2019-05-31: I Shall Have Need Of You

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  • Log: I Shall Have Need Of You
  • Cast: Loren Voss, Lorelei Calice, Tabitha deVriese, Seymour Guado (as Krelian)
  • Where: The Moonflow
  • Date: May 31, 2019
  • Summary: Heading to Guadosalam with Lorelei and Mignonette, Loren crosses paths with Tabitha at the Moonflow. And then the ragtag band of Solarians and affiliated operatives cross paths with a figure of no small note. A task is set for the lot of them.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    He hadn't told Lan where they were going. Technically speaking, she didn't need to know -- in this, her opinions or thoughts don't matter.
    Whatever it is that's going on with Lorelei -- whether she's part and parcel, or a pawn -- she seems to be more in the know than Lan. And as for 'Mignonette'...

    She'd given him a good idea, and more real hope and initiative than he'd had since finally escaping Kilika. So he'd suggested they get to it. It's a ways out to Guadosalam.

    All he knows is that one of the Maesters -- Seymour Guado, of the Macalania Temple -- is a resident of that town. Given what he's heard about Macalania, it's a fair guess that it'll be easier to go there to request an audience first than attempt a long and unforgiving trek to beg on the temple's doorstep, so to speak.

    It's also a fair guess that, by the time they reach the Moonflow, the one in their little rag-tag band who has carried most of the conversation at all has been Lorelei.
    Neither Loren nor Mignonette are the talkative types.

    It's the first he's seen of the Moonflow. Lan would probably like this place, he thinks. The river's huge. And what are... those things?
    (They're shoopuf, Loren)

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

"--Oho, isn't it beautiful out here?" Lorelei Calice gasps as she gazes out over the Moonflow.

Loren and Mignonette are not the talkative types. Lorelei has been more than happy to fill the gap. She's been bantering much of the way along.

Prancing out in front a little ways, the rosy-haired Elite Etone cups her cheeks in her palm. "--Goodness, we're so very close to where I first came across my dear little sister Rosaline! And-- ah, goodness, those are the shoopufs, are they not?! How wonderful! Oh, Thomas, we really must make some time to ride the shoopuf - everyone says we must ride the shoopuf and that it's a wonderful time! Truly Spira has so many wonders! Don't you think?"

Walking alongside Loren, Mignonette - buttoned up in her Etone trainee's habit (sans hood) despite the tropical climes - has not had much to say, though in that respect she probably hasn't been terrible company for someone with the temperament of the alleged Thomas the Medical Student. As Lorelei flits out in front to gasp over some flowers, though, Mignonette finally glances up at him.

"How's your stamina," she asks quietly. "We can stop soon and rest if you need it."

The words aren't unfriendly, but her body language remains very reserved and closed-off. While Lorelei's been a ball of buoyant energy, Mignonette has remained lodged at dispassionate, quiet and in no hurry to talk - almost icy, in a way.

<Pose Tracker> Tabitha deVriese has posed.

Of course, Lorelei isn't the only person here who has more energy than sense and a wild disregard for Loren's personal ability to put up with her crap.

A shadow grows on the ground shortly before the heeled boots of Tabitha deVriese's Etone combat trainee uniform - an armored double-breasted vest over a whole host of other coverings, layered with symbological, crest-based and metalurgical protections all designed to keep her pretty face from harm - flaps down from scouting above. "It's quite remarkable from above!" she notes, dropping much of her condescension amongst Solaris' own. "Such lovely beasts. I wonder how they work..." she murmurs, with the insatiable curiosity of the natural historian. "The feed needs must be phenomenal, don't you think? Really, the needs of a culture that uses transportation animals are so oppressive. It's small wonder they end up so backwards."

<Pose Tracker> Seymour Guado has posed.

Maester Seymour Guado came to the Moonflow, though he was only briefly here. He was making his way south to call at Djose Temple. He has gone ahead, which has left some of his staff behind. Biggs and Wedge, his guardians, have traveled with him -- leaving behind those of a more analytical and mathematical nature. And his new clerk...

Well, who would ever think Krelian is dangerous?

The pale-haired man is standing over a pair of boxes, wearing robes in a local style. Krelian looks down at them, tapping his finger to his chin once. His expression is thoughtful.

Few people are nearby. Locals pay him no mind; while he is not without his rumors, Krelian is largely thought to be harmless by the local Spirans. Others have attracted more attention.

But some know better.

And Krelian, perhaps, knows best. He glances when he hears the commotion -- and the words of Lorelei Calice. He turns, then, and his eyebrows lift slightly. Then, he begins to approach.

