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Tea Time on the Stormship
(2013-05-27 - 2013-05-28)
No description.
Artyom W. Valodjn Things have been busy on the Ame-no-Torifune as of late. Old faces have been leaving, new faces have been arriving, and entire sections of the ship have been renovated to accomodate burgeoning new divisions of the Murasame Zaibatsu. But it seems that at least one thing will never truly change: the presence of one Artyom W. Valodjn, stoic and quiet as always.

And today, he has done as he has always done after others have gone off on operations: Artyom has prepared evening tea.

He rests his massive bulk in a small couch that is, for the Titan, something that is closer to an armchair. He's not wearing any armor today- just a clean, white, linen shirt and a set of black pants. Other furniture wreathes a small coffee table, upon which are a small collection of objects: a porcelain teapot and tea set and a series of small metal dishes containing finely ground fruit, bark, leaf and nut. The teapot rests in a metal dish on a bed of fragrant, glowing coal. It- and the cups- have been emblazoned with three mountains in a neat triangle, inscribed in a tight ring.

Now, with tea brewing, Artyom waits for the others to arrive.
Helena Celba Helena walks into the meeting area of the Ame-no-Torifune.

There is something different about her...

Her headress is...certainly missing. Her hair is hidden by a towel, apparently she had just come out of a shower and her hair is currently drying. Her body is...also similarly covered by a towel, with a robe wrapped over that...but she keeps the front of it open. She is decent, barely, and she sits down on one of the smaller couches.

"Ah...perfect, I can smell it from here Artyom." best minion.

"It was at least somewhat fun to get all wet and messy...though I wish I could have gotten the chance to do it when I was off the clock." She pouts.
Minette Odam Another thing that never seems to change is Minette 'Wah-wah' Odam. She pushes the door open and half walks, half stumbles into the room.

Minette has been on the recieving end of a 'butt whooping'. She is battered, bruised, and bandaged. Her clothing is rent and torn, though that is no particular loss and her skirt at least is going to see life tomorrow after a somewhat generous application of needle and thread. Her left braid is all frazzled and the right one has come completely undone, the hair on that side of her head hanging loose in a strong fashion 'statement'. The statement is 'I just don't care'. Dragonius was, however, true to his word, and her glasses are completely untouched save for a fine layer of dust that pervades all that is Minette.

Nik is a bastard.

Minette, bleary-eyed and out of it, stumbles forwards without saying hello and flumps down into an armchair, sinking into it a moment later with a sound that's a mixture of relief at being off her aching feet and soreness at sitting on her aching butt. "...Dragonius is a buttface." She announces, sourly.
Artyom W. Valodjn There's something about living in the Ame no Torifune: Helena in provocative clothing gets to be just one of those things that happens every day. While Artyom isn't exactly used to seeing too many women lounging around in basically nothing, having Helba do it is just... Sort of homey, by now.

At least, there's a sense that he'd be doing a double take if Helena hadn't mentioned that she'd be in a towel over the radio.

"Miss Celba," Artyom inclines his head as she arrives. "I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your expedition. I've prepared some samples from Ivalice tonight- I'm curious as to how you find it--"

And then, there's a Minette.

Or, what's left of a Minette.

Artyom winces when the accountant arrives. "Oh, dear," the Titan frowns, "It seems you've had a rough day, mmn? Have you been able to see a healer yet?" She's certainly not been able to see a shower.

Funny. One of them has just got out of a shower, the other looks like she desperately needs one.

"Maybe I could do something about that dust, at least?"
Helena Celba Helena looks up at Minette...

"Oh you poor thing." She says, which you have to realize that Helena was hogging the hot water, hogging the bathroom, and hogging the towels.

"Come over, I'll heal you up..." And now, Helena is probably going to heal Minette.

If Minette allows it, the dark energy flows, knitting her body... however, whereever she heals, the flesh becomes...dry, blotted, grey...almost corpse-like. It'll heal back to normal over time...buuuut...

"That is delightful to hear Artyom," she says, healing or no, "Any particular samples, or just whatever you could fine?"
Minette Odam "M'good." Minette explains to Artyom by way of a reply. She points to the bandage on her cheek as 'proof'. Her head lulls to the side, sending the bells worked into her hair a-jingling. "Just need... a breather."

Her head lulls about towards Helena. And Minette, being Minette and possessing a certain lack of cooth, stares openly at the other woman's head. At the towel in particular. Minette has a working theory that Helena is actually a medusa and uses the headdress to hide the snakes. One quick tug would either prove or disprove the hypothosis for all time! No, wait, that's silly. She'd need to follow up the yank with a Dispel to get rid of any illusions as well. Clearly Helena is a wily and clever foe and Minette needs to stop hitting the painkillers so hard.
Artyom W. Valodjn "Most of it has been collected from various marketplaces around Mullonde and Rabanastre, but there are a few samples I've picked up in more esoteric locations." Artyom gestures to a deep, green grind, "This, for example, has been harvested from wild mint I've collected from the Ghost Woods, mixed with green tea."

Because haunted tea is the best tea!

