2019-04-12: Family Reunion
- Log: Family Reunion
- Cast: Kaguya Alathfar, Amaterasu
- Where: Luca - Port District
- Date: April 12, 2019
- Summary: Amaterasu catches up with her sister.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.
Is there anything worse than ships? Kaguya, newly minted Alathfar, may or may not have spent a lot of time in her life questioning that very matter. Even now, she looks out to the sea, to boats out there away, the last one having just left with its supplies and trade and passengers.
...The sea is, at least, a bit better than Filgaia's. The optimist would say that it's because it's prettier, but it's probably because Kaguya knows there's a really cool death whale out there somewhere. This, though? Not obvious to the observer.
To an observer, a short girl in strange, foreign clothes looks out near the edge of the dock, her back sheltered by a set of crates partially, her shaggy blonde hair down around her jaw by now, well-kept but breezing a little in the wind. The clothes in question involve a fine tunic in, not that people would know it, but Hyland style, white with green threads and gilt patterns and crests. At her side is a single sheath carrying both of her wide-bladed butterfly swords, silver-chased.
...She didn't have those when she left, but Kaguya did train in their use when she was younger, thanks to her older sister--one of the few weapons that go with her unarmed style especially well, practically an extension of her hands.
Sturdy boots, dark green pants, a satchel of a few items... and her arms crossed. She cuts a bit of a dramatic figure, immediately, as she stares out onto the horizon. There are, naturally, people around...
...But the ones that have gotten close enough to see her fangy grin have decided not to bother her, as a rule.
She still looks tiny, naturally--frail. But there's more color in her cheeks than when she left Laila Belle, a bit more flesh on her bones. She's not exactly healthy... But she fakes it better.
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.
Perhaps it might be best to back up a few minutes, to the point before Amaterasu states her sister's name.
The chances of finding her sister in Spira were, she had been informed, slim. The last time anyone had seen her sister had been on the continent called 'Glenwood'. It hadn't taken much in the since of the attack to discover that no one (from Spira) knew of a 'Glenwood'. Which meant, accordingly, that Glenwood was a long way from here.
No ships dare the seas due to Sin.
Both of these factors are to Amaterasu rather minor inconveniences. With the chaos in Luca settling down, she has come again to the harbor to make what she may of the matter of sailing the high seas.
...And in the process spots a certain young woman.
Her gaze settles first on the matter of her sister's hair. Takes in following her sister's condition. The weapons at her hip. The matter of her sister's clothing.
Boots click out across the dock as she makes at last her inexorable advance.
Amaterasu looks as she did years ago, when last they had seen each other face to face. Tall, long-haired, armored, and to all appearances, unstoppable.
She reaches out a hand to grasp her sister's face by the chin, tilting Kaguya's face upwards first then firmly to either side.
"...Hmm. You've gotten some color in your cheeks," the older sister proclaims, at last loosing her iron grip on her sister's face. "It's been a long time, Ka-ya. I was told I would be unable to reach you from Spira." She laughs, a flat sort of low chuckle. "It seems I have been underestimated once again."
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.
Yes. Backing up is good. Because in those few moments, Kaguya hears a bit of movement behind her, with her superior Veruni senses, but also concludes it's not that important because it's not somebody trying to sneak and it's not somebody pulling a weapon, with her superior teenage apathy. It doesn't matter all that much at first.
So, there's plenty of time to look over Kaguya, who is generally secure in knowing that she can break the arms of most of the people for a few miles. Her hair is... well-kept, just, much shorter, more boyish. And the click of boots--ah, no, that's more military...
Kaguya's features are naturally kind of delicate to look at. Her face is not hard for someone of Amaterasu's size to get a hand around. There's a blink, a tension in Kaguya's stance as she starts to scowl immediately, starting to say, "What the shi--"
She pauses, outright, eyes falling on Amaterasu, just like she's always looked, with that same voice and that same tone, and--
And here, it's important to note something. In an alternate universe, wherein Kaguya had no idea that Amaterasu was in the area, there was at this point some sputtering, some surprise, and a large amount of 'how???' going on here. The surprise would've been embarrassing. As it stands, she's surprised...
