2019-06-06: I Hope You Can

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  • Log: I Hope You Can
  • Cast: Loren Voss, Lunata Croze
  • Where: Guadosalam
  • Date: 6th June 2019
  • Summary: Lunata runs into Loren during a meditating exercise. Some truths are revealed...

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

They are like facets of a crystal.

They are barely there, shimmering faintly in the light. An Etheric barrier, conjured from the dust. Conjured from nothing.

His eyes are closed.

Kneeled on the floor of the small side chamber, Loren keeps his breathing steady. His hands stay at his sides: loosely curled, unmoving.

/Don't move your hands. Don't move. Just focus./

/And don't look. Feel it./

Just because he has taken up with Yevon -- or that the plan for a route back is underway -- doesn't mean he intends to slack off.

Sweat beads on his brow as he continues to thread his awareness outwards. He himself doesn't move.

It's as if his mind, his senses, his will has branched outwards. Indeed on a level he is reminded of a tree -- splitting outwards ever finer and finer -- into a mathematical infinity.

And eventually he hits a wall. Metaphorically.

Pain blooms within his skull and he reflexively his focus rips away from it and retreats back into himself -- they had been warned of Ether overexertion in Jugend and its potentially dire consequences, and if he hasn't crossed the line yet he's far too close to it.

The walls about him break into facets. Shatter. And fade away.

He eases back, leaning against the wall behind him and exhales a deep and weary breath. He never used to push himself this way. That was before he got stranded here again, with no backup and no plans. Before he decided to work on his focus. And before he found how fine and multiplicative his focus could run, the more he worked at it. And so he continues to practice... ...hopefully not giving himself brain damage in the process. He rubs at his left temple, grimacing. He's been seeing things again lately. Hopefully that's not a bad sign. Or at least, not worse than it already portends. When he gets back -- /if/ he gets back -- he'll have to tell Leah.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata's been having a pretty rough week, all told.

Ever since Mika's declaration -- which she was begrudgingly expecting sooner or later based on what happened with Kinoc and Seymour's own words -- and the equally expected response from the Guard, her hands are just full, full, full.

Having time here in Guadosalam to calm herself from all this is a welcome relief; she's stepping down the paths of the secluded, wooded city as--

A wall shatters and breaks, and she's jolting a little as she furrows her brow. She hurries down the path and--

Her face falls a little. "Mister Thomas?"

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

He had, technically, been warned that Lunata was about. A continued person of interest, a girl with unusual powers, and one who had been drawn into the orbit of Seymour...

...And given her known alliances, one best kept in the dark about certain plans underway.

This doesn't mean he's /any less surprised to see her/.

He jolts, lurching upright and tripping backwards into the wall and apparently giving his head quite a knock in the process, given the dull thud that resounds. This is followed by some irritated sounds (not words) wherein he rubs at the back of his head and winces.

Since the last time she's seen Loren, he's undergone a few minor changes. The relatively mundane, Glenwood-style outfit for one, and the total lack of his glasses on the other.

"...Croze?" There's a brief pause. "What... are you doing here?"

This is followed by a lengthier pause.

"I was... meditating."

Hopefully she didn't see anything...

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata puts her hand to her pocket and very quietly frowns, tilting her head and wincing as Loren smacks his head against his back. "You look like you've been put through the wringer," she mumbles as she moves a bit closer, one hand held.

She's dressed like a Yevonite swordswoman -- a combat yukata with tight pants ending in boots, but... with the Yggdrasil Alliance jacket still worn ontop. Some things, she can't let go of, maybe.

"You look like you're doing the opposite of meditating. What's going on? Are you all right?"

A pause, as she scratches her head.

"I'm a... deputy of Yevon now, I suppose. I'm dealing with the recent crises with the Guard."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

He's had worse than a bump on the head.

He's not the only one who has undergone some changes, though. Glancing her over with some mild interest -- raised eyebrow and all -- he shakes his head, leaning against the wall. Which is more sturdy than the one he had created from Ether, now gone so completely that not even traces remain.

"...I guess," he allows, folding his arms over his chest. "What, are your friends allied with Yevon now too?"


Perhaps anticipating that question, he says, looking away, "...The Maester's aide helped me out. I wasn't in a good situation. But that's different now." He pauses, staring down at the floor. "I'm paying them back." Even a lie like this feels dirty on some level. But one does what they must in order to survive. He needs to get back.

Maybe that's a factor in why he says, at some significant length, "...Fine. I was practicing magic. I think I overdid it."

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata pauses for a little bit longer, furrowing her brow as she says, "That surge of energy... that wall, it felt a bit strange." She scratches at her cheek with a further frown, but then she relaxes her expression again as she remarks, "But I'm not one to judge. Since the first time we met I've had strange things happen to me, too."

Loren comments about her friends, but Lunata's eyes are on whether or not he needs immediate assistance.

"... I left the Caravan Kinship, if that's what you mean. Shalune's with me, but maybe she'll split off too."

She sounds pretty despondent when she sounds like that.

"But... I see. I'm glad someone was there to help you. Are you going to spend time around Yevon too?"

