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Starlight Memory
(2013-01-01 - 2013-01-06)
For one night, their relation as teacher and student is suspended, and Ivo and Raiya celebrate the New Year under the starry Mysidian sky. Pasts are shared, a new bond is formed, fireworks ignite, a risk is taken, and a memory is made -- whatever it may mean for the future.
Ivo Galvan Mysidia remains a quaint little city, even as it has become in this new world a nexus for magical learning of all kinds, and its charm is on full display during its festival celebrating the new year. The Order of the Northern Sky, newly devoted to protecting the town, is a subtle presence, but the air of suspicion that pervaded this place when Ivo first visited -- a combination of Baron's abduction of the Water Crystal and the confluence of so many magic-users of different origins here -- has been banished, both as the citizenry came to feel more secure and with the coming of the celebration. Wizards and witches of all stripes and methods came together to craft artful displays set up against the backdrop of natural and harmonious beauty which Mysidia has left untouched. Seeing past the city's previous insularity, Ivo looked forward to this day, when this unusual place's culture would become accessible to all.


"Where shall we go first?"

The fireworks promise to be magnificent.

Ivo, dressed to suit the evening, directs a smiling sidelong glance at his companion. Rather than his cloak, he wears a long fitted coat and a charming new knit scarf in white and navy blue, and his boots are newly polished, gleaming in the magical light which radiates from the orbs festooning the festival stalls. "I hope you have an appetite," he continues, a tinge of his usual playfulness in his tone. "Whenever I'm at a festival, I want to try everything." But this invitation -- won on a bet though it may have been -- doesn't designed around ways to tease his fencing teacher. He continues to gaze at her, his smile slight but open, showing the calm trust he has in her and sincere admiration.

"You look lovely as always, Asteria."

If there was any ploy, it was that in compelling her to abandon the teacher-student relationship for a day, he may confidently proceed to use her real name the whole night through, an intimacy born of equality -- however temporary.
Raiya Fujihara Mysidia was something of an enigma to Raiya. She had never been there before and the concept of a city that housed so many powerful 'magic' users as well as Materia made this place a dangerous place indeed. That is not to say that this city does not have its own wonders, mysteries, and beauties to behold. Raiya rejected the use of Materia, but this did not mean that she did find the use of magic to be 'enchanting' at times. And on the practical side, tempering her katana with said magic and materia was always something to consider in these ever-changing times. However, tonight was the not the night for swords and smithing. It was a night for something else.

Raiya Fujihara, or 'Crescent Asteria' as she was once known, was dressed in her a set of clothes that she had not worn in quite some time. Gone was her usual black kimono that she often frequently wore in both battle and in more casual encounters. Instead, she is wearing a white kimono with silver running along both the folds and the hem of her kimono. The second layer was black as per usual for the samurai, but it would be the silver in her kimono that would almost seemingly shine in the moonlight. Her layered sash is once again made up of silvers, whites, and blacks which is much like her kimono. The kimono itself appears plain at first glance, but it is actually made of some intricate needlwork that runs down length of her garment. Finally, she wears her a black pair of tabi and sandals on her feet to complete her outfit. While her clothes are much more fancy than usual, it is her hair that may be a much more noticeable change. Instead of being tied behind her head, her blonde hair is worn free and is directed down both the right and left sides of her front. Her shorter cut hair is parted on the right side of her head and kept meticulously in place through the use of silver hair ornaments. Asteria has seemingly put much thought into her clothes and her hair for tonight. It can even be seen that she is wearing makeup. While it is nothing heavy, she does use some light eye shadow smong other things to draw emphasis to her features such as her green eyes. In short, much time and preparation was put into all of this which is just as well. Ivo has also seemingly dressed himself up for tonight. Her armguards and katana are no where to be seen with only a small tanto blade tucked away in the sash of her kimono.

"Thank you. These were some of the clothes that I once wore in the times before." The displaced samurai herself does not seem shy about her new appearance for tonight. It is quite the opposite as Raiya appears quite confident in her movements as per usual for the warrior. Why should one battlefield be any different than another afterall? Raiya smiles back towards Ivo as she walks in step with him. "The main attraction tonight seems to be the fireworks." From all the chatter she overheard at least. "What a shame it would be if we could not find an ideal spot to watch them from?" While seeming a question, Raiya's tone makes it more of a statement. Her lips press into a slightly more wry grin than the smile she wore a few moments ago. "But a drink would be nice too."
Ivo Galvan A young man experiences a heady blend of pride and humility in the presence of a beautiful woman who has taken care of her appearance just, it seems, for him. Pride, that he should be worthy of such care; humility, that it is an expression of her own will and desire, and not of his own. Amidst the ephemeral light which brightens the night on this single festival eve, Ivo feels a kind of reverence for his elegant companion, a gratitude unlike him, like that which he felt when she first said -- almost too easily -- that he seemed to be a good man. But this is mingled with an excitement that bubbles up in his chest, and occasionally reaches his eyes, at the knowledge that for all her grace and mystery, she is not beyond his reach.

This warm mixture of sentiments is what lends an almost boyish liveliness to his eyes even as his stride remains calm and measured, his bearing both proper and relaxed. He too has left his sword behind, a rare gesture from him despite how infrequently he prefers to use it. If she won't be assaulting his unmentionables, neither will he be cutting any sashes tonight. "There will certainly be fireworks," Ivo says with a broadened smile, "but I no longer believe them to be the main attraction." He's boldly, or shamelessly perhaps, gazing at her hair and features as he says this. It seems he can't stop flirting even under the best of circumstances. What sort of fireworks is he looking forward to?

"I have a plan for that," he then says, his tone becoming merely good-natured again as he tilts his head toward one of Mysidia's many forested hills. "Once the time comes, we should have a comfortable spot from which to view them." And secluded, he feels no need to say. His smile becomes a grin at her last suggestion. "Now that's what I've been waiting to hear. Come, there's a brewer's booth at the end of the lane that looked intriguing."

As laughing children in oversized new Black Mage hats and White Mage hoods rush by, Ivo's eyes soften, and he offers Asteria his arm. "I wish I could have seen you in those earlier times," he says honestly, in no hurry to get to their destination, advancing at a leisurely pace. "Were you so breathtaking every night? Did you let your hair down more often?" His flattery doesn't sound quite the same as usual. There's no hint that he's waiting for or anticipating some sort of reaction, no sign that it's just all in good fun. "I haven't changed much over the years," he continues, gazing off at the various attractions with his usual curious eye. "I've been stubbornly myself for as long as I can remember -- much to the frustration of those who wished to change me."

Is that a warning? An admission? Some kind of confession? There's an ambivalence in Ivo's eyes, his gaze flickering toward her with a hint of uncertainty. "Forgive me," he murmurs. "I know both of us prefer not to talk about the past. But precisely because we share that..."

He trails off for a moment.

"...I've always wanted to share myself a little more with you."

He offers an embarrassed smile, but it is not meant to cover up his vulnerability.

"Though I suspect your story is much more interesting than my own."
Raiya Fujihara Raiya is indeed not beyond Ivo's reach. She is only an armslength or two away afterall. Her distance is not too close however. Other festival goers might mistake them for close friends perhaps, but Raiya is not clinging to the young knight's arm and neither is she attached to his hip. This is not to say that she is radiating a cold demeanor. The opposite is in fact quite in play. She exudes a warmth in not only her smiles, but in that she is able to act so casually around Ivo despite her mostly formal attire and manner. While she is indeed katana-less, the Wutai ronin does still have that tanto in her sash. It looks ornate enough to be a ceremonial blade. The question is really Ivo feels lucky enough to find out.

The notion of an alternate main attraction causes the samurai to stop in her tracks momentarily. She turns and looks to her comrade, her blonde hair gently swaying as she moves. "You were never one to lack courage, Ivo." Raiya states with a wry grin that crosses her lips. "But I am also not blind to see or deaf to hear that I am not the only person that you are bold around." The samurai mentions the before adding slyly, "But to ask one's teacher to a festival? The candor of such a request was surprising to me."

