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Knight Of Swords
(2013-01-12 - 2013-01-12)
A Gargoyle, Percival, meets with Mercade and Maximilien and asks them for help regarding the Fall of Manhattan. Mercade provides information while Max tests the Gargoyle's mettle. Arrangements are made!
Percival It would have been unheard of a month ago, and he still found it quite unseemly. Though it was still a far sight better than simply checking every balcony, and window of the establishment. He was grateful for small favors though as he walking pained him far less than gliding, or climbing at this point. He didn't know why it bothered him that noone batted an eye when he walked into the hotel, walked up to the attendant at the desk, and asked quite politely which room Mercade Alexander is staying in.
Mercade Alexander The room that the TDA occupies isn't hard to find. He gets directions nonetheless! It has the TDA logo drawn out on a paper and taped on the front. The door is even half open, giving the inquisitive Percival a look into what's going on inside.

Boxes dominate the hotel right now. A lot of the TDA's belongings are being packed up from their temporary places in the rented hotel suite in preparation for checkout to their new location. Mercade himself is working to pack in a sheaf of folders into one of these boxes, but one thing that doesn't change is the jazzy music in the background, Mercade seems to be able to arrange for this, somehow, despite the fact that Manhattan is sort of gone. If asked, he views it as a moral requirement when the Zero Hour isn't playing.
Percival After the short walk over to the TDA's current location, he nearly walks straight through the threshold, but then pausing about halfway, he seems to remember the social niceties that humans expect and pauses to knock clumsily on the door frame with the back of his taloned hand. After a quick look around the room, he nearly does a double take. The place looks almost exactly like a noir movie he saw once at the cinema. Spotting the man across the room, it does not even cross his mind that he could be anyone but Mercade Alexander.

"Good sir, would this be the Twilight Detective Agency? I've been directed here by Madame Deidra to make introductions to one Mercade Alexander. I hope I presume correctly that you are him?"

And in an almost comically archaic fashion, he bows at the waist.

"My name is Percival, esquire. And it is a great honor to make your acquaintance."
Maximilien Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne doesn't really like jazz. He's more of an opera person. But this isn't his hotel room, nor does he have any particular reason to change the music within it. He's currently sitting in Mercade's nice big chair, because if there's one thing Max /doesn't/ respect, it's boundaries; his long legs are crossed, his fingers tap together gently, and he's got a calm smile on his face, looking very much like a man who is in perfect control of his life.

As Percy enters, Max doesn't bother to stand. He doesn't stand for men, only women; it's sort of a personal rule of his. The opera cape draped about his shoulders ruffles a bit as he moves his arm gently, gesturing at Mercade. "You have quite the intriuging visitor, monsieur Alexander. I assume this is the gargoyle mentioned last night?"

"Bonjour, monsieur," he adds in Percival's direction.
Mercade Alexander Mercade looks up at the knock, and stands as Percival enter the room. Maybe a few months ago, he would have exclaimed that he was a monster and reacted appropriately.

He's found, lately, that the monsters aren't always the ones you expect.

Also, rarely do monsters make such a polite entrance. Mercade rubs his chin for a moment, and he looks over to Max, not bothering to admonish him for sitting in his chair. This time. "Must be." He says. "He matches the description." He smiles, and he looks back to Percival. He nods, looking over the Gargoyle intently. Perhaps he is looking for something. Whatever it is, he seemed to have found it, because he makes an 'ah' sound, and nods. "And an honor to meet you as well, Percival." He reaches out to offer him a handshake. "You seem to be a man on a mission. Thankfully, you've come to the right place for it. How can we help you?"
Percival And a Frenchman, or a fop pretending to be French. Percival could never tell. He bows once again, though not quite as low. It'd be unseemly for him to give as respectable a greeting to a man from across the Channel. "And it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, though you seem to have me at an disadvantage, Sir. Might I have the courtesy of your name?"

He extends his hand, and grips Mercade's firmly, but not so firmly that the talon's dig in, or that he breaks a bone or two, he'd made that mistake once before. Still he always preferred it when they wear gloves, just in case.

"Straight to the point, I admire that. I was told you could help me in three respects. One, by allowing me to assist you in restoring our world. Two, by giving me some sort of direction in how I can bring those responsible for its destruction to justice. And three, I'm looking for a job, where I might earn through honest and honorable toil. You see, my clan had others which assisted us in handling pecuniary affairs. But now I find that its a necessity that I make my own way."
Maximilien "Je m'appelle Maximilien, monsieur. Comment allez-vous? I am something of a...a consultant to the agency, would that be fair to say?" Max's eyes slide over to Mercade's as he taps his fingers together thoughtfully. "Oui, I think that is appropriate."

