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Mystery of the Bells
(2013-01-27 - 2013-04-29)
Avira and Sable wind up investigating the same rumor in Notre Dame.
Avira La Cite Des Cloches seems like the sort of place that would never attract the touch of the Heartless. Bright and happy on the surface, it took someone peering beyond the veil to really uncover the dark deeds and thoughts of the populace here. The outcasts were not as accepted by the church as most of those God-fearing individuals believed and darkness still lurked in the hearts of man.

It was perhaps these reasons why the lovely city had seen an uptick in Heartless sightings and attacks recently. More curiously, it seems that every time the Notre Dame rung its lovely bells, the Heartless would appear and converge upon the cathedral. Of course, the official explanation was that such a bastion of wholesomeness would no doubt attract the forces of Satan seeking to destroy it and went over very well with religious individuals. The fact of the matter was the increased Heartless activity was a threat to all of those who would attend the church. Rumors of this unusual pattern had spread far and wide at this point, attracting enterprising mercenaries.

To Avira, the patterns had suggested something else. It hadn't gone unnoticed that Heartless activity had increased in the Dwarf Woodlands when the Earth Shard of Manhattan was discovered. Thinking that something similar might be happening in Notre Dame, she went to investigate.

In light of her recent embarassment with Lavi, she elected to go alone. Though it was a foolish thing to do, her desire to prove herself now burned stronger than ever.

For the sake of travelling today and to compensate for colder weather, Avira had taken a long green cloak with her. As she steps into the cavernous cathedral, she's quick to pull back her hood in respect.
Sable Sometimes it's better to look like everyone else.

Especially when that somewhere else is in the Old Kingdom which has it's share of paranoia and feat that the heartless don't even have to touch to set off.

A boy with silver hair would be noticed wherever they went and whatever they did, whether they looked like everyone else or not so today-- today was another day of hiding.

It was also a day for thinking because the reverant silence that followed in the wake of those titanic bells marking off the hours and the immensity of the architecture meant he could stop his search periodically to try and sort everything out in his head.

As he already knew.. this rarely helps, but with the stubbornness of routine he tries to make his life make sense while at the same time.. the teenager puts both hands through his hair, tying it back with the leather tie and shaking his head slightly as he walks back and forth across the floor.

His attire is similar to what he wears in Traverse Town, modified by portal magic (ostensibly) to look like something belonging to the Old Kingdom including a black cloak that flutters and pools around his shoulders as he stops to look at a long row of candles. His eyes trace across the waxen shapes to the windows, then up at the columns towards the far distance ceiling and the bells somewhere far above. He sighs faintly, putting his hands behind his back as he stretches.
Avira Being a hume had its advantages in places like these, where there is nothing but other humans. Nobody really pays Avira or Sable much mind, taking them to just be another set of brave churchgoers, off to practice and pray.

Both will notice that, save for a single priest tending to the altar and re-lighting candles as needed, they were the only ones here in the main hall meant to receive the public. The doors to the confession boxes remain closed, so it is unknown if they are occupied. Not long after Sable arrives, the bells begin to toll, their sound even more magnificent while inside the cathedral.

Avira stops in her tracks, looking upwards as she stands in the center of the main asile. The bells ring eleven times to mark the hour.

Once the last echo has faded, there is stark silence. Slowly, Avira turns, looking to the darker corners of the church, waiting. As she turns, she spots Sable.

Of course she recognizes him. Silently, she approaches the younger boy, calling out to him with a soft whisper. "Sable! Long time no see." she pauses, then quickly adds, "It's me, Avira. This is what I'm supposed to look like."
Sable Sable turns around quickly, raising an eyebrow as he looks at Avira for a long few beats before smiling.

He blinks several times as if confused and then raises a hand in greeting. "Hey." he returns in a whisper. "Look at you. How did that happen?" he walks over to a pew and gestures Avira to also sit.

"Come over here and tell me what's been going on."
Avira Avira smiles back at him. Yes, she still firmly believes Sable's persona. That was the point, wasn't it? "It's kind of a long story..." she considers starting with how she was mutated, but since it tied into the events of Manhattan so closely, she actually hesitates for a few moments before sitting down.

Instead, she opts for an amended version, "A very, very close friend of mine approached a person who had worked with the mad scientist that changed me and basically sacrificed himself to get a cure by also volunteering to be mutated. It was only supposed to be one dose, but after getting it, we took it to Merlin who was able to duplicate it."

She smirks a little, "We used it on both of us. Anyway the moral of this story is to not let other people, especially Shadow Lords, pick your solutions. Make your own."

Satisfied, Avira leans back against the pew. "So what have you been up to lately, Sable? Gonna give the Hades Cup thing a try? There's one more qualifying event today and if you join, I don't think Phil can interfere."
Sable Sable, knowing parts if not all of the long(ish) version of this story even if he hadn't played a part in it, raises his eyebrows in surprise and listens attentively until she runs into another topic.

