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Sweet Dreams are made of these
(2013-04-12 - 2013-04-14)
An unwanted visitor intrudes on one of Avira's strange dreams.
Avira It was the night after Avira had returned from her mysterious absence following their fight with the Dark Knight. She'd been quite secretive about her whereabouts at the time and only confided in her fellow VALKYRI later that she was visiting the man known as Ramza Beoulve. Wanted by the church, being seen or being known to visit the heretic could easily land a person in hot water. Her silence was to both of their benefit for Avira wished to remain neutral in the struggle between the youth and the church.

The day itself was filled with the usual training and mark hunting, Avira engaging in the hard work that pushed her small body to the limit each time. Only through repeated stress could she grow stronger-and it was working! Bit by bit each day, she became just slightly stronger or swifter. There was so much catching up to do.

But pushing herself this hard had its price. She crashed to sleep, hard, in her designated bed at the VALKYRI headquarters with barely enough strength to change into a nightshirt beforehand. Her mind sinks quickly, falling into the state where dreaming begins to occur.

The space is wrong, so very wrong. A distant land with red skies and blue stone that would have seemed almost familiar in a way before the land was simply WARPED and twisted in ways it should not exist. It was a writhing, seething hypercube, crafted of space magic of the highest of order.
Seith Seith has been... well... honestly, Seith has been bored. The Shard Seekers have hit a slump in activity, and he just can't get himself to give them something new to do. They have their guidance. If they fail to grow in power, then they will fail his ultimate test. It is that simple. But there are others have have since garnered his attention.

One such problem factor is Avira. And it is exactly her he visits that night. Not physically, but rather by weaving his magic and drawing out his consciousness and pulling it into her world of dreams. When he finally appears, he does so in a world he isn't entirely unprepared to handle. The world of dreams was strange. But, although this strange twisted high order world may not be something he's not a stranger to...

It wasn't something he expected from a girl like this. It makes the few hairs on his body stand on end. Why was there space-magic within the dreams of a simple girl like Avira?
Avira The entire construction heaves rhythmically in the center of what might feel like a familiar place to Seith. As he draws his consciousness nearer to the strange construction, he'll notice that the surfaces of the hypercube are absolutely covered in swarming Heartless. As he nears even closer, he'll discover that those Heartless are engaged in fighting roughly two-dozen or so individuals. Some he might even recognize-Yuffie. Tifa. Cloud.

On one side of the cube, he'll find a familiar face: Avira, the barer of the dream he's invaded. She seems dressed differently, wearing simple jeans and a t-shirt, but still wielding the Spine, fighting relentlessly despite the overwhelming odds.

There is someone else with her, fighting alongside the scarred woman. He's a tall man, brown-reddish hair, heavy set. His weapon of choice appears to be a gauntlet-enclosed fist and seemingly superior strength. Aside from augmentation with armoring, he too is dressed like someone from Manhattan.

With a huff, Avira kicks a soldier Heartless down to the ground before running it through with her serrated blade. "I have noticed, you know...that it's rather difficult to actually shout attacks while attacking. I used to try it but I kept running out of breath and getting tired."

Still the Heartless come. Neither of them seem to have noticed Seith's presence quite yet. Perhaps the girl was unknowing in the ways dreams work. It wouldn't be surprising, really, since her background was quite mundane.
Seith Strange. This girl most certainly must have a lot of imagination to imagine a fight on such a grand scale against so many heartless. The man continues forwards - ignoring the heartless that walk around, excerting his power on the realm around him to force them beings to be unable to find him. This is just a dream after all. The heartless here aren't real. Not these.

He doesn't recognize Cloud or Tifa or Yuffie - he only knows so many. The gauntlet wielding man also goes unrecognized for now, it would appear. "Shouting out an attack is something only the most powerful of beings do." Seith points out as he gets closer. "If you run out of breath ~ then you are not taking good enough care of your body, and have flimsy stamina." Seith observes, finally halting behind the group and waving one hand in order to change the dream and 'remove' the Heartless from existance.
Avira The other man with her lunges forward, grabbing a Shadow out of the air mid-lunge and whipping it aside, spiking the weak Heartless into a Soldier. "Really?" he says conversationally to Avira, following up with a driving gutpunch, then an elbow to the head. The Heartless falls, scattering into the darkness whence it came, even as three more take its place. "I just helps to show how-"

Seith interrupts, perhaps pre-emptively making a comment about the badassery of a warrior that can scream his attack names. The incredible stamina!