The fact that Ivo has already picked out a place to watch the fireworks was not surprising on the other hand. "Being ever-prepared is another admireable trait. I sometimes wonder how much you have anticipated in matters such as this?" Her wry smile has seeming returned. The line of questioning involving her past causes her smile to falter due to the bittersweetness of her past. Ivo's comment of wishing to see her back then even is not of any assistance even if he also added a compliment to his words. "I was younger in both mind and body. Very headstrong...." The look of melancholy is slowly transformed into a more neutral look. "...and a fool in many things." This last little part results in the samurai dipping her head slightly with a look that is not one of sadness or regret. It is perhaps a look that Ivo has not seen from Raiya before that often as it is a look that speaks of a perhaps mischieviousness side of her.

Raiya Fujihara now casts her green eyes up towards Ivo which causes her to noticed the offered arm. There is some hesitation now. She is not some dolting schoolgirl to jump at such chances in the wake of such a chivalrous display. But then again, she is only human afterall and cannot always keep that tought front of hers on proud display. Besides, Ivo has absolutely little to no knowledge of the courtship rituals within the Wutai warrior class towards each other. And so the hesitation passes and she gently reaches out to link her arm with Ivo's. "My apologies. I am a bit...unpracticed these days. And as for my hair and appearance, no. I only looked like this for special occasions."

Ivo's inquiry again about Raiya's past and his admission about his own causes her to quiet once more. A bloated moment passes before her response is offered. "One should never forge a sword into an axe or other weapon. It may be tempered, refined, but it never changed." The blonde swordswoman states thoughtfully before attempting to meet Ivo's eyes with her own. "Do not discount your own past so readily. I already know that there is much more to you than what you give yourself credit for." Raiya's bottom lip is bitten slightly as she realizes her own boldness in her words. There is no blush to be seen at first, but it seems that among her blonde hair...some red can be seen curiously at the edges of her ears.
Ivo Galvan It's an open question how lucky Ivo is or will be, but if anything is certain, it's that, with Raiya looking as she does now, the risk is worth the reward.

"Courage? Me? I only state the obvious," he replies lightly, and indeed, it's unlikely Ivo is the only person admiring Raiya tonight, though then again, he does not look so bad himself. Her follow-up does cause him to bite his lip, averting his eyes momentarily, as though caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "Well," he begins, "like I say, I don't change much no matter where I am..." But he trails off, as though aware that's not strictly true, that the role of impartial observer -- albeit an ever-meddling one, whose standard of impartiality is 'whatever seems most interesting' -- doesn't penetrate to the heart of him. And, moreover, that he is different around Raiya, that he respects and trusts her, and allows himself to be vulnerable, to risk disappointing her with the truth. He considers revising his statement, to admit that he doesn't behave the same around every teasable woman, but in his moment of hesitation she proceeds, and he is left a little bit grateful and a little bit embarrassed.

"Ah, but you're not my teacher tonight," he replies, brightening at the change of subject. "Besides..." His smile softens. "Before you won our duel, you had already earned my respect. I thought of you as a friend before I thought of you as a teacher." He gazes directly into her green eyes, faintly enhanced by her preparations. "I wouldn't want that to change, even if I have much more to learn from you." For all his playing around, it's easy to tell when he's just being honest.

And easy to tell when he goes right back to playing around. "There's only so much I can anticipate when it comes to you, Asteria," he says, as though intending to set her at ease, though his eyes sparkle in an impish manner which suggests he may have more planned than he lets on. "The rest I may merely hope for, and languish until, in your mercy, you indulge me." He offers no specifics, of course. But his jesting fades when she begins to reminisce, and he listens quietly. "I can hardly imagine you a fool," he says at last, smiling slightly, taking in this new sight of her. "I would have liked us to be foolish together." Don't you mean 'fool around together', Ivo?

There's that gleam of pride and pleasure again when she, if hesitantly, takes his arm, responding to a gesture that may have been more brash than the knight-errant is aware. "Don't apologize, Asteria. You are always so elegant and composed," he replies, "seeing you unpracticed at anything is too charming for words." He's irresistably drawn to women he sees as refined, but it's precisely the moments when their refinement falters, whether in mischief or in modesty, that he lives for. He opens his mouth to hit on her more, almost forgetting himself briefly, but--


--her compliment takes him by surprise. Ironically, this is exactly the sort of moment he would otherwise seize on: his poised sensei is biting her lip, her ears are flushed, she seems to have a little trouble meeting his eyes. But he is hardly able to seize some sort of advantage; indeed, it doesn't cross his mind. Flustered himself, the younger swordsman blinks before averting his own eyes momentarily. "I'll never get used to your faith in me," he manages, attempting to make it sound like a light joke and more or less failing. He glances back, lips twitching with a hint of, well, shyness. "But I appreciate it," he adds, quieter. "It means much coming from you."

Caught up in the moment, he's startled to find they've reached the end of the lane already, and approached what -- for all the liveliness of the festival -- is a rather understated stall with stools before it, what appears to be a kind of outdoor grill and pub. Bottles of various kinds of wine and unusual Mysidian liquor can be seen, and the smell of sizzling meat and vegetables fills the air, but near the far end as it is, there are not many others around. Ivo reorients himself, then seeing that they will have a little privacy to boot, he looks at his companion again with a growing smile. "Well?" he asks. "If you can no longer be foolish, shall we at least drink til we're festive?"

He might prefer foolish, though.
Raiya Fujihara While a small thing, this may be the first time that Ivo has gotten a chance to see Raiya's hands up close. While she was wearing makeup, there was nothing on her nails. The backs of her hands were surprisingly unmarred due to handguards. They may be surprising feminine in appearance compared to her warrior austere, but her palms do carry healed scars. It seems that the samurai carries many scars with quite a few of them being visible ones.

Ivo was right to observe that both of them were still very much good-looking young people. And now that they were arm in arm, they were sure to get even more attention directed their way due to them looking like a couple. There age difference was not that insurmountable.
$r And the truth can be a dangerous thing. But it can also lead to beautiful things. It may have been slightly unfair to bring up such a thing at this time in such a casual way, but it was something to be addressed. Raiya did have a tolerance for frivolous behavior to a certain extent. But she also knew how dangerous such behavior could be towards Raiya and the many other girls that Ivo seems to fancy from time to time. The key here was responsibility for his own actions. Raiya looks ready to say something more to Ivo. The reminder that she was not his teacher tonight causes her to become quiet instead. The samurai might have a little trouble letting go of her duties sometimes.

Oh Ivo. That is how relationships often work with all this carrot dangling followed by the perhaps threat of a stick to the side of the head. "How kind of you to think of me in such a lofty way. But, I am no bastion of perfection in any way. I lose, I fall, and I fail." Raiya now uses her other arm to lightly touch Ivo's arm that she is intertwined with. "I also learn, stand up, and love." Again, she seems to be in control of her emotions for now even if her ears are a little red still from their previous moment of amusing shared embarassment. So perhaps this was not a slip of the tongue afterall.

"You surely will in time." Raiya says quite sincerely in regards to Ivo getting used to her compliments. She -was- his teacher afterall. But then again, perhaps she was a bit too harsh when it came to that. "Allow me to steal your own words. I, too, only say what I believe to be true." The blonde-haired, green-eyed woman goes on to say. Their reaching of the end of the lane and the suggestion offered causes Raiya to ponder this over a brief moment. While she thinks, the hand she used to touch Ivo's arm is used to brush a few strands of hair past her reddened ears. Her answer eventually does come. "My tongue is rather parched, a drink will do it well." The relative privacy of the area is noticed and this leads to Raiya turning to Ivo once more. "Be glad that I am not your teach tonight, for I surely would have balked at such a improper suggestion." Raiya laughs mirthfully at her own joke if you can call it that.

