2019-04-08: Trust Just Wasn't in the Cards

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  • Log: 2019-04-08: Trust Just Wasn't in the Cards
  • Cast: Ivan, Ida Everstead-Rey
  • Where: Mi'ihen Highroad
  • Date: April 08, 2019
  • Summary: Ivan learns a bit more about Talia's adventures from Ida, as well as some other stories he finds harder to swallow.

=============================<* Mi'ihen Highroad *>=============================

Many years ago, a man named Lord Mi'ihen, commander of a mercenary group known as the Crimson Blades, was summoned by the Grand Measter to Bevelle to answer the challenge that his group was a threat to Yevon. Though his followers suspected he would be executed and begged to follow, Mi'ihen ordered them to stay behind and walked along an old path to Bevelle, without stopping to rest. 

Moved by the display of piety, the Grand Maester formally adopted Mi'ihen and his soldiers into Yevon as a defensive force, known now as the Crusaders. In recognition of the momentous moment, the path Mi'ihen walked now bears his name.

...except not really, because the original one was wrecked by Sin a few hundred years ago. You can still see bits of it as you pass along the Highroad, on which the Djose Temple can also be found.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8tfe_H7bzw
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Despite a hard-earned reputation as a stick in the mud, Ivan is actually an avid gambler. This evening finds him at one of the colorful inns of Luca, where visitors are gathered at tables, eating and drinking and enjoying themselves. The establishment also has a few games, and Ivan trying his best to convince other travelers to wager on their skills against his in a game of darts. But thus far, alas, no takers. It may be the abrasive way he is shouting at people. But maybe it's the choice ofgame! He's full of enough unfounded confidence to attempt (almost) any game, whether he knows it or not.

"Hey! Anyone! Darts? Cards? Come on, you losers! I'll play anything but Blitzball!"

Someone calls back, "What've you got against Blitzball?" and a brief argument ensues, before he's back at it.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    There was a point in time where visiting a traveler's inn was a new and novel experience for Ida--an experience as scandalous as it was interesting. The unexpected trip to Spira has refreshed some of the novelty, but as for scandalous, well. Ida's changed much since she set out on her journey.

    A woman approaches Ivan once the Blitzball argument is done, and glances him over, an expression of polite interest on her face. She looks to be in her early twenties, with tanned skin, dark hair bound into a bun and pinned with needles, and blue eyes. She also looks like one of the adventurers who pass through this way; her outfit exposes skin, and with it, scars. "You couldn't play Blitz here anyway," she says, with a little smile. She has an accent. It's not a local one. "But I could take you up on a round of cards." Ida's look turns a little curious, then. "Do I know you from somewhere?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I wouldn't put it past this place to have a pool hidden under a trap door or something," Ivan huffs, as if a surprise bar pool were somehow the most unpleasant thing he could imagine. If his face rings a bell with Ida, his own accent--one native to Pendrago--may as well.

He's putting the darts away and waving her over to a table, when the follow-up question draws him up short. His eyes narrow a bit. If this is another of Talia's friends...

"Absolutely not," he says. "I don't know anyone. But just to check on something, are you from or have you ever been to the Blue Star?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida cocks an eyebrow at the question. "The Blue Star," she says, her tone as skeptical as her expression. She sits down at Ivan's table, and crosses one leg over the other.

    "Why yes, I have," Ida says, her voice just low enough to ensure it won't carry. "It's quite the fascinating place. And certainly not common knowledge among the people here." Where does she know that--oh God.

    "Do you know a woman who goes by the name Talia?" Ida asks, casually.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Like I said, I don't know anyone. How do you know her?"

He procures a deck of cards, which he shuffles angrily. He's wandered into something, he just doesn't know what it is, yet.

Is she one of Talia's friends, or acquaintances, or enemies? Is she from the Blue Star? She doesn't look weird enough to be from the Blue Star, but she sounds a little weird. Not that that means anything when you've only explored a tiny portion of a completely unfamiliar continent. 'Accents Ivan doesn't recognize' goes for just about everyone around here.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida frowns. "She's... a friend of mine. You... look like her. Forgive me if I..." She trails off, looking across the table at Ivan as he angrily shuffles. "If I touched a raw nerve."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"You didn't do anything wrong, I just don't want anything to do with Talia's friends."

