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From Murasame with Love
(2013-06-23 - 2013-06-24)
No description.
Alma Hyral The temporary residence that the Judge-Magisters had set up for the Hyral sisters in Lower Archades was rather humble in appearance.

Alma certainly didn't mind, it was similar to the apartment they'd had in Lower Archades mere days before they moved to Upper.. only for the war to occur. Between her volunteer shifts at the relief tents and.. other activities, she didn't spend too much time here. It was mostly for her to sleep, and eat, and little else. It didn't feel like home. Two Archadian military guards were posted just outside her doors, with instructions not to disturb her. Anyone who came by would be checked out by the two of them first, before they'd inquire with the girl within whether they were permitted to see her. If Alma cleared them, then they'd be left with her alone inside the apartment.

Currently she was asleep on the couch of the apartment, passed out in her usual dowdy white mage robes. Her hair was a mess, as many stray locks fell freely from the bun on her head. She still had her glasses on, and had the appearance of someone who had been up many long nights without adequate rest. She had nothing covering her, which indicated that she'd quite literally just passed out on the couch from exhaustion, and that it was far from intentional.
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza's arrival, of course, has had to be cleared beforehand by security--which isn't an entirely new experience for Thirza, but it's certainly not a common one. She's been more than a bit intimidated by the agents of the Judge-Magisters on the way here, but she's been enduring. She's a trooper. That, and she has a mission. They don't need to know that, though, Thirza has convinced herself. Well, Souji has convinced her, because otherwise Thirza would just come out and ask immediately about the intelligence she's seeking.

She's been passed from some of the other security to the two guards at the door. Thirza visibly shrinks. "Um," Thirza stutters, "hello. I'm Thirza Ingersleben." She says it slowly, because even she admits her name is confusing. "I'm a friend of Alma's." A pause. "May I please see her? Please?"
Alma Hyral The two guards look at her in a way that indicates boredom.

But they straighten as Thirza states she was a friend of Alma's. One of them takes a step forward, with a little Magitek device that looks a lot like a PDA. "Have to scan you Ma'am, to clear you through." And if Thirza doesn't submit, he scans her up and down, a little red beam very much like a supermarket scanner trailing down her body. It appears to be searching for anything concealed.

The other knocks upon the door, and steps inside, before shutting the door. Thirza would hear a muffled clearing of the throat, before the other states. "Sorry to wake you Miss Hyral, but there's a Thirza Ingersleben here to see you."

Thirza would then hear a muffled voice reply, "Oh, Thirza? You can let her inside, then leave us to our privacy, if you don't mind."

The guard is silent for sometime inside, before stating in a mild tone, "I would remind you that she's an employee of the Murasame Zaibatsu, Miss Hyral..."

Alma would state stubbornly, "I trust Thirza. She won't do anything untoward. Don't worry so much."

The guard eventually steps back outside, and if Thirza submitted to the scan, the other guard that remained outside would nod to the other, clearing her in. The other guard would just give her a sharp look, as if distrusting her intentions, but he would hold the door open for her.

Once Thirza was inside, the door was shut behind him.

Alma would give Thirza a tired look, running a hand through her hair to try and tame the various stray locks, but it seems like a lost cause.

"I didn't expect to see you all the way in Archades Thirza. But it is a pleasant surprise." She smiles cheerfully, "Can I get you anything? I think I could use some coffee."
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza seems a little tense as she's scanned, brought in under escort, and then shut inside. She takes several moments to regain her bearings, which are coupled with another moment of looking around to see how things look and what condition Alma's in...

Alma! Thirza approaches her immediately and gives her a hug, working a little herself to fix the stray locks unless Alma protests. "I'm glad I'm not an inconvenience, but, um," Thirza pauses to think of how to best say 'you look terrible'. Thankfully, she's not Minette.

"You look really tired. Really, really, tired." Thirza's expression sours. "...maybe I can get you something instead? Why don't you sit back down for now?"
Alma Hyral Alma Hyral gives her an infectious smile, almost impish, despite the foggy look in her eyes as she returns the hug with one of her own, "What you mean to say is that I look like a mess, and a wreck all at the same time. Absolutely, awful."

