2017-10-18: Welcome Home

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  • Log: Welcome Home
  • Cast: Riesenlied, Neriah Parringer
  • Where: Wayside
  • Date: 18th October 2017
  • Summary: Neriah visits Wayside after she and Riesenlied had spoke of her coming there.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

At first, Neriah had been anxious about Wayside. She'd camped out well outside the village limits, not talking to anyone. Her only encounter with the villagers had been the arrival of Id, where she'd made a blanket judgment on the place: Saccharine and saintly, and probably out to reject her.

She caught herself and thought again.

It's why she's not under arms as she moves past the V4L-H4LLA, her eyes a little wide as she takes stock of the village for what is really the first time she's brought herself to take a close look at it. She slips off her oversized newsboy hat and pushes a hand through her short black hair, a self-mocking little smile tugging at her lips. Part of her still doubts they'd welcome her. But then again...

But then again, some people are kind.

She gently takes aside a passer-by and asks for directions. Soon enough, she's heading through the village, zeroing in on wherever it is that the leader of the Ebony Wings traditionally holds what passes for a court in a place like this. Anxiety continues to dog her, but she forces herself to ignore it as she approaches on light steps, clearing her throat.

"Miss Riesenlied...?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied did offer to show Neriah around Wayside last they met at that bar in November City, and she definitely didn't forget. In a way, it's perhaps easy to see Wayside for being a too idealistic and naive place in a harsh wasteland like Filgaia, but...

It's still founded on a measure of groundedness and reality -- and the reality is that Wayside isn't a paradise; it's a very small village precariously teetering on possible apocalypses like the Demon of Elru's visit, or perhaps an aerial trot by Gebler, or even their own brethren deciding that their attempt at living on their own is not what Mother would've envisioned.

The people are relatively nice, though, if battered. World-weary and a little fragile, but happy enough to point Riesenlied out -- up at a large two-storey building at the back with a cute sign nutted into place by a giant gear bolt reading: 'Wayside Orphanage'.

Okay, so maybe the sight of Riesenlied sitting on a rocking chair with the cutest little orphan with tiny black wings behind her back is a bit saccharine, but...

"Oh? Miss Neriah!" Riesenlied smiles, as she looks down and says, "Say hello, Mikaia."

Mikaia turns and peers, before -- hesitantly waving and saying, "H-hello...!" So shy... Neriah Parringer just looked at you.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

In some ways, Neriah's cynicism is pervasive. Her world isn't one rooted in a great deal of love and acceptance. That's saying nothing of what happens when she closes her eyes.

The world-weariness she sees around her strikes a chord, enough that Neriah hangs her head a little by the time she slips past that adorable sign with its giant bolt and bright lettering. Then she's past it, and something even cuter comes into view.

(Maybe I was right,) Neriah's brain immediately thinks as she beholds the horned woman with the little wingletted orphan clinging to her like that.

(But then, maybe I just wish I had someone to hide behind like that.)

"Hello, Mikaia," Neriah greets with a shy smile of her own, a touch of colour mounting at her cheeks. She lifts her right hand, curling black-gloved fingers in a little wave. "I don't mean to bug your mommy too much...."

Neriah remembers what Riese looked like with her wings, and she's predictably gotten the wrong idea.

"...I hope I'm not bothering you," she says apologetically as she lowers her head, her hand falling to her belt. Her thumb tucks into the top of it in a nervous gesture. "I just... remembered what you said, back at the tavern there. And I was kind of thinking I, uh. I wanted to see what your village was like.

"Since, y'know. It's not like I have anywhere else to call home," she finishes with a self-mocking little smile.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

It's okay, Mikaia actually calls her 'Riesemama' all the time anyway, just to further the cute up the wall. They aren't related, though, but it'd be completely understandable for such a misunderstanding to be made.

"Yes, I do remember... I'd wanted to ask if you wanted to come, but things-- got a bit busy at November," Riesenlied is a bit contrite. "But would you like a tour, then? I hope the townsfolk have been welcoming."

She rises gently from her seat as Mikaia still clings to her arms, a bit clingy and spoiled at her age, perhaps. "Um-- I didn't have one either..." Mikaia lets out.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

If Neriah only knew that, she might have to circle back to the word 'saccharine.' But that's okay. Filgaia needs a double scoop of sugar.

"No, I understand. Everyone's got things they need to do," Neriah says with a quiet smile. "Me not as much... not many people are in the market for Excavators who have weird magic and make snarky jokes all the time, surprisingly."

