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(2013-03-21 - 2013-03-22)
A long walk. A decision to trust. A.. great deal of exposition.
The Judge Magister has been rather busy. Meetings, letters written, handling some final things in Rabanastre before coming back to Archades. Doing this for Lord Vaybe, doing that for the Senate, and seeing the Emperor Gramis Solidor's wishes.

The life for Gabranth is never slow, nor is it for any judge magister. They are all always moving and going. Being sent to do missions, tasks, handle law enforcement, and even sometimes reminding those under Archadian rule of who is in charge.

Yet sometimes, small moments of quiet can come. They come in very small passings of time. When you can sit down and stare at old memories. So Gabranth did. He sat at his desk with his armor off. His arms resting on the desk with his chin on his arms. A thirty six year old man, watching an old music box play a soft melody like a child. His blue eyes staring at it though, not of one of wonderment, but a great deal of pain; sadness.

He just stared at it, watching each little point hit the mechanical device that made the enchanting sound. Watching the wheel spin and spin. The the small turn wheel on the side slowly rotate as it kept up the turning momentum. It was such a simple device, such a simple music box. Not very expensive, yet it brought out something in the man who never showed his true face. Never showed the man he could have been.
Riku sat on the weatherworn edge of a building looking up at the stars with his hands folded behind his head. His clothes and armor were scuffed and his hands and knees bruised and scratched from the ascent.

Yet as his muscles ached and his fingers bled it was a pain that he could tolerate. He had made it up here unassisted. Although he'd been tempted twice when he'd lost his grip and fell half a dozen feet into a neighboring sidestreet, he hadn't used magic or.. whatever he knew how to do since the restoration of Manhattan.

If he was fortunate, and the gods were kind and.. and too many other things.. then he could put it down. For once.. put it down and away and try to remember what it was like not to have it. Try to remember the life he had left behind the day of the storm. ..try to understand why, even then, he wasn't worthy.. and perhaps what had changed, or hadn't changed since then.

He hadn't stayed in the hospital too long after talking to Judge Magister Zargabaath. It was.. finally driven home to him how dangerous this whole situation was. How easily he let his guard down. What he desperately wanted.. Riku let his eyes drift shut. Kairi. He felt a stab of shame and guilt to have pushed thoughts of her away, her sleeping form in the midst of a dark castle where they barely seemed to acknowledge her.

Why go through so much effort for nothing?

Riku opens his eyes, looking up at the stars again. Eventually he sits up, grimacing at the bittersweet taste of a potion to salve the worst of the aches and pains. His eyes lower from the sky above, picking out the lighted silohuettes of stone buildings and the Archadian night time cityscape. He slowly pulled himself to his feet and picked somewhere at random. A thrill of excitement again and he gave a very, very small smile.
It was nice to feel something so uncomplicated again.

There was a place over there.

He decided to go towards it.

And he'd figure out where to go next when he got there.

Riku vaulted over the edge of the building, falling down about a foot onto an outside ledge that he winds across without any particular hurry towards the silohuette of a skybridge somewhat in the distance. He occasionally looks into a window on the way.
The Judge Magister watches as the last tune plays out. He lets out a heavy sigh, before he goes to sit up straight, then to wind the music box again. However, something catches his attention in the corner of his eye. Movement really off in the distance.

Gabranth places the music box into one of the drawers of his desk, before he rises to his feet then walks over to the floor to ceiling window. He peers out of it across the city scape. His eyes narrowing at the movement, before he takes notice of who is roof hoping across the city. "..Dangerous games.." He whispers only to himself, before he goes to open the window and step outside on the balcony. Resting his hands on the railing. Before watching one of the vehicles fly by, before his eyes return to Riku's figure. Just where was the boy heading?
Gabranth Flying cars.

Riku is always forgetting little details like that. He was looking at the opposite corridor of building thoughtfully from where he crouched, and rubbing his face thoughtfully as he considered how much trouble he would get in for being caught. Riku turns his eyes downwards to consider how much of a /splat/ he would make if he missed his timing.

The teenager snorts.

Rules only carried you so far. He wasn't going to let himself die just because he told himself he wasn't going to use magic for awhile. It would most likely hurt to be thrown out at that kind of speed though.

