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[2/3] The Picnic

Ytowei Feb 21st, 2019 68 Never
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  1. [02:21] Gallant says, "A nice place for a... picnic? I think. There used to be a home here that I wished to acquire but... alas."
  2. [02:22] Gallant says, "Anyway... how does this... work. I've never been one for picnics."
  3. [02:22] Brigette says, "Mm.. It's quite pleasant yes, funny though- That uh.. It's the first place i actually met that creature."
  4. [02:22] Brigette says, "And-"
  5. [02:23] Brigette says, ".. Uh.. I.. It's been a long while since I actually went on one."
  6. [02:23] Gallant asks, "Oh?"
  7. [02:24] Brigette says, "But usually it's in a pretty place, we get a blanket or something and sit on it-"
  8. [02:24] Gallant says, "I... have this cloak."
  9. [02:25] Brigette says, "Suppose it'll work. It's mostly just to make sure bugs don't get the food."
  10. [02:25] Gallant asks, "I see. And then we just. Eat. It?"
  11. [02:25] Brigette says, "We eat. And talk. And enjoy the scenery."
  12. [02:25] Gallant says, "Ah... It's been a very long time since... I've had simple conversation."
  13. [02:26] Brigette says, "Well then I'm not alone in that. Suppose it'll be a necessary skill for infiltrating.. Places."
  14. [02:27] Gallant says, "Then we should begin the... picnic."
  15. [02:27] Brigette says, ".. Right."
  16. [02:27] Gallant sits down near the edge of his cloak and removes the helmet, revealing the features of a simple Valmasian infantryman.
  17. (Gallant)
  18. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  19.  
  20. [02:33] Following his example, the otter girl lowered herself to sit across from him in the grass. Her knees were together, both feet off to one side, a hand propping her up. Comfortable. OR, as comfortable as one could get whilst sitting on the ground.
  21.  
  22. Bridge set the food she'd brought onto the center of the cloak, the hand that wasn't supporting her now free. With it she opened the little basket she'd bought to carry all her things, and revealed what she had decided on. A lot of it was seafood.
  23.  
  24. There weren't actually many options aside from this. Or eggs.
  25.  
  26. Not that she minded. Seafood was something she'd lacked for a good long while, living so far from the ocean. And she wasn't sure if Gallant had ever had any. Not that it mattered.
  27.  
  28. Conversation mattered.
  29.  
  30. "So- Uh.. Crab, cod, or my personal favorite- Tuna soup."
  31. (Brigette)
  32. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  33.  
  34. [02:37] "I'll take some of the crab then." he said simply. Green eyes scanned the array of morsels that had been gathered and Gallant simply plucked some up and blinked. He sniffed, as if unsure what to do with it, and took a bite. The shell was difficult to get through and he realized that perhaps that wasn't the best way to go about it. Still, even if the façade was of a blundering knight, his true self would not tolerate becoming a fool. How was it that they ate these dishes in the homeland?
  35.  
  36. Gallant examined the crab leg and went about cracking the shell off with his fingers to reveal the meat inside and found it much easier to eat this way.
  37.  
  38. "...right." He said, mostly to himself. He chewed and then looked over at Brigette.
  39.  
  40. "So conversation. What is it you wish to speak about?" It all felt very formal, too formal for a 'casual picnic'. Even these little things were turned into scheduled meetings in his mind.
  41. (Gallant)
  42. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  43.  
  44. [02:49] Oh.
  45.  
  46. Oh no.
  47.  
  48. The sirenian blinked.
  49.  
  50. There were, quite suddenly, two things which tugged at her mind. Both, in opposite directions. The first was more prominent. A hunger she could not easily control. Obviously, seeing him take some of the crab would set that off- But she had her own food first. As she did at the dinner table, she could focus on that instead.
  51.  
  52. But, then there was the other thing. The thing which brought her to grin, and forced her to stifle a giggle. He perhaps thought it embarrassing, but she- She found it quite amusing. Almost cute. To see someone fumble with one of her favored foods.
  53.  
  54. Soon as he peered toward her, she hid a portion of her expression behind a codcake. Biting into the flakey food, and bothering to even chew. To savor the flavor. It was the little things one had to enjoy.
  55.  
  56. In response, once the first little cake was gone, she finally said-
  57.  
  58. "I'm not sure.. It's been ages since I've talkedabout anything.. 'normal' at all. Suppose I can't ask you much since you probably.. You did grow up in the influence of that uh.. culture.. right? All the way in whatchamacallit. Forget the name off the top of my head."
  59. (Brigette)
  60. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  61.  
  62. [03:00] "Apropriya." he said quickly, not commenting on the slight embarrassment he was suffering. Had he not just cratered a demon into the earth, perhaps he would have been more aggressive and angry due to the situation, but for now he got to work on continuing to break the shell off of the crab.
  63.  
  64. "An offshoot of the Balaren tree, just as Voss is. Our...
  65.  
  66. My parents were thralled and ghouled to an Elder Vampire, one of the direct royal line of that very blood. They insisted we keep Invidia as our name, given my mother was not married to a true Balaren but the man she'd fallen in love with and followed into servitude. I suppose they were turned early on in my life, likely shortly after my siblings and I were born..."
  67.  
  68. He paused and looked down at the crab meat in his hands. It was strange to recall a bygone era that was over half a century ago. Apropriya was now a distant dream, even if he'd opened a gate back to it. The days of his mortal childhood, one filled with foggy memories of his siblings learning and growing in a culture that aimed to shape them into heartless monsters slowly flowed through his mind. So much had changed since then. Even more had changed since his arrival upon this odd and once foreign continent.
  69.  
