2019-06-10: The Sixth Sense

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  • Log: 2019-06-10: The Sixth Sense
  • Cast: Seraph Amaranth, Ivan
  • Where: The Moonflow
  • Date: June 10, 2019
  • Summary: Ivan offers Katherine a murder-related olive branch. Then he learns some very surprising things about her past.

===============================<* The Moonflow *>===============================

The Moonflow is a large river that bisects Spira's largest island into southern and northern halves. Strange flowers called Moonlilies grow on the Moonflow's banks, attracting pyreflies that gather on its surface at night, making the water sparkle. Although a beautiful area, the weather tends to be overcast more often than not, the souls of the dead providing the most reliable source of illumination.

The primary method of crossing the Moonflow is aboard a shoopuf - an elephantine creature that can swim across the expansive river. The crossing service is funded by the Temple of Yevon and is free of charge.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcVnJQ-FN4
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Amaranth has spent the next couple of hours after talking it out with Talia...

    ...

    ...

    Well. By the time Ivan returns (the next day?), the Festina Lente certainly has at the very least gone back to 'neutral'. No longer is it huddling in a literal blanket, and it's quite the pretty sunlit house with many skylights along with a wonderful boutique of clothing for all sizes, shapes and people.

    And in the midst of this, Katherine Weaver is...

    ... still cuddling the bomb plant Queen Anastasia as she whiles the day away staring at Pyreflies floating around the lillies.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan waits a little while for an answer after knocking, but -- you know! assassins! Murder! What if Katherine isn't answering because she has been murdered and he has to tell Talia?! That would be BASICALLY THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF HIS LIFE. Also, would he be a suspect?!

So anyway, it's not the kind of thing he wants to be in suspense about, sohe doesn't wait very long for a response before opening the door and letting himself in. On the way, he shoots the house a Look.

"I'm 'welcome,' remember?" He tells it. Though maybe he absolutely is and the conflict is all in his head.

At any rate, he strides in ready to DISCOVER A MURDER SCENE or INTERVENE IN AN ASSASSINATION or JUST BE CONSIDERED RATHER RUDE AND ANNOYING but instead he finds Katherine still engrossed in cuddling with her bomb plant.

Man. They truly love that thing.

"Uh, hey. I let myself in! I remember you sounded like you needed somebody killed and I was in the neighborhood so I thought I'd offer."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Katherine's house indeed... ... hardly has anything resembling a lock. The entire open plan shaded porch-and-showroom combo seems to double as her living room, with very little in the back otherwise; most of the windows and doors are also left open to let the breeze in.

    It's kind of the worst house ever for an assassin?? But maybe that's the point.

    'Katherine', after all, isn't an assassin.

    Katherine also jolts and-- pulls herself up with a quiet smile for Ivan. "Well! Hello. Talia's not in, but ah..." Ivan mentions someone needs killing.

    "Er..." She frowns quietly. "... how do I even respond to that??"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ah. Is this awkward? Who could have known? Not Ivan, apparently!

He folds his arms. "You can just give me details on what you know about them and I can hunt them down." He pauses. "Are you morally opposed to having your assassin killed? Do I have to like buy them off the job? I don't know if you can do that with cult assassins."

Technically you can't do that with Ivan, either, although he likes the idea of a giant bribe...

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "... ... well, it's not like ..." Katherine looks just a little overwhelmed, before sagging her shoulders very quietly. "Where do I even begin."

    She sets Queen Anastasia aside and gestures for Ivan as she snaps her fingers--

    And a pink sugarpuff cloud belies the appearance of two teacups and a pot of tea, along with some cute checkerbread cookies.

    Everything is sugary cute with her, isn't it?

    "Maybe I should start from my suspicions. Were you one of the mainlanders who came here from Meribia, Ivan? I wasn't sure whether you fled Azado to the Blue Star like Talia and I."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan stares down apprehensively at the newly apparated tea and cookies, his hands and arms adopting a somewhat defensive posture from them.

Are they real? Are they safe? Did she call actual cookies from nothing? Are they pretend cookies, made of pure imagination? Are they real, but not called from nothing and just assembled from actual cookie ingredients stowed away elsewhere?

Furthermore, does random hospitality count as a gift he needs to turn away? Let him be the one offering favors, damn it!

