2019-05-01: Those Who Fight Further

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<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

The Crusader Forward Camp is nestled in the very heights of Mushroom Rock Road. This branch of the Mi'ihen Highroad leads up to where the pathway twists, turning up through the many and varied strange, mushroom-like stones. The camp, itself, is on the top of one that must be reached by hop, skip, and hastily constructed elevator.

For the last week, ever since the alliance between the Crusaders, the Al Bhed, the Agile Remote Mission Squad, and Althena's Guard was forged, Drifters and sellswords of every shade have been hired. Now, they converge at Mushroom Rock Road, in the camp.

That camp, with all of its tents, is bustling with activity. Machina cannons line the cliffside -- with an enormous one, with a spiral-shaped cannon barrel, in the distance. Crusaders and Al Bhed mingle; Althena's Guard make the rounds, with both Guardsmen and wizards speaking with local Crusaders.

At the center, as Drifters begin to arrive, a Crusader wearing leather armor with red hair stands there. Tall and lanky, Luzzu declares: "Everyone! We're going to go over the plan, and make some introductions. Please, ah, gather around."

OOC: This scene will consist of a briefing over the next two to three rounds! Then, there will be a social scene; people can split off after that if they want smaller scenes, mingle, and et cetera. The NPCs will be about until the GM has to either flee for bed or getting plain darn tired.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise doesn't really like the idea of fighting alongside the Guard - not after what happened between herself and Ghaleon in the depths of the Flooded Caverns, and after the way he brushed off Seraph Lanval's fears about Althena. But Sin's too serious a problem for personal or theological grievances. And besides - in this case, the Guard is doing what Talise thinks a Dragonmaster would do.

The bladesinger showed up with no intention of singing. She's not messing around with Spiran disguises today: She brought her full plate, that which she found in the Elw ruins beneath Azado, and her sword. Will it be enough to defeat a giant whale and its spawn?

Talise hopes so. At least, especially since there's an army involved.

Even if it's an army that doesn't necessary have much love for her, as far as she can tell.

As Luzzu calls out to those who've gathered, Talise makes her way over and plants a heel on a piece of scenery, leaning forward and crossing her arms over her knee in a rough posture. If nothing else she at least looks like she's paying attention.

"Well, shit, at least everyone's on side for this one. I mean, it'd be pretty rotten to try and do this without a full-front effort," she muses.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

    Kamui... is here, because she's part of the Agile Remote Mission Squad. She hasn't remembered what ARMS means, and the last time someone asked she struggled for about half a minute before ending up at Acorn Roasting Market Sunday.

    She wants some acorns, mui...

    Despite that, though, she doesn't seem to be terribly... herself? Today. Something about the Forward Camp feels all too familiar. The layout of the cannons lined against the sheer side of the cliff. The march of guardsmen on patrol; the sight of swords and other weaponry being polished and readied. The huddling of several Crusaders against their little camp, faces downturn as they quietly contemplate what future they may have after this -- if at all.

    "This is... war, isn't it..." Kamui murmurs quietly. "I've been here..." She lowers her head, huddling her hands to rub against their opposing elbows. She's shivering. "So many times...? So many times. War..."

    Her camera-eye squints tightly, focusing, unfocusing, focusing, unfocusing. It's like the Reploid version of a severe eye twitch.

    Luzzu calls out to them. She turns to look, but doesn't approach.

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Margaret is near the front, leaning against her naginata (Whose blade has been sheathed in something made of embroidered silk) and smoking. She has put on something a little less brazen than her usual outfit, which mostly means leggings and a shawl.

"War?" she says, rhetorically, when Kamui speaks up.

"I would compare it to monster slaying."

But then she turns her full attention towards Luzzu.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed has heard... That there is something to be fought here soon.

Zed has heard... That it is the very same doomwhale that almost squashed him under a scale back in Azado.

Zed has heard... That the plan is apparently to throw everything they possibly have at the thing to see if it sticks.

Zed has also watched enough humans, monsters and Solarians attempt this very same thing with the Photosphere to predictable results at the business end of Berserk's mighty fist. Sometimes, when people say that there is something invincible that is not to be trifled with, those things are in fact invincible and not to be trifled with.

But.

Zed!

ALSO does not care.

The Dark Hero sits cross-legged atop the highest point he has managed to find, his orange scarf twisting in the refreshing sea breeze. "Oohhhhh mannnnn," Zed grins despite himself and the carnage about to unfold, "Rematch time...! I wonder how many of those weird scale monsters it's going to spit out this time? Oh man, I can't wait!"

Indeed. You can take the Metal Demon out of the war... But you can't take the war out of the Metal Demon.

Another leaf turned or not, Zed has been informed that there is an AWESOME MONSTER TO FIGHT and thus, he has appeared as if he were a hungry dog summoned by the ringing of the dinner bell or the opening of literally any container of food.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    White Knight Leo stands near Luzzu, arms folded across his chest. A brisk wind plays with his cape, tossing it back and forth behind him--behind, the banner of Althena's Guard flutters on a flagpole. The White Knight glances at the young Crusader, offering a slight, approving smile. "Indeed," he says. "I believe I need no introduction, but for the small handful who haven't heard my name: I am White Knight Leo." Leo takes a step forward, puffing out his chest a little. "Grandmaster of Althena's Guard, and one of Her Four Heroes. Chosen of the White Dragon."

    The big Beastman--who definitely does not have Ronso ancestry anywhere in his family tree, why would you think that--glances out at the gathered souls. Some of them he recognizes. Talise earns a nod. Margaret--well, of course he knows she's here.

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

    Ratatoskr, a younger Hyadean and one of the very few surviving members of his people, is among the gathered here. There is an air of grim determination, but also that of a building hope that they may have found a way in which to deal with the great monster that has plagued these lands (...and, as of recent, another).
     Until recently, the crimson-armored horned squirrel-like alien warrior has had no idea this place existed, or these people existed, or... anything. All this, after being forcibly removed from being witness to one of the most amazing things his imagination could ever conceive - a straight-up Soldiers From Every Corner of Filgaia vs. Almost Everyone Else on Filgaia all-out war.
     This is almost as cool.
     "Hyahaha--!" Cackles Ratatoskr, who seems to not understand the gravity of what is happening, instead allowing himself to take in all the sights of all these warriors of a culture he never knew existed. This, alongside some of those of Filgaia that ended up here... he's watching history about to unfold. He's going to see something they'll put on murals! And maybe this time the mural of this 'Sin' will show warriors fighting it!!
     ...
     He hasn't seen any Besaid Aurochs yet, though. He's sure these legendary figures will show up in due time, as his tail waves about in building excitement. He can't wait to hear it! The speeches, the planned formations, the everything.
     HISTORRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Among the assorted Drifters, mercenaries and sellswords is a familiar face.

Well, three familiar faces.

Ashton Anchors - looking a bit worse for wear and having gained a slight tan over the past weeks, is one of those who's head lifts up at the call from Luzzu.

He's reluctant to pull away from where he is and join the gathering, as that would mean losing his place in the blacksmith's line. But - duty calls. He can't exactly not pay attention to the job he signed on for. That would be irresponsible.

So he eases over. And as he approaches? The Double Dragon Duelist nods in agreement to Margaret. "The biggest monster. But still monster slaying." He gives Kamui a little nod of his chin. "This is no war - it's pest control writ large. No one's on that thing's side, from what I'm told."

<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

    Having arrived earlier in the day at the forward camp the Crusaders had set up, Bera hadn't even paused for the guards trying their best to block most traffic on the Highroad into the Mushroom Rock Road. Granted, the black dressed blonde samurai wasn't an unfamiliar sight among the Crusaders even if she refused to be a part of the publicly. Helping them was a different matter, specially since the Crusaders were at least trying to help instead of just keep the status quo.

    Bera spent the time waiting wandering the camp having brief convserations with with Crusaders around the camp before Luzzu finally steps up to declare the briefing. She makes her way to the center of the camp, left wrist and hand resting on top of her katana and the other hand hidden in the sleeve of her haori as she finds a spot to watch and listen with a flat expression on her face.

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    Merging into the gathered crusaders stands one armored woman in particular who may be a familiar... face? to one person joining the crowd of Outlanders here. It's admittedly hard to tell behind the helmet the obscures her eyes and much of the upper portion of her face.

    Her armor, though -- red lacquer, atop a rather functional mix of tan and black heavy but form-fitting cloth -- will be familiar to Gwen as the Crusader Racca.

    As will be her body language. She strikes a somewhat languorous ease, one hand on her hip, as she stands alongside her fellow defenders. The short sword still hangs from the belt at her waist, the only apparent weapon she has on her person.

    In fact, she lifts her right hand to rather stiffly give the young courier a wave when Gwen's in eyeshot.

    'Little mouse', indeed.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

It's crowded in the Crusader headquarters, Crusaders milling about with assorted Drifters and several large groups Violet doesn't recognize. All are armed -- or ARMED, as the case may be. They were to fight as a unit, she'd heard. She hoped at least that the job would be a paid one, or offer room and board; her funds were running low, and the Spirans didn't generally recognize gella as currency anyway.

Her ARM is tucked away, wrapped in cloth. Evidently it was taboo here.

The person who seems to be in charge calls for attention -- which she is more than willing to give. She settles in on a conveniently-chair-seat-height rock, unwilling to stand for what may turn out to be a long speech. An onlooker might attribute that to her age, but instead it's mostly laziness. She's more spry than she lets on.

She observes the people around her curiously, trying to see from their locations and body language who is affiliated with whom. Some are easy: they wear uniforms. Others are harder. She looks around for someone she knows but doesn't see anyone so far. No harm in keeping trying...

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is here because, as a mercenary with the Guard, he was told to be here, but also because he's eagerly looking forward to finding out if anyone has any idea what they're doing.

If they don't have a good plan, then judging by the turnout of this makeshift alliance, it looks like that's going to be bad news for a whole lot of people. As he stands with the others waiting for the briefing, he takes in all the strange variance in the assembled crowd. It seems that trying to beat up a giant town-ravaging sea monster is one thing that everybody can agree on.

For now, he is putting off imagining the potential consequences of catastrophic failure; it's much more enjoyable to sideye the leadership and look forward to the prospect of victimless flamethrowing than to contemplate, well, that.

<Pose Tracker> Rudy Roughnight has posed.

 The boots of the Drifter move slowly through the crowd. The first thing likely noticed is the hair, short blue hair that shifts with the silky flow of youth. The red bandana trails behind, moving on the faint breeze that's generated by all these people being so close to one another; it is as if the breath of war was actively weaving itself through these people. Brown eyes scan those that he passes by, the lackluster expression of calm neutrality only broken by an occasional awkward smile and a slight wave if/when people greet him.

 Wordlessly, the warrior takes a calm stand in the back, the shorter gunslinger having to lift his head slightly to take in people gathered. For now, he doesn't really go out of his way to look for anyone. Instead, the young man merely observes, but the fact that he's here is something. His Hand Cannon rests at his side, a simple demonstration that he's here to fight. And for those that know the Drifter, Rudy Roughnight, they know that he can definitely fight a lot better than he can speak. While he is here with his ARM out openly, perhaps he can avoid trouble by the fact that he is doing the other thing that he does rather well... Not draw attention to himself while others speak to one another.

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

A member of the Agile Remote Mission Squad, Eleanor Klein knew she was going to see battlefields sooner or later, when she agreed to join the organization. Now, she can't deny that that's exactly what this is; cannons arranged carefully, soldiers patrolling... the camp is buzzing with activity already.

The orange-haired elf is dressed in Spiran-style attire, but that doesn't change where she's from. At her side is her satchel of things, and, closer by...

"Are you all right, Kamui?" Eleanor asks gently of the robot girl who is her comrade. A glance to Margaret in turn, a small smile. "On a scale like this, they look alike, don't they?"

She looks over the White Knight, at his introduction, rising from her informal position accordingly. Indeed, she looks to Kamui once, and then steps to the side, bending at the knee and delivering a polite curtsy appropriate to a young noblewoman.

"I am Eleanor Klein, daughter of the Marchioness of Klein, guardian of Meria Boule's western coast and faithful servant to the crown. i am here as a member of the Agile Remote Mission Squad, to assist in the battle. It's a pleasure to meet you, Sir Leo. I hope that we can all work together well in the coming battle."

That formality is delivered quickly, gracefully, and after, she--with a hand offered to Kamui--moves to join the circle.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel has been here many times before too. She used to get really distressed about it. It still hardly makes her happy, but you can't live for as long as she has, and remember all she has, without at least being a little accepting of things just being the way life is. As far as 'wars' go, this is a notoriously kind one in which there is one side versus one giant whale. They'll either die having done their best or succeed in stopping a near-mindless entity of pure destruction.