"Eehh.." he raises a hand and shakes it side to side. "I've been watching that. At least, in places where--" he gestures at the surroundings with somewhat of a prosaic shrug.

"I think I'll give it a shot, but I have a /very/ bad feeling about that whole deal. Hades seems like just the sort of guy to hold back a sucker punch at the last second."

He leans back against the pew looking up at the ceiling. "Mostly just trying to figure things out in my head. I don't think I'll stay with HI now that people are getting a little more settled in." he rubs the bridge of his nose. "But I'm not quite sure where to go next. I've had several offers but--" he smirks lopsidely at Avira.

"This is my life. A long procession of roads I'm not sure I want to take but I'm bound and determined to get to the end of them anyways."
Avira Avira smirks. Therefore, Sable saw her performance in the race! That thought strokes her ego just a little. "Well, I don't blame you..." Avira looks distant for a few moments, recalling her conversation with Hades. If she actually won, what then? Would she really get to keep the World Shard? "Greek Gods aren't exactly famous for being trustworthy and un-vengeful."

As he speaks of figuring things out, she's quick to jump in, "Have you considered joining Clan Dagda? Er, well...not that I have the best relationship with them right now, but...ehhh, I could offer the invitation to join VALKYRI but for some reason the group doesn't attract a lot of guy applicants. Heh."

But she falls silent after that, listening as Sable considers what to do with his life. What a fortunate feeling that is, standing on the edge of opportunity.

"Well..." she says quietly, "What's your heart telling you?"
Sable Sable laughs very softly at that, but it is a very dark sound and he stifles it before it really has to chance to blossom into something like hysteria.

He shakes his head. "Please Avira. Don't do that. If I start laughing, I won't stop. I know you meant it seriously-- but there is something about listening to your heart that can sometimes make your head try to explode."

He waves off the question with another chuckle that is much more normal sounding and amused. "Thank you for the invitations but-- I still don't know how things are going to work out, so instead I just.. do the best that I can and hope for the best. This hasn't worked out for me before, but I'm stubborn. -- This is why I'm out here. I've been looking for shards NOT in the possession of the uh-- probably untrustworthy."
Avira For a few seconds, Avira actually looks a little hurt, but that look vanishes and she laughs it off too, "Yeah, pretty stupid isn't it? Well here's some more practical advice. Listen to what your wallet is telling you. The mark hunting life is expensive and being in a clan helps defray some of the costs. And you'll never have to worry about being caught somewhere without a potion. Some stores actually give famous clans discounts on gear."

She quiets again, looking troubled. "Well, the offer is still open." she murmurs, "But...I'm glad to hear you're doing that. It's why I'm out here too-I think there might be a shard out here."

Something elsewhere in the church chitters and Avira quickly stands. "That must be the unwanted visitors."
Sable Sable puts a hand to his face like 'Damnit I said something stupid again' and then the look turns annoyed as he turns in the pew towards the sound of chittering. "This I don't need." he says this with a resigned sigh, eyes flicking up to Avira and then down as he grits his teeth and slowly rises from the pew.

"..Thank you for the offer, Avira. I just-- don't think it would work out right. Either for your wallet or my heart." he smiles encouragingly.

"But nothing complicated about working together right now, is there? I think it'd do us both good."
Avira Avira half-smiles at Sable, hiding her disappointment deep in her brown eyes. "Hey if that's what you think..." After he stands, Avira reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder. "It's just...thing is...I was in your position a few months ago." Nevermind that it couldn't be further from the truth. Avira and Sable's situations were really nothing like each other, but she doesn't know any better. "Out of my world and struggling to make something of myself and pick up skills I'd never dreamed in my life of using. I know how hard it fact, it's /still/ hard for me."

Something was bothering her, if that distant look on her face is any indication.

"But anyway, what I'm saying is, I'm here for you if you ever need help or advice, alright?" She pulls her hand back and reaches for her Spine, just as there is more chittering, then the rustle of wings.

Sable can hear a faint 'heh' from Avira for his comment. Hear because she's moved so she stands back to back with him. It won't stay that way for long, though, because she quickly moves out of the pew rows and to the center asile to get more room.

Unsurprisingly, the Heartless that drop down from the dark spots of the ceiling are very gargoyle-like in appearance. The lone priest that had been present cries out in alarm and takes cover under the first row of pews. Thankfully, he's left unscathed because all of the half-dozen heartless that appear make beelines for Sable and Avira.
Riku Sable cracks his knuckles as he looks around at the heartless. He glances towards Avira as if considering but then looks down at the floor and away, shaking his head very slightly.

The youth grabs one of the gargoyle heartless as it gets too close to him and smashes it bodily against the ground with the armored gauntlet hard enough that it explodes in a poof of dark smoke.

"Thank you, Avira. But all I really need right now is some help cleaning up the trash. You think you can provide?"

This scene contained 12 poses. The players who were present were: Riku (Aka: Sable), Avira