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No title.
(2013-03-29 - 2013-04-26)
No description.

In fact, almost the first thing she does when they arrive, before they even set up camp, is take off her armor and proceed to climb the tallest tree in the area.

She would see it was soley for the purpose of picking the most defensible place to make camp, but she would be lying. After meeting her brother again after two years Artemis was deeply shaken. She finds a strong enough branch to hold her weight and sits on it, her back against the trunk, breathing in the cooler forest air. As she looks down at her hands, they are trembling a great deal.

While she was here, she had picked out the best location for camp anyway...though, she doesn't really feel like coming down quite yet.
Ramza Beoulve It might have suprised Artemis, but there wasn't a lot of talk about the battle afterwards. For the /Braves/, close calls were just a part of life. The other reason for this is because Ramza had secretly threatened latrine duty for a year to the first person who brought up Artemis' brother in conversation around her.

When they arrived at their current hiding place, Ramza Beoulve would supervise the construction of the camp into a defensible position. Immediately afterwards though, he'd inquire with the others where exactly Artemis had gone.

Almost as one, they pointed up to the tallest tree close to the camp. Ramza Beoulve would groan, enter into his tent, and strip off his armor. Not long after he'd emerge, sans armor, wearing only a worn tunic, boots, and a pair of old-fashioned trousers. Steeling himself, he began the arduous task of climbing the tree.

Artemis may have been amused by the spectacle if she weren't so absorbed in her thoughts. While he was relatively strong and agile, he wasn't used to climbing trees, and so it took him far longer than it ought to have. Eventually though, he made his way up to a branch just a scant few feet lower than her own. Taking in deep breaths, he would sit astride the branch and lean back against the trunk , speaking to her idly. "You were right. Trees were exactly what we needed."

A long, awkward pause. "You did well out there, better than expected I...uh..."

He'd breathe out a sigh running a hand down his face. "I'm no good at this.. Do you want to talk about it?"
Artemis Eurus Oh, the men were free to talk to her about her brother, especially if they really liked the idea of being punched by her, which, oddly enough, several have already expressed some interest in.

Art looks down toward Ramza as she hears him climbing, eyebrows quirking beneath her mask. It sure was taking him a while, but she would certainly give him points for strength and persistence.

She crosses her arms, dressed only in trousers and a loose blouse herself, her hair still braided from battle. At his words, she scoffs lightly. "The gallant Ser Ramza, sudden struck mute, his courtly words extinguished as he tries to comfort a lady..." she teases, her smile could be hear in her voice.

"Tch...should I be insulted? Did you not expect me to be ready for battle? Or is it facing Louis you mean? Well...I've been preparing for that every since I last left him," she sighs then, her voice betraying her countenance by a quiver.
Ramza Beoulve The young man would actually grin a touch at her first statement, either he was catching on to her wiles, or he just considered it particularly funny, as his words might have indicated. Almost certainly the latter. "Artemis, its almost certain that a mute would have a better chance of acting courtly than myself..." He'd rake a hand through the blonde mop on his head. "...I'm hopeless, and I know it."

He'd shake his head. "Certainly not, like you said, you're no wilting flower but..."

He'd turn his gaze upwards towards her. "...I think I told you once about my brother, Dycedarg. He's a vile man that looks at people as naught but tools. I know that one day I may have to fight him. And yet.."

His mouth would slowly turn into a frown. "...knowing that its right to stand against them, doesn't make it any easier, does it? Its an impossible situation that you face, being sworn to venge your Father by killing someone you love..."

He'd continue to look straight up at her, his voice steeped in grief. "...I saw what he did in the battle. And while I know he's a wicked man, deserving only of scorn, he made plain his affection for you, even if it were only for a moment..."

And then he fell silent, he just couldn't continue. It was too much, even for him.
Artemis Eurus Artemis lets out a shaky sigh. Right, Ramza had a brother, supposedly wicked as well. Perhaps he understood, at least somewhat.

Artemis takes a deep breath, remembering the battle, running it through her mind with the clarity of retrospect. "I....he was as I remembered. The look in his eyes...."

