2019-04-10: Lessons in Sin

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==========================<* Luca - Port District *>==========================

Luca is the largest port and second-largest city in Spira, located the southern tip of the archipelago's largest island. Its location as the central port for Spira's surrounding islands has turned Luca into a thriving economic hub; Besaid, Kilika, and a dozen smaller islands all send their goods to Luca for sale, and even the Al Bhed are known to trade here from time to time.

The port district is an immense, bustling area. The largest port in Luca brings in ships from across Spira -- from small fishing ships from Besaid to Al Bhed salvage ships to large sailing vessels from Bevelle -- and a massive market to match. A large seawall keeps the waters at bay, with piers extending out past the seawall into the water.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

As is often true when these social gatherings come up, Catenna catered.

One of the docks of Luca isn't in use today - it's not the Al Bhed dock, just a regular dock that happens to be clear. The Moon Shaman made a point of moving operations there, since it came cheap. She also made a point of making food and asking friends to bring it. It's simple stuff - a mild curry made with what seems to be lamb, another one that's meatless, some sweet diamond-shaped treats that taste a bit like cashews, some biscuits, some minty drinks. Enough that people can pick what they like.

She picked up a few local dishes, too. It wouldn't do to have entirely Filgaian food when they're meeting someone from around here.

<This land isn't what I expected,> observes Saarda-Shanta, the Owlet perching on the rung of a dolly sitting unused behind one of the tables. <Not only that Obsession is alive - that was a shock in and of itself. But the thought that it is battled so regularly, and successfully, is interesting.>

"Yes. I think there is a lot we have to learn here," Catenna concedes from where she's moving around a table. Today she's added shoes to her Spiran outfit. They're open and have a bit of a kitten heel. It beats going barefoot on wooden piers.

The Moon Shaman flicks her hair back, then folds her hands as she moves to where someone else has joined in their impromptu summit.

Catenna doesn't know Lulu all that well, but the woman seemed at least receptive to talking to her, if in a stiff way. With a simple nod, the Moon Shaman moves to stand near her.

"You told me that if we wished to fight Sin, we had a lot to learn," she says. "I would like to learn it. And I would like to offer you what answers I have to any questions you might have, as well. Where we come from, and why so many of us are invested in Spira's battle with Sin."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        A familiar ship has been moored in one of the docks nearby -- the Fereshte, with its Dragonheaded blimp-mast as it poorly pretends to be a sailing ship (which it can, indeed, double as); and not far from where such a ship is must be...

        Riesenlied.

        Riesenlied. who has been having a difficult time ever since the assault on Luca.

        Pyreflies, as she is discovering, is extremely difficult to deal with. Like the Ley, in how the presence of souls echo from within them, yet deeply unlike it as well; different from Granasian concepts of the individualistic soul, they echo something that reverberates deeper. Something more together, a greater whole...

        And there was a lot of pain and sorrow between them.

        She's relocated near the docks for some fresh air, still coughing and struggling since their close escape from the Sahuagin and the Vouivres and the Garudas.

        She blinks a few times as she hears familiar voices, though. "Oh... isn't that-- everyone else? They came here too...!" she exclaims, before--

        Staring a little bit dauntedly at the ramp going up. She sucks in a breath.

        "Heey... everyone..." she calls, as she pushes herself up on her wheelchair. She's struggling. Horns are wiggling for maximum effort. Uuuuu--

        Then she starts rolling back down the ramp.

        She might need a moment... or some assistance...

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Interestingly enough, when the plan came to help gather people for a round of questions and answers, Ethius offered his assistance in helping prepare food. This should be an alarm bell, because when left to his own devices, the 'food' he makes... deserves quotation marks.
        He expressed interest in helping assist in preparing local dishes. If allowed, he does exactly as told for the steps involved, with no deviation nor personal touch. Like he were a medium for the exact wording of a recipe, and no more. (Thennnn he goes on and makes 'food' for himself and the less said about that part of the chain of events, the better.) This alone is rather unusual, for a man who otherwise tends to be hands off about these sorts of festivities.
        As pertains the present, Ethius looks the part of someone who must be a huge fan of the Al Bhed Psyches - it is the only logical explanation for how he would appropriate many cues of Al Bhed dress without having the physical features to otherwise pass off as one (skin is too dark, hair is too white) and even then that stretches credibility.
        He is a stranger to this land as much as almost any other who came here from the Blue Star.
        He stands dutifully around the docks where he has the perfect angle to watch people come and go. He is otherwise unapproachably inscrutible as always in his demeanor, arms folded behind his back as though he were a military man standing at attention. An element that doesnt' seem to quite... fit, beyond the passing glance.
        He doesn't run from his post to see to Riesenlied's well-being, for she probably already has a sizeable escort to see to her.
        "I believe there is one question," this is the first thing he's said the entire time since people started to gather here, "that is of utmost importance to ask before we proceed... if one would permit me this inquiry."
        A hand goes to the man's masked forehead, as is an idle habit.
        "Is this, to recent memory, Spira's first exposure to those who claim to be from beyond its waters?"

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

A few things come with the whole 'conduit for a primordial representation of the world-spirit' gig, one of which involves crushing enemies of same world-spirit with extreme prejudice, and the other involves being very, very hungry when you've spent maybe a bit too long doing said world-spirit channeling on something like one or two bars of soullular reception. Cyre has a vested interest in this particular meeting, not just because of the whole matter of Obsession (that it's called Sin by the locals is a point of interest not entirely lost on him), but also because Catenna is cooking curry and Cyre is drawn to spicy, tasty treats like a magnet to metal.

The catman is sitting next to his fellow shaman, munching cheerfully on a bowl of deliciously lamby curry atop a generous helping of whatever the local equivalent of rice might be. He might be a somewhat odd sight, beastmen of his particular subspecies may not necessarily be too common out here in Spira (certainly, he's a lot less... bestial than the native Ronso), but he doesn't seem to be taking too many steps to disguise it. It's too warm! And the breeze is too pleasant to cover up so much!

For now at least, he seems to be content enough to sit around, eat curry and make vital first impressions that don't involve potentially ultra-high-class heresy. Or at least, he was content enough to sit around, until--

"Uh," Cyre pauses, his ears twitching. "...Was that Riesenlied just now?"

Oh, he finds, she's... she's in a wheelchair. And apparently not... able to actually get up that ramp?

Uhhhh.

Is it polite to help push a Hyadean along? Is that a thing? Cyre huffs, since when did he worry so much about a little thing like that, anyway? The wind-shaman gingerly hops down onto the lower ground and goes to help said Hyadean surmount the otherwise insurmountable. "You made it up here too, huh? Good to see you're doing..." ... Uh.

Less... less bad than he thought she'd be doing?

"...Alright," he says instead. Push push push.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel is here. Hurray!

Mariel is over near Catenna, though she did not interfere with the cooking. She did provide some ingredients for Catenna to cook with, though - local ingredients, mostly plant-based, that met her standards, because Mariel has been doing some wandering around and examining the local flora. Her satchel, which she has with her as always, has a fair number of samples and seeds in it along with the medical supplies she usually packs.

Mariel is not dressed in a Spiran way and is frankly a little warm because of it, but only a little; she's wearing the lighter design of her green robes and soft boots. She has left her mittens off at least, revealing fingers topped with blunt claws rather than nails and a small, faint tuft of hair near the back of her wrist (which is honestly pretty hard to see because it's the same fine blonde as her hair).

She looks nervous at meeting new people, but she often looks nervous at meeting new people. Mariel couldn't miss this meeting. Clysmians mean something to her.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet wanders idly among the tables, grateful for the free food. It's been a rather hard existence since she arrived on Spira, scrounging and trading medical treatments for the necessities of life. She's turned in her trademark widow's weeds for a worn blue cotton dress and matching sandals. An equally threadbare shawl is draped across her shoulders. She still has her backpack, and her ARM -- now dried out thoroughly and wrapped in a bundle attached to the backpack. She learned early on it wasn't a good idea to openly carry it -- but keeps it in easy reach in case of monster attack. Monsters were one thing Filgaia and Spira had in common. That, and the human -- or at least human-seeming -- inhabitants. The minty drink is refreshing in the Spiran heat, and the lamb curry is delicious. She helps herself to seconds. No telling when she'd be able to eat again. This was a strange world where her gella, not that there were many of them, were worthless.

She hears Ethius' question but disagrees that it's the most important. She steps forward boldly, the only clue to her agitation her slightly-twitching ears. They're equine, but located where a human's would be. "The important question," she intones, "is 'How do we get back home?'" THIS is the question that has occupied her thoughts. Were she and the others going to be stranded here for life? Would she ever see her grandchildren again?

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

While Catenna brought food, Jacqueline saw to the set-up of some tables and chairs(with perhaps a little help) - both to carry it all as well as to provide people with places to sit and eat while they spoke and listened. She's a pro at it now, and it's all set up in a neat, orderly fashion. She looks it all over, nodding to herself proudly.

Today, she's elected to wear a sleeveless white blouse and a long, pale pink skirt with a floral pattern, with a red flower in her hair. It's a local flower of some variety.

While she's considering everything she hears a familiar voice nearby. Could it be...?

"Riese!" Jacqueline says with a gasp and looks to the side, where the Hyadean is currently attempting to wheel herself up the ramp. With a bit of worry Jacqueline hurries over to her...but thankfully, Cyre has it. Jacqueline breathes a sigh of relief.

"It's good to see you again... You look exhausted. Here, take this." Jacqueline says, rummaging through her bags and offering a potion over to Riesenlied - one of the usual ones.

She then goes to take a seat somewhere she can keep an eye on everything, her attention lingering on Riesenlied just a bit longer to make sure she'll be alright.

She doesn't have any questions herself - not yet, anyway. She does, however, draw out a notebook so that she can take notes.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Two children laugh, as they toss a Blitzball between themselves on the ring around the docks. A sudden gust of wind mid-pass takes it wide though - too wide - as it starts to float towards the water. And a small girl grimaces, "Aw-" Her older brother declares, "Don't worry - I can swim just - "
 
The wind shifts abruptly, sending the Blitzball hurtling back into the smaller girl's hands, who catches it. Hiro grins at her as he walks by, "Hey look at you - you're a natural." The small girl looks puzzled for a moment, before dawning recognition enters her eyes, "Yeah! I meant to do that!" - the older brother scratches his head and mumbles, "Must be some freak wind..."
 
"You always were a sucker for kids. Do you think it's a good idea to let her think it was her though?"
 
Hiro's smile grows a little more wan, "Who says it wasn't?" He says without his pace slowing, "Besides in a place where Sin can attack at any time - kids should have a little magic in their lives." Before he queries their other companion, "Don't you agree Isolde?" He'd warmed up to her pretty quickly, perhaps it's the fact that her approach to life reminds him a lot of Ronfar.
 
He slides into the dock a little late, ladling himself a bowl full of curry, and holding up a second for Ruby to slurp down. Hiro lifts his other bowl hand towards Riese without thinking, spilling a little curry on the dock, with a wince that becomes an 'Oh no' as Riese starts rolling down the ramp. Cyre has it though, so mostly he's just milling about, looking at the Spiran Guardian as a figure of authority.
 
Right now he's just listening...
 
... Ruby though stops slurping her curry to go front and center up to Riese before asking on the sly - while Hiro continues to just try to wave in a way less likely to spill the soup, "Hey Riese - wow you look like you've been through the wringer. What's up with that?" However Riese might barely have time to answer before she asks a second question, "How's Odjn doing?" Then as questions start drifting Lulu's way, she might notice a little flying cat like creature hovering and waving precious pink pawsie in the air, waiting to be called upon.
 
It's being done in a barely restrained - Ooo - ooo - ooo call on me! kind of way without any of it actually being verbalized - just more in the way she's gesticulating in mid-air.
 

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Dean is also here! He's dressed like a local, except for his long red scarf, which he's still wearing even though it's super not the weather for it. That didn't stop people heading up through Mt. Gagazet in terms of putting on more, so it sure won't stop Dean in terms of putting on less.
        
        For right now, he's stuffing his face with the free food. Dean is a growing boy, after all. He manages to listen to people's questions in between chowing down and occasionally knocking back cool, refreshing drinks, but he'll leave the questions to others for the time being.
        
        Or that was his plan when he sees Riesenlied struggling to get in on her wheelchair and then rolling back down. "Oh, hey, Riese!" he calls, getting up. "You want me to help you out with that?" Though, it looks like Cyre's already got it. Dean will remain on standby anyway, just in case, giving smiles and nods of greeting to Cyre and Jay in turn--as well as the room in general, but, you know.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Marivel, or MARIE VALERIA as she's been going by, is not particularly interested in the food or drink. She uh actually didn't bring any food or drink. Marivel is probably not the best chef guys.

She is about to lend a hand for Riesenlied (whom she is arriving with) when Cyre hops down and Marivel's opinion is that if a mortal intends to lend a hand, best to let them do it. Saves effort and encourages further good deeds.

Honestly, there is a lot to take in as she arrives--shrouded in thick robes, a heavy scarf and the like with only her eyes and face readily visible--but there was only one thing that was ever going to really hold her attention.

It's not the Owlet, though Marivel does give it a doubletake and a warm smile (she approves of the Owlet and, by extension, any summoner who is able to raise such a creature). It's not Ethius, though he asks a question that feels like might create further problems down the road.

It's Mariel. Inexorably her eyes are drawn to the Elw. Her lips partially open up wordlessly as she stares at Mariel. A variety of complex and difficult to decipher emotions cross her face in this moment but it ultimately settles on a faint, pleasant smile as if she had just received very pleasant news.

"As a representative of the Guardians," Marivel says. "Could you tell us why Obsession--Why Sin--makes them quake in fear so?"

It's a strange first question because it's not towards the people of Spira at all but to Catenna herself.

A question to Catenna, despite the fact that she hasn't quite pulled her gaze away from Mariel.

