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No title.
(2013-05-16 - Now)
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Ramza Beoulve So they ended up in the Land of Dragons once again.

And why were they in the land of Dragons again you might ask? Could it be that they were going on an amazing quest for the perfect tea? Maybe they were about to take Zack Fair with them to blow up the Shinra Mako Reactor! Or perhaps, more likely, we're breaking the fourth wall here and are just in the Land of Dragons because we're about to meet a draconian. /DON'T QUESTION IT/.

And so the New Zodiac Braves were once again camping in the Chinese Countryside, setting up camp near the edge of a wooded glade. The latrines were dug, the firepit was set up, the tents were pitched... and one large Chinese Water Deer from an earlier hunt was placed on the spit. The mouthwatering smell of venison warfting over the countryside.

The heretic leader himself was seated near the firepit, holding up his journal, as he wrote something down by the last rays of fading twilight.
Artemis Eurus To no-one's surprise, it was Artemis who brought down the animal and butchered it. She'd spent a long time in this general area and she knew it well.

While Ramza writes in his journal, Artemis sits nearby reading a book, a pot of tea nearby. She would be training, even now, but Ramza had bloody insisted she rest for a while. There was really no point in arguing, the man could be quite stubborn when he wanted to be.

She does wonder what he writes in that journal of his, but she will not pry. "More tea?" she asks, turning a page. She's reading what is essentially a smutty romance novel she'd picked up somewhere. It is less than stellar.
Ulharisk had no idea how he got here. He was suppose to go to Traverse Town for some supplies, however these dark portals were very confusing and the paths in the darkness even more /confusing/. So now he was here in the lush green place that reminded him of the forests in the valley of his home world. At least the forest they would take wood from for their building and nothing like the Dark Forest.

Yet as he walks he picks up the scent of venison on the air and he sniffs the air a few times. "Hm?" He blinks his eyes a few times and then starts to make his way in that direction. Yet as he continues to follow his nose, he forgets to look where he is walking.

Suddenly his foot trips right off the edge and his eyes go wide. "YIPE!" and he goes tumbling down the grassy hill, before rolling, then sliding right into the New Zodiac Braves' camp. He just lays there for a bit before he slowly goes to push himself up and finds himself looking directly at Ramza and Artemis. He then gives a sheepish smile before he raises up his clawed fingered hand, giving them a soft wave. "..Eh-hehe. Hi?"
Artemis Eurus Before Ulharisk even stops rolling there is a katana pointed at his face, a masked samurai holding the hilt. As soon as she heard him approaching she'd moved, calculated where he would land, and placed herself there.

"Yes, hello," she says, looking down at the boy with a gentle frown. "Name and business here if you please."
Ramza Beoulve Ramza Beoulve was used to interruptions in his camp as a result of uninvited guests. They had watch set up, but a lone man approaching the camp wasn't typically hindered. A bird call would be sent out, by someone in the brush, but they wouldn't harry him otherwise. Everyone in the camp was a competent warrior after all, at least, and a veteran at best. The occasional uninvited guest usually led to more /interesting/ than dangerous experiences.

Artemis was rather new to their company, in comparison to many of the rest.. and overprotective of Ramza would be an understatement.

So when the Draconian trips up, and rolls down the hill, he would close his journal, setting it aside, and rise, with an affable smile on his features. "Artemis, I doubt that will be necessary. Good eve to you, Ser. Are you a weary traveller searching for repose, or repast? My name is Ramza Beoulve, if I might have the pleasure of your acquaintance?"

The rest of the camp simply continued about their business. Most of them were used to this.
Ulharisk goes cross-eyes with his dragon-like violet eyes. They blink a few times, before he lifts up his hand carefully to try and convince the blade to move else where by edging it with his claw tip. He then responds to Ramza, though his eyes don't move from the Katana. "..Yes.. um.. pleasure to meet you both.. my name is Ulharisk.." He says with a nervous smile.

"I-- think I took a wrong turn somewhere in the dark lanes.. or.. whatever they are called and.. ended up here. I smelt your cooking meat and.. well.. here I am." He then scurries back a bit before he goes to stand up. Artemis was a scary woman, yo.