Riku just settles himself on the building ledge, looking at the far away terrace somewhat above him and on the other side of the wide city corridor. He watches the flying cars go by and then gets up again, pacing with restless energy. A small stone scrapes under his boot as he turns around in a small circle. He cranes his head up further and then leans over the edge, grabbing the edge of a building to look down at the streets far below.

No amount of climbing was going to discharge this restlessness. No open danger was going to bleed off the edge and the thought of going back to his room and staring a hole into the ceiling was a dagger. Riku paced along the building ledge one, two, three steps.

Every second he was awake, there were more questions and no more answers.

Things not done.

Things not said.

Things he couldn't even bear to think about anymore.

Riku rocked his boots back and forth across the edge as if willing himself either to jump and fall and have to save himself or slink back the way he had come and eventually slink wins out. Why he was even tempted? He didn't even know himself.

The teenager walks along a ledge, a hand on a piece of engraved stone when he looks out across the city, eyes scanning the balconies and ledges as he fitfully tries to focus on how to get to the ground from here.. or at least somewhere he could manuever easier.
The Judge Magister watches Riku longer. Trying to see what the boy will do. Just perhaps trying to determine himself what /he/ will do if Riku is to misjudge a jump or if he somehow slips off. He had a promise to keep after all.

And there was so few of them he could have ever kept..

Gabranth then glances around him before he inhales deeply and sighs. He walks back inside, reaching for his swords and then straps them on. He then takes the linkpearl out of his helm, before hooking the object near his ear.

Soon the Judge Magister then goes back outside on the balcony and watches further. His blue eyes slowly turning amber. He started to judge in his mind how much it would take to get to Riku before Riku was to collide with the ground. How many dark rune jumps would it take? How much energy would he have to expend in order to protect the youth from colliding to his death.

He could call out to him over the pearl, but for now. Now he would watch and see what Riku does. After all, sometimes you could learn so much by just observing. This seemed like a good time as any.
Riku Riku has not moved since he began speaking, the linkpearl murmuring into his ear as he scans the terraces. He eventually settles his eyes on one in particular, golden eyes narrowing slightly. He tilts his head slightly to one side as if in thought.

The tension in his body, the indecision, the questions, go abruptly still. Nothingness buzzes like tinny silence in his ears as he reads his head very gently against the engraved stone. He rubs one hand along a bruised arm, fingers playing over the armored plates as he leans away from the wall.

The teenager tucks his head very slightly to one side, murmuring something into the link before he takes a step away. He pivots neatly in place, eyes raking the exterior building and then the stars overhead as he takes another step backwards and plummets from the building ledge with the faintest smile.
Gabranth made a promise. It would seem Riku plans to challenge this promise and perhaps challenge what Gabranth is able to do. As Riku suddenly pivots around. The Judge Magister already has a boot on the railing ready to push off. As soon has Riku starts to fall. Gabranth kicks off the railing.

A vehicle passes under him, which he lands on in a roll, before using the momentum to aid in a kick off. He falls downward before he corrects himself, creating a rune under him to push right off again to the side of a wall of a building.

The dark energy swirls as it connects his boots to the side of the building as he starts to run down the side for a bit, ignoring gravity as the spell forces gravity to be his for a moment in time. Then with a push off he starts to plummet after Riku.

Before those amber eyes stare right at the boy out of arms reach. The ground coming fast, yet in the Judge of Ambition's mind, it is still some time away. The games that are weaved off bets and sometimes what one must do in order to survive in a world like this and a world long before the Ruin.

He hand extends out in silence, as if telling Riku to reach out with no words stated. The dark magic moving around Gabranth's gloved fingers reading to extend out dark tendrils to pull in Riku close if you must are create a dark rune spell under them to slow there descent before they hit the ground below.

What madness has Gabranth gotten himself into this time?
Riku Riku closes his eyes. He is aware, very much so, of a part of his mind screaming that he was going to make a very unpleasant splatter against the ground. He just.. for one reason or another doesn't seem to care.

And when the fear is pushed aside, there is suddenly Gabranth, whom he observes manuever himself across the intervening space in time to catch up with the plummeting youth who opens their eyes again with something like amused surprise. He makes a gesture like an upsidedown shrug, splaying his hands a bit at the Judge Magister.

