2019-04-23: Meals and the Wheel

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  • Log: Meals and the Wheel
  • Cast: Lunata Croze, Belize, Shalune Amira
  • Where: Luca
  • Date: 23rd April 2019
  • Summary: Belize visits Lunata and Shalune for lunch and a discussion about the Wheel of Spirits...


<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

LAST TIME ON YOU BURNT ALL YOUR BRIDGES TO START AN ASCETIC (??) LIFE LUNATA

Lunata's been spending the last couple of days transitioning more fully in preparation to become part of the Maester's retinue; while this didn't really involve that much physical preparation, she's been at least speaking with some of the Guado guardsmen and at least trying to not... look like some kind of recluse amongst them.

The idea of having cast off literally everything in order to live here in Spira now, at least for the foreseeable future... it's impulsive, sure, but--

Well, perhaps Shalune had a point. She was deeply miserable before and a change probably couldn't hurt, even if the Better Lunie of the two probably is about to gnaw her head off at the extremely Lunata way in which she carried it out with cleaning her stuff out from the CaraKin and leaving everything behind.

...

But right now, the Retinue's hotel space smells pretty wonderfully of soup, because despite her relinquishing every recipe on paper back at the CaraKin, she can't help herself.

The young ex-waitress is taking a sip of her building broth, which has the scent of vegetables and coriander and all kinds of wonderful ingredients simmering gently within. She's still got the Yggdrasil Alliance jacket over her Spiran-style warriorly robes, as well as a lunchlady bandana and apron ontop.

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

The other day, Maester Seymour had informed Belize that they would be working with Lunata Croze, the newest member of his retinue. After hearing some of her circumstances, Belize swiftly understood why. Even without that, though, they'd still carry out the order without complaint; they trust Seymour, and without meeting Lunata first, they have no way of knowing that there's anything about her to complain *about*. (It remains to be seen if that will remain so.)

Either way, Belize forwarded a message to Lunata at her room that they would be coming by today to introduce themself--a courtesy on Belize's part, since Lunata is new to these parts in a number of ways, and also a way of testing her--and now here they are at the appointed hour. They knock briskly on Lunata's door, and count the seconds until they're either let in or bid to enter.

Belize might be a little strict.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Between the two Lunies, Shalune is definitely the one who's a little more out of step with the rest of the Maester's staff. It's not a matter of friendliness or politeness or not being hard-working - the pink-haired mechanic is perfectly capable of being all three and then some. It's more that she's just not entirely certain how to act around so religious a group, and kind of wobbles between reticent and nervously overenthusiastic.

Maybe it's the way she can't really leave her trappings of Filgaia behind as easily as Lunata, too ingrained and too open about it. Maybe it's that the concept of machines and tools are so integral to her they're practically in her blood. Or, y'know, maybe it's that rumour that says that she was spotted scooping Seymour onto a flying machina by hand without permission in the middle of Luca harbour. (She maintains she got permission, which is apparently true - but certainly doesn't make the story go away.)

Besides that, her enthusiasm as of late has felt significantly forced. It isn't that she hasn't found the time yet to gnaw Lunata's head off, more that she hasn't found the right words to use while she does it. It's not something she can argue against, and part of her is dimly aware that maybe a clean break is better than a messy, drawn-out one - especially when part of the whole problem is that their situation had been drawn out for so long.

But that doesn't mean she's immune to feeling upset and uncertain about it, a little withdrawn as as she sits, arms draped over her backpack in her lap, to watch Lunata cook. That's a comfort to see, at least; to her, it's something integral to Lunata's personality, and the act of leaving her cookbooks behind was the thing that worried Shalune most about the other Lunie's exit from the Carakin - a sign she didn't even intend to go back to Adlehyde.

She's knocked out of her thoughts by the knock, and jolts upwards. "Oh! Er--" Lunata's still tending to her broth, so it's Shalune who hops up and over to the door to open it as she puts a smile on her face. She's-- not that great with names yet. "--hello!"

