2019-01-25: A Beautiful Flawed World

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  • Log: A Beautiful Flawed World
  • Cast: Avril Vent Fleur, Elvis
  • Where: Old Petra
  • Date: January 25, 2019
  • Summary: Avril at last speaks with Elvis in private on various matters, about their people, Volsung's aims, and her own next steps.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    It has been peaceful. Quiet, even, a sea change from what had come before. Time enough to begin to reclaim one's bearings, and time enough to start to see to the loose ends that linger.

    She's almost finished what had been before the journey east the mere glimmering of an idea.

    So now it is time enough to set aside the darkness of the workship and seek the light of day before another escapes her.

    The dry earth of Old Petra crunches underfoot. Once, this had been a coal mining town, before it fell to ruin... then it had become a Metal Demon outpost of a sort.
    Before it had fallen to ruin again.
    And once again became reborn.

    Perhaps she should see if Dean or Rebecca are back. And if they're not...

    It's a good day for a walk.
    Enough that she makes good on that plan shortly after ascertaining that her friends are, in fact, still out today.

    Life in Filgaia is hard. Life in Filgaia is difficult.
    Yet it endures: a small straggly tree here. Some bushes there. A single bird piping out a song into the wastelands from atop a rock. Ascending a small stack of stones, Avril picks out the sturdiest seeming of the boulders left here in an array (a glacier, once? when Filgaia still had them?) and perches atop it to gaze out into the horizon.

    "...It really is beautiful. This world," she murmurs aloud.

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

In truth, since their last meeting, Elvis had not strayed far from New Petra. Questions remain, ones that concern the well-being of some of these Humans, these Drifters-- as there have been Veruni Execution Squads sent after those who knew far less. Not of his own accord, mind you. He could command them well, but has not.

They have served a higher voice.

For a few days, Elvis has been around New Petra, offering a hand here and there between his bouts of crunching impossibly long equations on paper or arguing with Dean over something-or-other.

But today, he has chosen to follow someone. A someone that undoubtedly has questions lingering. And now that they know of who they are, it wouldn't be like the Sentinel to hide knowledge from who is supposed to be their true leader; even if they choose to never take that position again.

"It is full of flaws. Inefficient. Plagued with problems. But if you ask me, a perfect world would be a boring one." The tall man steps closer. "Human philosophers sometimes hold the truth that imperfections are what make something perfect in its own way."

"I like to think they are correct."

A long pause comes and goes.

"How are you holding up?" the man asks Avril. "Hope I wasn't interrupting your meditations." His voice is low, and carries a bit of warmth to it. Unlike his usual loud self, being able to be heard across New Petra.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Of this, she is aware. Riesenlied has permitted Elvis passage.
    This is not to say that Avril bears the man any mistrust or expects him to return his welcome with ill favor. But at the same time, a part of her -- a part she has begun to understand too well its roots -- cannot help but dissect the situation coldly.
    It had been... easier when she had thought him an ally. An ally with mixed and possibly tricky-to-unthread allegiances, but still an ally.

    Though, she realizes in the moment of his approach, has that last part necessarily changed...?
    If anything, after all that has happened, she...

    She could -- should -- call her own motives into question, should she begin to tread the path of mistrust.
    What was it that she had said to Riesenlied, just days ago? She had best trust her intuition and listen to -- but not blindly heed -- the words from her cold heart.

    She turns her head a fraction now as he approaches and speaks, answering her statement with an assessment of his own. Filgaia is flawed, and this, she cannot deny. She has seen evidence enough of the world's fault lines.
    Yet.
    "I feel I would agree with these philosophers of yours, Elvis," she speaks, her voice low. "There is a beauty in fragility and imperfection." Her gaze returns to the horizon. "...I once watched a woman take a broken clay pot and repair it, using a black grout. The remains of the fracture were a beautiful black spiderweb across the red clay."

    So is it with this world.

    A short silence follows, thereafter.

    "I am well, thank you. ...You have interrupted nothing. I am merely thinking."

    About the world.
    About the next steps.

