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A Familiar Face Of An Unknown Past
(2013-05-26 - 2013-05-26)
Sanel takes Alma to a cemetary near Mullonde and they run into Faruja, who is paying his respects.
Sanel It is a nice summer; the sun is bright as can be with the gentle breeze of the wind.

Mullonde, the holy city. It is the official headquarters of Glabados Church. However, a couple miles away from the cathedral is the cemetary. It is where the dead is taken to rest in peace. Those who had a place in the church had been honored in this wonderous place.

Quite a ways from the cemetary stands a smaller church where the holder of the place keeps the area tended to. The dead here are here, undisturbed and kept purified.

Sanel felt like he had to come here for some reason. The boy is not certain why. However, he did not come along. He wanted to bring a special someone, his special someone, for the trip. The young boy is tugging a meek girl along to the cemetary.

"Sanel does not know why he come here. Sanel felt like he should come here."

It was not an erratic trip. It felt purposeful. It was a sense of direction outside of his usual aimless wandering.
Alma Hyral Resigning from the Murasame Zaibatsu had brought a new set of challenges to Alma Hyral. She'd invested all of her income into her research and other.. interests, so she had nothing saved for her eventual trip to Archades. That presented problems, namely in how Kyra and her were going to afford a new place to live. And so she'd taken it upon herself to indulge in a time honored tradition amongst all fantasy characters...

She was in the middle of about a half-dozen fetch sidequests.

From Mount Bur-Omisace, to Carwen, where she took a ship to Cornelia... led to a brief stop in Mysidia, where one of the retainers had then sent her on her way to Mullonde with a package. This made her particularly nervous since she didn't know what the adherents of the faith of Saint Ajora would think of a white mage of another faith who showed up with a package at her doorstep..

It was on the road from Mysidia that Sanel had found her. And after her initial suprise faded away, she allowed herself to be taken with him to the small Church, parcel still in hand. She gazed up at the smaller church, giving it an almost serene look, before she swept it across the remainder of the cemetary. The somberness of this place sinking into her right away. In the end, it didn't matter to the dead what your faith was.. she whispered a prayer to Cosmo, to commend their spirits unto her.

She'd give Sanel that same serene look, smiling at him, and squeezing his hand supportively, "Maybe it will tell you something of where you belong.. but it might tell you much more than you want to know. Are you sure?"

They'd had this conversation before... she didn't know if some memories were better left buried, or if.. they should be dug up, with all the bones, decay, and filth. All the nasty little secrets. She'd resolved to do it only at a pace Sanel felt comfortable with.
Faruja Senra After the fight with Sydney, Shrine Knight Faruja Senra is in less than optimal condition. The usual set of bandages adorning, and peeking from his armor seems to have doubled. Even his armor, unique as it is for his strange body type, shows signs of hasty repairs; not quite as prim and full of shine as usual. At least the rat has a nice, fresh set of robes over it. Walking along, leaning on a cane as he nears the smaller Church slash cemetary, his pace is unhurried. Necessity from his unhealed injuries as well as the fact that he's in the Church's headquarters has him walking with that pace of a lawkeeper off duty; casual enough, but with purpose and authority.

The pair of figures at first are relatively ignored; Faruja's not one to bother those honoring the dead. Passing into the cemetary himself, he pulls out a trio of flowers, making his way through the row just behind where Alma and Sanel are standing. Stopping behind them, single eye fixed upon the graves in front of him, he kneels.

"Lord cradle the souls of thy Faithful, that they ever be free of corruption, to serve in thy Heavenly Kingdom evermore. In Ajora's name, Amen."

Laying down the flowers, peering at the names of three Templar honored here, the rat sighs. "...May we once again meet, my friends. Stone doth not suit such valiant souls."

It's then that the rat stands, and glances over to the pair of figures. Recognition lights up, and he quietly approaches; at least, as much as one in plate mail can.

"Sanel. Lady Hyral. Lord bless." His tone is appropriately somber, though his gaze fixes on Alma.
Sanel The boy doesn't know, really. He does, however, look over towards Alma as she remains by his side. The boy tilts his head over at the serene look of Alma. He brightens considerably, before his head lifts up and down repeatedly.

His fingers interlock with Alma, holding onto her hand.

He squints, looking ahead at the gravesite. Sanel's eyes furrow briefly, looking at the buried of the church. However, none of them stand out to him. He is moving along the epitaphs, looking at each one. Many o them o not carry any real interest to the boy.

