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In Lem's Stash 3 days ago Forum: Test Forum
S H Y S C A A U S L E Y
S H Y S C A A U S L E Y

"Everything's different now. I don't understand. Is this the Divine Aeter's path for me? Was the Virtuous Mother lying to me all along?"
C H A R A C T E R P O R T R A I T
C H A R A C T E R P O R T R A I T
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C H A R A C T E R N O T E S
C H A R A C T E R N O T E S
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Shysca Ausley is a young half-elf Cleric who swore herself to a faith that worships an entity known as the Divine Aeter, and was gifted powerful divine magic. She doesn't need any kind of focus, but she finds that it helps her think more clearly if she uses a long metal staff colored white to match her clothing. Why metal? Well, in addition to a kind of spellcasting focus, it's also surprisingly useful for whacking a stubborn adversary over the head.

Speaking of her magic, it's very supportive in nature these days; healing, shielding, curing, reviving. While she can unleash the smite of the Divine Aeter in a flash of white light and flame, she very much prefers not to do that, firmly believing that violence should be the final recourse.

---

"I love you so much, my little light."

It feels like it's been a lifetime since then.

"Oh wow, Shysca, did you bake that all on your own?"

Like a whole world has come and gone in the time it took to blink the memories back behind her eyes.

"Of course daddy is proud of you, my little light. How could he not be?"

...Had it really only been ten years?

The cool morning air smelled of the past. Of early morning dew and early spring frost. Of strawberry pastries and pinecones, and the wide bank of the river. It smelled of the stones that she used to skip over the gray water. She breathed deep and closed her eyes, savoring this old simple joy, and all thoughts of guilt and redemption evaporated like mist in the sun as she walked lightly through Ardenfel like a great weight was gone, like she'd never known it was there.

As she walked, she saw the children that she knew so well. Danyl on the other side of the street. Lyndii would be reading, probably, even on a day like this. A kind of foolish pleasure seeped through her as she smiled. Her beloved Mary was walking in the other direction towards her, and her heart swelled. She opened her mouth to call out when another smell undercut the blissful haze.

Smoke?

She blinked, and the world was suddenly a blur. Fire. Steel. Screaming that she didn't realize was her. She looked around frantically and found everyone gone except Mary. And as soon as she started towards her, her hands ignited in searing pain. She looked down in panic and found them livid with a seething white radiance that soon spread over the rest of her body as she fell to the ground, twisting in agony. She looked up, trying to find MARY again through the white light,a nd onl y f oun d h e r s e l f--
C H I L D H O O D I N A R D E N F E L D
C H I L D H O O D I N A R D E N F E L D
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Shysca's first memory is of the road.

She remembers little enough of it; just faint flashes of her mom carrying her down a gravel path in a forest, snuggling up against her an inn's bed. Only the vaguest of images, now, but enough to remind her that wherever she was born, she would probably never know. But that doesn't matter, she tells herself. Though the vague flashes of town and wilderness nip at her heels now and then, Ardenfeld was home. An end to the traveling; a roof over her head; a warm fire every night; a father; and most important of all, a sister. Who she loved dearly. They were only half siblings, of course, but she didn't fully understand the concept at the time. All she knew was she had a little sister now, and she was the best.

Her new sister Mary was a handful, certainly; disappearing for hours at a time, showing up bruised and dirtied and causing Shysca no end of worry. But despite the struggle, she took to it like a duck to water. Patching up a hurt knee here, trying to keep her from running off into the woods there, singing some of their moms' old songs to help her when she was having trouble going to sleep: anything and everything she could do to help. And somehow, she just couldn't bring herself to be mad. Maybe a bit chastising; mom and dad were worried, after all. But then Mary would say something sweet, and press a pretty stone that she'd found near the lakeshore into Shysca's hand, and she was all smiles again. She would line the pretty stones and strange branches next to the fire, right against the wall on the left side.

Perhaps some are still there, even now.