It rarely gets any cleaner than this.

But that doesn't mean that one doesn't think of the broken bodies, the tears that will be shed in the days to come--win or lose, victory or loss, those tears will always be shed. Marivel has spent her time talking to those whose loved ones have fought with the noblest of attentions to be here, to fight in the coming battle. She has done her best to guide them to a copacetic place in their mindset. As much as can be done.

Even maniacs (Ratatoskr) are present, eager to battle? To record? Records are important too. Even the records of maniacs.

But she was here all along, having been part of the planning committee. She asked her questions and has gotten permission for the team's mechanic (Marivel, but Brad in this case) to examine the cannons and ensure max power is going into those things.

Shrouded as she ofte is, she examines keenly the arriving drifters. Her eyes slant towards Margaret but since she's less brazen than her usual outfit, she doesn't get as excited as she normally would upon seeing a Dark Sorcess in a Dark Sorceress get up.

Her eyes settle on Kamui. She does not reach forward and pat her head, now does she embrace her. She may wish to do those things, but she does not always do the things she wishes to do. She smiles at her quietly. That is the extent of her attempt to reassure her.

She looks at Ashton for a longer moment, quirking her head in curiousity. Subspirits?

She looks towards Leo for a long moment, smiling at him and then steps forward on the opposite side of Luzzu.

"I am Marivel Armitage, Acting Commander of ARMS." She says--The aliases have run their course--so she might as well stick to her true name.

She then smiles and waves again towards Kamui. "Don't forget, you are here as a member of Meria Boulletin right now, no?"

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    The idea of 'not approaching' suits Acacia just fine, thanks. The red-headed reporter instead stands on the periphery of the encampment as she watches the crowd of Drifters with a tight, thin frown on her face; her shoulders are hunched slightly out of nervous worry, and she's been quiet and a little withdrawn ever since the whole idea of having ARMS help in the fight against Sin got floated. She looks out of place still dressed in Filgaian clothes, but the familiarity is a comfort right now.

    Despite all of that, she has her notebook out, scratching down page after page at a rapid rate and not even looking at the words she's writing, identifying those she can name and scribbling down quick descriptions of those she can't, drawing quick lines between the organizations as she lays them out. She's a reporter, and that means she has a reporter's instincts. She might not know a whole lot about Sin or Spira as a whole, but you'd have to be foolish not to realize this is going to be a major event one way or another.

    Her pen pauses for just a moment as she winces. A lot of those people might die or get seriously injured soon, and the immediacy of it - watching the people involved carefully plan out the way they're hoping to avoid out - gives it an intimacy she's not used to. It's one thing to report someone getting caught by a horse and cart. It's another entirely to experience the building tension bubbling around a camp like this.

    Drawing in a breath, she frowns a little - and steps forward to place a hand on Kamui's head. Not a bop, this time, but a quiet ruffle of her hair to get her attention. "You're here as a photographer," she mutters, low enough for it to be private. "Not as anything else. All we're gonna do right now is take some photos, okay?" It's meant to be reinforcement; Acacia winces again, hoping it doesn't come out too harsh. Watching Kamui break herself apart against Helmaroc is something that stuck in her mind for a while. "... let's get you some snacks afterwards." ... no-one ever said Acacia was subtle in her bribery.

    She glances aside to Eleanor's greeting - but doesn't have one to give herself, remaining silent and a little stoic as she hangs back. Maybe it's because they share similar worries, but her gaze flicks towards the Crimson Noble for a moment - and then she sets her jaw, sucks in a quiet breath, and goes back to her writing.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


Lucia - does not want them to fight Sin. It isn't her mission. It's not threatening the entire world. Perhaps it thwarted them from reaching Pentagulia, but to her it does not matter in the long run.

Hiro and her may have disagreed more than a little on the issue. Which is why he's here to at least offer his moral support to the effort. He believes it's a good thing that Althena's Guard is doing - indicative of the Goddess' benevolence, to form an alliance to destroy this thing.

Still, he's smart enough to stay around the members of ARMs rather than flaunt his status as a wanted criminal by the Guard. You wouldn't know it though because just after Luzzu's call for them to come in, Hiro identifies himself in the crowd to the Guard by actually waving at Leo as he gives his introduction, before nudging Gwen, "Gotta admit. I'm glad the Guard is here."

Ruby bats her eyelashes for a moment at the statement before her neck turns around to face Hiro, every single vertebrae creaking from the effort. She stares at Hiro long and hard in silence, "... okay. Got it down."

Hiro gives Ruby a confused look, "Got what down?" Ruby replies instantly, "I had a sudden need to memorize the way your face looks when you say something too stupid to be believed."

Hiro considers that statement for a short while, before whispering to Gwen, "... What did I say again?"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise nods gravely back to White Knight Leo, brushing a lock of hair back from her face with the edge of her thumb. She doesn't smile but there's also no particular malice in the way she looks at him. They follow different paths but Talise can acknowledge a man of honour when she meets one.

"Talise Gianfair of the Fox Company," she introduces herself for those less familiar with her. "I was born on the seas of Lunar and I would like to not have Sin in them anymore."

She does glance at Ratatoskr, though. She'd recognize that laugh from anywhere. "Down a notch, kid," she murmurs, leaning over towards him so that she can just be heard.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Among those gathered here, a man stands - tall and imposing, covered in red body armor. Where there would usually be a helmet he has gone without - at least for this meeting. It was intended to be a way for those who would soon fight together to familiarize eachother with their comrades, and so hiding his face would defeat the purpose.

That is alright - he had no reason to hide. He stands at attention as the Crusader requests everyone gather around, his arms folded behind his back and awaiting the discussion of their plans for battle.

Indeed, it was war - war waged against a single enemy, whose might measured greater than any single army was capable of mustering.

Would their combined efforts be enough to slay it? He is not certain...but either way, it was certain to provide valuable data.

Introductions begin so he speaks, for perhaps the first time since his arrival here.

"I am Ambrosius." He states, for those who are not yet familiar with him. His eyes soon find White Knight Leo, and those following him. Briefly, he recalls Kaguya's report on the man and his own encounters with him.

"I am a colleague of Duchess Alathfar's. She has requested my assistance in this endeavor." He explains, offering the White Knight and his crew a polite bow of his head.
Ambrosius
A tall, gangly fellow standing around 6'5"(around 198 cm). The entirety of his body is typically covered in some fashion, making it difficult to get a bead on what he looks like besides his face. His clothing, however, tends to attract all of the attention anyway.

His body is typically concealed by what appears to be a bright-red poncho. From the looks of it, it has been damaged and several places and repaired with patches of cloth that are nowhere near the original color, tending towards various other bright colors that match well with the patches surrounding them, though not necessarily the base garment itself.

Underneath that is a thick, hooded, cream-colored suit with a bright-orange sash. Affixed to this is the holster for what appears to a revolver. There are also bags across his person, each containing an assortment of innocuous-looking objects. He also wears gloves and boots - if removed, one can see that underneath the cream-colored suit he is covered up to his neck in a form-fitting maroon-colored garment.

The hood of this suit is typically worn up at all times, and secured with a black hat. There are often various baubles affixed to this hat, though they seem to change as he finds new and more interesting things to apply to it. Strands of pale-brown hair can be seen peeking out of the hood, and he has grey eyes.

His ears, if you can see them, have a slight but definite point to them.

<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Leo, do you know where your Guards are?

 Well except Borgen, everyone knows where Borgen is, because he's normally above everyone's head.

 That and Skylr has been following Leo around for awhile as more people pop up. She doesn't trust him, you see - he's prone to be the exact type of Stubborn Idiot that does things he shouldn't and without thinking about himself.

 Also, she's taking notes, because *someone* has to be able to fill in the straggleers.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    There is a meeting of the minds, and that means one important thing: the fight against Sin is beginning in earnest. Through chance, the teleportation and drive of a strange man who ranted about ideas and things, and the fact that they happened to all be here, the combined might of several factions and groups spread across two worlds are gathered, and the land of Spira may gain its best chance of defeating Sin.

    There's also another thing it means, and that's food. All gatherings must be properly celebrated with the passing of food, to unite all hearts and minds through a bond all peoples share: their stomach.

    "Aw, man..." Gwen grumbles, one hand on her complaining stomach. "... I guess it's fish again tonight..." She opens an eye, half-grinning towards Ruby and Hiro. "But I *diiidd* get some spices! Some sort of dried pepper that the guy said was 'hotter than a.... thing that is really, really hot'." She waves a hand. "He said the name of some monster or somethin'. I don't remember."

    Unfortunately for Ruby, Gwen also seems to agree with Hiro's statement, though she does reserve her comments until Ruby's response, which cause Gwen to stifle a snort through her hand. "... Er, well, I was just thinkin' 'bout that. I mean, better they use their resources towards this- you can reason with Leo, but you can't reason with a giant demon whale. Thaaaat's my thinkin', anyway. Oh, hey!"

    A newly acquainted face (well, half of one) catches Gwen's eye just then, and she visibly brightens. Waving at the new face to see if she'd come over, she asides to Hiro and Ruby. "That person over there? Met 'em yesterday. Really nice person. Was all concerned over me bein' out n' about, but they had a decent sense of hummooo-" She trails off, seeing another familiar top half- specifically, Rudy's head, and, right as the crowd parts just so, the glint of steel of his handcannon. "Guardians, he didn't get the memo 'bout keepin' ARMs hidden..." Well, the statement. It wasn't like it was written.

    "H-hey, Hiro, Ruby, I got a friend I'd like ya t'meet!" Gwen tries to gain Rudy's attention, gesturing with her hand for him to make his way over, if she manages to gain his attention. "He's a good soul!"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

Nimue has been farting around with ARMS lately; she's not very serious about it just yet, but it's a thing. Mostly it's just an excuse to sleep inside a building sometimes (not necessary, but Nimue gets drained so easily...) and eat human food (even less necessary)... but she doesn't hate it.

She's a decent distance from Eleanor and Marivel, in spite of having arrived with them, and doesn't seem that interested in actually battling; indeed, for the most part, she's a rubbernecker in practice. She does seem *extremely* interested, however, in the local technology -- and in this nebulous 'plan.' Indeed, when it sounds like they're going to go over it, she glances off in that direction, considering moving a little closer.

She has absolutely no intentions of introducing herself, though.

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Maybe it's just something to do with the kind of people that gravitate to ARMS. There's a new energy in Brad Evans as he lurks. Brad is a titan of a man at six foot six, but he's so habitually slouched, shoulders slumped, hands in his pockets.

The others seem to feel a terrible burden, the memory of blood and death weighing them down. Brad, on the other hand, looks like he's awake for the first time in weeks. His back is straight and shoulders square as he stands over Marivel, looming even more than usual.

He looks like a man come home, on a field waiting to fill with fire. "Call me Brad," he says, simply, for what little introduction it's worth.

<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

Luzzu looks about, satisfied once everyone has give them attention -- and said a few words. He doesn't answer Talise, but a young, dark-skinned man beside him does. Gatta flashes her a big grin and a thumbs-up. "You got it!"

"We're going to get started," Luzzu says. "I'm Luzzu, a commander in the Crusaders. And this is my assistant, Gatta."

He motions across Mushroom Rock Road with one hand. "This battle will have three components: the cliffside forces centered on the Al Bhed machina, the main Crusader host on the beach, and then the forces guarding the rear. The majority of the people here today will be with the main Crusader host on the beach, which will be joined by forces from ARMS and the Guard. Their job is crucial: to fend off the waves of Sinspawn from overrunning us."

Luzzu nods his head. "The Guard will make up many of the forces in the rear. Those forces will protect the escape, and also against Sinspawn launched to flank us. Both of these will give the greatest odds of success to the cliffside forces, which will have Al Bhed machina and the sorcery of Althena's Guard."

Gatta nods his head, and looks thoughtful for a moment, before he adds: "We're all relying on you! Together, we can do this... and show--"

"Er, Gatta," Luzzu interjects, with a cough. "I'm... not actually done."

"...oh. Um. Sorry." Gatta laughs, awkwardly, and tugs on the armor around his neck, like it's a collar. "...Keep going?"

"...yes, thank you." Luzzu looks the crowd over for a moment, then sighs. "I'll do my best to answer any questions, but there are some specifics to cover, still!"

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

    Margaret and Ashton appear. They have their own opinions: that it's more like monster slaying. Pest control. The mechanical girl's red camera eye squozes in and focuses on Margaret's form, then of Ashton's (while being quietly distracted by Weepy and Creepy for a moment). Eleanor asks her if she's okay.