    "And yourself?" He's a different man today, but perhaps... this is not a surprise.
    After all, thought it might have surprised some should she have vocalized it, he had reminded her of herself at times. She

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Of this, she is aware. Riesenlied has permitted Elvis passage.
    This is not to say that Avril bears the man any mistrust or expects him to return his welcome with ill favor. But at the same time, a part of her -- a part she has begun to understand too well its roots -- cannot help but dissect the situation coldly.
    It had been... easier when she had thought him an ally. An ally with mixed and possibly tricky-to-unthread allegiances, but still an ally.

    Though, she realizes in the moment of his approach, has that last part necessarily changed...?
    If anything, after all that has happened, she...

    She could -- should -- call her own motives into question, should she begin to tread the path of mistrust.
    What was it that she had said to Riesenlied, just days ago? She had best trust her intuition and listen to -- but not blindly heed -- the words from her cold heart.

    She turns her head a fraction now as he approaches and speaks, answering her statement with an assessment of his own. Filgaia is flawed, and this, she cannot deny. She has seen evidence enough of the world's fault lines.
    Yet.
    "I feel I would agree with these philosophers of yours, Elvis," she speaks, her voice low. "There is a beauty in fragility and imperfection." Her gaze returns to the horizon. "...I once watched a woman take a broken clay pot and repair it, using a black grout. The remains of the fracture were a beautiful black spiderweb across the red clay."

    So is it with this world.

    A short silence follows, thereafter.

    "I am well, thank you. ...You have interrupted nothing. I am merely thinking."

    About the world.
    About the next steps.

    "And yourself?" He's a different man today, but perhaps... this is not a surprise.
    After all, thought it might have surprised some should she have vocalized it, he had reminded her of herself at times. She's starting to understand why.

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

It was nice to still stand, to still breathe after everything that has come and gone. To reflect how far civilication has come since its near demise in the not so distant past. "Certainly is value in that resourcefulness. Rather than cast it aside, take the time to care for what one has."

"Ah. Well that is good then."

There is an air of awkwardness Elvis is currently struggling with, and the perceptive could notice it. After all, what does one say to a long lost matriarch? One that has lost all memory of herself? Does not have any want or desire of what hse used to be, at least in regards to her position?

"I have been well. Medicines have brought me to prime condition quickly. The Veruni forces near Arctica have reported Human sightings but have left them be, as they have been commanded to." The order was to last only a few weeks at most however, enough time for any Drifter with a lick of sense to ferry their way back home from the Photosphere's previous location.

"But I sought you out for but a different reason, along with seeing your well-being... Avril." It sounded like he was about to say something else instead of her name for a moment. "My outburst among the Tainted was warranted, and enough of you correlate the same data. You saw Lord Volsung, did you not?"

Question of the day, there. But he has cause for concern.

"I ask, as he does not leave the confines of our sanctuary for simple reasons."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    He is hardly the only one to feel as if they are in a slightly awkward position.
    She is his queen, by all accounts. Yet, save for the feeling of responsibility, the sense of regret... it's been a difficult fact to wrap her mind around. She is his queen, and she doesn't remember anything of her time as ruler.

    Just that awful sense of familiarity about the trappings of rule.
    The awareness of the most practical actions and options.
    And, of course, that pulse, out from the dark within.

    "Yes," she agrees, simply enough.

    Awkward continues out its weighty tread.

    So that is the fact of things in Arctica.. "I see," she murmurs, nodding but once. Her gaze remains fixed on the distant horizon, out towards the east, towards where somewhere lies the sea. "Then I suppose they will return south." To whatever awaits them in their own lands, to make plans she has no point of reference for or can hope to understand, as she is now.

    She must find the mirror. Perhaps it might remind her of something she needs to know.

    He then asks the question she knew was coming, at some point.
    His reaction had spoken volumes, after all.

    "I did. He..." She inches forward upon her perch, before rising to her feet. She shakes her head, allowing her hair to fall in waves behind her, then turns to face him.

    "He is your leader, is he not? Or, perhaps... I should say that he is acting as such."