"Most of the rest has been recommended to me by various members of the church, or by the merchants in Dalmasca. I'm fairly confident in most of it." Most of it, because Artyom hasn't actually sampled half of them. "I've determined a rather nice blend, too. It's currently brewing- should be done in a moment."

Artyom casts Minette a worried glance, and then breathes a sigh, "Well, if you are certain. Though perhaps you should get cleaned up once we are done here, mmn?"
Helena Celba "Interesting...very well, I look forward to this tea."

People have said they have seen Helena without the headdress..

However, you are sure you see something moving. She seems to pay it mo mind as she crosses her legs again, and takes out something to read. She looks up towards Minette again, eyeing her for a moment. " you say." She says, shaking her head. Well, let Minette be like this. She will return to normalish eventually...or she could just steal her glasses for a few days to cause her some interesting suffering...

The thought causes a smile to cross her lips.

" least someone is holding their weight around here besides myself, and Master Murasame, Artyom."
Minette Odam "I'll get cleaned up... but after I've handled the WENUS." Minette replies. She reaches forwards towards the decorative bowl and dips her finger in the finely ground fruit, back, leaf, and nut blend. She lifts the finger up to her nose and gives it an experimental sniff. Aw, that's a happy-thought smell. A thought crosses her mind, but she attempts to force it down.

"Aw, thank you Helena. That means a lot to me coming from you." Minette replies with a degree of ignorant contentment. Well, that's... that's something. Minette can't force down her curiousity. When she's certain that neither Artyom or Helena are paying attention, she 'subtly' raises her finger to her mouth and tastes the powder.

It tastes about as bad as you'd expect it to. Curiousity sated. Blech.
Artyom W. Valodjn Damnit Minette, you do not eat raw tea. That is just all kinds of bad idea. It will make your mouth taste of bitterness for weeks.

"Good," Artyom replies with a reserved nod- without quite looking in her direction to notice that she'd actually ingested raw tea. "You do need to take better care of yourself, Minette." And don't eat tea that might contain Haunted Mint!

It's about then that the teapot begins to whine. Artyom gingerly lifts the pot from its coals and pours its contents out into the cups nearby. It smells-- well, it smells very similar to what Minette had sniffed, but with a slightly (ghostlier) mintier aroma. The steam does not swirl into the faces of the spectral dead- that would be silly. "I do my best where I can, Helena. Fortunately, that seems to have been more than sufficient for now."
Helena Celba "Wait...did you say Wild mint grown in the ghost woods?" Helena asks...

"Interesting...I am sure a little to tea would not create any harmful effects." She says, flipping a page...if she noticed Minette, she didn't say anything.

"I hear that eating it raw can, however, bring you closer to the spirit in, might make you temporarily in a state resembling death...and if you are killed in the spirit world..." she trails off. "Must just be stories, these people are so backwards sometimes.." She says, with a slight grin, looking up at Minette, "Huh? Oh yeah, sure, whatever you say Minette." What was she thanking her for again?
Minette Odam Minette's mouth slllloooowwwwwwwwly curls downwards into a frown. She gulps, a sound like 'ghurk' becuase that stuff was bitter as all get out. She picks up her cup and drinks from it, stoney-faced, appearently ignorant to the fact that it is really, really hot and probably just burned her tongue. "There are a lot of people that believe a lot of strange things." She concludes, agreeing with Helena is a way to serious, straight-faced way.
Artyom W. Valodjn Somehow, the tea is itself not extravagently bitter- and is actually rather flavorful! This is because consuming brewed tea is not in fact equivalent to sticking pieces of raw brewery right into your mouth. It may also be because Artyom had mixed the tea before brewing it.

"Mmn. Wild mint grown in the ghost woods, indeed." Artyom says with a slight chuckle, "I'd heard you were coming to join us for tea, so I decided that tonight was a good time to try brewing it." Because Helena is a necromancer. "I've heard that it can lift a man's spirits, or even imbue the imbiber with memories, dreams and nightmares of the souls that have fed the plants," Artyom rumbles with all the graveness of a man telling a ghost story, "Others have told me that drinking such tea can improve one's spiritual sensitivity, while also exposing them to whispers from beyond as they sleep. Of course, I'm sure that's all just rumor."

Minette Odam "I-I met a man once that said that ringing bells wards off evil." Minette adds to the conversation. She picks up her free-hanging hair and gives it a few good shakes, setting the bells worked into it a-jingling again. Minette then glances in Helena's direction for several seconds, before looking back to Frank. "But I don't think it works, though. No empirical data so far." Jingle, jingle.
Helena Celba Helena takes some of the tea and takes a long sip. She thinks about the flavor for a moment, then taking a dabble of honey and placing it into the tea then stirring.. Another sip.

Hmm...something is missing, but what? Something could make this perfect...but /what/.

Distracted, she ignores Minette's little show, and then looks up at Frank, "It is interesting, the story is too. Though I doubt anything will come of it...probably just old wives tales." She comments.

"Also a ward does not necissarily work if the creature in question is stronger than the ward you are trying to use." She says, looking right at Minette.

