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No title.
(2013-01-31 - 2013-02-02)
No description.
Leida Despite her quick return to the Shard Seeker's HQ the previous day, Leida found herself immediately missing the constant cool atmosphere of the city blanketed by eternal night. Flourgis was a lively place filled with trade and commerce and certainly never lacking for things to hold her interest but the desert was not an environment that one of her frail constitution and mountainous upbringing could enjoy.

Traverse, by contrast, was usually quiet and relaxed, a cozy little hamlet that happened to be the shore upon which drifters from broken worlds washed up. Fortunately, there had been much fewer of that variety of travelers of late though the Heartless were as dangerous and active as always. However, this close to the town itself they tended to be the weaker variety as the more powerful beasts were culled regularly by local mercenaries and defenders.

Finding herself sitting idle, the princess decided to take up her bow and embark of her first ever lone training expedition against real enemies. With only a handful of shadows here and there to worry about, it seemed a good place to start.

The last of the current batch of the diminuative little creatures warbles hollowly as a broad serrated blade of glistening metal penetrates its oily body, the arrow driving firmly into the gap between its beady yellow eyes. Leida exhales slowly as she watches the Heartless explode into a burst of dark smoke leaving only the small glistening pile of munny and the shaft of her arrow lying on the ground.

The look on her face is one of detached concentration, a strange sense of calm having risen up to consume to storm of timidness and fear that she is so oft to display. It lasts only a few moments, the span between raising her weapon and unleashing the impossibly precise shot, and already an innocent expression of relief is beginning to form as she notices that she is alone once more.

"Maybe... I can do this after all."
Ember Katyna had donned her black armour as Ember once again, although lately she felt confused and lost. Was she doing the right thing, was this persual of darkness even such a good idea, or would it truly lead to her own doom? But..What other choices did she have?

However, her thoughts are interrupted as she spies heartless gathering around a girl who expertly dispatches them with her bow..Wait a minute, that's the traitor, Leida! Or was she really a traitor?

Ember keeps to the shadows, but steps nearer, watching as she dispatches each and every heartless, causing them to explode into munny. Some of the shiny gold stuff tinkles onto the ground, touching her foot and she smirks beneath her helmet as she kneels to pick it up, inspecting it.

Aah, she always did like the sound of munny. "Bravo.." She says, once she's gathered up a good deal of the munny. Turning to face Leida, she claps her hands slowly, a smirk shining through her voice that seems a bit young to be a shadow lord. But that armour certainly bears the dark mark of a heartless.

"I always knew you were a good warrior, but you were much stronger when you were working for us. Leida."
Leida Treading quietly across the soft cushion of grassy carpet that covers the rolling hills out here beyond the town, the girl dutifully recovers her arrows from the ground, sliding each of them into the small slots of her quiver that divides the projectiles from each other by the type of head affixed to their point. The task seems difficult for her and Leida is forced to swing the container around from where it hangs at the small of her back each time so that she can thread them in carefully.

However, upon realizing that someone or something else has joined her without making the effort to introduce themselves, the princess whips around and nocks the last of her fallen projectiles in a single smooth motion as instincts that are not entirely hers kick in once more. There is a brief moment where the two of them make eye contact down the length of a glinting metal blade but a faint hint of surprise manages to crack the girl's battle trance and she slowly lowers her weapon.

Almost immediately the stoic expression fades into a timid look of confused apprehension. Leida's corrupted eyes search the dark helmet for some signs of familiarity or failing that intent but the black metal is utterly impassive and unyielding in its protection of its owner's identity.

"Um... how... how do you know my name?" There is a long pause before the princess speaks up as she considers the possible identity of this person. She couldn't really call them an intruder for this was open land that belonged to no one, least of all her. The obvious answer stares her in the face but she choses not to make such an accusation yet, lest she be wrong and cause offense.
Ember Ember doesn't even bother to unsheathe her flaming sword. Looks like she's not here for a fight. At least...Not yet. Not after they've talked at the very least.

She arches a brow at the look of confusion reflected in the girl's eyes. "Hah, really? You dont remember who I am? We only fought sight by side during the taking over of Manhattan...And before that, I protected you from Angantyr Vespar, when he tried to kill you." she takes a bold step towards the girl, eyeing those arrows thoughtfully, before her dark eyes look back to the girl's face, trying to figure something out.