She seemed entirely self-aware of that fact. "It's alright, I know. Long nights, combined with long volunteer shifts at the medical relief tents will do that to a person."

She chuckles to herself, releasing Thirza from the hug, before reaching up to adjust her glasses, before walking over to the kitchen, "And no, no, it's alright...I really do need to wake up."

She goes about, busying herself to make the coffee, as she looks for a filter and the coffee can. "I missed you, Thirza..." She stares at the label of one coffee can, decaf, blech! She picks up the other can and begins to pour out the beans into the filter. "...there's a lot of people I do miss from the Zaibatsu. Have they been treating you well?"
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza smiles back at Alma. She frowns a little, but nods, when Alma addresses the elephant in the room. "They must keep you really busy here," Thirza says quietly. "and you seem really important! There was a lot of security..." Thirza looks back toward the door, as though she expects one of them to suddenly bust through the door and clobber her for talking about them.

She slinks into a seat on the couch. "--are you sure you should be walking around? I mean, it's no trouble. I can fix coffee at least..."
Alma Hyral She rakes a hand through her hair, laughing light-heartedly. "Important? Well /I/ don't think so. Some people just don't share my opinion. If my guards had it their way they'd probably prefer I not volunteer down by the relief tents, or traipse about the world... or anything that makes their job more difficult."

She grins at Thirza, "What, my delicate condition of being exhausted precludes me from serving my guest?"

She places the beans in the attachment at the top, then she takes the pot, fills it with some water, then pours it in the top of the coffee machine.

A short time after, she speaks more quietly, "How's Minette? She.. had a bad experience, the last time she visited. I feel terrible for her, she did something incredibly brave and had her heart broken for it.."
Thirza Ingersleben "I'm sure you're very important!" Thirza argues. "I mean, not that you weren't before, but people don't provide armed guards for just anybody." A pause. " aren't a prisoner or something, are you Alma? Do you need help? You can tell me." Thirza leans forward excitedly, almost falling off the couch. Thankfully she has a lot of counterweight when it comes to sitting down.

"--well, if you insist," Thirza protests. And then Minette is asked about. "Oh, Minette...I actually haven't heard from her since she asked me to--" A pause. "...check on something for her." Thirza blinks. "Ummm. What happened?"
Alma Hyral Alma's cheerful expression wavers as Thirza asks the first few questions. She doesn't answer them at first, instead moving on to Minette. "...Minette is in love with Kamon... and while I'm not certain, I think Kamon and my sister Kyra are... dating. Minette came here to ask Kyra for advice on how to attract Kamon's attention. Kamon was here recovering from terrible injuries on a recent expedition, with the two of us healing him and um... he came out of the bedroom, in only his underwear and she got the wrong impression."

She sucks in a deep breath, before turning to Thirza. "Thirza.. you can stay as long as you like, you're a friend... but please. I know why you're here. Judge-Magister Gabranth told me what happened when Souji came to meet with him, and that he'd be sending someone to figure out why the reasons for me being under the protection of House Solidor are classified..."

She smiles at her, tentatively, "....Feige Abramson tried to kill me. You're too good for Murasame.. I know you're in a bad place, and you feel like you need to be there for Minette.. so I won't ask you to leave them. But please, please.. not you. Have him send someone else. Anyone but you. I won't say anything.. I won't get you in trouble with either Murasame or tell the Archadians why you were here..."

She hangs her head, "...but I don't want you caught up in this game of Souji's. I don't want you hurt. And that is where this path might lead... so please, don't make any further inquiries."
Thirza Ingersleben "Oh...oh." Thirza blinks, lowering her head a little. Well that complicates things a little bit. ...she didn't even spy on Kamon first! Maybe that's why things went so badly? Thirza can't help but blame herself, at least a little...she'll have to figure out a way to make it up to Minette! That's the best solution.

Thirza looks up, startled, when Alma calls her out on what's going on. "...oh. Um. That's not it at all!" Thirza interjects, weakly, before she slouches down on the couch. ", you're right. I'm sorry Alma." Thirza sighs.