He tries not to smile at Percival's requests. "He reminds me of someone, I think."
Mercade Alexander "My apologies. My name is Mercade Alexander. I'm the..." He pauses for a moment. "The organizer of the Twilight Detective Agency. I generally handle coordinating our efforts to deal with the Heartless threat, manage clients when possible, and engage in investigative work." Mercade was expecting the exceptionally strong grip, however.

As Percival makes his requests, Mercade turns over to the box that he was storing the folders in, and rummages through them. He pulls a couple out, and begins paging through them. "There's an organization called the Shadow Lords who were involved in the fall of Manhattan. They're controlling the Heartless to some... unknown end. Whatever it is, it's not good for anyone involved." He pages through a couple more, and pulls out a picture. It's of a silver-haired teenager. "This is Riku. He was the one who organized the operations, though there are supposedly a number of others who did a great deal of groundwork on it. I was trying to get some information on it, but then I ran into a bad case of eels." He says that, somehow, with a straight face.

"They were also assisted by a kingdom in a world that seems more your speed. The Kingdom of Baron, a militaristic place that has a great deal of firepower and a willingness to expand their borders through violence." He hands over a folder, entitled 'Baron', which contains descriptions of the Steward Baigan, their known forces such as their airship corps, Dark Knights, Black Mages, and their powerful sorcerors. He's free to look through it as he likes. Mercade tosses the other folder back in the box.

"As far as justice is concerned... That's a more difficult affair. The Shadow Lords have to be stopped, that's for sure, but the Heartless are an endless force that just get stronger as they defeat any of us. We're looking for ways to beat them in a more permanent fashion but it's a slow process. You could definately be of help there, as well as helping to resist any Heartless attacks. We're in the process of trying to find a way to restore Manhattan as well, by locating 'World Shards'." Mercade explains, gesturing. "The one I've seen is a large gemstone about the size of a fist. Apparently it contains the remnants of the world, and if we can gather them up, we will manage to be able to possibly restore it. You are, of course, welcome to help as you can."

Mercade walks to the window, looking out over Traverse Town, then. "As far as a job is concerned... What kind of work do you want to do? What skills do you have?"
Percival Percival picks back up each folder in turn. A stern look upon his monstrous features as he memorizes every last detail of Riku and Baigan's faces. He then continues to flip through each file as they speak.

"I am a warrior, primarily, and have all the skills of a Squire taught to me by a Knight who is close to reaching the ideal of Chivalry but I have some training by..."

He pauses for a time, considering. Deidra trusts him, but was that good enough? He decided it was after giving it more thought.

"...intelligence agencies. It is not a skillset that I'm fond of making use of, but I am well-versed in the basics. I simply consider them dishonorable unless my foe is undeserving of honorable treatment."
Maximilien "Then I think, monsieur, you may be in the wrong place." Max gestures idly at Mercade. "Honor is very important, of course - I will hardly say otherwise - but a detective must be willing to break laws, break rules, steal, and behave dishonorably for the good of everyone. A detective holds to his own personal honor, yes, but not chivalric honor. If you are not willing to make your code, mmmm..../flexible/, shall we say, you may find yourself at a thorough disadvantage in the field."

"However," Max continues, waving his hand gently at the air, "At the same time, the Heartless and their allies are hardly deserving of honorable combat. You will not catch Heartless duelling, monsieur; you will catch them trying to swarm you and eat you alive, swallow you into the darkness. So I suggest that if you have any terrible hang-ups about fighting to save yourself instead of knightly honor, you abandon them, at least in the case of those creatures."
Mercade Alexander Mercade continues to watch out the window, folding his hands behind him as Percival speaks. He glances over his shoulder as Max lays out important information that Percival should know. "Maximillien is right. We're doing what we do to help people. We obey law when possible, but what if the law is protecting the guilty? What if the law is made by a tyrant? We're amid a thousand worlds, each with their own rules and cultures now. Even when Manhattan is restored, that will not change."

He looks back to Percival, turning to him. "So who trained you? SIS? MI5? The CTC or DIS? You can fight like a warrior, but being able to fight is only part of it. You have to be able to think for yourself, and pay attention to the world around you. If you are still willing to help, we can offer you a probationary period for a while to see if it fits you, but you should know what you'd be getting into, first. Because Max is right. You are fighting an enemy that does not know honor. Only pain and despair. Even the Shadow Lords... if they follow codes, it will be their own twisted ones. You will have to be careful."
Percival An idle glance towards Maximilien, his expression twists into an almost bemused one, though he doesn't laugh aloud. "Then I will be at a disadvantage. Or I will be without employment. That does not mean that I'm unable to do some....heavy lifting, as humans are fond of putting it. Honor is paramount in my mind; I can no more throw aside my honor than I can my arm, or my heart."

