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No title.
(2013-02-27 - 2013-02-28)
No description.
Zia With the festivities still going on outside, it's easy to hear the sounds of music and laughter coming in through the windows of the Shard Seekers Headquarters. The place is mostly empty, with the vast majority of those who live here getting themselves drunk or set on fire somewhere outside.

Zia leads Percival in by the hand, dragging him towards the kitchen. She doesn't explain herself at first, only going so far as to point at a chair at the dining table. "Ye. Sit yer tail down over there." The 'princess' commands, and then heads for the icebox to drag out some food. If she's missing out on the buffet outside, she's at least going to make herself something to eat. After so many years of scrounging for food, she isn't apt to miss out on a regular meal.

"So, let me get this straight." Bread and meat are prepared as she speaks, her back towards him. "Ye got sent on a mission tha the Church never should have sent ye on, at least nae wi'out backup, and it got screwed up." She turns, wielding a sandwich at him and pointing in his direction, "And yer goin te beat yerself up over it, as if it's yer bloody fault tha they didnae know tha their priestess, or princess, or wha'ever was a great bloodsucking vampire?" The sandwich is dropped onto a plate and set in front of him. It does look tasty, and even has a few slices of a red fruit set beside it.

Then, she goes about making her own meal. For all that Faruja had offered to teach her like one of the student Templars, he hadn't gotten to start on it, and she's not likely to tolerate that sort of 'tough love'. None the less, when she comes to join him at the table, Zia has concern in her blue eyes. "Ah think ye put a bit too much on yer shoulders, lad."
Percival When last we saw Perci, he was at the mercy of the whims of the wily white Gargess.

After being dragged into the kitchen by the vivacious vixen, he was forced to sit his adroit little appendage down.

He wasn't about to go against the commands of the provocative princess.

At first he buries his fool head in his hands while she's turned around to make the meal, but then he must have realized how guilty or piteous that makes him seem, so he sits bolt upright.

When the question comes it hits him like a ton of bricks. While the sandwich does indeed look tasty, he's perhaps too caught up in the moment to begin eating. Eventually he levels her gaze at her, his expression might have been that of a guilty man facing the gallows stoically and confessing before the time of execution came. "No. I don't blame myself for that. I blame myself for being a fool. I tried to do the 'right' thing. I wanted to bring the vampire back here, away from the inquisitors of Glabaddos. I wanted to see if anything could be done to fix her before the....obvious, had to be done. I blame myself for killing the final victim's brother, when mercy might have sufficed. I blame myself for the sister of the dead man reacting in a way that was entirely predictable, and taking her life. I blame myself for not taking away her gun. But most of all I blame myself for not putting the other corpses on the vampire's pyre and condemning her to an unholy existence. Whether I consider them sins or merely failures does not take away from that."

He pauses for a moment, as if to gauge her expression, before continuing.

"I think that I put too little upon my shoulders Zia. This was supposed by my penance for an assault upon Ser Senra. I nearly 'killed' him in what was supposed to be a friendly match. And the worst part? All of this, everything I described, they are the least of my sins. I am a thoroughly loathsome creature, that is trying to become make amends for all of his past transgressions. And at every turn I find myself wanting."
Zia "Yer intentions were pure enough, tryin te protect the lass. The rest isnae somethin tha ye should consider yer fault." It's a rare thing when Zia can be so upset as to not eat, and right now, even with Skoll and Faruja's disappeance into the crowd tonight, she's not nearly bothered enough to excuse herself from food. Chewing a bite of the sandwich, she considers him with eyes that seem older than her apperance. By most measures, she might be a spare few years older than him, but appearances can be deceiving. "Those fighters choose te attack ye, yes? Ye didnae come te pick a fight wi' them. They knew the dangers, 'n they chose te attack ye anyways."

