2019-07-18: Sneaky Friends

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<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

Naelle Sylkirk is not a spy. She's not a particularly good scout, even. Naelle herself is not aware of these facts, however, which have lead her to the present: her attempts to "infiltrate" the Caravan Kinship have led her to "scout" Besaid, trying to re-establish contact and carry out her "super-secret mission."

The mission is so super-secret she hasn't told Ivan what it is, just dragged him along for reasons of, he was standing there when she was trying to slip away.

She hasn't got orders, or even a clue.

And so, in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, Naelle is sneaking.

Every step she takes, she lets out a quiet "Nya," because that's how you sneak.

This is probably embarrassing to watch.

Naelle knows no shame.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

A scouting mission in Besaid? It won't take long to find interesting things - nor to follow the sound of a tambourine and a string instrument, nor hands clapping. It leads to a space where a small stage has been set up and a little crowd has gathered.

Catenna long since figured out that the skills Drago and Jean taught her could draw money for the CaraKin. That's the case here. She's switched into the flashier dancer's attire she picked up on Lunar and is in the process of wrapping up a dance routine, pivoting and twirling across the little stage with a pair of huge feather-trimmed fans sweeping about in her hands. She twirls with exceptional grace, balancing on one toe for a second, spinning with a billow of skirts and a deft movement of legs, before wrapping up the routine with a big flourish, sweeping the fans above her head and then cutting one out to her side and snapping herself into a dramatic half-crouch, one leg extended.

The music cuts out. Audience members applaud. There are a few whistles. Gil finds its way into the collection plate before the crowd begins to disperse.

As the audience thins, Catenna fans herself with one of her, well, her fans, moving to stand at the edge of the stage where the breeze can better be felt. "I remember being very embarrassed about learning this at first," she muses with a glanc down at someone at the foot of the stage - another CaraKin member, perhaps? "Now that I know how to do it, it's fairly fun."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    "That'sh the mosht important thing," Lanval comments as he does what comes natural to him, which is to say, lazing on the ground up against the stage. He's watched Catenna's movements every so often, but for the most part, the Water Seraph has contented himself with soaking in the fleeting happiness and contentment of the moment - anything to stave off that overarching feeling of dread.
     ...Also because, as someone who has now had to appreciate at least a few of the finer points of trade due to no longer being all but invisible in this land, he reeeeeeaaaaaally wanted to spend his coin on Brewte Force with the CaraKin. (He has forgotten to save some coin for the ferry back. This is a problem for Near Future Lanval. Five hundred plus years and he still has so much to learn about 'saving money.')
     "Ha ha ha! Mmmm..." That's the third bottle of the stuff he's downed! As he lowers the bottle from his face, though, he catches Naelle 'sneaking' around. "...That'sh the Guard," he says.
     ...Can't have 'em get in trouble with him being here, there's only one thing left to do, and that's to hide in his Vessel - a bottle, of course - as he disappears in a globe of aquamarine light.
     Counter-sneaky!

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The people of Besaid are probably not used to visits from people like the Caravan Kinship - it's a small, out of the way fishing town, after all, usually only seeing Summoners and their Guardians.

As it happens, small, isolated communities like this are where they excel.

Catenna dances, while Jacqueline sells refreshments - at a fair price, of course. In that way, their talents combine excellently.

Jacqueline sends a smile up Catenna's way when she speaks.

"I'm glad you're enjoying it - the way you dance is positively lovely, and it brings joy to so many. I think you may have found a calling." Jacqueline comments and looks toward Lanval. He's been lazing around, but he hasn't gotten in the way and he's actually bought things from her, so she doesn't mind his presence - he's nice to have around.

And then, he points out the presence of the Guard, and vanishes. Jacqueline looks in their direction, spotting Naelle...and then politely looks away. She's clearly trying to be sneaky, it would be rude to call attention to her until she's ready.

...Besides, even though she was with the Guard, Jacqueline didn't think she was up to anything malicious.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is has been Naelle-napped! Sometimes he just kind of goes along with things, and up until a certain point, this has been one of those times. But... the meow-sneaking. He just doesn't understand.

Ivan is hypothetically an exceptionally capable sneaker, but he is very confused about whether they are supposed to be sneaking or not, or really just what is happening at any level. Naelle is making noise... ... does that mean he is allowed to make noise as well?

He whispers: "Am... ... am I supposed to be helping with something?"

They come up upon a crowd gathered around a stage -- in a sudden flash of terror, Ivan catches sight of not one, but TWO people he has recently tried to murder. He gets a frozen-panic type expression on his face.

Still whispering: "Uhhhh, is this where we want to be? There's a lot of people here... Maybe there's some other good place to check out...?"

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda sometimes is just places.

This happens. Having been in a cylinder, sleeping, for most of her life, Emeralda often gets the bug to get out and explore, and this is something her parents (or whatever; it's complicated) have learned to accept. At least she usually doesn't get in too much trouble when she does it...

Right now Emeralda has had her attention caught by one specific event, though. She couldn't figure out why it was happening and just had to follow to see why it was.