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

/That/ gets his attention. "What did you see?" he says, shooting her a look, as if he could fish out her intent by the eyes alone. He even unfolds his arms, shifting as if he were about to move away from the wall against which he now leans.

She says she's not one to judge. There is a long long moment of silence... into which there may be the brief caw of a crow, somewhere outside a window.

"...No kidding. I've never seen the kind of stuff you pull off. It's pretty weird." He is not the most tactful of people, no.

It's her next announcement that causes him to sort of... give her a look like he's trying to understand where she's coming from, even. "You... left your friends?" A pause. "Why?" Isn't that... like becoming a traitor?

Loren looks away. "Yeah. Probably. I don't have anywhere else to go." Which is true, just... there's more context to it.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"... something I'm not supposed to, by the way you're asking?" Lunata shoots back, with raised eyebrows, figuring out the sudden pique was significant. Maybe she's been a bit more on edge than usual, and things that she'd usually miss have become significant. Maybe she's jumping at shadows. Maybe she's more paranoid.

Or maybe she's just tired.

"... I realised I didn't fit in. That I was being miserable trying to fit," Lunata is a little vague with her answer, but it's not technically a lie. "And there are answers for someone like me here, in Spira."

She wrinkles her nose for a moment... then says, "... I guess we're a bit alike in that sense."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

"Ugh," Loren opines, looking away. "Forget it."

/Should have kept my damn mouth shut/, he thinks to himself darkly. /Now she's suspicious, just because you got jumpy again.../

And there's nothing he can do about it without jeopardizing the plan. Maybe he'll have to fall back on the old story...

She realized she didn't fit in.

That gets her all of his attention.

Because he'd realized that too. He didn't fit in back home. Certainly not among the Lambs -- Filgaia or Lunar. Or with Lan's folk, for that matter. Not with the other soldiers in Gebler. He's always going to be the one swept to the side, alone.

He'd been scared of dying, but lately, just a bit... Dying in battle doesn't seem so bad anymore.

"...Yevon has answers 'for someone who doesn't fit in', huh." His gaze has dropped towards the floor again. But the sound in his voice is like someone who has found a dark cousin to hope, perhaps.


/They're just Lambs. How can they understand?/

"...What are they?"

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Loren's attention gets distracted to something else she said, and Lunata leaves that be for the time being. Mister Thomas certainly is a strange one, but it's certainly not her place to query him about the weird things he can do that he wants to keep quiet -- there's an oodle of Drifters with the same problem.

She's one of them.

Lunata is silent for a moment... but...

"... what would you say," she speaks up, "If the answer I'm looking for..."

She shuffles just a little bit further.

"It's to find out if I can die properly here."

She's not sure why she's sharing all of this. Maybe it's an unguarded moment. Maybe there's something in Loren's look. The way he felt kind of lonely too. She's not sure.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

There are a lot of people wandering the wastes with problems like that. Many of which are subject of reports written by Loren himself as he continues his investigation/monitoring duty. Or would, if he wasn't stuck on the moon again without even a functional computer. He's debated starting using a notebook in code, but even that has its risks.

But those thoughts are far from him now, as he briefly -- briefly -- sheds his ego and engages with Lunata on an entirely personal level.

There's nothing more personal than one's death.

There's no shock on his face as he regards her. He just looks... a little surprised, at most. But hardly aghast or horrified.

And at length he laughs, a dry chuckle of a sound, and shakes his head.

"I'd say it's better than dying improperly." There are a lot of ways to do that, as his brother demonstrated.

"So you think they can help you with that?" He pauses, then says, in all earnestness, "...Good luck."

Yevon can't help him with this. There's no glory dying here. He should have realized -- Lambs can't help him with this. Time's running out, though...

He's silent again, staring off at the opposite wall as if it could return some secret wisdom to him. "Hey," he says after a moment, not looking at her. "Do you see things, sometimes? Shapes," he elucidates. "Like eyes." Lan said she didn't see anything like that. So what /is/ he seeing?

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"... do you know the Sending? The dance the Summoners perform to send the spirits of the departed, to guide them to their place of proper rest," Lunata answers Loren.

She pauses for a loong moment... then turns her head aside.

"I sat in on one. ... It kind of fried me, but failed to properly send me off to my death."

She scratches her cheek again, before thinking she should stop it before her skin flecks off. A bit of a scowl.

"Spira's a land of death. I can feel it. From the way the Pyreflies dance and gather in places like the Moonflow... the way the Summoners send, and those that lay wayward gather into Fiends."

Not to mention the Unsent.

"But... thanks," she answers. But-- then she blinks. He asks if she sees things. Shapes. Eyes.

There's perhaps a wry sense of humour in Lunata right now, as she reaches to the sphere in her pocket and focuses on it--


And that giant, spectral lich dressed in bridal regalia erupts as Ge Ramda lets out a low moan, over her shoulders.

"... does that count?" Lunata asks, a bit sheepish.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

"I heard about it." He didn't see it personally, but Lan had told him about it... after she had been done bawling into her pillow for a few hours over what she'd seen. Apparently, the people in Spira don't die right, or something... and insteady turn into monsters if they're not shown how to go, well, wherever it is that they're supposed to go.

