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No title.
(2014-03-11 - 2014-03-11)
No description.
Artemis Eurus It was done. The first of many. Revenge was largely empty. She knew that now, even before she'd begun. Still, in her perception it had to be done. Sure, there was a thrill at first, the feeling of completion...but after that? Nothing. It didn't change the past.

Artemis moves along a forest path toward the peek of the mountain, climbing just for the view and taking her time doing so. She travels alone, wearing a tunic and leather pants, her mask black. She looked as she always had, her sword at her belt, her hair braided.

She is the Huntress, though the darkness doesn't seethe around her. She's Artemis, even if she's embraced the darkness of her heart. Being two things? Why wouldn't she be able to do it? She was a dozen people--but she was Artemis all the same.

Artemis reaches an overlook and takes a seat, removing a few things from her pack; namely a teapot, before she builds a small fire out in the wilderness, where she was comfortable.
Really Zack Fair Artemis has left the Braves. That means...nothing good, as far as Zack's concerned. Nothing good at all. Few people leave the Braves without at least saying something, or being ordered to do something important by Ramza. It is..highly unlikely that this is one of those cases.

Zack hunts the Huntress. He is not a helpless buffoon, despite the smile he projects. No, he is a skilled soldier, and a powerful SOLDIER besides - it takes him some time, but eventually, he manages to pick up her trail. It's just a favor to Ramza, really. He owed Ramza his life - the least he could do is hunt her down and find out what's up.

Zack follows her trail silently until she sets up her campfire. Once Artemis has made herself comfortable, Zack emerges from the bushes, hands on the back of his head in a nonthreatening manner. He saunters over and sits down on a log, resting his elbows on his legs, allowing his arms to hang free between them.

Artemis Eurus Artemis heard his approach, but didn't really react in any way. No sword unsheathing, no spinning on him suddenly.

Artemis simply leans forward to put the teapot over the fire. "Hello Zack," she replies, motioning for him to take a seat--though he'd already done so.

She knows why he is here.

Her first question is, naturally, "Is Ramza well?" she tries to keep her voice level, but there is a strained note. She needs to speak with him, but she'd been waiting. Waiting until she figured out her own mind.
Really Zack Fair "He's cool," Zack replies as he stares at the fire. He doesn't say much else. He just sits there in the night, the flickering fireplace licking the edge of the campsite. The night is cool and crisp, the campfire is warm, and Zack's eyes are big and practically glowing. Actually, they *are* glowing. Mako is a heck of a drug.

"How about you? Are you feelin' okay?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis lets out a small sigh of relief, nodding. He'd been good at staying out of trouble lately, at least. He had Zack around as well, who wouldn't let anything happen to him. "I am very glad to hear it."

Artemis watches Zack, observing the glow of his eyes. Hers are green, not currently glowing. Not as she is. "I am...physically well," she replies. Her wounds from the fight at the Church are healing well--and quickly. "I suppose Ramza has sent you to look for me...? I will find him soon. Much has changed for me. I doubt you all will want me in your company any longer," she comments.

Art leans to get the teapot. "Tea?" she asks, lifting a cup.
Really Zack Fair "Ramza ain't got a clue I'm here. He's probably preoccupied with his war. He noticed you were gone, but I bet he thinks you're off doin' somethin' fer the Braves." Zack stares at her for a long moment.

"I'm here for him. But I'm not here on his behalf. Big, big difference."

Zack takes the cup and holds it out. He doesn't usually drink tea, but it's just polite, right?

"So you're physically well, huh. How about the rest of it? People don't usually take off if they're totally on the O-K. Now, I admit, I haven't been around much lately on account of Tifa an' stuff, but..." Zack lifts the teacup, feeling incredibly awkward. He's a SOLDIER. This is...kinda dainty, for him. Oh well. He'll SOLDIER on.

Heh heh. He liked that pun, he'd have to remember it.

"...somethin's buggin' you, Art. It don't take Ramza to see that you, out here, alone, in the woods, fully-stocked to ain't here for anything Ramza asked you to do. Ramza wouldn't ask anybody to go off on their own. Ramza'd get worried sick, with all the Church hunters out there. No, he'd rather we move as a group...and he ain't really the kinda guy to pull any Clandestine Secret Missions, either." Zack stares at her, his glowing eyes free of any judgement - just curiousity. And a little concern.

