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A Valkyrie's honor
(2013-01-10 - Now)
No description.
Mirage Ivo Galavn, Shard Seeker hero, has been SOUGHT OUT! An adorable LITTLE GIRL came to the fine headquarters in Fluorgis, seeking aid. Curiously, this seems to have happened when all of the other Shard Seekers are out on a mission or three and HE is the only one left. Not that such a thing is unusual given how much hard work he's been putting into crafting a shard-seeking device recently.

But alas this little girl's troubles are of the utmost urgency! It appears that her older sister has become lost. She was last seen heading into the entrance of a cave out in the desert. Caves that Ivo should find somewhat familiar, known as the Zertinan Caverns. The caverns form a vast network of caves beneath the desert that stretch throughout the regions. Not only that, but they were home to slimes and mantises and all sorts of terrifying creatures. The little girl has a pretty good idea of the cave entrance that her sister wandered into and can give directions to where exactly out in the desert it can be found.

Though when (and if!) Ivo investigates this cave, he'll see that there are definitely footprints in the sand going into the cave. Once it hits stone floor, the trail mostly disappears. But he will, however, hear singing from somewhere deep in the cave.

The voice is oddly familiar, but actually pretty good. It might just be 'Disney Magic' but...

"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight...
"Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight. o/`
Ivo Galvan Ivo, having triumphed over VALKYRI forever by slandering their reputation, has henceforth been able to devote himself to his labors, and at this point has neared completion of the first prototype, doing most of his work in proximity to the Fire Crystal itself. The once (seemingly) carefree swordsman now working long hours, he's acquired to tendency to stagger back to headquarters at strange times, seeing little of his friends, and sometimes finding himself home alone. Tinkering is always diverting, but the amount of novelty in Ivo's life has plummeted, and the knight-errant finds himself growing a little-- bored.

What a stroke of luck, that the girl should have found him.

The story sent his eyebrows shooting up. What a girl would be doing wandering off to the Zertinan Caverns is beyond him, and going alone would be imprudent. Paradoxically, someone who spends all his time testing boundaries actually knows his limits quite well. Normally, Ivo would never go gallivanting off by himself into some dangerous situation, particularly one that seems, at best, to have some strange backstory. But this sounds like just the interesting mystery he could use to bolster his spirits. And there's a more important consideration.

With a look of concern in his blue eyes, the young man, face grown serious, had knelt down before the girl, gently taken her small hand in his own, and asked:

"Is your sister cute?"

* * *

Needless to say, Ivo sought out the cave with all possible haste. Now that he's alone, there's a slight smile playing about the corners of his lips, in anticipation of whatever strangeness awaits him here. Dealing with the minor foes along the way hadn't been too difficult, at least, as nothing was formidable enough to give Hauteclare's ranged tricks much trouble, keeping him out of harm's way. But it's when there's no one to watch that it shows itself: that hint of concern in his eyes that is unironic, that isn't a show for anyone.

If he doesn't hurry, her sister could be in serious trouble.

It's then that he pauses, blinking, as the song reaches him. Slowly he sheathes his sword, unconsciously reaching up to adjust his hair for greater presentability. "What a lovely voice," he murmurs to himself, before his smile reappears, widening. Whoever she is--

And he begins to saunter further into the cave.

--she's definitely a babe!
Mirage This adorable little girl will no doubt be quite a knockout one day. Why, she's even blonde! But her eyes are full of innocence and she seems to be a little confused when Ivo outright asks her if this sister of hers was cute. After a long moment, she seems to remember something and nods. "Yes. Yes she is."

Honestly though, in looking at this child, one could only imagine what an older sister would look like. (Hint: pretty cute.)

For an experienced adventurer, the desert life and monsters may give him no problem. But imagine what they must do to a lone woman! Oh, it's too horrible! What if Ivo was already late! But this clearly couldn't be the case, right? Not when he hears that singing in the cave. Though it echos a little, just listening can give way to the proper direction-good thing too since the caves down here do split off into different directions at several places.