Between her fingers, she toys with a bit of fruit, "'n in all honesty, if one of them chose te take their own life, then tha's their own fool mistake. Nae matter wha happens in life, this is the only one we've got." Unlike Faruja and Persival, Zia comes from an older way of thinking, long before gods ruled from high places. "Their choices shouldnae be yers te grieve over."

With a sigh, the gargress draws some hair out of her face, leaning her head on one hand. "Ah dinnae see the world like ye and the good mouse do. Ah dinnae measure a person's worth by weighing their mistakes. 'N Ah certainly dinnae attribute the choices others make as personal failings. They chose their fate." She shrugs her shoulders then, shaking her head.

"The tournament brings out the worst in people. It's why choose nae te participate in it, though Ah respect the sacrifices ye all are makin te try te help those of m'world." Another bite of sandwich, another quick moment of thought before she continues. "Ah dinnae want te hear words like tha from yer mouth, lad. Ye think yer so terrible. Do ye think Faruja has never taken a life in the name of his god? There are very few pure lights in this world, lad. Ah wonder if ye still believe Ah'm one of them. Ah can tell ye, it isnae so. Ah have just as much blood on m'hands from m'own mistakes."
Percival Well, that was that. He couldn't exactly debate those points with her, because something deep inside of him he knows that all of it is true. He didn't even try to quibble about the details. Perhaps he knew that he couldn't argue with her, not because she was irrational, but because he knew from her words that she wouldn't judge him as he felt he ought to be.

"You're wrong only on two accounts. I don't measure anyone else's worth by their failures, by their sins. Just myself. Given all that I've done, what right do I have to judge others for what they've done? There's only a few circumstances by which I might do so, but I'm quick to forgive." Quick to forgive everyone but himself that is.

"The tournament does bring out the worst in people, yes. But the worst in me is not something that should ever see the light of day. It is a result of the consequences of my actions, my sin. Sometimes in battle, I simply lose myself. Its not because I'm angry, its not because of the adrenaline rush...I happens. And I lose all control. I don't even remember what happens afterwards." Perhaps he realizes that there was an implied command for him to eat, and he takes one small bite of the sandwich, before putting it back down, so as not to seem like he's disobeying.

"The sandwich is excellent." He mumbles in an aside fashion.
Zia The female gargoyle doesn't seem to mind being told that she's wrong, although she does lift her head to look at him curiously. "Ye should give yerself the same benefit of the doubt ye give others." She lets her eyes find him. "Two days ago, Ah failed te defend a temple tha the mouse 'n his people were tryin te excavate. It got overrun by an army of zombies. But ye know wha? It wasnae my fault. There isnae any way tha Ah could have stood against tha horde 'n not ended up joinin them. We all fail sometimes." Her fingers go to the little jar that hangs from her neck, touching it with the same tender touch that happens whenever she thinks of her parents.

Even his blackout bouts of rage seem not to bother her in particular. "Well, if ye turned green in the process, Ah might have an answer for ye." Yes, she just implied that he might be Bruce Banner. Her inner geek is showing. "In all seriousness, though, there has te be a reason for it. Ye could try te find somewhere safe, where ye can work wi' someone, try te figure out what triggers it. Wha'ever it is, Ah'm sure ye can figure out a way te overcome it, lad. Have faith."

Strange, from a girl who doesn't believe in any sort of god to be telling him to have faith. She offers him a smile though, reaching out towards him to touch his arm with one taloned hand. "There's a lot in this world tha we dinnae understand. But we'll never find answers if we dinnae look for them." Her mind goes back to that strange dream - the one where she had faced Valen, and her guilt over his death - the one where that growly voice had urged her on. Could it really have been Skoll?

The girl spaces out, clearly lost in her own thoughts.
Percival His fin-like ears flatten backwards, his posture sort of faltering somewhat. "I wish I could." And then he lets that thread of the conversation just drop to the wayside. She was just too understanding. Giving her the laundry list of his failures and sins would have just made him feel even worse when they're understanding. And it didn't help that Zia looked a great deal like 'her' either, except for the hair and her eyes. Luckily she was a princess, which kept his thoughts entirely pure and away from an even more heartbreaking subject for him.

