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No title.
(2013-05-28 - 2013-05-28)
No description.
Alma Hyral Paying their way to Archades wasn't actually all that expensive.

Kyra and Alma could comfortably afford passage to the /Lower/ district of the seat of the Archadian Empire. What they were seeking was a more permanent residence. And that required more munny they currently had.. Alma was currently performing the time-honored fantasy character tradition of taking on a half-dozen fetch sidequests, while working odd jobs on the side.

Today? That meant that she was a short-order cook for a small cafe in Costa Del Sol. Given the current state of her wardrobe, or lack thereof, she was wearing the white dress Seloria had made for her with a yellow apron slung over her neck and tied around at the waist. Her hair was bound up tightly in a bun as she all but danced around the kitchen, humming a sappy love song. She was going off the menu as a /guideline/ but today she was throwing in her own little creative touches which made the food taste better than it had ever been to the regulars. Already she'd received several compliments about the quality of her cooking, which always brought a flush of pleasure to her cheeks.

It was going to be a good day...
Illua Oh no it isn't.

Looking quite significantly overdressed for the occasion, a woman is sat at one of the tables, and she has a book and a sword. And she hasn't ordered anything yet, either.

This took quite some effort to pull off, as following this particular girl on a mad chase all across the place was hardly an elegant use of one's time. And now the girl is acting as... a short order cook. But she had the resources, so all it really needed was co-ordination.

Illua has been monitoring the rate and pattern of who is cooking what for some time now, and people are getting disgruntled that she hasn't ordered anything. Eventually, finally, she places an order- what she buys isn't relevant, but the fact that Alma is cooking it /is/.

Because when she gets it, she takes a few bites and tells them firmly but definitively that she would like to speak to the chef about this meal...
Alma Hyral A complaint or a compliment?

One of the servers came to the girl and told her that one of the guests wanted to speak to her about her meal.. So far all of the feedback had been positive, so she assumed it was a compliment. Since nothing was on the stove at the time, and lunch rush was over, she put down her spatula, hung back up the apron, and walked into the dining room of the cafe. Her gaze slowly travelled around the room, trying to figure out who it might have been without the server's aid. It fell squarely on Illua..

She didn't seem like the average patron of an establishment such as this one, and so the girl figured out instantly that it was probably her that had called her over.. But why did she have such a feeling of foreboding?

Approaching the table, she'd clasp her hands in front of her demurely, trying to smile her best smile as she tried /not/ to look at the woman's blade, her gaze downturned ever so slightly. After a short time, she spoke timidly, a stutter having crept into her voice from her anxiety, "H-Hello. My name is Alma H-Hyral. I'm the c-cook here today t-told that you wanted to s-speak to me about your m-m-meal?
Illua "No, that was a pretense."

Illua places a spoon to her bottom lip, and taps it for a moment. "I've called you over here to talk to you about an overall different thing."

"Alma Hyral."

She places the spoon down on the table, and waits, because having noticed her body language and her verbal anxiety she expects this will surprise her, and she'll need a moment to get over it. She remains impassive.

"Considering various extenuating factors, it's a surprise to find you working here, although it was a surprise to find you working in many of the previous places as well."

"I'll cut to the quick. I suppose you could call me something of a headhunter. My name is Illua, and I'd like to give you an offer to join an organization named Khamja."
Alma Hyral The girl lifts her chin ever so imperceptibly, but she still doesn't look up at the woman. Well this was a suprise! She didn't expect someone to try to recruit her however...

She really had no idea what Khamja was.

Some of the suprise actually crept out of her voice, as perhaps she was a bit flattered, "Well, I have a lot on my p-plate lately. My s-sister and I are m-moving. A f-friend of mine is starting up a new b-business which I'll be i-involved in.. and then I have a s-second job with S-Selly.. But tell me about K-Khamja. I-I've never heard of you, and I s-should at least hear you out."
Illua "We are a Clan," Illua says, the capital letter somehow audible.

"And to be perfectly honest, small-time bit roles shouldn't concern you. Other avenues are irrelevant, in fact."

She looks languidly around the room, and then speaks in a voice that is not exactly sotto voce, but neither is it shouting to the world either.

"We are a group that is interested in everything interesting, and everything profitable. Treasure, money, goods and services... moving things and people of interest, working one's way around otherwise troublesome authority measures, sending messages, getting people out of the way..."

"And information that is highly valued."