And of course, though it started with Mary, it certainly didn't end there. Shysca had gotten a taste of caring for people, and it stuck. Before she knew it, she'd become a pseudo-older sister to many of the other kids in town too, with careful hands and a gentle smile. She never knew where her mom came from, and where she came from either. She never asked; she simply didn't care much. She didn't remember much of where they'd traveled, given her age, and she had new family in Ardenfeld. Leaving it was out of the question.

That said, by the time she was eight or nine, she came to the realization that her ears were shaped different from the rest of her family. Her mom, dad, and of course Mary all had nice round human ears; but hers were quite pointy, more than enough to recognize. Unlike the whole rest of her family, Shysca was an elf (well, at least half of one).

Because then, the bandits came.

And just like her life on the road, there are—mercifully—only flashes. Scattered, fractured images.

The warm fire consuming everything like a ravenous beast.

The roof that she'd come to rely on crashing into itself.

She remembers Mary's tiny hand trembling, cold as ice against her own. She remembers running. She doesn't remember where.

L I F E A T T H E O R P H A N A G E
L I F E A T T H E O R P H A N A G E
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In the Landeil orphanage, though...the smile came back in full force. It needed to be. She knew these kids. She'd played with them in the street. She'd patched them up after they'd scraped their knees. She'd heard them talking about their parents. She knew those kids; she loved those kids.

And what those kids didn't need was another person crying.

They needed someone they knew to turn to, she thought. She didn't know what the family who owned the orphanage were like when she first got there, so, quite simply, she devoted herself wholeheartedly to making everyone's lives better. She threw herself into it and didn't look back. All smiles, all the time. She comforted Mary when she had nightmares. She tried to talk things through with Teth, even when she didn't want to listen. She spent hours around Danyl; he always seemed to lean on her so much, after all. She spent a whole year like that. It wasn't a particularly good life. It CERTAINLY wasn't a comfortable one. But it was all that she needed in the end, right? Even after Mary ran away, leaving Shysca's hands and lower forearms marred with a large and encompassing burn that turned into a painful scar, even then, she kept trying. There were still kids that needed her help.

But then the Church of the Virtuous Mother stopped nearby.

She didn't know much about them. Didn't know anything, really. But just out of curiosity, she went to listen to the sermon. Just once wouldn't hurt, right?

And then Shysca was transfixed. She fell hard, and fast.

All thoughts of responsibility fled her mind as she heard them preach, and she felt a fire stoke in her heart. After the sermon, she approached them and explained: she had just come to hear them speak, she felt as though she'd been born anew. She lived in the nearby orphanage, could she leave with the and join the Church? And they acquiesced and lifted her out of the orphanage to return to their monastery with them, and live her life anew.

O N W A R D: A N E W P A T H
O N W A R D: A N E W P A T H
________________________________________________________________________________________
It was in the Church of the Virtuous Mother--a monastery high in the mountains, a long way away--that Shysca first learned of the Divine Aeter, the grand embodiment of all light and purity in the universe. And though she had some doubt at first, she became something of a zealot in a relatively short period of time. The Virtuous Mother and, by extension, the Divine Aether became beloved in her eyes. An idol.

And the problem with idols is that you stop really thinking about what they're doing.

Over the past ten years, there are numerous times that Shysca, using her newly-learnt holy divine magic, 'brought nonbelievers into the Divine Aeter's light' in the most permanent way possible. Things that she would've balked at not long ago, she barely noticed, she was so thoroughly indoctrinated into this cult. It was like she had only half a mind of her own. Word has begun to spread about her, slowly spreading through pockets of people: stories of the wrathful black-clad cleric with the burn-scarred hands.

Though...she did keep one secret from the Virtuous Mother. When Mary had fled the orphanage, Shysca had seen horns on her head. She'd seen the phantasmal flames that had writhed around her in her sleep back then. She knew that there was something demonic going on with her. She should report it, and she should be brought into the Divine Aeter's light. But...

But she couldn't. It just felt wrong.