...But a muffled look of delight vaguely shifts onto her face around the part where her chin is held. "Mat!" Kaguya answers, not quite grinning because of the same reason. "You're in Luca!"
...Because in this universe--she has something to show off, for once.
Something half like a laugh vaguely emits from her throat. "Yeah I do. And you probably would've found a way eventually... But sounds like somebody didn't realize I'm already here with an army."
Pause. "...I wanna tell you all about it but you kinda have my... face... c'mon, I've got an image here."
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.
Time has stood still for Amaterasu.
But less so for Kaguya. Her sister has filled out a little, even if she 's no taller than she had been. There's a little more of a flush of health to her cheeks, a sea change from her status before, when Amaterasu had feared she might die in a few more years if nothing changed. And something about her sister's self seems to have seen a change as well.
"You expected me," Amaterasu states, still gripping her sister's face in her hand, still gazing down at her sister. "Did someone tell you I was here? Hm, hm. I wonder who it was..."
Did they already know Kaguya was here and let her know first, or was it merely coincidence that they'd encountered Kaguya in Luca, or...
In the end, the specifics don't matter to Amaterasu in the slightest. She shrugs them off as easily as a bird might shed rainwater from its feathers.
"Ha. So that's what it's about." One blonde eyebrow archs. "An army? Does that explain the haircut, then? You really have done a sloppy job of it, Ka-ya." She releases her grip on Kaguya's face, reaches out a gauntletted hand to idly brush at the fringe of her sister's hair. "Look at this. It's uneven. Give me a pair of scissors and I'll straighten it out for you, if you must keep it so short."
It's longer than it used to be, just months ago, technically...
She huffs out a breath. "Tell me more about this 'army' of yours." She pauses, looking her flesh and blood over but once. "Are you certain you are fit to serve? You have more color, but you're still too pale, Ka-ya."
A pause. She stares down at her sister, unflinchingly.
"You should come home, assuming we discover the means. I told you years ago you should return to the Locus Solus."
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.
The height is probably a lost cause; her natural frailty compared with the illness coming at a common time of development makes it unlikely that, even if she lives, Kaguya will be much taller. ...The prognosis, back then, was a few years... But here she is, better than she was before. And her self--
Yes. She has more confidence... and more of an edge. Those are two things, anyway.
Kaguya frowns about the face thing. But she doesn't, this time, squirm. It's undignified! She just sort of waits, though first she delivers a slightly silly-muffled answer--
"Marivel," she offers. "Weird chick, said she promised to return a book. Funny story." A beat. And--Ah, there it is.
Kaguya works her jaw, shaking her head and rolling her shoulders now that she's freed, a little like a ruffled cat smoothering hr fur. "Nah," she says, "The haircut's cause long hair in the desert was super annoying to deal with, just, frizz everywhere." A beat, "I thought the uneven thing kinda worked. The servants keep wanting to smooth it out too, but I think it looks cool, kinda rakish, y'know?" Hmm. "You really think it's not working? I guess it's getting a little shaggy again..."
Ordinarily, she might squirm a lot more under all the scrutiny, and to be sure, she's doing some of that too. But even so--that question actually gets a more dangerous grin--not threatening to Amaterasu, but backed with a sort of experience. "...I get bad days, now and then, sure--but," she starts, "my even low-average days are better than most humans' best. ...I never thought I'd use it that much, but the things you taught me about fighting have paid off. And it's this," she taps her head, "That's most useful for me anyway--even if I gotta admit I get the appeal of breaking a few heads, now."
Kaguya looks up thoughtfully at Amaterasu, considering... and then nods. "Sure--but not yet. I want to come back, and share the results of my experiments. But I'm not done with them yet--there's a lot more I still need to do out there. And even when i go back I'm not goin' back into stasis."
