Present: Esmii @BlackRoseSiren,Marz @Th3King0fChaos, Roslyn @Fallenreaper, Khaliun @YummyYummy.
Present: Esmii @BlackRoseSiren,Marz @Th3King0fChaos, Roslyn @Fallenreaper, Khaliun @YummyYummy.
A Wolf Among the Sheep.
A long sigh escaped Khaliun's dry lips. Even the moisture in the air had been taken by the ceaseless hunger of the marble. Her ghostly frame slowly descended down until her feet hit the floor, and she stood straight and still, hammer dragged over her shoulder. Then, she walked. With a regular and patient gait, she walked closer to the group, her eyes locked onto Marz and his rival weapon.
“Ask your questions.” He said with a dry throat, eyes peering very briefly toward Roslyn. Fritz, having taken cover behind a crate, emerged from his hiding spot and just kind of sat down. Exhausted and very much in need of a raise.
"Okay, the most obvious question. What do you intend on doing with the devices if you got them?" Roslyn asked, her voice surprisingly even and calm. For now.
“Secure them for my country.” Khaliun answered apathetically. “It's only a matter of time before other countries get weapons like these. I intend to have Vossoriya survive and thrive in a world that is changing. Rapidly.”
Roslyn weighed the answer, then asked another question. "That individual at the river, the one that killed the Volti and tossed him into the river. Who was that?"
“Radomir. Legendary Protector of Vossoriya.” she looked to Roslyn again with quarter-lidded eyes.
“Our very first emperor.”
"First Emperor? That's not possible. He would have to be..." Roslyn's confusion surfaced on her expression as she tried to explain it in her head.
Marz tolled his shoulder as he set his hammer to the ground. Drawing in the energy as he assessed himself. Shifting his and finally opening his mouth to speak, "If yer set on keeping 'em. I wish to keep one. I wish to make a bet'er device against 'em so mi people will not be victims''
“Sanguinaire.” she gestured to the blood surrounding them post-massacre. “Case in point.”
For a moment Khaliun kept up the high-tension silence between her and Marz after his request. Her eyes squinted and studied his small form.
Marz nodded as he formed an impromptu stone block behind himself to sit while he took a breath. There is a possibility more fighting will come and the skittish girls seemed inquisitive.
"I thought those were myths. If that... was an example of what the people are living with. I can understand why Oksana was concerned." Roslyn spoke quietly to herself, her eyes turned down. At Marz's less hostile statement, her form relaxed more. They had seemed to find a mutual ground even just for the moment.
"I want to help you, Marz. I want to know how these work, how to disarm them, and even find them. I don't know for sure, but I don't think either the Sanguinaries or the Volti know where these came from." She licked her lips.
"I don't think we'll see the last of them. Even if we did decide to destroy them." It was then she noticed something. "Have you been always able to walk and just didn't?"
“I've had a chance encounter.” Khaliun answered Roslyn's latest query and then once again focused her attention on Marz.
“That marble. Do you wish to use it on the author of your imprisonment?” she canted her head until her cheek rested on the metal shaft of her hammer. “Radomir, that is.”
Marz looked to the woman, he shifted his head as he met her gaze. "Why do ya ask?"
The Indigo Fury swung from her shoulder and landed with a thud by her. Khaliun's own arm couldn't reach the butt of the shaft, and so she merely leaned against the immensely heavy weapon. “It is made from a Vossoriyan chaos marble, correct?” she asked, although no answer was needed.
“I'd ask that it'd be returned to us once the tyrant has been slain. But ...” her pupils shifted to where she could sense the nullification device. “This device. Did you make it?”
Marz lightly tapped the handle of his hammer as he listened. He thought for a moment as she spoke before he then swung his leg up to rest his foot on his knee and set his elbow onto it to lean while he looked to Khaliun.
"Aye, and the other Hegelans who were once trapped down below"
While Marz and Khaliun talked, Roslyn rose and moved over to the devices. She reached for one and studied it for a moment.