Not long ago, she remembered something that she'd nearly forgotten. Old friends. A promise to meet. People--children then--whose faces she could still see ever so clearly in her mind's eye. And as she thought about their smiles, she felt a revulsion rise in her throat.

Would they ever smile at her like that if they knew that she had killed?

With no warning to the Virtuous Mother, she dropped the amulet that marked her as a member of the Church into a mountain chasm beside the monastery, replaced her black church robe with a dress of pure white, then fled off into the night to return to her old home, see the old faces. Perhaps it is only when she does that she'll resolve the crisis of faith that swirls inside her skull, and the horrible nightmares that have again to begun to plague her will perhaps abate.

The Church is behind.

The road awaits.

In Lem's Stash 8 days ago Forum: Test Forum

A M I E M O T H W A X
A M I E M O T H W A X

"Mmmnnn, hush...I just woke up..."
C H A R A C T E R P O R T R A I T
C H A R A C T E R P O R T R A I T
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C H A R A C T E R N O T E S
C H A R A C T E R N O T E S
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The chronically-sleepy Amie Mothwax has a tendency to appear stoic and emotionless, eyes blank and unfeeling. She speaks relatively little, and when she does, it's usually flat in its affect. You could be forgiven for thinking she has no emotions at all.

Which, of course, is quite far from the truth. She has an emotional range that's plenty broad, just as much as anybody else. What she doesn't have is a particularly good way of displaying that range. While those that don't know her wonder if perhaps she's been abused and that's why, that couldn't be more wrong. She's just...like this.
---

"I love you so much, my little light."

It feels like it's been a lifetime since then.

"Oh wow, Shysca, did you bake that all on your own?"

Like a whole world has come and gone in the time it took to blink the memories back behind her eyes.

"Of course daddy is proud of you, my little light. How could he not be?"

...Had it really only been ten years?

The cool morning air smelled of the past. Of early morning dew and early spring frost. Of strawberry pastries and pinecones, and the wide bank of the river. It smelled of the stones that she used to skip over the gray water. She breathed deep and closed her eyes, savoring this old simple joy, and all thoughts of guilt and redemption evaporated like mist in the sun as she walked lightly through Ardenfel like a great weight was gone, like she'd never known it was there.

As she walked, she saw the children that she knew so well. Danyl on the other side of the street. Lyndii would be reading, probably, even on a day like this. A kind of foolish pleasure seeped through her as she smiled. Mary walking in the other direction towards her and her heart swelled. She opened her mouth to call out when another smell undercut the blissful haze.

Smoke?

She blinked, and the world was suddenly a blur. Fire. Steel. Screaming that she didn't realize was her. She looked around frantically and found everyone gone except Mary. And as soon as she started towards her, her hands ignited in searing pain. She looked down in panic and found them livid with a seething white radiance that soon spread over the rest of her body as she fell to the ground, twisting in agony. She looked up, trying to find MARY again through the white light,a nd onl y f oun d h e r s e l f--
C H I L D H O O D I N A R D E N F E L D
C H I L D H O O D I N A R D E N F E L D
________________________________________________________________________________________


Mr. and Mrs. Yarrel and Talulah Celicantha (but please, call her Lulah) were fond of calling themselves the best bakers in Ardenfel. And they were very, very good at it; people would walk from the other side of the village to avail themselves of a fresh hot loaf, or a fruit pie baked to perfection. They were masters of their crafts; and though they were small town bakers that obviously didn't know how to make the delicate pastries that you might see in the big city, they were no less skilled for it.

But then everything changed, once their daughter was born.

Even Lulah didn't know that she had elven heritage. And Yarrel certainly had no idea at all; having hair that pale was unusual, but not impossible, obviously. Not until Shysca's birth. The hair that later grew on her head could be excused just like the mother's. The slightly oddly-colored eyes could be played off in any number of ways. Every odd quirk of her appearance could be explained away, save one. There was no getting around the sharply pointed ears. And Yarrel did not appreciate the idea of there being elf in his family.