"But I will allow it. tonight."
Ivo Galvan Perhaps it is in the nature of young men to think of beautiful women in a lofty way. At its best, such reverence is an expression of the magic and mystery a man experiences when he takes his first bold steps into a new world of relationships. At its worst, the distance such a mindset produces excuses a man from responsibility for a woman's own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Ivo is far from putting Raiya on a pedestal; he does, after all, want to be her friend. "Then I may be of use to you," he says lightly, when she mentions her own fallibility. "If you were perfect, what good would I be?" But her touch startles him out of his attempt to smoothly continue the conversation, and then--

She mentions the L-word.

She clearly does so deliberately, and without any particular expectation, but Ivo looks stunned and -- unfortunately, tellingly -- ambivalent. It's an expression that could be easily misinterpreted, so perhaps it is for the best that his erstwhile teacher continues speaking. His ambivalence is not due to any displeasure or fear. It's a combination of a vague uneasiness at being forced to acknowledge that his words and actions have consequences for the hearts of others (no matter how much ironic distance he puts between himself and them), a boyish surprise that their mutual attraction and affinity could even potentially become something more profound, and a genuine and pitiable disbelief--

" time, huh..."

--that he could ever receive or understand such a thing himself.

"Thank you," is all he says for now, faintly dazed at the sudden awareness of just how farther her faith in him goes than his beleif in himself, and at the hint of a world which exceeds the bounds of that perceived by his idle curiosity.

It's Raiya's laughter that rouses Ivo from his reverie, causing him to blink at her as though just awakening, before he cannot help but smile again at the sight of her mirth, aware once more of the gentleness of her arm against his. "Then I will savor the opportunity all the more for its rarity," he responds, lively again, and grinning leads her gallantly to a seat. A black mage, of all things, is the proprieter, dark features inscrutible beneath the brim of his hat, but his glowing eyes seem kindlier than most, and his silence is more respectful than inscrutable.

"Order whatever you please," Ivo says grandly, still grinning, his eyes all the brighter at the sight of the unusual dishes and liquors before them. Nothing like novelty to excite him. "It's on me. This is a date, after all." That was more or less obvious, but he wanted to wait until it was too late to back down to say so explicitly, a little too casually. "Hmmm... I'll have..." Naturally, he begins looking over the most peculiar offerings. "Oho, look at that sedimentation," he murmurs, admiring a wine with an orange hue. "So they leave the skins on the grapes...?" And now he's studying the menu. This may take a minute.

But once they both have acquired what they desire, Ivo raises his glass in toast, smiling widely. "To the festival, at which the world may be turned upside-down, if only once a year." In his eyes is a fondness improper for a student toward his teacher, "and to us, Asteria."

"Don't feel the need to keep up with me, now," he then teases, after he at last takes a drink. "I wouldn't want such a delicate lady to overindulge."
Raiya Fujihara Silly Ivo, Raiya did not say the word 'lesbians' at all.

"You may have your uses still." Raiya supposes with a wry grin as she listens to Ivo speak of his ever so humble ways. Her smile continues when she notices what a subtle gesture did to him. There was such power in a mere touch of the arm by her. It was endearing it its own way that she had this effect over Ivo. She knew that he respected her and desired her to some extent, but this still came as a slight surprise.

The samurai was more talking in reference in her own ability to love others and not a confession of her desires towards her pupil. But, it seems that she may have confused Ivo a bit with her words. Perhaps Ivo was finally slipping into unfamiliar territory when it came to whatever you call their relationship with one another. Although it does seem that Ivo does catch on to what she was hinting at near the end. This was for the best as it saves Raiya from having to have an awkward conversation in their immediate future. Ivo's words of thanks are acknowledged with a slightly sleepish smile on behalf of Raiya. Sometimes it takes someone else to be able to mirror back oneself. This is especially so with those who are very hard on themselves, like her dear knight companion here.

A date huh? It was obvious indeed or Raiya would not have put that much effort into how she looked if she only viewed Ivo as a friend. She definitely would have showed up wearing her katana at least. The myriad selection of spirits is observed silently, taken into consideration, and finally acted upon. The Wutai samurai picks a white wine that comes from a place she never heard of before, but the proprieter ensured Raiya that is was perfect for such occasions due its sweetness.

And so, with her drink in hand, Raiya is ready to toast with Ivo. His bold subject for their toast does cause her to pause momentarily beforehand. A slightly mischievous smile appears on her face and she replies, "To us then." She confirms before taking a sip of wine. "A taunt at this point? Tsk tsk," jests back the teacher to her student. "You will have to be more persuasive than that to see me well into my cups this night." Ivo's challenge is seeming met with a tease.
Ivo Galvan Rather than misunderstanding Raiya's words or presuming too much, it was the mere mention of the word 'love' that threw Ivo into shock. For he knew that she was referring to her own ability to love others; this itself is what was so stunning, hinting at the uncomfortable truth that he's compelled to push aside. Simply this: The capacity to love others is something people have, and the ideal world Ivo strives for, in which everyone mutually enjoys themselves and no one is harmed, does not fulfill that capacity. And the terrible suspicion that this is because he doesn't understand that capacity, no, that he even lacks it entirely, and thus that getting close to anyone will lead to inevitable betrayal--

Perhaps that is the guiding thread that binds together all the darkness of his past, and all that he would prefer to leave behind, even as he sees the truth reflected in Raiya's smile, the mere possibility of something he is convinced he can never attain.

Ivo is able to let himself forget this again. There are no shadows lurking behind his smile when she accepts yet another bold gesture from him, obviously emboldening him all the more as their glasses clink. "Oh?" He is evidently delighted by Raiya's own playfulness. "How persuasive must I be? Shall I sing to you your praise? Or perhaps I should get down on my knees?" He has the energetic look of a young man more than prepared to do anything she dares, all the more so in public. "I could kiss your hand and beg you, 'Asteria, drink more! Show me yourself fully unrestrained!'" Sipping at his own wine, his vibrant gaze drifts down to those very hands, which he had been able to see up close for the first time as they walked arm in arm. "And what hands they are. How crude of me it would be to profane them with my lips!" No mention is made of the scars upon her palms. "But even I can be crude when I am driven to desperation," he adds, no longer even trying to restrain his grin.

"You must make men desperate all the time, though," he continues with feigned resignation, as he samples some of the town's delicacies off the grill. "No doubt you're used to such blandishments. Ah, what hope do I have!" Loosening up with the wine, Ivo has unleashed a torrent of, well, outrageous flirtation. But once he's finished hitting on her so intensely, what's left is a slight smile and a faint flush, perhaps from the wine.

"I wish I could speak as easily as you of the possibility of failure and loss," he says softly, lips quirking slightly. "My father never seemed to me to admit the possibility of such a thing. I suppose that was why the loss of my mother turned him so cold. He was the strongest man I know," Ivo murmurs, "so much stronger than I, but he was powerless to save the one he loved." He's silent for a moment, gazing down at his cup. "I scorned him for the futility of his philosophy," he adds at last, "but it was just to cover up my own shame. If only he could have proud of his son, and seen himself in me, perhaps... but..."

His lips twist wryly, a duller gleam now in his eye.

"How light it is," he says, "to walk without Hauteclare."

But the absence of his sword does not seem to have relieved him of any burden. After a moment, he turns back to his companion. "Asteria," he says quietly, "will you tell me of your foolishness? I don't," he then adds, with the ghost of a softer smile, "want to be the only fool around."
Raiya Fujihara Love can be a powerful thing. Love of battle and adventure can drive people into deadly encounter after deadly encounter. Love of country can have one making sacrifices that many others would bulk at. And yet the love one person can show to someone else can cause all the previously mentioned things to happen and then some. Unforunately, there are those who think that love is just a game, a battle to be won, something that has passed them by, or even something they will never know. Say what you will about love, but it is not without it surprises of who it happens to and when.

