Scene Listing || Scene Schedule || Scene Schedule RSS
Maidenly Misunderstanding
(2013-12-06 - 2013-12-06)
No description.
Queegmaa Having had one of his indentured servants call Valkyri for a meeting of some kind, Vohstras was serious about everything he did, and always by the book. He dealt with professionals, and whenever possible, skirted around trying to suffer amateurs who were liable to botch things up. Somehow, the call resulted in confusion, and was cut off after the samurai's subordinate had given them the rendezvous point; Wutai, at one of the smaller pagodas. Obviously, verification was given by way of a viable credit-card number, which proved that they meant business, so whomever Valkyri would send to consult with Vohstras, at least they'd have the foreknowledge that they wouldn't be falling for some manner of prank!

Vohstras was seated in the traditional Seiza position with his calves pressed against his gluteus maximus, while his shins were parallel with the mat upon which he was seated. For westerners, this was an uncomfortable position to adopt, and there was in fact, a more painful version known as 'nagashi ashi', which some folks could only do for about half a minute before quitting, and rubbing their swollen lower limbs from the pain-- yet, any experienced retainer worth his salt had better be able to adopt both of these stances without complaint, or expect to be drummed out of the order. It was bad enough that Vohstras, the 'fallen samura' had surrendered and been captured during one battle, which could've tarnished his name beyond repair, if it'd been found out.... fortunately, Shadow didn't speak, Queegmaa was allied with Vohstras, and the person who'd imprisoned him was a demon answering to the name of Rohy.... one who'd been slain.

Today, Vohstra(interchangeable with Vohstras) was at his 'true' home where he went on the weekends after his work-week was finished, since Vector just wasn't his style, on a personal level. Appropriately, he was dressed in a silken kimono of beautiful silver, embroidered with all manner of Japanese-type oni, dragons, and cranes, while his legs were covered by a matching hakama, and the belt was a metallic sky-blue, just to add a little variety to his ensemble. In front of him was a low-table where he expected to do his negotiating; that meant the visitor was going to have to kneel, as well, or else sit down in a fashion that was more comfortable, but suited to the less pain-tolerant western-culturally inclined(generally speaking). On the side of the table, there was a dark violet shoulder pauldron, which looked truly mephistophilian in appearance, to totally offset everything else.... but he wasn't actually wearing it, which might've led one to question why a solitary segment of armor had deliberately been left there......
Avira Depending on who you asked, the reputation of VALKYRI could either be very fantastic or very laughable. In spite of certain incidents having occured nearly a year ago now, one particular rumor was still very hard to eradicate. In time it had faded though not entirely disappeared. That slow deteroriation was eventually responsible for pushing it out of Avira's mind.

Not long ago she received a very confusing contact from someone trying to solicit their services. Precisely for what seemed to be lost in translation but Avira had at least extracted a time, place, and credit card number of the potential client interested in what VALKYRI had to offer. Notified well enough in advance, Avira was able to easily clear a stretch of time to meet with this person-thankfully on 'neutral ground.' At least...somewhat neutral. Avira had always heard that Wutai was somehow employing Heartless for their own protection, if the wandering ronin Raiya Fujihara had anything to say about it. In truth, Wutai was not a section of the World of Ruin that Avira had much experience with previously.

She travels, not alone but with a taller bangaa that, based on dress, identifies with the 'warrior' class. As was peprhaps customary for bangaa, he did look quite intimidating, making up for what Avira clearly lacked in that department due to her short stature and perhaps even her gender.

The Huntress comes clothed in tight-fitting leathers meant for winter travel and light fighting. There is little fanciness ascribed to the garb, clearly meant to be more functional, whether it be in a fight or fleeing a yeti. Atop that, a cloak rests around her shoulders, the hood turned down. Her long, braided hair rests over one shoulder.

Polite inquiries to the locals lead her to the pagoda that Vohstra sits within. Before approaching, she shares some words with her bangaa guard, who stops and does not follow any further as Avira appraoches. Meeting Vohstra's eyes, she nods to him before seating herself carefully on the other side of the table.