Talulah loved Shysca enough for both parents, and made sure she grew up knowing that she was loved. But as she aged and her elven traits became more distinct, well, Yarrel grew what you might call...distant. He didn't grow violent, not until she was ten or eleven, when Talulah started to take ill. But moreso he just...neglected her.I t was like she'd lost her dad. Or, more accurately, like she'd never had one at all. Like she was a ghost to him. And so her mother's kindness became the most important thing in her life, and she began to mantle it. From that point on, she tried her best to be something like a mother--or, more likely, an older sister--to all the other kids in Ardenfel, or at least the ones she knew. After all, maybe if she acted like mommy then daddy would listen to her, right?

No. Obviously.

Once Yarrel started hitting her, that smile came less often. But, given she was in her double digits, that certainly wasn't the worst thing that would happen soon,would it?

Because then, the bandits came.

L I F E A T T H E O R P H A N A G E
L I F E A T T H E O R P H A N A G E
________________________________________________________________________________________
In the Landeil orphanage, though...the smile came back in full force. It needed to be. She knew these kids. She'd played with them in the street. She'd patched them up after they'd scraped their knees. She'd heard them talking about their parents. She knew those kids; she loved those kids.

And what those kids didn't need was another person crying.

They needed someone they knew to turn to, she thought. She didn't know what the family who owned the orphanage were like when she first got there, so, quite simply, she devoted herself wholeheartedly to making everyone's lives better. She threw herself into it and didn't look back. All smiles, all the time. She comforted Mary when she had nightmares. She tried to talk things through with Teth, even when she didn't want to listen. She spent hours around Danyl; he always seemed to lean on her so much, after all. She spent a whole year like that. It wasn't a particularly good life. It CERTAINLY wasn't a comfortable one. But it was all that she needed in the end, right? Even after Mary ran away, leaving Shysca's hands and lower forearms marred with a large and encompassing burn that turned into a painful scar, even then, she kept trying. There were still kids that needed her help.

But then the Church of the Virtuous Mother stopped nearby.

She didn't know much about them. Didn't know anything, really. But just out of curiosity, she went to listen to the sermon. Just once wouldn't hurt, right?

And then Shysca was transfixed. She fell hard, and fast.

All thoughts of responsibility fled her mind as she heard them preach, and she felt a fire stoke in her heart. After the sermon, she approached them and explained: she had just come to hear them speak, she felt as though she'd been born anew. She lived in the nearby orphanage, could she leave with the and join the Church? And they acquiesced and lifted her out of the orphanage to return to their monastery with them, and live her life anew.

O N W A R D: A N E W P A T H
O N W A R D: A N E W P A T H
________________________________________________________________________________________
It was in the Church of the Virtuous Mother--a monastery high in the mountains, a long way away--that Shysca first learned of the Divine Aeter, the grand embodiment of all light and purity in the universe. And though she had some doubt at first, she became something of a zealot in a relatively short period of time. The Virtuous Mother and, by extension, the Divine Aether became beloved in her eyes. An idol.

And the problem with idols is that you stop really thinking about what they're doing.

Over the past ten years, there are numerous times that Shysca, using her newly-learnt holy divine magic, 'brought nonbelievers into the Divine Aeter's light' in the most permanent way possible. Things that she would've balked at not long ago, she barely noticed, she was so thoroughly indoctrinated into this cult. It was like she had only half a mind of her own. Word has begun to spread about her, slowly spreading through pockets of people: stories of the wrathful black-clad cleric with the burn-scarred hands.

Though...she did keep one secret from the Virtuous Mother. When Mary had fled the orphanage, Shysca had seen horns on her head. She'd seen the phantasmal flames that had writhed around her in her sleep back then. She knew that there was something demonic going on with her. She should report it, and she should be brought into the Divine Aeter's light. But...

But she couldn't. It just felt wrong.

