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A Nice Quiet Moment
(2013-04-19 - 2013-04-24)
Just a quiet evening of tense planning. For once?
Avira Twilight Town, where the sun never rises. .

The VALKYRI Headquarters has been a bit on the empty side this past week, with many of the members out and about, mostly thanks to a worrisome posting by Avira earlier in the week. Fallout. A warning. Impending hell upon Traverse Town!

Naturally, Avira would not take this crap lying down. She's been out and about placing subtle warnings about the pain to come and quietly suggesting that the more vulnerable townsfolk take a vacation to elsewhere in the worlds for now. These suggestions had been placed through intermediaries. People that were sympathetic to the group of mark hunters and mages.

A full day of quietly spreading the word and her usual training past, Avira is once again back within the VALKYRI headquarters. Though exhausted, she has kept herself busy with not only a few books strewn out on the large table in the guild hall, but with making some dinner as well.

At least one of the books upon the table is a cookbook. Earlier Avira had procured a large yellow squash of some kind which she has, honestly, never cooked before. The simplest method seemed to involve roasting the fruit in oil in the oven and seasoning it afterwards.

The cooking squash has given the building a nice nutty aroma. Upon the stovetop itself, Avira carefully works to sear a New York strip steak.
Maira As always, Maira is drawn by the smell of cooking food. This never fails really, if she is within smelling distance of deliciousness. Maira has also been busy trying to prepare Traverse Town for the impending attack, though not all of her approaches have yielded results.

Maira enters the kitchen. "Ooooh...that smells so good! Do you need any help?" she asks, walking over to either assist or get in the way. More likely get in the way.

She's dressed casually in pajama pants and a tank top, pretty much a standard uniform for a girl who plans to stay in with her bff and watch movies and pain each other's nails.
Leida Despite her general unease with venturing into heavily populated areas, Leida finds herself restless today. Her search for a place to live in Manhattan has gone poorly, mostly due to her rather unusual appearance which has made her even more shy than normal. Legion's suggestion that she claim her horns to be a cosplay costume have done well thus far to soothe over any strange looks, though they are almost immediately replaced with new strange looks. All in all, her efforts have been futile so far and she has been forced to continue making her home in the desert for the time being.

The scorching heat is something that she cannot abide for very long and the brightness doesn't sit well with her ever growing shadowy nature either. Traverse Town had been her escape from that for quite a while but the arrival of Sargon and his Black Guard made those trips more and more of a hassle for someone like her.

That is until she stumbled across a rather curious creature that almost made her do a double take. Travelling back from the big city one day, she encountered for the very first time, a gria. Imagine her suprise upon finding another diminuative girl with large horns just like herself. Practically tackling the woman in her desire to find out more about her, the two spent some time discussing the grias and their dragon lineage.

Eventually, it dawned on Leida that she has found the perfect cover for her oddly demonic features. Eager to test this theory out, the princess was ecstatic to find out that it was indeed a good enough explanation for the guards who allowed her into town without a fuss. Leida spent much of the day wandering about, visiting the shops and generally mingling without feeling like she needed to hide for the first time in a while. The fact that she probably was overblowing the entire thing to begin with never manages to dawn on her during this time.

With the day winding down and her youthful energy beginning to fail, Leida turns towards the one place that people she is acquainted with live in this town. While it is fairly rude of her to show up unannounced, she doesn't really have much options available to her at this time as the last train for the night has already left. Therefore a sharp but curt knock is given to the Valkyrie's door and she takes a step back, hands folded demurely infront of her waist as she waits for a response.
Avira "Actually yes-" Avira holds up a pair of tongs, which she was using to flip the steak in the pan. She gestures with the instrument, waving over to a table upon which greens are piled. "You can get the salads ready. Just wash the greens and toss 'em together with some carrots." she instructs, putting a finger in her mouth to suck off a tiny bit of fat splatter that had made it there during the searing.

Likewise, Avira remains dressed casually, though largely in the jeans and a t-shirt look, resembling someone from Manhattan now in this manner of dress as opposed to her usual adventuring gear. The Spine has been set aside, though not so far aside that she wouldn't have to jump up and grab it-they HAVE had some unwanted intruders as of late.