Of course the Frenchman wouldn't understand that, he didn't expect him too. He imagined that Mercade though, fitting the same Film Noir stereotype that he'd been fond of in the cinema would feel the same way about his hat, which is obviously just hidden from his sight at the moment.

"Thus I cannot stoop to larceny, or deception of that order, though I can break the laws of tyrants. And even if it means I'm at a disadvantage, it is what makes us better than fiends such as the heartless in the end."

He then looks to Mercade, nodding.

"I would prefer not to detail my training overmuch, but it was SIS, I'm not even clear on whether MI5 knows we exist. Only a handful of SIS are aware of our presence. Our clan is considered a relic in more ways than one, so we've typically only been used for....wetwork, against fiends that must be wiped out to the man, for the good of the Crown. We're not used lightly, in otherwords, because we spend too much time considering Knightly virtue for their tastes."

He speaks with remarkable bluntness, considering the subject matter.
Maximilien "You will be very dead," Maximilien replies cheerfully, "If you treat the Heartless like people. We will set aside my personal feelings on combat for the moment - I am, you understand, a pacifist, as it goes well with my work, monsieur - but even I am willing to take up arms to destroy Les Sans-Couer. What makes us better than Les Sans-Couer is that we have hearts at all."

"If you wish to treat this like a chivalrous game, feel free; I do not care whether you are larcenous or duplicitous, but joining this agency means keeping secrets of dubious nature and breaking laws that are not of tyrants. If you cannot accept that, then you will have a great deal of trouble here."

Max is also tremendously blunt when he has to be.
Mercade Alexander "I'm not saying we have to become them. We're doing what we can to protect people. We seek out truth. Sometimes that truth is painful and brutal. Sometimes it is pleasant. But it's always worth it."

Mercade folds his arms. "I'm not going to ask you to do anything you don't want to do. We have people that are capable of handling problems of that nature without violating your creeds. All I ask is that you let them get the job done if their talents are needed, with the knowledge that we do what we do to help people, not to cause them harm."

He gestures. "You've worked with thieves and spies in the SIS. You know what they do sometimes to protect the Crown and country. This is something on a greater magnitude still. You will have many fiends to fight. Creatures with no light, no honor, things that you can stand against like in the epic tales of old. But just as there is a place for you, there will be a place for others who perform tasks just as important in their own ways. If you and your code of honor can accept this, we will be able to work together."
Percival Percival bristles at Maximilien's words, he tended to be a prickly sort when someone treats chivalry as a game "Treat this like a chivalrous game, Sir? Hardly. It is never a game. To live valorously. To die with honor. That is 'life' to me. I have no issues with keeping secrets of a dubious nature, as you put it. I do such all the time. It is not deception to withhold information. And if the law of the land results only in the suffering of innocents, do you believe I will stand idly by because it is the law?"

He turns to Mercade, dipping his chin into something of a nod. "I have few issues with that. But you do realize that I will always register my objections. And..."

He hesitates, as if caused him great physical discomfort to even say this. "...If you wish to withhold the means of how an objective will be accomplished by others, because I do not 'need to know'. My honor does allow for this. It is how I am able to work with thieves and spies, as you say. But I have several rules of my own in those circumstances...that I believe your consultant may find cause to ridicule. If on a mission, I will never abandon a non-combatant. I will always be the last to leave the fight, as I do not retreat unless all are out of harm's way. And if this means you must abandon me for the greater good, then you may do so with a clear conscience."
Maximilien "Why would I ever ridicule a man of honor for behaving honorably?" Maximilien inquires calmly, cocking his head curiously at Percival. "I would no more expect you to abandon someone in danger than I would expect myself to. If you are implying that I do not have my own honor, monsieur, you are vastly, vastly mistaken, I assure you."

Max's lips tilt upwards just a bit. "There is, after all, always honor among true thieves."

Then leans back into the chair, watching Percival carefully. How the other man reacted to this would basically determine whether he had Max's approval or not, as Mercade would probably know - there was no other reason to drop his profession to the knightly Gargoyle besides testing him.
Percival Ah, a French thief. Yet another cinema stereotype sitting right in the room. Actually a third now that he contemplated the matter. After all his favorite movie was Excalibur. A monstrous knight on an impossible quest, he could appreciate the irony at least. He gave Maximilien a polite look, with no distaste visible. "I was not born until after the Great War, but after your countrymen surrendered, there was one man who did not. He went into exile and incited those who would throw off the tyrants to skulk around like a thieves. And yet they fought with great valor against an insurmountable foe for which they had no hope of victory. That is the sort of honor amongst thieves that even I can respect. Given the situation, I hope your honor is not too dissimilar from theirs, Sir. If it isn't, then there might be hope yet for all of us. Still I would offer to you that it is never too late to change your ways." His grey eyes twinkle as if the final statement was his version of a jest.
Mercade Alexander Mercade chuckles. "You'll find that we of the Agency think much the same as you on many things. Just not all of them. Maybe if things were different, I'd have grown up to be a knight instead of a detective. But one thing is for sure, the Agency never leaves behind anyone in need. Nor will we ridicule you for your sense of honor. We all have it here. All I ask is that each of our codes be respected for what it is."

