it and teleported it somewhere. Probably to keep it from wandering into a town and rampaging."

Riku lets out a short, barking laugh. "..and then the trail goes cold. No knight. No demands. No adventurers. No behemoth." he lets out an explosive sound of exasperation as if he'd been holding it in the whole conversation.
Mercade Alexander Sandwich. Riku's sandwiching reminds Mercade of his own. He looks down at his and thinks for a moment, before he waits and looks back at Riku. He'll eat it in a minute. NOW IS DETECTIVE TIME. "Yeah, I think you believe that just as much as I do." Mercade says, folding his arms. "There's convenience and then /convenience/."

His expression goes dark at Riku's description. "That's... Can we possibly be dealing with something like that? Beings like that just don't.... happen, right?" Something seems to crawl up the back of his spine and settle at the base of his neck. He has a Bad Feeling about this. "... I'm glad the Behemoth was pulled out of there before it could crush innocent people, but..."

He taps the side of his head. "Hmm. So we need to find the Behemoth. If we find the Behemoth, maybe we can get a lead. It had to contain and control it somehow. We need to know more about this guy, and with that, we can follow it back to whereever he might be keeping the Judge."
Riku Riku rubs the back of his neck. "Yeah. Things like that don't just happen. /People/ .. or.. whatever they are don't just show up out of nowhere." he slides over the crumpled missive to Mercade.

"Anyways. If you could find the behemoth, or even, get a lead on these adventurers who came through the Dalmascan Sands area just in the last few days, I'd.. I'd be grateful." he leans an elbow against the counter, resting two knuckles on one temple as he rests his head on his hand.

"So.. other than that catastrophe, how WAS the rest of the show, Mr. Alexander?"
Mercade Alexander Mercade picks up the missive and looks it over before putting it in his coat. "I'll do what I can to help." Mercade looks up, nodding. "I think we might be able to make it work out." He rubs his chin, though, and looks slightly confused at Riku. "The show?" He asks.
Riku Riku chuckles faintly. "..It's funny to be on this side of the fence this time." he gestures around at cloud nine.

"I listened to someone drop a large chunk of information on you from a great height some days ago. I thought I might break it up by allowing you the same courtesy." he snorts.

"I talk too much anyways. What has been going on? How is business?"

He looks very awkward, but also somewhat earnest.
Mercade Alexander "Exposition is a large and painful thing at times." Mercade replies dryly. "Sometimes it's like a flower pot, other times it's a piano." Mercade waves a hand dismissively. "Man, compared to how much you usually talk about things, this is a huge speech." He laughs. "I worry about you, man. I mean, not that you can't handle yourself, but it's been a while."

He pauses, quenching his CONVERSATION THIRST with a drink. "Business is complicated. Fame seems to have its drawbacks, since people keep bringing some really messy situations to our attention and expect us to be able to unravel them."
Riku Riku smiles sheepishly. "Yeah.. thank you, Mercade. I.. I think I'm going to be alright." he takes a moment to take part in the rest of his soda and gently grip the glass, turning it around and around by one edge.

"What have you been working on, if I may ask?" he snorts. "You going to eat your sandwich? Because I can always graciously take it off your hands if not. Travel rations are not particually fun at the best of times."
Mercade Alexander "This sandwich is going nowhere. It is a delicious ham sandwich and it is going to be resting comfortably in my stomach in a bit." Mercade says... And then he tilts his head slightly. "Unless you actually need it. Then I guess I can part with it." He shrugs. "But I'm glad you're going to be okay. IF you ever need help..." He pauses. "BEsides the obvious, of course, just give us a call."

Upon the ask of working, Mercade gestures. "There's this kid who wants me to go find some entities with special powers called Apostles. And then there's another guy who is telling me a major religion is corrupt and infested with evil. The usual, really."
Riku Riku snorts. "Right." he chuckles. "The usual." he takes in a deep breath and lets it out shakily. He slowly pushes himself up to his feet.

"Well..It's likewise. If you need any help, I'm going to leave my linkshell frequency here so you can reach me." he snorts. "Hopefully though, we can meet in times and places where the world somewhere isn't ending."
Mercade Alexander "Pfft. Ever since our world got connected, it's been one thing after another. I don't think we're going to be allowed to relax, man." Mercade waves a hand. :I mean seriously, would it kill them to let us go to the beach for a while or something?"
Riku "It would be full of eels." Riku says flatly, rolling his eyes. He pauses for a moment, and then nods to himself. "I'm.. going to keep looking. Or sleep. Or.. something. Thank you for hearing me out." he waves to Mercade and makes his way towards the door.
Mercade Alexander Mercade Alexander says, "Good luck, okay? Don't be a stranger. SOMEONE has to keep Will in line." Mercade grins. "See you!""

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Mercade Alexander