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No title.
(2013-07-10 - 2013-07-11)
No description.
Aeschere Childs When last they'd spoken (well, texted), Alma had suggested that she was either in Bevelle or had ready access, and Aeschere Childs had promised that she'd show up whole and hale tomorrow. Here's tomorrow, and Chera has already dispatched a much better spelled message nominating A Certain Teashop at the root of the Highbridge to be her proving ground.

There she waits, with a pot of rather intensely herbal tea-- her headache is mad fierce-- and wonders what she's doing. Not waiting here, I mean; it's a nice place to have a snack if you're meeting a friend or not. Her roommate had raised some distressingly valid points during their heated discussion, last evening, and of course now that papers have been signed and there's no turning back, she'll have plenty of time to regret things.

Alma had really seemed concerned when she'd heard from her, so it'd of course be nice to ease /her/ fears, and besides that... well, Aeschere understands that Alma has some experience with the particular 'problem' she's facing.
Alma Hyral Alma had not in fact been near Bevelle at the time. However, she always made it sound like she was nearby classmates if they were injured. First, because if she needed to, she could cross the World of Ruin to their side very quickly. And two, because she didn't want pride to cause someone to shove away a potential helping hand. Making it sound inconvenient to her was a sure way for that to happen.

So she always made it sound like she was always nearby. Aeschere sent her a text message which indicated she'd show up with a clean bill of health on the morrow, so Alma hadn't questioned it, making certain to arrive at the appointed time. This time, she had brought her guards from the Archadian Military because /hey/ if Akari is anywhere in a hundred mile radius, it really was a good idea to have extra people on hand. However, they didn't come into the teahouse with her, instead they went across the street to a small bistro and were taking their dinner, just keeping an eye on them from a distance. Alma was wearing an azure dress with short sleeves in stark contrast to the White Mage Robes most people typically saw her in as she entered the tea house, and her hair was down. It was surprising in it's length, given that she nearly always had it up in a bun, so it was difficult to guess that it actually was long enough to reach her waist.

Spying Aeschere, she took a seat across from her, offering an affable smile and a concerned look, "Hey Aeschere. Everything alright? Sure you don't want me to give you the once over?"
Aeschere Childs On the other hand, Aeschere lives under the same roof as the stone-god girl; what good would an army do against Akari, does she think? No matter, no matter. Though the tea should be strong enough to announce itself, there's a second cup, and the little knight pours Alma some. It's nice, it'll clear your head. "I live, just as threatened, Alma."

It may be hard to evaluate 'healthy' in the girl, but aside from perhaps some fatigue she looks no worse than the last time she spoke with Alma. Local fashions, though, are all short sleeves and light cloth, and despite the heat, Aeschere wears sleeves nearly to her fingertips. Perhaps it's habit. "Just scraped and bruised a little. I appreciate your concern truly, though."

Chera sips her own tea; bitter, apparently. "I had different problems that I thought you might help me with, though; you were associated with Murasame Group, yes?"
Alma Hyral Questions best left unanswered.

Alma takes the teacup in her hands, unlike certain tea double barbarians out there, she doesn't add sugar, she just takes in it's natural aroma, before allowing herself to take a small sip. "Thank you. And I'm glad that you're alright."

Just a little scraped and bruised? Well, that's easy enough to fix. A soft white glow spreads over to Aeschere as the two speak, easing the headache and clearing all of that up in relative short order. If not for the glow, there'd be no indication she's even doing it.

And the subject switches to the Murasame Zaibatsu, and Alma's expression darkens, if only slightly, before it returns to a more neutral look, "I was, associated for a short time, yes. I was there because I was under the impression that Souji Murasame was putting forth all of his efforts to restoring our world, and because I desired to.. help him work through his grief. He is a changed man ever since my sister passed. And not for the better, as many are quick to point out." Her tone remains relatively neutral though as she speaks, then falls silent once more.
Aeschere Childs She did that last time, too, didn't she, Chera? Without even asking, or letting you make your achingly clever remark about finding some privacy if she insisted on a proper exam. It's a strange feeling for Aeschere, but she isn't going to /complain/, certainly not. Her headache is gone, after all.

"But, see where everyone only tells me about how they feel about Murasame when I ask about the company!" That, she might be ready to complain about that by now. "I never met the guy even. Minette scouted me, I guess it happened." That covers her situation well, we suppose. Chera takes another sip of tea and considers what her actual question is.

"Do they trouble you, now you've resigned? I suppose I wonder that."
Alma Hyral Little injuries didn't really take an exam. Most of the time all it takes is a short libra spell which scouts out where they are, then she applies the regeneration magic instinctively to the right locations. Nothing all that complicated. No need for an embarassing exam unless the injuries are particularly serious and require contact.

She keeps her expression neutral, as she puts down the teacup in front of her. She looks from behind the lenses of her glasses as she tries to judge Aeschere carefully. One wrong word here and she might have more troubles than she knew what to deal with.. could she really trust her to keep her mouth shut? It was a tough call.