"We understand that you are a pioner of some rather interesting developments regarding world shards, and we would like a monopoly on that information in particular."
Alma Hyral "A clan?" She apparently didn't catch that it was capitalized. Her expression was puzzled, "I d-don't consider the interests of my f-friends and sister to be t-trivialities."

She'd lean in almost imperceptibly, listening, and while most people would describe her as naive, she still managed to pick up enough from her statements to understand one thing, the group was some sort of criminal organization.

When it came to her research though, she'd just smile at the woman, still speaking in a rather meek voice "I'm not s-sure Khamja would be a g-good fit for me. B-Besides, my r-research belongs to the w-world. I i-intend to just all the w-world shards back to p-people who will see their worlds r-responsibly restored, free of c-charge."
Illua "I see," Illua replies, a little too quickly. It's like she didn't even take the time to listen to that last bit, let alone consider it.

"I am sorry," she says, standing up immediately. "To have intruded upon your time."

And she leaves without a word, with the entire plate untouched. So too do several other seemingly unrelated individuals, who all stand up in unison and follow her out.

And that's all that happens.

Until closing time, anyway.
Alma Hyral She'd breathe out a sigh of relief, as she watched her leave. Well at least these people were reasonable. She was afraid they'd try to strongarm her into joining or something.. that was generally the way of the world with criminal organizations. She'd walk back into the kitchen, and started humming a tune as further orders came in.


It had been a long shift, but it had passed by quickly. The sun was dipping low over the horizon to represent that twilight had come. She hung up her apron, said her farewells to the other employees, got paid, since it was a one time only freelance job. Then she'd wrap her scarf around her neck.

She then left, slowly walking down the boardwalk towards the inn Seloria was staying at...
Illua Alma may not notice until too late that there is absolutely nobody else around.

Nobody else, of course, except Illua, who appears out of nowhere.

"Hello again, Alma Hyral."

"Have you taken some time to consider things, at all?" she asks, which is a rather unusual thing to say because that was a pretty unambiguous rejection she gave there.

Illua pauses a few seconds, standing absolutely motionless.
Alma Hyral The girl would pause in her step, readjusting her scarf self-consciously. When she looked back up, Illua was there.. If this were one of the vids back on Ramuha involving a menacing figure, she might have laughed at the theatrics.

In real life it was much more terrifying.

She'd take a step backwards, despite herself, nearly stumbling as one of her shoes touched down on the space between the wooden slats. And after recovering, would just look at Illua, stammering in response to her terror, "I h-hadn't given it any t-thought at all. I t-told you that I w-wasn't really i-i-interested. You l-left. I t-thought we were f-finished."

While she hated the Dungeoneering classes back in school, she did remember most of the lessons when it came to one matter... fleeing something that was beyond your ability to fight. And so she started looking out of the sides of periphery, searching for routes of egress. Or something she could improvise in a pinch if she needed to, from her environment. Sand was generally a good idea.. though running in a dress would make matters difficult. She discarded all the lessons that involved using the smaller, weaker, and most useless members of the party and knocking them down in the event of a Zombie horde attack. Since she tended to be all of the above, and alone, that made such lessons unpleasant and irrelevant.. her professor had been a thoroughly horrible person.
Illua "That's not what I meant."

"I said to you, in somewhat colourful terms, that Khamja is involved in smuggling, trafficking, evading the law, intimidation and assassination. I also told you that any other courses of action you had in mind were irrelevant compared to my offer. Thirdly, when I left, a significant amount of the other patrons left with me, which should have informed you that they were in my employ and that I have many individuals in my troupe. And fourth, you may notice that there is absolutely nobody else around."

She makes a gesture, and two individuals step out of the alleys- a Bangaa templar and a Viera red mage.

"Now, again I ask, have you considered things?"
Alma Hyral Two routes of egress closed.. which left one left.. it'd likely be guarded by someone unseen while they baited her into a trap.. It was a risk she had to take.

Oh yes, she was considering /things/. She just didn't know if the situation was desperate enough to try /things/. No, she'd better just stick with what the mundane.

She'd smile politely at Illua, though panic was starting to creep into her voice. "W-Well first, I w-wouldn't want to get i-involved in a group like y-yours. S-Second, t-they're not i-irrelevant. T-Third... I can see t-that, I have e-eyes.. F-Fourth... I'm not s-sure how you a-arranged that on the b-boardwalk but I see your p-point. And Fifth.."

Yeah she bolted mid sentence. Not that she was running particularly fast in a dress. As she ran, she knocked down whatever she could to slow them down. A waste bin made for the first pathetic obstacle, as she tried to make for the beach. Surely there would be plenty of people there at twilight?
Illua "You don't have to do this, Alma," Illua says, walking after her. Not running, just walking.

