2019-11-01: Goodbye and Hello

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  • Log: Goodbye and Hello
  • Cast: Avril Vent Fleur, Lily Keil
  • Where: The Thames - Market
  • Date: November 01, 2019
  • Summary: Avril, on the Thames, has a quiet moment of foreboding, which is where Lily comes in.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    The breeze is steady up on the top deck of the Thames today. But for some of the white clouds dressing the heavens, the sky would be clear, the sun steady but unbaking. As always, things are busy aboard the Thames...

    Particularly as a certain shipment arrives.

    Just as she'd been told, here it is: something she has not needed in some time, something she had made arrangements to receive as soon as it was feasible to do so.

    Skadi -- and Nimrod, Dean's Gear -- have arrived aboard the Thames.

    Rebecca, naturally, has seen to the business end of things. No one aboard the Thames is known to be skim too much off the top, but still, it takes someone with not only a head for numbers but a little bit of guile and street smarts to make sure all the fees are on the level.

    Avril is alone but for the skeleton crew here, checking over the Gear to make sure nothing serious has come about during the longhaul transit.

    She remembers. The last time she'd used it, against Riesenlied...

    The wind catches her long silver hair, setting it aflutter as she stands there, gazing at the Gear.

    It's strange. She gets the feeling that...

    Looking at it, it feels like she's been here before.

    Like she's said... goodbye? To someone? Or...
    A strange, sad feeling blooms in her chest as she gazes at the Gear.

    "How... strange..."

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Alone, but not for long. Sometimes, a feeling is only a feeling. ...But sometimes...

It's for a similar purpose that Lily Keil comes here. She does not retrieve the weapon she used in the Photosphere, however--no, Golem Sado is long gone by now, in hands that are not hers. Nevertheless, arrangements must be made. But...

On the top deck, Lily Keil pauses, looking up, as she feels something. She can't really identify it, can't source it, at first; a strange, strange sense... of farewells. Of partings.


It's apt, somehow. But she shakes her head; it is not the first feeling she has experienced that is not her own, as she finishes climbing the steps, looks to the crew, and sees...

"Avril," the sorceress remarks in some surprise.

She finishes stepping upward. For once she is not in military gear; she wears a longcoat over an ankle-length skirt and dress shirt, the clothes of perhaps a doctor, a serious woman... but not armor, this time. Nevertheless, there's a holster under her jacket, and the collar is done up to the top, to hide her strange markings.

"Avril," she says in greeting, and pauses as she looks. She guesses, then--

"...It's a strange sort of day, despite all appearance, isn't it?"

The sorceress steps forward, stopping near Avril to look up at her Gear. "Your Gear," she states.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    The human statement might be 'someone walked over my grave'. Except, perhaps, the sense she has is that she's walked over someone else's.

    And not for the first time.

    It's an ugly, crawling sense, one that writhes down and over her back, pooling deep into her gut. One that as she probes it, she can find no source for it, no firm underpinning. Just a nebulous sense that something...

    She's saying goodbye to something, already.

    Lily speaks to her then and she turns.


    Then: "It has been some time. I am sorry."

    After everything that happened back then... and everything she had grappled with since. All of it. They had spoken about something at once so similar and so disparate.
    Especially disparate, as it happens. Lily's own powers are certainly not a result of...

    But she nods. "Yes. Skadi. You may remember her," she says, then smiles slightly. "...Is it strange to refer to a Gear as a 'her'? ...But I have a feeling of a quiet steady strength when I have used her. It reminds me of someone, a little bit..."

    Though without question, Rebecca is a little more... direct in ways that a Gear cannot be.
    A Gear cannot speak, for instance.

    "They were able to send her and Dean's Nimrod here to the Thames. I felt we may need them," she explains, glancing up at the Gear once more."

    There is silence for a moment or three.

    "...Have you been well, Lily?"