Mercade steps forward and offers a hand again. "Are you willing to accept?"
Maximilien Maximilien chuckles and looks over at Mercade. "It seems I owe you some money after all, monsieur Alexander. Well done."
Percival He grasps Mercade's hand yet again in a firm shake, inwardly fretting over the idea of puncturing or breaking it once again. The thought that the two were making bets about his disposition strangely did not trouble him."For now, let's call my employment....freelance. But even if this arrangement does become entirely temporary, I find myself always willing to work pro bono for a good cause."

Wait, why did he tell him that? He was entirely destitute in a world that actually required him to have money now to get by. "...Now I don't suppose you know a good arms dealer or blacksmith willing to sell me a quality blade at a fair price? I seem to have misplaced mine...during the siege of Manhatten."
Mercade Alexander "We'll always appreciate your help, whether as a member or not." Mercade replies. Once the handshake is finished, Mercade turns and walks over to another box, opening it up and rummaging in it. From it, he withdraws a smartphone-looking device which he tosses to Percival. "This is a Ma Belle. Made by Xanatos Industries, it lets us communicate across worlds. We have some subvocal communications wires that we can hook into it too so you can pass along information without alerting people if you see something going on." He also pulls out a pouch, that rattles a bit. He tosses that also over to Percival. In it is a large number of small yellow spheres of various sizes. "That's Munny, sort of a universal currency. The only one that doesn't change form between worlds, anyway. You should look up Cid here in town. He's good with equipment and he and his Moogle friends can hekp you get equipped. There's three duck children who also run an item store for your needs too. Use the Munny in that pouch to get started."
Percival Percival catches the smart phone device, holding it gingerly as if he were afraid he'd smash the thing. Damnable electronics were usually so fragile. Then the pouch of 'munny'. The distinction from 'money' is still entirely lost on him though. "If you had told me all of this only a day ago, I wouldn't have believed it. I'm beginning to learn that it is best to simply absorb the insanity and flow with it rather than to continually question. I'll see to rearming myself in short order then." He then gives Mercade an unusual look. "To be blunt once again, I'm not supposed to be here, while SIS is likely vanished with the rest of the world and this is likely a moot point, I'm here without their knowledge. Their files on David Xanatos were...troubling to say the least. He does not seem to be a man that ought to be trusted, and yet he broke the curse on the Wyvern clan. A strange dichotomy. What are your thoughts on the man?"
Mercade Alexander Xanatos... Mercade looks up at the ceiling at that. He considers for a moment, and then shrugs. "Xanatos helped us get started. He gave us the funding to reopen the Agency, get things moving again. And then we learned later that he was culpable in some rather unsavory human experimentation problems. He's vanished though, probably working to rebuild his fortunes after the fall of Manhattan. Right now... He's a man who will pay for his crimes in time, but I have other things I have to focus on over punishing him for things that likely come back to haunt him on their own. I've been working to make us independant of him. We're taking the first steps today, moving into our own building with our own funding."
Percival "The lesser of two evils it is then." His cloaked wings shrug around his shoulders, as if dealing with him once this is over would be a mere afterthought. After all he was a mere corporate villain, and they were facing demons. "Anyhow, where would you like me to focus my efforts first?"
Mercade Alexander "Right now?" Mercade rubs his chin. "You can help us get moved into the new building. After that, we're going to fucus our efforts on finding the rest of those Shards. Apparently, there's a metal in the World of Ruin that can help us locate the shards. You can help follow up on that, as well. If Baron or Shadow Lords show up, feel free to go help smite them and drive them back."
Percival "That goes entirely without saying. They shall be smitten forthwith." Mercade would probably swear that he's cracking a joke. Except his tone is so deadpan and his expression is so serious. And yet maybe he has a sense of humor after all?
Percival "You did say that in another lifetime you might have been a Knight, Sir. Perhaps in that lifetime I might have been your Sancho Panza." Definitely a jest now. Though one would usually have the impression that he's never trying to actually insult someone with his jests, and its all in good fun. "I believe I'll be roosting at the clock tower for now. I don't intend to go out and see the rest of the world without a guide, and not until I've fully healed." He turns and heads for the door. "Farewell, I'll try not to begin my smiting without you."

This scene contained 27 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Maximilien, Percival