"So what's got you all turned-around, huh?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis hands a cup of tea to Zack. He doesn't know Artemis' tea, clearly. Artemis makes BATTLE TEA! This is ordinary tea, however. Well, ordinary, but also extraordinary in that it is exceptional quality and brewed perfectly. She pours herself a cup as well in a sturdy earthenware cup and takes a couple of sips before answering. Where to begin? If she told him, he would likely think her mad...and when she came to the end? Would he attack her?

"It was a while back, that I first went to Castle Oblivion. I went with the Dennous, to repay them for saving me from being captured by a Templar. I went to protect them, and to see a woman named Feige pay for her was a harrowing experience, though more for the others than myself," she begins. Isaac...she should speak with him as well. If anyone would understand, it might well be him.

"Though I left the place, things were not the same with me after I did. I began to dream...strange, vivid dreams. They did not feel like dreams at all. They felt like...memories," she replies, looking to the fire then, frowning gently.

"It was months later, but I found myself seeking Castle Oblivion again, with a suspicion that what I was dreaming....they were true dreams," she begins, looking up againt to meet Zack's mako-infused gaze. "They are memories. I have them all now. The memory of half a dozen lives crammed into my head...all my lives, all different but all so...maddeningly the same," she continues, her voice carrying a quiet intensity.

"There's a cycle...and I remember it all. In all the lives I had certain events remained the same. Always, my brother killed our father...always, I hunted him down and killed him. Every. Single. Time. And I remember it...all of it. We are /stuck/, Louis and I. But Castle Oblivion showed me a way out. A chance...that I could /save/ him this time. By saving him, I think the cycle will be broken."

Artemis takes a deep breath, her hand trembling slightly as she raised her cup to her lips to take another sip of tea. She steadies herself, then continues. "I need only embrace the darkness. It will give me the tool I need to save my brother. The hunted must become the Huntress...and so, I have."
Really Zack Fair It's good tea. Zack doesn't usually like tea, but he's forced to admit that it is pretty good. He takes a sip as he watches her carefully, silently. His face betrays nothing of what he's thinking - despite the man's outgoing demeanor, he is a *master* of closing himself off and putting on a poker face. Maybe SOLDIER card games are super intense? Who knows.

Zack listens, by the flickering firelight. When she's finished, Zack sets his teacup down, stands up, and stretches his arms behind her head. For a moment, Artemis might believe he's going to strike. Could she hold off the SOLDIER? Probably. They're both superhuman. But it might attract attention, and Zack's powers are distinctly more magical and unusual than Artemis's.

But the moment passes, and Zack sits back down. "Okay, so..."

"You know how dumb that sounds, right?" Zack looks her right in the eyes again. His gaze does not waver, despite the grin plastered across his face. It's not a 'laughing-at-you' grin. It's a 'friendly' grin.

"Like...I mean, I get being desCastle Oblivion told you to go become a Dark Lady so you could save your brother?"

Zack holds out his hands in front of him to make a point. "Normally, when I hear something called *Castle Oblivion*, I don't think, man, that place is clearly telling me the objective truth. I think, man, that sounds like some *bad juju*. And I know a thing or two about bad juju. You've seen a little of what I know about bad juju."

"But even still, if you wanna go walking down that path, okay. I just think that hiding this from Ramza is a huge mistake. You're afraid of what he'll say, but, honestly, he'll probably tell you exactly what I'm gonna tell you. But first, you're gonna protest and tell me how they were totally true dreams, right? And how you're absolutely certain they were real, and how you're absolutely certain you can save your bro with this Dark power."

Zack leans back. "So go ahead, lay it on me. Then I'm gonna put on my Ramza Hat, if I don't like what I hear, and give you a practice run."
Artemis Eurus Artemis doesn't reach for her sword. She doesn't even put down her tea. She watches him stretch, then lets him lay it on her.