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Lily has walked on many graves--she's made many graves. So it's not so strange a feeling that she couldn't believe it was hers, for a little while, before seeing Avril and making a guess of it. Still, when she walks up--

"Yes," the other woman answers, and then pauses where she is. "No apology needed." Was it for not recognizing her immediately? Questioning? Being distracted? Whatever it was, it doesn't bother the sorceress as she approaches, comes to a stop in a position to look up.

"Not so strange. ...Sailors have long thought of their ships as women. And I think of my Gear in the feminine, too. I hadn't thought much about it." Steady strength... Hmmm.

"That must be nice," she says of the reminder, and looks to Avril thoughtfully. Sending them--"I think you will. I'm here to make similar arrangements for my Hellerune. Technically we don't have any contracts on Odessa... But they won't leave us be. I'm certain of that."

Silence. Lily can deal with silence--and then, when Avril asks, she looks wry. "That's teh question, isn't it?" A shake of her head. "No, I don't mean to be mysterious. I've been in good enough health, at least. But it's ironic, running into you now, since... It seems I've found another similarity with you after all, even if it's not the source of our power."

"I suppose seeing you again... Maybe it's a sign, that I should accept it after all." She watches the Gear, pensive. Thoughtful. "But it's strange..."

"Well, that's too serious to dwell on on its own. How have you been? I imagine Spira was something of an adventure. I take it Dean is intact, as well?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Yes, that is what I have heard, though I was not certain of the reason why," Avril says, on the subject of the gender of ships. "Perhaps it is a reflection of a guiding presence in one's own life, be it a mother or a lover, or some other figure of strength. A reflection of what awaits at home, perhaps? ...Though, there are some sailors who are women, and some women do prefer men," she amends, her foreheard creasing after a moment's thought. "Hmm. I wonder..."

    She may be giving this whole topic of discussion more weight than it really needs...

    She glances away a moment. Odessa...

    "...I imagine not. I..." She shakes her head. "I am not certain what it is that we might now do. We are not soldiers, or anything akin to ARMS. Perhaps there may be something out here that might relate to..."

    She gestures at herself.
    She doesn't say it out loud.

    "..." Her gaze lingers on the ground.

    "...But I am not so naive as to believe we will evade this conflict. And, furthermore, what it is that Odessa wishes for Filgaia is not something that I can accept. It is..."

    It is something that pleases the presence within her very self. Not their goals, per se. Not that they should take control. But the means, ah...

    "...And I do not think that Dean or Rebecca will simply let them have their way. Then there is the matter of 'Solaris'..."

    And Lydia.

    She lapses silent after, listening as Lily speaks, as Lily waxes enigmatic and mocks the same instinct. Avril finds herself smiling slightly, in spite of it.

    "Have you, now?"

    A similarity, in spite of not (she imagines not) being one and the same species?

    Accept it...
    That had been, in essence, the Trial Knight's advice. But to think of embracing that old ancient thing within... and whatever it might have done --

    But how long is she to keep running from it?

    "...Myself? I am well enough. Spira was..." Well, it had mostly been peaceful.
    Until it wasn't.
    "...It had been nice, I think. Dean and Rebecca are well, though I am afraid that in spite of our efforts he is still not the best of swimmers," she confides, recalling what had happened when they had descended to the shrine of water.

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

"A lot of old traditions like that, I think. ...Maybe it's because at sea, the ship is all that stands between you and the depths, and when it comes down to it..." She shakes her head. "It's nice to remember a time I might've speculated on that kind of thing, anyway."

It doesn't need much at all. But doing things needlessly is a kind of luxury. .A kind of nice thing.

"Yeah. I see what you mean. You're not a soldier--but you can't stand by, either. And neither can they." She considers. She knows there's more, there. "Well, don't feel like you'll have to handle it all on your own. ...It's my responsibility, I think, more than some. Me, and those of us who are soldiers. We're the ones who keep civilians from this kind of conflict in the first place. I guess in a way, it's a battle for the idea of civilians being allowed to exist as such at all."

