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No title.
(2013-11-22 - 2013-11-23)
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Jourum In the highest ranges of the mountains of Wutai was Blivon Jourum, but on this day, he was not in a small alcove, rather, he was sitting out in the open, on a plateau where there was scant greenery of any kind. It was brisk, although not icy, for the very peaks of the mountains he'd avoided, where snow lightly dusted the tips, primarily because the guru didn't want to make uncomfortable any visitors who might see fit to visit him.

He hadn't deliberately informed anybody that he had come to this location, and Blivon was the type to move about when the impulse overcame him, beckoning him to go where he felt he needed to be; on the other hand, he /did/ leave a sort of 'spiritual' bread-crumb trail behind for anyone truly interested in seeking him out for whatever wisdom he had to divulge, and this fellow was always willing to give voice to the pulsations that swirled through his mind, if one was present to listen. He was just as content to be silent, but today.... today might just be different, as perchance he had a suspicion that someone would come upon him.
Aerith Now that was strange, really. Since no one had really mentioned where he was. Even if you really wanted to find him, if he wanted to, Blivon could vanish from the face of the Worlds. But there is a zen saying that if you really want to find something, stop looking for it.

Aerith was not looking for Blivon when she'd fought in the Chinese Countryside, nor on the Great Wall merely days ago. But now that his advice was needed, once she started looking for him, it was almost painfully easy.

Not like that first time in the Phantom Forest, where one false step could land someone in hot water.

Thus she was here in the land of Shinra's greatest enemy, watched by Godo's ninjas from every angle, to continue something she'd been postponing for quite a while now. Approaching the temple to Leviathan was not a difficult task, either. The trail just became that much more difficult to follow due to the heavy spiritual energies still in this place. There were, after all, some places Shinra hadn't touched.

But she found him eventually, meditating in the middle of a stone dais. As she set foot upon the plateau, Aerith made her best attempt to tread lightly, not wanting to disturb the man. Wearing her denim and cotton ensemble, she sat next to him, legs folded beneath her within moments and eyes closed. It appeared she'd done something like this before...
Jourum Word had gotten to Blivon that there had been a great battle on the Chinese Countryside, just as word had gotten to him that there had been many other skirmishes waged over the years, but this didn't mean he necessarily had no moral compass, simply because he chose not to intervene, did it? Maybe his methods had such a pacifistic nature, that they could influence the tides of fate without having the necessity of his physical coercion of any type of outcome.

Whatever the case, he felt Aerith long before he heard, smelled, or saw her, but nevertheless, ultimately.... that which led him to believe she would arrive was moot, since even if he was nescient to any heraldings, the reality was that she soon came into his presence, and he would treat her the same as he would've, had be been surprised by her advent. At the bare minimum, Aerith must have been relieved that the sage had picked a spot that wasn't fraught with as much danger as that sickly wood where he'd staged himself, prior! His eyes flutter and the lids part ways as he takes in the sight before him, giving a very faint smile with the appearance of the half-cetra, who is now adopting a sort of peaceful stance until he was ready to relinquish some words.

It was self-evident that this time, she was going to wait for him to speak first, and he had no qualms about this, "Salutations, Miss Aerith. Climbing is one of the healthiest exercises in which one may engage, for it makes use of virtually all the muscles in the body, instead of selectively isolating certain ones, and granting them emphasis, or so I have been led to believe....."
Aerith Aerith smiled, her eyes still closed. "Honestly, I'd have to agree." She shook her head. "It was hard enough getting up here, and it'll be even harder getting down, but I managed to trace you this far." She took in a breath of the fresh mountain air and sighed. "You've heard about the Great Wall, I trust." She opened her eyes, features switching to something forlorn. "I've never fought in that kind of struggle before... and they caused so much death. Wasn't even the worst part, either!" She shivered. "Each death added to their ranks. It almost turned into a battle of attrition."
Jourum Blivon nodded when Aerith sighed, mentioning the tidbit about the undead battle. He remained calm when preparing to discuss the matter, even if undead beings weren't his favorite thing in the world, since he felt is was his goal to /try/ to return things to the natural order, but then..... he had his own ideas about what that meant.

His lips almost turned into a frown when she shivered, but not quite, and he responded to her, finally, after quietly listening to all she had said, "It has been said that violence often begets violence. Though, in this world, there is another saying that violence solves nothing." He smirks, as he readies to make a little quip, "I don't agree, though, in all cases. Violence solves starvation, if a hungry man has to spear a fish in order to ingest it." He remained fairly motionless, and finally inquiried, "What question do you have for me today? I will help, if I am able."
Aerith Aerith took in another breath. "First, the question you asked. How do you find out what's true and what's not." She tilted her head to the right. "What's true can change at any time, and what's false could be a ruse. The only way to find out is to send someone you trust, someone that can't be turned or deceived, to discover and report back."
Jourum Blivon pinches his chin in consideration of Aerith's postulation, and then lowers his hand to a position of rest once more. "Rumor has it that Maleficent, at one point, went to Burmecia in disguise, and sought to take some manner of magical item. A bell....?" He then looked Aerith and wrung his hand loosely, as if washing his hands of the matter, "I am glad I was not there, I think, for that event..... But here is a hypothetical." The guru folded his arms over his chest, "Most creatures have five senses; touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight." He side-glances at her, seeing if she's listening, "Let us say that Aerith sends someone named Faruja to Burmecia, in whom she trusts, and for the sake of the argument, let us say he regards her with the same degree of compassion and respect."