Originally hailing from Brooklyn, Avira was pretty Western. Her expulsion from her world had forced her to quickly adopt to the very different culture of Rabanastre. With this flexibility at hand, she does elect to seat herself in a similar kneeling position, carefully shifting her weight so it doesn't entirely fall upon her extended ankles. It remained to be seen how long she could remain this way.

"Hello. My name is Avira and I am the leader of VALKYRI." she pauses, carefully regarding Vohstra, a flicker of suspicion in her eyes betraying the fact that there was something familiar about this man. "How may I help you?"
Queegmaa Vohstras was not unaccustomed to bangaa, even if he'd had very little interaction with them; on the other hand, because Captain Egress was approximately six and a half feet, besides being infused by an esper that had given him unspeakable strength, it put him on even terms with most of said lizard-kind, while also possessing magic.... battling Avira -and- a bangaa could've been a problem, alas. Fortuitously for the takeo, the dark samurai, he was in a land where he had a slight advantage, because he could draw from the wellspring of their mystical sources more easily, as opposed to places that were a bit on the alien side, where he was comparatively weaker.

There was also local law enforcement that would try to split up an altercation if either Vohstra or Avira caused trouble, so presumably, both would /try/ to stay on their best behavior-- just because the Mtek had a heavy endorsement with culture of the orient, didn't mean he would receive a free ride, and get to incite mischief at his leisure. When Avira entered and assumed the same position as Vohstras, his eyes darted downwards, fixating on her legs for a moment, denoting silently that she was attempting to be diplomatic, by taking on some of the customs of the exotic, eastern land. He remembered her instantly from the moment she stepped in the door, since those scars were very characteristic, as well as her height. The yari-wielding warrior didn't have such acuity in distinguishing sounds or vibrations that her voice rung a bell immediately, but as was the case with most humans, facial recognition came to him fairly well, so there was no mistaking who this was..... unless the woman who'd infiltrated the Esper Examination Chamber had some double somewhere in the world; anything was possible, right?

Mayhaps, soon Avira will recognize him as his aura creeps towards, and envelopes her senses, which embodies very intensely the elemental affiliation of water, or more specifically.... ice. Only a radiance this caliber could feasibly emanate from a being with considerable potence, and how many ice-aligned folks of this measure has she encountered before? Whatever the case, when she enters the room, and introduces herself, Vohstras bows, then waits for her to speak further. Following her initial inquiry, Vohstra attempts to direct a telepathic message to her, which would feel odd if this was the first time she's experienced such a thing-- most likely uncomfortable, like a massive morself of food wedged between one's teeth.... not painful, but certainly something that one would need to get used to, if they could ever pull it off; whatever the case, if she resists very thoroughly, she may be able to block the incoming transmission.
Avira Her selection of bringing a bodyguard today was a product of past events and assaults. In light of those events, Avira had regrettably accepted the fact that she couldn't often go travelling about the World of Ruin alone. With the thought that there may be bounty hunters interested in fulfilling Baron's request, this particular bangaa had been selected today.

This does cross her mind as she observes and recognizes the samurai. Knowing that he was a soldier of Vector, she had to wonder if there was some sort of agreement between the two kingdoms. She'd yet to see such an announcement but she knew better than to assume that all stategic political ties would be made public. Indeed, it was pretty common for countries and empires to keep such affiliations quiet. In a way, that made this meeting all the more intriguing.

With each passing second, she feels it. Ice. She was very accustomed to that particular element. There was no doubt in her mind this man was the same man she had saw when she sought to liberate Maira from Rakassa's clutches. Her muscles begin to tense. Was this a trap?

She shifts in her position, not from discomfort, but from nervousness. Though she was skilled, getting into a direct confrontation in this city could induce problems with the locals. Granted, she had some experience with random, brutal attacks in crowded areas before they were inevitably, very messy.

