2010-02-13 (PreU) Fight the Future, Reflect the Past

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Fight the Future, Reflect the Past

Summary: It could have been just another day on Twisted Street, old comrades drinking and talking in the pleasant atmosphere of the Usual. But what begins as a simple passing of news and gifts between friends, soon turns into something much more; the passing of secrets held for too long, a further crack in the frosted facade of the ice maiden. The only question is, where do they go from here? The horrors of war await in the wings...

Who: Samantha, Xue
When: February 13th, 2010
Where: The Usual Restaurant


The information contained within this log is to be considered information gained Out of Character (OOC).
This information may not be used as In Character (IC) knowledge or in roleplay unless it has been learned in-game or permission has been granted by the parties involved.

Questions should be directed to staff.

The Usual Restaurant

You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the place and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and some holograms of different B-movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the place, it's surface polished and shiny and all together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are various beverages that are served and a giant mirror. There seems to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung about it. Multiple round wood tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit to the outside. A large fireplace rests in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.

Xue is sitting in a booth by herself, a frosty, although not solid glass of water on the table, and her nose pressed into a book. Also present on the table is an ornate kris dagger, with etchings made into it, nexto a greatsword, also etched.... seems the archmage is busy with something or another, as usual..... completely unaware of her surroundings.

Well-used hinges cry small complaint as the door to the Usual is thrust boisterously open, an extended palm quickly followed by the familiar shape of Samantha Li-Bogard. But what might be an equally familiar entrance is seen to be somewhat lesser-than, and she does not hold herself with that old energy; for all that she shoved the door hard, it appears to have been with casual strength. Her back is slumped, the fingers of her other hand shoved through the waistband of her canvas pants. Her expression is tired, and neutral.

That soon changes as those dulled sapphires scan the room, settling upon Xue. A faint smile prickles upon Samantha's lips, and she shifts her footing in mid-step to drift leisurely toward the half-elf's table. An eyebrow quirks upward as she surveys the instruments of war, and without speaking she lets a hand drift out, fingertips moving with curiosity to trace the etchings upon the kris. Notably, however, they drift /over/ rather than onto the blade - old habits die easy.

"Hey," she murmurs a beat later, whether she has already surprised the other woman or not, looking up to meet her eyes. Up close, a sheen of half-dried sweat can be seen to coat the catgirl's brow. Some habits don't.

Xue looks up with a start. Suprised, she is indeed, but she manages to compensate for it. Seeing Sam, she actually gives a genuine smile, somethign she rarely has done since coming here "Hey!". She Makes a quick gesture over the weapons, and the runes on both begin to glow, the kris a dull green, and the sword a cold blue. She picks up each and puts them into a small satchel at her side. Bag of Holding. Never leave home without it! "She closes the book and looks up "How ya been? Looks like you've been busy recently"."

"Always busy!" Samantha shoots back, speaking before thinking as her eyes linger momentarily on the satchel. The hand esconced in her waistband shifts, a little pulse of magical energy running through her fingers. As she looks back up to her friend, her smile widens to a grin. She catches the warmth, and it feels good - especially in light of events on Twisted. It's something to fight for.

That thought is somewhat sobering, and she pauses, drawing and releasing a breath before gracefully sliding into the seat opposite. Her elbows lift to prop against the tabletop, arms folding in front of her as she leans forward with a slow nod. "But yeah, you're not wrong. As to how I've been..." she trails off, puffing out her cheeks as she glances to one side. The smile still hangs in place, but it wavers visibly.

"I shoulda been around more, Xue, but I had to do somethin' about-" Exhaling softly through her nose, Samantha leans back, letting her hands fall into her lap. "I guess you probably know what's comin' to Twisted. There's a lot at stake, and I know that means I should have more time for my friends - for /you/ - but people stand to suffer. Good people. Weak people." She hesitates, her cheeks flushed with sudden embarassment, "You do know what I'm talkin' about, right?"