He continues to shuffle, though, casting a glance back out at the crowd meandering the tavern with a sigh. He doesn't want anything to do with Talia's friends but this is the first person willing to play a game with him, and it is also kind of killing him how little he knows about the life-changing experiences Talia apparently had without him over the past few months.

"Your money's still good if you want to play, though. What games do you know? How did you meet Talia?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a little leather bag. She counts out a hundred gil--God, it feels so strange to be handling gold instead of silver--and sets the stack down on the table in front of Ivan. "Fair enough," she says. "Do you know... poker, by any chance?" Ida pauses a moment, considering Ivan's question. He looks like he could be Talia's sibling, and he clearly knows her somehow, but Ida doesn't want to step on her friend's toes by alienating a friend or relative.

    "We, ah, met in Meribus," Ida says. "We moved in similar circles. I got to know her a little better once the war in Glenwood was over. I consider her a friend and comrade."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Yeah, I know it." Ivan's mood seems to brighten momentarily at the sight of gold, and he counts out a matching bet.

"What type of circles are those?"

Well, hopefully he is her relative, otherwise he's someone who dislikes her, yet wants to know what she's been up to.

He deals out the cards -- two for each of them, and more face up at the center from which to make their hands.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida takes the cards, forming a hand with the options available to her. She's not a good player, but this is at least an opportunity to unwind a bit--if she can deal with the persistent, nagging feeling that she's already told this man too much. "I'm a Drifter," Ida says. "Which is a... vague term, I realize, and an uncharitable one, but it's what we're called back home. Most of us are ruin-delvers, poking around in the wild and dangerous places left over from ages past."

    "Of course it's more than just history," Ida adds. "The past is not as dead as many would like to believe." She pauses a beat, letting that sink in. "Call me Ida. And you are...?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan isn't the sort of person who seems like he'd have a poker face, but the bluffing aspect works insofar as he looks cross regardless of what's in his hand.

"And you 'Drifted' with Talia? Are all of these ruins and things," he decides to humor her apparent wish for secrecy about Blue Star talk, so rather than shout about it again, he points upward. "Up there?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "Yes," Ida says. "Up there." She looks Ivan in the eye, her expression softening. "I know what she's been through," she says. "And she took a great risk in doing what she did. And rest assured, sir, that if you mean to harm her, or to deliver word of where she is to those who would, you had best reconsider." And then, it's back to polite smiles. "Of course, if that's not the case, then everything will be well."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan looks aside uncomfortably as Ida assures that she 'knows what Talia's been through.' That's such a weird way to put it. Is taking other people's lives something you 'go through'? But maybe she means some unrelated hardship. Talia did mention several near-death experiences she met with on her way to freedom.

"I don't know what the vague stuff you're talking about is," he says, "But I'm not here to collect her or drag her back to her old life. She just tried to drag me into her new life, that's all. I'm trying to keep my boundaries."

He frowns at his cards. "...I'm Ivan. I'm her brother."

A shocking turn, surely.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida considers Ivan a moment, remembering what Talia told her that day on the battlefield. "Boundaries," Ida says. Part of her thinks that's a very strange way to view chances at freedom, but she knows that the best kind of cage is one that its occupant never wants to leave. She lets out a breath. "I thought so. You... look a great deal like her. She didn't tell me she had a brother. Though, honestly, if you value your boundaries, it's for the best that I keep matters vague."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan scowls. Don't use his own words against him! It's not like hearing a few stories about her adventures are going to change anything.

"Fine, whatever, I didn't want to know anyway."

A few beats pass. "So what is your deal, then, did you live there? Did you get pulled here the same way she did? You aren't freaking out about being in a weird new place?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "Of course," Ida says, flashing Ivan a smile. That's why you didn't ask me how we met, she thinks, but does not say. She's reminded of a hedgehog pulling itself into a tight, spiky ball at the first sign of trouble.

