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No title.
(2013-05-16 - 2013-05-17)
No description.
Ivo Galvan "That kid..."

Shifting his cloak back on his shoulders as he rests his hand on Hauteclare's hilt, Ivo murmurs to himself in a tone of mingled and mild affection and frustration--

" think he's already wandered so far."

--all belied by the wonder sparkling in his eyes.

He is staring up at the crystalline beauty of Macalania Forest above him, standing poised upon a narrow and twisting pathway cut through the brush. The trees about him scintillate with the refracted dusk, the sun having settled beneath the horizon and painted the sky a darkening navy blue, and the rustling of the wind through glass leaves is like the tinkling of chimes. It is not too much farther to the Fruit Village, where last Ivo heard Reize's merry band has stopped, and where the knight-errant hopes to catch up with his still more errant friends.

"I have to worry about his fixation on fruit."

He doesn't look worried at all. Actually, thinking about that seems to amuse him, for some reason, but not so much that he is distracted from the natural beauty around him. He'd heard rumors of this place, but seeing it in person is something else entirely. The Shard Seeker swordsman's curiosity is never sated, but--

"It's definitely good to be back."

A sight like this can tide him over for some time.
Royce Beauty.

It is a concept both familiar and foreign to the woman that wanders through the forest as the sun edges its way below the ragged line of the horizon. The labyrinth of gnarled and twisted trees makes it difficult to see very far even among the leafty pathways that meander high above the ground like natural catwalks. As the daystar disappears amid the crystal lattice of leaves and foliage it casts a kaleidescope burst of color through their transluscent forms painting the smooth canvas of her pale skin in a myriad of hues the likes of which she has seen only in the workings of fae magic.

Some small part of Royce recognizes the display as the magical sight that it is and she pauses midstride to turn her head at revel in the moment of indigenous splendor. The thought is fleeting, however, and the faint trace of a smile fades immediately from her features as they return to the drab and expressionless mask at the rumble of the presence in the back of her mind.

Do not dally, girl! We are not here to indulge in your childish fascination with sparkles and rainbows. The night is upon us now! Soon the moonwither will blossom and we must be sure to collect ample specimens afore the dawn.

Royce does not bother to protest the insistence of the voice, knowing full well the futility of attempting to sway it with what little emotional desires she has left and fully aware of the pain it can inflict should she test its impatience. Though many might consider their relationship to be one of master and slave, she sees it as more symbiotic. The inhabitant of the book protects and guides her with the knowledge of untold ages and she in turn acts as its hands on the physical realm. It's not a bad deal, all in all.

For the next hour or so the witch makes her way along the well-worn trails that lead through the forest proper, stopping every so often when the tell-tale signs of magic from the locator spell she can conjured up draw her away towards one of the elusive flowers. It takes several minutes to extract the essence, the volitile nature of the plant requiring that she distill it's petals on-site. Beakers and phials clings softly among each other in the ordinary woven basket she carries and with the hood drawn up on her short black jacket, she could easily pass for a far more sinister version of Red Riding Hood.

The wanderings of the evening carry her far, though she passes no other living soul save the occasional creature that calls this mystical place home. That is until she steps from the underbrush directly into the path that Ivo currently occupies. She almost doesn't seem him at all, so focused is the young woman on her task and the guiding beacon of light visible only to her spellbound eye.

However, the dark presence in her mind is quick to correct the error. A sharp burst of pressure, like nails digging directly into her brain, causes her to seize up and instinctively she whips her head to the side in search of the source that prompted the warning. Her lone eye falls upon the wandering knight almost instantly, a glimmering coal of neon red beneath the shadow of her deep hood. There is a moment of silence as she considers the man before her, mentally deciding on a course of action which gives him time to take the initiative should he so choose.
Ivo Galvan Ivo, too, has encountered no other wanderers within these breathless woods. Perhaps that is why he has taken to murmuring to himself, providing a sound to accompany, on occasion, the sylvan whisperings above and his boots on the ground below. It is in a moment of contemplative silence, however, that Royce steps into view, and the knight-errant turns quietly, his eyebrows lifting. A slight smile of interest quirks up the corners of his lips, his boundless curiosity piqued by this new arrival. His gaze shifts to her eerie eyepatch, rifle swathed with chains, the tattoos upon her belly, and her... ample specimens.

