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No title.
(2013-06-21 - 2013-07-04)
No description.
Mystery Meat It's immediately obvious from the entrance that the man was expecting Mercade to be here because there is absolutely NO surprise on his face other than a slight smirk. "Well Well." he says in a sardonic voice with a faint chuckle, the black coated man taking the Detective in at a glance and then walking to the sound of angry voices. He knocks in a rather off hand and premptory fashion, two fast snaps before opening up the door. "He's here." is said, again, in a cheerfully sardonic tone. Not unfriendly exactly, but definitely cutting.

The argument stops, the two men inside absorbing this new information in an icy silence before the silver haired man on the left looks away from the other man still out of sightline from this angle. "..Thank you, Axel. You may go now." The man runs a hand through his red hair and makes the most perfunctory of salutes to Mercade with two fingers before sauntering down the corridor past him and into another room. The glyph above the door pops and flashes for a second, and is not the same one as moments before as the door closes.

"We'll continue this discussion at a later time." says the other man, and the voice is the same as the dream voice except grounded this time in reality rather than dreamlike fiction. "Come in, Detective." The silver haired man eyes Mercade in the doorway with ill-disguised distrust, then annoyed resignation. "If you will excuse me." He brushes the sleeves of his coat as if washing his hands of the matter, turning to leave through another door.

The inside of the room is completely different than how the castle hallway is appointed, and there is a faint aura of pressure around the door somewhat familiar from the dreams if the threshold is passed. An old style radio sits on a wooden bookcase. Something soothing and instrumental drones with a faint crackle from it. Bookshelves line the small and comfortable space. A small reading lamp on a small table and several comfortable chairs are tucked into the space.

A black haired man in a white greatcoat and vest with a red lining sits in the chair with a glass in his hand. He sets down the glass next to a bottle on the table and stands up. Calm in demeanor and bearing, the man somewhere in his vague mid thirties extends a hand to Mercade. "I will have to apologize for my associate. He is less abrasive with his disciples, but he does not trust outsiders. Which I can respect, if not condone his behavior."
Mercade Alexander Others. Mercade looks over the black-coated men who keep looking over those present, and he frowns, running a thumb along his jawline in thought. There's a lot he doesn't know here. This is not what he was expecting. However...

Mercade waves to the man addressed as Axel as he passes, and Mercade looks to the silver-haired man. He arches an eyebrow at the unusual person, nodding slightly before moving forward to pass through the doorway when bidden. He pauses at the threshold, feeling that pressure... And he looks up at the door, holding out a hand and testing it for a moment, a curious expression on his face before he passes through.

He enters the study, listening to the radio. Music, so different than what he has heard before. It brings his senses in sharper focus: This is not like home. His eyes look over the area, considering everything and taking in details as he has been trained, how he has trained himself. He looks over the man in the greatcoat and vest, and accepts the hand. "I have the feeling that the situation is not the usual one for your... association?" Mercade says. "It's certainly nothing to worry about. There is a great deal we will all be learning in the near future, it seems."
Mystery Meat "Indeed not. He views outside interaction as an unfortunate and slightly distasteful neccessity, whereas I see it as an opportunity. One of the many points where our philosophies diverge."

The barrier is faint enough to be almost a trick of perception, a slight difference in the air quality and a thickening at the doorway that is no more than a prickle on the skin.

There is an actual hearth which accounts for the slightly warmer temperature, surrounded by a mantleplace of bare stones and well shielded by metal and glass. The hand is shaken firmly and then released. "Indeed. We may walk or we may sit, though I caution you that both are dangerous for their own reasons, even if it is only to ones alcohol levels."

The man who in the dream had called himself the Seeker smiles slightly in bemusement. "My associate and his disciples visit here frequently for their research and so some paths have been made safe enough. Where is a more ironic location to answer questions than a place that is a labyrinth of them? I thought you might appreciate the humor."

The man takes the glass off the table, taking a small sip. Every movement of the man is precise, calm and efficient. He fits this room like his clothes fit him, an extension of thought and action. "After all. Life does not require us to remain solumn at all times, though we still can remain watchful even so."
Mercade Alexander "Never a dull moment." Mercade says, smiling faintly. "I can appreciate the irony, yes... And even moreso, really, considering each answer seems to create more questions. It gets labyrinthine even metaphorically." Mercade chuckles. "But hey, whatever gets the job done, right?" He seems to relax a bit after getting more of a handle on the situation, and nods. "All right. Let's take a walk. If this is your place, I'd be interested in seeing what you're working with here." He folds his arms behind his back, and looks around again. "I admit, you certainly know how to put together a nice study, though. It is a very introspective place."