As Riesenlied rises, Neriah touches a hand to her cheek at the sight of Mikaia still clinging on. Her smile grows a bit lopsided as she steps over, her blush darkening just a touch. "It's okay," she assures, voice softer. "I lost mine... maybe we can be new-home buddies together."

Neriah's not used to dealing with kids. She does, however, have enormous sympathy for those cut loose by the world.

"I'd like that," she says with a nod for Riesenlied, moving to stand beside the woman. She unbuttons her cloak and folds it over her shoulder. The garment is exactly the same tan-cream colour as her tunic. "It looks like you've done really well to build this place... I can't imagine how much work it is."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

"We'd certainly welcome you," Riesenlied expresses first and foremost. "Wayside is here, for everyone who has been cast to the wayside," as if to express the name -- and it's apparently a bit of a giggly joke for the children too. "And there's actually a lot of excavation work that still needs to be done."

There's a quiet smile from Mikaia as well, as she says, "... mm! Let's be buddies...!"

She starts to walk -- the orphanage is at about 10 o' clock if Wayside were imagined as a ring, and there's a wide path leading down at 12 to where Neriah can see a large set of terraced crop fields that're just starting to sprout. Several of the villagers are at work at the moment, wearing kasa hats and with baskets at their back.

Just past that, there's a rather large, obviously ancient machine that's kinda shaped like a cross between a water tank and a turbine, which whirrs silently as it churns water from a waterway deeper into the mountain.

"This is probably what makes Wayside work," Riesenlied explains. "We found this ARM a long while back when we were scouting the area, and the Caravan Kinship helped repair it for us. It purifies water, so we've been selling water to nearby villages and traders, and also using it to irrigate and grow some desert-hardy crops..."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

The pun doesn't make Neriah giggle. Rather, she smiles a lopsided smile, equal parts jaded and gentle, with a touch of weariness to it she tries not to let show. She's had hope of things before and been let down.

It is hard to keep up a low mood when there is a happy child smiling at her and offering to be her bud. Turning, she offers her left hand to Mikaia. Better she hold that one than the right; the right one is always a guessing game. "Then we're buds now," she promises.

Moving along with Riesenlied and Mikaia, Neriah leaves little bootprints behind her, her modest, chunky heels forming a distinctive track. "Well, I may be a lot of weird things," she admits, "but one thing I definitely am is a registered Excavator. I can help you with some of that. In fact, I'd be really happy to help you with some of that." She flashes Riesenlied a smile, a hint of honest warmth finding its way into it.

The huge chunk of machinery leaves her raising her eyebrows. "Oh wow," she murmurs. "That's really impressive. I didn't think /anyone/ could get crops to grow this far out into the desert. It almost... it almost feels like there's some life in Filgaia."

Looking up to the horned woman, Neriah opens her mouth a bit, then closes it to bite her bottom lip. "Uhm," she ventures. "Do you... do you find that other humans don't understand, when they see this place...? I mean... I don't have anything against Metal Demons at all. And I just wonder... if you go through what I used to go through. Where other people are scared of you and try to push you away."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Mikaia hops down gently and pitters on her little feet, reaching up to hold onto Neriah's hands. "Buddies...!" she smiles brightly. "I'm, I'm learning how to be an alky... alkee...um--" she looks confused, looking to Riesenlied, who has to remind her patiently with a smile, "Al-che-mist."

Her idea of alchemy might involve sugar, flour, eggs and milk right now, though...

"Mm!" Mikaia nods. "What's an excavator, Miss Neriah?"

She places a hand to her cheek to say, "I'd be really glad to have help with that. We dug into the valley wall and managed to find an aquifer, but... to be honest, I think there might be a reason this ARM was here in the first place -- and we'd like to make sure there isn't anything dangerous deeper inside."

She pauses, as she looks towards Neriah. "... there's definitely been people who've seen this place and... just--" A pause, as she thinks of what to say. "They don't understand it, no... what we're trying to do, what our culture is like--"

She sighs. "And part of that's because of what we've been painted as in myths over the last thousand years. They grew up with stories of my brethren as boogeymen." She furrows her brow, though. "I'm sorry to ask, and you can tell me if I go too far, but... why do people treat you poorly?"

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Oh wow, that's a really fun job," Neriah says with a widening of her eyes, her cynicism simply unable to withstand the innocent joy of a little winged child who wants to be her friend. She keeps her hand gently clasped with Mikaia's. "I'm sure you'll be a great alchemist. And an Excavator is someone who digs up things. When I go exploring, I have a special tool that helps me find buried treasure, and a really strong shovel to dig it up!"

