2017-09-06: For Ill or For Better

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  • Log: For Ill or For Better
  • Cast: Riesenlied, Mariel
  • Where: Marze
  • Date: 6th September 2017
  • Summary: Riesenlied stops at Marze village in a spell of illness, and a chance encounter runs her into Mariel...

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied has spent quite a lot of time around Wayside, but on Noeline's urging and her own sense of werewithal, she's gone out and about the Krosian plains in search of further Ruins that call out to her... as well as potential dangers to spot. As it is right now, she's stopped by the village of Marze on one of her excursions south, in an expectation to perhap head for the Krossian Caves soon.

The blonde demon is in disguise -- exercising the appearance that she once did a long time ago, as a member of the Fereshte tribe. It means that she's not really that well-disguised, for the Ellurian cloak and dress that she dons is somewhat familiar... but the jacket underneath and her shorter dark brown hair is new. Her horns are still visible, though.

No one said Riesenlied was particularly /good/ at deception.

Still, the winged demon is appreciating a chance to just wander the village without her enormous bounty hanging over her head -- though she's coughing just a little as she feels an untimely bout of her impurities come up, so she's trying to go find some medicine to deal with the symptoms, as she needs to from time to time.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

If Riese asks around a little bit, she might find someone willing to point her at a travelling herbalist. There is one in Marze today, as it turns out - unusual, given how few visitors it seems to get, but not unheard of. This one's a regular, who comes by every few months, though it's been a little longer since her last trip in.

That's Mariel, who is currently set up near the inn. She's already done business with the inn (spices, herbs), two pharmacists (different herbs, some tinctures, even Heal Berries, which are said to be very difficult to impossible to grow yourself) and a handful of individual customers who need or want this or that.

Mariel looks like a very small teenager of unclear Beastwoman extraction; she looks maybe thirteen or fourteen and short for her age at that, too young to have been making the trip to and from Marze - but if she's been doing it for years, she must be older than she looks. Or maybe it was her mother who used to do it. Of course, Riesenlied has access to Metal Demon lore, and who knows what they know.

At the moment she has just finished talking with a pair of children a little younger than she appears to be. She's given them a couple flowers from her big satchel (no charge) and they are currently running off, presumably to go show someone or other their new prize. She has a bit of a smile on her face as she straightens up, and is at an angle she doesn't see Riesenlied immediately.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied bobs her head to one side, with a quiet smile as she looks towards the traveling herbalist. She herself has done some herbalism as part of her tribe experience, but her knowledge and expertise largely starts and stops with the harsh Arctic climes and she hasn't had much time to expand her knowledge outwards.

Her vision wobbles just for a moment as she lets out a more throaty cough, and she shakes her head as she steps a little bit closer. "Excuse me..." she speaks softly. "Could I trouble you for some medicine? I had heard that you were offering some."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"I do sell... medicine..."

Mariel trails off as she looks at the woman who's addressed her. At first she doesn't recognize her, having never seen her before; in fact she still doesn't, or at least not by name. But she doesn't need to know exactly who she's talking to to feel that dull sense of 'not right' in her stomach, the connection to Filgaia that is the blessing of her kind cluing her in. Her eyes widen, fractionally, and she takes a half step backwards.

What is someone like her doing here? she thinks to herself, inasmuch as she thinks anything through her shock. Riesenlied can easily tell that Mariel is more than a little off-balance, and probably a little worried. And scared.

The truth is, Mariel has never met a single Metal Demon in person and isn't sure if she's talking to one, someone touched by Malevolence, or something else. All she knows is that something is not in balance with Filgaia, but in her experience most things like that want to hurt people.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied's own head is stirring, and some of her empathic senses are cluing her in to the anxiety and fright that's also a little evident in Mariel's voice. She-- places a hand to her forehead, trying to still give her best smile as she slowly takes a seat at a nearby bench near where Mariel is selling her wares.

"I'm sorry. I have these... episodes sometimes, and I need to stem it off with some medicine. Do you carry some woundwort and rosehip? I can mix it myself..." her vision stirs again. "Anything for a cold or fever would do, really."

A pause, as she laces her hands together. "I'm sorry, that was rude of me. My name is..." A pause, as she hesitates. "My name is Riesenlied." She opts to not lie. "It's nice to meet you."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel never learned to hide her emotions well, for all that she tends to be quiet and somewhat reserved around humans. Honestly, she's an open book. She's not a good liar; she can barely keep who she is a secret.

Which is why when Riesenlied is completely open with her, she can /really/ detect that discomfort from Mariel. Two instincts are warring within her: the urge to leave as fast as possible and have nothing to do with a person she now knows is a Metal Demon, and the urge she always feels to help someone hurting.