    "... not war ...?" Kamui doesn't sound certain, indirectly responding to Eleanor. She sounds a little panicked. "But..." She lowers her head. "Is there any difference... for those of us who are getting ready to..." She scans towards those Crusaders again. The worn-down looks on their faces. The thick tension only being cut with quiet jokes. This wasn't uncommon in Spira. The last word dies on her throat.

    She listens in on Luzzu as he explains the plan. ARMS will be with the main Crusader forces marching upon the beach. She's here as a photographer, but she's still here in ARMS... isn't she...? Those people will march...

    Will march...

    MEMORY ACCESSED

    A giant ship looms menacingly in the sky. The city is on fire. Kamui frantically hurries alone down the slow lane of a Central Highway, blockaded by toppled and abandoned vehicles crumpled and on fire.

    She stops cold as the sight of soldiers marching in line appear on a bypass underneath her. Ship artillery locks in place. Kamui's eyes widen. "Watch out--"

    Light. Fire--

    MEMORY CORRUPTED

    Speaking is starting to become difficult to her. So she has no questions for Luzzu.

    Acacia and Marivel encourage her to think of herself as a photographer, as a member of the Meria Bouletin. A little whine escapes her lips, but she perks up very minorly towards Acacia as she talks about snacks. She holds up her Picto Obscura and rubs the side of it gently. She sees Brad in the faint distance; she likes Brad. Brad talks about machines and her like he kinda understands what's going on with her body a little.

    But now is Time to deal with trauma in the mui way!!

    "Snacks... Master is giving me snacks... I want candied apple and chocolate-chocobo!" she beams to Acacia, arms airplaning to either side of her. Neooown, she's running a circle around Acacia.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

The number of heroes gathered here for this is large - even enemies of the Guard. Talise clears her throat absently and suppress the urge to smile, however tightly. There's something that excites the spirit about sharing a battlefield with current legend - not just Leo, but rumours that some of the others are here.

Now if only something wasn't wrong with Althena. Talise's urge to smile melts away.

She does crack one back at Gatta, though. His enthusiasm's infections, and it takes her mind off of her god anxieties from back home. "You said it, bud!"

She quiets, her mood leveling out at intent interest as she hunches her shoulders beneath her armour. As Luzzu explains everything, the swordswoman is able to follow his explanation without much difficulty. The Talise of two and a half years ago would rather have just gotten down to it.

She follows it well enough that something occurs to her. She presses her lips together in thought, glancing back towards the cliffs, then back towards Luzzu.

"Do you have a bard along?" she asks. "Someone's got to take this down in song. --Nevermind. You do now."

Talise clears her throat. "I was going to ask if you had a fallback plan for if Sin just decides to skip the Sinspawn part of the show and just crash right into us directly, but it sounds like you have more to explain?"

<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

    Bera crosses her arms as she listens to Luzzu, frowning as the plan was laid out. Or at least starting to be laid out. Anything involving machina was unlikely to end well, and it was unlikely Yevon approved of any of this. Granted the Crusaders didn't answer directly to the faith, only coordinated with Maester Kinoc.

    Gatta butting in suddenly gets an amused smile, but it fades as quickly as it appears as her attention returns to Luzzu. If more was to come, questions could hopefully wait till it was all on the table. As she waits for Luzzu to continue, Bera looks around the area examining the people that had shown up.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet takes mental notes as Luzzu and Gatta introduce themselves as she shifts uncomfortably on her rock. Good thing her non-human ears give her keen hearing! Sinspawn she's heard about but never seen. And Sin itself? She's skeptical any monster could be as BIG as the one she's heard described...then again, something HUGE keeps destroying the towns and villages. She wonders if any force, even one as large as the one assembled here, could really kill it...

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

When Hiro expresses his pleasure that the Guard is here, Margaret winks at him. This may, in some angles, involve a twinkle and a tiny heart-shaped sparkle, but this is probably just the toxin acting up.

Then Luzzu outlines the plan. Margaret bites lightly on the mouthpiece of her pipe for a moment; knowing, perhaps full well, that the magics she holds put them decidedly on Team 2. Along with most of her squad.

"The difference," Margaret tells Kamui, "is that you can go all out. Morale is going to be less of a concern, that's for sure." Then she meditates on the scheme.

"You're planning for an escape... tell me," she says, "do you expect some sort of great reaction on the part of Sin in the event of its death, or mortal wounding? A running battle? Or is this just planning for the worst?"

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

    When Talise 'shhhs' Ratatoskr, she'll see - in brief - he's grinning so very widely. It's a smile that does not belong in this circumstance. He does not begin to grasp how shaky this alliance really is, brought together out of need before a greater threat. He is ignorant to the history between Talise and the Guard, or how any ARMS members present might look upon him with a suspicious side-eye for having professed wanting to see Vinsfeld's ambitions come to fruition.
     The only thing that stops him from shouting to the heavens about any number of crazed exclamations is that he wants as many names as he can get. The introductions are taken and internalized. There are a lot of faces. The Hyadean enthusiast is only holding back his excitement by sheer willpower.
     He kneels down and starts sketching things on the ground with a clawed finger, as if committing the spoken plan to a more handy visual that he will nonetheless begin to make artistic additions to as he visualizes movements that are more interesting to his tactical considerations.
     If he could be pulled outside of this little fantasy world he is starting to erect, there might even be a nugget or two of legitimately good ideas in there.

<Pose Tracker> Rudy Roughnight has posed.

 As Gwen moves over to signal Rudy, the young warrior moves to meet her. The calm brown eyes look over Hiro, a small frown forming, though his tone is devoid of malice. "We've met before, right? A long time ago," he says softly. "Either way, well met; I'm Rudy Roughnight."

 The greeting made, Rudy soon turns from that to take in the mission briefing. The ARMslinger quietly folds his arm and listens, occasionally looking over to see how Gwen and the new (re)acquaintances take in the information. If there are any faults or concerns with the plan, Rudy doesn't really speak much of them.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


Hiro finds himself being impressed by the intros of the other members of ARMs, and his expression becoming incredulous as Ambrosius introduces himself as Duchess Althfar's associate.

Hiro looks beyond at Racca as Gwen points her out, offering a wave to the Crusader, "Is that right?" -before suddenly getting pointed over to Rudy. Ruby meanwhile upon seeing Margaret is nearby seems to have flown off to start inspecting the forces.

"Well... I mean, if he's going to carry openly, this is the place to do it." Given that ARMs is all here with some of the Crusaders wielding machina.

Hiro fortunately doesn't need to worry. Swords are acceptable to Spirans after all. "But Rudy and I've met. He's Cecilia's friend right? Yeah - good seeing you again."

Luzzu begins though the briefing, and Hiro finds himself listening, nodding along with the interchange between him and Gatta. There's something about the idea of the Guard taking the rear that makes him nervous. They didn't fare too well facing Sin by sea last time. However he tries to look on the bright side of things. A pincer attack that way has to go well right? It feels like pretty standard army strategy.

Even if it's against a foe that's not very standard at all.

That idea finally causes him to raise a hand, "What happens if Sin attacks the same way it did in Azado? With a tidal wave the size of the city. What measures do you have to prevent that from wiping everything out?"

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel doesn't mind Brad's presence. Even with a giant of a man looming behind her, made even more evident by the fact that Marivel is not a tall woman, she still manages to maintain her own kind of presence through the unnatural calm in her mannerisms next to that of the Crusaders. Her eyes slant towards Nimue for a moment but she doesn't comment in her direction beyond taking note of her presence. She then glances towards Hiro and Ruby. She doesn't say hello. When it's time to be professional, Marivel is professional unless she feels mockery is claled for.

"I'm going to note here," Marivel says. "That while we are hopeful, there is definitely a chance of failure on this mission. We will be relying on the cannons to do the heavy lifting in battling Sin. If they are destroyed or if they are not powerful enough--that will result in a call for retreat. If we do not defeat Sin, then our primary objective is to escape. ARMS and the Guard will naturally be assisting in such an escape. I would encourage everyone to consider their escape plan now--and all the potential obstacles in the path of their survival. From what I have examined of the cannons, I believe it to be possible but not certain that they will be able to punch through Sin's hide."

"To hear tale of it, the 'worst' is the most likely scenario. The matter of whether we are victorious will be settled in moments." She tells Margaret. She lets Luzzu handle Talise's question. Marivel's concerns were largely focused on the plan B here.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Indeed. Indeed! This is nothing less than history in the making! A cooperative effort from across two worlds, all dedicated to putting an end to a terror beyond reckoning! It's like something out of a storybook. But...

More importantly!

Zed... senses a presence!

With a 'tou!' Zed leaps from his perch, flips through the air, spreads his arms wide, and...!

Lands, draping his arms merrily across GWEN AND HIRO'S SHOULDERS.

"Gahahahahaha! You two are here too, eh? And the blue haired one besides! Who would have thought that we'd all meet again on the moon of all places, eh? Eh!? Ahahahahaha! It's destiny, after all! But...!" Zed releases his grip to gesture at the apparent brains of this operation. "You there! Crusader person! Tell me this: How will you prevent the beast from just plowing through your front lines? Do you have an emergency means of distracting the main enemy force should the worst come to pass? If not...!"

Zed thumps his chest, "Then I volunteer myself! Nyahahahahaha!"

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

Eleanor turns to incline her head Ambrosius's way, too, noting the tall, imposing, formal man. ...And then she finds herself curiously watching Hiro and Ruby for a few moments--it might be entirely obvious to Ruby, of course, the sorceress looking at her.

But Kamui is more pressing--and only once Acacia seems to have her calmed does Eleanor relax a bit more, letting herself take up a please near Marivel in the circle as they prepare to listen. ...If she can get Nimue to come over to her great, but, she sort of doubts it for the moment. She's a bit curious about the cannons herself...

Luzzu starts talking, though, and this is the point at which Eleanor quiets to watch him, thoughtfully. The three components; she sees some of that machinery, she sees the beach... And she understands where they're all meant, in a general sense, to be. The escape... the flank...

Eleanor, for one, lacks grand battlefield sorcery of the kind meant for a battle like this; it isn't her talent, isn't what she's studied...

But she finds herself troubled, watching him speak. Watching Gatta, too--

She smiles at the awkward man, his obvious enthusiasm, trying to offer some encouragement despite that. "I'll only interrupt with one question then," Eleanor says, lifting her voice; she speaks with the ease of someone accustomed to, if not command, then formal discussion. "I know we're some distance now from Luca--are there any other nearby settlements that we risk Sin breaking off to attack, during or after the operation? ...How are we sure, that we can draw it to us?"

She considers. Escape... As Eleanor turns to look at Marivel, she pauses--and then, for a few moments, looks into nothing, seeming to look past her, lost in thought.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

Nimue considers this plan thoughtfully. It's... different, from the sorts of plans of this nature she's used to -- she's used to thinking of an operation of this scale being uniform, faceless, unconcerned with life, human or otherwise. Hearing about the amount of effort put into keeping the line *safe*, on top of effective...

... It's strange. She isn't sure how to feel about it; there's something about it that just doesn't add up to her. ... Marivel gives her the information she was looking for, though. "Hey!" she starts. "If it's probably not going to work, like, why bother? Isn't that just gonna get a bunch of people killed for --"

Zed appears, announcing that he volunteers to distract the main enemy force. She looks at her fellow green-head, cuts herself off, and thinks for a few seconds.

Then, she proudly declares, "I retract all my complaints and questions about the plan. Please allow the loud man to run interference!" Having said a mean thing, Nimue looks very content with herself, and scoots a few inches toward Eleanor, whose actual questions might have interesting answers.

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    It's not... terrifically clear whether Acacia can see Nimue, or has been able to see Nimue during the various ARMS preparations. Or at least, she kind of acts that way, because the only other Seraph she's met is a very timid and shy soul, and she's not sure yet whether that's just a thing that tends to happen when you're naturally the invisible sort. On the other hand, she's not all that good at hiding the occasional quiet glance.

    She's still not sure whether she's a 'full' member of ARMS or if she's supposed to be keeping it at arm's (ARMS) length. It's definitely an organization that holds its fair share of mysteries, particularly around the people that are pulled into its orbit, and that naturally makes her want to ferret those mysteries out. After all, if she's supposed to be its unbiased chronicler, then these are pertinent questions, she rationalises. Such as why the twelve foot guy with the bomb collar is in their squad, taking the dictionary definition of 'the muscle' perhaps a bit too far, and why he suddenly looks so much happier today of all days, standing upright at his full eighteen feet of height. Maybe make that twenty-four, even.