  70. "Of course we killed our mother once we rose. Our father had been killed before that to hunters. And for shedding the blood of our kin we were branded as traitors and criminals, children who couldn't be imprisoned in a real jail but could be kept under lock and key in the very place they slaughtered the woman who gave them life and death." Some anger welled up in Gallant's voice but he slowly let it out in an exhale. Recalling this much always brought a toll on him.
  71.  
  72. "We were kept that way until the boats decided to sail, until the undesirables were exiled here to do whatever it is the rest of the world had come here to do. I still can't tell if we succeeded or failed, but I suppose that's behind me now. Apropriya is a memory. My siblings are a memory. My mother is a memory. This--" he gestured to the trees and the flowing water and the flowers atop the mountain. "This is now. This is what matters."
  73. (Gallant)
  74. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  75.  
  76. [03:15] "Ah-"
  77.  
  78. The otter lifted a hand, a single finger raised ever so briefly as the 'boy' continued on in speech. Yet no, she let it fall after a moment or so, instead taking up another cake to munch upon as she listened. As so oft was the case, Bridge seemed enraptured by his words. Hanging on every single one, listening with an attentive ear.
  79.  
  80. Torhm had said something on the subject before. The origins of the Invidia triplets, where the rest of the original vampires came from. How among them, only a scarce few were proper. Volunteers, rather than beings to be punished. It was always better to hear a story from many a perspective.
  81.  
  82. And this one, it offered far more detail.
  83.  
  84. By the time he was done several of the codcakes had disappeared, and she was already working on a bowl of soup she'd portioned for herself. The container, of course, was still in the basket. Ready to be taken from should the desire strike.
  85.  
  86. "I.. I was going to say I thought I uh.. Couldn't ask. Because that- I can't say I know much about how land children are raised, but I don't think it's.. Strictly speaking, normal. We're supposed to.. have a normal conversation. Um..
  87.  
  88. Not that I'm not.. Interested. Really I am quite interested- I never really got to know you before things changed so drastically. For me, for you, for everyone. Seems you've always had an uh..
  89.  
  90. .. Interesting.. life."
  91.  
  92. How many times had she used that word now? Three? Now, the girl wasn't exactly good as speaking in a regular setting, but this just felt different. Awkward. Her free hand shifted to scratch at the back of her neck, briefly, before she stuffed another codcake into her mouth. One more, absolutely gone in a matter of moments.
  93.  
  94. "But you said it well enough. This is what matters. Now. Uh.. So.. Unless you want to continue with not as normal subjects.. Um.. I guess I can try to recall some of the things my grandparents used to ask me. Or my aunt's conversations. See if we can figure out something from there."
  95. (Brigette)
  96. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  97.  
  98. [03:19] Normal conversation.
  99.  
  100. The concept obviously eluded him and he barely realized it. What was normal for him nowadays? It felt as though every conversation he had was about vampires or Cain or riftmancy or the Chaotic Arcane or Sins or killing someone. When was the last time he had a talk with someone that wasn't about any of that? It was all strange and slightly frightening to realize how much he had lost, not just in the things he always felt like he was missing but now realizing that even the normalcy of life had evaded him for the last decade.
  101.  
  102. "Oh." Was all he could really say. There was a long silence before he nodded and spoke again. "Yes. Regular discussion. By all means... go ahead." With a wave of his hand and another crunch into the crab, he sat patiently to listen.
  103. (Gallant)
  104. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  105.  
  106. [03:28] ".. I'm not going to be great at this.."
  107.  
  108. It wasn't meant to be heard. Nor commented upon, really. She spoke it into her soup bowl as she lifted said thing to her lips. Perhaps it was a bit of anxiety over such a thing. Normal was something she'd tried to cling to since the day she was kidnapped. It was something which had twisted steadily in her own mind, as her descent spiraled onward.
  109.  
  110. But it was something she could still remember, if faintly. The warm hug of a parent when it was time to go to bed. Small talk over breakfast about how school was progressing, whether they'd done daily chores. When she found a particularly interesting bit of rock or shell she'd bring it home, and ask what exactly it was.
  111.  
  112. How she had missed them. Her family. Mother and father alike, and her little brothers too. Not dead, as his now were, but lost to her. Likely to fade with time. Another sip of soup. A breath.
  113.  
  114. "Something.. Really simple first, I guess. Do.. you uh.. have a favorite color?"
  115. (Brigette)
  116. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  117.  
  118. [03:30] Favorite color?
  119.  
  120. Malentine thought back to his days as a child and the ways in which he and his siblings had adopted a color scheme of blues and purples. He had always chosen a deep violet, something that he wore upon his clothes once and thought of as the only shade that spoke to him in some degree.
  121.  
  122. "I... enjoy violet colors. And you?" Finally the crab was finished and he reached for something new; one of the soups that had been brought to dine on.
  123. (Gallant)
  124. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  125.  
  126. [03:37] "Ah.. Greens. I'm particularly fond of nice, pastel green. Or incredibly dark green, that's nice too. All the shades in between are also pretty but- I uh.. Like the extremes, I guess. On either side of the spectrum."
  127.  
  128. Once more, scratching at the side of her head as she spoke. That inky black hair of hers was tousled a bit by the movement, but she brushed such back. Out of the way. The last of her soup was gone before she said anything more- Really, it was more buying herself time than anything. It was hard to think. What was something normal that wouldn't lead to weird topics?
  129.  
  130. Well, this might lead to something odd, but she had to try something.
  131.  
  132. "Do.. Uh.. If you get bored, do you do anything for like.. fun?"
  133. (Brigette)
  134. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  135.  