He then brushes himself up before he gives them both a polite bow. "I am really sorry if I startled you both. I-- really have no clue where I am." He glances around. "..beyond it being a rather beautiful place."
Artemis Eurus Artemis glances toward Ramza, then back at Ulharisk. She keeps the sword pointed at Ulharisk for a few moments, her eyes narrowing....

Then, she smiles. "Tch, he never lets me have any fun," she says to the man, sheathing her blade in a flash. "We will offer your our hospitality. Come, share our meat. Tea is still hot," she says, bowing to him in return. "Artemis," she informs him, then turns and head back for the fire.
Ramza Beoulve The young man would chortle, "You're in the land of Dragons, Ser. Welcome, welcome. It isn't our native land, but it might as well be given how frequently we've been visiting it as of late."

He'd gesture for the Draconian to follow. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ulharisk. A fine name, truly. Join us, if you'd like. And don't mind Artemis, she's only ten times fiercer in battle than she was in that display. But outside of battle, you're safe enough."

He'd take a seat back by the firepit, waiting for the others to join him.
Ulharisk isn't sure he wants to remark back to Artemis, after all. She apparently was indeed a fine warrior, though he admits if she was part of his world-- that may be a very different subject all together, so a woman who was so.... blazing was.... interesting. "Artemis." He says back with a nod. "..That is.. a nice name."

Ulharisk was no kid though, well, maybe to some he was. He was, after all, nineteen. Though in his culture he was indeed an adult and had been for several years now. So many culture differences! They can make one's head spin at times.

"I will also like some meat, been awhile since I have eaten and tea-- Tea is always nice." He then looks over at Ramza, "..Land of.. Dragons?" Wait, could it be, almost just as Ramza finishes Ulharisk suddenly kneels down staring right at Ramza directly. "Is there really dragons here? Do any of them talk? Do they change into something akin to me? Can they mana weave?" Suddenly he dumbs all these questions with a great deal of excitement in his voice and a large smile.

Maybe its here, maybe in this very place, he has found where his people have gone. "Have you seen any other Draconians while here?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis laughs, giving Ramza an amused glance. "Flatterer," she replies, then moves to pour some tea for their guest.

She is about to hand him a cup when he falls to his knees and starts asking questions she doesn't understand. "Ah...I have seen no dragons here...the rest, I have no idea of what you speak."

A pause.

"You're a /dragon/?"
Ramza Beoulve A woman dressed in flowing dancer's silks hands Ulharisk a plate of Venison and some utensils, winking at him as she does so. Another man half-dressed in traditional Dragoon armor in the distance glowers at him, apparently for catching her attention.

The young man would give him a puzzled look at the barrage of questions, and he answered them as best as he could, "Dragons are more legends here, though it's said that some can manifest as... ancestral Guardians. I don't know if they can talk, but since they're the spirits of one's ancestors, I'd presume so? If by mana weaving you mean magic, then perhaps. I just have never seen any. And I've never heard of a Draconian until this very moment."

And then he'd look between Artemis and him.
Ulharisk slowly glances over to Artemis and sits back on his rump, before he takes the tea cup from her and crosses his legs in Indian style. Maybe he got a bit /to/ carried away. Yet as Ramza goes to explain his face saddens a bit, though he does give the dancer a smile and nod of the head as he then takes the plate with the venison on it.

Though the look the Dragoon is giving him, Ulharisk returns with a nervous grin, before he places the plate on his lap and then sips the tea. He doesn't answer Artemis right away.

"Good tea." He says softly looking into the dark liquid at his own reflection. "A draconian is what I am. My world was swallowed by Whe'ir's forces.. a .. dark god in my world.." He then closes his eyes for a moment collecting his thoughts further. "I ended up in this.. strange collection of worlds and.. I suppose.. I was being overly hopeful." He then takes another sip of the tea, seeming to force himself to swallow that hope once more.

"..As for am I a dragon. I suppose so?" He looks over to Artemis. "That seems to be what you people call me when I shift forms." He then puts down the tea cup and picks up the meat, taking a few bites from it.
Artemis Eurus Beneath her mask, an eye twitches. GOOD TEA? It is THE BEST TEA.

Artemis frowns then, sympathetic to his story. "You are in company of those you understand--most of us have a similar story I fear. Worlds lost to darkness...I am sorry," she replies to him.

