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No title.
(2012-12-29 - 2013-01-04)
No description.
Baigan "It's a disgrace, really," Captain Cornelius Baigan is saying as he cuts into his steak, sitting across from the Slaughter Countess at the upper floor of the King's Pub, above the riffraff and scallywags that-- well-- honestly, there aren't too many of those in Baron anymore. Regardless, as is sometimes his custom, Baigan has invited the minor noble to dinner, inflicting his dour presence upon her. Outside of the throne room, where he can wheedle and cajole like a champion, and with his partners in crime, Baigan tends to revert to his boring, stuffy, by-the-book personality, when he isn't irritated by something. "For Baron's territory to have been reduced by this fusion of worlds, and for there to be so many resources ripe for the picking now!"

Obviously, he's talking about work. It's a funny situation. Melody's family is more important than Baigan's, even though his position in the military is higher, so he tends to deal with her with a respectful distance. It's sort of like the way he deals with Morrighan. Actually, maybe haughty women just terrify him in general. ...Or maybe just women in general.

"Once we seize these Dwarf Woodlands and strip them clean, I trust our engineers to be able to refit our navy and air force with all of Manhattan's technology. Those fools were unworthy of their might. Soon, Baron will reign supreme!" His hands twitch as he gets a little too excited, and he takes a breath to calm himself. "...And her populace will be safe," the Vanguard adds, that being his ostensible objective.

"Are you, um," he begins, searching for some sort of topic suitable to Melody's interests, as the dining area above is mostly unoccupied right now save for them, "that is, as an expert on physiology, have you any insights into the nature of dwarves?"

Careful what you ask about, Baigan.
Melody Ellsmere
As a delicate lady, Melody got something a bit more light, a bit more gentle, a bit more easy on the stomach than steak. A slice of roasted veal and a lamb chop - wonderful and light! Never mind that she's /eating baby animals/. At least she's doing so daintily. With her healer's hat and half-plate armor left aside, Melody doesn't look particularly imposing, with wavy-curly ash blonde hair down past her shoulders and a blank look in mascaraed eyes. "It's pretty disgusting," she agrees, slicing off a piece of lamb with slow, loving strokes.

"Mmm... Dwarves," she says, slowly. "Well... you have to give them respect for what they are. They're stunted little short-arses. But they're tough... and they're resistant to toxins, too. They have to be, they're practically huffing the planet's - ahem - effluvium, in their miserable little caverns." A pause to chew daintily. A rather long one, since she chews the bite fifteen times /exactly,/ and then takes a big gulp of the red wine she's having with it. "So... I don't think we can use poison, like we could with rats. And if we just blew them all up, we'd have to dig out their caverns, I think? But that's more military engineering than anything."
Baigan "An excellent point, Lady Ellsmere," Baigan replies, listening attentively to the details of her gruesome diagnosis. "Perhaps Glayffe will have some notion of how to undermine their abode... as it were." Oh ho ho, Baigan, you charmer. Taking another bite of his steak, his unblinking gaze drifts, as it sometimes does, down to the commoners below, who discuss so much more trivial and plebian matters. Baigan has no quarrel with the common folk so long as they know their place. As head of what constitutes Baron's police force, that is, his guardsmen, he is a fearful figure, but for all his grandiosity when it comes to Baron he rarely throws his own weight around. So long as proper deference to authority is offered, he rarely comes into conflict with his own people.

This largely peacable relationship will come in handy when Riku materializes directly on top of a table like he does not give a damn -- in fact, he does not -- and casually kicks someone's stew over. First of all, such an imperious gesture almost automatically impresses Baigan, both as someone who instinctively respects people who behave like authority figures and as someone who has spent most of his life stewing in resentment, even when he was not an official bad guy. But more importantly, he is familiar with that method of transport.

