2018-08-30: Things Get Better Before They Get Worse

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  • Log: Things Get Better Before They Get Worse
  • Cast: Rosaline Calice, Lydia Seren, Xantia
  • Where: Azado
  • Date: August 30, 2018
  • Summary: Rosaline calls Lydia and Xantia over to Azado, to thank them and apologize for what happened at Castle Rabenstein. Little do any of them know their heartwarming moment is taking place on the very last day that their meeting place would still be in one piece...

=================================<* Azado *>==================================

Azado is a city on the southern edge of the Goddess Plains, notable for being the nearest port to the Holy City of Pentagulia. The bounty of the Plains travels on these ships to the seat of the Goddess's power, and most residents are either employed in shipping, storing, or transporting goods in support of the faithful.

The city is also the seat of the Red Priestess Mauri, one of the Four Heroes; she spends most of her time training young acolytes of Althena in the ways of the faithful before sending them forth into the world. Construction has recently begun on a massive shrine to the Goddess Althena - once complete, it is expected to rival Pentagulia itself in its majesty.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54PlUl6avjw
 <Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

                                    Dawn of
                                 The Final Day
                               -24 hours remain-

The Fox Company has recently made its way to Azado in order to lend a hand to the Vile Fiends with a project of theirs. Surely nothing will be going wrong there! But before they swing into action, there is some downtime to be enjoyed. Rosaline has taken the opportunity to send a few (ugh) Goddess Statue messages, requesting the presence of some people she hadn't had much opportunity to talk to since, well... You know. The former Furies had offered some lodgings at Castle Rabenstein before leaving, but Rosaline spent most of her time sleeping and remaining alone in general, and it's likely Lydia at least had, huuuh, some recovering to do.

But that was then, and this is now. Rosaline's message provided the room number for an inn and a time, and a clause preemptively forgiving the recipient for not showing up if they aren't in the area or cannot make it for some other reason.

The door is already half-opened, after a fit of anxiety over whether anyone would manage to find the somewhat tucked-away room or not. It's a single-bed room, and Rosaline is currently sitting down and reading. Not her Extreme Teen Bible or anything of the sort, though, but rather a book titled Tales of Aifreadia, which recounts tall tales of the pirate Aifread, his many exploits alongside a lively crew and (this is the most far-fetched part yet) his befriending of the Grim Reaper, who became his first mate.

She's smiling. These stories are very fanciful and, surely, not based in any historical reality.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren needed so much recovering in fact that she was not even around for the final battle, left to languish in the inactive party. She honestly is surprised Rosaline even wants to talk to her when after all she did call Rosaline a dingus. Maybe its to apologize but Lydia feels partially to blame for that as it is. Does Rosaline really have anything to apologize for?

Well probably, to be honest, but Lydia doesn't need it. It wasn't even the first time she melted to near death. She really ought to stop fighting super powered hellfire people.

She gets the message and she shows up but upon reaching the door, ANXIETY happens and Lydia just ends up awkwardly peeking in to see what is going on rather than busting in. Surely this won't result in hilarious consequences, but seeing Rosaline's smile? Lydia smiles too.

It feels good.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia, for her part, just didn't stick around the castle long enough to get much of a talking in. Come for the fighting, stay for the food, leave when there's no longer either being actively partaken in. That's pretty typical. There'd be more to worry about if she wasn't constantly running around. Even though she looked exceptionally miserable for a while after using her powers to heal Lydia (well, 'heal', it's complicated), all it seemed to take was some good rest - which apparently getting stuck in the Umbral Mirror counts as?? - and some good food for her to be like her usual self again.

However, providing she gets the message in time, you can always count on her showing up when someone asks. Even at a place that Xantia's never actually been to before. Funny, despite passing close by Azado several times, she just never thought to stop by. No particular reason, it's just that without any specific business there, it's like... there's no rush or anything. Not like it isn't going to still be there tomorrow.