  136. [03:40] "Boredom... I suppose I always enjoyed sculpture. Alchemy. Creation. Though recently I've taken to just watching the snow fall. I've been... absolutely numb atop the mountain in my lonesomeness. Nethradin don't make for great dinner guests, you see. And as much as I relate to them, they just aren't..."
  137.  
  138. He waved a hand between the two of them. "Well this is not something I've had in a while is all I'm meaning to say."
  139. (Gallant)
  140. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  141.  
  142. [03:45] "Sculpture. Alchemy. Makes sense."
  143.  
  144. A little nod accompanied that, she could understand precisely what those likes came from. But, as he said, he had gone a bit numb. And she could relate, to some degree. It was not that she had no one to talk to, but no one that did more than chatter.
  145.  
  146. "And-.. Uh.. Now.. Now you do have it, I guess. For as long as I'm not stupid, which I'd like to think would be forever but I wouldn't be surprised if I managed to mess up eventually. If Remy is any example of my decision making capabilities it's probably obvious I'm not the most.. uh..
  147.  
  148. Lets.. not go into that.
  149.  
  150. I haven't done much out of boredom lately. Used to like to seek adrenaline. Still do, kind of. Would stand on the edge of a cliff and scare myself with the thought of the fall. Made me feel.. more alive. I dunno. Don't do that anymore, doesn't work."
  151. (Brigette)
  152. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  153.  
  154. [03:46] Brigette says, "Oh and eating. Obviously. Goes without saying.. Mmn."
  155. [03:51] Something made him twitch. Gallant's eyes sparked with that sickly green color that quickly dissipated after a moment of staring down into the soup as Brigette continued speaking.
  156.  
  157. "Eating yes. And contemplating death. It's a strange concept as an immortal..." he said absentmindedly. Gallant held the bowl in his hands and looked back over.
  158.  
  159. "Why Remy? Even with all that happened. What made it...
  160.  
  161. Work."
  162.  
  163. Perhaps this was going off the paths of 'normal conversation' but it was obviously something that had latched onto his mind. And though Gallant said it with a quieted voice touching on some subjects such as this could turn the masked Valmasian knight into something much worse. Even he knew this, and so he took care in choosing his words on the subject.
  164. (Gallant)
  165. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  166.  
  167. [03:52] Gallant says, "Or stick I think is what I'm asking."
  168. [04:04] "What do you mean..? Like-"
  169.  
  170. Of all the things she would've preferred right then. ALl the question. Every pheasible line of thinking- One where he stabbed her in the skull right there and then might've been more pleasant. But no, he had picked this topic. So she would answer, as normally as she could.
  171.  
  172. So much for normal topics.
  173.  
  174. "Do you mean.. Why I loved them? Why I still cared despite their many fuckups and shortcomings? .. Because uh.. I don't know if I can answer that. I'll try, if that's what you meant, though."
  175. (Brigette)
  176. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  177.  
  178. [04:08] Gallant blinked and stared. His face was somewhat blank, as if emotions had been put away for the moment.
  179.  
  180. "Yes. All of the above. I--" he paused. "This is not normal conversation is it?"
  181. (Gallant)
  182. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  183.  
  184. [04:15] "Nnno.. I don't suppose it is, but I don't really think that was.. working, to be honest. So It's.. It's fine."
  185.  
  186. That was said with a shrug. And, as it always seemed to be, her speech was followed by the sound of crunching food. A crab, now. One she simply bit straight into without thought for the hard shell. The otter ate bone, after all. And glass. What was a little crab shell to her?
  187.  
  188. "I've asked myself that question recently. Why I cared so much. It seems silly, now. Looking back on all that had happened. But I guess it just.. I just.. They liked me. I didn't really like them back, but I said.. We could try that out. See how it went.
  189.  
  190. I don't know how I got so attached.
  191.  
  192. It might've been the blood she constantly offered.
  193.  
  194. .. Guess that would've been one thing he did get right."
  195. (Brigette)
  196. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  197.  
  198. [04:20] "Makes enough sense I suppose..."
  199.  
  200. Gallant turned back to the soup in thought. He was quiet once more, thinking over the shifting past and all the things that had created the present day version of himself. How often he had blamed Fate over the years manufactured a creature that warred against it. And in reviewing those memories he could pinpoint moments that seemed as though the very universe was working against him, forcing people down paths they hardly seemed to have chosen themselves.
  201.  
  202. Neo and Myfi. Coraline and Elren. Donovan and Remy.
  203.  
  204. Deidra.
  205.  
  206. None of these ended in 'happily ever afters' that many dreamt of. None of those stories played out nicely. They were riddled with tragedy and betrayal, death and pain. Fate paired hearts together and Fate tore them apart.
  207.  
  208. His grip on the bowl tightened again.
  209.  
  210. "Kiha spoke out when we had her there among the statues. Said you'd chosen me over Remy.
  211.  
  212. What did she mean?"
  213. (Gallant)
  214. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  215.  
  216. [04:33] That brought her to do as one might expect someone like her to do. Those little words- Another crunch. And another. No real time spent on savoring what she ate. Already she'd taken quite a sizable portion, but that thought made her emotions go all kinds of ways. Angry. Pained. Disappointed. Guilty. Hateful- Toward herself, and toward the root of all those problems she had.
  217.  
  218. If it weren't for Kiha things wouldn't have turned out the way they did. She was the one trying to stir up a ruckus. The source of the initial problem which forced her to at last face reality. Despite such being a good thing in the end, she still despised the girl.
  219.  
  220. And that particular set of words had drawn a shriek from her lips at the time. One which came from somewhere she couldn't quite pinpoint. She didn't understand what she felt well enough for this. Why couldn't things be simple?
  221.  
