2019-05-05: A Hope, Perhaps

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  • Log: A Hope, Perhaps
  • Cast: Avril Vent Fleur, Lydia Seren
  • Where: Luca - Port District
  • Date: May 05, 2019
  • Summary: Lydia catches Avril at port. The two of them discuss several important matters, including what Lydia had said to Avril in the Memorial Sanctuary, and the matter of Lydia's people in Veruni hands.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    At this particular time and place, the tragedy at Mi'ihen has not yet occured. Luca -- and Spira -- are still at peace, if a peace that grows ever more the unsettled as time presses onwards. Where will Sin strike next? Will a Calm be had again soon? The devout pray for the success of a Summoner.

    The last are things that Avril has gleaned since her time arriving in Spira. There is still much she doesn't understand, from history to customs and more, but she -- introducing herself as an Outlander -- has at least come to feel that she has made an advancement.

    "Thank you," she informs a stall vendor, departing with her purchase in hand. She bows, if slightly. "Please have a nice day."
    The water is clear here near the docks. The water here is alive.

    She settles down on the edge and carefully unties the cloth that encloses the little lunch she has bought.
    Halfway through, she pauses. Her hand lingers on the edge of the rough cloth.

    ...Something nags at her.
    Something's wrong, she thinks, gazing up past the ships and off for the horizon.

    But without a means to pinpoint the context of the sense she...

    "..."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren would be grateful this happened before Operation Mi'ihen if she knew Operation Mi'ihen was about to happen and would get like a bazillion people killed. She did not count. She has little faith in the operation and--she was just tired.

Besides, she saw someone there, someone she never expected to see there, and she knew she was absolutely uninterested in being part of any project he was a part of.

But this is before that! So you don't have to worry about Krelian thoughts today. Instead, Lydia wants to catch up on a friend(??) that she has helped out(???) in the past~

Lydia wears a poncho, basically, that largley obscures her body except for her face. This avoids people freaking out about her! And that's okay by her.

She arrives just as Avril is starting to look for---well, for something anyway.

"Oh hey Avril." Lydia says, playing it up all casual like. "Didn't see you there. You busy?"

She looks past the ships.

"I uh. I can come back. If you are ... busy with shipping." She pauses again. "Looking at ships."

She shoves her hands in her pockets as she approaches regardless because Lydia is nothing if not frequently distracted.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    All Avril knows is, the innkeeper had said that Dean was heading out to help with something out towards the main road and that's that. Perhaps if she had known more of the specifics, she would have tagged along with. Or perhaps, she might have even dissuaded him.
    If her vague premonition now had appeared then, that is. Quite a demonstration of a subjunctive scenario...

    But wasn't then and this is now. Avril stares out into the middle distance, her gaze on and yet not on the ship that must have left the harbor mere minutes before she sat here on the edge.

    She starts when Lydia addresses her.

    "Ah?! --Oh, Lydia?"

    Pause.

    "No, I was... just thinking. ...Would you like to share my lunch with me? There is a lot more in here, um, than I expected..." She a little hastily unties the rest of the cloth, revealing--!

    It's a steamed bun set. It probably would be enough for one person.
    Avril offers one to Lydia. "I, oh, don't have anything to drink, do I..."

    It wasn't just now. Something has been plaguing her all afternoon. Ever since the dark clouds began to roll in.

    There is another pause.

    "The ship?" Avril echoes, blinking once.
    She glances back out to sea.

    Somewhere a raven caws.

    "...Oh," she finishes.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Guardians, Lydia thinks, it's really hard to think of her as some alien invader queen.

On the plus side this makes it a lot easier to accept her offering of food. Maybe it's some sort of weird magic thing, she thinks, where she's actually secretly like two people and one is the queen person and one of them is a nice person? It makes sense! She's seen that happen with other folks!!

Or maybe she just hit her head real hard like Ethius clearly has. She sits down nearby and takes the steamed bun. "You're a really nice person huh?" Lydia says. "I don't get how you manage it, honestly. Maybe a lot of time with two other really nice people."

