2019-05-22: Some Friendly Advice

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  • Log: 2019-05-22: Some Friendly Advice
  • Cast: Clarissa Arwin, Ivan
  • Where: Mi'ihen Highroad
  • Date: May 22, 2019
  • Summary: Ivan and Clarissa meet on the Highroad. After an initial struggle to find common ground, they settle on 'siblings are great' and Clarissa dispenses some advice.

=============================<* Mi'ihen Highroad *>=============================

Many years ago, a man named Lord Mi'ihen, commander of a mercenary group known as the Crimson Blades, was summoned by the Grand Measter to Bevelle to answer the challenge that his group was a threat to Yevon. Though his followers suspected he would be executed and begged to follow, Mi'ihen ordered them to stay behind and walked along an old path to Bevelle, without stopping to rest. 

Moved by the display of piety, the Grand Maester formally adopted Mi'ihen and his soldiers into Yevon as a defensive force, known now as the Crusaders. In recognition of the momentous moment, the path Mi'ihen walked now bears his name.

...except not really, because the original one was wrecked by Sin a few hundred years ago. You can still see bits of it as you pass along the Highroad, on which the Djose Temple can also be found.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8tfe_H7bzw
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"Felius, I've been thinking about how this all happened," Clarissa begins as the two make their way along the Mi'ihen Highroad.

The pair of them don't look related. Clarissa - slender, blonde and with her big poofy hair pulled up into a ponytail - bears no resemblance to Felius, tall and tanner and purple-haired and still wearing all black in the middle of a tropical continent. And yet they walk close at hand nevertheless, he tilting his head as she speaks. "Mm?"

Brushing back her bangs with one hand, Clarissa smiles a quiet smile and looks off into the distance. "I was thinking that maybe it's for the best. I mean... we were no closer to catching up with Rupert, the way things were going. But I think that it was good that we met Miss Marivel. Maybe when this is all over, she'll have the contacts to help us find Rupert and get Mother's sword back for good."

"It's possible," the quiet man concedes with a small nod. "You know that I'll follow you wherever you go."

"Felius... you've always been there for me. Thank you." Clarissa's smile is warm and kind as she looks up at her brother, bright-eyed.

Her focus is off the road. No Fiends are in evidence on this bright, clear day. It's as if the recent battle with Sin has caused everything to take a short breather, and they continue along the trail in idle conversation, not threatened yet, but easily spotted by any passer-by. They must be the only people for a couple miles in any direction.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Things have been tense for Ivan, whose ongoing failures at two assassination assignments have been drawing ominous comments from his employer. The Guard keeps him too busy to go after his targets often, and it seems that his own sister has started bodyguarding Jacqueline Barber!

Which is honestly a pretty good idea on her part if the objective is to protect her and avoid bloodshed. But still! The betrayal!

As Ivan walks along down the highroad, his mind is on his most recent failure, and not as much on his surroundings. He zones back in at the sound of chatter, and realizes he's fallen weirdly into step with two travelers. The nature of their conversation makes him feel as though he's intruding on something, and he tenses, wondering if it is too late to 'disappear.' Well...it definitely is, because he's walking right along right alongside them as if he came up to them with purpose and meant to say something.

... ... ... maybe he should pretend he did. He searches their surroundings and their persons for some spark of a topic, and his eyes settle on the odd weapon at the blonde girl's side. He's seen some others like it since he came here, and knows that it's called an ARM, but other than the fact ARMs are some kind of machina capable of arbitrary wonders, he doesn't know much about them.

"Does that thing shoot fire or whatever?"

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Clarissa knows Jay! But then, who doesn't? They're similar people, really.

Before she can say anything else to Felius, it occurs to her that they're not alone. With a blink, she tilts her head and looks towards Ivan. Felius's eyes turn towards him, too.

A long, awkward silence hangs in the air. Somewhere off in the distance, a bird chirps innocuously.

Ivan breaks the silence with a question, catching Clarissa with her mouth partway open. She blinks - but she covers the surprise with a blush and a little smile, resting one hand on the grip of Strahl Gewehr, peeking as it is out of the pouch she carries at her side to conceal it from prying Yevonites who might get the wrong idea. "I'm not sure fire is the right word for it. It doesn't take a clip like a traditional gunsmoke ARM, and I haven't found an energy cell. I assume what it shoots is, um. Light? Of some sort."

