2021-03-11: Natural Order

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  • Log: Natural Order
  • Cast: Avril Vent Fleur, Kaguya
  • Where: South Calm Lands
  • Date: March 11, 2021
  • Summary: Avril, returning to her Gear, is surprised to encounter Kaguya. They also meet with a flock of pigeons! And have a talk about order.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    She couldn't stay in Luca forever. There is only so much she can do -- she is an Otherworlder among those who have been living under the thumb of Otherworlders, and so in the end it falls to Spirans to support Spira.
    And this is no longer her war, if she must be so stark about it. Once it became clear that the Guard had left for good--

    Avril had begun that journey north to the Calm Lands where an old friend awaits her.

    "It feels as if we have known each other longer than this," she tells her Gear, the Skadi. The fight -- and subsequent flight -- in these lands had taken its toll on the machine. She had left it here in the push south, trusting it to remain safe.

    It has, waiting for her return and the moment in which she could turn her hand to inspecting the Gear more closely. "Though I do not think our relationship goes back as far as 'that'," she says to the Gear, standing near one of the crouched machine's feet. "You are much younger than I am... are you not?"

    She regards the Gear for a moment, as if expecting it to answer.

    And, in spite of herself, giggles.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Kaguya, on the other hand, definitely couldn't stay in Luca forever. Oh, people probably wouldn't recognize her--who would recognize the pilot of a great machine on foot so easily? But she's not planning to push it that hard, not yet anyway. Maybe later. For now, instead...

An old something awaits, too.

As Avril insepcts her Gear, from another part of the ravine steps a woman in white and green, small as ever, blonde and carrying a sack over one of her shoulders. It is rather heavier than it looks, containing a lot of something. And she hears a giggle. It's... unusual.

"...Sorry to intrude," Kaguya says, shrugging then and stepping the rest of the way over to drop the bag down by Skadi's foot with a loud clink.

"...Noticed your machine when I was in the area. Figured you'd be back for it sooner or later, so I set up a watch." This explanation given, she sets her hands on her hips and looks over Avril as if to gauge her general state.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Her Gear, after all -- as far as she knows! -- can't really talk back. But there's still something fun about talking to it.
    She feels like she's done this before, in fact, with a great many machines. Perhaps the woman she was and the woman she is are not so different after all.

    However, she isn't alone just now.

    Sorry to intrude, Kaguya says.

    Avril turns. There's no shocked pivot, no point of the finger, no sense of alarm or shock or, indeed, much of anything at all except...

    Is the word for this 'judgemental', the way she regards Kaguya now?

    "You have not left with them," she says to Kaguya, quite matter-of-factly.

    "Whyever not?"

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Maybe judgemental is it. Kaguya sort of examines that look for a few seconds before she actually answers, as if curious about something. No shocked pivot, no alarm, not much at all. Kaguya seems pretty casual herself--except that she doesn't quite, there's some tension or maybe fatigue in her bearing that she can't entirely conceal. And of course, there is that simple statement.

"Sure haven't," Kaguya says. "A few reasons." She considers leaving it at that, but Avril would ask her to elaborate anyway, and then either she would or she'd leave. The smaller Veruni thus eventually says, "First, because I've got some things to do around here. Somebody's messing around near the ruins of Home, and I've got some loose ends to tie up." She kicks the bag, which clinks again. "That's for you to take to the Outreach. This way I don't lead anybody to them."

Pause. "...Second..." Kaguya turns, and looks up the cliff face, her gaze stretching towards the space where Sin appeared, though there is rock in the way.

"I haven't decided what I'm doing about them, yet."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Perhaps if it had played out differently here on the field, against the Guard, she may have approached the matter differently in turn. Which is not to say that Avril bears this current stance merely because they had been on opposite sides (if not actually blade against blade) on the battlefield. Rather--

    It had been more a matter about what Kaguya's presence had represented, had reminded her of.

    "I am listening," she tells Kaguya, watching her still.

    "Around... Home? Are you certain?" Avril asks, tilting her head to one side. "Is it Odessa? Or..."

    And then a bag is kicked towards her. "Oh--" She is silent a moment, her expression a more pensive one as she regards Kaguya. "I see... should I tell them?"

    Or would that be too dangerous, runs the unspoken question.

    But the truth of the matter is that the direction of her alleigiences are still... something Kaguya has not yet decided.

    "Something has happened to cause you to doubt your ties."

    She has always been rather blunt, hasn't she.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Maybe! But there's always maybes there, especially with Kaguya. And her presence had indeed been an important reminder of something...

"It's not Odessa unless Odessa's picked up a Summoner somewhere. All they're doing is rebuilding, and using Aeons to do it. So it's not necessarily a problem, but it's weird."

Telling them... The unspoken question registers for Kaguya too, who shrugs. "You can tell Riese and Noeline. But better not to make it too obvious. Just in case somebody doesn't like the source."

