Scene Listing || Scene Schedule || Scene Schedule RSS
Dark Rhapsody
(2013-07-10 - 2013-07-10)
No description.
Alma Hyral So the wave of Heartless came and went. Alma Hyral didnt participate in the battle, why? Because the first thing she had done when warnings of the attack came was to usher as many children out of the relief camps as possible, into a more secure location and hunker down with them and her detail.

If they broke through, then theyd have been their last line of defense. But this had turned out to be mostly an unnecessary precaution. The drama had been decided on the battlefield as the warriors beat back the relentless horde of Heartless.

She didnt even know that Kyra had been in the city fighting. The only person shed tried to contact during the battle had been Riku, who was silent on the comms. She didnt think anything of that really. He was almost certainly out there fighting, communications were always difficult in a battle. So when she radioed him a day after the fighting, she didnt even ask. She took that as fact for granted..

So she didnt show up right away at his temporary housing, where he stayed with the other Judge-Cadets. She took the day to help in the cleanup efforts, to tend to the injuries of the few casualties.. thank Cosma there had been surprisingly few. And then she showered, changed into her simple outfit of White Mage robes, her hair bound up tightly in that bun of hers..

In a way she was wound up in a similar way.. due to.. well a certain radio conversation the other day.

But she hadnt had time to obsess over it in her usual way, to pick it apart, to dash it against a wall, shatter it, then examine all the pieces, before putting it back up in a fractured manner not unlike a vase.. so it was still a relatively fresh and intact idea, something that hadnt been warped by the anxious mind of an adolescent girl.

Shed left her detail on the first floor of the housing so they could at least get comfortable.. while she went up to the second floor, to one room in particular, where she knocked twice abruptly upon the door. This time instead of allowing a lingering silence following the abrupt rapping, she actually spoke a few seconds after with just the simple statement, "Its me."
Alma Hyral Riku was staring at her face when the knock came. He was leaning up against the wall as he sat on his bed, a picture of the nameless and destroyed clone on the black journal that he held open in his lap. He traced and retraced the yellow eyes until they were black pits in an otherwise pretty face, He almost sunk into his thoughts so far that he forgot the knock entirely as he sat staring at the picture. Finally he looked up at the door and remembered.Riku was staring at her face when the knock came. He was leaning up against the wall as he sat on his bed, a picture of the nameless and destroyed clone on the black journal that he held open in his lap. He traced and retraced the yellow eyes until they were black pits in an otherwise pretty face, He almost sunk into his thoughts so far that he forgot the knock entirely as he sat staring at the picture. Finally he looked up at the door and remembered.



"Come in."

Riku stared for a few more seconds before closing the book and putting it on a drawer nearby with the nearly worn down pencil.
Alma Hyral The hesitation after the knock before he spoke.. there was so much she could try to infer from the lingering mute silence.. And then he states for her to come in.

She actually hesitates for a few moments herself, before turning at the doorknob, and allowing the door to creak open the rest of the way from the slightest momentum from her hand. When she walks into the room, shes just staring at him, looking at him for any signs on what hes feeling, or thinking.

His journal was open, and he was staring, he wasnt drawing anymore it seemed like.. with all that happened as of late, she didnt blame him for needing some time to his thoughts. She closed the door behind herself just as gently as she opened it, to the point where one might idly wonder if it were truly closed.

She didnt put on a smile, instead she approached him, seating herself down on the bunk across from his bed, "Hey." And then after a short pause.. "Its been.. a week." Any sort of adjectives would have likely fallen flat in light of all theyd just experienced, despite any lighthearted adventures punctuating it.. she was rather haunted by the whole Volcano base experience herself.

And then she looks up at him, managing a wan smile, "...want to talk about it?"
Alma Hyral Riku pauses for a moment and then nods.

He frowns slightly as if listening to something and then shakes his head slightly as he refocuses on Alma. He slides off the bed, clearing off a chair which is cluttered with books and papers so she would have somewhere to sit as he hefts the clutter onto the floor in one corner and semi-neatly stacks them back together again.

