A Radiant Argument - 12/31

JWaldman Jan 16th, 2020 (edited) 101 Never
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  1.  Picked up the glass shifting to take a seat at the table with Task. Settling down comfortably, casting a glance to Priscilla he'd raise his glass. "By all means, I believe we'll be fine." With a smile he turned back to Task.
  3. "So, I was thinking shouldn't we clean out the roster? We've a lot of names for dead or retired watchmen in the records."
  4. (Claude vey Pelleaux)
  5. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  6.  Task would raise his cup of rum respectfully to Captain Claude as he took a seat, nodding steadily as the bald commander took a steady sip from the glass before setting it down on the table. The constable would lean back a bit in his chair, crossing his right, serpentine scarred arm from the clown over his sinewed left. Folding the pair tightly over his silvery cuirass and navy wool cloak, the watchman would focus his one eyed gaze at last on the noble.
  8. "You aren't wrong, the roster frankly hasn't been properly touched since Dunstan's age. There are many and more who seem to have simply disappeared, others I know dead. Some have obviously performed poorly as well, though considering who should be removed is a difficult conundrum as ever. We need the best and brightest in the cloaks, the way I see it. Even if they're diamonds in the rough."
  9. (Task)
  10. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  11.  Claude vey Pelleaux says, "It's agreed, we should also touch on the other captains... Which I've only ever seen Kirk. Which district does he look over? "
  12.  Task says, "Kirk is Captain of the sewers."
  13.  The Radiant enters the bar expecting to find a usual patron and of course he sees the one-eyed man sitting across from Lord Pelleaux. As he draws near he offers a faint nod and, "Lord Claude." In greeting.
  15. Then his attention falls upon Task, but there is no friendly nod, his eyes cold and analyzing as he looks over the man. It was not even anger that burned in his eyes, but disappointment.
  17. It was sickening to even look at him after what he had done. He wanted to be fair to him, but he had shown no remorse in his actions and even went so far as to taunt her.
  19. "Commander Task. I'd like to speak with you when you are free."
  20. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  21. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  23.  Task would take a long, thoughtful drag from his corncob pipe as he turning his stony, one eyed glance from the approach of young Ravan and Robin, nodding to Claude once more as his glance passed over the pair of Montclaire's with a sense of professionalism. In truth, he hadn't properly spoken with either of them since he'd blown Crowley's brains out, it was only natural they were a bit terse with the watchman.
  25. "Ser Valero, a pleasure as ever. Looking well."
  27. The bald commander would crack his back, arms, and neck with a light yawn, scratching under his remaining eyepatch as he grimly nodded to the radiant with a grim line drawn across his visage. If it had just been Valero, he thought perhaps he might be able to avoid the stern glares after a time. But if Aria was present, this was sure to be a scolding.
  29. "I am free as ever my friend, this table is occupied at best with idle chatter. We can speak as you like at this moment, pull up a seat and spread jolly cheer with your compatriots."
  30. (Task)
  31. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  34.  If it had not been for the others news he might have burst forward with what was truly on his mind. Ironically enough it had been the one expected to aggravate the wound who had sought to soothe it instead.
  36. "No, I find the good cheer and warmth here is marked by a cold presence." He had promised restraint until the greater issues had been sorted out, "I still intend for The Vigilant to work alongside The Watch, but.."
  38. A hand raises signaling a halt, "Do not think what you have done is overlooked or accepted. Build yourself up around it and perform mental gymnastics if you want."
  40. Then it shifts to point in an accusing manner, "I know how you spoke to Aria after slaughtering a loved one before a citizen then berated them for their kin's sins."
  42. And finally it falls back to his side, his piece spoken. In truth he wanted wail on the husk until he cut free the man who once dwelled within. Perhaps those words could yetshow him that it was not who he was meant to be.
  44. "That mask is poison and it will consume you."