Not long ago, she remembered something that she'd nearly forgotten. Old friends. A promise to meet. People--children then--whose faces she could still see ever so clearly in her mind's eye. And as she thought about their smiles, she felt a revulsion rise in her throat.

Would they ever smile at her like that if they knew that she had killed?

With no warning to the Virtuous Mother, she dropped the amulet that marked her as a member of the Church into a mountain chasm beside the monastery, replaced her black church robe with a dress of pure white, then fled off into the night to return to her old home, see the old faces. Perhaps it is only when she does that she'll resolve the crisis of faith that swirls inside her skull, and the horrible nightmares that have again to begun to plague her will perhaps abate.

The Church is behind.

The road awaits.

There was a cruel catharsis about watching the newly-named 'Aisha' bash the Cautus over the head, and Aoife found herself trapped somewhere between a grimace, and a smile that bared a few too many teeth to be innocent. A piece of her truly empathized with the Sargonians; the predatory grasping of Victorian hands was something a native of Tara knew all too well, after all, and she'd enjoyed watching that baton smack more than she'd let on.

The moment passed, and she realized that the direction her thoughts had plunged was unbecoming of anybody, let alone a Rhodes Island operator. Yes, Victorians had burned her family home to the ground and killed her family. But that wasn't an excuse. She needed to be better.

...Ah. Aisha was staring at her. Possibly because she was staring at Aisha. She had the grace to look embarrassed as she averted her eyes, then coughed self-consciously. Which she then regretted immediately, as she felt a bolt of pain to her chest, tasted something odd, and realized that her embarrassed cough had in fact just turned into her coughing up a small amount of blood.

Well. Talk about embarrassing. Her eyes remained averted, head inclined in respect, as she murmured with a soft, flat voice, "Do so. I would like to talk to him more. When you contact us," She lifted her head again, regaining eye contact for just long enough to finish the thought as she pressed her hand to her chest by way of introduction, "Ash Girl."

She might've spoken more, and she rather wanted to push harder. But this was a woman, she thought, who would only make their life more difficult if they tried to bypass her. Best to let her handle this for the moment.

And besides, by this point she was quite thoroughly ready to be done with talking.

And so she glanced at Minimalist and Balthasar, then stepped back behind them, giving one more nod to Aisha. Not fair that only she got to talk, after all.
As Cyril got back up, Quinn relaxed her stance. Her shoulders heaved as her breaths came in sharp gasps. He wasn't as good as Dahlia, but he was certainly pretty good. She let out a little chuckle when he and Sybil had finished speaking, and she reached up to rub her chin. "Shot to my chin hurt, don't you worry." She paused for a moment, choosing her words to give him advice on how he left himself open and that let her close the space she needed. But before she could say anything, they started again. She was going to fight Sybil now, she supposed.

She blinked a few times at hearing Cyril talking about the terror of Camille's training again. It seemed as though it afflicted him with some primal terror. The whole thing was a little bit absurd, and she found herself muttering, "is it really that bad?"

But shaking her head, she dismissed the thought from her mind, and squared up for Sybil to step on the mat. Though something felt kind of...odd, about the whole thing. She really seemed like she didn't want to spar. And she could see why, she hadn't started looking forward to her training sessions with Dahlia for a good long while after they'd started. But at the same time, she'd been a...special case, given how she'd never really exercised in her life.

And the instant Sybil stepped out in front of her, she immediately understood why. Cybil was new to piloting, but clearly not to combat. She wondered if maybe that boxing ring out on the rec center had something to do with that. But clearly, Sybil was new to both piloting, and to combat. Which seemed strange to Quinn at first; in order to fight Modir you needed to fight, but she'd been deployed, and she was still here and alive. So—

—Aaaand she was running at her now, swinging a punch so wide and slow it seemed like she was trying to punch a Savior, not its pilot. For that split second, Quinn wondered what she should do. Should she just do it, knock her to the ground? No, that would feel awful, for both of them. Grab the punch and start talking? No, that might be even worse. So...?