She looks away--but then--"I have. I..." She thinks of the words, and in the meantime, she talks of Avril--listens to her. "Hmm. Unfortunate, but as long as you can use ice magic, you can at least fish him out if necessary. I'm glad to hear you're both well." A beat, "I admit, parts of Spira... were nice. But the things I need to find are here."

"See..." Lily looks up again, lifts a hand, and lets it fall. "You're not the only one with a life you don't remember," she says after that. "...Sounds so dramatic, when I put it that way. It's just, I've been thinking. I'm... I learned, the answer. To who I am. But it raised more questions, is all."

She turns towards Avril. "I suppose, it's the same with you, isn't it? I remember, after all, what he said. ...For me--I'm... apparently a scientist. And I've been thinking of what to do about it, but seeing you again, I remember how you've reacted. Or what I've seen of it."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "That may be," Avril says, after considering the matter for a moment more. "Perhaps, even thinking of the Sea Guardian herself." The Medium in her possession almost seems weighty at the thought of it, as if it were bearing the pressure of all the prayers spoken to Lucadia over the millennia.

    "No," Avril agrees. "I am no soldier."

    There is a moment's silence.

    "I am instead a queen. If..." She smiles, bitterly. "...No, even if they were to take their fight to my people directly, I can do nothing." Any return would put her directly where Volsung and his accomplices would like her to be, and she would quickly become entangled in a web from which she could not free herself.

    To say nothing of the more obvious issue: that would still likely not be enough to stay Odessa's hand. What they want from this world is...

    They're idealists, and that is why they are dangerous.

    "...A struggle between those who defend and those who are defended. Between war and total war."

    She glances downwards and slowly tilts her hands palms up.

    It's not a memory. She cannot recall making fields run with blood, or salting the earth, or any such thing.

    She just has the impression, again. A sense of who she likely was, because her body -- her emotions -- run deeper than memory and they are still talking.

    She lifts her head.

    "I suppose so," she agrees, at least on the subject of fishing out Dean. "But let us hope that it may not be necessary. Perhaps we should resume our lessons? Though, I have heard that it is common for sailors to be unable to swim..."

    The things that Lily needs to find are here.

    "Yes. It is the same, for me," Avril agrees, dipping her head in a shallow nod.

    Perhaps it is that what Lily comes to say is thus not a great surprise for her to hear, in light of that.

    "So you are also..."

    Someone out of time, in a sense.

    A answer to a question that only raises more questions.

    "Yes. It is difficult, is it not. To find out who you are... and still understand nothing. I, too, remember nothing. I have only what I have been able to peel from history, only what feelings and impulses my body speaks to me. Perhaps if I were to find something more. Perhaps if I were to remember..."

    But would that be desireable? Or would that irrevocably change -- or erase -- the Avril of now?

    "...But I do not know if that is the best course. You perhaps feel similarly, however. It is an urge, an impulse that cannot be ignored, even if I would rather abandon it. I am happy," she says, smiling unhappily. "and I know that knowing will not make me happy. But... as long as I do not know... I will not remain happy."

    "I will only be running away. Even if that flight, too, is what I desire."

    She speaks to Lily now from the heart, more freely than she has to anyone -- anyone -- in the months since her discovery of who she was.
    But perhaps it is because in this, they are one and the same.

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

"...Yes," Lily answers after a moment. "That could well be it." The Sea Guardian--Lily remembers, after all. Though she does not use it often, she still has, secreted away in her things stored away, the Sea Medium of stone that she once found. The ocean always spoke to her, somehow, even if the Guardian who more literally spoke to her was another. Was...

Lily finds herself thinking of Dan Dairam, and that will linger in her mind.

A bitter thought indeed. A Queen. "Yes," Lily says. "...It must make it worse. Knowing that you in order to uphold your responsibility, you have to not. I can understand it, in nature if not in specific."