He starts laughing as he falls and it's a hysterical, tension alleviating noise. Something wordless, the release of something knotted up in his chest so tightly that he almost chokes on it.

He reaches out his hand to grab for Gabranth.. hesitating a moment before completing the motion. "..neat trick." he notes when he could breath.
As soon as Riku takes his hand, the Judge Magister throws out his other hand, creating several dark runes. Each one they pass under seems to slow them. Yet it be obvious if Riku watched Gabranth's face. This was no easy task. It was taking a great deal of focus and perhaps with each rune pass, there was a twinge of pain written in those eyes. As if the dark magic was making Gabranth somewhere pay a price in some way for this request.

Yet with each Rune passed, Gabranth moves Riku in close, before at last there boots hit terra-ferma of the street below. It wasn't even a hard crash, almost as easy as a hope, though when they did, Gabranth let go of Riku to stand on his own. While Gabranth on the other hand almost went down on one knee. His amber eyes staring at the ground, before he closes them. Inhaling deeply as he forces himself to stand up straight. "A trick that comes with its own price, but--" He then opens his eyes, which are blue once more. "-- is effective when times call for it. After all, you would not believe how many times I have been thrown off buildings by my enemies."

The Judge Magister glances at the people who are staring at them now. That look of somewhat disbelief for what they just witnessed, others probably thinking it is most fascinating. Some-- probably just walk on.

The Judge of Ambition peers over at Riku about then before he just shakes his head gently. "Aye, Riku, you will be the death of me one day with that promise." He muses softly before he looks upward from where he feel. "Though if you so desired your death. Perhaps a shorter building. I wouldn't have been able to react fast enough." Then he peers over at where his office is. "..and one not clear in my view either." Before he looks right back at Riku.
Riku Riku looks over at the people with a look of complete impassivity. He does not care what they think. Or rather.. he has ended up hurting someone by accident again and he can't seem to contain his restless anger. So he has no time for them. "You didn't have to do that." he mutters hotly, and doesn't know what he means until he looks around and realizes that he recognizes the area.. which looks different from the air as from the ground.

"I... grruh.. FINE." Riku turns away, throwing up his hands as if completely exasperated with the Judge Magister, or himself, or.. he isn't even sure any more. So he just turns. Picks a direction and walks. He can't stand NOT moving anymore. He can't stand not doing something and so he just looks back at Gabranth for a moment as if unsure and then just moves through the crowd, heading for somewhere quieter but having absolutely no destination in mind.

It's a big city. It's easy to get lost in it when you wish to.
Riku has his moment of huff. Gabranth can't blame him, yet he realizes the youth may have taken it all the wrong way. Thus the Judge Magister sighs, before he goes walking after Riku. It doesn't take long for Gabranth to catch up. Tracking people in crowds was something that he had to do from time to time as part of his job after all.

So once he catches up with the youth, he doesn't reach his hand out to stop Riku. Instead he just keeps up. "I do it because you are.." He pauses at his own words, the word is on the tip of his tongue really, yet he swallows it. He swallows it and just takes a bit to say the next part. " are.." Yet the words freeze up again. "I do not regret what I did and I would do it again, if needed. I would do the same for Zargabaath as well or any of the others. That is what we do."

The Judge of Ambition looks over at Riku for a moment before he looks back out. "I knew someone who would have liked you. She probably would have found your need of adventure exciting and probably would have bugged you day by day to tell her what you found or what you have done. She-- loved stories, mostly because she herself could never have one."
Riku Riku looks at Gabranth and narrows his eyes slightly, shaking his head violently as he again spasms his hands and looks very much like he wants to hurt something out of sheer vicious frustration.

A heat mirage begins to shimmer around him as he turns corner after corner. He walks around the next corner and just lashes out, slamming a booted foot into the wall which does the wall no damage and causes a moderate pain to his foot. He looks more exasperated than pained, sitting down on a bench with a heavy whump. When Riku hears the last part of what the Judge Magister is saying however, the life just seems to go out of him. He stares numbly at the cobblestones, withdrawing behind a blank expression so shuttered that life can barely be visible in his gold eyes. The heat mirage dies away as if suddenly quenched.

