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Meanwhile at gummi camp...
(2013-08-15 - Now)
No description.
Avira Camp Pair Dadeni!

The undead continue to show, though now their numbers are drastically reduced. Unlike the previous night, the camp is no longer in full-blown crisis mode. However, ongoing practice and supply runs and re-fortifications make it seem like that really isn't the case. And it's true. Arthur and Avira aren't sure when the next attack will be, if there is going to be one to begin with. But damnit! They're ready!

Well-rested and ready to go, Avira is on patrol, walking the perimeter, carefully navigating the many traps that Arthur has lined up along the way. The traps don't exactly stop the undead but for other more intelligent intruders, they work well enough.
Maira Maira had eventually found her way to the camp after a good while of being lost. She was just about to swallow any pride she had left and ask them to send a search party for her when Mao caught the scent and made a bee line toward it. Since then, Maira has been doing what she said she would; fixing some things. Like people, and maid outfits.

Now however, Maira is moving to meet Avira on her patrol at the perimeter with the intention of setting up some nice magical defenses that would, at the very least, inform them when the undead started shuffling in large number toward their camp.

The young mage has a long stick in her hand, pointed at the end to draw a line in the dirt that lights with a flicking white flame for just a moment before the magic goes into hibernation, waiting for a presence to trip it. Since it is tied to her energy, she should be able to determine friend from foe. "Well, I hope this helps keep the nasties out. They should, more or less, catch flame when they try to cross into the circle," she explains. "Anyone else who is entering the camp should be fine though. I'm pretty sure."

Maira pauses a moment. "Might want to give me a minute, /then/ cross. Just to be safe. I've kind of only done this is theory before," she offers with a shrug and a warm smile.
Avira Avira hears something in the woods!! With her hand already pulling her weapon free, Avira turns-only to stop abruptly when she sees that it's Maira there. "There you are." she smiles warmly at her best friend. "Thank you for setting that up, that's going to be super helpful when more come."

She grins, "I don't think it'll hurt the people in this camp. They're not dead. Right?" she pauses. Nervous laughter follows and she waits. "Can't be that hard, right?"
Maira Maira's smile grows. "Well, I don't really know how to tailor it to only dead things. Not really figured that out yet. So what I did was just kind of connected it to me, cause that's just kind of how my magic works, and in the back of my head somewhere whenever anybody comes close I try to identify them--you know, in a...unconscious kinda way....I think that's what I mean," she says, wrinkling her nose slightly.

"Anyway are you done patrolling? I totally have a story to tell you, and you probably have a few for me!" she continues, linking her arm through Avira's.
Avira "....oooooh." Avira frowns, "But holy can tune it to slaying undead, right? Maybe it's like a radio and you just need to adjust the frequency or something. So it'll only hurt undead." Avira understand magic to be a little like that in some circles. Magic theory had all kinds of things to say about how it worked.

A sly smile forms upon the huntress's lips, "Well since I'm kind of in charge here, I can say I'm done patrolling whenever I want. Let's head back to camp, I'll get someone else on the perimeter."
Maira Maira looked at the edges of her circle thoughtfully, raising a hand to tap her index finger lightly against her bottom lip. "Hmm...I'll think on that. Heh, yeah it seems like magic works differently for a lot of people--no two worlds really alike, all of us tossed together..." she shrugs then, and follows Avira. Indeed, she skips. "Okay, so someday, we need to skip through Traverse Town to see Isaac or Merlin or something, and we need to sing 'We're Off to See the Wizard'. It has to happen."

Now, hopefully primed by silliness into a good mood, Maira begins. "Soooo....don't freak out, but I went to Palamecia and I spoke to Mateus..."
Avira "How /does/ it work for you, by the way?" she pauses then slowly narrows her eyes, "Let's stick with Isaac, alright? Merlin's a little on the unreliable side. I know he's a great guy and I still owe him a favor but...well...yeah, let's not get me owing him any more favors!"

With her arm linked with Maira, she walks back into the camp. When Maira admits where she's been, she'll feel Avira tense up.

"...alone clearly. Maira..." Her free hand pinches the area between her eyes, "If you really are a Princess of Heart, you've gotta be more careful. You can't just go waltzing up to the evil emperor and have cake. He could do something."