"Ah," he says. "Most unexpected arrivals." He glances, momentarily, at Tabitha. "Such creatures must be expensive. But necessary, for these folk."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    "Ride... them?"

    Loren looks as dubious at the concept as he sounds. "There has to be a boat. Right?"

    He glances down the river. Across the river. There are no signs of boats. "..."

    Mignonette approaches in the meanwhile to ask after how he's doing. He shakes his head. "I'm fine. I've walked more than this before." Which is true: for all his nerdly leanings, the young medic possesses a phenomonal amount of endurance and grit. Even if he'll complain the whole while anyway.

    If Loren had actually thought about it at all over the past several weeks, he would have realized one bonus of his current stranding in Spira would have been the absence of a certain blonde woman in his life.
    That absence ends now.

    He turns -- startles, really -- to take in Tabitha as she deposits herself back in his life. It's not a surprise technically that she's here; Lorelei had mentioned her just the day before. It's more a surprise that she's here so suddenly.

    "DeVriese. It's been a while." Since the Photosphere, or thereabouts, he thinks. "I'd heard you'd been transported here, too. ...I don't suppose you've heard anything," he says, glancing away. "I need to get back." Before it's too late.

    A man speaks up. Loren's gaze tracks over to take in the new arrival, and it's here that he freezes.

    You don't get to adulthood in Solaris -- at least not if you're second or first class -- without knowing who holds power in society. Of course there's the Emperor.

    But there are also people like Krelian.

    Loren's throat has gone dry. "Ah..." He stands there, still, stuck, mute, uncertain what he should do on the face of someone like this. He might as well have been thrust into the Emperor's throneroom and told to 'act natural'.

    "You're... Krelian," he utters, at significant length.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

"Oh, I know," Lorelei breathes as she gazes back at Tabitha, her eyes growing wide. She's in her full overrobe and dress today; both flatter her intensely. "It must be striking from up there! Someday I will have to see it that way - ah, though it's even pleasant from here, isn't it? Even if it is terribly primitive, ohoho~"

The sound of another voice causes Lorelei to turn, her eyes widening as she spots the entirely harmless visitor. Her hand comes up to her cheek. "Oh, goodness!" she gasps with a bright smile. "It really does seem as if the day is full of surprises, doesn't it? Hello there--"

Mignonette, eyebrows raised, bustles forward and immediately touches Lorelei's elbow. The rosy-haired Beastwoman sucks in a breath. Something behind her eyes dims perceptibly as her mood shifts, and she folds her hand and inclines her head politely. "...Hello, sir. Yes, it's quite unexpected."

Evidently satisfied with her senior Etone's drop in volume, Mignonette moves past Lorelei and steps out in front of her, though her eyes briefly dart over to Tabitha. For a second her shoulders tense, but she lets it out. This isn't the time for performative things. She needs these two.

With a sidelong glance, she sighs a little as Loren freezes up. She closes her eyes, then opens them.

"...There has been a lot unexpected lately," she concedes, her tone still dispassionate, but her shoulders easing slightly. With delicate fingers, she adjusts her large, round glasses. The sight of Krelian doesn't seem to fill her with fear or really evoke any emotion from her beyond a brief surprise.

"These are the only ones we were able to locate," she says with a nod towards Loren and Tabitha. "I assume you encountered the same phenomenon we did."

<Pose Tracker> Tabitha deVriese has posed.

"Ah, perhaps we'll make a day of it sometime!" Tabitha laughs to Lorelei. "Though in current climes I worry a stray sorcerer would mistake us for some dreadful bird..."

Tabitha's much more catlike, anyway.

Tabitha has gotten a little...asymetrical, since last Loren saw her. One of her sleeves is cut longer, and tied off at about where the rest should be; the arm behind that tied-off length is bulged out strangely, in a way that suggests a gauntlet of some kidn is within. She grins at Loren, wide lips and white teeth. Let it never be said Tabitha deVriese allows herself to be seen at less than her best, except that time Fei Fong Wong ate her hands. Dick. "Loren! I have missed you, you know! You're the only one I can talk to about all the wonderful monsters they have around here!"

At his question, though, she holds the tied-off sleeve up. "No signals," she says, as if these two actions were in some way related. "I haven't been especially motivated, I confess. A whole new culture to pick apart! Why, I could spend years here. Again."