"Somewhere out there, someone's saying a prayer...
"That we'll find one that big somewhere out there." o/`

Eventually he'll come to a much larger cavern that drops off into a vast cliff into the darkness. On a precarious precipice of rock, -she- stands, lit by the faint glow of something white around her neck.

"And even though I know how very far apart we are...
"It helps to think...
"...we might be wishing.."
"...on the same bright staaaaar~" o/`

Once Avira has finished up that verse of a song from her childhood, she turns slowly to face Ivo. There's a nonplussed expression on her face and her hand is already on her sword.

"Ivo Galvan." The words are a stark contrast to the pleasant singing from seconds ago. "You have defiled the honor of VALKYRI. For this, I demand a /duel/!" With a flourish, she tears her weapon free of its sheath. "Stand and deliver!!"
Ivo Galvan It's worth it just to see the change in Ivo's expression.

Now that he's more or less assured of the older sister's safety, Ivo's intrigued smile begins to broaden into an eager grin, delighted at the prospect of some sort of exciting interaction with a beautiful woman. Anyone who wanders out here to sing amidst the monsters has to be worth meeting. He emerges deeper into the cavern, ducking into a wider expanse near a harrowing cliff--


--and his grin visibly melts, drooping like a candle's hot wax, supplanted by what becomes some mixture of queasiness, horror, and piteous despair.

It's terribly insulting, really.

With mingled exasperation and resignation, Ivo sighs and reaches up to cradle his face with one hand, eventually peering out at Avira through his fingers. "Unbelievable," he murmurs to himself. "To think I got suckered in by you, of all people." Isn't she the one who chased him around? And now he's come to her. Still, even now, a flicker of humor reveals itself in his eyes, and he lowers his head to reveal the slightest of smiles. "But I'm surprised that you thought I'd come to rescue the girl alone," he remarks, regaining his composure and poise, placing a hand on his hip. "You must have a very high opinion of me, Avira."

Teasing her comes all too naturally; he doesn't even has to think while he does so. In the meantime, he reflects that, well, he has to admit that her singing voice is surprisingly good. Still, didn't she seem a little flustered when he caught her in the middle of it? So it wasn't all a ruse. That'd be almost charming -- if she weren't such an obnoxious, brutish woman!

"What a shock, though," he continues on, heedlessly, "that your little sister would be so cute, and you'd be so... disappointing." His eyes are sparkling with delight now. Great, he's managed to start having fun already. "How did you know I preferred blondes? Maybe one too many jealous looks you shot Maira's way gave you that impression." Oooh, a low blow. Well, she did drag him out all the way here. "Besides, who'd want to defile your honor? I just gave you publicity. Don't they say that all publicity is good publicity?"

He's not reaching for his sword.

Though you could say he's delivering.
Mirage Exciting interaction with a beautiful woman...indeed. Avira had carefully set up the scenario such, picking the most adorable little child she could find and carefully coaching her into luring Ivo here with the promise of some hot woman, ready to be rescued and swept off her feet by her knightly charms. Only problem was she'd been waiting down here for HOURS!!! She became BORED!!

It didn't take her long to discover that the acoustics in some of these chambers were pretty impressive. Thus, after a while, she elected to start singing to pass the time. Not only that, but it would serve to point Ivo into the correct direction, wouldn' it? But...she had sort of hoped he wouldn't appear while she was in the middle of a song. There were very few people she actually /wanted/ to reveal her small talen to.

"Thought? I knew. I knew someone like you wouldn't resist rushing to some damsel in distress. You presence at that Goblin Fortress helped prove that." A 'tch' follows as he thinks that she thinks highly of him. Hah! Instead, she advances on him with her weapon, all the ready to have her duel!

But he will not draw. "That's no sister of mine, just a random child I recruited for the sake of luring you here." A small growl escapes her, intensifying as he mentions his own like of blondes and his own...ministrations of Maira. "Hmph! That is hardly the case. I have no interest for a scoundrel like you."

