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No title.
(2013-08-31 - Now)
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Oriane Guado Oriane Guado has made her home away from home inside the encampment at last. Gone are her priestess robes and she instead wears a pristine set of travelling clothes. Cyan colored trousers with dark blue highlights are tucked into a pair of knee length boots that have a slight heel to them. Her blouse is up a similar design to her trousers and is long-sleeved with a matching set up gloves worn to protect her delicate hands. Currently, she is sitting cross-legged on a fancy stool while an armored warrior monk of Yevon fans her nearby while his counterpart holds a tray will a full tea-set for the priestess' lesiure.

The Guado herself is surrounded by a good number of tomes, outstretched sketch books, and other assorted research materials. One large and evil looking tome rests open in her lap and seems to be the center of her attention at the moment. She decides to take a brief recess from her research now to partake in some tea. It seems that Oriane has decided to bring a few of her creature comforts with her this time. Now as to how she was able to bathe, change into new clothes, and procure such items with great haste may be somewhat of a mystery to her fellow camp goers.
Maira Maira is feeling somewhat better after a good, long sleep. She is sure that her fever has broken. It was somewhat worrying though, for she'd not gotten sick like that in quite some time. Indeed, she'd hoped that she was beyond that. Did it have something to do with Uist no longer being bound to her?

Maira exits her tent after cleaning herself up a bit; trying to tame her wild, red-gold mane, putting on clean clothing. She'd looked at a violet gown that was folded neatly and tucked away, hoping she'd have an occasion to dress up again soon. A camp surrounded by undead was certainly not the place for it! So she opted for jeans and a t-shirt, her feet bare as she exits.

Maira stops then, blinking as she takes in Oriane, seated like royalty, being waited on by her companions. She blinks several times. Huh. Was that a normal thing in the Yevon faith? Or for Guado? She can practically hear Faruja foaming at the mouth and yelling about Yevonite heretics in her mind.

In truth, Maira is a bit intimidated by this display. She'd grown up an urchin and an orphan. Now, she had to remind herself, that she wasn't just that girl anymore. She squares her shoulders and straightens her spine before she walks over toward Oriane with a smile. "Hello Miss lady? Priestess? Er, how should I address you?" she asks, sheepish. Maira glances toward the warrior monks to see if she can tell anything from their expressions. Do they find this humiliating? Or are they just use to it?
Oriane Guado "I prefer 'Lady Oriane'," instructs the Priestess as she looks up from both the open tome and her cup of tea. She keeps a polite smile on her face as she motions for her guardsmen to back away. It is a similar action to how someone may shoo away annoying flies. The monk with the fan drops only a foot or so back before resuming his duty while the tea-monk fades back further. They voice no dissent, but merely perform their duties as expected.

Oriane's green eyes appraise Maira and her outfit. The analysis ends with the Guado pursing her lips together but not saying anything outright at first. "Come over and sit so we can have a little chat. Some agreeable company would be enticing after having spent the entire morning with these two." Once again, Oriane gestures dismissively towards her guards. "I have been busying myself with familiarizing myself with the knowledge the Church has on curses that meet the specific criteria of what I witnessed here firsthand." A hand is placed lazily on the tome in her lap. "I weep for my predecessors as they had oh so little to work with."

Predatory green eyes turn once again upon Maira. "The day before I noticed that you possess an aptitude in magic. Should I presume that you are academically trained in the arts or are you...self-taught?"
Arthur Drover Arthur grew up in a working class family, with three kids in the room above the shop. Those rooms are bigger now, but he remembers his childhood. He was never an urchin, but all his friends were. Such was life in The City. He would have been visible above the wall in the morning, patrolling, ensuring fire safety countermeasures were in place. He spent a little time in the forge earlier in the day, but he is presently taking a much-deserved break. The slowing of the zombie attacks made enough breathing room to get his coterie of plans in place. Arthur is a smith and a potioneer, chemist and appraiser - but he thinks of himself as a systems designer. A system can be employed, updated, modified, adapted. Thinking of all problems as stemming from a derth of the right systems lends a methodical nature to his thoughts. And makes him somewhat optimistic. The Stone is one more system.