"So. That's Dr. Alberic." he nods. "In an honest to trope lair of evil science. I have to say... I liked the movies better."
Alma Hyral Her expression looks slightly abstracted, as she looks out the window, listening only idly. It was pretty obvious that she wasnt the only one haunted by their experiences there..

And then after a time, she doesnt look at him, she just kind of replies in a broken voice,

"...evil science in the movies never hurts anyone, never commits any real atrocities.. theyre comic relief, they get thwarted... the heroes triumph ...they curse vengeance or get thrown off a cliff or into one of their creations.."

She closes her eyes briefly, her voice becoming muted,

"...There was no triumph there... just madness and death."
Alma Hyral "No, Alma. That's not true." Riku looks down at his gloved hands for a moment then pulled a leg up to his chest and balanced an elbow on one knee leaving the hand hanging over the edge.

"We gained valuable knowledge into the good doctor's operation. We brought mercy and perhaps even peace to those he had created and left to suffer. We know what Alberic and Feige and Insane Industries is capable of now. There is always madness and death. We just try to move the lives of those we care about as far from it as we can. Take the small victories, Alma." A faint smile.

"We'll get more of them. In the meanwhile, we'll scout out any potentially good looking cliffs."
Alma Hyral She listens to the whole matter, pulling up her legs onto the bed, so that shes hugging her knees. Its kind of an awkward gesture all in all, with the robes.. She nods absently at the small list of victories closing her eyes,

"...even after all of that, I still dont know if I have it in me to.. do what should be done.. I could say do what they deserve, but I dont know.. I mean, deserves is too concrete a term... stop him sure. Stop him and that monster Abramson..."

She closes her eyes, shivering slightly,

"...but Id never killed anything before Riku, like.. really killed someone that might have thoughts, and feelings.. a soul.. and even if it was a mercy, Id rather avoid doing that again..."
Alma Hyral Riku looks very uncomfortable for a moment, and then tries to put an arm around Alma's shoulders to attempt to comfort her. "It's funny. In a strange way, the heartless have driven people to hold onto what they have more tightly. To start asking themselves what having such a thing means to them. Sometimes it's home.. or friends.. or family. Sometimes it's just connection with other people."

The teenager looks abstracted for a moment before continuing. "And some have all but thrown it to the curb. Discarded anything that is recognizable as human except the outside wrapper. Maybe they don't deserve death, Alma. But their victims don't deserve whatever shuddering half-life is breathed into them. Those people they experimented on didn't deserve to be used and then discarded like demented lego blocks." A pause, and then he continues.

"So because of that.. and because of whatever it is that we /don't/ see that they've already done.. they don't deserve what withered hearts still remain inside them. They will be stopped." he clenches a fist very slowly and then releases it with equal slowness. "We'll find a way to stop them. To keep from /having/ to ever do that again."
Alma Hyral Alma looks distracted, even as he puts her arm around her, she looks out the window at the last dying rays of the sun glowing through it, as she speaks in a muted tone, as if reiterating his own words in a paraphrase, "...So many deserve life, and are granted death or a half-life instead. And so many deserve death, and continue to just.. persist, exist.. but thats not true life. I just.. dont know how to stop a monster like that! They get away, and they get away.. and they continue to stack people like cordwood.. they continue to melt down darkness and use it.. as what? Fuel? They continue to put /things/ in people and.. study them, study how people like /us/ react to finding out theyre sentient. Were all just experiments to people like Abramson, to Lux.. everyone. Theyre probably even experiments.. to each other."

After a moment, she looks his way, and reaches out to put a hand over his clenched fist,

"..youre not her by the way.. youre not."
Alma Hyral Riku stays silent for a long time just listening to what Alma has to say until she comes to that last comment. He turns to look at her and frowns.

