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No title.
(2013-06-04 - Now)
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Zia Manhattan. It feels like it's been a long time since Zia had come 'home'. These days, her visits mostly involved trucking the last of her posessions with the help of a few friends. She'd given so much to bring this world back, and yet with so much of it still lost to darkness, it doesn't feel the same anymore.

People knew about other worlds now, and the strange creatures who dwell there. While some are accepting enough, others have done what humans tend to do - become isolationist in their views. Many stores don't accept other-worlders or their currency, and sometimes there is open hostility towards those who look the least bit different - even if some of them are just as native to this world as the humans acting out towards them.

For now, Zia is biding her time. Soon enough, she'd be paying a visit to the local Detective Agency, but right now she's looking for information on her own. On the docks, a group of out-worlders gather to do business with some of the humans willing to consider their wares. It's a good place to ask around about strange things, with so many people passing through.

The white gargoyle no longer lurks in the shadows. The light from a streetlamp catches her hair as she speaks to a bulky looking Bangaa. "So ye dinnae know anyone who might recognize this?" The Bangaa peers at a piece of paper in her hands, and then shakes his head. "Not from our world." With a bow of her head, she thanks him for the help, and then starts to wander down along the makeshift shops, looking for anything that might suggest a link to the knowledge she needs.
Daniil Petrov As the gargess is walking towards the shops, she hears a voice a shadowy alleyway between two buildings. That suited and sunglass-wearing man from a long time ago stands in the darkness, probably nearly invisible except for the fact he speaks out.

"You're looking for something?" he asks, having overheard a little, spies have excellent ears. The man is mysterious as ever, though on ground level today.
Zia The gargoyle is just heading down towards someone who looks to be a representative of some human pawn shop, when the sudden voice startles her. Clearly, she hadn't been expecting someone to speak from the darkness of the alleway, and it causes her to jolt backwards, taking a few cautious steps to right herself and set her body towards the danger, hands lifting to defend herself. It isn't the reaction of a trained fighter, but someone who's at least trying.

It takes a second for her to recognise the man, squinting into the darkness. "Och, lad. Ye scared the daylights out'a me." Not that a gargoyle has many 'daylights' to begin with, but the phrase seems to have gotten picked up somewhere along the line. Letting out a breath, Zia shakes her head. "Didnae anyone ever tell ye tha it's impolite te sneak up on a lass?" She doesn't seem actually angry though, just surprised.

The fact that he is a familiar face helps somewhat, but it's been a long time since she's seen this particular gentleman. "At least ye arnae sculkin around rooftops, but then again, Ah could say the same for m'self." She certainly seems a bit less wary and a bit more talkative than before. The nervousness she has around humans has subsided a bit, due to a handful of positive influences.

Then, she seems to process his question. "Oh. Aye. Nae havin much luck, though." She doesn't explain what it is, not yet anyways.
Daniil Petrov Daniil smirks a little, "Technically, I wasn't sneaking up on a lass. I was being generally sneaky nearby a lass." He takes a couple of steps forward into the edge of the illumination from the street. "Indeed, I did notice you seem to have transformed from a creature of the night into one more brightly lit - how is your world handling a gargoyle in plain view? Not well, I'd guess, given their introduction into the things that are really going on was ... rough."
Zia "A technicality." Zia notes, raising one taloned finger. "Ye should be a little more cautious on sneakin near people, either way. Ah'm hardly a threat, but there's plenty of others out here who'd rather shoot first 'n ask questions later." This is New York, afterall, and it isn't exactly a place known for it's low crime rate.

She shrugs a bit into her cloak, tugging it closer about her shoulders as he steps into view. The gargoyle gives a glance over her shoulder at the little makeshift shops. There were always a few underhanded, suspicious sorts there, and thus a man who looks like something out of 'Men in Black' and a pale girl don't actually look that strange.

