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Connection: Echo
(2013-12-15 - 2013-12-15)
Aerith heads back to the woods near Goug after the irritating Black Friday fiasco to clear her head, and perhaps take a moment to commune with the spirits there that have been untouched by Shinra's reactors. Of course, one is never alone in places like these, and she ends up meeting a peculiar creature. And Aerith always was a sucker for cute things...
Aerith Tired.

Aerith was just plain tired after having so many things happen. The incident in Manhattan, the battles with the undead, the attempts to mend bridges with people she'd lost touch with... Therefore, she felt it best that she have some time to herself.

Ironically, she picked the one place where she was guaranteed not to be alone, if only for the natural surroundings. Still, this was one of the few places she could get some respite, besides at Cloud Nine over in Traverse Town. After what happened in Goug recently... well she didn't want to go back there any time soon, unless she had to.
Echo "You ain't from around here, is you hon?" Echo asked from her perch up in a tree, in this murky murkwood esque forest. She was using a heavy southern-sounding accent, likely just to poke fun at the fact she'd run into Aerith somewhere out of her element perhaps. Or not. The bat girl was in fact sitting on a large tree branch, her sandaled feet dangling down below her as she sat there kicking them gently back and forth, peering down at the flower girl.

"Gotta be careful around here, you could get attacked by vampires or something! I don't know," she shrugged, as if not sure exactly herself.
Aerith Aerith stopped moving, but didn't look toward the voice. She spread her aura forth, her senses expanding in an attempt to find whoever joined in on her solitary jaunt. "Oh trust me, I'm plenty careful."

She looked up, right at where the voice originated from, but couldn't quite see who it belonged to. "Of course, if you're talking about yourself, you could have just come down and ambushed me right away. The fact that you're not..." She smiled. "...means that I have nothing to be afraid of. So come on down and join me."
Echo Echo blinked and pulled her feet up as the girl stopped and apparently prepared to defend herself, from what it looked like, now standing on the branch as she looked down. "Careful there pardner," she said in that mock Texan accent again, the bough she was on trembling ever so slightly under her weight with a few leaves drifting down.

"There's a time and a place for ambush, you don't think people attempt them all the time, or something," she hopped down--her wings flaring out as she glided down and landed with a soft thump of earth beneath her sandals.
Aerith Aerith blinked for a moment as... wait, what?

Aerith blinked for a moment as she beheld the owner of the voice. Definitely female, she certainly looked her age, but the ears and wings certainly told the bulk of the story.

Once she got her fill of examining her, Aerith took in a breath. She'd made her decision. "You. Are. Adorable."

Aerith grinned and jogged over to the bat lady. "I mean, look at you! The ears, and the wings, and those eyes, and that hair!" She had to stop herself from touching anything. Far be it for her to be inappropriate.

Aerith cleared her throat. "My name's Aerith." She smiled again, this one somewhat less intense. "What's yours?"
Echo Of course, as Echo glided down had the amusing moment of having to pull a Marilyn Monroe as her flounced skirt naturally protested against the wind, eek! Once securely on the ground however she straightened her dress out and folded her arms. She blinked over at Aerith and seemed confused for a moment. "Are you daft? I'm a Demi-human," she said matter of factly, as if this explained everything, which it really didn't. She turned to look at Aerith as she turned this way and that, likely wondering what she was so excited about.