It's not certain whether he's angry or just tired. "..You don't know that." he corrects her very quietly, in a controlled voice. "And I don't know that. Nobody knows that but one person, and I'm too afraid to go looking for him... if they even are a person." He looks at the hand on his own and gently moves it away just enough to break the contact.

"No matter what anyone says, there is always.. until I know for sure, there is that chance that I am. And that he'll come to collect me. Or... that I'll break down entirely." he pauses, looking down into nothing as he murmurs "A failed experiment."
Alma Hyral Alma just looks sidelong at him, her expression becoming one of deep regret, perhaps for bringing the subject up as he draws his hand away. Then she looks doleful, as she shifts one of her arms, putting them around him,

"Youre not a failure. Youre not a girl in a jar. Youre not an experiment at all.."

She sighs after a moment, "..Look, I dont know your situation, and I wont ask but.. when Abramson had me under her thumb, she made it look like I had only a few choices. Stay quiet and no one gets hurt, or speak up and someone dies.. and I probably die too. And then everyone I love dies. She set the rules and I abided by them.. only to learn that shed stacked the deck, weighted the dice, set everything against me.. I got played because I only saw option A or option B."

She looks up his way, "...thats one thing I learned, from my experiences with Abramson. Youre only an experiment if you allow them to make you one. Change the variables. Yank the carpet out from under them. Pull the wool over their eyes. Show him youre not a test subject. You dont need to go after him, you just stop abiding by his rules, and learn to work it without following them. And if he comes to collect you for your /insolence/ then we deal."

There is a measured pause, " do anything else is to let a friend of mine live in fear, and Im not going to have that."
Alma Hyral Riku pushes Alma away a little harder than he intended as he bolts out of bed and rounds on her. "YOU DON'T KNOW THAT." he cuts the air with a sweeping gesture. "And even if all of that was true. Even if he is /anything/ like Feige Abramson instead of the pale, cruel shadow that I think she is then what /variables/ am I supposed to change? What /rules/ am I supposed to stop abiding by?"

Riku snarls in anger and slams a hand into the empty chair, knocking it over with a whump. As there are other people who might hear he draws himself just short of finding something else to destroy and just stands there, heaving with complete and utter exasperation. His voice is almost strangled as he snaps.

"And you are NOT to confront him. If he shows up, you are to go /straight/ to his honor Gabranth. Tell him what happened to me. Then get ahold of the TDA and Reize. I will NOT go quietly and I will not let him use YOU as leverage to try and make me. And.." he takes in a breath and lets it out slowly. "..and I have friends that will come for me." he says that as if in faint wonder. "And.. maybe it won't go like that at all. But there are no rules, Alma. I've learned that by now. There is only what I am good at.. and making good use of that to stop things like him and Alberic. There is only making good use of my remaining time."
Alma Hyral She gives shoved away, giving him a look of consternation, as she puts up a hand to rub at her bruised shoulder. He stares down at her, and begins shouting, normally she wasnt good at this. She didnt handle people shouting at her well, it usually caused her to break down, to collapse upon herself in a nervous wreck, but something about what he was saying stoked some fire within her as she stood up abruptly, both balled up fists cutting small gouges in her flesh from how tightly they were held.

"NO I DONT! And I dont know any of the variables! I dont know any of the rules! I dont know /anything/! Because you shove me away whenever I try to get closer to the truth! And what would the truth hurt? Im not trying to /FIX/ you! To try and put light in your head and shove the darkness out! Im just trying to.."

She stares at him with chagrin, as she looks away briefly, her speech is still quite acerbic though, "It doesnt work that way and you know it! I dont /leave/ without you. If youre scared of him, then alright! I understand! Hes a horror beyond whatever weve faced, hes not something we can win against. Hes darkness personified in a way that hes defined by whatever powers he has! And if thats the case, then we /run/ and we run /together/. To Gabranth, to the TDA and Reize. And we make the battlefield one of our choice, where I wont be leverage, you can make full use of the skills you have and you wont go down in some blaze of glory! But I will /not/ leave you behind if he came for you while I was there! Even if I have to grab you and take desperate mea..."