She slinks up to him, getting right up into his face. He's easily got her very worked up at this point. "Publicity?" she says angrily, "You made it a joke! I don't know how you got your hands on that particular image, but because of that-" she reaches up to grab him by the front of his shirt and drag him down. "Everyone thinks I'm some /housemaid/." Angry Ivo-to-ground shoving follows afterwards and she swings the Spine up to point the tip at his nose.

"Draw your sword and fight, Ivo Galvan!"
Ivo Galvan "Oh, yeah? But I didn't go rushing off to that fortress all by myself," Ivo replies, not letting up for a minute. "You're sure that's all it was? After our... encounter on the rooftops of Fluorgis, it's hard to believe you have such a low opinion of me. Why aren't you just honest about your feelings? You're so unpolished and charmlessly straightforward normally." Behind the mirth in his eyes, Ivo is thoughtful, his calculating side considering just how it was she could corner him here. He flashes back to that fateful day, when his teasing seemed to reveal some, er, conflicting emotions on her part. There was a moment that he regretted-- ironically, the one moment he wasn't terrible to her. The moment he showed concern, when she displayed a hint of maidenly injury. The moment he revealed compassion.

Could she have used that against him somehow? There's a reason he hides it.

"You pursue me a lot for a woman with no interest in me," Ivo drawls, deliberately insufferable. "You have a thing for scoundrels, don't you? Oh, that's it," he says, eyes widening theatrically and fist pounding into his palm in faux realization. "You don't call me a scoundrel because I am one, but because you /want/ me to be one. That's an unhealthy sort of attraction, you know," he says, waving his hand and arching an eyebrow. No, Ivo, you're definitely a scoundrel. "But I suppose someone inclined to obsession would be inclined to projection, too. Let's see, maybe I remind you of someone from your past..."

Whoops, she got right in his face already. The Shard Seeker swordsman quickly covers up his own surprise at her sudden proximity. Looks like she's angry enough to not be paralyzed by bashfulness as he'd hoped. But at this point, his only option is to keep piling on. "You mean it wasn't a joke?" he quips. "So you were seriously a maid? My rumor was truer than I realized." He doesn't have time to tease her much more before she grabs his shirt, but this time, he doesn't fight back. The last time they dueled, he spent the whole time trying to run away in any case. It clearly didn't dissuade her, so this time, he's taking a slightly different approach:


Pushing her past her limit.

"Or else what?"

Shoved down by the shorter woman, Ivo grins up at her past her sword.

"You'll have your way with me?"

His eyes show no fear -- only a mocking humor.

"That /does/ sound terrifying."
Mirage Avira's anger is quick to build. She also seems a little bit flustered, though it is nowhere near the level of their previous encounters. Just anger this time-he was definitely pushing her to her limit, but in the wrong, wrong way. "I am being honest about my feelings. You are a loathesome individual that needs to be put in his place!"

Oh yes Ivo, she knows you have a kindness streak...for the lovely, maidenly type. Displaying it to the likes of her? Well that was just a fluke-a mistake. He couldn't have possibly been sincere in that moment anyway, if these words of his here were to be believed.

"I do NOT have a thing for scoundrels! Men like like you don't deserve the company of a woman!" 'Maybe I remind you of someone from your past...'

Avira actually stops raging for a few seconds to think about this. In a way, Ivo was a little like that he and him were both jerks. But Valeth was never 'charming' towards her, not even the false charming Ivo seems to be doing. This, however, doesn't prevent her from getting up in his face.

"It was NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" Why isn't he fighting back? Was he just going to stand there and let her beat him up?

She has him on the ground, hovering over him, and brazenly insinuates that she'd savage him and it would be /horrible/. A hurt look falls upon her face now and, angrily, she kicks him in the ribs.

" obviously don't take me or my group seriously. This is a waste of my time." Avira says bitterly as she turns away.
Ivo Galvan It doesn't quite go as Ivo anticipates.