Seith will discover that the dream itself is actually quite resistant. As he places himself on the edge of the cube that the pair are upon, the Heartless teem around him, moving for the humans but ignoring him.

Gradually, the Heartless start to fade. Avira and the man with her notice this (and his interruption in their conversation).

Confusion falls upon Avira's face and she turns to face Seith. "What'd you do that? Who are you?"

The man puts himself in front of Avira, which earns an annoyed 'hey' from the much smaller woman.
Seith A resistant dream. It seems this girl has more strength than he'd expected at first. But still, the man succeeds in forcing the Heartless to disappear around them. Seith continues to take a few more steps forwards in his heavy armor, and raises a brow. "You do not know me still, Avira? I do know you ~ I was the one who lead to your capture. I was your ferry to the world of the dead." He waits for her to figure out his identity, while he turns his attention towards the man besides her.

"However, I do not know who 'that' is. Whom is that man that seeks to defend you so? Are you really so weak that you need someone defending you? Like how you could not save yourself from the underworld ~?" The man pauses, and then adds with a grin; "Although I guess the kiss must have made it all worth it." Ahh, the mocking. It has returned.
Avira If he looks up, Seith will see the sky shifting. More accurately, the hypercube is still moving. Distantly, the sounds of battle can be heard, others shouting and engaging what is presumed to be even more Heartless. But here, the surface is clear. Open.

Seith will start to feel a dull pressure, as if the dream knew something was amiss-off script even. "Avira...?"

"Avira?" the man repeats. "But she's not Avira, her name is-"

Painful, discordant noise suddenly sounds through the dream, as if the name about to be uttered was violently torn out of existance.

The short woman steps around the man, eyes narrowed and acting as if the noise hadn't happened. "This is my friend-" There's the noise again, ripping through reality and removing whatever would have been uttered next. "And I...underworld? Capture...? Wait, that's..."

Avira lifts a hand to rub at her head, "But, that was just a dream. You're that elf from that dream that wouldn't say his name! But how can you be here?!"
Seith Seith gives Avira the most pitiful look when the confusion becomes clear. A girl who won't admit her own 'Self'. Was this caused by the Mutate infect and the darkness that was artificially introduced into her heart? Had it split her heart, or otherwise warped her -- or had it been something that had happened upon the awakening of Manhattan?

"Pitiful child. That wasn't the dream. I would know, I know of your so called 'dream' after all. And yet here I am before you, chasing off those fake heartless you've made up." The man looks around, feeling the pressure and shifting. He expands his power over the realm by focussing more magic upon it, to hide this 'edge' of the dream from being noticed.

"What is this, are you hiding in some kind of fantasy land where you can be the hero, locked in combat? Where the man you chose was someone strong? Someone who could /truly/ protect you?" He knows nothing of Mercade at all. But he knows that this man is not him. "Where are your friends in all of this?"
Avira There seem to be few clues as to what was happening, aside from the dream being quite stubborn-quite set in its ways. It could be that the creative energy from this girl made this alternate world she visits while sleeping. Some kind of strange triumph of the mind perhaps?

What is clear is that Avira is quickly growing agitated by Seith's needling. "That's just what someone from a dream would say, wouldn't they?!" The sound begins to die away, hidden from Avira and erased, though judging by the way she looks around, she seems to have noticed that the sounds of the rest of the battle has disappeared.

Avira looks taken aback. "But this is...this /is/ the reality, you jerk! How dare you say that!" There's that noise again, where she seems to be calling out the name of the man with her, "-step aside, I'm going to remove this <GOOSEHONK> from our world!"