His brain reluctantly tears itself away from dire cookie-related mysteries to the question at hand. Where he came from (most recently).

"I came with Althena's Guard from the mainland, yeah. I missed out on the whole Blue Star... ... experience."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Katherine catches Ivan's look of apprehension and takes a sip of tea, before gesturing, "No poison. Except sugar, that is. Though I find that I was pretty sugar-reliant back in the day."

    Sugar rush assassins... perhaps the most ruthless being in the market.

    She nods, though, when he explains his predicament. "The thing is... I've suspected the Shadow Dragon Cult to have a presence in Althena's Guard for a while. I have no outright proof, but..."

    She furrows her brow further. "The only people in Spira are those who came on the Guard's fleet from the mainland, or as part of the Drifters who went to the Blue Star. I can't exclude the possibility of the latter, of course, but..."

    Katherine hides herself behind her cup of tea for a moment.

    "I think it is more likely they are hiding under the presence of being Guardsmen and women. As such, it may not be... simple to strike against them on their terms."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

It's so much more complicated than just worrying if it's poison, though! There are existential questions. Emotional questions. Ethical questions. But being assured it's not poison gives him an acceptable pretext under which to drink it: Proving he's not afraid of her. And so, following his own tenuous and unnecessary chain of logic and justifications, Ivan tries the tea.

Meanwhile, he ponders assassins hiding in the Guard. What an idea!

"If they're embedded in the Guard, that would make them a lot easier for me personally to track down, though. You're thinking they might be high ranking where they'd have a lot of protection and consequences for anyone who took them out? What's the Shadow Dragon Cult's deal? Is there anything that might give one of them away?"

Also, are they using 'they' like 'we don't know if this is a man or a woman' or 'they' like there are twelve of them? That does alter the feasibility a bit.

"Do you think there's a whole group in the Guard?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    The tea is one of those mysterious contradictions in videogames where it's Ceylon Tea, much like Swiss Cheese, but you go, "Wait a minute, what's a Ceylon?" and it's forever a mystery because I'm pretty sure Sri Lanka doesn't exist in Filgaia or Lunar.

    Technically it exists back on Earth, lightyears away, though...

    It is a brisk, lovely tea, somewhat bold in flavour, with notes of citrus, chocolate and spice -- Katherine seems to enjoy it with a bit of a squeeze of lemon. Honey and milk are offered too! Katherine's cup clearly has both of those.

    "... I can't prove anything," Katherine admits sadly. "I stayed in Meribia for a long time because I suspected they operated at least in part in that city, but I was unable to find the ringleader."

    Ivan asks about the Cult's deal.

    "... a long time ago," she speaks gently after a long pause, "There was a cult of assassins that operated by kidnapping children -- orphans, mostly -- and indoctrinating them at a young age. They would teach a deadly martial art to them, and instill that loyalty is everything; that you would not be able to flee far enough, and treason would be met with suffering and death."

    There is a long, sad pause. Then she looks to Ivan; her violet eyes looking towards his firmly for a moment.

    Then she takes her hand slowly and 'wipes' them over her eyes -- and what comes out are filmy, gray eyes. Heavy cataracts, suggesting blindness. Was there an illusion there?

    "And they destroyed the children's eyesight too, to make it harder for them to flee, to resume a normal life. They were taught to kill and sense using other means."

    There's a sag as she finishes, "... I'm sad to report that the Shadow Dragon Cult of today bears much of the same habits. Though I am not sure the practice of blinding persists."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan listens to the first part of the story, forcibly trying to make his face neutral, as if to say 'can't relate.' And he can't, can he? That sounds like a much more intense situation than his own, which he mostly chose. She is describing a group she once belonged to, isn't she? And that's why she's being hunted by them, now?

That's when she changes--or reveals--her eyes, and he nearly drops his teacup. He actually does drop it a little, but catches it before it falls all the way to the ground. "Wait -- you can't see?!" He could've sworn she was making eye contact, though... and all the illusions? How do you do illusions without sight!? Was she just hightlighting the story with a visual aide?!

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "Technically, no..." Katherine admits. "My eyesight was robbed from me a long time ago." She stirs at her cup of milk tea for a moment with a sigh, then... 'looks' back towards Ivan.

