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No title.
(2012-12-29 - 2012-12-29)
No description.
Leida In the desert the sun always seems rise early and set late, no matter the seasons. It is midmorning in the Shard Seekers HQ and the sun already hangs well above the horizon, casting spears of golden light and heat in through the shuttered windows and sparse curtains. There is no activity to be found here at the moment, as most ofs it members are scattered throughout the worlds on various errands and jobs necessary for the daily functions of their organization.

Out in the gardens, however, one person remains behind. Leida sits on the edge of the stone fountain, dangling her bare feet in the water as she hums to herself. The cool touch of the liquid helps take away some of the oppressive heat, something that she is still adjusting to after several years in the frigid mountains.

The princess has yet to find a place among her new allies. The list of useful skills she possesses basically boils down to cleaning and cooking, so that has been the way she passes time of late. A basket of fruit and vegetables sits on the fountain next to her and she quietly works at cleaning them in the flowing stream in preparation for use later in the day.

Leida hums to herself as she works, having found something happy to think about recently, as opposed to her depressing memories of home. She made her first friend in this strange new world yesterday!
Seith Seith always keeps an eye out on the Shard Seekers. But lately, he's heard rumors of a new member... but he's not been able to figure out just who or what this is. There'd been dark force near Reize... and then... what then? He had to find out? But surely, a Shadow Lord could not just...

Actually, yes he can. Clad in heavy black armor, the Shadow Lord walks right on into the Shard Seekers HQ. After all, it kind of has that reputation of a place you can just walk into. Each step rings dramatically against the floor. He'd not visited this place before, though he'd seen it from the outside a few times. Normally, he might disguise himself through some illussion in order to give these guys a quest - but usually he just hung those up on the board.

No, this time he's here to properly explore the place. But... it seems nobody is home? How disappointing.

But wait! There's a sound further in the back. The sound of water being interupted. The heavily armored and horned man makes his way to the back of the Shard Seekers Headquarters so he might find himself in the garden and finds... Leida!? And why is she /HUMMING/!? Stop being happy! Shadow Lords aren't supposed to be /happy/!

"Good morning?" He decides to go with, after standing at the entry to the garden with a most flabbergasted expression for a good five seconds.
Leida Yes, happy! Leida smiles openly as she works, her normally bottled up emotions let loose freely in the absence of other people. Each piece of fruit is washed thoroughly in the fountain before being placed on a small towel to dry out naturally in the sun. Hunched over with her back to the door and lost in her mental reverie, the small girl doesn't notice the approach of the imposing figure until he calls out to her.

She gives a startled squeak and shoots to her feet, dropping the half-washed peach in her hands which is then swept away down the winding aqueduct. Turning to face the unfamiliar voice, Leida's expression shifts from pleasant to fearful at the sight of the tall armored man. She'd never seen an elf before and the presence of the demonic horns doesn't do much to help with the first impressions.

However, his incredulous expression and the fact that he bothered to announce himself does allow her to give him the benefit of the doubt. Leida carefully steps out of the water onto the soft vine-choked path, her hands clasping together at her waist as she bends in half to give him a deep bow.

"U-um... hello... I'm sorry... I didn't hear you come in..."
Seith What is this? What is this!?

The watches the girl /squeek/ and get up and lose the peach. With a flick of the elf's hand, the peach is 'caught' by an invisible force, and floats up into the air. The man's tense gaze then falls upon Leida once more, and takes in the fear in her eyes. He waits for the girl to pad her way out of the water, and then even goes so far as bowing before him. How droll. "Why are you appologizing to me?" He asks Leida, before shaking his head, "No, never mind that question." He flicks his hand again, and the peach comes to hover over her head, and then slowly moves down in front of her eyes.

"Get up." Seith sneers, taking a few steps her way. "What is this, Leida? Why are you with these 'Shard Seekers'?" And where is her dark passenger? The thing that made him generally not want anything to do with her. Why is this /dangerous girl/ with the Shard Seekers!? Had she somehow been declawed!?
Leida The girl gives another start at the command, bolting upright in confusion that was evident on her face. Her eyes are drawn to the floating peach immediately and she timidly reaches up to wrap her hands around it, trying to pluck it from whatever invisible force holds it there after a few moments.