She considers this for a moment and decides, yeah, she can kind of imagine it. Maybe if she lost her memory and was found by those two she'd be pretty nice too.

"Oh, uh," Lydia adds. "I guess I never really...thanked you properly for cutting off that dude's arm." She says. "But I guess it's kind of a weird thing to thank somebody about?"

She laughs awkwardly. "Oh uh--It's okay. I'll get you a drink later and we can be even." She already feels weirdly guilty for taking a steamed bun from this lady.

This...lady....who is queen of the people who is putting people like her into slave mines.

Woof.

"I uh." She adds. The ship? SHe looks up towards the ships. "...Uh." She says again.

She struggles. "Uhhh....Right so... how is Spira so far huh? I guess this is kind of a bad time to bring up the uh... the thing."

Yeah she's being super helpful here but she has to push through her intense awkwardness first.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Am I?" Avril asks, her expression one of someone considering this fact for the first time. "I..."

    She outrights stops for a moment, evidently deep in consideration over this fact. "I am only acting as one must," she says at length. "...But if I am kind, it is because Dean and Rebecca are kind. To say nothing of Riesenlied, or Noeline, or Talia."

    She has enough awareness at this point -- if not memory -- to know what sort of person she must have been. A kind person does not wear the expression she had worn in the picture Elvis had shown her.

    If someone else had found her, perhaps it might have been different.

    "Even... Matilda had been kind."

    Her gaze drops down to her lunch, still in her lap. Matilda. What are they supposed to do now, if they cannot reach her heart?

    Lydia then mentions that time Avril totally did cut off a man's arm. "Oh-- I... You are welcome? He was... hurting you, and so..."

    Which is an easier thing to say than the fact of it: she cut then because it was the simplest solution.
    It had been quite effective.

    She glances away a moment.

    "...Alright. I think I would like that, Lydia." It's a strange thing to turn so handily from talk about hurting another to making small talk about a meal but...
    It's a strange thing to tell someone that it was your pleasure to have cut off an arm also, isn't it. Maybe they're both just strange.

    "...I think it's a fishing ship," Avril says.
    Strange, strange people.

    "Spira is..." Avril trails off. "The... thing?" She pauses, confusion flitting into understanding. "...Oh."

    Her gaze turns down, to the points where the sea laps at the docks.

    "...About your people. I am sorry."

    "But I cannot yet free them."

    Perhaps it might be wise for her to explain.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia doesn't seem to mind Avril picking the simple solution. Sometimes simple is best, yaknow! Plus, like, he ripped off her own arm so.... literally arm for an arm there right? He probably has a cool robot arm now anyway so he has nothing to complain about!!

"It's islanders so I guess yeah they probably would want to get food from the water. Makes sense to me. Though I uh... don't know anything about fishing so I can't help tell you about it. No water where I'm at." She lived in the Badlands which is like a desert neighboring another desert. That's like double the normal deserts even for deserts.

"Maybe," Lydia admits. "But to be honest, if it wasn't for folks like the folks you just mentioned, I'd probably be way more of a dick too."

Wait she's talking to Avril here better clarify. "A jerk." She adds. Yeah she has some practice on this sort of thing thanks to Xantia. Maybe Avril isn't bad off enough to misinterpret this particular slang but she is being cautious nayway.

"Matilda is kind. That's why she's so desperate to do somethin'. It's not like I don't understand it. I'm pretty desperate too."

She has a small bite of her steamed bun. Food you get from someone else always tastes better than you make for yourself, in Lydia's opinion.

She is relieved that Avril understands what she is talking about. She laughs again, awkwardly as before.

"Yeah that."

She kind of expected a 'not yet' answer. It always has been not yet hasn't it? But Lydia knows Avril is the kind of person who will cut off a dude's arm so not yet might not actually mean never with her.

"Yeah?" She asks. "Why not?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    There's a certain poetic justice to be found in there, that's for sure.