His family had not been to the camp, but he is in better spirits as the family sent a letter. While his wife was an adventurer every bit his peer, someone had to mind the shop and redirect supplies. He would be just as likely to be stuck there if she went out hunting gryphon talons next week, so there was no grudge.

His clothes are the usual blue overalls and cloth cap, gold trim somewhat begrimed but they are immaculately mended even after recent battles.

The silver flute hangs at his waist, stoppered with cotton for fear of its power just now. His archer's gloves, comfortable steel bracers to keep the bowstring off his forearm, and bow with arrows across his back, show him kitted for "war". But these come off as soon as he reaches the area near Oriane's perch and Maira's approach. He does nothing to interrupt their burgeoning conversation - though a gentle smile adorns his features to see anyone so engrossed and yet at ease.

Instead the gear moves to the table with practiced ease. An older man, in a cap of his own and with a rapid ambling gait, saunters up to press a huge tureen of hearty soup - chickenlike enough for their purposes - onto the table. His stern look probably transmits some of Avira's affectionate scolding, and Arthur is hasty to ladle a bowl.

He considers doing one up for Oriane, then realises she probably has a food taster among her retinue, and settles for taking one of the straw-padded seats after a brief bow to both of the women in attendance.

"Well met, Lady Oriane." He says the title with no disrespect, stretching the words as if happy to see them, Maira he /does/ ladle out a bowl for. "Eat up, you need vitamin content out here, and you're skin and bones of course." He takes a few well-whittled wooden spoons from his belt pouch and scatters them near the tureen to allow the ladies to eat without slurping if they choose to partake, for he does the same himself, ladling generous spoonfuls and chewing well before speaking in his matter of fact way: "Ye have both seen the facilities, if you have any complaints or concerns, I'd love to know how to make this place more livable. We may be here many months before the Great Project can move onward." He removes his cap, almost as an afterthought, revealing thinning hair on top.
Maira Maira obviously feels a bit mad for her guards, seeing her disdain for them. She rather doubts they deserve it. But as of right now, she hardly knows Oriane and it wouldn't be right to judge her on this. So, Maira just gives the guards a smile before she looks back to Oriane and executes a rather nice curtsy (she's been practicing) that looks decidedly silly in jeans. "Lady Oriane," she says, then takes a seat nearby once invited. "I wondered what you were researching," she admits with a smile, taking in the titles on the spines of the books all around them.

"Had any luck? I could perhaps help you look if you tell me what I should look for," she offers. Then Oriane asks about her magic however, and wether or not she is self-trained. "Ah...yes, I am mostly self-trained. I would have loved to go to Mysidia or something, but that wasn't an option when I came into my magic. I was...oh, thirteen or so? I woke up with my whole room on fire....almost burned down the whole building," she replies with a sigh. "There was no one really around to teach me though, so I tried to hide it for a long time. Magic just didn' that way on the world where I grew up. So I went out and taught myself to try to control it," she offers, shyly. "It was easier to find help after...well..after the worlds merged." She smiles then, bright and warm. "Gotten a lot better since then! Goodness knows I've gotten a lot of practice!"

Maira turns to greet Arthur with warm familiarity, taking the bowl of soup gratefully. She'd totally forgotten to get a bowl! "Oh! Thank you Arthur! Did you see I put a chair in the forge? Try not to burn it," she says with a grin, aware that her telling anyone not to burn something is a great piece of irony. At the comment about being skin and bones, she looks down at herself worriedly. "What? I am not..." she'd maybe lost a little weight, but she was still on the curvy side.

Maira purses her lips in thought as Arthur asks about the camp, then gives a shrug after a moment. "It would be kind of nice if not for all the zombies. I've always wanted to go camping. Maybe...we could get some kind of....bath though?" Maira is dearly missing the bath tub at VALKYRI HQ.
Oriane Guado Lady Oriane Guado gently closes the purple backed tome in her lap and places a hand overtop its cover. The tome has no title enscribed on it and is decorated with various depictions of skeletons performing mundane tasks. She takes the tome off her lap and gently adds it to the pile of books at her side. A new tome is selected at random and it, too, does not have a clearly visible title.