  45. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  46. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  48. "It sounds like you require more warmth and cheer, not less, if you feel there is a cold presence present, Ser Valero. We were friends long before either of us reached the places we are today, the least we can do is speak frankly to each other without all this...passivity. Men speak with their hearts on their chests if honestly, I expect no less from you."
  50. Task would take a long, thoughtful drag from his corncob pipe as he rose from his wooden seat, standing from his place with a light grunt as he let his remaining eye fall upon the vigilant's leader with a sense of professionalism neither warm nor cold, but entirely clinical and professional. The commander had had plenty of time to mull over the events of that day, and had come to terms with what had to be done.
  52. He had no regrets.
  54. "I spoke no illness towards the woman that was once a fellow retainer of my Lord Brienne until the moment she turned her ill intentions upon me, attempted violence upon my person, and spoke with poison towards my person and name. Even then, I did not retaliate, I allowed her her fury if misguided."
  56. The bald commander would cross his serpentine scarred right arm over his chest, pulling up the hem of his cloak to reveal the jagged length of the wound that had carved its way across his bicep and beyond with brutality.
  58. "Perhaps to Aria he was a father, perhaps to you Ser Valero he was an acquaintance. But to me, he was my arch nemesis, a man that had brutally wounded me in the past, who spat upon justice time and time again in his games. My act of vengeance was sudden, it was unfitting of a lawman that believes in due process, and doing so before his daughter was unseemly, but I do not regret it."
  60. Task would nod firmly.
  62. "He was criminal scum. A terrorist who preyed upon innocents. And he deserved to die."
  63. (Task)
  64. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  66.  Claude took a sip of wine, this was pretty good drama.
  67. (Claude vey Pelleaux)
  68. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  70.  Ravan nods to his lord, taking a swig from a bottle of ale, that he brought with him.
  71. (Ravan lei Karnstein)
  72. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  73.  "Liar..", she spoke with a soft tone.
  75. It blossomed like a flower, a deep rage that was kept as nothing more than a seed since the last blossom's combustion. Glancing to the reactions of the other two, it does not come as a shock that they didn't care.
  77. Already tears threatened to spill from her eyes. Turning sharply on her heel, the dark haired lady steps towards the door. "I'm not listening to him, I'm tired of this same song being sung...I'm so sick and tired of people like him."
  79. They didn't care even a little and the lesson was lost on those like Task.
  81. With a last whisper to Valero, she'd leave if uninterrupted.
  82. (Aria cos Montclaire)
  83. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  84.  The commander had turned into a bitter man and it was clear he had done just as he had expected. Somehow he had twisted to convince himself that there was nothing to be ashamed of.
  86. "Regret is what we feel when we do not act in line with who we are." He returns, his voice domesticated thunder as the words rumble out with the full force of his conviction.
  88. "If you do not feel that you have damaged the concept of Law and Order in the way you conducted yourself, without mercy or compassion for the innocent affected, then that is good."
  90. "It means I will not feel regret when I pluck your other eye from your skull." His shoulder roll beneath the furry shawl of his cape. "You are already blind anyways, it seems. Nothing to be missed."
  92. Likewise he turns away the depart with Aria, his intent stated. Once all of this was handled they would sort out the dishonorable actions that Task had committed against their House.
  94. Not even the dignity to offer an apology to a friend. Truly he was lost. Before he departs one final cryptic line is uttered for the Commander, "When its lips twist, its mocking you. You failed whether you realize it or not."
  95. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  96. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  97.  "Yes, I became who I am because the man that was phased by these things is the one that allowed the constabulary to be polluted by syndicate insurgents that corrupted my organization's reputation, that hid like wolves in sheep's clothing as my brothers and sisters without me realizing. That BETRAYED THE LAW."
  99. Task would smash his fist down against the table with annunciation to the fact, a vein bulging upon his forehead with fury at the mere recollection of it. The commander had once considered himself a relatively composed individual; he'd rarely fallen prey to emotions when his duties were involved, and had excelled at keeping his feelings separate from the job.
