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No title.
(2013-05-07 - Now)
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Ramza Beoulve He was upset.

They were camping in the middle of the French Countryside, and he'd received the news.. late, that Artemis had been injured, since he'd been away when it occurred. He hated to admit it, but it unnerved him, rocked him on his heels, and made him lose his sense of calm whenever one of his friends was severely injured. It was for that reason that his companions had delayed telling him what had happened. Let her stabilize first, let the worst of it pass by before he even realized it was happening.

Sometimes they knew him better than he knew himself. And were he any other man he might have entirely lost it, and started yelling at them. He didn't though. He was just relieved that Artemis would be alright.

He'd made his relief plain to her when he entered, and didn't care who saw it. But then after that, two words were at the forefront of his mind as he stood in Sheryl's tent.

"What happened?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis is basically a mess. Luckily, Ramza hadn't seen her when she first rode into camp with Omi on her horse, drenched with blood both hers and the templar's, her shirt cut away to reveal a terrible wound to her shoulder than looked like it would have been a killing blow if it had been any more powerful. She has no use of the arm at the moment, heavily bandaged, but she is assuring that she will have the use of it again. She bears other cuts and bruises, a black eye beneath her mask, and some broken ribs.

Well, she'd lived through worse.

She's awake when Ramza reaches the tent, her expression unreadable as he asks. "A meeting of fate I suppose. Templar named Tyrin Marius--no, not that Marius. He accepted my hospitality then challenged me to a duel. I should have put on my bloody armor. He was determined to take me. Lucky, that Omi was able to track me. I owe The Network a debt," she tells him. She doesn't need to to tell him that Tyrin was powerfully strong and good with a blade, he would know, for he knew her, and that should be enough.

A small smile curves. "Don't worry, I do not think he will be forgetting my any time soon either."
Emi Dennou Oh sure, Artemis will be alright so it's all good. Omi sees how it is. Or more accurately she doesn't because she hasn't woken up since passing out upon their return. Her hand has a thick cut through it but the big injury appears to be a cut that ripped open her chest. Healing potions have mitigated the damage somewhat, but she's still unconcious. So really, she's not seeing much of anything.

Emi is approaching the camp with Umi, who is in tears.
Margaux Fleury Marguerite was quite unaware about what had happened to Artemis. The dancer had just recently arrived from her own battle in Fluorgis that left her prized dancer's outfit in almost as many tatters as her pride. Somewhere during the journey back, Margot had changed from the ruined garment into her usual garb of trousers, coat of plates, and her billowing blue cloak. Her poor dress is carried in Margaux's arms as if it was a fallen comrade in its own right.

The former member of the Death Corps was soon informed of recent events upon her arrival which leads Margaux to Sheryl's tent now herself. Dress still in hand, the redheaded dancer ducks into the tent just as Ramza asks the most appropiate question. Margaux decides to remain quiet for now as her witty barbs would have no place her; she surmises.

Blue eyes narrow when Artemis reveals her attacker. Her left hand curls up into a clenched fist as her right hand is currently occupied with her dress. "Bastard." Margaux intones lowly before adding, "I knew he was a snake, but I thought those haughty, 'noble' types had more restraint when it came to their precious duels."
Ramza Beoulve Ten bajillion cure spells!

Well no not really, just as many as he could manage on short notice to supplement Sheryl, on both Omi and Artemis. They probably both became tired of hearing /Life's Refreshing Breeze../ before he was finished. Or at least Omi would have, if she were conscious.

As Artemis explained what would happen, he'd cross his arms, his visage going through a myriad of emotions as he listens. When Margaux arrived, he'd smile to her, and offer his greetings when there was a break in Artemis' tale.

When she was finished, and Margaux had said her piece..he was quiet for a time, before finally stating. "Most of the time duels between nobles are naught but sanctioned murder. That he broke hospitality.. that's unsuprising. As we all have learned, nobility to most is often only a thin veneer to disguise the ugliness within."

He'd rake a hand through his hair, "I've never heard of this Tyrin Marius. He must have fearsome indeed to have done this to the both of you."

More Cure spells on Omi and Artemis now that he'd rested for a time. More repetitive Tactics spell phrases. Magic in their world really was odd.
Artemis Eurus "Tch! He fought well and honorably, leave it at that," she informs the pair of them, looking over toward Omi with a frown. "She will be alright...?" she asks, looking to the healer.

