2020-06-02: To Get at the Truth

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  • Log: To Get at the Truth
  • Cast: Kaguya, Avril Vent Fleur
  • Where: Honeysday
  • Date: June 02, 2020
  • Summary: Kaguya invites Avril to tea. Honeysday, the Veruni, the past, and plans for the future are discussed.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

The Veruni are not usually in, in Honeysday. The one who has spent more time here lately is an increasing exception, though she avoids for the most part staying in the town proper. This is because she knows those who recognize her can get... nervous, about her presence--so she's tried to avoid most of those.

It's had limited success; someone who has their finger on the pulse of the town will know Kaguya is around before she announces herself.

This afternoon though she does; specifically, Avril Vent Fleur will recieve a message that Kaguya would like to meet her. The message includes a location, which is the back room of a local eatery, and a time frame during the daylight hours.


'I want to talk to you, preferably alone. To show that this isn't a trap or something, I've arranged for a place in the middle of town in the middle of the day, so it'd be really obvious if I were lying. There will be tea.'

'If you want me to use a title for you you can tell me you've got your memories and then I totally will. But I doubt it.'

So Kaguya is here, with a teapot and two cups, which she will pour when her guest arrives. It's a bigger room than is required for a table for two people; Kaguya must have rented the entire space with a hefty bribe or else it really just is that quiet.

The tea is a deep indigo, and has a mild bitterness to its complex flavor. Kaguya herself is seated on one side of the wooden table, tapping her foot because she isn't terribly patient, looking down at a strange tablet in her hands that is in fact an electronic device. She is trying to be relatively subtle.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    They're not usually in, and therein lies the problem.

    If not a reason, per se, for Avril to stay far from this place.

    But rarely is she at ease in Honeysday. There is always the threat, after all, that perhaps today could be the day. She, of course, can always run or hide. But, in the manner of someone who is used to (used to?) thinking several steps ahead, she's been worried most of all about what might happen to the people here, if the Veruni found out, if they were in a foul mood.


    At the same time, the village needs help, and she didn't join with Riesenlied and the rest of Wayside to simply turn away just because there was the possibility it could go poorly.

    It just means she has to be prudent about what she does and how visible she's being.
    Or, for that matter, what name she uses.

    Into this work, there had arrived one day a message, via Memory Cube.

    She had considered it carefully.

    As Kaguya had said, there is tea.

    "Kaguya," she says, having been shown to the room in question by a (possibly) somewhat nervous waitstaff.

    "It has been some time."

    She does not sit immediately, instead standing still, taking in the scene laid out before her.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

It could be anytime, for any reason, but her presence is a very good reason. Nevertheless, it hasn't happened yet. At least one Veruni knows full well about Avril's involvement in Honeysday's aid, but they haven't come down on the village.

Maybe there's leverage in waiting. Maybe it's something else.

Kaguya pours Avril and then herself a cup; the scene before Avril is that of a simple wooden room. The other tables with chairs about them are empty; there is a smaller one with the teacup, which itself is of a type popular in town; Kaguya didn't bring it with her, most likely. There's a window, but the curtains are drawn. Kaguya herself is in fairly ordinary if expensive clothes, with the pin of her noble House in Glenwood. She is pale, as ever, and... thoughtful.

"It's an old Veruni blend," Kaguya explains of the tea. "I assume you haven't had it among humans."

The waitstaff was definitely nervous.

"This one in particular is the fancier version, suitable for the right kind of company. I figured if anybody's that, it's you. ...But I like the blend generally; I engineered the plants so that they'd grow here on Filgaia. So far as I can tell, their precursors that were left behind have long gone extinct."

"You can sit, if you want." The tablet is placed face-down on the table. "I'm going to stay sitting, anyway. No point standing on ceremony in the circumstances, right?"

"That's a difference, you know. Among your people there'd be a lot of formalities and all. It's important to remember your rank, your relative status, all that. Among the Veruni, my Glenwood nobility doesn't count--but I'm useful, so my position has improved."

Beat, "How's the town doing? They don't tell me much beyond 'Oh, Lady Veruni, of course, whatever you like!'" She pauses again. "It has been a while, huh? Since that time in Spira, I think."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Yue, too, is aware of Avril's involvement in Honeysday, but for that particular eternal prisoner... the situation is rather more complicated, as Avril had assessed during their last meeting.

    She can neither rely on Yue as a friend nor count Yue as an enemy.

    In a similar yet altogether different way, there also sits Kaguya.