Struck with telepathy for the first time, Vohstras will witness Avira's eyes widening rapidly. The sensation of suddenly having a foreign thought wedged into her head was jarring and it shows in the expression on her face. Beyond the initial surprise, further surprise and perhaps dismay follows as she parses the request of her client.

"House-keeping services?, well, I'm afraid that there's been a bit of miscommunication based on some events that have happened in the past." she says very carefully and quite cautiously. "VALKYRI is a clan. You might even call us mercenaries. We do not provide domestic services."

Inwardly, she deflates. But through the wallowing in her poor, sullied reputation, she starts to wonder. Maybe this could be an opportunity? "Not typically, at least." she eventually adds.
Queegmaa Vohstras remained fairly catatonic the entire time, though, if Avira was sensitive to elemental affinities, she might've felt a sort of awkward, sickening energy exuding from the strange piece of armor left on the table, something similar to shadow-magic, if not that, as a matter of fact, except.... a very corrupted version, akin to the kinds of vibrations Heartless give off-- and for such a small portion, the vigor of its emission is strong. Even so, if Avira is herself of ice element, perchance it is that the Mtek's frosty sensations counter-balance the discomfort the fragment of armor seems to generate. Nevertheless, Vohstras cannot do much about making the inner sanctum of the woman's mind at ease, as far as telepathy was concerned, she'd just have to grin and bear it, or else insist he start writing on scrolls.... but that would surely take up a lot of time, thus, she had to pick her poison.... pain, or time wasted, which would've amounted to pain, as well, since her legs and her feet were likely going to begin feeling a tired sting, if she maintained the seiza position.

This is also assuming she hadn't been in the practice of doing incredibly laborious leg workouts regularly of another sort, which could've made it less of a challenge. The reality was that seiza was healthy, and improved circulation over time, while conditioning the muscles, but in the short-term, it was universally perceived as unpleasant. Avira might've also noticed that the man before her had incredibly good back posture, implying that there were many benefits to a heavily-disciplined lifestyle. Then again.... his handsome features did not compensate for the fact that he'd not flashed a single grin, to indicate he was light of heart in the slightest, which meant that he was probably not just a stick in the mud.... but a stick in sludge that had been frozen over for who-knows-how-long. Although Vohstra had no intention of bringing her solace by denoting that he was 'off the clock', and that when not on company-time, he had zero interest in what Vector did, not to spite the woman, albeit because it was tangential to the business at hand. If she has personal feelings on those matters, that was not his business, and he had no desire to bring up irrelevant topics unless their circulation was made legitimate by Avira's introduction of them.

He could tell very well that she was uneasy, and had his guesses as to why, but to him, it was her own fault if she let something like fear, anger, or even positive emotions like joy bleed into her predisposition! Vohstras was not unlike a certain dark elf Avira might have fought long ago at a rather large, mist-laden tree, except that he could've been considered less condescending than that fellow, if it was true that she were to have her memory jogged, thereby helping her make the comparison. Voshtras hears out the woman, and his lips stiffen for a moment as he acknowledges that they don't do domestic services, and considers dismissing her on the spot, in spite of how much scheduling she must have put forth to travel to Wutai, until she adds the words 'not typically', which opens up a new door in the bushi's mind. Prompted by this encouraging data, the Mtek seeks to send her another message, quietly, mentally.
Avira Seconds pass and though she does not believe that Vohstras intends to visit harm upon her this second, she does not untense. It is equally likely that this man is a distraction for additional forces that are positioning themselves right now. Every recent attack she has endured has been at the hand of multiple mercenaries, including the one where Maira was taken. Hopefully her bodyguard would be on his toes and capable of spotting any additional forces that may be sneaking in for an ambush.

The stretching on her ankles begins to hurt but, perhaps fortunately, that pain seems to take a back seat to the strange sensation of receiving telepathy. As an extremely active individual, Avira certainly can be considered 'conditioned'. Physical prowess was one of the first things her teacher, Angantyr, had brutally driven into her in that month or so of training after she had begged her way into his mentorship. Survival depended upon this conditioning. Ultimately, she could survive the seiza. Mental pain in the form of psychic attack was not something she had a terribly large amount of experience with.