He realizes he has to recalibrate his teasing a little, that after the maid incident she's genuinely angry as well as flustered by his typical behavior, but he still imagines he has the chance to paralyze her with shame and impotent rage. As he teases her, though, he has to admit to himself that as much as he finds Avira's rough-and-tumble nature fundamentally unappealing, their back-and-forth has grown on him a little. As long as he wouldn't have to spend too much time with her, being able to encounter her from time to time and fluster her to his heart's content sounds entertaining enough. As long as, you know, it's not too inconvenient.

And for a moment, stupidly, he thinks he's getting there, as Avira gets progressively more worked up. But when she screams in his face, Ivo's eyes widen, that silly grin of his vanishing as he betrays his own shock and alarm. He assumed that Avira didn't have much experience with men, and that suggestion that he 'reminds her' of someone was a total shot in the dark, Priel-style. But that comment, combined with his insinuation that she's, well, physically repulsive, seems to drive her off of a very different edge than the one he intended.

"Hey-- nnoomph!"

Though he hadn't bothered to defend himself, and never imagined for a minute that Avira would stab or try to kill him, Ivo hadn't let down his guard completely. But it's the final look on her face that distracts him, an expression he somehow didn't expect, and the kick completely blindsides him, knocking the wind from his lungs. Coughing, Ivo struggles to force himself to his knees, one eye squinted shut, the other still bewildered. "What's the point of fighting anyway--" He's cut off by another round of coughing, but at last manages to compose himself. "It's not like you to give up..."

He trails off. What is he even saying? Actually, what did he expect? Ivo's lips twist as his eyes soften. Somehow, he just assumed she was so persistent that he could just pile on endlessly. But if the rivalry between VALKYRI and the Shard Seekers ends here, before it's even begun, what of all his fun? Actually, he realizes to his own faint surprise, the thought of fun doesn't mean a lot to him right now. Seeing the hurt look in her eyes, Ivo understands all at once that he's earned her hatred, not her rivalry, and that for what he's said, he deserves it.

"W-would I attack your weak points if I didn't take you seriously?" he manages at last, rising to his feet, palms outstretched. "This is just... psychological warfare." Ugh, what is he thinking!? "Would I undermine VALKYRI if I didn't think you were a threat?" Actually, 'threats' are the farthest thing from Ivo's mind, typically. But it doesn't matter now. What matters is that Avira's pride gets enough burnishing to put this relationship back on the right track. Argh, what relationship!? "You can't take the things I say-- what was that?"

Perhaps Avira will think it's some new trick of Ivo's at first, as he looks up, furrowing his brow, glancing about in the dim light of the cave. But eventually she too should hear the ominous rumbling, and then feel the ground shifting beneath their feet, as the sound grows to a thunderous fulmination. "Avira," Ivo shouts over the cacophony, his features serious for once, "we'd better head to--"

It's too late. The rocks collapse before them, dust and debris falling to begin piling up over the path they entered by, and Avira, as she's turned to head away before them, may be closer than he. Without thinking, Ivo rushes forward, desperately attempting to tackle her out of harm's way, or what he imagines it to be.

This is bound to end well.
Mirage It doesn't help that the whole 'Maid Incident' had become something deeply shameful for her. When peole brought it up, she would become quiet and withdrawn. It was an embarassment for her, an aspiring badass warrior, to wind up in such a humiliating position. Needing rescue no less! And yes, thanks to Castle Oblivion, Avira does realize that at that moment, she did need rescue. If someone hadn't come...

The very thought would bring a chill to Avira's spine. Now was hardly the time to think of such things though-all she sees is anger right now. Anger and some awful man that just wanted to be a jerk to her. One that was now reminding her of her less than stellar past with guys. But that was so long ago...

...that was a different Avira then...

"I told you already." Avira grumbles, "The point was to restore my honor." He coughs and the huntress lets out a faint huff of anger, further distancing herself from him as she walks away. Without even looking, she lifts her weapon and slips it back into the sheath at the small of her back. "'It's not like me?' Hmph, since when do you know a damn thing about me?"