However, the fruit is forgotten when he steps closer and her hands go to her face, covering everything beneath her nose in the folds of the sleeves danglingly loosely over her them. Her appearance is different from the last time the elven mage saw her, beyond just her personality. The blackened piecemeal armor is gone, replaced by a simple shirt that is clearly too big for the small princess. An old belt cinches it around her waist like a dress and the ensemble gives her a decidedly plebian look. Only the shimmering silver chain encircling her forehead appears to be of any worth, a rounded black opal centered on her brow.

Of the demonic taint there is no trace, not hint of dark magic in the air or vile presence scratching at the walls of sanity. The only thing of note is the soft aura of power trickling from the intricate tribal tattoo on her shoulder, hidden away beneath the cloth shirt.

Leida stares back at him fearfully for several seconds, unsure why this person knows her name. "A-ah... I-I'm sorry...! I don't... remember you... How do you... know my name...?"
Seith This isn't like Leida at all! But... he knows this is Leida! Her response betrayed that much. But where's her armor? Where's the power? Where is that 'element' to her that always made him feel so uncomfortable when he came near her in the hallways of Hollow Bastion? Seith mentally grits his teeth, annoyed without the answer to this question... when something suddenly pops up in his head. An idea. Was it... the Light? This malpresence of the dark. Had Reize perhaps...

No, surely he doesn't have the power to do such things yet!

Yet still, when he looks at her, this simply dressed girl. And what's with the power he feels coming from her shoulder? The man shakes his head a little. "No need to be afraid of me, Leida. It's me - Hesit." He pauses for a moment. She seems to be amnesiatic perhaps? He could use this! "Don't you recognize me?" He slowly falls down upon one knee. "Your uncle." A lie, certainly, but one that is well enough spoken and played that one might believe him. "I've been looking all over for you."
Leida The utter brazeness of the lie is matched only by how far off-base it is. A feeling of apprehension suddenly overwhelms the girl as she realises the deceit this person is trying to use on her and she takes an involuntary step back. Certainly there were things that she had chosen to forget, many of them tied to her time under the control of the demon, but her memories of home were very clear. She had no uncles by that name and certainly none that had every shown her any care.

"Y-you're lying...!" Her gaze drifts from side to side, searching for any signs that one of the others might be nearby to help her in this situation. But she is alone. Swallowing hard, Leida turns her attention back to Seith and does her best to be brave but she can't keep the nervrousness out of her voice.

"W-who are you really?"
Seith Tssk, guess she didn't forget /that/ much. And here Seith was hoping for a hit to the head or something having knocked things shut. He slowly comes back up again and uses one hand to draw his cloak around himself a bit more tightly. "Hrrm, seems you've not forgotten /that/ at least." He mutters, and then goes on to shake his head in a disappointed manner. Such a shame.

"My true name is not important. I am a Shadow Lord - just like you. Why did you up and leave, Leida? You've been expected to report in for a few weeks now. And to suddenly find you here is highly... disturbing. Stop playing around. You have responsibilities. Or did you find 'friends' here?"
Leida "A... a...." Leida's eyes go wide again as the name silently echoes in her head. Shadow Lord.

Reize had spent some time explaining to her about the mysterious organization of individuals who controlled the Heartless. There was not much the Seeker could tell her other than they were responsible for much of the pain and suffering that had been inflicted upon the worlds since the Heartless rose. And she had been a part of that.

The princess stumbles as she takes another step back, landing on her backside as the strength seems to evaporate from her body. This man was one of the most evil beings alive and she was stuck here alone with him. A look of real terror overcomes the girl and she stares up at him, struggling for breath at this revelation.

