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No title.
(2013-03-15 - Now)
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Percival The Wind Ceremony was done.

The russet-skin Gargoyle felt as if his heart had been lightened from the experience. While untold burdens still lay weighted upon his shoulders, he was in better spirits than he'd been in ages. Normally he might have feared coming so close to Avira, as he thought that the Rapier that had been forced upon him by a curse would lead them straight to them. It hadn't alerted Hades in the underworld though, and with his lightened spirits came a dormancy within it that he hadn't seen before.

He liked Cornelia immediately upon arrival. He'd never been there, but it had a sort of rustic charm to the village that lay just outside its palatial castle.

The Gargoyle may have acted the fool most of the time, but he had taken to /some/ of the lessons from his SIS allies. A few questions around the local residents outside and inside the city walls allowed him to locate her in short order. Still, in lieu of her advice to keep his distance earlier, he didn't actually try to speak to her. When he discovered what room at the inn she was staying at, he took up a perch upon the roof, just above it. He didn't look inside to watch her, but kept track of her by the sounds and flickering shadows lit by lamp/firelight inside the room. He didn't know which, as he hadn't looked inside.

After a time, he began to relax, and seat himself on the edge of the roof. And there came his slip up. His legs and tail were just long enough, that Avira might catch the talons upon his feet, and the tip of his tail swaying around just outside the window if she looked closely enough.

Noone ever said he was actually good at this stuff, and here was the proof.
Avira Despite the severe capacity the woman had for causing trouble and bringing misfortune to everywhere she went (especially lately), Avira did know how to maintain a low profile. When she went out, she disguised herself, wearing long sleeved clothing and keeping the bottom half of her face covered. Due to her scars, disguises revolved around hiding as much of her distinctive skin as possible.

Still, to know that she had the gargoyle keeping watch over her now brought her peace-peace that she didn't have in the past few days. She never realized how much she'd miss being able to sit down and enjoy a meal or take a nap before. Life on the run was hell.

She had fetched herself some dinner earlier, though was thoroughly viewed as odd when she requested that she take her meal with her instead of eating it in the inn. In light of all that happened yesterday, it felt a little weird to be dining alone.

But after a while, she notices something odd outside her window and a smile creeps up upon her face. Seems she wasn't entirely alone after all. Standing, she heads to the window and carefully opens it up. Avira stretches upwards, reaching up with outstretched fingers and starts to poke the bottoms of Percival's feet.

She knows it's him due to his earlier words...and the particular shade of his skin.
Percival And she learns very quickly that the Gargoyle is ticklish. "Ohoho...Oh!"

It startles him so much that the big galoot began to slide off the roof, scrambling to turn himself around and catch hold of the ledge with his arms. Once he had, he'd slowly lower himself down to face level, while still freehanging to give her an embarassed look. He was smiling at least. "Uh. All right Lady Avira? So good to see you again. Would you mind terribly if I imposed on your hospitality?"

Assuming she did, he would reach with a single arm to grasp her windowsill before climbing inside. If she didn't, he'd literally stay there, freehanging. Luckily it didn't seem to strain him all that much.
Avira "Hee hee hee.." Avira giggles as the gargoyle starts to squirm and slip off the roof. She doesn't seem concerned at all about him getting hurt. Having personally fought a gargoyle in the form of Brooklyn, she knows they're very tough.

She withdraws her hands as he slides down to dangle at her face level. "I'm doing fine, thank you." She grins, eyes filled with amusement at his embarassment. "Please, Percival, come in."

As she sidesteps, she'll even offer him a hand to take and pull himself by into her room.

Her accomodations are modest, with little more than a bed and a desk. There is, of course, no plumbing to be had in this place but such little details don't need much elaboration.

"How long have you been here? Since our conversation on the radio?"
Percival The Gargoyle would take her hand with a nod of thanks in appreciation, climbing inside. His wings would be folded upon his shoulders, furling them like a cloak, as his eyes briefly sweep the room. He didn't trust any of the shadows in her room.

She'd notice him starting to lower himself, but then hesitating, and stopping himself to rise to a standing position. It was almost a reflex for him to kneel to anyone of higher rank than himself as Faruja found out not long ago. Instead he puts a hand across his chest, and bows a fraction to her. "Only a few hours. It took a while for me to fly here from Fluorgis. There was something important I had to do."

