2019-09-04: Ganondorf 101

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===============================<* Guadosalam *>===============================

Guadosalam is an underground that sits on the path from the north bank of the Moonflow and the southern trail of the Thunder Plains. The city is found inside an underground cavern, where the walls and walkways are composed of the twisted roots of the trees of the Moonflow's north bank, giving the entire area the faint resemblance of an underground swamp.

Guadosalam is the ancient home of the Guado, a race of Beastman-appearing humans who, until recently, lived outside the grace of Yevon. This changed with the coming of Lord Jyscal Guado, who brought his people into Bevelle's fold; following Jyscal's death, his son Seymour - also a Maester of Yevon - now rules the Guado people both temporally and spiritually

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        It took a little doing, but Ida managed to convince the proprietor of the Deeprest Arms to rent out the dining area. The Deeprest caters to pilgrims and other travelers, and like most other buildings in Guadosalam, it looks grown rather than built--made from carefully-managed living wood by Guado botanists and carpenters. The dining hall features an opulent stained-glass window depicting the High Summoner Yocun and her Guardian, and a number of elegantly-carved tables put end to end to form a single meeting-room table. There is of course a spread of refreshments: clay-filtered water, bubbly spring water, nuts and berries and assorted fruits, baked goods, and even some of the fungi and darkness-tolerant plants that are staples of the Guado diet.

        Ida sits at the head of the table, wearing a colorful linen tabard and matching slacks. She's eating a slab of mushroom that tastes, to her, like an earthier version of the roast chestnuts back home. She's keeping an eye on the door, though, observing the others as they come in--though there's an air of relaxation here, it's temporary. It may, in fact, be a calculated move to take the weight off the grave subject matter she's here to discuss.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Even dressed as she is for the warm climate of Spira, Catenna can't help but feel a bit of a chill today. Perhaps it's the subject matter. Or maybe the weather's just gotten colder.

Moving to settle in near Ida, the Moon Shaman look across the table towards the naturalist turned pugilist. Between her hands, there's a bowl of tinola, the local variety of chicken soup, complete with papaya slices and the leaves of a piquant Spiran pepper.

"It does seem as though a lot has been coming to a head lately, doesn't it," she murmurs before looking up from the bowl, eyes settling on Ida again. The smile she offers her is small, reserved and doesn't betray all that much. "...I hope you've been well, Ida. It's been too long."

With a light hop, Saarda-Shanta descends from Catenna's shoulder and lands on the tabletop, giving her tail a wiggle. She glances from side to side before scooting over to sit in an empty teacup. She looks for all the world like a soft white Owlet riding a little ceramic boat.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

When Mariel was told of this gathering, she offered to come to explain what she knows. It may not be what people are expecting to hear, but she is at least well-suited to talk about *part* of the topic.

Until then, though, she's been quiet. Like now.

Mariel has been gazing at the stained glass window as if it had something to tell her for about five minutes. Only now does she turn away from it, heading over towards the table with the food and drink on it. She approves of the cuisine, though, even if a few of the ingredients are less familiar to her.

She sits near Catenna out of something like nervousness; mostly it just makes her look timid. She tucks her gloved hands in her lap (and yes, even inside and in the heat, she wears her gloves, though the green robe and the traveling pants she's chosen are lighter-weight).

Mariel does smile at Saarda-Shanta. She usually does.

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet moves among the tables, sampling a little bit of all of the refreshments. There's more variety than in the refugee camps, at least. She winces as she tastes a particularly bitter darkness-tolerant plant. The fruits and baked goods are more to her liking. She feels a bit self-conscious in her worn dress, much-mended, thin and threadbare. No one would mistake her for someone affluent -- especially if they spy her putting some of the pastries into her satchel for later. She sees a few people she knows and scoots down to be near them. She spares a glance in Ida's direction, equal parts seeking her approval and silently questioning what this gathering is going to be about.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

The Seraph of Light, Clarine, is here as well. She had heard that Ida was planning to talk about that man - Ganondorf, she had heard he was called from her other comrades in ARMS.

She wanted to know more about him - that frightening man, who wielded that terrible Light. The Light that had torn through her physical form, forcing her to retreat to her vessel to avoid destruction.

She sits now, in the middle of the light streaming in through that opulent stained glass window. She's not particularly interested in the food, but that there's plenty of light here is enough to satisfy her.

She sits quietly, watching quietly with those golden eyes as others stream in. They're largely strangers to her, so she doesn't address them just yet. She's not sure what she'd say.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Marivel has come along. She hasn't been very chipper or friendly, though she has elected to seat herself down near Mariel which isn't so unusual from her. Does she have much to say about the mysterious Ganondorf? It doesn't seem to be just yet but she does offer Clarine a lazy smile before settling back in to close her eyes and be unexpected quiet.

For the moment.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        It took a little doing to get Lanval to come to the Deeprest Arms - not out of any dislike of the place, or any trouble he's gotten into with the locals, or anything of the sort. No, it's the same sort of thing that grabs his attention every time Fox Company comes by here for various business-related dealings - all the pyreflies that come through en route to where the Farplane rests. The 'after-life' of the people of Spira, and this is a difficult concept to grasp for anyone who has lived in centuries under the cultural umbrella of the Althena faith.
        Not to mention the sheer quantity and passage makes him think that Fiends could pop out of that migration at any moment, at any time. (It hasn't.) For a spiritual entity like him, the pressure and feel is akin to the chill some might feel.
        He gets to the appointed meeting area, eventually, looking a bit spooked (half-open eyes, less of a dumb smile on his face, sitting upright(!!) and not laying face flat on the table (!!!)).
        There might have been some alcoholic beverages. Their existence will have to be confirmed by historians at a later date when they ask the long-bearded Oracle of Schturdark over there, who is the last person to see them and thus the key to solving the mystery as to whether such was ever served at this gathering.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Xiumei is a little late in arriving. She comes in just ahead of her common companion; she adjusts her tie, which it looks like has been ruffled by a hurried approach, then adjusts her glasses. As she does, the purple-haired woman looks.

She lifts a hand, waving at the others here -- her eyes linger on Ida. "Sorry," she says. "I still get lost in some of the tunnels here."

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

Eleanor Klein arrives as well, in a brighter mood than some of the others might seem over dour portents of late. But then, she does try to keep a bright face on things, as a rule. "Ah, ha ha," Eleanor answers, "Me, too. I should really remember to write things down..."

She straightens her tie and smoothes out her skirt before she takes a seat at the table. "Ah--but I should've known someone thought to find something to eat. I, for one, am terribly hungry."

She smiles to Clarine, in particular, and looks around to each here. ...The little spirit bird gets a small wave of delight.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        Gwen, of course, is there.