She only turns her gaze away to look towards Ruby whom she smiles at. "Oh hello there. You know Riesenlied too? Of course you do. If I may be of assistance to you, Grand Dragon, please let me know. I am sure I've seen some fish around here."

<Pose Tracker> Fasalina has posed.

At first, Fasalina's only really visible as a blur of purple in the crowd. It's clear she's not local -- when the dark-haired woman's deep purple robe shifts, a much more vibrant white and purple robe can be seen in hints and flashes underneath it, in a style that would look too crisp, too clean-cut on Lunar.

Ethius's question, though, gets her to stop dead. The dark-haired, dark-clothed woman turns golden eyes toward him, with just a hint of sadness to them. One hand strays downward slightly, index and pinky fingers flaring out slightly to either side. It might draw attention, for a split second, to a strange bit of jewelry -- a golden ring around the middle and ring fingers, holding them together, and bound to a bracelet of similar style by a thick black cloth that might generously be called, in this context, a glove.

Nothing seems to come of the gesture, though. Instead, the woman turns slightly...

... and sees Riesenlied struggling. Her lips purse briefly, and she steps in that direction.

"Ah, how kind of you," she offers to Cyre. "She's very lucky to have your help... I'd like to know a vigorous man like that. What's your name?" There's a gentleness in the dark-haired woman's voice, but it's a little on the flat side, too...

She does not feel the need to ask Riesenlied's name; Wayside -- and by extension, its nominal opinion leader -- is known to her comrade.

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
The woman called Isolde has had a rough couple of days, all told, although it could have been worse. (It could always be worse! Now let's skip past the lengthy meditation on that.) She was, at least, not direly injured and she met some people.

And she's met them again! Isolde's clothing is kind of garish now, other than her coat, which seems to also be where she keeps her goods. "I agree utterly and without reservation," she answers Hiro, reaching up to toss her hair out a little with her hand.

"Good afternoon, hello," Isolde says to others as she comes up. Once she receives a bowl of curry she sets down adjacent to Hiro and digs in, before she tilts her head a little, overhearing what Ruby is saying. ("This isn't normal for her? I only met the woman the other day, I had no idea it was something like this," Isolde muses to Hiro, with some concern.)

Other people speak. Ruby is calling for attention or to be called on.

Isolde raises her spoon as if it were a badge of office.

"Are all of you alright?" Isolde asks. "The lady summoner, your fellows. Oh, and is that big man around? I still have his glasses."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Ashton is also here!
 
He's really noticible, largely because he is eating like several pigs. The dragons are sticking out from under the flap of a leather knapsack and are very pleased with the presence of food.
 
Ashton himself is as well, which he has happily explained several times is because he's basically out of money after giving Claude most of his remaining cash to buy pants.
 
He must be hungry - he's not even trying to disguise his curse in the presence of the locals.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

"Maybe they just don't like Calvin Klein," a voice answers Marivel's question.

Said voice belongs to a young man who some people will know as Claude C. Kenny, others as Cless al'Vane, and others as 'who the heck is that guy and where did he leave the rest of his shirt?' ClaudeClessThat Guy is lounging atop a crate, with his arms folded back behind his head and a large stick of salted auroch stuck between his teeth.

Like Ashton, he is here for the free food, because he was out of money even /before/ he took all of Ashton's to buy pants. He has also found a really dumb shirt/coat combination with weird side tails and pockets that make no sense. On the plus side, he has Ashton's second sword dangling from a belted scabbard and looped lazily around his foot. So the draconic swordsman will be a bit less lopsided now.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        It may be a little hard to spot Noeline at first. She isn't right alongside Riesenlied, at the very least - but there doesn't seem to be a sign of the flamboyant blob of crimson she's been all this time visible on the Fereshte's deck, either. It's only when her calls out to some of the crew, dividing them up between taking care of some wounded and watching for further Fiend attacks, that her presence becomes more obvious.

        She's apparently ditched her over the top dresses and the size they gave her, looking a little smaller but a lot more comfortable as she wears a set of robes not unlike Riesenlied's own. They're darker, edged with red fabric rather than gold and cut a little differently, but it's definitely meant to evoke a similar sort of shamanism while being a little showy. Her hair is kept down nowadays, rather than the two big tails she used to have - but she's kept one of the hair ornaments, adding a bit of colour to the mass of black.

        Riesenlied's yelp sends her to the side of the boat, her eyebrows raising as she realizes there's a bit of a congregation happening; she looks over it with a rather curious air as she takes in the assorted Drifters, noting that she's reasonably sure she knows everyone present. "Really," she sighs, mostly to herself. "I'd call it unsubtle to have every Filgaian band together like this, but I suppose we're no better given we brought an entire ship along."

        Riesenlied's backpedalling down the ramp nearly sends Noeline right over the rail down to her, but thankfully other Drifters have it well in hand; she pauses as she lets out a breath, then takes the descent at a more leisurely pace. (That is to say, using the gangplank rather than simply throwing herself across the intervening space.)

        "When do we not look like we've been through the wringer?" she wonders towards Ruby, grinning as she nudges her way in behind Riesenlied's chair to lay a hand on the other Hyadean's shoulder in support. "Really, it's almost a natural way of life at this point. Odjn is well, I think. Last I checked, a 'grand food tour sequel' was being cooked up," she adds with a rather bright and wry smile.

        She waggles her eyebrows at Dean as something like a hello - and then pauses, genuinely curious as 'Marie' asks her question. For the time being, Noeline seems content to hold her own questions back and listen to those of others, focusing her attention forwards; alert and curious, she's the sort to prefer reading between the lines where she can. Besides, it's already obvious there are going to be a great many of them.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"I don't know a Calvin Klein. You might have to ask Eleanor about that." Marivel says.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

The docks as a whole are... slightly less active than usual, in the aftermath of the fiend attack, but on the whole? It's barely noticeable. This dock happens to be free for a few more hours due to the vagaries of scheduling...

But, perhaps surprisingly to those from other worlds, Luca has gone entirely back to business after an assault by monsters within less then a full day. The brief interruption doesn't really change anything.

The ancient poured concrete and stone that makes up most of the circular walkway and docks out here unusually permanent for Spiran structures. ...But, the smell of food has the same draw anywhere, and there's some curious looks from passers-by towards unusual people and unfamiliar dishes. And so here, amidst the tables...

Lulu--Guardian, as she had introduced herself--stands in her dark attire, an undeniable presence despite her general thoughtful quiet. Her eyes run over the food, but she does not take any; it may be a more academic curiousity.

Every person present can assume if they are visible that they have received Lulu's calm, red-eyed scrutiny. She watches for a few moments, says nothing, and moves on to the next. This happens for unfamiliar fashion, for certain claw-handed individuals, for horns... And for pretty much every other detail. She doesn't offer greetings. She does however answer Catenna first.

"...There's more to learn than I can divulge in one afternoon," Lulu cautions. "And I hold no office here. So long as you're fine with that... Then I can tell you enough to maybe keep you all out of trouble."

"Most of what I need to know will be your plans, here. ...But it isn't strange, to be invested in opposing Sin. No one in Spira can live without eventually falling under Sin's shadow. ...Not even outlanders."

Lulu looks to Riesenlied in her difficulty, but Cyre has matters handled there, and so she moves on to questions.

"Is this, to recent memory, Spira's first exposure to those who claim to be from beyond its waters?"

"I'll permit any question asked in good faith. ...I can't promise answers to all." But, with that in mind, Lulu considers the strange man Ethius's question. Her assessment of him is kept to herself. "No. Now and then, we've received scattered persons who claim to be from outside our waters, though there are certainly more of you now. Most recently, the followers of Althena arrived in Kilika. Some have been sighted here in Luca."

The important question is 'How do we get back home?

"I don't know. You might book passage with the followers of Althena. They have apparently sailed from far away. One assumes they will return eventually if they survive."

Ruby hovers, waves, waves, hovers. Lulu turns slightly towards her, and her first greeting for the tiny dragon is one lifted eyebrow. Really, it makes an absolutely perfect arch when combined with her otherwise deadpan expression. "...Yes?" Lulu asks of her. "You may ask your question."

Marivel's question on the Guardians is not for Lulu. Nevertheless, she considers the strangely-dressed figure. "I've heard that term used, by some. 'Guardians'. In these lands, Guardians are those who have pledged to guard a Summoner on pilgrimage. To what do you refer when you speak of that word?"

Isolde asks about their condition; Lulu regards her for an extra moment. It doesn't seem to be bad at least, as she nods. "Summoner Yuna is well, as are her other Guardians. There were few serious casualties, in the end; Maester Seymour's Aeon destroyed the majority of the Fiends, and there were, it seems, many able combatants in the crowds."

Ashton gets exactly the stare that someone gets when they have three heads. Yeah, that's the one.

Lulu does not ask about Calvin Klein. She has an instinctive awareness of how to avoid being part of gags, probably.

Instead, Lulu takes up position by the crate she's at. "So. I can explain to you the nature of Sin, and how it's fought... But first: you said that you had an interest in battling it beyond the obvious. What is that interest? I need to know your intentions before I give information that may interfere with Yuna's pilgrimage."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I understand," Catenna answers Lulu. "We have no right to demand what you cannot give."

The nice thing about dating Catenna is you get fed. Cyre's been well-taken care of.

Catenna hasn't seen the Fereshte in a long time. She presses her lips together and looks towards Riesenlied with quiet concern as the woman makes her approach. Without thinking, she takes a couple of steps towards her. "Hello, Riesenlied," she begins.

Cyre's got her in hand. With a deep incline of her head, Catenna smiles, small but warm. "I'm glad to see you. We were just talking about the worlds we come from."

Ethius throws out a poignant question. Violet throws out a more grim one. Catenna slowly tilts her head towards the woman. "...If we knew the answer to that, many might have done so. I know having patience is hard. But you must."

Marivel flings a challenging question at her. The Moon Shaman closes her eyes and exhales slowly.

"We know something of that. We are told that Sin is what is called a Clysmian," she explains.

Catenna holds one hand out, palm up, as if she could somehow present the answer. "The Guardians, of course, represent aspects of Filgaia, and sometimes of emotions and sentiments. It would seem that Clysmians are, in a way, the dark mirror of that. Presumably a Clysmian embodies the negative aspects of existence, just as a Guardian might embody the positive. I think someone here may be able to explain more about that." Here she glances towards one side, eyes finding Mariel.

Knitting her brows, Catenna lowers her hand to her hip. "...We do know what Sin represents in our beliefs. When Celesdue spoke to me, she actually did not call it Sin... the name she gave for it was Obsession."

With a tilt of her head towards Lulu, the Moon Shaman reaches for one of the mint drinks. She slowly swirls it around her glass. The question she asks is direct, but Catenna answers simply.

"I am what is called a Shaman... I draw upon one of our gods, Celesdue, Guardian of the Moon. She tells me that Obsession should not be alive. We have also witnessed the destruction it wrought... across the sea, it destroyed an entire city. For that reason, I wish to see Sin defeated."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

The first thing that gets Mariel to move is Riesenlied's wheelchair. She has taken a step by the time Cyre is on the case, but he's faster than she is, and so she lets him handle it. There's still some awkwardness between her and Riesenlied anyhow, though a lot less than there used to be.

Mariel has also spent some time trying to figure out how Ashton's dragons are connected, though she has tried not to stare. Much. He doesn't seem to be in pain or anything...

But it's Marivel (no relation) that is looking at her the hardest. Mariel has an awareness of when people are staring at her, and right now someone is staring at her. She looks back at Marivel, then breaks gaze - then looks at her again, in some surprise. "I am not a representative of the Guardians," she says, assuming it's a question to her, because Marivel is still looking straight at her.

And speaking of Catenna. Mariel tugs at her sleeve nervously as more attention is pointed at her, but she knew this was coming. She can manage. Just... remain calm, she thinks to herself. Nobody here hates you. Nobody here fears you. Just talk.

She launches into it before she can lose her nerve. "Ah... as Catenna says, Filgaia has Guardians - great spirits, gods, associated with aspects of the world. The greatest of them are the Lords, who represent the most powerful aspects of people. - Love, Hope, Courage, Desire." Mariel fusses. She's not good at public speaking and there are so many people *looking* at her. She pauses a moent to brush some of her hair back absently, smoothing it down.

"There was a people on Filgaia called the Elw. They thought - that there might be things like them, but opposite. For the worst of people. Instead of Love, Hate. Instead of Courage, Fear. Instead of Hope, Despair. And instead of Desire... Obsession." Mariel's ears flatten down slightly against the sides of her head, not projecting outward so far. "They were only stories to scare people, or thoughts by philosophers. Nobody had ever seen one. I assumed they did not exist, truly."

"Except, when Sin attacked Azado, a town I'm told is very far from here, those people who can speak to the Guardians heard it called Obsession... I wasn't there, so I cannot say." And thank goodness for that, Mariel doesn't add. "So... that is why. Our Guardians are afraid of it, too..."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        "The answer to my inquiry is appreciated," Ethius says in Ethius-speak for 'thank you,' because apparently brevity is not a virtue from wherever he's from. The Pilgrimage Guardian's words track with his own investigations into Luca's very markets, how none of them seemed to contain goods or items he would have recognized from 'the mainland' - or rather, the parts of Glenwood and Meribus he had been able to travel. Occasional claims... he does not seem to be too worried, looking from the outside in.
        His gaze does pass over to the quiet woman - Fasalina - momentarily but this might just be a coincidental event, as Lulu further confirms what he had heard as well - Althena's own have arrived in Kilika, some already here in Luca.
        Quietly, he listens in in the cultural intermingling without further input, as though lost in some of his own considerations he doesn't have it in him to voice.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
"Oh hey Marivel - That'd so kind of you!" Ruby puts her pawsies together in glee. Before she nods at Noeline over and over. "No kidding! You two are gluttons for this kind of thing. And awwww I was hoping to see her - I'll have to see if I can find her before she gets to the fish tasting portion of her tour-!"
 