As the punch swung wide, Quinn stepped out of the way, holding her hands up in the universal 'time out' T. "Wait wait wait, time time!" She held her hands up, ready to dodge any more poorly aimed shots that came her way. "You mind if I get a drink?" Truth be told, she was feeling a little parched. She'd had a weird day so far, and somewhere along the way she'd stopped drinking. And she could feel it now, in the hoarseness of her throat.

Stepping off the mat, she jogged over to her water bottle, mulling over what she was going to say as she took a long drink, savoring the sweetness of the water. Somehow it never got old.

She capped the bottle again, and a moment passed.

"...Is your weapon ranged, Sybil?"
Quinn settled into her stance as well, and began to edge towards Cyril, keeping her left side and thus eye forward as always. The instant she could, her slow pace burst into flurried motion as she delivered a powerful straight kick directly towards his waist. He'd backstep, and the momentum would be hers, along with the fight. She could see it plain as day; she'd used this exact tactic on Dahlia a few times before, and it had always been pretty effective as an opening gambit. He just needed to dodge, and then—

—His elbow swung down, and he blocked it instead. Her eye shot wide. A quick jab came straight at her, cracking her on the chin. If he didn't have padded gloves on, that would hurt. Another followed, this one a slow haymaker that would've hit like a truck. But thanks to its speed, she was able to recover from the first hit and slide out of the way just in time. It turned out that she was the one backstepping, teeth clenched, ready to get whacked a few more times for her carelessness.

He pressed his advantage, and she did take another hit, though whether it counted was debatable since it only grazed her helmet, she thought. Her breaths came quick and harsh, and she was having trouble reading his motions. She was too used to Dahlia, wasn't she?

Well. What was one of Dahlia's first lessons? Don't focus on his arms. Focus on all of him. She took a deep breath. He was throwing long punches to try and force her back, keep her past a comfortable reach so she couldn't retaliate. She was just about at the edge of the mat now, she was reaching a limit to how far back she could dodge. But it seemed like every time—she threw a quick punch of her own as he was mid-punch, catching him on the armguard. Yeah, that confirmed it. Because he was trying to keep her at a distance, every time he threw a more impactful punch at her, he would throw his arm way out, so it took him some time to pull it back. She needed to find the right moment...

Ah, there it was. His eyes were flicking to the right half of her face. He was trying to catch her blind spot. Smart. So the next hit would—THERE! His left arm shot out in a hook that she was pretty sure would knock her flat if it caught her. For just that crucial moment, he was exposed. Couldn't block since his arm was out, couldn't dodge since he was going forward. She ducked under the punch, briefly gathering strength in her legs like coiling springs. Going right for the side of her head, huh?

Two can play that game.

Then in a blur of motion, she whipped out a savage high kick that caught him right in the side of the head, and he dropped like a bag of rocks.
Aoife couldn't help it: when she heard the Victorian accent, she had to force herself to not freeze and lock up. She knew full well that it didn't reflect very well on her, stationed as she was now; but it was what it was as very unpleasant memories tried to force their way back to the forefront of her mind. The life of a Dublinn guerilla. Thirteen years old, watching people she knew brought back screaming, or not brought back at all. She knew that Dublinn wasn't good. That it clearly didn't care. County Hillock had taught her that much. But still...all those years couldn't just be ignored.

So there was a noticeable hiccup in her movement as she walked up to the feline, pulling out her identification badge and holding it up for inspection, and a stammer in her speech noticeable even through her accent that she smoothed out as best she could: "Rho—Rhodes Island. We're looking for an infected child, a—and have reason to believe he might have been taken out of the city by a group of Victorians." It was a bit more difficult to keep the antipathy out of her voice than she'd anticipated, but she did her level best, and thought she did about as well as could be expected.