    It's entirely possible that the waitstaff was quite nervous, considering the rumors about Veruni food and drink. If a human were meeting with a Veruni and eating with them, does that mean...?

    Avril, unfortunately, is unaware of any of this.

    "I do not think so," she says, regarding the cup of tea. "It is a striking shade. I do not think I have seen a tea quite so..."

    Blue eyes flick upwards from the cup, then rest on Kaguya for a long moment.

    "...Oh, I see."

    Something from the refuge her people had found. Before even that failed them, and they fled back across the void to the place from which they had come. Was it worth it, she thinks, and not for the last time.

    Was any of this worth it?

    Wordless for the time being, she pulls back the other seat and settles down.

    "I do not remember," she can only say, as Kaguya speaks of the formalities of the Veruni way of tea. "If, indeed, such was the custom at my time. It is... a strange thing," she voices generally, something like sadness and something like pain there-and-gone across her face. "I had read a story while I was traveling with Dean and Rebecca. There was a man in the story named 'Rip Van Winkle' who had went into the mountains one day. He took a nap and fell asleep, except, when he woke up, he had a beard down to his knees and his ARM had rotted through. Somehow, he had managed to sleep for twenty years."

    She falls silent for a long moment, staring at the distorted reflection of her own face in the teacup.

    "I can... understand how he must have felt."

    Even if in her case the time has been five thousand years, at least.

    She glances back up. "Oh-- Honeysday is coming along well. The repairs have completed and the fields are in good shape now, I believe... though, they still do not think they will be quite able to achieve their necessary quotas. Even a lost month has an impact, it seems."

    She and Kaguya may have crossed paths more recently than this, but the last time they actually sat down and talked -- or even just talked...

    She has trouble recalling it.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

A prisoner and... a spy? A researcher? Where does Kaguya sit in the Veruni macine, these days?

"You can get a similar color from some herbal teas here on Filgaia, but the flavor isn't the same." The scent is like green teas, but with more floral notes. It's quite distinct.

Kaguya wonders the same, perhaps ironically. Was it worth it? Was any of what happened really worth it? What brought them here and now, in this way?

"It's possible it changed. Even our records don't perfectly go past thousands of years," she answers. A strange thing, though? ...Kaguya listens, thoughtfully. A story that she read, Avril says, and Kaguya does not comment on the sadness or the pain that are so briefly there. She doesn't comment on anything for a moment--indeed it might seem strange, the way Kaguya stres at her for a little while after she says that. She can understand how Rip Van Winkle must have felt...

"Is it?" Kaguya asks about Honeysday first. "Mm... I was about to say that's good, but no, that's problematic. Let me think about that."

"...The story you mention--it's kind of funny, really. It is interesting. Sleeping for twenty years..."

Kaguya shakes her head. "I'm not that up on modern Veruni culture, myself. I slept for over a hundred years, waiting for the planet to be 'safe enough' for my family to wake me up. Almost everything my people have done here on the planet's surface comes secondhand to me. I know all about what our medical facilities look like, though."

"On the other hand, I didn't grow a beard or anything. ...So maybe I should sympathize more, with the fact that you've missed so much."

"That'd be a good reason for me to be operating rogue, wouldn't it? I'm sure you've wondered why I'm not with the party line on you."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "...Yes. While it seems that some of the Veruni from long ago live still, if I am not mistaken it is only a few." Even a scholar like Elvis had been forced to scrounge to find mention of her. Veruni might be very long-lived, perhaps under the proper conditions, but they are still mortal.

    Sickness, radiation, accident, violence...

    ...VR Syndrome...

    It is said that theoretically any given tree can live forever, but there is an accumulating chance yearly that something will happen. Eventually luck runs out.

    Eventually even the elder Veruni succumbed to circumstances. Books rotted, data degraded.
    Things change, but not nearly enough.

    "Forgive me for creating a difficult situation for you, but that was one reason why I agreed to meet with you. I had hoped perhaps that you might be able to do something for them."

    Twenty. A hundred. Five thousand. At some point, does the difference become meaningless?

    "I see... I am sorry, Kaguya." She then shakes her head. "No... I do not remember what came before, so I suppose to story truly does apply more to you than it does to me. I have nothing to compare. Only that sense of detatchment from the flow of time remains, perhaps..."

    The party line. Yes, Avril had wondered, hadn't she?

    She, at last, picks up her teacup, takes a sip from its contents.