Ruby then floats over to Marivel and whispers near her ear, while pointing at Noeline, "Can I tell her you're a Crimson Noble? Can I?"
 
Hiro meanwhile is nodding along with Lulu, just trying to digest the information that she's offering. Smiling as he nudges Isolde upon Lulu answering her question on Yuna being well, "Good of you to lend them a hand."
 
Ruby upon being called upon makes this little sound of glee, "Okay - most important question of the night!"
 
Ruby flaps her wings eagerly up to Lulu before asking, "Are there - DRAGONS - in Spira?"
 
One might wonder if she has a follow up question on the importance of Dragons to the Yevonite faith - wondering if they're just as important as they are to the Althenian faith, but she does not.
 
Instead Hiro clears his throat, "Dragons are pretty important on our side of the water to... our faith. I think she's wondering if they're important to yours."
 
That's because Ruby has gotten distracted by the sight of - Ashton, and double takes, floating over to him from his periphery, fluttering like some eager hummingbird as she looks at the twin dragon personages. One side. Then the other. Making this little gasp. The moment one of them notices her - she asks it directly
 
"Are you Spiran?" She asks with total earnestness. Ignoring the guy they're attached to.
 

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        A smaller vessel bearing the heraldry and ensign of Althena's Guard rests at a pier several berths down. This should come as no surprise to those who've seen the Guard at work elsewhere in the city, fighting off Fiends and reinforcing the Crusaders. To say there is nervous tension between both groups is an understatement, but there haven't been any confrontations. Yet.

        A tall, broad-shouldered figure in a pristine white uniform strides down the docks, his red cape blowing in the crisp sea air. White Knight Leo cuts a dashing figure when he's not wearing kitschy tourist clothes, and he strides up to Catenna's little assembly with a regal, professional air. He doesn't sit. He doesn't ask questions.

        Leo stops at the edge of the crowd, folds his arms, and looks to Lulu as she begins her explanation.

        'One assumes they will return eventually if they survive.'

        The strange (half-?)Ronso bares fangs in something that's not quite a grin. "Such pessimism, Guardian," Leo says. He steps forwards. "We will destroy that creature. Althena demands nothing less than retribution for Azado, and for all the innocents it has slain. Rest assured, we will put a permanent end to this matter." Then, perhaps struck by a more temperate mood: "That said. Your Summoners claim to train to fight this monstrosity. Your Crusaders defend the populace from its spawn. I can... respect that." Even if about half the people here have earned spots on his List, for whatever reason. "I've heard tell that this thing is considered a divine punishment, and that it will only relent when the people of Spira have atoned. Is there... evidence, behind this belief?" Leo's voice gets a little stilted, as though he were recalling something someone else told him to ask.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet looks disappointed. She is disappointed. It's not like she was really expecting an easy route back home, but, hey, it wouldn't hurt to ask a local, just in case...

"Thank you," she says to Lulu in acknowledgement, then takes a seat and listens to some of the exchange. She wasn't in Azado when Sin attacked it, but she heard rumors. She hadn't believed most of them, but now it was starting to sound like they were true. A monster large enough to destroy a city all by itself... One couldn't blame her for being skeptical!

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Is it really a good thing for looking like you've been through the wringer to be one's natural way of life...? Still, Dean takes this in the spirit it's meant and grins at Noeline, especially when she waggles her eyebrows at him in greeting. With her here, he can definitely leave Riesenlied be, though he gives her a cheerful wave of greeting before returning to his seat and piles of food. He at least listens to Lulu answer as he eats, chewing thoughtfully at her responses. He grimaces at Lulu's to Violet--though he doesn't know Violet, he knows that's absolutely not the answer she's looking for. Still, how do you explain to someone you're from another world entirely? He shoots the old lady a sympathetic look, then looks back at the Guardian. The talk of Clysmians and them being the mirrors of the Guardians is new to him, and he shoots looks of surprise to Catenna and Mariel. Obsession... Having encountered Sin once (and that was plenty), Dean wonders what's so obsessive about it.
        
        Ruby coos over Ashton's dragons. Dean grins over her way, though it fades as Leo asks about Sin being a so-called divine punishment. He's not sure where he stands on gods and goddesses and all that, beyond knowing for a fact that the Guardians are real, but he has to wonder about that, too.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied yelps quietly as Cyre grabs hold of the chair, as she lets out what winded breath remains in her lungs. She doesn't seem to be having a good time of things, but quietly nods to the wind-shaman as she says, "Thank you. I'm... managing... this land has-- some unusual challenges, I'm finding."

        Noeline's not too far from where she goes, and as her partner moves to take her on hand she smiles warmer towards her, a little apologetic at being excited and moving past a bit closer. "Perhaps better to be honest... than to be evasive, is it not?" Though she's not certain how that man, Ethius Hesiod, would react.

        She smiles delicately towards Jacqueline when she calls her name and accepts the potion. "Jay, you too... I've run out a while ago, it's a relief to have some just in case." She doesn't look like she's graduated past needing some of the alchemist's bolstering potions to stand, and Spira probably isn't doing her any favours.

        It does hearten her to see Hiro and Ruby chatting in the distance; she smiles towards the two and waves, before Dean cheerfully speaks up to say, "Ah, thank you, Dean. I was really concerned about where you, Rebecca and Avril would have wound up..."

        Ruby asks her a question about her well-being though, biting her lip. "A-ah, well, a lot has happened to me through Elru and the Photosphere..." is the kind of heady, dizzy answer she can give right now. She's aware the full explanation might be more painful than she cares to endure right now.

        "Odjn's been doing well, but she's spending some time away with several travelling Tainted. Still busking, though, hehe... she sends me lots of letters home." Riesenlied's player silently wipes her brow on not managing her growing menagerie of NPCs all that well over the acts...!

        Ashton and Claude do get her eye as well -- she's happy to see Creepy and Weepy as well, though she hasn't caught up with the swordsmen in quite a while.

        Fasalina approaches and offers compliments; she flits a glance towards her for a moment, quietly nodding towards her. As Marivel speaks up and glances to the Owlet, though, she wonders when it gained the ability to speak such...

        She does hear Marivel's question, though, thinking for a moment. Though she isn't Catenna...

        "Obsession still lives.

        Those... were the words the Guardians present spoke to us in Azado," Riesenlied murmurs. She looks towards Catenna, though, and nods. "The Outreach and the Fereshte," she explains to Lulu, "are currently taking care of the survivors of that town. We'd like to return them so that we may begin reparations, but as I understand it, crossing the sea is no small task..."

        Past that... she isn't certain.

        She looks at Mariel, smiling nervously towards her. She remembers well the kind and honest words she said. About how she wanted to be friends... and even if she was still controlled by Alhazred at the time, those words counted to her. She listens to both her owrds and Catenna's about the Clysmians...

        So the opposite of Luceid...

        On the topic of Lulu's explanations, though... she's surprised to hear Althena here, but Leo's presence soon dispels that doubt. If Leo were here... was the Dragonship? And Ghaleon and the fleet?

        "I have a question..."

        A pause, as she hesitates. "In Spira, there are a lot of... I hesitate to call them souls. The bright, fire-like lights that escape from Fiends when they are slain, yet in the attack, also composed into them... I..."

        She trembles a bit. "Do you know... what they are? They are... full of emotion, sorrowful, painful, but not always. I find them quite challenging to be around... there's a lot of-- spiritual noise."

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Isolde eats her dinner.

Lulu speaks. She feels a certain abstract empathy for the woman, with all her mysterious jingling and her solemn voice.

The followers of Althena are here. Isolde nods along. In a moment she learns more about the Elw than most Filgaians have ever heard, and she eats a spoonful of lamb curry to go along with it. "I'm glad to hear it," Isolde answers Lulu.

To Hiro she says, more confidentally, "I hate to let these things go unobserved, you know? Even this now is like something out of an old ballad or something. They sat on the dock and learned the lay of Sin - hold on, General Leo's coming."

Two seconds later, there he is. Isolde looks subtly sly, but with half her face covered it's mostly in the lips, and thus hidden when she eats her curry.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

A bit more of the curry disappears down two throats - the dragons are quite pleased to get some at this point. Ashton, on the other hand, pauses as Lulu gives him a look. A familiar look, to be fair. He's been given that sort of stare before.
 
Fortunately this time it isn't followed up by a shot of Fira.
 
The best the man can offer is his own answer to the mage's question. "While I cannot speak for my fellows - Ashton Anchors, by the way - I'm a monster hunter by trade. While this Sin is a touch bigger than my norm, I can hardly say no to a grand adventure. Particularly since it would mean leaving this lot." He motions to the other Drifters. "There's some good friends here I couldn't bear to abandon."
 
Speaking of abandoning, the two dragons leave their food behind as Ruby flits over to them. The two look at her curiously. Then at each other. Then back to Ruby. The red - Creepy - tilts a head curiously as if not understanding.
 
Weepy, on the other hand, tries to communicate. By letting out a half-rumble, half-growl. It's animalistic by sound, but the intent is intelligent. Particularly as Weepy does understand how to shake his head in the negative.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Oh a good question from Lulu." Marivel says. "In our world, Guardians are not entirely unlike your Aeons though I wish to be clear I am speaking wholly on a surface level, to be clear, I know little of your 'Aeons' beyond, well, that I saw one summoned to fight off fiends. We have 'shamans' who 'summon' them to 'protect Filgaia, our home.' The Guardians are aspects of Filgaia itself. They represent--and Are--Time, the Stars, the Moons, Justice, Love, Desire, Hope. They are an incredibly important part of our cosmology and without them Filgaia would be worse than a dead world. Some adherants would suggest the same of this world, but I do not wish to engage in such arguments--merely to warn you that some may speak them."

She listens to Catenna for a moment. She listens to the answer. "Clysmian. As in... Cataclysm. That is what the word comes from. So--I could definitely see this 'Sin' being a Clysmian...by our views, of course. But a dark reflection of the Guardians is about what I suspected but hearing a capable shaman have similar suspicions is very helpful. Thank you, Catenna. I have not encountered a Clysmian in my time, but I think regardless of terms we can all agree Sin is a grave threat...and may be a threat that grows beyond Spira."

She looks to Lulu. "Then for you. I have been talking with my coworker and he pointed out some strange inconsistencies in how you approach the threat of Sin and what...mm...makes sense. I do not mean to dispute your methods, but it's clear to me there is more going on than we understand."

She gestures forward with one hand towards Lulu. "What is the purpose of your pilgrimage? I know you visit these things called 'fayths'. How do they help you? Why not just train all your summoners in one location and maintain a ready fighting force?"

Marivel then finally gets distracted by Mariel. "Representative, no, but you do have your duties that lead you to being more aware than most."

But then Mariel talks about WHAT she is. This doesn't get an alarmed reaction from Marivel, though her expression does get thoughtful. She gives Mariel an apologetic look, "I'm sorry. I understand what that is like."

She doesn't clarify further, though, instead turning back to Lulu. "In the spirit of Mariel's honesty." She says. "I'd like to share something about myself to you. I do not wish it to leave this boat, but tis a gesture I am offering to earn your faith." Pause. "With an 'i', that one."

She glances at Riesenlied at her question. "Good question." She knows the answer but she lets Lulu answer it.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

There are a lot of familiar faces here. It isn't surprising - not only were they offering food, but these were the times when information was at its most important - the times when everyone was still trying to find their footing, and figure out what exactly was going on.

Jacqueline offers Riesenlied a smile.

"Once I get back to the Carakin, I can put a supply together and have it sent over to the Feresthe." She says. Now that she knew Riesenlied was here, she'd be able to help them get situated in that regard.

Jacqueline, for her part, doesn't have any specific questions in mind. She'd found some answers on her own, and so far any other questions she might have asked have already been covered by others here.

So, for now, she sits back, taking notes and keeping an eye on things to make sure no one gets too out of hand. Mariel, when attentions turns toward her, gets a smile of reassurance and encouragement.

"If it helps, ma'am..." Jacqueline says, with an aside to Violet. "I'm sure there must be a way back somewhere. Don't lose heart, okay? For some of us, this is our second time finding themselves somewhere unexpected...and we made it back the first time just fine."

And that's about when Leo shows up. Jacqueline goes quiet. There's a complicated look on her face - concerned, a bit sad - but she says nothing. She just listens.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet smiles back at Jacqueline. "Do you really think so?" Then as an aside, "I'm Violet, by the way. Violet Salazar. Pleased to meet you. You've been to the Moon before?!?"

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny is quite happy that his crack about a thing nobody should know about if they're not from Earth did not get any takers. As alien-testers go, it's not the best one, but it's good enough. He continues listening, taking mental notes to bring back to his sort-of-but-technically-not-but-technically-really-yes wife. Fortunately for Cecilia, the tricorder is also recording, so she will have somewhat reliable record of what was discussed.

Then a move-stealing buttfart (aka White Knight Leo) shows up, and Claude can't resist taking a shot. "Probably about as much evidence as there is that drinking a beer makes evil lion monsters show up," he adds, still looking up at the sky, but pitchign the remark to carry.

(Someone is a little bitter about spending four months on a moon with nothing to drink.)

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Marivel leans in to Ruby's whisper and says, "I told her already. We're friends now. I just wished to meet her before my reputation." She lifts one of the dragon's paws into the air and gives it a courtly kiss. "Thank you."

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I bet," Cyre answers, wheeling Riesenlied's chair up toward the rest of the gathering. "I'm not so sure how well you swim these days, but I'd guess that the saltwater is probably the least of your worries right now," After all, last Cyre checked, Riese still has... problems with it comes to embodiments of powerful emotion, and with the so-called Clysmian of Obsession running rampant in these waters--

Well, that might be a problem, might'nt it?