There's a spark of fury in those green eyes of hers. "I remember the torments you put me through and I'm not gonna let you repeat them."
Seith The man is getting a bit annoyed with this girl. This pitiful existance she'd made for herself. "Why would you create a dream of fighting? Surely you have better wishes than that? Or is all you wish for just to grow stronger?" The latter isn't something he minds. In fact, he promotes this. But this dream...

It's wrong.

"Then would a dream would be able to do this?!" He reaches out quickly, and uses his magic - rather than physical touch - to try and force a moment of pain on her. Not too much. He doesn't want her to awaken. But one might wonder - why is he trying to 'help' her? Or... can this really be called helping? To disrupt someone's dream like this.

Either way, he shows no fear of her blade nor threat.

"You have felt nothing like torment yet, girl!"
Avira "I wish for lots of things!" Avira retorts at the mysterious elf invading her dreams. "I wish to see my home safe! I wish to see and end to the Heartless once and for all! I wish to see humanity finally be regarded as <GOOSEHONK> worthy to the rest of the worlds!" She grinds her teeth, looking especially irritated by this thought for some reason, "And of course I want to grow <GOOSEHONK> stronger! I want to stand toe to toe with those who threaten us!"

She points the Spine at Seith, "You think we're gonna accomplish any of that without clawing and fighting every inch of the way?!"

She suddenly shakes, stumbling forward when Seith forces her to experience some very real pain. In the real world, Avira cringes in her bed and starts to sweat, but doesn't wake.

The dream Avira lunges at Seith from there and suddenly the world around them seems to scream in protest. This was wrong. This didn't happen.
Seith "Wishes aren't enough!" Seith answers the woman, letting her come at him with her blade and bringing his own to bare. This is her dreamworld, but he is still a Shadow Lord! And one with power over 'simple' dreams like this. The massive pole featuring its double-bladed scythe model fiercely intercepts her strike, causing the ground beneath the man gave way just minorly.

"That's right! You will fight and claw every inch of the way. That's the only way to grow strong. But if you would do away with me - with the things you want to fight - then that march will stop! You will no longer fight! Then what!" Ah, he's right back to monologueing, while holding his own against her blade, sparks flying between the two.

"Stop wishing, stop dreaming, and start DOING!" Seith shouts at her, before forcing his blade to come up, its blade threatening to carve up along the front of her clothing.
Avira The resultant blade-lock between the dream Avira and the Shadow Lord is fierce, the blue stone surface of the hypercube cratering beneath their feet. Sparks fly and Avira twists the spine sideways, capturing one of the blades of the scythe between the serrated spikes of the Spine. "I agree, wishes around enough. I am a woman of action!" she says, pressing against him before seeming to yield.

There's a flurry of movement off to his flank as suddenly the man charges in with his gauntleted fist pulled back. Magically, he'll feel the punch before the actual armored fist connects. The gauntlet is wrapped in gravity magic, which could possibly account for how easily he was flinging around Heartless earlier.

Just then, Seith brings the scythe upwards, ending their blade lock and forcing Avira backwards. There is a slight tearing noise and the top half of her t-shirt is torn open. Beneath that is bare skin and a faint red line where the edge of the scythe had scraped her. Fortunately for her, the damage was not low enough to really endanger her modesty.
Seith Gravity magic! There's that feeling of gravity magic pushing against further gravity magic, attempting to cancel eachother out, then warping around one-another into a mathematical mess! The gauntlet is both rejected and pulled in near the Shadow Lord, pushing against the man. And it's only when Avira's outfit is partially destroyed and her chest is marked by his blade that the gravity-punch finally breaks through and repells Seith, the man going flying for a few yards before he halts in mid-air, and then slowly puts himself down again.

There's a small mark against his armor. As much as he may have placed an extension of himself within her dream, and may have control over dreams, it is not absolute. Especially not against someone within their own domain. "So what is his name, Avira? I've heard you try to pronounce it a few times now, but never can I hear it. What is his history? Where did you two meet?" The man points at her.