Minette Odam "I hope so." Minette replies. "The last thing I need is more bad dreams. I get little enough sleep lately as it is." She sighs. "I can't get used to sleeping on this ship. It's too... too..." She waves a hand about, hunting for the right word.
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom takes a moment to add a dash of cinnammon to his own brew. No tea is perfect in absolute terms. Everyone has their own particular preferences, adding more or less cream, sugar, what have you. Artyom likes his tea more or less straight and slightly spiced, with a dash of goat milk.

Just like his grandmother* used to make!

"Mmn. Wards are by their nature tied to several factors: The material utilized, the personal power of the ones who establishes and maintains them, and the arrangement of similar or complementary wards in a particular cluster." Artyom lightly sips from his tea. Mm- heat. "Bells can drive away certain evil spirits, however. Particularly ones prefer to lurk in silence. Some vile wind-wraiths and killing gales can be driven away by a proper bell-ward, for instance. Or by making noise in general."

(*Brunhild Valodjn was renowned for her peculiar taste for tea, her phenomenally cubic dimensions late in her life, and her very distinctive voice, which could, if pressed, shatter glass at twenty meters)
Helena Celba MILK!

Helena puts in a bit of milk and stirs it up.


Hmm...that is good, but it could be better!

A sprinkle of cinnamon...


"Perfect!" she declares, and sits back in her towel and relaxes. Mmm...very relaxing. She could just go to sleep like this. Well, she might be too heavily clothed for bed. The feel of her silk sheets won't carress her skin this way.

"Good man." She says to Artyom. "Yes, this is true, but I find that this is less of the power of the items, and more representing the bane of the spirits involved. This is often depending on if they are a natural spirit, or a spirit created by a restless soul..." she says, thinking about this.

"Spirit banes are rather interesting, and sometimes not what you'd expect."
Minette Odam Minette doesn't find the word she's looking for, but she does laugh. It's an ugly snorting sound that implies that she's got a clogged nose even though she doesn't. "Killing gales warded away by bells? On Leviathan, we have a saying. 'The wind and weather is always on the side of the ablest navigators.' Wards for wind... ha ha ha..."

Minette refills her cup. She then picks up the spoon, dips it into the sugar caddy, and dumps an overfull helping into her cup. And then a second. And a third. And a fourth. And a fifth. She stirs for a moment, sips, then after a moment's consideration, adds a sixth spoonful. She considers adding another, but doesn't want to appear crass in front of the others.
Artyom W. Valodjn "Mmn. As holy symbols might ward off a demon attuned to their opposite, or how trees wrapped in blessed rope can seal and appease an angry elemental. Or how crystals, lamps and mirrors can contain a shade. Speaking of which, I believe that you were looking for a particular hateful Shadow, Helba--" Artyom rumbles. "I believe that we could probably find one in the same woods as this mint. The last time I had visited, the spirits there had been driven back by the creautre I was pursuing. But it is no longer residing in that forest. I could probably acquire containment wards from my contacts in Mullonde, as well."

Artyom shrugs, "Just a thought, but bringing business into pleasure is perhaps a bit improper."

And then he turns to look toward Minette. Artyom just sort of... Frowns. And then frowns deeper as she shovels in more and more and more sugar. "Minette..." The Titan sighs, "You do know that water can only suspend so much sugar, yes? Adding that much will just... sludge up."
Minette Odam "Yeah, it's great, isn't it?" Minette replies. "Like a milkshake, only hot!"
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom just sets his tea on the table, and then buries his face in his hands, "Minette..."
Helena Celba Helena nods once...

"Then I guess we should start there Artyom," She says, and nods again, "Yes...lets enjoy this and engage in intellectual persuits..." She says, before...

Staring right towards Minette. She just stares as she watches this abuse of Tea. She takes a sip, once and...

"...You are uncouth.:
Minette Odam "I am /not/ uncouth." Minette declares, as she sits in an upholstered chair, covered in blood and dust, drinking a cup of tea that she's poured what is realistically ten spoonfulls of sugar into. She sips her tea.

Artyom W. Valodjn "Mmn, tea is for relaxing and philosophizing," Artyom agrees, "Not for business. Not usually." Unless business involves philosophizing or intellectualizing- or negotiating a contract. But that's mostly Souji's thing- and Minette's, to a lesser degree.

'Lesser' because Minette does not know how to drink tea. "Just a bit of a barbarian," Artyom rumbles. "Just a little bit."

He sips, sighs, and reclines into his chair. "You'll die of some kind of kidney disease, or something."
Minette Odam "B-barbarian?!" Minette squeaks. "N-not you too, Artyom!" The calculator makes a plaintive sound not unlike a sheep bleating mournfully. "I thought I could rely on you, Artyom! I was wrong, I was horribly, horribly wrong!" She doesn't mention anything about death by kidney failure; she's 17, clearly that's like forever away off and thus not a relevant life factor.
Helena Celba Helena shakes her head.

"A double barbarian," she says. She takes another sip of her tea, handling it with perfect grace. Finally, she finishes it, and places the cup down. She proceeds to fix another cup.

"I agree, Artyom. So what do you think about the Alma situation? While it is dangerously close to buisness, I think that the philisophical complications of her departure are important for future employments."

