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No title.
(2013-03-23 - 2013-03-23)
No description.
Leida Midafternoon in Fluorgis is the worst part of the day for those who cannot stand the heat of the desert. Leida, being decidedly anti-desert after the last few months of living in one, spends most of her days indoors. The shade provides some reprieve from the sun and the shadows provide more comfort to her these days than the presence of other people.

After the latest of her demonic mutations the young girl has shown a remarkably swift tranformation in personality from a timid and naive doormat to a mature and confident princess. The fact that this change that everyone has always pushed her towards has come at the expense of her ability to mingle with normal society has left her feeling bitter and lonely. At first she rebelled against the fact that she was the one to blame, quoting the weak-minded fear of the people who judged her solely on looks as the cause of her troubles. However, after accepting the bargain with the dark Lord, her conviction in the righteousness of her anger has waned.

Chores that have gone undone due to her tantrums had been handled by the others or piled up when they were too busy elsewhere. As if to assuage the heavy feeling of guilt that weighed her down, Leida spent most of the morning taking care of the duties she had volunteered for herself, falling back into the routine with ease. However, the heat is particularly troublesome today and the girl found herself sitting down for just a moment. She just needs a short rest that's all...

Almost as soon as she closes her eyes they open again. The world that greets her is not the one that she left moments ago but it a familiar one. She sits upon an ornate cushion at the back of an impossibly long room. The walls are made of shoji, tall dividers and sliding doors of white transluscent paper stretched over bamboo lattices. Each panel of the wall is painted with scenes of people and places from ancient history, warring daimyo leading their armies against one another, lone samurai facing off in honor duels. The pictures are both unknown and yet fill her with a strange sense of familiarity as if she should recognize them somehow.

Leida rises from her seat and walks over to the walls, inspecting them more closely as she has done dozens of times in the past. Like before one element that links each of these images together stands out to her. Somewhere in the background the shadows seem to twist and shift and take on a monstrous countenance. The effect is subtle and elusive, fading away when looked directly upon but rising up to play at the edges of her vision when she focuses elsewhere as if the entity portrayed within wishes to remain unseen.
Seith Seith has been sitting in his 'throne room'. His Library to be exact - seated on a rather ornate seat, staring up at the windows within the library. Stained glass barely letting light through in this dark place of Hollow Bastion. His head leaning on his hand, seemingly bored. He makes a motion, and a little buttler-dressed Heartless shadow wobbles his way to pour wine into his currently empty glass.

"She's falling asleep." He mumbles, waiting for the glass to be filled, and then raising it to his lips, letting the red liquid pass and touch his tongue. He sends away the heartless and waits for the sleep to take him too... so that he might leap into Leida's dream... so that~.

There's the sound of robes sliding against the tatami mats on the floor. And from behind the grand sliding doors ahead of the throne, a shadow becomes visible. A beautiful thin figure - in the way that elves are often considered beautiful. No matter how loose the robes may fall beneath his waist, it's impossible not to realize what is coming. The figure stops just before those doors, and then bows down. "I have come to you, my Princess." A voice sounds from behind the door. Two faceless servants pull the door aside to reveal the adult elf.
Leida Leida reaches out to touch one of the paintings, letting the tips of her fingers play against the smooth surface as if she might feel the curve of the lamellar armor or the coldness of the blades against her skin. The elusive shadows deepen and the scene begins to subtly shift as the background becomes less colorful and vibrant. The figures in the scene change as well, their faces growing gaunt and thin until only skeletal creatures with eyes of burning red face off against one another.

Before she can ponder this bizarre transformation further the sound of a visitor draws her attention away for a moment and when she looks back the picture has returned to normal. The girl's eyes linger on it for a few moments but she quickly returns to her seat at the head of the room, settling into the cushion as the shoji screens are slid back to reveal another familiar face.

Leida folds her hands into her lap, letting the loose silk sleeves of the elegant kimono drape down to cover them in a small pile of fabric. Upon seeing Seith she inclines her head to him though her bow is more a formality borne of tradition than actual respect. Here, in this place, she is the ruler and that sense of supremacy bleeds into her demeanor and personality.

"I welcome you, Seith-sama. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?"
Seith Seith truly looks like he is below her at this moment, his bow one of both respect and submission. Yet, here they are, him calling her 'Princess' and her calling him 'Sama'. It is truly a strange interaction between these two. "I was wondering if you have news for me." Seith asks her, "It has been a while since 'that day', and I've kept my promise. Manhattan has been restored, and the false hope you wished for them has returned to their hearts." He keeps his gaze aimed at the floor, as to not look her in the eyes.