She trails off, looking genuinely haunted at the thought, some of the ferocity fading out of her, in the end she just looks, defeated.. as she returns to her earlier thought, "Im not.. Im not trying to /fix/ you. Thats up to you, and I can only support you on the way with whatever you come up with."

And then after a pause, as she shuts her eyes tightly, her fists still balled up, as she lets those gouges grow deeper, "..Im just trying to care.. for you.."
Alma Hyral Riku growls in absolute frustration. "Then support me from FAR AWAY. I don't know what I'll do if he comes to get me. He <goosehonking> turned my brain inside out and nearly made me kill Judge Constantine, and Will Sherman and whoever ELSE I could get my hands on at the time." He stalks across the room and uprights the chair just as something to do with his tension rather than hit something. His back is turned towards her, hands spasming as he continues.

"I don't /KNOW/ Alma. It's worse because if you take desperate measures to try and save me, I might go straight for you. Heartless /EAT/ people and create more of themselves. They are drawn to light because they can't help themselves or there is not even enough of them left to do the helping." he throws up his hands in exasperation. "You have NO idea how difficult it is for me to even /look/ at you sometimes. I would /prefer/ to have someone I like not look like FOOD!"

A hand crashes into his forehead and he grinds the knuckles into the bridge of his nose as he just.. collapses in a heap on the floor. He sits there, completely exasperated and just burying his face in his hands. "Just.. do.. what I want. Alma. I don't need someone to go down with me if I start to drown. I need someone I can trust to pull me back, and bring a /lot/ of backup. And.." he swallows. "..And Will Sherman will know if I'm still there enough to save. Takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation before firing." A grimly bemused chuckle. "And with luck.. maybe it'll turn out alright."
Alma Hyral She bites at her lip, struggling with remaining silent throughout what she wants to say on all of that, she makes no further comments on what she would do, if this mysterious individual came for Riku,

Instead, she slowly lowers herself down beside him, and without a word, she wraps her arms around him, whispering near him,

"Do you think its any easier for me? To see.. everything lurking inside you.. and knowing it's something I cannot, should not help.." She takes a deep breath, " know someone /I/ like is..hurting.. to have whatevers inside of my head try to drive me into trying to balance it or annihilate it... to have that song bubble up in my ears whenever you raise your voice at me. Or.. look at me like that, with that hunger. And having to force it back down into a void, or some buzzing background noise that I can ignore."

And then she's closing her eyes tightly, perhaps to try to crank back on her own self-control, "..but I don't fear you, Riku. I fear whatevers inside you. Yes. I fear the darkness and the light. But not you. There are so many reasons why... I shouldn't like you, but they change nothing to me."
Alma Hyral Riku very much looks like he wants to shrug her off and start shouting again but instead he just leans forwards slightly, hanging almost loose in her grip like a marionette or a deactivated golem. He stares straight at the floor with a blank expression for a long, long time.

Eventually he swallows and says very quietly, in a calm and measured voice. " don't understand." Another short pause before he brings up a hand and lays it against Alma's where they clasp around him. He rests his chin very lightly there. "It /is/ me. I tried.. burying it or.. forgetting it, and the TDA dug up the truth by accident. Then I thought it was a curse or some sort of monster. Which, given my annoyance with zombie movies I can understand." he chuckles very faintly.

"But how would you act if you'd been starved for months? When I figured out.. how to take care of myself without hurting people. I mostly.. came to an understanding. At least, for a little while. But it's not a dragon to slay." he snorts again. "Believe me. I'm not enough of a jerk to be a dragon. Dragons are jerks."