Clarissa holds her hands out at her side helplessly for a second, then drops them. "You must've seen me using Strahl Gewehr before," she surises. "Were you at the battle against Sin?"

Anyone else might've become crestfallen at that. Events afterwards were unkind to Clarissa. Barely escaping with her life does not seem to have brought her down, judging from the sunny smile she directs at the person who's joined them.

"Were you on your way somewhere? It's safer to travel together, you know."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan stares at her for a moment. Was she at the battle with Sin? She must've been, to ask like that. So many people came there--much of it was chaos. And while far fewer left, Ivan's focus in the immediate aftermath was... mainly on the wounded and the dead, and on the others remaining in the Guard. Not so much on surviving forces from other groups and factions. He shakes his head.

"You saw me there?"

The idea of having been noticed in such a crowd is.. unnerving, for someone who likes to remain unseen. He still hasn't fully accepted that his insistence on dressing in dark clothing and leather armor makes him stand out in the balmy climate of Spira. (At least someone else on the continent didn't get the memo, since it seems that the girl's companion has similar fashion sense).

But perhaps she didn't see him, and was only guessing based on the fact that he had a rough idea of her weapon's capabilities.

"There was a lot going on, and it seemed like half of it was crazy and impossible. I lost track."

His posture grows defensive (or, well, more defensive) at the suggestion of grouping up for safety.

"I don't need to be safer. The fiends out here are no problem."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Clarissa was at part of the battle with Sin! It involved a hideous tentacle plant monster.

The blonde girl - whose companion is also dressed all in black leather - just meets Ivan's unease with a gentle smile. "I think I might've seen you in the crowd earlier. I was there as part of ARMS. We figured we could be of help." The smile fades, and she looks off to one side with a little sigh. "...Yeah, I'd never been in a battle like that before. I'm sorry we couldn't do more to stop Sin. Maybe now, all we can do is put our faith in the Summoners like Lady Yuna...."

Felius doesn't say anything, though he does give Ivan a once-over. He takes a step to one side to make room for him and Clarissa to talk. Evidently there's only room for one black-clad and reticent person within close proximity of the blue-clad sunbeam of a girl.

As Ivan clams up, Clarissa blinks - and then she smiles again, setting one hand at her hip. "Then would you mind some company? You seem like you're pretty strong, so two sets of hands are better than one, right?"

The girl's cheer is positively laser-like. If she could find a way to physically beam it into him, she'd probably be doing so - and yet her tone remains fairly mellow and her energy level not overwhelming. Positive, but not hyper or fast-talking. "My name's Clarissa Arwin and this is my brother Felius."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Am I distinctive?" Ivan demands, seeming strangely disturbed by the prospect. Lydia already told him he looked like an assassin, but wasn't she just trying to annoy him, then? How could it be true?? After so long with him not knowing?? The most important thing about being an assassin is not to look like an assassin! Or one of the most important things, anyway.

He grimaces at the offer of company, but shrugs. It seems like it would be a lot of trouble to try to lose them definitively on the road without bumping awkwardly back into them later. As she continues her introduction, the bright smiles seem to be wilting him like a sun-sensitive plant.

"All right," he responds, when she provides her name, and her brother's, with a tone like he's uneasily giving them permission to be called that. There's an uncomfortable pause where he skims his eyes over the horizon during the space in the exchange where it seems like his own introduction is supposed to go.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"Well." Clarissa tilts her head and gives Ivan a curious look over, then clasps her hands at her waist. "The way you dress reminds me of Felius, actually. It's a good look for you."

She seems to mean it, judging from the warmth in her eyes. Somehow, the young man's body language and wilting demeanor doesn't seem to be pushing her away like it's probably intended to, so she does ease her smile a little.

The pause hangs in the air. The only sound is the click of Clarissa's bootheels on the highroad. Felius's are much quieter, as if he's skimming over the ground with the lightest of touches without actually seeming like he's doing anything. Things go quiet for a couple of minutes as Clarissa turns her eyes over the horizon. In the distance, a bird cries softly, and she peers towards it with a curious curve of her brows.

She looks back to Ivan, then. "I'm sorry if we're making you uncomfortable." Her tone's quieter, more sympathetic.