Oriane's pointed ears twitch slightly as she first hears Arthur's approach before she actually sees him. The bow is acknowledged once more with a nod of her head and he is quite right to assume that Oriane has already eaten. Arthur asking for suggestions causes the Priestess to clear her throat before replying to him. "I would suggest that you improve the sanitation of the camp in any and every way possible. Disease and sickness are issues in any encampment, but the dangers these pose are magnified by the undead that roam outside the walls. I must ask. How is it that you dispose of the cadavers after they have been dispatched?"

The incredibly clean looking Guado now refocuses on Maira. She should not feel any sympathy for the monks. They know their place in life and they also are well aware of the power that Oriane wields. Besides, they should be glad to be performing their holy duties. Heh.

Oriane quirks a well-maintained eyebrow when Maira announces that she is mostly self-taught. "Interesting. I am most pleased to speak with someone else who has the sheer, raw talent to embrace their natural power. There is little to be gained by listening to senile old men and decrepit old hags bicker over how magic is to be taught strictly from a book." Oriane makes a tsk tsk noise now. "Do not get me wrong. There is merit to organized academic study, but it should only be in compliment to one's own studies." A coy smile worms its way onto Oriane's face. "Even if it is only an exercise in turning one's domicile into an inferno." The pile of books next to her gets another glance. "I am afraid that you won't be able to help me with this. That is unless you have access to a proper library that was not rife with religious drivel."
Arthur Drover "Haha, so that's two votes for a comfortable bath, or sanitation in general. You're not wrong. But we have serious improvements over historical fortified camps from many worlds. I did the research." He considers, and ticks off on his fingers: "Latrines and similar facilities are kept to the outskirts, I have a deal with the tanneries, standard contract, so the carting away of unsanitary material - medical, or trash - is done very regularly. Disposal of any hazardous material is assisted by young mages like Maira. Fume nets made of simple plastics send the smoke high enough up to not spread on the camp, and we disperse it on the wind. The best we can do is use positive energy to rend the malign influence, then burn the remainder." He ticks on his fingers again, "As to the washing-up, I managed to provide a large metal cistern we can heat by magic, or with fuel of any kind. The resulting material flows into silver-coated bags. The sun keeps these hot, it's how we get warm water for washing up. Water for sanitary medicine or triage comes from the cistern tower. Avira's beetle has let me bring in things I thought I'd have to build on-site."

His eyes close, and he considers: "There are three styles of tub I might build. Our showers have hot water, which I think you'll agree is not to be sneezed at. I agree with you on the benefit of a soaking bath for stress relief. Stress relief nourishes body and mind, and certainly Avira would thank me too - but the point is to have a stable bath people can use any hour, and it is a waste of your combat prowess to have mages keep it hot, and a waste of fuel to do it with anything finite or short lived. I'll tell you what."

Arthur reaches into his pack, takes out a piece of paper and a pen. "I'll give you a list of ingredients." He refrains from expressing outright curiosity about Oriane's research, Arthur has a stern philosophical objection to learning to harness that "raw power", but he does begin to scribble.

"If you or any of your cohorts can find what I need, I can add a hot soaking bath to the camp. We can do the metal tub with the wood lining, which stays hot in the heat of the day very easily, we can do a convected multi-pool that will take a short time, or we can do the cool pool following hot steam mist that is so popular in many worlds." He scribbles some small drawings, seemingly engrossed.

"You may ask if this is practical, Lady Oriane." He predicts a question, though he may end up being surprised. "But if we plan to spend half a year, even a year in this place - we need to tempt the finest warriors, who so often are used to the finer things, and VALKYRI soldiers have complained to me about amenities before. You needn't be polite, which I sense maybe you are, if you have scorn for where we are lacking, your criticism can only aid me." His smile is jovial, but he scribbles away. Bomb cores, restorative salts, rare white orchids, his fingers sketch pictures of each with eyes closed. His breathing has slowed, the process at least seems to be getting him to pause for once.
Maira Maira smiles more, laughing lightly. She's not going to mention regressions she's had, or just how difficult it can be sometimes to restrain her magic, especially when she's in an emotional state. She'd almost burned down VALKYRI HQ trying to protect it, that time when Angantyr had come....well, no use thinking about that. It was in the past, and everyone had moved on for the better!