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata... hasn't actually heard about any other members of the retinue, nor how much Seymour would explain of her own circumstance. (She's kind of assuming being an Unsent-adjacent is a real taboo, here.) But when she hears the knock in the door, the message of Belize coming comes to mind as she pulls her head up to call out:

"Come in, it's unlocked."

She looks back towards Shalune as she curls up on a nearby couch, clinging onto her backpack, wondering if she's just making things worse for her. And she doesn't really know what to do about it either. It's not like telling her 'just go and do what you want' will make it any better.

"... do you want anything else for lunch?" Lunata at least awkwardly attempts to ask Shalune in the interstice before Belize comes in.

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

Yeah, openly liking machina is sure to make one unpopular in mainstream Spira. Belize opens and enters when they hear Lunata call, shutting the door behind them in their wake. They pause when they reach the main room, partly to take it in, partly because that is a *delicious* smell, partly because they never heard anything about Shalune and so initially mistake the pink-haired blobgirl who's hopping on over to greet them for Lunata at first.

"So you're Lunata Croze, then," they state, looking her over with a discerning eye that probably does not make Shalune feel any more at ease. They pause when--yes, that *is* a second voice, and a second person, now that they spot who's tending the kitchen. They *would* assume she's part of the waitstaff, except her clothes don't look any more natural than Shalune's do. "I am Belize, a clergyperson of the Macalania Temple. Maester Seymour has instructed me to help you grow acclimated to our ways now that you have joined his retinue." They gesture towards the actual Lunata. "And that is?"

They can be even more blunt than this. But for right now, they want to make sure that the discussion they want to have is appropriate for the ears present.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Shalune is at least trying, most of the time, to be supportive of Lunata's decision. Even if she sometimes succumbs to worry, it doesn't take her all that long to respond to Lunata's question by visibly picking herself back up, forcefully puffing her cheeks out for a moment before she levels a quiet smile at Lunata. It might be a little faked, but there's a genuine feeling behind it too.

"Uh-- I know it doesn't sound like me, but I wouldn't mind trying a big mound of the local vegetables. Did you see them at the market? I know Spira's green as heck so I should probably expect it, but some of them were seriously huge. There was one really knobbly yellow one that smelt /awful/," she adds, scratching her head as she recounts the tale and screws her face up. "The guy laughed and offered to cut it open, so I got the heck out of there."

It's not that Shalune openly likes machina, really! She just... slips a lot! Technically, she was saving Seymour's life back then! She's not a corn cob! Uwaaa! "Eh?" she blurts when she's called 'Lunata', before breaking into a smile. "Oh, um, no, no! That's Lunata! My name's Shalune. I'm-- an old friend of hers. We came here together, and I promised Maester Seymour I'd help out a little given the way he helped us," Shalune wavers slightly under Belize's gaze, but does at least seem to mean it."

"And that's Lunie's soup," she adds as she clears the way for the Summoner to enter, pride still lacing her voice even after so long of having it. "Once you try it, you'll never go back."

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

There's a blink for a moment, before she paws at her messy white hair several times to pat it down and torque the flame down on the stove before stepping into the living room proper. She's trying to look more natural, at least, Yggdrasil Alliance jacket aside... which probably ruins the whole look given how distinctive the navy-blue coat with the black-ruffed collar is.

She looks to Belize as she comes in, then to Shalune first as she says, "That's... that's a Gysahl Green, Shalune. I don't think humans can digest that. You need a chocobo stomach. But, point taken--"

She looks towards Belize when she introduces herself and bows quietly.

"Nice to meet you... I'm Lunata Croze. I'll be joining you and Maester Seymour in your travels," she speaks out. A pause, as she glances back towards the pot. "And... yes. That's Shalune, we're childhood friends."

"We're about to have lunch. Do you want to join us?"