Artemis shifts then, unexpectedly dropping down, grabbing a branch, and landing right in front of Ramza, on her feet, balanced. She sits then, straddling the branch as well, facing him. "Wouldn't want you to get a crick in your neck, though I am also well versed in massage techniques," she comments.

She looks away then, off into the distance as a cool wind blows, stirring the small hairs that have escaped her braid. "He protected me. For that small moment....he was my brother. He's...he's not lost completely."
Ramza Beoulve The pained look in his eyes showed that he understood. It took him a while to reply. "...Never forget that...even if it hurts so much, at least its one happy memory you can keep of him.."

When she makes the joke about massage techniques, his cheeks would flush a shade red. "...I uh...I'll take your word on that Artemis."

Another long pause. "Artemis I'm... I'm beginning to believe your brother is possessed by a Lucavi. The only reason he didn't make use of that power today is because it would be witnessed by so many within the Church. I have no proof of this, it is merely speculation, but..."

He'd look away himself. "...if you want, we can seek the truth together. Mayhaps, mayhaps he is not totally lost...he could possibly be saved..."

He wasn't sure what to believe at this point, what to think. What he did know is that when a Lucavi was defeated, they'd implode upon themselves, leaving no trace of the person they'd once possessed, but perhaps.. perhaps something could be done..
Artemis Eurus Artemis' shoulders rise then fall with an inhale, then slow exhale of breath. "I tried not to hold any hope that Louis was still him, somewhere in there. I have focused on killing him, thinking he'd simply gone mad...and maybe that is still the case. Madness can look like a demon, can it not? But seeing that look today, and what he did..."

Artemis looks to Ramza then, meeting his eye if he would meet hers. "I felt hope burn in me....and that hope terrifies me Ramza. I can't afford to hope. I can't hope and then....have to let him go again. I can't do that," she says, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
Ramza Beoulve The young man would shift forward on the branch, and while it was awkward given their current position, he'd wrap his arms around her, drawing her into a hug. He'd whisper very softly to her. "...Hope is sometimes all that keeps us going Artemis...I think you should afford yourself that much, to allow yourself to hope..."

He'd close his eyes very tightly as visions of Alma falling into darkness came unbidden to his mind. "..better that, than to give it up, and feel naught but despair."
Artemis Eurus Artemis stiffened slightly as he moves in to embrace her, not immediately moving to return the gesture. It had been a long time since anyone had put their arms around her in comfort--or at all. Eventually, she leans forward and simply rests her head on his shoulder for a moment. "I didn't need hope to keep me going. I had anger...I had revenge...I had honor...I still have those, they would have sustained me. Hope though--hope could break me."
Ramza Beoulve He'd be frowning now. He understood that the gesture was uncomfortable for her now, but he still didn't let go. "Artemis, they may sustain you but.." A pause, as he stared off into the distance. "...I don't think they'll make you happy. And even if that happiness will break you, I promise you this much..."

He'd try to manage a faint smile. "...I'll always be there for a friend. I'll put you back together piece by piece if I must, and I think you'll be stronger for it."
Artemis Eurus Uncomfortable only in that had been too long. Uncomfortable in that the simple warmth of another human being pierced the wall she'd so carefully built. Maybe it wasn't as necessary as she thought it would be. She was perhaps willing to reconsider.

Artemis laughs then, a bitter sound. "Happy? I gave that up long ago. I hoped" she says, leaving that ambiguous. Let Ramza read what he would into that. He'd met Louis. He'd seen him fight. He must know that death was a very likely outcome of their confrontations.

Artemis pulls back then, placing her hands before her on the tree branch between them, leaning forward in such a way that Ramza would have a perfect view down her loose blouse. This, she doesn't even know she's doing for once! "Why are you so quick to call me friend? You are not like me. You have those who follow you, have them already."
Ramza Beoulve To Ramza's credit, he didn't even /think/ of looking down her blouse. It just happened, and immediately he'd look away, trying his hardest to will away the beet red from his cheeks. To him, that happening to a friend was almost akin to trying to comfort his /sister/ and accidentally getting that view. "I think we're all tired in some way Artemis.. of life in general. But every time I think that it might be best just to give up, I realize that my Father would not be proud of me, that there's so much left for me to do.."