"Aaah...nope. I don't have access to any libraries. I suppose I could find some, but that might take a while and I'd have to leave camp and..." she trails off, waving her spoon a little before she digs in. She makes every effort to eat like a lady, but she's pretty hungry, and just about manages not to inhale her food.

Maira leans over to watch Arthur sketch then, smiling softly. At least he is taking a bit of a rest. He's kind of a workaholic! "Ooh...hmm...yeah I bet I can find some of these things. Hmm, and I wonder whats below us...I could possibly form something from the earth. "Oh Arthur, stop. This is a very nice camp! I have slept in way worse places than this!"
Oriane Guado "Cleanliness is next to godliness," offers Priestess Oriane as she smiles pompously at Arthur and Maira. The green-eyed and green haired Guado leafs through the tome as Arthur goes into surprising depth over the camp's sanitation. Perhaps a little more than polite conversation, but what did she expect of someone who screamed 'salt of the earth' like Arthur? "You are most correct in that a mage of any repute should not be degraded to using their powers for such a banal and simple task." The idea that they might be months there was terrifying to Oriane. She was so glad that she has aquired a much better if not secretive solution to keeping clean. "My people use trees as the foundation to many of their buildings. Most undead lack the motor skills to climb which makes them the easiest defense against such a threat."

Another well-groomed brow is lifted when Arthur directs a question of practicality towards her. "I would say that the destruction of their corpses before a proper disection can be performed is an act of negligence. The only way to truly understand something is to strip it apart, piece by piece." Green eyes shift to the nearby workplace. "As an artisan, I would think that you would not only understand that, but agree."

Maira's polite enthusiasm draws a small sigh from Oriane. "Please, he is asking for criticisms, not compliments." She focuses again on Arthur. "This camp also lacks a proper quarantine area that could serve the double purpose of a morgue should the need arise. I would think it would be unpleasant to see your own comrades rise again to fight against you because of an oversight in the camp layout." Oriane shrugs her shoulders briefly before beckoning her tea tray holding guard closer. He refills Oriane's teacup and then takes a step respectfully back from the priestess.
Arthur Drover Arthur pauses and his eyes open. Raising one finger. "If - you are suggesting you could call a hot spring, Maira. While I do think it would be interesting to call a spring through the earth, here in this place it might be corrupted until we deal with the problem below. Though I suppose if we set up some purification to make it safe for human contact..." He makes a few notes in the margin, but carries on scribbling schematics for the first plan. "Oh you're not wrong! If we had the time to get them in a lab, or someone with the expertise. The problem is that the corpses unless fully destroyed reanimate, so for sheer though regrettable practicality, we've been disposing of them. There is some - purple energy, that reanimates the dead from the city below. The water itself thrums with it down there. Arthur pauses. "You're right there too. The two should rightly be rolled into one though. If a comrade falls it should be possible to transport the victim for study before -" *sigh* "- disposal."

He tears off the first sheet, pressing it on the urchin-princess, and then begins on a second. "Requirements - dissection tables, sharp tools, emergency nets, holy water decanted shower - locked storage cabinets, wood soaked in holy essence except for the laying-out sheet. Record cabinet, recording tools - spheres? Spheres. Lighting, lots of light. Glass viewing windows, or thick dwarf-weave sheets." He draws a square and begins filling in the walls. Working with Avira has given him a crash course in blueprint drafting. "Allow for one guard on duty. If we build it by the wall with a transparent area in the ceiling, a wall guard can double as the watchman over the quarantine, right? Right..."

He adds, "Would you have any interest in that capacity, Lady Oriane? Someone who seems curious about the problem here might be the perfect overseer for such an operation. I can provide men who'll take your direction. Not fumble-fingers: my apprentices, men capable of following precise instructions. They will be loath to be dragged off the forge, but you're right we should look for answers."

He is still scribbling, but he pauses for more soup. "Would that we could live in the trees here, but our requirements are a bit less elegant, and many of us fear heights or are claustrophobic. Or fire-demons." A wink in Maira's direction.
Maira Maira looks embarrassed at Oriane's remark, having just used her magic to make tea yesterday. Really, it was just so much faster that way! Living in tree houses sounded kind of fun though.