Oh, her inner geek was showing. It made for a wonderful distraction away from the perfectly depressing topic at hand. "Hrm. Nay, not exactly like that, nor would I want it to be. Imagine the bills I'd rack up in purple pantaloons and trousers? The horror!"

He even cracked a little smile. "Well, maybe, under circumstances I could be entirely certain that noone would be hurt, except myself."

At her touch he lowers his gaze briefly. "Faith is a wonderful thing, Zia. But my faith is in others, not myself. Like you for example. You've been a good friend, and yet you barely know me. I've found that putting my faith in others is far easier than trusting in myself. You wondered that one time why I would offer you my protection? Oh its not because I think of you as a Princess. Even though I do, I know you'll deny it until you're positively 'blue' and out of breath."

He manages a sort of wan smile. "It is because I believe it gives worth to my existence. And if I can find worth in living, then I have faith that I might find myself one day, that I might overcome the darkness that lurks within, even if it only happens at the time of my death."
Zia "Aye, lad, but imagine how happy yer tailor would be te hear the news. Ye'd put his kids through college." Well, if there are even colleges anymore. Hrm. Zia still chuckles lightly. Humor is often how she defuses situations where things are tense, but for all the understanding there is in her eyes, there is also some measure of compassion.

"It's a thought. Keep it in mind. There's plenty of fiends and Heartless out there tha need a good beating, so there isnae any shortage of things fer ye te take such agressions out on in order te discover the truth of it." She certainly couldn't offer much, since the Shard Seekers had no real area for such combat practice. The last time, she'd nearly damaged some of the shrubbery in the gardens. At some point, she would have to ask them about adding some kind of room for sparing or something, or maybe renting some space. They are a clan now, afterall.

"Ah can prove it to ye." Zia speaks in a soft voice then, humor gone. Her hand moves back away from him, resting palm-up on the center of the table. Closing her eyes to focus, it takes barely a few seconds before a purple-black flame forms around her hand. It doesn't seem to harm her in any way, but it laps at her fingers, trying to catch at the table, but she keeps it within the curve of her talons. Darkness. It's possibly the one sure sign that she could not be a Princess of Heart. "Ah dinnae show this sort of thing te many, because they're all afraid of it." She closes her hand, extinguishing the black flame within it.

"Valen... he was a dark mage, but he saved me from meeting m'father's fate at the hands of the priest who kidnapped me. He didnae do it for m'own good, but because he wanted to use m'powers as his own. Ah guess... even after Ah killed him, some measure of his darkness still remains."
Percival Perci takes her advice in stride, and the humor. As she puts forth the magical display, he merely watches it impassively. His tail stills in its movements. After a time, his expression changes to a thoughtful one, as he laces the talons of his hands together, which come to rest on the table in front of him.

"You have my condolences, Zia. I wish that you did not have to suffer such." It may have seemed like empty sympathy, but the Gargoyle does truly seem sincere. He then takes a moment to gather his thoughts.

"Why should they be afraid of it, Zia? Darkness without malice is simply an impotent shadow. If I were to light a candle, would it not cast a deep shadow? Should I then be afraid of it, if it does not intend me harm? I'm not saying it can't be dangerous, but its the intent, and how it manifests which is more important."

He looks down at his hands. "I once found a little princess out in the desert. She was penitent and frightened. The darkness within her had consumed a great deal of her world. Do I have ever right to fear her, to hate her? Aye. But all I see is a girl trying to make amends, and she doesn't seem to be sure how. And then I got to thinking, what if it had been her destiny to be the destined Princess for her world? Why would a demon of such power be drawn to her? Does the brightest light not cast the darkest shadow? In the end, she gave in, but is that destiny not there still, waiting for her to be ready to embrace it?"