And of course, what diverts his attention is the presence of Faruja. "Snow Mouse King!"

Sanel moves over towards the rodent and gives him a big, squeezing hug!
Alma Hyral The girl was startled from her calm reverie by Faruja, whose prayer caused her to turn, and regard him with a somber severity.

She was still not entirely convinced that his Church didn't send nubile young heathens off to live in some desert harem as punishment for not believing as they did.

"Hello, Sir.." And perhaps she felt a little bolder since Sanel was actually here, and she doubted that Faruja would harm her as a result.. "..may the light of the Creatrix shine down upon you. May her radiance be your aegis against the claws of the Destroyer. And may you always remember her sacrifice.. for she loves all of her children."

..And apparently Sanel knew Faruja quite well. She winced, inwardly. She knew well Sanel's strength, and if he'd done that to her, she might not have survived with all of her ribs intact. "I.. take it you've met. Are you royalty, Sir? If so, you must excuse me, I had no idea."
Faruja Senra The returned prayer is met with a polite bow, though the ratling doesn't offer the usual crossing of the air. That, of course, would be blasphemy. Glancing between the pair, he's silent for a moment, pondering. The duo obviously know one another, and having come to know Sanel, he can at least guess the boy would be displeased if he was /too/ hard on the non-Ajoran priestess. Luckily, his position gives him a bit of wiggle room for a first time offender.

Staring at Alma in that grave manner of a polite, if displeased, priest or police officer, he raises a single gauntleted claw. "Thy sentiments, M'Lady, are most appreciated, as be thy manners. However, as an arbiter of Canon Law within these lands, I must warn thee that blasphemy and preaching against the Holy Word of the Heavenly Son and Prophet Saint Ajora Glabados shan't be tolerated, no matter how innocent in nature." Reaching into his robes, the rat pulls out a notepad and pen. Scritch scritch scritch. Handing it to Alma, he nods. It's a two hundred munny fine for minor blasphemy.

With a bit of effort, his gaze runs a bit more warm. Really, he does like the woman, even if she /is/ skittish and a horrible heathen. A perfect target for conversion in the rat's mind, especially given her research. "No more slips my dear, hmm?"

Suddenly Sanel. Eye going wide, he opens his muzzle to protest. "W..wait, Sanel, my boy! Kindly do be gent..." Squeeze. Something shifts uncomfortably, distinctly feeling like his cracked and battered ribs. The hug gets a squeal not unlike a dying rat from the Burmecian, the ratling clinging to the boy out of pained reflex, even as he sees stars. "....Hello, my friend. Always a pleasure." The voice is tiny.

Once able to breathe again, he addresses Alma. Faruja /laughs/ aloud, before remembering himself, coughing and killing the gesture given where they are. "...Ahem. My apologies for my rudeness. No, the lowest of farm nezu. /Royalty/. One cannot come farther from such an august line as a Senra." There's some bitterness lurking in the rat's voice. Royalty and nobles don't sit well with him.

"What brings such a lovely pair of persons to our lands, hmm? To honor the dead is most...pious." A slight frown, and glance in Alma's direction, the rat feeling somewhat awkward about the whole thing.
Sanel Sanel is beaming happily, looking over at Alma after he hug towards Faruja. The young wanderer beams brightly as he can be. Nevertheless, he finally releases poor Faruja, who is likely with caved-in ribs. The young boy soon starts to turn over and join beside Alma.He looks at Faruja and then Alma. He looks at both of them.

The boy squints. He reaches over towards Alma's hand, interlocking it with hers.

His visible eye points levelly at Faruja.

Sanel's translation: My girl.

However, Sanel is asked a question by Faruja, "Sanel looking for something. Sanel... felt the need to come here. Sanel does not know wh---..." But then, it is perhaps several meters off, but there is one particular epitaph that captures his attention. The boy's visible eye locks onto the location.

..Then, Sanel begins his trek towards the point without another word.
Alma Hyral Her eyes cross as she looks at the slip of paper, and then her expression becomes a plaintive one, all of that boldness flitting away instantly, the stutter creeping back into her voice, "B-But.. I d-don't h-have this k-kind of m-munny! I'm n-nearly broke, I lost my j-job! I h-have no p-place to s-stay! I'm t-trying to a-afford a new r-residence..."

Really, being the last person who adheres to a nearly dead faith was starting to have more difficult challenges than she could have ever imagined. It wasn't as if she had an entire network of people who would defend her from a rival Church. She doesn't look at Faruja as he warms up to her, her gaze squarely upon her feet as she murmurs, "Y-Yes sir."