"Do not blame Artyom for your own failings, Minette, you refuse to change them. You. Do not get upset when people call you on them."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Mmn, I cannot defend how you drink your tea, Minette. You overwhelm the flavor of the tincture by shoveling in enough sugar to bake a small cake. It's disrespectful to the brew- additives must complement the flavor, not utterly destroy it." Artyom W. Valodjn: Tea Connoisseur. "Perhaps you aught to learn to appreciate tea for what it is, mmn?"

And then the topic turns to Alma.

Artyom shrugs. "Hrmn. Hard to say. I do agree that companies- particular those as prestigious as the Zaibatsu- aught to maintain certain dignified standards. Certainly, holding lives hostage for the sake of science is questionable, if there is no direct long-term benefit. Extreme exploitation is out of the question- it is, in the end, damaging to the company name, its reputation, and its potential for future profit. However, the situation with Alma is... murky, and I do not claim to know all the details. She has gone on her way, and Souji has his reasons."

"As his retainer," (read: Butler/Bodyguard), "I will stand by his decisions."
Minette Odam "There is not such thing as a double barbarian." Minette insists. "That isn't a thing that happens. You either are a barbarian or you aren't, you can't be a double barbarian." She sticks her tounge out at Helena to prove a point. And then she replies to Frank, somewhat sourly, "Why should I appreciate the tea for what it is when people don't appreciate me for what I am?"

Thankfully, the topic turns to Alma.

"Eh? That doesn't sound like something we'd do." Minette replies. "I mean, the authorities would fall on us like behemoth tripping down a mountain, we can't afford that kind of political and economic backlash. The legal fees alone, oh! No, Mr. Murasame is smarter then that. I think things have been blown out of proportion here." She sighs. "I mean, I'm kind of sad to see Frumpypants go, but I guess that's how things go. I was really getting used to not having to walk to the commissary in my pajamas in the morning." Other people were, too. "Maybe I could budget for a new intern..."
Helena Celba "You are the first double barbarian.." Helena says, and listens...mmmm...

She files that away for later.

"I do not think the situation here is as clear and cut. First, I think here that Alma...and her WAYS of her faith probably encroched upon how Dr. Feige handles herself...she pushed with her Cosma spouting lecturing...and she wasn't having ANY of that...and I can not BLAME her. We've all been on that side of Alma...breakfast or not, I am sick of being manipulated for her thrills." She says, frankly.

"Besides I doubt Feige actually has the power, probably was a bluff or a idle threat....and even it was not. Plausable deniabilty. We can easily deny deny deny." she says with a nod.

"Oooo! That would be a grand idea...we need someone who is a hunk...and of course, someone with great cooking skill...and maybe nice firm hands for massages.."
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom does not think about how Helena just described Artyom as an Intern. Because that way lies madness.

"Mmn, Souji would not do such a thing, I think. He would go to great extremes for the good of this company, but I believe he would attempt to find alternatives before executing such a plan." the Titan shrugs, "Even if we had anything on hand that could act as a hostage, I doubt he would actually order their death. Would give up an advantage, mmn?"

"I do think that Feige is a bit... Mm. Perhaps a bit too gung-ho, yes? Not like that new gentleman. He seems much more reasonable. Or at least, less... Cackly."

Artyom has heard Feige cackle. It is not a pleasant sound.

"As for Alma's faith," he rumbles, "It's not that bad. Honestly, whatever her beliefs are, they are her own to hold. If she wishes to share them with others, that is also her decision. In my opinion, it is only a problem if it does not interfere with the company's long-term well being. In such cases that reconciling work and faith are impossible, then it is right for her to choose to depart. I hold no grudges- and I believe that she is too... innocent, to manipulate for her own entertainment."

He considers his tea, then, "Perhaps I should have baked cookies to go with this."
Minette Odam Minette's face brightens up, that means she's got something that she thinks is /really clever/ to say. She turns towards Helena and says, conspiratorially, "So I guess that leaves out Kyra, right?" She looks around for approval. "Right? Right?"

She sits back in her chair, she didn't realize she was leaning forwards. "Feige is an outsider." She declares, as if it were some great secret. "Outsiders are strange. They do strange things."

"Aw, what the what? We could have had cookies, too?"
Artyom W. Valodjn "Mmn," Artyom nods, "I have a recipe for snickerdoodles." Pause. "Incidentally, Minette, I do not mind your hobbies. I just do not share them, so it is difficult for me to... appreciate them, is all." Helba probably just doesn't care.

Artyom W. Valodjn "Perhaps I should make them in the morning," Artyom suggests, helpfully!
Helena Celba "Scones." Helena says, not giving and <GOOSEHONK>s.

Especially what Minette wants. "Hey! HEY!" she says, "DO I need to do more SENSITIVITY training?! Do I? I don't like it anymore than you, so this is why we need to be SENSITIVE of other people's cultures! Mad scientist is a PROUD culture that you SHOULD respect.."

"You racist."
Minette Odam "That's not a culture." Minette corrects, flatly. "It's a job."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Pretty sure Mad Scientist is a profession- not necessarily a culture," Artyom shrugs, sipping at his tea. "Though there are such things as Professional Cultures and so on, so I apologize if I offend. However, it is my opinion that she is a bit too gung-ho, and can likely afford to tune it down slightly. This is likely because I am a relatively... subdued individual, myself."