        Dressed in her usual outfit of a Spiran tunic with a bright geometric design, brown pants, and a black undershirt, her pale red hair is held back with a colorful scarf, she looks like she's just there for the food. Because she's eating as much of it as she can without looking like she's being too greedy.

        "Oh, those're good!" Gwen sits over by Ida with a plate full of goodies. "You tried the berries? They got a nice crunch to 'em, n' they're not outrageously sweet. There's another mushroom over there that's real savory, too."

        She pauses. "... Was kinda hopin' you'd have some more, uh. Non... water... drinks? Not that I'm complainin', y'know! Just, like. Because of what you're gonna talk about." She frowns. "Then again? Maaaaybe a bad choice t'get plastered."

        The young woman looks pretty chipper, but that may be in effort to keep things light until the meeting begins. "... I appreciate you doin' this, Ida. I mean, I really should've done this myself, but I haven't even seen, uh, him."

         You know, the DEMON KING. "... I'll help you out with any details I might know, but I might be learnin' more than contributin'."

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Isolde is quietly present and is eating a grilled mushroom. She will be listening, at least at first.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        "It has," Ida says, turning to Catenna. "I'm glad to see you and your advisor are well." Mariel earns a small, gentle smile as she takes a seat. Gwen then poses the question of drinks, and Ida glances at the refreshments, frowning. "We did have some," she says--and then she sees the culprit. She heaves a quiet, resigned sigh. "But yes, the water's clean, and I was quite surprised they had sparkling, but not unpleasantly so--" Xiumei apologizes. Ida offers a comforting smile. "I know," she says. "It reminds me of back home, in many ways."

        Eventually, though, everyone is settled, and the door is closed. The world outside the hall simply does not trickle in, beyond the light streaming through the window. Warding enchantments to keep noise from disturbing the inn's patrons?

        "I called this session," Ida begins, "because a matter of grave importance has presented itself. Some of you may have encountered relics from a distant era of Filgaia's past--perhaps even older than Zeboim. I know some here, including myself, confronted the late Janus Cascade over them. A common thread among these encounters was the existence of a legendary sorcerer-king who defied the gods and was imprisoned for his crimes."

        "This king is real, and he has not only reawakened--likely as a result of whatever Cascade did--he has aligned himself with Odessa." Ida turns to Catenna, then, signaling her to speak.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Xiumei smooths out a little hair, and then glances sideways -- she flashes a bigger smile than her proper and more reserved nature might imply, right at Eleanor. Then, she looks back at the others. Her eyes are briefly on Gwen for a moment, before she nods.

She sits up a little straighter at that. Still, her good mood doesn't quite waver as the explanation starts and there is some discussion of dangerous things.

She stares at Ida for a second, then nods. "...Ah, yeah," she says. Then, she looks at Catenna -- and then at the others. "Do you know his name? There was a powerful person--Beastman feels wrong... but, we fought him. Or... tried."

Her nose wrinkles at that.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

A small smile touches Catenna's face as Mariel sits with her. She greets the smaller woman with a quiet nod, almost seeming assured by her presence.

With a look back to Ida, she shifts in her seat and crosses a leg over its opposite. "She is glad to see you well too, I think."

From her little cup-boat, Saarda-Shanta bobs her head, looking entirely less serious in there than she actually seems to be.

Ida introduces things, starting with talk of artifacts. Brushing back a lock of her hair with one thumb, the Moon Shaman nods along, then leans slowly back in her seat with an outrush of breath.

"The name we heard when we encountered Cascade and the wizard with him was Ganondorf Dragmire," she says quietly.

She sets her soup to one side, straightening and curling her hands instead around her cup of Owlet. "The Zortroa have long been aware of a power called The Demon King's Malice. This is an energy which we know to be capable of twisting wild creatures into monstrous, maddened forms. It is not like Malevolence, tapping into emotions - it is a malice that comes from without." Looking down at the Owlet, she closes her eyes a moment. "...I have seen what it can do, for it corrupted Saarda-Shanta's mother, a Totem Owl of Celesdue, into a mindless monster fuelled only by a lust for pain."

In the cup, Saarda-Shanta blinks her large yellow eyes slowly. <When Cascade raised the Black Medium from where it had lain, I had hoped for any outcome that could avert destroying it. Allowing him to do as he pleased with it would have been worse. Unfortunately, here we are.>

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel spent a few moments looking at the Seraphs - Clarine, and then for a slightly longer period of time that threatens to become awkward, Lanval.

Eventually, though, she stopped - either she found what she was looking for, or she didn't, and it's hard to tell which; she stopped when Marivel came in. Mariel pulls her chair a little forward, closer to the table, and reaches for her water.

To her credit, she does not spit it out. "He did?" she squeaks, for confirmation, because she knew about half of that but not the 'Odessa' part. Mariel looks from Ida to Catenna. "I can't imagine why he would do such a thing. None of the stories I had heard would suggest... well, that he would take such an interest. But I have not heard them for a very long time."

Mariel falls silent for as long as Catenna speaks, then: "I... ah, I know a little bit about Malice. And what Saarda-Shanta calls the Black Medium, if you would like to hear. Not all of it is likely to be useful to everyone here, but..."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

Marivel gets a smile from Clarine as she arrives, and so do Lanval, Xiumei, Eleanor, and Isolde. But, she still doesn't say anything, still a little nervous about all of the new, unfamiliar people present here.

It's not that she thinks they're bad people - they're just New, and that makes things difficult. When Mariel looks at her, Clarine looks away nervously - though not out of rudeness.

She looks toward Ida, then, as she begins to speak. She is not familiar with any of this - which is why it was all the more important that she was here now to listen to this.

She didn't know nearly enough, having not really been in a situation to hear news about the outside world. It was time now to change that.

"Ganondorf Dragmire..." Clarine whispers, breaking her silence as Catenna says the name. She frowns as Catenna continues, talking about the Demon King's Malice - capable of twisting those affected by it into a mindless monster.

"...That is not...unlike the effect Malevolence has on Seraphim..." Clarine observes, with a frown that suggests she isn't pleased to bring up the comparison.

"We...ah, those of us in ARMS...we fought him." Clarine explains. "He is...here, in Spira... he unleashed a terrible Light that very nearly laid all of us low... I was very nearly destroyed, and was forced to retreat into my vessel to recover..."

She shakes her head.

"His power is...terrifying..."

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

"...Ganondorf Dragmire," Eleanor repeats when the name is given, in a voice soft with seriousness. "Yes, I can imagine you might rather have a stiff drink for discussing a man like that," she says to Gwen. "...But as you say, best to be thinking clearly for now. Maybe after the meeting."