It seems dubious to him. But he's seen the Pyreflies, seen the Fiends...

It's an awful thought that without the intervention of someone else, you could wander for forever as a monster. And he's heard other rumors. About people who don't even die and come back from the dead. It makes his skin crawl to think about it.

He looks at her when she says she's sat in on one and that it 'fried' her. "Are you actually dead? You look pretty lively to me," he says, dry as ever.

And on that note, curiosity perhaps gets the best of him. He peels away from the wall and gestures towards her. "I've heard of a syndrome once, where living people think they're dead. Give me your hand," he says. It's not precisely a request. 'Give me your wrist' might have been a more accurate statement -- he intends to take a basic pulse reading.

"Death, huh... Figures this is where we end up," he comments, on the matter of Spira itself.

Before he asks her a more personal question, perhaps.

Whether he actually is able to take that pulse reading or not, he tilts his head upwards just as Ge Ramda appears over Lunata's shoulder and emits a ghastly sound.

It's not the first time he's seen Ge Ramda. It still doesn't stop him from jerking away from Lunata with a yell of alarm.

"No! That doesn't count!" he retorts, once he's recovered from the initial shock. "What is that, a ghost?"

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata looks a little surprised, but lets out a faint chuckle as she hands her wrist over to Loren.

Sure enough... her entire body feels cold and clammy. There's no pulse. It might remind Loren, with his medical background, of the way preserved corpses in a morgue might feel like. Her skin is pale, but hasn't quite blued over the way bodies have. Still, the sensation that something is threading her together...

"... not long after the Metal Demons attacked Adlehyde, mother discovered a way into the Singing Ruins, Rujm el-Hiri," Lunata comments. "Long story short, we discovered the winged Gear you've probably seen me pilot. Rephaim."

She says, completely unaware she's thrown the full force of its arsenal at Loren in the Schiehallion before.

"... and at that time... my mother was attacked by that Quarter Knight, Berserk. She would've died. I begged it to save her and..."

She gestures up towards the spectre.

"That's when I died -- when it claimed my soul in exchange for hers'. And... that's also when I met Ge Ramda."

She chuckles weakly to say, "I remember you being surprised about a floating sword. I guess you couldn't see her before?"

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

He does not expect her hand to feel to feel so cold. Alarm, perhaps, begins to thread its way inwards before his fingers even find her wrist. He's dealt with dead bodies before. Back when he was in Jugend, learning on the sick and injured of the Third Class. Sometimes one refused to respond to treatment and died. Or the diagnosis was wrong and they died. Warmth fades too quickly from a body.

He can't find a pulse. /He can't find a pulse./ Not even a weak one. And even while he holds her wrist, it won't take on any heat from his own body.

He looks at her, looks her in the eyes while she explains what happened, as if searching for some saner answer.

There isn't one.

No wonder she wants to die, he realizes dully. Getting stuck in a state like this, for forever, possibly, is the worst fate he can imagine. After eternal shame and failure, that is.

He drops her hand even before Ge Ramda makes her appearance.

"I didn't," he says, looking away, discomfited. "So that's its true form." He laughs, a cold and colorless sound. "A corpse haunted by a ghost..." He shakes his head.

He can't imagine living like that. If you can call that 'living'.

She's just a Lamb, but even a Lamb doesn't deserve a fate like this. Honestly, nothing does, when he thinks about it. She might have an answer where he doesn't, but it makes his situation look managable -- for once -- in comparison.

"Hope you can die," Loren tells Lunata, quite directly. He starts to walk past her, as if to head out, off to whatever duties might await him here in assisting Seymour's aide.

This is going to make for a hell of an update to her record, once he can do that.

He stops, glancing back at her. This is when something unexpected happens for the young medic: He considers what would probably happen to her if /they/ knew she couldn't die.

He's not privy to the full darkness that goes on in certain -- most -- arms of Solaris' government. But it doesn't take that sort of knowledge to suspect what might be her fate if they did know. He's read enough medical papers -- he knows who the experiments are usually done on. Why rely on animal models when you have a large quantity of perfectly acceptable human ones, readily at hand? Most of them didn't even die. So someone who escaped death. A Lamb that escaped the inevitablity of death. It's dawning on him where that would lead, for her.

/It could be for the greater good -- she's just a Lamb./

But a thought like that is... distasteful. The more he thinks about it, the less he likes it.

His gaze lingers on her for a long moment more before he turns away, still wrestling with his misgivings, and heads on out.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata tries to look about as calm -- as caring? -- as she can as Loren works through his realisation, as he tries to find a pulse. As he tries to find some sense of life in her. Some kind of biological function that might be going. She knows, perhaps too well, that there's nothing.

Her eyes look so tired.

"... ... I hope I can die too," Lunata chuckles very weakly, very wearily. She doesn't quite get up to answering anything else as he clearly struggles with so much within himself, and he pulls the tuck of the jacket a little closer to herself.

"... see you around, Mister Thomas. Maybe we'll work on something together."

And with that, Ge Ramda vanishes into a vaporous veil of black smoke, and she too, makes her way down the opposing path.