"Milord!" he calls, rising smoothly from his seat, before the stunned speechless thugs can even think to react to Riku's badassery. "Come, join us upstairs! Members of your fine organization are always welcome in Baron." He has only met LEXUS and Jafar before, but given how different the two were, he has no expectations. Admittedly, it helps that Riku is acting like a boss. And of course, he has dealt with many foreign emissaries at this point, not all of whom are familiar with Baron's customs, like not walking on tables and kicking people's food.

Okay, maybe that is a stretch.
Melody Ellsmere
Melody is on her feet already and clapping merrily.


"Did you see that?? Ahahaha, that was astounding! Look at his FACE!" she says, to Baigan, and not THAT loud, because she isn't a complete fool. She tosses her hair back with one gloved hand, touching Baigan's wrist and leaning over again to ask, "Do you know his name? I like him. do you think he'll do that again if we ask him nicely?" Then she pauses for a moment, lost, apparently, in thought.
Riku No rest for the wicked.

Riku feels almost uncomfortable, as if he wasn't sure anymore which side of the disguise he was really standing on. It was actually sort of freeing in a way, to think that after this was done he could go back to his actual life.

For any known value such as he had...

He had taken his time however. There was no time limit on requests that he made up from people that hung in the background of his mind like storm clouds. So his ways and means to actually getting here are his own. The situation however? Was completely different then. It usually was.

So now that Hearts Intertwined was slowing down and he could slip away for a day or two-- he went bearing trouble to dump into the lap of anybody particularly worthy of such a gift, this being set at the remarkably low threshold as he moves through the portal with purpose. Now, that purpose? To trigger a random portal jump on purpose.

You set one end, and you define the other-- but you stop paying attention-- And- POOF. In with the riffraff and sparce ruffians, out for a pound. Riku looks around with interest and then down at the guy whose stew he has overturned, steps down from the table without pausing to apologize or even notice the guy, orders something to eat and a nice thick stew and some dark bread. This has no reflection on him being sensible.

Riku is not a sensible type of guy.
Riku Riku is nothing if not polite to those who are giving him food. Not so much to guys who have suddenly sans-stew. He didn't actually plan on the stew-kicking, but he comes from a long and storied tradition of just completely /ignoring/ anything so archaic as reality and simply picking and choosing what parts he will engage in.

Also! --Subterfuge. Because as Riku swipes the stew and bread from a tray, there is money left behind on the table of the stunned ruffians. A much larger amount of it than would be seemly for such a thing. This may or may not cause trouble as it's just-- /money/ laying out there in open sight, with nobody really close to it at all.

Regardless of whether this causes schenadigans or not (or even if it's real money) Riku takes his food up to the upper level. "Captain Baigan." he inclines his head, and would bow slightly if he would not faceplant into his stew (which would lower the badassery quotient) I have heard so much about you. I don't think I have had a chance to meet your lovely companion." he doesn't smile at this, simply inclines his head to her as well and wait to be offered a seat.

"Sorry for interrupting your meal." And-- Not sorry at all. Yep. Trouble.
Baigan Baigan ignores the ensuing tussle below as several thugs leap on each other, electing to seize the money that suddenly appeared rather than harass the boy who appears to be Baigan's guest; the guardsmen will break it up in a moment, but for now perhaps Melody can enjoy the show. Baigan himself is much too busy smoothly pulling out a chair for the younger Shadow Lord, whose calm familiarity causes the seneschal's eyes to widen momentarily before his chest puffs out a little with pride. "I am humbled that you are already aware of my insignificant self. Master LEXUS has been a tremendous aid to Baron. We were more than delighted to aid in snuffing out that accursed Manhattan." He neglects to mention the awkwardness with Jafar and the battle for Balamb Garden.

"Good sir," after Riku is seated, "this is the Lady Melody Ellsmere, one of our Dark Knights, uniquely possessed of the gift of healing magic as well. She is an asset to our ranks, and will be assisting in the assault on the Dwarf's Woodlands shortly." He smiles thinly as he seats himself back down, assiduously making plenty of room for Riku. "Soon we shall adapt Xanatos's technology to our ends, and be better able to ensure that the Crystals of this world do not fall into the wrong hands. Then, of course, we will be more than able to help you seek these Princesses with their power." His unblinking eyes are feverishly bright. "It is so fortunate that our interests align so."