Mariel does not immediately run away, at least. "I should say no," Mariel says, her voice a little uneven. She should, but it wouldn't be true. She elects not to give her name, not that Riesenlied couldn't have easily found it from anyone pointing her toward the herbalist. "...what do you want with someone like me? Just... that?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied is... similarly, an open book, and a terrible liar. She didn't even /try/ to bother to keep who she was secret. "N-no?" she stammers quietly. She places a hand to her head as she tucks her head down. "I'm sorry, is there..." A pause, as she hesitates. "I am making you uncomfortable... why is that?"

She worries, looking towards herself and holding her hands openly for a moment. "I-- won't hurt you or anything...?" She hesitates further, but any further thought is stymied as a particularly heady swimming of her head occurs, and the way her eyes unfocus and she flinches is definitely genuine. "... s-sorry, hold on."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Because the last time you and your kind showed up, you tried to exterminate us.

Because the time before that, you tried to exterminate /everyone/.

And both times, we only survived because we did things that nobody should have. And that's why we've all left but me.

Mariel opens her mouth, then closes it. She says none of that, though the expression of emotional pain on her face is visible. She has no good response to Riesenlied. Does she not /know/? Is she that young? Mariel habitually thinks of the Metal Demons as terrible, immortal warriors. She's never really realized that, by now, she's older than most of them are.

Mariel covers her moment by opening her big satchel and looking in it. It's a squarish bag with a stylized flower embossed on the front, and is currently packed with flowers on top, then dried herbs, then bottles, vials and other solid storage containers. It smells wonderful; it's the most 'alive' scent anyone is likely to have smelled in ages, even with the forest right next door.

She retrieves a small vial - an herbal tincture, dark with whatever has been soaked in it. Mariel holds it in one gloved hand for a long moment. "I don't know that," she says, quietly. "You always did before. Me - or Filgaia."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied quietly flinches, because... well. She's never one to have needed words to connect the dots, but the way the herbalist girl reacts to her makes it quite evident that she has a problem with her... and of all the problems to have with someone she hasn't met before, she's pretty sure she can predict /why/.

There's a faint, almost wheezing gasp for a moment... then she quietly accepts the tincture, able to appreciate the wonderful scents from her bag. It's remarkable, and unlike anything she'd been able to produce before.

"... I see," she quietly expresses. She bites her lip, but quietly drinks the tincture in a fell swoop, squinting and squirming for a moment as she quenches it. "Thank you."

There is an equally long pause afterwards, as she glances to one side. "... I'm... looking for a solution. A solution that doesn't end in violence." She laces her hands together, wringing them tightly that her knuckles get a little bit more white. "... I've brought my Tainted brethren to a village out west, closer to the Badlands. ... we seek peace there, however we can."

She lowers her head. "I know it can't remand the past. Wounds will... always continue to bleed, for those who have suffered them. ... but I would like to try, regardless."

She leaves it vague, so that she's free to deny it if she wants to. She knows she can't appeal to everyone immediately. She knows that, from speaking to the Guardians, to her elders... such is the price of immortality.

The wounds of centuries ago are like yesterday.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

The tincture is not what Riesenlied expected. It's different herbs in different proportions. But Mariel knows her stuff. It does the job, well - and probably faster than expected, though it's not instantaneous. It's not magic. Just nearly.

Mariel pulls something else out of her bag, and this is a bundle of dried herbs - the kind you'd use for a tea. These she does not immediately offer, but holds onto. (Well, she is an herbalist. She has to get money somehow.) "I don't like seeing people hurt," is her simple answer. She can't even take satisfaction in fighting to protect someone, or the defeat of her enemies. It always feels like a waste, somehow.

She neither denies it nor acknowledges it. "It isn't going to work," she says, after a long pause. "There is too much history, for everybody. And - Filgaia itself has suffered the wound. Not just the people, but the soil and the land..." Mariel remembers. "...it might have, a thousand years ago. Even five hundred. Not today. Not after everything..."

The wounds of centuries ago are like yesterday, indeed.

Mariel looks up. "What could you do, after that? What have you tried, after Adlehyde? After Diabolos?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

"... Diabolos...?" Riesenlied sounds just a little bit surprised, before thinking upon it for a moment longer. She... had heard of such a name, but only in records -- no, she recalls it now. In her youth, it was all the elders ever talked about. It was part of why she existed in the first place -- because the Day of Collapse rendered the Photosphere scrambling for usable resources in the wake of all the destruction.

She quietly holds onto a small sack of gella, offering it towards Mariel in turn. There's probably more in there than she needs to give.

"... I love Filgaia," she admits, looking up towards the skies amidst the canopy of the trees that partially shades the sun to them. "It sounds strange, but... I truly do. It is the place I was born in, and though it rebuffs us in many ways... I have no other place to turn to. Like you, I... don't want to see it suffer any longer."

She squeezes her knees a little tighter, a bit more tense as she feels the medicine working. It dulls her senses, soothes the pain.