    "The cult teaches its indoctrinated to learn to see 'threads'. Threads of a person's life... to reach and pluck out," Katherine murmurs. "The basis of its assassination art. That was, I suppose, all they needed their assassins to see."

    She probably has comments on how impractical it is for an assassin to not be able to see, but the idea is long dead and buried in the past.

    "But my sister -- Ragnell -- and my adoptive Seraph parents were clever. When I became a Seraph, they taught me... the ability to gather color, light... impressions, sensations around me. To try to wrest back a sense of sight."

    A pause.

    "A sense of normalcy and life."

    She smiles sadly. "It's not perfect, but... anything to try to tell myself I can still live and move on."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"But everything you make is so cute!" he says, somehow accusingly, even though she's already midway through explaining that she has found a supernatural means of experiencing light and color.

He has no idea what that could mean! How do you make clothing and cookies and eye contact without sight! Ivan, she just explained it! Maybe it will take him a while to absorb. Meanwhile, another Detail that Does Not Fit at All is vying for his attention.

"Wait -- your sister who?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Katherine sags for a moment to stammer, "W-well, now you know, okay! So maybe I'm compensating a little to feel better." Harrumph, and then she settles down for a moment. "... Katherine would do that. Katherine is full of life and light."

    A blink, though, as Ivan asks about her sister--

    "Oh... ... she's not someone who's with us anymore," Katherine murmurs. "Ragnell. My sister. A fellow Seraph. She..."

    A longer pause, as she twiddles her thumbs gently.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Can you tell the stuff is cute?"

He... he hopes so! She ought to at least be able to enjoy it?? Even if she can't QUITE see it??

Okay, but dead family members. Be careful, Ivan, you aren't very tactful under the best of circumstances, and this is difficult territory.

"That was -- that was like... a month or two ago, right?" Ivan's face screws up uncomfortably, because he fears he's dangerously close to putting his foot in his mouth, if he hasn't already. But he saw Ragnell like a week ago. She couldn't have died less than a week ago could she? Didn't Talia tell him about this very close to when he found her again...?

"I just -- I met somebody named Ragnell super recently, who's a lightning Seraph, and she said she had a sister who's a darkness Seraph..."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "W-well, I have to be able to imagine it to make it, right? So of course I can!" Katherine grumps just a little bit. "... it isn't like I'd make something non-functional just for the heck of it."

    She scratches her cheek for a moment, but-- blinks a few times. "That's... that's right. I--"

    Her face drops completely.

    "Wait, what??" Katherine looks shocked. "Yes, she's-- a lightning Seraph. What?? Where??"

    She scowls.

    "That's just so like her to not tell me!"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Oh! You imagine it!" That KIND of makes sense. You can imagine things even with your eyes closed. All right, good, Ivan feels better about this somehow.

Katherine asks him where he saw Ragnell. "It was twice! Not that long ago! In the temple of Kilika... and then just recently on the highroad...? Do you -- you think it's really her? That sounds like a thing she'd do???"

What kind of person is Ragnell? She seemed... easygoing, but not telling your loved ones you're not dead is a whole different level beyond easygoing.

"Do you think maybe she doesn't... know you think she's dead?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Katherine pauses for a long moment at that, scratching her head. "I... I don't know. When Talia came back with just her hat, she sounded--" She looks a bit devastated for a moment. "She sounded like it was very final. She was there, she saw it, she..."

    She recollects herself for a moment further, sighing.

    "... I guess that's possible. I've been grieving so much, and with all this about the Cult, I'd--" She clears her throat.

    She looks to Ivan again -- then 'wipes' her hand, and those violet eyes are back. They're pretty convincing.

    "Thank you. For letting me know."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I... hope it's her. It would be incredibly shitty if I told you she was alive and I was just confused or something...."

He fidgets a bit. Somehow he is even MORE awkward about meeting her eyes now that he's uncertain if she can see him, or to what extent.

"If I see her again, I can tell her to come see you."

Possibly with a 'What is wrong with you!' attached.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "... ... honestly, I don't know enough Seraphs to go 'whoops, sorry, wrong Seraph Ragnell'... especially a second Seraph Ragnell who's a seraph of lightning with a sister..." Katherine looks really tired for a moment.

    "I'll go looking for her too. But..."