Things do seem to be looking up for Baron thanks to the Shadow Lords.
Melody Ellsmere
Melody has set down by the time that Riku comes up. Being a countess she does not rise, although she only snatched one morsel of veal during the boy's transit upstairs, her eyes suddenly way less sleepy than they had been before. She tilts her head slightly at Baigan's words, and then opts to completely ignore them in favor of Riku.

Inwardly she makes a note to herself: Seeking princesses. Then that must mean... he's a prince? Good, she thinks. Maybe I can move up.

She continues, bright and sparkling. "It's no trouble at all! I was amazingly amused by what you did. And throwing that money to them, like tossing a handful of party sausages to a pack of curs, that was simply /brilliant/! I love your style. It is my pleasure to meet you, er -" A brief pause, realizing that she has no idea what the exact names are there.

But she can continue regardless. "It's true. All of it. If I can ask you a question, sir - that trick of yours - Can you, say, go through a window, into a... gatehouse?"
Riku Riku ignores the ensuing trouble as well. He paid honestly for the trouble of overturning stew. That it devolves neatly into chaos so that they may have dinner AND a floor show doesn't impinge on his concept of conscience at all. He thinks about it a moment, his confidence faltering for a moment as he looks over the side at the random thugs and strangers, wondering...

Riku smirks, turning his eyes back to his plate and taking his seat graciously. "Word gets around." is all he says in explaination. To whom, from where, with what? Perhaps that is the topic. Perhaps he's just here for the food. "My name is Riku, my lady. It serves me well enough." at the moment, he adds to himself silently. It still felt odd to hear that word out loud, but it reminded him to keep his composure together. Hearing that name meant he was't anywhere he could be even marginally safe.

"I'm glad I could be so entertaining, my lady, though perhaps you'll at least leave me /one/ secret or two. It does certainly come in handy." he says that to Melody with a faintly sardonic smile before turning to the captain with curious attentiveness. "So. I'm curious to know more about this plan-- The dwarf woodlands, you said? I don't believe I've been there."
Baigan Baigan has never seen Melody so excited when she wasn't dismembering something. One eyebrow arches momentarily, but far be it from him to meddle with young love, particularly with such an esteemed guest. He is courteously silent as Riku exchanges pleasantries with the Captain's dinner companion, but when the Shadow Lord turns to him, the seneschal is more than happy to oblige.

"Our scouting vessels have been exploring some of the strange new worlds to which our own has been connected," the Vanguard of Baron reports. "We have concluded our capacity to project military might is hindered by our ignorance about the other worlds which have access to our own. No further interference from figures such as that Xanatos must be allowed. To our further advantage, however, we have found that some of these new worlds seem largely untouched by human hands, and while some are dangerous, some offer vast and verdant landscapes."

Another thin smile.

"With more of Baron surrounded by water," he continues, "we have elected to build up our navy, but currenty lack the territory and resources to do so. These so-called Dwarf Woodlands, however, are rife with timber and precious metals, and are apparently occupied only by a few measly dwarves. By seizing this location, even if only for a brief period, we can acquire the resources necessary to expand our forces. Our enemies are surely in disarray after the fall of Manhattan; /now/ is the time for Baron to rise again."

He smugly turns back to his steak, cutting away again.

"Whatever fools will dare oppose our might shall be a motley crew indeed!"
Melody Ellsmere
Melody continues ignoring Baigan. "Well, it's good you haven't," she explains to Riku. "It is a silly place, and the dwarves are ridiculous little stunted things. They're good for two things, other than I guess 'mining in their stunty little tunnels'."

She slides a form into the last bit of lamb on the chop. "Brewing beer..."


