2019-04-15: The Faithful and the Two-Faced

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  • Log: 2019-04-15: The Faithful and the Two-Faced
  • Cast: White Knight Leo, Ivan
  • Where: Luca - Port District
  • Date: April 15, 2019
  • Summary: Ivan has a chat with Leo, and learns that while his boss may not have all the answers, he has conviction to spare.

===========================<* Luca - Port District *>===========================

Luca is the largest port and second-largest city in Spira, located the southern tip of the archipelago's largest island. Its location as the central port for Spira's surrounding islands has turned Luca into a thriving economic hub; Besaid, Kilika, and a dozen smaller islands all send their goods to Luca for sale, and even the Al Bhed are known to trade here from time to time.

The port district is an immense, bustling area. The largest port in Luca brings in ships from across Spira -- from small fishing ships from Besaid to Al Bhed salvage ships to large sailing vessels from Bevelle -- and a massive market to match. A large seawall keeps the waters at bay, with piers extending out past the seawall into the water.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CIlRCYnZcg
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    The Dragonship Destiny remains moored at Kilika. Leo decided that its presence was necessary to deter brigands--and beyond that, the ship is still damaged from its confrontation with Odessa. The last thing Leo wants is to be caught with his pants down if Sin shows up.

    The fact that it is not actively there in Luca, angering the heathen leadership of a heathen church, is a side-benefit at best.

    Nevertheless, other vessels sail back and forth between Kilika and Luca, bringing supplies of all sorts to the beleaugered village. One of them is moored in the harbor right now, and a steady stream of Guards carry sackfuls of rice, wheat, and other dry goods into its hold. An enterprising Wind mage rolls a cask of water up the gangplank with an outstretched hand and strategic applications of fierce winds. Leo stands guard over the operation. He braces one foot against the rail, and leans forwards, scanning both his soldiers and the dockside.

    This is a very important duty. The fact that he looks like he's doing nothing is just a ruse. Shh.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan has been coming and going quite frequently from Luca and the surrounding areas, giving reports about the places and people he's found. Having just finished one such report a few minutes ago and been sent off for further explorations, it may come as something of a surprise when Ivan... almost immediately comes back.

"Lord Leo, seriously, though, does anything need to be blown up, stabbed, set on fire, anything like that? I'm running out of room in my head for people's names and weird Spiran vocabulary words."

He has a notebook, but that's beside the point, with the point being that he's made for murderous skulking and he's fairly certain his head will explode if he has to conduct one more interview.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo looks at Ivan as his subordinate approaches, his face settling into the look of confident ease he usually wears. "Guardsman Ivan," he says. "Back so soon?" Ivan speaks, and Leo frowns, ever-so-slightly. "Eager for action, are we?" the White Knight says. He's seen Ivan's type before--or so he thinks--the fresh-faced recruit eager for action, bored stiff by all the logistics involved in running a military. "It will come. And Goddess willing, it will come in the form of swift vengeance for Azado. Until then--"

    "...Did you say interviewing?" Leo arches a brow, looking at Ivan, then at his notebook. "Who did you speak with? This place makes little sense as it is, and separating truth from heathen dogma feels like an impossible task at times. But if you've learned anything of note..."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan groans in defeat.

"Nothing new in the past five minutes! If anything was noteworthy, you already heard it!"

He flips through his notebook again, in case something pertinent might jump out at him. "I mean, there have been a few things I left out because they were too ridiculous to mention. Even more false gods... scores of things that supposedly happened on the Blue Star recently... do you know anything about robots that can turn people into puddles? That one has been haunting me."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    "...Robots that can turn people into puddles," Leo says. His eyebrow arches even further, as if trying to seek shelter in his hairline. "What?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"That's what I said!"

Ivan makes a plaintive gesture at the sky. It is heartening, though, on some level, to have found someone equally confused by it. It means Ivan has hopefully not lost his mind.

"When I asked for clarification, I was told that 'robots' are machina, and that the person who was concerned about becoming a puddle is made out of them." He stares intensely into the middle distance for a moment.

"As you can imagine, that only deepened the mystery."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    White Knight Leo stares at Ivan, clearly perplexed--and, on some level, upset that he lives in a world where something like this could transpire. "Machina I know, yes," he says. "But--a person, made out of them?" Leo pauses a beat, remembering something. "That is, I've seen people with... metal, attached to their bodies as though it were normal, and then there were the Demons, but a puddle. I don't suppose you remember who was concerned about this?" As if knowing that would give him vital context that he is missing.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Just a girl," Ivan says, reluctant by habit to call attention onto specific individuals when he isn't sure what might come of it. Who knows, one day Althena might issue an edict against being made of puddle robots.

"I think maybe she isn't made entirely of machina. Not that that makes it any better."

He sighs. "It's all right if you can't explain it, Lord Leo. Even the people who did understand it couldn't seem to explain it."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo shakes his head. "Strange," he remarks. "But your diligence is to be commended." And then, with the matter of the puddle robots resolved, it is time for a subject change. "Ghaleon told me that you were volunteered into his service," Leo says. "It must have been quite the first encounter, meeting the Dragonmaster himself! Why, I remember when I first met Lord Ghaleon."