"There are several options we still have available."

She walks and talks, and her men follow her. They're in no hurry. They're not even trying.

"Although I have to admit, you don't seem to have the wisdom to understand how out of your depth you truly are. Khamja employs a great many people, including poseurs... templars, who are quite adept at dealing with meddlesome mages..."

The man to her left performs Rasp, creating a blood-red sphere which will shoot towards Alma, sapping her of her mana.

"Red Mages..."

The woman to her right performs Silence, which will prevent her from casting magic, of course.

"And we have many individuals who can make the prospect of working with us far more tolerable. And of course, since it boggles me how someone with the potential intelligence one such as you can possess and still be so stupid, we also employ necromancers. I told you I was a /head/hunter, Alma. If necessary I could turn your corpse over to one of them to simultaneously get what I want and study what kind of retardation people like you have."
Alma Hyral They may have taken her MP and voice, but they will never take, her freedom!

Nevermind, they were totally going to take that too.

While she still had magical options, albeit scant ones...they didn't leave her with many, given that she had only the bottom dregs of her usual reservoirs to deal with. A radiant yellow aura sprang unbidden over her... and the trio would see a blur of motion as what appeared to be an orb zipped forward so quickly that it might as well be a warp spell..

About a hundred feet. And then it flickered, and died away. Her mouth opened in a silent shriek. /OHSWEETCOSMATHATHURTWHENOUTOFMANA!/

Generally that didn't use too much energy. It was self-sustaining, for the most part.. but with nothing left, it didn't function as it should have, and caused her pretty intense pain. The reason might be known only to her..

Also, was she spying on Souji!? Or were they reading the same novels and magazines? That was the second time she'd heard that line in the past few days.

Getting up, her body was still wracked with intense pain from that little trick.. she'd try to run onward, clutching at her chest, just over her heart.
Illua Illua sends a message through the linkpearl, since Alma's not in earshot any more.

"If you stop running and come with us, Alma, then you will no longer need to fear. You will be compensated for your work and you will live comfortably under our employment. If you continue to be recalcitrant, you will experience misery, pain, torture and potentially death, and we will get what we want anyway."

Her two underlings continue to make it obvious that they are looking for her, as Illua simply keeps walking. She takes a moment to look at the pages of her Grimore.

It should be easier to chase down an injured girl. Illua takes a moment to take a tape recorder out of her pocket, hook a speaker up to it, and play the sound of some cats fighting, just in case anyone wondered about the bin being knocked over.
Alma Hyral She was dyspneic, and diaphoretic already. She definitely seemed to be at the point of exhaustion, and collapse even though she'd just begun running.

She'd remove her linkpearl, and start tapping a wide band message against it with a finger while she continued to try and run away. Three short, three long, three short. Then C-O-S.. what was the code for T again!? Nevermind, she'd just have to hope they worked it out-A-D...

As she continued to run, while doing this, sadly her klutziness was likely to be her undoing.. she could barely think and walk at the same time normally! Trying to tap out code on a linkpearl, run, and focus on her breathing was just too much for her as she stumbled over a trashbag in an alleyway. Some jerk had decided to just lay it out, rather than put it in a bin! Her linkpearl slid away in the process, which she'd retrieve quickly, trying to get back up... tapping again. E...L...

And then she's off again.. at the speed slightly above a snail's pace...
Illua Alma, never assume that a nightshade does not have ninjas as her disposal.

When Alma rises from that unfortunately placed garbage bag, she will find herself standing a few paces away from a man dressed entirely in black; with blonde hair, a face mask, and a hair wrapping of same.

His name is Ewen, and he has chloroform.

Say hi, chloroform.
Alma Hyral She tried to shriek again but.. silence spell.

And Ninjas!? She hadn't encountered Ninjas ever since the group of delinquents at the Academy who would litter the rooftops with shurikens for target practice.. Those guys were real jerks. Soan agreed.

She flailed for a moment as he took hold of her.. and then, Chloroform!

Night Night Alma! She grew still pretty quickly.
Illua Illua, who has still been walking this whole time, catches up to Alma. She looks distastefully at her, being held rather gently in Ewen's arms, and turns to look at her Red Mage.

"She injured herself. Cure her. I don't want her dying yet."

And the four of them depart, carrying her away... to parts unknown.

"End of scene," Illua says.

This scene contained 20 poses. The players who were present were: Illua, Alma Hyral