Percival chuckles. "Its a pretty thought at least. But I'm not God, I'm not omniscient, and I don't know the fates of my friends. All of faith, all of religion Zia, it is the 'hope' that what lay beyond is benevolent. And in a world of such suffering, if I don't have faith that the almighty is beneficient, then I think this world would become too terrible to bear. And if I have such faith in the almighty, then why should I not cling to the...." He actually grins a little bit. "....delusion that my two favorite princesses don't have an incredible destiny that lay before them to change this land."

Then he states in an idle, almost innocent tone. "I think you tend to prove it with every spindly Dark Elf, Heartless, and Zombie raising witch you 'zap'."
Zia "It isnae as simple as tha, but ye are right. The closer te the light ye get, the darker yer shadow becomes." These words were spoken by that voice in her dream, and she had felt it tug at her very soul. "But this darkness Ah have is nae jus' impotent shadow as ye would believe. Ah think there's some measure of it in everyone, but in those of us tha have it stronger, like this... it's jus' tha much harder te keep at bay. We all struggle wi' it, te a greater or lesser extent." Zia's bare shoulders rise in a shrug, and then she goes back to eating her sandwich, considering the story of the 'little princess'.

"Ye mean the girl, Leida." While Zia might not have spoken to her one on one, she had been one of those to strike her down during the battle for Manhattan. "Ah dinnae know what te say aboot her fate. The girl had great darkness in her, 'n it wouldnae take much for it te consume her again 'n turn her back inte our enemy. Like ye, Ah truly do hope the best for the lass, but Ah reserve my judgement te see where things fall." This is, perhaps, one of the few times she hasn't seemed understanding, the girl's tail twitching. "Ah apologise for tha, though, it's just... she's one of the ones tha destroyed our world. It isnae something Ah forgive easily, but Ah try te give the benefit of the doubt."

As he goes on to talk about suffering and faith, Zia shakes her head. "Ah wouldnae tell ye wha te believe, lad, but Ah can say tha when yer raised to see things differently, ye do. It is nae a terrible place, it is just what it is. Ah'd like te think tha there's a reason m'parents died, 'n fer all tha good people go through, but in the end... even if ye take some stock in fate, there is as much dark as there is light."

His words do bring a smile to her features though, bemused. "Ye and yer bloody princesses." She rolls her eyes then. "Ah dinnae know wha Ah'm goin te do wi' ye. Or the mouse, or the wolf. Yer all hopeless."
Percival "You're got a kind heart and a good soul Zia. Arguments of your purity not withstanding, I trust you. I don't believe the darkness controls you, as it does others. Nor do I think its temptation is so strong that you can't withstand it." Her words certainly don't fall flat upon him though. While his 'inner darkness' didn't exactly manifest as blackened flames, evil incarnate, or little heartless he could control, it was still there. Still strong, and the worst part is that he didn't even know when it was going to manifest. There was no 'temptation', there was no 'struggle' to maintain control. It just happened without his ability to even predict it.

All the talk made him realize that he was in fact, hungrier than his stoicism would have her believe, and so he began to eat the sandwich more in earnest. Besides, he had the feeling that she'd tan his hide if he even thought of wasting anything.

"Why should you have to apologize? My own friends say the same about, well, others, when some among us wish to give them the chance." He doesn't name names though as he isn't quite sure how Zia would react if she knew that Morrighan is being kept safe and sound from bounty hunters just because of a promise from one very prickly Frenchman.

"I'm quick to forgive, but that does not mean I don't understand that others may not be, that their feelings are not entirely justified. If you feel that way, then its best not to forgive, not to forget, but to still give them a chance to earn your forgiveness."

He actually manages a grin at Zia's perspective upon faith. "Oh aye. See things differently if you choose. I'm not Faruja. I'm definitely not going to start beating you over the head if you choose to be a heathen." He winks at her, to let her know he's not actually serious from the heathen remark "Its because I know history Zia, that I can take such a healthy look at the spirituality of others who believe differently than I do. And acknowledge that perhaps, the little details that each religion tends to get hung up upon are absurd, when instead they should be looking for and respecting the common ground in the beliefs of others."