There is a polite-sounding knock upon the door, making Avira look up from the steak. "Hm, I-actually, Maira, can you get that? I should watch this." She looks back down at the dinner in progress. "Maybe it's Percival. Did he ask you about joining? Or did you just come to that conclusion too?"
Maira Maira nods, but before she can wash the greens or do anything with carrots, there is a knock at the door. "Sure! It's probably not Perci, he's in Fluorgis I think. Oh, I asked him. He hangs around so much I figured why not!" she replies, moving over to open the door, a big welcoming smile on her face.

"Oh! Leida! Hello, come on in," she says, motioning the girl in without a second thought, even after a somewhat disturbing stand-off over the Darkn Knight. Eeeh.
Leida Leida offers a smile in return though hers is more reserved and prim, her manners honed into a deadly edge through years of living at feudal court. She gives Maira a deep bow upon being invited inside and slips her shoes off once past the front door, setting them beside the wall since this home is not designed with a receptacle for such things.

"Good evening, Maira-san." She gives a quick bow to Avira as well, spotting her in the distance. "And Avira-san. Forgive my rudeness for imposing upon your hospitality unannounced but I was in the area and I happened to miss the last trip back to Fluorgis." She bows again. "If it will not trouble you too much, I was hoping I might stay here for the evening."

A project is completed. A sense of closure and satisfaction settles over him. Drowsiness...

He slumps over at the project table. There's a glimmer, and a familiar sensation. Despite the danger, he smiles, very slightly, and looks up as if for a god above. The long sleep overtakes him.


Everything starts with a touch. He feels it; he sees them. He knows he's asleep, but he can sense it all the same. Darkness gathering, approaching. The specimens and their familiar emptiness stirring...

And then he was him again. The taste of the dry air was unfamiliar; the young woman in front of him even moreso, with her outlandish garb and her interestingly armed companion. Something was wrong. He exchanged a few words, tried to get his bearings. It worked, but only briefly. Everything disappeared.

Sand everywhere. He rose from the dunes, took back what was his, and saw it. Visions of something new, a new purpose, one totally unlike the ones of old. Blindly, he started walking, reaching out for something that was not there. When he realized what he was doing, he was hours and miles away.


A second figure steps into sight behind Leida as she steps in the door. Either he was terribly quiet, or he wasn't there a moment ago. He's tall and starkly thin, with an old, dark green coat with long tails, black trousers, and what looks like a bright white-and-red hand-and-a-half sword resting vertically over his right shoulder. His hair is a mess, and he wears what looks like a crude patch over his right eye. He's smiling a small smile. It doesn't reach his eye.

"Good evening," he says, looking at Maira. He's shadowed in the doorway, but she can tell he's giving her his full attention. It's almost unnerving. People don't usually focus like that. "Is there an... 'Avira' in residence?" He speaks the name like a stranger. "I'm told she can be found here, and I would be terribly distraught if my search was fruitless."
Avira Pausing, Avira looks over her shoulder to spy who has been knocking at their door tonight. Maira's greeting says it all and Avira lets out a small surprised noise. This would be the second time that girl has showed up at their base recently-it made her wonder if Leida had bonded with somebody in her group. As Maira had also remembered, she did see Leida there when the Dark Knight showed up and made a mess.

"Hello there Leida. Ah, there were a few people I had missed back then during that visit. Busy..." she trails off and turns to face the young princess. "No, no trouble at all. We've got plenty of open beds here. Are you hungry? I might have to grab another steak at this rate."

Avira pauses suddenly, looking beyond Leida as a second person follows Leida like a shadow. He's much taller and the sight of him draws a slow step forward from the huntress, right in the direction where she's put her weapon. It takes her a moment, but she recognizes the man whom she had initially met as a crystal statue.

"...that would be me." She offers warily before turning away to shut off the range top. "Pardon me, I don't want to overcook this." Avira fetches a plate and dumps the steak upon it, letting the drippings from the pan spread out onto the plate.
Maira "Oh, of course Leida. Come inside. We're making dinner," she says, flashing her a kind smile. Could the two be more of opposites? Maira couldn't hide her feelings about anything. She is so open--heart on her sleeve.