  222. Another codcake. Half a bowl of soup. They lacked wine, but oh how she wished to down a bottle of that bloody substance. How pleasant that would be right about now.
  223.  
  224. One more crab leg, and she finally tried.
  225.  
  226. And failed. Not a word left before she got another cake between her teeth. The next attempt was similar, though it was followed by yet more crab. The shells, even, that he discarded. She didn't care they weren't strictly edible.
  227.  
  228. At last, however-
  229.  
  230. ".. I don't- I can't.. Mnn.. Silly thing, Remy worried about. Guess she discussed it with the girl. Always thought, when I had conversations with you, that.. that you were stealing me away. Insecure about that.. Always worried.
  231.  
  232. Guess the kid saw that moment as.. uh.. me being with you, in that sense. Since, y'know. Remy's gone now. Don't know.."
  233. (Brigette)
  234. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  235.  
  236. [04:39] More listening and less eating. The food was his place to escape while he focused only on words and thoughts rather than anything else that demanded attention. Still a small smile played about his face at the mention of Remy's own Envy.
  237.  
  238. "I didn't realized Remy was worried about that." He said gently. "I wish I had. Though I see why they'd never let slip that sort of insecurity, not while I was listening or present..." Green eyes flicked back to Brigette.
  239.  
  240. "Funny world."
  241. (Gallant)
  242. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  243.  
  244. [04:46] "One more reason to try and get us away from each other.. But in the end, I wasn't the unfaithful one. Points to me I guess for being gullible enough to stay with them."
  245.  
  246. A transparent hand lifted to pinch the bridge of her nose, eyes falling shut now. She wasn't silent long, already she crunched away at whatever more she could find. In this case it happened to be the bowl her soup had been in. Not exactly tasty, nor safe, but she didn't care.
  247.  
  248. That only stopped when a few words finally clicked.
  249.  
  250. Her hand dropped, blue-grey eyes fixed on him.
  251.  
  252. Confused, to some degree. A furrow to her brow.
  253.  
  254. "You.. Wish you had..? Stolen me away, that is- I.. You.. you mean like.. like that? Not just like, killing me, but what Remy thought was- did- were you- is that- what."
  255. (Brigette)
  256. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  257.  
  258. [04:50] Malentine's eyes widened slightly but he didn't look away.
  259.  
  260. "No I meant I wish I had known that they thought I-- would do that. I wish I'd known of Remy's jealousies. That is what.
  261.  
  262. That is all I meant."
  263.  
  264. The soup in the bowl became interesting yet again. "It would have been interesting to see. Or hear. Normally it is my own Envy I must face. To see it in another... it might offer something unique."
  265. (Gallant)
  266. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  267.  
  268. [04:56] "Oh."
  269.  
  270. Oh.
  271.  
  272. Well that was.. something.
  273.  
  274. Bridge didn't quite know whether to call it a relief or not. There was a twisted ball of something in her gut, the moment she had realized. It had formed ever so swift, a confusing knot of thought and emotion which prodded her toward one thing. Eat, to get rid of it. Eat, to ignore it. To find something to fix it.
  275.  
  276. That's all that ever fixed it.
  277.  
  278. So that's what she did, after forcing herself to say a little more. Just a few more words, trying to carry a not-so-normal conversation. Even that was hard for her sometimes.
  279.  
  280. "Guess.. guess so.. Seein hunger.. emptiness like.. that.. I uh.. Find myself entranced. Something.. Nmf."
  281. (Brigette)
  282. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  283.  
  284. [05:01] * You have been awarded 0.5 Roleplay Points! *
  285. [05:01] "Entranced."
  286.  
  287. He mulled over the word. Gallant still could recall the first times Gluttony had come to speak with him on matters of Sin and how to handle it. The discussions they'd had on the matters of curses and burdens that so heavily controlled their lives.
  288.  
  289. "Is this why you would come to seek me out and speak?" He turned back and smirked. "Was I an emptiness that spurred curiosity?" The thought was entertaining to say the least. Parts of the conversation began to make sense as to why Remy had apparently had an insecurity to deal with when it came to Envy.
  290. (Gallant)
  291. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  292.  
  293. [05:18] "Ah.. er.. um.. Th.."
  294.  
  295. Supplies were running low. She'd have to face this without the comforting buffer of food to break up the conversation soon. For now, however, she took what she desired. She took bites between her words now. There was some sort of anxiety in this topic, it seemed.
  296.  
  297. Oh how plans could be foiled by little conversations.
  298.  
  299. That and the deaths of loved ones, but that was another matter entirely. A lot of things happened. Suffice it to say, her outlook had shifted.
  300.  
  301. "N- not.. Um.. Not originally. Not.. Until recently. I never.. thought of it, like emptiness. Not.. before. And it.. I was still.. Enamored. With her. I first.. first approached because.. Torham said I ought to speak with another sin.
  302.  
  303. Ought to.. figure out how I was going to handle it.
  304.  
  305. Kept coming back to use it as a measuring stick. See how close I.. I walked to your path, how.. well I managed to control myself. Um.. It.. It was never very well. I was.. afraid, then. Something in between. Stuck like you said.
  306.  
  307. It.. I.. that-.. doesn't hold.. true. Not now.
  308.  
  309. I came up, as Eliza, to test my blade against yours. To see.. if I could beat you yet.. Feel like I would've, if I had my own.. my own weaponry. Armor. But.. I couldn't very well try again. The next time-
  310.  
  311. The fact I figured you out was your fault. And I saw it then. For.. for the first time I really.. really saw it- Suppose.. that's saying something about me.. I'm a bit oblivious until.. until things are obvious.
  312.  
  313. Then I came back again. With Akane. And Remy. To show you something. Expected you to see it.. I.. I did what you did, if a bit different. Wanted.. wanted to prove it. That my last hope was.. gone. Is gone."