    Did Ghaleon order Leo to kill a fish, too? It's a mystery for the ages.

    "But that you were recommended to him speaks well of you. Whom did you serve before you came here?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Lubov Yemelin," Ivan says, retreating back into a more formal and guarded tone. "I... still still serve him, actually. I'm here fighting in his name. Or... patching up buildings and gathering information in his name. Either way. He'll have to be satisfied with that level of glory for now."

A moment ago, Ivan was complaining about not being able to see action. Now he seems to take some vague satisfaction in being reminded of the fact that he isn't currently bringing renown to his employer.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    "Lubov Yemelin," Leo says, reaching up to rub at his chin. "I've heard of the man. I'm pleasantly surprised he decided to support this vital endeavor." The White Knight folds his arms, and turns away from Ivan, towards the city as a whole. "This place," Leo says. "I was at Lastonbell when it fell to the army of Hyland. I was at Adlehyde when the Metal Demons launched their cowardly attack against its people. Both of them were... marked by the experience. And yet, the people here act as though the Fiends were simply... harsh rain. A tornado. Far too much snow."

    "What do you make of it?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan points at himself incredulously at first, unused to being asked for his opinion by a superior and not entirely sure why it's happening. Some kind of test? Or maybe Lord Leo is hoping to hear his own opinion out of a third party?

"I... assume they've seen some shit, that's all."

His expression twists a bit. That can't have been what Lord Leo was looking for.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo blinks at the turn of phrase, but doesn't seem put off by it. "And that thing is called Sin," he says, because apparently not being put off by Ivan's language doesn't mean he's going to repeat it himself. He rests a hand on the railing, and turns back to Ivan. "What is it like to live, knowing that at any moment you could be killed by a monstrosity meant to punish you for your crimes? What could the people of this land have done to merit such a thing? Even if they are so far removed from Althena's grace, it seems... cruel."

    "And yet, that is what their heathen church says, and that is what they believe. Despicable."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan catches himself tilting his head to one side, trying to follow this train of thought better. It... does seem like it would suck to believe that the monster menacing your coastline was bringing you a fate you had somehow deserved. It... would not have entered Ivan's mind to passionately rail against the religion that taught them such. (He actually got a little distracted trying to 'imagine it,' as Leo suggested). At any rate, it doesn't seem like his business.

He forgot it was supposed to be his business.

Well, maybe it's just the business of people at Leo's rank.

"You don't think it's just an idea that got passed around to make sense of the misery, then? You think it's more like the church trying to demoralize the people by telling them they're bad?"

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    Leo grips the railing a little tighter, staring across the harbor at the silhouette of the Blitzball stadium in the distance--at the strange sphere of water suspended in mid-air. What enchantments keep it in place? Are they even enchantments? "It could be," Leo says. "It might be. But either way, the intent does not matter. I've seen Yevonites ignoring their own teachings, using ARMs to fight off those Fiends. Hypocrites."

    Somewhere, Margaret has a hangover.

    "But... Althena's words were clear. One way or another, the sins of this place created that beast, and now, we must slay it--for good." There's a subtle shading there. Althena herself said that Sin was the product of Spira's sins, but Leo... doesn't seem to be interpreting that literally.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Are you concerned with the fact that the 'for good' part has been kind of elusive, so far?" Ivan asks. The immediate backtrack on the subject of sins does make him quirk an eyebrow, but the overall air of religious fervor would have had him on edge either way.

The way this speech is going, he wonders if the entire plan might be 'be holier and more righteous than the Spirans and hopefully the whole thing will fall into place.'

To be honest, though, he doesn't know if it matters to him one way or the other if the Guard bloodies Sin's nose and goes home congratulating itself for vanquishing it. Having a righteous cause makes him uneasy. He'd be a bit more comfortable if there was some obvious foolishness or selfishness or futility at its core. Maybe it would actually help if the quest was premised on magical thinking.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    "Of course," Leo says. He turns back to Ivan. The wind picks up, catching his cape and tossing it about behind him. "There must be a way." He clenches a fist, and drives it into his palm for emphasis. "I've seen fiercer and deadlier threats vanquished by hard work, skill at arms, and righteousness of cause. Perhaps what it will take is not a Summoner, but the power of Althena and Her people."

    "I won't spit on the sacrifices made by these people, though. They're... misguided, deeply so, but look at what they've endured."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

...Oh, wow, it really was pretty much like that. Well, at least Lord Leo still looks cool and inspiring.

Besides, what does Ivan know about the legendary heroes who hold the favor of Althena? Maybe they really can vanquish an unkillable monster with holy determination (and a great deal of magic and weaponry) alone. He'll have to wait and find out. Or do something shady and run away; he's still not sure how this is supposed to end for him.

In the meantime, Ivan nods and tries to keep the insubordinate skepticism out of his expression and tone of voice.

"Having a bunch of foreigners sweep in and vanquish Sin might get people pretty interested in Althena, so... win-win?"

He attempts an encouraging smile, with mixed results.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

    "Of course," Leo says, with a wide, winning smile. "That is a win-win. I like the way you think, Guardsman."

    oh no