"Besides, didn't you just say something about the Cosma-worshipping culture?"
Helena Celba "Cosma is a religion, I do not see anything in the rules about respecting cult-like religions!" Helena says, crossing her arms. "Also, mad science is TOTALLY a culture in this world. Professor Mister Green apparently went to join it."
Artyom W. Valodjn "I'm not sure he 'joined' anything. I am relatively sure that he is still in an ancient mine shaft, attempting to make a machine work, and wondering where his assignments are." Artyom pauses." I do hope he hasn't misplaced his mailbox. I have been sending in my required workload."
Minette Odam "That isn't a culture. That's a lifestyle choice." Minette counters, though her words sound feeble even to herself. "...a strange one. And anyway, I don't think Cosma worship is like a cult. I mean, cults are like... bad things, and churches are like... good things. Right? That's how it goes, otherwise cults would be churches and churches would be cults. That just makes sense."

"Wait, what the what? We're still responcible for schoolwork even after the world's blown up?" This comes as a shock to Minette. Her tone is a mixture of surprise, awe, and base animialistic terror.
Artyom W. Valodjn "I have been keeping up with curriculum as best as I am able," Artyom replies with a slight- perhaps even defeated- shrug. "We have not heard from the professor in months now, though. So I am unsure."

"Also," he notes, "Cosma-worship was not something I regarded as a cult prior to the fall of our world, and I do not believe we should do so now." There's a long pause where Artyom is only staring into his cup. "All the Hyrals are connected to that faith, you know. I do not think Souji believes them to be a cult, at least."
Helena Celba "The difference between a church and a cult is the size." Helena says, with a small nod.

"Well, all I have to say is...Kyra is much more independant and self assured. When she FIRST got to the academy...well, she was...timid, shy, afraid.." she says, "Though not as insufferable. The more she realized that the cult doesn't apply to everyday life..." She waves a hand.

"When Alma couldn't handle the fact that reality wasn't to her parents designs...she was taken back."

"If it warks like a chocobo.."

"And yes, we are. I have turned in my last assignment and am about to finish the next.." she pauses, "And you can't copy mine."
Minette Odam "Awww, /sharkfarts/." Minette exclaims. "Oh maaaaaaaaan, I have /so/ much catching up to doooooooo. Do you think I can get credits for all the various things I've been doing? Like... helping run a multi-billion dollar cross-dimensional company... that's at least like, a home-ec credit, right?" Minette rubs one foot against the other, betraying her nervousness.

"A-anyway... I don't really see them as a cult. I mean, Cosma exsists, so there's something to all of that, right? It just makes sense."
Helena Celba "But Chaos worshipers are cultists." Helena points out, "Why shouldn't Cosma worshipers be called the same...given their..." She waves a hand, "Extremes."
Minette Odam "Because... Chaos tried to destroy everything and Cosma created everything?" Minette replies. "I mean, this is all pretty straight forward. Anyone worshipping Chaos prrrrrobably wants to destroy the world and that's, like, bad." A pause. "Destroy it again." Another pause. "Can you destroy something twice?"
Artyom W. Valodjn "The only gods I know exist are the ones that Dragonius can summon- and the Originals." Artyom says with a soft grunt. "But if there is a Cosma, she seems very similar to many other monotheistic entities throughout the World of Ruin and these other planes. So perhaps there is a figure that we call 'Cosma?' I would not call it out of the question."

"Ultimately, we argue semantics," Artyom rumbles at last. "It has to do with conoitation. The world 'cult' is attached to many negative organizations. The word 'church' is attached to more positive ones, typically. Since Cosma's faith acts in manners that are more benign, I tend to refer to them as 'church' or 'faith' in conversation, though their size technically- currently- makes them a cult. Likewise, I call Chaos Worshippers a 'cult,' because they tend to worship an entity that does awful, awful things."

"I believe you can destroy something twice," a slight smirk appears on Artyom's lips, "If you can also be a Double Barbarian."
Minette Odam "So then, 'no'." Minette concludes with a contrite little 'neener-neener-neener' smile on her face.
Helena Celba "You can, and /are/." Helena says, "Also, Chaos and cosma represent two forces in existance...not all Chaos worshipers want to destroy /everything/ nor do all Cosma believe in protecting all life..just what they want for their own motivations."

"You say it focuses on good traits...tell me, would you consider Cid a good person? Does he not have many good and positive traits...sure he has his flaws, but he has many traits in common with you Artyom." she says, "To Cosma, he is a magic is evil to them. Summoning the second gods too.." She waves a hand.

"Power is dangerous to Cosma, even if it is power taken with your own two hands...mastered as such."
Minette Odam "I am NOT a barbarian!" Minette insists with such vigor that she shakes her arms and slops a generous amount of her cup's contents into her lap. She goes 'KYAA!' but in surprise, not pain, because her tea's lone since gone 'warm' instead of 'scalding'. "Oooooh, fooey, fooey, fooey..."
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom shrugs, "I am not an adherent of Cosma, however I do know that their doctrine is such that power, when collected unnecessarily, can become harmful. This much is undeniable. Collecting power when that power is not strictly needed can lead to accumulating power for power's own sake." He drains the rest of his cup with a rather pleased sigh, before continuing. "That is something I can agree with. Power must come hand in hand with responsibility. It must be treated with gravitas and must always be controlled, lest it control the wielder."