He settles his hands in his lap, one over the other, thumb scraping across the top of his other hand. He looks up at Gabranth with that deadened, intentionally distanced expression. "..I knew someone like that too. Once." he looks away, putting a hand behind his head. "I can take care of myself, your honor. I.. I didn't even know you were there."
Gabranth raises a brow. He wants to jest, but he is not sure if now is the time for it. He bites down on his bottom lip bit in thought before he glances off down the way. Just looking that way for a time. Heck, he would even make a comment on what did the poor wall do to deserve that. But no, no time for jokes like this.

"We all can take care of one another, yet its always good to know someone is watching your back. I did tell you I would come when you would fall, didn't I? So I did." He shrugs. "Even if that was a bit more real the metaphorical." The Judge Magister then studies Riku. He goes to open his mouth to speak, but softly closes his mouth.

He then lets out a heavy sigh, before adjusting his feet slightly and idly resting his hands on the hilt of his swords. "Perhaps a story for another time. It seems you have grave things on your mind and I am slightly curious to know what those may be." The Judge of Ambition tilts his head. ".. if you are willing to share such information. If not-- then perhaps I should leave you alone, until you need of me again." Hell, he would even bring up the mission, but-- this wasn't time for that either.
Riku Riku looks at Gabranth for a long, long time. He slowly curls one hand in on itself with a slow hissing breath.

"Perhaps a story for another time.." he echoes the words. His intentional distance cracks and a look of such pain crosses his face that he's not sure what to do.

Riku turns his face away, rotating a hand and turning from Gabranth. His entire posture is preparation to bolt and yet he remains stationary until he can no longer do that so he rises up from the bench and begins to pace.

He smirks at Gabranth, but the expression is fragile. More fragile than it has ever been. "Yeah, it was, wasn't it? Remind me to get you to show me that trick, your honor. That could be handy."

Riku slows down and eventually stops, taking in several deep steadying breaths. He takes a seat again, staring into the middle distance. "My need for adventure.." he snorts very faintly, his voice so quiet as to be a whisper. " cost me my world, and.. someday will cost you yours." He murmurs the next worlds ashenly, staring into nothing. "'s my fault. It's my fault.. my world is gone."
The Judge Magister listens to what Riku has to say. Those words of pain. Those words of 'adventure' and what pain they brought. His own blue eyes trail down as he searches the ground for unseen words, before his eyes then drift to the skies, seeking something far beyond.

He then slowly drifted his sights back down to Riku. Such talks were not Gabranth's strong point. Were they... could he..

The Judge Of Ambition shifts his weight silently in thoughts, so many thoughts going through his mind in those precious seconds. If he could say the right words, if he could give the right answers. What would /she/ had said back then. In /his/ fear of leaving her side. That should could hurt herself. That he wouldn't be there. Yet, somehow, he managed to be there in those final moments. In those final, precious moments. He was there. Alone. No one. Just him and her, her last words, faded in dark memory, her painful grasp. Yet she loved adventure and she..

What would she say to you?

Gabranth body tenses for a moment, before it relaxes. He only closes his eyes as he seeks those answers, before he speaks. He speaks with at first uneasiness, but soon the words start to clear themselves. "You can not blame yourself for the travesties that take place. No. You can't do that." The Judge Magister then looks to Riku. "To live in the past, to live in your mistakes, will destroy you and will destroy everything you love. To deny adventure, to deny /living/, is to deny the desire to grow, learn, and become better... and nothing.." His hands slowly fall to his sides as he speaks the next words. "..and nothing is truly ever gone."

"It is only gone, when you believe it is gone and you no longer have the strength to fight for its existence. A person will always live, so long as you hold a memory of them. Even a fracture of a memory. A world is-- never gone, so long as you believe it is never truly gone."

The Judge Magister then looks to the skyline of the great city, as vehicle of transportation fly high above them. "...and perhaps the strength within, is what guides those to survive, to thrive, to live on. Perhaps.. to even create.. as this world.. should have never been what it has become.." Those last words nearly trail slightly off, before his gaze turns to Riku.

"You have a great deal of strength in you, Riku. You have so much greatness in you and you will never be the cause of a world to die, but the very one that will save. You give yourself to little credit of what you are able to do and you loose perspective. So to blame yourself, to blame yourself for something you could not stop.. and if your adventure is destructive, then explain me this, Riku?" Gabranth then crouches down to look the youth in the eyes. "Then why is it that same adventure that brought you here? Brought you to all the people you have come to know as comrades in arms? Would you take this all back, every person you have met, every heart you have touched, and every strength you have given, just so that you would never step out? Is that-- what you would have truly, in your heart, wanted?"