"I'm really bad at being a spy..." Thirza sighs again, shrinking a little more. Her eyes widen suddenly. "She...what? I don't know what you're talking about. Was this something about why you left...?" Thirza looks awestruck for a moment.
Alma Hyral Alma just smiles at Thirza gently, "Don't apologize. It's already forgiven. I know what he's like.."

She pours herself a cup of coffee, deciding to just drink it black. She needed it today, "I'll tell you.. but you should keep it to yourself. Some within Murasame's corporation know already but.. they have different slants. Some given to them by Helena, some by Abramson, and some by Murasame. I kept it quiet because... I was literally under surveillance, and had I talked.. I thought someone might suffer."

She pours Thirza a second cup of coffee, then walks over to her, handing it to her. "Feige Abramson had somehow planted a virus in the individuals known as the Network which allowed her to see and hear everything they did."

She takes a sip from the coffee, before seating herself on the couch beside her, "She indicated to me that they were a project of hers, and expressed an interest in my research.. I didn't know whether I should trust her or not, so I decided to ask the Network anonymously about her. Abramson caught on immediately and cut me off. It was a foolish mistake on my part..." She puts a hand over one of Thirza's, " she decided to make a game of it. She stated she had one of the Network in her possession. And that if I talked, if I spoke to anyone about it... she'd kill that node. So I kept quiet. Murasame tried to punish me for making these inquiries in the first place. Things escalated, he said some terrible things, and I did as well.. some of which I regret. Even so, I eventually resigned."

She breathes out a sigh, "Abramson put me under surveillance from one of her creations.. a spy to ensure my silence. This spy eventually tried to kill me, during the attack on Archades by Alexandria. I don't know if Murasame ordered it or not.. I don't think he did, but he made it quite clear that he truly does not /care/ if an employee of his tried to kill me."

She looks up to Thirza staring her in the eyes, " it turned out later, Abramson was manipulating me. She never had a node of the network. There was never anyone hostage, that would have died if I spoke up. It was all a delaying tactic to allow her to complete a project, and then kill me once it was complete."

Another brief pause, before whispering, "I won't try to tell you what to do, Thirza, but for your own sake, please stay away from Feige Abramson and Alberic Lux. Stay far away from their projects.. and stay safe. Keep yourself, Minette, and Artyom safe...please, for me."
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza's eyes widen as Alma tells her the whole story. She sits in rapt attention, barely breaking eye-contact as Alma lays out everything that's happened thus far. One could almost swear Thirza turns paler than usual than her usual fair, Shivan skintone.

She's passive when Alma puts her hand on Thirza's, at least at first. Eventually she suddenly takes it with both hands, holding it tightly.

"That's awful, Alma! I--I met some of the Network, one time before. They were a little weird but--they seemed nice. It's terrible that someone would do something like to that--or lie about it even if they didn't." Thirza frowns severely.

She moves to give Alma a hug again, making at least some semblance of an effort to afford the coffee. "I can't believe you went through all that, Alma! I'm so sorry!" A pause. "...I'm not really sure what to do. you really think Mister Murasame is that bad? I mean...he's never been particularly mean to me...demanding maybe, but..." Thirza sighs once more, and visibly droops.
Alma Hyral Alma squeezes her hand lightly, and closes her eyes, "I don't know, Thirza. There's more I could say on Souji Murasame but now is not the time. It is better to say that Souji is obsessed with obtaining his goals, in a manner which denotes singlemindedness. He does not brook any interference. The only reason I feel he hasn't ordered more action against me is because I'm both too insignificant in his eyes to cause him actual damage, and that I'm a member of the Hyral family both."

She is quiet for some time, as if the subject of Souji were causing her some terrible pain. She sits her coffee cup down on the small table in front of them, before accepting the embrace, holding her close, before murmuring aloud, "I can say no more on Souji... and even if I did, what I would have to say.. few would believe."

More hesitation, before releasing her, "You're a good person Thirza. You deserve better than Souji.. but I can't ask you to leave Minette, Artyom, or even Helena alone... If ever there comes a time when you must part ways with his company, then don't hesitate to come to me. But I won't try to talk you into that. It is up to you to decide for yourself, as I did."

