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No title.
(2013-07-13 - 2013-07-13)
No description.
Lady in White The apartment he exited leads to a bland corridor. The walls are some vague and washed out greenish hue with a white trim near the bottom. Something that would be walked by and never seen for years. The walls are pock marked by newspaper clippings, neat notebook scrawlings and even marked up pizza boxes piled up here and there on the floor, which is carpeted in a faded and worn blue.

There is no immediate sign of the lady in white although the corridor turns sharply to the left at the end, obscuring immediate sight. There is nothing that immediately draws the eye about these papers. They seem to be a scattershot timeline of events. They start like the newspapers. Corruption. Murder. Crime. And in that sense these words printed out so blandly seem like a mottled stain on the walls. Kidnappings. Arson. Theft.

But gradually the tone of the timeline shifts. It becomes notes on investigation. Files pinned to the wall with pictures attached. The small tokens and wishes of those the TDA has helped. Communications between members. Reports pasted because others had sinned by not writing them fast enough (hence the pizza boxes)

And he's not mentioned. In the places where it SHOULD be his handwriting, it is someone elses. There is a moment of dislocation, as if someone has excised him from his life and he is looking at it from the viewpoint .. of an outsider. The events are correct. There IS no trace of fakery, no trace of falsehood except that single and glaring occurance.

And turning the corner leads to an empty TDA building, the one in Traverse Town that was rebuilt after the fall. It looks recently unoccupied, as if the last customer had just walked out the door of Cloud 9. There is even the faintest ringing as if the door had been just shut. The lady in white is sitting where he would usually sit, looking out the window as if waiting for something or.. listening. But again, she is separated by a barrier of glass. The pane looks on this opposite version of Cloud 9 where there are people. Avira is sitting at the bar stirring her drink around thoughtfully, her back turned towards this mirror image.

All the customers. All the life, is on the other side of the glass.

And Mercade is ultimately in an empty building, and a quick look outside would confirm.. empty streets. Empty buildings. An empty town.
Mercade Alexander It's like a cruel knife.

Something keeps jabbing into him as he moves through the hallway. He sees the clippings. How can he not? Each time he sees that other hand, that other /person/ who has taken his place, it's another cut. While he's one of the most... temperate... of the TDA, he is not without emotion. He is logical, but he cannot deny his soul, his Heart. And something is striking him there. He can't do anything, however, but accept the reality thrust upon him until he can figure out what the rules are of this... environment he finds himself it.

It is falsehood, right? This can't be real...

And he goes from removal to... Nothing? Mercade steps into the emply Cloud Nine, feeling that last warmth, a vague presence like he just missed someone... But it is gone.

But for the woman, he is all alone. His jaw clenches, emotions rising within him, but he clamps down upon it as he turns away...

And sees through the glass, the other side. Where everyone is. Where the life and the people are.

Where Avira is. He steps forward, putting a hand on the glass as he suddenly finds himself outside. It feels... cold, to him. A strange sensation that runs through him independant of anything so urbane as temperature. The warmth is in there. With the others.

He fidgets, a pressure being put on the window as he watches... And then he tears his gaze away to look at the woman who sits where he was.

He doesn't need to ask the question, here. He forces himself to move away from the window, and sits down next to the woman in white.
Lady in White The Lady in white is looking over something from where she sits at the table. She sits pouring over the notes, looking at the pictures. There are photographs and names and information about the TDA here. There is another file with Mercade's picture in it from when he was younger, a photograph of his mother.

She looks over every picture with small, precise gestures. Every movement seems calculated and well reasoned.

"The heartless will be coming again soon." She says without preamble. In the mirror universe Avira looks up at the mirror when Mercade puts pressure on it, but it can be seen that she doesn't really see anything at all. Something catches her attention and she looks away again. The murmur of conversation from the other Cloud 9 is a constant background murmur in the silent spaces here.

"They will find you.. and you would not want to put them in danger.. would you?" The Lady says this without looking up from the pictures.

A long time passes before she continues. "No." A faint smile. "You will be the bastion they need when they falter." she takes a minute sip of water from a glass near her elbow. "And they will.. for there is no end to the heartless. Isn't that what you said?"

She then looks up at him, smile curling one edge in a razor thin smile with slightly pursed lips examining him thoughtfully. She catches at the brim of her hat, adjusting it just slightly downwards.

"But now they can be stopped. And those behind them...? They can be brought to justice."
Mercade Alexander Something about this woman rankles him. He specializes in trying to know things about people. To get information.