This urvhin-princess winces slightly at being called a fire demon. "...certainly not a demon..." she mumbles, then finishes her soup. She takes the page offered to her and blinks. "Well, alright. It will give me something to do I suppose...but really, I do hope we don't have to be here too much longer," she replies. Months? Yikes!

The young lady clears her throat then. "I wish you would not talk about the bodies that way...they were people once. Surely they should be respected, just a little?"
Oriane Guado One of Oriane's guards shifts uncomfortably when Arthur suggests that the Priestess be responsible for the area of the camp. Oriane herself smiles from one ear to the next. She may not be a good healer, but she was an excellent mortician. "I would gladly be the overseer of such a project to ensure that it was done properly," agrees the smiling Guado.

The big-hearted fire mage draws an inquisitive glare from the cold-hearted priestess. "What is a body after death, but simply a body? A carcass? A cadaver?" Oriane swiftly uncrosses her legs and rises to her feet which draws both of her guards back to her side. "Everyone of those things provides no benefit to the living, but serves as a morbid reminder of loss. But if one views the deceased as a valuable boon to future research, then one can find value and progress even in death. What greater respect can be given to the dead then for them to aid the livinf?" The Guado's smile widens now. "Death is not the end, my dear. It is only the beginning."
Arthur Drover "Even if you don't stay the whole time, Maira, this place has become a nexus of activity. This is a safe house in the forest, and I am sure the locals will take it over when we leave. There are trades going on here, and this actually appeals to the right kind of tourist, the fun of roughing it - if we can make it safe, or to the noble adventurer if we cannot. Or VALKYRI might have a use for this outpost. Always think of the future with an eye to it being full of wonders, and you won't be disappointed if youw ant it enough. If the locals take over, this place will benefit hugely in sale value from a bath. And frankly I like to have a project, you know that." Arthur doesn't notice the discomfort of Oriane's guards, just her approval of the post. "Thank you. If you have requirements beyond what I have on hand, let me know. We could use someone with the skills, and your conclusions will help make it safer to plumb the mysteries below, if you wish to present them once discovered." He has a reserved smile at that point, and answers Maira's rebuke after Oriane does:

"These are warriors. Even my apprentices are trained in the anatomy of war, of tactics, and how to wield a bow. We go into this knowing the dangers, but we all have good reasons. I understand where your sentiment comes from - and I respect Lady Oriane's viewpoint of the body as a mere shell, sure. But you also have to remember that we can't disrespect and infantilize our warriors. They fall in the field, and we don't use their sacrifice to the fullest, and I end up haunted by the ghosts of things undone. Then again, you're young, strong, idealistic, I understand."

A smirk as he strikes a side-line to the morgue. "We can place your quarters across from the lab, Lady Oriane. You might be the only person whose mettle wouldn't be tested by that. I'm going to build some enhanced facilities for those who aren't asking for pay or have camp positions as officials." He sketches the bath nearby, redesigning the camp is fairly easy when the materials are allowed to be rough. "I understand your argument, Maira, but you know Avira won't overrule me on matters of doctrine." More soup is ladled out and leisurely consumed. "So, what do you two know of the Church active in this area? I have never met its adherents, but I thought they would know about the ancient lore of a city so absolutely laid low."
Maira % Maira knows death is not the end. She has crossed that threshold and returned. She has spent most of her life with a ghost. "I...guess. If it were my loved one though, I would want their body respected. I know science is necessary, and teaches us so much...just..." she trails off then, shrugging her shoulders. She doesn't want to go on about this, especially when Arthur chimes in with obvious agreement. Maira looks down, feeling chastised. Young and idealistic? She guesses she is. It comes too close to calling her stupid for comfort, however. Its a bit of a sore spot. "Not strong, but young...yeah, I'm that," she replies quietly. Maira looks up then. "I'm young, I know I probably have not experienced as much as you have, but I've spent more time with the dead than anyone else I know alive. I know a spirit and a corpse are different, but that won't make me stop feeling bad for those poor people...if my body was up and walking around after death and doing terrible things, I know my spirit sure wouldn't be at ease," she finishes.

