When the predatory looking barbin approached him, Grimm slightly tensed up but waited before doing anything rash. Surprisingly the tall man-beast recognized the unique smell emanating from Grimm. Even more surprising was when Roanar congratulated him on a successful hunt. Immediately Grimm's opinion of Roanar went up and he nodded respectfully. "Thank you striped one. It has been too long since I met someone who appreciates the hunt. I am sure we both have stories to tell " Right off the bat Grimm trusted Roanar almost as much as Burton. Oddly enough, Roanar's animal traits actually put Grimm at ease. Animals had never tried to trick him or decieve him, only humans had. So this man-beast was certain to have more of Grimm's respect than any royal.
As Niji trotted over and announced her presence, Grimm gave a rare genuine smile. Meeting a beast from childhood stories was infinitely more enjoyable than being rewarded with money by someone. Smiling happily, Grimm respectfully nodded to Niji and slowly extended his hand, not wanting to frighten the mystical horse because of his smell or mannerisms. "Hello there young one..." Gently petting Niji's side, Grimm made sure to burn the sight before him into his memory.
Burton is striving to mostly keep his mouth closed. He does quietly move to a position to step between Genessa and Yuzuki. When that situation settles down, without even a word, he relaxes. Then the arrival of the important men. Count Orlock, Genessa's father, the Barbin Ambassador. Who is both inhuman, and very large. Burton has however the English skill of < unflappable > however impressed and scary the Ambassador looks, that word... Ambassador has meaning to Burton. Thus, he has no fear... yet. That the Ambassador is impressed with Grimm, is a further relief. Grimm is then a further hit with the Unicorn. That, has the unflappable Burton smiling wide.
Then the Princess. She moves and acts every bit the Princess she is. Still... hard to put aside the general feeling he has met her before. Perhaps a twin from his own world. He does not forget to incline his head in respect as she briefly acknowledges him with the considerable disinterest of a true Royal.
Burton remains ever so slightly wary of those around him. The Red shield especially, Yuzuki slightly as in his opinion he has only seen her demanding side and believes there to be considerable potential for trouble there. Anne, for whatever reason, not so much, nor the smaller dark skinned soldier. The performer Houdini and King Leonidas least of all.
The performer felt oddly comfortable with the Pilipino soldier. He watched as things developed. He did notice the few tense moments as the griffons landed.. The approach of the local Royalty, accompanied by protesting guardsmen. He watches the important people land. The Count, at least pretending to be approachable, the huge scary ambassador. Harry does take perhaps a step back in spite of himself. The Princess, unapproachable and perhaps judgmental. Like Benji, a welcome relief when the Unicorn joins them. He pulls out a small cloth bag, then remembers his lit cigar. He bends to put it out on the ground, then puts it away. Remembering the bag, he pulls out a couple of pieces of Bit O Honey candy. He hands them to Benjie.
The Count snaps his eyes towards the snorting sound of the Unicorn, and he looks almost more afraid than surprised to see one here. But it is a quick expression, seen only by the most keen observers. He returns Benji’s salute without hesitation or question, even saying “At ease, soldier.” He was about to join the rest of the group, mainly go to Roanar’s side, but then the unicorn beats him to it, so the old man stands apart from the rest, but still acknowledges the Princess with a bow and “Pleasure to meet you again, Your Highness Princess Shalana.”
The other old man of the group, Leonidas, stands aside the group as well but looks across them all at The Count intently. Something about the other man...doesn't feel right.
“Huh?” Anne is brought out of her fascination with the Barbin named Roanar, and to the Princess she didn't witness coming down to the courtyard due to the sudden arrivals startling her. Now she looks into a very otherworldly pretty face, and Anne can’t help but feel jealousy bubble up in her. The handmaiden and guard tell her this is some kind of royalty. Princess, she can only assume. The woman looks at the weapon in her hand, and carefully holds it just by the handle with fingers away from the trigger for her to take.
“Aye, inspect all ya want. Just be careful not to shoot me.”
Anne offers up the pistol, and Shalana reaches out to grasp it by its barrel. She then wraps her hand around the handle itself, her forefinger resting on the guard outside of the trigger so she doesn’t accidentally fire it. She keeps it pointed towards the ground, and her free hand reaches for the rear of the gun. Her brows furrow as she tries to cock it, but finds herself just not strong enough to. “Hmph” she offers softly, looking down at the gun. She turns it in her hand, inspecting the body of the pistol. “This is of… late 19th century?” She asks softly, her eyes now moving towards Anne, and then Benjie.
“I think so. Certainly after my time as I never seen a gun like that.” Anne answers, leaving out she doesn’t know what ‘19th century’ means any more than semi-automatic. She watches the girl handle the weapon and is a bit surprised. It’s like she’s handled them a few times before, even been shown and told how to do it properly. Anne takes out her flintlock to compare, holding it so the barrel is pointed up.
“This be one of the guns in my day. Can’t shoot someone too far away, but ya get it up to their skull, you can take someone’s head.” Anne puts it away. “Never done it meself, but seen it. Nasty business that was. Good thing the gulls and crows are good cleaners.” She says, giggling as if it were a fun memory.
While the Strangers have been conversing and meeting with Count Orlock and the Barbin Ambassador, the Overseer has been talking to his Senior members in the farthest corner of the courtyard. He speaks in an even, authoritative tone.
“This should go with saying, but it is my duty to remind you all before we move forward, that we must not make this personal.” He clasps his hands together and keeps looking all around at every one of them. “We have lost friends, people we may have considered family, to this new threat.” He raises a finger “But, we must follow the example of our fellows in the White Guard, and not make this about any of our personal losses. We need to uphold our duty to this Guild, and the world we’ve pledged to serve. Is that understood?”
“Understood, Overseer Germaine.” Genessa is the first to answer in the affirmative. The others do as well. Except Odalwa does it last, and a few long seconds after the others while looking the Overseer in the eyes. Genessa knows why. Delilah, one of those lost in the attack, had joined up with him years ago. Both from the same village, so the two of them may have likely had a prior relationship of some kind before. The Overseer is no fool who doesn’t see this hesitation behind that stone face, nor are anyone assembled, but it passes without one comment.
“Now, as to our current duties.” Overseer Germaine looks around at the other Red Shield gathered and waiting. “I will be going into the King’s Council meeting, and will convey what I’m allowed to all of you afterward. In the meantime, have our Field Operatives escort the Scribes to the main Guild Hall in small, discrete groups until everyone is out of this courtyard, the six of you and these Strangers being last to await my return.” He makes their salute, and the others return it before they all disperse. Genessa walks beside Overseer Germaine as both are going towards Count Orlock.
The older gentleman sees their approach, and dons a large toothy smile. “Ah! My dear Genessa! Finally!” He holds his arms out. Genessa sighs, blushes as they close distance and once she’s in reach, he embraces Genessa very warmly. A smothering warmth, you might say. Genessa smiles but blushes deeper. “Yes father, I am very fine, thank you.” She says quietly, returning the hug with less gusto.