Gabranth lowers his head, he grits his teeth slightly before he shakes his head. "Life is full of mistakes, it is what we do with those mistakes is what makes us alive. We live, we learn, we push on. We trip, we stumble, we sometimes fall.. yet.. it is by those we meet, by those experiences in life, is what brings us back up on our feet." The Judge Magister then goes to stand back up. He thinks over all that he just has said and grimaces within. How much was what he said to much? How much would be lost and mean nothing? How much did he miss analyze this conversation? Fear set into those eyes for a moment, before he closes them to settle his own mind.
Riku Proxy Riku has a personal and very intense hatred for soapboxes.

Yet.. it seems just like the Christmas fruitcake (which apparantly is a thing) and the singing (which is also a thing, and also terrifying) this is the gift that just keeps on giving.

People keep telling him these things and he.. just.. doesn't know what he should do with them. Riku frowns slightly, withdrawn and mouth pressed into a thin line, brow furrowed as his eyes bore into the Judge Magister. They start to burn after awhile he he ignores that.

On the one hand, it's the words he desperately wants to hear. Maybe he hates soapboxes because he doesn't trust himself to take into his heart the words that people give him. And they burn like hot coals as they tumble, one word at a time, against a mind whose defenses are weakened by doubt and uncertainty.

He desperately wants to believe what Gabranth says. He wants to believe it is not his fault. He wants that burden, that moment of fault that he's buried and tried to forget to pass. Shoved onto some evil being that lingered in his memory.. and Gabranth doesn't know it, but by his kind and halting words, the Judge Magister has passed onto him a great benediction, as well as all but confirmed Riku's inevitable doom.

He doesn't know what to do with the emotions. The darkness within him roils as he starts to hyperventilate, not knowing which path to choose. What words to say. What emotions to let go of, and the teenager looks to Gabranth and the look on his face is that of someone drowning. Riku closes his eyes and turns his face downwards and away sharply.

And it could have ended there, and many times it has ended there. Sheared off before it could begin. Shut away before the nightmare could lurch once again to life. But this time...

Riku stands in front of the Judge Magister, his face suddenly forbidding and.. somehow terrified, but the fear kept well hidden. "Wait." he puts out a hand, touching their shoulder with a feeling of electric shock. "..I don't.. think you understand."

And this time. He was going to tell someone everything.

This time. He wasn't going to turn away, and clutch the words to himself.. and hope everything would turn out alright. He knew better. And now.. someone else had to as well.
Riku Proxy There is a sluggish snap of dark magic and the world falls away. Except it's not the empty eternal corridor that Riku has summoned before.

A warm afternoon breeze trickles through the ceiling. The teenager was standing at the back wall of a dark cave. The whistling noise turned into a hollow roar This quiet and secretive place was crammed wall to wall with a tangle of drawings. They laid stark white against the rough stone walls. Years of history. Years of memories. Riku had his fingers splayed across the back wall of the cave, eyes looking into the distance.

And there was a voice.

A calm male voice, reasonable and reassuring, whispering doubt into the heart of the vulnerable. Promising so much. Promising everything and nothing. Promising.. freedom.


Do you truly mean to stay behind nursing your fantasies in this stagnant world until you are like the others too used to your chains to notice them? They want this place. They want it with a hunger you do not yet know. Let them in. Only then will you escape. He lied to you Riku.

The words are as good as a blow. Riku jerks his head as if he'd been struck, body flinching. Head shaking. No. No.. it wasn't true. He almost lets go of the wall. Almost.

No one gives anything of value without a reason. Do you really think he would give anything to you a random boy he had barely met? He lied to you Riku. There is no destiny that you do not take for yourself.

The click of a lock resounds in the silence. And Riku in the present tries to step away, but he is paralyzed. The darkness has locked him in place while the feelings and the memories just pour out and out and in this corridor of memories, and there are flickering images of a terrible storm. Of an island home being consumed, of a door set in the back of that rough cave that had been opened by a moment of capitalized doubt and frustration.