Trust, passion, and commitment are all required things for a relationship to last. The absence of neglect of one of these aspects can doom it to failure. Raiya and Ivo may trust each other and indeed they might very well have the attraction between one another. But can they be committed? Is such a thing even possible in this age they live in? And on a more personal level, can either Raiya or Ivo make good on these pledges to each other. At one point, infaturation may have caused Raiya to ignore these considerations. But she is a woman grown now. These are all things she must think about in order to protect herself when it comes to that dangerous thing, love.

Raiya listens to Ivo intently as he entreats her on what he must do to have her indulge herself deeper in drink. She patiently listens and lets Ivo relentlessly hits on her with his eloquent words that might really amount to not much more then sweet nothings whispered into her ear. That is if this was any other person than Ivo. "And I would tell you to find me six or so years ago." The samurai states in a purposeful deadpan before grinning mirthfully. "I am afraid though that the threat of evisceration would have been present even more so then than it is even now." Her smile widens slightly as her continued teasing and the tanto blade in her sash receives small pat. The compliments are indeed welcome, but she does comment on them directly even if it was sweet for him to talk such way even when she is as battle-scarred as she is now.

"Such talk is less common then what you imply. Members of the Crescent Unit rarely married and almost never had children on their own..." A pause. "...almost never had children -purposefully- on their own." Raiya imparts with freely even if their is some sadness in the recollection of her time as Crescent Asteria. "We were married to our duties. Brothers and sisters to each other. And guardians of our country." She now grows somber and quiet over this subject. Nothing more is said about it and she only takes a few drinks of wine now, basking in her own self-imposed silence.

It was always a big moment for Ivo to bring up his father which Raiya appreciates greatly the chance to hear about such things. "A cruel fate we all share, but we all must face failure at one point or another." Raiya has paid dearly for her own failures before. And yet, here she still stands. "And never underestimate the love a parent shows to their child despite how they may have acted. Grief can be a terrible burden to bare and it may lame one's tongue and dull one's mind." She had let go of Ivo's arm moments before so that they can more easily face each other as they spoke. "And we both know that just because something goes unsaid, it does not mean it to be untrue." How would they both know this? There certainly has been plenty of things left unsaid between them so it would be not be difficult to see where a certain samurai may or may not be coming from.

"You want to know of my own foolishness?" Raiya smiles into her own drink from her cup of wine. And yet another bold request from her perhaps suitor. She lets her potential courses of actions briefly tease across her mind. "I would be too cruel to tease you about -showing- you my own foolishness then merely speaking of it." That is even though she just said it anyways. "But I guess, in substitution, I could you tell you of one time that I was a fool." The blonde samurai takes a dramtically long breath now. "But perhaps after another drink or two."
Ivo Galvan
Ivo loves surprises, all kinds of surprises, save for one: that of unintentionally letting someone else down, of being unworthy of trust. Love is full of surprises, but a passion that sweeps you off your feet and renders you powerless before it is antithetical to regarding the world at an amused distance, even if that amusement is more fond than ironic, like Ivo does. No, Ivo was taught that he is missing that crucial 'fire', that if he only had it he would be strong, and that in his lack he is unworthy. He does not particularly value strength. But he fears powerlessness, and so he fears love, and the disappointment that would arise from loving him.

His lovely companion is older and wiser than he. Though no longer a boy, the young man is not above submitting to intense attractions when he experiences them, easily persuaded of their harmlessness. Seated beside his date for tonight, his blue eyes sparkle with their usual mirth, his smile easy and relaxed, but the flush of his cheeks from the wine is accompanied by a warmer, more intent look in his eyes as his gaze roves over his teacher, no longer some deliberate tease to make her self-conscious. Love he may not understand, but desire he does, and his whole posture betrays a youthful fascination that a woman such as Raiya would deign to sit beside him.

"Six years ago, I would be even less restrained than I am now," Ivo laughs, evidently aware of how overboard his flirtations have gone. "You likely would have ended my career prematurely." Whatever you can call his career. More errant than knight, to be sure. "But then," he adds, his smile broadening, "if you didn't... I'd like to see that." As if any woman would have patience for his teenage self. He adopts a theatrically shocked expression at Raiya's suggestion that she didn't get hit on that much, but his words die on his lips at her oblique mention of children, his humor briefly fading as he blinks. Raiya-- could she have--? He has no idea, and doubts it, but he is reminded, as young men sometimes must be, that the private lives of women are rife with events beyond his ken. Regardless, he is respectfully silent, his ardor cooled momentarily as he sips his wine.

But when the subject turns to his father, even though it was Ivo who introduced it, he seems to physically recoil, shoulders hunching up and teeth gritting, eyes flashing with an unusual display of disgust and frustration. "Huh," he says bitterly. "Yes, my father had much to grieve for." He seems unwilling to accept Raiya's reasonable reassurance. But when his pained gaze flickers back to her, he sighs and relaxes. "I'm sorry," he murmurs, "I'm being childish. My father wasc a complex man." He manages a weak smile. "He was passionate where I am curious. He dedicated himself to a single path, and loved a single woman with all his heart; when he lost them, he ceased to be himself. My breadth of interests, my delight in novelty..." He shakes his head. "I succeeded to his position and his sword, but I never knew how I was supposed to begin living up to him, being so different. I thought that losing my world would change all that, but... I can't seem to banish these ghosts. He's defined me too thoroughly, I fear."

Something must be done. But what?

"My mother... I wish I remembered my mother better," he thinks aloud, now at the bottom of his second cup. "I mostly remember her smile. She was popular in the city, and seemed to know everyone, and know of so much. That's why I wonderc maybe I took after her more than he." He swirls the dregs of his wine, watching the drift of the sediment. "Maybe that's why he..."

His thoughts are wandering, but Ivo visibly perks up when Raiya hints at her own 'foolishness'. "Please, enough of my own foolishness, and more of yours," he says, smiling again. But her suggestion of 'showing' rather than telling produces more than just a playful reaction. "Show me, Asteria. Definitely show me," he exhorts, now looking and sounding dead serious, even leaning in. Oh, brother. "Another drink? As many as it takes. Something stiffer than wine, I think! It's a promise," he concludes, as he begins looking over their options again. What promise? Who promised anything? "Barkeep, what's a favorite Mysidian cocktail?" Naturally, he aims toward whatever's exciting and new, and proceeds to inflict it on others.

Soon he and Raiya have new drinks, Ivo's something dark and sure to burn a path down his throat. "We were speaking of foolishness," he prompts hopefully. Oddly, his gaze flickers down to Raiya's kimono sash. It's not going to loosen just by you staring at it, Ivo.
Raiya Fujihara Letting someone down that you admire is a terrible thing. This is also basic a fundamental of forging lasting relationships in Raiya's mind. One must make themselves vulnerable to let someone else into their life. They have to assume the risk that may come down the line. A risk that some will eventually fear and cause them to stay far away from anything that even remotely approaches a real relationship.

Raiya's own cup is getting a fair amount of attention from the blonde samurai. Her ears are almost constantly red now that the wine has started to settle in. Her greenish brown eyes slink down into the bottom of her cup which she gently shakes to causes its contents to swirl lazily around. Whatever she is thinking about, Raiya looks up to meet Ivo's own look. She does not shy away from the mutual exchanged look. Attraction can be a two-way street.

The idea that Ivo was even wilder in the days of yore causes a look of skepticism to settle over Raiya's features. "I am sure you would have," remarks the kimono-wearing woman with a short laugh. This new look from Ivo causes Raiya to purse her lips together. "Indulge me, what mischief are you remembering now?" She asks before taking another small sip of wine.