A dragon. A real dragon. Or, as he said, a Draconian? " must know I will want to see /that/. Your....other form?" she says, smiling coyly. "Of course I know you are not some creature to perform tricks at my will so I will not ask you. I will look forward to perhaps seeing it someday, however," she says.

Artemis then refills Ramza's tea.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza accepts the refill of his tea cup, raising it to his lips with both hands. "The best, tea."

And then he'd nod somberly, "Darkness has consumed far too much. In my world, Ivalice, we believe it was brought into being by the Church of Glabados, making use of the Zodiac Stones, Auracite emblazoned with the houses of Night Sky, to bring forth the Darkness... The Stones were conduits to Lucavi. Archdemons of the Netherworld. Likely similar to your Whe'ir."

He would give Ulharisk a rueful smile, "Well, don't give up hope, Ser. Never give up hope. No matter how great the odds might be.. there are still people emerging from the darkness every day."

He'd give the man an interested look, "Interesting, in our world, Dragons were not.. well, all that intelligent. They were more great beasts of the wild. The apex predator other than perhaps Behemoths."
Ulharisk continues to eat some of the meat, he has to force himself to not just devour it and eat it slowly. Unlike at his home world, the meals here were far more scarce and not as large. Though their humanoid forms were great at energy storing, the meals here were not as great fuel conductors for that energy.

"So I've been told.. about worlds falling into the darkness." Ulharisk says placing the meat down and then picking up the cup of tea. "..though.. maybe you are right, sir. Perhaps with some hope and luck, someone will emerge one day." One day-- that was also a long time.

"And, I've heard that. That Dragons to some are seen as beasts. None intelligent predators. Also have heard of other legends of Dragons as well. This and that." He then takes a sip of the tea. "..and Zodiac stones?" He peers at Ramza once more. "Houses of the night sky?" He tilts his head to the side. " to share such information or is that private?"

He has helped this 'church' that Ramza speaks of, he wonders if that glow he saw on the goblet, wasn't it? If that was one of these Zodiac stones.

Ulharisk then peers over to Artemis. "I would be honored to show you ma'am, but it requires a great deal of energy for me to shift forms. Storing that energy isn't... easy. We have vicious appetites and though like this, we don't consume as much food, we still probably eat enough in our normal diet for two people at least." He doesn't want to even /get/ into how much they could consume in their other form.
Ramza Beoulve "It's not private at all, though I recommend being careful whom /you/ relate it to as none of this common knowledge. I'm currently the man most wanted by the Church for my role in slaying Cardinal Delecraux. Declared both heretic, and murderer. In truth.. Cardinal Delacreaux had been possessed by one of the Lucavi, and when we confronted him, he transformed into the Archdemon. We destroyed the demon.. with difficulty. The Church avers that I am a heretic as a result."

He'd continue after he took a sip from the tea, "In our world, the stones are considered holy relics, but that... is a warped version of the truth perpetuated by the Church. In our world, those who possessed the stones were involved in a conspiracy to reshape the world in their image. They perpetuated war to cause discontent amongst the nobility and commoners both. Once the war became too taxing for both sides, they planned for the people to proffer unto the Church as mediators in the conflict, who would then set up a puppet state... under the rule of Archdemons."

The young man would accept Ulharisk at face value, simply nodding when he stated it wasn't that easy for him to change on request. Instead, he'd give him an amused look as he motioned for Helena to bring him another plate of Venison, with an extra helping on top of it.
Ulharisk listens to the interesting story. Taking in what he could and saving all the questions for once he was sure Ramza was done. When the extra meat comes, the Draconian could not refuse and thanks Helena with a nod of his head, along with a big smile.

He quickly starts to munch down on the meat still. He seemed rather content to eat and listen, using the tea to help not only be a nice relaxer for his stress, but also the means as a nice, flavorful way to wash down a bit of food.

Once he takes a moment to not seem like a pig with the meat and when his mouth is clear of any food, Ulharisk then speaks up. "..I know this may seem hard to believe when I ask this, but, um, what is an Archdemon? I have never heard of such a word until now." One question at a time, Isk. One question at a time.
Ramza Beoulve The young man would dig in to his own plate of venison as well, tapping his chin with end of a wooden fork after he took a bite. He'd chew with a thoughtful expression, before he eventually answered the question.

