2019-03-23: It Takes All Types

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  • Cutscene: It Takes All Types
  • Cast: Claude C. Kenny
  • Where: Adlehyde Castle -> Luca Harbour
  • Date: 23 March 2019
  • Summary: The Regent of Adlehyde meets his probably-not-future-king, and later cries into a pillow.

The halls of Adlehyde Castle are alive again.

For months following the siege that claimed the life of their king, and then the /second/ siege that nearly ended the kingdom itself, the castle has been a reflection of its people. Dark, desperate, and hanging on the edge. But in recent weeks, as word of Mother's death reached the city, the people's mood has shifted. Reconstruction efforts have redoubled, as what was once a deadly wound is now healed over; as the cold death of winter fades into the new life of spring.

But even as he moves through the halls, as he has every day for most of his life, Regent Johan can sense something else - a sort of extra skip in even the slowest step, a smile on the darkest of faces. The castle's staff move with a purpose that speaks to a truth that servants of crowns the world over can recognize instantly. Their princess is in the castle.

But only their princess. Not their queen.

"Regent," mutters a chambermaid on her way past; Johan returns the courtesy with a short bow, his iron-grey hair shifting along his shoulders. The soft rattle of armour echoes out from the soldiers on either side of him, escorting their charge to his destination. Years ago, as a mere minister, Johan would not have rated the guard. But as the Regent... the old minister sighs wearily. He had expected his princess to reclaim her throne once Mother was defeated... but thus far she has refused to do so, choosing to follow the letter of the oath she swore following her father's death.

To reclaim the Teardrop, and defeat the Metal Demons. Both, not one.

Johan shakes his head softly as he moves through the doorway and into the west wing. No amount of persuasion, or outright pleading, has been able to dissuade his princess from her cause... which, in private, has brought a small smile to the old minister's face, as the princess is her father's daughter and more. But the same stalwart conviction that would make her a queen like the world has never seen, the same determination to do what is right that could unite Filgaia itself behind her... is precisely what is keeping her from the throne. Johan's private smile shifts into a hard grimace as he ducks through a doorway, turns into the corridor leading to the servant's quarters. It's an irony that Justin would have appreciated. As a mere minister, Johan would have enjoyed it as well. But for the regent, it is a major problem.

Though not the biggest one. /That/ one he will deal with today.

The Regent of Adlehyde steps into the giant chamber that hosts the castle's laundry - located conveniently next to the ancient furnaces that heat the entire holdfast even in the depths of winter. And from his first step into the room, Johan knows he's an interloper - the sudden cessation of chatter and activity, followed by the sharp intake of breath from between a dozen pairs of lips, each pursed into disapproval, speak volumes in sound and silence alike. He is Too Important To Be Here.

He's not the only one.

With a glance, Johan freezes his escort to their post at the door, then moves toward the burliest, most ancient-looking laundress in the room; in his experience, the most likely to be in charge. Before he can make it to her, however, he is intercepted by a young woman in her late twenties, no older than one of his daughters. Johan's lips curl into a faint smile. So much for his basic assumptions. "Mistress Lacy, yes?" he asks, inclining his head briefly.

"She's off sick, Regent," answers the young woman in a businesslike tone; Johan sighs faintly. So much for his advanced assumptions. "My name is Maighdin. How can we be of assistance, my lord?"

Johan sniffs, his moustaches shifting. "The princess's guest. I understand his clothing is being laundered?"

Maighdin frowns. "Yes...." she says tentatively, looking off to her left. "Elaine is doing it. It takes a while because it's..."

The regent cuts her off brusquely. He's heard about the strange stranger's even stranger garments. "He isn't far, then. As I understand it, he typically bathes when his clothing is being..." Johan breaks off, his eyes tracking toward a corner of the room where everyone is decidedly not looking. A thick white bedsheet - from the princess's own linens, the old minister notes with irritation - has been strung across the corner by a long rope, and there is a soft musical noise drifting in the air.

Johan turns his gaze back to Maighdin, who is flushing faintly. "Leave us," he commands, and for a moment he's not certain whether she will. (Who /is/ this man? he wonders, not for the first time.) After several seconds, the young woman shifts into a courtesy, gathers up her subordinates by eye, and sets them a-bustling out of the room. Johan steps toward the sheet-curtain, reaches up, and pulls it downward in a firm, decisive motion.

Behind the curtain sits a large laundry tub converted into an improvised bath, the surface of the water covered with soap suds and the occasional wisp of steam. Within the improvised bath, immersed to his shoulders, sits a young man approaching two sharl in height, with well-defined musculature and lightly tanned skin. His fine blonde hair is plastered to his head, and soap suds cling to several clumps of it. A metal device - a harmonica - is held in his left hand, and his face is set in a frankly gormless expression that seems to be his natural state.

Seems to be.