“Less than fine, I’d say.” The Count breaks the hug, and looks closely at his daughter with brow furled “Have you not been taking your medicine?”
“Yes I have.” Genessa says indignantly.
“Today?” He asks, incredulous. Overseer Germaine watches this, holding back a chuckle that might be demeaning to his subordinate.
“I had...some today.” She reaches into an inner pocket of her cloak, but finds only that empty vial. She groans and The Count reaches into his own, producing a metal flask he then hands to her.
“You know better.” He tells her, just a little admonishingly.
At this point Overseer Germaine clears his throat to get their attention.
“Count Orlock, we are needed inside. Don’t want to keep His Majesty waiting.” He says, gesturing at the palace doors.
“Yes yes, we are coming.” Orlock says to the Overseer. He gives Genessa one last quick hug, and the two start walking. Ambassador Roanar sees this, and gives Grimm one last pat on the back and Niji a pet down her snout. Oddly enough he is not so impressed with a unicorn like the others.
“Happy huntings to you, and may we hunt together in the future.” He says in parting to Grimm and follows the other two.
Genessa, now thoroughly embarrassed, has a drink from the flask. Just a quick one.
But of course the emergence of a new group of Strangers wasn’t kept a secret for long from many. In fact when they first began to emerge, a message was sent to the far corners of this world. A message describing not only the fact new Strangers had came to their world… but the unprecedented number of them. Usually, a small group could be expect. 3 at the most, normally. But something was different this time. Something was off.
And so a meeting was arranged, a meeting with the intent of trying to figure out just why all of this is happening now. And what the bigger picture might be. Many of this world have seen enough suffering at the hands of Strangers for them not to be wary.
It has been nearly 14 years since representatives came together from all of the intelligent races of the world, holding conference in the distant land of Maagin, far to the south and east of the kingdom of Gatecia. Removed as it was from the rest of the world, it would allow some sort of impartial meetings and judgements in regards to said world. A council of beings from 9 of the races that make up this beautiful world. All of them wanting nothing more than to keep the peace, to allow this world to prosper through cooperation of the races. And their defense.
As these are unusual times, unusual measures were to be taken. From the far island of Maagin the Council travelled, heading towards the kingdom of Gatecia. Their arrival kept secret, save for those in the highest positions of the military and governing body. The original intent… a conference for discussion of the Strangers situation, of the rising violence in the wildlands of their world. But after the brazen attack on the King and Queen of Gatecia… the Council now feels the need to act immediately. And to act… they would need information.
The group of gathered Strangers is flanked by the Red Shield members, some keeping an eye on the Strangers themselves and some watching for any further danger. Abruptly from one of the alleys comes running a Barbin child, clad in what would be the traditional garb for those of her village. And she is, of course, on a mission. And every assignment given to her is of utmost importance. One of the Red Shield immediately steps in front of her to stop her. But as the guard looks down at her, he recognizes her almost immediately. He steps aside, motioning her to move passed him. She wrinkles her nose at him, and resists the urge to bite him in the leg. Turning then she hurries in the direction of Genessa, waving a thin arm above her head. “Genessa!” She calls out at first… but stumbles a little with her feet, and with her words. “I mean… m’lady! Yes, m’lady Genessa!” she finally gets out as she stops just beside Genessa. She works to catch her breath, looking up at Genessa through big green eyes, those eyes partially concealed under red hair, her long cat like ears twitching. She points in the general direction of the palace. “Meeting!” She says suddenly, not realizing Genessa would have no clue what she’s talking about.
The young Barbin’s name is Arah, and she is the assistant to the head of the Peacekeeper Council itself. A Barbin woman named Chize. It isn’t so unusual to see Arah here in Gatecia, as she is sent regularly on errands for the Council. But it is rare to see the child this flustered…
Genessa sees the small Barbin girl, caps the flask, and puts it in her cloak pocket. She has seen this girl before on the two occasions the Peace Council has required something of first her family, then her branch of the guild. Both times it had been something small, so this girl had been calm about it. No surprise to her. In fact she had been wondering when the Peace Council would get involved, with the two attacks in as many days.
“Meeting?” She looks at the palace then back to the girl “Yes, the King's Council is meeting right now. Did you need to pass a message to King Richard?” She asks, unsure.
The kitten comes to a stumbling stop next to Genessa, catching her breath as she stares up at her with wide eyes. She shakes her head suddenly, and seems to be looking for the right words. She was told when sent out to this task… stay calm. It won’t be the end of the world. But for some reason… she feels like it just might be. She doesn’t know what exactly makes her think that… perhaps the way the Council had been speaking amongst themselves.
“NoNoNo” She says as she reaches up. She grabs Genessa’s wrist and tugs lightly on it, and then lets her go as she remembers that isn’t exactly proper protocol. Arah points in the direction of the castle “The Peace Council, they are here! Here here!” She pauses as she does indeed catch her breath “All of them! Whole council!” She nods in an almost agitated manner. She then motions to the group of Strangers surrounded by the Red Shield. “They told me to tell you they wish to speak to 2! You bring them, please! 2 of the” she whispers the next word, her ears flattening a little “Strangers” and then a normal tone as those ears flick a few times “to the Council. Some are angry there..” meaning some of Council is… less than pleased. Of course.
“Oh, well this is very unexpected.” Genessa says, surprised the Council was able to gather so suddenly. Perhaps they had been on the go since the first reports from a couple days ago went out. “Two….” Genessa looks to the group of Strangers, who by now would have all been made aware of the young Barbin by her actions alone. The red haired woman is an unknown quantity to Genessa, but by her few actions she thinks that one is not fit for diplomacy already.
As if to prove her point Anne, upon seeing the young Barbin, abruptly walks away from Benji and Shalana with a large smile and hand out. “Hello there little kitten. You want a pet?” She asks, but it’s rhetorical. The pirate comes upon the little Barbin and without warning bends down at the waist to scratch Arah’s neck.
Genessa is aghast at this. What would possess this woman to just touch a Barbin like that?
“Miss...whoever you are, please stop.” She tells Anne eyes narrowed.
“Wha?” Anne looks aside at Genessa and doesn’t stop petting Arah. “Why? Barbin like to be pet, and it feels nice to pet them. A win-win I say. And the name’s Anne Bonny.”
The kitten seems to fret a little when Genessa seems to express a bit of doubt. She interprets that as Genessa doubting her words. She looks back up towards Genessa as she seems to deliberate with herself, and then she follows Genessa’s gaze towards the Strangers.