And then Minette spills tea on herself. Artyom moves to deal with the burn-- Only to notice that Minette is not, in fact, writhing in pain. He blinks, then settles back down. "Shall I pour you another cup, Minette? This time, with less sugar."

"Then you will no longer be a double barbarian."

He glances back toward Helba, "Cosma does, however, promote things such as charity and generosity, which are surely positive qualities. Though both can be... dangerous, in business- unless used wisely. That is Business, mmn? It is the art of wielding and accumulating power, being in control of it at all times, no matter how amorphous and immense that power might become. Otherwise, if the business controls the businessman, and he loses sight of the future, that business is sure to fail, and all that power is for naught."

"I trust Souji partly because he can control himself- and his business. Nevermind all other reasons."
Helena Celba "My devotion to Master Murasame is unshakable." Helena says, though it is probably questionable to those who do not know her...or her story well. She is a ward of the Murasame family, she has known Souji most of her life, and despite her whimsy, does not actively hurt the company...well, in meaningful ways.

"Cosma promotes dependance on others, and weakens independance...they attack power, or collecting it. Those who can not control power, will find themselves destroyed by it. They fear anything they can not control specifically."
Minette Odam Minette looks down at herself and the spill; now it kind of looks like she wet herself. She inhales and lets out a long siiiiiiiiiigh of resignation. After a moment's consideration, she holds out her cup for a refill. "I'm putting as much sugar as I want in it." She insists, voice stubborn. "And it still doesn't make me a barbarian."

Cup filled, Minette reaches for the sugar caddy again. "Business is about making some numbers get large and other numbers get smaller. That's all." She manages a small, contented smile at the least. "I'm good at business."
Artyom W. Valodjn "I do not question anyone's loyalty," Artyom says with quiet gravity, "I only say what I've experienced and seen. I am not saying that Cosma is the ultimate faith, that we should all become mewling kittens. There are things in the dark that will only flee before a strong arm and a stronger will. But the point remains, mmn? Generosity is not a bad thing, necessarily."

Pause. Artyom fills Minette's cup, and then she goes to fill her cup with yet more sugar. Damnit Minette. "Minette. You truly are a barbarian, mmn? Business is also about making connections with others, yes? And improvising in unexpected situations.

However, Artyom's sugar caddy is... Small. Enough to accomodate several people, but not enough to supply a sweet tooth's terrible diet. Minette would find that the sugar inside is probably insufficient to sate her need.
Helena Celba "Running a buisness is just everybit as running a country or a military. The principles are similar...Diplomacy, shrewdness...not just being good with numbers or a balanced budget. We are all pieces that makes the Murasame organization function...even in this new world."

"Take...our double barbarian for example of my point. She has many flaws...underdeveloped, flat chest, no rear...she has a nice face, hidden behind a pair of glasses used for keeping things sealed...and dresses in fassions out of Shiva.." She rolls her eyes.

"People tell her it is just fine...that she should be whatever it is she wants to be...they don't challenge her to be poor Minette falls into the pit of thinking this is the best she can do for herself...constantly looked over and best."

"Mocked and humiliated at worse. She has a impressive skill with numbers...but who cares about that? Master Murasame, sure..."

"This is what Cosma's doctrines leave. A society that tells you it is alright to be you...while isolates you for being different."
Minette Odam "Well you're an intolerant jerkyface." Minette replies petulantly. No one likes being called a barbarian. Even if they are. /Especially/ if they are. Minette starts spooning sugar into her cup. And then the spoon starts making scraping noises on the inside of the caddy as she tries to get at the dregs underneath.

"I do not dress like a Shivan." Minette replies, continuing her petulance. "Look, no fur anywhere." Hmmmm, fur lining on her collar, though... no, then she'd get laughed at for doing a thing she said she didn't do. Sharkfarts! "A-anyway... that's not even true at all! No one tells me that I'm fine the way I am. It's always, 'augh, you should wear different clothes, Minette' or, 'augh, you shouldn't put so much sugar in your tea, Minette', or 'augh, you shouldn't pick your n--'" Awkward silence. "You get the idea! Everyone's always telling me I'm no good as I am, that I should be something different or better."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Mmn. You seem to have many problems with the Cosma faith," Artyom rumbles meaningully toward his teacup. He refills it after a moment, before seasoning it as per his usual preferences. "Mmn. I sense that this might go beyond simple disagreement with their dogma, and also that it is unlikely this will be resolved any time soon. I do agree that their faith has problems- all faiths do. There is nothing wrong with adhering to it, though, as long as one also has the wisdom to accept other ideas, yes?"

Minette. Poor barbaric Minette. "Well," Artyom starts, "Honestly, it's not that you're bad. You are very good at your job. It's just that you are... You lack a good deal of common sense. And quite a few social skills. This is a fault- recognizing it is the first step in improving on it. However, if you do not want to, that is also your perogative. Regardless, so long as you are in this company, you are a comrade, and I will treat you as such."