"And tossing." She slides the morsel into her mouth, eyes not really leaving Riku as she chews.
Riku Riku starts to pick at the bread, dipping it into the stew and watching the bits slowly dissolve into a stew/bread slurry as he stirs it around and around the thick concoction of meat and mostly vegetables.

"Perhaps both at the same time?" he offers to the lady Melody without even an flicker of a repressed smile. Instead, he attentively listens to the good captain Baigan's explaination and asks him

"And what happens then?" with bland curiosity. "After the dwarves, I mean-- and after Baron has risen again to greatness."
Baigan Baigan is /glad you asked/, Riku. His chest puffs up again, far more so than at being personally flattered. Discussing the glory of Baron is one of his favorite hobbies, next to thinking about how great the King is, thinking about how much he resents Cecil, and being ignored by attractive women.

Well, that's not so much a hobby as 'something that happens all the time'. Obviously, paying attention to their guest is appropriate behavior in any case, not that Baigan has any inkling of Melody's motivations. Even if he did, Riku's question has now thoroughly distracted him.

"Then there shall at last be order," Baigan exults, "and a just world, in which all are in their proper place. In this new world, all such sense has been lost, and we are overrun with rabble and miscreants who know only their petty desires, cooked up in the form of ideals. But Baron is immortal, and its might and ingenuity are bound up by rigid discipline!" He never blinks, but even if he did, he probably wouldn't now; zeal has widened his eyes, a layer of his cultivation wearing off. So much for rigid discipline. Ultra-nationalism must be the exception to the rule. "Our Dark Knights face and master the darkness within themselves. Our Dragoons leap bravely from the greatest heights. Our Red Wings soar above all creation. We, and those who value order and proper conduct, will put this misbegotten world to rights!"

He takes a somewhat more liberal swig of wine than usual.

"And our iron will is needed," he adds, dabbing at his thin lips with his cloth napkin, "now more than ever, so long as bizarre denizens of strange new worlds continue to wander in, and make a mess of society's natural order."
Riku Riku stares at Baigan in sort of the same way the captain does. In a unblinking way, his bread halfway between his mouth and the bowl of stew. While his hand lowers very slowly to the stew, in which the bread is lost.. lost forever in a sticky morass of beef and veggies. Riku is lost in a moral and somewhat more personal dilemma.

His eyes glaze very slightly, brow furrowed as he blinks several slowly, several times towards the end of the pronouncements.

That is the biggest batch of hypocritical bologna I have ever heard.

And while part of him truly wants to understand Baigan's motivations, the part of him that stirs trouble that crosses disguise mode boundaries nearly has him rolling in the isles with laughter.

The first hysterical notes start to bubble up like acid, his shoulders shuddering once or twice before he gets himself strictly under control. With the troublemaking part of his brain tied up and thrown into a cupboard somewhere, Riku turns back to his stew and uses eating as a time to collect his thoughts. "You sound very proud of your home." This is relatively safe to say (and he doesn't even need pennants and banners and the blaring of triumpets to make such an obvious statement) But-- as he is trying very hard to stick with the absolute truth, even with those he considers to be villianous, he picks his words carefully as if he were crossing a minefields of words.

"And what will happen then? When all you've said is accomplished. The rabble are gone. The strangers thrown out. The natural order restored."
Melody Ellsmere
While the two men are talking, Melody takes a moment to polish off the last of her own meal, and has put one of those spearmint cigarette things into that saucy little wooden holder she probably picked up at one of those horrid girls' academies. It does at least smell more like mint candy than something more cloying and nasty once she has it working, and she takes a long drag and blows it over the railing to settle onto the riffraff beneath.

"Well, I guess it's kind of unpatriotic to say it quite like this, so do forgive me, captain," she says with a brief cloying smile at the Captain, then back towards Riku. "But we've had some reverses lately. Our army's strong and I would give us good odds against anyone with a little planning, some good intelligence, and my own power standing behind it. But we don't understand a lot of what's out there /just/ yet..." She closes her eyes for a moment, as if wearied. "So we have to do /that/ first, even as we're tamping things down."