"Hmm, you sure are different than the last couple times we met, albeit briefly. You were a lot more..Dangerous, powerful back then. Of course, you seemed pretty crazy too, talking to yourself, something about leaving you all alone..Now, you just look like a confused, scared little girl."

An arm rests casually on the pommel of her sword as she looks down at the munny, slowly, lazily counting each coin before slipping them into a pouch at her belt. "Hehe, I suppose I should thank you for killing those heartless. They sure left a lot of munny behind, but..I dont get it..Did the heroes kidnap you and brainwash you or something? And what's with all this 'Princess' stuff?"
Leida Leida flinches a little at the accusations, her eyes going down to stare at the ground. She couldn't really argue with the scared little girl part. Compared to the others she'd met like Tom and Ivo, people who went about facing danger without even batting an eye, she might as well be a child.

But that was one of the reasons she was out here, trying to push past the fear and the doubt and become someone who could pull their own weight. And maybe learn something about herself and the source of these strange powers in the process.

The other things this armored stranger speaks of, a young woman from the sound of her voice, causes the diminuative girl to look even less thrilled. She did not remember very much of the time before she was freed from the demon and had very little desire to change that.

"You were... my friend?" The question has a hint of hopefulness in it, as if it were more of a suggestion than a request for confirmation. Though thoughts of having friends among the Shadow Lords makes her skin crawl. However, she herself had been under their control not too long ago, so she could not judge this person merely based on that.

Leida frowns slightly but does not move to interfere or protest when the spoils of her hunt are appropriated. "Angantyr... I mean Vespar-san... he... tried to kill me?" Her hands tighten on the haft of the bow at the thought. Certainly he seemed the serious sort who would not hesistate at such a task but it was a troubling thought none the less considering he had come to offer his hand in friendship. Or perhaps that was just a ruse.
Ember Ember smirks again, and even laughs beneath the helmet, although it comes out sounding like an intimidating sort of boom beneath the helmet. Friends. As if she had any friends within Hollow Bastion, aside from Hati of course. Hah, how silly. Shadow Lords were cold and cruel. They had no need of friends...So whydid she seek friendships herself? Why did she warm up to Maira so quickly when she showed kindness towards her?

Just as with Maira, Ember finds something..Curious in Leida as well. Was it her innocence, or something else? Yes..She didnt seem to fit in with the other Shadow Lords from what Ember had heard.

"You dont have any reason to be afraid of me. I didnt come here to kill you or anything. Afterall, what would that accomplish? But..No, I suppose we weren't really friends. I..Never really got to know you, before you suddenly disappeared one day. During the fight for Manhattan, we worked as a team, trying to drive the enemy back..But, we were outnumbered. I fell down first. I didn't see what happened to you. Before that.."

She shrugs, frowning a little, "It was..Pretty complicated. I guess Angantyr had decided you were too dangerous to live, so he tried to kill you. I came in before he could land a death blow and fended him off before taking you back to Hollow Bastion. I guess after Manhattan though, Angantyr and his friends must have kidnapped you."

Clearly, there is no love lost on Angantyr. She nods affirmatively, when she asks if he tried to kill her. "Of course. He's not the only one who seems to think you're dangerous. I dunno what it is about you that even many Shadow Lords feared you. But whatever it is, it must be pretty powerful.."

Ember sighs as she steps nearer to the girl again, within an arm's length as she peers curiously at her bow and arrows. "But it seems you can defend yourself well enough. It's too bad we never got to be friends. But it's good to see that Angantyr didnt succeed at his plan. He's a pretty dangerous man. He tried to kill me too.."
Leida Leida exhales a little at the denial of their friendship, unsure if that should make her feel happy or not. Atleast this person wasn't here to harm her, a revelation that lets some of the tension in her body loose. That brings up the question of exactly why Ember /was/ here. Why come forward now if they were nothing more than coincidental allies?

"O-oh... I see." The way the knight casually referred to the people who were now her friends as 'the enemy' made her a little wary again, as did her story of a meeting with the grim dark knight that she had never remembered. So even the other Shadow Lords had been afraid of the power the demon commanded through her. Her heart sinks a little further knowing what kind of attrocities must have been commited to create such sentiment among people who led the Heartless.

When Ember draws near, the little girl shrinks abit instinctively, her shoulders hunching up like a cornered animal but she doesn't withdraw. Her eyes drift down to the bow in her hand and she pulls the weapon against her body tightly as if for comfort. "Ah... well... I am learning..."

