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Before The Mission
(2013-03-30 - 2013-03-30)
No description.
The mission operation would start soon. There was several hustling and bustling as soldiers move to-and-fro to get things ready. Passes being checked from Mercenaries that had took on the Marks and a Shiva getting ready to be dispatched in order to pick up those from Fluorgis.

Yet in all the chaos, it was still very orderly. The only part Gabranth wasn't overly happy about on the mission details was that they were using part of Ghis' fleet to do this job. He would rather work with the 2nd fleet who was more use to exploration missions. However the Senate wanted to make sure that those use to air-combat would be here and not a group who didn't see much in the way of combat-- or whatever there reasons were that made no sense to the Judge of Ambition; They sometimes never do.

Moving from the flight decks, the Dark Knight judge moved into one of the main areas inside the capital building. Then made his way down some steps into one of the meeting rooms, where he then dropped some folders down on the table as he walked by. His foot steps were off, they were not calm in his common fashion. If anything he was pacing about a bit as he was looking for where some placed the keys to the armory across the way.

Once he located the keys, his steps calmed down and he made his way normally over to the armory room, unlocking the door to gain access to it. Once inside he started to take a few sacks and placing supplies into them.

Someone was trying to keep themselves busy it seems while they waited. Waited for two others to arrive. Yet somehow, he knew it. He knew he was nervous. So many unknowns. So many things that could go wrong. No intel. No knowledge. Just what some bloody damn computer gave them.
Zargabaath Zargabaath sweeps down the hall, his brand-new armor barely making a sound as he walks. It is the first time that he has really been seen amongst his fellow Archadians ever since he training accident, having been busy retraining himself and getting his armor broken in. The craftsmanship of the Archadian metalsmiths and leatherworkers have unquestionably proven themselves yet again.

If he seems tense as he walks, it's more because he's not in command of a fleet at the moment.

Somewhere along the line, he overhears the overly busied hustle-and-bustle of someone at work, and he peers around a corner to see the familiar helm and cape of Judge Magister Gabranth.

"Your Honor. May I advise you to calm yourself?" He leans against the doorjam, arms loosely folding over his chestplate, his expression hidden beneath his helm. "The men will grow more tense if they see us act as if there is something to fear."
Riku Riku made his way through the corridors without really looking where he was going. He does get turned around once but quickly reorients himself.

Hair tied back and gear prepared, he has no reason to hurry and no reason to be concerned. There is an aura of tension in the air, an aura of uncertainty.. and he walks through it with an oblivious and semi distracted presence.

Perhaps his own worries are taking too much of his attention to notice the worries of others, or he simply doesn't understand WHY he should be tense. There's been too much in his history far worse than this that he has, in one measure or other, survived.

His hand strayed occasionally to a small grey pouch on his belt every so often as the only sign of what he was thinking about, the holy magicite nagging at his mind but there just the same in case he needed it.

If things somehow went bad (and he didn't see why they would. This was pretty much any adventure he'd ever known up until now, just with a lot more people involved) it was still there.. just in case.

That side of himself he didn't want to show to anyone else. Not if he could help it.

Riku eventually locates the two he was looking for but doesn't immediatey say anything since they are already talking. So he inclines his head silently and then looks off down the corridor watching the other people go by.
Gabranth slows in his motions as Zargabaath speaks up. He stands up slightly and looks over his shoulder. There was a long, hidden stare from behind the helm. Those blue eyes border-lining on going gold. He then slowly looked away once more before a deep inhale of air could be heard taken. Before a soft 'Mm'.

Then he goes back to packing the previsions that will be required, or may be required. He wasn't even sure. It was just following the standard procedure. "That is why I am in here, you honor, and not out there. Though it does seem you got my message. I wonder if the others have as well."