It’s about then she sees Anne heading right towards them… Anne’s eyes seeming locked on the kitten. Her own eyes widen, and she takes a timid step back as her shoulders roll upwards a little, her ears flattening a little against her skull. Her head is cast down, barely looking up towards Anne when the pirate reaches out to her. Frankly, she’s to frightened at first to move. Anne starts to scratch her, and she would admit later it felt nice. Buuuuuut… well it doesn’t feel nice now. Genessa asks Anne to stop, and when the kitten hears Genessa’s voice, her tail starts to suddenly twitch. A low (soft) rumble starts in her throat as Anne continues to pet her… and then with the snap of a hiss she lashes out. Her clawed fingers move to scratch at Anne’s outstretched arm, the hair along her spine standing on end as she lashes out. As she feels she needs to defend herself, just as she has been taught.
“Oi!” Anne exclaims pulling her arm back barely in time to avoid the kitten’s scratch, and jumps back. She looks very surprised at this reaction.
“Let that be a lesson to you.” Genessa admonished Anne sternly “I don’t know where you got the idea it’s okay to touch people without asking. And a Barbin no less. Lucky she didn’t take an eye out.”
Now Anne looks at Genessa. Glares actually. “I’m gonna let that slide. This time.” She says in a warning manner to the other woman.
Genessa ignores the warning for now and says to Arah in her best approximation of Barbin “I am sorry for that Arah. She is one of the dumb ones, thinks she can do as she pleases.” She then addresses the group.
“Arah here is an envoy for the Peace Council, and with the situation escalating, they have requested two of you come and speak with them.” Her eyes go right to Burton “You, Richard, I feel would be most qualified to speak to them.” She quickly says to the other two of her group “Not to say anything against you two, Grimm and Leonidas, but you may find it very tedious.” She then says to the other party they just met. “Would any of you care to be the other?”
“Count me out.” Anne says immediately, blowing a raspberry at the idea and walking away back to Yuzuki, Benji and Shalana. “I’m only here to speak with King Richard about helping my people.” Coming back to Shalana, she asks “Think you can get your pa to have a sit down with me? I’m gettin’ real antsy, ya understand?”
The kitten lets out another little hiss as she slips back once more from Anne, almost moving behind Genessa. She flexes her little hands still, her claws still slightly extended. She’s never heard of someone just walking up to another and just… petting them. Or whatever that was. But she also then remembers what she is told often of Strangers. They don’t know this world’s etiquette or culture, and so shouldn’t be judged to harshly. But this… well her giant hands were practically trying to strangle her! Anne wasn’t, of course. But it felt that way for a moment.
Arah looks up towards Genessa, showing displeasure in her eyes. Perhaps displeasure is to strong a term. She was merely scared for a moment, just frightened for an instant. Understandably. She listens to Genessa’s words of comfort, her ears flicking as she does. Genessa is a very nice woman, one of the nicer Maleese, but her Barbinspeak needs work. Arah only nods in agreement, looking back towards the retreating Anne with a wrinkled nose. She remains there at Genessa’s side as she now addresses the group, her big eyes moving along them. Such strange looking beings… no fur… strange coloring… no tails… and they look like someone mauled their ears… she almost feels bad for them. While one would think Arah thinks the same of Maleese, since they share so many physical similarities to Humans… well to Arah there’s so many subtle differences. That’s how it is for most of this world. Those from Earth… can be spotted sometimes easily, depending on who is doing the looking.
The large Barbin ambsassador draws his furred hand along the unicorn’s snout, and in response she draws her head up as if to try and maintain contact. With a soft huff from her nostrils she shakes her head rapidly then, her mane swaying as she does. But her attention is drawn towards Harry as he presents the Earth born candies. She leans cautiously towards his hand, but then lets out a loud snort as she backpeddles slightly. She probably doesn’t think there is danger, but the strong smell (to her senses) of the candy is a little surprising. She feels Grimm’s hand along her side, she turns her head as best she can towards him, her dark eyes locked on his. Not giving much thought to the fact she might knock into someone (look out Benjie!) she half turns as she rears up ever so slightly (her front hooves only moving a few inches off the ground). She is slightly better facing Grimm now, and she bows her head towards him. A show of respect? The creature of thousands of Earth legends acknowledging her pleasure with meeting Grimm? An expression of trust towards the hunter?
Nah. She just wants to show off the single horn extending from her forehead to him. While her horn doesn’t have the same shimmer as her mother’s, she’s still very proud of it. With her being so young yet (physically and emotionally), her horn is still an equivalent color of a shade of grey. Something akin to gunmetal, perhaps.
The approach of the little Barbin kitten doesn’t go unnoticed by Yuzuki either. A smile finds itself along her lips as she watches Arah speaking to Genessa. She might be bossy and hard up, but she can’t deny how cute Barbin are when they are so young. After she got over her fears at the Barbin village (ya know, after she decided they weren’t soul sucking demons from Hell), she was quite taken with how beautiful they were. Both in a personal sense and cultural. From her peripheral she sees Anne moving towards Genessa and Arah, and she smiles a little more. The Barbin considered Anne their leader in the village, an honored member of their tribe. So it doesn’t surprise that Anne wishes to meet that one.
And then OH GOD Arah tries to take Anne’s arm!
Yuzuki gasps softly with the sudden act of retaliation, for just a millisecond wondering if Anne was going to retaliate. Now why would there be such a reaction? Is that a sort of treason? She looks back towards the now cautious Barbin and she realizes… the garbs she wears is faintly different than those of the village they were in. Is it possible the little one is part of a different clan.. or tribe? Or perhaps not even belonging to a Barbin clan, since she is here in the capitol, and clearly having some connection to those in charge here. Judging by the way she is interacting with Genessa. While she isn’t wholly familiar with Genessa or any of the newcomers, she can tell by demeanor they are of the official sort. Politicians, perhaps. Which she has little patience for. And those thoughts are kind of justified as Genessa addresses them all.
Arah is introduced, and Yuzuki smiles in greetings to the small cat like girl. But that smile is met with more of a look of… annoyance? Not annoyance… but that look a kitten gives a dog when its warning the larger creature not to mess with her. As if daring the Goliath to mess with the David. Yuzuki thinks nothing of it, knowing it is probably nothing personally. Or she hopes. Hopefully Anna hasn’t alienated the rest of the Barbin society to them with her good intentions.
“Eh..” Yuzuki starts softly, looking towards the others. She then shakes her head and motions to herself. “Eh… I think I would not be well to meet with them. And I should make my way back to the Queen and King, ensure things are settled now. And perhaps… meet the fast running man.”
And speaking of Royals… Shalana still holds the pistol, still holding it down and away from everyone. Her expression does not change with Anne’s seeming attitude towards him. “No, I do not understand actually. I have never heard the word ‘antsy’ before, m’lady. But judging by your poor attitude and barbarian outlook towards those around you, I would assume it means you have grown impatient. Though one of your ilk may find it hard to either believe or understand… you would wait until your King can afford audience with you.” The whole time her eyes have been looking over the pistol, but finally they draw up towards Anne. Who is actually quite a few inches shorter. “And so it is patience I ask of you. Please, hold no fears in your heart. Your King knows of your plight, and he works on solutions for you and your people. So allow him time to work. I shall pass word to my father that you wish to speak to him personally. The Red Shield speaks for your interests to this point. But you have voice with us.” She goes on like someone who was indeed raised in royalty, of the highest order. The attitude, the words, all of it. But in the back of her mind… she’s truly more interested in the technology she holds in her hands. And in hearing the stories these new Strangers would share. But one has duty before all else… or so she is told on nearly a weekly basis.