Or at least Avira's familiar enough with awful things happening to herself that she expects the same to happen to her BFF. That mutate incident with Hades has scarred her for life.
Maira Maira nods a little. Merlin is kinda kooky. She likes Isaac better. Much easier to relate to. Plus, he'd get the reference and that is essential.

Maira heaves a sigh then. "Yes, I went alone because last time, he simply let me go. He did the same again. You see, I understand now. He's...actually very complicated. He doesn't want the world to fall to darkness. He doesn't want to rule a land full of Heartless...I wondered if we could talk and you could tell me what you think. Maybe next time I go you could go with me...?" she asks. Yes, next time. She intended to go again!?

"Besides, I didn't have cake. I had punch. ...and a dance. When I arrived they were having a ball," she corrects. Cake was LEXUS. Tea with the Dark Knight. Dancing with Emperor Mateus. Keep it straight now!

But before I talk more about that, he told me something...that was pretty jarring. You know when I I separated from Uist? The shock of it--well, my heart stopped," she says, keeping her voice quiet as they walk side by side. "At that very moment, an earthquake shook Palamecia and Fynn," she says, her amber eyes wide.
Avira Isaac would get all the references. That's the important part.

" does that mean he's not really a Shadow Lord? Shadow Lords want to see worlds fall..." At least that's what Avira thinks Shadow Lords want to do. She might need some clarification from Katyna on that one. "I could come with you next time as a bodyguard. I doubt this emperor wants to talk to me." she shrugs, then tilts her head at Maira. "You /danced/ with him? What the hell, I..."

That cinches it. Maira gets attention from all the WRONG men. "Your heart stopped..? Well. Hearing that effect on Palamecia and Fynn is pretty interesting. And it confirms the whole being integral to the survival of the world thing."
Maira "No, he is a Shadow Lord. He admitted it to me himself. But I guess...not all Shadow Lord's have the same goals. They are individuals after all. I'm sure most of them do want the worlds to fall to darkness....but I really do believe him when he says that he does not. He thinks of it as his, and he doesn't want what is his to be taken away. Honestly...the people? They don't seem unhappy. They don't...well they don't seem like their being ruled by a tyrant, you know?" she explains.

"He told me that it was his father actually, that did all the conquering and experimenting with the darkness first...that his father actually tried to kill him. So when it was Mateus up to be Emperor, so much was already done he kind of felt he needed to take on the mantle or otherwise, there would just be more chaos. I actually....fell kind of /bad/ for him," she admits, knowing Avira with likely thing she's crazy.

She looks off into the jungle then, taking a deep breath. "My heart stopped, yes. The shock of the separation did it, I guess. I saw my mother again...I got to say goodbye to her and to Uist. I could have would have been so easy to stay...." she shakes her head then. "But I had people to come back for," she says, summoning a smile as she reaches and takes Avira's hand. "Heh...apparently a lot more people than I really realized. It really feels very /real/ now. It''s really scary," she admits quietly.
Avira Avira looks confused. "...uh. Maybe he's mistaken about Shadow Lords...all the ones I meet seem to be furthering the darkness in any way possible." Maybe Maira was being lied to really? Avira doesn't want to suggest it, especially as she continues to listen to what she says.

At this point Avira decides to change the subject rather than try to convince Maira that Mateus was likely deceiving her and that he's not some big victim that he's portraying himself as. "Did you hear voices?" she looks to her, "At that moment, did you hear the voices of people you knew talking to you?"

She had once. Maira was one of them. "You never really know how much you mean to other people. Not until they come for you. It's nothing to to be afraid of-be happy!"
Maira Maybe she was being lied to, but Maira was willing to take the chance if it perhaps meant there would be less bloodshed down the line. There can be solutions besides fighting, can't there? Maira can tell Avira does not believe her. She never really expected her to.

"I kind of heard Perci calling for me, that was right before I came back. I don't know. Heh, its not that I'm scared of the people who care about me, but I'm scared for Palamecia--for Fynn. All the people who live there. I mean....if something happens to me....I guess I realized my heart doesn't just belong to me. There are people out there relying on me who don't even /know/ me," she explains, shaking her head in what seems disbelief.

"Well, if Mateus wanted the rest of the world to fall to darkness, he could have helped it along on several occasions by now. If that's what he wanted, he could have just killed me. But he didn't."
Avira After what Avira went through, witnessing her own world being destroyed twice, of course she's going to draw certain conclusions about Shadow Lord intentions.