  314.  
  315. By the time she was done her gaze had fixed on the ground. On her upturned palms in her lap. On anything but the boy across from her, who looked on with those brilliant green eyes. Who, presumably, listened to what she had to say. He had asked, after all.
  316.  
  317. Inky black hair spilled forward as she tilted her head forth. To hide her face, her expression. Whatever more she was thinking.
  318. (Brigette)
  319. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  320.  
  321. [05:29] Disappointment flashed across Gallant's face at the first few sentences. Even he couldn't hide that. For whatever reason it seemed to wound him and a flare of that emerald light grew in his irises only to slowly dissipate as he listened to her go on more. He recalled the battle against Eliza, one of the few times a stranger had shown some sort of strength against him while in the mountain.
  322.  
  323. He calmed at the final few lines where she spoke of discovering the guise of Gallant and the conclusion that her hopes were gone. An emptiness they both shared bridged the strange, physical gap over the food as Gallant's eyes narrowed ever slightly.
  324.  
  325. "I see." A wave of his hand brought some light telekinetic force to Brigette's chin and shifted it upward so that he could see her hidden face once more. It released quickly as to not give the impression that he was attempting to be intimidating.
  326.  
  327. "So now what is this. That you feel?"
  328. (Gallant)
  329. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  330.  
  331. [05:42] All the more she had caught was the immediate disappointment. The light which flashed in his gaze, irritation which seemed aimed at her. After all, who else was there to be annoyed at? Of course, that caused her some anxiety. Some amount of discomfort, as she tried to puzzle through the reasons why and explain herself at the same time.
  332.  
  333. That telekinetic touch brought the siren to jolt, sitting a tad straighter as her chin was lifted. So near to the throat, she had expected worse. But she met his gaze again. It seemed he wasn't quite intent on murdering her. Not yet at least.
  334.  
  335. But he did manage to ask the worst, most uncomfortable questions.
  336.  
  337. One hand lifted to snatch up a small bundle of hair, to twist and twirl such in her fingers. A nervous gesture she hadn't done sincerely in a long time. Something she rather had done absent-mindedly.
  338.  
  339. "I.. I don't know. I really don't.. get.. how it.. how things work.. I thought I loved Remy.. Thought.. that was a thing.. and now.. I just.. I got lost, somewhere.. and it's.. I'm.. confused."
  340. (Brigette)
  341. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  342.  
  343. [05:56] "Confused..."
  344.  
  345. Gallant wondered what that actually meant. "Remy was. You thought it was a thing and it truly existed... to some extent." He said, nearly growling the last three words. "You were lost only because you could not see the greater things, the threads of Fate. You accepted what your heart lead you to want, but not what you truly chose."
  346.  
  347. He tilted his head. "You said it yourself. It began with an attachment to the blood offerings. And then I was all too aware of how they'd feed your growing Gluttony... Convenient. That is what Remy was. That is what Fate wanted for you. And when I tried to alleviate those symptoms... Fate was cruel and brought them back to life. Fate ensured Remy lived until they hurt you. Fate drove you all this way for its written and predestined plans, Gluttony, and now we sit and speak on these topics and wonder what to do next. We sit and--"
  348.  
  349. His eyes narrowed and he looked off to the side. "Fate forced me together with a creature that only brought ruin to my name. A girl appeared before me in my weakest days after my brother's death. What else was going to happen? How else was that pairing supposed to play out? When... I was at my lowest. When I was at my loneliest. When I had nothing… and someone cares..." Gallant's fists clenched around the grass on the ground as he spoke. His anger was welling up and the frustration was all too apparent. "And then she betrayed me." The Valmasian face turned to Brigette. "She returned to Cruxati and hurt me the way Remy hurt you. She ignited my Envy and so you saw what I had to do. What Fate readied in its preparations. Look at what we are, Gluttony. Look at who it has made us become."
  350.  
  351. Gallant's eyes were now fully glowing. He was expressing that Envious light to drive home a point rather than an involuntary flare caused by his lack of control over his jealousies. "Fate has marked us to become something it hates. That is the emptiness. That is what Remy couldn't understand. It is something only we know. This reality made us creatures that will never know true and lasting satisfaction. It has made us monsters and cursed beings that are meant to forever chase the carrots dangling before us...
  352.  
  353. It is the role it wants us to play." Somehow Gallant was calming the more he was talking. The more he explained the more he hoped she understood, the more he wondered if she actually did see it the way he did.
  354.  
  355. He stared back at her for sometime before looking back to the grass and then lying on his back to gaze at the stars with some half hatred and half amazement at their distant lights. Somewhere up there so many mortal souls coiled around the illuminated energies and were cast back to the world to become something new. They were unconquerable spheres that signified the distant enemy that was always watching, and their glow only provided a constant reminder as to why he chose to follow the darkness that opposed them.
  356. (Gallant)
  357. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  358.  
  359. [05:57] Gallant says, "I apologize. I've..."
  360. [05:57] Gallant says, "Ruined our normal conversation."
  361. [06:26] "I'm.. sure you've said some of this before. A lot of it- Perhaps in a different context. Different time, yet the same thing. Didn't get it then. Never managed to see the way you do without something drastic happening. Guess that's just how I work."
  362.  
  363. It wasn't easy to put the thoughts together. Always their conversations carried so long that she found herself losing the capacity to think out how to say things right. To explain without having to repeat herself in different words. So he understood the first time. Even when she tried, she had to clarify on occasion.
  364.  
  365. As time wore on it just got more difficult. It was worse so distracted as she was. Her gaze had fallen again, her expression once more hidden away. And what few bits of codcake were left, she brought to her lips. To take and consume, as was her desire.