    "I'm from up there, yes," Ida says. "From a very large city. And yes, we were both caught up in the same sorcerous working. I've spent... oh, a little over two years on the road, now, so the transition wasn't as jarring as it could have been. But no, I am rather worried about being trapped in this place with no way home while a madman threatens my family and home. It would keep me up nights, sometimes, if I didn't have sleeping tonic." Ida's tone stays as polite and casual as ever, and she smiles as she trails off. "It's how one deals with that worry that determines so much, in this business."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I don't remember a madman. Did you mention anything about a madman, before?"

Ivan has trouble keeping all of this moon business straight. It seems like the Blue Star is a very difficult place, if you start with inhospitable deserts and start adding madmen. His own world is being menaced by a sea monster, though, so maybe that's relative.

"Why did you travel around, were you trying to keep away from him?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "I didn't, no," Ida says. "But I thought you were trying to keep your boundaries, hm? Your sister has gotten wrapped up in all of this."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I'm allowed to help her," Ivan says, as if there is a specific set of rules that everyone knows about how to 'maintain boundaries' when your sister escapes from the life of an assassin and you have no interest in following her.

"And I'm definitely allowed to know stories about her life. I just don't want her sending people after me to try to change my mind. You don't seem to have such a mission, so it's okay for you to tell me things."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida is a moment in answering. "Very well," she says. "The... gentleman I mentioned is--was--a revolutionary figure who overthrew a monarch back home. He vanished, for a time, following a... disaster unprecedented in modern times, only to resurface at the head of another armed force. He made his intentions very clear. He wishes to expand his revolution to the world as a whole, and, well, perhaps he'll even set his sights here. He's a very ambitious fellow." This is probably Ida's understatement of the day. "Which is why I, and many others, are here. He obtained some manner of sorcerous technology, and thought it most expedient to use it to exile anyone he thought could be a threat. I haven't seen or heard from your sister, so I've no idea if she was on his list or not."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Has he got a name?" Ivan asks. He's unlikely to put the pieces together if he ever hears about this individual again without getting that particular piece of information.

"So he was there, and he was sending people elsewhere to exile them -- here? Is that how you were sent over?"

At pauses in the conversation, despite its serious turn, Ivan has been nudging their wagers ever upward, or at least as far upward as Ida will allow.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus," Ida says. "Commander of--" What did he call it? "--Odessa. Formerly of the Slayheim Liberation Army." She seems less willing than Ivan to wager greater sums. Being stuck on the wrong planet with no bank account and no name recognition will do that. "I don't know if he chose this place, specifically, or if we simply ended up here, but yes. That's what happened."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Fortunately, despite Ivan's penchant for high betting, his hands haven't actually been very good, so money has mostly been flowing in Ida's direction so far.

"Sounds kind of like another asshole I know," he says. Lubov does not currently have access to a large army or sorcerous technology of that scale, but Ivan can only imagine the shit he'd get up to if he did.

"So then there is a chance that Talia also pissed him off and was inadvertently exiled back to her own world?"

He is not sure if this makes much sense of the bits and pieces he's picked up so far. There's a sigh.

"What did you do to get on his bad side?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "It's possible," Ida says. "I've encountered people here who, to my knowledge, weren't present when he activated the device. He was very well-informed, and I do not like it one bit."

    'What did you do to get on his bad side?'

    Ida smirks. "Killed a goddess," she says. "...Not his. And really, that earned his respect as well as a place on his list of threats."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is... given pause by that claim. "Uh, what?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    The Ida of two years ago would be taken aback by such a grandiose claim. The Ida of right now looks completely serious. "It's a very long story," she says. Ivan's definitely never heard of the Metal Demons, much less their Mother. "But the short version is that my compatriots and I were swept up into a war, and the entity responsible was... an eater of worlds. Something from beyond both this world and mine. She'd taken the survivors of her last conquest and molded them into an army, then set herself up as their Mother-goddess. She intended to do the same to my world, and it took everything we had to put her down."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

That was a lot of words that don't seem to tell Ivan very much -- he was more interested in the 'how' than the 'who.' But he relaxes a bit when she gets to the 'set herself up as' part.