After a time, she shrugs. "I do not expect you will understand Zack. I fully expected you would think I'm mad. I haven't dismissed that possibility myself. However...what do I have to go on, other than what I feel? A bone deep truth that his is, indeed, real. Castle Oblivion is undeniably sinister, but I don't think it is wrong either. I know now that these other worlds...whatever it is possible," she replies. Isaac is running around with alternate versions of his dead friends, after all.

"I was waiting to speak with Ramza until I knew my mind. I am not hiding it from him. I will find him soon....he'll probably think I'm insane as well. Even if I am insane, could things remain the same? I don't think so. Not with all these memories in my mind," she replies, shaking her head gently.

"As for the darkness, what is it but a tool? My brother is possessed by a monster, a true Lucavi. I have seen it. It has /admitted/ it. I must be stronger than the beast, control it, force it to leave him...if they does not work, I don't know what I will do. I can't kill him again. I /have/ to save him," she continues, clearly determined. She fully believes what she's seen is true.
Really Zack Fair Zack runs his fingers through his ludicrous mass of hair as Artemis speaks. That is pretty much exactly what he thought she'd say. Almost down to a tee.

"Okay. Now I'm gonna put on my Ramza Hat. You're not gonna like this part, because he's gonna tell you pretty much the *same thing* I'm gonna tell you. It's gonna be unpleasant and unpretty, and you're gonna reject it on sheer principle, because you're gonna cling to that hope that you've been offered even if it utterly destroys you."

Zack inhales. He mimes putting on a hat, adjusting the brim for a moment until he's satisfied. He mimes fighting with the hat to push down his hair. He's a very talented mime, apparently. Clearly his talents are wasted in SOLDIER.

"Artemis, no one thinks you're mad. I think you've been deceived. You believe in this thing because you want to believe in it. You believe in this hope that you've been offered because this hope is vital to you. It's a romantic notion, the idea that you can sacrifice yourself to save your brother, that you can immerse yourself in this forbidden power and that everything will be alright if you just save him. If you save him, it doesn't matter if you die."

"That's freakin' wrong. *And* it's freakin' selfish."

Zack crosses his arms over his chest. "You didn't bother to trust us. You didn't bother to come in and tell us before you started this Huntress stuff. You didn't bother to voice your concerns, or tell us about your brother's possession. You decided to roll off, on your own, on the word of a mysterious castle - CASTLE OBLIVION, again, I remind you - instead of trusting your friends."

Zack puts his hand on his heart. "I gotta tell you, as your friend, that really hurts that you trust this phantom hope more than us. It hurts that you're willing to toss your life away on the vague image that you totally believe is real because Castle Oblivion gave you a glimpse of the possibility that it might possibly be real. It hurts that you didn't bother to tell us, and it *really* hurts that you've apparently decided to go all Lone Wolf on us."

"No offense, but when people don't trust their friends, it usually means they don't believe in what they're doing, or they think it has to be hidden or clandestine because their friends aren't friend enough to trust them. Do you really think so little of us, that we wouldn't help you find every possible angle to help your brother? D'ya think so little of *me and Ramza*, that we wouldn't do everything in our power and then some to save him? We saved 'ruja, and it didn't require any of us sinking down into the darkness."

Zack points at her again. "And there's another thing! If your brother is full-on possessed, he might be screwed. But if we could find a way to save him, we might be able to use it on other people. That's super valuable to us. The idea that he might be salvagable by darkness means he might be salvagable by other means as well. Stands to reason, right? If there's one way, there's probably another. No matter what guys tell you when they say 'there is no choice', there almost *always* is, even if both choices kinda suck."

Then Zack stands up. He mimes pulling off the hat as black wings explode out of his back. Huge, black angel wings. Zack jerks a thumb over his shoulder.

"This is what happens when you mess with darkness, Art. It's not a tool. It's not a weapon. It's not something you can handle. It's a physical force, as real as any other, and if you take it lightly, you're just playing right into its hands, and you'll wind up *way*, *WAY* worse than this. I got off lucky. A lotta guys don't."