Esmii, for the most part, was silent - overwhelmed. “So, it was a group effort?" inquired Esmii.
She'd been quiet and she knew it. In truth, she was mostly just glad that Dmitry was dead - turned into a paste on the floor or else absorbed into the chaos marble at the mighty hammer's heart. She glanced over at the stain that had been him and swallowed, half-expecting the monster to come back somehow.
Marz looked to Esmii as he answered. "Aye, not one of us alone could have made this under those conditions"
She blinked. Hegelans and their crafting. Her own people were by no means pushovers in that regard, but they were not obsessed with their craft as the mountain-dwellers were. An idea struck the yasoi, however.
“But I bet you could figure out how to make one by yourself, right?" she prodded. “If you needed to?"
“Then you and your associates are marked for dead.” Khaliun said with a straight face and flat voice.
“This device you have renders all the efforts here worthless. They will likely eliminate most of you and keep a couple as slaves, if I were to wager what was the best strategic approach.” She exhaled from her nostrils as she looked down to the sitting Marz.
“But they don't have to know the author of this device is alive. Nobody but us knows.” a smile crept itself onto her lips. “So, let's make a deal.”
Marz nodded to Esmii. "If given the time, possibly"
Marz tapped his hammer handle once more when Khaliun spoke, she seemed serious and yet seemed to have an idea of some kind. Marz' gaze hardened as he responded. "What kind of deal?"
Esmii blinked. “Why don't we all just make a deal to keep quiet as... you know, friends!?"
This was hardly the situation during which to try to press your friends for advantage. Sven had been somewhat wary of Khaliun earlier and now she was beginning to see why.
Khaliun extended her hand. “The device. Give it to me. And you can leave with your knowledge. Make another. I don't care about the specifics. But I need-”
Then Esmii spoke. “Because I need leverage. We are not in a good position. And the other marbles need to be secured.”
Roslyn examined the small globe. It was uniform in color and composition aside from where there was a single small red button. The vast majority was made of a dark, faintly shiny material that was neither wood nor metal, nor was it some other more exotic thing that she recognized. She shifted it from one hand to another slowly. It was not particularly dense, but it was heavy and weighed faintly in the direction of the switch.
When she looked closer, she noticed that its surface seemed to be perforated all over by innumerable tiny holes. There appeared to be no writing or script of any sort on it though, when she tried to sense it, she did pick up on faint magnetic and thermal signatures inside. Her eyes drifted over to the conversation and where it was leading.
“Marz, do you recognize any of these materials that this thing is made of?” She interrupted in hopes to ease the tensions. “I'm wondering, if we can figure out what the materials are then we can narrow down where it came from. I also agree with Esmii.”
Marz laughed as he slapped his knee. "Esmii, everyone needs something. No deal is made without a side needing something".
Then his eyes returned to Khaliun, she seemed to wish to take the device. He tapped the hammer more as he thought, and then answered. "You can have it after everything is done and I smashed that bastard's head"
A flash of suspicion crossed Esmii's mind, but she was, in general, an agreeable enough sort to let it pass. Sure, you needed something in return with clients and strangers, but these were, by and large, people she'd gone to school with for a year or at least fought alongside for the past nearly two weeks. You could just give your word and that would be that, wouldn't it?
“Well, at least we agree that we should take one back with us to study, right?"
Khaliun was unmoved. Literally. “I'll level, then.” dry and straight to the point, her default.
“These masked invaders want the marbles. Vossoriya cannot be left naked after this, or Kirimansk will just be an appetiser. I need to trade the cure to their poison for our lifeline.” she scoffed lightly.
“I can either give them the item itself, or the minds that made it.”
Marz' eyes lightly wandered to Roslyn for a moment as she spoke, he looked at the device for a second and extended to take it. He inspected it for a moment as he said,
"Aye, we call it sea leather. Terrible to work with but melts easily. Comes from the Arid Sea"
Marz nodded as he began to rise himself.