"Still a creature of the night, Ah'm afraid." In the city, the sparce stars were mostly invisible with the low-cloud cover and the threat of light polution. "But ... it's difficult. Humans have ne'er been the trustin sort." She turns back then, looking at him with an appraising tilt of her head. "Wha aboot ye, lad? Still rootin yer nose around for information on the Heartless?"
Daniil Petrov "Heh" he replies to her warning, he wasn't overly worried about Manhattan muggers, and the sort of things he was worried about tended to stab first, shoot later, and maybe stab some more after that.

"Of course, they haven't become well-meaning citizens yet. Though it seems the people here held them off okay." He comments, though aware that it was not a victory without significant loss. "Perhaps you should tell me what it is you're looking for, I know people who know things. Plus I was planning on buying you lunch sometime, and it looks like that's not exactly necessary anymore."
Zia The gargoyle tilts her head towards him then, a confused expression playing on her features. "Ah dinnae think the Heartless are the sort te be reformed inte good, law-abidin citizens." Then again, Zia wasn't exactly law-abiding when it came to her own world. She was an undocumented creature, who had lived most of her live by scrounging and stealing from whatever humans left behind. "B'sides, human laws are for humans. It doesnae mean they're applied fairly te everyone." She motions towards the shops with one hand. The fact that offworlders had to do business in places like this, shows well enough how much humans are still not ready for the bigger picture.

Still, Zia pulls the hood of her cloak up, preferring the anonymity that it provides. "Well, ye missed the worst of it. Whole bloody place fell te darkness." She lets out a breath, shaking her head. "Took a whole lot of huntin te put this place back together, and only then... it's still a pale shadow of the world it usedte be." While the fall and ressurection of Manhattan had been important to her, she also realizes that the multi-verse out there is a far larger place, and such things may not matter as much to those from the World of Ruin.

"How aboot Ah tell ye over tha meal, then? Ah'm nae about te go passin up an offer for food." She rubs at her stomach, laughing softly. "There's a little cart down near the end of the docks tha sells decent enough food. Aboot the only place 'round here tha'll serve te non-humans." With a clawed hand, she points down the way, starting to lead towards the vendor. It seems to be run by a set of three fairies each in different colors, who seem to be flitting about, arguing about the color of ketchup.
Daniil Petrov The man frowns and nods, "I did see a little of it." after a moment pondering "But it does seem that worlds can come back from the void, doesn't it? That's something"

"Wouldn't you rather eat out somewhere nice? I'm sure I can arrange it." Daniil gives a knowing smile, "At least now you can afford to be seen, even if the locals don't like it much."
Zia It comes as somewhat of a surprise when he offers her a meal out somewhere a bit nicer. It stops her talons in their tracks and the gargoyle looks back at him, peering out from her hood with her head slightly tilted. "Well, Ah'm nae exactly dressed for finery, lad, but Ah suppose if ye know someplace tha wouldnae mind someone like me." The fact is, many places in New York still had the whole 'no shoes no service' thing, and gargoyles don't exactly wear shoes.

Perhaps if she were more used to attention of this sort, the girl might be a bit embarassed about being invoted out, but she doesn't even realize there might be some connotation to it other than him keeping a friendly promise. "Lead the way, then." She motions, offering a smile.

It's only once they begin walking away from the docks that she hazards to go into those topics she'd seemingly skipped. "It does seem as if worlds can be brought back, but Ah dinnae know if all of them can. We were able te track down shards of this world, piece them back tegether, but Ah havenae seen very many tha are part of any other worlds." Zia shrugs as she walks, and then pulls the bit of parchent she'd been showing before out of her cloak.

"The reason Ah was checkin around was tha Ah was hopin one of the smugglers might have seen artifacts with script like this b'fore. None have. It was a long shot anyways." Her tail sways slightly, giving him time to see the strange lettering before she tucks it away again. "Ah'm meetin wi' a ... friend tomorrow. He might have some be'ta ideas where te look." She's still not quite sure what to call Skoll to others. He's not /quite/ her boyfriend, but not quite just a friend anymore, either. Hrmph.
Daniil Petrov They travel out of the dingy part of town, keeping to the less busy streets until they come across a restaurant, on the edge of the nice part of town, that looks like the sort of place they'd never invite a gargoyle into.