"And if you've done anything to deserve... this." He reaches onto his robes, and then reveals a small black jewelry box within to her, holding it up to her. "This ring of illussion - that which can hide your demonic features."
Leida It takes a great deal of effort for the girl not to rush down the dias and snatch up the box that is held out. The prize contained inside was something she treasured over all else at the moment, something that would let her atleast pretend to be normal. While the assurances given by her friends that they would stand by her side no matter what she looked like were comforting, she wanted very much to be able to visit the markets again without the fear and the judgemental stares.

Leida merely nods at him as if it already belonged to her. "I have upheld my end of our bargain as well, Seith-sama. The residents of Manhattan have been eager to return and rebuild. Their happiness is comforting." She smiles faintly but it is an empty gesture. That hope and joy - she wonders if they will ever know the cost. Considering the man to whom she is now subservient to it is likely they will but by that time it will be too late to do anything about it.

"There are others, however, that have their eyes set elsewhere: An organization that calls itself ShinRa. I believe you are familiar with them." She knows he is but her years at courty have ingrained an almost abiding need to restate and reiterate facts and points to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Politicians did love their technicalities.

"The man who brought me to that place in the snow. His interest and that of his masters has shifted focus onto me in light of what occured within that place. They hound me regularly for samples of my blood and requests to submit myself for scientific study under the claim that they wish to help me better understand and control the darkness inside," she says with an obvious edge of amusement. "Their tactics have ranged from brazen approaches in public to pathetic attempts to guilt me into believing I am a danger for simply existing."
Seith As if he was able to read her mind, the man comments again; "Such a shame they will never appreciate your sacrifice. Still, right now, they look upon you as an evil monster. Like some disgusting thing. And you could never tell them either. They would never understand, would they?" Seith whispers dark things to her. The man then slowly looks a little up - until his gaze is set to the girl's feet.

"ShinRa you say." He remembers the boy and since then has done a little research into Goug and the like. "They would certainly do far darker things with your blood if you let them, Leida. Anyone who is out for your blood would. Imagine what they would do. Imagine if there were more like you out there. Darkness being used as a weapon. Do you not remember your past? The way you plagued and destroyed Manhattan?" He pauses and waits for her to respond.
Dream Leida "Ofcourse, We remember..." And unlike the mistake of her past that led to such a violent rampage, Leida no longer wishes to forget the horrible things she did. History forgotten is history doomed to be repeated. The real irony of the situation is that, even knowing this, she was already repeating her past by betraying those who she cared about. Perhaps in the end the restoration of the world she helped drag into the darkness will outweigh the damage she will do playing spy for a Shadow Lord. Only time will tell.

"Worry not, We have rebuked their efforts to draw us in. We may have fallen for Sammy Colt's schemes once but We are aware of his duplicitious nature now. There shall not be a repeat of such an event." She pauses and reaches into the folds of her kimono, producing a small folding fan which she opens with a snap of her wrist. Like everything else here, the tool is opulantly decorated with hand-painted images and inlaid with gold.

Leida lifts it up to cover the lower half of her face as she ponders quietly for a moment. "It is not Sammy that We are worried about, however. The woman that accompanied him seems to be the mastermind behind these requests. She has approached Us in public for Our blood, among others and We believe it is she who conducts these twisted experiments."
Seith "We? Us?" Seith points out the word, being well enough aware to notice such things. The man glances at the world around him, staring at the shoji walls and their ornate imagery. It's easy for him to derive from what kind of place she comes. To think he'd been correct to call her a Princess since the beginning. Or perhaps there's more to it than that.

The man turns to look at the ground once more. "It is good - to keep their efforts at bay. But beware, they might force it upon you." The man wonders though who this 'woman' is that Leida speaks of. "Tell me more about what you've learned of ShinRa? Perhaps it might be useful to fool them into believing you might give them your blood - just so you get to truly know their intentions."
Dream Leida Leida ignores the question regarding her sudden shift in speech, merely staring off into the distance of the hallway behind the elf. The shoji walls stretch out behind him in what might well be an infinite length of corridor. Dreams are strange like that but the fact that each scene on the painted walls is different from all the others provides potential that it might simply be the extent of some history she never lived.