"Speaking of," she continued immediately, trying to ignore her burgeoning headache as she inclined her head at the Cautus being bundled into the car, "what's the story with that?" Then, louder, "Letting who get away?"
Quinn smiled, happy that she was going to get to talk to Tillie more, and also, very excited to have someone in her room! Her dresser might be up by now—oooooooh, she could show off her dress! A part of her realized that it would probably be a bit weird, but she just really loved that thing, and she wanted to show it off as much as she could to as many people as she could. Well, people that she knew, at any rate.

She took a step back in, winding up in hugging range of Tillie, and nodded her head twice. "Uh huh, you can come to my room after dinner. I needed to see a friendly face too." She paused, muttered to herself: "...Will I need to let her in?" She didn't know whether she would need to let her in manually, or if she could just tell the system to let Tillie Tomm in, or...who knew what, really? Maybe she could ask—

OH! That was right! She was going to fight Cyril! She spied a large ornate clock sunk flush into the wall: afternoon, later than she'd thought, definitely time by now. He'd be at the gym now, right? Maybe after they sparred she could ask about letting Tillie in. He seemed like the kind of person to know. On that note, she also needed to get his contact information, and the other pilots' too.

She nodded to herself, then turned her attention back to Tillie, face writ with gentle regret. "I forgot, I have a place I need to be soon, I gotta go. See you after dinner, okay?" Leaning in to give Tillie one last squeeze, she disconnected, then departed, aiming for the lift. As she slipped into the door and it closed silently behind her, the silence was suddenly broken by her stomach growling menacingly. Ah, right, she hadn't eaten, and she didn't really have time to go out and eat. Hadn't she seen a vending machine somewhere, maybe the rec area?

A couple minutes later, rapidly disappearing protein bar and her retrieved water bottle in hand, she finally took that turn down the hallway and dove into the huge gym.

And yep, there Cyril was, decked out in sparring pads, already ready to go. And Sybil was there too, which she didn't expect; no pads on her, at least not yet. Swallowing down the last of the protein bar, she took a long drink, made sure her braid was nice and set so it didn't come undone again (how embarrassing would that be?).

That done, she gave a little wave and jogged over to the fabric basket with the rest of the sparring stuff in it, quickly donning her own. It was a little different; she had her own personal set at home, after all. But it would do fine. Cracking her neck, she tossed her water bottle over towards the wall, stretched, and stepped on to the mat. A part of her was definitely nervous; he was taller than she was, and he was probably stronger too. He would probably beat her at first. A hint of that anxiety was evident in her voice when she spoke:

"Ready?"

"Uhh..."

She looked up at the scaffolding, blue-suited Casobani engineers swarming over her Savior's face like ants, and shook her head. "I was thinking of looking at the cockpit to see if everything looks okay, but I get the feeling they probably wouldn't be happy with me going up there right now."

She tilted her head up to the grand cathedral of a ceiling, pondering if she had anything to really ask Tillie. Really, she was just happy to see her. She gave a little frown. Something from yesterday...she strained, trying to bring whatever it was back again. It was while she was at lunch or in the concourse, she thought, something about Tillie, about...

Ahhh, right. She wanted to learn a little bit about modiology, so she could talk to Tillie more easily about it. And that moment right there had just solidified it, because as excited as Tillie seemed, Quinn really didn't have much of an idea what she was talking about. Genetic anomaly? Mirroring adaptation? And if there was any time to ask about it, it would be now, right? When Quinn still some measure of free time, before the Casobani media got their hands on her and ate the rest of it up.

Still, it was kind of a strange question to ask, she thought. Could she really just ask her point blank to be her teacher? That seemed kind of weird.

Then again, them being in Casoban was weird to begin with, wasn't it?

"Um, do you think...maybe sometime you could teach me some modiology?" She looked down a bit in something like embarrassment. "I pilot Ablaze, but I don't know very much about it at all. So maybe...?"
As Quinn left medical, she very briefly considered explaining herself: she'd only discovered it herself a couple days ago, and she'd forgotten. Then she realized how insane that would sound. How ridiculous. And, furthermore, how suspicious. She didn't need her new commander not being able to trust her. That would be bad.