"I'm Echo," she replied easily, apparently amiable, at least.
Aerith Aerith gave a nod. "You'll have to forgive me. I just can't help myself when I see something cute." Maira could attest to that, but never mind. "Demi-human, huh? That's a rather unique term. Can't say I've heard it before." She turned and began to walk through the forest again. "Come on, join me. I was just making my way to my favorite spot."
Echo "You're not gonna hug me till I asphyxiate, have you? I've heard of humans doing that," Echo blinked a little, stepping back just a little. "You've never seen a Demi-human before?" she blinked a little. "You know, beast-kin, anything like that?" she asked again, shrugging and following along with Aerith regardless of her confusion at this. Since when did human's like Demi-humans??
Aerith Aerith blinked for a moment. "Oh, plenty! I've seen Viera, I've seen the natives of Burmecia, I've seen this one lizard person..." She chuckled. "None of them seemed the slightest bit aggressive, except when they were threatened. In fact, one of them's nearly a pacifist unless he's pushed to extremes." She shook her head. "I don't know why, though." She glanced over her right shoulder. "Why do you ask? Are you not treated so kindly where you're from?"
Echo "Oh, I see," Echo blinked a little at that and looked down, as if this caused some kind of introspection in here. "Most of us had to sort of fend for ourselves where I came from, or at least my family looked out for itself," she shrugged again. "I had understood demi-humans were something of a minority... to say the least in the world of ruin at large."
Aerith Aerith frowned as she listened to her response. That didn't give too much information, but it opened the way for something. She was silent for a few moments as she stepped into a grove she'd found on one of her first days exploring this place. "We're here!"

Aerith took in a breath of the forest air and sighed. "This is possibly the best spot in these woods. At least, I think so." She jogged over and took a seat on one of the larger rocks. "Okay, so! First things first." Aerith tilted her head to the right. "What's your world like? I always like hearing stories about other places."
Echo "Do you live here or something?" Echo seemed still a bit soundly confused on what exactly the deal WAS with this Aerith. Was she some kind of crazy mountain person, or lived in the woods? She sniffled at the air even, trying to see if there was something else in it that she didn't notice at first that Aerith did. Curious and curiouser.

"Well, what did you want to know, exactly? it was sort of like that of ruin but... greener, I suppose, also mistier," she tilted her head a but, finding the question a tad difficult.
Aerith Aerith giggled. "Well, that could be said about anywhere... well, besides my world, of course." She fended off anything about that topic for the time being. "I want to know details. Specifics." She placed a finger on her chin. "How about... the city you're from? I mean, you talked a bit about your family, right?"
Echo "City I'm from is eternally shrouded in night, called the city that never sleeps. It is lit by many oil lamps and is perpetually dusky, there is a theater, an grand auction house, many nobles lived there," Echo slowly recalled what she could, not taking a seat just yet. "I don't believe it made it unfortunately, I was in lindblum when my world fell," she sighed a little.
Aerith Aerith bowed her head for a moment as she heard that part of her world didn't make it through. "It's the same as mine... pieces of my world that are supposed to be there aren't." It was as if the Heartless had just eaten away chunks of worlds and left the other pieces drifting. Aerith looked toward Echo again. "You know, I've been to a city that always rains, no matter what time of year it is. I trust you've heard of Burmecia?"
Echo "It is someplace in the Aerbs mountains, yes?" Echo frowned a little, looking up. "What ISN'T near the Aerbs is the question moreso, they are vast," the bat replied. "Many lands and areas where men never go, or return from, filled with animals and monsters no one has seen, well, besides the dragons, we've seen those, just not any near my town," she shook her head.
Aerith Aerith gave a nod. "I've been several times, and the rain never seems to end." She giggled again. "Always gives my hair a real problem!" The giggles dispersed before she asked her next question. "So... this whole demi-human thing." She frowned. "I've never heard of it, but it sounds more like a negative term... and I don't think I want to call you that. Echo sounds much better."
Echo "Stinking flying lizards those creatures, not /dragons/," and she said dragons with all the flowery emphasis a hippie college teacher might have about some subject they felt dear. It was sarcasm, evidently, her people did not seem to hold them with the same reference.