Riku sighs and pats her hand, brushing the back of it with a thumb and reaching up with the other hand, both of them just keeping her there but allowing her to move free if she wants. "So you are going to have to make up your mind. There's nobody here but me, Alma. At least.. right now. So, I don't want my friends to live in fear either.. and it doesn't have to be like that. It doesn't have to be scary." he snorts softly. "But I don't think anyone will ever believe me on that. It's .. just not something people understand. And for good reason."
Alma Hyral At first he doesnt do anything and she wonders if shes made a grave error, stiffening only slightly in anticipation of another rejection but then he gradually returns the gesture, and she relaxes.

She listens to the whole thing quietly, only chiming in at one point, perhaps to try to break up the tension only slightly. "....I actually fought a zombie dragon once. Believe me, I know, that's like double the jerk there, twice the jerkitude.." And then another pause, "..that's not even a word, I'm terrible."

Her expression is ruminative as she takes the time to process all of that. To file it all away. Perhaps into columns of /Why/ and /Why not/ in the back of her head. And then she takes a moment to take stock of them with a pinched look. And then she shoves the columns over, scatters the paperwork, scratches out the checkmarks under each. Her expression is lit by a wan smile..

"..I already have.. I'm here aren't I? And even if I don't entirely understand.. that wont change."
Alma Hyral Riku pauses for a long time. He then takes in a deep breath and lets it out. "..Well. That's a start at least, if anything." he shakes his head. "We'll return to this topic again. Hopefully.." he trails off with a pensive frown. "Hopefully we never have to figure out just what is going to be done."

He gently breaks out of her grip and pushes himself to his feet, turning around to offer to help her up in turn. "You know. I was told by semi reliable information to take you someplace nice." he grins lopsidely down at her. "But I think I've got something better. But--" a faint hesitancy. "Because of who we are, I'm.. not sure if it will hurt you or not. Which is why I've held off. But.." he snorts faintly.

"This conversation has reminded me, more than anything that.. even if there isn't a countdown ticking down somewhere, I shouldn't try to push you away from my life." he chuckles. "Or what I laughingly call the same. And.. this is part of my life as well."

Riku looks mildly nervous as he extends a hand to her. "Come with me." A fleeting smile. "Not all darkness is something to be afraid of."
Alma Hyral Almas expression is hopeful, exultant and forlorn.. all of those things, all of those emotions at the same time. Some part of her exulted a little that maybe he felt the same way about her as she did about him. But another part felt almost like this was a hollow victory. She wasnt sure yet.. confusion sets in as he.. tells her about taking her to some place nice.

He talks about the possibility of it hurting her.. and some part of her.. growls at the idea of allowing darkness to hurt her, like a low hum in the back of her head, trying to coax her to preemptively turn up the volume. But the majority of herself wanted desperately to get to know more about this boy she'd come to like so much.. know whether they actually had a chance.

It isn't as hard a decision as it ought to be, for her. She takes his hand, she stands up, with a trusting smile upon her expression. She doesn't look nervous.. not like he is, but she probably should be..

A moment later she's murmuring,

"...I trust you..."

Even if this hurt her, she at least trusts her that he doesnt intend to hurt her, and thats all that matters.

...some niggling part of her told her that she shouldn't. And that shouldn't be all that matters.

"...and I believe you.. maybe..."

She manages soft laughter, her smile becoming more cheerful,

"No... we'll talk about that once we're back.."
Alma Hyral Riku closes his eyes and nods, taking a breath and tightening his grip on her hand.

At first nothing seems to be happening. Riku simply stands there with her hand and remains completely silent. Something moves at about ceiling level. A thread of black oozes down the side of the wall, a droplet of dark water spilling over from a full glass.

There is a look of increasing exertion on Riku's face and he grits his teeth faintly. The.. transition was always sharp and immediate before and holding it back like this was extremely unpleasant. Another small stream of dark water leaked down the edge of the wall, apparently flowing from a crack in the ceiling.

The water completely washes away anything it touches, leaving large black streaks across the walls. It starts to drip from the ceiling until a dark rain is falling around them, leaving a circle of floor around the both of them where everything remains unchanged. The room starts to soften and melt as if the room and all of the furnishing had been made out of sugar, a curling dark fog rolling across the floor and lapping around their one little island which gradually grows more and more indistinct as the rain falls and the room fades into endless bleak fog.