    She's always been an observant girl.

    This is followed by a nod. "You speak rightly. His other reasons for being there, I cannot say. When we met, however, he had but one purpose."

    "He had come to retrieve me."

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

THis was such a foreign feeling. He should be elated that the Ice Queen was found, and yet... why is he not? Perhaps it lay in the fact she has found a new life among her forgotten self. It was difficult to ascertain. More contemplation is required.

"Eventually, yes. They will have need to." In the sudden moments escalating to the showdown at the Photosphere, Elvis called for what reinforcements were nearby to aid the fight. And yet, with sightings of Volsung, he mentally posits that he could have intercepted the message.

"Lord Volsung is acting regent of Veruni kind. In place of... her. You? Heh. This might take a while to get used to."

A look off to the side. A long sigh escapes him. "He had initially given those orders to me. Though I suppose I a mcaught up in my own paramount pursuits I was unable to follow through. But he didn't tell me why." A pause. "It was the first time he didn't give me a reason for something."

"It made me wonder after everything happened... why wouldn't he tell me that? That you were Lolithia. Seems like an odd detail to try and keep away from his most trusted..." he trails off.

"...Did all your friends make it out?" he comments. The times Volsung fought, there generally weren't survivors. Yet some have said they saw him, so at least part of their little cavalcade survived.

"Seemed like quite the unusual time to fetch you as well. Hum. Something doesn't add up."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

     Why had Volsung been there? An open question if there ever was one -- and not one that Avril (or perhaps anyone) would ever receive the chance to ask about. At the time, more pressing had been his statements.
    And then after that, the very real and potent threat he had posed to them.

    Perhaps it was chance. Or, perhaps...

    "I thought as much," Avril replies, inclining her head in a single nod. "He was... it was something about his bearing that seemed like that of a ruler. That, and the way that you speak of him now." She hesitates. "Something about him was familiar. I have seen eyes like those somewhere before."
    Cold. It had been as cold as that gaze. Where...?

    "..."

    So even Elvis hadn't been certain.
    Volsung had known. He'd known her on sight, as if he had seen her before, somewhere.
    It had taken Elvis research to isolate confirmation of her status. It had taken an altered state of being for Kaguya to recognize her for who she was.

    But Volsung had known immediately. Her brow creases.
    Of course, there is one possiblity for that...

    "They did. I was able to claim a further portion of my power and created a barrier of ice to keep him away. We were able to flee by various means after, though the exertion was taxing. I admit that I spent most of the days following resting." But everyone who had been involved with that encounter had made it out alive, by twists and turns, even if the bulk of them did not precisely travel forth from the Photosphere immediately with her, Dean, and Cyre.

    "He mentioned 'the Teardrop' was not to be found. I do not suppose you might know what that is?" She pauses. "...He was insistant that I traveled with him."

    Here, she draws a breath. Straightens to the full height her frame permits, and gazes up, as stern as a winter ice storm, into Elvis' eyes.

    "Until I have reclaimed more of who I am at the very least, I do not intend to return to Locus Solus. There is much I do not know, and less that I understand. ...This is my will in the matter, and there is nothing now that can shake me from this path. As I am now, I am unfit as a ruler."

    And prone to being used. Susceptible to being swept up into what she doesn't understand.
    A thing to be used, she suspects, by Volsung.

    "I am afraid that you and the rest of my people must do without me for now."

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

"Lord Volsung is an odd fellow, but a worthy ruler. Admittedly we see very little of him, as the highest echelons are oft in the field, despite the risks the planet poses against us. We haven't much of a choice."

Those eyes reflect something as though he has seen this all before, doesn't it? At least that is how I feel. Yet he is among the youngest of our leadership." An anomaly if anything. How can those haunting eyes seem so soul-piercing? It wasn't jsut a trick of the light, either.

They just are.

"...Your power is great indeed, if the tomes are correct. I've seen and felt it as well. I knew I recognized it from before on Lunar-- Veruni magic. If you can learn to tap into it more effectively, you would be able to protect you friends much mroe effectively." A pause. "But don't push yourself. As you reach out to learn who you were, they will come back as second nature. Of that I am certain!"