"Imagine.. your Whe'ir. If he is a deity, then he likely has many powerful servants. An Archdemon, is what we would call the most powerful servants of a dark power. A demon would be lesser servants in a hierarchy. In our world, they dwell in a world seperate from our own. They can only be summoned to this world, through the Zodiac Stones."
Ulharisk listens as he takes a few more bites of the venison as Ramza further explains. He gives a gentle nod of his head, now seeming to understand. He does swallow what he has in his mouth before he speaks. "I think I understand. Yes."

He then raises an eye brow. " these Zodiac stones are a channeling stone? They.. call forth into the world's mana and pull out these.. archdemons from another realm to become existent into this one? Much like.." He glances up at the night sky. "..much like a world within a world?" He then looks back at Ramza.
Ramza Beoulve A few more bites, a sip of the tea. It was the /best tea/ after all. He'd make sort of a non-comittal gesture with his hand, like waving it away.

"I know more about the stones than most, and even I'm not certain exactly how they function. Those who lust for power in their hearts are tempted by the stones if they touch them. If they.. give in, then the Lucavi takes control of their forms, even if they retain all their memories. With the stones, they can take on full demonic form.. the one I destroyed was more powerful than any Shadow Lord I've yet faced, if you know what the Shadow Lords are... they can also summon and control the Heartless, the fiends which consumed each world."
Ulharisk grunts with a bite of his food as he listens to Ramza's explanation on the stones, including how these Archdemons were possibly stronger then any shadow lord. He finishes what he is eating before he speaks. "Yes sir, I know of the Shadow Lords and their minions now. I have been.. rather educated on such." Or at least enough info to get the gist of it all.

He takes another bite, thinking a bit as he chews before he speaks up once more on a whimsical thought. "Pity we can't pit the Shadow Lords against these Archdemons. Just let them destroy one another and be done with it all."
Ramza Beoulve The young man would give him a somber look, "I'm beginning to wonder if the Shadow Lords.. are aligned, in some way with the Lucavi. Or at the very least.. have agreed not to interfere with each other. It is possible perhaps, but the chess game from Ivalice was overturned, and another one was started anew.. I don't know the extent of their plan yet, except that they still seek the stones. Once I do, I might be able to find a way to manipulate them against each other. But I would prefer not.. you see, Ser, many of the people in the Church are good individuals who only seek to ministrate to the souls of the faithful. They have no idea what their leadership is plotting. I don't want them to pay for the sins of the conspirators, and they would, if I set the Shadow Lords against them."
"Maybe what you need is then.." Ulharisk taps his chin. "Someone on the inside?" He tilts his head to Ramza. "I have-- meet these individuals of the church. They called my fire divine and my ability to shift, well, a blessing from the Holy."%r The Draconian hrms softly. "If there is good in their organization, which I do believe there is, then you don't want to, right, harm those within that are /good/, but root out the bad apples before the poison the bundle."

He then finishes off the venison falling into silence as he thinks to himself now. He could offer himself up as the 'spy'. After all, he has no affiliations and he doesn't really have anything better to do with his time. Yet, doing spy work was dandy, but what do you do if your caught? That could end poorly-- as in his scales being used for armor poorly. Though he will stay here with the camp, if they allow him. Then maybe show off his dragon self in the morning. After all, this place may be a great place to not only do something he hasn't done since he has arrived in these mad words, but thus far--

-- Showing off his scales hasn't hurt him... yet.
Ramza Beoulve The young heretic leader would stroke his chin, giving him an inquisitive look, "What you're offering.. it would be most helpful, but are you certain? We've just met, and already you are offering to take on such a dangerous task.. If you were to infiltrate the Church, and something went wrong.. you'd have little back up. And I'm loathe to leave any ally out in the cold when aid is required. I would greatly appreciate it.. but mayhaps you should spend some time amongst us. Just a few days, learn more about us, and our cause. Make certain you understand what you're getting into, Ser."
Ulharisk cuts a glance over as he then picks up the cup of tea and gives a nod. "..If you have me about, then I will do so.. it will also give me some time to think about it a bit further as well." He then sips the tea. Ok. This was the best tea.. though he does miss his mom's tea now. Le sigh. He can never win...

This scene contained 25 poses. The players who were present were: Ramza Beoulve, Artemis Eurus, Ulharisk