"Yes, he was quite good. It was a dance such as I haven't had in a long time," she says, almost fondly. Pyschoooo....

"Perhaps I have been lax in my training. I will train harder," she continues, reaching up to adjust her mask with her free hand. "I have the pieces of my blade. I should like to reforge it. It is but plain steel however, and he weapon he wielded was superior to my own."
Emi Dennou Omi's wounds can be tended to. She still doesn't wake up, however, the shock to her body was sudden, swift, and brutal. The Network isn't very durable. They rely on tactics, firepower, and agility more than anything else. She had to make a few fortitude saves.

Emi steps inside the tent, looking towards Margaux first then Omi, then Artemis and Ramza. Umi wails and drapes herself over Omi's body but Emi just looks at Ramza silently.

Even with talkable Legions around it doesn't seem like they're being very chatty.

Artemis asks if Omi will be okay. Emi says, "It is uncertain. The Network is constructed to be disposable. A man who can kill with a single touch was our enemy, sturdiness was not an appreciable factor in our construction. The Network estimates approximately a 33.56 percent chance that our investigation into the Church has been compromised, weighing the fact that he did not know us before and the precautions we were able to take before the rescue."

She glances over to Artemis for a few moments and adds, "However, we had to use electricity and he has heard Omi's voice. If you are curious as to how we tracked you, it was because he kept the radio with you. Had he abandoned it, The Network would have run into a dead end. We can track radio waves. You were lucky."
Margaux Fleury Ramza gets a side-glance now from Margaux. "The whole lot is rotten. I agree in that this Tyrin is just another fine example of the nobility. And he did not lay a finger on me. It was some 'eartless who injured me so." Margaux takes another step in closer towards Artemis. "We only spoke a few words, but it was enough for me to see what kind of man he was." She goes on to explain as she studies what she can see of Arty's wounds now.

Artemis calling their fight a dance causes Margaux to grimace. "I think he would not use such words to describe your match. He made his hatred towards those of my profession quite clear." Margaux actually looks pretty angry right now.

Emi gets a look now as she talks about her 'sister' and that she was injured too. "I pray that you recover soon, Madame Mask. There is nothing more I would rather see than to see one of us triumphant over him." In other words, she wants to see someone get revenge.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza would listen to it all, considering. He'd give Artemis a sharp look, "Mayhaps, I'd prefer you choose a dance less /deadly/ while you're alone. But we'll see your sword reforged soon."

He'd then nod at Emi's response, his expression softening as he watched Umi wailing over her sister. "Truly? Then we'll have to consider ways around that. I don't suppose you might consider constructing some sort of armor that wouldn't hinder your special gifts?"

He'd place a hand upon Emi's shoulder, "Nevertheless, I am in your sister's debt. In the Network's debt. Please let Omi know the moment she awakens, not /that node/ as she prefers but Omi. If ever there is anything I can do to repay it, you need only ask."

And then he'd look to Margaux, giving her an appraising look, before nodding, "What exactly happened during your time in Fluorgis? The Heartless attacked the Church's exhibition? Did any mastermind behind the attack make themselves plain?"

And then, "It is a sad fact that most nobility do not see much value in your profession. That they believe themselves to be coldly aloof and above such simple pleasures and delights. It does speak much unto his character..."
Artemis Eurus Artemis takes a deep breath. This shouldn't have happened. Debt after debt. "I was lucky, and I owe you a great debt. Call on me for whatever you may need. If she does not make it....I will avenge her death, I swear it," she replies.

Artemis looks to Margaux then. Ah, so he had insulted her. Another reason to find him again. "Tch. I called it a dance to his face. He fought me brutally because if he didn't I would have killed him," she replies, straight-faced, voice firm. She would have done it, she wouldn't have thought twice, make no mistake. "Dame Margaux, I was part of the nobility myself. My father was an honorable, kind man. Perhaps he was the exception rather than the rule, but you should know this about me."

Artemis looks to Ramza, noting his sharp look. She returns it, as if he had any right to scold her! If he only knew she'd almost killed herself to avoid capture, well....he'd be pissed she was sure.
Emi Dennou "This one does not suggest engaging in another duel with him. It is high risk for no gain." Emi says. "The Church can afford to send duelists after you. You do not have that luxury. You are smaller in numbers and, this one does not mean to be insulting, devotion. Even if their fanaticism is misplaced, one cannot deny the power of fanaticism." She looks towards Ramza as he offers his own input. She considers putting forth the knowledge that Artemis was about ready to kill herself but holds off on that for the moment. If it's a card, she has to play it properly. Debts are conversed. Emi intends to keep those in mind. Sometimes The Network is underestimated, and if calling a debt proves neccessary, well...