But that struggle--that idealism. "Yes," Lily agrees, about Odessa. "Over the nature of warfare and nations. I admit; there's a part of me that hears their words, and thinks there's some merit there. ...But I've chosen not to follow any path that involves that much blood."

Lily can recall fields wet; more to the point, she knows the devastation she can cause, even now, even without the greater power that she knows calls to her. But, too, "The lessons aren't a bad idea... But that's true, too. Just keep some life preservers on hand, some kind of flotation device."

Impressions... is it that way?

"I thought so," Lily answers of how it's the same. Maybe indeed it's why--but when Avril asks, Lily nods. She doesn't have to explain it all because Avril understands, and that's why just seeing the other woman was significant to considering her own understanding of this. The difficulty; the confusion, along with the clarity. ...The fact that it isn't remembered.

"Yes, it's the same--I have... skills, knowledge, but not memory. There's so much I don't understand, except that apparently I made things."

If she remembered. Lily nods--there's understanding, in her eyes. Understanding, and knowledge of the weight of this discussion--of the fact that Avril speaks here things she couldn't to someone else.

"I'll tell you," Lily says, "How it goes. Maybe that will help you... And maybe it won't. Because I have those same desires, too. Except... Except that I know, on one level--that it's true. That it is, the way that it is. That my apprehension is something that will have to fade."

"It's the answer... to what I've been missing, all my life. I suppose one of us has to take the step first. So... I'll introduce myself again, I suppose."

"My name is Sharon. Dr. Sharon Wyatt. I suspect... We may have heard of each other, back then. But I can't imagine it was anything like the way we interact now. Funny, what time will change, isn't it?"

"...Maybe that's it. I don't know what the best course is, either. But I'll need everything I am to stand against what's coming now. Maybe I can't afford to ignore this aspect of myself even if I didn't need to know. ...Maybe that'll be true for you, too."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Some of the Guardians appear to prefer -- or are referred to -- with particular pronouns. Love and the Sea are women, as is the Moon. Others appear to be referred to as men: Hope, Castle. Often Water, Earth, Fire, and Wind. And still others appear to change from the telling, or so she has learned, Sword chief among them. Still others seem to have none at all...

    Perhaps it's just human conceit that any of these human words are appended to figures like Guardians in the first place.

    And human conceit to append them to a ship or a machine.

    "Yes. It is difficult. However, I cannot fulfill my duties if I do not understand them... and as long as I do not understand, I run the risk of becoming a plaything of others' whims."

    She is in fact wrong -- has been wrong all along -- in her assessment of Volsung's aim. But, ah, without knowing why he seeks her, it is only natural that she would make this particular assumption.

    And so it goes.

    There is a part of her, too, that finds the words of Odessa fine. Understandable, even.
    But the bulk of her rejects them outright. The world has seen enough of wars. And should Odessa triumph, she does not think they would bring about a pleasant age for Filgaia...

    Odessa reminds her of something, she thinks, but it's as if she can see the outer edges of it, a vague shape that seems familiar but not something to which she can append a name.

    It may be nicer to move on to other topics, with that in mind...

    "A life preserver... perhaps we might purchase one here? Do you think that the Thames might sell to those passing through, or that they would want to hold theirs in reserve?"

    Hard to say. Maybe they should get Dean some waterwings.

    ...Though such pleasant topics do not hold sway for long.

    "...I thought that might be so," she murmurs, her gaze hooded. "It is the same, for me. I understand things that many do not. Intuitively, I understand how to wield a sword or repair even old and complex machines. My body moves in a rhythm I have forgotten. I find places that are familiar, to which I have never been."

    Her friends are her friends -- she trusts them implicitly.
    But even this -- even her fears -- she has never spoken to them. Not yet.
    Even if they listen, they cannot truly understand.

    But Lily...

    "Yes," she says, her voice barely above a whisper, voicing the crack in her heart over these last few months. "Yes. Something must be given up. What is cannot forever be."

    So Lily starts again.

    Lily reintroduces herself.