Benjie was about to take the candy when Niji knocked into him. Suprised, the Filipino fighter was pushed back a few inches with a light grunt before noticing what the unicorn was doing with Grim. She’s a Prima Donna just like my cousin Dalisay. Heart warming as the horned horse’s antics Ben’s attention was diverted toward another new arrival...a cat-like child! The two legged kitten spoke with Genessa about something before Anne moved over to pet her. He could only watch with concern as the younger Barbin scratched the priate’s hand and the red shield woman scowl in turn.
Pirates and authorities. Ben thought, reminded that the two types don’t tend to get along rather well. Soon Genessa addressed everyone know a group called the Peace Council wanted to speak with two Strangers. Richard the Englishman was picked while some of others were either counted out or decline to do so. It left only Houndini and him as possible candidates.
Personally Benjie did not fancy another interview but he didn’t think the escape artist should go through it. Beside they needed to know more about their common threat. With a resolute expression the islander stepped forward and said to Genessa. “I’ll go for whatever it’s worth.” Looking back at others(mainly Harry and Anne) he added in Tagalog.
Grimm reluctantly diverted his attention from the unicorn in front of him to look over at the group. It was obvious to those that knew Grimm, that he was probably the last one who should be talking to royalty. Simply letting out a loud grunt of acknowledgement, Grimm eyed the young princess. The faint feeling of familiarity persisted, but Grimm just chalked it up to pure coincidence. There was no way he would ever willingly socialize with the princess anyways. Royals are rotten to the core no matter how innocent they look...at least in Grimm's opinion.
Turning back to Niji, Grimm took a step back so as not to be pushed over by the enthusiastic unicorn. Gently petting her side, Grimm examined her horn. It was peculiar how dull looking it was, since most fairytails described it as a brilliant pearlescent white. Giving Niji a quick once-over, Grimm eventually decided that it might be because of how young the unicorn was. Letting out a huff of satisfaction, Grimm grinned confidently at being the first to figure out the small mystery. At least that is what he thought. Once again Grimm's lack of social awareness and overall pride blinded him to the fact that since Yuzuki had arrived with the unicorn she most likely already knew about the grey horn.
Burton has been spending his time partly remembering his life. His first and most desperate love of his life. I beautiful Persian woman he had met during his time in India. Lost in his memories for a moment, he turns back to his new friend Genessa in time to see the young cat girl come rushing up. One thing he catches in his observation, the girl flattens her ears even at the saying of the word Strangers. Then of course Pirate Anne daring to touch the Barbin Girl, only to get attacked for her trouble. Now, it is true Anne didn't get permission, but she did ask. Just another example of how the people of this place didn't like Strangers. Though the Ambassador Barbin did like Grimm of all people. Jury still out he supposed, he would have to wait before tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
He didn't see Count Orlock's expression at the Unicorn but does catch him questioning Genessa about medication. That is interesting. He watches the Princess dress down Pirate Anne. It is artfully done, at once nice and telling Anne what mistakes she has made with her assumptions.
There was the choosing.... Genessa choosing Burton to talk to this Peace Council and then the Asian soldier Benjy volunteering. A good choice on his part. Also he notes the Japanese woman deciding not to go, and going... back... to the king and his family. A choice that doesn't seem out of character for a warrior woman. The entertainer seems content like him to mostly watch.
He walks back to Genessa, passing Leonidas as he goes, talking quietly to the warrior King.
** quietly ** " Wish me luck your Majesty."
Then when he gets to Genessa, also quietly...
** quietly ** " What is the nature of this Council Genessa, good, bad or indifferent ?"
Harry watches the Unicorn, who pooh poohs his offer of Bit O'Honey candy. Oh well, more for him. He puts the candy away into a pocket. He did catch Orlock's momentary slip up concerning the Unicorn. The odd cat girl clearly isn't well socialized in some way and of course... Anne is a pirate. Harry is a bit amused really. The Red Shield woman of course with the mantle of authority of her Red Shield guild.
The whole SEND TWO TO BE QUESTIONED announcement by the cat girl, who is anxious at first, then angry, just seems odd to Harry. Now Anne has some sort of thing she needs to talk to the King about. Harry feels alone, especially after Benjie leaves. He pats Benjie on the shoulder, tell him quietly …
" Mind your temper Benjie " The words are said with characteristic humor and a smile.
Harry stands alone now, feeling out of place, watching the others and these red clothed people.
Leonidas keeps his eyes on The Count even as his subject leaves, and says to his new friend Burton in passing "I wish you the sense to know you don't need luck."
The whole 'one of your ilk' was to Anne an understandable thing to say that she was going to let of. She's used to being(or at least feeling) like she's being talked down to. The use of 'Your King' however causes the pirate's nostrils to flare and eyes to narrow. "Now you listen here Princess." Anne jabs her finger at the girl a bit threateningly "Your father ain't my King ya understand? I'm comin' to him one leader to another about an alliance, not his subject come to grovel for help. You understand that, and pass that along, and we won't be havin' any trouble." She turns her attention to Benji when he volunteers for the Peace Council, appearing to ignore whatever the Princess would have to say in response to her and coming over to pat him on the back. "Good on ya Benji. I'd make a right mess of things unless they gave me a stiff drink first."
Genessa says to Benji, eyeing Anne warily again given the very recent admonishment of Princess Shalana, of all people, but makes nothing more of it. "Thank you for volunteering. Come along then. The rest of you I leave in the care of Odalwa." She says and the trio departs with her at the lead. "For the good, Mr. Burton. I would think the name Peace Council would be telling of that." Genessa says in reply to Burton's question. "Keep minding your manners as you have, and this will be over without incident." She adds.
Anne yells across the courtyard to Benji "Oi Benny! Don't let them treat ya like a criminal!" She looks around and, seeing Leonidas standing aside, walks over to him. "What's got yer attention Majesty?"
Leonidas looks aside at Anne and answers tersely "The castle. Wonder how long, how many men it took to build it."
"Ah." Anne purses her lips and nods, looking up and around at the castle "Have one of yer own before ya came here?"
Leonidas laughs "Walls and a roof is all we needed. Less work to buildings, the more for the nation."
"Walls and a roof be nice." Anne admits. "Ship's got walls, not so much a roof, but the rocking waves was a comfort all the same." She motions for the taller man to come down, and he obliges by tilting towards Anne, appearing confused and curious. Anne whispers something into his ear the others wouldn't be able to hear.
Leonidas looks at Anne with a very high brow before answering simply "No." and walks away to join the rest of the group of Strangers.