With each word she tries not to shudder, mentally wishing the conversation along. It's perhaps a great irony that her added answer is prolonging the pain.

For a moment, she lowers her eyes from him, looking at that strange, darkness-soaked piece of armor. It wasn't a part of Angantyr's garb, which she could easily recognize. Perhaps from another dark knight?

The question is posed and she lifts her head once more to resume eye contact. An answer does not follow right away, the woman opting to pick her words carefully. "There are two cases in particular. Charity. We provided the service for to raise money for a good cause."

The maid cafe, in particular. Avira was a little shocked just how much business that event received.

"In the other case, the service was provided as payment for access to a particular artifact we were interested in." Though that wasn't quite the story. There was a bet involved too, but Voshtras didn't really need to know about the rivalry between the VALKYRI and the Shard Seekers, especially in the pursuit of the Desert Rose.
Queegmaa The standard seiza was probably something Avira could indeed handle, if she'd been tutored by the likes of Angantyr, at least for a few hours, perhaps; the nagashi ashi was probably another story altogether, but that was reserved for negotiations often for rival houses, in which one could swiftly lunge forward from a semi-seated position, and draw their katana in a single stroke. Although capable of this, Vohstras carried a spear, so when he strained himself by practicing such, it was mostly for formality, and staying in proper shape.... but then, the proper condition of a samurai who did not give into things like physical or mental anguish, meant that the kind of infernal wrathful outbursts seen in Angantyr's stunts was possibly an indication that Avira, and Angantyr himself were both not ready to part from their humanity, to embrace a demeanor that 'welcomed' death, when death was inevitable.

To die for the emperor was to fall like the cherry-blossom, so the old phrase went-- yet, the Mtek didn't truly see Gestahl as 'his' emperor, so it was entirely possible that he himself wasn't on par with the utterly detached individual who followed the bushido code to the letter. In her defense, on Vohstras' first encounter with telepathy, he'd likely cringed at least a little bit, since it wasn't as easy to shut-out the kind of ringing in one's ears, and head, that spawned from psychic communications..... it simply was /not/ natural. When she faintly glimpsed at the pauldron, Vohstras jealously, instinctively placed his hand very gently on the object, as if to 'protect' it from a potential theft-- evidently, there's something that causes even this man to get slightly emotional! He doesn't make any announcements, and his reach towards the thing wasn't violent, or fast....

It was calm, however, definitely not accidental. As Avira gives her first reply, Vohstra's face remains untouched by any sort of sentiment, demonstrating positive or negative; he doesn't care one way or another for 'charity', so he instantaneously labeled it as useless information, and stored it in the back of his mind for a time where it might've ever been of value-- his estimate was that such a day would never be begot. The second response from Avira illicited a quirk of the brow, and he attempted to send yet another message to her.
Avira Though they had certainly met on opposite sides of the battlefield, Avira would not consider herself of a 'rival house' of Vohstras. Though it doesn't go unnoticed that the seiza was not the best of positions for her to spring into action. It just added an additional factor she had to be aware of in case something went horribly, horribly wrong during this meeting. Though she can tell Vohstras does have a good amount of discipline, she did not want to start making assumptions about his behavior to ascribe Eastern asthetics of honor to him just yet.

If she walked away from this meeting untouched, perhaps she would consider it.

Her glance to the object on the table clearly did not go unnoticed, prompting the shinobi to place his hand on top of it. A brief wry smile is produced from the huntress-her hands have yet to become visible above the table, both remaining folded upon her lap, so to see this reaction over this armor piece is strange indeed.

Only when the point of the artifact is mentioned does she finally see a change in his facial expression, betraying clear interest. It's at that very moment, it hits her. A brilliant thought that she must restrain herself immediately to keep from squirming with glee.