  366.  
  367. "How Fate made us what we are so it could fuck with us a little more. How it played with the paths of others toget to us. Funny how careless it can be in wasting the lives of others just to hurt two particular people a little bit more. Something something tragic characters making for good plot or something like that.
  368.  
  369. Because obviously, all the world's a stage.
  370.  
  371. But we're not actors. Stories. Things to be written. We hold weapons in place of pens, but they carry the same weight. The same capability. You started it, you were the first to forge that path. I just..
  372.  
  373.  
  374.  
  375. I want to follow it."
  376.  
  377. But. There was a massive, hefty little word there. A however, a caveat, some condition that applied. And for the moment she was quiet, staring toward nothing at all. She didn't notice when he lay down. When he gazed toward the stars.
  378.  
  379. She simply continued, at last.
  380.  
  381. "Just.. If.. it wants us to never be satisfied..
  382.  
  383. It seems.. like.. if we maybe found our own.. found..
  384.  
  385. Maybe it.. it would be angry but..
  386.  
  387. Seems a good way to.. spit in its face, as it were."
  388. (Brigette)
  389. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  390.  
  391. [16:59]
  392. {LOAD GAME}
  393.  
  394. [17:26] The Valmasian knight continued staring at the stars and the sky as Brigette spoke. It was true, they had had this conversation a handful of times prior to this one. He'd lectured and described his beliefs often to so many people that they had become ingrained into his mind. The Speaker for the Void, his manifesto of sorts, had even been finished and sent out to inform the world of a belief system that might be followed and understood on a basic level, for he could no longer face enemies who didn't at least grasp what he stood for.
  395.  
  396. Her mumbled words gave him pause, however, and Gallant turned his gaze once more from the sky and to the girl.
  397.  
  398. "Is that what you'd want? Do you even believe it'd be possible?"
  399. (Gallant)
  400. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  401.  
  402. [17:38] ".. I don't think so. Not.. not by the End of it all. But.. In the meantime.. If we enjoy what we take, isn't that better than just playing along in.. in misery? If you're setting the stage alight-
  403.  
  404. Isn't better to laugh, to bask in the glow of the flame..?"
  405.  
  406. The dark-haired individual kept her gaze down, her face hidden. Whatever she was trying to say, obviously she was uncertain about it. Uncertain whether he understood, whether she even understood it herself- And whether she wanted him to figure it out or not.
  407.  
  408. In the end she just shook her head, finally getting to her feet.
  409.  
  410. "N- nevermind. Don't- I mean- Just.. Forget it, it's.. stupid. My ideas never work out. We were supposed to just.. just have a normal conversation.
  411.  
  412. .. Sorry I asked, I'm.. I must be stupid or something."
  413. (Brigette)
  414. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  415.  
  416. [18:00] Another long silence as he listened. But a hand went up slowly to stop her once the doubts were expressed. Gallant sat back up and shook his head.
  417.  
  418. "It's not a stupid idea. I just want to know if that is what you want. I want to know if you're... be honest, with yourself and me."
  419.  
  420. The knight stood and took a few steps toward Brigette, and though the cold that constantly followed him persisted in this forested space, its harshness decreased. The chill wasn't one that pervaded and bit into bone, but rather a settled air that descended and announced an inner fragility that was not often shown.
  421.  
  422. "I no longer relate to our kin. The blood of Cain has become... a poison in my veins. Something I would do without if I could, something that was placed upon me without a say in the matter.
  423.  
  424. Riftmancy was what I chose. The Arcane is a power I decided to follow. And even Envy...
  425.  
  426. Envy was my answer, my truth. It is my core, just as Gluttony is yours. It is who I am and it is why I have chosen to see Sins and Virtues for what they are; people who are true, people who cannot hide their central personages like the rest of the world tries so hard to."
  427.  
  428. An icy hand met one of Brigette's and held it with a gentle attempt to turn her around. For a creature so violent and monstrous as he regularly was, there was a certain amount of care in each word and action here. For some, he may have even seemed the simple human he was disguised as, a mortal being forged of ambition and emotion.
  429.  
  430. "It is why I was drawn to you... until I learned of Remy… until I realized that pursuing such a path would only end in your death. In Remy's. In Torham's…
  431.  
  432. Even if I became terrible. I never wished harm upon the Exarch. I never wished to hurt you. And so I stepped back, understanding my Sin would create pain that even I didn't want to commit."
  433.  
  434. Should she have turned to look at him, his sin was once again aglow in his irises. "It's why I lied. When I killed them.
  435.  
  436. I took some personal pleasure in it... and then when you brought them back." He sighed and his eyes narrowed slightly. "That was it. I was determined to go through the destroying the city. I was ready to accept my death at the hands of Satsuki Shimasu, Wisdom upon Agartha... and yet the war did not permit for that battle to happen. Fate did not grant us the moment to fight, for Wisdom was falling to Pride ever so slightly...
  437.  
  438. And now. Now she is sick. Rarely leaves the city. I believe now Satsuki Shimasu will not be the one to kill me, not as I had thought. Fate has pulled back once again, and so I've been granted time... time to recalibrate and adjust course."
  439.  
  440. He let it all sink in. He didn't know how this was supposed to play out or how she'd react to a truth she may or may not be aware of, yet he'd keep his hand in hers if allowed.
  441.  
  442. "You can see what I have decided, what I want and desire. But given who you are, given that you and I are alike... I see you as an equal. And so I want you to choose for yourself. Don't lie to me. Don't lie to your Gluttony.
  443.  
  444. Decide what path we will take."
  445.  
  446. (Gallant)
  447. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  448.  