Anne groans, throws her hands in the air. A timeless admission to the powers-that-be that one surrenders to their will. She follows after him, a little less spring to her step than before.
Leonidas doesn't have time to really engage with the other Strangers before he is intercepted by one of the leather-clad Red Shield Field Operatives, A sandy-haired young man who asks Leonidas "My liege, have you forgotten our challenge?"
"Oh that challenge." Leonidas says with a chuckle, punching the young man in the shoulder. "You were serious? My arm against yours?"
"Very serious, King Leonidas." He replies smiling and punching the larger man in the shoulder. "Best of five spear throws, you and I." He then looks at the other Strangers. "And the rest of you, some of us would like to test what skills can be tested, learn whatever can be learned." He says pointing a thumb back at the group of his fellows behind him. "Nothing official, but we Field Operatives like to see how we fare against newcomers. The Scribes, they write down everything they can. We practice it." He explains and looks around at each of the other Strangers "Do you accept? Got a skill you think you can teach us?"
The young samurai woman stands apart from the rest of the group, her hands folded in front of her into the sleeves of the white dress she wears. Out of the corner of her eyes she watches the small group of those gathered. Benjie and Richard head away with Genessa, and Anne speaks with the Princess. She can’t quite make out what is being said, but judging by the drastic change in Anne’s features… it isn’t pleasent.
When Anne makes something of a threatening motion towards the Princess, one of the guards at her side take a sudden step forward, tightening the grip on his spear. And immediately Shalana holds a hand up, signalling for her guard to stand down. Such a disrespectful and almost threatening tone isn’t something that is taken well here. Anne then moves away, and Shalana doesn’t react seeming in any way emotionally. She just watches Anne move off, and her handmaiden leans in to whisper something to her. Shalana looks to that handmaiden and speaks softly. “She is not of this world, and therefore afforded leeway. Our King still serves to protect her and those like her.” She now turns, her guard moving with her as she continues. “And she will learn respect for her King, one way or another.” And with that, the Princess begins to move away, looking in the direction of Leonidas for a moment. But her gaze is sparse, and hardly noticed.
“Chikusho” Yuzuki softly utters as Anne and the Princess move away from one another. For a moment, Yuzuki had thought she would have to defend one of them from the other. She doubts the Princess could fight at all… she looks like she’s never had to carry anything more than a dress in her life. And in the back of her mind there is abruptly a bit of indecision. She had swore to help keep the royal family safe… but she had first pledged loyalty to Anne and the Barbin village. Well technically she had pledged her sword to the protection of her family’s lands.. but that doesn’t seem to matter a heck of a lot now. Niji gallops suddenly right up to Yuzuki with a loud snorting sound, nudging the Japanese woman. A smile finds its way onto Yuzuki’s lips as she looks towards the playful unicorn, rubbing her muzzle gently. “ay ay” softly she speaks, and then looks back towards the group of her fellow Strangers as Anne and Leonidas joins them. Towards the Princess then as she heads into one of the near buildings, and then back towards the Strangers.
And then towards that group she moves.
Niji trots behind her merrily, her head bobbing up and down as she does. Not far from the group does she come to a stop, her hands folding once more into the sleeves of her dress in front of her. The Red Shield operative addresses the group, and once more a small smile finds its way onto her lips. She doesn’t like to show off… okay she doesn’t like to admit that she likes to show off. Such things are rather petty… but fun sometimes. But she can’t say for sure what she would want to ‘test’ against any of them…
And all this time, in the back of her mind, she knows she has to cut away from the group to find out more about the prisoner the Kingdom had just taken. The fast man that tried to kill the King…
Grim watches as Burton and Benji go off to take care of official business with a frown on his face. The two people he could tolerate had left him with a group of people he barely knew, and Grimm was obviously not happy about it. Wandering around aimlessly, Grimm tried to keep his distance from more talkative people. Several times he was approached by curious people but they were quickly met with a cold glare.
Huffing indignantly, Grimm wiped some sweat from his forehead and shifted his thick leather and fur armor. Once again Grimm's stubborn nature and need to appear strong to anyone observing him was causing him discomfort. Everyone except him was dressed lightly and the warm sun was unobstructed by any clouds. Grumbling under his breath, Grimm watched the young operative challenge Leonidas. Deciding to at least pass the time, Grimm followed the small crowd and looked around for a shady spot to sulk in.
Houdini too was more in thought than ready to participate in test events. Throughout his life he had kept in good shape. His stomach muscles were legendary. He often ran long distance as a hobby and was acrobatic and gymnastic as a youth, briefly having a circus career as a trapeze artist. He had excellent people skills, often giving reports on the European royals he visited to the British and American governments.
He watched the pretty but rough hewn redhead Anne whisper into Leonidas's ear and get rejected. It didn't quite surprise him, but it did tell him that Anne lived her life without permission from anyone as a habit. The Japanese warrior woman was actually very slight in appearance. She had however already proven her fierce demeanor. She seemed a bit... bothered when Anne had words with the Princess and it was telling when the princess called off her guards.
Thoughts of home and his beloved Bess made him a bit sad. God's joke on him to give him an afterlife so far from home. Perhaps someday he would find a way to send her word of his … what ever this was. He watched mister Grimm grump off towards a shade tree not far from the field where the athletics were being done. He asked one of the people in Red for a pitcher of water and a couple of goblets. Which after he achieved them he walked over to Grimm's shade tree.
"Excuse me Mister Grimm, would you mind some company ? I don't feel much like showing off today. I rather miss my wife Bess !"
On the assumption that Grimm didn't chase him away. . . Harry sat down nearby and poured a goblet of water for each of them. Handing one of course to the burly hunter. Harry did of course sit where he could watch the events.
"Want to test yerselves, eh?" Anne comes up beside Leonidas and mimes drinking "Think any of ya can drink me under the table?"
"Hah! I would try, but no drinking while on duty." The Field Operative replies with a laugh.
"Shame." Anne unsheathes her cutlass and twirls it in her hand "Swords it be then." Leonidas eyes it with some caution.
"That would be Geralt's challenge." He points out a man with short black hair and a thin build, with four swords on his belt. "Our Swordmaster, won a gold medal at the last Union Games for Gatecia." He points out the woman with short red hair next to him. "And Uma is the best of us with a bow, long or crossbow. Going for her first gold this year?" He asks her.
"Lost out this year." Uma says with a roll of her eyes.
"Well then, off to-” The young operative is interrupted by Odalwa coming up to them.
“That will have to wait.” Odalwa says first then looks around at the Strangers “We’ve just been given a message from His Majesty regarding James Dean. He has been interrogated since capture, but despite the White Guard’s tactics, he has remained silent. The King’s Coucil is currently in recess while he tasks us, as in myself and you Strangers, with gleaning any information we can from him.” He beckons to be followed “Come. For reasons his own, The King wants it done in the gardens and is sending food and drink, for those who may be less interested in this task and more parched.”
