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No title.
(2013-03-18 - 2013-03-19)
No description.
Zargabaath Riku strangely couldn't remember going to sleep and there was strangely no nightmare left to taunt his unconscious hours so when he wakes up almost a full day and a half after the events that transpired in a darkened and lost Manhattan he isn't quite sure where he is. He's not sure even if he is truly awake or not.

There was something missing that he couldn't quite place that puzzled him. He looked around and swung his legs over the side of the bed only to find that they would barely support him. He yelped, grabbing the side before he toppled onto his face and stared wide eyed at his lack of balance. He didn't feel anything like that exhausted. In fact.. he actually.. felt .. good? His hand burned all the way up his arm and shoulder like he'd been laying it out in the sun for too long and his memory was.. mostly a blank, just smears of color and snatches of words after. Manhattan had been restored right? He's fairly certain of this because otherwise he would be dead. "I guess Sora can manage not to screw up after all.." he chuckles, though it makes his chest ache to do so.

He can still dimly glimpse smears of light beyond the walls and nearly falls out of bed again at a sudden flare so close to his face. He grabbed up the bag that was tucked away near him and read the small note inside. 'Use sparingly'.

Riku looked confused until he finally realized what was missing. The constant, gnawing edge of hunger that had flickered across his mind for months and driven him to distraction and halfway to madness was.. gone from his life. Riku sat in bed, putting a hand out in front of him. He summoned a small blue flame into his hand and then extuinguished it.

It hadn't just abruptly left him then.

Riku felt guilty for a moment of relief in an uneasy disappointment. The crystals, whatever they were, were starting to give him a headache though so he stuffed them far back so he wouldn't have to look at them but he could still vaguely feel them, like sunlight on his skin until he tried getting back up again. He took a few unsteady steps and then moved around a little to reorient himself. Once he knew where he was, he knew where to go, and made his way towards that room with a mind to remember landmarks so that he could make his way back.

The irony is sort of not lost on Riku and so it's with a great sense of chagrin that he knocks on the door where Judge Magister Zargabaath is still supposed to be recovering. He figures it would be at least a place to start.
Zargabaath "Enter."

The quiet authority in the voice beyond the door reveals that Riku has the right room, and that the Judge of Reason has indeed kept to his promise.

Once the door is opened, the room is substantially more bright than the scene almost the week before. The drapes have been pulled open and a window left just slightly ajar to air out the room. The bed closest to the window has been made but clearly unslept in. The other has clearly been used recently, and the occupant of said bed is currently sitting in a chair between the two beds.

Judge Magister Zargabaath is not wearing a shirt at the moment and only a loose-fitting pair of pants tied around the waist by a cord is keeping him decent, though a pair of sandals seem loosely tied around his feet. He doesn't seem too worse for wear, but bandages are still wrapped around his arms and lower torso, and undoubtedly around his thighs as well if the apparent extra padding is of any indication.

The Judge of Reason leans back in his chair with a faint but warm smile on his completely unbandaged face. Riku may notice very faint scars stretching from the Judge Magister's chin and fanning out over the right side of his face into his hairline, but Zargabaath does not seem to notice it himself. "Riku. I am glad to see you again. How fare you?"
Zargabaath Riku's face and arms are still faintly.. off. A faint discoloration of purple and black that has nothing to do with bruising.

The light shifts as he moves and it strengthens or fades to nothing depending on how he moves. He leans against the wall just near the door, looking in good humor but also fairly exhausted. "..I just came to see how you were doing, your honor. I.." he chuckles and then admits.

"I.. did a couple of stupid things to end up here. So I'm not exactly strictly a visitor again." he snorts faintly, crossing his arms.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath notices the discoloration in Riku's exposed skin, notes how the light reacts as he moves, but does not call attention to it. There is a time and a place for such questions, and this is neither. He is pleased that Riku at least seems more alert than he's ever been in his presence before, and that is good enough for the time being.

He inclines his head with a low chuckle. "Ahh, I see. Then I thank you for the visit, indeed. 'Tis better than dealing with my aides and officers attempting to scheme my 'escape' back to the Alexander." He drops his voice with no small measure of amusement. "I do believe they are taking my slow recovery worse than I am."

He motions for Riku to take a seat on the bed, pull up a chair, something other than lean against the wall halfway across the room. Clearly, the Judge of Reason does not fear him nor what he could do. "I trust you accomplished what you set out to do?"
Zargabaath Riku smiles with a moment of something like wistfulness as he listens to the Judge Magister talk. He moves over to a chair now that he's been invited to do so, seeming to be caught up in somewhat of vague half nervousness that he isn't entirely able to cope with at the moment.

He also seems slightly out of focus because of how long it takes him to formulate a response and make his way across the room to the chair itself. He surripitously grabs onto the back of the chair, levering himself down into it with a faint sigh of relief.