This is why Naelle has someone following her about twenty yards back, doing a pretty good mimicry of her 'sneaking' - except for the fact that Emeralda is quite a bit smaller and doesn't have any cat ears.

It doesn't work any better as 'sneaking' for her, but Emeralda isn't really sure if Naelle is actually sneaking or just doing some kind of stunt, so she's not trying to hide very much.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

The camera pans ever so slightly to the left from Ivan and Naelle, revealing a Lydia that had been hiding off camera which is a very skillful stealth action, though she is a few feet behindd too having spotted Naelle from her meow-sneaking and rushed over (as such her expression is a bit flushed). "Are you here to catch the show??" She asks. "If so you should buy tickets!" She looks to Naelle. "Though hmm is the show over now? I can't tell. So I'll give you a discount."


Lydia seems to have another star on her today and considering that it's Lydia, well, it might not be too unusual she usually has some manner of star pattern on her somewhere no matter what she wears but ths time she seems to have attached a spangled star bangle to a necklace which she is, yes, presently wearing around her neck. She is in a good mood judging from her smile's persistency rating being above par for Lydia which is saying something since she tends to be pretty persistent with her smiles.

Then she turns her gaze towards Ivan. She apparently hasn't realized they were being stealthy. "Hey Ivan, how's it look? I found this in my pocket." She is... pretending apparently to not know who it's from.

And also in truth she was hesitant to put it on a necklace at first. Her people are in bondage (sort of) in Kislev! Her people are mistreated! Maybe she shouldn't be wearing a CHAIN like the KAISER would want her to wear!

But then she figured WAIT maybe it's solidarity and she SHOULD wear the chain to show her support for those less fortunate than her??

But then she thought 'is a star really appropriate for a chain that is being worn to show support for my people?'

And after freaking out for a while about all these options she decided to just try it out and see how it felt.

She ...

She has totally not noticed Emeralda behind them too. Sneaking is hard folks and well Ivan and Naelle seem to have most of her attention right now.

"Hey Naelle, it looks pretty right?" Lydia asks the catspy.

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

Naelle is about to answer Ivan's whispered query, when she spies a dancing Catenna ahead. "A-ha!! There you are!" she declares, giving up her...stealth...? and stalking over.

"So...hi!"

Naelle what are you even doing. (Infiltrating!)

"Oh and Miss Jacqueline too! I have ~questions~ for you," she adds, her expression turning sly. She may not intend to be broadcasting this slyness. It's hard to tell. Ivan! Ivan where did you--Ivan come over here! Why are you hiding? Buy tickets for me!" Lowering her voice, she hisses, "Act natural play along!"

I don't think she meant for everyone to hear that, but then--

"Pretty? Um--Uh y-yes! Yes, you look very pretty! It! It looks wonderful on you!"

Naelle is perceptive. She has totally completely failed to spot Emeralda.

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

(also Lanval)

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna has moons on her! Each of her fans has a huge crescent emblem on it.

"It is, isn't it? If nothing else it makes me feel like I actually contribute more to the Kinship than spiritual guidance." Catenna smiles mildly down at Lanval before raising her fans above her head, crossing her wrists in a back-arching stretch.

The praise from Jay brings a soft blush to her cheeks, and she brings her arm down and dips her head, smiling faintly. "Thank you... I owe Jean much gratitude for teaching me some of the basics. She is far more talented than I could truly hope to be...."

When Lanval points out the presence of an interloper, the Moon Shaman trails off, blinking and following Jean's glance.

There is a Naelle. Nyanyanya.

A Naelle who is giving up her stealth - along with someone else. With a tilt of her head, Catenna shifts one fan into the same hand as the opposite, that now-freed hand finding its way to her hip as she hops down from the stage to move towards the pair. "Yes, that is right about where I am. Does White Knight Leo come to know you have come to watch my show?"

Then it occurs to her who's with Naelle. Besides Lydia, that is. Catenna tilts her head towards Ivan, giving him a steady look. For a minute there it's like she's reading him like an open book.

"I take it you have dried out some since our last encounter."

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda is still not good at sneaking - or, more accurately, she is not good at sneaking while mimicing Naelle; whether this is on her or Naelle is up for debate.

Eventually, when Naelle stops sneaking... well, Emeralda doesn't see the point in stopping and continues to creep up right behind her.

"Nya," she says, as she returns to her more normal posture and tugs her scarf down so it doesn't hide her face anymore. "That was fun! What were you doing it for? Hi, Lydia! Hi, Ivan!" Emeralda certainly seems cheerful, even if she doesn't know everybody here by name. (She didn't see Lanval get in the bottle, either.)