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

Delicious Shalunecob. Braised with butter. +w+

"Shalune?" Belize repeats, eyebrows going up as they look at her again, then over at the actual Lunata. They frown pensively. ...Yes, looking at the other one, they definitely get the sense that this is the girl they actually are looking for.

"She's right. Gysahl greens aren't meant for humans to eat," Belize remarks, chiming in after Lunata about Shalune's adventures in the market. "That merchant might have been teasing you." Shalune seems like the kind of person who's easy to tease. Not that Belize is much of a teaser. ...maybe once they get to know someone better.

"Childhood friends, hm." Something in Belize's demeanor softens slightly. "You two must be very close, for her to follow you like that. You're both otherworlders, correct?" They must be; Belize knows Lunata is, based on what Seymour told her, and if they're childhood friends, then Shalune almost certainly would be as well.

The topic of lunch and soup comes up. Belize nods, as much in answer as in approval of Lunata's hospitality. "Thank you. It does smell good," they say, that last bit for Shalune's benefit. "I'll take you up on your kind offer, then, Lunata Croze."

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

"Well, you know what I mean!" Shalune puffs up at Lunata, never mind that Belize is right there. "We're in a new place, so we should be trying everything new out. Maybe even the stuff that's meant for chocobos," she declares confidently, kind of letting enthusiasm override the rest of her worries for the time being. "Besides, it's not like that's the only new thing I saw there! I bet it'd be gauche to just dip some skewers in the soup..."

She does at least pause at Belize's questioning, grinning faintly and sheepishly as she rubs at the back of her mass of pink hair.

"Ah, well-- um, I mean, you're right. We're both offworlders, and we've kinda been through thick and thin at this point. Still, neither of us really had a choice in the matter when it came to coming here. It's kind of a long story, but we got flung here, rather than choosing to come," she admits a little awkwardly.

It isn't the Summoner's fault, but the line of questioning - the thought of their being close - naturally makes her think of Jay, and her enthusiasm dents visibly for a moment before she puffs out a breath a second time. "Anyway, uh-- yeah, come in! Sorry, I've been kind of running around a lot, so I've not said hi to a lot of people." This much is true - she's been seen a lot helping with some of the rebuilding.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"Lunata's fine, really," Lunata expresses in turn as she disappears towards the kitchen as she takes the time to digest that Belize's been informed about her being an otherworlder. It's not until she starts stirring the soup that she thinks it's best this way, that everyone knows and is on the same page beforehand.

It gives Shalune the chance to natter at Belize a little as she prepares three bowls of soup; it's her first time doing meal service for Yevon, but from what she's been able to pick out, she shouldn't have wildly transgressed or anything, laying down three trays of a miso-based broth cooked with in-season local Lucan vegetables including radish, cabbage and seaweed as well as a bowl of steam-cooked rice, and grilled fish and market pickles on the side.

"Let me know if there's-- um, anything you can't eat," Lunata speaks out. "And as Shalune says -- we're from another world, that's correct. But uh..."

A pause, as she finds herself at a bit of a loss. "I don't know how much Maester Seymour's explained to you. I suppose I'll be serving in a similar capacity to what you'd call a... Guardian?" She's not quite grasping the term.

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

Try... everything? Even the greens meant for chocobos? Belize's eyebrows rise at Shalune. "It's all well and good not to be picky, but you're going to give yourself a stomachache if you're too adventurous," they chide her. They then frown. "Who dips skewers in soup? Don't be ridiculous." Even if Shalune was saying it would probably be gauche to do so...

The pink-haired girl confirms that Belize's guess is correct. This leads to a dampening of her enthusiasm, before she invites Belize in properly. "I see," they say of Shalune's insistence that they had no choice but to come here. "I would be keenly interested in hearing your tale. I've already met several other otherworlders. Were you all... 'flung' here, then?"

Lunata is fine. Belize nods once her way, then seats themself at the table. Soon Lunata's served up lunch. They look it over with an approving eye. "This is fine. You've done your research well," they state, impressed by how normal the repast looks. They make the Yevon prayer gesture and pray, "Praise be to Yevon for this meal."