The man winks at her and asks, "Wait here, I'll be right back." and after a moment, he walks into the restaurant, snapping his sunglasses over his eyes again as he swings open the door.
Zia Walking the streets of Manhattan still felt like such a strange thing for Zia. After spending so much of her time on the rooftops above, or hiding from the humans below, it is a bit surreal to be pacing the streets with someone as if she were any other person living in the city. In Fluorgis, she'd become used to being accepted, but the oddness of the moment, with these familiar streets, remains.

As they stop at the restaurant, Zia looks up at the sign, then at Daniil and seems clearly surprised. "Ye think they'll let..." And then he winks at her. Her tail twitches, and her ears tuck down in a shy fashion, and she's left with nothing to do but to wait.

So, she leans against the wall outside, checking her phone messages. There's only the one, telling her that Skoll would be meeting her tomorrow.
Daniil Petrov After about three minutes, a small door away from the main entrance opens and Daniil takes a half a step out to wave in the gargoyle. From the looks of it, it's the staff entrance. The manager is just inside, and frowns as he sees the gargess, but doesn't say anything.
Zia The white gargoyle is just putting her phone away when she hears the door open. Turning in that direction, she's slightly surprised to see the young, suit-wearing man coming out the side door. "Do Ah wan te know wha yer up to?" She asks, giving him a curious look before following him through the doorway.

When she's met with the human manager, there is a moment where he stares at her, she stares at him, and no one seems to say anything. Race realtions weren't easy even before you threw in non-humans in the mix. Eventually, she gets over her initial shock sweeps a wing forward in a bow. "G'eve sir." Maybe it's a start?
Daniil Petrov The manager gives a slight bow in response, and then says "Sir, a quiet room with privacy as you requested. This way." and the man gives a slightly nervous look between the two, before leading them to what looked like it might be normally reserved for VIPs. The room has a set of doors, which the manager closes behind the pair and offers them each a menu. "Would Sir and Madam like a drink?"

Daniil gives the gargess a knowing smirk, expecting her to be at least a little confused, and orders a soft drink while she decides.
Zia Confused would be an understatement for the poor gargoyle at the moment. She follows, but it's clear that Zia has never had to deal with circumstances like this before. "Who are ye?" She asks, staring at Daniil with some measure of wonderment. As she sits down at the table, her tail tucks in, fiddlin with the menu as if she isn't quite sure what to do with it. In fact, she looks as if she's never really been to a restaurant before - other than in the trash cans outside, anyways.

"Uh..." She looks from the menu, to the manager, and then back again, "Orange juice?" It's a guess, because she hasn't been able to figure out just where on the menu they have drinks at the moment. She's seen plenty of places that have it on the menu, so it's worth a shot.

Once the manager does leave, she starts to pick through the pages, looking puzzled. "So... wha is there tha's good te eat here?" She's hoping that he knows, because she's currently a bit overwhelmed by options.
Daniil Petrov The man chuckles at her question, but doesn't answer, not yet anyways. After the manager leaves them alone, he quickly flips through the menu "If you want something simple and nice - you can never really go wrong with a huge slab of meat. Fresh, warm, and from an animal that doesn't scurry - it should be pretty good. That's all on the steak page." He gestures to flip a few pages to the right.

He takes his phone from his pocket and asks, "Do you mind if I take a picture of the artifact? I've got a good memory, but an image is always easier to catch the details." After a thought he follows up, "I should probably ask if it's private, too. Given you were reluctant to talk about it when others could hear."
Zia Once the suit-wearing gentlemen sees fit to point out where to look, Zia actually does manage to recognize a few things. It wasn't all that long ago that she had gotten shoe-horned into a maid outfit and had to help grill up bacon-wrapped steaks for the cafe that the Shard Seekers ran to benefit that charity organization, Hearts Intertwined. "Right. Meat is good." She chuckles nervously, running a talon down the page. "Ah've never really eaten out at a restaurant b'fore." As if that wasn't obvious.