At that, Maira rises and takes another look at the paper. "Well, I'll work on this...I think its my turn for watch though. Want to check my barrier, make sure its holding up alright," she says, then nods to both of them, summoning a smile. "Take care, see you both later." Having made her excuses, Maira walks off for a bit of quiet time.
Oriane Guado Oriane Guado has been to the Farplane. She knows where a spirit goes after death. Or where it used to. Things have become much more complicated as of late with the joining of the worlds. But the Farplane has not been wanting for new pyreflies. That much is for sure.

"Once the undead menace has been dealth with, these lodgings could serve as the basis for a future excavation site for the buried city." Oriane supposes idly as she gestures towards the tomes and books and then looks pointedly back at her guards. They both move now to gather up all of Oriane's belongings with utmost haste. "Or you could merely let the jungle reclaim this spot from civilization." She counterpoints with a smile on her face. "I actually prefer for my lodgings to be as close to my work as possible. I tend to work late hours and at my own volition. This way, I would not disturb the camp at large with my work."

Maira gets a look from Oriane. It is not sympathetic persay, but it is not a damning one either. It is more neutral than anything else. "Feeling one way or another over a corpse is beside the point. An autopsy is not a display of disrespect. In fact, they are often done after whatever passing rights need to be performed." Most of the time that is. Sometimes one cannot wait for such things, but Oriane chooses not to plague Maira's thoughts with this. She merely nods her head when Maira chooses to make her escape.

"Fascinating that one can both be naive and hardened over the same subject. Not the most academically sound way to go about one's life, but she does have to wield a mortician's knife and is thus spared from having to accept the grim realities of the matter." Oriane observes quietly as her guards leave now to go drop off the books to where her tent will be set up. Arthur bringing up the local Church causes Oriane to snap out of her soliloquy. "My exposure to foreign Churches has thus far only devolved into baseless accusations of supposed hereticism. I know not of what the local Church knows or does not know about this place."
Arthur Drover The smith sadly watches Maira go, sorry for rendering her uncomfortable, but now confronted with the priestess in relative private. "Ah well, I'll have to check one of these days, it's really not the primary point of the camp." Arthur considers, mulling over his food and setting it aside. "You've not attempted sabotage, and we've initiated you into such secrets as we have. I do not know if anyone filled you in that the real reason for this site is quite independent of the city. We found a Void Point - a door to the Lanes Between Space, the Darkness. A launching point for Gummi Ships that has been previously unexplored. We are using it to research the ways to travel between the worlds. Methods for protecting people when they enter the Dark. Avira is a ship designer, and I design systems for those. But you're right we have no reason not to proceed on multiple fronts. And letting this place be reclaimed someday would be a nice end to the story." He continues sketching. "I will confess our world is not the most devout place. But I won't have anyone mistreating you here. I know VALKYRI has ties to Glabados. While they would be fools to court your displeasure, you're under my protection here. Which probably carries more weight than your bodyguards."

A faint, somewhat condwscending smile at the guards. He remembers them crowding into his shop and holds some sort of unfocused grudge toward the warrior monks. "You're right about it not being a sign of disrespect. Fortunately, the more studious of warriors seem to cycle through here the most. You won't get much resistance to the idea of studying the undead, and I will lend my own expertise in the rendering of tools or provision of material. So tell me."

And here Arthur unshucks his belt knife, lying it on the table in front of him. "Are they here to protect you from us, or are they watchdogs in the more general sense?" He has set aside his pad, his question now is more hard edged than before, without the young princess watching. Some of the mask slips, at least for the moment, but he's not unkind - just less "unfocused" than before.
Oriane Guado Oriane smiles sweetly when Arthur notices that she is not the obvious obvious saboteur or spy. She listens intently when he explains the nature of his research which results in the priestess nodding her head. "We may not be as different as we might seem. We both pry at the veil of discovery despite the dangers that lie inherent with such a task. Our goals may be different, but I can hold a level of respect for a fellow researcher." In fact, they may be able to do a little quid pro quo here with them helping each other with their own respective research. "This place will be reclaimed by the wilds. That is an inevitability as everything is eventually doomed to wither and perish. The only unknown aspect is when that will exactly happen."