Xue nods "in war, that always happens. Ive seen two of them, and been in one. There are always those in between. Speaking of which, i have something to show you". She tosses a mithril bracer to Sam "Put that on, and activate it. Force of will is all it takes, in the event of silence or impaired limbs. Didn't know what kind of condition you would be in when i found you, so i crafted that just in case. Its based on the design of what i used back home". She also draws a ninja-to out of her bag, sheathed, and tosses that too. "I've been making weapons and items for those that aren't armed to use. Nothing overtly powerful, but enough to give them SOME chance. Figured youd make best use of this".

Cue a surprised blink from Sammy as a hunk of shining metal comes her way. Her reflexes haven't dulled though; if anything, they're better. More finely controlled if not actually faster, she deftly catches the article on an outstretched palm, steadying it with the other hand atop before shifting her grip to slide it over her forearm. Bright eyes examine it closely, her ears flicking once as she listens to Xue's explanation.

A gentle caress goes over the gleaming surface, and she starts to follow her instruction - hand closing subconsciously to a fist as she focuses - when she second gift is hurled her way. Her mouth parts wide in a feral grin, and she meets her friend's gaze with a vigour to rival anything she has shown in the past. The weapon is caught with a dull clink, held horizontally across the table before the catgirl rises up onto her feet, stepping away to draw the blade. The sheath shoots to her back, held aside as she makes a testing swing through the air, enchanted steel hissing.

"Did I mention I love you?" Sammy's quip comes with an adorable wrinkle of her nose, before the blade and sheath are brought together as one again. Setting it upon the table, she raises the bracered arm and allows her eyes to slip shut whilst she focuses. In a flash of crimson, she is armoured, shifting her footing automatically to account for the added weight. Even before she opens her eyes and views the result of her willpower. Open awe is the result, quickly twisting back into delight. "Suddenly," she states firmly, drawing her shoulders up as she draws a long breath, "I feel like I might /not/ die. I guess the only question left, is are you gonna be there with me? I won't be fighting alone... there's more spirit in these people than you'd reckon, but..."

With a shrug, she lets that die away, and moves to kneel, clasping her hands before her and looking up at Xue with good humour - though the gesture counts for a lot, no matter how much she may be playing. Her tone softens. "Honestly, after everything we've been through, standing alongside you would make this all seem real. These last few weeks still feel surreal, like I could wake up anyday and find myself back where I was."

Xue gives a smirk "Unfortunately for you, i don't, as they say, 'swing that way'". She raises an eyebrow "Actually, i've been planning and working on this stuff for some time now, even since the two councils started in at each others throats. Those two i made just in case i ran into you. If you find anyone whos defenseless, tell them to come to me, and ill at least be able to provide them a weapon of some kind, although none will be very strong. Just enough to help. That weapon, for instance, will not dull, can harm incorporeal, and has a potential to slow an opponent struck with it briefly. The armor is simply VERY hard to destroy, and will turn most anything that isnt strongly enchanted should they strike it and not you. It will not protect against magic any better, however. Just physical attacks". She points at the mirror behind the bar "Also, take a look at the back of that. I added a special touch i figured you would like. Homage to an old friend, you might say....."

Xue says, "As for the question of whether i'll be fighting with you, well, my goal is to help those stuck in the middle of this lil spat. Until i know their motives, i wont be fighting for or against either the twisted council, NOR the hell council. Mine is simply a defensive role for the moment, since someone has to do it."

Listening to the nature of the work Xue has undertaken, Samantha nods several times, fairly rapt - though she busies herself also checking the armour and blade further in both visual and tactile senses. The former fits uncannily well, and requires no adjustment... though she makes a few anyway, readjusting straps and shifting the plate simply so that she knows the material better. The grip of the ninjato is comfortable, and as her fingers take grasp again she recalls how many times before she has taken up a similar blade. Reality, check.