But before she worries much about that she says, "Rather than that, first we should learn from the mistakes."

"First," She says. "We have to acknowledge that that man is not your enemy in any event. He reminds The Network of Faruja. He is a fanatic, but we highly doubt he is the as such part of the corruption you have told us about." She looks into Ramza's eyes. "The truth of the matter is, you have considerable disadvantages as it comes to succeeding in your goals, but this one suspects your advantages--should they be relied on rather than using the Church's rules--will carry the day. Your advantages as analyzed by The Network are as follows: Agility, a focused mission statement, and honest comradery. The Church's advantages are size, fanaticism, and obsufucation."

Emi reaches into her pocket and draws out a small disposable camera, which she offers Ramza. "What you informed us about the Cardinal." She says. "There is no evidence. The Network asks, therefore, what happened to the body? Where is he officially buried? Evidence gathering. Who are entities involved in the Church that are either suspiciously high ranked or suspiciously rising in rank? In the modern era, even a small force can overcome an all powerful agent through attrition and focus. As your evidence rises, as your focused successes grow--your enemies will be weaker, allies will be easier to obtain, and the Church will become more reckless in their pursuit of you. They will work harder at it. This is a good thing, The Network explains that the harder they try to squash you, the more they inhibit their own position. That is the danger of Fanaticism, that is the danger of religious indoctrination. Weaken the connection to faith--then their connection to the unknown will no longer be one of comfort but of fear and suspicion."

She pauses and adds, "This one, in theory, should have not sent anyone to help. It was an inhibition to our investigation. Nevertheless, it was a further mistake to send Omi. This one should have gone herself. I will take her place. She will be reassigned back to the TDA--"

Suddenly a hand is grabbing her sleeve. She looks down. Omi has opened her eyes.

"No..." She whispers. "This one can still do it."

"Consensus has been reached." Emi tells Omi. "Regardless, you need rest."

"Don't look down--" Omi begins but Emi interrupts.

"Do you wish to challenge this one for leadership?" Emi asks. "You are too concerned about us to be of service. Furthermore, they are more likely to recognize you than myself should such circumstances occur again."
Margaux Fleury "A true artist should be used to being unappreciated, but I have found that I am still vexed by such close-mindedness." The Death Corps member explains to Ramza. She now shrugs her shoulders in grandiose fashion. "And yet, I will always prefer to be ignored by the nobility than for them to assume that dancers such as I were only there to provide a different sort of 'simple pleasures and delights'." This topic sours Margaux's demeanor noticeably as she takes a moment to recollect herself. "Everything started just as I had planned it." Margaux begins with her non-dress holding hand being used to gesture openly. "I had used my talents to sneak my way through the crowd to where the Church was encamped." The dancer holds a hand up now and outstretches a finger. "One tent was more heavily guarded than the rest. I decided to get closer and...." Margaux closes her hand and pops it back open. "Poof. Heartless swarmed in and attempted to kill everyone who stood between them and whatever it was in the tent." Her torn dress that she carries is motioned to. "We fought them back, even though a should 'ave let those fools fight without my 'elp, and then one of priests revealed what was inside that was so precious."

Margaux pauses for effect and smiles knowingly towards Ramza. "The gloating fool revealed the Church's prize. A beautiful green stone with an arrow engraved into the face of it." Her blue eyes focus on Ramza now. "I think the symbol was of, what do you call it...of one of the Zodiac signs." The dancer is clearly delivering this information through some obvious teasing towards the Heretics and friends present. But what else would a lover of the stage do in a time like this?

Artemis gets Margaux's attention now. Her smile turns a bit more jovial when Arty explains her noble upbringing. "Old wounds heal slowly just as old grudges are not easily forgotten. I know there are exceptions to the rule (Artemis and Ramza and both gestured towards), but I am still biased in my thoughts and words on the matter." It was the standard behavior of nobles and that one's birth placed you above others in their minds that irked Margaux.