  449. [19:10] In her pace, she paused briefly. To let him speak his thoughts- Though she didn't expect any particularly pleasant result. Still her gaze was fixed on the ground. Inky black hair hiding her face. Uncertain. Anxious.
  450.  
  451. Though she didn't have eyes in the back of her head, she knew precisely where he was. The sound of his boots on the grass, the motion as he approached. That icy chill which always followed in his wake. Ever so familiar, yet different in some way. More alike the gentle frost which clung to grass in the early morning during fall.
  452.  
  453. There was no glance spared toward him as he spoke, not immediately at least. But she listened nonetheless. His reassurance that her thought process wasn't the worst. His questioning. His reasoning. What he felt of Cain's blood, and the sin which chose him. The arcane which he chose.
  454.  
  455. She didn't quite look at things the exact same way. Though she understood being forced into becoming a 'blessed' of Cain's blood, it wasn't quite so toxic in her veins. It was one more thing which made her stronger.
  456.  
  457. And there was the matter of the arcane, something she herself had yet to grasp. His ability to tear into reality, to grasp the threads woven in the grand tapestry about them and bend them to his will. Or sever them, should such be required. One more thing he was, that she was not.
  458.  
  459. One more thing she didn't understand.
  460.  
  461. He added to that list of things with a simple action. That shock of cold against luke-warm skin. A paler hand meeting the warmer tone of her own. Her fingers twitched at the sensation, tensed to some degree- But she turned when he gently urged such. Vermillion peeked out from behind inky locks, to focus on his own gaze.
  462.  
  463. The next words, and her fingers tensed further. Holding tight, pressing so hard any mortal's hand might've broken. Yet she did not interrupt. Despite whatever she might think she would not dare interrupt- She wanted to hear him out. To understand.
  464.  
  465. Not that she did a very good job of it.
  466.  
  467. Thoughts cropped up in the back of her mind which seemed ludicrous, yet she couldn't help but pay them some attention. To process every single thing that might be intended. Perhaps she was overthinking it all. She had a tendency to do that, when it came to things like this. The silence stretched on when he let it fill the air.
  468.  
  469. Fragile as delicate glass. Lingering as the siren took her time. As she seemed to become something of a statue, trying to figure things out- If it weren't for the breaths she took. Short and swift, instinctual little puffs of air. An involuntary reaction, to the cold which gripped her heart. The anxiety that came with this sort of thing.
  470.  
  471. Words were difficult. They didn't speak so loudly, they weren't obvious and overt. The siren had always complained of that, when it came to their conversations. That she didn't quite understand things until it came to action. But this-
  472.  
  473. Jealous. Was that- Jealousy of Remy's position? That, the reason he killed them. The reason bringing them back had set off so much. Why he had so often spoken with her. If she understood it correctly, it was certainly at least one reason why he'd taken their home away. Why he was so- So..
  474.  
  475. Just do something damnit. Say something.
  476.  
  477. No words. They caught in her throat.
  478.  
  479. Actions speak so much louder.
  480.  
  481. Since the moment he had taken her hand she'd kept it. She had not pulled away, she had not drawn back. Despite her anxiety she held tight. And now she shifted a step closer. Closer still. Her free hand lifted, luke-warm fingers pressed against his cold skin. His cheek. Finally her gaze lifted too, and what she'd been hiding was a little bit more obvious.
  482.  
  483. Dark skin was tinged with the green of her blood.
  484.  
  485. Not outside, not stained, but it was obvious.
  486.  
  487. Ah. Bridge was blushing.
  488. (Brigette)
  489. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  490.  
  491. [19:21] Brigette's hand met his cold face and he noticed her greened cheeks almost immediately. His own emerald eyes still had their soft glow that betrayed his inner person. Gallant studied her expression before his own hand found its place on her hip and brought the girl closer. Maybe it was a wordless answer to the decision he had asked her to make, an answer he intended on finding out.
  492.  
  493. The knight took the opportunity to lean in and press his cold lips against her own, to ensure everything he had said was backed up by action and truth, truth he had not spoken or felt in many years. He lingered there with the kiss that was far too comforted and gentle for all the other actions he was known for, for the murderous and violent tendencies that he commit against his enemies and allies alike. The volatility of Malentine Invidia was falling away as he found something to secure himself to here, if it was reciprocated at all.
  494.  
  495. A master of the Arcane or not, he was uncertain how itall would be received, and so after the long moment passed he pulled back ever slightly to gauge the reaction of his fellow Sin.
  496. (Gallant)
  497. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  498.  
  499. [19:55] It wasn't like that was unexpected. Not entirely, at least- If she had understood the situation correctly. If not, that would certainly be an embarrassing situation. But now, she didn't quite know what to think. What to do. Her initial interpretation had been correct but what was she to do with that?
  500.  
  501. What were her own true feelings on this? It wasn't long ago that she planned to bring an end to this very creature before her. For all that he had done, for taking away Remy, her home, her family. For ruining everything. But in the case of Remy, she had realized she was wrong.
  502.  
  503. In the case of Baukdengrad, he explained himself at last.
  504.  
  505. And it was because of her. At least partially. He hadn't been entirely sure until that drakenite was brought back. Oh how confusing it all was, to see him now and feel drawn in. To stare into the abyss and feel that particular sense of desire. That and- And-
  506.  
  507. Now this.
  508.  
  509. Cold lips against her own. Lukewarm. Dead.
  510.  
  511. Something which seemed to last an eternity.
  512.  
  513. When he pulled away, she drew a short breath. Steely blue fixed upon his own gaze. Like emeralds, like the pleasant green of the sea, of seaweed, algae, leaves, pine needles. That certainly was.. something..