"...The army's a long story, so's the color. I met a good doctor out on Filgaia's deserts--she's totally wasted where she was--they had no idea what they had on her hands. With just a taste of some of what we know, she was able to tailor some good treatments... And, I can confirm--Lunar, up here? The Factor still applies, but it's less severe. I think it might be a good idea to bring the patients who can make the trip up here, to give us more time to find a cure. ...Maybe not all of us will make it that long, but it'd help some."
"But, the army--long story short, I had some mercenaries, then I saved a human kingdom's main force from a rout, so they gave me lands and one of their titles. I'm now commanding my forces and that kingdom's, part of a coalition right now. I've got... some really cool things to show you, Mat."
"See, the army started with just, a few normal humans. They knew how to fight, sure--but they didn't have direction. I gave them that, and I designed them some weapons--nothing on our top level, just some basics. ...And under guidance, they turned that into a commission, and now they're elites." She tilts her head back and forth, as if kind of 'eh', "Most of the hierarchy doesn't know who I really am, of course. I just set myself up as some foreign noble. So it's an infiltration job," she finishes quietly. "...But it's proving something for me. I think the humans are a resource we're not tapping nearly enough."
Pause. "Oh, also, we're all here to kill a god, so, that's pretty cool?"
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.
There's little to be safely done about the height other than some very eclectic surgical interventions... for which Kaguya isn't even remotely a candidate for due to her illness and general (for a Veruni) frailty.
The other changes, though, bear more promise.
"Marivel." Kaguya pauses, as if to think back. Marivel. It isn't ringing a bel for her. "A human, perhaps? Hm." She shakes her head thereafter, before releasing her grip on her sister's face.
"You could tie it back," Amaterasu suggests, eyeing Kaguya's haircut with... distaste. "There's no need for a cut quite so drastic. Longer hair was more flattering for you." A pause. "When it was trimmed neatly, that is."
Disapproval may be the watchword of the day -- Amaterasu doesn't even bother to shake her head when Kaguya asks if it's not working. She lets her gaze tell the response for her.
"A pair of scissors," she repeats, her expression not changing even a little bit.
That's that, perhaps... some things never change.
"But you're still having bad days? Unfortunate. I had hoped this might prove a cure," Amaterasu says, coupling the statement with a sigh that might as well be emblematic of her continued disappointment here atop the moon. Still, she fixes Kaguya with a measuring look. "Perhaps. We will spar later and I'll evaluate your performance." ...No question there of 'would you like to', just a straight statement that they will.
She can still remember how a much younger Kaguya managed, over a hundred years ago.
But perhaps this more... wild Kaguya might be more amenable to a proper workout.
Her sister has changed.
There is, though, some mild surprise flooding the older soldier's expression. Kaguya has managed to shock her sister.
By simply saying she'll come back home -- or to Filgaia at least -- at some point. Perhaps Amaterasu had expected her to put up a fuss.
"We'll see what the doctors say," she says at length, in response to the comment about stasis. Only the worst-off patients were put into stasis in hopes of warding off the inevitable... and in many cases even that wasn't enough. They just died, in stasis.
Is it better or worse than feeling death approach?
"It could buy us time, yes. First of all, we would need to find means to transport our sick safely to Lunar... but that is a matter for researchers to uncover." It isn't her job. "Or, perhaps, your own role, Ka-ya. With this 'doctor' of yours."
She listens -- stoic and expressionless as always -- as Kaguya explains what's happened since she vanished to Lunar.
"Lands and a title... so you are a 'noble', are you?" Higher-ranked than they were back on Filgaia. "You should know that our position has also been elevated, though not to the status of noble. Mother and father were pleased." All Veruni are nobility to humans, but within their society -- within any society -- there are gradients, lines that are not so easily passed.
'I've got... some really cool things to show you, Mat.'
"...Then show me."
Weapons-designs? Using humans as soldiers? It was true that humans had... uses for Veruni. Some less violent, some more violent, but in the end, a human's body wasn't the same as a Veruni's -- not as strong, as enduring, as agile. Pit a human and a Veruni in a race and the human will lose. But...
