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Thieves in the night
(2013-08-31 - 2013-09-05)
Maximilien begins to impart an entirely new skillset upon Avira. Ouch.
Maximilien Port Royal is not a safe place for the French. It's not really a safe place for *anybody*; straight from the heavily-romanticized Age of Sail, Port Royal is a place where people get stabbed, shot, shanghai'd, and other unpleasant words that start with 'S'. And that's just during the day - at night, the dead walk the streets, and superstitious pirates whisper stories of horrible creatures that lurk just outside on the waters. In short, it's not a place people go unless they're looking for a freedom that would make most Americans dizzy with terror.

Therefore, it's the perfect place to train someone in the art of piracy, according to a certain deranged logic. That certain deranged logic is the sort that leads to people like Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne.

The (in)famous Phantom Thief doesn't believe in doing things by halves. He's a firm proponent of 'what doesn't kill you makes you better' in all the ways that most people consider just a hair too extreme, and applies those lessons to *everything* - whether it's dancing, cooking, cleaning, or other mundane-but-normally-safe training courses, you can bet Max has found a way to make it terrifying to even the staunchest human soul.

So God only knows what he'll do with something like piracy.

Max is currently sitting in the well-lit middle of one of the worst bars in Port Royal, dressed in his bright white tuxedo and big black-and-gold cape. Sitting may not be the right word; his fancy shoes are kicked up on the table as he dangles back on the back legs of the chair with impeccably perfect balance, he's got a gold watch in one hand that he's just sort of casually spinning, and his materia-tipped cane is sitting on the other.

The four men who tried to rob him tonight are sitting off to the side, trying to hide their shame. Something unpleasant seems to have happened to their belts.

It might have something to do with the collection of swords Max is amassing on the table in front of him as he waits for Avira.
Avira Avira is no stranger to Port Royal. She has come here a handful of times before on various missions or business. She has had the "pleasure" of interacting with the locals. Her visits have never been terribly long and despite her combat-filled background, being here always meant a heightened sense of unease for Avira. Of course, unease in Port Royal is normal for any sane person.

Nor is Avira a stranger to harsh training methods. Her entire existance since Brooklyn was destroyed seemed to be a string of trail by fire. From being abandoned in a wolf-filled forest alone to being "of interest" to Garland to cooking lessons with Maximilien, Avira's skill acquisition has been filled with pain and terror. And yet here she was, coming back for more.

The short woman arrives in the chosen bar, her short form covered in a long green cloak. The hood is up and her hands are completely covered in thick leather gloves so it isn't immediately obvious who it is. More importantly, she's not clearly a woman at first sight though assumptions can be drawn by simply being 5'1". Where she doesn't stand out, Max appears to be the complete opposite. He's dreadfully easy to find and identify, though only for him simply not trying since, based off of advice he has given her before, Avira knows he can disguise himself.

Casually, Avira swipes herself a chair from one of the other tables and drags it up to the one Max sits at. She arranges it directly across from the phantom thief and sits down, only then brushing back the hood of her cloak. Her hair has been tightly braided and wound into a bun on her head though she doesn't try to hide the inch-wide white streak. She likely could not since it starts at her hairline above her right eye.
Maximilien Avira's deduction is entirely correct; if Max wanted to disappear into the crowds of Port Royale, he could do it as easily as most people change clothes. Easier, perhaps; most people can't change clothes by pulling their hand against their collar and ripping the outer outfit off.

Standing out attracts attention - not merely to Max, but to the people with him. In this case, that means Avira. As soon as she sits down, the various pirates take notice of her - the short person who's sitting with the French poof that *somehow* managed to make four of their fellows look like idiots. They may not know her gender, or her identity, but they know she's sitting with the Frenchman, and that's enough. Glassy eyes turn to watch the pair as Max leans forward, his smile broad and cheerful despite the hellhole they're sitting in.

"Bonsoir, madamoiselle; or, bonjour? The sun was up when I arrived, but when you entered there was nothing but candles in the streets." Max taps his cane on the bar. "Care for a drink? Hospitality demands I offer, but prudence encourages me to warn you that the drink is nothing short of..."