    "It seems that much of the food here comes from the sea," Avril comments, though to be sure, there is also much farmland to be found in Spira. Case in point: the contents of the bun she had offered Lydia.
    It's pork, if it matters.
    "This world seems so much healthier than Filgaia," she adds, glancing upwards at Lydia once more. Her fingertips brush one of the buns, but she does not yet pick it up to eat it. "From the water, to the fields, to the air. I only wish that there were not a creature such as Sin about. It..."
    She cannot entirely stifle the shudder that follows, thinking again of the weight of Sin's presence back in Azado.

    'Maybe', Lydia hazards, on the subject of what makes someone a kind person or not.
    And in doing so, uses a certain piece of slang with which Avril is unfamiliar.

    "'Dick'?" Avril echoes, innocent confusion across her face. She may be aware of certain terms people use, but this one is...

    'A jerk', Lydia clarifies. And just in time, before this gets any more awkward. "Oh, I see."

    Crisis... mostly averted.

    The topic of Matilda arises.

    "Ah," Avril replies, if that utterance can be called a reply. "..."
    Filgaia is in a desperate state. That's true.
    In desperation, one must do what one must do. That is right.
    ...So speaks the whisper from the dark.

    "I understand," she says at length. "Yet..."

    Yet, there must be another way. Something other than that.

    But speaking of desperation. Speaking of strain and the wish to do something.
    Speaking of the Veruni and what they have done.
    Speaking of Avril, their Queen.

    "...I have not told many this, but I had met with Volsung, the de facto ruler of the Veruni, inside the Photosphere. He... wished me to return." Her shoulders sag at such a pronouncement.

    "He would have me rule. Then, I would ascend into a role I do not recall and join a system in which I have no understanding of the inner workings. ...I have learned of politics while traveling, Lydia. What I saw, heard, and read -- the politics of a human nation are complex enough. By them even a king or a queen is constrained."

    Her fingers curl around the edge of the cloth in her lap. "What then would a Veruni political system entail? I may be queen, but that would not mean my orders were heeded. Without knowing who might help me and who might hinder me... I fear I would only become Volsung's puppet."

    "Even if I sought to free your kin, there is no assumption I would be able to do so. Not as I am now."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia doesn't seem to be kosher. Or jewish for that matter. Or against eating meat. Or against eating anything, really, with teeth like that. She could probably bite through some stuff humans could never rip into.

"Every land's got its problems, it seems like. She is about to talk on length about dicks but luckily Avril seems to understand what she means when she clarifies immediately, thus avoiding a lot of discussion about the various kinds of dick around.

As lovely as that conversation will be, it's actually kind of awkward for Lydia to talk about--as are most things--but she kind of regrets using the language already. There's a lot more folks out there than just Avril and Xantia who sometimes miss the deal with that sort of slang.

One must do what they must do. Lydia is facing such choices herself, but has yet to really take a step in that direction. Maybe it's Jay's tears, or maybe she just really doesn't have the guts to make that kind of choice... but she sees it. She sees options before her. At least she's not a queen!

Avril speaks of politics and the complexities of politics and how even queens can become pawns and it would be not even difficult were she to venture into that particular nest of vipers (it's politics, of course there are vipers). Lydia goes quiet, not saying much at all for quite some time. In the end she already knows what it boils down to. Not yet.

But at least she knows WHY. And at least it isn't because of some dumb new threat on the horizon of which, Lydia is certain, there are infinite of.

"Yeah." Lydia says after a while. "That makes sense. Ugh. It makes a lot of sense."

She picks up a rock and throws it into the water, frustration evident on her features. Then it fades as quickly as it came.

"I guess freedom's something we gotta earn. I don't know what you need to be a queen and not get owned like that." Lydia admits. "But whatever you need to be. I don't want you to be this Volsung dude's puppet, he sounds like he sucks. If he's the current leader, fuck, he's probably WHY my people are slaves over there!"

She presses her hands into her face for a while. And then she adds, "But this is it, you know?" She lowers her hands. "This is why Vinsfeld gets to say whatever he wants and get Matildas signing up with him and all these other doofuses who think it can be that simple, huh? I wish it was that simple. I would love to join his stupid army and just fix the problem by murderin' whatever was in my way to make it happen. I hate killing, but freedom? It's worth it, you know? Having a people who have an honest chance at livin'? It'd be worth it all."