He turns his full attention back to the Seeker, then. "So, you called me here. What do you want to speak about? As much as I love the decor, you didn't call me here, cause this disruption with your associates, and interrupt your ongoing work to discuss interior decorating."

He pauses. "Though we could do that too if you really wanted to. Seriously, who decided everything had to be white out there?"
Mystery Meat The Seeker smiles fractionally around the drink glass as Mercade speaks, putting it down again with a faint 'clink'. He straightens and gestures to the doorway that the other man left through in the rear of the well appointed study.

"Someone utterly overfond of the stark and grandiose nearly to the point of nausea, I would expect." He opens the door which leads out to an empty white corridor, shutting it behind them when they have passed the boundary (which again has that vague sense of pressure differential)

"This is not truly my place, or even the place of my associate though he claims otherwise in the name of his research. --Let us say that we are both borrowing it from a derelict owner we have not had opportunity to meet or deride the good sense of."

The white corridor has a stripe of faint blue painted across the floor that's just enough to distuinguish itself from the floor.

"Well. The first thing I believe I owe you is a name, and the next a warning." he introduces himself as Lucas Sheridan, and then continues with his warning."Imagine a city of tall and imposing spires stacked atop itself, folded over like a piece of paper and there is something of that analogy to describe this castle. There are many rooms and many ways to get lost. It does not abide intruders fondly, as my associate has discovered. But many things are lost within it as well, including memories which he studies. Now how one may lock or unlock a memory I am syntactically uncertain but I am assured it is a fascinating process and only easily accessible from certain places in this great maze." he makes a waiving gesture as they pass several doors.

"I certainly will not halt you from opening any door we pass or walking down any pathway, indeed. Some may even call to be opened and in later times, may require it but you will not always know what is behind said pathway or door," There is a turn in the corner and then a sharp feeling of disorientation as if the perspective has radically shifted. The corridor seems the same, but two steps takes them to a small contained garden courtyard. The flowers are a riot of color in this stark white maze, and this place seems almost completely disjointed from the rest of the castle. A small island like the study. "--and if you should find yourself lost at any time simply find a blue line and follow it to the grand hallway again. I or one of the disciples will be sure to find you within a day or so." Sheridan smiles slightly in bemusement at this.

"What I wish to speak to you about is the reason why your world fell and was restored. The young boy, Sora, I believe? He had a curious artifact with him.. one of a very small handful still active. Keyblades, they are termed."
Mercade Alexander Mercade snerks at the comment. "Well, it's a perfectly good castle, may as well make use of it, right?" He shrugs. "I've known what it's like to make do with what you've got, though this is on a different scale entirely. Maybe one day we'll meet this guy and we can all laugh over a glass of wine about silly color choices." He pauses. "I hope that they're that easy to get along with, anyway. Hope springs eternal, right?" He shrugs at that, grinning.

He follows out into the white corridor and walks along with Lucas. "Unlock and lock... memories? Whose memories? Their own? Someone else's?" He frowns. "That's a strange thing to keep here. As far as the danger is concerned... Well, if you can't predict it, all you can do is work with it the best you can, right? Have a plan, but don't get married to it."

He walks into the garden, blinking at the sudden change, and he kneels down next to one of the flowers, looking it over, smiling. "Well, at least some things never change. Flowers always brighten things up." He looks over his shoulder, then, as Lucas gets to business. "Sora. Yes, I know him. And about his Keyblade. I've been trying to find information on them myself, because, well... The Heartless." He shrugs, as he stands back up.
Mystery Meat "But you were blocked and harried at every turn, were you not?" Lucas seems to let most of the rest pass without comment this time, putting his hands behind him in an idle gesture and strolling a few steps through the garden with calm appreciation.

"Every corridor you turned, every lead you thought you had in your grasp turned to cold ashes? Am I correct in these assumptions?" The question hangs there like an accusation flung at an unseen audience, the answer written on the face of the man whose calm demeanor has darkened with the first flickers of a slow burning anger.

"There is an outside reason for this, rather than the simple entropic turn of the universe. They are those who proclaim themselves protectors yet do so through sowing apathy and deception. They bury their acts in the mundane and that which would be passed over unnoticed but such acts are inevidably flawed in some respect. Chiefly, in that their plans do no good for the world while they are shielding so desperately from ill."
Mercade Alexander "I was." Mercade replies. He stands, focusing on Lucas. "You are correct." He shakes his head. "Even if they are misguided, there has to be a kernel of truth in what they do. What is it about the Keyblades and those who use them that makes it so dangerous to even /learn/ about them? The obfuscation has been massive."