Her usual lack of subtlety will probably not make her arrival a huge shock, especially if you have cat hearing. She's made a beeline directly for the inn and storms right on up to the room, rushing over despite there not being any particular hurry. That's just the way she goes places if she's by herself. The door's already open, so not even any need to knock! 50-50 odds on whether she even would have done that otherwise.

Xantia very much was going to burst right in there buuuuut there's already somebody there, and she fails to notice in time, leading to hilarious consequences. As in she blunders directly into Lydia, sending both of them bursting in at the same time. At least she managed to stay on her feet, but... "Whoops! Sorry! I didn't see you!"

If it looks like Lydia needs a hand, she'll offer one, before blinking in surprise, and then smiling. "Oh, Lydia, hi! I didn't know you were coming, too! Are you okay?" Both now, after that what happened, and in general, really.

Only then does she address the actual occupant of the room, directing her smile at Rosaline next. "Hi Rosa! I got your message! What's going on? Are you doing alright? What are you reading?" Always with the several questions at once.

<Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

Rosaline's ears actually tell her there might be someone at the door before Xantia's existence renders everything moot. The nun is already beginning to close her book before Xantia and Lydia just BOWL into her room. She shrinks away, slightly, but relaxes when she sees who's there.

"Oh, hello. I'm reading a book on pirates that Layna recommended to me. I'm doing well enough, considering, and... I just wanted to talk to you."

She shifts on her bed, sitting on the side and gesturing in case either of the other two want to sit. There's also a chair in the corner. She gives them a moment to disentangle themselves, then continues. "This is... probably what you'd expect, but I wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And to apologize, too. I hurt you both and nearly killed Lydia. I wasn't completely in control but I was being myself at the time. And so, I can only pray for your forgiveness, and do all I can to atone."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren skids forward comically as she's bowled through the room. It is, honestly, pretty anime. She spins to look up at Xantia and she reaches for her hand. She pauses partway through as it strikes her that it would still have been that clunky metal arm if it had not been for Xanxan over there. Finally, she does snag the arm and heft herself up. She looks down at the floor for a few moments, lips pressed tightly together. "Th...thanks for saving me." She then without warning gives Xantia a big hug. Honestly Lydia has been very huggy lately. In this case, at least, it is pretty much warranted.

She looks back to Rosaline. "Um." She says. Very effective there, Lydia.

Rosaline apologizes to her and Lydia puffs out her cheeks, fidgeting considerably.

"I..its okay!" Lydia stammers, blurting it out. "You were sick and..and thanks to you I'm doing better too. Um...if in a roundabout way. And um I was a jerk at you and um..."

Lydia looks away. "I um...I don't actually think you're a dingus."

Silver collars her cheek, proving her condition has not actually just vanished. "So we are, um, even? So we can be friends, now?"

She scuffs her foot along the floor.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Despite the dynamic manner of entry and what resulted from it, Xantia remained pretty unperturbed about the whole situation, really. Just going with the flow, as usual! It probably wouldn't have been so easy if she didn't have that talk with Lily about what happened with Lydia back then. But as it is, she sees no real reason not to be her normal self.

She does seem a little concerned when she doesn't get a response from Lydia straight away. In the past, Lydia managed to out-hyper her to the point where she was the one falling a bit more quiet than usual. So this reaction is unexpected. The subdued thanks followed by a hug were also, prompting a "Wah!" But after the initial surprise, her smile is quick to return, and she returns the hug as well. "I'm just glad I could help!" She didn't do anything she needs to worry about, according to Lily, so as far as she's concerned, it's just that simple.

Also, Pirates! That gets a glowing reaction from Xantia. "Oh, pirates are great, and Layna is a great pirate! I tried to be a pirate once! ...I don't think I'm very good at being a pirate, but maybe I'll make a better hero!"

Rosaline then says this is probably what they'd expect, and... is it really any surprise that Xantia doesn't look like she was expecting this to be the reason for getting called over like this at all? She actually looks slightly embarrassed about it, scratching her head for a moment. "I just did what I said I would, right? I told you I wouldn't give up until we could be friends again." She looks at Lydia for a moment, feeling momentarily uncertain, but insisting, "I don't really understand the whole Hellion thing completely, but... I never thought we weren't friends, myself."