"Y-You're wrong...! I'm... not like you...! P-Please... go away..."
Seith "I'm wrong?" Seith asks while grinning, before shaking his head and watching the girl land on her rear. What is this girl? So clumsy... so... nothing like the force of evil she'd once been. This girl... she's indeed no Shadow Lord. She's completely useless! "Tssk... that I certainly am. It's quite obvious to me you are indeed nothing like me anymore." Not that she ever was. Leida and Seith are on completely different spectrums when it comes to alikeness - be it as Shadow Lord or otherwise.

"But I am not leaving yet. But will you please stop /stumbling/ and cowering? If you are going to stick with that kid, at least show some bravery!" This girl has a lot to /learn/. That is for certain. "I'm not going to hurt you. If I wanted to hurt you, do you really think I'd be standing here, talking to you?" Seeing such fear before him, it doesn't entertain him in the least. This weak... PITIFUL being. Maybe he /should/ just snuff it out of existance. It'd be as easy as wicking out a flame.
Leida Leida winces in the face of his anger and derision, showing the exact opposite of bravery despite the forceful command. This was way beyond the level of what she was prepared to deal with alone. It takes most of her willpower to keep from bursting out into tears like a little child.

Still, he did say he wasn't going to hurt her and he hasn't made any threatening gestures yet, besides being very mean and scary looking. Being the naive native of a land predicated on honor, the princess takes this promise in good faith for the moment and slowly climbs back to her feet. She still looks quite pitiful however.

"I'm s-sorry..." She hesitates for a moment, not quite sure what to say to a big evil guy who just wantst to talk. "Um... well.... w-what...?"
Seith Just watching this pitiful girl. Why does this annoy him so? Or is it what she represents? That such strong darkness can 'disappear' just overnight? Seith sighs in an annoyed manner, before he walks over towards the side of the fountain and sits on its edge - so he is no longer blocking Leida's 'escape' so to say.

"Tell me Leida, what happened? I'm going to assume that the common looking boy is somehow at the center of your sudden change."
Leida Despite wanting to bolt straight for the exit as soon as it becomes available, Leida's sense of decorum overrides her fears. What kind of a representative of her people would she be to show such rudeness to a man who had come to speak in peace? She follows after him, sitting on her knees a respectful few feet apart and resting her hands in her lap.

The girl keeps her eyes averted from his face, her traditions and timidness sharing a common goal in this case. "U-um... If you mean... Reize-san..." She shakes her head at the tall elf. "I-I'm not sure... I don't remember much... but... the demon is... gone..."

A hand went to her shoulder instinctively, rubbing at the magical markings there. "He said... it was sealed away..."
Seith Yep. Reize is at fault. Damn that boy! No... no wait, this is good! Yes, this is good, it means the boy is more ready for further challenges ahead than he'd anticipated. The man patiently observes the girl and the way she sits down. This is nothing like the Leida he remembers, but apparently this is like the 'real' Leida?

The elf then picks up on those last words. The demon is sealed away. Not 'gone', but sealed away! Ahh, this is fantastic news! What can be sealed, sure as hell can be unsealed! Mentally, he's already finger-steepling. But no, no reason to go undoing such a thing right now. Besides, that would probably come to bite him in the rear if he played that card right now. And he'll have to study the seal -- the seal! Ah, that explains the 'power' near her shoulder. The way she happened to rub at the same spot further betrays this. He doubts the girl is smart enough to make that motion in order to fool him.

"Can I see?" The man asks curiously. "The seal, that is."
Leida This request surprises the girl and she hesistates, hand still on her shoulder clenching over the cloth reflexively. She considers telling him no for a moment but after what she'd heard about the Shadow Lords he might simply knock her out and look anyways.

Slowly, Leida slips her hand under the collar of her shirt-dress and slides it away from the pale flesh beneath. The loop of stitched fabric is loose enough that she can easily expose her shoulder enough to reveal the geometrically perfect pattern scrawled out in dark black markings on her flesh. She tilts her head to the side, looking away so as to give him a better view of the tattoo.