"I understand, I need my own securities too". He didn't make himself hostile as he stood just standing to finish his rest. "The sooner we finish our fight here and secure the Hearts, the sooner we leave and you get the device".
Marz looked back to the fighting happening near the fort. "Time is wasting and if we are too slow the man who I'm aiming for might fall to another's hand"
Esmii had been, once again, roundly ignored. She fiddled a bit with the things in her satchel and glanced about. “Should we just be, um... standing here?" she inquired.
Fritz, meanwhile, had fulfilled his contract and this was all getting very grand for him, and well out of his league, much as he was of a mould adventurous enough to have travelled all of the way across the sea to Vossoriya. He was busy polishing his sword, which he'd had scarce little chance to use in that fight. He'd been happy to stay as far as possible from that monster as he could, except when putting an end to him, of course.
“I've never been there. At least we might have a place to search.” She bit her lip, then inhaled. We can't deal with the marbles," She pointed to Esmii and herself. "but we can buff and possibly discourage any threats. The biggest question is... what do we do with the devices? We only need one, right?"
Marz looked to Roslyn. "As the lady in front of us said, she wants to keep the rest for her people"
Khaliun did not move, still, even if Marz wanted to pass.
“You don't stand a chance alone, Marz.” she pushed herself off the massive weapon she had been leaning upon and reached out to hold it with a single hand.
“Not without me and my arsenal. And I'm not facing Radomir without securing my country's main means of protecting itself. Otherwise it is all for nothing.”
"Right, I meant where we drop them off? Don't want the Volti getting them while we're busy." Roslyn corrected herself.
Esmii merely released a small sigh.
Marz chuckled as he said. "We're letting them get away with the Hearts". Marz then took up his weapon as he began to pass to get ready to leave,
"As long as we're near each other you know it's safe. Think of it as my insurance that I know you won't just pull the same thing as the Tyrant. As how it's been, Vossoriyans have not been quite nice to me and my people"
Noticing her friend's sigh, Roslyn put the handed off device into her satchel. She moved over next to the Yaosi and asked in a quiet whisper. “Everything okay, Emsii?"
Fritz rose, slinging his gun, once more, across his back. He looked at Khaliun. “My contact is fulfilled three times over,” he announced.
He hadn't faltered or wavered, throwing himself into combat on her behalf multiple times and eliminating close to a dozen of the enemy himself.
“And they have been good fights: harrowing and worthy, and I believe I have shown the value of my skills. To attempt to kill the legendary protector of Vossoriya, and an elder sanguinaire, however, is much more than I was hired for.” He regarded her expectantly.
“Oh, yeah, fine," she remarked.
“Just waiting on them two to hash out whatever it is that they will."
“Sanguinaires have not been kind, not Vossoriyans. They're ...” she grit her teeth. “led by degenerated rulers with no direction. They're stagnant. No vision.” she shook her head.
“I digress.” “I'm going for the sacred caves. Whether you come along or not is entirely your choice.” she too was primed to leave. A nod was sent Fritz's way.
“You've fulfilled your side of the contract. I have mine. And you will be compensated once again should you join me one final time. Generously.” she chuckled quietly. “But I understand. This is war. Survival is your responsibility.”
The accumulated bags of devices were gathered about and dragged via Khaliun's expert use of Kinetic magic paired with her significantly boosted RAS. It did make her stand out more, but she didn't have to break much of sweat now that she did not have to actually carry herself as well.
“I'm coming." Roslyn lifted up to follow, her bag secured to her side.
Fritz nodded in return. “I will watch and be available should the need arise. I trust in full that I will be paid should that be the case." In the meantime, they were packing their stolen loot like bandits, eager to make an escape with it and find the hopefully-still-hidden chaos marbles.