She'd shuffle Leida inside, only to find there was another not far behind her, unfamiliar and slightly unnerving by the intense focus of his gaze. "Oh, good, there is," she replies. Avira has some friends she doesn't know yet, certainly?

As Avira soon greets him herself, Maira would stand aside from the door. "Please come in then," she tells him, wondering just what is going on now. VALKYRI HQ is becoming quite the hot spot as of late, though she doubts anything will top the Dark Knight breaking in to make /tea/.

The young mage goes back to what she was doing then, preparing the salad. She washes the greens then cuts up some carrot, then tosses it all in a bowl with a pair of salad tongs. "Hmm...dressing, where's the dressing..."
Leida The arrival of the man behind her nearly makes Leida jump out of her skin. Her connection with the shadows has been growing closer by the day and their soft whispers acted like a net of extra-sensory perception, carrying tiny bits of information back to her at all times. That this man had managed to evade the detection skills she has come to rely upon is unnerving.

The princess steps to the side, doing her best to look shy and timid as she always does around strangers. She offers Alberic a curt bow in her usual fashion but beyond that she clams up, allowing his business with Avira to be settled.
Alberic Lux The man's smile widens slightly. He nods a little at Maira, and then turns his gaze instead to Avira. He steps in the door, brushing his hand idly across his shoulder like he was ridding himself of bits of dust. Flecks of sand actually do fall off, but only a few grains.

"Ah! Good." He smiles at Maira, and then turns his one-eyed gaze to Avira in the background. He tilts his head slightly, and nods. "I would hope it was. I described you quite thoroughly -- there was certainly ample time to get a close look." He quirks a brow, then waves a hand vaguely. "Please. I understand. I apologize for interrupting a home-prepared meal; they are so hard to come by in this modern day," he says with a small sigh.

The stranger turns to Leida. He double-takes at her, but doesn't appear to linger on her strange appearance; he looks her in the eye, his expression turning serious. He sighs gravely, the look on his face turning to a pitying one. "Oh, you poor thing. That must be terrible." He shakes out his left hand, slowly reaching out for her. Flickers of white light play between his fingertips, a tiny ball of intense whiteness hovering above his palm.

"Please. Allow me." He lifts his hand. Maira at least will immediately recognize it as holy-aspected magic, not a curative spell. That may not be the type of cleasing power /anyone/ wants to get exposed to.
Maira Dressing found, Maira brings it toward the table.

This is the point where the mundane pleasantries end.

Maira gasps as she feels the magic the stranger summons filling the room. The tone of his voice brings her a shiver. That was HOLY! Without thinking, she moves quickly forward to place herself between Leida and the stranger. "That's /Holy/!" she says, hoping maybe, just maybe, he didn't know what he was doing!?
Avira They had time yet. Maybe one day they'll get an even more unusual intruder in their Guild hall. A dark knight breaking in to make tea will definitely top the list for a long time though.

"Hmm, I better cook another steak." Avira mutters, turning to the small half-sized refrigerator their kitchen sports. This particular space isn't exactly well-stocked since the Guild hall was never meant to be a place that they lived in constantly-just spent nights in when they weren't on the road.

"Who /are/ you anyway?" Avira asks of Alberic. "You never offered your name previously. Leida, could you do us a favor and pile the books on the table together?"

The number of books arrayed on the table is pretty broad in subject. The Art of War being one of them. There's also a book on interpreting dreams and another one on magical theory. The magical theory tome appears to be from Ivalice.

Maira exclaims that a holy is on the way and Avira looks up suddenly, a raw steak in her hands and concern on her face. "Uhhh-wait, what? Maira? What's going on?"
Leida "Eh...?" Leida looks genuinely confused by the man's words. Naturally, she assumes that he is referring to her demonic appearance but this would be the first time she's heard someone refer to them out of pity instead of disgust or fear. She blushes in a mixture of embarrassment and disdain at his brazen lack of tact upon pointing such a thing out, opening her mouth to give a sharp retort.

However, the words never leave her mouth, interrupted by Maira's swift intervention between the man's hand and herself. Which is probably a very good thing for her health. Even as the fire mage points out that the glowing orb is no healing spell the pale white light emenating from it washes over her body and the princess clutches her arms about herself with an ear-piercing shriek.