If there is tension, she doesn't seem to notice it.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Good thing Lanval is hiding now! In a bottle. That would be a hard spot check to make if one didn't know a Seraph was even there! Hiding in this nice, safe, open, fragile, not-empty bottle, so that no Guard can bring down holy wrath upon the presence of the anathema Fallen Seraph and anyone who associate with them! Even if it's just Naelle.
     ...From within, the bottle shifts a bit upon noticing Emeralda's presence. He's just shy of asking Lydia aloud if that's someone she knows, since there's that similar-but-not-quite-identical air to them that's tough to put in words for the corporeal types.
     "Psssht!" Lanval asides to Jay, somehow, from within the bottle. "If she ashksh, I wash... uhhhhh.... sheen... iiiin... another island, liiiiike, mmm. On Filgaia! Yep!" That will be an excellent enough alibi, he thinks. Still, Catenna has a point - would Naelle get in trouble with her kind for watching someone dance?
     These contemplations stir within this bottle, a vague awareness of other familiar-ish faces (like Ivan). Hm, wait, Ivan's with that Guard, then... oh, that's even more trouble, isn't it.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

If Naelle hadn't given herself away first, Lydia marching right up to her and Ivan probably would have. Jacqueline chuckles good-naturedly at the sight of it.

The fact they have another follower - this one a smaller one that she doesn't recognize - doesn't escape her notice, though. Jacqueline sends Emeralda a polite smile before looking toward Catenna.

"You contribute a lot to the Kinship beyond that - that's just one of the things you happen to be good at." Jacqueline reassures her, and nods. "She is very talented..."

It is then that Naelle approaches her and Catenna. Jacqueline turns to give her her attention.

"Well, hello there, you two." She says, to her and Ivan both. She pauses, then.

"Questions?" She repeats. Naelle has a sly look on her face. Jacqueline can't help but be curious. She looks toward Catenna. "Well...I think we may have time for a question or two?"

She doesn't yet call attention to Lanval's presence - though she does send a subtle wink in his direction when he whispers to her(somehow). She looks toward Emeralda when she speaks up.

"Oh, do you two know her?" Jacqueline asks curiously, looking between Lydia and Ivan. "Well, hello, in any case!"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan does not immediately wrap a scarf around his face upon encountering Lydia, because maybe that would raise questions (in all the nerves about being around assassination targets he forgets that the answer to those questions isn't really a dangerous one so much as a regular embarassing one).

Lydia asks how her necklace looks.

"How does what look?? You could be referring to anything you're wearing! Anything that could fit in a pocket!!"

Catenna asks if he's dried out. "Yyyyyes," he says. "I. I won't be causing you trouble like that again." Please, please don't tell Naelle he is an assassin. He doesn't want to deal with the possible fallout from that at all. But is she going to ask what he's talking about??? Better head that off at the pass. He turns to Naelle.

"I uh, was super drunk and annoying last time I ran into her." Wait, no, the Guard aren't supposed to be doing that either!

And... what?! The puddle girl is here too!! How is that kid so good at sneaking up on him!!

He kind of winces at Jacqueline's greeting. in the way he sometimes does when he's trying to smile politely and it doesn't want to happen. "Uh... hi. It seems like I somehow know a lot of people. Are we supposed to pay to be here? Maybe I should leave." Naelle was telling him to buy tickets earlier...

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Yeah Emeralda is a pal." Lydia says, maybe feeling guilty about getting someone to shout 'Puddle Girl' at her even though Lydia herself was incredibly stuck on that point for an overly long time and is still kind of stuck on it but her reasons for being stuck on it are largely based on her own insecurities rather than anything Emeralda herself has done. It's just that Emeralda sort of sometimes is a walking pile of reminders of Lydia's deepest fears sometimes!

Deepest fears about her body anyway. Her deepest fears regardless more formless anxieties are ever still the ones that run Lydia's body. "She's cool."

She then turns towards Ivan as he points our that she could be asking about pretty much anything. She opens her mouth to answer Ivan by telling him exactly which part she's talking about before she stops herself short because she just realized a way Ivan's words can be interpreted.

"Wait." She says. "Did you just say everything I'm wearing is pretty?"

Her cheeks silver juuuust faintly and she says, "Well... I guess that's a fair point then, Ivan! So I'll uh... clarify! yeah!" She points to t he necklace. "I meant this 'anything' I could be wearing."

Yeah she's in an even better mood now good job Ivan! But at least she just seems to be kind of expressing this extra happiness by fidgeting with her hands a lot against one another.

Which is briefly paused as Ivan admits he was drunk. "Ha ha ha nice joke Ivan! You and I both know you don't drink!"

She rubs her neck awkwardly, laughing a bit gooffily before adding, "Hey Jay. Um. Hey Lanval. Catenna." She shows the Star to them.

"Whatcha think?"

She gives Naelle a pat on the shoulder and a smile as she actually answers the question.

"Thanks Naelle. Glad to see you again."

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

Naelle blinks as Leo is mentioned. "W-wait, what? O-of course the Boss knows what I'm up to! It's all part of a secret plan!" A nervous laugh fools approximately no one. And if it's a secret plan why are you talking about it? Naelle you are the worst secret agent.

Then someone not-her says nya, from right behind Naelle.

"Nya! Wh-wh-where did you come from? Doing what? Ivan there is a strange girl here did you lose a strange girl?"

Naelle still doesn't notice Lanval.

She returns her attention to Jacqueline, still looking startled. "O-oh, I want to know Crest Sorcery. For a friend."

It's not for a friend it's for Borgan, or more accurately, to show up Borgan by learning about the topic he wants to know about before he can.

"You can tell me all of that, right?"

"Ivan what--you--but--the Goddess--you--you know all these people too?"