"...Teardrop?" Elvis says slowly, as if committing it to memory. "I don't believe so. I recieved no word to hunt for anything in particular in my stay at the Photosphere." He sounds sincere.

Avril makes her statement. Her intent to stay, by her friends. A small nod. "What kind of subject would I be if I took the Queen by the arm and dragged her somewhere?" he says with a laugh. "That is no way to treat a young lady!" for a moment, that bombastic attitude surfaces in a serious moment.

"Just know if we are able to overcome our crippling ailments and bring the afflicted out of stasis... they would be happy to see you."

"I'll see if I can find out anything about this supposed Teardrop. Meanwhile, I still must seek audience with a Guardian, and find a lost daughter. Hah hah! A professor's job is never done, eh?"

A moustache is straightened with a pair of fingers. Where will you and your friends head to next?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "He's young for a Veruni, then?"
    It really does beg the question of how old Avril is, herself.
    "He did not seem to be much older than myself. Of course... appearances can be deceiving."

    Take Kaguya, for one.

    And for someone so young to have so much blank dead hatred within them...

    "I am aware. I must take care in channeling it, lest I cause more harm than I intend," she says, thinking back to that moment on Lunar when she had nearly murdered a man whose only sin was to be frightened.
    Or when she had entered that strange state and assaulted Elvis. "As I reach out to seek who I was... I see. Then I shall continue."

    The wall inside has a thin deep crack. Over time, the darkness internal whispers, the fracture can widen. And permit her passage inwards, where the answers she seeks dwell.

    In spite of the warmth of the day, she shivers.

    So even Elvis doesn't know the meaning of 'Teardrop'. Avril's lips quirk downwards in a faint frown, her pensive turn echoed in the way her forehead creases, but...
    In the end, she simply nods. "I see. Perhaps it was something that had belonged to the Metal Demons?" Lost, then.
    Or taken already before the fall of the Photosphere.

    "I wonder... if it had been chance." Her gaze turns sidelong; she clasps her hands before herself.

    And speaks to Elvis of her will in the matter of herself.

    Ever so slightly, she smiles; this is no warm expression, no sign of delight. Just a subtle, regal smile: grateful, but restrainedly so.

    "Thank you, Elvis. I hope this is not difficult for you. As I am now, however, as I have already expressed..." She shakes her head. "And I know even less of why he was so keen to return me to the Locus Solus that he had opted to do so by force."
    That, truly, is what worries her the most. What is Volsung attempting? Is it a matter of having his ruler's full authority? She has heard tell of puppet rulers -- is that his aim?

    All the more reason not to return. Not yet.

    "However, I do understand. It must be difficult for them. Yet, neither can I permit myself to be goaded into a situation out of my control." Her fingers untangle; her arms fall back to her sides.

    "Have you been able to speak with the Guardians?"
    Kaguya had...
    ...or so Avril is lead to understand. It does not seem to have progressed particularly well.

    "...If I see your daughter, I will let you know you are searching for her. However..."
    It's just a feeling, an odd sense of deja vu.
    "...I have the sense that she is fine and healthy."

    Somehow, Avril just knows this.

    Where will they go next? "...That, I am uncertain. For now, I intend to assist Riesenlied." Her gaze turns from his for a moment. Assist Riesenlied, and, well, finalize hiring a group of mercenaries to steal something for her from her own people.
    There may be a slight pang of guilt interlinked with that one, there.

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

"He is within the young adult range for Humans," Elvis replies with. Not that he tracks Volsung's age directly, but it was about three decades, if he recalls correctly? "Verumi magics obey the properties of those who wield ether in Humans, but is almost a natural affinity for every Veruni. The elements that have chosen you answer your call. Ice and rime is your domain. Call to it, and it will answer!"

That probably doesn't make much sense right now, but perhaps in due time it will. It was a difficult sensation to explain.