"It is good that you are a woman of action and are willing to cast simple 'wishing' aside. But I still see you Dreaming!"
Avira Creaking noises fill the air as the gravity magic starts to split apart the integrity of the hypercube. The ground begins to shake and deep below them, the cracking of stone is heard. At one point there would have been yells of alarm and protest, but those portions of the dream have been willed away. There's nobody else here now-just those three.

Avira doesn't seem to notice the mark, perhaps too emboldened by the adrenaline of the fight-or at least the impression of adrenaline. The other man with her flies backwards as well as gravity magic meets gravity magic. He lands on his back and slides several feet along the ground.

"His name is-" The discordant noise sounds again, Avira mouthing some sort of short name. She doesn't seem to notice the strange noise, "And he's from my world! We met..."

The woman stalls suddenly, squinting. She remains poised, ready to attack or even defend if need be, though the expression upon her face is one of confusion. "I...I can't remember..." she says, confused as she looks past Seith at the man with gravity magic. Her eyes suddenly harden as she looks back at Seith. "So you're saying THIS is a dream?"
Seith "THIS is a dream." Seith speaks after her. "Where are all the people around you. Where are all the heartless?" The man sweeps his hand around like a proper monologueing villain, gazing around - following his own motion, until he looks back to Avira again and rests his hand at his side. "Though I must say, you have quite some imagination."

He begins to walk towards her again, placing the scythe to his back and letting its destructive magic disengage. The man also points at her for a short moment. "That would on your chest. Does it actually hurt?" He adds to this. "Are you bleeding?"
Avira "...there should be Heartless. Lots of them. And the other Refugees..." Avira says uneasily. As he walks to her, she starts to move, circling around him towards the man that was fighting with her, eager to help him back up. Strange how he was still there, even if Avira could barely remember him.

The woman looks down, peering through the tear descending from the collar of her grey t-shirt. With her free hand, she pushes the t-shirt aside to look at the wound beneath. "...there's a little bleeding but it doesn't hurt all that much." She looks back up at Seith, her eyes narrowed. "So if this is a dream, I could just wake up."
Seith Seit halts when he notices that she is on her way to help the other man up. "Why do you help that man, if you don't even know him? What is your connection to him?" He asks her. "Is he your dream man? A man that can protect you no matter what? Then why the dark magic?" He points at the gloves. "Gravity magic, that is. Or is he some kind of amalgamation of everything you want in a man? Is your 'real thing' not good enough?"

The man shakes his head a little. "Still, the case remains. Yes, this is a dream. If you really /wanted to/ wake up, you would wake up. That, or I could give you a good /shock/ to wake up."
Avira "I help him because he is my friend!" Avira snaps back at the elf before his second flurry of questions arrives. Her entire face reddens and she looks down to the man before kneeling next to him and helping him to his feet. "I know he's my friend. He's...stop talking about my...!"

Real thing? Which real thing-wait, she knew this. It was Mercade, right?

Suddenly, everything goes to hell. The hypercube implodes beneath their feet. The man in Avira's arms begins to fade away, a sad look on his face. One of the man's hands reaches up and grasps hers for a few seconds, squeezing it. He seems to be mouthing something before he disappears, but no sound comes out. Avira stares for a long moment.

Then brown eyes turn to view Seith, filled with confusion and sadness. "...I think I'm going to wake up now."
Seith Seith feels it before it even happens. That realization before the entire world almost literally 'crumbles' around them. He can see that sadness in her world, and for a moment... he almost feels pity for her. For it reminds him for the same look he gave his wife and daughter when he realized that the life he'd lived was... nothing but a lie.

For a moment, he reaches his gauntleted fingers out towards her, a sad expression showing on his face, before he turns his head away and walks away, disappearing from her dream.
Avira They make eye contact for a few seconds and Avira's confusion only deepens. Was that pity? Why would this Shadow Lord pity her?

One second longer and he would have felt that the dream was no longer in there to exit.

In the real world, Avira sits up suddenly in her bed, body covered in sweat. She looks around, realizing where she is and that Seith had been right. It was just a dream.

...she still peeks down her nightshirt, checking the spot where he marked her.

This scene contained 21 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Seith