"Hm. I'll need to see this for myself."
They're -- the humans from Glenwood -- here to kill a god.
A dry chuckle escapes Amaterasu's lips.
"'Sin', you mean? I have to admit... I'm intrigued."
"I've never so much as fought a god myself."
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.
Kaguya has thought about using her newfound wealth and stature to just start wearing fine, taller shoes. Platforms, or heels, maybe. In the end, for now she's simply been satisfied with the knowledge that even the tallest of the soldiers in the Crusade must dip his head to speak to her.
...Spite has some benefits.
"She's a... Well, she's something weird. Not a human, but," Kaguya waves her hand dismissively, "Filgaian names tend to run together for me. She just wanted me to tell you she gave me back the book."
Kaguya is rather more comfortable with her face not held. It makes it easier to talk. "Hmmm," Kaguya says, and while she likes her new clothes--even if she always favored boyish attire even then--she can't entirely escape the weight of her sister's opinion in this. "It does keep it out of the way in a fight, though." She laughs, after that, and almost has a shy look to her, the glimmer of something nobody's likely to have seen here but Amaterasu. "I can get one of the people we pay to do it. But maaaaybe it's time to even it out. I don't wanna look too scruffy when I'm doing diplomacy."
Maaaaybe. She does not, however, pull out scissors here. That would be mortifying.
"Not so many, and not as bad... But yeah, it's not a full cure." She is at least able to talk about it, these days. But that measuring look--that particular statement. Kaguya turns her head right back to Amaterasu where she'd glanced away in conversation, green eyes widening slightly in surprise.
No matter how strong she's becomee--no matter how much she's proven herself against the servants of the Guardians or her foes at war--there's nothing quite like facing your own teacher.
"...Yeah," Kaguya answers, after a moment, like it's kind of dawning on her. "Maybe you can show me some more moves."
The fact that she's shocked Mat is definitely one of the most satisfying moments Kaguya can think of--but really, she's surprised herself, saying it. "Sentinel Elvis brought back some recordings of my vitals and condition over time--I'm interested to see what's changed in the metrics we can't measure in the field."
No, Kaguya finds; she doesn't need to shy away. ...She wants to show her people how strong she's found she can be, and maybe, show herself.
"That... I'll keep an eye out for. I know that the human Drifters made use of an ancient Elw teleportation device to return to Filgaia last. I don't have the supplies or the power sources to manage a teleporter that distant, but I bet there's another, or that we can get the one they used working again if we have to." She grimaces. "I'd rather find one here again. I don't wanna spend months on another boat." Sour.
Naturally, Kaguya likes hearing of her accomplishments; her shoulders rise a little straighter, her head higher... though it already was, just to be able to keep conversing with Amaterasu. But talk of effects back home is a surprise. A pleased look spreads on her face. "Then, I've been able to reflect well on them. I'm glad. Maybe I can give them some more reasons to be happy for when I see them next."
Kaguya grins, after that. "Other than the ARM you gave me, I've only got schematics with me--my primary workshop is on the transport, and I have a few more things where I'm staying. ...I have been able to fix that ARM up nicely, even better than I had before, though." Kaguya glances to the side, to the crowd, and then back to Mat. "The locals get skittish about tech, so we shouldn't draw attention to it, but you can view one of the big things on my reader--it takes a servant a few hours to crank the generator, but I've been able to keep some civilized tools on the road. The main thing I haven't been able to find is a suitable place for a radio tower to check back in."
"...Not so important now, though."
Of course, Amaterasu will want to see for herself--indeed, Kaguya absolutely welcomes it. Just like she welcomes that chuckle. "That's the one. It managed to escape these waters, and struck at a town in the region I'd built my power base in. So they assembled their whole host, brought it here."