She looks down. "...But it wouldn't fix nothin'." Lydia says. "At best it'd just change whose boot was on whose neck. And maybe we deserve to get t'be the boot, but I don't...want to be that."

She throws another rock into the water. "It'd all be worth it, but it's not what works. He thinks he's gonna save the world by sending all the people who literally saved the world like half a year ago to another planet? Geeze, man. That's a brilliant idea."

She pauses and adds, "I'm being sarcastic I think it's really dumb."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    It's a complicated situation. To not take the throne means that the Veruni abuses will certainly continue. And all the while, her people will be struggling against an illness that is slowly but surely wiping them from Filgaia. Her people will continue to be coerced to fight and strike against the other nations of the world.

    If they had chosen to ally with the Metal Demons, knowing them only as those who had struck a terrible blow against a human nation...

    But to take the throne -- without her memories -- ensures that she is at the mercy of those about her. Even her reputation, even her power, even her authority are nothing the moment that fact becomes unconvered, and she cannot hide her memory loss forever.
    There are nations in which the ruler becomes a puppet. She suspects this, truly, is the reason Volsung wishes her to return with him to her people.

    She feels like she had once learned what became of a weak ruler, but she cannot remember where she had learned it.
    Or when.

    She doesn't expect this to be an easy thing for Lydia to hear. Her expression remains as a mask while Lydia hurls a stone into the water with a splash.

    "Yes," she says, simply, and in the end it is the only thing she can think to say to that. Freedom's something you have to earn. Even for a queen.

    "It may be. ...I do not know. I understand there is a nobility system in place, but does that neccessarily lead to such divisions?" Elvis had informed her of that much, at least. The Veruni had set themselves up as the rulers over the humans, to guide them. But...

    What can she say to that declaration -- of why Vinsfeld's cause had attracted the desperate, why that man strives towards such brutal ends?
    All she can do is nod, in mute agreement.

    And at length, state: "When one loses hope in the future, one becomes desperate. And that desperation is a fertile breeding ground for anger and terrible purpose. ...Yes. I understand the desire to do something, anything, as long as what stands may change."

    She draws a breath and, gazing down into the sea below, exhales.

    "...Yes. It wouldn't affect lasting change. What was built in anger has poor foundations. I think..."

    Her eyes hood.

    "People like Riesenlied, like Dean. ...They have the right idea. That is why I want to do what I can, and see their wishes become a better world." She falls silent again.

    "That is why I want to learn more about myself and recover in full what I have lost. Then I will be able to return and make the change that must be done."

    Such serious words trail only in silence.

    Though Avril does offer Lydia a slight smile when the Shaman further clarifies what she means about her thoughts on Vinsfeld's plan.

    "I wonder if he thinks we might stop him," she says, simply.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

But how long, Lydia wonders, will her people have to wait? How long must they endure? How much must they forgive?

She knows what guides Kaguya anyway. She wants to live. She is not going to live. Ergo: It's okay to get reckless. That's Lydia's philosophy too. Be reckless when the world is unfair. Maybe you'll knock the right thing over.

But then she saw what happened to Lastonbell. She freezes up even when thinking about making something like that happen even on accident.

"I don't know if I can be like mom." Lydia says of Riesenlied. "Like Dean. It's not really....like me, you know? Riesenlied lost everything for her dream, pretty much. She got some things too, sure, but I couldn't..."

She sighs again. "Well--" She manages a smile. "I guess that means all we gotta do is help you remember right? I'm on board! I just uh--thinking about it, helping a friend recover her memories is probably easier than revolution anyway right? So that' a good first step anyway. Um..."

She rubs at her neck. "He's scared, ya think?" It's one way to look at it. It's possible he just intends to stall for time for one of his mysterious schemes. Lydia hasn't honestly thought about STOPPING Vinsfeld. She thought maybe that was a little unreasonable to expect of people who just like less than a year ago saved Filgaia and probably the galaxy on top of it?

But maybe that IS what they're going to do. Whether Lydia really thinks it's her duty or not.