And she offhands, perfectly friendly, to the stranger who has approached, "Oh, my, yes, it's such a clever solution! I'm quite in a--"

Then she realizes who has just made himself apparent, and stiffens like someone had tazed her directly in the ass. She's not directly under Krelian...but the deVriese project, the project of which she is both participant and product, is under Science, and thus under him. And thus she is, hypothetically capable of being put in an incinerator by him at his slightest desire. She feels a sudden terrible certainy he could do it even now.

That's...that's just the reputation, she tries to convince herself, and fails to complete her thought. Her mouth claps shut with a click of teeth.

<Pose Tracker> Seymour Guado has posed.

"I have been accused of that," Krelian says with a wan smile at Loren. "It is good to see you, Voss."

His eyes are briefly on Lorelei; he looks half read to address her, but instead turns that attention upon Mignonette. Then, he nods. "I did. A powerful artifact, he says... how inconvenient that a -Lamb- like Rhadamanthus found his way to it."

He looks at Tabitha, too. Krelian nods, then he folds his hands behind his back.

"We are at a disadvantage," he says. "Rhadamanthus put us in a place we have no knowledge of... and no power over. I have been working to change this. Your presence here will prove helpful to that end."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    His expression -- if fleetingly -- may as well be subtitled 'why me' when Tabitha leads immediately into all the little things she misses about him. "By which you mean 'help you subdue and collect samples'. No thank you, I have more pressing concerns, and--"
    He stops, his gaze zeroing in on her arm.
    "Didn't they replace your hand?" he asks, squinting at the apparent stump.

    And then things get a little bit... derailed.

    Once again, it's like a flip was switched in Lorelei somehow. Does the woman have some sense when reminded of it, or is it something else?
    But such things drift very quickly away from his immediate concern. Of more concern:

    A man who could single-handedly destroy his career if he steps wrong. Or worse. There are rumors.
    There are always rumors.

    'These are the only ones we were able to locate'...

    Loren is in this moment an open book: alarm and shock first cross his features when Krelian calls him by name, to be replaced with a cold sort of understanding. Right, because of Leah.
    That's right...

    He takes a breath. He takes another breath. Silence is the order of the day -- at least for now -- his gaze shifting now between the man and 'Mignonette'.
    What is said fills in the gaps remarkably. So what's what happened. He had gathered most of it from the image that had overtaken his screen, but...

    His hands curl into loose fists at his side. A Lamb, he reminds himself. This was all because of a Lamb playing with something he didn't understand and had no right to use.
    Anger is a strong, stabilizing force.

    "...I understand, sir," he says at last, and here his voice doesn't waver. "What can we do to assist?"

    In other words, he's at his disposal.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

One thing's clear: Lorelei definitely recognizes Krelian, and in more than a passing manner. The way she looks at him shows little evidence that she's overwhelmed. If anything she seems to see his presence as... in some way expected, or able to be processed.

But she doesn't flirt. She just clasps her hands, smiles mutely and lowers her head, almost if she's shut down her most effusive parts.

For her part, Mignonette frowns, bringing delicate fingers up to tuck a lock of short blonde hair back behind one ear. "Yes, we'd heard that a [Lamb] had picked up something he shouldn't have and were on our way to investigate. He activated the artifact before we could get into position on him. Being stuck here has been...." She lowers her eyelids slightly. "...an experience."

The junior Etone's eyes dart towards Loren, watching the welter of emotions stream across his face. For someone who seemed to bottle so much inside, she can see through him like wax paper right now.

She throws him a lifeline: A small, tight smile.

She has the presence of mind to do it. It's more than a junior Etone should be able to muster in front of Krelian of all people. A junior Etone shouldn't even know who Krelian is.

Yet here she is - and she talks as if she's seen him more than in passing.

"As always, I'm ready to support you as you see fit," she says with a quiet nod, before gesturing at Lorelei. "We've had some run-ins here so far but nothing that this one hasn't been able to deal with, so that's a plus."

Lorelei inclines her head with a small, mellow smile. "Yes, we're always ready to do our duty, sir."

<Pose Tracker> Tabitha deVriese has posed.

Tabitha's eyes flash to Lorelei in the manner of a person who thought she pretty much had the read on someone and then they pulled off the blouse to reveal they were, in fact, 3 Gobs in an overcoat. Her eyes cut to Loren shortly after. She holds up her other hand, the flesh one, toward Loren, which has a thin ring of scar tissue around the wrist where it has been surgically reattached, but maybe neither of them are really thinking about that line of inquiry anymore because it's not a flashy showing-off motion so much as an attempt to ask a silent question that she never quite formulates.