In a dark labyrinth underneath the streets of Manhattan, the voice comes again. Riku, surrounded by streams of heartless, moves through them with the air of a sleeHow far will your dreams and your empty comfort get you here Riku?

The voice again. Flickers of a great light at the other end of the endless tunnel. A warm, pulsing golden light struggling to survive in the midst of such darkness.

Let go of your foolish hopes boy.

A great battle. Riku being assaulted. A last desperate hopes of a dying world fight for survival. The teenager(?) looks at Will with something like scorn and unnatural dismissal when the tackle bowls him over and he lays on the black stone simply being struck. AGAIN. And AGAIN. His body jerks like a marionette. Riku doesn't react. Doesn't cry out. Doesn't do anything but let the blows strike him. He lays a palm flat across the smooth black stone.

And there are no memories here. Just a feeling, a smear of being trapped. A smear of being trapped within your own mind and screaming, screaming to be released and then.. simply screaming for death. The death of hope. Riku almost gave in to the madness. To the control of the voice.


And there is the fear. Always the fear that they will return and turn him off like a light, and another world will fall.
Riku Proxy And the danger... the great danger of uncorking these memories.. is that not only may it be a two way street... but that once started. Sometimes the memories don't stop. Riku in the present trembles, trying to break the connection. Trying to STOP but unable, the dam has broken from his willingness to do this.. and the eternal corridor returns. Heartless swarm around a pack of shadow lords.

Another voice. Different this time. In your hand take this Key. So long as you have the makings then through this simple act of taking... And beyond the footsteps of those with Riku, there is another pair. Metal feet touching the ground one step at a time. There's a metalic 'jingle' of a single chain tossling about as these step come from the 'corner' of perception. An armor, moving on its own, made in Golden and Blacks and Browns. Two triangular and tall horns stick out from its face-covering mask, and the armor itself seems almost... 'alive' in how even its chest is chiseled in such a way that it must be fitted to one specific form. There are no loose ends, no folds, nothing like that.

A large visor of deepest black covers its face from being read - if there is even anything beneath. But most unfathomable might be the item it carries with him. The source of that little chain's jingle. A massive blade, silver at the handle, then quickly thinning into segmented golden browns and finally ending in the form of a skeleton-key's tip of the blade. For those familiar, this form is unmistakable; a Keyblade.

The armor renders a single word to the whis"Disappointed." ---its wielder you shall one day be. And you will find me friendno ocean will contain you then.

The view crashes apart. The eternal corridor shatters. While an older Riku screams in soul tearing frustration and attacks the armor, an echo of a dark place in a dark places of memories, while a much, much younger Riku looks with reverant awe at a warrior kneeling on the beach.

Riku's hand lays on the keyblade. Voices. More of them. The sweetly voice of a female full of sickness and mali"Fear not. That is no keyblade wielder" The gentle and reassuring "It /was/ a keyblade wielder. Now it is only an echo of an echo, the final endless scream of a would-be hero who failed the worlds on every imaginable level."

The final, endless scream.

No more borders around or below or above so long as you champion the ones you love. A dark, lightless cavern.. and a girl, sweetly asleep on a bed of crystal in the heart of a dark castle.

... and then the voices are still, and Riku crashes to his knees.
Gabranth isn't sure what Riku is about to do. Yet when they boy tells him to wait, he does, and when the boy reaches out for him. He doesn't fight back, though little was he ready for what was about to come.

The Judge Magister soon found himself stepping into the void, into a place of memories. His eyes went over to Riku, but finding himself unable to move, realizing quickly at the sound of the voice that this-- this was indeed a place of memories. It had to be. He took in all the information given. The words being spoken to Riku.

The Judge Magister wants to speak, to yell at the words to go away, yet no voice could be found in this. He wasn't even sure if Riku was the Riku before him. The one showing him this. Yet his hand extends out. His hand extends out as his eyes plead for his body to move, for him to /stop/ this madness.

Powerless. So Powerless.

Gabranth then lowers his hand. He reminds himself. Memories. You can't change memories. You can only lock them away and hope no one finds the key. He just watches now. Stopping himself from trying. Stopping himself from even wanting to step out. Yet it was in his eyes. The anger of the words spoken, perhaps in some essence, these words he may believe himself, yet in some ways, these words he does not agree with.