"I'm...sorry," She manages. "I was kinda being snotty. I mean. I had so much in my head I couldn't really remember the important stuff. I've probably been bugging you a bunch with my big mouth. But you're, uh, you saved me and all. And I really owe you. And I think, um, I don't know much about you as this mysterious ancient queen or whatever-- but you're a good friend as Avril, at least. Honestly I'm just glad to talk about it so it stops rolling in my head all the time. So um. Thanks. And sorry for letting what you were get in the way of how I really see ya."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "It..." Avril's gaze traces off to one side. "It isn't like me either, I think. What I am now is as a result of my friends' influence." She has learned much of her inner drives, all that rises up out of the dark and the cold within. Lady Harken had taught her. Ida had taught her. And she has thus also tutored herself in these matters, as she continues to reach and grasp for what she continuously remains elusive to her.

    That sense of the deep is stronger, some days.

    "To give one's all for a dream... do I possess that strength?"

    Maybe there's an answer somewhere in her missing memories. But for now she cannot answer that question.

    "Yes," she affirms, on that selfsame note. "Thank you, Lydia. Though, I admit I do not know how. Perhaps there might be an answer on the ruins of Filgaia. Somewhere where the Veruni have traveled... or did once dwell."

    But where would that be that is not within the Veruni-controlled lands in Elru?

    "'Scared', hm... Or feels we might pose a threat. Is that being prudent or being fearful?" she muses aloud, rhetorically, her gaze lingering now on the point where sky and sea touch. "There were those standing against him, in that group called ARMS. Perhaps there is a concern we might ally with them rather than him."

    It's a thought. Deny the enemy their resources; it's a rule in war.

    The apology catches Avril flatfooted. She turns her head to stare at the young shaman. "You..." she utters, rousing from her brief reverie of shock. "There's no need to apologize. To learn something like that was startling for me as well." She lowers her head, her mouth twisted in a bittersweet semi-smile. "I cannot fault your reaction. And if any must apologize, it is I. Your people remain in bondage and there is nothing I can now do to resolve it."

    She falls silent.

    "I say this not as a promise, because I must not make such a thing lightly. I could not bear it if I could do nothing. However, if it should pass that the means to affect change is potentially in my grasp, however... I will see what might be done."

    Not a promise. But something a little similar. A hope, perhaps. A wish.

    The moment is interrupted by a shout from a woman running down the street.

    To the west of the Highroad. Something is happening.

    Wasn't Dean...?

    It's only some semblence of mindfulness that keeps Avril from dropping her lunch into the sea when she suddenly lurches to her feet. The remaining buns rest in a hammock of cloth, dangling from her hand.

    Her eyes widen.

    "No--!"

    And with that, Avril turns and runs for the gates, haunted by the sense of impending (or already passed?) disaster.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Maybe it's in Veruni controlled lands! That's adventure for ya, sometimes what you need is trapped behind a locked chest you don't have a key for or a duplicator door or a broken bridge that will be repaired right when you need it most. Lydia isn't exactly keen on the forces of THE MAN either but she also doesn't know...any of them. She's content to keep it that way.

In truth Lydia does not know much about the people enslaved in the Veruni territories. She has never been there and all she really has is Halle's word for it. But it doesn't really matter. All slaves are Lydia's people as far as she is concerned and she'll liberate all of them somehow, sometime.

Avril might be a queen but she's not, like, really a queen and that's honestly the best kind of nobility there is in Lydia's books. And besides which, she was a friend first. No crown can really change that right?

"Well...yeah, it's nice to get one." Lydia admits, grinning with her many sharp teeth. "But hey, apology accepted. Now we're square and--"

Avril makes her promise that is not exactly a promise but, well, Avril has always been precise in how vague she is being. Lydia's smile relaxes but she says, "Alright. It's a deal."

Then it seems like some bad is happening. Lydia stands herself up. "Hah?"

Avril starts running. "Oh." She says. Then HER eyes widen. "OH SHIT NAW--"

And despite wanting to avoid all Sin related matters until Filgaia's sun burns out, she chases after Avril all the same.