Then they reach for their chopsticks and regard Lunata and Shalune--but mostly Lunata--anew. "A Guardian, as in a companion and protector for Maester Seymour?" they interpret. "You're capable in the art of battle, then." They pause, looking again at Shalune. Hm. If they're this close, she probably already knows. And if she doesn't know, well, Lunata can find her own way to wave it off.

And thus they add: "I understand that you're dead and unable to pass on, Lunata. Is this true?"

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

"Ooh, I'm not gonna let that one go!" Shalune puffs up as she accepts her tray from Lunata, already warming to this conversation as a chance to relax past her worries. "Look, she made this incredible cream of mushroom soup one time, and I swear I could have just spent the rest of my days eating that, so long as it included dunked bread and grilled lamb." When it comes down to it, Shalune is driven by good feelings, and the chance to compliment Lunata is not one she'll pass up.

Crossing back to where she was sitting, Shalune hunkers over her food a little in her usual fashion, trying to figure out how to neatly separate her chopsticks - but she's still paying attention, and hums thoughtfully around Belize's question. "... I dunno, actually. I mean, er, there are definitely a few faces in town that I recognize. A whole lot of people got sent at once. But the Maester suggested you'd had people turn up in the past, and for them, I'm not sure."

She finally manages to get a satisfying snap as she pries the wood apart, hums to herself - this is one idea for camping utensils she's going to have to take home, and navigates some rice towards her mouth. "Lunie's a lot stronger than I am, yeah. I'm mostly good for fixing stuff up," she admits with a light grin, and--

--chokes on the rice, coughing and spluttering. "W-what?" she says hoarsely when she's managed to get most of it down, before covering another couple of coughs. Heart firmly on her sleeve, the look she gives Lunata isn't an angry or accusatory one, so much as just plain astonished - the look of someone who's surprised someone /else/ has been told.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"Ah, I'm glad. I'm an old hand at cooking, but Spiran cuisine's new as of just a week ago..." Lunata looks relieved and nods as she squints at Belize to try to make her own attempt at the Yevon gesture and sits herself down, finally taking the lunchlady bandana off. "But I'm really impressed so far. People are really respectful of both the ocean and the land's bounties."

She takes a sip of her soup and has a small bit of rice, sagging for a moment as Shalune starts talking up her cooking skills something fierce. "You really do march on your stomach, don't you, Lunie?" she sighs, for a moment looking a bit more relaxed.

She looks towards Belize and nods, saying as she gestures towards Orochi-Agito, a katana sheathed and resting against a simple weapon rack right now. "I can use a blade, and-- well, I can take a lot of punishent to the face," she perhaps undersells herself. "And on that end... a protector for you too, right?"

But it's at the comment of--

Shalune starts choking and spluttering and she's glad she already put her soup down. "Uh. Oh... okay, that-- that makes it... ..."

A pause.

"That makes it easier? Is that an offence? I honestly felt like the Church may not have looked on freely on the... 'Unsent', in your terms. Though my situation is subtly different, Maester Seymour and I spoke as much."

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

"So you could not, in fact, have spent the rest of your life eating just her cream of mushroom soup," Belize points out to Shalune. It's not as sharp as they might normally be, though; their headshake is one of vague amusement. Either way, they begin to eat, their mannerisms somewhere between delicate and pragmatic, and listen to the two Lunies as they speak. It seems Lunata's from a place where people aren't as respectful of nature, which is a yellow flag in Belize's mind--not of Lunata in particular, but of the other world from which she and the others hail. Shalune's a little less than informative, and Lunata indicates her katana. Belize takes it in as they chew. So that's the cursed weapon...