Suspiciously, Naelle narrows her eyes. Is Ivan creeping in on her secret plan territory? Does he want to impress the Boss too? Would he do that? It looks like he's already creeping in on her hopes to impress Lydia! "I think all of it is pretty," Naelle mutters.

Then something registers with her. "Wait, the Fallen Seraph is here?!" She looks around, slightly be-panicked. "Oh, right, Seraphs are invisible..."

That calms her down. The reasons are unclear. Maybe if she can't see him he can't hurt her?

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"You flatter me terribly, Jay. Not quite as much as Cyre, but he also gets a certain headstart." Catenna's cheeks colour a shade.

Emeralda's definitely a new face. Catenna flashes the green-haired girl a polite smile, folding her hands and nodding. "Hello, Emeralda. My name is Catenna. It is nice to meet a friend of Lydia's."

Curious eyes darting towards Ivan, the Moon Shaman lowers both of her fans to the ground, crossing her arms beneath her chest. "I appreciate your restraint. I would not have wanted our relationship to be one of simply causing one another trouble. Am I to take it that...." She trails off as Ivan tries to make excuses.

Drunk? Him? Catenna's eyebrows arch.

"I take it you were able to swear off alcohol between our last encounter and now," she surmises. Is she actually talking about booze, though?

Leaning forward, she peers at Lydia's star, then looks up at her with a small, fond smile. "It suits that which you honour, Lydia."

With a light sigh, she turns her gaze to Naelle, watching the girl bounce between dutiful earnestness and easier calm. "You do not have to pursue anyone here, really. Though one wonders what plan you would execute? Surely it must be truly brilliant."

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda smiles at Naelle. She seems harmless enough. "Doing the - " She mimics Naelle's sneaking again, and - to make absolutely sure Naelle gets it - two bits of her hair point up and fold, almost like a cat-ear silhouette. They flatten down again (well, as much as Emeralda's hair ever flattens) afterwards, so it could have been chance. Or she has magic hair.

"We met each other a while ago and then we met again in Luca and again again not very long ago," Emeralda explains to Jay. Or perhaps 'explains', given the speed of the explanation, but at least she tries. "I'm Emeralda! I've seen your stores before."

Well, that's a start.

Emeralda beams at Lydia's praise before standing on tiptoes so she can get a better look at the star too. "I like it," she decides a moment later, dropping back flat on her feet. She gives Catenna a smile too, but: "Seraph? Where?"

Emeralda squints. She can see Seraphs (you can probably blame her Ether sensitivity for that), but she doesn't see one now...

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    The bottle locks up (somehow, it is already an inflexible thing) when Naelle exclaims something about the Fallen Seraph being here! But then she remembers they're 'invisible' but that's only a temporary measure, he realizes, as he projects the aquamarine ball of light out of the bottle and way, way, way behind Naelle. From that comes the manifestation in which all are more familiar with - that of the overweight bearded fellow and Oracle of Schturdark.
     He puts a finger between his lips. He manifests relatively close to Emeralda, which might be a small positioning mistake on his part for how he parses Emeralda's own presence... then sits down and leans back against a rock. As the star is shown to him, he opens one eye half-lidded to better give it a look. There's a stupid smile on his face, and an approving nod, but maybe the former renders the latter unnecessary as he quietly believes himself in the clear.
     Like he forgets Naelle could make a 180 at any time and see him maybe.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I don't think I could hope to match his talents." Jacqueline replies with a smile.

She looks toward Ivan, then, chuckling politely at his verbal flailing. She's not about to bring up the 'assassin' business if he or Catenna don't - just as long as he doesn't start it up again.

She looks toward Ivan, then, as he asks about tickets, and then toward Catenna to see how she answers. She doesn't comment on it, though, so Jacqueline fills in.

"The show is over now, so you're fine. Though, if either of you wanted to buy some refreshments, I wouldn't say no..." She says. There's a table nearby with beverage pitchers lined up, with price labels on each of them. At this point Lydia confirms her question about Emeralda, and Emeralda introduces herself.

"Oh! Well, it's nice to finally meet you, then! I'm Jacqueline, but it sounds like you may already know that - any friend of Lydia's is a friend of mine." She says, then looks toward Naelle as she asks her question. Crest Sorcery, huh...? Jacqueline frowns slightly.

"...Hmm. I'd be glad tell you a thing or two about it, but...I don't know if it's something you would be learn." She explains. She looks about herself. ...Well, everyone here has been on Filgaia at least once, she assumes, so... "I haven't heard word of anyone from Lunar being capable of grasping it. I suppose there haven't been too many experiments, but..."

She pauses, then, as Naelle comments on Lanval. Jacqueline fidgets a little. ...She wasn't much of a liar.

"U-umm...well, he was here, but I think he...leeeft...?" She replies, hesitantly. It's at this point that Lanval starts trying to sneak away. "...But! I'm sure all of you must be thirsty. Please, have a drink!"

She gestures to the refreshments table...and then looks toward Lydia as she asks for an opinion on something. She offers an encouraging smile.