Pause. "..." She realizes the connection--Lanval. And frowns. ...Then tilts her head in thought. "...I have so many questions," she says simply, but rather than asking any of them she looks to the others. She listens to Catenna's explanation, to Ida's assertion...

And presses her lips together. "...Filgaia's past," she repeats, thoughtfully. "...Mm..."

She remains quiet for a few moments before she shakes her head. "I'm sorry to hear that, about..." The Owlet's mother. "He seems to be with Odessa, yes. And I believe he's the one within Odessa looking for elven people."

"...King of the Gerudo," she recalls. "The light..." She isn't sure what to say, where to start.

"He has power he shouldn't have," she says thoughtfully, before loking to Mariel. "I'd be interested in whatever you could share. You never know what turns out useful."

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Isolde frowns at the news of an awakening king.

"That's never good," she observes to the others.

The name is revealed. Isolde grimaces a little. That's even worse!

She runs the tip of her tongue over her teeth. Clarine says they were nearly destroyed!

"For elves?" Isolde asks. "Why elves?"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Marivel opens her eyes and says, "Mm... I could see why he would, Mariel." She turns her gaze towards her. "He has not walked this land in several millenia. Filgaia would be nigh unrecognizable to him. Showing allegience to Odessa allows him time to gather his forces, learn more of current events and frankly history, collect objects of power under the guise of helping Odessa..."

She gestures forward with a hand, "After all, even a great demon king can only get so far without assistance. No demon is an island, they say, and that even goes for the ancient ones. I couldn't help but notice that he was specifically targeting women with pointed ears--elves, or I suppose anyone who superficially resembles an elf. Whatever his plans are, they require that he find and capture a particular elf."

She shrugs again. "The question is which elf does he desire to place under his thumb?"

Eleanor looks towards her asking for what she could share and Marivel smiles faintly.

"I can tell you he is an ancient being even compared to myself and if my father knew of him, he did not seem to think t'was knowledge I needed. Once we return to Filgaia I can plumb the depths of the Crimson Castle and see we have any lost histories."

It doesn't seem Marivel has an exposition dump ready here.

"Still, that light did remind me of old tales--a thief stealing power from gods to turn it over to the people is a common tale, though in this case it seems he elected to keep his spoils to himself."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

The mention of Malice -- and the legend of the Demon King -- draws a growing and somewhat confused stare from Xiumei. She looks at Clarine, and then she nods her head at what she says. It is echoed by Eleanor. Her brow furrows, for a moment.

"I'm interested. But..." She falls quiet, for a moment. "...he was strong. But he didn't seem like... like something with some kind of fell, infernal power. He was really skilled, and physically strong. And he seemed familiar with magic."

Xiumei puts her hand behind her neck. She looks at Isolde, then shakes her head. "I don't know. It's..." Marivel gives some explanation, and Xiumei nods her head, and glances down for a moment. "...there's a lot we don't know."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        "Mmmm... shorry~" Lanval murmurs an apology, more of a quieter drunk than the sort of silly, happy-go-lucky sort he often is. Every so often he eyeballs the way back out, not out of a desire to leave but a concern that never quite leaves him even with assurance that Guadosalam is not about to be overrun by spontaneously forming Fiends. He kind of wonders why Luca had that happen, but not here... but that's not the key subject in place, as Ida has called to discuss the return of the Demon King - and that he's thrown in his lot with that guy who pontificated into his everything that once.
        He takes in the accounts by Catenna's cultural knowledge, and the events that have since come to transpire about that weird, awful corrupting energy. (When Mariel looks to him, Lanval looks back, but there's no disapproving look or anything of the sort - if anything it helps keep him thinking about the current issue here and not any outer worries about the nature of life on Spira.)
        "A Light... ain't that a piece of 'em?" Lanval asks, resting fingers on his chin, stroking the beard hairs as such they sort of part like a waterfall might under a placed obstruction. "...Mmm." Looking for people with elf ears, or elf-like traits. He can think of a few he'd better watch out for that much closely. The water spirit catches himself from slouching, much as he might like to just slip on the floor. The way Guadosalam's carpenters design their structures, there are a lot of places that look comfy to be but are also problematic for mortal foot traffic.
        "...One way ya can tell the preshence of The Demon King's Malice ish in the water. Shaw that back deep in the Serpent's Coil, back on Filgaia... turnsh it into shomethin' real nashty."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida looks back at Xiumei, returning her nod. "We did the best we could under the circumstances," she says. "I don't want to call it a miracle, but--it was very fortunate that Marivel's gambit awakened when it did." That hideous light--the power within Ganondorf's hand warring with the power within Ashley--has shown up in at least one of Ida's dreams, and it wasn't a nice one. "Eleanor and I could be rotting in an oubliette somewhere, and everyone else could have been killed." Her tone is calm and polite, despite the grim subject matter, but it turns apologetic. "But I know. I know."

        "He did, at least, introduce himself by that name." Ganondorf Dragmire, Ida thinks. Could he have become anything other than a wicked overlord with a name like that? "I don't know what a Gerudo is, but he mentioned them, as well." She looks at Eleanor, then, her eyes betraying an almost sisterly concern. "What do you mean by 'shouldn't have'? Do you know?"

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        Odessa. That name again. "... Serves me right for just assumin' they were some random merc cult group." The courier rubs the back of her neck, her gaze falling to the floor.

        "Very few even knew he existed in the first place, but those who do either just know it as a folk tale or are pretty upset at any possibility that he could come back. I got involved when Janus got lured into this mess with the promise of getting Ganondorf's power. Three pendants were required to unsealing him- The green one was found in the lower areas of the Serpent's Coil, where the Malice had infected stuff, which is the one I managed to nick from him. Another got into Talia's possession, and Janus nabbed the red one."

        And she practically paved the way for it to happen with her ignorance. If Gwen hadn't gone after Janus, if she had tried to stash the pendant with someone, maybe...

        Xiumei's comment brings something to mind. "I wish I could remember everything I saw, but so much of it I had kinda... overlooked, because of all the major stuff that was goin' on at the time. But yeah. Janus said Ganondorf was cut into four pieces: his body, which was thrown into the sea..." Gwen holds up her hand, folding down a finger with each part she reveals. "His 'light', whatever that is, which was taken by 'the goddess' into a far away temple, his malice, which, uh, yeah. N' lastly, his power. So!"

        She claps her hands together. "So we might not be dealin' with him at his full power, so maybe that's why he's allied himself with Odessa!" That smile is short-lived, disappearing as quickly as it pops up. "Though, because I screwed up, you're definitely fighting him with his power. Though, I ain't sure exactly how literal Janus was bein' at that moment. Maybe... what you guys saw was him with his physical body n' his power? I wondered if maybe the 'goddess' was Althena, or someone else. If you had someone that terrible, I mean, putting one part on another planet'd sure screw things up."