Gabranth then ties the sack, before placing it at the corner, then going to make another provision bag. "Beyond what I have in those folders, we have no knowledge of what will happen. We do not even know what we are searching for even still exists." He then crouches down, the scabbards moving across the ground as he does, the cape fanning out slightly with contact on the ground. "This could be a trap or a complete waste of time to make us look like fools." The Judge of Ambition closes his eyes behind the helm as he hand slightly freezes in the air. "..and I hate surprises." He then continues what he was doing.

"So forgive me, Judge Magister Zargabaath if I am trying to burn off this before I even step foot on that Shiva as I will need to keep all thoughts to myself once I walk out that door to rejoin the group." The Judge Magister then ties that bag, standing once more. He then snatches the bag turning to notice Riku's arrival and silently wondering how long the youth had been standing there. His eyes behind the darkness that the helm provided glanced over to Zargabaath, before there was a grunt.

He then walks over the wooden table, placing the two bags with ease on it before resting his hand at his sides. His fingers flexing for a moment as the leather could be heard stretching just a tad. Nervous? Just a tad. Uncertain? Highly.

"Yet--" He decides just to finish this conversation, even with Riku there. "If the object is there, we will obtain it and complete this bloody mission. I am sure the dear Doctor will be thrilled with the artifact and jumping for joy to get right to testing. Then we can all return back to our normal duties of operation and I back to staring at the new geographical charts."

There was then a long pause as his hands came to rest on the table. His head lowered a bit. He was very much not himself, at least for the moment. Yet when he did step out from this room. He would be. He would be back to his typical Judge Magister self. "..How long has it been.." He mutters to himself, knowing someone may have the answer. He then stands back up once more before his gaze drifts over to Riku. "..and I am glad you could make it, Judge Riku.. I assure you, this is not the common affair."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath falls silent and lets Gabranth vent. He doesn't budge from his undoubtedly unapologetically casual stance, watching the Judge of Ambition pacing around the room under the pretense of preparing supplies. Riku's appearance only gets a brief finger-waggle of a wave just above his arm, the Judge of Reason's helm barely shifting in acknowledgement.

It's always better to let someone riled up get it out of their system without interruption.

Once the conversation shifts to include Riku, though, Zargabaath straightens off of the doorjam to stand fully upright, but his arms remain folded over his chestplate. "Yes, it is," he counters, his deep voice sounding rather light in bemusement. "What is 'not a common affair' is you getting caught pacing around like a caged Behemoth, Your Honor."

He finally turns his helm to regard Riku, noting his state of dress and whatever supplies the boy may have. "I take it you are prepared for the adventure ahead, Judge Riku?"
Riku Riku knows at least a little bit about times to stay quiet. This was one of those times.

So while his posture betrayed his relaxed stance and his apparant disregard, he also stayed quiet with his arms behind his back and loosely clasped. He watched postures and movements and listened for the small sounds since he couldn't see their faces, his own as closed as he can make it.

He nods at Zargabaath at the acknowledgement and continues to stay quiet. When Gabranth noticed and then addressed him he only smiled very slightly, shrugging his shoulders as if implying a silent 'Whatever are you talking about, your honor? I see no problem here.' that is made perhaps a little more comical by him studiously leaning away from the wall to peer up and down the length of the corridor before looking back into the room.

"Your honor." he inclines his head to both Judge Magisters in turn and his expression becomes slightly withdrawn and stiffens as he silently works over the implications of what is being said. He's heard a few things here and there about who Gabranth must be speaking about, just filing this away for now. His gaze eventually moves back to Zargabaath.

"I'm ready, your honor." he opens his mouth to add 'I got all the snorting and stamping out of my system this morning' but pauses, just long enough for the quiet to still the snarking comment and he quietly closes his mouth with a faint click. "Just as I said I would be."

Maybe there /won't/ be spiders there, wherever they were going. That would actually be nice.
Gabranth notes that Riku is being oddly calm. Those eyes look at the youth for a moment before he inhales deeply. Perhaps taking both Zargabaath's and Riku's own calmness to force himself to relax. The mission will go fine. They had the best at hand. He would have those he could trust around him and none that would be trying to jeopardize the mission; or so he hoped.