"Yeah, it's a big burden to bear with no extra benefit." Avira points out, airing some of her more cynical feelings about her own station. If that station was still hers. If anything lately she did feel more and more like a full person. Maybe a heart can heal? "Yes, he could have done quite a lot of damage to that world by now. But he hasn't...which makes me think he has an allegiance other than the Shadow Lords."

Avira shrugs, "But it doesn't matter in the end if he's got no plans to hurt you or make the world fall into darkness. Still in the future I think you should be a bit more careful about running off to meet with evil emperors." Avira strolls into camp, hand in hand with Maira, stopping for a moment to give Herbie a pet.
Mercade Alexander Meanwhile, a couple zombies are sitting there, staring at the magical circle that's keeping them back.

"Brains! Brainsbrains. Brainsbrains brains brains."
"... Brains."




Zombies go flying as from the jungle, Mercade appears, holding a smoking double barreled pump shotgun. "What is it about zombies and Fridays?" Mercade says to himself, as he looks up at the palisade wall. "HEY IN THERE!" Mercade yells. "OPEN UP FOR A SECOND!"

He approached from the /other/ side from Maira and Avira. Ooops.
Maira "Well, yes, to himself," she answers in regard to Mateus and his loyalties. "But yes, there was a dance. Tea with the Dark Knight, Cake with LEXUS. Now it's just a thing," she laughs. She has to laugh, it is just so ridiculous how her life has turned out.

Maira syops to give Herbie a pet too, cooing at him to tell him how cute he is--at least until Mao starts getting jealous. Less her chocobo summon a meteor in his anger, Maira returns her attention to Mao.

"Anyway...I knew you'd understand Avira," she says, smiling gratefully.
% Maira jumps when she hears gunshots, though her expression of surprise quickly melts into a grin. "Oh, Mercade is here!"
Avira From outside the barricade, Avira hears gunshots.

Over the walled area, Mercade sees archers peeking out, knocking arrows, but definitely not firing because Mercade is clearly not an undead. What kind of undead operates a gun? This isn't Lolipop Chainsaw!

"...cake with LEXUS? What? I didn't know about that part." Now Avira's worried all over again. One of these days Maira will get into some real trouble...

"He /is/!" Avira grins, recognizing the voice from calling out from the other side. Letting go of Maira's hand, Avira rushes across the camp and scales the barricade with the other archers. "Hey! Hey Mercade!" she calls out, "Over here!"

She holds her hand down to him, "Come on!" Wait, does she expect him to climb up? Yes. Yes she does.
Mercade Alexander Mercade waves up to the archers, and tips his hat in greeting. "Heya guys." He smiles, being rather non-undead in nature. "Nice bows you got there." He immediately brightens when he hears Avira, and he runs over under where she is on the wall. She holds out her hand and frowns a moment, calculating as he brings a hand up to the side of his head. "Well then. Ummmm..." He looks back at a nearby tree, and begins leaping up the jungle tree. It begins bending under Mercade's weight, and he leans out, boosting off of it to catch the side of the wall and Avira's hand, letting her help him over the edge of the pointy fence. "Ow ow ow." He says, straightening himself out to look to Maira and Avira. "Hello ladies! How's everything going out here on this fine undead-infested day?" He says brightly...

Then he pauses, squinting. "Is that a giant beetle?"
Maira Maira looks sheepish. "I had a concussion, alright?" she says in her own defense, then walks off grumbling to get some refreshments for them. If Mercade has been walking in the jungle, he'll need a drink. Of water. Avira will too after patrolling, she's sure!

Maira has nice cool drinks waiting for them, holding the cups out toward them with a bright smile. "Thirsty? Hiya Mercade! Have you come to help us out here? That'd be pretty awesome. I just put up a magic perimeter too--hopefully that will help keep them out as well," she says.

Off on the other side of camp, a zombie helpfully bursts into flame. Thank you, zombie.
Avira It's a puzzle, Mercade! Figure out how to jump the wall for your lady love~

A tree is a good choice. They haven't been cleared since there aren't too many undead that can scale them and get into the camp that way. Mercade will feel his hand tightly caught by Avira as she pulls him over into the camp. She actually ends up losing balance and falling backwards-possibly dragging him down with her.