         But... why elves? "There were some murals, where the pendants were. I had some notes jotted down 'bout 'em, but uh, they're kinda with my stuff."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Then I will," Mariel promises, glancing to Catenna and Marivel before continuing. She may be shy around strangers sometimes, but this is important - so she prepares herself.

"Yes. The Demon King. I know stories, but they aren't very different from the stories the Baskar tell," Mariel says, "and they can do it better than I can - I never liked them, so I haven't heard them in a very long time. But in short, he was a thief, who stole the light of the Gods. When he died, his curse left his Malice. I don't know anything about elves or why he would be interested in one. And I don't know why he would be interested in helping Odessa."

Mariel pauses to reach for her drink, though she doesn't do anything but hold the glass of water for a few long moments. She seems to be considering what Gwen is saying. She saw only part of that, after all. "I don't know anything about that," she says. "I'm sorry. But you're right. This would be a very distant place to seal something. And we know there used to be transit..."

She shakes her head. "Well, here are things I do know: Malice isn't the same as Malevolence." Mariel looks to Clarine there. "It has a feel to it - I can feel it too. At a first touch it feels similar. But it isn't. Malice rises from the leylines of Filgaia, like a curse on the blood of the planet. It does change the land, and blights the water and plants and sometimes animals." She looks apologetic toward Saarda-Shanta. "It also makes its own ... monsters, malicious beasts, out of its own twisted energy."

"But it does not often come where people live, and never where the Elw lived, because of how close Elw were to the planet. And so it does not twist people like a Hellion. It comes and goes on Filgaia. It has been in decline for, oh, four hundred fifty years or so - a little bit after the Day of Collapse, but I don't think it's related."

Mariel does drink from her water, then, because this is more public speaking than she likes to do. "Malice blights are - a twisted flow of energy from the leyline. They twist up into a knot that might be part of a malicious beast, or hidden in the deepest part of the blight. A shaman can help straighten the flows and reduce the blight, but it's hard if it's large until the knot is destroyed. I can do that too, but I don't think I can teach other people... I don't do it the same way as a shaman would. And - some beings cannot stand the sustained touch of Malice, and unfortunately I am one of them, too. It doesn't corrupt me," she adds, hastily. "It just makes me feel very unwell. Like breathing sewage... " Mariel shudders. "I suppose Seraphs may feel the same way because they are close to the land." She gives Lanval and Clarine another long look.

But apparently she's not quite done. "As for the Black Medium, it is not a sign that he is an evil Guardian or anything like that. I suppose a Medium could be made to contact any great power... the Guardians grant their own but there is no reason something else cannot make one, or have one made for them. He was never a Guardian. Just powerful. I think it might have been a seal that was altered - but I do not know, or know who would do such a thing. Maybe it has something to do with the pendants, or the pieces?"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna lets out a soft rush of breath before turning to look curiously towards Mariel. "I have gathered that the tales go far back, yes," she says quietly. "I would like to hear anything that you have to say."

Mariel does indeed explain a few things. Catenna tilts her head a little to one side, pressing her lips together as Mariel goes into what detail she can.

"Malice is quite different, yes. It is as Mariel says. Malevolence reaches into the inner feelings, but Malice is more like a blight, and it can appear as a physical thing." She shivers slightly, then reaches out to give Mariel's shoulder a light touch of sympathy. "...It is an unpleasant substance to deal with."

The talk of the Black Medium sees Catenna frown again. "I think it was a seal. But perhaps a seal on but one element. We have seen the Demon King's Malice and The Demon King's Power, and we have heard of the Light. Perhaps they are parts of a whole in some way...."

<To know it fully is likely beyond the vast majority of us. We are dealing with deep magic from a time beyond many of our understanding.> Saarda-Shanta clicks her bill, then swivels her head to look up at Eleanor a moment, as if sensing the woman's sympathy.

Catenna senses something else, focusing on a word. Peering at Eleanor, she frowns slightly and questions, "Did you mean garuzo?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

More information is given, and some matters are cleared up. Clarine nods as the difference between Malice and Malevolence is explained a bit more thoroughly - the way Malice rises from the leylines of Filgaia, appearing even in physical form.

"That...seems like it may be accurate..." Clarine murmurs, as Mariel mentions how Malice can make one feel very unwell. She hasn't experienced it, but that seems likely to her.

Catenna explains some more as well, and once more Clarine nods quietly.

"I see..." She murmurs.

"Is there any, um...counter, to this Malice...?" She asks.

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

"I don't know," Eleanor admits about elves. "Just that he is. I, ah... Well, I didn't get a chance to learn all the details, it was..." She looks for the right set of words to describe it but Clarine probably has it right.

"That's logical," Eleanor admits to Marivel's assertion. "Can be he that old...?" She frowns. She stops, until after Mariel explains a little more. She can't answer Ida's question immediately, but--

"Mmm.... Would you be able to find these murals again, if we returned to Filgaia?"

She frowns, thoughtfully.

"Malice..." She taps her cheek. "You know, if I could study it, I might be able to find a way to act on it, as well--if it rises from the Ley, well... I have a great deal of training in how to deal with the Ley in general, as a crest sorceress. With some experimentation, I may be able to learn something helpful."


"Stolen from the Gods, was it...?" She glances at Xiumei first--then to Ida, then, "...I don't know," she admits. "I just... knew, when I saw him, when I saw that light. It isn't his--it's... it's hard to explain," she admits. "Maybe because of my attunement to the Ley it had a 'signature' I could identify without being certain what it was? Regardless..." Pause. "No, Gerudo--that was what he said. That he was King of something called the Gerudo. Garuzo... Should I know that term?"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"I blacked out, partway through the fight. He was... really strong. We were lucky, maybe, or..." Xiumei trails off, and then she looks at Gwen. She tilts her head to the side -- and her eyes widen a little at the description. Four pieces?

One of them is his Malice. Mariel explains a lot more about Malice; for someone who never really interacted with the spiritual in that vein before, it almost sounds unbelievable. Her eyes widen for a moment.

"And that stuff... is part of him?" she asks, her voice smaller.

She looks sideways at Eleanor -- and feels even more concerned. Her eyes widen, a little, at the mention of the light. She looks down.

This all suggests to Xiumei that, somehow, Ganondorf isn't at his full power? She feels a shiver run down her spine -- and then she looks sideways, at Eleanor. This could only get worse. "I--"

Then she blinks. She looks distant for a moment, as if speaking to someone in her mind. She announces, after that: "He--um--Varius wants to talk. He's... the person inside this." She holds her Biometal, on its bracelet up, to demonstrate; the little bracelet, with an impression of a helmet on it, gleams in the light. An Elw artifact, Mariel may know, though she likely hasn't seen it or its like before.