Arthur saying that his favor grants more protection than her bodyguards causes Oriane to laugh haughtily. "I would hope that your word would be worth more than the prowess of my guards." Her green eyes shift over to where her guards currently are working. "They are armored puppy dogs that are of little value in an actual fight. The flame weapons they carry do make them useful in the cleanup afterwards however. Even the smallest peon has a role to play in the grander scheme of things." It is the smith/camp overseer/arcanist's approval of her research methods that draws another smile to Oriane's face. "I shall keep that in mind when the time comes for such operations. My work is usually a solitary affair as few have the stomach for such things as I do." There was a reason that the Church would so readily send Oriane out to handle their dirty work.

The old man's presumptuous question harkens the return of a fox-like grin to Oriane's face. "The Church has an image to uphold. It is the summoners who are supposed to be the powerful magic users within our ranks. They are here to reinforce the image that the normal clergy need such protection against the Heartless." Oriane places a gloved hand against the front of her blouse. "As you may have already gathered, I am an unique individual within the Church of Yevon and do not truly need them or anyone else for protection."
Arthur Drover Arthur Drover says, "Oh, well I understand wanting privacy. I wouldn't share my own secrets with just anyone, but I trust if you find out anything pertinent to camp protection, you'll impart it." He smiles a slightly different smile, and brushes his fingers over the table, leaving some ink in their wake on the wood grain. "At first I will admit I wondered whether you were their prisoner, or the Church thought it needed to watch you. I see now that if you wanted to "jump the fence" you don't need a prince, or a shopkeep's help. I have now adjusted my thinking. And you may have worked out I am careful in my air of unassuming shopkeep, as much as I can be while still effective."

Part of the weight has clearly dropped from his shoulders. "If you told anyone I was anything other than a good natured social imbecile, they'd have a hard time believing you, and that is a comfort in itself. There is a lot to be said for the power of yielding with enthusiasm." He appraises the warrior monks then. "Fire weapons, yes, I'd seen the theory. We'll have to put them on the front lines of the cleanup next time." In Arthur's mind, the calculation goes: it might be a breach of church doctrine for them to show him the weapons, but he can sure work out their function from a visual inspection.

"I doubt even I have the same fortitude of stomach. For me the ringing clash, the heat of battle, sometimes the taste of blood- not the cold dissection. But I can respect that quality." The knife is reclaimed, and he turns it idly in his hand - silver light catches the nearest lantern glow, reflected back and split into two by the edge. "I think how we exert power influences how we think. I the archer, you the sage. Avira the sword-saint, Maira the prodigy- I don't think we get to control the shape of our thinking. I'll see to the disposal needs in your lab. Some kind of emergency lever, and a trapdoor with an emergency burn button."

He adds a few flourishes to the schematic and leaves it on the table there, pushing back to appraise once more. "So how much of your coming here is self-directed, and how much in capacity of the Church? And would you take the time to bless this for me?"

He takes the rune stone out of his pack, placing it on the table then, where it radiates a small halo of moonlight. "The power doesn't die, it just sleeps.""
Oriane Guado Oriane Guado nods her head in a matter of the fact fashion towards Arthur. "There is no point in me withholding information about the camp's defenses. I simply have to nothing to gain by doing such a thing." It would be counter-productive to her research to have her lab overrun with the undead after all. Her green eyes focus on the proud warrior monks who have been given the death sentence that it was to follow Oriane off into the wilds. There was an unsurprisingly high turnover rate when it came to her guards. Few seem to want to be her bodyguard for long and Oriane could not blame them for how she treats them. "The Church and I have an interesting relationship. A symbiotic relationship to be more precise. Were they interested in what was happening here? Yes, of couse. Did they see it a worthwhile endeavor to send out crusaders or warrior monks in force? No. I will admit that I have a personal interest in what research can be done here. Most undead attacks simply happen and then the are over with. Persistant ones are few and far between."