Soon she notices him, and she whips her head around immediately, saying a little about her already. Considering his options, Ivo reflects on how he ought to treat with a woman such as this.

* * *

"You said it's called a 'DVD'?"

"Yeah, a form of recorded entertainment. This one's called 'Entrapment'." Ivo settles down upon a couch in the small Manhattan sublet, dressed for this world in a sport coat and jeans, next to Reize, and picks up the remote. "The guy at the store said something about a 'laser scene' being worth seeing."

Eventually, the beautiful actress wakes up naked in the distinguished old gentleman's bed, while he sits sort of bizarrely in the corner, and as she demands to know the circumstances, he leans back and offers, in his thick accent, timeless words of wisdom.

"Rule Number One: Never carry a gun. Rule Number Two: Never trust a naked woman."

* * *

She's only half-naked, and /she's/ the one with the gun, but Ivo is pretty sure the old man's lessons still apply.

"Breathtaking, isn't it?"

Ivo's hand has left the hilt of his sword as though it were never there, his posture relaxed and smile amiable. Though his eyes are clear and focused on her own, there is a tranquil air to him, that of one whose soul has been touched by these surroundings -- as indeed it has.

"Pardon me for disturbing you," he continues, his somewhat laidback tone contraposing the politeness of his words. "From the look of your garb, you must be--"

He sizes her up, a little exaggeratedly.

"--in mourning."

It was the color that struck him!?

"My condolensces," he says, inclining his head in a small bow, "upon the tragic loss of your decency."

What's tragic is that he /still/ couldn't resist a joke.
Royce The rather casual question hits Royce strangely as she is sizing up the level of threat that this person represents, trying to decide if he might have suitable parts to carry back to her lab or if she should just annihilate him completely and leave no traces for passersby to find. However, unlike the reaction of most to her appearance on first glance, he does not panic or become wary. This alone ironically makes her even more cautious of /him/ but the chance to take the rarely used Option C - have a normal human conversation - is one that she is not keen to pass up.

"Yes." She pulls away the hood that obscures her fair face, allowing a veritable ocean of silver-white hair to spill out over her shoulders. The light of the crystalline trees pours down from all directions upon this new reflective surface and, as if she had planned for this, her hair practically seems to shimmer in a flow of rainbow sparkles.

Just a little touch of the old charm magic, just to prove she's still capable of drawing attention where she wants it. In the short instant that it takes to reveal her face, Royce allows her features to soften up and shift into a more innocent and girlish mien and when she looks upon Ivo once more it is with a bright and coy smile. Both of her hands shift to wrap about the handle of the woven basket and she holds it infront of her waist, forcing her arms to press in against the side of her breasts, pushing them outwards in a way that cannot be definitively proven to be on purpose.

The witch allows a giggle to escape her lips and she turns sideways in a fake display of modesty. "Don't say it like that, you'll make me blush!" She pauses and smirks over the top of an exposed shoulder. "Though, I suppose I should be flattered that you noticed me with all of these pretty trees around."
Ivo Galvan Sometimes, non-magical charm works well enough.

Ivo, unaware of how perilously close he came to being dissected, is merely relieved to see that she doesn't regard him as a threat, or at least no longer does. But relief is swept away by wonder all over again as he bears witness to radiant beauty once more. His eyes widen as his gaze follows the tumble of her hair, which glimmers like spun moonlight in light made ethereal by the trees above.

"Breathtaking," he repeats, and this time, it's not even an intentional compliment. It's uncommon for Ivo to lose his composure, but his aesthete's sensibility is always an avenue toward imbalancing him. So it is that Royce times her questionably intentional and seductive gesture well, and Ivo, typically proud of his own self-possession, spends several moments staring at the young woman's appealing assets before remembering himself and abruptly looking back up.