Then, her eyes flash; they change shades of green, slightly. When she speaks again, it's with Xiumei's voice, and yet entirely wrong in its intonations.

"He was too strong for all of you," Varius says. "Don't engage him in a direct fight. Honestly, if you're not me, Kamui if she goes all out, or Winchester when he's using... that... then all of you should just run. Or don't, and throw your lives away."

Xiumei's eyes flash again -- and then she hangs her head, and sighs. "...sorry, he's... not exactly diplomatic..."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Marivel's eyes narrow faintly at the mention of 'the goddess' but she doesn't comment anyy further. For all of Ganondorf's power it certainly didn't feel 'we have to carve him up in four parts' powerful, so she suspects the idea that he might not be back at full power yet has some merit--granted, Marivel had much of the same idea but phrasing it at that is certainly precise.

"Malice and malevolence are different beasts," Marivel confirms. "But spiritual poisons of various kinds have a long history. Like an oil spill it--" She hesitates and frowns as if realizing that reference might not be particularly effective. "Well I'll just say malice originating from this man is not an unreasoable idea. And it's reasonable for the Guardians to wish to contain a toxic presence and empower their shamans to combat it."

"Certainly he can be that old." Marivel assures Eleanor. "We are all children in the end... And there are plenty of people and entities in this galaxy older than I, I just happen to be one of the few that happens to be on your side."

She smiles faintly. "I hope you're grateful."

She blows Eleanor a lightly teasing kiss before nodding to Clarine. "Considering Lunar society postdates his 'reign', I suspect we won't be able to find out more about the so-called 'Demon King' until we return to Filgaia. Honestly I am a bit offended he is called such when grabbing power that doesn't belong to him and using it to wreck havoc is really more of a mortal thing to do."

Marivel looks towards Xiumei as Varius pops in to comment.r
"Varius..." She says slowly.


"Are you worrying about us? Aww, that's so sweet!" Marivel places a hand on her cheek. "Now I know tis easy for me to not be afraid but--" She looks over the group. "I'm afraid tis too late to run. There is nowhere to hide. You can oppose him now while he is weakened or you can wait until he is ready to conquer Filgaia with the full depths of his power."

She shrugs both shoulders. "Tis the reality we live in."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"That is how the story goes. Who it was truly stolen from and what it truly is, I don't know." There are a lot of things Mariel doesn't know, as it turns out. "I would like to see the murals too..."

She does not dwell on them beyond that for the moment. "Counter? Well, it can be purified by a shaman, but - did you mean to stop a blight from forming? If it is caught when it is very small it would be easy, but it wouldn't be very obvious either... I would think if you could stop it from rising in one place it would only rise with more energy somewhere else. Like trying to stop a fountain with your fingers." But they're in 'things that Mariel is only guessing at' again.

And she has something else to think about. "Crest Sorcery? I haven't heard of it being used to deal with blights, but I am not a Crest Sorceress. It would be worth studying, I think. Just take care - if you are dealing with it so closely, it may cause unusual problems too... - !!"

Mariel just got distracted by Xiumei - and her bracelet. "Where did you get that?" she asks, suddenly. "May I see it? That is - you do not need to take it off, I just want to look at it. You and Varius." She pauses a moment, then says something short in a different language. It sounds faintly questioning from the tone.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        Gwen's finger raises to flick the invisible brim of an invisible hat that she doesn't have right now, so it comes off looking as odd instead. "Eleanor, you're lookin' at me, Gwen Whitlock, super courier. I'd be able t'find those two murals, no problem!" A pause. ".... also the person whose ass you saved durin' the siege with Sin, so, like, you could ask me t'find a lotta things n' I'd do it, free of charge..." She clears her throat. "... Though if there was a third one, it'd be kind of a problem 'cause we encountered Janus nabbing it on a giant boat on the way t'Arctica."

        She stops speaking as Xiumei interjects, briefly fascinated by the bracelet she holds up. "Whoah, is that-" Gwen manages to keep from indulging in her ceaseless curiosity as Xiumei seems to... change.

        "....?" Winchester? As in Ashley? Using 'that'? Is his ARM some sort of secret terrible weapon or something? Gwen takes a moment to pointedly look at Marivel as if to say 'what is a 'that'??'

        Finally, Gwen turns her attention back to the conversation at hand and breathes out a sigh. ".... I see."

        There's something adorable about Marivel's semi-sarcastic reaction, until Gwen remembers that it's _Marivel_. "Y'got a point, Marivel, but there's somethin' t'be said 'bout bein' prepared. If we engage him thinkin' he'd go down in two punches flat, that's a few less people that'll be around." She gives a weak laugh. "Can't believe I'm the one sayin' that... probably'll be the first person runnin' at him if my emotions get in the way."

        But maybe that might help-

        Gwen can just imagine Citan looking at her just now, mouthing the words 'don't even think about it'. He'd do that, wouldn't he? Or would he just smile and quixotically imply his feelings on the matter? .... probably both.

        "If we can get that power away from him, that'd be a plus. One thing I'm wonderin' though- no one's seen any Malice since comin' here, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        The Water Seraph nods along with Mariel's particular thoughts about how awful it feels to be around. Treating it as something of a small process to smooth out, but never quite eradicate as a whole. He's quiet throughout most of the knowledge being given out., It's a drastic change from Lanval's usual manner in meetings like this, where he's usually up to something silly or just enjoying the company of good friends. Ideas about application of Crest Sorcery know-how, locating murals...
        "...I wonder if Schturdark might have shomethin' ta shay 'bout it," Lanval pipes up. He hasn't heard word from them since showing up on Spira, and he knows that's not unique to him. It is worrisome, knowing what he does about what's been left behind on Filgaia in their absence.
        Xiumei speaks up about a Varius. "Mmm? Where would he b--"
        Something happens. The change of eye colors, the change in intonations, and Lanval sits up a bit. He's never really seen anything like that, but the surprise is all he has to offer as one eye slowly closes, another one remaining open and half-lidded as several realities are laid out about gulfs of power between them all.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida sips her water as Marivel speaks, waiting until the young woman is done before chiming in. "So more akin to a lingering, chronic condition than an infection that must be cured. Much like Malevolence, at least in its territory of origin. I wondered, at first, if they may be related somehow, if only so we could try to kill two birds with one stone, but--" Ida trails off, and looks at Mariel. "I now have no idea if that's the case. The Guardians entrusted us with the power we need to cleanse Malevolence, but if it can't be cross-applied..."

        Ida frowns, thoughtfully, as Eleanor speaks. She doesn't push the subject further. "It's a thought," Ida says. "Every scrap of information we can obtain is precious. And what you've felt from him might help us figure out where that light came from, and what it is."