Avril's bluntness is not a problem for Kaguya generally. Sometimes it's a little sharp! So to speak. But this time it's good enough because it means she doesn't have to figure out how to explain a bunch of little parts that add up to the same thing.

"In this case with the Guard. You already know I have reasons to doubt certain other ties." She gestures, and doesn't go into those. "...Mauri's crusade in Bevelle, the final fight in Luca. I wasn't there for it. I was fighting off an assassination attempt, instead, which--I mean, fair enough, there's reasons. But I'd been dragging my feet anyway."

"...When things started, I thought I could control them. I didn't even really think of it that way--I thought 'guide'. But people are more complicated than that, and no matter what I thought was 'reasonable', failing to see their perspective meant none of my plans were going to work out."

"Ruling sucks, and you can keep it, I guess is what I'm saying. But just leaving doesn't necessarily make anything better either. And there are people worth protecting back in Glenwood. So..." She gestures again.

"As I said to Dean, I can't put the mug back together. ...Except that I could, but not this one probably."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "A Summoner? And there is something strange about that?" For a moment, with that sort of look on her face, it might be easy to underestimate Avril Vent Fleur. But, even with her memories gone to her...

    She's quite sharp. She's already picked up on two things about Kaguya -- that she might have her reasons for not wanting to pass on word of the origin of those supplies, and that something has come between her and the Guard.

    Though perhaps make that a few somethings. A whole series of them, even.

    "Mauri... the Red Priestess. Yes," Avril says, closing her eyes for the moment. "She is White Knight Leo's sister. I have... met her before, as well." Even now, the memory of it jabs at her.

    Yes, that's right. That's the sort of person I am. ...But it is not all that I am.

    "I have heard of what she attempted. But--"

    There's more. An assassination attempt. Avril's blue eyes widen. She lifts her left hand to her lips. "Kaguya, you... from within the Guard's ranks?"
    She does not ask the fate of the would-be assassins.

    Perhaps she already knows.

    "...Guiding people is difficult. Is it not said, 'heavy is the head that bears the crown'? ...It is not for that reason that I have not attempted to claim my right as ruler," she continues, shaking her head. Her gaze flits downwards for a moment. "To understand people, and to guide them... Even under the guidance of the best of rulers, there will be unhappiness and suffering."

    Her silence maintains for a long, long moment.

    "...I wonder, sometimes, if it might not be impossible to rule and keep one's hands clean. At times, surely, terrible decisons must be made. It is no wonder that I..."

    She trails off, her monologue interrupted as a single black-and-white bird alights in the path between them. It's a pigeon. A flock of more-typically colored pigeons (for Spira) follow.

    The bird looks between the both of them, expectantly.

    "...I wonder," Avril muses again, after considering the flock for a moment. "Do pigeons have rulers, too?"

    Perhaps this one is some sort of pigeon... queen.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"The Al Bhed don't have Summoners except the ones they kidnapped," Kaguya points out. "And as far as I know they aren't planning to rebuild. But Yevon wouldn't build there either, and... Yuna is busy." Kaguya says 'Yuna' delicately, as if she doefsn't really want to engage with that very much.

"Yeah. She's kinda cool person to person but 'burn down the enemy capital' is a lot more Veruni than I'd like to see out of the humans, you know?" She shakes her head. But the question of the attempt--well, Avril probably already knows what happened to those people. The blonde explains, "Tensions between Hyland and Rolance are high--and I got my position by acting for Hyland. I covered it up, and I'm hoping they don't try again."

Kaguya does look a little injured, now that she's close; perhaps that's why the fatigue.

"But yeah, they do say that." She hmms. So Avril makes clear that it's not because it's hard, but... That tracks for her anyway. "You wouldn't hold off just because it's hard," she points out. But... Hmm..

"Yeah," Kaguya says. "Is it inevitable? I dunno, but I know I'm a scientist, not a queen. So if it's possible it isn't me doing it."

She pauses, then. Pigeons...

"...Awww," she says. "Birds!" Kaguya says. "I kinda like birds. They're horrible and vicious sometimes but they also fly, which is cool." A beat, "You guys want some snacks? I think I have some oats..."

"I figure most things have rulers," she asides to Avril as she reaches into her bag of stuff.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Is that true?" Avril, despite working alongside the Al Bhed might not have... noticed certain things about their culture. "I see... then, this is one of the Yevon Summoners, but... yes, it does seem strange to me. I wonder whatever is their intent?" Fortunately, at least Kaguya is looking into the matter...?

    Kaguya speaks then of Mauri, prompting Avril to glance off and to the side. "More like a Veruni..." she murmurs, furrowing her brow. "So that is... I see."

    So that's why. 'It takes one to know one', in a sense.