"Even if you are a Double Barbarian," Artyom says, as he sips from his teacup.
Helena Celba "Nothing comes without have to be willing to move and flow to get what you want." Helena says, "Love is not a game where you can afford to be static...but alas.." She waves her hand at Minette..

"I fear being such a double barbarian...with fur around the collar.." She says, with a grin. "Will only isolate you more."

"I do not mock you because I need to make myself feel better...I already feel plenty great. I got a nice body, large perky breats, and long beautiful hair and smooth skin..." She says, with a grin, "Boys are not difficult.."
Minette Odam "Boys are /super/ difficult." Minette insists, dodging the issue at hand. She turns towards Frank, her bespectacled gaze sudden and insistant. "Artyom, confirm. Boys, difficult. Yes/no?!" She leans forwards, expectantly.
Artyom W. Valodjn "We can be difficult," Artyom says with a shrug. "Depends. Most guys my age can be... Easily distracted by a short skirt, or a hint of lingerie. But I like to think that the ones who are worthwhile are not so easy to fool, mmn?"


"There's nothing wrong with having fur around the collar. I have a jacket with a furred collar. Had. Lost it in the Fall. Used to use it to climb particularly tall and cold peaks." Artyom sighs wistfully after his long lost coat.

"Anyway, Helba, what will you do when your beauty starts to falter? I suppose you have magic for that?"
Minette Odam "Ah, ah, ah!" Minette replies, looking at Helena but pointing at Artyom. "See, see! Difficult! I asked him to help me and he messed it up! Difficult!"
Helena Celba Helena grins a little at Artyom.

"A girl has to keep her secrets.." She says, with a hint of playfulness.

"Oh...are you?" She says, in a wondering way, she says, slowly letting her towel crack...just a little, "So you are saying, Mr. Valodjn...if I offered you a night with me, you'd turn me down?" she says, stretching a leg out."

"It is not a matter of is all about accepting mutual desires."
Minette Odam "Is that a fancy way of saying 'by being easy'?" Minette asks, suspiciously, because she has no tact.
Helena Celba "I accept that I love pleasures of the flesh...but I do not just take ANYONE..." Helena says with a grin, "Because gods above know I could have taken you several hundred times by now."
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom frowns, "Please, I'm not exactly your average sort of guy." He glances toward Helba, and then shrugs, "Yes, probably. But not for the reason you might think." Artyom drains a bit of tea from the top of his cup with a long breath.

"I try to avoid having any... relations with those within the Zaibatsu. It's nothing personal, just policy."
Helena Celba "Oh that's fine...I don't want relations either." Helena says towards Artyom, "Those get in the way of /fun/." She says, with a giggle... "A single night is hardly a relationship...but something we both could use." She still offers...and looks at Minette.

"How long has it even been for you, Minette?"
Minette Odam "That isn't any of your business." Minette insists. Which is teenager code-speak for 'I've never had sex and I don't want to admit it in front of people that have'. "Godsssssss, besides, Artyom is /right there/." She gestures towards the man-mountain.
Helena Celba "So?" Helena asks, "I mean, maybe I could talk him into a threesome.." She offers, with a wry grin.
Minette Odam "But I don't want to." Minette replies. "Not with him... /or/ with you."
Helena Celba "Can you afford to be so...picky?" Helena counters, "I seem to not know what it is you are missing.." She titters.
Minette Odam "That isn't being picky at all." Minette insists, face reddening a little.
Artyom W. Valodjn "'Relations' being a word for 'sexual intercourse or romance of any kind.'" Artyom clarifies, quirking a wary eyebrow toward Helena. He frowns incredibly deeply. "Besides, I'm not the kind of guy for a casual fling, you know?"
Helena Celba "That is totally being picky.." She says, sliding the robe a bit looser. "You should learn to /relax/ and enjoy life how it comes." She says, "Ms. Plainpants." She says, and looks at Art, "Siiiigh, such a stick in the mud Frank. Come on, it's not like you're dating anyone."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Yet." Artyom gives Helena a Look, before sipping from his teacup. "Incidentally, I am not a stick in the mud."


"Not much of a stick in the mud."
Minette Odam "Ms. Plainpants?" Minette asks, folding her arms. "That's the best you can do? That's really the best that you can do with that? Do you know what I've gotten? First I was 'Flatsy Patsy' because I had a flat chest and I hung around with Mr. Murasame a lot. Then it was 'Splatsy Patsy' after I fell on my face in the middle of class. And then people I didn't know well started thinking my name /was/ Patsy, so people were calling me 'Patsy' to be friendly. Dork, dweeb, nerd, loser, brown-noser, hot d--" A pause, Minette's face reddens. "Not repeating that one. Where'd I leave off? Oh, right, 'Poor Girl', Poverty Princess, then they just shortened it to 'Princess', and my personal favorite, 'Noone'. And the best /you/ can do is 'Ms. Plainpants'?

Minette declares, in a matter-of-fact tone, "Lacking in creativity."
Helena Celba Helena sighs, this is going no where...and Minette is getting uppity.