"After that," she concludes, even as she serenely flicks ash towards Baigan's plate, "I'll have to fix all of this up, I imagine. If it can't be fixed, why, everyone will be much more content. They won't be scrabbling around together. We'll be able to get things /done/."
Baigan It does hinder Baigan's paean to Baron's magnificence somewhat for Melody to mention their country's difficult situation right now, but he does not contradict her, instead getting a grip on himself and lowering his eyes briefly before nodding. "Indeed," he says, his composure restored. "The struggle against the seditious brigands is fraught with peril. In the world from whence we came, Baron had developed the dominant military technology. When we faced Xanatos's weaponry for the first time on the Dias Plains..." Were their guest not a Shadow Lord, he would of course not be so open, but even Baigan must concede the truth. "...we were not prepared."

Part of the reason he can concede the truth in this case is that he still believes their defeat to be his own responsibility. Now that Manhattan has been overcome and Baron is on the rise again, it is easier to face his own shortcomings as an offensive tactician. When Baron had Cecil and Kain to rely on, Baigan lived only to defend.

"That will not happen again."

It helps that he thinks of offense in the name of Baron /as/ defense.

"Ahh," was that a blissful sigh? The utopia that Riku evokes sounds too good to be true, but it is, of course, Baigan's dream. "Well, then, society shall operate as it should: a well-oiled machine." He sounds pleased. "Kings shall rule and be obeyed. The low shall live out their lives industrious and content, and the high shall watch over them and ensure their continued safety and prosperity. Not a piece shall be out of place."

There will be no orphan commanders of unknown origin. And no Captains of the Guard will die before their time, stabbed in the back by some nameless thug of no account, their son forced early to take up their mantle.

"The world will... make sense, Master Riku."

All will know their place.

"Even /this/ world... will make sense, under Baron's stewardship."
Riku Riku takes another bite of the stew, again stalling conversation by the virtue of having his mouth full.

He decides anybody he talks to who is a shadow lord, a captain of an invading army or a scary noble lady, he's going to have something to eat first.

He might as well enjoy some part of the conversation. These two are overblown, vain and petty. These are about the best words that come to mind. But they are also not the incomprehensible evils that he has also seen in his life. Scary Armor Guy, for example-- who practically holds the trophy along with.. others.. for sheer terror. The Dark Faery also holds that position, by being easy on rewards even when those rewards may be poisoned.

Perhaps he finds these lower levels of nastiness refreshingly straightforwards, because he does not simply dump the stew over Melody's head or stuff the bread into the captain's mouth sideways to make him stop talking.

But-- as he listens to the captain's words, he feels a moment of sympathy for whom is pretty much a petty thug. He, to Riku's understanding, just wanted things to make sense. For everything to be in order. "I see." he tries to keep a note of resignation and disappointment out of his voice with difficulty. "And the beginning of this is gathering resources. A blinding city on a hill needs shiny mirrors." Except nobody will actually look into them. They wouldn't want to see what was actually there. "Who gave you the technology from Manhattan, may I ask?"
Melody Ellsmere
Melody sits there, tinged by mint-scented fumes and apparently completely smugly self-possessed. Then she answers Riku warmly, "Exactly! Exactly. As for that, I'll have to defer to the captain."

Perhaps detecting some vague amount of amusement in Riku's tone, she then tells him, or perhaps asks, "Would you like to see something? Pluck that napkin over from that table behind you, and wrap that wine bottle in it - take what's left in it yourself first if you want."
Baigan Ah, at last, Master Riku seems to understand. Baigan doesn't seem to entirely know what to make of the analogy, but Melody is affirming it, so he nods too, if only not to be left out. Then Riku asks a question he can answer. "Oh, that would be Master LEXUS," the Captain of the Guard supplies. "Some rude scoundrels attempted to infiltrate Castle Baron, and after repulsing them--" Was that how it happened? "--I was confering with my subordinates when he emerged, and kindly bestowed upon us some of Xanatos's devices. They were relatively impressive," he magnanimously allows, "but our engineers shall soon improve upon them, even if our Master Engineer Cid Pollendina remains recalcitrant."