  514.  
  515. He had acted. And it spoke.
  516.  
  517. She pressed close once more, where he had pulled away just a bit.
  518.  
  519. That hand upon his cheek met the back of his head.
  520.  
  521. Her free arm wrapped around to embrace him.
  522.  
  523. And her lips met his. This time of her accord. If he'd allow it.
  524. (Brigette)
  525. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  526.  
  527. [20:13] The knight reciprocated once again as Gluttony's answer became clear. For all his anger and pain there was a tenderness, a connection that emanated from him was at least something genuine. Even if they would never find something that satiated their Sins, Gallant felt like he'd at least found someone who was capable of seeing the world as he did. The last time he'd felt something like this, the last time he'd opened up, it had ended in such terrible disaster that he chalked it all up to the outer powers of the world. Perhaps Fate had a hand in even this, but it wouldn't stop him from finding a long lost peace with her in his arms.
  528.  
  529. He indulged in emotion rather than logic, something the vampire of decades ago would rarely be caught doing. His mind swam with a distanced focus on her, another thing he'd thought would be ever out of reach. How many things had he acquired now that he had envied in others? Failures were turning to successes, weaknesses to strengths.
  530.  
  531. Slowly his form began to shift back to it's truer self. Brown hair became white and his physique became that of the boy turned undead, even as he continued to kiss the girl before him. Envy's desire was, naturally, bottomless. And finally meeting Gluttony proved what he had kept to himself for years. He continued simply enjoying it and letting himself get lost in her for as long as she would like.
  532. (Gallant)
  533. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  534.  
  535. [21:22] It was odd. There was something particularly off-color about it. Strange, out of the ordinary way, different. To embrace something so cold and empty, yet feel certain things melt away. As though ice were a fire all its own, extinguishing solid heat. Or something like that. Donovan never claimed to be good at analogies.
  536.  
  537. Not even analogies in her internal monologue.
  538.  
  539. Being so close as she was, kissing him like this, it didn't make things any easier. She was rather lost in the moment, steely blue eyes fluttered closed. Her form remained pressed against his, her arms wrapped tight about him. As he indulged, he let his true form show- She couldn't quite do the same.
  540.  
  541. But she could do something similar. It was instinctual, when she indulged, for such a thing to show itself. For her true nature to shine forth. It flared within her veins first, hidden behind chocolate brown skin. Then in her eyes, shining through her eyelids to some degree.
  542. newThen in the airaround her. An emptiness which tugged on the creature she embraced. On anything and everything that held any semblance of life. Drawing on that power out of sheer instinct.
  543.  
  544. And for a long time, she embraced him in silence. Neither of them needed breath. Neither of them needed much more than blood to survive- But to thrive, it was what they wanted that mattered. In that exact moment, this was all the more she wanted.
  545.  
  546. So she wasn't sure how long it took before she finally drew away. She didn't keep track, simply stepping away when the initial rush finally diminished to some degree. Not far, of course. She still remained close. But she opened her eyes once more to meet his gaze.
  547.  
  548. No words. She didn't know what to say.
  549. (Brigette)
  550. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  551.  
  552. [21:35] Envy did not keep track of the passing of time either, and once they finally separated, he returned to studying her reactions and the after effects of the kiss. He let the comfortable silence last for a time before he spoke.
  553.  
  554. "Is this your choice then? Am... I your choice? I... do not care if this is something that Fate has ordained or if it a rebellion in itself for us to find solace within one another. Because it is what... it is what I would like. I would like for you to remain at my side and allow me at yours."
  555. (Gallant)
  556. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  557.  
  558. [21:54] Not a motion until he acted, until he spoke. And when he did her head tilted ever so slightly to one side. Inky hair spilled across her shoulders, bright silvery eyes entirely focused on him. When he was done, and only then, did she finally say anything at all.
  559.  
  560. "I.. I ah.. Yeah. Guess what Kiha said was.. right.. I chose you over them. I choose you- To follow your path, to stand at your side. To.. Mm."
  561.  
  562. Never had she a way with words. That was all the more she could think to say- She had hoped more than enough had been said through actions. He was one more for the words. So she could accommodate.
  563. (Brigette)
  564. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  565.  
  566. [22:06] For the first time in a long time, Malentine smiled due to some sort of genuine happiness. Even if it was strange or twisted in more than one way, the usual grin and simple smile was replaced with one that was warm. His hair turned back to that brown as he remembered they were still out in the open, still out where prying eyes might see what they were doing or who they actually were. Even if he had more or less ruined his identity in Cruxati, he couldn't afford to lose the façade to any of Huangzhou's eyes.
  567.  
  568. "Wonderful. I... think this is good. Is..." he looked down at the cloak still adorned with the food scrappings. "Is this a successful picnic?" he asked, almost too innocently.
  569. (Gallant)
  570. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  571.  
  572. [22:16] The moment she saw that white alter coloration ever so slightly, the sirenian became quite aware of the light she shed. That desire which had spilled beyond the skin. In a moment it slowly flickered out, as her eyes shut tight to focus on such. On forcing it back. Ever a struggle, to do such a thing.
  573.  
  574. When at last it had gone, her gaze refocused on him. Then where he gazed, at the last little bits of food. At the basket which she'd brought the food in.
  575.  
  576. "I.. I think so. Not exactly a.. normal one, but.. Successful is a word for it. Pleasant."
  577. (Brigette)
  578. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  579.  
  580. [22:18] He laughed and nodded. "Then I suppose I owe you a successful picnic... one where the conversations are... normal. Yes." He looked down over the waterfalls that reflected the moonlight.
  581.  
  582. "So now where do we go? From here?"
  583. (Gallant)
  584. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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