Mercade looks down, a flicker of anger crossing his face. "IF what you say is true, their inaction led to the destruction of my world... And others. The fact that it was restored is irrelevant. The damage has been done."
Mystery Meat "Here." Sheridan moves from the island of calm anf tranquil gardens back into the white corridors. He makes a sweeping gesture towards one of the many doors. "See for yourself. Decide on your own if their actions were 'just'."
Mercade Alexander Mercade Alexander nods, and follows Lucas to the door, stepping through the one indicated by the man. "All right. Let's see your side of the story."
Mystery Meat Barren wastes.

A broken and butchered landscape that extends to the vanishing point, great melted chasms and tortured ravines cleft into the lifeless stone. A hot and scalding wind whips past the door as it's opened. Thousands... hundreds of thousands of the ancient blades once again dot this ancient crossroads, the road almost buried by the dirt and sand and beaten down by time.

Empty. Broken. A battlefield stripped of sense and meaning, only an empty graveyard populated by only the vaguest remnants of those who came before and all this greatly warped and indistinct.

The very air smears with the slightest turn of the head, this place, this recounting so fragmented and sparce that the watercolor shifting of detail is near constant. When seen as a series of still shots, things are almost painfully clear but it does very poorly as a moving rendition.

There are things.. echoes in the searingly dry, wavering mirage of the air. The crash of blades. The flickering images, there and gone again, of great flares of searing light and crawling hordes of darkness. Armored shapes jump in and out of the frame, sometimes distant and sometimes close enough to touch.

A blue armored warrior in gold and green slowly turns their helmet, the eyeslits trained almost as if they could see him. As if he was known for a flicker of an instant before the armored shape vanished. "This is what they hope to prevent. What they've already seen come to pass." Lucas says very quietly, not having strayed very far away from the door at all. His words carry strangely and echo in the distorted space.

"But you cannot simply cover your eyes and turn away and wish a thing from existance."
Mercade Alexander Mercade is hit with the devastation first of all. Everything has an undercurrent of dull horror to him. He can't really comprehend the utter desolation, as part of his mind tries to reject the totality.

But here it lies.

"They can cause... this? But Keyblade have no will of their own, do they? They can't force people to create this. The fault lies with people, not their tools." He pauses. "Nobody is perfect."
Mystery Meat "A keyblade is a tool, yes. But it is formed in part by the will and heart of the bearer. It is a sacred contract and a tradition worth saving. A tradition that cut across the boundaries of affiliation and creedo. Light and darkness both took up these weapons for as many reasons as there are stars in the night sky now. Love. Friendship. Salvation. Greed. Wrath. Vengeance. Restoration. Ruin." he chuckles again very softly. "In the sky above, all reasons are tied together. For all hearts come from the same place." he points upwards. In the distance, above a cracked and distant tower is a large and immediate moon, luminous blue and vaguely heart shaped. /IT/ rather than anything else is the source of the distortion, as if the power radiating from it-- the sense of interconnection, reached out a fine tendril to every shadow. Every blade. Every sound and sensation rippling through this lost place. Lucas's voice continues almost like an afterthought.

"Many.. if not most wielders died here. The few that remained faded and drew dividing lines in the sand and eventually were lost entirely. But there is an imbalance. You know them as the heartless, and others like them you may not know. That imbalance can only be eased with a keyblade, yet they chose not to take the old paths and the old ways." Lucas looks as the sounds of combat increase and then fade away again, sound coming in waves like the tides of an invisible ocean.

"---Instead, they chose yet another layer of deception. The sorcerers cast a wide and subtle net with their magic. A spell that would snare their champions in dreams and in secret. You were amongst the ones that they tagged, like a wild bird, and perhaps in time they would have chosen to guide your actions by dream and portent and spontanious misfortune. They have traded your world and the worlds of others for the sake of a greater good and a graveyard."
Mercade Alexander Mercade looks back to Lucas, listening to his words, and then looks back to the tableau before him, shielding his eyes against the distortion and strange light of the heart-like moon above them. "What is that place? You said it was the source of all hearts?" He pauses, then, shaking his head as he steps back, his hand closing before him in a loose fist. He looks down at it, falling deep in thought.