"It was an honor to be of aid in the assault upon Manhattan," he repeats, but the conversation has taken a different tack. Simply happy to be in the presence of another Shadow Lord, Baigan contents himself with finishing his meal, and allows Lady Ellsmere to enjoy herself and she sees fit.
Riku Riku feels very strange about this whole conversation, but it has given him some insight into the Baron that he had only seen and heard of from a distance.

These were actual people instead of background ideas. This was the reason he was making his way across the worlds wasn't it? He couldn't just turn his eyes away from what he didn't want to see.

These were the people who would destroy everything, including themselves, in order to make things better. At least that was the lip service. Riku listens to Baigan's words and has to internally sigh again. LEXUS again. He still didn't have an answer for that program.

He smirks lopsidedly, although his heart certainly isn't quite in it as he pulls the napkin from it's place, wrapping around the wine bottle as suggested and pouring out some for himself first.

He feels he's going to require a drink after this. "This should be entertaining." Although for whom? and why? He's not quite sure yet-- but he's about to find out.
Melody Ellsmere
Melody shifts the cigarette holder to her right hand and daintily takes Riku's offered wine bottle. She smiles at him, then dips her head to Baigan as he digs in, and then shifts back in her chair for a good six inches or so.

She then smashes the bottle against the wood railing nearby. It doesn't go flying, of course - hence the napkin. She lays it out on the table, daintily picking out the bottom piece and setting it off to the side. "Lay something over this, my good fellow, or put it inside." She refolds the napkin over the remaining fragments, daintily and one-handed, and then whirls the resulting package around, smashing it efficiently, several times, over the railing again. A waiter coming to clear plates looks slightly wary, even as he removes the lady's dish.

The napkin is set down and unfolded, revealing greenish flinders and a good deal of jagged-looking glass sand. "Does this remind you of anything?" she asks rhetorically, even as she flicks more ash over the rail onto the people below fatally stricken with poor.
Riku Riku is now trying hard not to scowl at Melody.

He forces himself to chuckle, but it's a bitter sound as he finishes off his stew and leans back in his chair, raising an eyebrow as he crosses his arms. He waits for the next part of the trick, a trickle of heat mirage baking around his outline as he watches the woman fatally stricken with jerk. He does as requested however, laying the bottom piece aside on his part of the table.
Melody Ellsmere
Melody pauses for a moment - but then she says, with a sort of strange hesitance, "I suppose that was glib of me, wasn't it? Let me get you a drink later." Noblesse oblige perhaps.

Then she rings the stump of the bottle with her thumbnail. "They say that things that are broken can't be mended ever, but for /some/ reason people love making /absolute/ statements, don't they? When they really have no -" Her eyes narrow at it. "/idea/."

The bottle's bottom glimmers with green light.

The sand and flinders start rising, languidly curling through the air. Sand particles press down against the bottle. It rebuilds itself, seemingly, from the bottom up, individual bits seeming to hover for moments before falling back into what seem to be the right place. The bottle rises up, until its neck suddenly slides into place, and the little ring of the bottle-lip lands with a little 'ting' and a sparkling of blue.

"You see? We're not just whistling from our backsides," she concludes, looking up, perhaps for praise, wonder, or something else.
Riku Riku raises his eyebrows very slightly.

It takes him a long time to figure out what to do about this. If she had done something like this even six months ago, he would have boggled in absolute wonder. It was magic, pure and simple and elegantly designed.

It even served a purpose to illustrate the point, even though Riku was pretty sure she was just about as full of bologna as the captain. But perhaps what he gets out of the venture is not exactly what is said on the tin. Riku looks at the bottle as Melody makes it rise from the sand and fragments back into it's former shape.

"You're right, my lady." he says with a tinge of genuine warmth. A moment of .. something.. in the midst of pettiness and cruelty and blind devotions. "People shouldn't make absolute statements. They'll only end up disappointed when they are proved wrong."