Soon as Odalwa’s back is turned, the Operatives allow themselves to look disappointed but the apparent spokesman only shrugs. “Another time then, Leonidas. Perhaps I’ll take the time to build more muscle, be more a challenge.”
Leonidas chuckles. “You’ll need it!” and walks after Odalwa.
Anne also looks disappointed at first when it seems they were being pulled into service again, but brightens hearing ‘food and drink’ and sheathes her cutlass, waves for the others “Ya heard the man. Free food, drink and a show!” She yells, seeming to ignore the serious nature of the situation.
The gardens are on the farther side of the castle from the courtyard and White Guard barracks. It’s what you’d expect of a royal garden with lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and the air thick with their smells. At the center is a large wooden gazebo with luxurious dark red chairs facing inward. Two tables are being laden with various odd but delicious looking fruits, a silver tray of cheeses, loaves of sweet bread, and of course a cask of ale with a spigot and rows of cups beside it.
In the midst of all this though is James Dean. He is seated on one of the couches, still shackled and with two White Guards in full plate metal armor flanking him; they have pikes trained on him. He looks to have been dozing off when the group arrives, and he focuses on Yuzuki not with a scowl as one would expect but keen interest “You. You’re the woman Hizashi’s real interested in meeting.” And then he looks all around at the others as they arrive. “And we got….a pirate lady….one of them Greek hero guys I’m guessing...a wildman….and…” He pauses looking over at Harry, squints his eyes and then laughs. “Well I wasn’t expecting you. The Great Harry Houdini.” He stomps his feet, then yelps in pain, then chuckles and says to everyone “Don’t know if they’re trying to win me over with more honey, but I least like the scenery and company more than these dunces and that dungeon.”
While Dean talks, Anne goes for the drinks table and pours herself one that almost spill over the top of the cup. She has a long swig while listening to the man, and looks positively euphoric when she’d downed it all. “How’s the foot?” She asks grinning.
“Healing.” Dean scowls and leans back in the chair.
“Say the wrong thing, your other’s getting cut off.” Anne threatens him while pouring herself another drink.
Leonidas goes directly to Dean, crosses his arms over his chest, asks “Who are you? Where do you come from? And from when?”
Dean looks up at the man, unfazed by their physical difference. “My name is James Dean, and in this world I’m the fastest man alive. I come from a place called the United States of America, and I was born in 1931.” He looks over at Odalwa “He could have told you that.”
“Why did you try to kill King Richard?” Odalwa demands of Dean.
Dean only sighs, closes his eyes. “Man’s got his reasons.”
A small smile finds its way to Yuzuki’s lips, as she watches the little interactions between the agents. How they interact with her fellow… Strangers… there is a sense of comrades here, you can just feel it. It’s a feeling that hasn’t found its way into Yuzuki’s heart for many years. Much of the past few years have involved her just roaming alone, looking for whatever needed her blade. In some ways it was to her advantage to move as such. But a lonely road… is a lonely road.
She looks in the direction of Anne and the ‘Swordmaster’… why does he carry so many swords at once? She would think it would feel a bit clumsy, so much hardware upon your waist at once. Then looking towards Anne’s weapon… she seems to keep forgetting Anne has a blade. Not a very nice blade, probably fragile. But still.. Anne seems to be in the mindset that she can use it proficiently. Perhaps that is something Yuzuki could test…
“Hm?” she makes a soft sound as Odalwa approaches them, seeming to have something important on his mind, the way he is moving. Dean… the man that tried to kill the King… The small mixed crowd then trails behind Odalwa, and Yuzuki remains towards the back of the group itself. Her head is bowed a little as she moves with the group, her hands resting upon the white sash fastened about her waist. In her mind, she organizes her thoughts. Trying to put together what she might be able to add to this. The last time they had an actual prisoner… she had the feeling the others wanted to torture him to get what they wanted out of him. Fortunately Yuzuki was there to ensure such a thing didn’t happen. But what will they do now? How does this kingdom treat their prisoners?
And when they come to the appointed courtyard… it seems Yuzuki’s question is answered. Turns out.. prisoners are treated pretty good. Dean seems very comfortable… and they are slowly being surrounded by a feast. Maybe 3 feasts!
She stops near the edge of the group, her eyes not moving from Dean’s as he addresses her briefly. And when he names off the different people around him, her eyes follow his. Pirate… Greek... Wildman… Great… She wonders what his word for her would be… But now she really pays attention as Anne and Leonidas confront Dean. Anne less goal based than Leonidas. United States of America… 1931? Another future man… another from an ally of Japan… Yuzuki’s eyes narrow as she looks along those gathered here… Dean recognizes Harry, calling him ‘Great’. Is Harry also from Japan’s ally nation? But something else crosses her mind… Albert, and now Dean. Both from the United States of America.
And both working for Hitler.
When Dean closes his eyes, Yuzuki finally speaks up, taking a few slow and deliberate steps forward. “Hizashi is my father.” She states clearly as she glances towards the others... and then her eyes move to Dean once more, watching him intensely. Watching for any little hit his body language might give her as to what he’s thinking, or intends. “A fact that has me concerned. Since…” she reaches down into her sash, and she pulls out a shabby looking little leather pouch. “these ashes are my father. But I do not know how this world truly works yet..” she tucks the pouch back into her sash as she now steps closer. “You are fastest man alive here… I must also question that..” she stops just behind Leonidas and on his left. “When I beat you in battle… you were moving very slowly. Or perhaps… in your world ‘speed’ is something different than mine. A child from my world could have stopped you, fastest man alive.” She pauses as she watches him. “Tell us where we can find Hitler.. so we may ask him face to face why he wants to kill the King. And so perhaps my father and I might speak. I can do my best to ensure you are given a quick death if you aid us. I can help you achieve the death you seem so desperately to want.”
Giving Harry a suspicious glance, Grimm quickly grabs the goblet of water and downs it in one go. Wiping his mouth, Grimm nods in agreement with Harry's remark. "A strange one indeed. I still cannot decide if this is all some sort of devil's game to torment me." Seeing the crowd begin to move, Grimm grunts as he stands back up and follows everyone. Rounding the corner, Grimm begins practically salivating seeing the banquet laid out before him. Quickly pushing his way to the front, Grimm grabs handfuls of bread and cheese and begins chowing down. Groaning in delight, Grimm finds a skewer and impales several large pieces of fruit upon it that look appetizing. Moving over to the ale, Grimm fills a cup and gulps it down then quickly refills it.
Letting out a soft belch of satisfaction, Grimm turns when he hears Dean call him a wildman. While he would most likely agree with Dean in a different setting. Being spoken down to by someone who is supposed to be the enemy only soured Grimm's already unpleasant mood. Walking over to stand next to Yuzuki, Grimm glares at Dean as menacingly as he could. "He speaks only to annoy us all. I say we just kill him and get it over with. I know his kind, they talk like a king but scurry around like a rat. No point wasting breath on a soft man whose mother probably tossed him aside for a few coins. Just kill him and let us all move on." Sniffing the fruit on his skewer, Grimm spitefully gives Dean's bad leg a soft kick and makes a rude gesture. Though Grimm's interest was piqued by Harry being called great. In his time, people who were referred to as great earned the title through amazing acts or talents.