"Oh, it's lovely! It looks very nice on you." She says with a nod. That, at least, she can be sincere about.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Lydia asks if Ivan is saying everything she's wearing is pretty. Ivan waves his arms around to defend against such an idea. "I don't have an opinion on that!! But I'm pretty sure Naelle did say that, look, she just said it again." What a nice thing to say twice, Naelle!

Then Lydia blows his cover just a little, at least regarding drinking. "How do you know I don't drink?!" he complains. "I might drink!" He adds, to Naelle: "I don't drink."

It seems like Ivan is being pulled in a lot of different directions right now.

Naelle asks if he lost a strange girl. "I mean, I didn't lose her. I think she's just... unusually independent."

Catenna suggests that perhaps he has sworn off alcohol, in a way that suggests she is asking for subtle clarification regarding whether he's going to try to kill her again. Which is a fair thing to want. It's difficult to take a stance on that, after having just insisted he both does and doesn't drink. But he'll try.

"Uh, well, not entirely. But I plan not to drink... at you again."

Did that even still fit the metaphor?

Jacqueline invites everyone to purchase some drinks. Ivan mumbles noncommitally. He makes a few faces of reluctance and indecision, then forks over some gil for one. He then hands it to Lydia.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia was worried Ivan accidentally admitted to drinking in front of the Guard and was trying to protect him!

She wasn't trying to blow anything, least of all Ivan's cover! Also she is unaware that Ivan has a cover right now. She is also unaware that Naelle has a cover.

"I don't know..." Lydia says thoughtfully. "It sort of sounded like you did... But--" She smiles at Ivan. "Naelle is pretty nice and--"

Wait, did Naelle ALSO say that everything was pretty? One person saying Lydia is pretty is honestly way more than what Lydia is used to. She feels like she's undergoing vertigo. Why is everybody saying she's pretty lately? Is it because she's happy? IS GOOD CHEER ATTRACTIVE???

Of course Ivan just said he had no opinion on that but it's too late! It's too late!! Lydia has already decided that's what Ivan meant and is just hiding it now because that's what Ivan does.

She takes Ivan's money and sits down, notably dot-eyed as she stares into the distance.

She stirs out of this state to say, "Oh uh. Lanval's cool. Don't worry. The dude who banished him died so it doesn't count anymore right?" This is probably not how it works and Lydia probably knows that's not how it works, but it isn't stopping Lydia because she does have Fast Talk at least.

Still she does actually already respecct Naelle though Naelle might not know that!

She looks towards Emeralda and says, "Thanks Emmy." She smiles. "I like you too. And you do have the best colored hair around, in my completely unbiased opinion. And your scarf...it's really cool!"

She is maybe exagerating this a bit because she thinks of Emeralda as a kid but it's not like she doesn't mean it.

"Pleasure doing business with you." Lydia says eventually, recovering from her brief period of Kuma Shock here.

"Thanks Jay, Cat. I don't know who gave it to me since I just found it in my pocket but they must be really thoughtful."

She manages to not look directly at Ivan while saying this.

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

Naelle looks at Catenna with confusion. "Okay so wait. You know Ivan and like...there was drinking? Oh, I'm not pursuing! It's a--oh, you're clever! You almost got me to tell my secret plan! Nya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

Emeralda explains with a visual aid, and Naelle looks simultaneously very interested in the hair cat ears and slightly unsure if she's being made fun of. "How...how do you do that thing with your hair?"

Lanval isn't there still? "Oh, good," Naelle says, "I was worried for a moment about having to confront the Fallen Seraph. Uh, refreshments? Ivan, buy me--oh you di--" Ivan gives the drink to Lydia and Naelle droops.

"Okay anyway yeah crest sorcery! I need to know all of it."

She's...she's serious.

Ivan is confusing. Naelle's tail twitches a bit as he both confirms and denies drinking. She cocks her head to one side. "Nya?"

Then she's moved on, because that's too confusing to think about.

"I--I did say! I did say these things about you looking good--" and then there's the comment about the dude who banished Lanval.

Naelle just...doesn't catch it.

Which is good because if she did she'd be crying. That made her sad. But apparently the roundabout reference bypasses Naelle's comprehension.

That's...good, right?

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Apparently Catenna's in no hurry to dredge up Ivan's secret life in front of his kitty friend - she'll do him that mercy, at least, even if she did dunk him that one time. Her pale grey eyes linger on the young man, watching the way he tries to navigate through the euphemism. "That's good. With time, perhaps you'll tire of drinking altogether, but I won't push you."

If Catenna's aware of the way Lydia is trying not to look at Ivan, she's not calling attention to it. A little smile teases across her face as she clasps her hands, then inclines her head. "Whomever put it there seems like a very considerate person, Lydia."

She, too, does not look at Ivan. But that smile has something knowing to it. Mothers always know, and Catenna's the closest thing the CaraKin has to a mom.

Turning her gaze to Naelle, Catenna takes a step towards her and reaches out, laying a delicate hand on her shoulder. She leans close, her other hand rising as she holds one finger to her lips. Long lashes dip slightly as she smiles a cryptic little smile. "You wouldn't want us to reveal all our secrets, would you," she asks with a quick glance at Ivan, then back to Naelle.