Instead she just breathes out a sigh, and decides to answer in the most appropriate way possible. "That's because Souji Murasame generally dictates what happens as the final word. I believe that Souji Murasame thinks I'm more trouble than my services are worth. It is best to say that he does not care about what happens to me, but he doesn't have any oversight over his employees either unless they cause him actual problems in his dealings. Two of his employees... have been bothersome ever since my resignation, though less so given that I now work for House Solidor of the Archadian Empire. One of them tried to have me killed, at one point, and the other likely desires my death." She takes the tea cup back in her hands. "There is much I could say about the Murasame Zaibatsu, but I'd prefer not to speak of certain matters." She takes a sip from the cup of tea, before looking back at Aeschere, "...but I can answer some of your questions."
Aeschere Childs House Solidor is a name Aeschere knows, and its repute is fine and strong. The rest of Alma's tale, well, it agrees far better with Akari's appraisal than Minette's. The little knight listens attentively, and at great length, shrugs.

"You may understand where, for the moment, it suffices that they pay me. The lack of oversight particularly appeals." Chera smiles, slightly. "But blood stains my hair still where Akari tried to drive it through my head that Murasame will end me if he wants. I wanted your opinion, too."

Chera's profile hasn't exactly been low, since they last met, at least in the bounty or mercenary markets. Those are fine and admirable occupations around here, though. Even, grudgingly, for little girls like her. "I won't pry details from you, just ask whether I should start planning my exit already."
Alma Hyral Alma Hyral closes her eyes briefly, taking in the aroma of the tea for a while, "They certainly pay well. My recommendation to you is to always have an exit strategy. I saw the writing on the wall weeks in advance and was making preparations.. investing my paycheck in aiding my friends open businesses of their own. As for whether you should start making preparations? I'd say that's up to you. Whether Souji wants to end you or not will depend on whether you cause him actual damages. If you leave the company on good terms with him and his employees, then I doubt he'll bother doing anything to harm you."

Her voice retains that neutral, non-judgmental quality to it, " to whether you should leave or not, that's entirely up to you. You don't hear me speaking about the circumstances of my departure on the radio, and for good reason. Just let your conscience be your guide. That is the best advice I can give to you."
Aeschere Childs Sound advice indeed, but that beatific neutrality of Alma's is beginning to unnerve Aeschere. She /wants/ to raise a protest of some kind-- blood and ash, to extract /some/ sort of reaction-- but it is the reaction, isn't it? A message in the medium? If nothing else, Alma could quite rightly not want to have her hand in whatever chaos will inevitably consume her.

"Our own business remains open, at least, and for whatever worth it has I have permission and encouragement to pursue it. I'll probably still be prying Akari off the ceiling when I go home, but she, ah," the girl's expression speaks a volume about the following assertion, "agrees, that we take no more particular risk, now that I work for the Group."
Alma Hyral Neutrality has been necessary for survival. At least, when she's being open.

"I imagine that she can be a hassle on occasion...." Another sip of tea, then she closes her eyes after a moment, "...I can make one recommendation to you though."

She takes in a deep breath, "Do not involve yourself in any projects run by individuals by the name of Feige Abramson or Alberic Lux. Avoid them. Do not speak to them. Stay away from them if you value your life, and immortal soul. /Everyone/ is an experiment to them, not a person. /Everyone/. Feige Abramson is a literal worshipper of Chaos, and has unleashed an entity of Chaos into this world. Her and Alberic Lux have murdered hundreds. And no I will not substantiate any of this. You will have to take me at my word, or not at all. And if you value your life, you won't spread this around. Any other project by the Zaibatsu.. that's up for you to decide whether or not it is worth involving yourself in, but most are considerably more benign."
Aeschere Childs But how hazardous can that information be, if Alma's willing to share it with possibly her least familiar schoolmate, in the middle of a teahouse?

...on the other hand, what benefit is there in sharing it out? This is just the sort of thing that Chera hoped to learn, and Alma's concern for her own can certainly be respected. "...for now, I do accounting. The Group does more evil with a pen and abacus than some do with armies, though, I suppose. I have no interest in mass-murder." There may have been the very slightest of emphasis on 'mass'.

Chera finishes her tea, just as it gets cold, sadly, and sets the cup aside by way of punctuation. "Well. A contract binds only if enforced. Everyone seems to see it that way, anyways." She holds a hand out to Alma. "Thanks for answering me. You have every time, here."
Alma Hyral "They sometimes do. I bear no ill will against Minette, Thirza, Artyom, or yourself... and I still wish for both Helena and Souji to find all the happiness in the world."

She looks away, with a haunted look in her eyes, "If they continue on this path... I don't think they will find the happiness they seek. Though I hope they shall."