Their shoulders tense when Lunata suggests she's also to be a protector, a Guardian, for them. Fortunately, their own question preceded it, which means the Lunies get to be the ones on the back foot. "I see," they say, then pop another small morsel of rice in their mouth, partly for the effect of the ensuing silence, partly to compose their words. Then they set down their utensils. "The Church does not look well upon the 'Unsent,' no. Normally when one lingers after death, one becomes a Fiend," Belize replies, looking between the two in turn. "To be so restless and dissatisfied with life that one lingers in one's once mortal form..." Their lashes droop as they glower at their meal. "It's an abomination."

A heartbeat. They look up at Lunata, expression neutral. "...But I understand that you aren't so much lingering as you are, mm... trapped. I cannot speak for everyone in the Church, but I personally have sympathy for that. You can't help your curse."

A brief, but significant, glance towards Orochi-Agito.


<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

It takes Shalune a little while to clear her throat, though thankfully she manages to cover her mouth with her hand for most of it. It kind of derails whatever she was going to say in response to Belize, though it's already a fair bet that it was going to be something about how she'd certainly /try/.

"... i-is that really okay?" she mumbles to herself once she's stopped coughing, only to wince hard at Belize's rather caustic response. You can just see the way she almost bristles in response to it, her eyes flashing with a genuine anger for a moment-- but she forces it back long enough for the Summoner to point out that Lunata's case is rather different, and particularly forced upon her.

That seems to mollify the mechanic, at least for the time being. Still, she's left feeling a little sullen and uncertain as she picks at her rice. Recognizing that an outburst is probably the worst of all possible plans right now, she lifts her soup instead, hiding behind the cup for a few moments. She's more than aware of the undercurrent of Belize's expectations - and Lunata's, she suspects - and has to slowly turn it over in her mind.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"... ... well, I am not about to sour our lunch conversation by admitting that I am an abomination in many ways," Lunata lets out a wan chuckle, "So I'll drop that for now." She glances back towards Belize for a moment, perhaps seeing some of the tension within Belize as she comments on being a protector, wondering if they may feel themselves to be a more independent sort. Something to watch out for, regardless.

"Trapped would be a good way to put it," Lunata quietly expresses. "I guess... well. Maester Seymour suggested seeing if a Sending could actually work, but we were both skeptical."

She looks down towards herself, as she murmurs, "I am just a body without a soul... almost the opposite of a lingering body only sustained together by Pyreflies."

A pause, as she sighs. "Oops. Er--" Lunata blinks as she realises she just went straight deep into dour lunch conversation. She looks to Shalune and squints for a moment longer. If Shalune has anger in her, there's nothing left inside Lunata. Just... a flat, unmoving kind of tiredness in the way her voice hardly ever lifts.

"I am thankful for your consideration, at least..."

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

Belize shoots Shalune a look when she mumbles to herself, though it's not as sharp as it could be; though they're not holding back any, neither do they hold it against Shalune that she gets angry on behalf of her friend. That said, they reply, "No, it's not okay. I take it you're still of the living? You should feel lucky to not understand how not-okay it is to be unable to reach your final rest. Though I'm sure you've tried to understand."

They look back at Lunata, then nod. "Yes. If you have no soul to Send, I doubt it would work either. Did the Maester give it a try?" they wonder. There's a note of something that might be sympathy in their voice. "I take it destroying the sword isn't an option? I suppose it would be dangerous to risk not only your soul but all the others trapped within it, though." They pause for a moment, which is filled with a slow sip of soup. They set the bowl down with care, then look back at Lunata. "How did you die?" they ask.

Lunie, you were saying something about Belize and consideration?

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"I fell into a giant Machina that impaled me with spikes the moment I begged it to save my mother's life," Lunata answers matter-of-factly.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Shalune's shoulders have hunched inwards a little, and though she's taking care to control her breathing, it's in a very telltale manner that she's gone silent, focusing down on her soup rather than join into the debate or even answer Belize. In the end, this is the biggest difference between her and Lunata. What happened with Jay... it's hard to say that they're on the same page about how it went down, but Shalune did at least understand a lot of Lunata's reasons for everything that happened. She understood.