Quinn hadn't quite gotten used to the anatomy of the Ange over the Aerie, but she managed to find her way down to the hangar eventually, walking quicker than she had for the rest of the day. Her technician had arrived. And, as, she briefly looked over Ablaze as she walked, the ever-familiar orange jumpsuit began to move towards her in an ever-familiar way.

Quinn didn't stop.

Quinn didn't even slow.

In fact, she matched Tillie's jog pace for pace, sped up, and cannoned into her at frankly concerning speeds before wrapping her in a crushing hug. "TILLIE!!!"

And just like before, for just that barest moment of Tillie Hugging, everything felt a bit right with the world. Which was a bit of an impressive feat, considering.

But then that moment passed, and Quinn realized that she was being...very much stared at, and she gave a self-conscious cough and released Tillie once more. After a little bit; she didn't want to stop the hug quite then and there. But the impression she'd gotten from Casoban thus far had not been "pilots hugging their technicians." When it was finally over, Quinn rubbed the back of her head and let out an embarrassed half-laugh as she released Tillie, taking a step or two back. "Eheh, sorry about that. It's just...nice to see a friendly face." She had, after all, had quite the morning.

Right. People were staring. Another quiet cough. "How, um. How does Ablaze look?"

"I missed you."
Quinn had, in fact, not expected her medical exam to take very long at all. It seemed strange to think it now, but she'd only just discovered there was modium in her head and with how busy she'd been since then, how tumultuous yesterday had been, she'd forgotten all about it. Despite the severity of a piece of modium in her head. And so it was that after an hour or two, once the easy parts of the exam were over and midway through the head scan, there had been faint sounds first of confusion and then alarm from the doctor who'd talked to her. Minutes passed, and so did rapid footsteps in the hallway outside. Then it had gone quiet. And so, Quinn had sat in the exam room for the last two hours, totally isolated from everyone, with nothing to do but think.

It had been a long time since she'd had a morning that leisurely. On the Aerie, the second she was up, she was eating, and the second she was fed, she was out, usually heading for the sims or the gym. So that morning had been one of nigh-inconceivable luxury. Taking a long shower with her braid undone, replaiting it, unpacking her luggage finally, ordering a dresser that would come up later that day, shooting a few texts back and forth with Deelie, putting the sweaty clothes from yesterday aside to wash them later...it felt like she'd come unbuttoned from time, she'd had so much.

The one thing she hadn't done was eat breakfast. She knew that some medical tests didn't work if you'd eaten, so she'd just had a bottle of clean, clear water to start the day. By the time she'd been pinged to come to medical, she was almost grateful for it. She didn't quite know what to do with herself for that long.

Perhaps there was something a bit sad about that.

She wasn't entirely sure how long she'd been sitting in the exam room, dawdling her feet off the side of the table where they'd seated her as she stared up at the ceiling. One of the lights flickered every so often, and it had started to captivate her attention in a way few things could. Strange things happened to a mind when it was bored. It had helped to distract her from the images of her destroying the treaty again, at least.

She frowned, itching to put her eyepatch back on—being without it was discomfiting—and sighed for the umpteenth time, only to this time be cut off by the door shuttled open, and Toussaint walked in. Quinn gave him her best smile, but it was strained no matter how hard she tried, and after a moment she dropped it, waiting to hear her sentence.

"We have determined that you are not, currently, a danger to yourself or anyone who might be in close proximity to you."

Quinn couldn't help it; she let out a loud breath of relief as he went on. She'd need to come back every few days. That was fine, she was used to visiting medical constantly now after Roaki. She nodded along as he asked her as well to keep it hidden. No problems there. She didn't want much to talk about it either.

He stood at stared at her, and she twitched, before he revealed the best news that he possibly could, except maybe that Casoban had decided that the treaty was fine and Quinn could go home to the Aerie. So the best news he realistically could: her technician had arrived. The smile came back to her face as she nodded, small but sincere this time.

"Mhmm. I'm...sorry about all of that."
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