He'd start to walk about the room, peering into every corner and examining every stray shadow. At times she'd hear sniffing, as if he were trying to smell whether anything was out of place. He wasn't shifting aside anything, but he was now currently bending down to look under the desk and her bed. "How are you feeling? Even a short time in the Underworld was harrowing for us, I can only imagine how it must have been for you."
Avira Within the room, Avira seems to be at peace. Seems she truly believes she's safe here for once. The shadows cast by the candles lighting the room don't bother her in the least.

Percival will see on the desk are the remains of Avira's dinner. Seems she has a small set of metal silverware and plates with her, kept for camping situations most of the time.

She notices him moving oddly and quickly realizes that he's starting to lower himself to one knee. She reaches out after him, but he hesitates and sticks to a formal bow instead. Avira seems relieved and accepts this.

"I see. A visit with Zia?" She turns to watch as he inspects her room. Fortunately, he will find nothing. No lurking followers of darkness, no Heartless waiting to drag her away. Nothing but regular shadows.

Reminded of her time in the Underworld, Avira shudders. "Seeing what I saw down there was...was awful. You could say that they gave me a tour before caging me in Hades's room. I realize that the place saps the strength of the living, but I think my contract with Hades prevented that at the time."

Avira wraps her arms around herself and looks at the ground. "I think the worst part was being chained like a dog the whole time."
Percival He'd pull himself up by the desk, with his palm, making certain his talons didn't scrape it. He didn't want to get Avira in trouble with the proprietors! "In a way. She was part of the ceremony."

He looked visibly relieved that nothing was lurking, but some paranoia lingering in his mind made that all the more frightening The Armored Elf he'd encountered had such mastery over the darkness that it wouldn't suprise the Gargoyle if he were here and couldn't detect his presence.

The Gargoyle would notice her discomfort, and walk over to her, placing a hand upon her shoulder. "Whatever horrors you saw, what you had to endure. If you ever want to talk about it, I'm here. If I could have suffered in your place, I would have done so without hesitation." He would try to smile reassuringly, but it was his eyes that gave away his thoughts. There was too much sorrow within them. They'd all had to face their inner demons there, and he had more than most who walked in that lightless land so devoid of cheer.

On her last statement though, another hand would fall upon her opposite shoulder, as he would stare her right in the eyes. "Avira. That is how sordid, wicked, spiteful little men react when faced with true beauty. They can only think to jape and belittle everything that makes them better and more special than they. They can't create, they can only destroy that brilliance in their insecurity. You are beautiful now, and you were beautiful in your other form. I know that seems empty words to you given what you thought of your appearance but it is the /truth./ And if I have to tell it to you every day for the rest of your life, I shall."
Avira "Ceremony?" she keeps her questions hinging upon her curiosity casual. They are not demands. It is a casual, bonding sort of chat Percival is clearly welcome to pick and choose.

His inspection finished, he joins her to offer a reassuring hand upon her shoulder. "It', it was something I had to experience itself. In a way it was kind of my punishment too." She looks him in the eye, "And there is no way you should be enduring my punishment."

There was something bothering him though. That look in his eyes was distant and focused on something that had clearly upset him quite a bit. Avira herself had been lead past the same rivers and chambers. She experienced her own version, though populated with her own more recent regretful history and visions of Manhattan remaining lost because of her.

Her arms unfold to hang at her sides when he puts his other hand upon her other shoulder. Speaking of her appearance, her face reddens not only with flattery, but a little shame as well. Her other mutate form...she hadn't saw it as beautiful at all, but others clearly did. "I...I..." she seems only able to withstand his gaze for a little while before turning her eyes away. One of her hands moves up to rest upon one of his. "N-no, they don't feel empty at all. I was ignored most my life, Percival. My appearance was forgettable...and that life was forgetable."
Percival One of his hands would slide away. Mayhaps it was only so the gesture wouldn't be misinterpreted as having a different intent.

He would continue to smile, before his hand other hand would slide away, and he'd begin to pace around the room. "Your punishment? You made a mistake, you were tricked. It may have been a foolish decision, but if they punished people for a small touch of foolishness I'd imagine Will would have lynched me already. When you were compelled to attack us, it was not by choice. It was never by choice, and we /know/ that. You do not deserve to suffer as I do."