A dark corridor forms around them with a golden light at one end, far removed but beckoning. It wavers in this transitional space as Riku continues to concentrate.
Alma Hyral Theres a low hum in the back of her head. Just a constant sort of white noise that Riku is very familiar with. It isnt an unpleasant sensation, its something she just had to deal with all the time. Static. She learned very quickly how to tune it out the first time she nearly lost three days of her life. And then it turns up slightly so that she can hear the first notes, which seem discordant, puzzling...

.oO(Not now.)

She told herself, but it continued to persist. The droplets of black ooze and dark water evoke unpleasant memories in a way from the Volcano Lair, even if she /knows/ its not the same thing.

.oO(Not now, /please/!)

She cranked back on her self-control, cranked it all the way.. but it still didn't return to that white noise.

.oO(No, if that happens..)

She felt the sensation in her skin, the warm tingling sensation that indicated it was about to.. just as the wall burst into rivulets of tenebrosity. And then the rain came.. and panic bubbled up in her throat.


The sensation disappeared within her skin. Just as the room swirls in crepuscules, and reality seems to warp before her, she manages to get ahold of herself just enough that what remained in her mind was only an echo of an echo..

Riku might have seen her expression waver during this short battle of self-control.

A dark corridor forms around them with a golden light at one end.. it's.. beckoning, and inviting.

..and for some reason, that helps her clamp right down on whatever threatened to rise back up to the surface again. Even though part of her screamed at her for trusting what her eyes told her, for seeing that light. Her gaze returns to Riku as he continues to concentrate, before falling upon that.. that golden light once more.
Alma Hyral "Believe me." Riku says without opening his eyes, seeming to know where she was focused without having to look. "..You don't want to go down there. Don't let go of my hand." he flinches slightly as if something was hurting him but he doesn't let go of her hand even as a tendril of dark smoke rises up from his hand as if he had been burned. "Please." he adds as an afterthought.

The light begins to die away, flickering spasmodically like a dying heart and Riku grimaces in obvious frustration and discomfort, head tucking down and to the side a little as if something was fighting him. The light flared brighter, beckoningly. It called, light to light and Riku dug in his heels, head almost vibrating from the unexpected resistance.

There is a sound, the rumble of far away thunder and the dark corridor starts to flake away. Dissolving in a rush of ashen colored leaves to reveal another space behind it that had nothing to do with the room they left. Smooth stone. A hint of colorful flowers. The smell of rain.
Alma Hyral Let go of his hand? The thought never even crossed her mind. That was exactly where she wanted it to be, even when the panic had threatened to overtake her. Irrational fear or not, it was of what was going on around her. And the fear would have brought her closer to him, rather than.. away. That would have probably been more disastrous on so many levels.

"I wouldn't dream of it." Her voice states in a mild tone, it even had a hint of playful whimsy to it. But then her gaze turns to his hand, she sees the dark smoke rising, and it becomes a look of concern. She doesn't question though, as she can see he's concentrating with all that he has.


The familiarity of the rumbling sound strikes a chord within her. And she just offers a smile, her expression distant, wistful, focused on happier memories. Of watching raindrops patter against glass during many long days in bed, when she was ill.... of a caring mother. An adoring father. The smell only heightens that.. bringing her to a place where she was actually.. content, happy... almost sixth sense within her attuned to the subtle pressure gradients in the atmosphere of wherever Riku had brought her leaving her elated.

And then shes looking upon the ashen colored leaves, the smooth stone.. a hint of colorful flowers. She almost could touch them, could almost smell the aromas, but she knew better than to let go of his hand without his say so..

So she just waited..
Alma Hyral BGM Change(OOC Note: Listen to both at the same time for maximum effect):

The light behind Riku dies and it is with an obvious look of relief that the dark corridor collapses onto itself like the last ashes of a burnt log to reveal an impossible landscape. The both of them are standing on a many stories high building, amidst a rooftop garden with several small pools in which little dark fish are swimming in the luminous water.