Fighting just never seems to parse as anything that stands in the way of friendship to her. If anything, that just reinforces it.

<Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

"I wish you luck with that," Rosaline tells Xantia, tilting her head ever-so-slightly. A hero, now? That sounds like something that would be [somebody else's problem].

"I'm glad you're doing better," Rosaline tells Lydia, scratching her ear with a claw. She's wearing a more conservative and less evil version of her evil sorceress kimono now, which means no safety gloves. It requires her to be more careful than with them, but she's had much worse attached to her hands for several months. People seem a lot less nervous around beastfolk on Lunar, too, which is nice.

She hangs her head a bit, ears flattening. "It's okay, I was being quite a dingus at the time. That's the trouble with these things. You don't think it can ever get better, and even when people you trust say it can, you think they're lying to make you feel better."

She raises her head, sees Lydia scuff her foot, and smiles softly. "Of course we are, and we can."

Xantia's reaction is... very Xantia, really. Rosaline shifts on the bed. "Then I'm glad. Not everything in life is worth being stubborn about, but I'm glad you didn't give up on me in this case. If anything, I was the one being too stubborn."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia has pretty good reason to be considerate since she might've died without Xantia's help. "You're already a hero," Lydia tells her. "And...pretty darn stubborn to boot." Lydia was almost certainly not Rosaline's friend before she became a hellion though she did apologize pretty quickly over being a jerk to her before. Of course, seeing Rosaline as a hellion only compounded that guilt. Well, it's fine, we're all a little rockheaded sometimes.

Lunar DOES treat Beastmen far better than they do on Filgaia. Considering Lydia went from kind of selfish brat to, well, what she is now might say a thing or two about how environments shape us. When Lydia returns to Filgaia, will she revert to her old self or adopt old mannerisms?

Even she wonders about that.

"Yeah," Lydia says. "I know what that feels like. But since coming here..." She looks up. "I've come to understand that it can get better." She smiles. "It took me a while to believe it but... I'm always happy to see more proof of it"

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia doesn't need luck, only HARD WORK AND GUTS!! Or so the hero manual says. But she looks uncertain about Lydia's assertion, her smile dimming slightly. "That's nice of you to say, but... I think I still have some work to do before I'll feel okay with calling myself one." The reason why Lydia would say that is just not even parsing. She may be overcomplicating this would 'what it means to be a hero' thing a little bit.

As for being a dingus... "I never lied about anything!" Xantia cheerfully chimes in with the obvious. Really Rosaline, you thought even Xantia was lying to make you feel better? Xantia, who understands the reasons for lying so poorly that she probably couldn't pull off a convincing lie to save her life? That's pretty dingus-y alright! Then again, even without that factor, her point of view was weird to begin with - Xantia wouldn't understand the need to be protected from herself, but that honestly may have been warrented.

She looks from Rosaline to Lydia and back again, visibly enjoying the positive vibes. "Well, I'm never giving up on any of my friends! If that's being stubborn, I'm fine with that, I think that's always worth being stubborn about!"

On that note, she turns fully to Lydia, abruptly making a grab for a particular hand - the one that used to be in much poorer condition than it is now. Her expression is suddenly much more serious than before. "Lydia. What happened with your arm..." She doesn't specify, but it's pretty obvious what she means. "If anything like that happens again, you can always ask me if you want me to try to fix it. Please do. Okay?" With that, she releases, and raises her hand up a little, examining it as she flexes it a few times. "I... want to become more comfortable with what I can do."

<Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

Rosaline is glad for positive vibes, too, especially considering that she's been spending half of a year constantly bathing in the opposite.

"It's true, you didn't," Rosaline says to Xantia, with a shake of her head. To tell the truth, in Xantia's case her worry was less about her lying and more... Well, it's a bit of an unkind assessment too. But she also isn't the sort of girl to give up on friends, and maybe that's what matters most.