"Echo is my name," she said, as if this was obvious. "Demi-human are just what we're called, since we're altered by mist," she raised a brow. "I suppose you could think of it a little derogatory."
Aerith Aerith nodded. "Right. So in any event, I guess since you told me all that, I have to give something in return." She placed a hand behind her head. "But I doubt I have all that much to offer. My usual trick would be boring, and I don't have much to say about where I'm from besides the fact that it's kind of like where you're from. The sun never really shone there." Of course, that was due to the fact that the city was built on a huge steel plate, and the slums beneath suffered due to that, but she wouldn't talk about that unless prompted.
Echo Echo stood silent, her arms folded a little as she listened. "Really? was it cursed?" Echo seemed curious on that fact though. Another city where there was no sun? That sounded pretty awesome, for a bat anyway. "Or were you underground?" she put a hand to her own cheek, leaning off to the side a little.
Aerith Aerith sighed. "You really want to know?" She smiled, and it had a bit of melancholy to it. "The city where I'm from was run by a company that might as well have been a government. It was divided into two sections. The upper city was on top of a big plate, streets and all. That side saw the sun, and also saw business, culture, and wealth." She sighed. "The rest of the city, under the plate, was ignored and turned into nothing but slums. And because it never saw the sun... well, it wasn't so green and verdant." Aerith chuckled. "You could say I was born in darkness, kind of like you."
Echo "...Yeesss?" Echo asked a bit slowly, almost hesitantly, as if she wasn't sure if she should be that curious or not. "Ah, so you grew up in the poor, common area," that made sense to the bat, she underood more or less easily. "Nobody is really born in darkness, unless they die, and become a vampire, then they're /kiiinda/ born in darkness, but you get what I mean," she shrugged a little, pleased with that explanation.
Aerith Aerith chuckled. "Sorry, I like being metaphorical at times." She looked back up at Echo. "Before she died, my mom said I was born somewhere else. I always wondered where that was, but since my world fell apart... well I don't think I can find out any time soon." She shrugged and redirected the conversation again. "Anyways, how about your folks? What were they like before everything fell apart?"
Echo "I don't spend time trying to wonder such things, I try to figure out ways to make my own life better, but you seem pretty... positive, I guess? is that the word?" the bat tilted her head to the side, wondering about the flower girl, perhaps just a little. "My folk were... fine," she replied simply, taken a bit off guard with that one. This probably causes her to recall some things from her past, which she is a tad silent for. "They were... good enough folks, hard working, not well liked though."
Aerith Aerith nodded. "Positive. That's exactly what I'd call it." She tilted her head to the right. "Well no matter what they did wrong, there has to be a reason." She smiled. "If you don't want to talk about that, it's fine." She hopped off of the rock. "So... I suppose I should do something to thank you for coming here with me. Much as I like solitude, it's always nice to have someone to enjoy your favorite things with." She stopped a few feet in front of Echo. "What exactly do you like to do?"
Echo "There was," Echo nodded. "It wasn't a big deal really, they just wanted me to follow in the family business, I disagreed," she shrugged. "Some leave home sooner than others, I guess," her sandals scrunched through the grass quietly as she walked a little, turning to face Aerith once she said she'd need to do something nice. "I amuse myself typically with idle things, I read, unless you mean something like... going to the beach, or beaches, rather, that many humans live around, that is something nice. Just not in broad daylight," she smiled.
Aerith Aerith smiled. "Well, I know a place where it's night just about all the time. The beach there is amazing, especially in the moonlight." She gave a nod. "I owe you a trip there, to be sure." Aerith looked up at the tree tops. "I never did tell you why this is my favorite place in the woods, did I?"
Echo "There is another place like that?" Echo seemed curious about this, to say the least. "With a beach?" she stepped a little closer, as if wondering what place this could be, was Aerith playing a trick on her? "And no, you didn't... why?"
Aerith Aerith nodded. "If you ever head toward Traverse Town, stop in at the Cloud Nine. Any time you need a free place to sleep, just head there and I'll take care of you if I'm in." She took in another breath of air. "As for why this is my favorite spot here, there are three reasons." She looked toward Echo again. "First, the solitude. For some reason, no animals or bugs or anything like that come in here. It's the only place in the woods that, besides the wind, is completely silent." She sighed. "Second, the air. Somehow it's a bit cleaner and clearer here. Don't ask me why, but it just is. I've come to accept it, and it makes relaxing and meditating here a lot easier."