"Master Kenny," Regent Johan says, inclining his head deeply. "I've been looking forward to---"

The young man cuts in. "I didn't do it."

Johan blinks, his brain scrambling. Didn't do... "What?" he asks.

"Whatever you wanted to see me about - I didn't do it," the strange young man says. He frowns. "Or if I did, it was an accident. And if I did it on purpose, it was because I really, really had to. And I'm sorry." The young man tilts his head. "We cool? Cool."

The regent shakes his head as if to clear it. "Master Kenny, I---"

"Dude, I thought we were cool," the young man says, his tone accusing.

"I don't see why---"

"I mean, when a dude is all 'hey I'm gonna go visit another dude while he's taking a bath,'" the young man says in a... frankly not unreasonable approximation of Johan's voice, he has to admit. "Dude the second has to kind of assume dude the first is a pretty cool customer. Unless he's trying to make it hot," the young man asides. "In which case I'm sorry, but you're not my type. Or age. Or---"

"/Master Kenny/," Johan interrupts, his face flushing beet red. "I have been trying to speak with you for more than a month now---"

"You're not very good at it," the young man observes.

"---on a matter of considerable personal importance not only to me---"

"Again, not my type."

"---but also to the sanctity of the realm itself and the future of---"

"There's Ida's old master who might be in for some action," the young man says, see-sawing his empty hand back and forth. "But I'm not sure if you'd be able to handle him if he---"

"/MASTER KENNY/!" Johan roars, eyes near-bulging from his skull. He grips the edge of the tub and leans forward, screaming into the younger man's face. "DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT MARRY CECILIA LYNNE ADLEHYDE, PRINCESS ROYAL AND RIGHTFUL QUEEN OF MY KINGDOM?"

The gormless expression returns. "Oh," the young man says. He blinks twice, then rubs the back of his head with his free hand. "You, uh... heard about that, did you?"

Johan leans forward, his forehead resting on the rim of the tub. "Blessed Guardians, the kingdom is doomed."

Water splashes as the blonde-haired young man slaps his hand downward. "Oh come on, dude," he says, rolling his eyes. "First off, real talk, maybe don't have your head face-down near where my junk is before saying things are doomed?"

Johan sighs and straightens, rubbing his eyes, trying to compress the migraine that is currently forming in the front of his brain. "Master... I mean, my lord..."

"And /SECOND OF ALL/," the young man says quickly, "It wasn't a real marriage." Johan's hand drops, and his eyes light up like a drowning man spotting a spar of wood. "Like... technically. Mostly. Sort of."

The regent's eyes narrow. "Explain. Now." He pauses, remembering he might be speaking to his future king. "...please."

"Okay, so," the young man says, gesturing with his hands. "We had this thing come up when we were traveling where we really needed a ship, and there weren't a lot of them going where we needed to go, which was this big island or whatever where they had this jewel thing... actually, no, we already had the jewel, but not before the wedding," he corrects himself, before continuing. "So anyway, we needed to get to the island where Asgard was, because the Guardians were telling Cecilia they had to do it or whatever, so we went to this town and the only person there with a ship was Captain Bart - who is not, like, Bart Captain Bart, he's the /other/ Captain Bart," the young man asides, "And he had some sort of big bet with this jewel where he was gonna lose a ship if he didn't get to perform a wedding, and so we were going to go grab Lily and Leon and get them to show up so they could get hitched since they're totally in flagrant defecto or whatever that saying is, except the other Captain Bart got all excited and offered to marry us instead." The young man shrugs, inhaling for the first time since he started the story. His chest swells. "Except we didn't, like, marry as /us/ because Cecilia wasn't all going around as Cecilia Lynne Adlehyde, like, hi, I'm the most important person in the world, come kill me now, please, she was traveling under one of those sudokus or whatever, she was called Mint Bandaid and I was going by the su--- oh, it's pseudoname, not sudoku, sorry," he corrects himself. "Anyway, I was going by Cless Al'Vane, because that was my pseudoname when I was up on the moon, so it wasn't really Claude and Cecilia who got married, even though we were, like, there, or whatever, it was Cless and Mint who did." The young man scratches his head. "Besides, Leon and Lily showed up because they thought some random dude named Cless who they didn't know was me was trying to marry her, and they interrupted the ceremony. So in the end, like, only one of the Guardians showed up to bless it, so I'm pretty sure that's not legal marriage in s...someplace where I come from," he concludes. The young man tilts his head, frowns, then beams. "So that's it! Dead simple. We're not married, right?"

Johan stares forward, his eyes slowly coming into focus as he returns from the far edges of sanity and gathers his composure. "So... what you are saying..." he says slowly. "Is that your marriage to the princess... was not legal... because ONLY ONE of the GODS OF OUR WORLD showed up, IN PHYSICAL FORM, to bless your union." His left eye twitches. "Have... have I adequately summed up your position?"

The young man tilts his head. A sud slides off his earlobe and plops into the water.