She leans over, staring right into the eyes of Minette, the expression is...for a moment completely emotionless. It is like the mask of hedonism is gone, and all you have is a woman without anything. "I do not expect you to be intelligent enough to follow my logic...though I hopped in your small narrow mind that you'd get it...I was asking too much apparently."

"I was making fun of your own lack of imagination by using one of your stupid little insults and turning it towards you, it was in an attempt to be playful...but such was the limit of my patience."

"But if you insist, I shall call you what you are, a Pirate's dream."
Minette Odam Minette is the worst kind of Levitani... an /uppity/ Levitani.

"I don't call Alma 'Frumpypants' to insult her. It's a cutesy nickname." She meets Helena's gaze head-on and, in a very dignified and mature fashion, sticks her tongue out and blows a raspberry. "Thhhbbbbbbbbbbbt!!!" A little bit of spittle probably gets on Helena's face. And then she folds her arms and turns away, huffily.

This may be a good time for Frank to seperate the two.
Helena Celba Helena swiftly does something unexpected.

When Minette rasberries...

Helena grabs her tongue sharply.

"Be careful that you do not stick that out at me unless you intend to either use it...or lose it. I could always use the tongue of a sassy Pirates's dream..."

"Or do yo not get it. I refer to your /sunken chest/."

"Now do you intend to use it...or lose it."
Artyom W. Valodjn Man, Artyom thinks, this poor girl has sure as hell been through a lot of awful GOOSEHONK, hasn't she? An ember burns in his heart- pity, maybe. A bit more respect than he once had for her. Artyom says nothing as she speaks, and instead turns his attention toward drinking his tea.

And then Helena does... Something. Artyom can't tell, really- but things have chilled very, very quickly. It may in fact be going south quickly and--

Yep! Yep, there it is. There's the southward trend that damn near anyone could have seen coming. Kind of. In some form. It's right around when Minette raspberries all over Helba's freshly-washed face.

In Artyom's mind's eye, there are two buttons. One could lead to a magnificent catfight in which Helena would probably lose her towel and Minette would end up buried upside down in a trash can. If he records it, he could make so much money.

The other option is--

Oh, well.

The Mountain Rises.

Artyom reaches, and quite gently takes Helena's extended wrist in his frankly tremendous hands. "Helba, you know she is... Excitable. Confrontational. This is the person who thought it was a good idea to challenge Dragonius to personal combat. I am certain that she will retreat to her room and spend the rest of the evening cleaning herself and shamefully burying her face into her pillow for earning your animosity."

"Please release her tongue, Helena Celba."
Minette Odam Minette, caught unexpectedly, pinwheels her arms in the air, says something that's unintelligibly garbled due to the fact that some jerkyface is holding her tongue, and then counter-attacks(?) by grabbing for Helena's hair. Towel be damned! This isn't going to be a fight, it's going to be a petty, childish slapfight. Minette says something long and possibly vitriolic, it's difficult to say because it all comes out in a garbled, unintelligible mess, because some jerkyface is grabbing her tongue. It sounded perfectly hostile. Something about 'pirate's dream' and 'on Leviathan', maybe.

The Mountain Rises.

Minette stops fighting and talking, staring up at Artyom. This is something of a challenge, considering that some jerkyface is still holding her tongue, but Minette still manages to look sheepish and shamefaced.
Helena Celba Helena's hair towel is knocked off. Her hair is is not a bunch of snakes, but a fine long strand of white hair. She is...

She is an albino.

However, she doesn't flinch, instead clamps down on her tongue a bit more...

Then the mountain.

"Very well, Artyom." She says, and lets go.
Artyom W. Valodjn "Thank you," Artyom rumbles, releasing Helena's hand as gently as he had taken it. And then he shoots Minette a Look.

It's a Look that Artyom does not use very often. It's the 'For the Love of All the Gods And Your Own Good, Please Shut Your Mouth' look.

"Minette," he says after a moment, "I believe we need to speak privately. Soon." And then, Artyom sinks back into his couch/chair, and refills his drink. "Mmn. But for now, there is tea."
Helena Celba Helena grabs her missing towel, and starts to comb her hair.

She stands, "I will come back for some later.." She says, "I need to dress. Thanks for the tea."
Minette Odam Minette clams up instantly. Because there's three rules that everyone should live by. 1. You don't tug on Bahamut's tail. 2. You don't piss into the wind. 3. You don't pull the mask off ol' Dragoon Man, and 4. You don't mess around with Frank. "We'll talk tomorrow." Minette replies. "I've gotta go get cleaned up and handle the wenus." And then she stands and leaves. She takes a different door from Helena. That's probably for the best.
Artyom W. Valodjn "You're quite welcome," Artyom replies. "Thank you for both coming to join me," and- it goes unsaid- for not tearing each other's faces off and leaving poor Frank to explain to Souji why he's down both a secretary and an accountant.

Artyom peers curiously at the Ghost Mint, and wonders if those stories of the herb serving to cool the passions are true.

Nah, probably just old wives tails and tribal medicine.

This scene contained 84 poses. The players who were present were: Artyom W. Valodjn, Helena Celba, Minette Odam