"Ah ha ha..."

Looking at her face isn't too bad either. Was she that cute?

"I couldn't resist." She has a sense of humor, too. Ivo grins, this unexpected encounter getting better by the minute. "Not at all," he replies rather grandly to her last comment, before spreading his arms wide, still with a lively grin. "In this forest of wonders, it's only natural that I would mistake you for a nymph. Or am I not mistaken?" As is usual, he shows absolutely no shame. The hammier the compliments, the more into it he gets.

"Ivo Galvan, at your service, I hope," he says in a way that cannot be definitively proven to be suggestive, placing a hand upon his chest, grin subsiding into a warm smile. "And you, fair nymph?" After a moment, quirking an eyebrow slightly, still smiling, he nods over her shoulder. "And what's /his/ name?"

He seems to be referring to Royce's conspicuous gun.
Royce Ivo's suggestion that she may be a forest fairy of some sort is ironically not far off the mark. While she was human once upon a time, the intervention of the Weird Sisters has linked her life to that of their fae magic and in turn granted her a measure of their eternal existence. An existence that has since been defiled and corrupted through the dark necromancy of a being nearly as old as time.

Royce's carefully suggestive posture and tone of voice are completely fake, the capacity to truly display such emotion having been seared from her mind centuries past in her misguided quest for power. Instead what Ivo sees is the result of years of careful observation and practiced mimicry. Though she may not truly understand the drive or motivations behind her actions on anything but a logical level, she knows the effects that they can have on other people. Ivo's reaction falls well within the anticipated outcomes of her flirting and so she carries on as planned.

"Fufufu, you flatter me, Ivo Galvan." Her voice is soft and ephemeral, almost as a reflection of their surroundings. Another little piece of magic at her disposal. The tone, however, is somewhat flat and monotone; not entirely displeasing but the trait is there. Royce's smile deepens and she turns further away, now peering at him through her good eye over her shoulder.

"Hmm. You can call me Alicia. This big guy doesn't have a name but," she wiggles her hips back and forth right in time with that word, causing the heavy weapon to shift on its chains noisily, "He does like to introduce himself to people who think of doing untoward things to innocent young maidens in the forest."
Ivo Galvan Though Ivo has a few conspicuous blind spots in his ability to read the emotions and intentions of others, it takes great skill to fool him into taking feigned sentiment for true. The Shard Seeker swordsman would not expect for a moment that within Royce's breast lies a cold heart dull to this play. Perhaps what has taken him in more even than her charms -- to which he often pretends to be more receptive than he is -- is the intuition that there is a double-layer to her words, her way of projecting maidenly modesty with a glimmer of greater maturity behind it.

It's exactly the sort of personality that appeals to him. It's a little like his own personality, really, if you inverted the modesty. And it's a classic strategy that he's fallen prey to: to layer an obvious ruse over a subtle ruse.

Who'd imagine that her /whole/ persona is a ruse?

"Not as much as your clothes flatter you," is Ivo's easy reply, the young man pleased with what he thinks is a mutually entertaining back-and-forth. Her flat tone, a little at odds with her wondrous voice, is chalked up to the same juxtaposition of her girlish charms and womanly maturity. Ivo is too caught up in the moment to suspect more than that. "Alicia..." He tests out the name while admiring the way her, uh, gun, er, shifts.

"I too am the born enemy of such scoundrels," he proclaims unhesitatingly, with the same ironic twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "As I do have a name, perhaps I can join forces with that big fellow and, with our powers combined, fend off any erstwhile ruffians." What power in a name? Well, a witch would know. "May I assist you in whatever errand you're about?" His tone turns a bit less outrageous, and more sincere, as he smiles amiably again. "I could quicken your efforts, so that you might get to less lonely ground more swiftly."

He can catch up with Reize later. This is more important.