The marbles found them. He was standing there in the middle of the darkened warehouse, silver mask expressionless and gleaming under the faint moonlight streaming in through a hole in the roof: Volto Argento. He took a couple of steps in Khaliun's direction and tilted his head to one side. Two gloved hands emerged from his all-encompassing cloak.
They turned over and opened like the petals of a lotus flower in the morning. In each was a pair of chaos marbles. They remained this way for just long enough that everyone could confirm, with their own eyes, what he held. Then, open palms turned back into fists and retreated beneath the cloak.
"I trust you have what you came for as well," he remarked.
It was thought that this was a race against time.
No, they should all have learned by now that time was something they couldn't rely on. The beings they were facing, monstrous and nearly unfathomable, had tamed time herself long ago. The marbles were likely taken right as Argento had claimed Natasha. The fact that he now stood in the very centre of the warehouse did not shock Khaliun. Still, the unease was strong. Little was known about Volto Argento other than he was of the three most dangerous of the murderous organisation. By all accounts an enemy like every other Volti agent. And yet ...
“I have.” spoke Khaliun with unchanged frigidness to her tone, and yet the way she looked at him - the utter lack of suspicion or a glare - suggested some form of familiarity.
The bags she had been carrying were all put on display before her, with only one kept to her side, idle hand posed onto its surface. “Every bag intact. And the Zavesta Imperi gone. Half your men are alive too, the bloodsucker killed the other half.”
Roslyn's eyes watched the exchange for a moment. Still, the twitching sensation of urgency filled her and her feet restlessly moved. Her teeth bit her lip at the one less fighting alongside them, but she couldn't blame him.
Praying they survived, she turned to follow Khaliun. The glint of a silver mask caught her attention causing her to focus on the man standing before them. The Hendlish girl froze, but before she reacted, the man spoke. Khaliun responded, causing Roslyn's eyes to flutter to her. Regrets flooded into her mind and she recalled Oskana's conversation.
“Khaliun, what's going on?" Roslyn didn't stop the question from uttering from her lips. Her frightened eyes returned to lock on the silver mask that signified the Volti.
Upon seeing the new Volti appear, the Yasoi was taken back by how casual Khaliun was talking to them. A thought of dread rushed through her head, she didn't want to believe it at first.
"Khaliun, why are you talking so casually with this person." pointing towards the silver masked stranger.
Looking towards Roslyn, it seemed she was just as confused as she was. Looking back she did have her doubts on Khaliun, even Sven did, which he warned his Yasoi lover. She felt a sharp pain of betrayal, it caused her to speak.
"Have you been with them all this time, even though they tried to kill us not too long ago, or was that part of the plan? Put yourself in danger so we wouldn't suspect you?"
Khaliun tilted her head. “Because he and I have an agreement.” she answered Esmii's first query.
“I needed to pull Radomir out of hiding. The best way to do this was ward off his enemies so he would drop his guard. And prevent you people from turning on each other.” her tone fluctuated into something slightly more venomous in her latest sentence.
“Some of you would side with the Sanguinaires and would not hesitate to kill their own comrades.”
Roslyn shook her head, not believing a word. “No, that doesn't make sense. Why would we turn on each other?”
Her hand tightened into a fist, wanting to strike or do something to stop it. Fear tried to temper the anger snaking its way through her core. This pain was new and unfamiliar. “How can you trust them to keep to it?” Her eyes glanced at Marz to see his reaction.
“Do you trust every single member of your group unconditionally? Do you even know who most of them are?”
“I haven't had a reason to question someone... until now.” Roslyn replied.
Marz grits his teeth, he tightened his grip upon his hammer. Marz looked at Khaliun and spat to his side. "Gods be damned, of course".
Marz' blood boiled before he just sighed out, "Should of known, if they truly came for our lives they would have done so with more force".
Marz spoke out to Khaliun while he was looking towards the Silver Masked man, "So what now?"