Though it really wasn't like her to 'give up' but at the same time, his teasing just went too far. Maybe by accident, but it just hit on too many things that really upset her, from her middling appearance (which she just made a deal with the lord of the dead to get back no less!) to the spectacular failure of being Baron's captive, to her disasterous guy track record. "Even an enemy doesn't deserve this level of disrespect."

She thinks she's gotten the final word but much to her irritation, he's still talking. Calling after her. His words of her weak points and psychological warfare make her slow a little and she pauses to glance over her shouolder at him, her eyes narrowed. "Words are ch-" She's ready to dismiss what she believes is a distraction tactic.

But she too hears the rumbling. Amongst the noise, she swears, and starts to move towards the tunnel that brought them both into this room. It's too late though as a rush of rocks tumble down, block the entrance, and threaten to bury the distraught huntress in the process.

At least until Ivo knocks her out of the way, tackling her to the ground, and all but pinning her there due to their size difference. Avira coughs out some rock dust and takes notice of the knight on top of her. Promptly, her face turns red and she tries to squirm free. Even for someone so tiny, she's definitely got some muscle on her, which Ivo can feel straining against him. All that rough and tumble unladylike huntressing she does definitely reflects upon her stature.
Ivo Galvan "Are you alright?" Ivo asks, before he can think better of it.

Huffing out dust and shaking his head to clear it, the knight-errant blinks, realizes his compromising position, and gives the pesky woman beneath him a blank stare as his mind catches up with his mouth, and he struggles to process everything he's done, from restore some of Avira's dignity to actually try to save her from harm's way. His own motives have begun a mystery to him at this point, which is exceedingly rare. He assumed his aversion to her so thoroughly he forgot that, in its own way, messing around with her has been entertaining. Maybe the fact that he could never shake her when he wanted to frustrated him. Maybe the fact that he was never completely in control of the situation, even when he seemed to be toying with her -- after all, he's always the one running away -- made him harsher than usual.

And it occurs to him, there in that awkward tangle, that maybe he has more of an effect on people's hearts than he can make himself believe -- not just to inspire love, but to foment hate -- and a certain responsibility that no amount of amused distance can shirk.

Then he sees her blushing--


--and sets all that aside.

"Looks like the huntress has become the hunted."

He grins down at her a moment as she begins to squirm, lingering for just a bit longer than any gentleman should as his eyes sparkle mischievously, before at last he relents and pulls back, aided by her efforts to shove him off. "Don't worry," he continues, still grinning as he shifts his sprawl into a seated position a few feet away from her. "You're too sinewy for my tastes anyway." What, is he going to eat her!? ...Don't ask, he'll turn it into another joke.

"Looks like we might be stuck," he says nonchalantly, glancing back at the pile of rubble now blocking off the entrance. The dark-haired young man brushes some dust off his face and reclines. "If you wanted to have your way with me, now's the time." But the mischief has left his eyes. Even though he continues to grin, now that he's off of her, his previous thoughts come pouring back, along with that sense of regret, and for the first time there's a hint of softness about his gaze. There's no doubt in his mind that Avira is an adversary, whose persistence never ceases to confound him. But the thought of her abruptly cutting him off, of deciding the abuse and the humiliation just isn't worth it--

"What sort of warrior doesn't strive to know his enemy?" he finally asks rhetorically, his grin shifting into a smile, still good-humored, but no longer quite so amused at her expense. "You're stubborn to a fault, rough-hewn and brutish, you go to all sorts of trouble to lay cunning ambushes and then predictably charge right in when you get mad... all sorts of unrefined and inelegant qualities." As though to lay emphasis on her being the opposite of what attracts him. "But... I'll admit there's plenty I don't know about you. I underestimated you this time, for one."