She watches Xantia take Lydia's arm, pensively. She's not entirely aware of what Lydia's... entire situation is, and what Xantia has discovered herself able to do over time. Can you blame her for being out of touch? "What happened there, anyway? Not that I'm not glad it worked out, but I don't, um... I feel like I missed something important." She casts a bit of a side-glance at Lydia. It's not judgmental, but when you see someone amble around as a Terminator skeleton it might be valid to have some questions.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Well that's okay. Doesn't mean I can't call you one!" She smiles at Xantia but she's been smiling for a while so maybe it's just sticking around. Regardless, something in her eyes lights up all the same.

Lydia's hand is taken and there's a brief flinch from Lydia. That limb was ripped off at one point so sudden grabs for it can be a little unnerving for her! But it's just a small instinctive flinch rather than a hurt one.

"Okay... I will. I don't think it's just a matter of fixing it though. I mean, It's just a part of me, so if it's acting weirdly it's partly because I'm acting weird, maybe." She shakes her head. "Though if it's something I can't face on my own, I definitely will ask you for help! Never expected you to be a healer!" What with how much she likes punching things, that was the last thing she expected from Xantia.

She looks back to Rosaline as she, well, asks for how she actually works. "Um," Lydia says.

Rosaline asks for details and Lydia says, "Oh uh, well... you know how I had Rigdobrite for a head at one point? And I stopped bathing? Well, that happened because when I left the Baskar Colony, I was picked up by agents of Gebler and they took me to their...place? Maybe it wasn't Gebler but it was an associated group at least." She shakes her head. "Anyway, they took me to their place. They experimented on beastmen there and I was one of their projects."

She looks down for a moment. "They injected me with a bunch of stuff and would torture me to near death and I kept summoning Rigdobrite for help and eventually, well, my head became a Rigdobrite. But it wasn't a spiritual thing. I think it was the 'machines' in my body that did it. When we first met I still had normal blood for the most part, but as time went on--and I got hurt more, I guess--the stuff they injected me with has become more of my body. I think the more I thought of them as seperate from me the harder they became to control, but--" She holds up her arm. "It doesn't look metal anymore but..." She fans it to the side, the arm shifting shape into a sharp edge. "It's still there." Her arm turns back to 'normal'. "I think the whole metal skeleton thing is because they're trying to protect me. The reason my arm was a metal arm was for the same reason I think. When one of their goons ripped off my arm, they did that so I'd still have one since they couldn't figure out how to make it 'normal' again."

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Well, it is nice to be called a hero and given that kind of look for it, Xantia can't argue with that. Now she just has to convince herself that she deserves it.

Her smile is quick to return when Lydia consents to her proposal, though she looks uncertain at this moniker of being a healer. She sure never saw herself that way either. Her response is appropriately vague: "I'm not, not really... but I guess I can sort of be one sometimes?" She has no idea how to feel about it. Punching things certainly does feel a lot more comfortable.

When Rosaline asks about this, Xantia realizes for the first time that she's kind of talking about things not everyone here would know, and starts, "Oh, that's..." But she doesn't finish that thought, instead letting Lydia explain this. It's not like she has a ton of details.

Much of what Lydia says is news to her, too. Though it strikes her again at this mention of machines in one's body how that notion has just always made complete sense to her. From the first time she learned of it, it was just 'yes, that's something that happens'. It forms a disturbing dissonance in her mind, since it doesn't seem like something that should feel as normal as it does.

Yet in spite of this, she reacts to it all calmly, in a way that just seems to come naturally. "I guess that can happen under unexpected circumstances, they start doing things they weren't supposed to do. That's something I can fix, with my power." She calls it 'fixing', even though what she actually does is a lot more complicated than that. That's not really a conscious choice, but saying 'power' instead of 'Ether' is. She's been made to feel that it's better not to throw that term around lightly.