"Yes. We shall be wary. We have no intentions of allowing Our blood to be used for nefarious purposes." Her eyes shift back down to him after a long pause and the serpentine slits of her pupils narrow slightly. "We do not know much about them, in truth. The intricacies of their world and their technologies are beyond us at this time."
Seith Though the figure of Seith may not look up to Leida, he's very well aware of how she looks upon him. He has the power to twist dreams after all. He is 'aware' of her dream. Of some of the items within this dream. Although he's also aware that if he wanted to truly probe at things, Leida would know soon enough. "Good. I would have no need of a creature without holds on their own power." Which is an amusing notion as he 'uses' Heartless.

The man finally lowers away the little jewelry box, setting it down on the floor before her, as if trying to lure her in. "Tell me about the 'other you', Leida. Have you found out anything about them?"
Dream Leida The princess bristles visibly at being referred to as a creature and the two faceless warriors guarding the door to her throne area reach for their swords, rising to one knee menacingly. Leida's hand comes up swiftly, palm held out to stay their hands. The gesture causes the samurai to return to their former kneeling positions at the doors and they resume their silent vigil.

"We are completely in control of ourself, Seith-sama," Leida says as the box is set down on the floor, drawing her eyes once more. "We have been practicing the use of Our darkness. Simple things. But each day we grow stronger."

The fan snaps shut and she tucks it back into her sleeve. "There is no 'other me'. Leida is Leida, as she has always been."
Seith "Do not misunderstand." Seith understands the 'annoyance' shown within the dream. "You would be one, if you were unable to control yourself. Only monsters fail to have such control." Telling her basically that if she were to lose control, she would be no better than a monster.

The man however also never moved. If they Samurai wanted to take him however - such would likely force him out of the dream if he did not resist. "So - it's a good thing you are in full control." But he doesn't trust that she's 'alone'. Doesn't he feel something 'else' within this dream? "Leida has not always been Leida - you are very much aware of that. The Demon that was 'sealed' within you... it is also within you. Not that I mind. I have lived a long time, and there's an... adoration for demons."
Dream Leida "Leida is not the Demon. The Demon is not Leida," she replies as if that explains everything. "We admit that Our weakness allowed the Demon to take control for a time but it has been dealt with. We are Ourself once more."

The shadows at the edge of the room shift and waver at this statement and the faint sound of laughter plays through the empty hallway. The myriad of painted pictures flicker and change to the dark demonic images that she saw momentarily before. The hallway becomes a display of evil acts and hideous men laying waste to each other. The concepts of honor and duty that were so evident in the paintings before are laid bare to the ugly truth behind the scenes that they portray.

Brothers slaughters brothers for petty gains. Warlords rampage throughout the land staining the ground red in their lust for battle and glory. Assassins slip blades and poison into the unsuspecting flesh of their victims. Women betray their loved ones for lust and greed.

As before the shift is quick and sudden, like the flash of thunder in a darkened sky, and just as quickly the visions are gone and the laughter is nothing but an empty echo. Leida doesn't seem to have noticed this phenomenon. Her eyes are glued to the sparkling surface of the jewel case at Seith's feet as if nothing else in the room matters.

"Have We... earned your trust?"
Seith "Then why insist on saying 'our'?" Seith asks Leida, pointing this out once more. "But, very well, I will leave this alone." The man then gives in, "It's obvious you may still not know yourself as well as you should." The fact that the dream 'changes' around him and shows the distusting reality of life only drives this point further home for him. But he also realizes that Leida doesn't seem to notice this at all.

He wonders for a moment, if he could enter the demon's dreams. That would certainly make for an interesting encounter. He could probably from here... but Leida would need to 'let' him in this dream.

Seith nods his head. "You have my trust for now." He reaches towards the small jewelcase, and draws it to his chest. "But you have yet to prove that you will go beyond the call of duty. Nor have you given me much information regarding what I desire. Unless you feel you know more." Is he trying to make her desperate?
Dream Leida "Oh?" Leida giggles, hiding her face demurely behind her hands at Seith misinterpretation of her words. "You believe Our use of words to be an indication of possession? We simply use the formal way of addressing Ourself. The majestic plural is a common manner of referring to royalty in the foreigner's lands. We simply adopted it. It has a way of setting Us apart from the commoners."

Whether or not this is true or simply a crafty evasion would be difficult to tell. Leida's mannerisms vary so differently at times that is it hard to say what her true personality is like and what is subtle manipulation or misdirection. Most likely the demon's influence is behind this.