    (Even broadsheets are allowed to stretch the facts from time to time. It hooks the readers.)

    She doesn't interject when Luzzu speaks - instead, she flips over to the next blank page and furrows her brow. She's not the best draftswoman, but she can at least sketch out a rough idea of where everyone will be stationed, adding a couple of arrows of movement as the plan is outlined. It's an opportunity to focus in on the page, and try to calm her own breathing - and it's an opportunity to try to ignore the small but growing collection of Drifters who seem to be approaching the whole situation as some sort of game, her face screwing up at some of the expressions of over confidence.

    So when Kamui bobbles around her, her spirits somewhat restored(?), it's as much a relief for her as it is for the others watching on. "Don't get too carried away," she bonks the other girl lightly on the head, unable to resist the lopsided smile on her face. "But we'll see what we can do. ... no, actually, you know what? After this we're definitely both getting something. And I'm getting a hell of a drink."

    Acacia is actually teetotal, but like hell she's admitting that here and now.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Dryly, Ashton adds his own appendix to Marivel's last comment. "Full of cheer, that scenario." Weepy promptly bites his head in warning to tone down the sarcasm.

Still - the spellsword seems undeterred. "Come now, my friends! We've faced down how much before and come away victorious?" He motions at... well, basically everybody. He knows just how powerful many of the gathered Drifters are.

Then it's Zed that gets his attention. It's hard to miss Zed. Zed is full of bravado. ...This seems like the time for bravado.

So Ashton takes a step towards the man, puffing his chest out. "Now but a moment, sir! Surely you cannot distract something such as that yourself. And no warrior should fight alone. I'll stand with you."

Those nearby - such as Margaret and Marivel - can likely hear a quieter mumble. "Sword-Magess preserve me."

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    Gwen's new friend tilts her head a few degrees, then, upon sighting her enthusiastic response wave -- and her friend, AKA Hiro -- offers a further little stiff fingerwaggle more.

    She does not say anything, though. Particularly not when the commander present here and now begins to speak, explaining the mission plan. Her attention is in fact rather intent upon him...

    Though not so intent that she fails to quirk her lips in an amused smile when Gatta has his little moment.

    Or, for that matter, when Zed interposes himself and makes quite the sacrificial offer of assistance. Her left hand props on her hip, underscoring the subtle shift in her posture as she regards the Hyadean swordsman.
    Perhaps the subtitles might best be read as, 'Now this is interesting.'

    Because it wouldn't do for her to speak up while the commander has the floor.
    And while the Outworlders are asking questions.
    To which she is paying quite intent interest.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo nods, once, when Gatta describes the Guard's role in this. Rear guard isn't the most glamorous duty, but it's no less important. "A contingency plan," Leo says, to Margaret. "Unless there's something I wasn't informed of." He glances at Luzzu and Gatta, arching an eyebrow.

    And then Zed shows up. Leo gives the man an annoyed look, and touches a hand to his brow. "Well!" he says. "If you're volunteering, I certainly won't besmirch your bravery."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

T-this presence...!

Zed turns on his heel and locks eyes with none other than famous swordsman and double dragon, Ashton Anchors. "You... From the dock! Claude's friend!" Zed beams and clasps his hands around the other man's shoulders. "You're a brave one too! Good, I'd be glad to have another pair of eyes watching my back!" Beat. "THREE more pairs, even! Hmhm."

"Indeed, WHITE KNIGHT LEO!" Zed flashes a terrible, fangy grin. "A true hero does not shirk from danger when there are battles to fight, legends to write, and life or death on the line!"

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad grunts at the plan. At least that much stays the same. "Always have an escape plan," he says, low; it's sort of in response to Margaret although in a way it's just observing the same thing with a different mindset. Something churns in his head at it, turning it upside down and over as he considers. Artillery line, defensive formation, rear guard. Guess there's no real need for an assault team..." What would that even be? Boats? He finds himself recallng....

    Three men, in clean but loose-fitting uniforms. Not ratty, but not the stiff pressing of the state military. One is tall, with a red headband and wild, unbound dark hair; one is shorter, with a white headband and short blonde; and the third, with long silver hair bound up. A ship approaches, descending from the clouds, with thick armor plates covering its hull...

Brad blinks twice and shakes his head a little, because Zed is shouting and no flashback can survive that. He looks down to Marivel. "Well, he'll hold attention," he asides.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Ambrosius takes note of the outlined plan - assesses each of the groups and where they would be headed. He had no objections to frontline combat - it suited his purposes, anyway. That was where he would be best able to gather the data he needed - and to fight.

"This is acceptable." He states.

He takes note of the others - Hiro and Eleanor, particularly, as the two of them look toward him. He does not address them directly, but he does offer them a brief incline of his head in greeting before turning his head back to the Crusader.

Questions...hm.

"Do we currently have any manner of data on the combat capabilities of the Sinspawn we expect to encounter?" He asks. It was possible that they would have to plan on the fly. This was acceptable, if it came down to it. But any advance information would be helpful.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Oh right! That's great! And yeah, Cecilia's friend!" Gwen considers, putting a hand to her chin. "And y'got a point, Hiro. I guess I jumped th'gun there a bit." A pause. "Oh man, that was a good pun, n' I didn't even realize it!"

    Eventually, Gwen quiets as Luzzu and Gatta speak, though she goes return Racca's little finger waggle of a greeting.

    "..." It's just like something from a one gella novel.

    And then, with one question from Hiro, Gwen remembers the sheer horror she had felt at Azado. Seeing the ocean retract away, seeing Sin sail forth, impossibly large. It wasn't some enemy ship, it was, as Gwen had first tried to minimize, 'a giant-ass demon whale'.

    When Zed LANDS, with one of his arms merrily draped around Gwen's shoulder, causing Gwen to yell and flail before realizing that the loud strange man is a Zed, and Zed is a friend. Thankfully.

    Because damn it in another timeline he'd be the worst enemy ever, just randomly always popping up and fighting you with more and more gimmicks and-

    "... If anyone could survive an onslaught like that, it'd definitely be Zed," Gwen considers aloud.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


Hiro finds himself grinning at Gwen's pun, "Best kind - the ones you didn't mean to make."

Eleanor abruptly hears something over her shoulder, "Can't take your eyes off me can you? I understand - having never been witness to something so magnificent. The name's Ruby by the way."

Meanwhile Zed jumps and drapes his arms over their shoulders, "What- Zed!? I mean - I guess it makes sense given everyone who sent here so - hey destiny it is! How ya been?" However Zed then offers to put himself, "Wait you want to be at the front lines?" And then Ashton offers.

Ruby whispers to Eleanor at that moment, "Hey lucky~to have the power of two dragons on your side. Too bad they're attached to that guy though."

As Leo agrees to recruit Zed, Ruby lands on Eleanor's shoulder, perhaps for protection, as she suddenly raises her voice. "Hey Leo! If you make it through this - I heard Ronso United is scouting out new members for next Blitzball season. Maybe you should consider dropping out of Althena's service and following your true calling here in your ancestral homeland!"

Wait did she just take advantage of someone she just met to heckle Leo?

She sure did.

Hiro finds himself staring at Ruby and gesticulating his arms 'No - no - no!'

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

     Gwen just freezes, then desperately makes the 'time-out' signal with her hands.

<Pose Tracker> Rudy Roughnight has posed.

 A brief smile is given as Hiro states that he remembers Rudy. Roughnight doesn't have anything really to say on the matter (as Gwen confirmed that he is Cecilia's friend), just giving quiet smile. Before too long however, there is an appearance of Zed. While technically they are allies, one can definitely note the twitching brow of the polar opposite personality. It's enough to distract him from Ruby's antics, not that Rudy really understands to much about Hiro's situation enough to really have concern of it.

 Only Gwen's look toward Racca causes the Drifter to look away from the Metal Demon and toward the woman in turn, before giving a simple 'hrm', which when coupled with a curious look, seems to suggest Rudy's wondering if the two know each other. Then comes the 'time-out' signal. "I'm sorry," he offers, not exactly sure what he did, but he lowers his head with appropriate levels of shame.

<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

"Plan for the worst, hope for the best," Luzzu tells Margaret. "I'd rather not see us without a way to escape if things go sideways."

Gatta is the one to answer Eleanor's question: "Sin is lured by its spawn. That's why... we've been capturing Sinspawn for months! We're bringing them here---and by the end of the week, we'll have enough that it won't pass us up!" He looks at Zed, then. He blinks a couple of times, before offering: "Uh... it's appreciated! We'll just need to hold out long enough for the machina and sorcerers to hit Sin with everything they have! So if you can help, good!"

Luzzu looks ready to say more -- except that White Knight Leo agrees. Ashton and Zed's fates may be sealed. Luzzu decides to accept that. He looks at Ambrosius, instead. "There's large and small ones. We should expect both the smaller Sinscales and some of the large, especially dangerous ones. We'll need you on the beaches for a reason."

"I'm glad you asked!" Gatta says to Talise's question. "Althena's Guard was really helpful here! They, ah--"

He glances at Luzzu, as if to get approval. Luzzu looks at him chagrinned for a moment, but then he nods. "We do have a plan to stop Sin from breaking us the moment it gets close. But let's let the architect of that plan explain." He looks sideways, then. "Master Borgan, would you elaborate further?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

"Yes! Exactly!" Nimue declares, air-drumming for a few seconds before pointing to Gwen. "This lady gets it! The loud and boisterous live forever, so put this man right in the front while I curl up in a good book!!" Not 'with,' just 'in.' "I am very intelligent," she adds, firmly, a moment later.

She rummages in her pack for a moment, eventually fishing out a tomato-red... fruit? Vegetable? It's hard to tell. A local would recognize it as Pahsana Greens -- largely unpalatable to humans (but great for chocobos!). She shoves about half of it in her mouth and bites down with a big grin.

She continues doing this, because... well, it's like that, one supposes. She continues to listen to the plan, but it's hard to tell the extent to which she's actually listening and the extent to which she's just here to be Like That.

<Pose Tracker> Black Wizard Borgan has posed.

On being called, a new man appears.

Not literally. He doesn't teleport. He floats.

Black Wizard Borgan is an enormous man. He stands over seven feet tall on foot; he got an extra boost of height both from his floating platform and from his outfit, which rises up over his head. If you count his staff, there's that too. Despite the tropical heat, he is wearing a floor-length (well, platform-length) black fur-lined robe, apparently without complaint.

He floats out in front of the assembled crowd. Eyeing them for a moment, his gaze lingers on a few people - Hiro, Ashton, Zed - before he raps the base of his staff against his platform once, twice - if he wants attention, that's a good way to get it. It booms. "Apparently I missed introductions. I am the Black Wizard Borgan, Hero of Pentagulia and lord of Neo-Vane."

"You might have heard," he rumbles, his voice deep and carrying easily, "that Neo-Vane has sent a detachment to Spira. That is true. And of course we will assist with Operation Mi'ihen, using our mastery of magic. It is to this Gatta and Luzzu refer."

"Sin has been known to use gravitational blasts. It is this that it uses as a primary method to destroy armies arrayed against it. Operation Mi'ihen cannot be allowed to fail because of this. So. I will prevent it."

Borgan lets that sit for a moment before he explains, "I have been working - extensively! - to create a ritual to protect the Crusaders, the Guard, and the other fighters against Sin. I know much - more than anyone else on Lunar - about this type of force, and I am a great wizard. And so - I have succeeded."

"I am now teaching it to Neo-Vane contingent capable of using the appropriate kind of magic, as this ritual requires more than one participant. We will provide a shield so that the forces of Operation Mi'ihen can be the sword."

"However."

Borgan looks at the Drifters for a moment. He frowns. It's just a slight twist of his lips. "While we are turning our full force of mystic might toward holding off Sin's greatest attack, we will be unable to defend ourselves physically from the lesser fiends that accompany Sin. Deviation from the ritual spell could cause it to fail. And so some of you will be required to assist in our defense, so that we may shelter the entire army with our shield."

"I trust even a Drifter can understand this plan," Borgan says, "but just to clarify: I, along with other mages from Neo-Vane, will be creating a barrier to protect everyone from Sin's great blast. We cannot move while we are doing it, so we need guards."

He rests his staff at his side. "Are there any questions?"

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Well," Marivel tells Nimue. "Risky is not the same as impossible. I am not the sort of person to deliver illusions to people but if I felt it was impossible to win I would not even be here." She shakes her head. "But I am also not the sort of person to put the weight of the world on a single individual's shoulders either, not without even trying." Besides, this is not a fight she asked the Crusaders to participate in. They were going to have this fight anyway, she just decided to lend a hand.