A sigh. Still he was smiling, but he wouldn't look at her. "It is known as the Wind Ceremony. It is a ceremony that my kind hold in memoriam of the departed. Her name was Gwyndolyn. She was my rookery sister, we grew up as friends, and I imagine that our clan considered us unholy terrors."

A throaty sort of chuckling. "She was like you, in a lot of ways. A formidable warrior, for I could never best her. She was whimsical, with a humor that few understood other than myself. She was kind to me when few others would be to a quiet, eccentric hatchling. She was never considered the most beautiful amongst all of the females in our clan. But she was beautiful. And modest too. So fierce was she in the defense of that modesty that those who soon tried to court her on the basis of beauty alone would find themselves knocked on their arse." He'd look back at her then. "She died gallantly eight years past. Such a craven was I that I never could tell her how I felt. There was no courtship between us."

He'd look away again. "I don't know what I was thinking, after a rifleman's bullet cut short her life. 'Twas misplaced vengeance perhaps, but I turned upon a cowering boy who had already surrendered. He'd tripped me up when I'd tried to save her, and her Knightly master ended the one who had taken her life already. I blacked out, and then the boy was naught but a mangled corpse."

Lines of regret marked his face, as he looked away again. "I don't know what I was thinking, all of those years ago. I hadn't attended the Wind Ceremony held in her honor, only saved a pinch of her ashes. I'd thought.. I'd thought that I didn't even deserve my memories of her, for my sin had wiped everything about her that was beautiful from my mind."

And then he'd give her a sheepish, embarassed look. "Perhaps in Mercade and you, I saw something of the two of us. He was so hesitant to express his feelings. You were so heroic, and beautiful that I couldn't think of aught other than her. I tried to push him and you together, because I was so /afraid/ that the same thing would happen to either of you. That you would lose each other without knowing how the other felt, and when you were brought to the Underworld it seemed as if my worst fears had come to life..."

He looked back at her, smiling wanly. "It seems my fears were misplaced, Lady Avira. I'm happy for you both."
Avira Given how thoroughly that Percival pushed for Mercade to step in and admit whatever feelings had been held for her, these gestures are interpreted as just that. Gesures, nothing more, no signal of intent in spite of the words.

"Punishment." she interrupts gravely. "For that moment of weakness. There were so many other things I should have done besides make that deal with Hadeds." Her gaze becomes distant. "But that, as you said, where I was turned against those I care about-I agree, I resisted where I could. I obeyed not because I wanted to."

Much to her surprise, she receives an explanation for the mention of ceremony, revealing a rather intimate piece of gargoyle culture she was unaware of-though come to think of it: "Rookery? Ah..I'm sorry, there's still quite a lot I don't know about gargoyles."

She doesn't interrupt again for quite some bit, letting him reflect fondly on his departed fellow gargoyle and potential lover. Percival would notice that she's blushing again to be compared to someone he no doubt thought of so highly.

"So that's why you think you are a wretch. And that's why you pushed Mercade so hard to admit his feelings." she reflects, moving to the gargoyle. Reaching up, she touches one of his cheeks as if to take his attention back to her, though he is already in the process of looking back at her.

"Mind you...while we could have both done without being put on the spot to disclose our feelings, were it not for your intervention and help, history could very well have been repeated. This week has not been my finest hour. You and the others have been my strength when I have been weak these past few days."

She looks down to the ground. "It makes me wonder, Percival. Why me? My heart is not pure and filled with light. Not like that of other people I know." Even the aforementioned Zia, whom Avira was convinced was the Princess of Heart earlier, as Percival would know.
Percival The Gargoyle would take in a deep breath as she replied at first, putting his hands behind his back, just over his waist and behind his wings. His tail would lash uneasily upon the ground. "We all have our moments of weakness, Lady Avira. People find completeness in others. You were worried that you would always be as you were. You were frightened of what others would think of you. Your weakness did not /kill/ anyone. Your weakness did not mar how anyone feels about you. We all understand." His eyes would become suddenly sad. "I am not trying to compare myself to you. There is no comparison. There is no suffering that I won't deserve when I pass on. Please don't think you deserve anything like that which awaits me. Not for a mistake, not for a single moment of weakness." There was a touch of desperation in his voice as he spoke.