The edges of her body begin to hiss and steam, tendrils of black smoke drifting upwards and bringing with them the foul scent of ash. Most telling of all, the shadow that Leida casts upon the floor begins to writhe and twist entirely on its own in silent agony, as if attepting pull itself free from the girl in order to escape the holy light.

Leida takes several steps back, clutching herself tightly, and glares with pure hatred up at Alberic. "Y-you...! What do you think you are doing?!"
Emi Dennou "Ah, sir." A voice from behind Alberic says. "May I step inside, The Network requests permission to enter."

Imi has brought herself to the entrance of VALKYRI HQ but doesn't seem to have good line of sight on what is going on with Leida, she's all smiles--in fact. She has a shopping bag across one arm and a flower in her hair--she must have been running errands! The bag appears to have various seed packets inside and doesn't appear to be especially heavy.
Alberic Lux Oh Maira, you're so hopelessly optimistic.

And directly in his path. His hand halts when Maira dives in the path, and he recoils as if struck, eye widening momentarily when she interposes herself between the two of them. He looks suddenly torn, eye locked on Maira instead of Leida, hand upraised as if pointing a dangerous weapon away from an innocent instead of intending to go through them. He squeezes his eye shut and shakes his head.

But it's working. Without even touching her, it's /working/. He can see her vile shadow try and flee, and can smell the acrid scent rising from her. The girl between them, though, is inconvenient, but -- "No no," he murmurs under his breath, apparently speaking to himself. "No, I mustn't, I can't, but /why/ can't -- gh!"

He closes his hand. The light vanishes in an instant. He untenses, slumping as if fatigued from an internal struggle.

Then, he draws himself back up, opening his eye. "My name is Alberic Lux. You may call me Alberic, Lux, or Doctor, to your preference. I am attempting to complete my new Focus, given to me by my masters, as is the way of these things. I apologize to have brought my work into your home," he says, bowing his head briefly to Maira and then Avira, "but my nature demands it."

Alberic steps aside almost unconsciously. He sticks out a hand and pushes the door the rest of the way open, holding it for Imi. He's looking back at Leida, apparently unconcerned by her hate and pain.
Maira He knew what he was doing.

He was simply /insane/. Maira is not the type to give that label easily, but she's very seriously thinking it. Sure, Leida looks like a demon...she has a good deal of darkness but she wasn't hurting anyone (that Maira knew of) and her instinct was to protect a guest in the place she called home.

Maira looks up at Alberic, frowning stubbornly. "I don't know anything about your...focus, but Leida is our guest," she informs him.

Maira looks to the door again, blinking. Another visitor? Boy, they were popular suddenly. "Oh, hello Imi..."

Then Maira looks to Leida, concerned. "Are you okay Leida...?"
Avira It was...frustrating to say the least to be so unaware of the magic around her. For someone as mundane as she was, learning it to begin with was difficult enough. Still the 'senses' mages had seemed to elude her and she was unable to detect anything but the extremely large amounts of darkness and light. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise where the likes of, say, Garland was concerned. But now...

She never really realized the darker nature of Leida so to see her react like this to a holy spell seems to give her the clue she needed. "You're hurting her..." Avira concludes in wonder as she stares at the dancing shadows of Leida. "Stop that."

Alberic finally introduces himself in a strangely casual manner despite nearly slaying Leida seconds before. "Lux it is." Avira says dryly, preferring the shorter name. "Your focus? Which 'masters' would these be?" More wariness. Not that it's surprising, for anyone who would claim a master usually hasn't the best of attentions, at least to Avira's experience. Case in point...Angantyr.

Imi arrives, breaking up the moment's tenseness. "...I'm definitely going to need a second steak." she says, putting the raw meat on the recently-vacated pan. With a quick twist of the knob, the gas fire of the stove is once again on.
Leida Leida continues to shiver and smoulder as if merely being touched by the outer glow of the holy magic was enough to physically wound her. Putting distance between herself and Alberic seems to have significantly reduced the effects but the damage was already done and it felt like her entire body had been set on fire in that one moment.