Suddenly, Leida turns to face the other girl again and gives her a deep Japanese bow, her body bending in half at the waist. "Um... forgive me for not... introducing myself properly. I would like to thank you... for protecting me. " She bows a little deeper, her dark raven hair sliding forward over one shoulder in the process. "I am Leida Castillon, tenth child of..." There is a pause as she considers something. "Well... I suppose that no longer matters. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."
Ember Ember notices how the girl shrinks back..And why shouldn't she? Afterall, she's dressed like this, a symbol of darkness and evil. She quietly ponders something. How to gain this girl's trust? Aha..."Hey, sorry about that! I guess this munny rightfully belongs to you..Here!" she extends her arm out, offering her the stolen munny, grinning impishly beneath the helmet. "Heh, bad habits die hard I suppose.."

The girl introduces herself and Ember nods. "Nice to meet you. I'm Ember." she tilts her head when the girl says it doesn't matter.

"Hmm? Why not? I'm sure if you knew more about yourself, then maybe we'd understand why people fear you..Or at least the power within you. I..Hear you're hanging out with the Shard Seekers now, hmm? How are they treating you? Reize is..A good person. I know he can be trusted, unlike Angantyr.."

As for the thankyou, she just shrugs. "Ahh, it was nothing..We were allies afterall."
Leida "Oh..." She had been perfectly willing to let Ember take the munny, being the doormat that she is, but Leida doesn't protest when it is offered back to her. Every little bit she can do to aid the Shard Seekers with their finances helps repay her debt to them. "Thank you," she says again, offering a faint smile in return.

The coins are tucked into a small leather purse hanging from the belt about her waist and the princess bows again, less deeply this time. "Even if that is so, you put your life at risk for me. I owe you a debt, Ember-san."

She shakes her head at the part about knowing herself better. Some things were best left in the past. Emi would probably chastise her about trying to run away from the truth for this but even knowing that facing her crimes was the right thing to do, it did not make it the easy thing to do, and her willpower was a brittle thing when left own her own.

"My power is... I do not wish to speak of that... please." Leida changes the subject, following up on a different question. "Reize-san is... a very nice person. As are all of the Shard Seekers. They have been very kind and supportive. I am trying... to become somene worthy... of the friendship they have given freely."
Ember Ember nods. "You fought for it afterall, so you deserve it.." She glances around, scanning the area for more munny. "Seems like there's still some remaining on the ground. Better grab it before someone else does, hey?"

She nods again when Leida thanks her and puts herself in Ember's debt. Hmm..."I see..Well then, perhaps some day you'll be able to pay me back, hey?" Yeah, she'll have to think on exactly *how*.

As for those powers of hers. "Hmm, I thik if you learn to control them better, you wont have to be afraid of yourself. And neither will anyone else. But..If you'd rather not discuss it.." She chuckles again, "Sorry to make you feel uncomfortable. I'm glad the Shard Seekers are so supportive. Reize is a good leader..I am curious though?"

She tilts her head, trying to catch the girl's eye, although her own eyes are dark and shadowy beneath the helmet. "do you think that love and friendship can make a person strong?"%
Leida The question is not one that the girl was expecting and it shows quite plainly on her face as Ember asks her about such things. Leida turns away, walking over to the nearest spot where more of the fallen coins lay and makes a show of gathering them up, taking her time as she ponders how to respond.

She was hardly the person to be asking about such things, the one man who had trusted her enough to fall in love with a meek and useless girl like herself had long ago been laid low by her weakness and treachery. Love had been repaid with death not strength and trust.

On the other hand, ever since she awoke in that dark and eerie forest, confused and alone, there had been nothing but friendship and kindness to greet her at every turn. Despite everything that she had done, every life that lay ruined and festering even now within her corrupted soul, she had people that genuinely considered her their friend. Without their aid, perhaps she would have fallen right back into the waiting arms of the demon, diving down into the darkness for the comfort she sought.

"That is... a complicated question, Ember-san..." She scoops the currency into her open palm, depositing it in her purse before turning back to face the knight. "I think... friends are people who can trust each other. But in order to have trust... there can be no secrets. Even if... there are things... that we want to bury deep inside... painful things... dark things..."

She shakes her head. "If you love someone... you cannot hide your heart from them... or you will only hurt them in the end."
Ember Ember watches the girl curiously as she goes about collecting coins (apparently). It's hard not to pick her pockets, or steal those coins when she's not watching, but...Maira and Avira and the shard Seekers seem to be slowly having some influence on her.