Well that would add a few more days of fetch quests onto her already stretched schedule.

She gives Faruja a sympathetic look as Sanel continues to squeeze at his ribs, then nods to him, "Oh..well the c-circumstances of your b-birth don't m-matter anyhow. Just.. h-how you act. T-That's what determines your w-worth." The girl would actually be considered... the closest thing to nobility in her world. Yet, she certainly didn't feel like it. Coming from a school where nearly everyone was the /elite/ it was very easy to get washed away by the tide of arrogance. She was one of those victims.

As Sanel takes her hand, she'd smile at him, until he claims her as his, again. She'd give him a puzzled look as always, as if to say, /What do you mean by that/? Her cheeks suddenly producing enough heat to cover her freckles, since they were in the company of someone else.

She was never really certain if he was trying to say she was his girlfriend.. or if it was just something more innocent.

When Sanel begins his trek towards a single grave, she walks with him, peering at the epitaph..
Faruja Senra A hand rubs the good side of the rat's temples as he's subjected to that /look/ from Alma. It hits all of the protective feelings in the Templar's better portions of his soul. He almost feels bad for doing his job, but quickly reminds himself of how easy she's getting it. If anything, he's being lenient.

"Now, now, now, enough of that M'Lady. Surely the Lord shall light thy way to prosperity. If coin 'tis a problem, then 'twould be most easy to work such off. Forgive my boldness, but have thee skill in the healing arts?" The rat motions to the robes she wears, so close to that traditional white mage style. Given how seemingly universal it is, he can at least make a safe bet.

"My young squire and several others were injured in a recent operation. Tight as we are on personelle, another healing hand for a few hours would be most useful. What say you?" At least the rat can be reasonable occasionally.

Faruja meets Sanel's gaze, the rat's eye lowering to those entwined hands. Despite the seriousness of the boy, the rat allows a small, warm smile, joy dancing in his eye. "...My, my, my. 'Tis so, hmm? M'Lady, thou shalt find no better a companion. May the Holy Prophet and Heavenly Father show thee both joy and peace everlasting." Strangely enough, his gaze remains on Sanel as he mentions the peace portion, not quite able to keep sadness out of his features.

Breathe, rat, breathe. Faruja tries not to think of his ribs, or the nearl overwhelming pain he's in. As discretely as possible, he Cures himself, wishing he'd brought some herbs or his flask along.

The Templar is speechless for a moment as he observes Alma. A hand goes to his chest. "My dear, dear Lady Hyral, thy words are far too kind to lay upon this humble servant of the Lord. However, I must agree. 'Tis actions, not blood nor a paltry title that truly is the make of a person. Very well said." Nodding, he gives the woman a respectful bow. Alma Hyral has just become all the more interesting to the rat.

Sanel is off, voice trailing off as well. A step behind the two, his heart skips a beat, old memories surrounding the boy assaulting him. Following along, he tries to banish the ball of cold terror in his gut.
Sanel As the boy arrives at the particular epitaph, there were a set of flowers. There are various flowers about the epitaph, but one of them has a card of 'I'm sorry - Edin.' The boy gazes along the epitaph, visibly noticing the enscription:

'To the one who cared for our hearts,
Sister Lilliana.'

Sister Lilliana, who tended to the orphans of the neighboring towns who was seen as a big sister by the children. The kind, sweet woman who followed Ajora piously. It was told that she met a fateful end. The cause of her death was unknown, as no one was allowed to see her body.

Sanel stares at the epitaph for a long time. Those seconds became minutes and it quickly shifted into an eternity. The atmosphere between him and the others separated. He was no longer with them.

It was only a faintly familiar voice that spoke to him.

~ "Singing always calmed me down when I felt down. You should try it, I heard you are a great singer." ~

Silence befalls the child for those moments. His visible eye hardens, losing that everpresent child-like luster.

The eye falls shut and he lifts his head high.

"o/~ Where are you, my light? Farther from my hand?
o/~ I reach out to you and... call you to my arms.
o/~ For that day that you will stay with me tonight...
o/~ And guard me from the darkness that haunts me.... o/~"
Alma Hyral "B-But it'd be w-wrong of me to c-charge for h-healing, to s-someone in need.." She'd continue looking down at her feet, looking completely defeated, "I-I'll h-help you.. but I c-can't let it c-clear out my d-debt. M-Maybe I c-could...cook for you... I c-can't afford the i-ingredients though."