".....yes?"

Johan closes his eyes and looks up, his face pained. "I believe... I am going to resign."

"Wait," the young man's voice echoes out. "Who the heck is that guy?"

To all the living souls of Filgaia - I bid you greetings.

Johan's eyes flash open, and down toward the source of the voice... which is the surface of the water in which the pr... in which /young Master Kenny/ is lying, the regent thinks forcefully. The voice tickles memory, as does the face, and then the man in the water speaks a name that once shook the pillars of the world. "Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus," Johan breathes.

The young man turns his face toward the older, his lips curling in a smirk. "That is a name," he says, then looks back down to study the surface of the water. Johan hears echoes filling the room, and turns around to face the chamber as a whole, from which dozens of voices are now echoing. The regent moves toward the next bin over... and sees the same face, same voice, echoing out. "What..." Johan breathes, a chill running over his body. "What sorcery is this?"

"Pretty regular kind, I think," the young man answers, planting his hands. "Upsy daisy."

With a slight grunt of effort, Master Kenny pushes himself up out of the bath, suds and water trailing down the surface of his body, following the hills and slopes of musculature as rugged as a mountain range. For all his disdain for the young man, Johan has been in the presence of enough warriors to recognize one when he sees one... in particular, to recognize the absence of major scars as a significant indicator of his skill. The old regent frowns, his irritation returning. For all his seeming skill, his fitness, this young Master Kenny seems nothing more than a garden-variety thug. And yet... this young man appeared from nowhere and charmed his way into the princess's company... for him to have earned her trust enough to wed him, even if it is a sham...

"Dude, take a picture, it'll last longer," the young man says, pulling on a pair of undergarments. He looks around. "Where're my clothes?"

Johan bristles at the commanding tone, then subsides. "Still being laundered. In... one of these bins, I suppose. Why..."

The young man scowls. "Never mind, he says, picking up a small rectangular object... which suddenly bursts into a cacophony of sound, and dazzling, brilliant lights.

Johan takes a step backward, his back bumping into another tub, mouth opening and closing like a fish. His heart gives an odd herky-jerky motion as he struggles to comprehend what he's seeing. An ARM - not a simple thing of steel and powder, but an ancient device the likes of which... "What... what are you..." he manages to get out.

"Trying to isolate the frequency," the young man answers. "Thank God this guy talks a lot - it's giving me a lot of data. To broadcast something like this everywhere - even if he was right next door, the power would be staggering." The young man rubs his chin and shakes his head, damp hair swaying. "This is something big."

Johan shivers as he behold this young man, so different from the bumbling idiot to whom he was speaking only minutes before. His tone is suddenly firm and confident, his bearing commanding, decisive... As though a switch somewhere had been flipped, turning a garden-variety, illiterate thug into... into a... Johan licks his lips. "Who are..." he starts to say, then pauses. "Wait. Master Kenny, are you glowing?"

The young man looks down at the light which is covering his body, from the tips of his hair to his toes, to the bare stitch of clothing he's wearing. "Wait, am I? Wait, I am. Holy sh----"

*poit*

Okabe the Elder, son of Okabe the Younger, lets out a soft sigh as he lashes the line into a quick not, loops it around the post that secures his sail in the right position - he's quartering the wind now, which is blowing just enough that the air and tide should balance out, keeping him at his current position. At a good half-mile out from the harbour, he should be far enough from the docks that he'll be clear of ferry traffic, yet close enough to hear the celebration, if only from a distance.

The grizzled fisherman smiles as he checks his lines. Much as he prefers the solitude of wind and wave, much as the big boats make for poor catches, and much as the sheer press of people arriving for the big tournament is a trial... even he gets excited for the start of blitz season. If not, why even live in Luca?

"Yruo cdynpuynt!"

The strange voice echoes out from his port side, and it's all Okabe can do to keep from spitting in the direction of the Al Bhed ship sailing past him. The fisherman contents himself with drawing his straw hat a little lower on his face; they may think he simply wants to keep the sun out of his eyes. Or they may realize he doesn't want to look at them. He doesn't mind either way, really. Okabe studiously ignores the vessel until it's well past him, then lets out a sigh. "Even they come to Luca for blitz. Guess it takes all types," he mutters, snorting phlegm into his mouth. As he does, from overhead he hears a soft

  • tiop*

Okabe stares upward, gaping, as a small dot in the sky starts growing in size, resolving itself into the panicked face of a big man with blonde hair, mouth open as he hurtles toward the sea, a falling star from the heavens.

"-----IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT---"

The young man tucks his feet into a dive, and there is a strange blue flicker of light before he connects with the waves, sending a plume twenty feet into the air; Okabe frantically secures his lines and begins angling the sails to catch the wind, bringing the bow of his skiff around to where he saw the man go under. "All damned types," he mutters as he starts cutting through the waves.