There's that smile again. Someone is extending kindness to him. Clarissa dips her gaze for a second, then glances away, then finally back to her silent companion. "Have you ever felt like you're stuck between two impulses? On the one hand you just want to get away from everyone. But at the same time, you kind of want someone to talk to, too. Emotions are weird, aren't they?"

She asks, "What's your name? If you don't mind my being curious, of course."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan flusters at the apology. "You're not. I've never been uncomfortable in my life," he responds, clearly even more uncomfortable than before.

This is... yeah, this is what he's like.

She makes a hypothetical query, and he sideyes her. "No, I haven't felt like that. Have you felt like that? You don't seem like the type."

The direct question proves sufficient to squeeze his name out of him, and he shrugs again. "...Ivan."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"Oh! Well, I'm sorry, then," Clarissa apologizes, holding her hands up at shoulder level and giving them a little wave. "I definitely want you to feel comfortable! I don't mean you any harm."

When Ivan does finally give his name, though, the apologetic stance gives way to a smile; she leaves the first half for now. "It's very nice to meet you, Ivan. I take it you're also a Drifter?"

Only then does she tackle the thornier question - the answer that could be taken as sassback. The smile on Clarissa's face grows a little wry, and she glances off to one side.

"You know, it's not always the case. Sometimes I want to be alone, too - but there's a part of me that wants someone to be there with me, at the same time. But I think it's important to have someone you can confide in." When she turns her gaze back to Ivan, she nods gently. "So how about you? Do you have someone you normally travel with? It's alright if you don't. A lot of Drifters like to pair up with different groups, or even just go it alone."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Drifters are... treasure hunters? From up there?" He gestures at the sky, loosely suggesting the Blue Star.

"I'm from here, just another continent. I'm a mercenary with Althena's Guard."

As for traveling companions who may or may not have been lost... he spends a while longer in awkward silence deciding whether to even answer that, especially since it was predicated on being a Drifter, and he already established he isn't one. But, impulse and curiosity wins out, instead.

"I have a sibling, too. A twin sister. Have you met her? It seems like all kinds of people have."

He gestures at his own face, then, as a visual aid. For those who have met Talia, he does look remarkably like her, even for a fraternal twin.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"Yes," Clarissa explains with a little nod, gesturing towards the Blue Star with a smile. "Drifters are adventurers from Filgaia - what you'd call the Blue Star. You may not know it, but Lunar is much greener and more lively than where we come from, so many people make a living by traveling and helping wherever they can."

When Ivan goes silent, Clarissa tilts her head a couple of degrees. She can sense she's hit a nerve in some form, and she braces herself for a difficult response that she's going to have to parse.

What she gets is a pleasant surprise. Leaning forward, Clarissa peers at Ivan's features, trying to match him to someone she knows - but her path hasn't crossed Talia's yet, so tied up has she been with affairs of ARMS. "I'm not sure I've met your sister. But I'd love to," she says with a quiet smile. "That must be nice. I've heard that twins understand each other better than anyone else in the world."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"It's too bad you didn't run into her instead. She's more enjoyable to meet than I am." Really, most of the situations Ivan has encountered in life would be better served by putting Talia in them instead. If Talia hadn't quit killing, and had been assigned to kill his current targets, Jacqueline Barber and Catenna would definitely be dead by now. But on a less grim note, the many awkward conversations Ivan has had in Spira would also have been a lot less awkward if Talia could have had them for him.

He's interrupted from contemplating this weird hypothetical universe by Clarissa inquiring about the wonders of twins. He nods, his expression coming out of its cringe into calm affirmation with a touch of warmth in it, if not a full smile. This is the area where his defensive wall is weakest.

"It's true. We're not getting along right now, but she's still my best friend."

Only friend, but he won't withold the title on account of the lack of competition. Originally, he had planned to claim Talia was dead to anyone who didn't have direct experience otherwise, for her protection. In practice, though, the idea of repeatedly telling strangers and acquaintences about a dead twin sister and having to dredge up his memories of when he thought she was dead and withstand their sympathies and his own guilt at dragging them down with a false tragedy was too daunting to attempt.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"You shouldn't sell yourself short like that."