His gaze flickers toward the... the strange purple lady. Uh. Hm. "Ahahaha, vigorous? I'm just being polite. Name's Cyre," Cyre answers with an easy grin, "And yours is...?"

But! Then!

Someone... appears.

Someone... problematic.

The shaman's expression goes cold as Leo marches imperiously in, and... Goes to shoves a bowl into the White Knight's personal space. "Well! If it isn't the White Knight of Althena himself, gracing us with his presence. Take a seat, mister Leo, have some curry. We're going to be here for a while yet, ahahahaha~"

'Being polite' indeed.

...Aggressively, obnoxiously *polite.*

"Incidentally," Cyre asks over at Lulu, "I've heard a bit about the Summoners of Spira, but I don't know nearly enough about the faith in general. What exactly does a summoner do, and what are these 'Eidolons' they can call into being?"

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Lulu's first round of answers - and the response from the Shaman of Celesdue - draw a quiet hum from Noeline's throat as she mulls them over. There's a wry look on her face for just a moment; though she doesn't necessarily disagree with the idea as a whole, of course, she can see a certain degree of irony in the way a single event and a word from the Guardians has led others - shaman and Althenan alike - to the decision that Sin must be defeated. Obsession certainly does still live.

        Noeline does not look at Mariel as she speaks. Partially it's because she's slipped away from Riese for just a moment to claim some food for the two of them - but the occasional sidelong glance does show she's paying attention, just in a way that mostly involves not subjecting the poor Elw to yet another stare. "You're quite correct. Duras Drum positively screamed it in my ear, in fact, though I think he was rather perturbed I'd chosen to try hitting the thing directly. As far as the strength of their feelings go, it was enough to swallow every other concern, if only for a moment."

        Returning to Riesenlied's side, Noeline watches as Ruby swans over towards 'Marie' and whispers to her while looking ever so pleased with herself; there's a distinct chuckle, and a certain aura of smugness settles over the Hyadean as she makes her best guess as to what might be getting schemed. In preemptive triumph, she pops a slice of sausage into her mouth, and offers the rest of the plate - mostly vegetables - towards Riesenlied's lap.

        "True enough," she chuckles towards Riesenlied's response, and then she hums for a moment in Dean's direction. "I don't suppose you've found the others?" she asks him-- which is honestly kind of surprising given the way she's danced around the boy before, but then she has been making an effort to be more of a leader as of late. Whether it's the other members of the Outreach, or the people of Azado, she's been trying to put herself forwards some more as of late.

        She settles a hand on Riesenlied's shoulder once more as the other Hyadean asks her question; her own attention is drawn towards Marie, eyebrows raised thoughtfully. "In most religions, a pilgrimage has its own meaning. Given what I know of the temples thus far, I would assume it has something to do with ensuring that the summoner-- sees the entirety of Spira, perhaps, and has the opportunity to take it all in and understand what they fight for." She pauses, running that back in her mind, and then nods.

        "And, I suspect, reassuring everyone along the way that a summoner has come to save them. You have to get your reverence from somewhere." A bit glib of her, perhaps, and her grin is slightly apologetic as it is pointed towards Lulu. "... apologies. I can be a little pragmatic at times."

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        "Oh, don't worry about it!" Dean reassures Riesenlied, in regards to Avril and Rebecca--and when Noeline follows up, he gives her a smile and nod. "Yeah, we all came together! We've been looking around Spira separately a lot, but they're around like I am."
        
        People start asking what the point of summoners and the pilgrimage is. Noeline offers an answer, and Dean nods slowly, thoughtfully. Of course, the only one who could give *real* perspective is Lulu, since Noeline's no more Spiran than he is, but that's an answer that makes sense to him, anyway.
        
        "Well, the summoners *do* come to save them, right?" he points out to Noeline at her glibness. "So of course people are grateful!" Reverent, whatever.

<Pose Tracker> Fasalina has posed.

Riesenlied gets a smile, though there's a hint of sadness to it. Cyre's answer gets a nod, though -- and a slightly broader, less sad smile. "Fasalina," she says, turning back away to focus on the exchange of intelligence underway. "I'm from Filgaia, like you. I thought I'd see if there was a plan -- or any ability -- to get back to Filgaia..."

Fasalina continues to listen. Sin -- Obsession -- something on this planet that even the Guardians fear? Something the Guardians of Filgaia *know* to fear, for that matter?

She considers a moment, then raises her voice slightly, something Noeline said sticking out to her as she comments. "Is all of Spira unified in its support of the Summoners and the organization that supports them? Does everyone in Spira share a dream, other than those who attacked recently...?" The question is wistful -- Fasalina's clearly aware that what she's asking isn't necessarily 'actionable intelligence' in any meaningful sense.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        There's another question, from a black hatted individual in the back. The style still looks out of place in Spiran, being of Filgaian make, but the clothing underneath it is more Spiran, though still a bit too loose to avoid giving away the young woman's inexperience with the local culture.

        ".... Has anyone noticed that there's no Malevolence here? Like, uh-" It's a Gwen, having naturally gravitated towards the refreshments. One hand holds a plate loaded with as much food she could get away with without seeming too shameless, since she has enough sense not to just chow down on between questions. "I'm sorry, I just wandered in, so someone might've explained this all before, but like, uh, back in all the other places I've ever been too, there's this weird negative violet miasma that distorts the landscape n' animals. But I noticed, when Sin attacked Azado? It was gone. And here too, it's gone. I don't think this is a question you can answer, but, I wondered if anyone's noticed it too." She's got other questions for Lulu, but they're best saved for another time.

        Namely 'what in the world do you use for your skin, it looks fantastic'.

        Gwen looks to Fasalina, her eyebrows raised. Share... a dream? An artful question to ask, but is it something that could be answered that easily?

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

'A Clsymian.' Lulu is obviously skeptical without saying a word of any category that could easily include Sin. Her expression alone suggests that. But she does listen, before answering, to the explanation. Guardians, then.

"Obsession," Lulu repeats. "...Not an unfair name, exactly. One could imagine Sin obsessed with destruction. Here, it destroys many cities; it has ravaged Spira for a thousand years, constantly destroying and moving on, forcing the survivors to build anew. The destruction that you saw is typical, in Spira. No cities much larger than Luca survive for any length of time, and Luca only because of the desperate defense of the Crusaders." She pauses, then.

Mariel may, or may not be reassured that Lulu shows little emotion towards her at all, certainly neither hate nor fear. She listens, to the further explanations of the Guardians... and to the theory. "So, Sin seems to occupy a role in your land's beliefs as well, then. ...It would make sense, that even beings you would revere as gods would fear Sin. We have never heard of anything like these Guardians of Filgaia, for better or worse, to my knowledge."

Ruby and Hiro. 'Are there - DRAGONS- in Spira?' "Lulu regards the small figure thoughtfully, as well as Hiro who explains the signifigance. "I'm sorry," Lulu says politely but briskly to Ruby, "But what is a dragon?" Hiro's explanation gives some information, but, "If we have these dragons then we don't know them by that name."

White Knight Leo strides down the deck. His bombastic response gets a look from Lulu, an arched expression that someone who knows her better might take as a warning. 'Excuse me?' it might say. But his further answer is... at least somewhat mollifying, for the moment. ...Claude's derisive remark may, or may not, have helped. (Yes, it helped.)

"Many have tried to defeat Sin, White Knight. Their bones still rest in the wilderness of Spira, when Sin left even that much of them. More were simply never seen again. If you approach Sin with that level of arrogance, then you--and all of your soldiers--will die."

"The great machina cities of Spira one thousand years ago could not stand against Sin, not with weapons that threatened to destroy all the world. It appeared at the height of their power, and ground them to dust. Thus far, the only thing that has ever stopped Sin is the work of Summoners. I do not know what evidence would convince you of our beliefs. Ask one of the priests that. If your wish is to fight Sin... As I said. Respect its power, and then we'll see how you do."

Riesenlied speaks of survivors, and Lulu looks somewhat more sympathetic there at least. "The primary difficulty of travelling across the sea is the risk of Sin's appearance. I wouldn't recommend trying such a journey with anything less than the full fleet Althena's follows took here, and to be honest, I imagine that they were lucky."

Riesenlied also asks of the bright, strange lights. "Pyreflies. They exist throughout Spira, at at times become visible as you saw. They... carry spirit, you could say. I do not know why you would not have them where you come from, but the simplest explanation is that they concentrate in places of death. The souls of the recently dead carry. Without guidance, they grow angry and resentful... and become Fiends."

Ashton answers, and Lulu nods her understanding. "Adventure you'll get. Staying with your friends is noble... But be careful. There are less dangerous adventures to pursue."

Noeline asks about the pilgrimage! ...And speaks pragmatically, though Dean of course offers a suggestion. "I take no offense to your question. It is true that Spira looks to the Summoners for much. The Summoners are Spira's hope, the only way known to defeat Sin. That is... part, of the benefit of the Pilgrimage, though not its primary purpose." She leaves off--but it's clear that she's returning to this subject shortly.

Guardians--like the Aeons? Lulu waits, because Marivel is clear that she's going somewhere with this. Beings brought forth, in difficult situations. "I see," Lulu answers for the baseline explanation.

Marivel and Cyre ask their questions of the Pilgrimage, and of Summoners, and for Lulu they are very, very related questions, as well as to Noeline's that she asked. "I can believe that our methods may not be intuitive to outsiders," she acknowledges first, looking to Noeline as well as she begins to answer the rest of her question. "Summoners undergo the Pilgrimage to temples across Spira, to temper their spirits and pray at each temple's Fayth. The journey itself is a trial, and helps the Summoner to gain the necessary strength--but if successful, at each temple the Fayth and Summoner's spirits join, and the Summoner may call forth an Aeon--the spirit of the Fayth, drawn forth again to fight Sin."

"At the end of the journey, the Summoner travels to Zanarkand, in the far north of Spira. There, if she is worthy, she receives the Final Aeon, the one that will be strong enough to defeat Sin. Nothing less will do."

"Not all Summoners undergo the pilgrimage--or finish it. Those that do not, or fail, return and are part of the priesthood of Yevon, guiding and tending to the people and training future Summoners."

But then--Is all Spira united? Fasalina asks.

"All of Spira hopes for the Calm, and that Sin will eventually be gone for good. But not all of Spira agrees as to how to live, or even on all of the causes and solutions. Until recently, the Guado people were not a part of Yevon, though Maester Jyscal changed that, and rose to one of the highest offices in Spira. The Al Bhed people, meanwhile, do not obey Yevon's proscription on the Machina that our forebears used and that is said to have brought Sin about. They still engage in our society, but at a remove. They have their own language, their own ways, and there are sometimes clashes as a result. ...Though, the kidnapping of a Summoner is quite unusual even for the Al Bhed. Typically, they prefer to be left alone."

After that, Lulu looks again to Marivel, and inclines her head. "There's little privacy here, and I will not keep a secret that would endanger my Summoner. But otherwise, I will listen."

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Hiro grins at Isolde's observation, "Ha! It kinda does doesn't it?" Hiro looks down at the bowl of curry, "Wonder if the curry will make it into the ballad." However then Isolde calls attention to Leo rolling up, and Hiro whirls around to stare daggers at his neme-
 
No actually he's turning to offer a friendly wave at Leo, holding that bowl of curry more solidly. "Leo! Glad you recovered from everything in Krosse."
 
Though he doesn't actually say more at first. Because Leo is talking to the Guardian. There's something that grows a little more somber on his expression. Because he certainly remembers Azado. "... it's awful. What happened in Azado. It's hard to imagine the people dealing with attacks like that all the time." It's easy to hope for it actually working out like that. That Althena's Guard will roll in with all the power of the Goddess behind them and destroy the thing.
 
        The kid in him certainly hopes for it.
 
It would be like the stories he read growing up.
 
"I wish your people all the best in that Leo." He says with a certain sincerity, despite Lulu's grim answer on their chances, he doesn't say because Althena wills it. As he's come to learn, Althena wills a number of things he doesn't support. All the same, he believes in the benevolence of the Goddess.
 
In a better world, he'd offer his aid but... he doubts the Guard would appreciate that.
 
"Guess while you're all on a crusade against Sin - you won't have much time to come after Lucia." Hiro says, as he tries to look on the bright side. Maybe the Goddess has eased off on that order.
 
Ruby grins at Riese, "That sounds like her - I'd love to catch up with her and see if she's made up any new songs!" Ruby does a little 'awwww' noise as Marivel reveals she's told, but then makes this little giggling noise as Marivel kisses a pawsie "Oh! You!"
 
Ruby looks at Creepy closely, as if looking for any signs of intelligence. When Weepy growls - she floats back in air a pace, then looks - excited. "Oh you're trying to answer me! I get it. No?" Ruby nods quickly, before flying in a circle, noticing they're not touching the ground, "Hmmm? Are you - attached to this guy!? How the heck did that happen? Oh man-"
 
She flies in and stage whispers to the two of them while looking back and forth between them and Ashton, -are you two being held hostage while he takes advantage of your awe-inspiring dragon powers?"
 
Ruby pauses for a moment, then tries to whisper lower to make certain Ashton doesn't catch wind of it, "Blink twice for yessss."
 
"Ruby. You heard her answer right?" Hiro asks sidelong at Ruby. "Yes - isn't it horrible? A land that doesn't know even what dragons are. I need to tell her all about it when she's not busy." Hiro blinks his eyes a few times at her remarkable restraint - and also at that being her priority here. Instead he finds himself just listening to all of the answers and offering to Isolde.
 
"All the stories I grew up with had things like Sin being defeated at the end. It's..." His lip quirks, "Different here... knowing that any victory is just a temporary reprieve. It would take a certain resiliency to live here."
 
There's a certain admiration in his tone. The Summoners - the people of Spira are pretty amazing when you think about how brave they have to be to even just... live."
 