When she asked about Gargoyle culture, he would explain patiently. Chuckling. "It may seem strange to most humans, but Gargoyles do not know their parents. So few of us are born, and it takes so long for us to hatch. We are raised by our clan as a whole. We may be able to guess at our sires but we do not treat them any differently. All of the elders are my parents. All of the hatchlings are my younger siblings. All that hatched at the same time as I are my rookery brothers and sisters. We are close, but we are not related by blood, for only one egg is laid at a time by a mated pair. When it comes time for us to mate, it is much like marriage amongst humans. Nearly always do we mate for life."

When she speaks her affirmation of why he pushed Mercade to admit his feelings, he'd look away, nodding sadly. Much to his suprise, she approached her and touched his cheek. After a short time, he'd begin to smile anew. "The week isn't over, Lady Avira. I'm thinking that tomorrow will be so glorious that your brilliance will wash away all else."

The Gargoyle knew why Zia wasn't the Princess now, or at least had confirmation that she wasn't. He had suspicions as to the reason why, but he didn't see her as any less of a Princess, any less special. Still, he wouldn't break her trust by revealing that unto others. Taking her other hand in both of his, he would grin. "Why you? As I said earlier. People find completeness in others. Who else would inspire such loyalty that nearly a dozen souls would brave perdition itself to rescue you. Mayhaps..." He would point then to her chest, just over the area of her heart. "....mayhaps your light may seem dim to you, to you whom is self-conscious of every moment of weakness. But we see something glorious. I see it in Lady Maira's eyes, when she speaks of you. I hear it in Mercade's voice. I see it in all that you will do for your friends. And I /know/ you were chosen. That does not make others lesser in their brilliance. I told Lady Maira that some are fated to be a hero, but I think it is just as heroic, if not moreso to /choose/ to be one like herself. You have different roles, and there is equal heroism in each. You are meant to be a beacon of light unto others. And it is our role to spread that light elsewhere, and to beat back those that would quench your light."
Avira Frowning, Avira rubs the side of her upper arm. " I didn't kill anyone...but my motives were so shallow. I didn't believe they wouldn't accept me as a mutate. I didn't listen when the likes of Mercade and Maira said that they would. All I could think of was people staring at me in disgust. People pointing out how unnatural it was. I wouldn't even believe it when people thought my mutated body was...beautiful."

Skoll had actually liked it the whole time, she had learned, which brings a fresh wave of guilt to her. He would have wanted her to live with herself as she was had he learned her cure didn't fully work.

But Percival makes an important point. She fortunately had not killed anyone in the process. The thought makes her shiver. "Percival, perhaps we should both agree that we are punishing ourselves for our sins far more than anybody else would do it for us. And now..." she looks up at him, "I cannot change what happened to me, Percival, but you do have control over what happens in your future. Please don't let your guilt take you away from us."

Gargoyle culture, turns out, is truly fascinating. No mother and father? Gargoyles raised as a flock? Mating for life? "All the while hiding your very existance from humans. I didn't even know your kind existed until after our world was eaten by Heartless. ...the first time." But with this explanation comes sadness. The departed gargoyle he speaks of was no doubt intended to be his mate.

Avira reddens anew when he speaks of tomorrow. Another saturday. They couldn't wait any longer-they HAD to initiate Manhattan's restoration. It was likely that if the Shadow Lords captured her again, they wouldn't keep her, but kill her on the spot to ensure the world was lost for good. "...I will do everything I can to see Manhattan restored..." she murmurs.

Her hand taken in his, she looks up into his eyes. She is confused, perhaps bewildered why she was 'chosen'. Percival points to her Heart and Avira looks down. "So what you're saying is...the thoughts of others put me in this position?" There's an unreadable look upon her face. "It''s funny. In spite of knowing Will, I never really bought in to the whole fate thing. After Brooklyn was destroyed and I arrived in Ivalice, I had vowed to start my life anew and make something of myself. Not necessarily heroic but...something. And I was willing to work to get there."

In fact, she was still working to get there. Now, though, it seemed the stakes were higher. Now it was doubly important that she was able to defend herself. She half smiles. "When it comes to power and influence, Percival, I like to earn it."

This scene contained 12 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Percival