The girl's demonic eyes lock with his and she clenches her jaw in a fierce scowl, unable to think of the words to voice her hatred for his presence at this moment. "I... I am fine," she lies to Maira. Best not to show weakness though the time for that has probably already passed thanks to the surprising nature of the sudden attack. She had no time to raise any defenses and the injury he has caused her will be felt for some time.

When Alberic steps aside to admit yet another visitor her eyes widen, however, and the edge of hard anger in her voice softens immediately. "I-Imi-chan...? What are you doing here...? Nngh!" Leida doubles over as another wave of intense pain hits her. Even the air touching her body seems to be unpleasant at the moment. Apparently becoming closer to the darkness has its weakpoints.
Emi Dennou "Thank you." Imi slides inside, pausing to sniff the air and then--look towards Leida with a fair air of concern which rapidly becomes considerable concern once she realizes she's in pain. She jogs on over to her and attempts to wrap an arm around her shoulders. "Oh you don't seem fine." She frets. "I had no idea you were coming here, Leida-Chan! Do you ned to lie down?" Her eyebrows furrow. "It'll be okay... just take deep breaths, mm?"

Pat pat, pap pap, shoosh shoosh. She looks on over to Alberic. "Ahhh--you're not here for her, are you?" Worry worry!
Alberic Lux Insane is a good word. Insane is an excellent word. The kind of person who can focus on you wholly and then begin to burn someone a heartbeat later, and before you can blink, switch focus to holding a door open is in fact the kind of person that would deserve the appellation. He doesn't see anything wrong with it, either. But he /did/ stop, though... why?

Alberic closes the door behind Imi, because he was not raised in a barn. He steps away from it and casually sort of saunters into the main hall, looking around. His hands hang loosely at his side. That weapon Avira saw the other day, currently hanging over his right shoulder and now actually visible to the people he walked past, does not appear to be held there by anything. "Yes, my Focus." There is a capital letter there. He manages to put it into his speech. It's weird. "Oh, why, the fal'Cie, of course. They branded me many, many years ago, and, well, while some might call it being pressed into slavery, I prefer to think of it as a job with some very specific benefits."

Lux walks over to the stove and Avira's steak. He leans over, sniffing the contents and smiling. "Excellently done," he adds. He turns around, focusing his eye back on Imi and Leida. "For her? Oh, well, not specifically -- specifically, I am here for the girl who touched me inappropriately," he says, jerking his head at Avira, "but this has been a sort of side benefit. Of course, I can't imagine why you're protecting /her/." He turns his cold eye on Leida again, his face twisting into an expression of quiet amusement. "Her sins are greater than any I've encountered in years. You clearly choose the poor option when faced with politically-dictated love and familial obligation, Leida," he chides. "All that murder, mm, that can't be weighing well on your newfound conscience, either."

He tilts his head, almost birdlike. He's still smiling. "My Focus, I believe, is to purge the darkness from the hearts of man. Through this, I will save humanity, and ensure that hope and love and life may continue on. Your heart is heavy with it, little girl."
Maira Life is just getting way too insane as of late.

Maira sits down. Maira eats her dinner. She could be surrounded by maniacs, but she is going to eat her dinner.

What Lux says about Leida, she processes and files away. She's not just going to believe him, some stranger (a stranger with Holy...) couldn't just waltz in and turn her against a...friend? Still, she watches Leida for a response, chewing.

"Delicious," she informs Avira.

Then, she coughs. "W-what? Inappropriate!?"
Avira Though she does seem to haver plenty of words for Lux, Avira's attention remans upon Leida. For one, she didn't know if whatever had been done was fatal. It could be on a time delay! For another, she really was concerned for the guest she actually knew a great deal more than the other. Stepping away from the stove, she makes a point of walking between the two before returning to her post.

Though after listening to Lux talk further, she's not sure if she should be getting any closer to him. Especially since this man has with him the magical sworrd she saw a few other days. "Fal'Cia..." Avira murmurs, keeping her opinions on this new focus business to herself. Instead, she will watch as Lux nears her and her dinner in progress. Attention back on her meal, she grabs a fork and opens the oven to the squash, testing it by prodding the skin with the tines. The tines sink in easily and Avira shuts off the heat to the oven.