Everything that is broken can be mended agian, huh? -- Well that in itself was an absolute statement-- but it was food for thought. Riku smiled at Lady Melody, not a reflexive baring of teeth or a sardonic expression. He actually means it and it shows on his face. "Perhaps we should have that drink."
Melody Ellsmere
Melody flutters her eyelashes for a moment. "Ooh, lovely! I'm so glad it cheered you up," she says, straightening up after reaching over to recover that broad-brimmed hat. "Do you want to slum it up downstairs or get something brought up, hmmm?"

She then continues, "But you seem rather thoughtful about these things, as well, it's nice to see! Do you think there really /are/ absolutes to /anything?/" She clarifies, perhaps so that Baigan doesn't rat her out later, "I mean philosophically obviously, I mean it's like - like people's heights. There are certainly very tall people, and let's say the tallest man is seven feet tall - so we might say, that's as tall as people get! Then we meet a man who is seven feet, two inches - that kind of thing."
Riku Riku pauses, thinking that over. "Well. We could always take it with us." Riku gets up from the chair, excusing himself from the captain's table. Not believing in 'Absolutes' was likely to be offensive to the captain for whose brain must be stuffed with them.

"And I promise to bring you back." he gets a faintly mischievious smirk on his face as he regards the noblewoman. ".. but only if I believe in absolutes."
Melody Ellsmere
Melody rises upwards with a weird little laugh. It's kind of stilted. "But does that prove the converse, I wonder~"

Moving down the stairwell, she continues, "All of this has really been one dreadful hell of a bother. I assume you aren't a native of this land - and isn't it strange how we can all understand each other?" She taps her teeth with the cigarette holder. "I mean there are accents, but - well, it probably doesn't bear too much worrying over."

"/An/yway, we had matters rather well in hand and then the bottom fell out of everything. It was simply awful! Now all these horrid SeeDs and detectives and shard seekers and humanoid ducks are running around. Have you met any of these ducks?"
Riku Riku follows her and listens as she moves down the stairwell.

"Well. Most of us come through portals before we land wherever we land. Maybe it's a function of that. Or-- maybe people are really the same, the whole universe over and it's just language getting in the way of figuring that out." he moves through the lower part of the tavern, not looking at anyone but at Melody as he moves out into the street.

He looks up and down the street then up at the sky above before setting into the second chain of thought. "Oh. I've met a considerable number of them. I wanted to travel the worlds, and so I got my wish." He gestures at the empty air, opening up a portal. "And.." he says in a gently teasing voice,

"I meant not walking. Well. At least not far."
Melody Ellsmere
Melody adjusts her hat for a moment, frowning. "Well, there's the pub around the back," she says, considering. Glancing up and down the street, she admits, "I only come out here for supper sometimes, I'm actually not sure how to do this whole 'buy someone a drink' thing. I mean I know the /idea/ obviously." At least she frowns nicely.

"And yes, those portals... mm. Well, you may be able to answer something I've wondered but have never really been able to find out because everyone was committed to some bone-headed scheme or adventure." A little minty ash gets flicked into a gutter. "Did where - you're from? - have these portals /before/ the last year or so, or are they wholly new everywhere? Obviously you aren't, ah, conclusively proving this, but I mean, sometimes people don't even bother to ask these questions."
Riku Riku laughs quietly. "ah. Questions questions.. but never any answers, eh my lady?" He slowly clenches a fist but takes a steadying breath and lets it out slowly. "I suppose people don't ask the questions because they think they don't need the answers. As to these portals.." he waves a hand.

"That I don't know. They came when the heartless came, so I suppose-- ask whose behind the heartless. Not the people who can pull them or shape them now. The one who started them up. They had to have come from somewhere." he grimly presses his lips together.