"They've probably got really..uh.." he pauses, then continues. " 'creative' by this point, driven halfway up the wall like that." Riku looks faintly conflicted as he tries to puzzle out what to say. He rubs the bridge of his nose and sighs. "..and yeah. I mean.. I guess I survived it. That's.. that's more than I was expecting right when I was doing it."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath emits a low humming rumble, not quite a chuckle or anything else of the sort. It sounds both amused and annoyed all at once. "Their ideas have become increasingly elaborate. I must admit, I admire their loyalty, but their zealousness is misplaced. I will return to the skies once it is time, and any sooner would invite folly upon myself. I shall not put them through such an ordeal a second time so soon if I can prevent it."

He falls silent for a time, his gaze evaluating the boy sitting across from him. This is different than that calm stare Riku endured during the training bout, which was more akin to a piercing laser into the core of one's soul. Instead, this is more gentle, more akin to accepting what is stated without missing any cues to what is unsaid.

"Yet something bothers you even now." A vocal observation, a question within a statement. He shifts in his chair to get more comfortable, smoothly hiding a wince as healing wounds protest too much movement. "May I ask what happened?"
Zargabaath "My best friend doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. He'll continue to talk long after the point his foot is lodged straight in his stomach." Riku says this with a tone of well worn and familiar annoyance.

"So it's... always been. I keep to myself. I choose what to say, and how.. and that's how /I've/ always been." he frowns slightly. "..this has since gotten me nothing but trouble." he shakes his head. "So honestly?" he pauses and then continues.

"Here? In Archades were information is money? Where I'm not sure I CAN say without...having to deal with the consequences? I don't know what to tell you." he rubs the back of his head and stares up at the ceiling.

"Avira and the TDA and VALKYRI and pretty much everyone who has been trying to restore Manhattan went into the city to.. I don't know. Wake it back up again. The place.." he shakes his head. "The place was nearly consumed by the heartless. Only some magical spell kept us safe from them.. for most of the trip."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath listens silently, his expression neutral yet not blank nor stony. He regrets not being able to be there himself, but if he cannot even return to the Alexander, there was no possible way to excuse his presence in such matters. Besides, it seems likely that those who seek restoration do not trust him... as well they shouldn't, truth be told.

"Allow me to put one concern at rest." He leans forwards, supporting his upper torso on his elbows upon the armrests of his chair. "Right now, you are in Flurogis, in a hospital room where none save yourself and His Honor Gabranth realize who I am and my standing accordingly. And speaking as a born Archadean, such a system works best only when secrets are kept and not all information is disseminated amongst the populace. Otherwise, everyone already knows everything and information loses all value."

He smiles a bit. "I believe it is safe to say that anything you tell me, regardless of location, will be kept in complete confidence with two exceptions: if you allow otherwise, or if I am compelled to share information with those of equal or higher rank than myself." As that list is quite short, it is the best guarantee the Judge of Reason can reasonably make.

He leans back with a low exhale, his mind already picturing the scene Riku describes of Manhattan's state. The thought of absolute darkness crawling with Heartless not only makes his skin crawl, but draws a deep frown onto his features. "And the spell..." His head tilts to the side in thought, drawing upon what very little he understands of magick. "...Am I to understand that it failed somehow? Or was it dispelled?"
Zargabaath Riku still has a vaguely conflicted look on his face. The miscoloration churns under the surface of his skin like the shadows of clouds against the landscape.

If he has noticed this, he keeps it to himself as he presses a hand to his head. "I don't know. That's.. Sora's thing." and try as he might, he can't keep a tone of bitter resentment out of his voice as he says that. "I was.. not really paying attention." he takes in a shuddering breath and then slowly lets it out.

"You see the light that was protecting us the whole way? ...It went out, and what had to be a million heartless suddenly knew where we were.. and who we were." he pauses a moment, and then punctuates that statement with a word. "/Food/."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath's frown pulls back from his teeth in an unchecked grimace that is not from his healing wounds. He is not unfamiliar with the Heartless, has fought them quite a few times since the World of Ruin was formed, and every encounter has only proven out his distaste for the beings. But specifically for the Heartless themselves--the Darkness is given healthy respect for its unchecked power, as past personal experience even before the Heartless have attested to.

"Aye. I understand." He inhales deeply, using the moment to utterly neutralize his expression despite chagrin of his own surfacing on his face for a moment. Under such circumstances, trying to figure out 'how' something was able to occur is... less than ideal, to say the least. And sounds quite foolish to even ask after the fact.

The Judge of Reason says nothing more, his gaze steady on Riku to indicate his interest in the topic but not pressing for more details. The boy will tell the tale his way in his time.
Riku "The others protected Sora and Avira.."

Riku looks at Zargabaath for a long time in silence. Takes in what he has done and said before. Eventually the teenager turns his eyes away, looking into the middle distance.

"Whatever they did worked. They.. restored Manhattan and drove away the heartless before they could overwhelm us. And.. eventually I ended up back here." he snorts quietly.