"Previously, the artifact in question was something known as the Desert Rose, a magnificent crystal flower that appears at dawn for one day in a hundred years and disappears with the setting of the sun, unless plucked. The rose flowers in the desert, as the name implies, and requires the traversal of a sandstorm and stronghold to obtain. Obviously, this is an artifact of great rarity."

She pauses for a moment, never breaking her eye contact with the samurai. "A piece of jewelry of great sentimental value to Maira was taken from her in her captivity. This necklace, set with a fire-red ruby, was given to her by a phoenix."

Given the reputation of Vector and their actions towards espers, Avira refrains from mentioning that it was /the/ Phoenix that gifted this necklace to her best friend.

"Should you be able to retrieve this necklace, I would consider it as payment for the domestic services of a VALKYRI for an extended period of time."
Shadow Wutai's culture leads to a great number of ninja warriors about. Some are reckless and driven by effort. Some favor discipline and guile. Most have garbs that mark them as such-- often colorful when not requiring appropriate measures for field missions. Few have stark black ninja gear-- casual to Eblonians, the fashion deviants, and... Shadow.

How long has that man been there? Was his presence easily confused for the wavering of others nearby through thin walls? The stray strong gust of wind that leans against the pagodas? Did he teleport? Substitution jitsu? Transdimensional portal travel?

Maybe. Or just maybe Shadow comes from a world where magic was largely rare and learned his trade with unmoving patience as a cornerstone. Timing is more important than force in his field-- be in pathfinding, sellswording, or, in this case-- delivery. Why that specific time in the conversation-- if he could emerge at anytime? Avira may know-- as Shadow already has dealings with Maira about the necklace. The devil is always in the deduction.

Silent footsteps draw the dark figure from the nearby shadows and into clear view. Shadow stands not far from the entrance of the room-- but clear in view for those that wish to see him. Tradition here would dictate to go to the employer-- to kneel-- to bow low-headed-- to receive the item with both hands. However, Shadow owes allegiance to no person, no culture, and no organization. He isn't bound by etiquette-- and no one hires him thinking that he is convinced 'their cause is the right one'. Cultural etiquette is included in the 'dont follow it' clause-- he adheres to simplier codes-- simply nodding to begin the contract with Vohstras. All his moments are very calm, very calculated. They speak for him where words fail.
Queegmaa When Avira smiles as he fingers his piece of armor lightly, his eyes narrow ever so weakly, as though he disapproves of the fact that she's keeping tabs on the articles in his home, and already begins to become distrustful of the woman. Morrighan was another story completely. She completely baffled him, and went beyond the norms of professionalism, and had he not been assigned to her by Rakassa herself, the samurai would've never given the woman the time of day! Avira begins to ramble on about the nature of the 'Desert Rose', and Vohstras starts to become bored when he feels he's being given some kind of lesson on ecology. Nonetheless, when he hears the second part, he rubs his chin thoughtfully, and shrugs, relaying his thoughts to the woman accordingly.

Now, when Shadow made his appearance, Vohstras turned to the dark-clad ninja, bowed his head, and arose from his seated position, while offering a hand to Avira in a gesture of apology, while sending her a transmission, unless she annulled it. After this, he treaded over to a table, and grabbed a scroll, which was rolled up neatly, and around the object was a paper label that read "Olivia of the Hollow Bastion" in rather large letters. Now, if Avira hadn't been looking closely, she might have missed this little detail, even when the Mtek closed the gap between himself and Shadow, returning to the proximity of Avira, at the table where they'd been sitting together, breaking bread, so to speak. So there you had it.... Shadow dared to venture to the lair of the Shadow Lords. But it had often been rumored that Shadow was not a brave man at all, because he'd run from something, according to the gossip Queegmaa released in order to try and slander the ninja who'd upstaged him in the fight against Rohy, after Rohy himself had spoken these claims. It was maybe true that Shadow was a bit cowardly.... but then, why did he defy death so much? There was a simple answer to that. He was not brave, but crazy.