"It's not a nice place, where they come from. Also-- I have no idea either about the entire concept, as long as we're being honest." Riku chuckles. "But that's more than half of the fun involved."
Melody Ellsmere
"I /do/ carry on, don't I? But I mean, you have to find things out somehow. I do feel quite rude to pump you," Melody says, drifting not very rapidly around towards the pub, wrinking her nose at an overabundance of good cheer and/or bravado coming through the lamp-lit doorway. "Here, you can ask me anything you like, go right ahead." r
On the other topic, she muses, "They really are the common thread, aren't they?"
Riku Riku waves a hand towards the portal. "I am guessing you are not one for the unknown, and even less so for adventure." he seems amused by this and banishes it with a slightly vexed expression.

He considered using it to escape this conversation, but decides against the better part of his nature to continue this and see where it goes. "Yes. Everything that's happened to or with the worlds started with the heartless. It all ties back to them one way or another. " he pauses to consider his options and asks after a length pause. "Where did you grow up? Here in what I must assume the capital? Farther away?"
Melody Ellsmere
"You must be joking, sir!" Melody says, if a little amused. "Just because I don't step through a portal with a man I've just met... I love the unknown, I just don't worship it blindly. Even most of the dark knights don't really think much about the real meaning of 'darkness.' And perhaps how rare in a sense it genuinely is... Where would that have led me?"

She then answers the question more directly. "Oh, about two days' ride from here. Rather marshy place, really. If my brother manages to die heroically I suppose I'll inherit it. I get an allowance from Daddy every month, so I don't end up like -" She gestures vaguely, and /somehow/ it is obvious she is gesturing /right at/ wherever Baigan is.
Riku Riku doesn't laugh or even smile at this. He looks at Melody, burrowing his thoughts behind layers of thick self-restraint.

"Mullonde." he says in a calm, quiet voice. "There is a story about how it is snowing there for the first time in memory, and I collect stories." he looks saddened for a moment, then collects himself as if he had allowed Melody to see more than he wished for her to see.

"And I thought I would exchange one miracle for another." he pauses, then continues. "Or at least that's what I'm going to tell you. The reality could have been anything. I suppose we'll never know now. Is this really what Baron's like? Are they all like?" -- he vaguely gestures to, of course, where Baigan would still be.
Melody Ellsmere
"Well that's mysterious. Is it very warm in Mullonde?" Melody says, though the name seems familiar to her somehow. She then considers the next question.

Then she shrugs. "Well, lately. I imagine everyone's terrified. /I/ am not," she adds, which is probably at least half a lie, "but most of them don't have a talent like mine and it's understandable that they'd be concerned, I suppose. Besides which, we aren't used to losing battles. I mean who /is/, of course, if you lose many battles you tend to stop being around at all, but it's like a turtle's shell, you know? You get stung and you pull into it."

She adds, "I imagine you think we're quite up our own backsides. And I certainly can't say I blame you."
Riku "I think we've come around again to our words on absolutes." Riku says without commenting on how right Melody was about her last comment.

"I have to wonder if taking out all the fear and resentment on other people who are afraid and resentful is going to bring about Captain Baigan's utopia, or weaken them so badly that they can be easily cleaned up by.. shard seekers, and detectives.. and duck people."

As well as machine people, faeries and other sources of concentrated darkness.
Melody Ellsmere
"Well, hopefully not the ducks," Melody says, crossly. "One of them called me - what was it - 'Toots'. I don't even know what that /means/. Is it duck slang or something?"
Riku "Probably. Did he flip a table? The one that I know does that. It's a duck thing-- apparantly."
Melody Ellsmere
"No, he just whistled - /with a bill,/" Melody says, mildly aghast, "and then kept walking, his tailfeathers sticking out for everyone to /see/. Why don't they wear any /pants/? Do they think we want to see that?"
Riku "No idea, but you are talking to the wrong person in regards to that. 'Weird' has lost most of it's context for me like well chewed gum." Riku smiles slightly at that. "You would think it would be difficult to whistle though. Small magics everywhere."

This scene contained 40 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Baigan, Melody Ellsmere