"But, I should warn you, it's not exactly... painless." To put it mildly. "And there's always the risk that if it somehow goes wrong..." She leaves that one hanging ominously, before shaking her head, and trying to offer a reassuring smile. Also partially meant for herself. "Well, I'm pretty confident I can do it right. We just have to make sure nobody can disturb us."

Just to clarify, mostly for Rosaline's benefit, she notes, "This isn't the first time I've used that power. But... I don't know how I know what to do, I just sort of... do it." That's reassuring, isn't it? Well maybe it is, if you know Xantia well then you'd know that things tend to work out best if she doesn't think about what she's doing.

<Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

"There's nothing wrong with being a healer," Rosaline says in Xantia's direction. "Though believe me, I can understand preferring to go right after the source of the problem. But still, you're truly blessed to have that power. It's often much easier to break things than to repair or build them, but they're all necessary."

"You stopped bathing?" Rosaline asks Lydia, quietly and with no small amount of alarm, but it might not be especially relevant. She falls silent as Lydia tells her story. Gebler? Or maybe not. Rosaline is STARTING to get the impression that there are... groups moving in the shadows of Filgaia. It's troubling. Her brow furrows, especially at the mention of experimentation on beastmen.

Was Rosaline ever experimented on? Well, not as far as she can recall, at least.

Machines in her body. Does that make Lydia a living ARM? Maybe, in a way. Rosaline watches the transformation of Lydia's arm with fascination. And what does that make Xantia, if she can apparently interact with those machines? Questions upon questions, and they're unlikely to find answers on Lunar.

"I see... I'm so sorry." Where she's concerned, this seems a good enough reason to have a chip on one's shoulder, or maybe even an asteroid on one's head. Rosaline gets up, arms opened, letting Lydia have a hug if she wants it. (Preferably not with the sharp edge, though.)

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well I bathe NOW." Lydia says.

She has luckily turned her arm back into an arm rather than some weird sharp thing so when she hugs Rosaline, she doesn't accidentally stab her in the back which means she is not from some gross anime that wants to be edgy but really can only think of comical ways to make that happen. She feels awkward about it after a few moments because this is largely stuff she has had a while to come to grips with and even though it's not exactly happy memories, the trauma has faded considerably.

She lowers her hand. Whether it was Xantia, Kalve's 'training', or some mixture of the two is unclear. Lydia mysteriously isn't GREAT at explaining what happened because when you're a kidnapped experiment they don't exactly stop to explain what's going on. It's only recently Lydia learned those people WEREN'T aliens.

"When they were done with me they threw me off the side of their...flying thing. Not an airship." She shakes her head. "But it turned out they expected me to survive all along and for a while they were using me to uh, collect information." She raises a finger and points to her eyes. "I was recording for them. Xantia and Lily helped put a stop to that, but I can't say it's impossible for them to repair their connection and ability to control me one day." She lets her hand drop. "That's pretty much my situation."

She is quiet for a moment and then says, "You were kind of punk, you know? That's pretty cool."

She doesn't comment on how painful the 'healing' is. Last time she was in no condition to feel it, at least.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia is quick to correct, "Oh no, I didn't mean that!" That would be saying there's something wrong with what Rosaline does, perish the thought. "I just... usually think I can help more by fighting things. But fixing those machines... I don't know if anyone else can do that, so if something happens that makes it necessary, I need to do it." It's nothing more complicated than that - Xantia just wants to help, in whatever way she can help the most.

Even things that are complicated, she tends to simplify, if she understands them at all. Emotional things are the hardest, just now she certainly didn't understand that anything Lydia said was cause for a hug, just completely failing to understand the notion of trauma to begin with. It never fails to feel awkward when it seems like she missed something, so she doesn't bring it up.

She only speaks up when she feels she can contribute something positive to the situation, in regards to the possibility of Lydia being one day controlled again. With a raised fist, she declares, "If that ever happens again, then we'll stop them again!" And then she looks a little awkward because she has no idea what Lydia just said. What even is punk and how can you be it??