She offers her a gentle smile, "I don't suppose there's a happier subject we can speak on?"
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza nods slowly, but she does so with decided firmness. She seems to understand what Alma is saying. "Oh...okay. I won't pry further then. ...sorry again for spying on you, but I didn't want to disappoint Mister Murasame either. sounds like you've kind of stumbled into a mess here, Alma. Are you sure you'll be alright?" Thirza asks, before Alma continues.

She reddens at being called a good person and deserving anything, really, much less 'better.' She shuffles her foot a little bit. "Thanks, Alma. I'll try to keep an eye on them. I hope it won't be necessary though." She thinks, for a moment, than Helena will probably keep an eye on her instead, but she keeps that to herself.

"Oh! Right. Ummm. is Archades? It seems so fancy!"
Alma Hyral Alma just gives her a gentle smile, before patting her hand again lightly, "Hey, don't worry about it. You're just doing your job. You were in a bad place when Souji offered you that job, I'd be grateful to him too if I were in your position. There's no shame in doing what he asked of you..and I'll be alright, I have people who are looking out for me."

There's a short pause, before she gives him a smile which appears saddened, " was.. eclectic, and wonderful. The sights, the sounds, the people... everything, it even reminded me of Ramuha in some ways, even if the desert sun is uncomfortable and there's very little rain here.." A beat pause, "...and then Alexandria decided to ruin that..."

There's a short pause as she looks away, "...I've had my heart broken a few hundred times down by the medical tents... every time you try to numb yourself, to not feel anything, as if you do, then you feel like you'll break... and yet I always did... I always did. I couldn't shut it out." ...she trails off into an awkward silence.
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza looks kind of happy for a moment, both in that Alma understands and that she likes it here. Both of these are good things, and Thirza is very happy to have good things at the moment.

And then the conversation continues into darker places. Thirza's frown returns. "--really? I'm so sorry Alma, it must be really hard to be a healer. Especially since you care so much for people. Um, if there's anything I can do to help you, Alma..." Thirza takes a deep breath. "I'd really like to. I like you a lot, Alma."
Alma Hyral She just squeezes Thirza's hand again, and murmurs, "...the worst of it is over... for now. More is yet to come in the future. I still have people I'm taking care of...but few who sit on the knife's edge between life and death."

There is a short pause, as she considers this, before she speaks again, "..just continue being you, Thirza. That's all I ask of you. I'm very happy to be your friend."
Thirza Ingersleben "That's...good. I'm sure you'll do fine. If anyone can help them, you can Alma. I trust you." Thirza smiles at Alma. She blushes a little, once again.

"...thanks, Alma. I...I really appreciate that. ...I should probably get going. you have any advice on what to tell Mister Murasame?"
Alma Hyral Alma Hyral pauses for a moment, pursing her lips, debating over that, "Well...I'm a terrible liar, Thirza. I don't know if you'd want to lie to him or not... so I'd probably just tell him that I'm under guard by people who won't let me speak on classified information, and that my apartment has nothing of value in it.."

She sweeps her hand around the humble dwelling, smiling, "...which is true. If you searched it, you wouldn't find anything on why my activities are classified. My guards don't even know why I'm classified, so even if they were captured and questioned noone would get anything of value. You can also radio Kyra about it, and ask her to cover those particular bases. She doesn't know the main reason why I'm classified either."
Thirza Ingersleben Thirza tilts her head a little, then scratches at her cheek. "...yeah. I think that's probably the best." She sighs. "I'll tell him the security is too tight, and I couldn't get anything that was classified." Thirza sighs again.

"...I don't really know why he sent me, or whether I should be flattered or not. Hmm. I guess I can make it up to him with something less..."

Thirza looks toward the guards. "Dangerous. I should probably get going, huh?"
Alma Hyral Alma just nods at her politely, "I'm sure you can figure something out, and if he does get that upset.. well, I'll try my best to keep up the ruse that security really is that tight."

Alma Hyral just smiles at her, "You can stay if you like, for a short while longer, but if you need to go.. just know that my door is always open."
Thirza Ingersleben "Thanks..." Thirza smiles weakly. "I'll be going for now... I really appreciate your hospitality. Thanks for all your help, again. ...try to rest up, would you? I worry about you, Alma."

This scene contained 22 poses. The players who were present were: Alma Hyral, Thirza Ingersleben