Aerith gestured around with her right hand. "Last, but not least, the amount of space there is. Ever since I got my new toy and learned how to properly use it, I looked for a proper location to train with it." She called up a small mote of pale green light above her right hand as she put it just in front of her, palm-up. As she closed her hand into a fist, the light flashed... and a six foot long staff materialized, made of white wood and with a faint sheen to it. "This is my pride and joy right here. I call it the Spirit Staff."
Echo "No insects or animals? Odd, perhaps there's some kind of enchantment," Echo raised a brow, looking around. She was perhaps not in tune with the same kind of magical energies that Aerith was, so there would be reason why she might not have realized it. "Take care of me, huh? I get a long pretty well on my own, though I will keep that in mind," she grinned a little, nodding politely.

The bat blinked and backed away from the girl revealing her staff, blearily peering at it, and wondering just what the deal was. "Was that a staff in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" she replied, blinking a little and grinning. "I did not know you used such a weapon, a handy way to carry it, that."
Aerith Aerith nodded. "The only reason I didn't call it up earlier is because... well, I wasn't afraid of you. The only natural means of obtaining a defensive posture is fear of attack." She smiled and set the back end of her staff on the ground. "The staff is my kind of weapon. It's meant to defend oneself without hurting the other person, but has enough leverage to get the job done should it be necessary." The smile turned into a grin. "But this one's special. Check this out..."

She turned to the side, facing away from Echo as she took a stance. Aerith whacked the ground once with her staff, and though the sound of the air parting was proof enough of the force she'd put into it, nothing exciting happened. "Yeah, that's not much. I just whacked someone on the head, or hit them while they were down. But when I do this..." Her eyes narrowed just slightly as pale green motes of light rose from the ground beneath her. Several others joined in after a few moments, before heading straight to her staff, causing it to glow.

Aerith performed the same movement... and her staff rammed into the ground with a thunderous smash, kicking up dirt and dust.

She glanced over to Echo. "The wood this staff is made of has the special property of absorbing any type of energy that exists. This is just pure spirit energy, nothing else, but you see the effects. Whoever got hit with that isn't getting back up."
Echo "Not many seem to be, admittedly," Echo shrugged a little, walking closer again, peering at the weapon. "I haven't practiced with any martial weapons, just magic," she shook her head, watching the flowergirl. She jumped a little however when the maiden assaulted the ground with her staff, wings rising a good bit up around her, just out of alarm.

"I... see, you're quite an aggressive one with that thing, aren't you," she grinned a little, a light grin rising to her features. "I figured you for some sort of healer, or other kind of mage, when I first saw you," she canted her head to the side. "Absorbing energy? some kind of cursed weapon? Doesn't look like it..." she came closer a little, curious.
Aerith Aerith smiled and dispersed the energy that her weapon took in. "Not so. In fact, this weapon is what you'd call my best friend." She stood up from her stance as Echo took a better look at it. "Just to dispel that myth, watch this."

Aerith took in a breath and closed her eyes... and without drawing in anything, the staff glowed again, only this time with a pale golden light instead of a pale green. She opened her eyes again. "This specific energy, a good friend of mine offered to this staff. It's the power of light, and I haven't quite found a use for it yet, but I certainly will discover one in good time." She chuckled. "At the very least, it serves as a good way to see in the dark!"

Of course, she didn't mention that it helped saved someone's life.
Echo "Light, hmm? That source of it is like a corona," Echo blinked a little and held a hand up to her face to shield it partially, though she didn't seem afraid or bothered by it exactly, just that the light and the magic it was generated from wasn't something she was used to. "A glowstick, huh? something like that?" the bat smiled, stepping off. "You're a good person Aerith, one of the few I might add, and for that I thank you,"

"I however am feeling a might peckish, so must be off. I will take you up on that beach trip, however..." she smiled. "Be sure to bring your swimsuit." she took off flying. Zoom.
Aerith Aerith nodded and looked up at Echo as she made her way out of the woods. She released her hold on her weapon, and it faded with those same motes of pale green light, mixed with a few golden ones. "You're a good person too... Echo." She grinned. "Being absolutely huggable helps, but I won't embarrass you like that!"

This scene contained 35 poses. The players who were present were: Aerith, Echo