Harry watched the others getting ready to have their contests. Mister Grimm still grumpy but at least talked to him. After a bit, the white knight fellows brought out the man who had earlier tried to assassinate the local King. Between then and now he had heard whispers about Dean being a hero to these people before. He thought something must have happened to Dean between the two events. This world had magic, and powers and vast strange things going on that Harry couldn't yet discount.. Like Unicorns.
He also thought about the Filipino soldier, who had inferred Harry himself had powers... to negate magic ? ? He thought about Anne and her strength that came and went in his presence. He thought about that crucial moment were Dean stumbled, his great speed missing.
Now, in his own mind, a man could be swayed by many things, but from hero to evil seemed a bit far fetched without the presence of something supernatural or magical. Further, perhaps it could be made easier, like some reputed types of hypnotism, where if false rationality could be added to the mix...
He took his jacket off and approached the people surrounding Dean.
" Your pardon friends, might I have a word with you all a little ways over here ? "
He walked further out, hoping his request would not go on deaf ears. When his group was gathered to him, Odalwa included, he started again to speak quietly.
"You will forgive me, but I don't think threatening him with harm or death will do the trick. But I think I have a way perhaps. Mister Odalwa, is there within easy reach something with which I can draw clearly on skin and maybe a mirror? if so, please have someone fetch those things. Now, so you all know, I was in my time, a stage magician. No stage magician in my time actually performed magic, but we could make people think we could. Very few in my lifetime believed in real magic. But here... (( he gestures around ) evidence is all around us ( he looks at the Unicorn ). Further, I think this man was affected by something to turn his manner from valiant hero, to assassin against his will. I believe I might have a power to remove such influence, at least since I've come here to this place. I am going to draw on mister Dean, what from our world, might pass for magical symbols. I want him to more deeply believe in a magic that I might cast on him. Basically I want his belief to aid me in removing any outside influence on his person. Then I will try to use the odd power I have to remove any magical or power influence on his mind. "
"This could be all for nothing if magic or power had no influence on him or if it is simply more powerful than what I can do. Miss Ann, perhaps if you could aid me in this task ? Simply hold him still in such a way to further distract him, like only a woman could do ? Perhaps remove his shirt in something of a surprising manner of some sort ? So, remember, I don't really do magic, but I want him to think I can. In my world I was known as a Great Magician, I put on very popular shows. He knew who I was, despite being born after my passing in 1926...My reputation will help me in this I hope. "
"Your....father...huh." Dean says, skeptical. "I find that hard to believe, since Hizashi is from my time, and I assume not yours with that getup you're wearing." He pauses as he thinks "Not beside the fact I can't think of any father who would want to kill his daughter the way he talks about you. Unless you two had some real bad blood that needs to be settled." Dean shrugs. "Either way, none of my business. You two will meet up, eventually, and work out whatever it is one way or another." On Grimm's approach, Dean looks amused at his assumptions and insults, right up until his bad leg is kicked and he winces, groans in pain.
"The King has ordered no harm come to him, unless he tries to escape." The White Guard on Dean's right (the other's left) says in warning from under his metal helmet.
"You heard him." Dean says to Grimm, amused again, raising his shackled hands. The swastika has been tattooed on the back of his hands "I'm also being protected here. That's the kind of man King Richard is. He's older than when I last saw him, but he's still that soft compassionate kid I met when he called on me for help."
"I was a King." Leonidas speaks up still scowling down at Dean. "Count yourself lucky this is not my land or people. You would not know comfort or peace no matter your good deeds."
"So you were a King." Dean looks up at Leonidas and scoffs "How is that working out for you? Feel less than you were before?" He asks and Leonidas tenses as he prevents himself from doing worse than a kick to the man's bad leg.
"Don't be mistakin' them as yer protection, Dean." Anne says from beside the drink table. She's since taken what looks to be a purple apple and is peeling it with her dagger, eating the rinds off the blade. "Yer a prisoner bein' let outta his cage. Once we're done, we go off to give your boss Hitler a good kicking, and you go back in the hole."
Dean is about to say something to Anne, but Harry calling them away interupts him. Anne is the first to join Harry in a spot just out of earshot from Dean, still eating the now naked fruit. Leonidas lingers a few more seconds before following the others. They both listen to Harry's plan and rationale, with varying degress of comprehension. For Leonidas the words 'stage musician' are translated to him as 'an actor pretending to be divine' and that is still a little confusing for him as evidenced by his scrunched face and slow stroking of his beard as he thinks it through.
Meanwhile Anne munches on a bite of the fruit, swallows it before speaking "So that's why I ain't been myself lately. You been taking my strength all this time." She carefully licks her dagger clean before putting it away in a pocket on her right boot. "Don't think the guards will allow me to do any of that, much as I'd love to torture the man that way, but I'll make up somethin' to help ya Harry."
"And I will return with some paint and a brush from the Scribes." Odalwa says and quickly trots away to do just that. Dean looks after him with a raised brow.
"Harry" Leonidas starts "I know nothing of magic, but maybe try to cover those markings on his hands. They're the same as that Belen fellow I met."
Odalwa returns in the time it takes for Yuzuki and Grimm to say their piece with a small painting brush and a small glass bottle of black paint in hand. He gives them to Harry. "I hope that will be enough. I will also warn the guards you will be trying something, and to not interfere."
Anne tosses the core of the fruit off into the flowers, wipes her hands on her previously clean pants. "Well then, let's get to it."
Dean watches the others come back to the gazebo, unconcerned for the plan he knows they hatched why they went off. He doesn't know what they're going to do, but he knows they wil l try something. His eyes follow Odalwa when the man comes to one guard, then the other, and whispers something to them he can't really hear besides 'no harm'. To which the guards nod. This provides enough distraction for Anne to come around behind the chair Dean sits in. She flexes her hands, flips her red hair aside, and places her hands on his shoulders. Dean doesn't startle, he only raises a brow again.
"When's the last time a woman's touched you, Mr. Dean?" Anne asks in a sultry tone as she starts to massage his shoulders.
"Hmm." Dean purses his lips as he thinks, not allowing himself to relax under her touch. "Not counting the French girl....too long for some. Just fine with me." His eyes look around at the other Strangers, hands in his lap.
"Sounds lonely." Anne increases the pressure of her massage and Dean appears to relax more. Anne looks to be actually enjoying herself the way her eyes close in that moment and she rolls her neck.
So much so that Leonidas eyes her with incredulity, and wonders if Anne has already forgotten not only are many other people here, but she has a job to do as well.