She wasn't going to comment to Zed at all but Ashton says something that draws her attention. It wasn't the comment actually directed towards Marivel.

"Do not consider this to be like Mother." And then she smiles, fangs showing. "The Sword-Magess is too busy to preserve you, so you will have to preserve yourself. Tell me about your friends."

"Sin is not so mindless as to give him more attention than he's earned." Marivel asides to Brad in response to his own quip, the warm smile lacking in any kind of mean-spiritedness. She has a sharp tongue regardless whether her intent is ill.

She can't help but giggle into her hand at Nimue's further gags but turns her focus elsewhere. The Crusaders don't really seem to be especially professional, she reflects, but perhaps that is a side effect of the undoubtedly high turnover rate.

"Well, White Knight Leo." Marivel says, smiling with similar warmth to him. "Will you consider a career in blitzball when this is over?"

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel looks at Borgan when he appears.

Her expression becomes: https:'pbs.twimg.commediaA5IWVOmCQAAA9eB.jpg

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

    Kamui is rather obviously out of place here; she doesn't have much to contribute to the tactical discussion or reports and the extent of her contribution to the planning is to just once more Airplane ARMS and ask where she's being pointed to.

    The fact that pointing her at something gets an X-Buster to solve the solution somehow makes this work out.

    She kind of shadows and swans over Acacia as she starts drawing, so much of it not making any sense to her as she gets a bonk on the head. "I can't wait, I can't wait... but..." she looks at Nimue for a moment. Looks like the Reploid can see Seraphs. Clarine is very important to her, after all. Does Eleanor know her?

    She settles down for a moment as Marivel explains the reality of it. Several people point out what would happen if Sin just crashes into them, or creates a tidal wave. Escape... it'd be hard to escape then, right...

    Margaret points out that the difference is that they can go all out. "All out," she murmurs quietly. "Not having any regrets... maybe that is for the best." Isn't she a little downer, though.

    Brad suggests the lines that they should have, as she lowers her head and murmurs, "Kamui can add to any artillery line. We're not having to play pretend here, right...? But wait... wasn't I photographing? What am I photographing." She starts to stress again; Zed's vivant expression in the distance seem to register to her, along with Leo and Ashton's responses. Barely.

    But her eyes widen a little as Gatta explains that they've been capturing Sinspawn as bait. Borgan explains the ritual to protect them from gravitational blasts. There's a moment of hesitation in her, as her voice begins to crackle.

    "M-m-Master, it's too much. Kamui's in a tight spot. It's bad. It's real hard."

    So she does the only reasonable thing one does, and

    *plunger noise*

    takes her head off her body and puts it underneath a clothed table so she can hide.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    'Hey Leo!'

    Leo turns, fixes a steely gaze on the little pink dragon sitting on that nice young woman's shoulder. His eyes narrow in suspicion immediately. "Can it w--" Apparently not. Leo frowns. As Ruby continues, the frown turns into a scowl. "What are you implying, Fiend?" Leo says. "While I'm certain that any Blitz team would be grateful for my service, I'd think twice about giving voice to..." Borgan shows up. Leo snaps his jaw shut with an audible 'click', and glares daggers at Ruby.

    He does not answer Marivel's question.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Honestly, Talise can't believe she got Ratatoskr to quit acting a fool for even thirty seconds. But he also hasn't stopped grinning.

Can I blame him for being excited? the swordswoman asks herself with a sudden sobriety.

But when Marivel explains further, Talise nods, her lips coming together firmly. From what had been said of Sin before, she'd expected the potential for disaster. Possibly worse than disaster, really.

Gatta has an answer for her. Arching her eyebrows, Talise lowers her foot from the crate to resume a more relaxed standing posture, her gauntleted hands at her hips. "Oh yeah? That'd be useful to know--"

    'master borgan'

Talise opens her mouth a little but doesn't say anything because her expression is just a startled 'o'.

She does, at least, close her mouth by the time the Black Wizard makes himself known. A tiny part of her grumbles that she's not the tallest on scene anymore -

Brad is right over there, Talise, her mind recalls. Talise actually manages to look slightly crestfallen.

She cants her head as she listens to Borgan brag about his know-how. Talise's eyebrows go up slightly, then descend. "...Yeah, it actually seems pretty understandable," she comments.

She can't keep the slightest hint of snark out of her tone, but she pushes most of it aside. "So kick Sinspawn and protect shield thing. Got it. Think we can manage that."

Most of it.

Her gaze snaps towards Leo; she smiles slyly. "Hey, White Knight, how 'bout it? If you ever want to get into Blitzball, I'll play you. I'm no Ronso but I've got a mean long-shot."

    ~

Way near the back of the scene, Felius and Clarissa Arwin both drop their jaws slightly as Kamui beheads herself.

<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Skylr turns to find the voice when someone calls out to Leo and mentions 'Ronso'.

 She looks at Ruby, and then, firmly, says: "Leo is not a Ronso." She says that with the Absolute Conviction Of Someone Who Has Faith In That Leo Is Leo And Not Whatever A Ronso Is.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

"I trust even a Drifter can understand this plan," says the condescending, levitating wizard. Hmmph, Violet thinks to herself. That one's got an attitude! He evidently ALSO has the powers to back it up, however. Best not to provoke him. Besides, it sounded like the fighters were going to be depending on him -- and his associates -- to protect them during the attack on Sin. They might not have much of a chance otherwise...

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

Yuna is an understated presence at the back of the crowd. She isn't comically short but she isn't exactly much more than a slip of a thing, either, and she is periodically rising to the tiptoes of her boots to try to get a better look at Luzzu and Gatta. Every time she succeeds, a mix of happiness and worry wage war for territory on her face. Her lips smile, but her eyes are wide and a little bit too shiny.

BOING!

Tidus is an overstated presence.

He can leap really high, so his HEAD AND SHOULDERS keeps popping up from behind some of the taller Drifters and soldiers, then disappearing again. At some point he starts glancing back at Yuna and grinning at her, abandoning most pretense of attention paid to the meeting in favor of just showing off.

"Hmph."

Kimahri is a silent presence, but after his soft chuff of a grunt, the BOINGs reduce in frequency and spectacular height. Yuna wills herself not to even look at his shoulders, which are no less capable of lifting her above the crowd now than they were when she was seven years old.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Zed's boisterous response and acceptance of the offer makes Ashton grin. It's hard to suppress it around the man. His enthusiasm is infectious. (There is a brief hesitation when he's called Claude's friend, however.)

"Three pairs of eyes and a pair of swords," the Symbological Swordsman boasts - or at least guarantees. "Though hopefully it will not come to it. We'll--"

Then, a barrage of stingers from Ruby. Ashton is conflicted. On one hand, he has nothing against Leo. On the other, that was a pretty good shot. Creepy and Weepy are not so conflicted. They heard Ruby's comment about the guy they're attached to.

Dragons laughing sounds really, really weird.

While they laugh, Ashton's attention is yanked another direction. This time, to Marivel. (He needs to cut down on the coffee.) "Eh?" (He also needs to cycle his brain faster.) "Um, I'm sorry? Though I'm not sure how this could be worse than Mother. Or much of anything. But I suppose I could, uh..." Ashton looks around a little uneasily. "Afterwards? So as not to distract from sir Luzzu's words."

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

    "Huh?!" Ratatoskr exclaims. "That's not a Ronso...! 'Ronso' is what they call my kind." Ratatoskr states with an air that would almost be as scholarly as someone with such an arrogant, youthful voice can come off as, which is hilarious because this is also wrong. The solid yellows of Ratatoskr's eyes dim as he looks askew to the White Knight himself.
     "...Oh. The horn? The horn..."

     MEANWHILE, NEXT TO TALISE, WITHIN A BOTTLE

     "...Mmmm..." Lanval contemplatively grunts. "It doesh sheem we're all of the shame mind 'bout... the Clyshmian." His voice from within the bottle is quiet. He needs to rest, to meditate, to prepare. That he's talking at all from within it means his ability to focus is already somewhat compromised.
     He experienced Sin first-hand before he had an inkling of the grasp of the Guardians' fear of it. Now that he knows that... it's been difficult.
     But he must.

     THEN SOMEWHERE ELSE IN AN IRRELEVANT CORNER

     A strange man with white hair, dressed like somewhere in-between a ruffian and someone culturally appropriating Al Bhed face-concealing items, stands with arms behind their back. They've said nothing, listening intently to what the Black Wizard has to share about the overall plan. He raises no concerns nor questions, as though it were simply important to just let things largely play out as they will.
     ...
     Their gaze turns towards Ambrosius, for a short while, but it does not stay there.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Uhhh," Zed seems to have taken umbrage with something. Apparently, something involving Leo. "Excuse you sir, she is a dragon not a fiend." Zed sniffs, turning his nose upward in that huffy 'how dare you mistake my friend-shaped thing for a fiend-shaped thing' kind of way. "Gosh, it's like you've never seen a proper one before. They come in all shapes and sizes, you know! Why, I know one that's actually ball-shaped!!"

Beat.

Borgan appears...!

"Gravity magic...? Is that what it was doing? Hmmmm..." Well. Hopefully Zed is as dense as everyone says he is. Otherwise, that kind of power might just crush him...! "I think we can trust this guy's magic," Zed says agreeably. "He IS a wizard, after all."

As for Ashton...!

"Indeed! I noticed your swordplay the last time. Hmhmhm, I've had some time to improve as well. But just so you know..." Zed leans in conspiratorially, "In case we do need to escape... I've probably got us covered. P...robably."

It wouldn't do if Zed got one of Claude's friends killed.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Ambrosius takes a moment to consider this. So, they would be dealing with large, dangerous opponents, while also fending off smaller supplementary opponents. It was understandable, then, why they would need so much support.

"Understood." He replies with a nod of acknowledgment. The Crusader, then, calls upon someone else to explain another important part of the plan - the Black Wizard, Borgan.

This was another one he recognized from Kaguya's report. This was one to watch out for. He offers the man a polite bow of his head, and listens as he explains how he intended to protect against Sin's attack.

So...Sin utilized gravitic force in combat. That was an important piece of information. The power of gravity was difficult to defend against - even advanced Veruni technology had its vulnerabilities. That was something he had learned in his bouts with Catenna.

If the Black Wizard had a method of defending against such a power, then his presence here was indispensable.

"Understood." He repeats, acknowledging all of this with a nod.

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Margaret snorts at the volunteering of Zed as main tank.

She then makes a thoughtful frown and nods once to Luzzu, leaning against her weapon. And then Gatta reveals a secret - it comes for its spawn! (Goddess's name, Margaret thinks but does not say, I hope it doesn't turn out to be secretly just trying to protect its children or something. That would be tremendously irritating.)

Borgan then comes up. She listens. Her eyes close. She has no comment here. Probably she was briefed already! Yes, Margaret thinks, it would be miserable if something befell him. Then again, he is doing something (by Margaret's lights) to improve society... right now.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Of course I want to be on the front lines," Hiro gets a fangy grin in reply as Zed undrapes from both he and Gwen, relieving them of their Zedderly burdens. "Where else is a warrior of Hyades supposed to be...? Besides. I've heard this thing goes after machines in particular, doesn't it?"

Zed's expression... actually turns thoughtful this time. "If that's the case, then there's no better distraction than yours truly."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

Nimue nods slowly to Marivel. She's still eating vegetables not palatable to humans, the entire time. This is not her moment.

Instead:

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

Sin is lured by its spawn. Eleanor listens--and then nods, frowning in thought and... well, with a different kind of trouble. "I see." She looks to Nimue with a wan smile at the matter of her hopelessness. "It's worth trying," she follows up for Marivel. "Of course there will be a cost, but... I'm willing to risk, to help here."

Ruby's answer seems to shake Eleanor from her reverie--she can see, if she looks in that instant, that the young sorceress looks very troubled. It passes in moments, and instead she smiles and says quietly, "It's nice to meet you, Ruby. It's true--I'm fascinated by you!"

But then she pauses. Two... dragons? Oh, yes, the ones there. "...My, they... They are attached, aren't they?" she murmurs. "How..."

Pause. Ruby finds Eleanor's shoulder is eminently landable; as a schooled mage, she has just the right aura for small dragons and things to be near--buuut she pauses, at what she actually says.

She pauses, until, of course, Marivel joins in. That's not very diplomatic at all!

Eleanor doesn't look alarmed at all by the fact that Kamui has popped off her head. Indeed, she looks--and as soon as she sees that the head is still present, she just returns to the conversation at hand.