He'd briefly look her in the eyes. The /eyes/. "Because when I look at you, I see a lady who is willing to give up everything for what she believes is right... how can I not think of you as a friend? It makes you as much a kindred spirit to me as anyone else in this company."
Artemis Eurus Artemis frowns gently, searching his eyes for a long, likely uncomfortable moment. Then, she sighs softly, almost imperceptably.

Ramza, you are awful.

"Yes...I suppose you are right. I will honor my father's memory...and perhaps save my mother, and your sister. I suppose...I can try to hope for that," she offers, looking toward the ground faaaaaaaar below them.

Artemis them gives Ramza a lopsided smile, crosses her feet under the branch, then leans to one side. She slips over, hanging there upside down like some suicidal possum.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza would nod at all of that while smiling, and actually began to laugh-lightheartedly when she started to hang upside down. He really was oblivious, he didn't seem to realize exactly what it meant to tell a lady that she was the same as everyone else. Maybe in time Artemis would come to realize that he didn't think of /himself/ as anymore special than anyone else, and forgive his naivete.

Wait, what was that about her mother? Probably not the best time to bring that up. Also, given that she was used in the same context as his sister...he had a feeling he knew what she'd say.

"My.. you really weren't kidding when you told us about your love of trees!"
Artemis Eurus "No, no I was not. I love trees," she replies, still hanging, reaching down to grab her braid and untie it, shaking her hair loose in the wind so it falls in a wave of gold. "I've spent more time in trees than buildings in these past years. The wild will always be part of me now. I don't think I will ever wish to live in a city again," she replies, craning her neck to glance up at him. Luckily, her shirt is tucked in or he'd have a lot harder of a time NOT looking.

"Come down. I'll make tea," she says, then simply....lets go. She plummets toward the ground rapidly, head-first, before "blinking", turning herself around and landing, strolling off toward the camp without him.

Ramza Beoulve He'd look down at her, continuing to grin and laugh-lightheartedly, and then she lets go.

And his mind would sort through several Geomancer's tricks immediately, being unsure what exactly would happen. A tree branch would warp and move to try and break her fall, she'd feel the wind beneath her briefly shift upwards to try and slow her fall. He did this all on reflex.. as he'd sort of forgotten that she could blink through thin air, whoops.

And then he began the slow, climb downward, groaning all the while.

While the descent was quicker, it still took him so long that she'd probably nearly have the water boiling by the time he got back to the camp and sat back down.
Artemis Eurus Well, it would serve him right for being so bloody oblivious that he had to get down all on his own.

Indeed, by the time he is back she has an iron kettle hung over the fire someone else had built while they were off acting like emo monkeys.

Artemis has her pack beside her, shoveling some tea leaves reverently into a separate clay pot. She motions Ramza over as she pulls out a couple of mismatching mugs to prepare for tea making.

"Sorry Ramza, I didn't mean to give you a scare," she says, giving him a look that says the exact opposite. Of course she did. "Get down alright?"
Ramza Beoulve He'd scratch the back of his head. "Of course I did. You didn't frighten me at all, after all, you're no wilting flower..."

And then he'd be giving her a look that indicated that she scared the <GOOSEHONK> out of him.

He'd seat himself beside her, taking the mug, and staring at the tea kettle. "So, since I'm endeavouring to try to get to know you better. Why exactly are you a tea connoiseur?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis laughs lightly. A look like that, how could she even stay angry with him? Bloody baby-faced man.

Artemis continues the process of making tea, which she does with a great deal of grace. It is not the Wutai tea ceremony, but it is practiced, graceful, and artful. At least to a weirdo like her.

Eventually, Artemis is offering him a steaming cup of pure heaven. "After I left Old Ivalice, I traveled a great deal. A good bit of that time I spent in China, where tea has a long history and culture. I met an old master who was a tea farmer, and spent some time with him, both learning martial arts and how to farm, roast, and brew tea. His name is Zhou. I will take you to meet him someday," she says, cupping her hands around her own tea now, raising it toward her lips to sip.
Ramza Beoulve He lifted the cup to his lips, and took a sip. He did have to admit, it /was/ pure heaven. He tried to make a face as her laughter indicated she'd made a jape at his expense.