"Dreams and deceptions?" He looks back up, frowning as he thinks back to the first dream. "Avira, the choices... And then the Darkness." He looks back to Lucas. "You are telling me that it was all a plan by the sorcerors to manipulate me? To try to filter me out according to some arcane thing? They chould have just told me! They could have told me what I needed to know. I didn't even care if it was me who was chosen, I just wanted to protect my home. Are you telling me that my world was sacrificed, how it was obliterated and the best efforts of all of my friends were for naught, was because none of them were willing to help us find the weapons we needed to actually stop them?"
Mystery Meat "You and others like you, and to prevent interference from anyone but themselves." Lucas continues to be calm and precise, though the smouldering ember of anger still lies in his voice like a banked fire.

"They would say that you acquitted yourselves well, but that is only an excuse. They gambled. They gambled on your future and won. Temporarily. But realistically, all they have bought is time. Time that will be used by the shadow lords and those of the void to further entrench themselves. They will say, you are not ready. That it is not time. But I am here to put to slay that final lie, and unravel their entire tapestry of apathy and foolishness."

he inclines his head very slightly to Mercade. "I believe you are as ready as you wish to be, and who are they to say otherwise."
Mercade Alexander The anger is evident. Mercade's expression is one that is feeling the sting of possible betrayal, one who has trusted others and had that trust questioned. The fist he is making tightens, the play of emotions visible as Lucas makes his case and at the same time, an offer.

But there is a pause, and one sees the anger banked, controlled. Honed to a finer point and brought under heel. Mercade, slowly, turns to fully face Lucas. "What you say is certainly possibly true, but I have to ask you something in return."

That sharp gaze is brought to bear upon Lucas. "Perhaps everything you say is the truth. From a certain point of view. But I must ask of you this, Seeker Lucas. Did you not come to me in a dream yourself? Did you not show me visions? How do I know these are true or false, things that could have been manufactured or taken out of context? What makes your interpretation of events more valid than theirs? Tell me, Sorceror Lucas. Do you have any evidence to back up your assertions? I would certainly be doing you ill if I did not question you like you seek to have me question others. Perhaps the path might not lie with the others, but you will need to show me why it would lie with you, other than the simple point that you are willing to talk and others would not."

He also pauses, and then points to him. "And where were you when my world was destroyed? You knew so much of it, and yet you did not act to assist either in any way I know of."
Mystery Meat "Have I shown you anything that you, yourself did not choose to know?" Lucas shakes his head. "I did not. I do not bar you from verifying the truth of my words, as I have not barred you from anything."

He meets Mercade's gaze flatly, his words calm and sincere though his expression is also one of someone holding on very carefully to their temper. "And what you make of them, dream or statement or nightmare, is of your own manufacture-- not mine. Many came to the defense of your world, as well they should for your need was great and immediate and victory within your grasp. And there were those who obscured your trials and those of others to prevent the grand interference of perils even greater than Malificent and her lords." he snorts softly, fingers twitching and chin raised slightly.

"Yet we cling to memories and to hopes and to cooling fragments within labyrinths or dusty tombs for a /trace/ of former lives. Worlds lost to darkness for so long even their NAMES have been ground to dust and the apprentices of that abandoned home grown complacent and narrow-sighted." A very.. very thin smile.

"Believe me selfish, Detective Alexander. But also believe me honest about it. Do not trust any path you have not paved for yourself, and yourself alone. I can point you towards any door. Offer any prize. But it is you who ultimately chooses what to do and where to go. It is you who ultimately decides not to be enslaved by fate, or chance, or misfortune. Train your anger on me if you must, but I must ask in turn if I am truly worthy of it.
Mercade Alexander "At ynu? No. I am not angry at you, Lucas. I question you. My anger is reserved for others. My apologies if you thought otherwise." Mercade reins himself in, standing down. Whatever the man says, was enough to satisfy the Detective for now. "I value your selfish honesty more than a well-intentioned falsehood. The company I keep should be evidence enough of that."

His expression smooths out, and he looks away from Lucas. "Maybe I spoke out of turn, but if I do it is out of ignorance, not malice. Something I am planning to remedy."

He sighs. "You have one thing for sure. We all choose our own shackles." He rubs his chin, then folds his arms, looking upwards, thinking for a moment, then back to Lucas. "All right. Now comes the real question. Knowledge aside, where do we go from here?" He looks back out onto the plains. "You're waiting for me to ask a question. Make a choice. Very well."