When Ivo speaks of his father again, Raiya grows quiet once more. She feels for Ivo, but she chooses not to intrude too much into it. Family was sacred afterall. "I find it hard to think you not one to be passionate when the situation calls for it. Usually a certain curiousity is what drives one into another." Raiya states mirthfully before adopting a more serious look despite her flushed appearance. The ronin reaches out a places two fingers above where Ivo's heart would be. "What is in one's heart can be hard to define or explain even when you speak of your own. And I believe that you have the ability to defy any definition or expectation levied against you. That is some of the strength inside you," explains the suddenly serious samurai.

"You already have far exceeded mine."

Raiya's own sincerity takes her back and she now sheepishly smiles towards her student. "Even if you are one of the most difficult students I ever took." And with that said, her smile finally returns. The smile disappears when Ivo leans as they already were not very far apart. A small swallowed breath can barely be heard as she attempts to stifle her own surprise. But, it is only to speak of more drinks. "Right. Yes, I think I could use another drink." The slightly embarassed warrior remarks as she finishes off her wine.

The flickered glance is caught easy by the watchful samurai. "I wear more than one sash, your technique of trying to cut this outer one through was doomed from the start." She explains with a smirk.
Ivo Galvan Ivo is not a man driven to strong passions or convictions, but he possesses great vitality when it comes to whatever grabs his interest, however fleetingly. The look he is exchanging with Raiya makes his blood hot. His cheeks flush and eyes twinkle, in part with drink to be sure, but all the more with the intensity of his attraction. With some of the playful veneer stripped away, he is, after all, just a man, and she's his kind of woman. "Mischief? I was a most dutiful child," he protests, though his impish smile easily betrays him. "But I did have an unfortunate tendency to pester the most impressive and formidable women I could find. I remember how easy it was to make maidens blush -- and how much more fun it was to try until I found the girls who could get the better of me. As for them..." He finishes the last of his wine, setting the glass down, and his smile broadens. "...most of them threw me out onto the street, back then. But those that didn't..."

He takes up his new, dark drink, eyes warming, smile becoming a grin.

"...well, I was just imagining you as one of them."

Ivo's division between passion and curiosity may well be an artificial one. It's the way he's made sense of what seemed to be a stark difference between his father and himself. His features soften at Raiya's suggestion. But his eyes widen perceptibly as she reaches out to touch him over his heart. His body tenses for a split-second -- and then immediately relaxes, his arms lowered, allowing her access. "I... I don't think of myself that way," he replies quietly. "But... joining those kids, and forming the Shard Seekers... seeing Reize exceed his limits time and again..." His smile is gentle now, even wistful. "You think I'm like that too, in my own way?"

At her last comment, she might be able to feet his heart skip a beat.

They're both momentarily embarrassed, and Ivo has no response to her sincere words, the typically self-possessed youth's flush intensifying. She breaks the silence, and he grins, a little sheepishly himself, but also amused. "The difficult students are the ones that most want your attention," he replies, tone rich with mirth. "The longer it takes to teach me, the longer I can have you watch over me, yes?" He takes another sip of his new drink, as the bartender places another before Raiya, now that her wine has finished. It is hot and bitter, but with a pleasant nuance to its smoky aftertaste. "But now I wonder if I prefer it like this, Asteria." Ivo and Raiya as equals, dating at the festival -- is it too much like a dream to last for more than one night?

Who knows? But it can at least last a night.

He was so excited about the teasing suggestion that she might 'show' him her 'foolishness' -- his mind is full of all kinds of optimistic ideas about what that might mean -- that for once the usually calculating young man didn't consider how close he'd be when he leans in. When she speaks again, her breath tickles his face. He can almost feel his blood running faster. "What? More than one sash?" His tone is faux-disappointed, but he seems to be paying more attention to their proximity, and seems reluctant to retreat. "You'll see. I'll dedicate myself to the technique. All I need to do is survive until all your sashes are cut. Then, victory will be mine," he says, grinning again, "one sweeter than survival. Though I wonder, can you fight unclothed? Or would you choose to cover yourself?"

Only one way to find out.

"No, tell me this story of your 'foolishness'," Ivo insists, eager to glean a little more from Raiya's past, feeling he has spoken too much of himself. "It is still so hard for me to imagine you behaving without the strictest decorum." His eyes are sparkling again. That... may have been a joke.
Raiya Fujihara That was actually one of Raiya's fears when it comes to Ivo. He seemingly keeps company with rather...perky and youthful company. Who knows how long someone like Raiya would be able to keep Ivo's attention. Would he always be able to look at her in such ways? A look of complete and utter disbelief is levied towards Ivo when he jokes of him being well-behaved. The samurai's smirk widens as she tilts her head slightly to the side. "That explains a few things." She declares before Ivo says something that causes her to rolls her eyes. "At least you would finally be successful even if it was only in your own mind."

Ivo's willingness to protect Reize an Lily was what caught her attention in the first place. And that he would bring up their welfare even when she did not ask proved that he actually cared about them beyond his duties to protect others. This was a huge plus in Raiya's book. "I certainly do." A grin now.

The devious plan to elongate her teaching plan causes Raiya to shake her head jovially. "I know that you prefer this," comments the blonde woman confidently. There they were in close proximity, drinking wine, and even sharing little said information with each other as equals to one another. Not something that a teacher and student often do. Whether this happens again depends on the will of fate. Who knows where they will be weeks from now, days from now, or even hours from now....even though Raiya is pretty sure she could guess where Ivo would -want- to be.

Like a lioness watching a potential prey get closer, Raiya does not shy away either. She is in fact a little curious in how brave a little drink makes her wayward pupil. Ivo's monologue into what he plans to do in a hypothetical duel between them causes Raiya to snap her fingers together to hopefully bring Ivo back out of his fantasies for a moment. "Careful now, I still carry a blade on me." There was very much in fact a tanto blade sticking out of the sash around Raiya's waist.

"Everything was very strict within the Crescent Unit, very formal. We were the pride of Wutai, we were invincible. But..." Raiya tilts her head back a little bit to make up for being shorter than Ivo. "...when one trains and lives in that austere of an environment, there are times when one has to enjoy being alive with those they risk their lives with."
Ivo Galvan If only Ivo knew of Raiya's hidden concern about their age difference. For his part, his youth is what makes him almost unable to believe that his teacher /would/ take him seriously romantically, that he could be anything more than amusing to her. Seeing his attraction reciprocated threatens to cloud his judgment. As playful as he is and as bad as his reputation must be, he tends to know his limits when it comes to women, and has had to deal with relatively few vengeful brothers and fathers as a result. Indeed, he is aware of all sorts of dangers that can arise from losing control -- and in fact, perhaps more tellingly, at times he is unable to lose control even when he wants to.

But desire strikes at the heart of every young man.

"Must my successes be only in my own mind?"

Or at the something, anyway.

Raiya's confidence about the true nature of Ivo's wishes makes him smile. She's right, of course, he realizes as he takes another sip of this new liquor. He does prefer to be her friend and suitor than her pesky student, as entertaining as the latter can be. But the fact remains that he still has much to learn from her, that he never had a formal tutor in the sword after his father swore off teaching him, and that it's at last with Raiya that he believes he's discovering his own reason to fight, some quality that makes battle more than a means to an end or an aesthetic display. He can't end their teaching relationship overnight. He doesn't want to. But moments like this will be necessary, moments where the barrier drops, and slowly, gradually, the two of them can allow each other to come close. Both of them guard so much -- it's safer this way, safer to keep a certain boundary between them, however much they might tease at it, for a little while longer. Because whatever happens--

He wouldn't want to lose her.

It's typical of a young man to imagine himself as the hunter regardless of the situation, but the look Raiya is giving him at his increased boldness suggests he may be in for more than he knows. Caught up in her gaze, her snap brings him to attention, and the threat causes him to grin. "And I have none!" he says, lifting his palms in surrender. His eyes grow mischievous. "Or do you plan to cut off my clothes first, before I can get to you?"