He'd tap the cup of tea on the edge of it. "I think I'd like that, very much so. I've actually been to Imperial China with a pleasant young man named Ping, and a fine young lady named Shiki. They were gallant, virtuous folk, I'll need to catch up with them again soon."
Artemis Eurus She smiles, bright and warm, no hint of teasing or bitterness as she sees how much he enjoys the tea she made. Pure happiness. "Oh, you have been? Excellent. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen," she says, looking around then. "Though this compares favorably. Bamboo forests are beautiful, but they don't have the same feel as oak, yew and pine...

Artemis looks up then, the cunning vixen momentarily returned. "So, are you going to tell me about that katana now?"
Ramza Beoulve He'd have been smiling for a time as she spoke of China, it definitely mimicked his memory of the place.

And then she brought up the katana. All of the /Braves/ which were still up in the camp suddenly all stopped, looking straight at the pair, then blanched, and all turned away suddenly all making excuses to be somewhere else. For his part, Ramza would unhook the Saya from his belt, and hand it over to her palms up. "I.. Let's just say that I attained it under circumstances that I'd prefer not to relate. However.. the spirit within the blade is unpredictable, and it takes great force of will to quell it, once drawn out. The flames it unleashes are very near impossible to quench unless it is forced to quiescence. The first time I used it in battle, it burned several of my foes to death, and nearly one of my... friends too."

He doesn't relate which one. "...despite this, all of us decided that we shouldn't try to discard it, or destroy it. I've learned to control it ever since, but still.. they fear it, and rightly so. /I/ fear it myself."
Artemis Eurus Artemis blinks, watching everyone in the camp suddenly disperse. She raises a brow, not that anyone would see it. Her mask might twitch slightly. "I see...well, I will expect one day you will tell me the story Ramza," she says, refilling his cup of tea. "Blood and ashes, it isn't like I asked you to draw the thing," she grumbles, shaking her head. Skittish people.

"Well, now that we are alone again, perhaps we should suggest sleeping arrangements," she says, leaning toward him, her lips slightly parted, her voice growing smoky.

Seriously, stop making this so fun Ramza.
Ramza Beoulve He'd nod a fraction to her. "I will. One day."

He'd arch an eyebrow, looking around the camp. "Uh. They're just remembering the first time it happened..."

And then sleeping arrangements, his cheeks flushed bright red. "Y-you do realize we're sleeping in tents out here, don't you? There's so little room.."

Yep, totally oblivious.
Artemis Eurus Artemis blinks. Then she blinks again. Then, slowly, she hangs her head and laughs. "Yes, Ramza, that was the purpose of the statement. That is the idea. Oh goodness, you are so green it is unbelievable. Blood and ashes, I'm going to have to teach you so many things..." she says, shaking her head before she takes another sip of tea.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza didn't know what was more terrifying. The fact that he was considered /green/ in this lady's eyes or the promise that she was going to teach him so many things.

What is she planning to teach me!?

His cheeks were now so red that she'd likely be afraid that he'd burst into flame himself. "So it was... About the arrangements though. What were you planning?"
Artemis Eurus In order to speak, Artemis would have to stop laughing, and that is becoming incredibly difficult. She shakes her head, sipping her tea, and tries to decide if she wants to draw this out or have mercy on him.

Oh what is she kidding.

"It gets cold in the forest at is still early spring here. Very may want someone to warm you bed after all," she says, glancing sidelong at him from over her tea.
Ramza Beoulve Now Ramza didn't know what to think. He just stares at her dumbfounded. For some reason he thought she was /serious/.

His voice sounds very meek and bashful when he tries to ask for clarification. "Do you mean, laying alongside each other for bodyheat or..uh...?"

He couldn't even finish the statement. He looked away and was trying not to look at her.
Artemis Eurus Keep a straight face, keep a straight face, keep a straight face.