[OOC] Hiro says, "*blu-ray all about them when she's not busy."
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna glances at Mariel with a hint of apology in the tiny smile she directs towards her. Putting her friend on the spot isn't something she relishes - but Mariel knows more about this topic than Catenna could ever hope to.

And out of it comes something that Catenna didn't know. She presses her lips together, her shoulders coming up a little, then settling again. "...The polar opposites of the Guardian Lords," she murmurs, a touch of anxiety creeping into her tone. "It would seem that the stories were true...."

Over by the dolly, Saarda-Shanta has hidden her head behind a wing, as if to hide from this topic.

Marivel kicks in similar opinions. "I had never encountered one before Obsession, either. I had not even thought such a thing could exist." She smiles at the woman faintly and lopsidedly, but it passes. "...We have seen that its menace extends beyond Spira. The people of Azado have felt it."

When Leo comes strolling up, promising to put an end to Sin, Catenna presses her lips lightly together, eyes settling for a moment upon Althena's champion. He doesn't seem to have much time for her, most of the time; his appearance surprises her, but his question is cogent.

When Riesenlied flips a question in, Catenna nods slowly. "I wondered about those motes of light as well," she agrees. "There is something about them I do not quite comprehend."

Gwen makes a cogent observation. Catenna furrows her brows a little - she almost hasn't noticed that. So does someone Catenna doesn't know. With eyebrows arches, she watches Fasalina for a moment, then glances to Lulu to see how she responds.

She shares quite a bit. Catenna sips her drink, tilting her head and curving her lips into a small frown. That no city larger than Luca lasts long sends a shiver through her - and in her mind, puts a grim countdown over the city in which they stand. But the countdown is followed by more than a few answers to questions that Catenna had outstanding. She scuffs a heel lightly against the deck and listens to Lulu outline what it is that a Summoner does.

"...The Al-Bhed," Catenna murmurs, eyes lowering to her drink. It's hard not to think about the attack the other day.

To Lulu: "How is a Summoner chosen for this ritual? And are there many Summoners, or is Lady Yuna the only one to carry the title?"

Then she clears her throat and glances up towards the sky, towards the shape of the Blue Star above. "As odd as it may sound, Filgaia is our name for what you call Gaia, and many of us call it home - that is, the Shamans such as myself. The spell that brought us here was a type of magic, exploited by a man tampering with a powerful artifact... but there are ancient pathways between our two worlds. By our understanding, our ancestors all once came from the same place, but much of that history has long been forgotten." She dips her head. "That is why Obsession - Sin - appears in the legends of both of our lands."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied smiles as Ruby exudes a lot of energy around them, lowering her head as she murmurs very gently, "We'll definitely have her go see you again before long. I promise you that, Ruby."

        She bites her lip in a somewhat dizzied manner, sucking in a deeper breath and trying to not look too cowed by the large social setting they've plunged themselves into. She feels a bit nervous. She doesn't quite want to express herself as a shaman, given some of the strange... reactions she's had from some of the townsfolk.

        Fiend. Ronso. Tiny Ronso. Limp Ronso.

        Her horns flop at the thought of that agin for some reason. "I'd love that, Jacqueline... we've managed to arrange charter on Spira's trade routes, so we can be on hand to redistribute medicine and relief, just as the Outreach does."

        Cyre asks her how well she swims, and... "Well... I... was never much of a swimmer even when I was healthy, I'm afraid. Moccy, a White Chocobo who's assisting me, is a very good swimmer, though..." Cyre is right, though. Embodiments that exude powerful emotion are a problem. Embodiments that can slaughter hundreds in an instant... also cause that emotion too.

        Her lips thin a little at Noeline as she speaks about the event in Azado again, working through such feelings and trying to push the great pain of them aside. She nods gently at the vegetables being given to her, though, taking a little sustenance for herself. She's not quite as certain about the way her partner glibly assumes (probably reasonable) things about other people's religions... but Noeline will be Noeline. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't somewhat attracted to the way she gets in trouble, after all.

        There's something about Fasalina that catches Riesenlied's eyes. She knows a sorrowful smile when she sees one; she sees it in herself a lot, previous, when she started her days. Whether Spira is united behind the summoners... already, there was a commotion yesterday with the Al Bhed, wasn't there?

        "I see..." she speaks back to Lulu with a nod. She hesitantly looks to Leo. If it were for the Azadians, would the Guard agree? It probably was not the time, though. "Thank you for that advice -- I do imagine Sin does rule the oceans such..."

        She shyly looks to Ruby to say, "I don't know if they were Dragons, but we encountered some Dragon-like Fiends... they were not particularly friendly, but it may be a start?" She wants to make the Dragonet happier, at least.

        But she hears Lulu's explanation. Pyreflies. She has a name now.

        "We... have something similar, in the form of the Ley, in our world. But it does not dance and flit about as freely -- and occupy my thoughts and pervade them... it's all very different. So much exposure."

        She shudders a little.

        "I heard them... how lost they were. Their anger, their resentment... I see. That was why it was so difficult." She nods at Catenna's musing that there's something about them she doesn't understand.

        There is a pause... then she offers something back in turn. Catenna's picked up on it as well.

        "You should know something about the circumstances that brought -- a lot of us here, Miss Lulu. There was a group calling themselves 'Odessa' whose machinations, somehow, brought us here -- through the use of an artifact we only know as the Sorcery Globe. If you see... men who may be in disguise, or wearing olive-drab garments, or answer to the name 'Vinsfeld Rhadamantus' -- please be aware of them, and warn the Church and Crusaders. I can only scarce imagine what machinations they might have in your land."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel is not going to say much more about the Elw. She didn't even technically say she is one, though she's clearly not quite human between the ears and the claws. (Also, Marivel knows perfectly well what she is, anyway - Mariel wasn't expecting to run into anyone who actually knew what an Elw looked like and so didn't really hide it.)

With the spotlight no longer on her, Mariel takes a few steps to the side and scratches at the back of Saarda-Shanta's head. She knows the place.

Her head jerks to the side at 'Althena' (this does not make her stop scratching), and she finds herself looking at White Knight Leo, who she is not very familiar with. She frowns, but says nothing. Lulu seems to have said what she would; Sin is dangerous.

"There was a gateway in Azado, or so I am told," Mariel adds, after Catenna. "That was a very old ruin. I haven't seen anything similar here." Though they haven't been here *that* long, and Mariel hasn't gone that far by herself, so maybe it's not too unexpected. "The ruins are... newer here."

Which made sense to her if Sin was attacking regularly, as the locals claim. Mariel doesn't like to think about that.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Leo gives Claude a look. His eyes narrow. His ears tilt subtly downward. "It's good to know where your priorities lie, Mister Kenny," he says. He glowers down at the bowl, then at the Shaman who just shoved it towards him. "Very gracious of you," he says, placing a hand on the side of the bowl and gently pushing it back towards Cyre. "But I've already eaten." He turns back to Lulu, and folds his arms once more. "So noted, Guardian." There's a note of skepticism in his voice, but he seems content to not press Lulu on the matter further. "I did not come here to spit on the graves of your Summoners. Having seen the actions of Maester Seymour, and his... unique creature, there is no doubt in my mind that you lot are full of courage, and surprises. But--these 'fayth'. What are they? How do they create these 'aeons'?"

        Hiro speaks up. Leo looks at the young man, his face halfway between surprise and the confident look that was on it seconds ago--as if Hiro caused a logical paradox in his brain just by offering compliments. Sort of. "Rest assured that we have not forgotten your mistress," Leo says. Riesenlied mentions the people of Azado. Leo turns to her, then, fixing her with a look he's given her before--stern, but cautiously optimistic. "The people of Azado were under the care of my sister, Red Priestess Mauri, before she was... attacked by ruffians." Leo looks at Cyre. "I trust you will care for them, as you have cared for your Tainted before them."

<Pose Tracker> Fasalina has posed.

Much more information than Fasalina expected to get from the question she asked! Some of it *very* actionable, even. "Thank you," she says, tone still quiet, still gentle. "I had wondered, after recent events..."

She slips slightly away from Cyre, and indeed, starts to slip into the crowd entirely; she does little to draw further attention to herself, after her curious question. She does spot Gwen noticing *her*, briefly -- but all she gives her is a small, quiet nod.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
"She's not my mistress!" Hiro says quickly in an embarrassed protest, his cheeks reddening, "Geez Leo - why do you have to always make it sound like- it's like that?"
 

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        "Because she is your dark mistress," Leo says, a dire tone in his voice. "I've seen nothing to the contrary."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Lulu's answers get a small nod from Ashton - as well as a bit of a quirked grin. "I KNOW I speak for my fellows when I say that we are collectively very bad about choosing the safer path, m'am, particularly in the face of adventure." That, he's quite confident about.
 
The others seem to be on top of the pressing questions - he doesn't have a burning query of his own at this point. Not that isn't being already covered by the barrage. Perhaps next go-round he'll think of something.
 
For the moment? He's a bit more distracted by Ruby flitting about and stage-whispering.
 
The two heads look at each other as if communicating - then both blink once at Ruby. This is a bit of a mixed message since a) that's two different sets of eyes blinking once and b) both have nicitating membranes, so each blink involves two sets of eyelids. So it could be one, two or four blinks depending on intepretation.
 
Between the two dragon heads, the human one sighs a little. What even IS this weird pink cat? "Creepy and Weepy are, I'm afraid, not good with speaking to others. And they're being held hostage as much as I am - we've got a bit of a curse which left us like this."
 
Weepy twists around and shoots at look at Ashton of silent communication.
 
The human rolls his eyes. "I'm not interrupting you, you can't speak, uh.... flying... cat. And you know it! So it isn't rude!"

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"You mean it's not like that?" Cyre asks, having a bowl pushed right back at him by THE RUDEST WHITE KNIGHT. "Ah, but Sir Leo, you know how the rules of hospitality work. Please, I insist! Have some extra delicious curry." It burns the insides just like your sister BURNT MY OUTSIDES. Cyre does not say this. Cyre thinks this. But Cyre does not say this.

Beat.

Lulu answers his question-- and to his surprise, Leo actually asks the exact same follow-up he was planning to give voice to. "I'd like to hear about that too," Cyre agrees, ~catman solidarity~ coming into play. "On Filgaia, the Guardians are living manifestations of the world-spirit," he explains, "They are our gods and our eternal companions. But what are the Fayth, and the Aeons? Are they tied to those Pyreflies?"

After all, Riesenlied did make that connection...!

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Some may remember how hands-on Ethius has attempted to be when the CaraKin - or anyone else, really - approached the people of Lunar, to the point of being stifling or with the overhanging threat of possibly worse. When the White Knight comes stormign down to make his presence and proclomations known, there may be among those aware bracing for what should be an inevitable disagreement. The man has, at times, acted as though the decorum of polite society and levels of status and authority simply do not apply.
        As the White Knight's path seems to go in front of where Ethius stands and watches, it might seem telling unto itself that... there is no disagreement, no call for respect, no call for leaving. To say he would 'let' him do this would be an inappropriate way to describe it, for a man of White Knight Leo's martial skill far exceeds his.
        He does not even try to dissuade him from any word or step of his declarations.
        "...One thousand years ago." Ethius mutters that aloud, a rare moment of his guard being dropped in so far as keeping words to himself goes, hand to his forehead again as Lulu speaks of the great machina cities of Spira. Mother and her Metal Demon hordes touched down on Filgaia roughly a thousand years ago, didn't they? That passage of time had always rubbed him the wrong way and he's not sure why, but this likeness in the span of time... furthermore, the way Lulu describes the series of events that saw to Sin's appearance...
        ...Well, that may be worth going over later with others, as he suspects the tour guide would not have the answer.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        "Separately?" Noeline puffs up towards Dean in honest surprise - though not exactly innocent surprise, given her grin. "Really, now. You're practically on an island holiday together, the least you could do is make sure you take some time to yourselves to relax. I'm reasonably sure Rebecca would appreciate a bit of a chance to be a tourist for a while, hang off your arm for a bit," she teases merrily before dropping back to a quieter smile.

        "And-- well, I suppose that's very true, but there's always a difference between hearing about someone and seeing them first-hand. I don't mean it in an unpleasant or a manipulative sense. People draw strength from seeing who they look up to every so often."

        She bows her head to Lulu's quiet and patient answer, both in thanks for the response and in recognition of the fact that her answer could perhaps have been better worded. "Thank you," she takes care to say, even if the answer is more or less what she expected - or at least it is, until the Spiran woman mentions the Final Aeon, at which point Noeline's attention pricks up in curiosity all over again. The obvious question to ask is 'what makes a Summoner worthy'... but she pauses, and a frown flickers a little across her face.

        It's difficult to pin down exactly why, but something seems to tell her that asking that question so bluntly would be rude; too personal, perhaps, or at least too entwined with the Spiran faith to be answered quite so easily. If she had to guess, it wouldn't be a question with a single, easy answer, especially not to a group of offworlders unlikely to ever set foot in the sanctum. So instead she holds the question back, tucking it away in the back of her mind for the time being.

        Instead she catches Ruby going 'aww' towards Marivel, and makes sure to take a moment to stick her tongue out at the little dragon. "Really, I would like to think I've grown at least a little," she teases in return. "I'm rather more secure in who and what I am these days. ... though I admit, it would been fun to have to react to that," she muses with a light grin. She can appreciate her own moment to be smug, but she can also appreciate a good bit of mischief, even one directed towards her.

        Her attention settles back to Riesenlied, and her hands go back to the other Hyadean's shoulders in quiet support. "... if only we knew the extent of their forces," she mutters with a sigh. "They didn't seem the sort to really worry about keeping a uniform - it will make it all the harder to find them here." Not to mention they might have a Fell Dragon to worry about, and no idea where it might be.

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Isolde hears Gwen's question. She draws the spoon out of her mouth and muses to Hiro, "Well, they have that going for them, don't they?"