The Judge Magister at last took a seat, before he motions his hand outward for them to join him. It seemed Gabranth was slowly going back to his more typical self now. He reaches over to the folder and starts to pull out the information. Laying them down on the table. "Lets get down to some minor details then I would like to cover with you both, on what I /do/ know and where we will all be standing on this mission objective."

Yep. Gabranth was now being Gabranth it would seem. Though his gaze does go to Riku, "..and please, insert your snark. It is odd not hearing it from you. After all, if Judge Magister Bergan can be a bloody bastard, you can snark."

Gabranth does cant his gaze to Zargabaath, "Outside of you Judge Magister Zargabaath, you are not allowed to snark. I know what is going to come from you today and I know you are just waiting for the right time.."
Zargabaath Or Ochu's. Judge Magister Zargabaath has not forgotten the last 'adventure' he'd gotten himself into on his own accord. Unfortunately, it also included Reize Seatlan.

The Judge of Reason motions for Riku to enter the armory and closes the door behind them, preventing any troops from passing by to overhear the intel of the mission at hand. He moves over to the table, hands resting on his hips, and regards the map laid out on the table's surface.

At Gabranth's order of 'not allowed to snark', he emits a low rumble from within the helm. Amused or annoyed? It's difficult to tell sometimes without the corresponding facial expressions. "Very well. Snark and any variant of the term shall play no part in it."

He waves a hand as if to dismiss such a topic, returning full attention to the map. "Proceed at will, Your Honor. I am listening."
Riku Riku meets those eyes for a few seconds before his composure cracks like a dropped plate. He snorts, starting to laugh so hard he starts to cough because of the effort to try and stuff it back down his throat.

He puts a gloved hand to his mouth and looks to Zargabaath for a moment before coughing again to regain his composure. "I have been caught out, your honor. " he is failing a losing battle with a smirk as he innocently adds.

"I only wanted to present the right decorum." he cackles very slightly, a nasty and bemused noise "..and maybe let his honor get in the first shot."

The young judge takes a seat, interlacing his fingers and putting his chin on top of his interlaced fingers as he looked down at the information. He glances again at Judge Magister Zargabaath, eyebrow raising just for a moment in curiosity before goes back to examining what was on the table. Nope. Nothing to see here. Not at all.
Gabranth stares at Zargabaath as he rumbles. He /knows/ that rumble. He has heard it many times in the past. He /hates/ that rumble. His glance then moves over to Riku. There was a mild hint of amusement in his voice, "There are times for true proper decorum and times when to not worry of it. The most important time for proper, stiffness is when you are in front of the troops while in armor or when placed in front of the House. Its a," he handwobbles, "eeh-- when before other Judges and Judge Magisters. A silent rule of friendly jabbing is expected, I suppose. It is something you just pick up on. Though all things important, it is better to be honest and true, then to disguise on-self in dishonesty. As we are always judged heavily on this." However Gabranth's attention slowly moves back to work. Back to the map, along with a few written documents as well.

The Judge Magister slides them both the maps, there is a forth map he keeps off to the side, unaware if another would be joining them are not. After all, she was a very hard Judge to get a hold of. "These are the maps of the location we are going to, provided by the computer. These maps need to be further memorized. You may have gotten something like this in the summons. These are the more detailed versions."

"In this mission, I will be mission leader. If something is to happen to me, the command then falls to Zargabaath, if something happens to him, it goes to you Judge Riku." Gabranth's eyes fall on Riku for a moment. He then hands them the card documents.

"These numbers will need to be memorized These are the deactivation key for the protection wall around the artifact. You will not be taking any notes or papers with you on this mission, just encase someone has slipped in that could jeopardize this mission."