"Not a friend of his, I take it?" Eleanor asks Ruby. The Sword Magess aside--

Eleanor is quite interested in the matter of this magic, as Borgan approaches. He is, of course, huge--but he's also dressed in the unmistakable style of a wizard, which makes Eleanor feel a little more at ease already. She knows little of Neo-Vane, naturally, but she knows the sort of thing he speaks about. So, as she listens...

"Lord Borgan!" Eleanor chimes in, having introduced herself of course as noble earlier; she has the manners for it. "I am a trained mage from our lands, with detailed understanding of elemental interplay as well. I have a great interest in seeing if we can come to cooperate--may I attempt to lend my power to your ritual, as well?"

Somewhere along the line, she seems to have acquired a bit of jerky, that she holds up absently towards her shoulder to offer to her new friend. "And maybe our differing approaches will complement one another."

IT's a start, at least. Meanwhile, far from Eleanor, a different mage is back with YUna... and Lulu isn't going to say anything about Yuna's clear wish. It does, though, manage to get a fleeting smile out of her, if not for very long in these circumstances.

<Pose Tracker> Lemina Ausa has posed.

"Yeah, I have a question, actually!" comes a familiar voice attached to a very familiar blonde in the crowd. She'd arrived with Hiro and Gwen, but has been largely quiet -- she hates that the Guard is involved here, and while she could sit on it for a good, long time, she wasn't willing to let *this* rock. "Is it true that you tried to install a toilet in your platform, but the porcelain cracked under the mega-undeserved weight of your ego?" A pause. "And body. Ego... and body."

Lemina is being *extra*-nasty because she thinks Borgan's plan owns, actually, and cannot think of a single objection. In fact, after a moment, she begrudgingly asks, "... How much protection is your team going to need," with a long-suffering sigh. Yeah, she's going to have to take this one on the chin after all.

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    Gwen and Hiro aren't the only ones who get a wave.
    So does Rudy, complete with an acknowledging nod of the head.
    Does she... know him from somewhere? Or is it just because he's hanging out with Gwen? Mysteries.

    Gatta explains the heart of the plan, the matter of the Sinspawn, what they're intending to do. Just a fraction, Racca lifts her chin, almost as if it were a slight questioning grammatical mark at the end of some unsaid statement, but the armored woman remains as inscrutable as ever.

    Particularly when Borgan elucidates further. Racca tilts her head a fraction to one side, as if again paying rapt attention to the plan.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    Gwen reacts to Ruby's comments, Rudy reacts to Gwen's actions, and with a few words, Gwen just seems ready to deflate to the ground. "Nonono! I was reactin' t'Rudy, not you, Rub- I mean the other way around!" She straightens, clearing her throat. "Everything's good, Rudy!"

    She seems to deflate again, flumping forward at the waist, listening dourly to Borgan's pla-

    is he on a levitating platform

    Gwen asides to Hiro and Rudy. ".... is he on a levitating platform...?" She pauses, her hand to her chin. "... Man, if I had one of those... Deliveries would be a lot easier..."

    FOCUS.

    Nimue is answering with her agreement, and Gwen nods. "Yeah, Zed would be a great distra.... w-wait, Zed, don't go whole hog on this. Warriors of Hyades are kinnnda in short supply, especially Zed ones, and-" Lemina... has a point. "This might be a good way to get on their good side, guys," she whispers, to Hiro, Lemina, Rudy (if he's still in earshot), and Ruby (if she's come back in earshot). ".... That is, assuming we're not just made to be sacrificial lambs n' all..." Leo wouldn't do that, but would Borgan...?

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    Even the thirty-foot man can get lost in memories, it seems. (Acacia is not likely to let this tic drop any time soon; when dealing with intimidating people, whether they mean to be intimidating or not, she's learnt to practice deflation.) "Unless you're a real, real good swimmer, I don't see you assaulting Sin on foot," she points out, scratching at her hairline with the cap of her pen. "And either way, not for very long." Probably, she adds internally, quietly counting up the odds. Somehow, she gets the feeling they'd be better than she expects.

    Her pen stills as Gatta's mouth runs a little too quickly for his own good, and Acacia thanks her lucky stars. She'd thought that the Crusaders and the Yevonite Church were both far too uptight and tight-lipped, and yet here she's had a reporter's best friend dropped straight into her lap: a loose tongue. "Wooow~..." she breathes at talk of extensive preparations. It's some pretty bad acting, but she rolls with it. "You guys must have been planning this for a while, huh? Did anyone know you were capturing Sinspawn? Where were you keeping them until now, and were they safely contained? I mean, this seems pretty big, right?" she adds, her voice turning encouraging despite the subject matter, aiming to goad a response.

    Maybe it would be best to get the habitual newshound away from this situation...

    ... but her attention diverts anyway as Borgan says his peace. Her lip curls a little, instantly disliking the man; everything about him reminds her of too many pompous lecturers and blowhards that she's met over the years all rolled together, and she immediately adds a mental note to keep an eye on him just out of sheer petulance and spite.

    Kamui's stutter brings her back - she draws in a breath, and nods as she nudges the girl towards the table, well aware of her idiosyncracies by now. "... okay. Take it easy - curl up a bit if you need to. I'll wake you once it's good, okay?" she adds, trying not to let the protective affection show too much.

    Her brow furrows as she looks back to the assembled group. Like it or not, as much as she doesn't want to voice it, there is one question that keeps bubbling up in its scope, and she raps her pen against her paper for a moment before deciding to just go for it. "... what is the Yevonite stance on the use of machina in this operation? Are they going to be able to trust it? What about if it works? Are they prepared to soften their views, or will there be further discussions with the Al Bhed?" she asks crisply. It's the elephant in the room, as far as she can make out, and perhaps it's better to take a close look at it now rather than later.

<Pose Tracker> Black Wizard Borgan has posed.

Borgan's attention slips to Kamui.

He can't help it. Removable heads is new. He wants to know how *that* works. Is she a machine, or part-machine? But no; he must be good, and answer questions.

Such as Eleanor's, which is the first sensible one he's heard. (Honestly, it's better than some of the ones he got from his actual mage assistants.) "It is possible," he says, thoughtfully. "While I would certainly be interested in speaking with you, that may not be something to answer right now. It may be best for another time - if you do not use the power the same way, your assistance may be less help than none at all in the time we have to prepare... but I would be honoured to speak with you nonetheless."

But then - Lemina.

Borgan doesn't seem to know whether to scowl or smile. His expression gets very *wide*, at least. "Lemina, Lemina, Lemina," he says, his voice achieving maximum rumble. "I realize that Vane cannot afford porcelain toilets anymore, but you needn't take it out on *me*."

Okay no that's definitely a smile. "And that would depend on how many 'Sinspawn' are in the area. I imagine it will be somewhat fluid. I do not know the precise disposition of forces - I am a mage, not a general."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

    Kamui's Headless Body 'looks' back at Borgan staring at her as it reclines against the table with one leg crossed like she's too cool for school and gives him a thumbs up.

    You can't see the profuse sweating going on because all the emoticons are happening Headside, under the table.

<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

IN THE BACK OF THE CROWD

A man with pale blonde hair, now wearing robes bought in Luca, steps up next to Luca. Seymour's clerk, who she has met only passingly and briefly, is actually a rather tall man; he doesn't have to hop to see over a lot of the crowd. A smile crosses his face, before he bows politely to the Summoner.

"My pardons, Lady Yuna--ah, I am Maester Seymour's aide-de-camp, Krelian," he says, politely. "I never had the chance to properly introduce myself. Maester Seymour has arranged quarters for you and your party in the camp, should you wish it. After, of course, this is done."

AT THE FRONT OF THE CROWD

"Ah... yeah, exactly what he said!" Gatta cheers, after Borgan speaks. He thrusts a fist into the air.

And then he sputters at Lemina.

"W... well," Luzzu says, with a little more clarity and recovery. He coughs into a hand. "We will use that to buy the time we need. We, ah--" He looks at Acacia. "...Our hope is that our success will speak for itself. Maester Seymour has sworn to bear witness to this. And I think... we have a true chance for success."

Luzzu clutches a fist. "Their ears and hearts are open! And, thanks to our otherworlder allies, we have a power we never have had before -- to supplement the Al Bhed machina. We have--"

While Luzzu is talking, a fish flops down onto the ground. Right at Ivan's feet. Flop, flop.

And then the air behind Luzzu crackles with a violet light. The purple lightning snakes and arches outward, before expanding into the frame of an armored man. His skin is a pale color, and his hair is a long, well-combed white. Long elven ears, fine features, and a delicate lips and nose mark his beauty -- and the scaled, purple flesh around his left eye marrs it.

Black armor, with a long white cloak, covers his body. He appears before them: the Dragonmaster, Ghaleon, clad in white and black, and power above all else. His elegant lips curl into a small smirk.

"Hm, hm, hm, hm." He looks them all over. "I shall be the sorcerous might that our dear friend Luzzu was boasting of. I am sure it will be a fascinating display."

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

Somewhere near the cannons, there is abrubtly the gleeful cackling of a young woman echoing for a few moments. People probably can't hear Kaguya saying, "Nice. I told you, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


As Zed says that indeed, the front lines are the place for him. "Take care of yourself - and come back from this - you hear me?" He allows himself a faint smile. Trying to tell himself it'll work out, "We still haven't had our follow up duel yet."



"To the fact that you're an itty bitty Ronso?" Ruby finishes Leo's sentence of the taunt before leaning over to speak to Eleanor. "Eh - I don't hate him. A heckling is good for him. Builds character."

Hiro does not seem to agree, a hand running down his face as he looks sidelong at Gwen.

However then Borgan shows up. Hiro goes stone-faced, because he's heard Lemina's stories of him. "He sure is." He answers to Gwen.

However, he also has to admit he can find no fault in what he's saying. If he can protect them all from the worst of Sin's attacks then - the operation has a chance of succeeding.

"That's very impressive." Hiro allows. That Borgan is very impressive.

He imagines Lemina chewing off his ear later for saying it.

He doesn't have to imagine though as then Lemina taunts Borgan too and- at first he stares at Lemina, with a certain credulity. They're gonna be really lucky to get out of this one alive aren't they?

Then as Lemina allows it, he walks over and pats a hand on her shoulder too, smiling at her. He is in fact very proud of the fact that Lemina is going to ultimately offer to lend a hand - despite her dislike of the guy, murmuring, "It's good of you to offer Lemina. I know you Mega-hate the guy."

Immediately though he finds himself caught in a slowwwww blink of his eyes at Borgan's rejoinder. "Can we put aside the rivalry between your two cities just for a little while? This operation is too important to the people of Spi-

Ghaleon then appears - in a blast of violet light. "-ra."

And Hiro actually takes a step back, while Eleanor finds that Ruby is pressing against her neck extra hard. In his presence, it doesn't matter how much protection she has - she'll still feel intimidated

"Dragonmaster Ghaleon." Hiro acknowledges respectfully - to the figure, "It sounds like you have all your bases covered." There's this short inhalation. The fact should cheer him up.

     Why doesn't it?

"Just as expected."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan had been enjoying a certain anonymity in the crowd until Ghaleon--and his fish--arrived. Athlough the meaning of the fishy calling card is probably noticed only by himself and that anonymity is probably still intact, reason and good sense don't stop him from freaking out and kicking the fish away from himself into an arc that sails through the sky.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Reaching down to pat the bottle at her side, Talise smiles, though she's fairly sure the Seraph within can't see it. "Yeah," she says in a quieter tone. "We've got to stop the Clysmian. 's pretty important."

Sin's never menaced Talise personally. But the thought that centres in her reasoning is a simple one.

    What would Dragonmaster Chloe do?

If nothing else, Talise finds out what Lemina would do. The swordswoman has to hide a smirk behind her hand for a moment, clamping it firmly to keep from snickering at the Black Wizard's expense. Or possibly at Lemina's. She actually winces when the Black Wizard burns her back.

She takes a breath and settles as Luzzu begins to explain one more factor.

A factor which appears in a crackle of purple. Talise tenses slightly, then sets her jaw as she watches a familiar figure take shape.

    why do you walk this star?

Talise bunches her shoulders slightly and lets out a chuff as her mood visibly darkens.

"...Fine, we'll have your back on this one. Just try not to admire your own handiwork too much, Ghaleon," she sasses on instinct. There's something decidedly sour about her expression as she fixes eyes on Althena's Dragonmaster.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel's expression doesn't change as she turns to look towards the Guardians, particularly hopping up and down Tidus whom she watches for a moment. It cures her of her BORGAN status effect enough that she can actually take another look.