She tentatively reaches forward, and offers her hand, to shake it. "You're welcome. And I wish I could say more.. really I've only given you a bare minimum amount of information on what I know of them." She looks over the lens of her glasses, "...which should tell you much, in and of itself."
Aeschere Childs You'd think that even a shut-in like Aeschere would know something about the Hyrals as they relate to Souji Murasame, but apparently she doesn't like soap operas or something. She shakes Alma's hand firmly, for slightly too long. "I don't play the game that much, but I know the rules, y'know."

She hasn't seemed much put off by Alma's side of the story, this evening. It's a lot like what she got from Akari, if slightly less wall-to-wall. "And have you stayed in Bevelle all this time?" Chera asks it like the thought just struck her, which is reasonable. There was a bit of a traffic jame in there until Alma cleared the wreckage.
Alma Hyral Alma shakes her hand, "Good. I had to learn them quickly. I truly had no idea what I was getting into, when I joined the Murasame Corporation."

There is a short pause, and then she decides to answer honestly, "I was never near Bevelle until now, but there's little I wouldn't do for anyone in need. I can get across the world relatively quickly if I'm required to."
Aeschere Childs This is definitely an important fact. Despite Alma's literally boundless apparent goodwill, however, Aeschere does... not feel like pressing her about it. "I'll try not to require it," she says, with a grin. "We should talk some time when I /don't/ need reassembly."

Verifying that the tea is indeed gone, Chera stands, and quietly extracts a handful of gil from a pocket or somewhere. She sets the coins quietly on the table, nodding. "We'll go probably to Narshe, I think. I despair of getting Akari onto the Torifune." She drums fingertips on her cheek for a moment. ", a cage won't work...whichever."

She bows to Alma, respect befitting the potential savior of her life. "Cosma Myitis guide you."
Alma Hyral Alma smiles to her, "You can ask Kyra too, in a pinch. She's just as good as I am as a healer, she just uses scientific means as often as magic." ....and the process is more painful, but she wasn't going to put that out there. "..and yeah, I think I'd like that. Come visit me in Archades sometime. I'll show you around."

There is a very short pause, as she considers that. "Ah.. um... right.. Narshe is probably not a great idea as the happenings there would remind her of Souji's dealings. The Ame-No-Torifune... she'd probably tear the ship apart."

"And you as well.." She holds up a finger, "...but one last thing.." She reaches over to her leather satchel, and after rifling around in it, pulls out a small pie box, " did request a pear pie, after all."
Aeschere Childs "Well, she insists that she'll accompany me to make sure nobody else beats me up," Aeschere really doesn't tire of announcing that at Minette, and Alma is apparently a valid target too, given her opinion of, ah, Ms. Seran, "so she can come to Narshe and ha"

She requested a what. She did request a pie. She accepts the box, carefully. "/And/ you deliver. I'll have to bring you one next time." She does lift the lid, of course; one must always inspect shipments before acceptance. It's precisely a pear pie, though. Of course.

"If you travel so fast /and/ bake he might try to rehire you." That's probably a joke. Probably.
Alma Hyral She actually rolls her eyes at the idea of Souji rehiring her, "Souji wouldn't rehire me unless.. well let's just say it's unlikely to happen. And I was already a pretty good chef even before I left. He tried to accuse me of bribing and manipulating his employees with baked goods that I made for them because I was /pressured/ to do so.. while I was off the clock. As in, should be sleeping and got woken up to fetch coffee or to make lunch for someone."
Aeschere Childs Happily for Aeschere, at least so far, Minette doesn't drive her slaves quite so hard. "Sleeping's for dead people," she declares cheerily, but she can see where the joke fell a bit flat, and she doesn't quite care to detail Souji's planned foray into pizza delivery. That'll be one for laughing at afterwards, yes.

"At that, I think I'll head back to my coffin, if I may. We'll catch up later?"
Alma Hyral "Sure." She offers a cheerful smile her way, which kind of wavers as Aeschere speaks of returning to her coffin, which implies Vampires, she then gives her a chagrined look, "Um.. just a recommendation but don't make that joke around Souji, Kyra, or me..."
Aeschere Childs Aeschere frowns in answer, but nods. The gods know she has buttons of her own to be pressed. "To bed, just to bed. I couldn't possibly be dead, you keep catching me."

And because Alma keeps catching her she probably has a fair idea of how close to that edge Aeschere has been. Several times, it'd look like. Just the regular death, though, you know. Refusing to let the mood sour entirely, she adds, "I won't offend. Next time perhaps I'll ask why."
Alma Hyral "I take no offense, you didn't know."

A moment later she just decides to offer her the answer, " older sister Tira who was Souji's fiance, was murdered by a vampire."

And despite the awkwardness caused by the statement, she just nods at her, "Sleep well."
Aeschere Childs Tellingly, it seems like Aeschere will. She, er, checks to be sure her hands still contain a pie in a box, nods to Alma, and wanders off up the road, pausing only briefly to gawk at the heavies in the cafe 'cross the street.

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Alma Hyral, Aeschere Childs