When he asks her about the 'artifact', Zia hesitates though, folding her menu closed. "Ah havete ask ye somethin first." She glances the direction the manager had gone, as if making sure they won't be interrupted just yet, then looks back. "Ah've seen a boy, dressed like ye. The first time he was runnin weapons, sellin' 'em off te the highest bidder. The second time was when he went around tryin te put monitoring bugs all over Shard Seeker's HQ." The gargoyle tilts her head then. "It seems te me, tha Shee-ra isnae exactly as on the up-and-up as they seem." She doesn't seem to be mispronouncing it on purpose.

"If Ah let ye take a photo of wha Ah'm lookin for, wha's te say tha it doesnae end up in someone else's hands, 'n cause me more trouble down the line?"
Daniil Petrov He frowns a little as she gets to the heart of the problem "Yeah. Shinra... I wouldn't describe them as on the up-and-up exactly. And I see you've met one of the other Turks 'Samuel'. How to explain this - they're a little like your world's FBI or CIA - they've got shady people, and they do shady things, but they're generally on the good guys side." The man is trying not to bend the truth too far, especially since this girl had already seen things - but at the same time, he didn't want her to get an entirely negative view of Shinra, and by association, himself.

"They, we, are the good guys at the moment - I wouldn't trust every Shinra member you meet. Just make your mind up on a case by case basis." The underlying message seems to be somewhat muddled.
Zia For a moment, Zia just seems to consider his words, mulling them around in her mind. "Ah'm nae the sort te trust easily." She admits, tapping her talon down on the table, but taking care not to damage it. "But ye dinnae seem like the bad sort. Ah cannae say the same for the other one. Ah dinnae know if he's daft or clever." Or maybe it's some combination in between. Either way, the gargoyle shakes her head, ears tucked slightly.

Eventually, though, she seems to decide that there's no harm in showing him the charcoal rubbing from the sword. She's just got it spread out when the manager returns with the drinks, and she's quick to just point out a fairly high-priced piece of steak, and order it rare. Distracted, her eyes are actually more on the page she spreads out in front of him. On the paper, the faint outlines of strange curling symbols can be seen. It's almost like writing, but not like any sort of writing that would be easily familiar.

"Ah dinnae know where this comes from, but it's a language tha Ah've never seen b'fore. But... Ah think it might be the key te repairin this." With deft fingers, she pulls out a small cracked crystal on a chain. "Family heirloom." She explains. Just as he's not being totally forthcoming, neither is Zia. Afterall, giving some corporation knowledge about any sort of item of power is a risky thing.
Daniil Petrov Daniil snaps a picture of the artifact, "Well, I can do a search on the writing, perhaps our database has some similar language or knows where it might be from. And I can do it without sharing the information, so you don't need to worry about other Turks getting nosy." He slips the phone back into his pocket.

The suited man orders a fish dish, and keeps quiet until the door closes behind the manager. "So, how much do the normal people know about what's really going on? Do they know how close they all came to not existing?"
Zia Once, Zia would never have trusted someone to even take a snap-shot of the etchings on her father's sword scabbard, but she's come a long way from the frightened girl on rooftops that Daniil had met. With the sword being generations old and not even from the world of Shin-ra, it seems a fairly safe bet that they won't know much about it. Then again, any avenue she can use to seek out information is worth the chance at it.

"Ah'd appreciate it. Ah dinnae know much aboot the sword this came off of, or where the writin comes from, but Ah'd rather keep a family heirloom safe from outside hands." After a pause, Zia toys with a pendant at her neck, one that seems to carry two small bones within it. "It's one of the few things Ah have left from m'da."