Faruja's next comment to Sanel, as she held hands with the boy made her flush even more fiercely, she wasn't sure if Faruja was teasing her or not.. or if he was serious, or if she even /minded/ if he was serious. She was completely discombobulated by the idea.

Faruja may notice that a soft white radiance spreads over him. But it isn't obvious that the girl is even doing anything. She's not even looking at him at this time. Either way, it certainly was a balm to his ribs that were screaming in pain.

When Faruja compliments her statement, she lifts her chin, just offering a tiny smile of pleasure, but she still looks rather distraught.

As she followed the boy to the graveside, she stopped a few paces ahead of him, kneeling down before the graveside as she read the epitaph to herself... Her eyes close as Sanel starts to sing.. she doesn't look at him at first. She just listens.. she listens to the words behind the words. To the meaning behind the epitaph.

She listens, and then after a time, with her eyes closed, she sings as well. At first, it's just wisps of a melody upon the breeze. At first it is but a low, repeating intonation in her alto voice, coming in and out like the tides.. the threads of the melody continue until she learns the words...

And then she improvises, as words come unbidden..

o/~ Where am I, my child? Nearer than you know..

o/~ You reach to me, but I am already there..

o/~ Remember, the night you need not fear.

o/~ For when I am gone, the stars still find their way.... o/~
Faruja Senra Faruja sighs, peering at Alma. "We shall come up with something, worry naught. Hardly is the Holy Church so cruel as to destitute a well meaning lady." Reassures the Templar, witholding a facepalm. At least the girl sticks to her principles. The resulting curative upon him has the rat glancing back to her, a nod given. He's pretty sure Sanel is no healer, after all!

The Templar's gaze never leaves the grave. That name struck the rat, as though he's seen it somewhere. Muzzle pursed in thought, he listens to the pair sing. After a few moments, he bows politely, then slips away; off to what portions of Church archives he has access to. Time to find out just who this dear departed Sister was, and why it brought such song and almost recognition from the mysterious boy.
Sanel Sanel had fallen into the trance, singing a song that he has no recollection of. The lyrics start to fall to an end. Even when the song ends, the boy can hear part of the lyrics that Alma sang.

As he started to face Alma, the boy beams towards her. "Almmy sings beaut-----" The single eye widens in an instant and the boy releases her hand the next moment.

Although his eyes focus on Alma, he sees someone else. It is that maternal smile of a red-haired woman. She is unfamiliar. And yet.... it feels familiar.

The initial reaction is a panicked, more traumatized gaze. His body visibly tenses and shakes. However, the expression shifts as he head lowers, the face obscured by the hair covering the other eye. Everything in him has shut down.
Alma Hyral Alma Hyral listens to Sanel's compliment, as it's cut off... the melody in her throat falters.. then moments later it dies..

She turns to look at Sanel. She watches him go through all the phases of emotion, from panic, to traumatized fear, to tense shivering.

She slowly finds her ways off her knees, not taking the time to wipe off the soil from them. She walks up to Sanel, and wraps her arms around him in a warm, almost motherly sort of embrace. Such was ingrained instinct into her..

And then a melody begins anew, except this is more a crooning lullaby. A low hum as she just tries to comfort the boy, swaying slightly, back and forth.
Sanel "..."

Sanel remains silent, as everything in him falls limp. That great strength that he usually possesses has been sapped as a cloud of dispair falls before him. Those long forgotten memories, part of it return. Even then, it looks like it is something that he should had casted aside.

As the boy is brought into Alma's arms, the young man leans against her while his arms wrap around her. This time, it isn't a tight, squeezing hug. It is one that a frighten child would give. Or a long forgotten lover. The boy remains calm, listening to the melody. Through it all, he is able to manage words:

"Sanel wants to leave..."
Alma Hyral Alma watches him, a hand reaching up to brush a stray lock out from his eyes. She doesn't uncover his little secret by moving away too much. It was more just a comforting gesture. She then presses a lightened kiss to his forehead.

When Sanel asks if they can leave, she smiles warmly, that motherly instinct continuing to take over, "Of course. You must be hungry. Let's move on, I owe a Templar a good meal.. and my time." As she draws away from his embrace, she entwines one of her hands in his, interlocking her fingers. And then she'd walk on, only sparing the grave one last look, over her shoulder. Her smile.. sad, once Sanel cannot see it.

This scene contained 16 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Sanel, Alma Hyral