"I-I think... it is this..."
Seith Seith beholds her hesitation, that clench at her shoulder. Yet, he's an elf, he's patient. He simply waits for her to decide what to do, and ends up pleased with the result. The dress slides off slightly, and the man is allowed to gaze upon the beauty that is the rune. The girl interests him very little herself. Of course, he's not foolish enough to reach out and go touching it. He simply takes a moment to analyze it, before he brings a little booklet from a pocket... somewhere...

It was in his inventory, okay? Leave it alone.

Same with the pencil.

And he quickly scribbles down the pattern before nodding his head. "Yes, that certainly does appear to be a seal. There is no tattoo artist that can draw such a perfect rune - especially not that black." He agrees, before making a dismissive motion and using telekinetic magic to draw her shirt-dress back up without her needing to touch it. This man does things on his own time and agenda.

"So you don't feel the demon at all anymore? No urges to lash out?" He wants to confirm.
Leida A shiver runs across her skin as the touch of the magical hand adjusting her clothing and she looks back up at him, expecting the elf to be right on top of her somehow without having heard him move. But.. he's still over there...? Then she remembers the peach. Magic.

Leida shivers again and pulls the collar tighter against her neck in response. Atleast that was over with. Her head shakes at his question.

"No... oh b-but... umm..."

The girl hesitates again at a sudden recollection. Those times she had seemed possessed of an unnatural strength. The strange way she could handle a bow, despite being too clusmy to walk down the street without tripping. Were these things that he was referring to? Perhaps she should keep that to herself for now.

"N-no... it's nothing..."
Seith The rather blatant way in which she recollects something, and then decides not to tell... well... it's blatant. So Seith decides to put on a little pressure, "You surely would not lie to me about this, would you?" He comments, before shaking his head and looking away. "Nah, surely you wouldn't. You are nothing like me after all. Only a Shadow Lord tries to lie about things. Such a shame you aren't a Shadow Lord anymore." It's... probably being a bit blatant about it, but he's trying his best to act it up. At least he's used to handling children - having had a daughter of his own who'd gone through troublesome periods.

The pencil and booklet go back into his 'pockets', and the man looks up. "It's good then, that the demon doesn't let its presence known at all. After all, who knows what Reize would think if it came out that it's not truly sealed all the way. Maybe he'd find himself unable to like you anymore."
Leida Despite the hammy acting, Seith's words manage to cut through to the girl. That dismissive condescending tone - it was just like the way her brother used to speak to her when she was trying to hide something; some bumble, some simple mistake. Somehow, he always knew but gave her the chance to lie about it, providing that opportunity to be dishonorable so he could mock her later.

Immediately, Leida's eyes go wide and she bends forward, pressing her forehead into the warm stone pavement, her hands flat infront of her head in a deep apologetic bow. "P-Please! I'm sorry...! Forgive me... I-I didn't mean to be false!" In truth she didn't know if those phenomenon were caused by the demonic corruption but the mere thought of such a thing being exposed to Reize after all he'd done to help her; she couldn't bear the thought of being cast aside because of that.

Almost sobbing now, she whispers, "I... Sometimes I... become very strong... I-I don't know why! It doesn't feel... evil..." The princess lifts her head, looking up at the elven mage pleadingly. "Please! D-Do can you tell me what's wrong?"
Seith That works... far better than he might have expected! Still, the weakness in the girl as she /BOWS/ before him! And how deep too? He almost feels like putting a foot down on her head just to stop her from looking up at him. This girl... how pitiful can you get? Somewhere deep within, she's irritating him very much. To think this was once a Shadow Lord. The very thought disgusts him.


"You should know better than to lie, Leida. Who knows, maybe the demon will come closer to breaking that seal every time you lie." He pauses, and tilts his head a little. "Is that a crack in the pattern I see?" Of course, he can't see underneath her clothing, so it's but a taunt. But who knows if the girl will freak out because of it. It would be... at least /somewhat/ amusing to watch.