Gabranth then sits back in the chair, hands placed on the table. One over the other. "If there is an artifact, it will be obtained. There is no room for failure." He then moves his hands back out moving sketch drawings of what looks to be a shard with metallic frame perhaps around it. "That is the artifact we are after. It is known as the Eclipse Shard. This shard was once created by the locals on the island and used for both military and medical purposes. It was believed that such an artifact once were many, but this is the last remaining one." Gabranth then pauses for a moment before he continues. "How this shard functions, we do not know. That is why the dear Doctor is looking forward to obtaining it."

He lets that sink in for just a bit before his gaze turns over to Riku. "..also Judge Riku, this is a test of your own abilities. That is why the Senate has ordered you to be here today. You will be watched for all actions and conduct during this mission. When we leave Archades out for this mission, you will be temporary rank of a full time Judge and will remain so until we return to Archades, is that understood?"
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath asides to Riku, "It depends on how well you know the other person. I advise giving proper respect due to age or title until you are cleared otherwise, or until you are able to properly judge the correct time and place for such comraderie."

When Judge Magister Gabranth begins his briefing, he accepts the map and cards and studies all materials very carefully. He has nothing to add nor question, really, his helm bobbing slightly as his gaze shifts from one piece of information to the next. The fact that Riku will be tested as a full Judge doesn't seem to get a reaction out of the Judge of Reason, as it makes perfect sense. Training on the field is usually the best way at this current stage.
Riku Riku looks momentarily embarrassed at the whole concept of 'dishonesty' laid out by the Judge Magister. In fact he looks down at the surface of the table and through it as if he is trying to quietly bore holes in the surface. "Yes, your honor. It's.. better to be honest."

He nods at Zargabaath's aside but doesn't look back up until he has mastered his expression and the faint tinges of tension and chagrin. He looks, almost faintly embarrassed for a moment as he rubs the back of his neck. "I'll remember." he takes in a small breath and then lets it out in a short rush. He eyes the fourth map and then turns his attention to his own, eyes looking over the more detailed map. He is almost not listening until he hears his name and.. "Wait. What?" He blinks and then starts to shake his head.

"Umm.." and here he just seems to lose the calm and unreflected demeanor of before. Because he was under the assumption that he would only be responsible for himself. Being an /actual/ Judge, not a Cadet.. even for a few hours was sort of extremely alarming.

He eventually mastered himself again and took it in a deep breath, letting it out. "..I am /really/ going to need that armor if you are going to pull this too many more times, your honor. Out of self-defense, if nothing else."
Gabranth stares at Riku for a moment, before there was a soft muffled hrm of a chuckle. "Long as you continue to do as instructed on gaining the armor, you will get your own soon enough." After all, one could not simply /give/ a Judge their armor. They had to gain it themselves. It was a show of devotion and diligence.

"You will do fine, Judge Riku. You are being trained by two Judge Magisters, one whom is seen as combat master, with Bergan not to far behind his heels." As his gaze moves over to Zargabaath, before returning to Riku. "..and if anyone attempts to give you trouble--- I am sure both of us will be glad to see to them afterwards." Unless we die, but Gabranth leaves that part out.

"Now, any questions?"
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath emits a low chuckle of his own. "Riku, do not worry. The responsibility is completely on His Honor Gabranth and myself. Perhaps relaying orders and ensuring the unity of the soldiers is the extent of it, unless I happen to be mistaken."

Then Gabranth asks a very open-ended question. In all dead seriousness without even breaking a mental stride, Zargbaath asks quite honestly, "How does it feel to be a year older, Your Honor?" As promised, there is no snark nor dry humor of any sort here.
Riku Diligence, sadism and the extremely dry humor of Archades giving generic requirements and then couching a 'suggestion' of the more esoteric variety.

Riku glowers at the Judge Magister but doesn't do more than snort faintly and shake his head. "..No. I think I'm good. We go there, and grab this thing, whatever it REALLY is, and then stuff it in a box somewhere in case it explodes or something. Then it's someone elses problem."