She watches as the manager heads off with their order, and then glances back, raising her shoulders in a shrug. "Ah think a good number of those who were trapped here dinnae remember anythin aboot their time in the darkness. Then again, those who made it out through the portals know a fair bit moer. They had te live for weeks as refugees." She toys with an earring dangling from her ear, seeming somewhat uncertain. "Ah think most would rather forget tha it even happened and just pretend tha live goes on as it always has."
Daniil Petrov Daniil looks absently at the door the manager left by, "So they don't have any idea what happened. Only people who got out know about it. People like you - so... what happened? And how did you fix it?" he looks back at her, "I assume you had an active part in it, whereas I only saw the edges, couple of bad guys - nothing important."
Zia The fall and ressurection of Manhattan is one of those things that had intimately effected Zia, having steeled her will to fight back against the Heartless. If it hadn't been for that feeling of emptiness and loss, she might not have come to appreciate just how alone it felt without your world to call home. Even now, though she lives in Fluorgis, her heart still remains tied to her world.

"Those who got trapped on this side were lost te the darkness. Ah dinnae know exactly wha b'came of them, but when the world was brought back, they returned like out'a some deep sleep." Her voice is soft, speaking as if she were telling a story.

"As for wha happened... The Shadow Lords found their way te the Heart of Manhattan. It'was down in the labyrinth below the city. We couldnae stand against them, no mat'er how hard we tried." The gargoyle's eyes look away then, still carrying some measure of responsibility for what happened that day. She wouldn't dredge up the strange occurrences around Will Sherman, or Riku's betrayal, it was best to just leave it at that instead.

"Afterwards, we were all kind of adrift, at least until we got put on the right path. T'was Merlin tha told us aboot the shards." There's cleary more to the story, but she stops to take a drink and organize her thoughts, as well as let him get in any questions edge-wise.
Daniil Petrov He nods along with her story, putting the things she describes together with the bits and pieces he's gathered elsewhere, "Huh...the only reason we have anyone who even knows it happened ... is because the worlds have been smashed together, and people had somewhere to run to. Convenient. It's also probably the only reason there was someone there to reverse the process." He raises an eyebrow, "The wizard?" Of course, Daniil had never met him, but there was a sadly sparse file on rumours of a powerful sorceror that was passed around. "What did he tell you? And who is he, anyway?"
Zia The white gargoyle nods her head, although her story is momentarily delayed as the manager returns with their meals. Zia is overly polite, perhaps not quite certain of the proper moments to say 'thank you' and when to just sit quietly. In any case, it isn't until they are alone once more that she continues, using the time to cut into the meat with careful movements.

"There are people of fantastic power. Sorcerers, wizards, wha'ever they call themselves. Merin is one of them. A bit daft if ye ask me, but... he was the one te tell some of the others tha there was a way te save our world. Ah wasnae there, m'self." She'd been busy dealing with other issues at the time, like the Heartless attacking Fluorgis. "In any case, we ended up huntin down these shards... wee pieces of the world, 'n when we'd gathered them together, we had te go 'n find the Princess of Heart for our world."

She smiles then, a bit shyly, "A few folks thought tha it was me, but they were sorely mistaken. It ended up bein the lass who runs the clan, VALKYRI, but she'd been caught under some agreement with Hades 'n we had te go te the underworld te save her. After tha..." A piece of food is popped into her mouth, and she chews thoughtfully. "We ended up goin inte some dark version of Manhattan..."
Daniil Petrov Just before the manager leaves, he pauses at the door and says with gracious formality, "Maam, thank you for gracing our establishment while you visit our fine city." and then he's gone out the door.
Daniil doesn't react to the odd statement, but he does watch the gargess's reaction with some interest.
After hearing what she has to say, he asks "What do these shards look like? And who's the princess?" He's really interested in this - it's not vague details, or background information - this girl has concrete information on how to push back the darkness
Zia "Visit?" Zia looks at the door that the manager has left from, a puzzled look on her features. "Just wha did ye tell tha human, anyways? Ah'm nae visitin anywhere, this is where Ah'm from." Then again, as far as most humans were concerned, anyone who looks different must be from another world. Gargoyles, afterall, weren't seen about regularly until recently, and even now they remain mostly in the shadows.