Like, way more important.
Royce Royce says nothing back to him at first, merely offering another coy smile in response to his obviously playful banter. Despite the pressing insistence that her associate was even now hammering against the walls of her mind, she finds herself enjoying the strangely unexpected encounter. She has no intentions of taking it beyond words, ofcourse, but it is a pleasant distraction from the endless search for knowledge and power that typically drives her from day to day.

"Hmm, I am not so sure you two would get along, I am afraid. He does get /ever/ so protective."

She turns to face Ivo once more at the mention of work, her facade fading a little as she ponders his offer seriously. Having another set of hands around to search for the flowers would certainly lighten her workload but his lack of proper knowledge in the care and handling of the poisonous blossoms would either send him to an early death or, at best, destroy the flowers.

She puts a finger on the front of her lips, tapping at their full plush surface in a thoughtful manner for several seconds. Finally, she smiles at him again and nods. "Well, I suppose that I could use a helping hand. Do you know anything about alchemy?"
Ivo Galvan Perhaps it's not all in Ivo's head. Every time she smiles, he smiles a little wider, encouraged by her own enjoyment. Though he can put on a show of base motives, at his best, the urbane adventurer aspires to a world of pleasant diversions which he hopes to share with all those inclined to participate, and every time someone reciprocates his antics, he feels himself to have found a kindred spirit of a sort.

Of course, the base motives aren't /always/ a show.

"Ah," he remarks ruefully regarding her gun, "an elder brother."

A familiar scenario, Sir Galvan?

If she keeps drawing his gaze to her lips like that, he'll affirm any query. But Ivo seems to take her question seriously, reaching up to cup his chin thoughtfully. "I was an engineer by training," he says, perhaps surprisingly, "but my general education included chemistry. Still, it's always hard to know what of my knowledge still applies in these new worlds." He pauses for a moment, then smiles again, looks rather intrigued by the prospect of whatever challenge is in store. "If your endeavor involves a delicate procedure, perhaps I could observe briefly, and assist you once I have a grasp of the process?"

Wow, how reasonable.

"I'm a quick study," he assures her. "And very dedicated. Ardent, even. I also possess extraordinary stamina."

Yeah, never mind.
Royce Royce allows her lips to tweak upwards ever so slightly at the clear double meaning that is becoming obvious behind the man's words. She cannot help but to respond in kind.

"Oh, you have no idea how nice it is to meet a man who knows how to grasp things... delicately," she says playfully. "My work is quite ardous and taxing but I'm sure someone with your hardy constitution could go aaall night."

She gives him a wink that clearly conveys her lack of sincerity in this exchange but she does open the basket and set it down on the pathway between then. Several vials are taken out, each filled with a viscous liquid of some sort in an array of bright colors. The witch lays them out infront of her and kneels down, leaning forward to point at the first one.

"Now pay attention and try not to get too distracted up there, fufufu. Your life may depend on it." She winks again. Surely she's joking, right? Either way, Royce proceeds to show him the method by which she is distilling the essence of the flowers she seeks, finishing up by wandering off for a few minutes to find a sample to show him once she's sure he has the basic idea down. The process is not terribly difficult but carelessness could seal his fate.
Ivo Galvan Ahh, he wants to grasp them.

"I won't let you down," Ivo valiantly replies, his enjoyment tempered only by the regretful knowledge that there's a ninety-percent chance she's one-hundred percent joking. "With my help, you'll finish faster than you've ever finished before." You mean the job, Ivo, the /job/ will finish.

Ohh, from this angle, he can almost see--

"Of course," the knight-errant says, all business, as he settles down on his haunches to watch close-up, smothering his profound reluctance to lose his vantage point. The 'extraordinary stamina' line is questionable, and it's possible Ivo doesn't even know what ardor feels like, but the rest of his big talk seems to be more or less as billed. Though he's a little lost at first, as the techniques involved obey different principles than those of his homeworld, once he gets a sense of the context, the knight-errant seems to pick up easily. Moreover, his diligence belies his exterior; some blend of mental rigor and an eye for detail allows him to repeat processes he's studied with exacting accuracy.