It is strange, to watch such a meek and shy girl who seems not to believe in herself, and yet she possesses such a fearsome power, that not even Seith wanted to go back and rescue her. At any rate..She's sure she'll figure out this interesting riddle eventually.

"Heh." She grins, "I guess it is. Aren't relationships..Friendships always complex?" Well, she knew nothing of love. She had never been loved by anyone as far as she was concerned. And her parents, Razan and Kasrillen had all died trying to protect her. What a waste. Now there was no one left.

But there were many who wanted to kill her..

"Trust huh? Is that all there is to it? But, sometimes it's hard to trust others with your deepest darkest secrets. If they knew the real you, maybe they wouldn't accept you. I mean, figuratively speaking, of course."

But that could be literal too, as it applied to both of them perhaps. "And what about you, do you...Love anyone? Giving your heart away to someone else..Exposing your secrets. Dont ya think that just makes you more vulnerable..Weaker, not stronger?"
Leida "Yes... there is risk involved." The massive greatbow is slung over her head, resting crosswise on her torso like a seatbelt. Her hands clasp together gently and rest at her waist, a polite habit she has formed over the years to keep her nervousness from creeping into her idle digits.

"I know... how hard it can be to trust..." After all, her deep dark secrets were in a class all their own. Not many people could walk up and say 'Hi, there's a horrible soul-leeching demon that I personally invited to live in my body and then went on a killing rampage across several worlds because I was lonely.' Atleast, she hoped not.

"But that is the point of friends. People who are willing to accept everything about you and forgive you for your mistakes." Her head bows slightly. "Atleast, I hope that is how they feel."

As for love, Leida merely shakes her head again. "No. I... I made a horrible mistake once before and the person I loved was the one who paid the price of my selfishness. I cannot in good conscious put... another person at risk. But... I think for people who can accept everything about each other... that bond can be a source of strength. For friends and for lovers."
Ember "Acceptance and forgiveness, huh? How..Interesting.." she scratches her head, pondering that one over in her mind and smirks again. "I wonder..Leida, do you think you could ever consider a Shadow Lord as a friend? Or..Do you fear them?"

Really she doesn't buy the whole love and acceptance and forgiveness thing. Would Maira and Avira forgive her for hurting them? What of their friends, many of whom wanted to kill her?

"Ehh, selfishness, huh? I dunno. I mean, sometimes it's more important to put yourself first. When other people are selfless, they'll just end up getting hurt. And how does that benefit you in the end? I say, do things that make you happy.."
Leida The girl continues to stare at the ground, her hands clenching a little tighter. Shadow Lords being her friends. It still sounds strange and wrong somehow. But maybe there were others like her who had merely made mistakes because no one had ever stopped to be their friend.

Leida takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly before her sickly yellow eyes lift back up to peer into the shadows of Ember's hooded cloak. "I... I do not think it would be... impossible," she offers with a smile. "It would be a lie to say that... I am not afraid... but perhaps that is because I do not understand them." There was always the possibility that the only understanding to be had was that these people were evil and crazy but she pushes that thought to the back of her mind. Negativity wasn't the answer here.

"Well... making other people happy is all you need... to be happy yourself, sometimes..." But that could just be her own cowardice and submissive nature trying to justify itself. The possibility does not escape her and Leida goes quiet for a few moments before giving the knight another bow. There was little left to say at this point and she feared her words only painted her as a fool.

"It was nice to meet you, Ember-san. I hope... we can be friends someday." Leaving what remains of the loot from her kills, Leida turns and heads back up the dusty path towards Traverse, peering over her shoulder at the mysterious girl once or twice before the tall buildings engulf her and she disappears from view.
Ember Ember nods. "Yes, I think you're right. I really dont think there is such a simple thing as good and evil. Just different points of view. I think people hate other people simply because they dont understand any better. As for fear..A little fear is good, it keeps you alive. Too much fear paralyzes you though.."

She nods again as the girl bows and takes her leave. "Yes, I would really like that too, Leida. Just remember to be wary of that man Angantyr. I dont think a person who would try to kill us both can truly be trusted.." And with that useful piece of advice in mind, she too, turns and vanishes into the darkness..

This scene contained 16 poses. The players who were present were: Ember, Leida