Really though, if she didn't think it might /kill him/ should would actually genuinely make the offer to keep each other company through the night. Yes. Like that. She's a woman, she has needs, and goodness bloody gracious she can't imagine how pent up /he/ must be.

Artemis shakes her head then, deciding, at the last moment, to take pity on him. "Oh Ramza, I don't know what to do with you. I would perhaps honestly offer to warm your bed but I have the feeling you may pass out before we even made it to the tent--but goodness, isn't it bloody distracting? I don't know how you manage," she confesses, taking another sip of her tea.
Ramza Beoulve He'd look at her with much puzzlement, as the color faded from his cheeks. He takes another sip of the tea, wondering idly if she put something in it that made him act the fool.

Nah, being a fool when it came to matters of romance just came natural to him.

Eventually he'd work up the courage to speak up again. "I'm not sure what you mean. Isn't what distracting?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis groans, hanging her head. This is just getting painful.

"Ramza. You are a man. Of this I am fairly sure. More than that, really, you are a human being and we have /needs/ you follow me?" she asks. "I am saying that I cannot imagine not fulfilling those desires--I have never understood it, as you know from what I've told you about my time at the Academy. I find nothing wrong or...sinful...about the actions between two people between the sheets, yes? It has been too long for me and I cannot imagine--well, I think you understand, if you don't you are truly hopeless."
Ramza Beoulve Ramza would groan, running a hand down his face, this again.

He wouldn't sound all that bashful any longer as he spoke, though it sounded like he was having trouble finding the words. "Look, I'm not sure how best to explain this to /you/. I know what you must think of me, but I'm not entirely without /desire/. I just don't feel it as a /necessity/. Mayhaps it may be to people who have.. experienced.. such, but truly I don't think about it much of the time. I have so many other concerns on my mind that it really isn't something I think about all that often. Even if I were truly attracted to someone, enough that I'd want to initiate courtship..."

A pause, he looked away, sighing. "...look, call me some sort of stuffy traditionalist, or a hopeless romantic but that wouldn't be something on my mind for.. some time. If I wanted to share that side of myself with someone.. I'd want to be sure. I don't find it wrong, or sinful to think or do otherwise. Its just how /I/ am. And if that makes me hopeless then.. so be it."
Artemis Eurus Artemis straightens some, tilting her head slightly at him. Oh gods. He's serious. He's really serious.




To her credit, Artemis does not laugh at him, but who in her situation could /not/ press this. May as well set what is what right here and now.

Artemis places her tea down, stands, and moves over toward Ramza. She stands in front of him for a few moments, then lowers herself onto his lap, straddling him, resting her arms on his shoulders.

"Are you telling me then, that you are not attracted to me? We will be in close quarters a lot Ramza, I am asking you a very practical question."
Ramza Beoulve To /his/ credit, he would actually stand his ground here, looking her right in the eyes. He wasn't actually even blushing.

When he spoke, his voice was calm, and even. "You are an extraordinarily beautiful lady, Artemis. Whether I'm attracted to you or not is not even a question worth discussing. You know the answer."

Wait, was he trolling her now?
Artemis Eurus Good luck trolling Artemis, she's very persistent. She stands her ground, or, rather, sits her ground?

"Actually Ramza, I do not know the answer. I have teased you it is true and if you are offended I am sorry, but I am asking you quite seriously now what I should expect. I am not proposing anything, I am asking if there is potential for this arrangement to get more complicated."
Ramza Beoulve Ramza would calmly take another sip of the tea.

"There's always that potential with anyone, isn't there?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis stands. Answer enough for her. He may have /meant/ to avoid giving a straight answer to her question, but he had, wether he likes it or not.

Chance passed.

"Alright. Get some rest Ramza, I will take first watch."
Artemis Eurus Artemis stops walking, but she does not turn. Really, Ramza? Really?

She sighs, shaking her head, clasping her hands behind her back. "Go to bed Ramza. I think I will sleep outside tonight."

This scene contained 38 poses. The players who were present were: Ramza Beoulve, Artemis Eurus