At the very least, it doesn't seem like anything's going to blow up in his face, unless her allegedly protective gun decides to.

"You made it sound so difficult," Ivo eventually remarks, in a deliberately breezy tone. "I'll be bored if I'm not further challenged. Why not try distracting me during the hard parts?"

Maybe it should.
Royce "Oh, don't worry," Royce says, leaning in close for a moment, her voice turning sultry and soft. "I know /exactly/ how to make the hard parts more enjoyable."

BY THE BLACK SOULS OF THE DEFILERS, GET ON WITH IT, GIRL. If the sun rises before we meet our quota, I shall remind you the folly of failure!

Her eye squeezes shut against the railing voice, her brain feeling as if it is being rattled around in her skull. The witch recovers after a few seconds, her vision swimming as she gives Ivo another forced smile. "Now hold still a moment."

Royce chants a few arcane words and her clawed metal fingers cut symbols that linger in the air like ragged red wounds. Reaching out to touch his forehead, she utters a final word of power and the symbols fly into his eyes, searing their magic into his mind. The process is a little painful but nothing overwhelming.

Retracting her hand, the young woman quickly scoots the impliments on the ground over towards him and gives him a sizeable cloth to bundle them all up. "Now, simply follow the glowing lines in the air and you will find more of these flowers. You must hurry because they only bloom at night. Get me as many vials as you can, okay~?"
Ivo Galvan Ivo is officially smitten.

He's in the midst of reveling over how this is, like, the best forest in the world, when his merry grin falters and his eyes sharpen with concern as for the first time Royce lets her facade fall, even if only briefly, and seems to experience a moment of pain. Not that our young gallant is surprised to see that this gylph-laden minx is suffering from something or other, but if it can crack her considerable self-control -- not that he's aware just how /much/ she has -- it has to be intense.

"Alicia, are--"

He doesn't have time to finish before she touches his forehead. He'd prefer bare skin to gloves, but physical contact is enough to distract him into silence even before the spell infuses Ivo, visibly startling him. "Hrghh..." He grimaces, but recovers from the pain, and rather than reacting negatively to her failure to warn him to brace himself or anything, he grins a little lopsidedly. "Oh, is that what it was?" Not quite, Ivo.

Oho, so it's a time trial? Then it's more interesting than he thought. Looking almost boyish with eagerness, a side of himself he typically tries to disguise, Ivo takes up the equipment and nods. "You won't be disappointed," he says confidently, without any particular basis. "Think of an appropriate reward for me, won't you? Or, better yet, an inappropriate reward." And with that, he's off.

Good call, Ivo. The appropriate reward would be shooting you.
Royce Royce stands up and gives him another overly playful wink, continuing to play the part that seems to have enthralled her new acquaintance in this short drama. "Make me happy and I'll be sure to return the favor, fufufu."

She scoops up the basket filled with her remaining supplies and heads off in the opposite direction of whichever glowing line leads Ivo away. The voice continues to grumble but it dies down to a low grinding rumble instead of an insistent pounding in her head before fading entirely into the background noise of the forest itself. With two people, one of which might or might not survive long enough to be useful, looking for the flowers she has an even better chance of getting all she needs in time. Not that they couldn't have simply come back again the next night but the book was rather badly impatient for something almost as old as humanity itself.

The witch disappears into the forest and immerses herself back in her work. For some reason she continues to keep up the facade of cheerfulness despite Ivo being quite far away. Perhaps she's merely being cautious but something tells her that this expression and attitude is far more... suiting somehow. Like it belongs.

Carefully, to avoid the notice of his thrall, the dark presence within the book supresses these thoughts until they vanish completely. Such encounters were necessary for the woman but they always brought trouble with them and once more he is forced to wipe away the faint presistant traces of memory that somehow keep resurfacing. Some day, he would find the secrets he sought and this vessel would no longer be necessary. But after thousands of years, hopping from body to body, he was willing to wait as long as it took.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Ivo Galvan, Royce