Percival actually reaches out, and places a hand over hers. "My clan still holds to some of the old ways, and I never knew my sires. The entire clan, all of the elders, they were my parents. So I don't know how it feels. Nor do I know much about your ma or your da. Except for one thing. They raised a wonderful daughter, who reflects all of the best our kind has to offer to the world. And I'd like to think that wherever they are, they're in a good place, and are beaming with pride as they watch you."

His grin widens to the point where its from one fool ear to the next. "Oh I'm definitely hopeless, but its the best kind of hopeless, isn't it Princess?"
Zia What is it with people telling her she's a good person? It's not as if she doesn't know that already. Sure, she's got her own sets of faults, but the last thing she needs is a peptalk from a boy who was brooding over himself a few minutes ago. "Ach, enough'a tha, lad. Yer goin te make me melt from moosh. S' bad enough tha the mouse goes spewin on 'n on aboot m'grace 'n beauty wi' out you adding more te it."

"Ye know the funny part? The mouse never did try te convince me te change m'heathen ways." Which might come as a great surprise to many. Afterall, he was the first to charge into battle with the cry of 'heresy' on his lips, but among those who he called friends, the mouse rarely seemed to judge them based on his Church's ideas. "But Ah dinnae believe tha they're in some better place. M'da taught me aboot the 'Wind Ceremony'. Where the clan would set the ashes te flight, 'n glide out inte them, so some part of tha person would stay with each of them." She lifts the little pendant at her throat, then closes her hand around it. "Ah live in their honor, 'n tha's enough for me."

Of course, that's when he has to go and call her 'Princess'. Twitch. The white gargoyle plucks up a berry off of her plate, and holds it between two fingers. "Call me tha' again lad, 'n yer gettin berried in the eye." She waggles it mock-threateningly. Apparently, she dares to threaten him with the raspberry.
Percival Percival blinks several times, as if he were actually looking at her for the first time. Since he considered her to be a 'Princess' he didn't even look at those as qualities about her to even consider, what with her being so high above him. Maybe he just sort of assumed they were part of the princess package. And what did her being a good person have to do with 'grace' and 'beauty'? Oh right, Faruja was enamored with her and even briefly considered him to be competition. "Well you are..." He says before he thinks twice about it, else he might have kept his fool mouth shut. "...uh...all those things I mean." And then realizing how awkward that sounded, especially with the raspberry threat, he cringes just a little. "Please don't 'zap' me."

Its probably best to hurriedly change the subject. "Uh, anyhow, we had the wind ceremony as well. Ours was only slightly different from the ones of auld Scotland. A little more formal, but I think its pretty close to what you were taught." And then it the subject matter hits him, and he goes from his awkward flustered self into a sort of moody silence once again.
Zia The white gargress hangs her head in defeat. There is just no way of getting around it. Amusingly enough, she does so while still holding up the raspberry. By the time he finishes begging her not to zap him, she just looks up, narrows her eyes, and plinks the fruit at his nose. "Ah wouldnae 'zap' ye." Hrmph. She sighs then, propping her chin on one hand while plucking up a berry and eating it with the other. "Ah suppose Ah'm destined te be harried by young men who insist on tellin me aboot m'finer points." She laughs once, dryly. "Maybe Ah should have jus stayed in Manhattan."

When he goes on to speak about how his clan had their own varation of the same old ceremony, it comes as some small comfort to know that her father's ways were not completely lost to these larger clans. "Hey." She notices the shift in his mood. "Stop it. Tonight is 'sposed te be aboot celebration. We saved an entire city, 'n ye played an important role in tha. Dun forget tha there's a good number of people out there tha owe their lives te ye. M'self included. Ah couldnae have fought up there on m'own."
Percival "I...I know. We did a good thing out there. The doom and gloom isn't about that, its just that I was thinking about the last Wind Ceremony I attended." He pats Zia's hand briefly before retracting it. It apparently wasn't his favorite memory. He really didn't want to talk about that though, so he decided to shift the doom and gloom elsewhere.