He would joke more, but Raiya begins to tell Ivo of her 'foolishness', and he listens instead. His face is still flushed from drink and his thoughts, but his interest in her past is evidently more than curiosity. He's silent as she looks up at him, his eyes softened slightly, though not in sympathy, per se. He could never pity her. But he understands now, to some extent, and knowing enough, feels he should cease to pry, while not precluding her from saying more. "Of course," he murmurs. "You're a warrior, Asteria, as much as anyone I know, but you're human. And a woman," he adds, lips irrepressibly quirking up into a smile again, "very much so."

He's silent for a moment. The night lingers. Time has passed, and the barkeep begins to wipe down the bar; midnight must be approaching, and with it the fireworks. But Ivo does not speak, his gaze shifting to the stars as he contemplates, serious now.

"I cannot speak for austerity, but..."

Lowering his eyes, he turns back to his teacher.

"Why don't you risk your life with us now, Asteria?"

The desire for her which flooded his veins is, however momentarily, held at bay by a more pressing concern. Though the ghost of a smile still reveals itself, the gaze directed at her own eyes is honest and true.

"Join the Shard Seekers, guide us, and fight by our side."

His eyes are bright, reflecting the starlight.

"Join me."
Raiya Fujihara Raiya is not so much worried about -their- age difference, but she buries those thoughts for now. It was childish of -her- to be concerned with her growing older and picking up quite a few scars over the years. The drinks she had may be clouding her judgement, however; she is starting to believe more and more that Ivo will not lose interest in her that easy.

Ivo's continued teasing elicits a small laugh out of Raiya. "That rests in your hands." A smirk. "But, you still have your work cut out for you." Raiya is seemingly content to continue their harmless flirting which is goes against the grain a little as it is. But she does seem willing to interplay this with serious talk as well. Raiya does have confidence in Ivo. Any teacher should in their student and yet it goes beyond that. She very much still feels that Ivo is a kind-hearted person and one who can become a truely great individual even without her lessons.

"You and your clothes are safe for now." Raiya declares decidedly with a small pat being given to the hilt of her blade. Her eyes flicker down to the tanto before looking back up at the not errant knight. "But you are close enough that it would not be all too difficult."

The look that Ivo gives her when he listens to her talk of the past causes her shake her head slightly and she looks rather flustered as she supposes where Ivo's mind might wander. "Some members were their celebrations than others." The samurai shrugs her shoulders slightly. "I was not was one of them before you ask." In this time inbetween this conversation and when Ivo moves on to different matters. A story about a certain natural hot springs in Wutai is teased, but that was something for another time. There were more pressing concerns afterall.

The offer to join the Shard Seekers should not have been very surprising. And yet, she had forgotten that no official offer was really ever made. Raiya meets Ivo's gaze and offers a slow nod. "My blade is yours." She intones in acceptance of the offer. "You only had to ask." A warm smiles breaks across the ronin's face. The warrior seems quite pleased to finally be formally invited.
Ivo Galvan Ivo is more than willing to work for it. Even if he's being baited a little, the prospect of continued flirting keeps the sparkle in his eyes -- and, it must be admitted, the hope of eventual success keeps his blood running hot. Still, he can tell she isn't merely toying with him. The mixture of approval and attraction in Raiya's eyes may be a more gratifying sight than Ivo has ever known, and a kind of bliss settles over him.
Festival nights truly are dreamlike.

"I'm at your mercy," he says, grin spreading at the implicit danger, his eyes warming with desire again, as though to suggest cutting off his clothes might not inconvenience him much at all -- on the contrary. Even when she turns to more serious matters, the sight of her flustered only seems to enhance those sentiments, to say nothing of what was revealed. One eyebrow raises. "You weren't? Never?" He didn't mean to embarrass her, but in fact, he did assume that she had been one of that number. She is a woman grown, after all, and her confidence suggests a certain breadth of experience. Not that she doesn't have it, of course, but within the ranks of the Crescent-- well, it would make sense to him. But maybe that's what he gets for assuming that others operate by his overly flexible standards. "I fear that I am /quite/ forward in my celebrations," he adds, glancing about them suggestively at the surrounding festival. Yeah, that's fairly obvious.

He wants to hear about those hot springs, but--


Her response briefly wipes all else from his thoughts.

"It is?"

Ivo, don't offer something so seriously and then be completely surprised when your offer's actually accepted. It seems to take him a moment, as she smiles at him, to recalibrate and realize that Raiya's actually going to be joining them, actually going to be staying with them, so long after she first protected them on their way through Traverse Town. Slowly, a smile broadens, becoming a grin again.

"Well, then," he says matter-of-factly, "now we're unstoppable."

He lifts his drink to her in salute, and downs the rest of it.

"So," he continues, "what if I want more than just your blade?"

A faint crackle sounds in the distance, and Ivo looks up; the sound of a test firework. The barkeep is closing up shop, and the street seems to have emptied, the hubbub passing farther down as children and adults seek vantage points. Setting a fairly generous amount of coins upon the bar, the swordsman grins again at his companion, slipping down from his stool, managing to sway only slightly. "Come on," he exhorts, "before they start in earnest. To the hill, to celebrate properly!" He extends his arm again, grinning almost too wide, looking a bit foolish. It's not her acceptance that surprised him, really.

It's how happy he feels.
Raiya Fujihara Raiya is going to have to be a little more cautious when it comes to what she says around Ivo. First, the knight gleamed that she might be a mother and now that she was inexperienced at certain things. Her immediate response is to look a little flushed which may be more because of the drinks or maybe not. Soon she narrows a gaze on Ivo and launches into her own defense, "Choose your words carefully as I am still armed. And I already spoken of my own foolish indiscretions. I simply did not put as much emphasis in seeking...carnal diversions as some of peers. " Even after her defense is stated, she still looks a little off-balance .

The declaration from Ivo that her clothes were safe for now legimatedly causes Raiya to blush. Ivo was probably just joking a moment before and she completely fell for it. She was usually adept at spotting such things. But something tonight was starting to throw her off a bit. Whether it was the topics discussed, the wine drank, the milling festival goers, or her closeness Ivo; Raiya Fujihara, stalwart samurai, was flustered.

The green-eyed girl in the kimono has a chance to recover thanks to her companion moving on to speak of her joining the Shard Seekers. The reprieve is all too short as Ivo speak of wanting more from her than just her blade. There is hesitation, but before she can offer a response; a firework goes off.

Raiya rises from her seat as well and is quite thankful for the offered arm this time. It seems what misgivings she had before about willingly taking Ivo's arm are forgotten in lieu of being offered a way to help steady herself. She nods her head when talk of the hill is mentioned. "I expect the view from there to be breath-taking."
Ivo Galvan Ivo couldn't be more delighted. The beautiful swordmistress has both agreed to join the Seekers -- as his teacher, as his ally, and as his friend -- and is more flustered than he has ever seen her, charming him to the quick. Her full blush makes his heart sing, and this time, her forceful defense of her own honor and maturity, rather than intimidating him (and she can be very intimidating) simply causes him to smile all the wider. It's unlike her to fail to realize when he is teasing her, and she at last seems to catch herself when she sees the expression on his face. If the wine has made him bolder, it has made her reveal a hint of a proper lady's shyness behind her worldly composure. Hearing her say the words 'carnal diversions' makes his grin quiver, as though he might burst out laughing. In part, he's too polite to, even in his current state.

In part, he just doesn't want to discourage her.

Seeing her so flustered inspires a blend of affection and good humor -- and a hint, he does not quite acknowledge, of masculine assertiveness. The intensity of his attraction and her accessibility, even vulnerability, form a potent cocktail in his young veins. Ivo is typically detached when he is playful, and so thoroughly thinks of himself as detached that even when he has opened his heart, he is caught up enough in the pleasure of the moment to forget that the interaction involves more than fun and friendship. But who could blame anyone for being caught up in the moment now? With the stars above and the mystical lights below, as the lovely kimono-clad woman takes his arm Ivo's smile turns up to the first firework, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye as she speaks. "I live to please," he says, voice rich and warm.