    Dr. Sharon Wyatt.


    Avril can but shake her head. "I do not... I do not know," she admits. "If we ever met. Or if we had two separate lives. My name..."

    She lifts her right hand to her chest. "My name is as it was. I have always been Avril Vent Fleur."

    She pauses.

    "The Lolithia."

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Human conceit goes a long way. To assert similarities on strange Others... But maybe, sometimes, it's an effort to connect--a hope that there is a similarity in the world around them.

"It's wise of you to avoid that--uncommonly so. I doubt most of those who call themselves leaders in the world would have such an understanding."

Lily knows almost nothing of Volsung save that he seemed not to notice any of them, almost, not to care at all about their presence, and to have the power to make that sensible. Strangely, it doesn't bother her much. But...

"They'd want to keep the ones they have stocked for themselves, but I can't imagine the markets don't include spares for ships passing through, or sailors looking for some extra insurance. I can help you look before I leave, if you want. I still have to wait on my Gear anyway."

Waterwings might be fair.

"...Yes." Intuitive understandings; knowing things others don't. Muscle memory, active memory.... familiraity.

But not knowledge of how, of why. And there are things few can understand. ...Lily could understand why Avril wouldn't have said it.

"...It never can," Lily answers. What is cannot stay. But something in her wonders--what if it could? What if it could return? ....But then, it would have to be something unique, something protected, for that.

Lily once she reintroduces herself nods back, acknowledging. "...Well, Avril. There we are, then. I suspect it's true--but all we can do is learn the truth, both of us, or not."

"The Lolithia," she wonders, thoughtfully. "I wonder--is there any connection to the Golem? I'm certain you've thought of it before, but I can't help but think about it myself."

Yue's secrets are not hers to share. So, she doesn't, and can't. But...

"I can tell you, though--if on this road I find clues about your past life, I'll share them with you before others. I'm still thinking of what it all means, but I think... I can move forward, like this. Understanding." A look again, to Skadi. "And one step may be studying my old profession."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.


    Lily may compliment her foresight, but Avril only glances askance, her gaze distant. "I... understand what it is you say," she says, slowly. "Or, rather, the intent behind your words. Yet..."

    Yet she feels like she is running away.

    Perhaps because on some level, she is running away. And it is the sort of flight that is impossible. For who can run from themselves?

    She wonders sometimes if there is a reason behind her loss of memory. Perhaps it is not entirely by chance or forced upon her. Perhaps... herself and her fellow amnesiacs... perhaps it may be better that they never remember.

    But she nods when Lily offers her help in locating a life preserver. "Yes. We did acquire some waterwings when we arrived, but in the open ocean, those surely will not be sufficient. Until he is able to become a strong swimmer, we must take precautions."

    Maybe one of those inflatable tubes as well. One that's shaped like a yellow duck.

    There they are then. The both of them, whatever it may mean in the end. "Yes... here we are. I..."

    She's silent a long moment, dwelling again on her earlier thought.

    "There was a story I heard from a Drifter, months and months ago. I have found myself thinking on it, now and again. It was only in passing, but..."

    Avril pauses a moment, before beginning. "There was a man who had no memory, who, desperate, sought out a witch who it was said could grant any man's heart desire -- but she could only grant three such wishes. He found her, and he asked her, 'please restore my memory'. And... she looked at him, and she laughed. 'Why, that was your first wish!' she told him." She glances over at Lily. "I do not mean to say we should turn away. Neither of us can. Nevertheless... when I consider who I may have been and what I am now, I still do wonder: which is better? To be consumed by the not-knowing, or to be consumed by the knowledge?" She shakes her head. "Even now, I am..."

    Her heart aches with an ancient, familiar pain.


    "I suspect... it is merely the name. Volsung himself said it -- it is a 'name of power'. Perhaps those who created Lolithia used that name for that reason. Or perhaps, it was in memory of... me."

    She has heard since of what became of the Golem. Lolithia, her namesake who she has never met, is no more.