"It must be of incredible import if he wants it. Perhaps something he saw or desired during the alliance negotiations, and sought to claim it in their final moments?" A hypothesis worth mentioning.

A polite 'Mm' is given at the mention of chance. Such things do not happen by happenstance, at least in this case. The massive man waves a hand, batting the air toward Avril. "It is no trouble to me! Perhaps to others, but my course is clear and distinct from the others that answer to him. I am to cure my people, first and foremost." A pause. "The Veruni are a people that know endurance. If we must wait a bit longer, we can, I feel."

A rather dour look crosses his face when Avril asks of his inquiries. "I have not. I am afraid I do not know where to even start. Our people have reviled them for forsaking us in a way, and while I do not loathe them for their actions, as it makes logical sense what they do, just walking up to one and opening to parley feels like a poor course of action."

"Thank you!" the man says, grateful. "I know she will be okay! But she needs to come home. She has had enough adventuring, and I need her in the lab!" Elvis says, crossing his arms. The look on his face is a mix of stern determination and worry.

"I will be around myself a bit longer as well, before I must return to my lab."

"And uh, if you ever have any questions... don't hesitate to ask. I can impart to you what I can." Questions will invariably rise, and the Sentinel would be remiss if he did not aid their Queen in what way he could, even if she does not yet sit upon the throne.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Considering some of ages she's gathered Veruni can attain...
    Volsung is quite young, indeed.

    The matter of Veruni sorcery is, perhaps, more immediately usefully illuminating: at last, she can begin to thread together the similarity of her magic to Lily's own, to use a measure of comparison. "I see." She inclines her head in a slow nod. "Thank you, Elvis. This was helpful. What I must do then is continue to practice with it."
    And further practice her ability to reach deeper within herself, the better to control that altered state. She cannot afford to possess that much power and maintain no control over it -- that would only make her a danger to herself and those about her.

    She does not, for now, mention that her abilities appear to have an additional axis upon which they tilt: light refracted by ice crystals, or something along that avenue.

    "Perhaps." To the nature -- and Volsung's desire for the same -- of the Teardrop, she can only shake her head.

    More mysteries.

    For now, she is fortunate it seems to have met Elvis -- who seeks but to save his people -- compared to others of her people's number (though in truth the young lady has yet to realize the full degree upon which this rests; she has not met Kartikeya).

    Her attention diverts from him for a moment; another pulse of guilt rises and passes. "...Yes. I wish that I could say that I knew the way forward to save our," the word seems strange, foreign, on her tongue, "people, but this is not knowledge I possess." Her gaze lifts, returning to the Sentinel. "Perhaps if I were to continue to travel in search of myself, this is another answer I may yet find. If this world can sustain the Metal Demons, then surely it must be able to sustain the Veruni."
    Once again.

    She is beginning to understand why she had gone in search of Johnny Appleseed. Herself. Even knowing that the name is a title and that it is she who bears it, it has not shifted her journey's goal in the slightest: she must find herself.

    But on the matter of Guardians--

    "Ah. Perhaps... you should speak to a Shaman, then?" She tilts her head to one side. "Lydia is a Shaman, as is Cyre. I know not whether they might enable you to speak with a Guardian as you would prefer, but they may know more."

    A lengthy, weighty pause.

    "Or... Elder Halle of the Baskar. I would not mention that you are Veruni."

    If she ever has to explain what she has learned of herself to the Elder, though, it might be her own awkward situation to bear. Just a touch, Avril bows her head.

    Only to smile, as if a little bit heartened (or is that amused, Avril?) by his comment on his wayward daughter. "I understand. Should we cross paths, I will tell her that you miss her terribly."

    Is that the right message...?

    "I, myself, as well. Though, I will stay out here a while longer. I have spent far too long indoors and away from the sun..."

    Her attention is again on the far eastern horizon, before she looks back at him.

    "Of course."

    Which is followed by a pause.

    "Actually... if you could tell me more about the Veruni..."
    This is likely to lead straight into a conversation-turned-lecture that may go on for hours.
    Maybe this is the sort of thing she should invite Dean and/or Rebecca along to, too...