Emi's observations on the Church and her interaction with Omi result in the dancer pursing her lips together. "I think I could get along with you, Omi. To not so easily give up despite what happened...." Margaux smiles now. "....very admireable," compliments the redhead. Her blue eyes now shift towards Emi. "I find that I have to agree. The Church would have no shortage of overgrown boys like that Tyrin. Killing him would be much like trying to dispose of some pesky weeds with only a swing of a sword." A hand reaches down to pat the hilt of her sheathed blade. "But, I have to admit that I would very much like to see that particular weed uprooted."
Ramza Beoulve "I can only agree with Emi on the matter, each one of you is precious to me. Many military commanders speak of necessary sacrifices. But to me, there are /none/." Another sharp look at Artemis, before returning his gaze to Emi, "If that is the case, I will judge it for myself. I admit, that it will not be an unbiased judgement, but I think I won't allow my emotions to cloud it enough that I won't see it, if indeed he is like Faruja."

He'd nod once again at Emi, "Your analysis is correct. This isn't a war we're like to win easily. The board is stacked us against us."

On the subject of the Cardinal, "Unfortunately, Lucavi simply.. explode on death, and there is nothing left of them but the stone. It sounds like a convenient excuse, I admit. Evidence will be difficult to gather, but I'm uncertain how to release it.. I don't want an uprising against the Church. It would be haphazard, less organized than the Corpse Brigade. It would endanger too many civilians and innocents if the Church decided to purge it. Mostly I release the evidence to a select few, and see if we're able to attain their services."

A short pause, "I don't know how you reach consensus, but I will respect your wishes, Omi is always welcome here if ever you decide otherwise."

As he listens to Margaux's story, he'd nod, "It seems that the Church is playing games again in Fluorgis. There is not likely to have been a Shadow Lord behind the attack in Fluorgis. While it is speculation I suspect that they used..." And then she'd reveal it. He'd stroke his chin, considering, "Yes, they likely used the stone to summon the Heartless. Thank you Marguerite."

He'd look around the group, "We need to confirm its real, first. To show it so openly is almost certainly a trap, and one I won't stumble into unless I can confirm its authenticity.. I think I'll see if Will Sherman is up to the task. He can certainly blend in, and confirm it with ease.."
Emi Dennou "What was the Church's official view, however, regarding the Cardinal's body? Did they say you destroyed it?" Emi asks. This might seem a bit like nitpicking but to Emi it could be the difference between a dead lead and a breakthrough. Strategy and detective work are rather similar.

But judging from the look in Omi's eyes, it may not be so easy as to say 'There's consensus'. Margy is only bolstering Omi's attitude on the matter through such praise.

"Heh." Omi manages, cheering up a bit. "Thanks. This one thinks so too." She cringes suddenly as pain ripples through her body.

Ramza is offered the following answers to whether or not she'll swap Emi in for Omi or what.

>> I want Omi!
>>I want Emi!

>Roll a die!

>>Put it in.

Ramza seems to select the first second option for the time being. Emi is quiet a moment before adding, "Well, you can appeal, but not until you've fully recovered from your injuries. Then we will discuss your psychological state."

Emi listens to Ramza's method and says, "That is a good one, showing it to a few at a time. The issue however is the lack of evidence. Otherwise, your method so far has seemed sound to us."

Umi perks up just to say, "Will is great! He'll be sure to manage whatever it was you were talking about!"
Margaux Fleury Margaux nods once before offering a smile at the praise levied towards her. Normally such simple words would not have much of an effect on her. However, recent events have been hard on the dancer and it was nice to be appreciated for once. She decides to focus on this instead of what Ramza has to say about opposing the Church. The Corpse Brigade member still favors revolution as she believes that to be the only way to have a lasting impact on this matter. Maybe she will bring this up later, but Margaux decides to stay quiet for now.

The injured Omi's cheerfulness is hard to ignore. Margaux smiles brightly as she looks over those around her. "Discretion can be a very useful ally to have. I would elaborate on this, but I have a few things that I must take care of." Her battle-scarred dress was not going to mend itself and a bath after all that travel would be amazing. Bowing her head, Margaux turns to leave. "Farewell Emi, Omi, and Ramza. And please, recover quickly Madame Mask. I would hate to 'ave Ramza without a bodyguard. One never knows when an assassin might slip into the camp." A smirk is aimed towards Artemis and Margaux now exits the tent out to the camp proper.

This scene contained 15 poses. The players who were present were: Emi Dennou, Margaux Fleury, Ramza Beoulve, Artemis Eurus