Zack's wings fold back up as he sits back down. "So, to summarize - you hid vital information from your commander about the potential to save Lucavi victims, you decided not to trust your unit or your commander or your *friends* with your problems /or/ you decided to hide them because you *knew* we'd say exactly this and you didn't want to face it, you walked into darkness on the idea that it was nothing but a tool to use with *no idea* of the potential consequences, and you're too scared Ramza might throw you out on your butt to trust him to do the right thing even though you *know* in your heart that if you said 'Ramza I want you to help me save my brother' his *immediate* reaction would be 'let's do it'. That about sum it up OK?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis looks upward, sighing heavily. She listened, quietly, taking it all in. "Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I did not trust. Tch...I would not give Ramza the chance to throw me out, when I know I don't belong? You don't believe me. What I see, what I know. You say I am being decieved. Is the darkness really so powerful? That it could create whole other lives for me to remember? To what, lure me into playing the game? I'm one woman, I'm not vain enough to think someone would go to such measures just to lure me into this."

Artemis stands, beginning to pace. "We have tried to save Louis. I will try anything, because I believe what I feel. I have never been so bloody sure of anything. He knows about Louis, he knows about all of it. Of course Ramza would help me...but what is done is done. Ramza is...Ramza. He is a better sort than I am."

Artemis takes a deep breath. "That said...I have my misgivings. Large ones. I took the power without enough thought I suppose, as to the people I would have to associate with. Yes I've gona all Lone Wolf. What else would you suggest I do? Ignore the memories? Ignore what I have experienced? I know there are people who wield the darkness but are not consumed by it. Do you think me weak? Do you think it will consume me?"
Really Zack Fair "I think," Zack starts slowly, watching her pace, "I think that you are making a really rash decision, rushing into something you don't really understand on flimsy information that *you know* is flimsy, and that there is *no* situation more dangerous. I think that Ramza is not the kind of guy who would throw you out if you brought this to him, and I think that if you did that, he would tell you just what I did - he's disappointed you didn't trust us. But Ramza believes in you, and so do I."

"So, no. I don't think you're weak. I think you're misinformed. I think you're going into this treating the darkness like it's nothing but a sword and armor,'s not. In any way. And I think that kind of cocky certainty is how people fall. I think it's how people lose themselves. And I think I'm really worried about you."

"Ramza's already lost a lot. He's gonna lose more. I'd rather he not lose you if I could help him avert it." He shrugs.

"Look. You want my advice? Honestly? Go to Ramza. Talk to him. Tell him *everything*. Every single bit. Everything you just told me. He'll find out from me if you don't, but I'm gonna trust you to do it first. I'm that kinda guy."

"And you trust in us, and you trust in your friends, both to help you through this and help keep you sane and safe. It's not a sign of weakness to rely on people, and it's not a sign of strength to be alone."

"And Artemis...nothing.../nothing/...*nothing* is unchangable. The world is changing all the time. You want to reverse this badly enough, and your friends *will* help you. What's done is /never/ done."

"So those're my suggestions, Art. Talk to Ramza. Tell him everything. Get his opinion. And then see if you really think you can wield this stuff without it touching your soul, or if you want us to help you out of it. Either way..."

Zack stands up and grins at her. "We're your friends. We're not gonna let you go through this alone, so you might as well stop running." He raises his finger and points it at her like a gun.

"'cause I got yer scent, Huntress. An' if I gotta, I'll hunt you right back till you come to your senses and I drag you back home where you belong."

With that, Zack turns to head into the forest. He pauses at the edge. "Hey. About my wings...don't tell anybody, okay? Kinda my secret. Ramza knows. I'm trusting you, too."

"'cause we're friends. That's what we do."
Artemis Eurus Artemis claps her hands behind her back and looks off at the sky, turning toward the drop down the mountain, breathing in the cool air. "Ramza has lost a lot. We all have...and I feel terrible knowing he will lose more. I will protect him. That hasn't changed. Of course I will speak to him. I had every intention of it...I should not have waited so long," she sighs, shaking her head.

"I've always been prone to solitude. I start to feel cramped inside, even in the camp..." she shrugs. "It doesn't matter."

A small smile cracks when he says he'd hunt her down. "I don't doubt it," she replies.

As for the last part, Artemis nods. "Of course. I may have lost a lot of things, but I still have my honor. I hope."


This scene contained 13 poses. The players who were present were: Really Zack Fair, Artemis Eurus