He brings up the salient point that in most stories, the demon is beaten at the end. Isolde dips her spoon in the curry again, though there isn't a lot less. "It's true," she tells Hiro. "If you live long enough you have to develop a certain sort of resiliency. But it sounds as though they would have to develop that quickly here, under such a shadow. I suppose that makes that lucky catch of the blitzball all the more precious... doesn't it?"

Leo interjects.

"I didn't even know you were married," Isolde teases Hiro.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I do." Jacqueline says, nodding toward Violet resolutely. "And, oh, I'm Jacqueline Barber...and yes, I have. Though this land is new to me."

She watches with a hint of mounting horror as Cyre moves into Leo's space...and starts acting overly polite?? ...Well, as long as she didn't have to interrupt a potential fight, it was fine, but...she couldn't help but be a little concerned.

"I've noticed that. I haven't felt any at all here..." Jacqueline remarks, in response to Gwen's question. "I hadn't thought about it, though..."

That was curious. What was it about Spira that made it free of Malevolence? Malevolence originated from Lunar, to her knowledge, and they were certainly there... For Lulu, who seems to not be sure of what they're talking about...

"Ah...Malevolence is...well, it's difficult to describe. It arises from people naturally, due to a number of factors. It isn't...harmful on its own, necessarily, but it can make people feel ill, and in large quantities it can cause changes..." She explains. "...But there's none of that here, in Spira, that we have seen...hopefully you won't have to worry about it. If it does arise here, we have people who can combat it."

Riesenlied gets a smile and a nod from Jacqueline, though.

"That's good! My movements are a little more limited here in Spira due to, ah...reasons." She replies. "I'm glad you'll be helping them out. Just let me know if you need help with anything!"

She sets back, then, falling into quiet once more and continuing to take notes as Lulu provides a lot of interesting answers.

Leo brings up Azado, and...the 'incident' with Red Priest Mauri.

Jacqueline's expression becomes a bit more complex. There are so many things she'd like to say, but she doesn't say any of them. It would only make things worse.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Noeline teases Dean. Like most romance-based teasing, it goes over his head. "That's what we're doing?" he says, puzzled. "Well, I guess we can't relax *all* the time--we gotta make money so we can get along and stuff--but it hasn't been so bad! There's a lot of part-time jobs in Luca and stuff. I don't see why Rebecca would hang on my arm, though? It'd make it harder to get around." He brightens. "Or, wait, d'you mean getting through the crowds? Yeah, it'd be harder to get separated that way!"
        
        Gwen points out that there's no Malevolence in Spira. Dean pauses. He *hadn't* noticed that, but then, he hadn't been looking for it. It sounds like Lulu hasn't even ever heard of it. Of course, neither had he before it started showing up in Filgaia. "Hopefully it doesn't spread here in the first place," he remarks, nodding at Jay.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        As Lulu explains, Gwen begins eating, quietly picking through her food while listening in rapt attention. Sin. Destruction. Cities. A thousand years.

        This is what is typical.

        "...." Gwen's face contorts queasily. Somehow, the concept of such an element of destruction not being random, and being *pointed* at human civilization, troubles her. It would be like every city in Filgaia becoming a Lost July.

        Her eyes travel towards the arriving Leo, then to Hiro greeting him. If Sin has managed to get over to their lands, that'd likely be their fate, if Ragnell's words to her are to be believed. They wouldn't have the same systems that these people have developed. All their culture and technology would be wiped clean consistently.

        The Spirans are resilient, but no one should be forced to get that way.

        Nodding at Jay's explanation, Gwen adds onto it. "It's somethin' that can be generated by the difference between the way a person acts and a person thinks. I suppose it's a lot like Sin, in that respect, since it reacts to us, but unlike Sin, it acts on a more personal level. Maybe Sin naturally repels it, bein' the resident force of... bad things." In comparison, Malevolence may almost be better.

        The idea feels too heavy to focus on for long; Gwen instead goes over to Hiro, silently offering him and Ruby a pick of whatever's on her plate. "You almost got away with it, Hiro, but then y'had t'mention Lucia," Gwen quietly says, with a grin, "The point still stands, though. Sin's a bigger deal, so I don't think we'll have to worry too much about the Guard for right now." Her expression falls, unable to fully surpress her growing discomfort. ".... I'd prefer the Guard. At least there, they are people who could talk to. Not something beyond communicating with."

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Indeed," Marivel smiles at Noeline. "Tis why I feel so comfortable being honest now." She looks towards Fasalina, then to Leo. One of them is one of the few unknowns here and Leo, well, he's friggin White Knight Leo. But he is a good man and as far as all the people here are concerned, she is certain of that fact more than most. Many have corroborated it, after all...including his archnemesis. That's not easy to do, honestly.

"No need to be bashful, Hiro." She asides to him.

Marivel 'had not' noticed there was no Malevolence here, but she didn't really have something to compare it to. She has sensed malevolence before, but she honestly would be stunned beyond belief to see how much of it is in the Glenwood area. She files that little factoid away and does not thank poor Gwen at all for revealing this particular hidden truth. Another piece of the puzzle.

She looks towards Mariel whose head jerked at the mentioned of Althena, and she doesn't comment further to her. For now.

Riesenlied tells them of Vinsfeld which is good because she didn't want to talk about that guy himself today despite being his archenemy or whatever.

She listens to the story about sin. She listens to how even hyper levels amounts of machina could not stop him. It's a familiar story, she thinks, a repeated story...on another world. Truly, she thinks, a land of cycles.

Lulu acquiesces to her offer and Marivel says, "Tis not a secret and the time is fast approaching when it will no longer be something I can or should hide. Sin is not the only danger out there and tis my responsibility and duty to ensure that the people gathered here are ready when they are supposed to be ready."

She steps forward and adds, "Besides, the only one here I am truly concerned about knowing is my friend Leo but I have been told time and time again that he is a good man, and his actions have shown him to be a good man, so I shall trust him to remain a good man." Her gaze settles on Isolde briefly before standing next to Lulu and turning around.

She looks over the crowd one last time and she says, "My true name is Marivel Armitage. I am what the people of Filgaia call a Crimson Noble."

She removes a glove and holds out her hand, looking towards Isolde again--ahh, she is probably worried that she can't see it. Regardless, her hands starts smoking rapidly in the sun's light. It's burning. And she lets it burn for the moment. Why is she being so strangely honest to these Spiran strangers when she has been so coy before is a mystery.

"My people have been tasked for protecting Filgaia for a very, very long time."

She eventually slides the glove back on. "Like with the Elw, my people are gone. I am the last. It has not absolved me of my responsibilities to my world, and--now--to yours."

She looks towards Lulu. "And I show this identity towards you because I trust the man you call Auron. And I trust the smile I've seen from your summoner. ARMS would like to assist in ensuring Sin is defeated, one way or another."

She slides her glove back on. "Even if it means Sin leaves us at the bottom of the sea." She smiles a fanged grin. "Though obviously... not the ideal end I am hoping for, so I hope you remain willing to guide us even as we provide you with our aid as we can. I can confirm that these people have faced impossible odds and survived it, so you will find them capable. And I have faced foes that cannot be killed with armies and machines too. So I hope I can be of some use to you on your own journey."

She then turns to the rest of the group. "Oh, yes, thank you for killing Mother by the by. I might as well get all of you now, no?"

And that, she thinks, will hopefully be the last time I burn myself alive just to make a point.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel *knew* she had recognized Marivel's appearance from somewhere. She does not seem as shocked as she should be from the revelation.

"Come here," she says to Marivel, with more no-nonsense firmness in her voice than she'd used before; if anything, she sounds exasperated. Crowds make her nervous, but in this case other things are more important than that. Like someone willing to burn themselves to make a point.

If she does, Mariel produces, in order, a folded cloth from her satchel and a small jar of ointment; she can work under the cloth to shield Marivel from the sun and apply the ointment, two ancient races working together once more.

The fact that the cloth is a checked picnic tablecloth somewhat eliminates the gravitas.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Ruby - not knowing how to take that number of blinks but she looks extremely sympathetic to Weepy and Creepy's mutual curse as Ashton explains it.
 
As Ashton calls her a flying cat, Ruby just gives her a death glare moments before she inhales - then exhales out a puff of fire close enough that he'd at least feel the heat - but far enough that it wouldn't uncomfortably singe his skin. "I'm not a cat! I'm a dragon!"
 
Before flying in and pushing a pawsie against his nose assuming he doesn't dodge, "DRAGON! How the heck do you get some - dragon attachment curse and not know a dragon when you see one!?"
 
Hiro's about to answer Isolde with 'it does' however the interjection causes him to immediately whisper back, "I'm not!" There's a certain lack of wisdom in how he doesn't clarify it further what the two are - immediately. Before he even sputters a little as Marivel tells him there's no need to be bashful. "I mean! I think - there's a need!"
 
It's Gwen that knocks him out of that state as he manages to take a good breath then fashions himself a little grin, "Hope springs eternal I guess Gwen." Before that grin is wiped away and he nods somberly, "Yeah. I'd much rather deal with Leo's people than Sin any day. At least... they can be reasonable."
 
Before Marivel reveals herself, and starts letting herself burn, "Hey Marivel - whoa - there's no need to go that far to make a point!" Before he tries to add credence to the claim, "To anyone who doubts her - I've seen her sucking the blood from Jean's arm."
 
... ... ... ...
 
It takes a few moments for how that sounds to catch up to him. Then he turns really red again.
 
"It-It wasn't anything lewd. She was just thirsty."
 

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Solanine has posed.

Seraph Solanine calls upon her centuries of experience as a soft weird loner to blend into the background while she actively listens to those around her. There is more concentrated information being exchanged here on Spira and Filgaia, and the Drifter's assembled, (both those she knew, and those new) than she'd ever dreamed she'd be privy to, much less in one place at the same time. It's more than a little overwhelming (okay it's a LOT overwhelming, in a good way) but she's nestled herself a spot near those she knows, within earshot of as many speakers as she can, and secured a bowl of lamb curry besides.

Even though Seraphim don't require food, she thought that eating, being a different kind of sensory experience would help break up sitting and listening and keep her mind sharp, and... she's glad she did, and it has! But she didn't expect it to be so... wonderful... so... one of the best things she's ever eaten...so now it's distracting on its own!

 She exerts a lot to willpower to resist her impulse to wolf it down as fast as she can and instead only eat little bites of it with good manners. She appears to be the only Seraphim here, so she tries to comport herself with capital D Dignity, and project an aura of otherworldly nobility as expected of her by those aware of what she is and represented. For the sake of those here from Lunar (she spies Leo and though not as familiar with him as most, she can feel his piety) who might make mention of their spiritual entities, for those of Filgaia who are definitely doing so and for whom she might be something of an understudy, in light of how the Guardians and Seraphim have reached new understanding and cooperation. Not with her specifically, but adjacently? She was in attendance to the event, and helped defend Filgaia alongside those of her kin who were selected as Oracles. She felt the power of their blessing, if only briefly, and appreciated it deeply. It's something she's been thinking about a lot since it happened. To experience Purification of Malevelonce was in itself such a huge thing, but to then perform it herself in tandem with such a profound event in the cosmology and interplay of the Blue and Silver Stars...

Finally she sought to make the best impression on native Spirans, though not to bring attention to herself until it was unavoidable that she'd need to reveal she's anything but a human nerd with crazy hair. (The ultimate disguise.)

Spiran customs are largely unknown to her, though the way the people and society talk and comport themselves suggests there seems to be a lot of worldly authority and power flexed to enforce dogma in the name of the faith.

This is another reason Solanine is keeping a very low profile here, even by HER standards, until she knows exactly how Spirans might react to a living embodiment of another (likely competing) faith.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"There is hope," Lulu says to Hiro. "...We don't know, when we undergo the Pilgrimage, that Sin will return. It's possible, each time, that it will be the end. But even if it isn't--even if the reprieve is temporary... Still, we go."

The talk of the Pyreflies and the Ley--"Maybe such things are more active in Spira because our spiritual realm is so affected by the devastation caused by Sin. Maybe it's geographical. I don't know. But if you sense the Pyreflies..." Lulu considers. "The ones most likely to be able to help you are the Temples who train Summoners. I do not suggest that you submit yourself for testing--but the techniques that they use may include something that could give you a measure of peace."

But Riesenlied speaks of Odessa, and of Rhadamanthus, and Lulu's expression knits in concern. "An object capable of transporting so many from far away... Thank you for the warning. I will pass it on at the next Temple we see, but if you should see any of the warrior monks, or a Maester's retinue, they could use this information more directly."

Leo's more moderate response gets a look from Leo--but as he does not press, she too seems to decide that it is sufficient. "So long as you understand the gravity of what you face, I welcome the attempt. There are those who believe that even attempting to defeat Sin without a Summoner is itself heresy, but I am not one of them." She ignores the interpersonal drama between Leo and Hiro for the moment. Instead, she looks to Leo as she considers the answer to his question--and the information about his sister. Best to be aware of potential stress points.

At his reply though, Lulu nods once to Ashton. ...She doesn't grin back--perhaps she's too serious for that--but she looks at him long enough to make it a clear acknowledgement. She's delivered her warning, and that's all that's her business. ...Even if she still doesn't know what the fuck is up with having two dragons attached to him, because, well, you don't just ask someone why they have three heads.

Cyre adds to the question of the Aeons, further explaining his Guardians in turn. His question and Leo's question both can be answered as one. "The Fayth," Lulu begins, "Are not the world-spirits or gods of which you speak. They are not companions to most of Spira, but are met only in the deepest reaches of the Temples, in holy rites left to Summoners alone. Even as Guardians, we who accompany Summoners can only accopmany the Summoner to just before the Fayth's resting-place."