She gestures with her right hand to indicate the sturdy spade hanging from her backpack. It's certainly more noticeable than the ARM hanging at her right side - a simple pistol.

She lifts her eyes to Riesenlied again, pressing her lips together. "I think I can help with that. Excavators aren't just for finding treasure. If there's a way to get further down safely, I should be able to find it."

Neriah's gaze lowers as Riesenlied explains her situation. Her eyes close for a moment. "Y'know... I think Miss Ida was wrong about you," she says when she looks up again. "You've got so much hope. I kind of admire how you keep it, even after everything that's happened."

Riesenlied asks a difficult question. Neriah draws in a breath, then purses her lips. "...You won't tell anyone, will you?" she asks anxiously.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

"Ohh...!" Mikaia looks happy, nodding as she now understands. "Janey really wants to be a Digger, but that's scary to me... Ruins are so dark!" She still finds the idea of a special tool that helps her find treasure to be a lot of fun, however, as well as the shovel.

Riesenlied nods and says, "It'd be appreciated, and we'll pay you ontop of room and board as well, of course."

Her expression does soften to something of sorrow when Neriah mentions Ida. "Do you think so? ... I'm a bit sensitive to barbs sometimes," the understatement of the nearly over century, Riese! "which -- might be a strange thing... but, thank you. We do try our hardest to keep hope."

She pauses, and looks to Mikaia for a moment, as if she isn't sure whether Neriah wants her here for the question. "I won't, of course. You have my word on that."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Ruins can be really dark," Neriah says, smiling and giving Mikaia's hand a squeeze. "But a good Digger who's brave and skilled can bring a light with them, and find all kinds of really amazing things. Sometimes there are monsters. But a lot of times there's treasure. Like the magic cloak I found!" She gestures to the cloak folded over her shoulder.

Then Riesenlied offers her pay. Neriah's eyes widen ever so slightly. "...You will?" she says, blushing.

(Granas,) she reflects. (This might be the nicest woman in Filgaia.)

As Riesenlied's eyes divert to Mikaia, Neriah opens her mouth a bit, hesitating, then nods, seemingly not bothered by her little buddy hearing this. Perhaps there's a part of her that just wants /someone/ to hear it. But she finds herself explaining. "I was... born with a really scary power," she says as she closes her right hand. "It's not a symbol or a crest. It's a... a mark on my hand, that bleeds when I use the power. It hurts me to do it... but when I use it, it's a really strong magic. Like a huge shadow that could tear through just about anything. I've...." She pauses. "...I've learned to control it a bit, thanks to K.K. challenging me... and thanks to a friend."

Somewhere, a tidal wave of eels looms over Virginia Maxwell.

"But it's scary," Neriah finishes. "People think I'm some kind of monster when I use the magic. The village I was born with ran me out of town because of it." Heal Berry (HB) pages: if that were even more of an understatement it would be an inthegroundstatement

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

"Janey really likes to play pretend-Digger," Mikaia grumps. "I'd rather just play House or something more fun, though, but... wow--" she tilts her head. "I thought something tingled..." as her little winglets wiggle again. Is someone perhaps just a little precociously sensitive to magic?

Riesenlied nods at Neriah. "Of course... we do that for everyone here. Everyone has things they need or want to purchase, and we want to accomodate for everyone as much as we can."

The budget /is/ tight, but Digs tend to pay out well, at the very least...

"A scary power...?" Mikaia whispers as the two of them hear her explain. "W-wah..." but she's trying to keep a stiff upper lip even as she imagines it.

Riesenlied pats Mikaia, and then says, "I've never heard of anything like that, but... I can already imagine the kinds of prejudice you'd face having something like that. We do understand."

She looks about the village for a moment. "This place attracts a lot of people who've been through the same. Being treated as different, lesser, all because people would rather fear than try to understand and be empathetic..."

K.K. challenged her? "... the Trial Knight has... guided me, in the past. Challenged me to stay strong to my convictions... I know that they-- do a lot that others would find questionable, but... I can say I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them either."

Somewhere else, Virginia is stuffing her face with rice stuck on her lips as she guffaws, "This unagi is really tashty!!"

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah presses her lips together at that hint from Mikaia. Is she giving the girl uncomfortable feelings? Is her power so dark that even a child can feel it...?"

"It's okay," Neriah assured Mikaia with a tiny smile, squeezing her hand again. "It's okay. I promise I'm not scary. I'm just a normal person like everyone else."