Max wavers his hand. "Shall we say, /requiring discretion/ as to its effects on your organs? I am not exactly a trained doctor, but I believe the correct word is 'debilitating'."

Max leans forward, a broad smile on his face. "So, then. Why piracy, madamoiselle? Surely there are more...above-board professions to profess? More suitable for a lady like yourself? After all, piracy is hardly just a job. It is a reputation; many here would say that it is a way of life."

Max raises his cane and points it at a particularly ugly man. "Take him, for example. Piracy cost him an eye, and, by the looks of it, most of his teeth. Also, what I would most certainly wager is /gangrene/."

"Most of them are the same. All of them lose various limbs, implements, on, so forth." Max leans back again, stretching a bit. "It is a tremendously dangerous profession."
Avira Ah attention. An earlier lesson drilled into Avira's head was to always be aware of her surroundings. As she joins Max, she can feel the shift in the room, the tension rising-the attention suddenly directed her way. She was being watched. She was being watched by a /lot/ of people right now, yet her demeanor doesn't seem to reflect this awareness. Let them think that she didn't know. It'd only make any hilarious actions later a bit more hilarious.

"Bonsoir, my friend." she both greets and confirms. "Thank you for offering, however, I think I will abstain." There is a faint smile on her face as she threads her fingers together and sets them on the table before her. Someone of her size and weight would likely die if she tried to drink the kind of grog they served in places like these.

"Reputation-though I confess-piracy, sky piracy, in Ivalice, has a different reputation than of piracy in somewhere like this." she explains. "The stories, the reputations, were inspiring." Her brown eyes glisten and she turns her head away from Max just slightly. On the left side of the face, the phantom thief can see one of her longer scars-it starts at her cheekbone just below her eye and seems to trace a line down to her chin.

"The way I currently live, the enemies I've attracted, they're terribly dangerous too. Isaac Hanlon has lost an arm. The danger does not deter me."
Maximilien "Ah yes, of course. The romantic ideal of the sky-pirate, soaring through the sky in his sky-ship and stealing /romantically/ from sky-galleons and sky-galleys." Max taps his cane along the table again. "It really is not so different. Just the reputation."

Max sighs, fiddling with his cane a bit more as he leans. "So then, you want to learn to be a pirate. To swing from place to place on ropes and raftings, snatching jewels and treasure, fighting the good fight against the Crown or whomsoever it is that you want to fight against."

Avira Avira starts to look rather uncomfortable now. WOULD he ding her for this romantic ideal? If he did it would seem terribly unfair, since he did exemplify the romantic ideal of the phantom thief. The difference might be that Max really is a horrible person of some kind where Avira...well, Avira was a Dusk Princess. She might even still be one. It's hard to tell these things without the intervention of some kind of wizard.

But even then, being truthful out here, amongst this company, who was certainly listening in on their conversation, made her wary. Tell the truth? What if that wasn't good enough to continue?

"There's a dream I see some nights. I have every so often where I see myself as a sky pirate, defying the airships of Archades." she says slowly, guardedly, "I want to see if I can make that dream reality."
Maximilien Max is the romantic ideal of a lot of things - and that therein lead to all kinds of questions. It was, after all, like he'd just stepped out of a storybook; a romantic, wealthy, cultured prince. It probably wasn't fair of him to make fun of the romantic ideal of a sky pirate.

Then Max banishes the idea that he was making fun of her in a moment. "I want to know if you are doing it for the romance, the ideal...or if you are willing to accept the truth of piracy and the way it changes a person." Max leans forward, a look in his eyes - a deadly serious look in his eyes. "You will get killed if you go into this expecting something other than what it is."

"So I want to know if this is because you want to live out a dream, or because you believe this dream is trying to *tell* you something, or because you want to dabble in a dangerous and unpleasant world...or because you truly feel that you need to take this step, regardless of the consequences."