"You know, I actually lost control in the battle against that insane 'Elf'. I think it took me days to get the taste of his flesh out of my system. It was absolutely putrid." He hoped that would adequately deflect the subject given the rather vile topic.
Zia It doesn't take much for Zia to think back to the last one that she'd attended, although it might have been decades before the one that lurks in Percival's mind. Her one hand still lingers near that pendant at her throat. "Aye. For all it is a fittin farewell, it is never easy." She doesn't push him on that, knowing all too well what it is like to lose someone important. Maybe he wouldn't understand what losing a parent meant to her, but clearly he had lost someone.

"Ah would imagine tha such a creature wouldnae be very tasty. Maybe ye should consider nae bitin strange things. Ye might come home with somethin ye dinnae want." She teases, trying to keep the conversation light so that he doesn't drift back into angst mode. It isn't hard to imagine his stone sleep form as the brooding gargoyle. "The last thing Ah want te be dealin with is a rabid gargoyle te go along wi' a wolf wearin a control collar and a mouse gettin himeslf beaten up every second day."
Percival "Fortunately I don't remember it going down. I think I'd still be puking my fool guts out otherwise. I'll take your advice to heart though. I'll only be biting familiar things from now on." Any connotations that might have been gleaned to that statement appeared to be entirely innocent. Perci rolls his shoulders forward, his wings lifting a good deal off them, before coming to rest once again. "Aha! Well unlike Ser Senra, I only come home bruised, battered, and beaten half to death every 'three' days. I can't speak as to whether you'll need a control collar or not for me though. I'd prefer it not come to that."
Zia "As long as ye dinnae go tryin te take a bite outta me lad. Ah've got enough scars wi'out addin yer teethmarks te it." For all the marks might be seen as grave disfigurements by many gargoyles, especially those who realize how difficult it is to permamently damage a gargoyle's skin, Zia doesn't seem too bothered by them. To her, it's a mark of what she's lived through, rather than something that detracts in any way. She does keep them covered though, if only to avoid too many questions. "Ah've been known te eat some strange things, but Ah tend te avoid things tha talk if Ah can help it."

She looks at him with the faintest hint of a smirk on her lips. "Well, a lass can be thankful for small favors." The sounds of the party still going on outside cause one of her ears to perk. "Anyways, Ah should get back out there before loose track of all m'possible dance partners tonight." Pushing to her feet, Zia steps past him, laying a hand to his shoulder and offering a smile. "Jus'... try nae te be so hard on yerself. Yer a good person at heart, 'n Ah'm goin te be here te remind ye of tha. Nae matter how long it takes te sink in."
Percival "Ah, Zia." Percival chuckles. "What am I ever going to do with 'you'? Here I am attempting not to melt you with 'moosh' as you put it, and yet you just keep extolling your beauty." Percival grins, and winks to indicate he's not serious, before explaining. "In my clan, scars were considered extraordinarily attractive. Both amongst the males and the females. My mentor? He'd lost an eye in his youth and he used to jest that's what attracted his mate to him. Right before she knocked his head sideways."

Chuckling, he returns the smirk. "Nevertheless, since you seem to be a very 'modest' beauty, I shall try to refrain from biting you, truly I shall."

It might have seemed a little flirtatious, but it was more friendly in truth. If he were actually attempting to be flirtatious he'd probably be a flustered, awkward wreck who wouldn't even know how to broach the subject.

And then a smile actually graces his lips, and it actually seems genuine. "Oh aye. You shouldn't keep the lads waiting, they're like to gather in a mob if you don't. And as tempting as it is to take up more of your time, I don't think I'd enjoy being lynched. As it stands, I may still be burned in effigy."

He makes a shooing motion, but still adds in... "Thank you. You're a good friend, Zia."

This scene contained 18 poses. The players who were present were: Zia, Percival