Volto Argento merely watched and waited, letting the children bicker amongst themselves. Some showed more of a proclivity for rational thinking that others. Some were 'passionate'. They spoke of him as if he were not even there. Manners, manners. They spoke of him as if could not just kill them all on the spot and take what they held, but that was against the code of the Dieci Volti Nascosti. Except against their very worst enemies, it was always their duty to offer a fair deal, to not merely kill on sight. Then, however, one of them said something that got his attention. It was the Hendlish girl.
"The truth," he admitted. "is that you cannot." he shrugged, walking forward to accept the sacks full of magic disruptors.
"Life's greatest and least moments come from that leap of faith known as trust." There was the slightest turn of his head, as if he were regarding her through the frozen expression of his gleaming silver mask.
"Your friend here is right, however." He indicated the unusually tall hegelan among their ranks. "We have no personal quarrel with you." He shook his head.
"In truth, you are being used as pawns by forces you may want to be wary of." He indicated the bags. "You give us what we came for, and there need not be any issue between us." They could not see how his eyes narrowed behind the mask. "At the very least, we agree that these bloodsuckers need to die."
Roslyn snapped to the man's words. Fear rushed to her surface, but she bit back. Though she didn't have faith her efforts were successful. She didn't move, but she didn't react. She just held his gaze the best she could.
"I find it hard to believe when actions don't quite match with the words."
“We keep the peace.” answered Khaliun to Marz's question. The bags were all presented for Argento to claim, except for one - the bag to Khaliun's right.
“One for Vossoriya. A purge of the scum will be in order once the head of the viper has been severed. To bring in the change we've agreed upon.” She wasn't done. The Strazi clenched her hammer.
“And the marbles. Vossoriya should not be left naked like a buffet for the next hungry elder to claim.”
Argento had nothing to say to the less important girl. He had spoken his piece and she had chosen not to believe him. He turned to Khaliun and shook his head and it was a concise motion.
"The Traveler is not a fan of weapons of mass destruction, and I can scarcely say I blame him." He held one up between two fingers. He smiled, though it wasn't visible through his mask. The intent was there, and that warmth could certainly be felt.
"You hold onto yours, though. Far be it from me to take from someone what they have fairly one and what is not mine to take."
Marz watched the masked man begin to speak and walk forward. Marz listened as he lightly shifted his hammer and set it down while keeping hold of the handle. All he could do at this moment was watch. The man was powerful enough to wield multiple Star Hearts and more so an agreement was in place before him. One that if Marz broke the peace all he would do would get himself killed. Marz just responded to the Silver masked man.
"Is yer plans ta get rid of the weapons?"
Esmii listened intently to each conversation. Esmii plucked up the courage while looking at the person with the silver mask and asked, trying not to sound aggressive. “So what now.”
Argento nodded. "The Dieci Volti believe in placing limits on the violence that men can do to each other, and these weapons far exceed those limits."
Marz nodded back, "That is another thing we can agree on"
Argento inclined his head in polite agreement, waiting for Khaliun.
“I do not believe the traveller is a fan of leaving the vulnerable to their own devices when the scavengers come to feed either.” retorted Khaliun.
“What's stopping Sawand, or an elder's personal army, from making a play? These weapons do.” Steam erupted from an increasingly frustrated Khaliun. Theatrics, of course, as she had planned leverage for this situation.
“Let's make a deal.” she stepped closer to the Volti, hammer flung over her shoulder again. “Half. For the device that can nullify every one of these.” she gestured her chin to the grouping of devices that had been accumulated.
Roslyn shifted to sat down on one of the nearby crates taking a moment to reflect on things. It was the first since they rushed from the monastery that she had the chance to. Truthfully, the exhaustion started to edge in and weighed her down. She had opened her mouth to ask something when Khaliun spoke first. Realising she referred to Marz' device, she silenced her words to see what would happen.
"A device?" His voice betrayed both interest and scepticism, though more of the latter.
Khaliun twisted to regard Marz. And she reached out with the gift to merely tug at the familiar device. The movement made the subject of her offer evident.