"Once you take this step, you will not be able to step back, and I will not be responsible for what happens to you."
Avira Avira leans forward, resting her head on her threaded fingers, looking Max in the eye. He seems genuinely serious and honest in his efforts to suss out the real reason that she wants to move into this dangerous profession. It's something she can appreciate. But at the same time, she realizes, she's starting to doubt this idea, especially when he blatantly points out that it would change a person. At that point, she pauses.
Just how much did she want to change? Didn't she have a pretty good position already? What, with VALKRYI and Mercade and the TDA...

"I think the dream is trying to tell me something." She finally says. "I had interpreted it as the next step I should take...I mom, she said her dreams were signs...but now in this moment, I think I'm actually having doubts." There is a contemplative look on her face as she looks away from Max for a few moments, "More importantly, you make me realize that there's a high chance that such a career path would demand that I kill people. I don't want to do that."

She may not have had the conviction of becoming a pirate. But for the desire to not take lives, Max can see the conviction there.
Maximilien Max is quiet for a really long time. He crosses his arms, watching Avira carefully; his eyes remain locked on hers the whole way, never flicking to the side, not even when another nameless pirate tries to take his watch and winds up walking away with his pants 'round his ankles. He's silent, too; eerily, seriously silent. Given the man probably can't stop talking when he's *on the job* - a job that *requires* stealth - that's probably more than a little unnerving. The hush around the tavern seems to echo.

"It is possible to avoid killing people as a pirate," Max notes, breaking the long silence, "But it requires incredible cunning and finesse, above-average skill, and more than a little luck. Given that piracy flaunts the laws of whatever land it exists in, you will not only be against fellow buccaneers, but also...well, the law. And such situations can be exceptionally troublesome."

"If you are having doubts, I recommend you give it some more time. Sleep on it. Think on it. Perhaps your dreams have nothing to do with becoming a pirate, but with aiding pirates, or some other situation involving piracy. Or it may have nothing to do with piracy at all, and instead is a metaphor for something else going on in your life."
Avira Avira stares at him back, worried now. He's quiet. Since when is Max /quiet/? He loves to talk, especially when it comes to talking about anybody but himself. Now is the perfect opportunity for him to do just that-or to lecture. She starts to wonder if she said something really wrong-as a potential teacher, his opinion of her...well... meant a lot to her.

"I am not afraid of defying the law." Avira says quietly, finally lowering her eyes from him. She still seems very troubled though. "But I trust your judgement and I will take your advice. Maybe this dream means something else. Maybe it just means defiance in general-not that I ought to abandon my above board...profession." She takes in a breath and slowly stands. "I'm sorry, Maximilien, to drag you out here for nothing."
Maximilien "Non, non," Max waves his hand peaceably, standing up. "I am merely sorry that I spent another man's gold doubloons to have you shanghai'd onto a particular ship for nothing."

His smile turns lopsided. "You may, incidentally, wish to leave through the back when you decide you have had enough of the *lovely* atmosphere. There are four very nice swords here, too; please feel free to utilize them in your escape howsoever you see fit."
Avira Avira pauses, giving Max an odd look, "Spent...what? What are you talking about?"

He does bring up a good point though. Avira knows she can't leave through the front door after that conversation. She's still not all that pleased to have everyone surrounding them listening in on this conversation. Hastily, she grabs two of the swords despite having a perfectly servicable weapon of her own. She doesn't trust this place at all so leaving immediately seemed like the best course of action. As she makes her way to the back, she lifts her head to stare at those around her, a steely look in her eyes. She might have admitted aloud that she wasn't going to kill anyone, but the look on her face belies the fact that she'd be beating the everloving <goosehonk> out of them instead. Death might be more merciful.
Maximilien Max is already gone by the time she looks back at him. He just...vanished out the front door, apparently. Or the back? Who knows. But he s gone, leaving Avira amidst a crew of goons who have nothing better to do than stare at the spot where the French poof with fast fingers was...and the companion he left holding the proverbial check.
Avira Avira's quick to move while everyone is staring at the spot where Max was. It works a little bit, giving the short woman a head start before she finds herself quickly being converged upon. A swear escapes her as she ducks under the first patron that tries to wrap her up in a bear hug. Furiously, she drives one of her purloined swords into that particular thug's foot to pin it to the ground before taking off in a mad dash for the back door.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Maximilien