He nods, "Aerith got wind of a plot by Maleficent to infiltrate Burmecia, and although it could have been a diversion so Maleficent may have been able to in turn, get everyone to protect Burmecia while she instead went to Mullonde, Aerith, for whatever reason, suspects that Maleficent was earnest in her intent to ruin Burmecia." He closes his eyes, "Faruja gets to Burmecia, and his radio communicator thing, or his cell phone breaks down, or something like that. He inspects each and every person, and since Nezumi have excellent hearing and smelling, it is hard to change one's voice enough to truly beguile Faruja's hearing, or use perfumes that are strong enough to cloud his ability to detect the faintest of their true scent. Faruja checks the entire town, and finds that nobody smells, or sounds like Male when anyone speaks to him."

The druid grins, "Satisfied, Faruja has no radio, so he must hike back to Aerith's location to inform her that he, for absolute certain, checked out everyone in town, in order to determine that Maleficent wasn't there, or he would've found her, to reassure her that there was no trouble.... But on his way back, Aerith hears on the radio that Maleficent blew up the town, or something to that effect!" He imitates an expression of confusion, "How did this happen? Well... For one.... Did Faruja go around touching everyone's bodies, to see if they had the skin texture Maleficent has? Who is in the practice of going around physically touching people? Did he go so far as to lick everybody he came across to taste them?" Blivon clears his throat, "Aerith sent someone she could trust, someone who could not be turned.... and, how could he be deceived when he can see through others' attempts at veiling their identities by changing the octaves of their voice, or the odors of their body, as well as their outward appearance with some kind of robe or something like that? Apparently.... His methods of detection were not flawless. For whatever prowess one has in detecting one attribute someone has, that radar may not be so acute at detecting a different signal that might be emitted....."
Aerith Aerith grimaced. "Okay, shot that one down." She shook her head. "I don't think there's an answer to that, then. Unless you would enlighten me, which is what I'm here for." She fixed her gaze on him. "Okay, let's hear it. How do you find out what's true and what's not? Is that even possible?"
Jourum Blivon smiled and tilted his head to the side, curiously, asking Aerith in turn, "....You are asking me how to find out what is true. You are assuming truth exists. I think it does, but I could be wrong. How do I prove this to you? I don't know." And there it was-- the cornerstone of his philosophy, that he imparted to her last time when she was trying to venture guesses as to what the guru might've done if she'd thrusted the rock at her.... /he didn't know/.

"I can tell you what I perceive. Remember the insects that we could not see, but that which we could hear, in the dark cave? We were limited to certain senses, because of the darkness.... but just because the darkness clouded our ocular vision, does not mean the darkness made the insects cease to exist." Once more, Blivon Jourum was giving her pieces of the puzzle that didn't necessarily fit right away with what she already had; it might've been that he was giving her different segments at different times, that, eventually, when added up, could be put together if she was willing to do the work to assemble them properly.... But he could only give her one piece at a time. "I now have a question for you, Aerith. Do you know what you are, and what you are not?"
Aerith Aerith wanted to say she didn't know... but she knew better. "I'm complicated." She smiled. "I have the ability to see things most people can't, and hear what would scare the daylights out of many. I'm friendly to everyone, try to understand, but often times I can't." She shook her head. "I'm me, and that's all I can say."
Jourum The shaman raised a finger, punctuating his next point that he was about to illustrate, "It is a well-known fact that more than ninety-nine percent of people lose the will to live, even sometimes temporarily, if their quality of life diminishes what is considered by them to be below acceptable. An example is what Glabados' Inquisition does. They can torture people until they get confessions that are a mixture of lie and truth alike, designed solely to get the tormentor to desist." Blivon closes an eye and squints at Aerith, "You say you know what you are, but I have to wonder if that is true." He opens both eyes, but lazily allows their lids to droop low, as he starts to tell yet another story, "Aerith gets captured by Maleficent, who is totally merciless in her aim to extract information from her, so that she can go sabotage Traverse Town, or some other place Aerith cares for."

He nods, pointedly, "Maleficent tortures Aerith day and night, denying her any peace of mind, but uses devious methods to keep her physically alive.... Aerith knows that Maleficent could very well torture her for a thousand years without relent, at which point, the people Aerith cared for may no longer even be alive, but.... does Aerith last that long? Does she survive the thousand years of torture as Maleficent peels every inch of skin off of her body, only to replace it the next day so that Aerith cannot die?" Blivon shakes his head, "But the torment is not the actual argument I am trying to emphasize, believe it or not..., however.... /this/ is."