"I was so determined to see this done. So I.. pushed a little too hard."
Zargabaath The Judge of Reason's brow furrows, but otherwise his expression changes little. Is this why...?

"How so, Riku?"

Zargabaath has his suspicions, but experience has taught him that 'assumption' does not equal 'truth'.
Riku Riku stares at the Judge Magister in silence with his hands in his lap for a long minute, and then another.

He takes in a deep breath and lets it out very slowly, distinctly uncomfortable. He rubs the back of his neck, raking his fingers very lightly through his hair as he looks off at the far wall. When he looks back at the Judge Magister, he is looking at the faint scarred lines.

His eyes narrow slightly but more in remembered pain and reluctance. "Because.." and he lets that sentence trail off. His fingers slowly curl into the palms of his hands and he nods to himself very slightly.

Just this once. "..Because I never truly escaped the darkness that consumed my home. I took a part of it with me. And the cost of.. holding back several hundred heartless from those I have wronged.. is suffering their hunger for light." he points at Zargabaath's face.

"That.. your honor.. is the consequence of.. failing willpower in the face of starvation."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath nods slowly, understanding clear in his expression. He does not acknowledge his new facial scars even when Riku points them out, but his bare torso has varying shades of scarring here-and-there--which in turn make it clear that he is no stranger to wounds leaving a mark.

The ones on his face, though, are definitely unique in how they were obtained, he must admit.

"I had thought so," he states quietly. Time to give as he has been given. "When we sparred, I saw it. Nay, not just that. I felt it." He closes his eyes for a moment, the lids replaying the entire experience in moments time. "And I understood. You were holding back not only to protect me, but to protect this." He lifts one hand and taps his chest, over his heart. "Yourself."
Riku Riku nods soberly, the tension going out of his shoulders.

He doesn't collapse back into the chair but he begins to let himself sit not as straight as before, slipping down a little further into the chair and letting out a quiet exalation.

"Yes." he nods in agreement, craning his head up to look at the ceiling. "..and I've come... very close." he chuckles quietly.

"And most of them within the last month or so. Imagine my chagrin." he shakes his head. "I just keep finding the trouble I look for, your honor."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath chuckles kindly. "Indeed. Trouble is easily found if earnestly sought."

He bows his head, regret tinging his features. "And on that note, I must apologize for pushing you as hard as I did. I believed I knew what I was getting us into, and in my pride I endangered us both. My sorry state," he motions to himself almost carelessly, "is a just punishment for such arrogance."

He holds up one hand pre-emptively. "And do not say that I did not know better, because I did. Whether it be my experiences training His Honor Gabranth, or my experiences with the Darkness ever since, I had no excuse then and I make none now."
Riku Riku rubs his arm with one hand. "Your honor. I.. have had worse trials, from the those who cared much less." a haunted look flickers across his eyes for a moment and he shakes his head.

"I am.. perhaps quite fortunate to have been drawn here." he scoffs faintly. "I do not believe anywhere is truly safe, but if you and his honor Gabranth would continue to teach me.. then I can face unpleasant evitability a little easier."

He pauses, and then says. "And perhaps sleep a little easier."
Zargabaath It is Judge Magister Zargabaath this time who is silent stretching minutes, his gaze unfocusing during that time to seemingly stare at nothing and no-one in particular. It is a look of one deep in thought, evaluating and weighing all options to come to an ultimate decision.

When he does speak again, it is a slow and ponderous tone as if each word holds importance. "I would be glad to teach you, Riku, if such is your wish."

His gaze shifts towards the window, gazing past the glass to the skies beyond. "My only request is that you do your best to not reveal the full nature of your powers when a part of my fleet." He looks back at Riku, his voice emphasizing the point as firmly yet gently as possible. "They are used to those who call upon Darkness, but Heartless are an entirely different matter."
Riku "Your honor. If I don't have to use them at ALL." Riku pushes himself onto his feet, almost overcompensates and pitches sideways as his legs declare sudden intention to fold.

"ACK. Gods.. that would be NICE." he swears softly. "It would be /nice/ to just be.." he snarls out the end of that sentence, cutting it off with a wave of his hand as he becomes suddenly flustered.

Yeah. It would be nice to be able to sleep for once, but that's not going to happen either.

Riku sighs, rubbing his face. "..your honor. I am going back to my room before I pitch over. May I be excused?"
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath sharply halfway rises out of his chair as Riku destabilizes upon trying to stand, but the boy catches himself without needing assistance. The Archadean slowly sinks back into his chair, ignoring his body's complaints about the sudden movement.

He does not press further even with the hanging sentence, starting to learn what topics to chase and which ones to file away for later discussion. This is distinctly the latter.

"Of course." He smiles reassuringly, his eyes not quite hiding his own weariness. "Until next we meet, Riku, be well."

This scene contained 20 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Zargabaath