Marz snorted out a laugh. "Already slinging it around eh?" Marz began to unhook the device from his belt and held it out for Khaliun to take it if she wished.
The air shimmered slightly, and Argento was suddenly there to take the device instead. He turned it over in his hands, examining it. "Hmm," he sniffed, inspecting some of the details.
"The workmanship is makeshift but intricate - quite different from my own." He handed it over to her. "I suppose I should be interested in it. Appears Hegelan in manufacture if I'm not mistaken."
Khaliun pursed her lips as Argento inspected the goods. His latest comments prompted a brief narrowing of her eyes that fit so well with her natural bitch face.
“The know-how is what I'm offering. Those that made it, to be specific.” she looked to Marz again. “For three marbles to stay within Vossoriyan lands.”
Marz was first taken aback by the sudden appearance of the Masked Man who grabbed the device from his hand, but he steadied himself. It was until Khaliun then 'offered' the knowledge of it. Marz' face scowled in anger as he then barked out,
"I'm not something for trade! You wench!"
“What... have your own? Does that mean you created these devices or had a hand in it?" Roslyn asked. Upon hearing Khaliun offer up the device's creator, the question was forgotten. Her form lifted and immediately stepped in front of Marz, though she knew she was no match.
"I'm not going to let you take him.”
Khaliun sneered. “Do not oversell yourself. You were in the depths for less than a couple of days. Under surveillance. The insight you can provide is close to worthless.”
Esmii followed suit, she stood next to Roslyn, and took hold of Roslyn’s hand, in front of Marz. “He's been through enough, please leave him out of this.”
Argento watched their mixed reactions and smiled behind his mask: "close to worthless" versus "I'm not going to let you take him." Their hand had been tipped by this inconsistency. He had forced this a dozen times and seen it even more.
"It may be true that you have fought against friends of mine," he replied, bowing his head momentarily.
"and this is something I regret, for ample blood has been spilled today, unnecessarily. We all know that it should have been these monsters we call sanguinaires, and only these monsters." He tilted his head in that trademark gesture once more.
"So, I do find it odd that you assume I hold naught more than ill intent," he replied, shaking his head slightly.
"When I could simply strike you down and take what I want, I have not. I wish for the destruction of a horrible weapon - those chaos marbles - and I have not once spoken untruth." He paused, turning slowly to take them all in before settling upon Khaliun. They could not see how his eyes narrowed behind the mask.
"Yet, your 'friend' here has lied both to you - about her deal with me - and to me, about what she wanted and was offering, which, I may add, is to be given weapons of mass destruction - weapons I would see properly disposed of - carte blanche, to 'protect' Vossoriya." He shook his head.
"I know that the bonds of familiarity and comradeship under arms are a heady tonic. I know them well. I have felt their pull and I grieve for my lost friends as you might, but I pray you do not allow these to cloud your better reason. Which outcome is the worse?" He shook his head.
"She has lied multiple times to multiple parties. I am... not sophisticated in my demands. I wish for these magic disruptors so that I may hand them to the common people so that they are not preyed upon by the appetites and avarices of the rich and magicked. I want the chaos marbles that such a horrible weapon might be destroyed, lest it be used." He spread his hands. "I stand here, before you, asking politely."
Marz looked to the others, "Aye, I can agree with the man"
Khaliun scoffed. “If they are such vile weapons, Argento,” signs of growing frustration became apparent in her voice. “then why are they not already gone, rather than being flaunted right before our eyes?” She turned to the student group.
“I have not lied either. My devotion is to Vossoriya and its people. Before myself. Before the crown. Before anything else.” the hammer was hoisted off her shoulder and pointed to Argento. Nothing was drawn, as to not provoke an extreme reaction from others.
“The Volti see eye-to-eye with me in that regard. The sticking point is this. The weapons.”