    "I remember. When we were last in Glenwood, it seemed they were at each other's throats. I suppose only the Goddess' intervention permitted them to see eye to eye. Yet..." Not all wounds are easily mended, and theirs likely go back generations.

    "I hope they do not try again."

    She nods. It is a simple, crisp movement. "Yes. I refrain only because I would be the one controlled in my current state," she says, a sentiment she has expressed to Kaguya before. As long as she doesn't remember who she was as the Ice Queen, she would be easily outmatched by Volsung and his group. She has too many blindspots, and he has likely prepared to capitalize on most of them.

    "To rule is to do... what is necessary," Avril says, entwining her fingers. "Was the Ice Queen merely cruel? Or, was she, was I doing what was necessary?"

    What about pigeon rulers, for that matter? This black and white one looks at Kaguya in anticipation. The others fall in alongside her. Some kind of pigeon court? Or, maybe a better answer is to move away from the kingly/queenly analogies altogether. This is a pigeon gang.

    "So there is hierarchy in all things. I wonder..." Avril muses, watching as Kaguya goes through her things for something to feed the birds with.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Yep," Kaguya answers. "Yevon wouldn't allow them to have one, generally, and they usually wouldn't want to try it." She nods. "So, weird. I'm gonna have to check it out."

Kaguya is not very complimentary about her peoples approach to war, as a rule. But then she's not very complimentary about a lot of what they get up to these days, now is she?

"Yeah, the Goddess ended the war--I saw her myself. But now that the common enemy is gone..." She trails off, since that's about all there is to say on that for now.

"Aww, thanks," Kaguya says. "I'm gonna pretend that's at least as much concern for me as it is not wanting a bunch of randos to die trying." She grins, faintly. It's not actually funny to her, though--it shows.

"Yeah. You'd be screwed right now. Volsung isn't to be messed around with. You're better off staying away."

She considers, though.... and shakes her head. "I don't know about that," Kaguya says. "What you did, you did. At least some of it was probably terrible. And if you're the one who gave the order to do some of what happened back then, then me and the you-with-memories might have to have another talk when you're back. ...But..."

"I think it wasn't just cruelty. It wouldn't make sense for you to be the same person if that's all it was. You aren't like that."

Kaguya prepares the oats for the pigeon gang, and throws some to the leader first, and then to the others, because she was raised in a hierarchal society herself and she's used to that.

"That's my experience! Unless you specifically try to get rid of it, it just kind of forms naturally!"

Oats! Oats all over! These incidentally are Spiran oats. Kind of sweet.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Without a common foe, they will turn upon themselves. ...Do you think...?" Avril muses, for half a second. Then she shakes her head. "No. It could not be so. Rather, I believe she took advantage of the situation instead of creating it. That is more plausible, and more savvy. I... know this," she reflects, glancing down for the moment. "It is not a memory, rather an understanding that I possess."

    Avril's attention flicks over at Kaguya again. She might grin, but Avril's own expression remains muted. Stony, nearly, if not severe.

    "Yes... Whatever it is that he wants from me," her authority as ruler, perhaps? "it will be all too easy for him to control me as I am. That is... true." Briefly, she closes her eyes.

    "Yes," she says at length. "I do not doubt that. What I have done was surely terrible and cruel. Yet, I cannot say whether it was necessary to be so. Perhaps some of it was."

    Marivel had spoken of the TF System. The ruin of the world.

    "Or perhaps there were at least at times other options. Perhaps I overlooked another way. I cannot know, now. I do not recall my decisions, let alone what brought me to make them."

    The pigeon gang waits, eagerly. Oats! Oats...!!

    "Ah, so the black and white one is the leader," Avril remarks, as they indeed get first dibs. The rest seem to sort themselves out accordingly.

    "Hm..." She crouches down, apparently just watching the birds now.

    "I wonder. Is it better to accept the natural order of things, or to create a new order?" This she muses, as the birds continue to eat. But perhaps this is not the sort of question that has an easy -- or necessarily right -- answer.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Hmm... I guess," Kaguya answers on what she must've done. "Sometimes it's hard to be charitable about it. I don't believe humans are inherently bad or anything like that. ...I mean, even our people aren't fully united. It just looks that way because Volsung is so powerful." She should use the title, but she doesn't this time. "I'll take your word for that part."

"Right. Which is why we didn't meet here, obviously."

Kaguya thinks of the TF System. She isn't sure how much Avril knows about it, but she can't risk asking her, either. What happened back then... The activation. Its use.

"Yeah. Maybe someone good at ruling can see those other options, and take them. Maybe they didn't exist... or maybe you'll do a better job sometime later." She shrugs. "I dunno."

Oats! Oats! Kaguya kneels down for a moment too to watch them, and as she murmurs--Kaguya thinks about it.

"Well," she says, and she won't be here all that much longer but long enough to feed the birds... "I'm putting my bets on a new order. So I guess we'll find out which way's better."