"Touched inappropriately? All I did was touch you face...and honestly, I thought you were crystal." Avira blurts out, flustered by the man's choice of wording. But for Leida, she couldn't explain it. She heard that Reize had banished the demons from her. Hah, maybe not as much as he had thought?
Leida Leida winces as the other girl's arm encircles her shoulders but fights down the urge to scream, not wanting to hurt Imi's feelings. "I... I will be alright... Imi-chan," she manages, hoping that her statement is true. She accepts the offer of being helped to lie down, though it looks more like the princess simply collapses towards the ground and barely manages to catch herself with her friend's assistance.

Instead of going completely prone, however, Leida slumps into a half sitting, half laying position on her side. And then Alberic opens fire with mention of her past and the shock of hearing that he knows of such things hits her almost as hard as his holy magic. There is only a handful of people that she has told of such things. That he knows of it is more than a little disturbing.

"H... h-how... how do you know of that...?" Leida's tone and expression is not angry this time but a mixture of shock and fear. Her eyes are wide, their serpentine pupils dialated to nearly normal human proportions as she stumbles over her own whispered words. "You cannot... that is... impossible..."
Maira Well, Maira has finished eating.

"I'm going to um...go...that way and...maybe sleep or something," she says. "I'll see you all--or some of you, in the morning--"

Maira wanders over to her bed then, but finds something strange? She stands beside her bed for a moment, then leans down to pick up and envelope. She opens it.

Moments later she is grumbling to herself and walking outside.

"Nevermindgoingforawalkcallmeif--youknow!" she says, then she's gone.
Emi Dennou It's true, Imi thinks, shouldn't it be impossible? Has he even known Leida before now? Well, something tells her she shouldn't be too worried about that right now when Leida is in need of care and attention. She brushes Leida's hair with her fingers--takingcare to mind the horns. She's trying to be soothing.

So she just asks one thing of Lux. "Are you saying all that because of what she's done or because you want to hurt her, The Network inquires." Imi frowns. She's not exactly getting a great first impression of this guy, but Imi can discuss calmly in more or less any situation.

She looks on over to Maira as she heads off--and then heads the other way--"Maira...?" She blinks. But she's already gone! ANOTHER MYSTERY!?
Alberic Lux Lux looks sidelong at Avira for a moment. He 'tsks' quietly, lifting a finger and ticking it back and forth. There's a brief moment's pause -- and he laughs, loud and earnest, with genuine amusement rather than something dark and sinister. He keeps going for a few long seconds, but abruptly cuts off when Imi poses a query, and when Leida actually asks the question that he fully expected her to.

Alberic folds his hands in front of him. He glances to Imi, expression serious, almost grim. "Because of what she has done, of course. Darkness is an insidious, corrupting thing. Perhaps she will come to her senses and seek a peaceful resolution rather than continuing to flee and allowing it to progress further. You are..." He frowns a little at Imi, but shakes his head. No; not today. Something, though...

Then, Leida. He turns back to her. Alberic stands tall. He looks down at her from practically across the room, letting her keep her own distance from him instead of encroaching on her personal space. It sure feels like he is, though; he's got a kind of presence that can be felt from even that far. It doesn't help that he is apparently a wellspring of the same kind of power that he held a bare spark of a minute ago.

"Why, I read your heart," he says, seemingly astonished that she didn't figure it out first thing. "Even consumed by darkness, it can be so seen. You wear your unassuming and quiet demeanor like a suit of armor -- no," he murmurs, correcting himself, "more like... a cloak, one holding deepest shadow. You hope no one will see you beneath it, yet there you are." He smiles.

"I am l'Cie, girl. The scope of my power is beyond your comprehension. It is no fault of your own -- you are simply not gifted with the eyes needed to see it."
Avira One SUPER FAST meal for Maira later. (Ahem.(

Looking past the fal'cie at last, she gazes upon Imi and Leida and nods to the pair, then turning to look at one of the empty beds lining the back of the VALKYRI guildhall. The message is clear: put the poor besieged princess back there. In the meantime, Avira will continue speaking with Lux to figure out the 'why'.