"Even if we disagreed, as you pointed out, you could kill us and take what you wanted. Which makes me wonder why you're wasting energy talking to us. Also how would you destroy these things?" Roslyn asked, curious.
"And how, pray tell, might I dispose of these safely when it is only my constant drawing of gravitational energy that is keeping them from devastating this entire space?" He tilted his head once more.
"Do you, yourself, know?" He shook his head.
"They will be destroyed once I have them all and not one of these vile items remains loose, somewhere high over the open ocean, as is proper. I was going to let you keep yours, but now you have pricked my suspicions most direly." His voice was fairly bristled.
“Suspicion of what?” Khaliun challenged. “My stance remains the same. Marbles for the architects of the device. I would be content without them if there was some sort of insurance of my country's safety from those that covet it.” she narrowed her eyes.
“But direct intervention isn't the way of our common superior, is it? Which leaves only those like me to protect and preserve.”
"Why, just four days ago, did he not step in directly in ReTan?" Argento shook his head. "If the threat is dire enough, if people would suffer en masse - and not merely the privileged few who place their boots upon all others - he will act. This, you know." Volto Argento straightened, then, and energy began to be drawn, though it was not so very much as one might expect.
"Now, it is simple: I am not your enemy unless you make it so. I want the disruptors and I wish to dispose of those murderous weapons. This is now your choice."
Roslyn subtly glanced at the devices then back to her companions. Could they destroy the devices or get them away before either of them attacked? She doubted it. Keeping her hand mostly out of sight, she gestured for her friends to move out of the pair's clashing zone.
“I wouldn't know.” remarked Khaliun. ReTan was far, and she was here. “I still refuse to stand idly until my country is under the threat of unadulterated destruction to have it protected. I'm a soldier, fighting for the country is all I know. And depending on an outside interest is not a solution to me.” but then she sighed.
“I am not your enemy, however. And we have a common goal that's yet to be realised.” the lifted hammer was spun upside down with the head slammed to the floor. “The fate of the marbles should be discussed once the Thousand-Year Oppressor is destroyed. Is this agreeable?”
Argento paused, and the moment stretched out into the distance of time. Then, finally, he nodded, and there was an audible sigh from inside the mask. "We have terms," he decided, "for now."
Esmii listened, then turned to her friends, “We should meet up with the others.” She offered her hand to Roslyn and asked them all. “Should we be off. Also Argento, I do agree the marbles need to be dealt with.”
Roslyn had hit her limit. "If we leave, the devices will be gone. Remember what Oksana said? The people are nothing, but mice to both of them..." Her voice was cold and steady.
"These people have suffered more than I can imagine, and even we haven't helped that. I'm tired of feeling helpless and being unable to stop it. I don't think anyone is trustworthy of wielding those weapons, but something bothers me. Why so many devices? You only need a few to be effective to keep monsters away or protect themselves." Her eyes looked directly at the silver masked man.
Volto Argento took a moment to address Esmii. "I imagine that all of us agree on that, except for Khaliun here." He shook his head, ready to move on for now. "But combining our strength gives us the best shot at taking down a common enemy for the time being, so we'd best start moving." He began to reach for the threads of space and time once more, taking and grasping them.
Then, the other girl spoke. He paused and he - actually - blinked in bemusement. It was as if everything that he'd just said - an entire manifesto on his intentions, what the Volti stood for, and how very much he was holding back when he could've simply crushed them like everyone else with power might've - it was as if she had heard not a word of it. He saw, then, through the holes in his mask, a small and insignificant creature that had been so stripped of agency, so very ineffectual, that it had lost all manner of reason in its pursuit of anything to grasp hold of.
Now, the mouse bared its teeth at the cat and... he did not much care to be a cat, but was he to indulge her, truly? Did he have time for this when plans laid years in advance - ones which could shape the world for the better - were about to require him to shepherd them to fruition? Would it not just be easier to step on this small, snarling thing and move on. Surely, he had built up enough goodwill with Oraff and Dami... Allowing himself a hiss of vexation and also of warning, he indulged her only so far, turning halfway.