Avira laughs all the way down.

"Today's a cakewalk compared to yesterday. I'm glad we've got a bit of a breather!" Carefully, she picks herself up and gestures at the Steelclaw beetle. "Yeah it is a giant beetle. He's my ride."

Happily, she accepts a drink from Maira. "Maira just arrived today too. I'm glad you could also make it, Mercade."
Mercade Alexander Mercade Alexander ends up getting dragged down, landing next to Avira. He laughs too, deciding that this silliness is not worth getting embarassed over, then getting up and greeting everyone as before. "Wow, thanks Maira! A drink will be great right now, this place is super hot." He totally takes the drink from Maira, looking over at Avira. "Huh. Tamed a giant beetle." He begins drinking the stuff without looking at what it is.
Maira Well lucky for Mercade, it really is just water!

Maira giggles and looks over her shoulder toward Herbie. "I think he's adorable--not cute than you of course Mao!" she calls, to which the red chocobo Wark's in satisfaction, ruffling his feathers.

"Yeah, hopefully the next wave I'll be able to help a lot more with. Darn jungle, we got so lost!"
Avira "Yes." Avira confirms for Mercade, sounding /super proud/ about Herbie. There could not be a more obvious instance of her budding beastmaster skills than being able to ride a giant, vicious beetle. (Well, the beetle is actually vegetarian.)

Shifting so she's sitting on a stack of logs, she gestures at Herbie again. You can climb on top of him and sit in his saddle if you want. He probably won't go anywhere though."

Avira wiggles her fingers, "I hope both of you will be here for the next wave. But more importantly, I believe Arthur has made a discovery as to the origin of these undead creatures. There seems to be some ruins in a nearby cavern along the river. A broken altar is inside. I think we might need some church officials in order to put it back together."
Maira "Oh really? Ou! I can call Faruja. I bet he'd be able to help with that, or at least know someone who could," she chimes in, taking a seat in a soft spot of ground. Mmm...that's nice. Maira's pretty tired.
Arthur Drover "Someone with holy power will do, lass. But I'd prefer someone from the church that's prevalent in this land - those ruins are from this world, and this world was once elsewhere. I don't really know enough to repair the stone right on my own. A holy thing has a mind of its own - disrespect it and it'll simply refuse to work, like a petulant child. Not to mention I saw the stone through a hole in the cave roof, so retrieving it will mean a little bit of walkabout."

Arthur rises, bleary-eyed and more bandaged than he'd like, from a nearby tent. He's armed - his horn bow and bracers in place despite bandages covering most of his torso.

The synthesist walks to the soup tureen and decants himself some into a steel thermos. This goes down smoothly and he seems somewhat restored. A runner had been sent with a note to his family and not yet returned. The camp is beginning to rally.

"We need to do something." Business talk out of the way, he manages to notice Maira and Mercade. "Pleased to meet you sir, nice to see you again, girl. Avira, there are notes on your desk, I had one of the steersmen bring my corrections to the design. I think we can mount a harpoon with a taut retracting rope to pull big enemies in. For formation flying it could let us handle issues like those monstrous ships the last time we went through. What's the status?"

He moves gingerly, like a man trying to avoid being sent back to bed, which in a sense he is.
Mercade Alexander Maira is thankfully the kind of person who wouldn't slip people some kind of love potion #9, thankfully.


"So have you guys figured out where the undead are coming from yet? Dead people don't just get up on their own without a reason, right?" Mercade asks, and then Arthur appears! Mercade turns towards the man and he tips his hat. "Hello there, sir. Mercade Alexander, detective from the Twilight Detective Agency." He thinks for a moment. "Holy power, huh? I don't know what would qualify..."
Arthur Drover "Arthur Drover." he touches his own cloth cap, sitting and appraising the man, then considering: "I'll know it when I see it, sadly the only valid answer. When I get the stone down I'm gonna have to use diamantine resin - something fancy enough to put the stone back like it is supposed to be. Then when the right person is there I'll know, you can feel it in the air. They'll put some curative energy or holy power into the stone, and we'll put it back on its altar and see if it calms the more disparate forces risin' up. There weren't many milling around, I only had to put down two zombies the whole time finding the cave. But we'll have to lower ourselves down, get the broken parts of the altar, and get out."