    But in spite of all that has been said -- in spite of herself -- she smiles at last, when Lily says that whatever she finds, she will pass on. "...Thank you. I, too, shall pass on to you whatever I may learn. Whatever my misgivings, whatever my fear... I am decided. I must understand for what reason I needed to find myself. I must be able to lead my people."

    She must embrace that old thing in the dark.

    Even if she falters now, considering it.

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

"But it's not how you feel," Lily answers. "Fair enough."

Running away, retreating to return alter--is there a difference? Is the distinction between withdrawal and fleeing meaningful? Sometimes it is hard to say. And maybe it would be better if they never remembered.

For Lily--is it wise, to remember a life in which she made something as destructive and terrible as the machine Gryndille? The very machine that took the lives of her friends, that was the means of her father's treason and the tool that was used? Or is it just a common irony?

It's hard to stay serious on the matter of waterwings. Lily lifts an eyebrow, but decides not to burst that particular bubble. Instead, she just inclines her head. "Yes, I think you're right. Precautions would be... wise."

She's going to address it anyway. No sense in being blunt without need. Though Lily--Sharon?--may have to laugh one day to see Dean's inflatable tube.

But here they are, whatever it means, and Lily listens to the story--a story about a witch is always relevant for her. She listens...

"...It means there's good reasons to worry," Lily answers when Avril mentions what she means. "It's fair, to consider. We all have to make a choice about it."

Ancient pain... Yes. Lily was a scientist; Avril was a Queen. "And our situations do have differences." ...A Queen of the Veruni. Still...

"Mm, yes. Named in honor, or named from the same source that your title came, but with no direct connection. I see. ...If it helps, I would know, if I sensed anything similar to an Elw Golem in your power."

Since she showed up with one, to the Photosphere.

"But thank you. All we can do is make our decision and carry it out to the best of our abilities. We can't allow our doubts to cripple us, or we may as well fail now."

"You'll make ready. I believe it. ...And honestly..." She looks into the distance. "If we regret it in the time to come, then that's the future. We can't know it. But at least away from the battlefield, if it comes down to it--you're not alone in those fears. So... remember that, if it's necessary."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Something more... sturdy and reliable than waterwings would be best. Even Avril, who is still lacking in certain points of common sense, knows that you can't hope to stay afloat in an ocean on waterwings alone.

    An inner tube, on the other hand--

    But such matters are soon left behind.

    "Yes. It may be that we have a reason to remain ignorant of our past. Until we know more, however, it is difficult-to-impossible to know for sure..." She glances at Lily. "But I do not think there will be a 'wish' for us to forget once more. The point will arrive when we cannot turn back anymore."

    The same must be true for the others she knows who have gaps in their memories. Fei, Xantia, Ethius...

    She remembers Sado.

    "I am no Elw," she agrees. "Of that, I am certain. Neither do I hold the power of their creations."

    Other than, perhaps, that mysterious device that she has left untouched for some time. "But I appreciate your insight. It is perhaps another piece of the puzzle."

    Even if it is just an echo of what was before.

    "We cannot allow our doubts to cripple us," Avril echoes, only to nod. Yes. Worrying is well and good but she cannot permit herself to become bound by them. She must continue on -- she has already come too far to turn back and hide away.

    ...Even if it means that 'she' as herself now may cease to exist.

    "Yes," Avril says, bowing her head. "I know. I am not alone. Whatever might happen, whatever I might learn, Dean and Rebecca will remain by my side." Her hands loosely curl in towards the palms, at her sides. She's been hiding from them lately. As if she were -- in spite of her words -- afraid of what might yet come.

    "I must do more to demonstrate my faith in them. Soon... I think, I must tell them more."

    But first, she wants to ask for a little time yet. Just a little bit of selfishness. Just time enough to breathe, and pretend otherwise.

    And then she can return to reality.

    "Thank you, Lily. You... may have helped me more than I can say."