When the box is withdraw the princess' expression becomes downcast. She does not, however, stoop to begging or whining. "We are afraid that is all We know at this time," Leida says. "There have been few opportunities to obtain useful secrets or plans as the majority of Our allies are focused on reclaiming what they have lost. We are sure, in time, that We shall have more to offer."
Seith The man hesitates when he notices that 'demure' look she gives him, moving his gaze slightly elsewhere. "I see." He expresses, trying to feel out the dream. However uncertain he might be, he allows himself to accept this as the truth for now. "Very well them, my appologies for misterunderstand - Princess."

Seith's both hands touch the ground once more for a moment, then travel to his knees, slowly starting to sit up a little further and raising his head, once again feeling out the dream. Wondering if she will 'punish' him or look down on him if he dare raise his gaze up to meet hers. It seems that with this little formality over of finding out wether she had more to tell or not, the man finds time to 'test' her.

"I am certain you will, in time. Princess Leida."
Dream Leida A sharp blow to the back of his head stops Seith before he can rise very far. Leida says nothing as the samurai smashes the hilt of his blade into the elf but the amused smirk on her face says that this is her doing as well. This is her dream, after all, everything inside of it is in some way a facet of her will.

The fan comes out again and she hides her face behind it, peering down at him with narrowed eyes to see if he tries to push her any further. Despite the fact that she has promised to provide him with information her recently discovered wellspring of self confidence makes her loathe to give him the impression that she is somehow beneath him, especially in her own mindscape. Here her sense of pride is at its strongest. "Seith-sama. Please do not do anything that will strain our... relationship," she says with an obvious tone of dominance. "We can be quite scary when angered."
Seith Upon receiving the hit of the blade's hilt, the man winces a little, before... smirking at Leida. "I would never do any such thing, Princess Leida. But do mind - while this is your realm, and indeed would see little threat from me - the outside world is not so safe. We are both Shadowlords - be they past or current or future - we are of equal power. You are very well aware of this."

Still, he no longer rises. "I rather us see one-another with respect and equality."
Dream Leida "You resort to threats now?" Leida looks away and lowers the fan to allow her displeased but clearly unintimadated expression to show. The guards rise to one knee again but do not make any further aggressive motions, merely staring at him from the darkness that obscures their features.

"The strength of Our power is of little consequence to protocol and decorum. We 'respectfully' insist that while within our demense you will pay heed to Our customs. Tradition is the foundation of a strong society, after all."
Seith "You misunderstand. I am stating that your own words on being scary when angered, has little meaning outside of this realm." Seith answers her, keeping his head down and laying a hand to his chest to show some sign of... fealty? "Yet, as you say. I will uphold your customs amidst your residence and kingdom. After all, I am merely a visitor." Yet wether Tradition was truly the foundation of a strong society - he doubts.

After all, it was tradition that had destroyed much of his own life in the earlier days.

The failure of tradition /is/ what had made him into the man whom he is today.

"Please accept my apologies, my Princess."
Dream Leida "Hmmhmm... very well." Leida makes a pleased sound as she lifts the fan back up to cover her face and the smile that spreads swiftly at this small victory. "We accept your apology."

The guards relax once more as if nothing happened though their empty gazes remain fixed on the Shadow Lord, ready to pounce at the slightest hint of impropriety or aggressive action. The princess does not argue his point that her scariness is confined to the realm of dreams. Let him believe what he will. Arrogance has been the castle which kings and paupers alike have died in and she has become a very skilled architect over the centuries.

Leida blinks at that thought. Centuries? Has she really lived that long? Her gaze drifts back to the murals on the walls and the lingering sense that she's seen them somewhere before. Memories? Impossible to say and that confuses her even further.

She dismisses such thoughts for the moment, turning back to Seith. "We have told you all we know. Unless there is more to discuss, We wish to rest properly."
Seith "Thank you, my lady." Seith curtseys minorly, then waits for the two blade wielding servants to close the sliding door before him even as he says one more thing, "May tomorrow find you a better day. And look beneath your pillow for... a minor gift." And with that, Seith lifts out of her dreams.

When Leida would wake up the day after, she'd find a small paper oriental 'seal' within a small flat box. Added to this is a small paper written in neat cursive. 'This seal will hide your demonic features for six hours'.

This scene contained 22 poses. The players who were present were: Leida, Seith, Dream Leida