    She sets it back down with care. She regards Kaguya carefully. "I did not tell them, you understand." Avril speaks up with this rather suddenly. "Rebecca, or Dean. If you did desire to deliver me to Volsung..."

    Well, the only thing that would be standing in her way would be Avril herself... and the potential fate of the rest of the villagers here.

    The party line, is it.

    "...Would you, had you the chance?"

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"You're right. Just a few, like Yue and her mother. And I don't know much about them; I wasn't high-ranking enough to get to hang with our elders." Kaguya listens to the matter of the people, and grins faintly.

"So you had something you wanted, too. Sneaky," she says. "Maybe even a little devious. I like it. ...Yeah, I'll see what I can do. I don't have any authority over the town's governor or anything, but I might be able to eke out a favor. They might have a relative or two who'd be comfortable back on Lunar in my lands, or want to get the ear of a Sentinel that I can arrange. I can't make any promises, though--like I said, I don't really have 'official' authority."

"It's fine," Kaguya answers Avril's apology firmly. "Or at least... I'm not worrying about it right now." The story... "Yeah, maybe it does. Yours is either better, or worse; you don't know what you're missing... but you also don't know what you're missing."

"On the other hand, your old 'friends' are mostly dead instead of being old and not wanting to talk to you, so that could go either way."

Kaguya takes some time to pick up her teacup, as well. She looks sharply, as Avril mentions that she didn't tell the others. Sipping her tea, the smaller, younger Veruni listens in silence to the question. It's the million dollar question, in its way. Would she? This could be an opportunity; most Veruni wouldn't care about the disruption too much.

"I might be able to," Kaguya says first. "You've got a lot of power sleeping within you, but I've got a lot of bullshit up my sleeve. If I wanted."

"...But the answer is no."

"No, I don't want to, and no, I wouldn't if I had the chance. Once you're in Volsung's hands, under his power, to be honest? You're useless to me."

"I need the 'truth' of what happened, thousands of years ago, and more recently. If you get your memories back, that's one way to get that 'truth.' But even if he can restore them, I don't have access to you under his power. I don't have enough 'power' of my own."

Kaguya sets down her teacup. "I'm going to try something, soon. Something dangerous. But before I do, I wanted to get a feel for you. You're either my best ally... or my worst enemy."

"I dunno which, yet. But if things go wrong, at least I know I've 'met' you properly. If I don't come back... Then I need you to save this planet for me, too. And if it turns out we're enemies, at least I got to look you in the eye, once, and know you heard me."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Even among the Veruni, status and rank are important.

    Which is why Kaguya says that the best she can do is 'try'. A few favors -- maybe -- might have the right effect. Or a choice offer or two. Or maybe nothing will work, and Honeysday will have to take whatever penalty they receive on the chin. Possibly it might not even be anything truly bad, since in the end, they're needed to work the land.

    Still, the villagers seem nervous about the prospect of it. Perhaps it would be best avoided, for their sanity at least.

    "I understand. Still... thank you. I am certain that the others would be grateful, as well."

    Avril tries to smile at that remark from Kaguya -- the one that darkly remarks that she can't tell which scenario is the more cheerful one.
    But she doesn't actually manage it. Not really.

    It might be a relief, almost, to shift the conversation off towards the matter of Kaguya abducting her for Volsung.

    Perhaps all the more so, since Kaguya says that...

    ...she doesn't intend to.

    Avril looks honestly surprised, though perhaps not quite as surprised as some of her friends might be.

    "I would be... useless to you?" she echoes, as if she were not quite following Kaguya's meaning.

    But as Kaguya goes on--

    "I would no longer... I see." Because an audience with the queen -- memories restored or otherwise, puppet or otherwise -- would be out of reach for someone of Kaguya's rank.

    Particularly since her memories are the only way to get at the 'truth'.

    "Of what happened... back then," Avril surmises, her gaze lowered to the table between them. It always comes back around to the past, the one thing which she cannot reach however she tries.

    I'm going to try something, soon. Something dangerous.

    She lifts her head, blinks twice. "What are you about to attempt, Kaguya?" Avril asks, voicing a question that she knows -- somehow -- she won't receive a concrete answer to.

    Because either they're enemies... or they're allies.

    Or something more complicated than either label can encompass.

    "...I would rather not be your enemy," she says, an echo of a recent conversation with Yue. "If I had a choice in the matter."

    But the matter is well, already, outside of her grasp.

    "But for now... all I can do is listen, and so I shall listen. ...Please be careful, Kaguya."

    Even if they end up as enemies. Especially if they end up as allies.