        Ida looks at Xiumei's bracelet, brow furrowing. "The person inside of--" Ida trails off, and meets Xiumei's eyes as they flash; she suddenly feels acutely aware of the change in the clerk's demeanor. "An honest assessment," the martial artist says. She sounds a little bitter about it, but not angry. "Thank you, Mr. Varius."

        Ida has so many questions, now, and not all of them are about Ganondorf.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

Purification by a shaman... Clarine nods.

"...That is...difficult..." She murmurs. That there didn't seem to be a more permanent solution to it...hat could be done?

She looks toward Xiumei as Varius takes over, with a dire warning.

Clarine frowns and fidgets a little. ...She can't say she disagrees - she's not sure if she would even be able to oppose him. But, they couldn't just let him do what he wanted, either...was there anything they could do...?

She folds her hands in her lap, staring pointedly at the ground. It all felt a little hopeless. Everyone was coming up with plans, and talking about what they needed to do...but she couldn't think of anything she could contribute.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I wouldn't think so," Catenna says with a shake of her head. "A garuzo is a type of Zortroan mask. I must have misheard you."

When Xiumei switches over to commentary from her ... partner...?, Catenna blinks twice, then frowns a little in mild consternation, leaning forward to cup her chin in one palm. Confusion dances behind her eyes for a moment.

Then she sighs. "Ultimately, we will have no choice but to confront this Demon King eventually, whether it is wise or not. As Marivel says, he has chosen to come against us, and it is inevitable that we will fight him again. I do not care to hold myself up to those who lived in a past life, nor hold any of us to that standard. Nor do I seek to pick a fight meaninglessly. But so long as this individual chooses to threaten our various causes, there is simply no truly avoiding him."

When Mariel lapses into another language, Catenna's eyebrows come up shallowly. She scratches at her cheek with the edge of a nail.

Saarda-Shanta sits up in her teacup, eyes focused on Gwen a moment. <That is likely wise. Do not approach him looking to test your courage needlessly. But also do not overestimate him to the point that you paralyze yourselves. Proceed as you would, but do not be too proud to flee if you need to.>

The small bird's head swivels, yellow eyes fixed on Ida. <Malevolence is unrelated, yes. The Powers of Darkness are diverse in their origin and nature, even if they appear similar in some ways.>

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Isolde frowns more at the discourse of where Ganondorf's power and body rests. It seems, perhaps, philosophically unfair. To Gwen she asks, "But the murals had elves on them?"

She cups her chin, then, as Mariel speaks. She also finishes off her mushroom.

"So it's like a ligature in the veins of the planet," Isolde muses at Mariel's explanation. She opens her mouth - and then Xiumei speaks up at some length. No, not her, exactly: That other figure, Varius.

Isolde then reaches out to put her hand on the forearm of -- The Seraph, Clarine!? It's an instinctual gesture, maybe, and luckily aimed. Maybe this is where the luck goes.

"Well, you could try to trick him into fighting Sin," Isolde suggests. "Or going back west and picking a fight with the Goddess. That seems like it would settle him, but it also sounds as though he's come back from things like that already."

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

"Of course," Eleanor answers Marivel with a small smile--just brief, since, she's Thinking too. "I suppose you're right. There's no reason he couldn't be." Considering... So ancient that he's ancient even to the ancients...

She remembers the fight well--luck, or....

"It's okay," she starts to say to Xiumei, but then--Oh. Oh, he...

"Well," Eleanor says, "He's grouchy, but he has helped us. I appreciate his effort to warn us regardless. I for one wouldn't look forward to another direct fight with him at all."

Marivel's words are not exactly comforting in the strictest sense. Still, "...I suppose so. he has an interest in me, though I can't say I know why. It means I need to learn. With proper prearation..." She considers next. Mariel mentions what she knows, doesn't know...

"Yes, though, I will be careful. I..." She looks between mariel and xiumei. Hm. The language...

"Oh--Oh, Miss Whitlock, you don't need to feel obligated. We were teammates; keeping you safe was part of my job." A smile. "I'll count on you finding them, then."

She doesn't explain Ashley. That's just--well. That's not her job, she's not in charge! Ha!

...Until she gets put in charge again...

"I'll tell you if I can figure anything out," she asys to Ida. But then she tilts her head, looking to Catenna. "Hmmm... Do your people have any legends about this Demon King?" she wonders. "Of course, it could be a coincidence. Regardless I'm interested."

She pauses, then. "Mmm..."
5r"I... I think we need to know more, before we can make any real plans at all."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Xiumei's cheeks color at Marivel's teasing, and then she pushes her glasses up her nose. The light reflects off them, hiding her eyes. She pointedly doesn't meet Ida's, or her compliment, which is just awkward at the moment. "M-Miss Marivel, please. He is complaining at me inside my head," she says, with a sigh.

When Mariel addresses her, though, she makes a surprised noise -- and turns her head, to look at her. "I, um, some Drifters found it, and were going to sell it to my family's company, when things went wrong. I--what?" She stammers at her sudden change of languages.

Varius doesn't ask to speak through her. He is, conspicuously, silent to Xiumei and the others.

Xiumei nods,. though, and then holds her arm out towards Mariel so that she can have the closer look. The artifact has an impression of a finned, green and violet helmet -- like a relief carving on a flat plate, then bound to her wrist with a metallic band.

"It's called Model V," she says, softly, to Mariel.

She looks back at Eleanor, then at the others. She sighs softly, before she looks down. "...yes, we'll need to learn more. We don't have a choice to fight him, but... we need to find out more. But...I think we have a start, and that's something."

<Pose Tracker> Violet Salazar has posed.

Violet stands. "I agree with this young lady," she says, indicating Eleanor. "We need to know more. This Ganon Dorf -- does he have any weaknesses? Do legends speak of how he was sealed inside the pendants in the first place?" She awaits any response. That was the sensible first thing to do in a big fight, determine the enemy's weaknesses...

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"It is tied in to the leylines on Filgaia," Mariel says, slightly distracted still. "I don't know if I would call it a ligature, but it is certainly something. But I would not expect to see it it here - not unless something was very wrong."

She does look up. "The Guardians... I don't know if what they have given you will work. But it might. They grant the power to shamans, after all. I... don't know very much about what you can do." And it's not like she's going to talk to the Guardians, if even she can from here.

This does mean she has no comment on what Schturdark may or may not have to say.

She apologies to Xiumei, "Forgive the language, I was curious of something." Mariel traces the plate with her finger - not quite touching, but very close. "Thank you for showing me. I would like to know more, sometime - um, but perhaps now isn't the time..." She sinks down in her seat a little. That is not what this meeting is for!