She smiles at Borgan. She caught that look towards Kamui. It's not a particularly pleasant smile and it is not designed to be but it's still a far cry from rude. "Let children be children." She says quietly to him.

But then Ghaleon appears and says he is the sorcerous might that the Crusader is boasting of.

Marivel's smile at this point is wide and open. "Ohhhh? Is that so? I was led to believe t'would be Borgan! I certainly sense a great deal of power from you."

And death, she thinks, but does not say.

"Am I correct to presume you are the Dragonmaster?" Marivel asks. "If that is so, I should thank you."

She misses Krelian meeting with Yuna in the back of the crowd because how can you turn away from Ghaleon.

"Lanval has been a lovely citizen of Filgaia. I am grateful you sent him to us. He has already saved our world once! Truly...t'was Althena's wisdom, no?"

Her smile relaxes. "Please feel free to send any more promising Seraphs you find to us. We will take good care of them, I promise."

<Pose Tracker> Lemina Ausa has posed.

Lemina thinks very hard about the number of porcelain toilets in Vane, and how many of them have existed since before she was born.

She frowns, slowly, as Borgan moves through her on the social combat map with no attack animation and explodes her.

Coupled with the generalized unease she has about Ghaleon, as if some element of the stories she's been told her whole life isn't *quite* adding up, Lemina actually manages to get cowed into silence for once. Huh.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

A power they have never had before, supplementing the Al Bhed machina. As Luzzu is talking about this, the air crackles with light, and soon, a man appears. Not just anyone - the sense of power radiating off of him is unmistakable. This, too, matches with what he had heard.

Dragonmaster Ghaleon.

His words were brimming with confidence. From anyone else Ambrosius might view it as a sign of unearned arrogance, but if anyone could back it up, it would be Ghaleon.

He was one to watch out for, then - particularly if he was aware of their true nature.

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    The short bit of commotion from Kamui's corner of the proceedings apparently draws Racca's gaze; she seemingly stares a good long moment at the display of the young woman taking her head off.
    ...Perhaps such a reaction is understandable, all considering. Even someone more familiar with Machina than most might, well, be startled?

    But as violet light rips through the air, as a certain individual makes himself known and announces his role...

    There Racca's attention turns and there it lingers. She folds her arms across her chest, her lips pursed as if in thought.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Again - Ashton can't help but grin at Zed's boasting and cheer. "Probably," he agrees without hesitation. "But what sort of a person would I be if I didn't make sure your exit was assured as well? You'll have your hands full enough that someone holding the door for you is wise."

That all gets derailed when Ghaleon appears. And people directly call him 'Dragonmaster'.

It should be fairly obvious why all three of Ashton's heads just -swing- in the direction of the man. And there's not an insignificant amount of concern on all of them. He even takes a step backwards and away.

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

You must be Spira's representative, especially with so many Otherworlders. This, too, is the duty of a summoner.

Yuna lifts her chin, squares her shoulders, and prepares to step forward to answer Acacia's question, when--

--she looks over at the man addressing her, and returns his bow, deeply. Then she pauses, as she considers the offer.

At last, the tip of her beaded earring swinging, she shakes her head, very slightly.

"That is kind of him, but I would prefer not to drain any resources from the Crusaders and their operation. We intend to bivouac with the others, using our own supplies."

Kimahri nods so subtly that it's barely visible. Tidus at first is pissed . o (SEYMOUR!!), then relieved . o (yesss), then vaguely uneasy . o (...but...fiends...and worse food...).

"If you would please escort me to him after the meeting, Mister Krelian, I'm sure I can explain everything," she concludes to the aide-de-camp.

Then brilliant purple seizes her full attention, and holds it.

That, and the headless woman.

Every time she thinks she's seen everything from the Otherworlds, there's something new to surprise her. Involuntarily her hands start to fly to her mouth with shock. Then she remembers who and where she is, and lowers them, such that it turns into little more than a meaningless gesture.

With Luzzu and Gatta having given a fine answer on their own -- true representatives of Spira, to be sure -- she is content to remain in the back, for now.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo does not snap back at Ruby. This is largely because of Ghaleon's timely arrival. The White Knight's head dips in a bow to the Dragonmaster, businesslike but respectful. "Dragonmaster Ghaleon," he says. "Always a blessing." Leo glances at the... inexplicable fish, though, flopping at Ivan's feet. He looks up at the young assassin, puzzled.

    He is studiously avoiding looking in Kimahri's direction.

<Pose Tracker> Black Wizard Borgan has posed.

Black Wizard Borgan bristles, just slightly, when Ghaleon suggests that *he* is providing the sorcerous might.

It gets more noticable when Marivel suggests that Borgan isn't. "We have different roles to play," is Borgan's response. "I do not think the Dragonmaster could have built the spell that I have, though he could cast it." And that's as close as he's going to get to crediting Ghaleon... but it was a legitimate crediting.

Right? Borgan is a scholar; Ghaleon isn't, or at least not the same way...

"But if you'll excuse me," Borgan says, "I do have some finishing touches to put on the cake, as it were, before we can eat it in victory." And then -

He vanishes, his entire platform surrounded by a ring of violet-black light before it contracts, taking him with it. Magic!

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

    THE BOTTLE BY TALISE'S SIDE

     It's never quite certain how Seraphim truly sense the physical world around them. When they project themselves, their manifestations have eyes, so they must have some kind of sight that sort of abides by the limitations of eyes? Whether he can see Talise's smile and reassurance, when the air around her starts to take a darker turn - an understandable reaction, given their history with Ghaleon -
     Lanval lets the bottle tip into a cup, producing a refreshing drink of... pure, clean water.
     They could both use something harder. As Marivel praises his name to Ghaleon, the bottle... well, it doesn't blush, let's be real, bottles don't blush. But if it could...

     IRRELEVANT CORNER OF GATHERING

     The masked white-haired man's eyes turn to the sound of distant cackling. They linger for a very long time on a certain short, somewhat-less-ill girl. So much so that--

     YEAH YEAH YOU'RE NOT THE CHARBIT HERE STAND ASIDE BACK TO THE ONE HERE

     "...That's a Dragonmaster? That's a Dragonmaster...!" Ratatoskr seems impressed. He leans forward with a menacing grin, as if it is taking his everything to not just want to leap from where he is currently sketching out the plan on the ground (with a few creative additions) and just fight the guy himself!! Such... power. He doesn't recognize it but he knows it's strong, it feels strong, it's...
     he can't wait for the fighting to begin he can't wait he can't wait

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad was somewhere far away for a bit. He does, however, jerk to attention when A WIZARD (another one) appears, boldly declaring himself their magical brawn, and not entirely subtly slighting Borgan. "Ah," he says, idly, to Eleanor and Marivel. "Professional riv--"

He reevaluates Borgan's parting shot with a nearly audible turning of gears. He looks directly at Eleanor. "...cake?" he asks, blankly.

<Pose Tracker> Rudy Roughnight has posed.

 A simple nod is given as the guilt is removed from Rudy with Gwen's clarification. As she talks about the platform that hovers, he merely nods. "I'll get you one."

 Rudy's brown eyes narrow in thin slits.

           MISSION ACQUIRED.

 As Hiro and Zed reacts to everyone in their own way, Rudy looks toward Gwen as Borgan and Ghaleon do their things. "I'm confused. I know we need to shoot Sin. Are there people here that want to shoot us? I feel like someone here wants to shoot us," he states, clearly confused with all the unspoken communication in the general area.

<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

Ghaleon looks straight at Marivel Armitage. He blinks his eyes. "Lanval? Hm, hm. I am afraid I never bothered to remember the name," he says with a shrug of his shoulders. He turns, then; he catches Talise's eye for a moment, and then smiles at her. It is cold.

"Well! It shall be a pleasure to work with all of you," he says. And then he holds a hand up... and a bolt of light distintegrates the fish that Ivan threw, before it even hits the ground. Ghaleon looks at Ivan.

Then he winks.

He turns, after that, and starts striding away, back towards the camp. But, he does stop -- right by Hiro -- and turns to look at him. "Well, well, well, Hiro. It seems that you're leading Lucia to all sorts of interesting places, aren't you? Hm, hm. But not to Pentagulia..."

Ghaleon shrugs, and then he keeps walking.

Luzzu turns his head to watch him go, his mouth hanging open for a moment like 'what the hell was that?' before he closes it. "The otherworlders have.... some complicated relationships," he says, quietly, to Gatta.

"N-No kidding," Gatta whispers back.

Luzzu clears his throat, then he calls out: "Thank you, everyone! Please, enjoy the hospitality of the camp!"

A few Drifters in the crowd begin to (well) drift off. Krelian, from the back, watches them. He rubs his chin -- eyes moving away from Kamui's table (interesting, he thinks) -- and then towards Yuna. "Certainly, Lady Yuna. Please, there is no need to rush. It's... nice, to spend time among such energetic people, isn't it? They remind me of some friends."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

    OH NO MORE ALT SWAPS

    A white-haired girl appears next to Krelian, stepping close towards him with a nod; she bears the look of someone who may be Yevon or Yevon-adjacent, with a travelling yukata in the style of those Spiran swordsmen and other travelers would don and slim pants and boots underneath...

    Except for that weird jacket with the ruffed collar that says 'Yggdrasil Alliance' ontop of it that kinda ruins the look.

    "Krelian, there you are. This is Lady Yuna?" speaks the girl, looking towards Yuna again and her entourage. The Ronso makes sense for a Guardian. The extremely exciteable young man is... less so, but the Carakin's redefined her sense for norms.

    "I'm one of Maester Seymour's retinue. Lunata Croze," she introduces herself.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


Ghaleon drops the last word fairly effectively. And Hiro is pretty stunned by it, sputtering as if to offer some defense that - this wasn't intentional.

Even though that causes him to seem even more incompetent.

It's not until long after Ghaleon has disappeared from sight that he says quietly.

"We'll get there eventually."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"I know we are," Gwen gets an awkward, silly grin. "That's why I've gotta. For all the Warriors of Hyades to come, I want them to look back and see that there was someone who was willing to stand against the most impossible odds for the sake of fighting the good fight...! Don't worry...!"

"Hahaha, it'll take more than some kind of apocalypse whale to put me down for good!" Zed turns and gives Hiro another firm shoulder thwap. "We'll have our rematch properly, I promise. I've got a few new tricks I haven't had the chance to try out yet. It'd be a shame if you didn't get to see them in action for yourself!"

Ashton, like Claude, is one of those people who just seem to Get Zed's unique brand of... zedderliness. Zed nods firmly and gives the other man a smile. "I'll be counting on you then, partners! With any luck, this will all go just fine and we'll have us the fight of a lifetime!"

It's Ashton and Zed on the front lines and he's hoping for luck.

Literally everyone is doomed.

"...Ghaleon?" A plume of purple energy materializes in a way that pings in Zed's head as way too perfectly arranged to have been anything but meticulously planned to have the greatest impact. This man, he concludes, is a true performer. No...

"...The dragonmaster is named after a ship?"

A true... SHOWBOAT.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise brings the cup of water up for a much-needed refreshing drink. It helps, a little.

Until Ghaleon brushes Lanval off. When the Dragonmaster catches her eye, Talise meets his gaze. She narrows her eyes slightly.

Only when Ghaleon strolls off does she reach down to touch Lanval's bottle. "All of a sudden I'm not so sure about this," she says in a quieter voice as she begins to move off to one side. "Maybe I'm just second-guessing it, though. Who knows."

She doesn't move after Ghaleon. She just moves away from the centre of the gathering, lost in thought.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

While the planning sequence ends and people start to mill about - and there is talk of cake - Ashton... gets rather quiet. And he sort of starts to slink backwards away from things.

His eyes don't move off of Ghaleon.

Weird, the guy who's soul-melded with two dragons seems nervous around a guy called the Dragonmaster. Who'd have guessed?

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan lets out the world's quietest wordless scream. It's more of an angry exhalation, really.

He warily watches Ghaleon depart.

There was valuable information at this gathering! They actually have a real plan! He wouldn't have guessed that Borgan was working on one behind the scenes (or... perhaps might've easily found out sooner if he were the type to ask more questions).

But for now, all Ivan can see is fish.

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

The serious matters at hand--the appearance of the powerful Ghaleon--Ruby's reaction to same--all of these things meet Eleanor's wide yellow eyes, as she considers the plan, and waht they might do.

"Very well. Then when you're able," Eleanor addresses Borgan, certainly seeing the logic in his words. And... Uh.

She glances back to Brad.