Ivo, upon seeing Avira's pain, began to try to reevaulate his agenda, to figure out what he wanted from this strange situation, to discern the confused workings of his own heart. Doesn't he want her to leave him alone? But not like this? It's all too confusing, and while Ivo treats women worse than he thinks he does, the thought of jerking someone around because of his own personal inadequacy -- and not, say, on purpose -- just seems too revolting. And at last, he's come to a conclusion.

"For another..."

He doesn't know what his agenda is, because he doesn't know Avira well enough.

"...I didn't know you had such a nice singing voice."

He has to admit it, even if it's like admitting defeat.

"Where'd you learn to sing like that?"

Ivo has become curious about Avira.
Avira For the moment, her distraught state of affairs is put aside. Something much more powerful was stirring in Avira's mind: survival instinct. At that second she had become quite close to being crushed beneath a pile of rubble. Shock floods her system as her eyes turn to the side and she sees the large rocks now blocking their way out, occupying space that she had just been standing and walking for. "Y-yeah.." she says breathlessly to the asked question.

Slowly, the whole situation begins to register as strange to her. From Ivo weighing down upon her to the fact that he just saved her from harm. Odd seeing as how seconds earlier he seemed intent on doing nothing but harm, save for the backpedaling he started doing once Avira attempted to end the conversation. Also an odd thing to see happen for ever since meeting Ivo, he seemed to want absolutely nothing to do with her and did anything to get away. Why now, when she was ready to leave her pursuit behind, was he reaching out?

Maybe he just took cruel amusement with her effort. Indeed, he seems to take mischevious delight when Avira reacts to their awkward position in a flustered manner. It would be nice to be the cool person that wasn't surprised by physical contact, but for years of her life, she wasn't that cool person she's trying to remake herself into.

He teases her again for her blushing and she looks away, struggling all the more, "What does that even mean?!" she blurts out, though realizing when Ivo speaks the follow up. Too sinewy. Ah right. The revenge of the unladylike barb!

Avira looks away from him as she pulls herself up to her knees. For the moment, it seems she's struggling to ignore the knight, fiddling with something in her hand. When he helpfully mentions that now would be the time to have 'her way with him' she shoots back a nasty look. "Shut up."

Avira has a pink pearl in her hand, from what Ivo can see. After the huntress finishes glaring at him, she turns away and starts murmuring into the object. Her VALKYRI are notified that she is trapped underground in these caverns and for them to send help. After a long moment of silence, she looks back at him, her anger remaining uncooled. "People will be coming to dig us out. It will likely...take some time."

Avira sounds less than pleased at the thought of being stuck here with HIM. Slipping the linkpearl away, the scarred woman draws her knees up to her chest and wraps her arms around them. A look of misery settles on her face when she realizes that Ivo is going to persist in talking to her, perhaps throughout the whole time they are trapped. It would be a lie to say that she hadn't enjoyed hearing him try to stroke her ego a little bit earlier, though. His rhetorical question receives no answer or even acknowledgement.

His listing of her derived traits, based on their interactions, earns a grumble. "I do /not/ predictably charge right in, I'm far more clever than that." Had she tried to tilt forward too far? In trying to remake herself, had she become a brainless brute? The very thought upsets her further. "Tch...underestimated me. How...?"

Yeah, this is definitely not winning Ivo a lot of points right now. Just looking at her right now, it seems like her fire-that fire that drove her to chase and fight him, has been put out. But at least he's admitted that there's a lot he just doesn't know about her at all. WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RUN AWAY!

Ivo shifts focus, bringing up something that earns a bit of a wince from Avira. It hadn't been her intention, when luring Ivo here, to have him actually catch that singing. It was just something for her to pass the time while waiting. Still, the acknowledgement that she had a nice voice was a bit of a surprise. "I just would do it for fun when I was alone. Like at the shower...just..." In retrospect, she realizes, it was probably a bad idea to bring up showers around this guy. Her head lifts slightly and she glances over her shoulder to look at Ivo...though otherwise, her body language stays pretty closed off. "You really think it was nice?"

This scene contained 11 poses. The players who were present were: Ivo Galvan, Avira, Mirage