    A pause. "Oh, what you asked earlier. They do have a kind of garb -- usually used in assassination..."

    She waves her hand, and procures what looks like a hand-drawn image of the kind of garb Pearl was wearing. "... though, of course, do not be surprised if they are in disguise. They work in the shadows, after all."

    Katherine tilts her head again. "... be careful, okay? I would not want you to... fall into undue trouble because of me."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I can keep an eye out for that, then," Ivan says. Though to see it, he might have to catch the person in another act of assassination. Which is... less than ideal. Except for the part where if he interrupts an act of assassination, it might make it easier to dissappear the perosn afterward and less likely that he gets executed by the Guard for betraying one of their own.

Ah yes, what could go wrong with any of this?

Ivan shrugs at the words of concern. "Don't worry. I'm extremely capable."

Yes, he's just an assassin who failed two missions in a row...who better to rely on?

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "... I believe in you. Just..." Katherine looks less confident, but it doesn't look like it's because of Ivan. There's a soft sigh. "I genuinely do not know how deep they may run in the Guard. The one that I faced was... a senior. That may suggest a hierarchy, it may not. I'll try to gather more information myself where I can..."

    She scowls for a moment.

    "Even if I do nothing, they may keep coming after me. It may be an opportunity to learn more."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Is this the first time any of them have come after you? How long has it been since you escaped?"

For all Ivan knows, it's been hundreds of years and they just take their pledge of relentlessly hunting down defectors incredibly seriously.

"You'd think that turning into a whole new category of being like a holy Seraph would get you off the hook," Ivan complains. How do you become a Seraph anyway!?

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    ".... about .... eight, no, maybe more centuries ..." Katherine squints in recollection. She pauses and looks sheepish at Ivan like she just so casually dropped how old she actually is. "'Escaped' is ... perhaps incorrect. I never joined this modern, Shadow Dragon Cult, after all. But the similarities obviously live on through the centuries that they still mistake me for one of their indoctrined."

    A pause, as she scratches her cheek softly.

    "... 'Escaped' is also incorrect in that ... well, I suppose I never escaped that life as a human," Katherine whispers. "It is all so very hazy, but... I believe I was extraordinarily lucky in turning into a Seraph when I died."

    She looks to Ivan.

    "Not all of us were borne from humans... my sister Ragnell was borne from an Earthpulse, for instance. But in my case... vague memories of that time persist."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Wait, you died!? My sister is dating a ghost?!?!"

Ivan's tea, fortunately, is by this time safely stowed on the nearest horizontal surface after this conversation was deemed too unsafe for it.

He kind of smooshes his hands over his face as if trying to get that information to merge with his brain and be accepted by it. Muffled by his hands, he adds, "Well, that's double unfair if you already died in their service!"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    Katherine droops again. "I-- kind of assumed that was explicit already, given I'm a Seraph! Seraphs are pretty much ghosts!"

    A pause, as she squints and looks up at the ceiling. "... depending on your faith, I suppose. I never felt like much of an angel or anything holy and venerable, if I must be entirely frank with you."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I knew you were MAGICAL and I knew you were INVISIBLE but I didn't know you were SOMETIMES GHOSTS!" Ivan removes his hands from his face in order to throw his arms out for emphasis. "There are a lot of different stories about Seraphs and I'm still getting used to them being real -- I mean, I knew they were real, but there's real over THERE where you'll never see something and it's basically a legend, and then there's real over HERE right where you are talking to you, and suddenly SO MANY THINGS from over THERE are over HERE."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Amaranth has posed.

    "i'm going to mumble now to just make up for your emphasis," Katherine buries her face on her desk for a moment.

    A pause.

    "I know what you mean, though. I spent... many, many years -- decades, maybe even a century -- without a single person being able to see me. This shop?" Katherine gestures around them as she lifts her head up again.

    "You wouldn't see anything if you couldn't perceive me. It's like my way of advertising those that can. I'd always be so happy to actually find a customer..."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"It sounds pretty grueling to be a ghost," Ivan says, sympathetically, perhaps.

"All right... I have... a million more questions about all of that, but there are things I'm supposed to be doing today, so I should go! I'll see you later! And I'll find your assassin! I've just got to look for somebody who maybe can't see, and has some distinctive secret clothing! No problem"

Ivan waves, and heads for the door.