Yet Gabranth wonders, who was the voice speaking about? Who was the one giving him something without a cost? It is a small wonder the Judge magister realizes that Riku shuns words and this makes Gabranth wonder if his own actions have continued to line up with his words, because this was something. This was something he understood.

Then the final words come: 'Let go of your hopes boy' and Gabranth's eyes narrow, they almost flick from blue to gold right away, but he quickly calms himself. Having to remind himself. Memories.

Then Gabranth watches the fight break out. His eyes narrow slightly in confusion. He isn't sure what to make of these details. Was that Riku? Who was he attacking? No. No. Something /was/ very wrong. It takes the Judge magister only a bit to realize it. To see it and he causes Gabranth to snarl his teeth tight and his hands clench up into fists. Control. Mind control. That voice. That voice was the key to this, wasn't it? That was the key to all this. All of Riku's mental state. Words, words that lead to a world's destruction. Words that pulled at a boy's desire. Words that..

Oh Riku..

This is indeed /not/ your fault..

Then the Shadow Lords. He has heard of them. He knows of them and he starts to draw the connections here. He starts to draw them all together. The voices, the heartless, then this other voice... no.. this other voice was different. The words were.. different. The meaning, the feel.

His eyes narrow, this was crossed. Slipping across. The event coming forth were clashing. They didn't add up. They didn't make sense, at least not yet. At least not yet. He would figure this section out, but even when it came to an end, Gabranth was aware of /one/ very strong detail.

Riku, Riku had been used by so many. He had been used by the Shadow Lords. They took his unknowning knowledge, they took his willingness, they took his desire, and turned it against him. They turned him-- against himself.

That is what Gabranth made of all this. That is what the Judge Magister could pick from the pieces in such a short moment, yet there was so much more. So much more that need to be analyzed. To understood.

So when Riku when down on his knees, Gabranth followed the motion, only with as his knee impacted the ground, he pulled Riku into a tight embrace. He held Riku there, unless the youth pushed away. He held Riku in an almost brotherly way. Those blue eyes closed tight shut and he had no words. There was no words needing to be spoken.

Then he at last whispers, a voice of calmness and reassurance. "..thank you.." He would then loosen his arms, but keep them there if Riku desires it, then with a softer voice, as his blue eyes open. A guarding look, not one for Riku, but toward the world. To make sure none would come near. A older brother, protecting his younger brother. Yet he could not find any words to say. He could only hope for now, the actions spoke loud enough, because in actions-- is what Gabranth honestly knew how to speak and if Riku was to look, if he was look at Gabranth's face. He may find those eyes watching everything in a protective way and he may even find a hidden pain behind them, a pain of very deep contemplation.
Riku Proxy And.. that's it.

You can only shove people away so hard. He had done that all his life. Pushed people away. Pushed himself into a corner. Pushed and pushed and eventually he just broke. And it didn't take the Shadow lords to do this. They never broke him though the echoing voice of dread nearly managed.

But Gabranth. Right now, did what they could not, and all the walls come tumbling down and Riku begins to sob. He clutched onto the Judge magister for a long few moments. Finally his strength returns and there is a flash of embarrassment and pain and Riku pushed himself away from Gabranth.

Not rejecting, but so embarrassed to be caught with shields shattered that his immediate, instinctual impulse is to flee. He stops long enough to look at Gabranth, face reddened and wet and dripping. He manages, very painfully, to smile. "..this'll teach me to go out on walks." he snorts at the quaver in his own voice,
% He nods to Gabranth. In gratitude. In.. mostly pretty much in shock. He pushed as hard as he could.. and he could have figured the Judge Magister would only push back harder. Riku opens his mouth to say something else, and.. then shakes his head, disappearing between one blink and the next as he flees this part of the city.
Gabranth doesn't chase. He wants to chase, but he knows better. This is when the dog needs to heel and just be patient. Riku will come back, but the boy needs time alone. Just like he did, so many times.

The Judge of Ambition rises to his feet, looking down at his hands for a moment, before he clenches them tightly only for a brief moment. Silent thoughts to himself as he eyes glance up to where Riku ran off too, before he turns away and then walks the other direction. His head slowly finding itself lowered. Riku would find him again, when Riku was ready and Gabranth. Gabranth would be there, for when he was needed.

This scene contained 21 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Riku Proxy, Gabranth