Then she sucks in a breath, remembers who's here and what's about, and turns her attention back to Krelian. His eyes come to her. She nods, quietly. She has been inspected before, of course, if not perhaps by the head of science himself. "It doesn't seem to have had any particular proximity," she notes. "I was in Bledavik. Cleaning my gun one moment, and the next..." She pulls out her slightly stumped arm, motioning to their surroundings as though to indicate the whole world.

Then she switches her posture back. Krelian is formal but not imperious, and some part of Tabitha rebels at the notion of fearing the man's very thoughts. She wonders if the gauntlet can track it as she forces herself to come to a slightly informal rest. "I am at your service, of course," she adds. "Anything for the..." She chuckles a little. "Church."

It's like three different euphemisms, she's very proud of it.

<Pose Tracker> Seymour Guado has posed.

It may speak volumes about Krelian -- his nature and his character both -- that he simply accepts, and takes for granted -- that these subordinates will do as he says and helps. There is no imperious glare; no sharp command. He simply smiles, as if this is how the world should be, and accepts their statements of agreement instantly.

"Good," he says. "Because there is work to be done, and I think that I shall have need of you."

He looks at Tabitha, then explains: "It seemed to be worldwide, and the selective. I was in Etrenank when it came. As far as I have determined, I was one of the few sent here."

He shrugs.

"No matter," he says. "Our first priority is to return home. These Drifters are content to dig about in ruins, like rats. I am not. I find that Yevon wields the greatest power here. I have found a suitable candidate, a -Lamb- that has risen to status. He believes I am his clerk."

Krelian shrugs. "You shall all be my friends, from my home town. Brought into the fold to... assist Maester Seymour, as times grow more troubled. And with his aid -- witting or not -- we will uncover a way home."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    Tabitha lifts her hand, and he's reminded that she lost both hands.
    One couldn't be restored to him. Or recovered. He's not sure which, and doesn't have access to her records besides.

    Ever-so-slightly, Loren's eyes widen when Mignonette smiles at him -- as slight and tight as it might be. He's not used to it, apparently -- someone going so far as to throw him a metaphorical rope.
    (He never had noticed when Elly had done just that for him. He doesn't think about it now.)

    He's not so overwhelmed that he's lost his wits. He can tell that Mignonette isn't acting like a junior Etone, Solarian or not. Maybe it's because of her mother? Her mother had been well-respected back when she was actively doing research...
    These thoughts, too, go by the wayside.

    Loren had initially thought it localized. It would explain, at least, why he and Mignonette (and Lorelei, and Lan) were plucked from Filgaia and sent here. But to hear Tabitha state that she had been in Bledavik, and to hear Krelian say that he'd been in Etrenank...
    Perhaps under other circumstances he might wonder what the selection criteria might have been. But it doesn't really matter in the end.

    He's here, and unless he'd like this to be a permanent retirement, he has to do something about that.

    So they're to be his friends and...
    Assist the Maester. It's a little funny -- almost.
    The same one they were about to ingratiate themselves towards.

    "...And in doing so we will have access to their resources and knowledge," he says, as if he can see the shape of it. "If there's a way back from here, we should be able to find it." He pauses. "...And if not, there are the ruins at Azado. But we would need to handle Sin to get there."
    A thought that makes his stomach churn in unease. Even in Gear, they couldn't scratch it. He doesn't have a Gear now.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

It may speak volumes about Lorelei Calice and Mignonette Stirling that they both seem inclined to answer what Krelian asks them to do calmly and without fear.

The Beastwoman flicks her ears, tilting her head and moving her hand to the arch of one generous hip. "We were fairly close to the battle when it happened," she explains. "But we've seen Drifters from everywhere. Including some very interesting subjects we've been keeping an eye on!"

As Krelian explains his situation, Mignonette can't keep a small, ironic smile off her face, glancing up at Lorelei. The Beastwoman catches the look and blushes, touching a hand to one rosy cheek.

"I don't imagine that your Meister friend will have any idea what Etones are. That should hold," Mignonette agrees. "And this one has a way of winning people over."

At that, Lorelei bats her lashes and touches a delicate hand to her cheek. "Ah, did we want to involve the other Etone here?" she asks lightly. "Her name's Rosaline and I don't think she's one of ours, but--"

Mignonette lightly touches Lorelei's elbow. The Beastwoman twitches visibly and bows her head. "Excuse me," she apologizes in a more muted tone. "We'll be pleased to help you with Maester Seymour," she adds, nodding along as Loren makes his observation. "Yes, I think the Yevonites have a process for defeating Sin? Ah, but that would mean keeping to their schedule...."