So, back on task: "I don't have the older stories to look at. I don't remember anything like that, but the last time I was told the stories, I was a little girl." Not that Mariel looks older than about fourteen to human eyes anyway. "And they frightened me, so I never asked for them again. ...during the war they weren't the kind of story I wanted to hear."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        "The first mural had some kind of giant monster on it, humanoid with a boar's tusks n' snout, n' long hair. Red hair, I think." She waves a hand dismissively. "The pigment could've been discolored after all this time, n' it wasn't like I got a good clear look at it? But yeah. Around the monster were three slots, n' one was the green pendant."

        Taking out a pencil and paper pad from her satchel, Gwen begins to draw the pendant. The mural she couldn't really draw from memory, but the pendant... that's different.

        She remembers it from all the times she felt it beneath her blouse, or looked at it, finding some measure of peace in the vivid green stone. It traveled with her to Arctica, and many places beyond that, to the point that she even selfishly felt some ownership of it, much like her turquoise earrings.

        But it was never truly hers, was it?

        "... It looked like this," Gwen says softly, as she finishes her drawing.

        "The second mural had a three guys on it. The one in the middle was larger than the two on either side. They all kinda looked like they were made of rocks? One of 'em was offering some flames to, er..."


        "There was a figure that looked like a young kid, dressed in green. They appear again in another part of the mural, with a human with fins givin' 'em somethin', which was the blue pendant."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Ah sorry, sorry." Marivel apologizes to Xiumei. She is still trying to figure out Xiumei's comfort zone really. "I haven't talked to them in some time either," Marivel admits of the Guardians. "But perhaps tis about time that I do so. Once we return to Filgaia, mayhaps I shall organize a field trip."

She wonders for a moment about Luceid but it's too early for her to pin a cause behind their behavior. They have plenty of reasons to be upset, she supposes, but even so...

She listens to the description of the murals. If they mean anything to her, she doesn't show it. But she does close her eyes again.

"Well, I ought to rest soon. I have to have my own meeting with the Kinship tommorow and I best figure out how cheeky I ought to be with them."

She looks towards Gwen for a long moment.

Then she adds, "Please pace yourselves, my friends. There are countless dangers before us but sometimes the path forward only reveals itself with patience but perhaps the sea is hiding some clues."

Oh no...

More underwater levels??

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"The Malice was our old story," Catenna says, lowering her soup spoon back into her mostly-empty bowl. Her gaze settles on Eleanor, pensive.

"The way the Zortroa speak of it, The Demon King's Malice is a curse left behind by a dead tyrant from a time long ago. The Zortroa are keenly attuned to beasts and monsters, and it is said among us that the Malice, when it infects a monster, fills them with madness. It comes from outside and amplifies their rage and hate."

She closes her eyes and hangs her head. "I wish I understood more of these old stories, or could tell you more of what we knew once of the Demon King. In truth the Zortroa forgot much of our culture when Elesius conquered our homeland and reduced us to nomadic wanderers. I am told that once, there were cities, and wise men who knew more of these tales... but they are gone now, and certainly far from here."

As Gwen begins to explain things, Catenna wraps her arms around herself precisely at the mention of the description of the monster.

                -- YEARS AGO --

        the mask slips over her face unnaturally. the gi drapes over her body like a barrier. her hand fits into the metal talon irregularly. the ancient red of the mane flows across her shoulders. it is older even than the mask.
        these things begin the process. they bury the human behind the bestial aspect. she is no longer the child of cientas. she is a monster to reclaim their homeland.
        a dark weapon, as she should be.
        in her right hand, she clutches something else. a stone tablet. the face of the moon is upon it.
        behind the mane and mask of the weapon, the child of fereshte feels the tears begin to trace down her all too human face.
        i'll never be like riima.

        -- NOW --

Catenna lets her arms fall back to her teacup full of Owlet, opening her eyes again. She doesn't say anything, and her gaze is unfocused, aimed off in a random direction but really seeing only her thoughts.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Lanval, mostly a passive presence (aside from the active measure of DRINKING ALL THE BEER) among the gathered who have revelations to share and knowledge to pool together, sits up some as they start leaning into uncertainties from the brink of deciding to slide off the chair.
        The one who comes off as a bearded wastrel rights up once more. "Mosht of ya probably know by now, but... I'm a Water Seraph, shtraight from one of what mosht of ya call a ley point here on Lunar. We're attuned ta that kinda thing... anyway,"
        Lanval sets his drinking gourd on the table gently. "Thish part, mosht of ya might know. While shome of ush came ta shtop the Adversary of Man from doin' in the Love of Filgaia, at a time of great need... two of ush were reached out to, 'n took up a contract with the Guardians. The Seraph Boudicca, under Moor Gault... 'n me, under Schturdark." Lanval rests a hand atop that drinking gourd. That humble, old-looking thing he carts around, drinks from, and sometimes splashes things from.
        "We have the power ta grant Purification fer thoshe mortalsh we deem worthy - we call 'em Seers. Ida, over there... she'sh one under Boudicca! It worksh. Buuuuut... that'sh fer Malevolence." They're discussing Malice, after all. "...Never thought ta try that on Malice ta shee if it'd work," Lanval shakes his head, "but I haven't sheen that show up anywhere here, if the Demon King himshelf ish roamin' about. ...That shaid, maybe them pyreflies got shomehin' ta do with it..."
        Lanval scratches at his beard as he tilts his head. "...Pyreflies and Malevolence don't mix. Like they keep pushin' each other away... I'd shee a Hellion here 'n there, but almosht no concentration in which ya would call a Domain." There is that one run-in with the shipwreck related to Talise's childhood family, but its source and suffering have been addressed (if not the perpetrator).
        "...There ain't no guarantee that the pyreflies might be doin' likewishe fer the Malice if that King might shpread it by bein' there, but once we get back ta Filgaia... helpin' keep that down'sh likely ta be part of my charge too, pendin' what Schturdark will shay."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

Clarine feels a hand on her forearm and looks to the side, spotting Isolde. She offers her a weak smile. Her light, wavering a little to that point, strengthens - just a touch.

Other than that, she can do nothing more but listen as the others speak, and offer their viewpoints.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Ah... sure, I'd be happy to talk, sometime," Xiumei says to Mariel. She smiles at her, and then she looks at the drawing that Gwen shows. They don't mean anything to her -- she stares at the drawing, and listens to the descriptions of the murals, and wishes she could find answers.

How did she keep her best friend safe, when she didn't even know about all of this?

She listens, but looks down... and closes her eyes. What could she possibly do?

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Thank you," Mariel says to Xiumei. Then she cranes around to look at Gwen's drawing. It's...

...well, it's not as good as looking at the real deal, and it doesn't help her with the murals at all. She looks at it for a long moment anyway. "I would still like to see the murals," she says. "When we are back on Filgaia. Maybe we will learn something, knowing more what we should be looking at now."