"I don't know what your game is, but I might as well enjoy it while I can." Dean laughs and rolls his eyes but smiles. "Hey while you're at it my neck is a little stiff."
"Allow me." Anne moves her hands to massage Dean's neck, making him slump back as he relaxes even more. The White Guards shift, expecting the pirate was about to snap his neck, but do nothing more for now. Dean closes his eyes and lets his head tilt back. Anne leans down to whisper, or do something, with his right ear that makes Dean laugh again. Leonidas shakes his head and sighs, almost as if he knows what Anne said, if she said anything.
"Lady...you are some piece of work. Too bad you're on the wrong side, we could have some fun." Dean says almost regretfully.
"That could change soon enough." Anne replies and suddenly the hands that were massaging his neck and shoulders go for his shirt, rips it open to bare his chest.
The White Guards bring their spears up, but Odalwa stays their hands with a raise of his hand, reminding them again of his promise they were not going to harm Dean.
"Hey! What's big idea?!" Dean exclaims but doesn't offer resistance, only a look of surprised annoyance looking down at his ruined shirt. "This is my only and favorite shirt."
Anne pins him down to the chair by the shoulders, says right into his ear "Shush boy, Harry's gonna try and help ya. And to do that I guess the shirt was in the way."
Dean groans and looks at Harry, even more annoyed. "Whatever you got planned Mr. Houdini, it's not going to work."
Dean’s words strike Yuzuki hard. Her dark eyes are cast downwards as he speaks. Her father is from his time? From Dean’s time? Was he somehow…. displaced… put into the future, and then here?
In her mind, Yuzuki has utterly convinced herself that Hizashi is in fact her father. And she is trying to tie together how her father could be here. When she knows his body lies in a shrine on her family’s lands. Until now… she never once considered that Hizashi wasn’t her father. Not until Dean tells her so.
Grimm and Leonidas now confront Dean more directly, and Yuzuki finds herself stepping away just a few feet. Her eyes still watch the ground as she thinks to herself… as her mind slowly puts the pieces together. It isn’t unreasonable, now that she thinks about it, for another man to share a likeness with her father. And a name. People had often said that she looks like her grandmother. Though this would be a more extreme example, of course.
More than that… Dean’s words make her feel… elated. Suddenly deep in her fractured heart, there grows a little light. A warm light that speaks to the hope she has always had in her warrior spirit. There is a wide smile on her lips now, her eyes rimmed with discrete tears. Her long bangs hide most of this from view, of course.
Harry calls some of the others off for their own private discussion, and Yuzuki looks back towards Dean. In a gentle tone, she nods to him as she smiles. “Thank you.”
Not only does this confirm to her that the man isn’t truly her father… that her father hadn’t become some agent of the dark… but it confirms her family yet lives in Dean’s future! The name of her father had obviously been passed down along the lines of the generations. And… now Yuzuki reaches down and her hand clasps the top of one of the scabbards tucked into her sash. Her thumb brushes against the treated wood of the scabbard, and she looks up a little then. And before her in her mind’s eye, she sees that special day.
“The weapon of our people, Yuzuki.” Hizashi stands over Yuzuki, who is now 15. He is clad in a dark colored silken kimono, holding a scabbard in his hand. “Our sword is passed from generation to generation, the male of the family carrying on the duty his father died carrying out. Since you are not my son, little one…” He now tucks his scabbard into his sash, motioning Yuzuki to follow him in the courtyard. “That is the reason you have forged your own blade.” She nods, her hands folded behind her back, her head still bald for the most part. “I am curious, child… why did you choose its name? I wish to hear it from your lips.” With only the briefest of pauses, Yuzuki speaks in a confident and calmed tone as she walks with her father (a small number of servants trailing behind them). “Aki no Ken, father. Autumn’s Blade. I was born in the fall… mother departed in the fall…” She falls silent as they continue to walk. They pass a small decorative pond in the courtyard, small brightly colored fish moving gently about in the water. The soft ‘konk’ sound of a bamboo noise maker erected in the pond against some stones is all that can be heard for a few moments. “Tell me of your weapon’s construction, child.” Hizashi finally says, which Yuzuki responds. “There is no finer blade in the province, father. The Master of Forge has seen to that. That blade is to be blessed with your noble fighting spirit and sense of justice, father. The hilt… I used the motif of the ginkgo leaf, as it represents longevityand duality in nature. Duality I wish to convey in my duties… like battle and justice. The handle ornaments are… one is grasshopper, and the other a bell cricket.” She falls silent, and almost immediately Hizashi speaks. “Why the ginkgo leaf, the grasshopper and cricket?” Yuzuki finds herself smiling a little more as she looks up to her father. She had actually hoped he would ask that. “During the autumn.. the ginkgo leaves turn a beautiful yellow and fall from the trees of their birth. And as they fall, the moon coaxes songs from grasshoppers and bell crickets. I have seen this every year of my life, father. And in my sword.. I wished to carry with me your honor and might… and mother’s watchful protection of the moon…”
The information Dean gave her… it tells her that not only does her family name carry on deep into the future (even if its circumstances is different), but her own sword still survives. As it was the sword the Hizashi she met here carries. These 2 pieces of information would be enough to let her spirit rest proudly. But as it is… rest will have to come later.
She half turns as the others now move back towards them. Her eyes narrow faintly as she watches Anne, Harry and Odalwa moving… well not as casually. They are up to something. She looks towards Grimm, and then Leonidas with curiousity in her eyes. And for a moment, she thinks Anne is going to try some… mythical ‘pirate’ tactic to get information from Dean. Buuuuuut that is not what she does when she reaches the man. Out of habit, Yuzuki rolls her eyes a little and lets out a soft “Guh” sound when Anne starts her antics. Her eyes move between Odalwa and Harry… these future people have very very very strange ways of going about things. But in this, it isn’t for her to question precisely what they are doing, not yet. She has to trust they have some clue, some plan. But if need be, Yuzuki is ready to act as she is needed.
The helmeted guard that warned Grimm gets a brief snarl in response from the hairy hunter. Crossing his arms in a huff, Grimm briefly entertains the notion of kicking Dean again just to spite the guard. But that would probably get him kicked out and far away from the food. Turning on his heel, Grimm scarfs down the fruit on his knife and sloppily wipes the juices on his chin off on his sleeve. Quickly grabbing another handful of bread and cheeses, Grimm returns to the group in time to catch Leonidas threaten Dean. In between bites of food, Grimm nods to Leonidas. "If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that this rat deserves death."
Pulling his hood down with his free hand, Grimm Huff's in annoyance as a bead of sweat clings to the end of his nose. After a moment of deliberation, Grimm decides to solve the problem by shaking his head like a dog, sending drops of sweat flying in all directions. Obviously not caring about making a good impression, Grimm finishes his bread and cheese and begins picking his teeth clean. As Anne began her "interrogation" Grimm simply stands to the side and watches in confusion as she rips open Dean's shirt.