Moving right along, she continues on the previous subject, "I'd like to put a stop to the people who did that to you for good, so they can't do anything like that ever again. It's wrong to make people do things they don't want to do. Everybody should be able to make their own choices. People who take choice away from others make me so mad!" Most of her opinions are pretty simple, but she can feel extremely strongly about them all the same.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia blinks when Xantia says she wants to stop them from doing anything like that ever again . It's not a strange sentiment, but Lydia isn't sure what she wants to do herself, honestly. She glances downward for a bit, exhales, and says, "I don't know what I want to do about it." She looks back to Xantia. "Has someone taken away your choices before, Xantia?" It is rare to see Xantia angry about something so she can't help but wonder if there is a personal element involved.

Lydia wonders again if she ran into the person that did this to her. She might never do so, frankly.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia's brief fiery display quickly simmers down when it's called into question whether that's what Lydia actually wants. Again, she feels as if there's something fundamental she's misunderstanding about the situation. Since to her, stopping this sort of thing for good feels like the only thing that makes sense.

And then she's directly questioned about her choices being taken away. She opens her mouth to answer immediately, closes it again to take a moment to think it over, making sure, before she shakes her head. "If that happened to me, I don't remember. But I do know others who don't feel like they have a choice. I don't always get why. I just... really don't want them to feel that way."

She falls silent a moment, looking down with a pensive expression, before she concludes, "Not having the freedom to choose what you want to do... it just feels really wrong to me. I don't think that would make anybody happy. It sure wouldn't make me happy. I guess that's why it makes me so mad. ...Does that make sense?" She hopes so, she genuinely doesn't know if it does.

<Pose Tracker> Rosaline Calice has posed.

Rosaline hugs Lydia, and luckily this doesn't result in some clumsy, grimdark irony. When she pulls away, Lydia explains further. "Hm... Well, I hope this doesn't happen again, at least."

Lydia then compliments her in a way she doesn't immediately understand. "Punk...? Oh!"

She nods and looks away, her smile looking a little nervous. "I suppose I was rebelling, in a lot of ways. I'm still... not sure exactly where I stand on some things, but I do want to rejoin the Church. At least I'm feeling a bit more outspoken now, for what it's worth."

She falls silent for a moment, after Xantia briefly gets heated on the matter of not giving people a choice. "I think that makes sense. I can understand taking people's choices away to prevent them from hurting themselves, but going so far as to control someone... That's downright evil."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia avoids grimdark irony. This is for the best. I mean it doesn't help the 19-23 year olds that want grimdark irony (that's a Bolt reference!) but it is happier for everybody's life! here!!

"Nothin' wrong with rebelling." Lydia says. 'For folks like us especially, Filgaia isn't a great place. I mean, maybe some part of me figured that's how it's always gonna be, but obviously...it doesn't have to be that way. That's why when I get back..." She raises her head. "I'ma do something about our situation in Kislev, one way or 'nother."

She looks over to Xantia, smiling a bit. "Well it's a good instinct of yours there. I mean, it's good to stop 'em, for sure, but I'm not sure..." She sighs. "...On the punishment I guess."

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia is silent on the notion of rebelling. Another concept that feels kind of alien to her. She just does what she wants, all the time. There isn't much that feels like rebellion when that's the way you live. Considering her feelings on freedom of choice, she does at least understand the value of being able to do that.

She doesn't remain quiet about Filgaia not being a good place for Beastmen - or at least for Rosa and Lydia, she may or may not realize this is about Beastmen in general. "Just let me know if I can do anything to help! Filgaia should be a great place for everybody!" Really just an extension of her simple beliefs... or maybe a little more. There's that notion of being 'the hope of Filgaia' that's she's starting to more and more latch onto. Time will tell where that will go.

She's about to protest to Rosaline, but it's actually a good point... there are some situations where people's choices might have to be taken away. Technically, stopping people from taking control of others means taking that choice away from them, too. Maybe this is more complicated than she thought. Especially when she also has to think about the notion of punishment all of a sudden. "Well... I just thought we'd beat them up and then they'd have to stop being evil. ...right?"

It should all be that simple, shouldn't it?