There are benches on which to sit and a glassed in area with small tables and chairs off to one side. Everything has a slightly distorted feel to it. A blurring that makes it not quite real, not quite precise. Like a watercolor of a place that catches the essence but not the fine details.

It is raining in a calm and steady fashion that falls on the skin with warmth rather than cold. The entire sky is blotted out by a single roiling sheet of clouds. Red lightning crackles and sparks above them, thunder booming in a distorted fashion as if heard from underwater or from much farther than it should be to be so close at hand.

The rooftop garden is atop a skyscraper of dark metals and glass, a single tower with a city in the distant background. It is not the city of her homeland but rather an artist's interpretation of it through a muddled lens. There are elements of Archades and Manhattan and even a strange gleaming city of light. Lightning strikes far away spires. This tower is isolated by a great sea that spans in all directions out to the shores of that distant cityscape.

And it is as if Sea and Sky had been inverted. An endless field of stars makes up the waters here. An inky blackness full of light. The large smearing shapes of nebulae are almost painfully crisp, comets and other cosmic phenomena cutting across the ocean which is almost close enough to the rooftop garden by a series of small staircases and platforms to touch.

Riku slowly opens his eyes and looks around. He lets out a sigh of relief, looking sheepish as he looks at Alma and carefully gauged her reaction.
Alma Hyral As the light behind Riku dies, the wonder within his companion grows, the sense of awe palpable from her. At first she doesnt seem to grasp exactly what occurred, like her mind is trying to place where they are. Trying to get her bearings, as if this were a simple teleportation spell rather than the grand display of artistry truly in front of her..

And then she notices the slight distortions.. and something within her realizes the truth. Isnt black that which makes up all colors, absorbs them, binds them together? That didnt take away from her sense of wonder as she got a better picture of the whole painting before her.

Raindrops fall upon her, and her skin is soon covered within the soft warmth, with her white robes greying slightly as the water soaked into them, and clung to her. It was much like the rain of her homeland. Warm, inviting.. but in a way also less dirty more perfect. A jagged bolt of red lightning cuts across the sky, and vanishes into the rooftop of a building.. she imagined it being absorbed by one of the capacitors and great lightning rods present. She still doesnt dare to let go of his hand, as she looks upon the fish swimming within the radiant water. It was a perfect little place to experience the storm.. this garden.

As her gaze sweeps out to get a wider view, she notes the architecture.. eclectic, like shed put it.. but with the steel and metal and glass of Manhatten in its proud towers and skyscrapers. Despite theirs being a lone one which juts out and dwarfs the others.. she enjoys the view. But its the ocean that takes her breath away.. She takes a look at it. And she notes that they're inverted..

And for the first time in her life, shes looking /down/ to see the stars. Not to see their dim, hazy reflections upon the waters..

But to truly see them. Somewhere in the back of her mind she mused whether Riku did that based on their discussion of how the ocean is connected to the sea of stars above.. or if it was done purely so she could look /down/ and thus trip over her feet less.

It was a sublime artist's interpretation of her homeland. Woven upon a tapestry of darkness.

It was hard to note where the rain ended and the tears began. They weren't of sadness though, just exultation. Hidden by the veil of warm raindrops, which splattered upon her glasses as well. She was taking them off, hooking them on the collar of her robes.

"A semi reliable source told you to bring me to a nice place?" A short pause, as she turned to face him, and her eyes were splattered by both raindrops, tears, but still shining with adoration, "..I think you outdid yourself. You created this.. for me?"
Alma Hyral "Through practice and some headaches and knocking myself out once?" Short pause, then sheepishly. "Twice? Yeah. I drew it all out first and.." his shoulders noticeably relax and he takes a deep breath and lets it out.