Riku leans back in the chair, crossing his arms again as he know looks up at the ceiling. He looks down.. and whistles.. very softly as he looks between Zargabaath and Gabranth.

He then pointedly ignores the two Judge Magisters and goes back to his idly examination of the ceiling.
"Yes. A box. A nice one." Gabranth agrees with Riku and then. Zargabaath has to /say/ it. There was probably a state here. A dead pan stare hidden by the helm at Zargabaath, including a long moment of silence with that stare.

He slowly reaches over to recollect the papers once more, his gaze never leaving Zargabaath. The silence remaining. Then after he taps the paperwork on the table a few times to straighten it up, Gabranth then speaks. "..I will be glad on the day that you forget, you honor."

He then goes to stand up after he places the papers back into the folder. "And to answer your question," He then tucks the folder under his arm, "Just another year to regret." Which is probably his more common of lines when regarding his Birthday.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath just emits a long sigh, his helm shaking from side-to-side. "Someday you will change that answer. And I shall not forget until you do."

He says nothing more on the matter, however, instead folding up the map and tucking it beneath his chestplate. He casts another casual glance towards the card upon which numbers are written, then rips up the card into small shreds. "Well then. If the briefing is over, I suppose we had best rally the troops."
Riku Riku stays out of this one. Even when he feels the urge to reach over and thump Gabranth upside the head, his fingers only twitching slightly as they lay on the table.

He pulls them back into his lap so that it's even more unfeasible for him to do such a thing and continues to examine the ceiling and try to regain some of that calm that he had in his grasp before that slid away from his fingers like sand.

"Yeah.." he says quietly to Judge magister Zargabaath. "...yeah. I'll be fine." He wants to stand and leave the room and he also wants to stay and say something else. Riku looks down at Judge Magister Gabranth and remains seated while he memorizes the combination. He rips up the card, opening his mouth slightly again and then closing it as he stands, some what at loose ends for a moment.

Riku eventually turns away. "..I.. may I be dismissed, your honor?"
"Aye, you may." Gabranth says calmly to Riku. "Get anything you may still need and meet at the dock." The Judge Magister stares at Riku a bit before he lowers his head. He then takes the two bags he placed on the table in hand before sling them over his armored shoulder.

The Judge of Ambition then stands there looking off in some distance at his own thoughts gage through his mind. So many things he like to say yet no time to say them. So many events that took place, but they were needed to be done.

Yet all his mind now must focus on soon was the mission ahead. There would be time for grieving once it was done.
Riku Riku knows he probably shouldn't say this. He knows he wouldn't have wanted to hear it from himself. (But then.. it had been months later that he realized his own birthday had come and gone.)

He'd never made a fuss about these things although his parents had. His parents had always gone out of their way, even when he snarked and kvetched at them not to bother.

He wants to say something here, but.. no. Anything that came out of his mouth would probably end up sounding insulting. Riku lets out a long, weary sounding breath as the mental argument drags up all sort of mental debris that he hadn't want to think about.. hadn't wanted to confront in quite some time.

Oh.. screw it. He decided to share the misery around a little bit. "Your honor?" he pulls an Arcadian Saber from a rack and examines it as he walks towards the door. When it's just him and Gabranth and Zargabaath has left to rally the troops. He pauses at the door just long enough to say.

"I hope.. next year is a happier one. " he snorts faintly at the flicker image of crumbling towers and swarming heartless. ".. I guess for us both." And then he flees before he has to face the consequences.
The Judge Magister remains in silence. Enjoying the silence of his own thoughts until Riku interrupts them. His gold eyes under the helm now glance in the direction of the youth as Riku speaks up. 'I hope.. next year is a happier one.' Those words cause the Judge Magister to turn and face Riku for a moment.

He hears what the youth says after that as well and when he goes to extend out his hand as to say 'wait', Riku is already gone. Gabranth lets out a soft sigh before he shakes his head. He then starts to make his own way out to burn the folder so no one may get the information within it. Only leaving his words for the pearl itself.

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