"You assume that our goals are small in scope when, in fact, they span the globe over: everywhere the common people must bow their heads and bare their necks to those who lord the Pentad's Gift over them - to those who rule unfairly and unjustly, using strength as a replacement for competence, privilege as a replacement for wisdom, and bloodline as a replacement for true nobility." He was facing her now, stalking forward angrily, his voice rising as he continued.
"We aim to remake the entire world in the image of love, learning, opportunity, equality, and justice as the Menana tells us that Itte, Sciune, Oraff, Echeran, and Dami intended!" He came to a halt, towering over her though he was not, in truth, so very tall, daring her to strike at him. "This is why we fight all who oppose us with such absolute conviction. It is why we need so very many of these wonder devices and it is also the only reason I have not done as they - and I mean the 'masters' - do and step on you to remove you from my path. I am fast running short on both patience and time, however, and I have stated my truth more than once. I will not do so again." He reached out to take the boxes. Would it be by consent or by force?
Marz listened to the conversation being had, he took hold of his hammer once more and brought it to his shoulder. He seemed contemplative as the others spoke, he was also wary, seeming to stay focused as he listened. It was not until the man stalked forward, seeming to have enough with idle chat. Marz nodded his head to the Silver Masked Man as he took hold of Roslyn's shoulder.
"Let'm take 'em". Marz didn't want to fight the man, he was a potential ally for in an intense fight he expects. Now Roslyn stood face to face with him, and is within moments of being killed, possibly much the same that maddened Magpie was. Marz began to try and pull Roslyn away, "He has some point, but we need to leave like Esmii said". Marz thought it was time for them to leave, it is the best they could do for now. Terms were set to continue talking later.
When Argento words sliced into the air, his patience lost, causing Roslyn to flinch. Her teeth gritted and her eyes remained on him. For a heart stopping moment, she thought he was going to crush her and move on. Instead he towered over her with righteous fury.
Her earlier plan curled into ashes when Marz's voice rang out. With the fight torn out of her, she let him pull her away. "Okay, but I hope we don't regret it later." She said quietly, her core feeling the sting of the earlier words.
Esmii listened to the answer from Argento, but when his interest moved to Roslyn and stalked forward and stood over her, she was terrified for her friend. She listened to what he said to Roslyn and after Argento moved and Marz had talked to her, Esmii moved in front of Roslyn, and slapped her across her face, straight after she hugged her trying to hold back tears, and said.
“I'm sorry that I got angry and slapped you, but please don't do this, I know how you feel, I'm worried and not happy about this too, but Marz is right, let him have them, and he could be helpful later.”
After she had hugged Roslyn for a bit, she then held Roslyn's hand, and looked at both Marz and Roslyn and said. "Lets see if we can meet up with the others and come up with a plan."
Roslyn rubbed her cheek where Esmii had slapped her. She didn't see it coming or expected it, really. Her eyes stared at Esmii and words lodged in her throat. To her credit, she didn't yelp or cry. Just stood there in shocked silence while processing what happened. The redness started to fade, but the dull throb remained. A painful reminder of her foolishness.
There was no excuse for it. Her friends saw that, and anyone with a brain could too. However, her parents taught her that everyone made mistakes. It was what one did afterwards that mattered most. She let Esmii hug her for the whole time before squeezing the yaosi's hand in her grasp.
"That hurt, but I'm sure I earned that. You're right. Let's go." She said in a quiet, but calmer tone.
Before they set off to find the others, Esmii checked, cleaned the area and put a bandage on the bite that Marz got from Dmitry, to stop any infection and to stop it from bleeding. While she did this, she remembered seeing this type of injury, when she helped at her parent's clinic.
Esmii used to think that they were animal bites even though they didn't look like an animal that she knew. "There that looks better, and don't worry I used a normal bandage so we can show the others what happened."