He pulls a pencil and paper over toward himself, and for the fifth time, begins sketching the routes around the entrance. He'd learned them well enough. He sketches what he could see from his poor vantage point: a broken spire, an underground cavern, and an evil candy center.
Avira "I think the worst is behind is as far as assaults go...unless it's gearing up for a even bigger one which I'm sure is the answer nobody really wants to hear around here. There are stragglers. Small groups. Nothing super huge. Mercade just came in and he ran into a small cluster, based on what we've heard." She pauses, "...harpoon? Really?"

Avira looks contemplative, "I don't have any real contacts in the churches of Ivalice...well..okay, maybe I do actually since there is a Glabados branch in Traverse Town we've done some work for. Maira herself is versed in things that are holy, but that's in terms of spirits and raw magical power. Not really iconography. I'll have to make contact with the Traverse Town branch. Maybe someone can help...failing that."

She looks to Mercade, "...there's always Faruja. He's a Templar and very physically capable. He'd be perfect for a dangerous mission like that."
Mercade Alexander "So, based on what you're saying, is you've found the source, which is apparently a broken stone object of some kind. The stone needs to be reassembled and purified with holy power." Mercade says. "If you need stupidly brave people to go get you the pieces you need, we're all here for you. No one needs a huge undead breakout."

He looks over to Avira as she speaks. "Faruja might be perfect, but is he going to be willing to help us after the events Will was involved in? It sounds... complicated."
Arthur Drover Arthur nods then. "Well I can repair the stone and purify it. I'll need to take it out of there and get it up to a forge. So whoever we get doesn't need to go into danger, I'm not hauling an anvil down there and working in deathlight. For one thing we'd wake something. So once the stone is repaired, it's another trip down to try and put it back in. See, it seems this is a recent development, and it's a recent rockslide that cracked open the housing and broke the altar. And there was some virtue in that stone, once, certainly."

Arthur sets aside his sketch and spends time flexing his fingers. "Still it does complicate matters. We can't launch until this place is safe, one threat at a time." The ship hangs behind them, suspended by ropes from a canopy. It is almost done - though it has no cockpit or weapons.
Avira Avira says, "@emit "That's what I'm kind of worried about, Mercade" Avira tells Faruja. "I know what the TDA'sroll in all of it was but when it comes to the evil clone and the real deal, I'm a bit lacking.

Arthur reveals that they don't need to bring their religious help that deeply into harm's way, which brings clear relief to the huntress. "Well in that case, that opens the floor to more options. I have to agree, just repairing it on-site would be asking for trouble. I definitely defer to your judgement on that since you're experienced in stoneworking."

Avira finishes off her water and stows the cup, turning around to look at the mostly-finished ship. "...she's looking good. It won't be long now.""
Arthur Drover "Yep. We'll need to take the maiden flight alone. Not putting anyone else in risk on our handiwork." Arthur takes the silver flask from his breast and takes a sip. There is a creaking sound from somewhere near his ribcage, and a brief, guttural grunt. Then he stands up. "I am going to re-set the wild animal tripwires. I don't have your capacity with beasts, but we could use more game meat to bulk out the rations, or Mister Farnsworth is going to begin confiscating shoes, he says."

Arthur's "trap kit", always tucked under the Big Table, clanks dangerously when withdrawn. A silver flute hangs from a long wire, lashed around the whole bundle from which protrude some bright gummis forged into various shapes. "Two nights hence and I'll be half enough for cave-diving. I'll let you contact your religious help." A fond smile before the older man turns his regard to Mercade. "Nice to meet you. You're more than welcome on the expedition, if you want to contain this outbreak. This is strictly voluntary. No pay, I only want the brave and the foolish with us and I won't force our contracted help to take the plunge. Agreed, Avira?" His eye turns to the woman for consultation, Arthur ready to depart once she says any further piece on the matter.
Mercade Alexander "So we need to haul it out of the potentially undead-infested area, through the jungle, back here, and then repair it, then return it where it was."

Mercade thinks. "Sounds like fun. When do we start?"

Avira and Arthur point out the ship, and, and he looks over there. "Huh. What kind of ship is that? I've never seen anything like it."

This scene contained 32 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Avira, Maira, Arthur Drover