The reproof is quick to come, but it's not tart or scolding - in fact, it comes with a bit of warmth. Clarissa pushes a few fluffy blonde locks away from her forehead with the edge of her thumb as she speaks, tone gentle. "You seem like you're a very introspective person. There's nothing wrong with that. You have a lot on your mind. And sometimes it's good to take time to think."

But the cheer Ivan brings out to talk about his sister lights up Clarissa's expression just subtly. Her smile eases, her shoulders relaxing imperceptibly and her hand falling to rest at the arch of one hip. "That's really great. We have something in common, then - my brother's my best friend, too."

Felius is walking just out of conversation range, but glances in here, even more stoic than Ivan. Somehow.

"Your sister seems like a pretty good person. I'm sorry you're fighting. But I have a feeling you can work through it. Sometimes things are hard with the people in our lives, but we can usually count on our family to love us and stand by us - even if we make mistakes sometimes."

Clarissa's memories dredge up things she'd rather not see. A tiny flower.

She shoves the thought aside. "Have you tried to reach out to her?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan responds to the reassurance with a skeptical look, but doesn't press it, since her efforts to make him feel better only cause him to realize that his original statement sounded more self-pitying than factual. He'd argue it was the latter, if he were going going to press it.

"We still talk. Things are sort of okay except for when this one thing comes up that we disagree on." He hopes he won't have to come up with some kind of metaphor to avoid saying that the thing is murder. What could convincingly stand in for murder in this scenario? It's not like they could be having a schism-causing argument about whether a tomato is a fruit.

"I don't think we can get past it unless one of us changes our mind, and I don't think either of us will, but maybe it's all right if we just keep sort-of-fighting forever."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Crossing one arm to cup her opposite elbow, Clarissa brings a gloved hand up to tap a finger against her cheek, lips moued in thought. It's as if she's evolved on the spot into Ivan's relationship therapist and is trying to come up with some way to fix his relationship with his sister on the spot, despite the fact that she's known him for all of fifteen minutes.

"It sounds like things will just have to run their course," she muses. "Nothing stays the same forever, as much as we might wish it to. Maybe sometime down the line, one or both of you will look at the situation and again and say, 'Hey, maybe this isn't what I want out of life.'"

She smiles and lets her hand fall back to the curve of a hip. "You shouldn't feel like it's hopeless, in any case. It sounds like your sister loves you a whole lot. That says something important. It says she's not going to give up on you, even with this thing coming between you."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"No, I don't think that will happen," Ivan says, when Clarissa conservatively suggests that life is not static and something could conceivably happen to change one of their minds someday. Impossible. Not in Ivan's world model!

"You're right that she still cares, and she hasn't given up on me, though. I'm lucky that she's like that."

There's a few moments of wistfulness before he realizes he's been voluntarily talking about feelings with a stranger. He kind of hunches in on himself again.

"So, you know, it's not even really that much of a problem and I don't know why I said it. Didn't you get thrown into another world recently? You've probably got way bigger problems than me."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

In fairness, Clarissa's a decent person to talk about feelings to. She doesn't judge, if nothing else.

When Ivan slouches in on himself and punts things back at her, Clarissa smiles mutedly, but lets the issue drop. She can't be the only one prying feels out of people, after all.

"We did. But there's no sense worrying over it."

Tucking her thumbs into her belt loops, Clarissa looks up, her smile returning as she gazes at the Blue Star in the sky above them. "I'd like to get back there. My mother's dream is to restore Filgaia to a green and beautiful world again, and it's my dream to keep that feeling alive. But if I fixate too much on it, I'll forget that the people here in Spira need help, too. Sin is really dangerous, and it's hurting people. Even the Summoners can only seem to stop it for a little while. I'd like to help them...."

She cants her head, bringing that kindly sunray smile back to bear. It's not broad, but the sheer honesty behind it gives it a force far beyond her relaxed body language. "But that doesn't mean I can't have many worries. Including wanting to help out my new friend."

    > You have a new friend request from Clarissa Arwin.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"...Everyone's so calm about it. I haven't met anyone who got dragged to this world who's freaking out. Was the Blue Star so harsh and barren it made everyone really resilient or something?"

Not to mention she immediately switched her focus to helping the people of Spira and random passers by who happen to be assassins.