But part of her is a wide-eyed idealist, and that part of her desperately still hopes, even after coming this far, that there might be a way to get Lunata off of the Wheel without having her pass on - that a daughter wishing for her mother to live is something that doesn't deserve being condemned to death herself, that Lunata could maybe just put the sword down and live in Adlehyde in peace.

Saying that out loud, of course, is a whole other matter entirely. Already feeling intimidated, Shalune finds herself swallowing thickly past a spike of homesickness and nostalgia. "I think you're gonna need to explain it better than /that/," she hears herself tease Lunata with a puff of air. "Like, I'm pretty sure you weren't praying to the-- to it in specific. And there was a demon bearing down on all of us at the time like a wrecking ball, /with/ a wrecking ball," she adds testily, at least determined to try to make Lunata sound good even now.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"He did not try a Sending," Lunata admits as she pointedly kind of lets the topic of not being able to reach one's final rest pass, in part because she's somewhat curious about Shalune's thoughts on the matter... even if her lack of a response and her body language is all the more telling to her. She bites her lip.

"There wasn't-- exactly time; we were both with the Maester, along with his assistant Krelian, when the incident with the Fiends in Luca happened. We managed to get to safety in the chapterhouse."

She thinks on the topic of destroying Orochi-Agito, but says, "I... do not think so. I am not an expert on the Wheel's making, but I think the sword itself is just a key. And-- mm-- well, I have had the place called the Farplane explained to me a little. It is a repository where many pyreflies are sent, as I understand?"

There is a wince. "This curse is ancient, and... I am only the latest of many, many souls to have been snared by it. If it were destroyed, I wonder if it would have as catastrophic as if the Farplane were to break and let loose, if I may apologise for my analogy for effect here."

She does wince a little at Shalune and very tiredly chuckle. "That's true. It may be a curse, but it did give me power." She doesn't sound particularly enthralled about it, though.

<Pose Tracker> Belize has posed.

Well. Damn. Belize doesn't *say* that of course, but the look on their face conveys the sentiment pretty well. They don't interrupt, though, allowing the two to explain further before they finally nod slowly.

"It's more complicated than that, but you may think of it like that, yes," they say of the Farplane. And when Lunata moves on to that analogy... "No, no apology needed. That helps me understand better. Yes, it would be best to avoid that, then."

Shalune mentions demons and wrecking balls and that Lunata wasn't praying to it. Belize glances at her, then back at Lunata. "No, I understand. It sounds like the situation was desperate at the time. Desperation has a tendency to make one do--any and all sorts of things in the heat of the moment." It seems like they won't be judging Lunata for that, at least. "In any case, we'll do what we can to help you break it, Lunata. Though I hope you've had a thorough discussion with your friend about what happens when you find a way to break it, considering what will happen afterwards."

In other words, Lunata will die for real, and Shalune will have to watch her childhood friend go a second time. "I expect that won't be for some time, though, if we're even able to find a way to break the curse," they continue, "so for now, let's not waste this pleasant lunch."

Not so pleasant *now*, but they do have a point about not wasting food.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

"That wasn't my point," Shalune shoots back at Lunata; the chance to puff and pout and whine helps a little, and she rolls with it. "It's all very well you being all blunt about it, but it doesn't change the fact that it was a desperate situation and you had the best of intentions. I know, I know, I know how the saying goes," she adds quickly with an answering wince, "But it's still a distinction that means a lot to me."

The way she hesitates at Belize's rather blunt statement is all too obvious; there's no hiding the way she swallows and curls in on herself a little as she concentrates on her food, but perhaps it's just as telling that she doesn't blurt out an immediate rebuttal. She's aware enough - knows Lunata well enough - to understand what it meant when she left the Carakin in the way she did.

The problem is just how to address it, and when. Perhaps if she keeps putting it off until tomorrow, it'll never come. (No-one ever said Lunies were good at pattern recognition.)