"...You're welcome to get in on the action, obviously. And I'm sure you have plans and a mission out here, but if you need anything, I have influence with the Althenans--I tell them you're my sister, and they'll treat you with the right respect, and we can get you any supplies you need. If you need tech supplies, just give me time to fabricate them for you in my shop."
...And here a little of her actual youthful enthusiasm comes in, as she beams, almost innocent, as she pulls out the thin, glass-screened device, makes some taps to pull up the right screens. "I pass this off as a magic mirror when I need to. But the thing here..." She proffers the tablet up Amaterasu's way. "Top secret. But I think you're gonna like it."
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.
Not a human, but something else? Hm. Perhaps one of those apparent mutant versions of humans?
But when Kaguya mentions the book...
Recognition flashes in Amaterasu's eyes. Now she remembers. 'Marivel', was it? Though that woman had given a different name then, she is sure.
"I see. Then, should you see her again, you may inform her that her follow-through is appreciated."
Formal as always...
Somehow, Amaterasu still seems dubious at the subject of her sister's hair. "I find it the better solution to not let one's opponents close enough in the first place," she states, then regards her sister again.
There is the issue of shorter 'reach'.
"Still, I suppose as solutions go... it is sufficient." Kaguya proposes she just pay a servant to do the evening out. "Fair enough. Yes. If you are speaking to the people of this land, a good impression is essential. I have not been here long but this land is a formal land, and traditions carry weight." She's learned this much, even if she eschews actually heeding what she's learned. She's a soldier; leave the matter of diplomacy to those who do it best.
Amaterasu, fortunately, does not seem keen on trimming her sister's hair right here and now. Though even if the matter of hair is best handled by another... there's still the question of what is best for her sister to wear.
If her sister will be playing the role of diplomat, she will be doing it properly.
"Yes. I want to see how you've grown, and if your health is as good as you say it is. However, if it isn't..."
She trails out but it's no doubt plain: she will see that her sister takes a more subdued role in events, all other concerns be damned.
"So would I. I had not learned what changes had been catalogued and if so, by how much." She had her own role to attend to, even months ago -- one that left her out of contact. That, and proper analysis took time, even without world-changing events such as the awakening of Mother.
"Yes. It may be possible that there is an alternative way home. Perhaps once matters here are settled. You said that you were assisting an army with its conquest?"
Of just Sin, or of Spira itself?
Does it matter, if you can take it?
And it's at the last that Amaterasu actually smiles. "Yes. They have been missing you dearly, Ka-ya. Father has nearly worried himself sick learning you were on the moon. That is why I was hoping you would return." Even if she hadn't been expecting it, as her face had betrayed.
"Good. You still have it." She says that almost as if she had expected Kaguya might lose the ARM. Or is that just a misreading of her intent? Amaterasu is a difficult read at times. "So I understand. I was accused of using 'machina' repeatedly. ...Hm. I suppose use of caution may be warranted under the circumstances. Or perhaps an alternative explanation may suffice...?" After all, thanks to her 'odd equipment' she did save one of their 'summoners'.
Silence reigns -- a natural thing, while Kaguya explains Sin, explains why the Guard has chased after it. Why it has brought her to here.
And why their mission is to destroy it utterly.
"My only mission was to locate you," she explains plainly. "Now that is complete. Without means to return home and reassume my task on Filgaia, my weapon stands idle." She stares down at her sister. "But the fight against this Sin is a worthy goal. Perhaps its defeat will show us a way to return home. Or perhaps it will free us to return to Glenwood and search anew. It matters not the means. ...My weapon is at your disposal."
She has fought humans of various strains. Monsters. Metal Beasts. Even fellow Veruni.
But she has never fought a god.
It's a worthwhile challenge for an old soldier.
And Kaguya is almost almost giddy when she shows Amaterasu -- producing her tablet from a pocket and pulling up a screen -- something else.
Both eyebrows lift.
"...I'll want to see a test, first," she cautions, fixing her sister with a severe look. "But..."
Sometimes everything rests on a conjunction.
Sometimes more things pass by the eyes alone.