Mercade shakes his head, banishing it amidst the welter of other emotional pressure around him. He has to remain focused. "Everyone falls eventually." Mercade says. "But we can win. We can stop the Heartless. With the Keyblade, we can destroy them permanently." He looks at the Keyblade in his hand, and he sets it down on the bar. "I'll fight as long as I have to. For them. For everyone. It's..." Mercade pauses.

"I need to do this."

He folds his hands before him, still fidgeting slightly. "But you basically have the long and the short of it."
Lady in White "But why?" The woman tells him in a curiously neutral voice. "For them..?" she gestures to the mirror image. "Or for yourself?" A faint chuckle. "And is that wrong, either way?"

The woman turns her head towards the door just as the heartless decide to be horrible bar patrons. A cluster of swift moving nocturnes clatter with the sounds of that door chime. They swirl in patterns of red, blue and yellow.

Fire explodes against a table, setting it alight. Shards of ice slam against bottles and bar alike. A jolt of lightning leaves a heavy smell of ozone. Something strikes the mirror and with it, the lady in white vanishes in the rustle of broken glass.

Soldiers and pirates clatter into the bar, breaking the door glass and tearing down the frame. Each sound is layering over on itself with other noise. Car alarms. The catcalls and cries of a street gang rendered down into wordless hooting and chattering. Gunshots.

The cries of desperation from the Tower. The heartless have brought it with them as they smashed their way into this place. Not as faceless voices, but again, like physical representations. Like all that loss and horror made real and hungering.

The host of heartless train on him, several soldiers leaping with claws extended while bolts of ice and flame shoot across the defiled bar.
Mercade Alexander Why? Why indeed. Mercade opens his mouth to answer, but then he stops.

Who is he doing this for? Who /really/?

His Heart is of two minds about it. He's not actually sure.

But there is one thing he's sure about... And that is that the Heartless need to be stoppes. Mercade picks up the Keyblade, turning and pointing it at the incoming Heartless.

He can hear the cries. "You..." He pauses, setting himself. "You guys are as much victims as anyone else, aren't you." He says... And then he lunges.

The Detective spins, the weapon moving much faster than it might seem from the unwieldy nature of the weapon, and he lunges forward, lashing out with the weapon at the incoming Nocturnes. Fire and ice explode around him, and he reflexively parries some of it, fields of light washing up around him even as the rest explode. When the light and noise vanish, Mercade is not there.

He descends, his clothing ragged from the overwhelming incoming firepower, as he drops down upon the Noctures, striking out with blurred motions. The Keyblade is the weapon of the Heart...

But considering the turmoil within, what does that mean for him?
Lady in White There is a surge, an almost palpable drop in pressure as the keyblade impacts with the heartless. The keyblade cleaves through them like the smoke that they are made of, although many like the Soldiers take several passes to fully destroy.

And each time there is that snap of light and a crystalline heart comes into distance for only a second or two before vanishing. Each one takes some of the voices with them. It's subtle at first but as the smoke parts. As the fire and ice explodes across fields of light and the nocturnes are felled, the movements become easier. The blade itself drawing a part of that energy left behind and strengthening.

The volume of the clamor starts to die in the bar until finally, with the felling of the very last soldier.. there is nothing but himself in the empty reaches of Cloud 9.

And then there is a thunderous BOOM from outside. The repoire of a shotgun and the flash across the broken doorway of a only briefly glimpsed shape.
Mercade Alexander Mercade fights. He emerges victorious, but not without incident. Several gashes mar his coat, wounds that rob him of energy and vitality. It could be worse, he tells himself.

And then he curses himself for even thinking that, as he reflexively leaps behind a table when the shotgun goes off. He peeks out, unsure if something might be aiming at him, but...

He grimaces. No one is there to tell him what to do, but he knows.

"Avira. Will. Wait for me." He whispers to himself, as he steps forward to confront the thing in the doorway. This one will not fall so easily, he is sure.
Lady in White It's a hobo with a shotgun!

But Will and Isaac are being hard pressed by the heartless at the other end of the street. The entire 'floor' of this empty Traverse Town has turned into a single strip of black from which an endless sream of shadows spawn. Entire streets painted black like a dark river, sucking everything down into it.

Mercade can move on it like it is real ground but anyone else is slowly being pulled down by innumerable claws. Tom and Max and Celina are on a low building some distance away.

Each of them are doing what they can to hold on as the heartless batter them from the little cover they've been able to secure on top of buildings or cars but there are many more claws then there are hiding places.