"So it would." Mignonette inclines her head grimly before turning her eyes back towards Krelian. "Fortunately we know a thing or two about service to the Church."

Her tone's just the slightest bit sardonic.

<Pose Tracker> Tabitha deVriese has posed.

Tabitha decides she'll speak to Loren later about...various things. For the moment she just listens, because Krelian is talking. A slow nod to his words. If they could hit Etrenank it really could hit anywhere...She bites her lip a little, thoughtful.

But she adopts her smile after that, nodding along. She catches that something seems to pass through Lorelei there but doesn't quite see what offhand. "After that display at Mi'ihen I don't think we could handle the matter terribly easily ourselves," she muses. Not to say they couldn't. They'd just need...help. Like lasers. Maybe Vanderkaum would--

Hah, nah.

Instead she settles for firming her stance. "I'll do what you need, of course," she says. "I may need to...be discrete," she notes, surreptitiously untying the ribbon before the stump of her shorter arm and tugging back the sleeve to reveal the cybernetic hardpoint at the end. It's designed to interlock with...something? Perhaps Krelian recognizes the red orb just visible at the back of the apparatus. "Going in nothing but long sleeves here has been something of a trial," she confides, half as a joke, and rolls the sleeve back down. She ties her ribbon again, one-handed, with the skill of someone who has had to do that for a while.

<Pose Tracker> Seymour Guado has posed.

"He knows little of Filgaia," Krelian says. "And cares about it even less. I think that is something that we can use to our benefit. I would not be too overt... though be advised that he has welcomed Lunata Croze into his retinue. So exercise all due caution."

The blonde-haired man shrugs. "We can help see to Sin. If we can find a way home on Spira... all the better. That monstrosity must be destroyed--or chained."

He looks up, into the skies. "...It is against God's will, to suffer that thing's existence. Fortunately... we will see to it. I'll trust all of you to be discrete -- and learn as much as you can, as you help the Yevonites. Whatever should pass, do not let Maester Seymour or Lunata Croze think I am anything more than some minor clerk."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    Regardless how how Loren feels about it, it goes without saying that there are things that Tabitha can do that he can't... and things he can do to assist her that she may have some difficulty with on her own. Even without a full suite of tools on-hand, he can still assist with some maintainance.

    "We'll want to keep it to ourselves," he says, when Etones are mentioned. "I don't think they have those around here. Or at least, pass it off as something local..." He shakes his head. "The less we have to explain away the better. It's hard to keep track of stories."

    It's already going to be a crunch to fit himself in as a faithful in any way. Maybe he can attempt to pass himself off as a mage or a scholar...

    "Do they." This, to the statement about Yevon killing Sin. "They're doing a pretty bad job of it, then," he remarks, before -- perhaps remembering current company -- he stiffens, as if to stifle his comment after the fact.

    As they stand, there's no way they can kill it on their own. Without backup, equipment...

    "Croze..." Recognition lights in his eyes soon after. "...Her. The cursed girl."
    Which is a pretty apt way of putting it.
    "I'll remember that. She doesn't know who I am, either, and I'd rather keep it that way. They want to keep an eye on her." They, apparently, meaning Gebler as a whole.

    'That monstrosity must be destroyed--or chained.'

    "Yes." Loren's gaze turns away, off towards the river, alight with Pyreflies. He can remember what it looked like, to watch Vierge in its last moments.

    "It does."

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Mignonette presses her lips together as Tabitha reveals her lack of hand. "I don't think I have the expertise to replace that, I'm afraid," she understates.

Lorelei clasps her hands and nods soberly at Krelian's assessment, her eyes lowering to the grass beneath her. "Yes... we're ready to see to Sin if that's what you wish us to do," she agrees quietly before lifting her gaze again to take in the rest of the order.

A faint smile reaches her face. "We won't let anything on, of course. I think I should be able to help on the front of gathering information. With any luck they will have what we need!"

Mignonette adds a slow, firm nod. "I read the reports about Croze. We'll be careful around her."

When Loren looks out over the river, Lorelei's gaze turns after him. She presses her lips together, quiet sympathy etching itself into her expression.

<Pose Tracker> Tabitha deVriese has posed.

"Neither did Doctor Asher," Tabitha replies to Mignonette, with an extremity of distance she normally reserves for --nobody, actually...

Regardless she finishes her work and returns to rest position. "I believe a few people have identified me. The battle at the Photosphere went..." She glances to Loren. "...well Fei Fong Wong punched off my hands and more importantly my hat, in short. Still, I don't believe Croze knows, and I can touch myself up if needed."