She takes some time to eat part of her meal as he asks quetsions, chewing thoughtfully. "Well, a shard seemste be able te look like pretty much anythin. Ah've seen crystals, small objects, gems, pieces of paper. One was tha duck, Scrooge's recipie for Sea Salt icecream. Think it was unlocked inte New Orleans." Zia explains. She's never actually held a shard in her own talons, but she's seen them in passing, at least.

"As fer the princess... tha was the VALKYRI leader, Avira. Though Ah think she had te give tha power back up te bring back the heart of our world. It's all a wee bit confusin if ye ask me."
Daniil Petrov Quite happy to let her talk slowly while they both eat, Daniil nods along with her information, piecing it together. "A duck? Not from your world, I'd guess - how can that possibly be part of the tether that holds your world together? Doesn't make any sense..." he ponders, "And then this Valkiri - aren't they from Traverse Town? Again...a different world? I would have thought it would be some artefact, some fragment of your world." Threads of possibilies wander through his mind, looking for a common element that works for all of this.

Then he answers her question, though teasing out the words slowly to draw out the suspense "I may have insinuated ... that there was an important visit. That they would be hosting a *smirk* foreign dignatary, and his/her local guide and protection."

After a long pause for effect, he adds "I may have failed to mention which was you, and which was me, or indeed whether it was in any way official."
Zia It takes a moment for Zia to realize that Daniil had misunderstood her, and she shakes her head, laughing slightly as she takes a drink of water from a glass on the table. "No' the duck, himself, but his recipie. The Heartless made off wi' it and we had te track it down." She explains, her tail swaying a bit beneath the table.

"The leader of VALKYRI is actually from m'world, though ye'd have a hard time guessin tha. Ah think it came as a wee bit of a surprise for her te find out she was the Princess of Heart for our world, at least for a little while. No one seems sure who it is now." She shrugs then, uncertain on how exactly a person ends up in such a role.

As he goes on to explain exactly how they got a seat at the restaurant, Zia rubs at the bridge of her nose. "Yer a strange man, ye know tha?" She murmurs, looking over towards him, though she certainly seems amused.

"Ah'll havete return the favor if yer ever around Fluorgis." She smirks a bit, setting down her utensils as the meal seems done. The gargoyle can certainly eat, having gone through a large steak, sides, and the appetizer bread. "Though Ah'm a terrible cook. Ah'd probably havete ask the wolf or my clan-mate te cook for me." The gargoyle rubs at the back of her neck shyly.
Daniil Petrov "Okay..." Daniil allows, still not sure how the recipe has any significance. "Do you think that Avira would know anything more about what happened, or where I could find one of these shards? I could try chatting with her." he suggests, leaning back in his chair. "You moved away from here?" he asks, a little surprised, "I got the impression you were pretty tied to this city. And I'd appreciate whatever - I can't cook to save myself either - too easy to buy take out." He grins, "Makes me lazy."
Zia "Ah dinnae know if the lass really knows more aboot it. Seemed te come as a wee bit of a surprise te her as much as it was te anyone else." Zia shrugs her shoulders, leaning back a bit form the table, unsure of what to do now. Normally, she ate in the tower, and when meal was done, she went to play video games or patrol the city. There doesn't seem to be much to do, here.

"As for findin shards..." She hrms to herself, "The Shard Seekers have a way of findin them, 'n Ah would imagine tha maybe VALKYRI does as well. It's ... no' always accurate, unfortunately, but... they've managed to find a few here 'n there." Ye could probably talk te either of them, though Ah'd imagine ye might wante no' wear tha suit." She pokes at it with her talon.

"One of her comrades was stickin his nose inte Shard Seeker business, remember? So ye'd probably get better results if ye didnae look like some government agent there te cover up suspicious activity." She can't help it that the Turks look like the 'Men in Black'.

This scene contained 31 poses. The players who were present were: Daniil Petrov, Zia