Her cheeks flush red again, though this time out of jealousy. Read Leida's heart? If only she herself could do such things. "I doubt her behavior is a mask. Leida had been in the thrall of that darkness a while ago but others have brought her to her senses." Strange, that, was this a resurgance? "I politely request that you refrain from harming Leida while in this house."
Leida Whatever a l'Cie is, Leida has already decided that she doesn't like them. The feeling of overwhelming presence this man exudes is terrifying for reasons that she cannot explain, almost like the fear isn't her own. She feels its effects nonetheless and even Imi's gentle attempts to soothe her are not enough to keep the girl from breaking out in a cold sweat.

Few people enjoy having their soul peered into, much less having it laid bare for others to see, and Leida is no exception. Infact, the nature of her darkness loathes being dragged out into the light even more than a normal person might. Secrecy and shadows are her very existence and even something as simple as the concept of being revealed is harmful to the strange demonic lifeforce that sustains her now.

Leida grits her teeth and hisses up at him indignation, though it is clear that any wrath she might have is hollow at the moment. "You have no right..."
Emi Dennou DEMON OF SECRETS? ANGEL OF REVELATION? In Nomine refs aside, Imi continues to look very concerned. The 'how' isn't as important to her as is to try and keep her as comfortable as possible.

She catches Avira's look and attempts to guide Leida that-a-way. "Hang in there... Don't worry so much, um--" She pauses though, does this dude have a point? Maybe the way of trying to deal with her issues aren't working!

"W-well even if that were true, catch more flies with honey, right? Hahaha..." She laughs, fakely. "Don't worry, Leida-Chan. You can't always rely on Wizard-Eyes."

Because sometimes you see things with your Wizard-Eyes that are just crazy!
Alberic Lux Maira bolts. Alberic stops to wave a little. She must have had a hot date, or possibly a life-threatening circumstance.

"Oh, it certainly is," Alberic says, voice genial. "She acted the part of the shy little girl when I walked in the door, but when confronted, reacts completely differently. We all have our defensive mechanisms. I certainly have mine." He smiles at Avira. It's friendly. "But she is most definitely still a thrall of that darkness, no matter what she says. I hope you will at least remember /that/."

'You have no right,' she says. Alberic turns his head back to her very, very slowly. He fixes his gaze on her, his expression twisting into something ugly and angry. He reaches up and pulls the patch from his eye, leaning forward and gesturing at his face with his free hand. Unlike what might be expected, the socket isn't mangled or anything -- he isn't even missing the eye. It is, however, a stark contrast: a mark, some sort of vertical spike with two tines like a Y is burned in pitch black on the almost gleaming white orb in place of anything else. There is something about it that makes it stand out. It is powerful.

"/This/ is my /right/, girl. The divines themselves chose me to serve their will, and granted /me/ their power to do it. So please, please! /Be/ outraged! /Embrace/ your darkness, your murderous urges, the ones you so desperately try to hide! Come, attack me!" There is another flicker of light that plays across his hand. It trails up his right arm, looking like an unnaturally rapid wisp of grey-white smoke, jumping to the weapon on his back. It comes alive with power of its own, the ruinous magic that is most definitely not holy awakening something... else. Avira might recognize it from the reactor.

"It would take but a /spark/ of my magic to /end/ you."

And then, a pause.

Alberic straightens. He clears his throat, and turns to Avira, inclining his head. "Certainly! I wouldn't dream of it. I will respect your wishes as host, of course."

wait what
Avira How awkward though! Were it not for this lashing out at Leida, Avira would be welcoming the l'cie's goals far more warmly. Instead, she must witness him drag what was likely secret to Leida out in the open. Likely secret because Avira watches the girls' reactions to all of this, from the 'shyness' to the sweating.

But the darkness of Leida's Heart, and how strong it remained even in light of Reize's efforts to 'restore' the girl, had remained unknown to her. Lux reminds her that it's even unknown now as they stand there, Leida supported by Imi's hands. The detatched scientist in her finds this entire exchange fascinating, each word and action speaking loudly about the barers. The slow reveal of Alberic's marked eye would serve as another data point. Unable to help herself, Avira steps in closer for a better look.