"...Well I don't know anything about any cake," she answers. "I'd like some, of course. ...Is cake a magical responsibility on this world?" she wonders. She pauses, she looks to Ruby. "...It's all right," she says to the little dragon, a little more gently.

Probably most people will even miss the distant trouble that still lurks in her eyes, even if Brad in particular is given the perfect view to notice it before Eleanor shakes it off.

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

    Ratatoskr's solid yellow eyes follow the walking Dragonmaster, who has said all he is going to. His grin widens. He wants to remember all these faces, he wants to know all their names, he wants to fight... all of them... and for the first time in his life since he's been able to indulge in his hobby - no, his desire! - he finds himself acknowledging on some level that he can't get to fight all of them in advance.
     The Dragonmaster, though, that's the one. Of all of them, the one he wants to keep, and the best way to keep it is--
     "You." A voice speaks, barely a whisper, but sharp as if demanding to be heard. A female voice, dressed in a cloak that is of regional make but is an extra layer too many for the environs.
     Ratatoskr turns about-face, startled. He is a warrior, born and bred, and anyone sneaking up on him like that triggers all sorts of instinctual mechanisms all but genetically coded into them. He comes just shy of swinging an eblow, as she lays a hand on said elbow.
     A soft show of power.
     "What is it? What is it! The Dragonmaster is..."
     Two syllables are spoken.
     Ratatoskr freezes. Then his eyes brighten ever more. That grin of his finds some way to be even more of one. The cloaked woman walks away. Ratatoskr looks down to the little scratching he has in the dirt, then to all the gathered Drifters, the Al Bhed, the Crusaders, Althena's Guard, and even the--
     She returns to grab his arm. There are exceedingly few human hands with the physical strength to forcibly overturn a Hyadean's physical will. She is not one of them. She merely repeats those two syllables, whatever they are, and adds some more.
     ...
     Whatever it is, it seems to pique Ratatoskr's interest further, invite a greater smile...
     ...and be something that must be even more interesting than the powers of what may well be three separate worlds (the shared presence of two of them together on a geographical level notwithstanding) coming together to face a legendary, history-defning threat to him.
     What could that be, as Ratatoskr follows her away from the gathering. Away from everything that should have him glued there in catatonic, childlike glee?

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

It seems the bulk of the strategy meeting has concluded for a moment. Ambrosius takes a moment to consider everything he'd heard. This battle...well, it would be a difficult one, certainly.

He had some preparations of his own to make, and perhaps it would be better to do so sooner rather than later.

With that he turns, his poncho swishing behind him. With no further words, unless someone addresses him, he departs - to think, prepare, and to relay what he heard here today to the others.

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    Racca continues to watch in silence, taking in (possibly, maybe; it's hard to tell for certain where her attention truly rests behind that helmet) the interactions between Dragonmaster and those who approach to speak to him. But she still doesn't say a word.

    Only once Luzzu indicates that things have reached a certain state of conclusion does she peel away from her fellows and make her approach to Gwen.

    "So, little mouse. What did you think?" the red-armored woman asks, her left hand resting on her hip.

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

Yuna looks between Krelian and Lunata, and her smile is no longer worried. It is a sunny, easy thing.

Again she makes the Yevon bow. It is never automatic or thoughtless, in her hands and with her back. She finds reverence and respect in most people, in most things.

"I am Yuna, from the Isle of Besaid," she confirms, quietly, gently, formally. And, both warmly and honestly: "I am glad Maester Seymour has many protectors with him on his travels."

Well... maybe her smile is a little worried.

But it doesn't flicker or fade.

Like the bow, it is consistent in its quality and its greater meaning. She doesn't fake them, exactly. The emotion behind them is very real.

It just isn't the normal one.

"Yes," she agrees with Krelian, also. "It's truly inspiring how all these people have assembled to protect Spira, alongside the Crusaders."

She pauses, and her lips outpace her brain.

"It's just..."

She purses them, now obliged to find an acceptable end to the sentence.

"...a greater responsibility," she says, finally. "As all great honors are."

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Hm? Have you let loose so many you've lost track?" Marivel quips, expression as pleasant as it was before as if she were just making conversation.

But she lets him leave otherwise, moving away from her official-ish post to approach Hiro and Ruby, and by extension Eleanor.

"I had no idea that the Four Heroes were so extra." Marivel says to Eleanor before looking to Hiro.

"He's certainly found his way into your head hasn't he?" She smiles at him. "I lost my cool a little," It doesn't seem like she has. "But I'm glad that the plan is proceeding nonetheless with no major hiccups."

MEANWHILE

Lydia Seren who has been lurking at the back of the camp, having largely come out of curiousity to see how the operation was going, hears some chatter and her head turns to look at it. It is not Ghaleon that draws her eyes at all, but rather Seymour's aide Krelian.

The world vanishes. She just looks straight at Krelian. She can't believe it.

Her eyes look at him unblinking. They are not her eyes.

Her eyes are His eyes, after all, but now those very eyes are looking upon him.

She starts approaching but finds herself having to push through the crowd.

She's not entirely sure why but she feels she must. So she does.

She tries to form her hand into a blade.

But her body won't obey her thoughts.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Oh man, that'd be nice," Gwen says, distractedly, to Rudy. This is the point where the Good End and the Bad End divide into separate paths, and Gwen probably just made everything veer onto the Bad End path. But it's okay.

    Sin will likely destroy them all before then.

    Or probably not! There's so many powerhouses assembled here! Like-

    ... Zed? Well, okay, at least that was a pretty stirring speech from him. "Y'know, sometimes, Zed," Gwen starts, raising a hand, forming it into a thumbs up. "You really are pretty amazing!"

    But will all of this be enough to keep them towards the same goal?

    Even Rudy is distracted by this enough to comment on it.

    "It's reallyreally complicated," Gwen says, with a soft groan. "N' I kinda wish it wasn't."

    But what is Ghaleon's intent, reminding Hiro openly of what they have always been trying to do? "It's not like we really can, at this point." Her comment comes long after Ghaleon departs, her eyes casting aside to Hiro in a worried glance. "There's no transport, n' we wouldn't know where we needed to go. Besides." Gwen frowns. "If Sin isn't gotten under control, we won't even stand a chance. This thing'll attack the other lands of Lunar until everything's evenly set to the same level as the rest of Spira. We can't let that happen."

    Racca comes up during this time, and the courier gives her a small wave. "It's certainly impressive! Oh, uh, everyone? This is Racca!"

    Who is totally not someone everyone may or may not already know.

<Pose Tracker> Rudy Roughnight has posed.

 While Gwen's words get a simple "Okay" from Rudy, there is a brief look toward Zed as he makes his pun.

 Rudy Roughnight smiles.
 At the Metal Demon.

 Calmly, Rudy catches himself, unfolds his arms only to refold his arms even tighter and just frowns. You won this round, Zed. BUT NEEEEXXT TIME.

 As Racca speaks to Gwen and Gwen introduces her, Rudy offers out a hand. "Rudy Roughnight," he states simply, giving a small smile in reponse.

<Pose Tracker> Ghaleon has posed.

"Ah, Lunata. I'm glad that you could make it!" Krelian says, with the same easy, slightly formal cheer that he always seems to have in Maester Seymour's company -- or that of his companions and friends. "Yes, this is Lady Yuna."

He looks at Yuna, and then he considers for a moment; he nods once. "It is," he says. "But... responsibilities define us, don't they? If we let them, and there are rewards in that, I think."

He catches eyes staring at him -- for just a moment. He meets Lydia's gaze, and his smile to her is the same polite one as ever. He looks back at the others. "I should speak with some of the Crusaders," he says. "Maester Seymour would like an account of their activities. Please, both of you, be well."

He bows -- and makes the sign of Yevon -- before turning and walking into the camp. He is lost in the crowd--

--and, somehow, lost to all pursuers but a few seconds later.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

    There's a quiet, pensive look on Lunata for a moment as she makes the Yevon bow; she quietly does much the same, with a quiet and practiced gesture of someone who hasn't made it a natural part of their livelihood.

    "... that it is," she quietly responds. "What one chooses to bear as a responsibility..."

    She frowns very gently as she casts around, a small, fake palpitation hitting her as she wonders if Jacqueline is here. She might be. It's inevitable. Something about the way Yuna said reminds her of the alchemist. This gathering... it attracts so many like-minded people to her...

    It makes it hurt so much more.

    She doesn't spot Lydia staring towards Krelian beside her at first, but when she approaches, her eyes widen slowly.

    "Lydia?"

    She turns to look to Krelian again--

    --and then realises there's a Krelian-shaped dotted cut-out standing next to her. "When did he--"

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.


"Is it?" Ruby whispers back to Eleanor quietly, "You don't know what that guy is capable of."

Perhaps she's a little biased. She's friends with Fei and she knows what Fei is capable of. Yet that guy put a hole in... 'Fei's' stomach.

And he did it with a dispassion that was stomach churning for her.

Hiro manages a grin at Zed as he says he's got some new tricks, "Likewise. I'll see if I can't surprise you this time."

However his final comment about Ghaleon causes him to sweatdrop, "Not exactly... it just sounds the same. It's spelled with an H."

Marivel mentions that about the Four Heroes though and Hiro scratches the back of his neck, "A little bit I guess."

Hiro remembers Leo standing on the prow of his ship, calling out to him for directions.

Leaping off his ship in pursuit of Lucia.

Mentioning that he appears on a beefcake calendar of the month.

"... okay maybe more than a little. I haven't met Mauri yet though - and Lunn seems pretty calm. So those two probably balance them out?"

But he looks chagrined as Marivel mentions he got into his head, "Yeah he's..." Hiro struggles to articulate it, "I know he's the Dragonmaster, he's just not... what I imagined I guess."

As Gwen brings up the lack of transport, Hiro takes a deep breath, "Yeah. Right now seems like it'd be the perfect time for us to reach Pentagulia... there's just no way to make it there."

Short of stealing the Destiny.

Hiro discards the thought as soon as he thinks it. He's not a criminal by nature. And Althena's Guard is about to fight Sin.

Nope, he's not actually thinking of doing it.

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad finds himself watching Eleanor as her eyes take that faintly haunted look. His own eyes squint, head tipping curiously...but he lets it go, it seems. Deciding not to press. Instead, with the party scattering, Brad glances down to Marivel. "I'll get to it," he says, and turns back toward the cannons.

Brad steps away from all, over to the massive electro-cannons, looking the assembly over for long, long seconds. "Wheels for horizontal angle control...think those wooden handles will be the vertical. Alright, and...

Then Brad just mosies right on up to the operator's end of one of the electro cannons and squats down next to it, giving it a good squint.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Heroes never are." Marivel tells Hiro in that 'I am giving you wise advice' tone that she so often takes whether or not she is actually giving wise advice. "And I am glad for it. Would it not be a sad thing if they met expectations, in its own way?" She gives Hiro a small pat on the arm. "We will get there when the time is right. Even if I wish to get to our destination as quickly as possible too." She laughs a bit. "Lucia and I are of one mind on that, it seems, but at least I know that my desire will not get us there any more quickly."

Lydia's eyes catch Krelian's. It is just a moment, but that moment is enough to arrest her movement. When she starts moving again, she ends up bumping into Lunata, and thus losing her opportunity to pursue.

"Lunie?" Lydia asks, looking past her for a moment (she is tall). "...So I didn't imagine it..."

She looks to Lunata. "...Hey, you uh--you do what you gotta do, but check in with Jay okay? She's been crying constantly and it's gettin' to be gratin'."

She sounds distracted. "Um."

She reaches forward and shakes Lunata's hand awkwardly. "Hi there."

She lets go. She stares at Lunata.

"So uh." Pause. "How's.....it hanging?"

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

    Lunata stares behind her again as Lydia mumbles. Also actually yes, Lunata is kind of a tiny whereas Lydia kinda towers over her which is never a detail this player remembers. She pensively bites her lip and--

    Lydia pointing out Jay's been crying constantly sure does feel like a thousand needles sabotending her heart.

    "We-- ran into each other. In Kilika. We got stuck in a Dig. We-- I--"

    There's an awful grimace on her face.

    "I'm sorry you have to deal with that. Wow. No. I can't deal with this, Lydia, sorry, bye, I'm gonna go find a grave to go into," Lunata frantically says as she hurries away.

<Pose Tracker> Racca has posed.

    "Racca, of the Crusaders," the red-armored woman answers. "Charmed. So you're little mouse's friend, are you?" Mirth comes easily to this one; a smile has found its familiar home on her lips. It may have to suffice for the darkened glass it provides into the woman's nature.

    "Quite the crowd. Well. We'll all see what we're made of soon enough."