She draws her hand back. "Lanval is of the Guardians now," she adds mildly. "Speaking of him as banished is out of date. So long as his oath to Schturdark holds, he is part of my kinship."

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"Oh, my parents know where I am." Emeralda pauses, then corrects herself: "Well, they know I'm out here. They don't know I'm in this plaza *exactly*. I wouldn't leave them. Not ever!" If there is one thing Emeralda is firm about, it is that.

But then Lanval just kind of SHOWS UP next to her. Emeralda takes a startled step backwards, bringing her hands up with a sound of surprise, but she drops them a moment later when she realizes that it's just the Seraph she was already told about. "Aah! ...hi. Where were you?" she asks him, not being sure where he came from.

Emeralda likes being praised by Lydia. She grins again, half-bouncing on her feet. "Yeah! You have good hair too. Can you change its colour?" She never asked. Speaking of hair, though, Naelle is asking her... "I just moved it," she says, unhelpfully. A few parts of her hair lift up, making almost a hand, and she wiggles her 'fingers' at Naelle. She doesn't seem to think this is weird.

"I want a drink," she eventually decides, letting her hair fall back to normal and digging in her pocket. She has coins in there, right? She's pretty sure she does.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    He gets startled for a sec as Emeralda gets startled, and it's something of a comical sight because he throws his hands up the same way she does coincidentally. "Oh! Errr, uh... here... all along... yep. Jusht over there," which is stretching the idea of 'here all along!!!' Then the subject transitions a bit to Jay's cover story, which he decides he must assist with.
     "Yep! He shuuuuure did," Lanval 'contributes' to Jay's lie, giving himself away maybe but he technically doesn't have a brain. He can't be expected to come up with the best schemes! But then she invites everyone to have a drink, and there is a new problem.
     He wants more to drink, but going there requires risking coming in Naelle's or Ivan's point of view (even if he may already be in the latter - or really anyone's because he talked!!!).
     There is a passing sadness as Lydia suggests that Ghaleon's passing would reinstate his good name. By word of Althena Herself... Catenna swoops in and rescues his mood with a truth - he is of a new calling now, a new master he's beholden to (or thinks he's still beholden to - he hasn't heard from Schturdark since he came here). He exhales peacefully with a solemn nod. "'N you... err," he catches himself (too late?), sitting up with a start, "...look... nice tonight! Did look nice! Ha ha ha! ...Shtill look nice!" Gee it would've been complicated if he outed himself (further), but the gesture on Catenna's part is unabashedly welcomed.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline smiles and accepts the gil, passing over a cup of iced tea over to Ivan. There's also fresh lemonade and chilled water, alternatively.

"Well, I'm certain whoever it was, they put a lot of thought into it. They clearly wanted to make sure it was something you'd like." Jacqueline replies to Lydia, then looks toward Naelle.

Jacqueline frowns a little.

"Hmm, would it help if I showed you a few Crests, at least? 'All of it' is...um, a lot, and I don't think any of us have the time to stand here and listen to me prattle on about it." She replies.

Not that she wouldn't 'prattle on' if she had a willing audience - she enjoyed talking about Crest Sorcery, but rarely found anyone who could really engage with it.

Her face falters a little as Lanval tries to help with her lie...and just kind of makes things worse. She sighs, but then looks toward Catenna and nods.

"Lanval...is a good person. He's helped us out a lot." She agrees with a nod, then...looks toward Emeralda as she wave to Naelle...with her hair??

Jacqueline blinks. She doesn't hang on this point for long - it isn't the strangest thing she's seen, even if it's one of the strangest in recent days.

"Here, since you're a friend of Lydia's, it's on the house. What would you like, Emeralda?" Jacqueline intervenes. Technically Ivan already bought one and he appeared to be a friend of Lydia's...but Emeralda is by all appearances a child, and Ivan handed over the money before she could decide whether or not to give him a discount and she's not going to say no to that.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan keeps holding out the drink to Lydia until she recovers enough to take it. He looks awkward about this. And then Naelle seems dissappointed that he didn't get one for her?

"No, it's because I owe her a drink from a bet!" he explains. A beat passes. "I don't gamble, though."

This is a trainwreck. Why does Naelle keep asking him to buy her stuff, anyway? Does he look rich?? He doesn't think he looks rich... Is he rich? Does it count as being rich if you're a rich guy's secret murder kid?

Naelle seems awfully flustered about her compliments to Lydia. Does she like Lydia? Should he try to set them up together? ...Wow! He has incredibly mixed feelings about that thought.

A lot of people make sly comments about the star charm. How does everyone somehow know exactly what's up with that (it isn't everyone, Ivan!)

Catenna gets some awkward grimace-smiles at her doubletalk about not revealing his secrets. He did... absolutely nothing to earn that, but he's thankful regardless!!

Emeralda wiggles some things that probably shouldn't wiggle. He tilts his head a bit questioningly at that.

...It seems like Lanval is here, too! Has he been here all along?! Honestly Ivan has been too flustered by most of the proceedings to even be sure.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I don't know I never tried to change my hair color before." Lydia says. "Because it's already pretty much the perfect color, so why bother?" She nods firmly before pausing for a moment and cupping her chin in thought like she just played herself and realized it.