"You shouldn't try to help and befriend every random person you meet on the road. Some of them could be terrible people who would repay you by hurting you. Or they could have such big and terrible problems that you get tangled up in that one person's problems and never get to spend your time on anything else again. Not me, though--I mean, I'm a Guardsman and don't have any problems at all. But if you're just choosing people at random it could end up like that."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Clarissa closes her eyes, lowering her head for a moment. "...Parts of Filgaia are very beautiful. But so much of it has become a desert, and it keeps getting worse. Filgaia... the Blue Star, I mean. It's slowly dying."

When she looks up again, she closes her right hand and brings it to her hip. "...I think there's a way to save it. And I have to keep trying."

When Ivan gives her that warning, Clarissa opens her mouth to say something - but she stops and considers it for a second. She's quiet.

Ivan gets the privilege of watching the sunny girl's expression fall as Ivan teaches her a lesson for which the tuition normally does not come cheap.

"That might be true," she concedes, her voice quiet - but then, her conviction returns, and she lifts her gaze again. While she doesn't smile, she does nod, slowly and deeply. "But someone has to care about people. I don't think it's right to just go through life without caring. But...."

Here her smile does return, however soft. "...Thank you for worrying about me, either way."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I always thought it was already dead. I didn't realize people lived there still. Do you think something went wrong that caused it to start dying that you could stop, or that there's something powerful enough to reverse it even if it's natural?"

Maybe Althena could be implored to intervene? If anything is causing the decline of Filgaia, the departure of the Goddess seems like a likely possibility, though it may be that the history goes the other way and she rescued the people of Lunar from a planet that was dying on its own. Ivan always thought of it as sort of a fairy tale and didn't bother to get the details straight.

However, Clarissa makes a serious accusation about his character after absorbing his words of caution.

"I wasn't worrying, I was warning!"

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"Something must've gone wrong in the distant past." Clarissa folds her arms again to once more tap her finger against her cheek, looking up towards the sky.

"I'm searching for two things," she says. "The Legacy Ruins and the Yggdrasill System. They're both reputed to have the power to restore Filgaia to a land of life again. If I can find them, then maybe things will be alright. But it'll be a long journey. Even if I ever get back there."

Ivan comes to the defense of his character, and Clarissa blinks, lowering her hand back to her hip. "Alright! Then I consider myself duly warned." She'll let him have this one, if only because of the time.

Off in the distance, someone whistles - a figure riding a chocobo, waving down to she and Felius. Clarissa blinks, then brightens. "Oh! There's the person we were going to meet." She turns back to Ivan and smiles. "We're going to have to move off the road here, but I hope your journey's safe! And... don't give up on your sister. I'm sure things will improve for you two soon! They always do."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Oh. Good luck getting back to look for them?" Ivan doesn't know how much stock to put in rumors of ruins with world-altering power of that kind, but maybe the key element is hope, which he is neither in the business of kindling nor of going out of his way to smash. Even wishing her good luck feels weird, like he's edging on breaking one of his rules. Ivan never knows what identity he's supposed to be upholding anymore.

But then, Clarissa encounters someone she'd meant to meet, and offers him well wishes as she makes her way to depart. He raises his hand in a halfhearted goodbye wave, already sort of backing away.

"Thanks. I would never give up on her, so there's no problem there. Um. Bye." Despite her assurance, he can think of at least half a dozen situations offhand that do not 'always' improve, most of them because someone involved in them dies. But he keeps those to himself, and lets her continue her journey in peace.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

"That's good. Then things will definitely work out." The certainty with which Clarissa says it is striking. She smiles widely before taking a step away.

"It was nice to meet you, Ivan!" she calls back with a big wave as she begins to turn off. "Please be safe! I'll see you again soon, I hope!"

Somehow, he hasn't managed to repel her completely. Felius is more circumspect, just nodding politely before continuing on away towards the man on the chocobo.

Only once they're at a distance does Felius lower his voice a little. "He's more dangerous than he's letting on, Clarissa. He carries himself like he knows how to fight."

"I know that." Clarissa also lowers her voice, confident she's well out of earshot, halfway to the man on the chocobo. "But if he were a person like Rupert, he would've been much more sly and charming. And honestly... I think there's a nice person in him."

Felius doesn't answer, just continuing on with his blonde charge.