  101. But the scar from Bertrand, from Crowley, ached with the betrayal of all five brothers and sisters of the watch that had lied to his face, that had hid in the ranks of his own constabulary while committing criminality. Cybelle, Stein, Vincenzo, Iris, his blood boiled just to think of those syndicate scum.
  103. "I do not feel as if I damaged the concept of law and order because I did what you didn't have the guts to do Ser Valero. I saw a member of your own order that used it as a shield to commit crime, that hurt innocents under the banner of and protection of, and put him down before he finished killing himself. I saved face for both of our organizations, lest you'd rather it have been reported we did not search the man for his knife."
  105. The bald commander would nod firmly, his face tense with quiet fury at the mere thought of the traitor. In truth, he thought he'd been doing Ser Valero a solid in wiping out a traitor of his own order. In the fight against tyranny, such things were necessary.
  107. "If you do not regret plucking an eyeball from your old friend's socket, then perhaps it is you who is blind. If Aria sought mercy or compassion, PERHAPS HER FATHER SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A TERRORIST. Justice is blind to such things, and it was done that day even if you don't see it. I may have only one eye now Valero, but I see clearer than ever before."
  109. Task grit his teeth, his eye yet another reminder from the Syndicate of the wrongs they committed, of the countless injustices that they'd done to Task personally and to those involved.
  111. "...Do you think him taunting me about the constables he maimed brought me peace of mind? Or did you miss that part when you were getting your wife so she could hug her criminal father?"
  113. The commander had not forgotten the mocking the clown had done while Valero was gone, even if he didn't see it personally.
  115. "As for you, Lady Aria, I am many things, but a liar is not one of them. I speak the truth, and nothing but it. If you dislike it, perhaps your sense of reality is lacking."
  116. (Task)
  117. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  118. The smash upon the table brought a smile as something roused the man. Perhaps he was not so dead and cold as he wanted to come off there beneath that disingenuous cheer. Surely he had known that he would come forth with this accusation.
  120. "In Law and Order people are meant to feel safe and secure." He says coolly turning back to face the one-eyed Commander. He smiled openly at that rage that had bubbled forth, but in truth he was wounded.
  122. Most of his words slid away in the usual spiel, no weight or meaning in the statement, "I have no 'old friend' to pluck an eye from, it seems. As I recall you don't regret how it hurt our family, how it hurt us. You simply killed a criminal, congratulations."
  124. His hands raised to applaud the man in a solo clap, lonesome and mocking. "Yet you hold no regret that the world is shaped so?" He asks sharply, an eyebrow raising.
  126. The grin had faded away so buoyant was it, but no doubt it would reemerge. At this point he no longer controlled when it floated in or out as its summons was a subconscious thing.
  128. "I do not seek to excuse his crimes, but I wonder what happened to the man who spoke of the pain he felt that any could commit such crimes. The one who wondered about the paths of others and sought to see them rehabilitated, lives made easier."
  130. His hands fall to his side, questioning eyes boring into Task's face, "Have you forgotten, truly? That we can do the right thing yet hate that it has come to this?"
  131. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  132. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  134. Aria was gone, she's not here to argue anymore.
  135. (Aria cos Montclaire)
  136. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  137.  Task would shake his head steadily as he clasped his drink from the table, swiping the mug up before taking a firm draft from its contents. It was clear that the bald commander's nerve had been struck, perhaps from the freshness of the moral struggle he'd faced when dealing with it. The watchman had been hardened by his experiences in the last half decade, but he was not unfeeling.
  139. "As long as people like those from the Syndicate, the apostates of Moonfall, as long as any of them roam free, no citizens are going to feel safe and secure. As long as criminals exist, there must be those who exist to stop them. My mercy for them in the past was misguided, that softness is what cost lives."
  141. The bald commander's visage was once more stone faced and rigid, his teeth gritting lightly as the kindle of furious flame within his bosom sparked away with idle flare, the conversation rousing passion from the watchman not in forgiveness, but in defense of the necessary measures he believe he had taken for the city.