She also has a drink that Ivan handed to her that Lydia handed to him and she just seems to realize in this moment that it's in her hand. She decides this is the perfect moment to take a drink even with the Guard here because fuck the police. It's just a quick sip that kind of restores order to Lydia.

"Oh good point," Lydia tells Catenna. She honestly hasn't thought things through THAT in depth having largely began and ended her thoughts on the matter with 'man fuck ghaleon' and so far that attitude has only worked out for her. She hopes that the Guardians don't consider shamans out of date now that they have an alternative option that's new and cool! But honestly she does feel more confident for Filgaia's future with someone like Lanval looking out for it so it's hard to worry too much about it.

Oh no Catenna knows now. Ohhh no. What did you think would happen Lydia with you tryingg to be sneaky about it??

"Aren't you a little young to be drinking?" She asks of Emeralda. "I don't want to get in trouble with your parents." They'd probably sic eels on her or something. And despite saying this, she cruelly has another sip of her 'won' drink.

She considers Naelle quietly and essentially decides she probably is just showing beastman solidarity here. She nods a few times to herself and then gives Naelle a thumbsup. "You got any cool projects you're working on?"

She glances around. Perhaps for an escape route.

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

Naelle meets Catenna's eyes, her own eyes narrowing slightly, as the shaman tells her of Lanval being one of the Guardians.

This isn't suspicion, Naelle's just actually trying to figure out what this means.

"Oh. Okay then!"

Well, that was easy.

"You should only drink healthy things, like milk!" Naelle exclaims to Emeralda. "By the way, do you have any milk," she adds to Jacqueline.

Her attention finally lands on Lanval! "Oh, hey, you came back."

No malice, no judgment, just--Naelle.

"Do you have like, a book, or some notes or something, maybe, Miss Jacqueline? Only I learn really good from books and stuff. It's like blueprints, right? I get blueprints." She scratches her head and laughs a little awkwardly. "I'm better at them than understanding people, I think."

A surprising moment of self-awareness, in Besaid.

"Oh, I don't gamble either, Ivan. I just challenge people to arm wrestle! That's how I met Lydia the first time!" Her eyes take on a misty quality of reminiscence.

"I think she won."

Naelle has no idea what's up with the star charm, Ivan, it's okay!

"Your hair i-is pretty perfect, Lydia! Oh, yeah! Boss said I could work with Miss Kaguya and learn about the new Gears, that's pretty exciting! Miss Kaguya says I have to watch out for explosions, though. But I'm an expert at landing on my feet. Nya ha ha ha ha!"

That might have supposed to have been a secret. Naelle definitely doesn't know about Kaguya's previous relationship with Carakin though. So this is an awkward moment, huh?

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda accepts Lanval's answer. She's pretty trusting.

"I meant I want a drink of *lemonade*," Emeralda explains to Lydia, which doubles as her answer to Jay too. (She still leaves a coin behind. It isn't actually enough to pay for the drink since she only had a one gil coin, so the discount is appreciated. Maybe it is a tip?) "Milk is okay but it gets funny when it's hot. Thank you!"

Emeralda doesn't have any interest in, or knowledge of, Crest Sorcery, so she stays well out of that conversation. Similarly she's pretty ignorant of Guardians, but at least she's listening. It sounds less technical.

But she hears words she knows! "What Gears?" she asks, perhaps assuming that Naelle can't possibly be with the big attacking ones. "I had a Gear once but it's not here." It sounds like childish exaggeration. Maybe it is.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna raises her eyebrows with surprise as Emeralda flips her hair up and waves like that, but lets the expression quickly recede back to mild-mannered neutrality. Far be it from her to let a child know she's weirded her out a little - but she takes a mental note. Emeralda's no ordinary youngling.

Nor is Ivan, for that matter. Glancing back at him, she catches his eyes, a more serious look behind them than her earlier flirtations. There are things she'd talk about with him - but not in front of Naelle.

When she looks back to Lydia, her smile's quiet and steady. In Catenna's mind, Oracles aren't replacements for Shamans - they're supplements.

Naelle, at least, seems to accept it. Setting her hands at her hips, Catenna nods to the young Guardswoman gravely, then takes a step back as she glances between the catgirl and Lydia. "It is very charming hair, Lydia," she murmurs, though something's left her sliding into a more subdued mood.

Kaguya, she reflects, a quiet sadness slipping into her thoughts. For just a moment, her kidneys hurt.

With a little sigh, Catenna straightens the waistband of her dancer's skirt. "You should be careful about the technology Kaguya is sharing with you," is all she says, her tone fairly muted.