"...The Fayth were once living mortals. Yevon took their souls--willingly given from their still-living bodies. Forevermore, they live as spirits entombed in stone. ...But when a Summoner prays to the Fayth, searching with her full heart for a way to defeat Sin. If the Summoner's rites are successful then from that day forward, the Summoner may call forth what we call an Aeon. Forged of the connection between Summoner and Fayth, the Aeon is a manifestation of the Fayth's spirit, called forth again in defense of the peoples of Spira."

She nods, then, to Fasalina. Meanwhile Lulu is not a part of Isolde and Hiro's conversation--but it's worth considering, that resilience, and the preciousness of what good things there are.

Noeline mentions drawn strength, and Lulu actually nods to her in understanding. "As you say. People are reminded of the hope that Summoners bring with the presence of Summoners and Guardians both. Both reminded of their hope--and of their power. This both reassures them and reminds them that there are those working to defeat Sin. Perhaps some would call that a cynical point of view... But it's also true."

Lulu recognizes Jay for her assistance treating the wounded during the kidnapping incident. This is enough to get her attention for the explanation. "Hmm," the Guardian answers. "It sounds like this Malevolence is something I should watch for. It's true that we haven't seen it here in Spira, but a force of that nature..." Well, it's appealing to her scholar's nature, anyway--and a potential danger she wants to be prepared for.

Clearly, whatever Marivel has to say is of importance, and Lulu, regardless of whatever eccentricities there are in her presentation... The black mage listens. A 'Crimson Noble' has no meaning to her--the assessment of Leo is secondhand. But the burning of her flesh in the sun is notable. And...

Auron. Of course, Auron. How much does he know?

"...I see. I cannot speak to other dangers farther afield; Sin occupies our attention most, and then its spawn, and the fiends that roam this world. Our task is only one of these."

"...I don't know," Lulu admits, "What help you can be to us on our journey. The difficulties of the journey are a part of the trial; should we bring an army, Yuna will not gain the strength she needs to acheive the Final Aeon, and a large group travels slowly. However... there are many dangers in Spira, and your presence and work alone could aid the people in the meantime. I will discuss it with the others."

She pauses, lifting a hand as if to forestall argument.

"I recommend that you travel to Bevelle, in the north, to speak with the Grand Maester and the other leaders of Yevon, and offer your assistance. The journey towards Bevelle takes the same road as the one that our journey takes, so we may encounter one another again on that path."

"But there are more direct approaches you could take. I suggest that you also speak with the Crusaders... though do so carefully. They have been excommunicated from Yevon, and plan a grand operation of some kind. They are the ones with the most experience fighting Sin as an armed force, however. They may have suggestions, for doing so. It is possible that your forces, White Knight, will do what our armies could not. I have my doubts. But if you work together, that chance is higher. In any case, one of the best things any of you could do is to help attempt to steer Sin from villages and cities, and destroy its spawn wherever they are found, before Sin returns to them."

"...If there's more you can do directly, then we'll see. I would state that there are other Summoners undergoing this pilgrimage as well, even now. If you want to assist directly... Then keep your eyes and ears open, and I am willing to listen to dangers of which you hear on the roads, so that we can deal with them on our own journey."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied hasn't had the chance to talk with Leo about it, specifically, but... there were certainly a number of Azadians who had no choice but to go through with them to Filgaia, by sheer virtue of the dangers of going aboveground at a time. "A number of them are with us, and others in New Petra... you have my word we'll care for them until a time we can come help restore Azado, White Knight Leo. You have my word on that."

        Cyre muses whether the Aeons are tied to the Pyreflies. She feels like she saw a large congregation around Anima, but it's also very likely that it was all those Garudas...

        She looks a bit more fondly back towards Noeline as she lays her hand out for her. Noeline has a better bead of the situation, it would seem, though she does wonder sometimes about why it is Shamans in Filgaia have fallen to such disfavour in parts of the world...

        But what she says about drawing strength from seeing who they look up to... that's something that's certainly sparked their relationship.

        "We won't be alone in figuring that out," she reassures Noeline. "There will be others..." She can't help but smile at Dean, though, as she nods a few times. "The Fereshte's there if you all need to fall back... that won't change just because we're in Spira."

        Marivel speaks of her true name and heritage, and... it does make her think of the time when she told them back on Besaid. It must take a lot for her to admit such a truth... she wasn't able to come so cleanly with the truth when she was hiding what she was. And that nearly harmed Jacqueline and Ethius and herself, way back when. She does wince at the way she exposes her arm and starts up-- but Mariel has it.

        "Marivel..." she whispers, concernedly.

        She pauses for a moment, feeling like she senses something; she glances to Solannine for a moment, curious to see if that was what she felt. Seeing her eat curry kind of reminds her of the Mysterious Self-Eating Curry episode from Adlehyde. She gives her a quiet smile.

        She presses her lips thinly to Lulu. "Yes..." A pause. "I would like to visit a Temple such, sometime. Thank you." She nods as she expresses, "And I will work with the Temples and Monks to proliferate this warning..."

        Would she find some measure of peace at one of the Temples? She's curious to visit anyway...

        Lulu's explanation of the Fayth is most surprising to her though.

        "They made a great sacrifice that others may have the strength to bring Calm to the land..." Riesenlied whispers. "Sacrifice and death..."

        There is something of a recurring theme there.

        "Thank you... for our part-- for the Wayside Outreach's part -- what we specialise in is relief and aid, for those that have been beset by calamity and unfortunate circumstance. Like the people of Azado... if Sin were to strike again, we would happily assist in the aid of those that have been displaced."

        Her declaration of help is kind of dashed deeply as she starts coughing again. It's probably best if she returns to the Fereshte before long...

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius, lost in his thoughts about things that might only make sense to him, listens peripherally to the things being introduced. Things, he recognizes, may not need to be although the shared footnotes might do well for note on some other fronts of a vague but manifold nature as further minutae for him to be all quiet about. As Marivel steps forward to make her declarations, a set of words stand out to him.
        '...when they are supposed to be ready.'
        Those words are missing some other context for him, but they resonate on a level that exists but cannot grasp, as the young(...looking) woman steps forward and properly introduces herself. When Marivel removes a glove and allows the sun to burn it--
        While Mariel moves to address the wound with all haste, Ethius repositions himself so that his taller stature casts a sunlight-breaking shadow over her.
        "I wish to remind everyone gathered," Ethius remarks after Lulu's recent exposition, as though he had any sway or authority on the matter (he does not, but this never seems to stop him), "that these circumstances are delicate. The situation is beyond unusual for the people of Spira."
        Dressed as one of those who seem to hold no respect nor reverence for the ways of Yevon, what comes next out of this man's mouth might come off as especially weird.
        "See that the business you conduct does not disrupt, nor bring undue harm, to them." Ethius' words are oft bereft of much in the way of emotion, sounding as though he were picking statements from a carefully rehearsed script rather than from the heart.
        "Your time and patience with our inquiries is appreciated," he says to Lulu, saying little more as he awaits the confirmation that Marivel is no longer in further danger of those pesky UV rays.

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Isolde reacts strangely to what Marie - no, Marivel - does. Or perhaps not so strangely at all. She stands bolt upright, raising her voice. "You damn fool! Don't set your hand on fire to prove a point! It never works out!"

Her hands tighten, but Marivel is still speaking. Something else, perhaps a Presence that Dominates matters, keeps her from butting in further. The fist slowly untightens when Marivel seems to resolve her tension, to quiet down. Isolde's abdomen, in particular, un-tenses. She breathes out. She does not sit down right away.

Her free hand comes up to toss her hair back. "hmf," she says quietly, mostly to herself.

Then there is a moment. Hiro reveals the blood drinking.

Isolde puts her hand on her hip and touches her lips with the other one (which are holding her curry bowl, dampening the coquettishness factor of this gesture) while facing towards Marivel.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"There was a gateway in Azado. Sin's attack revealed it. It is how we returned from this world to Filgaia the first time," Catenna says with a nod back to Mariel. "The ruins appeared to be very old - apparently they were created by the Elw, or by some society from the earliest days. I do not know if there are any like them in Spira."

Saarda-Shanta doesn't have much to say here, but she does tilt into Mariel's scratching, letting out a tiny cheep of relief. She slits her big yellow eyes as she lets some avian tension go.

An entirely new tension comes into play when Leo outlines who his sister is. Catenna winces visibly and looks towards the White Knight, her expression momentarily etched full of guilt. Then she lowers her eyes to her feet and shuffles awkwardly.

When she looks up again, it's to watch Marivel reveal something. Catenna's eyebrows arch sharply at the sight of the woman's hand burning. She raises her glass, watching the woman over it, then lowering it with a soft breath through her nose.

"This little encounter is full of surprises, isn't it?" she muses, before Hiro makes a comment.

Catenna's cheeks colour just slightly. "...Yes, I can imagine," she murmurs, half-hiding her expression behind the edge of her cup.

Catenna lowers her glass, flicking her hair back with a little spill of her head. "I do not think that you will see Vinsfeld himself in Spira. His goals seem to be directed towards Filgaia. What his men's objectives are here, I cannot say." She presses her lips together for a moment. To Catenna, Odessa and ARMS represent city people politics; bickering over borders, nations and governments has less resonance for someone who is a nomad without a nation.

Lulu's explanations prove detailed and fulsome, and Catenna takes mental notes as she goes along, her attention on the other woman in full.

"You describe that interestingly. They seem superficially similar to how a Shaman calls forth the Guardians. They are not entombed, but they no longer walk our world corporeally. A Shaman must invoke them through the use of a Medium in order to cause the Guardian to be manifest, even for a moment." With a ruffle of cloth, Catenna reaches into one sleeve and comes out with a silver tablet, letting Lulu get a look. "This Medium is a silver one - there is only one such for each Guardian, this one being of Celesdue. But most Mediums are simple stone tablets."

As Lulu provides them guidance, Catenna nods slowly along. Saarda-Shanta does too, fluttering away from Mariel to land back on Catenna's shoulder. The little white Owlet regards Lulu curiously for a moment.

Then she smiles faintly and inclines her head. "My wish is that your Summoner has the power to defeat Sin. If that entails hardships, then I would not deprive her of that. But I will do as you rcommend and visit Bevelle.

"...There are many here," she begins to tell Lulu in a quieter voice, "who may not, and who may wish to return home. If you happen upon anything that it seems like it might help us do that, I would welcome news of it."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Ashton seems downright amused that Ruby is claiming to be a dragon. Right up until that little lick of flame - which makes him frown deeply.
 
There is, for a moment, a silent pow-wow between the three heads. Probably one of the two dragons lecturing Ashton on not judging by apperances and to not be rude. At the end of it?
 
The swordsman holds up his hands in mock surrender to Ruby. "I apologize, oh powerful one." Oh, and other mocking things too. "I mean no offense and wouldn't dare contradict your claims. Please forgive my lack of knowledge since you share so little in common with the dragons that I know."
 
Both Creepy and Weepy immediately bite Ashton's head because he's being a gigantic dork.
 
Ashton... sighs. "I mean, uh, sorry. "
 
At which point Marivel makes her announcement, which gets a VERY spiked eyebrow from the man of Meria Boule.
 
He tries to soldier on from that, however. And something occurs to him. The Double Dragon Duelist eyeballs the flying cat in front of him. "Wait a moment. Are you.... Ruby? As in with Hiro? Fei told me to see you out."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        "There are people who need it far more than I," Leo says. "Your generosity is appreciated, but I had a very filling meal before I came here. Something local, with shrimp in it. It was quite delicious!" Fortunately, Riesenlied distracts him from further curry squabbles. "I will hold you to it," Leo says.

        There is just one problem with Marivel's dramatic revelation--the only exposure Leo has had to anyone calling themself 'Crimson Noble' is Noeline. He looks at the young-seeming woman, puzzled, until she takes off her glove, and her skin starts to smoke.

        "What the," Leo says, alarm in his voice. "Miss Leviram--Marivel--what are you doing?!" He's never heard of sunlight burning anyone before. Fortunately, Mariel is quick to swoop in and help Marivel, though it does nothing to answer Leo's questions.

        He looks over at Noeline, as if expecting her to burst into flames at any moment.

        Then, Lulu answers Leo's question. Leo looks at her, his lips twisting into a frown that narrowly avoids becoming a look of distaste. If she's telling the truth, that's equal parts noble self-sacrifice and an affront to Althena's natural order. People aren't meant to linger.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline doesn't react with surprise when Marivel reveals herself to be one of the Crimson Nobles. That's because she already figured it out on her own, and Marivel had confirmed it to her.

She nods for confirmation as Gwen offers a little more insight - the differences between a person's actions and their feelings.

"Yes. Malevolence is at its most dangerous when you are unaware of it - but now that you know, you should be able to keep an eye out for it." She comments. Lulu provides more answers, and Jacqueline considers. She thinks quietly, though her attention is briefly distracted by a familiar face. Was that Solanine?

Jacqueline sends the Seraph a brief smile, but she doesn't call her out - she had the look of someone who didn't want to be noticed too much.

Her attention soon returns to Lulu, though.

"...So it's something Yuna has to find on her own, then." Jacqueline considers. That makes sense - Sin's power was unfathomable. To be able to challenge it would require a strength one couldn't find if they were coddled the whole time.

"Well, for our part...the Caravan Kinship is going to be doing some traveling of our own, I think. If our paths happen to cross again on the road, you are all welcome to stop by and stock up. We can give you a good deal." She says with a nod.

She manages to resist adding 'unlike some people' under her breath.

You're on thin ice, O'aka.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"That is all I ask. And..." Marivel smiles to Lulu. "Wise of you. She seems rather strong to me already, but given her foe I can hardly blame you."

It's not difficult for Marivel to be honest about what she is. It's the complications that can arise from honest that give her the most trouble. She is not embarrassed or worried about what she is--she is proud of it. Maybe, to be real, too proud. The difficulty for her was being silent on it for so long. For you it was but months, for her it was practically millenia.

But the Time of Promise is coming whether they are here or on Spira. There's no way around it.