  143. "It is not my fault that your wife had a criminal as a father, that he was a clown terrorist that caused havoc and spread sedition wherever he went. Perhaps in truth I did you a mercy, for if he was truly family to you, it was better I executed him than let Aria take the blame for killing a prisoner in the cells watched by an exarch and a city watch commander."
  145. The bald constable would shake his head, taking a long, thoughtful drag from his corncob pipe as he mulled over the situation and the man's words for a time, sighing lightly after a time as he took another swig from his drink.
  147. "I did not make the world the way it was, I have no claim to godhood in such a manner. There are criminals, and so there must be those that stop them at any cost. In the past, my sense of mercy let people get hurt, people that I cared for. Because of that ideal I held, I allowed my own brothers to hurt the citizens we were sworn to protect out of that very hope of mercy. I changed because it was necessary, not because it was wrong."
  149. Task would turn his remaining eye firmly to Valero's visage, looking the vigilant radiant directly in his eyes with resolve as he stood his ground, arms crossed tightly before his silvery plate and the navy wool of his watchman's cloak. The man had dealt with many such debates in the past, and this would not be the last.
  151. "That man you speak of, the bright, two eyed constable that saw in the world no evil, but any good? He was forced to come to terms with reality time and time again. That they will take any advantage they can from us, and we must maintain CONSTANT VIGILANCE AGAINST EVIL. There can be no half measures."
  153. The commander would at last sigh, lightly, nodding his head to his old friend as his straight lined face at last became a frown.
  155. "Perhaps one day, when the world is as beautiful asit should be, there will be a place for the dreams of mercy you speak of. But the war we fight must deal in absolutes, or we will perish from it Ser Valero. I have seen the depths of their depravity with my own eye, and we are not prepared."
  157. Task would bow his head respectfully at last, perhaps he saw some sense in the vigilant's words despite the argument.
  159. "...I do apologize for the harm it caused your family, even if I did what I believed was right. Not for him, but for you and Aria. I am sorry."
  160. (Task)
  161. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  162.  As the Commander spoke Valero listened along silent and contemplative. He did not speak out to leave without words, especially not if the man would show some glimmer of him, and that pound upon the table had been what he wanted.
  164. That passion was more like the man he had known even if he disparaged Bertrand again. "No none of us can make such claims to godhood, but neither is that reason to turn our back upon those ideals."
  166. He shakes his head, "It was a mercy, but if I could have excused her. Could have led her away so that she did not have to see it." His mane flows with the motion until it ceases.
  168. "I know what it is to stare these evils in the face, bring them into your home, and have them mock you a grim charade." The impostor Jasper had slept under the same room as his newborn son and that yet filled him with a terrible rage.
  170. It was a wonder he did not dash their brains upon the rocks.
  172. "There can be no half-measures, but neither can we compromise what makes us different. It is better to fall upon the path of righteousness than to succeed in corruption."
  174. His expression softened as he speaks those words that sounded more like the Task he knew. That bright and cheery guard he had met all those years ago. As the apology comes he bows his head, all he wanted.
  176. "I know you would do it for Fors or Louis, but if you could not I would have done it for you. With the option to see it or not as you should. We cannot become them."
  178. Once against he raises a long slender arm and beckons to the Commander, "Now let us put this aside and work through it the way we always have." On the field amidst pain, sweat, and blood all was washed clean among soldiers, or it should be.
  180. "Then I'll accept that apology, my friend." A faint pause, his warm grin returning. "Though.. It is appreciated."
  181. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  182. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  184.  Task would nod steadily to Ser Valero as he kept his arms crossed, his face stony and determinately dutiful as he gazed back at the radiant as his old friend, and equal in the pursuit of justice, law, and order. The bald commander had admittedly not had much discourse since the pair of them had grown busy with promotions, but the constable still recalled the years long ago when they'd all met at the sailor's bar in simpler times.