Though he guides her off the beaten path, Ivo was conscientious enough when planning where to view the fireworks from to find a way that wouldn't be too difficult to navigate while intoxicated. There's a trail through the trees that isn't too steep, and he takes his time getting up there, to the point where it's not clear whether he's primarily concerned with Raiya's safety -- and the cleanliness of her kimono -- or just enjoying having her so physically close. No doubt both are priorities.

The two emerge at last at the top of a lonely hill, and though the cheers and laughter carry from other locations, it appears there are no others where Ivo and Raiya now stand. The trees are thick here, so it makes sense that few others would think of it, but near the edge of the slope there is a break in the canopy, and the full night sky can be seen. Ivo stops there, arm still linked with Raiya's, and looks up, smile widening, just in time for the real show to begin. Bright colors burst into view, incandescent magical light dancing with the glow of the moon and the stars, and Ivo, more openly enthused than he typically shows, looks down at his teacher with a grin, as though expecting to be praised -- not as a student, but as a man.

"What do you think?" he asks confidently. "It's a nice place to end a date, I think."

It's certainly secluded.

He looks back up at the sky, and clearly seems impressed by the fireworks. It's the sort of thing he doesn't have to pretend to enjoy; there's something a little childlike about the look in his eyes, a true sense of wonder that perhaps is the heart of what he calls 'curiosity'. Ivo may be immature in some important ways, but that fresh innocent look of pure delight in the world, of total receptivity, is something he keeps very close, and does not know he is revealing now.

After some moments, though, his gaze will flicker down to Raiya's features. At first, he meant to say something, but as his eyes alight upon her face, the bursts of light putting the fetching shadows which anoint her into flux, he forgets to, his expression softening, smile fading, and gaze growing a little more heated, a little more intense. He looks back up at the night sky, as though compelling himself to, but his gaze flickers down to her again, inexorably drawn as the fireworks continue.
Raiya Fujihara Raiya Fujihara is soooo glad that Ivo is enjoying her befuddled state.

It seems that sometimes being 'caught up in the moment' has quite the effect on the normally very proper samurai. She was getting to that age where she probably should be letting her hair down so to speak a little less. Raiya had even taken on a student for goodness sake and now look at where she was this student of hers. Shameful

And yet here she was despite of that. Raiya was operating a little out of the comfort zone she established for herself since the Crescent Unit was destroyed and she was forced to flee Wutai. Raiya attempts to sneak a glance over at the person she is arm in arm with. Would this be another foolish indiscretion of hers or does Fate have something else in store for her?

The secludedness of the location that Ivo chose is already a blatant invitation for all sorts of shenanigans. The ronin bites her bottom lip as a wave of indecision over things unsaid begins to wash over her. The question jars the pondering warrior out of her own mind's eye. "You know that I have a certain fondness for tranquility." She replies before looking up at the fireworks herself. It has been far too long since she saw such a beautiful sight. But she cannot dwell on such a memory like that now for she may miss the forming of a new one instead. As the fireworks continue, Raiya gently leans her head against the arm she is intertwined with.

The first few glances down towards her go unnoticed. But Ivo's determination pays off when she finally does notice. Green eyes look up expectantly as she gently cranes her neck on to lock eyes with Ivo. There are many things one may see in Raiya's eyes at this moment as the same would likely apply to the samurai herself as she now tries to let her eyes meet his.
Ivo Galvan He was staring, wasn't he.

Ivo blinks, realizing simultaneously that his gaze has been drawn back to Raiya repeatedly, that she has noticed, and that she is looking at him as though in expectation. It's difficult for a young man to resist the siren call of-- what? An invitation, a challenge, a simple query? In his intoxicated state -- so to speak -- it's difficult for him to tell the difference, but he can't place the responsibility for his feelings on her. It dawns on him that he /wants/ to do something reckless, wants to take a leap of faith so as to fulfill his desires, even if he doesn't know what the consequences will be or what the meaning of it is. His playful pushing of boundaries, so often more calculated than it seems, is long forgotten.

He stares deep into Raiya's green eyes, seeing the fireworks above reflected in them, and his heart quickens, his throat dries, and his reason recedes. Thoughts of her as his teacher, of her as someone he may soon dwell with, of her as a trusted friend, all these fade into a heady mist. His flush returning, his senses accept only that which relates to her: her body against his arm, her breath against his skin, the world around them only as it is seen through her. It may be only a momentary infatuation, but right then, it is very real.


And without caution and without haste, as naturally as he had before taken her arm, Ivo leans in over her, eyes dimming, and tries to kiss her, tasting her lips with his own, as fireworks echo against the stillness of the forested hill.
Raiya Fujihara He sure was. But now so was Raiya.

Moments come and moments flee. What will one remember after time has passed and most memories of precious moments begin to fade? Raiya is confident that this memory will be one that she does not forget.

But does Ivo feel the same?

Raiya's heart is beating faster and faster, her eyes close, and then their lips touch for the first time. And at once it seems to Raiya as if there just might be two seperate firework shows going on this night.

A beat.

The blonde swordswoman dips her head down in an attempt to break up before looking up at Ivo again. Unsaid questions are on her tongue, but is in Ivo's eyes that she seeks her answers.
Ivo Galvan He can still taste her upon his lips.

Ivo isn't quite sure what he's done. There is awe and surprise in his eyes, and questions of his own. But the awe fades, supplanted by a sense of warm fulfillment. Whatever it means, for him, for her, for them, is beyond him in his current state, but what he knows is the sheer rightness that fills him. It may be foolishness again, but right now, he does not feel foolish. Right now, in the wake of the rush, what Raiya sees in Ivo's eyes is pleasure, confidence, and hope.

The arm that had linked with hers moves, without his conscious intervention, to encircle her waist, gently pulling her closer, allowing him to rest his head against hers as he looks up at the stars once more. That wonder fills him entirely, but he does not feel like a child. When his head is clearer, he will look back on this moment, and find some reassurance that grown men too can find magic in the world, that the way he lives -- the person he is -- can't be completely wrong or irresponsible.

He is content like that, for a lingering sweet moment.


He is a young man, and a drunk one at that.

The perfume of her hair wafts upward, and his eyes dim again, unseen, his blood burning hotter than ever, taking advantage of the abandonment of his usual self-consciousness. The softness of her body is now all too acute a sensation. With a quiet exhalation, tickling the top of her head, he leans lower, and seeks out her lips again, a little more hungrily than before. His heightened passion might not be so objectionable, if not entirely knightly.

But his arm has been left to its own devices, and soon Raiya may feel the hand upon the small of her back creeping down gradually, hand sliding, all too naturally, along the fine fabric of her kimono to her rear.

...If he gets there, he will definitely squeeze.

Ivo likes the fireworks above quite a bit, but he may like /these/ better.
Raiya Fujihara From what Ivo would be able to tell, it appears that Raiya is satisfied with whatever she saw in his eyes. Whatever this means between them in the long run will be a mystery for now. But whatever they had before, things will be different now. No matter how much one wishes for things to remain how they are, things are destined to change forever when lines gets crossed. Such as knight student kissing hi samurai teacher underneath an exploding sky.

When Ivo's arm moves around her waist, her own arm moves in complementary style around him to make this transition all that much easier. The green-eyed woman closes her eyes soon after they nestle their heads against one another. She may be missing out on the stars and the fireworks for now, but she would rather commit this act to memory. Who knows what moments like this they will be able to share with so much turmoil in this world? It was quite pleasent for Raiya to be able to reduce the entire world to just two people even if it was only for one night.