What kind of Metal Demon gets a cold like this, anyway?

"It's... why I chose to speak to the Guardians. I want... the truth. Everyone is hurting... everywhere. My elders, my closest friends, the Guardians... but it might be the responsibility of the young to try to get the old to have a new viewpoint they can't cope to see by themselves."

She laces her hands tighter still, like she's trembling. "One did... deign to speak to me. He could have killed me, at my weakest. But he bid me to try... to be something other than a murderer." She bites her lip. "That is why we have banded... at our village, to try to eke a living outside of a shadow of oppression."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Diabolos was a long time ago. That Mariel brought it up the way she did says a lot.

Accepting the gella, Mariel opens the bag. Is she going to demand more?? - No, she's taking some of it out, creating a stack of coins (so that Riesenlied can see how much she's taking) and giving the rest of it back. She's not cheating the Metal Demon, though she's not exactly giving her a discount rate either; sometimes she does, especially when someone can't pay and needs it. But Riesenlied can clearly pay, and she's not inclined to be especially generous for her.

It also lets Mariel think about that. A Metal Demon who was... born? on Filgaia. Mariel is not sure if Metal Demons are born or made, honestly, and from what she /does/ know she'd assume the second. She remembers some of the things that were said about them. It is a little strange that they'd get a cold, though.

"It suffers because of you," Mariel says, still quiet. "Not you personally, but because of what was done. Your kind..." And mine. She shies away from that part, even in her own mind, which is fine because Riesenlied gives her plenty to think about.

"The Guardians spoke to you?" Mariel's tone is somewhere between sheer disbelief and - almost anger, though it doesn't last. Mostly, afterwards, she looks tired. "They have more trust in you than I would. Maybe it is because you are young. I don't know." Mariel doesn't speak to the Guardians anymore. She doesn't want to know what they think of her.

"Which Guardian?" she asks instead, suddenly. It seems an unusual segue.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

In truth, Riesenlied probably can't quite remember whether she was 'born' or 'made'. Certainly, Cetiri was there to supervise her as her creator, yet the ways in which one was created... it wasn't as clinical and detached as building a Gear either. They were biological beings in the end... perhaps it is a concession, somewhere, between the two. At least, that's what the romantic side of Riesenlied would think, anyhow.

"Equites. The Guardian of the Sword," she answers without hesitation. "... I can hear the hurt in their voices. ... I've long wanted to speak to one, in truth. ... I've heard of the wounds the elders espouse. But never the other. ... I hated it. I wanted to hear it from them, without someone else's hatred polluting my views..."

There's a faint, sad sigh as Mariel points out that Filgaia suffers because of her. Her kin.

"... maybe it is too late, and maybe too much damage has been done, but... I scarce wish to lie down and do nothing -- and I know, that if they are left to it... I feel that my brethren and the Guardians would both eagerly resume the battle of a thousand years ago. Such hate has perpetuated amongst my kin, pervading even the thoughts of the younger..."

She looks deeply sorrowful for a moment, yet her voice carries more conviction than it does before. "... but I won't give up. I may want the improbable... but the Guardian has shown that they were at least willing to lend an ear. I want to see... that kind of new world, where we may all flourish."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Part of Mariel wants to like Riesenlied, or at least respect her. To solve this problem without battle - that would be for the best, she thinks. And with some of them it's far too late for that. Nothing else but battle will stop Mother. There is no way to coexist with her. But maybe, some of the others, who listen to the Guardians...

But she can't. She can't like Riesenlied. The distrust runs too deep. There's still a grudging respect, but she can't go further than that. Not after everything.

"Equites," Mariel repeats. That isn't one that Mariel would expect to show mercy. Or trust. If it was Odoryuk, she'd understand. But Equites? She looks away, again, for several long moments, and doesn't speak.

"And what will you do," she says eventually, "about those of your kind who disagree? Those like Berserk, and Siegfried?" She knows the names of the Metal Demons' Knights. "What will you do, about the Guardians that still want to fight, for all they have suffered? I don't know that what you want is possible."

But yet she's still listening, which is probably the greatest sign yet that Mariel sees /something/ in what Riesenlied is saying. It's hard to tell what.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied is in awe, if not plainly so, at the depths in which this girl knows her history.

Equites would not show mercy. She'd understand that. Yet, ironically, it is Odoryuk who strikes the deepest fear, casts the greatest shadow in her life... in part, she perhaps regrets not being able to speak to him, yet at the same time... feels a kind of relief -- if an unhealthy one, to put it off further.

"... I understand that some rifts are unhealable, and that there are those that won't listen... those whose views are deeply rooted in what they are, and what they believe in," Riesenlied quietly murmurs.

That she must go against Siegfried -- one of her closest friends, a mentor, and someone who reached out to her at a time of need and gave her a chance to succeed -- is something that deeply wounds her, indeed.