He ran from his feelings, and his past, whereas his own life meant little to him-- everyone had a little bit of crazy in them, but it might've been just slightly possible that Shadow had a bit more of this than the average adult man. Fact of the matter was, Vohstra wasn't normally one to send messages in Admiral Rakassa's stead on the weekends, when he wasn't on duty, but the last few messengers the Mtek had tried to hire through a particular agency outright refused when he had told them /where/ the package was to be delivered to, and it was not until the eve of Friday that he'd gotten ahold of Shadow, who would go from whence the devil himself might've shied away; if nothing else, the ninja was punctual.... Vohstras had only sent the summons a couple hours prior! This exchange is wordless. He knows Shadow will not need any reassuring words of comfort to instill in the man a sense of hopefulness that he won't be smitten, because not only did the assassin not care, but because both had a /mild/ level of trust, and understanding, that did not require words, -OR- telepathic rhetoric.

Vohstras, on the other hand, is mystified as to why he needed to send a package to the Shadow Lords, but a samurai does not question their master, of all things!
Avira Avira waits, perhaps emboldened by her idea to make this particular deal work. Though truthfully, having to perform domestic duties was not exactly something she looked forward to. It could be that a different VALKYRI could be chosen if Vohstras desired someone more asthetically pleasing. But if it had to be here...well...

It was for Maira. She was so upset by the whole ordeal and the theft of her necklace only served as a disappointing reminder of her painful experience.

Darkness appears at the corner of her eye and immediately, Avira stands, turning towards Shadow and slipping a hand to her hip where the strange hilt of her weapon can be viewed. Now Avira had suggested that Maira try to hire Shadow to retrieve the necklace but if she had, Avira was not told about it. "What's going on?"

His refusal of her deal rankles the huntress for a few moments, though her irritation is superceded by the possibility of having to fend off an attack from a ninja.

Not any ninja either, but Shadow. While she had hired Shadow in the past, Avira knows that Shadow's loyalty is bought. Had Vohstras hired him or someone else hired him to aggress upon Avira, there was little she could do to stop him save for throw a greater amount of money at him.

There is only a slight bit of relaxation once she receives the second telepathic transmission. It was little comfort to see these two engaging in business with each other. "It's no problem." Avira says aloud in a stiff tone. "Since I believe we have no business with each other, I will see myself out."

Though she is addressing Vohstras, her eyes remain upon Shadow as she speaks. While Vohstras has professed, mentally, he did observe honor and thus most likely adhered to bushido, a ninja has no such compulsions. If she turned her back on anyone, Shadow was the most likely to put a dagger in it regardless of previous transactions.

"Take care." she offers politely before sidestepping out of the pagoda.
Shadow It might be that the assumptions about Shadow are just so black and white-- much like the way he dresses-- that makes him easy to deal with on a professional level. He is predictable in business. Do you have work? Can you pay for it? Everything else is largely irrelevant so long a the task itself isn't long-term or binding. Delivering something is hardly either. Yet rumors will persist endlessly-- that he kill his best friend for the right price. That he is a coward without loyalty or honor. It is the mere VOID of detectable personality that makes people create fiction on him. Or is it truth?

Shadow looks to the scroll. The name and destination evoke no reaction where a standard courier would twinge in personal concern. He takes takes it with a smooth gesture that lacks the grace of Eastern ettiquette. No bow. Just business. The other hand is produced for the payment. The amount is also delivered between them in a simple motion and placed on his person just as secure as the scroll itself.

For a moment Shadow lingers. His persona disturbs the natural flow of life in the area by not being there-- a dead spot where something should be. Maybe the Reaper is truly just a step behind him-- and this man simply stands in its Shadow until it is his time. A pale gaze meets Avira's briefly before she completely steps out-- then there is nothing but a puff of smoke where Shadow once was. His body turns to wisps of thick vapor-- coiling into tendrils into the wind's current until it fades away along with the ninja.

And then... silence.

This scene contained 12 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Shadow, Queegmaa