Catenna glances back, checking the stage still standing behind her. It'll be time for another performance soon - but now she's got new things to trouble her.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval feels a greater peace in knowing that the mortals present - most of them - consider him as a friend, a small reassuring thing, though all good things come to an end. The 'good thing' in question being 'the part where Naelle doesn't know he's there,' and who does he have to blame?!
     'Oh, you came back.' Naelle looks at him, acknowledging that much, and then... nothing. No calls for righteous action, no pointing fingers, no drawn weapons, nothing - just 'oh, you came back.' Both eyes open enough so that they can communicatively blink the surprise of it, and the water goes still.
     He takes his drinking gourd in both hands and has a sip when she looks away to ask Jay about a book. More than a sip. It doesn't cross his mind the idea that he could be a 'replacement' for any of them for at least as long as any of them live. It stops as Naelle mentions how exciting it is to learn about the 'new Gears' with one 'Miss Kaguya,' and a part of him looks chilled over. Chilled over like when Ceimglace sneaks up behind him to give him a hug.
     He sees Catenna starting to look a bit worried, as though a greater weight were on her. Eyeing Naelle's positioning, and sneaking another look to Emeralda in wake of the hair waving... well, can't be anything wrong with her if she's anything like Lydia, he surmises, helping himself closer to the stage and plopping down against it. The air carries strongly of the essence of water, good and bad, in concert with the nearby sea breeze of Spira.
     He casts a look to the flustered, overwhelmed Ivan.
     "Mmmm... lemme tell ya," he says, off-handedly, "ain't a good call ta recant a losht bet... shure haven't sheen anything pretty come from that..."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

With a smile, Jacqueline passes a glass of lemonade over toward Emeralda. She doesn't know who her parents are, but Jacqueline figures they must be doing a good job because she seems pretty well-behaved - she even left her a tip!

"You're welcome, enjoy!" Jacqueline replies cheerily, then looks toward Naelle. "I don't, unfortunately...as she says, it doesn't keep well in this tropical weather...but I can probably come up with a solution for the next time we meet."

Jacqueline figures it probably wouldn't be too difficult to store some in a nice, chilled container - she could probably get Arleph to prepare one with Symbology.

She does, however, send her an apologetic frown at her next qeuestion.

"I can understand that - there's a lot I've learned from books. Unfortunately, I don't really have anything I can spare... I'm sorry." Jacqueline replies. This is a half-lie - she does have some, but...she's a little hesitant to give away too much information to the Guard. She might think Naelle's alright, but there's no telling where the book would end up. The less they knew about Crest Sorcery, the better.

The mention of Kaguya, too, gets an awkward frown out of Jacqueline.

"Kaguya..." Jacqueline murmurs with a quiet frown. That was absolutely an awkward subject. "I have to agree with Catenna, there."

She looks toward Emeralda, then, cheering up just a little.

"Oh? What kind of Gear?" Jacqueline asks. ...She's assuming it's just like a small toy in the shape of a Gear or something. She would be surprised if she knew the truth.

She does send Catenna a brief glance to see how she's doing - she can tell, or at least assume, that this might be a little troubling to her. She offers her a reassuring smile.

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"A skinny one," Emeralda says, "with big wings."

This isn't helping the 'toy' belief.

Emeralda drains the lemonade and makes a face from the sourness. It's a good feeling! But man is it strong. "Thank you!" she says again. "I should probably head back, but, um, it was good to meet you all!"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia's pleasant demeanor fades considerably when Naelle mentions the new gears. It's enough that she doesn't even seem too interested in commenting on the 'pretty hair' either. None of this is, to be fair, really Naelle's fault or anything. She's just sort of innocently insensitive, but even if Lydia wasn't fighting when those machines were marching about--she sure saw what they were able to do.

It's solid evidence enough to hate gears and fighting anyway. She doesn't relish the day when she and Kaguya might end up--

--no, she tells herself. You promised yourself you were on Saving The World Break. You just want to have dumb conversations about who likes who and that sort of shit right now.

"Yeah you...don't want to get in trouble, right?" Yeah now Caravan Kinship is giving Naelle advice on how to be a sneak. At least this should be proof to Ivan that this is just sort of how the Kinship works. Even Lydia stumbles into the mannerisms periodically.

"Oh lemonade is pretty good for this sort of weather." She murmurs. She lifts up that new star bangle and looks down at it. So far she hasn't been able to figure out a path forward that feels right for her as regards to fighting for Spira, really and Rigdobrite seems to be quiet on the matter too.

It's strange when people you believe in seem to do things that you can't ever imagine them doing. And yet they are still doing it.

"Sometimes," Lydia murmurs. "It feels like everything's wrong."

She sighs and then forces another smile. It's not exactly a LIE or anything so much as maybe like half truth half lie. It's complicated.

"It was nice seeing you two." She smiles back down at the bangle before stepping away with her drink so she can just enjoy it on her lonesome for the time being.

<Pose Tracker> Naelle Sylkirk has posed.

<poem>"Oh, uh, is there something--oh, maybe I wasn't supposed to say about that. Uh, nya ha ha ha ha...IVAN WE'RE LEAVING."

It's not so much Catenna's warning or Jacqueline's agreement, as Lydia's shift in manner.

As she snuck into the area, every step was a nya. As she leaves, though, Naelle's every step is paired with "stupid, stupid, stupid" as she scolds herself for messing up with Lydia.

Again.

She's not sure what it was, or what it is about herself that makes this always happen.

She doesn't even stop when she realizes she didn't get any information about Crest Sorcery from Jacqueline.

Exeunt.

Logging stopped at 18072019 - 23:12:31