She drops back down in her chair (she's short; she had to rise up out of it to look at the drawing) before she responds to Lanval. She has to think for a few moments before she does; Mariel is not sure what to think of the Seers. But: "The pyreflies are potent... but I do not know if they have the same kind of... reaction with the Malice as they do with the Malevolence. But I think that even if your first attempts to settle a Malicious blight didn't work, you could learn."

Mariel almost says something else, thinks better of it, and looks away from Lanval for a moment. Then she almost says something to Marivel, but thinks better of *that*, and settles for the more generic: "If we need to look into the sea, I may be able to help. More, when we get to Filgaia." She seems to be picking up on Catenna's unsettlement, though not why; she reaches out for a moment and rests her gloved hand against Catenna's, then to the Owlet for a moment to scratch the back of her head.

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

"Well, I could hardly blame a little girl for being afraid of scary stories, could I?" Eleanor asks Marivel, as if she didn't perhaps just realize that she must be very, very old and that she herself didn't look like a teenager tops. She's very good at the Nice Smile though.

She looks thoughtfully at Gwen and her drawing, tilting her head. "Hm, I..."

She quiets. Then says to Marivel, perhaps intentionally lightly, "Cheeky enough to come back with something tasty?" Eleanor offers. But--

But she looks back thoughtfully at Catenna, nodding as she takes it in. It seems...

"I'm sorry," she says, in sympathy more than apology--it's not as if it's her doing, precisely. But...

"Are you all right?" She wonders. But Lanval's explanation prompts a look too. "Oh, I... Well, it's nice to meet you appropriately then," she begins, and there is way too much to immediately sort through all that in the least, but, "Are--" Pause. "...Lord Seraph are you drunk?"

She stops, hesitates--and then composes herself. "Yes, we can find out. I, ah..." Pause. "I can also help. I have some experience on the ocean... My family rules a port province, after all."

"I suppose all we can do is take notes and experiment." Is--is she kind of happy about that part? Nah. Must be a trick of the light. "Yes, we'll need to make sure to collect enough information..."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna jerks out of her train of thought at the touch of a gentle hand over hers.

The Moon Shaman's smile betrays, to those who know her, that something's on her mind. But she manages to keep it mostly buried, just dipping her head and shifting her hand to brush her fingers against Mariel's mitten a moment. Saarda-Shanta slits her eyes contently at the touch, too.

"Old memories is all," she answers Eleanor with a small bow of her head. "It will pass, with time."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        The war? Ida thinks. Something clicks into place. Is it possible that--

        Ida looks at Mariel a moment, honest-to-God surprise on her face. A faint flush of red rises in her cheeks, then, and she looks back at Eleanor.

        '...Lord Seraph are you drunk?'

        "...It's..." Ida gestures with a hand. "That is, as a being deeply attuned to his-- I mean--" Explanations fail her. Ida, quite suddenly, has realized she has no explanation for why Lanval's preferred resting state is 'kinda drunk'.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Eleanor's earnest question is enough to earn the first genuine Lanval laugh this entire meeting as they all come to grips with the nature of yet another great threat that needs to be worked around while searching for its answer. "Aaaaaall the time~!" Which is more than mildly inappropriate for the tone and weight of what's all going on here!! (doubly rude because there were drinks and he just had it all)
        Lanval settles down, slouching... then catching himself and sitting up again. He is at least giving the common grace of not speaking from the floor, no matter how comfortable this floor looks. "I'll... I'll explain, ya shee... we all are attuned ta one of eight elementsh... Fire... Water... wind... Earth... 'm Water," what are the other four? "There'sh... Light, over there, that'sh Clarine she'sh a Light Seraph," he gestures with a hand, "Darkness... Lightning... Ice... did I already sh-- yeah, already got Earth. Mmm."
        Lanval rests both hands on the drinking gourd, as if to hold the thing steady. "We're all deeply attuned ta... well, an exishtence that'sh outta the reach of mosht corporeal people, like... well, mosht of ya. We can project our elemental affinity, 'n... we like ta ushe a focush fer it. Kinda like wieldin' a weapon. Ya shee... alcohol'sh made of water, yep. 'm water too, but it don't shtop there..."
        Lanval puts on a dumb smile. "It getsh waaaaaay eashier ta channel our power if the focush ish bashed on the element we're shtrong to! Among ush... Water'sh got shtrength over Fire. 'n thish drink... it ish water, buuuuut it'sh shoooo attuned to Fire, too!"
        What he may mean to say is that pretty much any flammable liquid counts, and that they should also endeavor to keep lamp oil away from him just in case.
        "Sho it'sh perfect! I drink it all the time ta keep in top shape," says someone whose projection is so very rotund. He laughs a little, then settles down. "...Shtiiiill... 'm shorry, shome of ya shure needed a drink, huh... the place had me on edge. Felt like, with all the pyreflies jusht tricklin' in, them Fiends would jusht keep poppin' outta them here, like thish town oughtta be overrun in 'em..."
        Lanval bows his head in apology. "...'m shorry. That wash shelfish... but I didn't want ta take chancesh in cashe we had a Luca thing happen like it did while we were here sharing what we know."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Clarine has posed.

Lanval explains the elemental nature of Seraphim and Clarine nods.

"Yes, this is true of all Seraphim...to the largest of us, even to the smallest Normin..." Clarine amends.

This explains why she's there sitting in the sunlight like that - it gives her energy.

He brings up the concept of focuses, too, and at that, Clarine brings out one of her mirrors.

"As for myself, well, um...my mirrors are just... something I am comfortable and familiar with so it is...um. It is...easier." She explains.

And then she goes quiet again, as he apologizes.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

         Gwen, hearing Lanval's explanation, looks on in open awe. It's perfect, she realizes. Alcohol is liquid, and he is a water element. Imbibe it, and you're keeping to your focus. "... Er..." She scratches a few fingers through the back of her curly hair. "If it helps, I'll just come out n' say that I am officially okay with you drinkin' it, Lanval. It's goin' to a good cause! 'Specially seein' as water's pretty much my weakness. Well, in a human sense, anyway. But remember that you ain't the only one that will come to everyone's aide. We got your back too, if y'ever need it."

         Smiling a big grin, she continues. "That goes for everyone! Y'know, I came in here all nervous n' down, so I was tryin' to keep my spirits up. Now, I definitely feel my spirits up. We got information, n' we got leads, n' that was just from everyone pooling our info together. Is he really powerful n' scary? Heck yeah, but he ain't the only person we've faced like that. Ganondorf might be dangerous, n' he might be a powerful enemy, but there's one thing he doesn't got."

         Her grin grows wide. "N' that's us!"