The meditating ronin opens her eyes once more as she is drawn in closer by Ivo. When his intent becomes obvious, Raiya relents to her own drunkeness and meets him halfway. Everything seems to be just going so magical....but then Ivo grabs her butt. A different kind of fire sparks in Raiya's eyes as she suddenly becomes self-aware of the ridiculouslness of her moment. Her storybook romantic moment is over and a blade is suddenly brandish. Given their extreme closeness, now would be about the time that Ivo might consider just how close of a literal shave he nearly came to. "Do not press your luck," warns Raiya with a cruel smile but considerable playfulness in her voice.
Ivo Galvan Ivo's world is pillowy softness, and surrendering himself to the night, he knows only that he wants to sink ever deeper. His lips pressed against Raiya's, affirmed by her response, his restraint dwindles as the heat takes him--


--until the sound of cold steel sends a chill down his spine.

"...ah ha... ha ha ha..."

The young swordsman, abruptly cognizant of his circumstances, smiles widely with the obvious unease of a thief caught red-handed, eyes failing to repress their alarm. With the deliberate calm of someone disarming an explosive, he slowly opens his hand, survival instincts banishing desire and drunkenness at once. It's only later he'll recall the sensation on his fingertips, and regret he couldn't get away with a little more. It's evident from his features that he didn't quite know what he was doing and also that, well, he kind of did.

"...t... too bad..."

So much for not pressing his luck. He makes a valiant effort to sound nonchalant, though looking cool is rather impossible as his hands lift in a gesture of surrender. Raiya probably wouldn't kill him. But she might, you know, maim him. He swallows once, visible in his throat, even as he continues to smile.

But when the instinctive rush of fear begins to fade, and he recognizes the playfulness in her tone -- that he hasn't hurt her, even if he's done what he shouldn't -- his smile softens, becoming more sincere, and then he begins to laugh ruefully, reaching up to rub the back of his head. He doesn't apologize.

But then, he doesn't regret it.

Eventually, his eyes are drawn back up to the sky, at the last of the fireworks. "Fair enough," he finally says quietly, a wisp of a smile still about his lips. "I've been lucky enough for one night." His gaze shifts back down to her once more, and that soft smile grows. He doesn't know what their future together in the Shard Seekers holds. But he's looking forward to finding out.

He won't forget the taste of her lips.
Raiya Fujihara Raiya is glad that taking Ivo to the 'edge' sobers him up a tad. She would have hated to 'cut' their date short. It seems that Ivo has finally gotten the 'point' when he releases his grip on her. The tanto is waved back and forth while the samurai continues to cruelly smile at the knight before her.

The samurai tilts her head to the side as she watches Ivo's wine-boosted confidence falter nearly completely. "Tsk, tsk," remarks Raiya as disappointment enters her voice. "I never thought you would give up so easily." Her tanto blade is waved again and then it is sheathed in a small flourish of her hand. The cruelty in her smile gives way to a certain look of mischieviousness. What could she be playing at?

"It seems there is a lot more for me to teach you even still." The still flushed Wutai woman remarks before taking a half-step closer to Ivo. She then attempts to reach up and gently place her arms so they criss-cross behind her companion's head. "There is a time and a place for everything." Some hesitation now as she wets her bottom lip in a glance aside before looking back up at Ivo. "Perhaps we should...relocate?" How Ivo should have suspected that Raiya was not into public displays of affection even if they were temporarily secluded.
Ivo Galvan A hint of Ivo's youth is betrayed by the confusion which flickers across his features. Wh-- what-- was he supposed to keep going!? This time it's he who is flustered, appearing a bit taken aback by Raiya's teasing, before he at last concludes she is taunting him as punishment, and offers a wry smile, his eyebrows quirking. Though he should still be drunk, his seeming brush with death has cleared his mind somewhat, and he endures her chastisement with equanimity. "This is a tactical withdrawal," he replies, if only to recover his dignity with a little humor. "I haven't given up. I'm merely marshalling my forces." To grab her butt again?

Still, desire is one thing and forcefulness is another. Raiya can toy with him if she likes, but even at his most intoxicated, Ivo could never pressure a resisting woman even if she weren't armed. In fact, getting that carried away was highly unlike him as it is. As someone half-persuaded he cannot love the way others do, he'll have to reflect back on what just happened tonight to get a sense of, well, if he is who he thinks he is -- or if he's changing. His eyes grow momentarily distant, his thoughtfulness returning, as he begins to wonder at just that.


Thus it is that he only notices Raiya has drawn close when her arms drape about his head, causing his eyes to widen slightly, as though shocked to find himself the hunted rather than the hunter. Time and place? His gaze flickers about the vacant hill as the last of the fireworks fade. No longer swept away by the height of the magic, he now feels disoriented; maybe he's overextended himself, maybe this is something he'll regret, maybe this will have consequences. He certainly doesn't feel any regret now, that's for sure. The warm afterglow of the kiss remains. But as the lights in the sky vanish, leaving only the stars, he feels as though a window has gently closed, if only for now, and he is left to marvel at what he had seen.

That lasts for about a second.



"...o... okay..."

Poor Ivo has lost his cool a little. Having been reminded of the differences between them by the sound of that cold steel, the prospect of something else is-- well, is very exciting, but he looks faintly overwhelmed.


A lot to be taught, indeed.
Raiya Fujihara Ivo should have realized two things about Raiya by now. For one, she was not too keen about public displays of affection as evident by the chastisement of Ivo's slightly grabby hands. The second thing he should have realized is that the samurai warrior does not win her fights by playing only defensively. Their last duel should have made Ivo realize that sometimes Raiya saves her strength and then suddenly goes on the offensive.

They do say that love is a battlefield.

"The path that lies before me is one that I may not return from. I seek to change things that may not be able to be try to save those which might not be able to be saved." The fight for Wutai was coming and it seems that Raiya is having her moment of sobriety. "In the end, I do not know what fate intends for me...for us." The ronin glances towards the starlit sky now. Her green eyes soon return to Ivo though. "But as for tonight, I am certain."

Raiya has no way of knowing if Ivo has any idea of what she is talking about or if he will remember what she has said. This poignant moment may one day be forgotten in a drunken haze or simply fade in lieu of different, more exciting ones. There is a time to fret about such things and there is also a time to partake in a gamble, a risk, a chance, or even an opportunity to forge something between two souls that will not be forgotten.

Raiya will not try to place a brief kiss upon Ivo's lips before withdrawing both her hands and her lips from him. "Follow me," she finally intones in a ghost of a whisper.
Ivo Galvan Ivo lost the duel again.

Looks like he has a lot to learn after all.

The young man, finding the tides reversed upon him and the situation beyond anything he might have anticipated, does not know what to make of her words, and it is for the best that Raiya says them knowing that they may not pierce his heart. His lips slightly parted, his eyes slightly widened, Ivo has a hard enough time making sense of what he just did, let alone what she is doing now. He does not share her certainty. Does she really mean--? She can't be-- Is she really going to--? Is this really a good--?

Won't he let her down?

But that's not what she needs from him now. That's not what this means. She's an adult, a grown woman, and is making her own choice, willingly taking a risk. He doesn't know her path, doesn't fully know her heart, and neither does she know his. Maybe this will become something more, and maybe it won't. Maybe they'll be friends forever. Maybe she'll leave, and he'll never see her again. Maybe after tonight, all of it will end.

The fireworks are over, Ivo's mind is clearing, and all that's left is a choice.


Dazed and insecure, it is the steadiness in Raiya's eyes, and not his own courage, that settles Ivo's heart. She spurs him on with her directness, when he would have faltered had he pursued himself. He cannot escape her gaze. She is his teacher, his ally, and his friend--


--but for tonight, she can be something more.

He follows where she leads. The night is not yet over.

This scene contained 29 poses. The players who were present were: Ivo Galvan, Raiya Fujihara