Oriane's mouth becomes something of a thin line for a moment. "I am my own person. That is why I am Lady Oriane and not Priestess Oriane Guado of the Church of Yevon." She clicks her tongue on disgust at the title. A coy smile is adopted soon afterwards. "I care not to for my Church's practice of attempting to keep the masses blind of higher technology. Feel free to employ my loyal hounds as you see fit." The philosophical question poised later seems to amuse Oriane. "Power is a blessing that few openly pursue. They fear it, wish to contain, or even coddle it. They do not respect it. But if one is to study and master anything, one first has to respect it. You as an arcanist that uses dangerous materials must agree. To not respect the dangerous materials you work with would spell certain doom." The priestess raises a gloves hand and balls it into a fist. She then gently opens it with a flourish. "I have to disagree. Many limit their own power by the shallow scope of their thinking. Churches, even my own, are some of the most guilty of this sin."

Green eyes flicker down at the rune stone and then back up at Arthur. "Blessing stones are a matter for alchemists. 'Holy' magic in my world is a mere element like 'fire' or 'wind'. The Church of Yevon deals almost exclusively in spirits, fiends, and...of course...Sin."
Arthur Drover "The spirit of the stone is a thing that is stubborn. Blessing and ceremony matter, if the niceties are not observed, it will not bend to my will - for all I can repair it. You know full well that the context of an action is as important as an action, m'lady." He nudges the stone together. "But if you're loath, I will find another on that understanding. I must soon take to bed, for the morning watch needs shaking up."

"But I understand finer religious differences are likely lost on me. I just know what the power needs. I can always see what is missing - the piece that will make the machine work - and without your approval, or that of someone officiating from a Church, the stone simply won't mend."

He considers her remark. "You're likely not wrong. I made the willing decision to abstain from magic, so I would not take shortcuts in my artifice. Doubtless my personal power would be greater if I used magical potential, especially with my level of understanding. But so it goes."

While a little off-put by the idea of the warrior monks as disposable, they've probably sworn oaths that make this less morally questionable than with most.
Oriane Guado Pomp and circumstance are two that any priestess becomes well-aquainted with. Oriane keeps her sickly green eyes on Arthur as she takes one gloves off and places a delicate hand on top of the stone. She smiles a sickly sweet smile as magic courses through her touch and enters the stone. "Yevon's Blessing can be both be a blessing..." The magic comes to a crescendo as she channels it into the stone. "....and a curse."

Oriane withdraws her hand now and she puts her glove back on. "Your situation may be a unique one. Focusing on physical prowess would have done nothing to further my own research. It would have merely been a distraction to my studies." There are very few lengths that Oriane would not go to further her understanding of her magical arts. Very few indeed.

Very few things were not expendable in the eyes of the Church of Yevon. Even summoner's must sacrifice themselves in order to fight Sin.
Arthur Drover Arthur reaches out and smiles, watching the blessing. There is a hunger in his eyes as he observes the interaction at some deeper level than the merely physical. If he had to describe it, he would say the air tasted different. The stone responds to the touch of his hands with a tingling that is not entirely comfortable, but he doesn't put it down.

"Well, you're not one to be afraid of that curse, it seems." He rises from his seat and says: "You're in on the expedition to replace this stone, if you want to. You can see the perils of the city first hand, and if you want specimens, I can show you a way to drag them back. You're probably better suited to wrangle the dead than we anyway, I have a capture mechanism involving silver chains that should let you take a chosen specimen from the caves. But it'll have to wait until containment exists, so not this trip."

The stone slides into a cloth pouch at his waist, no longer risking putting it in the backpack. "Thank you for your help."
Oriane Guado "Curses are merely the counterpoint to blessings. Just as Dark magic is merely the opposing force to Holy magic. Why should I be afraid of something incorporeal that can also be controlled?" Oriane supposes rhetorically as she tugs down her glove securely. The idea of actually going into the city is a pleasing one. "Gladly would I join such an expedition. Firsthand research and the chance to aquire artifacts personally is an opportunity I would not pass up."

Arthur puts the stone away just as the warrior monks return. She nods her head towards Arthur simply. "Put that runestone to good work. I would hate to think that my magic would go to waste."
Arthur Drover Arthur smirks then, not letting her jibe go unanswered. "When did I ever accept a waste of fine materials?" And his eyes peek from the stone in the pouch, to the priestess, to the warriors, leaving the target ambiguous for now as he bows his way out, and heads to the forge to set paste and heat to the stone.

This scene contained 24 poses. The players who were present were: Maira, Oriane Guado, Arthur Drover