  186. Oh, how those times had been.
  188. "...I do not forswear the ideals I once upheld, even if my view of the world has been hardened. I've adopted the philosophy of the closed fist and the open palm, each an integral part of the scale of justice. Those willing to accept mercy, to see the errors of their ways, they can be redeemed and made law abiding citizens in my eyes."
  190. The commander would nod firmly, though a grimace soon followed on his visage.
  192. "But Crowley was unrepentant of his crimes, even to the end. His last moments were spent mocking us, the very order you serve, and he was a trickster through and through."
  194. Task would take a long, thoughtful drag from his corncob pipe as he mulled over the evening he'd met the killer clown, forced to face his own person weaknesses as he was captured by the jester and wounded in his own pursuit of the criminal. A scar that still shamed him to this day, aching with the clown's cackling with each step.
  196. Each snap of the mask's strings.
  198. "I admit, I acted with haste, out of righteous fury. If I could have done things with such spontaneity, such lack of preparation, I would have. But in that moment, as he taunted me further and further of my failures to my brothers in the watch, I felt only a growing fury. Perhaps I was blinded by anger, or perhaps in that moment I possessed a certain clarity of the man's evil, but I could do nothing but raise my finger in that moment and follow my pure instincts; to end that criminal's life before he could dishonor us any further."
  200. Task would nod firmly, turning his remaining eye to Ser Valero with a suddenly haunted glance, the memories of the gala a haunting affair even if the man's disguise hadn't been discovered.
  202. "...I have seen terrible things in that village Ser Valero. Sacrifices, summoned demons, domination, enthrallment, old faces possessed by violence, and people glutting upon the energy of life itself for their own savor. I have found in my exploits of sleuthery the depths of true evil, and I cannot unsully my visage of it any further."
  204. The bald commander's tone as he delivered his report was monotone, possessing no passion or emotion. Task had difficulty processing what he'd seen at the celebration of life and death even now, what he'd needed to do to maintain his cover.
  206. "...You are not wrong, I cannot allow anger to possess me. My delivery of justice cannot be polluted by emotion. My pursuit of them should be ruthless, cold, and precise, an instrument of uncorrupted justice, a lantern in the darkness as all watchmen must be for the people we serve. I do see that, now, in hindsight."
  208. Task would extend his hand to Ser Valero with a firm nod, offering a tired, but warm smile to his old friend as he was reminded that in these dark times, one's companions were their sworn allies against the darkness. To bare rifts with one another was criminal in itself.
  210. "Then let us make amends with a drink, and bury this hatchet my friend. In the fight against evil, vigilant radiant and watch commander do stand together arm in arm against their unbound malevolence! Here here, to justice, duty, and the preservation of the peace!"
  212. Task would raise his mug in mirthful cheer.
  213. (Task)
  214. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  217.  Those times had been much more simple, but all the more helpless looking back. For all they had joked about the pains of command it was difficult envision a life in which their control of the fate of Osrona was lessened.
  219. Not when they were so close to something better.
  221. "I know that it is not like you that is why it shocked me and provoked me to anger." His anger was a contained thing indeed consider how mildly his displeasure had been stated.
  223. Yet he could not channel it the same way against another person, not one who did not have that black mark that signed their irrevocable marriage to the powers of evil and injustice. The power of The Vision's champions was not intended for such use.
  225. "And I say I do not seek to pardon Crowley, but.. Damned we are if he was not right, Task." The muscles in his jaw tighten as he recalls that night. "He was given no quarter, but had come in just to apologize to Aria before giving in to the end of his line."
  227. This was the side that Task had not heard, that fatal truth that separated Bertrand's humanity from the beast and monsters the Commander described. Those were the object of their obsession, their tireless task to fight in this life and the next.
  229. "That was the barb of your words, the sharp edge of the situation which cut so deep." It was difficult to admit aloud how he was affected, so public yet.. He felt emboldened for some reason and was confident in his step and words as he drew nearer to Task so that their hands met.