The frown returns as he directs Leida to attack him. Fiercely, she begins shaking her head, especially when she sees that entropic magic. Avira remembers that-oh she remembers it alright when the explosion consumed her and Vespa. It was easily the most painful experience in her life and she questions how she managed to survive that.

Fortunately, her words seem to bring an end to this budding confrontation. "Thank you." she quickly follows up, before gesturing at the squash and steak before her. "That being said, I invite all of you to grab something to eat." Avira, steadfast in her prioritized sustinance! That or quite dedicated to the distraction.
Leida The princess has little in the way of strength to resist even if she wanted to when Imi starts to pull her towards the beds that line the far wall. In her current state some rest is probably what she needs but doing so with the person who injured her still within sight makes the whole relaxing part kind of challenging.

"I am... myself..." Leida growls back at him once she has made it to the comfort of the beds, though she refuses to lie down immediately, instead taking a seat on the edge of the soft mattress and fixing Alberic with another of her sharp glares.

Her defiance melts into fear once again when he seems to lose his temper and the girl hunkers down to avoid his accusations. The mark on his eye is noted and for a split moment she stares at it with quiet intrigue. However, his display of power causes her to shrink further and she turns away to hide behind Imi as she once did so often when she was more shy and new to this world.

Fortunately it seems like the odd man was quite willing to obey a few rules of decency even while blatantly laughing in the face of others. This only serves to further annoy Leida as it makes his actions seem all the more spitefully to her directly. "I am... no longer hungry..."
Emi Dennou Imi sets Leida down to rest, brushing some hair affectionately out of her eyes to make sure she's relatively comfortable. "There you go--" She murmurs--she'd start grumping at Lux but it seems like Avira has it handled, more or less. You go Avira! You .... get him to politely acquiesce to your demands!

She hmphs triumphantly.
Alberic Lux Despite all of it, Lux is the kind of person to respect the laws of hospitality, even while he's pretty clearly egging on the largest source of darkness in the vicinity. All Avira had to really do was ask. He casts a baleful gaze at Leida for just an instant, and then promptly ignores her completely. It might be better than continuing to air her dirty laundry.

The mark is a strange one. It looks like the bottom is a spaded point that narrows and widens and narrows again as it rises, and then splits into two and then four narrow, close-together lines. They move up, widen as if into a V, and then sharply come inward, only to widen again like a smaller version of the sort of spade pattern it follows. The top looks like it has sort of squished antennae and short, upswept 'wings' on either side. It is certainly not anything any of them have ever seen before.

Alberic himself walks on over to the squash and steak, helps himself to a plate and a small portion of both, and moves to seat himself at the big table. He murmurs, "Damocles," as he sits, and the weapon on his back floats off to the side of the chair, hovering in mid-air. "Thank you. I would like to apologize if I offended you or your friend the other day," he says, looking up at Avira. "Reawakening can be a disorienting event, especially in the middle of a catastrophic meltdown."

He briefly considered pulling chairs out, but decided that it might be too much of a mind-screw, given everything else that has happened. He can be overwhelmingly polite later. It'll be great!
Avira This was more than enough of a mind-screw.

A look of sadness falls upon her face when Leida decides she will not be joining them due to the previous sincident. With a sigh, she lowers her hands and looks away from the girl, her own thoughts sdiftig back to the darkness inside her.

Maybe she ought to check them one day.

Lux continues to earn a weary eye, albiet a curious one as he continues to do curious things-such as summon his weapon. Avira watches this a little too closely, as fi stumbling.

The spread of food is simple: roasted squash, seared steak, salad. Luckily for everyone, the steak is cooked fine and is not too hard.
Leida Again Leida doesn't put up a struggle when Imi tries to calm her down, this time allowing herself to be laid back into the bed. She exhales softly and closes her eyes, a final tendril of acrid smoke trailing from her lips as she does so. "Thank you, Imi-chan."

Despite her reservations against letting her guard down while Alberic is still around, his apparent respect for Avira's request combined with the exhaustion of the day allows her to circumvent these issues in favor of getting some rest. She doesn't allow herself to drift off completely, however. Even without much conscious effort she can feel the shadows in the room and they provide watchful eyes where her own sight is blind.

This scene contained 37 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Maira, Leida, Emi Dennou, Alberic Lux