"Battle is... unavoidable, sooner or later," she murmurs. "I know that I can't yet drop my sword. Even outside the Guardians and my brethren, many seek our destruction -- amidst the humans, amidst the Lunarians. Maybe my path will bring me to the bitterest of ends, in many ways. I must be ready of that possibility."

She casts her eyes back towards Mariel, where they're faintly wet. She dabs at her eyes. "But to show my brethren that there is life outside of battle... it is still better than to not try. We build a village, that they may know life and means outside of fighting. Trading, building, growing a garden..."

She closes her eyes again, and more fervently, she says, "Because as slim as our chances of success are... it is better than the certain zero that giving up has. And... I'm not ready to give up on Filgaia yet."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel is still discomfited by Riesenlied's proximity, but her words are keeping her here.

She says nothing for several very long moments as Riesenlied speaks, and then after. She fails to meet Riese's eyes afterwards, preferring to look at the ground for some time and work through her own thoughts. She has so many that it's hard to get them all in order - and she's not even sure what her final decision is.

If Riesenlied wasn't a Metal Demon, Mariel /could/ like her, and respect what she was doing. That she is confuses the issue, and more than a little bit. Her ears flatten down a little bit, drooping further downwards rather than their normal slightly outward positioning.

"Neither am I," she says, finally. Mariel has not given up on Filgaia. That's why she stayed, and swore the oath that she did; to stay until it was green and vibrant once again, to undo the curse of the past. As hard as it's been, as much as she's lost ground in the time since she swore it, she has never stopped. "Every time someone has tried to stop the Metal Demons, it has cost so much... maybe only the Metal Demons can stop themselves."

Impulsively, she finishes, "My name is Mariel." She never did give it, did she?

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

It's taken a lot of grief and confusion for Riesenlied to get to this point, that she can't blame anyone else for needing to take their time, too. She asks for the most outlandish of things, on the perspective of the long-lived, after all.

Riesenlied knows in part that she can't live in a green and vibrant world... but... at the same time, there's a beauty in it... that maybe she wouldn't mind dying in, at that time. It's a complicated feeling. But she's already desired the impossible -- perhaps the past can answer to such a seeming contradiction between her existence and Filgaia's thriving?

"Miss Mariel... it's-- nice to meet you," she awkwardly says, gently. "... could-- could I bother you for something else, actually?"

She offers the rest of the bag of gella that she counted out of. "As I mentioned, we're trying to grow a garden at our village. I'd like to... try to get a wider variety of seeds and cultivars where I can. Would I be able to trouble you for some, ontop of the medicine...?"

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

It will certainly take time for Mariel to think about this. It's so completely outside of what she expected that she has no words for it; her thoughts are disorganized, and she doesn't do well in that situation.

She hates the Metal Demons, not only for what they've done but for what people felt they must do to fight them; for the damage that was caused to Filgaia and the Guardians. She has hated them for human - even Metal Demon - generations. It takes time for such a thing to change.

"...really?" Riesenlied wants seeds? Even for someone she's not sure about, that's something Mariel would be happy to provide - as long as she was sure they would be planted, not destroyed. "...not now. I didn't bring many, and the ones I have are promised." Mariel travels on her own two feet; she has another, bigger bag, but it only holds so much. "But... If you send someone to Krosse in a week, I can have some to sell."

She's not going to say where she's getting them, but at least she's said she can and will.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

In truth, Riesenlied is perhaps doubtful she'll ever completely escape that shadow -- and that's something that makes her crestfallen, that the Hyadeans may never escape the notoriety of the term 'Metal Demon'. But... all things take time. Much like change to the world...

"Okay," Riesenlied nods gently. "We have a waterway and a decent irrigation system, so I thought we'd try growing crops to sustain the village further. I can send someone other than myself to Krosse if you... prefer." The tone of her voice rather makes it evident that she means 'someone who's not a Metal Demon', but she's leaving that up to Mariel to decide.

She smiles just a bit more weakly as she rises from the bench. "Please, keep the money ahead of time," she suggests. "I... had best lie down right now -- I can feel the medicine working. Thank you again... I really appreciate it."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Escaping history is hard. Mariel hasn't escaped hers.

"...send whoever is best. I'll get a variety for you," Mariel eventually decides. Maybe she means it as an oblique apology for her reaction to Riesenlied, or maybe not. Maybe she wants to see if all the Metal Demons feel as... out of sync, she supposes, with Filgaia. Elw are a race built on bonds, and Riesenlied just feels /different/.

Mariel takes a step back. "You should feel better once you rest," she agrees. She can't - quite - bring herself to wish Riesenlied well, so she says, "Thank you for your patronage," in a way that sounds just a little too rehearsed to be entirely authentic. Also, there's no smile. But her ears aren't drooping quite so much anymore, for whatever reason...