  231. "And that hindsight is all I asked of you, Task. We cannot lose our brothers to their darkness. Above all the light must remain unsullied."
  232. Valero's free hand reaches to take Task's mug so that he can take a sip of the man's alcohol.
  234. It was the gesture of forgiveness he meant to give there in such an odd action, louder and more prominent than any words would convey, "That we remain ourselves."
  236. (Valero lux Montclaire)
  237. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  239. Task would clap hands with his renewed companion Ser Valero as a concussive shockwave of sheer masculine energy echoing throughout the tavern at the connection of the two radiant and commander's palms and mana, a truly worthy handshake the likes of which this establishment wasn't likely to see ever again. It was a reaffirmation of commitment to the true goals of both their orders, to protect the people at any cost.
  241. "I am not usually prone to anger, I admit it was not a familiar sensation to be enraged so. The man had become my arch rival, and learned my head inside and out from our encounter. He knew exactly how to get to me, perhaps it went exactly as he hoped."
  243. The bald commander would grimace at the thought; that getting Task to lower himself and kill him was exactly what the clown had desired, a spark of chaos and theater in the midst of his own cell. Task would sigh lightly, releasing Valero's grip as he crossed his arms once more.
  245. "Perhaps he is right about many of us within the order and constabulary alike, that we played right into his hands as he desired...but, there is a saying that goes...Acts of goodness are not always wise, and acts of evil are not always foolish, but regardless, we shall always strive to be that moment, as he was chewing on his own blade and seeking to end his life, he wasn't looking for repentance.."
  247. Task would nod grimly, frowning lightly as he took a long drag from his pipe. The moment was still fresh in his head even months after Crowley had passed. The mask still hung heavy in his cloak, cackling quietly all the same.
  249. "He was trying to put on a show the whole time. A clown to the end in all meanings of the word, a trickster and a performer. An actor, as he would say himself. He died smiling, not in horror that his daughter had witnessed the event."
  251. The bald commander would take a deep drought from his flagon, shaking hishead at the tragedy of it all as much as the aching that polluted his old scar from the clown. One that would never go away, he suspected.
  253. "We must remain vigilant, as you say, not to become evil in the pursuit of it's defeat. Never to fall as low as them, to act in depravity and forswear our sense of justice. By the blind eyes of her, we shall remain pure as long as our delivery of its burdens are not polluted by wrath. Vengeance is a cold path to self-destruction."
  254. (Task)
  255. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  256. The collisions of their hands had been awe-inspiring as the slap rang off the walls the sound of primal true music played across a single note that resonated with power as it bounced around defiantly resisting to fade away into silence. Even as it left the ring yet resounded in his ears and no doubt that of his comrade and the other patrons of the bar alike.
  258. Justice refused to truly die.
  260. "No, Crowley had consumed the man. A horrible part he had to play, but when I look at that mask I wonder if he truly died an actor or simply a marionette whose strings had finally been cut."
  262. There was an even more horrifying thought that had picked at him. The man Bertrand was when he donned the mask had been distinctly different and Valero had felt the wrongness that emanated from that mask.
  264. "I think that the mask can yet be turned to our side, however. The face is of neutrality and that can be reclaimed with balance." He draws back, sideways toward thedoor.
  266. "I'm glad we can still get through to one another in conversation, Task. I told you before I'd approach you directly and speak, but I needed to be in the right state to do it."
  268. His grin is genuine now, etched well within his features. Not even Geist had power over that force in itself, its doing something else entirely. It was a promise he refused to break that had become a part of his psyche.
  270. "When they steal away our smiles we have lost, Task. We'll remain ever vigilant to defend them, ever merciful to teach them, and ever decisive to cleanse when needed. Vengeance is not in our repertoire."
  272. "We must be Justice."
  274. And with that he moves to depart the Inn, cheer restored and a bit of warmth of Task's drink in his stomach to calm the nerves after such a tense exchange which had turned to warm agreement.
  276. The way of light yet prevailed.
  277. (Valero lux Montclaire)
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