"Hmm. This is troubling." The Lady in White says as she walks across the broken glass out onto the street. "And they are so far away." The woman looks in one direction and then the other. "It stands to reason.. that you can't save everyone." A faint smile. "But I know better. As you should."

"You can be the hero here. If you want to be."
Mercade Alexander Mercade steps out onto the street and witnesses the horror before him. "No." Mercade whispers. "Not again."

His hands tighten upon the Keyblade as he sets himself.... And then he stops as the woman addresses him. He scowls for a moment. The words make him stop. Question himself. "I..."

He looks between the two areas. Logically, he can't reach them both in time... Can he?

He can't just let them die. How can he choose? How /could/ he choose?

Is this even real? He's still in Castle Oblivon... right?

Is he even doing the right thing?

"What kind of <goosehonk> questions are those?" He scolds himself. He has no idea what you can do with a Keyblade. He just has to trust to it and kick reason to the curb."I'm not going to leave anyone to die!" Mercade yells, as he levels the Keyblade, and points it at the countless Heartless, the Darkness consuming everything around them. He closes his eyes, reaching deep into himslef. He was told about what Keyblades are supposed to do... And right now, all that matters is that he gives it everything he has.

And then he remembers to say the magic word. "Please." Hey, it worked once.
Lady in White Please is the magic word.

But it had started to work before he remembered, so perhaps it was not so much the word as the intent that conjured up whatever animating force or magic that lay within the still shifting blade. Innumerable bronze flares explode outwards and around, twisting and shimmering as they explode one after another on the endless tapestry of claws and yellow eyes.

He can hear them, his friends, calling for him somewhere in the din. There is a sharp splintering of glass as the floor seems to buckle and give out underneath but really it only sags about a foot or so. The fall though, one inch at a time, seems to take much longer than it should before speeding up all at once to another CRUNCH that comes from the floor underneath rather than bone. It's a short, jarring stop and when it is over.. there are no more heartless.

The blade thrums with life and power, a little bit from hundreds of the swarming shadows. One for each voice quelled and heart released from it's prison. He is back in the the TDA Offices again, the ones that were lost when Manhattan fell. A place still full of memories but again with the feeling that it's just been recently vacated. Something sleek and faintly jazz purrs from the radio as the Woman in White sits in a chair across from the desk. Her hands are neatly holding a small book as if she had been waiting for him.

She chuckles faintly. "So." a long pause. "With belief, anything is possible after all." she tells him as she turns a page. "..and you have only just begun." with the faintest chuckle. "But there is still more to see. If you still wish."
Mercade Alexander The sensation of power flowing through him is electric. He blasts the shadows, destroying them in a swath with the seemingly endless power of the Keyblade. How could he do this? It makes no sense whatsoever. He had no training, no knowledge. No understanding.

But then, it's just this kind of thing that could result in the devastation that he had been shown. The Keyblade War. This kind of power, in the hands of anyone...

Even in the exhiliration, a part of him suddenly recoiled. He shakes his head, snapping himself out of the flush of victory as he sees the environment change. He almost drops the Keyblade, even... But he pauses, holding onto it as he walks forward towards the Woman in White. "You make for a very mysterious guide." Mercade replies. "Do you get a lot of practice in it out here?"

He must be feeling more normal, a little bit. Some of that sassy wit is coming back.
Lady in White "Perhaps it is well that I do not. I do not think you could take TOO much more mystery." The woman sasses back at him with a quirk of her lips and a tip of her hat, the same as one master would bow to another on the practice mat. (If it was made of sass anyways)

"So. You know that it exists." she gestures, and there is a small television on which is the image of the small and dingy apartment with the open hokey box inside. "So at least you know where you've been." she then gestures to the keyblade. "And you know that it works." she smiles slightly. "For the present. With the right words." A chuckle.

"But where does this path lead?" she lets that hang in the air between them for awhile, looking at the staircase leading to the next floor of the apartment, then back at him. "I think that's up for you to decide." She quietly closes her book and lays it on the desk.

It's a detective novel, of all things.
Mercade Alexander The world is, perhaps, not ready for the sassmat.

Mercade glances between the TF, the office, and the stairway as she indicates them. He scowls slightly at the comments, however. This is a high level of Mysterius Sass. "I'm here to find answers, not guess at riddles." He sighs, shaking his head. "But then, I guess you just can't help yourself, can you?"

He turns away. "Well then. I can't very well leave this half-done." He replies. "You and I both know that." He shrugs. "Enjoy your book, ma'am." He tips his hat, looking over his shoulder, and walks away towards the stairwell.

Past. Present. Future. Time to end this.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Lady in White