She hears of Lulu tell tale of a creature able to move souls out of a body into a fayth of stone. It does sound like something a god would do, though that sort of talk is enough to even make Marivel nervous. And maybe even a little angry from the way that she clenches her fist for a moment--but t'was a long time ago and getting into a fight over it is very unproductive.

Still she knows that the words may not mean much to Lulu, but the burning of the flesh against the sun? Marivel believes that has meaning in any culture. But luckily she didn't, you know, say she 'should' be burned which is evidence enough for Marivel that she made the right decision.

She is perplexed by the maneuverings of the others. Leo. He is a good man, she thinks. "Proving I'm what I say I am--" Marivel begins

Isolde shouts at her and that perplexes her too. It seems to occur to her why it might be upsetting only a moment later. She doesn't give a smarmy answer or anything but she does say, "Thank you, my friend. I will remember." She raises a hand and gives Isolde a pat. It's not the injured hand.

Ethius even moves to help block the sun from her--nice gesture, it doesn't exactly help but what does help is what she interprets as Ethius's way of telling people to not blab this to everybody because godddd that would be so annoying. And maybe disruptive! Good going Ethius. Probably. Maybe.

Hiro mentions she sucked Jean's blood in the past and Marivel says, "Ah...hhh no need to mention that. Tis harder to find, mm, food here."

The truth is, as painful as this is--it scarcely feels that way to her anymore, not this little bit of sun. There have been heats she can barely comprehend even now. Sometimes the allure of the sun is tantalizing rather than an deterrent.

Marivel allows Mariel to treat the hand. With proper covering from the sun, she can take the glove off and look at it. She didn't leave it out long enough to seriously wound it but it is already red and blistered in some places.

Marivel quietly smiles at Mariel, gratitude in her eyes--and it is only partly because of the treatment. Her other hand touches her shoulder, just lightly--as if to make sure that she's real. Despite her confidence, Mariel's presence blew her away.

She remembers.... Well, she doesn't want to dwell on that memory, right here. But she does say, "I hope we can be friends. I know we've just met, but...It's been so long."

Having said her peace, Marivel seems content to quiet down. She asked her questions and honestly she's just kind of amazing at the idea of people praying to what are essentially the undead.

No wonder they took it so well, she thinks.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet catches Lulu's attention. "You said the...pyreflies...are the spirits of the dead? Your dead don't rest?" If she'd heard correctly, the dead turned into monsters...and when you killed them, they re-formed into new monsters, over and over and over. She'd seen fiends dissolve into lights. If that was the Spiran afterlife, it was beyond horrible; it was, in fact, worse than any punitive one reserved for evildoers that she'd heard about in any faith she'd encountered. How could the Spirans keep their morale up if they were constantly expecting to be destroyed by Sin, only to face an eternity of pyreflydom? Maybe the "fayth" offered their lives to escape it. Violet is deeply, deeply disturbed. She can't help picturing her late husband in the situation.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Ruby seems to take to Ashton's flattery really well, backing off and holding her pawsies together in an expression of delight. "Apology accepted - please forgive me for thinking you're a useless human and being so different from the humans I know."
 
Which is when the act drops and the pawsies drop to her hips, "You think I don't know sarcasm buster!?" But Creepy and Weepy bite Ashton's head and Ruby begins laughing her little head off and not saying whether she accepts his under duress apology.
 
Ashton saying Fei sent him though does get Ruby's attention. "Aw geez - yeah that's me. Ruby. And that guy over there is Hiro right-"
 
Ruby looks between Creepy and Weepy, "-if Fei sent you though I guess - I'll definitely hear you out."
 
Hiro is currently paying attention to Lulu though, and when he hears that each time they wonder if perhaps it'll be gone... he inhales a breath, perhaps considering their bravery again. But then he falls quiet as he hears what the Fayth are. "Wow..."
 
It's the kind of sacrifice he's not certain he can understand. That level of self-sacrifice in order to bring about the heroes of this side of the world. He has to even digest the concept of giving up one's life to serve in such a way - a way that doesn't allow natural death.
 
That part is disquieting, yet he still focuses on the positive nature of the sacrifice.
 
Hiro is told by Marivel there's no need to mention that though which uh - gets him a little distracted. "Ah... right. Uh. Everyone forget I said anything about that!"
 

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        To her credit, Noeline's teasing towards Dean doesn't seem to be entirely rooted in romance, not with the way her face lights up. "All I mean is that it's a lot more pleasant to look around someplace new with compansions at your side. You made it sound like you were entire cities apart, or something," she points out with a faint smirk before she huffs. "Still, don't remember that if you get in trouble, we can help put you up. You are members of the Outreach, after all. We have some supplies, not to mention your rooms are intact."

        Noeline's eyebrows raise as she takes in Gwen's question - and the unspoken one that lies underneath it. There might not be any Malevolence here now - but perhaps with so many from Lunar and Filgaia here, it might yet have a chance to spread across the veil it hadn't pierced before. All she can suppose is that it remains to be seen whether Sin's ability(?) to clear it(?) is something built up over ages, or something more active. Unfortunately, learning that for good might require an actual attack from Sin, which is not exactly the best of ideas.

        When Marivel reveals herself in a rather dangerous and climactic fashion, Noeline puffs out a faint breath, finding herself a little speechless. There isn't a great deal she can add to the Crimson Noble's words, even if she seems to have been recognized by the vampire as some kind of protege-slash-assistant; all she can think to do is bow her head in recognition of the conviction behind the motion, and allow herself a wry little chuckle. "Really... all the stories underestimated you something fierce."

        "Of course," she adds to Riesenlied, her voice stronger - reassuring the other Hyadean just as Riese reassures her. Such is the nature of their relationship, built over so many trials on Filgaia, and Noeline looks fondly down at her partner. "As Riese says, I think it is fair to say we are more concerned about - and much better equipped to handle - ensuring that civilians are kept safe in the event of an attack. We are quite proficient at evacuating hazardous areas, at this point."

        ... she has the grace to give Leo an apologetic and amused grin, at the very least. "I am a Hyadean, after all," she reminds the man smoothly. "I once borrowed the name of 'Crimson Noble' to hide myself. Now, I can only hope I might live up to it instead."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        When Marivel exposes her skin to the sun, causing it to burn, Gwen's reaction mirrors Isolde's, though while Isolde angrily exclaims, Gwen lets out a cry of alarm, reaching out her hand and nearly spilling her plate of food in the process. She draws the hand back as soon as she sees Mariel moving forward to help Marivel, her blue grey eyes instead focusing on Isolde, taking in the woman's reaction.

        What sort of injury happened to her? Could that be something to do with her eyes?

        Self-conscious, Gwen shifts away, going over to the two ancient beings. "... That's a second degree burn," she says softly, gingerly looking away. "I'm... actually kinda surprised you ain't rollin' around on the floor in pain. That's mighty impressive." Gwen looks to Mariel. "Are you... gonna be able to help her hand?"

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"Good," Lulu answers Riesenlied of the other woman's plans. It seems, to her, to be the best. But what she offers of aid... Lulu considers that. "...Typically, the people of a given village or town are left to rebuild on their own; it's simple necessity, given how often it happens. If you want to assist in that way... That may be the best thing you can do to help."

She pauses, at the cough, lifting an eyebrow at Riesenlied and then to Noeline. It is not her business to comment, but she obviously expects someone to tend to the clearly frail figure.

Ethius's reminder gets Lulu's attention. "This man is correct. ...The people of Spira do not know you. They have no reason to trust you. See that you conduct yourselves carefully; it would be easy for a large group of outsiders to appear a danger, rather than a curiousity."

"You're welcome," she says to Ethius at his thanks.

Lulu continues to not really react to someone setting her hand on fire in front of her. Go figure.

"I do not know of these 'Elw', but if such a gateway exists, then maybe finding another would be your best path home. ...Were there any active in Spira, I imagine that we would have more commerce from your world."

So, don't count on there being one easy to find, she doesn't need to say.

Lulu considers the tablet. "...The Summoner requires no special talisman, once they've visited the Fayth. The similarities between the methods are perhaps best left to a priestess. Given the differences in the nature of your Guardians and the Fayth that give rise to Aeons... I do not expect that the methods are compatible."

Lulu nods then, to Catenna's hope, and to her acknowledgement, and at her quieter voice she says, "If I find such a thing, I'll pass it on if I can. Just remember that my priority is Yuna's pilgrimage."

Lulu spots the frown Leo offers. She concludes that it isn't her problem.

Jacqueline mentions supplies. "Supplies would be welcome. The road ahead contains shops, but through much of the territory, there are few outposts... and past a certain point, the road ends, and there are no more shops at all. If you travel all the way north, I imagine that we'll have reason to see you before we head further than Bevelle."

Next... "My task is to guard Yuna from all dangers, obvious or otherwise. I won't do less." So, if she's being wise... Then she's doing her job. "She has a great deal of strength," Lulu continues though to Marivel, "But it will take time, for her to learn to turn that strength into the power that will defeat Sin."

Yes, the clear curse of the sun against Marivel does have meaning. Lulu doesn't know what significance it has in particular--but it is more than enough to establish her as some inhuman Other as she claims. She is not interfering with Yuna's pilgrimage, though--so Lulu sees no reason to interfere with her mission, either, yet.

...But neither does she choose to follow up on that anger. Not... now. Not this time.

Instead, Violet asks a pertinent question... and Lulu shakes her head. "Not unless the proper rites are performed. The freshly-dead need guidance. Overwhelmed with grief at their own violent deaths, they refuse to move on. In time, they begin to resent, and even hate the living. Thus they become Fiends. The intervention of a Summoner, however, can Send them--guide them to the Farplane, where they can rest in peace."

"Maybe it's unnecessary, in lands not faced with the constant danger of Sin. If so, count yourselves lucky."

Noeline's care for Riesenlied reassures the concern Lulu noted earlier. ...She doesn't know the significance of the Crimson Noble, naturally, but even conversations she doesn't understand can show the way that they interact, and so tell her about their natures.

'Wow', meanwhile, seems an appropriate reaction to Lulu, as to the nature of the Fayth.

"...If you need to take time to tend your injury, it's fine. I believe that my primary question, at least, has been answered."

She looks to Catenna. "...That of whether you or your people will interfere. I don't know, yet, what Yevon will think of your presence... but a piece of advice."

"If any more of you have Machina weapons like those the Al Bhed demonstrated... Don't show them off. Yevon teaches that the use of dangerous, prohibited Machina is one of the things for which we need to atone. ...You may run into trouble if you flout that restriction. Any machina will arouse suspicion... but machina weapons, in particular, may lead you into danger."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna lowers her hands, planting them at her hips as she glances over to Jay. "...Yes, we'll do our best to provide for you," she assures as she looks back to Lulu. "If you enjoyed some of the food today, we offer it regularly at mealtime. We would certainly welcome seeing yourself and your friends."

Violet, however, tumbles to something that hadn't occurred to Catenna. For just a moment, the Moon Shaman opens her mouth slightly.

Then she closes it, and a small frown creases her face as she looks over to the Owlet. "...Is that possible?" she murmurs.

The Owlet shrugs her winglets. <I am a Totem of Celesdue, not Ge Ramtos. But I would suggest that the rules seem to be different here. Even different from the rest of Lunar, though I'm not familiar with how the Althena sorts conceive of death.>

Catenna frowns a little at that, sliding her Medium back into place at her hip and listening to Lulu's explanations. The woman's been quite a bit more forthcoming than Catenna could really have hoped. Spira seems a little less baffling to her than she would have expected.

<Your Summoning and our Material Summons have superficial commonalities, but, no, a Shaman is not a Summoner,> the Owlet informs with a bob of her head for Lulu. <That does clear up some confusion. We will be circumspect about how we present ourselves.>

"Yes," Catenna agrees quietly. So much for passing herself off as a Summoner.


When Lulu turns back to her, Catenna meets the look with a slow, simple nod.

"That is sound advice. We will do our best not to commit any heresy while we are here," she assures Lulu, really hoping she hasn't already committed some.

"With luck, your journey will be successful. I am glad that you took the time to explain these things. It has been very helpful."

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Marivel says, "Nice cover, Hiro."

She grins madly as Gwen nearly drops her plate: Worth it, she thinks, just for that worth it. Finally. FINALLY.

Then she winces when Mariel places ointment on the worst of the wound. This is the danger of hubris, kids.

She is too preoccupied to smile at Noeline but don't worry, she is smiling at Noeline in spirit.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

The knowledge of who he's talking to does seem to change Ashton's tune a bit - he gives Ruby a little nod. "I'm seeking advice, so... more the other way around." He motions with his chin to the court that Lulu is holding. "But we can talk about that later. I think perhaps there is business first."
 
So he's there to listen in to the tail end of things. (Not that he missed most of what was said before - but why double up on questions?
 
As the last of it is answered, Ashton makes his own announcement. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I'm going to seek out those Crusaders. Fayth and summoning and the spirits of the dead are beyond me - but people fighting a good fight to protect people is something I can support. Against Sin or otherwise."
 
He looks towards Hiro for a moment - then over to Marivel. Oh yes, there's going to be some Private Actions later on.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Catenna echoes her sentiments in regards to visiting the Caravan Kinship and Jacqueline nods with a smile. They were all trying to make things better - it was only natural that they work together where they can.

Violet brings up a good question, and Lulu explains what happens to Pyreflies, and the Farplane. Come to think of it...Prissa did mention that when they arrived here, didn't she...? Jacqueline considers it for a moment, her expression falling into a pensive frown.

She also thinks back to the creation of the Fayth that Lulu had mentioned earlier...it was worryingly similar to Lunata's situation, at least in her eyes. At least it seemed to entirely by choice, for them.

She goes quiet, then, jotting down notes in her notebook, and no longer in much of a mood for conversation. She was still a little worried that she hadn't seen either of them around yet, but was a little anxious about the meeting...