There is a pause. "So how does this Keyblade stuff work, anyway? How do they relate to the Heartless? I've been told bits and pieces by Merlin and Mickey, but what's your take?"
Mystery Meat The Seeker listens and then nods, his stance relaxing fractionally as he takes a look around at the blasted landscape. "Very well. Walk with me, and we will correct that egregious error right now." he then turns and re-enters the white corridor, leaving the graveyard behind.
Mysterious Can Where do we go from here..

So many questions and yet never really enough answers. A fractal series that has one reaching for the 'X' button to skip the text ahead. The two walk for a small time afterwards and the distorted place becomes even more esoteric as the corridor continues.

There is a time or two in which the gravity seems to be inverted with no actual change of perspective wrenching around. This usually results in a slightly escher-esque portrayal of white on blue. There are windows that look into other spaces than the green rolling hills of the outside. An endless ocean unmarred by any sight of land. A great swarm of luminescent jellyfish can be seen making the dark water glow in long wavering streaks.

"Perhaps we have strayed somewhat amiss. Forgive a streak of dramatic theatricality, Detective. I believe it is a trait that all those who use magic develop over time. I said I would not answer your questions for you and yet I was content to show you places and events without the proper context." The man chuckles very softly to himself as he walks. They pass another window that looks like it looks right out onto space itself, a panoply of swirling stars separated from the open air by a barrier the consistency of liquid, those same stars dancing and swirling at the touch.

"We use the tools we are familiar with, and I am a man whose temperment tends towards reasoned argument. We all choose our own shackles, Detective but sometimes it is only because we know there is a key hidden away on our persons." Lucas smiles thinly at that. "So I will attempt, in my way, to treat you as any aspirant of the old teachings would be treated and respected. My own take is that the keyblades are a neccessary tool, and like any magic, a terrible master. There is a balance to the universe and believe or disbelieve as you will but the heartless play a role in that design. Light and Darkness are meant to coexist in these worlds, but they do not. The keyblades are a means to an end. Which end? Well, perhaps that will have to be discovered." He chuckles softly.

"I myself cannot say honestly that I am not biased in this regard. As such, the answers you seek lie behind these doors. The star you recovered will aid you. It is a wayfinder, and will see you on your way past and open doors and pathways that would otherwise remain closed."

Another long painting. It looks like the rolling hills of the outside but the view is sideways and it is snowing heavily, everything blanketed in a sheer sheet of white blizzard. A suddenly, abrupt flash of red streaks across the window while Lucas continues. "--I will not follow you and place my thumb on the scales as they are measured out. You will have to weigh them, and their consequences, for yourself. And any seeking answers is also warned that these trials can be perilous. Especially when enacted in a curious place as this, where space and memory collide at odd angles. The world is full of beginnings. But you may not return the same after this one."

He stops in front of a large white double doors, looking down the corridor for a moment before reading the glyph overhead. He touches the doorknob when it has stopped shifting, freezing at one particular glyph. The older man turns to Mercade, raising an eyebrow.

"Are you prepared to take those risks?"
Mercade Alexander Mercade walks with the man. There is so much alien around him that more than once he considers just giving up trying to make sense out of it all. But to do that would be... Well, giving up. He's a stubborn bastard sometimes. He looks out over the vistas afforded by the architecture, watching in new wonders at each one. The universe is so... large.

Mercade shrugs at the admission. "I live with a sorceror. He is the same way sometimes, but he's got enough sass and sense to move on sometimes." He grins. "You should meet Isaac sometime, I think you two would get along. He has a low bullcrap tolerance too."

He chuckles at the joke. "I am pretty good at getting out of cuffs. But hey, self-awareness is the first step, right? That and the ability to laugh at ourselves. You would not /believe/ how depressing I would be if I didn't find myself absurdly silly sometimes."

He taps the side of his head. "So yeah, balance. No one's all good or all evil. People can't exist that way. And that's why the balance, right?" He shrugs. "Well, I can't say I'm so, uh... existential, but I can work on it." He grins.

The mention of the wayfinder causes him to pull out the star again, and he holds it up. "Huh. So it's like a fancy compass?" He flicks a hand, and the star vanishes. It's probably up his sleeve. "So you can't interfere. Fair enough. I have to succeed or fail on my own recognizance." He does squint at the last earnings, however, as he steps in front of the door...

But then ne nods. "As ready as I'll ever be."

This scene contained 21 poses. The players who were present were: Mystery Meat, Mercade Alexander, Mysterious Can