"..There's been so much death. So much pain. And I've never used my powers for anything but destruction. But.. I just.. wanted to know if it was even possible. To do something that didn't.." Riku trails off, rubbing the back of his neck and looking down at the ground. A faint chuckle.

"Consider this my multiple course dinner. See also. Trying too hard."
Alma Hyral She laughs, in an almost musical fashion, it isnt mocking, its entirely just, amused mostly at herself, "No no, trying too hard would be knocking yourself out.. seven times. One for each course I tried to prepare for you. And theres not nearly enough flailing.. silly pop music, and awkward dancing."

She sweeps one hand out, as her neck follows, which stops as it reaches the ocean, fingers outspread, eyes still upon the stars, as she feels she could pick out each individual constellation from them. Even lecture him on the different arrangements of the stars, and what they mean to each world.

"...this.. this is just right as far as grand gifts go, Riku."

She looks back towards him, smiling, with that same adoring look, the hand falling back to her side.

"Every day I'm around you, I learn something new about you.. something new about myself. About the nature of light and dark, death and life.. or just things, normal things, like jazz music, old movies from other worlds.. how to swim. And you know what? The bad moments are terrible, the worst of things.. experiencing pain, cruelty, and insanity at its worst... but it's moments like this that make it all worthwhile."

Theres a short pause, and shes laughing at herself,

"Oh Cosma, a bolt of scarlet lightning should strike me from the sky for that.. it was so sappy but.. it felt right."
Alma Hyral "Don't say things like that here." Riku teases good naturedly. "I might just take you up on it." he looks vaguely distracted and slightly pained but no more than someone with a somewhat moderate headache.

Riku actually blushes slightly from the embarrassment but.. something loosens it's grip as he watches Alma's face light up, a knot of pain and tension he had carried so long he hadn't even known it was there. "But I know what to expect now. So, I think I can do better.. with a little practice. And a captive audience."

"We can't stay here for very long. It gives me the /worst/ headache.. but I think it'll last long enough. Just for a short walk." he extends his arm to her, and if she is willing.. just walks out onto that ocean as if they were walking on a crystalline pathway across the stars.
Alma Hyral Part of her wanted to reflexively reach up and take care of that pained headache. The more rational and /sane/ part of her told her that itd be a /very/ bad idea. And so the borrowed light within her stayed buried, dormant. It was disconnected in a way, like a receiver off a hook, beeping out an angry tone.

"Oh is that so? Well I'll have you know.. I'll be gripping /your/ hand, so if that happened. Then itd be like a cosmic version of /stop hitting yourself/."

She just offers a smile at him when he says that he can do better, frankly she didnt know how, this was near perfect. Short of actually giving him pictures from her homeland off Kyra's laptop she didnt see how.. and frankly she found this artists interpretation more beautiful. Her expression did become.. concerned, when he mentioned that it gives him the worst headache, but she lets that fade from her face.

...her instinct was to tell him to stop if it was hurting him. But Riku's /own/ voice from Hawaii told her that she was terrible at doing things for herself. Or letting others do things for her.

Let him do this for her. She trusted that he knew his limits.

She takes his hand. And walks out on that crystalline pathway over the ocean of stars. And he might note her breath catching within her throat, and she watches it with that same mixture of wonder and awe as before. Staring down at that inky blackness.. picking out each star with her eyes.

It was like a fairy tale vid back from Ramuha, a classic cartoon movie about a story of love or friendship. It was perfect in every way for her.. it flattered her, it took her breath away.. She didn't want it to end, even if she knew it would soon.

...and she was here with the perfect person. The person she wanted to be with. Even if again the /sane/ part of her mind told her he was far from perfect. She didnt care.

And then she exhaled that long held breath, with a sigh of contentment. Her eyes lingering upon a constellation in the waters with a familiar arrangement, the dark waters rippling slightly within the breeze and the rainfall to only slightly distort it.. Her voice suddenly sounded a little bashful,

"...did I say just right? As this is.. really just about the best thing."

This scene contained 29 poses. The players who were present were: Alma Hyral.