"So you killed a fake goddess," Ivan concludes. That idea sits a little better with him.

"That's a good way to tell the story, though. It makes a big punch."

That this fake goddess is apparently capable of 'eating worlds' is an outstanding concern, but it's still better than trying to fit the idea that this woman has somehow broken the natural order of reality into his head.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "She pretended to be many things that she wasn't," Ida says. "A savior, a benevolent and loving mother-goddess, a victim of a cruel natural order." She thinks back to how Talia reacted to Yarobeleedt, and his undying loyalty to Mother. She decides not to press the issue further--by her estimation, Ivan does not seem like he will take the parallel well. "But yes. As for how, the same way one goes about killing anything that has a body, except moreso."

    "But enough about me," Ida says. She sets her hand down on the table, and meets Ivan's eyes again. "What brings you to this place?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

You definitely can't kill a real god just by stabbing them a whole bunch of times. ...Can you? Are there even other real gods besides Althena? That seems to be a subject of some argument, recently. Ivan is not a particularly devoted follower, though, despite his recent affiliations.

After a pause to curse about her cards and turn over more of his gil, Ivan looks up at her again.

"I'm working with Althena's Guard. You probably don't know what that is if Spira is your first, uh, perspective on Lunar, but it's not really important. We're here to fight the giant sea monster that's been ravaging the coast.

It's weird working with the Guard. It makes him sound almost respectable.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida looks down at Ivan's hand as he forks over more of his money. Her lips twist into something that's not quite a frown. "I... think that's enough gaming, for one day," she says, as delicately as she can manage while Ivan's money is sitting in front of her. Ivan mentions the Guard, then, and Ida blinks--she hasn't encountered any of their leadership beyond Corwynt, but she's pretty sure they wouldn't approve of their soldiers taking shore leave as an excuse to defy the Goddess's edicts.

    "I've heard of them," Ida says, "but I..." They're here to fight Sin, which neatly answers the question Ida was going to ask next. "This isn't my first time here. As for that creature, well, I certainly hope they know what they're doing. From what I've gathered, simply killing it only buys everyone more time--years, maybe, or decades. Or maybe no one's figured out how to make it stick. Whatever it is, it's a very different beast from Mother, and I intend to find out what it is, and how we can kill it."

    Ida pauses a beat. "Would you... like it, if we stayed in touch about the matter?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

He groans a bit at her decision to stop playing while she's (significantly) ahead, but doesn't otherwise argue. He tends to prefer games of skill, anyway. He blinks at her offer to stay in touch, though.

"Yeah, okay, if you personally discover a way to kill Sin, I would definitely like you to tell me."

Would killing nigh-unkillable creatures be a specialization of hers? Come to think of it, maybe she was making all this stuff up. Not the Talia stuff, but some of the taller-seeming tales.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "It's a deal, then," Ida says. She takes a moment to go through the pile of gil, then, neatly sorting out her offerings from Ivan's, and putting the latter in a pile in front of him. "I've seen these little spheres around--I don't know what they do, precisely, but I've seen people speaking to them, leaving messages. Those will serve, if they are what I think they are." Ida sweeps her hand across the table, scooping her gil back into a pocket. "And here. I can't in good conscience take your money when luck was treating you poorly. A pleasure meeting you, Ivan. We'll keep in touch...?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan gives her the nastiest look as she tries to give his money back, and pushes the pile of gil toward her.

"Hey. Don't insult me! Getting screwed or not screwed by luck is what gambling is! I'm not drunk! I'm not a kid. I knew what I was doing!"

How condescending. He doesn't want her pity! She was totally lying about everything, he's sure of it now.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida blinks. Something approaching horror dawns on her face, and her cheeks redden as she reaches for the gil. "A--all right," Ida says. "If you insist." She scoops the money into her pocket, and does not meet Ivan's gaze while she does so--it's a sharp contrast to the confident image she was projecting. She was raised to view social faux pas as something to avoid at all costs.

    "A pleasure meeting you," Ida repeats, managing a weak little smile as she looks at Ivan. She then hurries off, making her way across the tavern for the door.

    She's got to tell Talia.