He smiles warmly, "Every flicker of Aerith's mind, at some point, eventually begins to at least partially, ask for death, or release from the excruciating agony she is going through. Physically, every cell in her body fights to keep her alive, in spite of her wish to die. Which is Aerith? The emotion that wants the suffering to end, or the nerves in her body that deliberately send the pain signals to her brain that bring on these feelings, or the cells that fight to keep her alive in defiance of Aerith's emotions' cravings to stop feeling the anguish? Which part of Aerith is the true Aerith?"
Aerith Aerith blinked for a moment. He was getting strange on her again... but she wanted to follow. Her brain buzzed, trying to find an answer that wasn't really there, because he was so circular that trying to find a way through his words was almost impossible.

She shook her head. "I think I get what you're saying. They're not me, and I'm not them. There's something else that not too many can explain, and those that do, like you, won't get to in a direct fashion." She chuckled. "I'm not going to make you try, either. But I'm confused... what does this have to do with anything?"
Jourum The shaman winked playfully, and pressed on, "Ah.... But here's one more question I didn't ask.... While I did say that the nerves that send signals to your brain can influence your emotions, so too, can the very same nerves that send pleasurable sensations to your brain, that make you want to live life to begin with, yes?" He bobs his head from side to side, "So.... which is the correct you? What would Aerith be if she did not have nerves that gave her pleasure and pain?"

He pauses, giving her time to process it all, "Would she still be an Aerith with any type of emotions, if she had no stimulants to warrant the necessity of them?" Blivon then folded his arms over his chest, "What I am saying has everything to do with everything.... And just possibly, nothing to do with anything." He nods his head to her, "What are your thoughts on this?".
Aerith "My thoughts are that my head's starting to spin, just from trying to make sense of this. All I know is that I don't know what you're getting at. I can only make guesses that are more than likely wrong." She sighed. "But I'll try anyway..." Aerith took in a breath and made her best attempt to muddle through it. "To find that out, you'd have to separate yourself from what hurts and what feels good in some way... and it's very hard to do that. You'd have to find a place where those don't matter, where thoughts become reality all at once."
Jourum Blivon shrugged, "But.... that still begs the question of what you actually are. You see...." he looks at his arm, and lifts it, "This arm is me. What if it went numb? it would still be attached to me. It would not feel pleasure or pain, but blood would still course through it, and if it were injured, it could still get gangrene.... and kill me. I might not feel anything, at first, since, as I said.... it's part of me that's numb because the nerves were cut off.... yet it's still connected the the rest of what is apparently my body."

He pointed at his head, "And the oxygen in my brain that came through my nasal passage. The oxygen is being converted so that my brain can function. That oxygen came from outside my body, but is not part of my body, and when I breathe out...."

He exhales, "....I release carbon dioxide." He smiles, warmly, "So much becomes me and so much that I am ceases to become me every instant I exist. And more importantly.... When I awas inside my mother's stomach, we were connected by placenta. At which point did that placenta become her, and at which point was it me? Whose cells did it belong to? Where did I begin, and she end.... and vice versa?" The guru grinned, "You're looking for definitive yes's and no's, but the world is perhaps not ever so clear-cut as yes or no. You ask me whether your guesses are right or wrong, but I am not here to tell you that you're right or wrong. I am here to help you think. When the gears turn, the blood runs through the veins of the machine.... when the gears stop turning, the machine becomes cold to the touch."
Aerith Aerith chuckled. "Okay, look. I'm all for existentialism... but this is getting a bit much." She cleared her throat. "You're trying to teach me something that seems a bit out there. Since there is no right or wrong answer to this, the question is moot, and I can only provide what answers I can reach for. You're trying to get the gears to turn... but they can only turn so much before grinding to a halt, via something stuck in them." Right now, the wrench in her gears was her inability to get why he was doing this.

Aerith ran a hand through her hair. "So... there is no yes or no, no right or wrong. In that case, I can only tell you what my mother told me." She smiled at this. "We all begin and end in the same place."
Jourum Blivon shook his head, "I am trying to teach you to teach yourself. What you learn from what I say is entirely up to you. My objectives are to say what I think will be beneficial, but what you take from it, I can only /hope/, will be just that!" He raised a hand, "She may have said we all begin and end in the same place. My response to that is..... I don't know."

He lowered his hands to his sides, and closed his eyes, "For now, you have told me that the gears are grinding to a halt.... So I will allow you to take some time to apply the proper amount of grease so that they can start up again, when they are ready to perform their task. If you seek me out again, in the future, I will probably be elsewhere. In any case, good luck in your endeavors. For now.... I shall resume my practice....." And with that, he re-enters his meditation.
Aerith Aerith shook her head, partly to try and clear the cobwebs, then turned to face the way she'd come. It really did feel like things had ground to a halt, and she couldn't think of anything else until she'd spent some time away from him, like last time.

Aerith took in another breath of the mountain air, hoping it would help, then began her trek down toward the city. He was leading her into something she'd never really understood, and everything screamed at her that it was the wrong direction to go in. There was another problem she needed to solve, and it had to be done quickly before a lot of bystanders were turned to skeletons with a malicious intelligence.

Aerith shivered again. It would not be pretty at all if that happened... which meant she had to get back to the Land of Dragons.

This scene contained 18 poses. The players who were present were: Aerith, Jourum