The man then shakes his head a little once more, dismissing the thought for now. She becomes strong now and again. The demon's influence? It must be - it doesn't want to die after all. It has to keep its host alive, so it may one day be freed? "Probably - that's the demon scratching at the door. It may not feel evil... but that doesn't mean it 'isn't evil'. You better tell me more, maybe I can find a way to help."
Leida The constant whittling at her already paper-thin mental defenses produces even more results and Leida's eyes begin to water openly now, as she presses her face back into the ground. The fact that her shirt is covering the tattoo at the moment doesn't even manage to register through her grief.

"I... I didn't know! Oh spirits... I-I'm so sorry...!"

She shakes her head again, rubbing her face in the ground without looking up this time. "I-I don't know... anything more... I just... it... only happens when... when I am afraid..."
Seith 'Oh spirits'? Twitch. "Please, stop groveling. Stop grinding your face in the ground - I think I'm going to be sick. If you are going to be that weak-minded, surely the demon will bubble up." Better just roll with this and get her to stop acting like this. Sure, he could probably shatter her mind if he really wanted to push it. But this constant begging and bowing is something he just can't stand.

"Tell you what. Get stronger on your own accord. Learn from Reize and become what they call 'Brave'. If you become 'brave', the demon will be less able to come out! Just use your own strength, become better at what you're good at, and stick with your friends." That's what the people on the light side of things do right? Stick with your friends and all that.
Leida "I-I'm sorry...!" It seems like all the girl is capable of doing is apologizing constantly. However, she manages to collect herself after a few moments of sniffling and rubbing at her face with the baggy sleeves. His words of advice sound... reasonable actually. Almost like something she would expect to hear from Reize.

"R-Really?" She looks at him again, sitting up on her knees. "I... I want to be brave... but... I'm not sure I can... I am no good at... I mean I can only do simple things..."
Seith Grrr... stop appologizing! He doesn't say it, but he kinda just wants to yell this at her. But that would probably just get another 'sorry!' from her, and that serves nobody. More groveling. Ugh. Instead, he just reaches out and tries to carefully lay his hand on her head to 'pat' it. Kids.

"Sure you can. You just have to harden your heart, and stand strong in front of strong enemies and not let them hurt your friends. Stand up for those you want to protect. Let Reize be your role-model when it comes to protecting people."
Leida If she weren't so utterly paralyzed by fear and indecision, Leida probably would have tried to escape the 'reassuring' pat on her head. Now she's even more confused. Is this some evil villain who plans to destroy the world or some well-wishing uncle wannabe?

"Harden my heart...?" What did that mean exactly? Is that how Reize was able to face the demon with no fear? She'd have to ask him about that, which seems to be in line with Seith's next piece of advice. Protect her friends. Stand with them. It sounded like proper advice for an adventurer.

After a few moments, the girl nods once at him. "A-alright... I'll do my best..."
Seith "Good good." Seith comments, before getting up and taking a few steps away, before he suddenly turns towards her again in that dramatic villain way. There's even the billowing cloak and all that. "Oh, one more thing. You should not tell Reize I was here. He might think I was trying to awake the demon, or may even think that you are still a Shadow Lord."

He puts a finger to his lips. "So it must be our little secret, okay? Otherwise, he might start hating you... and you don't want that, now do you?"
Leida "Don't tell Reize...? B-But..." Leida lowers her head at his reasons, nodding somberly. She didn't like it but it made sense. "Alright. I understand."

Awkward pause. The princess looks down at the floor for a moment then bows to him again, less dramatically than before. "Um... thank you... for helping me."
Seith Still bowing to him. He doesn't need people bowing to him - nor people thanking him. He doesn't need those kind of personal bonds - especially not from someone like her. He is no ruler. "You're... welcome. Just keep it in mind. Become brave... and stand strong. Don't whimper and appologize unnecessarily." The man then turns about and starts leaving the Shard Seekers HQ. His last words ring through the house; "You may no longer be a Shadow Lord... but that makes you no less a person."

This scene contained 28 poses. The players who were present were: Leida, Seith