Please ignore the Ethius corpse under her bed.

She flashes Riesenlied a rueful smile. "Nobody else has heard of it, either... but I think it's something I inherited somehow. I don't know why, or what it is. But the Trial Knight said she'd help me learn more." She hesitates, then clears her throat. "At least, I /think/ the Trial Knight's a she. I can't imagine a man being that perceptive, anyway. Either way... I know the Trial Knight can be scary. But I think they're not a bad person. Even if they express it weirdly."

She looks down at her right hand, uncurling her fist. Long, black-gloved fingers stretch a little, then relax. "That Ethius guy tried to kill me the first time he saw me using it," she says with a frown. "And other people have treated me bad because of it, too. I don't like it. I just want to be in a place where... where people accept me even if I do have a weird thing."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Mikaia might also be responding to the little tingle in her cloak, to be fair, but she certainly doesn't have any kind of formal training or awareness of anything other than 'it tingles'. Someday, she might become a full fledged PC, but until then, she'll have to settle for being adorable and being sequel bait.

"N-no, I know!" Mikaia's smile redoubles as she pumps her hand. "A lot of people find mommy scary too, but... I know she isn't!"

Riesenlied hasn't really thought about K.K.'s gender, but... whatever they may be, they're certainly a very expressive, staunch individual with an unshakeable conviction that she could only hope to imitate. "They expressed themselves as opposing humanity, yet they would see that everyone meet their potential, for ill or better..." she expresses. "I know of what you speak too."

She looks towards her crooked, scale-covered hand. "When I first started to exhibit unusual symptoms, when I was first struck by Celesdue in Adlehyde... and then, when I encountered Equites in the temple..." A pause. "They helped me explore that power -- to not shy away from it... to pursue truth for what it is... so I do understand."

A sigh, as she looks towards Neriah. "I'm sorry that happened... I imagine Miss Jacqueline would deeply admonish him if she knew." She can't deny that Ethius was a very pragmatic sort, and it's good that Jay was around to keep him in check when he might go too far...

She smiles, though, holding her human hand out. "... you'll find that here. That, I promise. We won't tolerate any discrimination here."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Someday you'll get an apper of your own, Mikaia. Then you can write about how great your cool excavator pal and your adorable cucco-mom are.

As Mikaia pumps Neriah's hand, the dark-haired girl blinks, then smiles a slightly charmed smile, touching her right hand to her cheek to vainly attempt to hide a blush. "Really? I don't think she's scary. I think she's really nice," she says.

Clearing her throat, she tilts her head back towards Riesenlied again. Her lips come together. "The Guardians... didn't really do anything to me," she confesses. "I was just angry at them... angry because Ge Ramtos has been in my nightmares all my life. The death one, I mean. I don't understand why but he always seemed to want to hurt me. It just made me... think that I wanted to run away from it all."

Back at the temple, there is still a Medium with her name on it sitting, ignored, on a podium.

The human hand is offered. Neriah takes a slow breath.

She isn't so much bracing herself mentally as she is forcing the little spark of hell inside her to be good. She holds her free hand out.

There is no subtle twinge of some magic when Neriah touches Riesenlied's hand. It's just a normal human hand in a glove. She holds the touch for a second or two, perhaps waiting to see if Riesenlied will recoil - but there's nothing to recoil from. Her smile grows broader, and she squeezes the horned woman's hand firmly, still holding Mikaia's.

"Thank you," she says, her voice soft but with a genuine warmth. "I promise I'll do my best to help you and the others here...."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

"Hmm...." Riesenlied nods gently as she says, "If you'd like us to help you understand, however slowly, however we can... we'll do everything in our power to make it work." And so Riese's School for Gifted Youngsters gets another pip towards reality. Watch out for cool floating wheelchairs, Riese.

Riesenlied shakes her hand with a warmer smile, and says, "Welcome to Wayside, or-- should I say... Mikaia, do you want to?"

Mikaia nods as Riese scoops her up so she can be eye-level as she brightly exclaims, "Welcome home!!"

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah's not that young! Not for a JRPG character. She's about eighteen.

"I'd... I'd like that," she says with a slightly flustered smile, though not an unhappy one. "You're kind. Thank you."

And then, it happens. She's welcomed, both by her new horned friend and her little winged alchemist-to-be buddy.

A gentle flush sets Neriah's cheeks aglow. She clasps her hands, bowing her head and smiling a bashful smile - but behind it, there's something she doesn't feel often. Honest warmth. Like she's just received a hug.

"Thank you," she murmurs again.