When the mirror is indicated, her gaze snaps back to Xue, brow lifting in query. "Why?" She asks, grinning, "What have you done?" Sliding to her feet, she steps across the restaurant floor, admiring herself sidelong before twisting to check the back as advised. Instantly, her expression goes dead. She blinks slowly, lips gently forming an 'o' while she takes in the motif. "An old friend." It's barely whispered, and her mouth curls upward at the edges, just a touch. Laughter touches her eyes even if it does not sound, and as she turns back to Xue, it's with a gracious inclination of her head. "I reckon he'd be honoured," she rejoins, before sharply focusing her will, the armour phasing away to be replaced once more by her street clothes. "Just hope I c'n live up to the legacy - and don't misunderstand, Xue."

Pacing back to the table, she drops back into her seat, resting her hands atop the sheathed ninjato, idly surveying it once more as she continues. "I'm not gonna be fighting for either side. I'll be right in the middle, where we're gonna end up anyway." Her gaze lifts, hard and determined. "There's people that'll fight back, whichever Council they have to stand against. Better to do that, with a chance at life, than lie down and hide in hope that this washes over." Her head shakes gently from side to side, "Don't need to tell you that, but I need ya to tell me something." Pausing, the young woman swallows, and lifts her chin with no small trace of pride. "Does standin' with these people make me stupid? Is there something else I could do?"

Xue shakes her head "No. As i said, i've seen two wars, one of which i was a combatant. Both times no one seemed to worry as much about those stuck in middle, just the end result, although not always without good reason. I may well be out there in the fighting on their behalf, if need be. So long as i know your priorities are the same, then i will do what i can to be present when possible". She leans back "I admit to not trusting myself. Last time i tried helping in a large encounter, well, we BOTH know how that turned out..... but i will try". She rests her hand on her swords hilt. Not in aggression, but in a self-comforting manner. A few individuals aside, it HAS been her only single steadfast companion for a long time. "The question is, what awaits in 'the middle'?"

The reply to Xue's last comes quietly, but with an assured confidence.

"I do."

"Beyond that, it doesn't matter. I've spent a long time fighting one of the sides in this, Xue, and they alone can drag out creatures that'd terrify the strongest men and women I've ever known." Sammy idly rubs at the back of her neck as she glances off to one side, over the restaurant to the window, and the street beyond. "Can't pretend it doesn't bother me, but by this point all that matters is surviving. So long as I know /someone's/ got my back - hell," she turns her attention back to the half-elf, "S'long as I know someone /cares/, I'm not gonna let my fear master me. Spent too long doing that."

Samantha breathes comfortably, letting silence linger a moment as she muses over her words. A smile brushes her lips. "For what it's worth, if you're out there then there's nobody I'd trust more. You've made your mistakes like I've made mine; and what happened between us was as much my fault as yours. Whether I'm gonna die on this world, or save a few lives including my own, it'll mean all the more if I can show you how much I believe that."

"You an' Frosty both," the catgirl adds, flicking a downward glance toward the hilt at Xue's hip. "Gods know we've all had our times."

Xue nods, looking at Sam with eyes far older than the youth of her face would normally hold "You sound like someone i knew a very long time ago...... full of youth, exuberance, eager to see the future and its holdings". She gives a tired sigh "After all my years, spent fighting, spent having a responsibility i never wanted thrust on me, seeing friends die, both of old age or of injury...... " she mumbles something to herself, with a faraway look, before looking back at Sam with a distant smile ".... i'm just a jaded old granny... a mortal given immortality, but not the capability of surviving the stress. The ultimate end all Graces and Sins eventually meet, i suppose". She grips her sword a little tighter "I'll be there, if at least to do what i can with what time i may or may not have left....."

"Don't-" The word falters and dies, silence reigning as Samantha struggles to process the sudden shift in mood. Her brow is creased in a frown, and her lip might tremble were she not biting it. She reaches under the table - slowly, with care but not caution, and places a warm hand over Xue's, over the grip she maintains upon SilverFrost. Assuming she's allowed to keep the contact, she stays like that for several long moments, blue eyes swimming with empathy she feels she cannot express.

Eventually the silence has to break.

"I've never asked too much about your past," the catgirl begins; quiet, intimate, and honest, "Because it's not something a lot of people like to talk about. I.. always assumed you wouldn't want to, beyond what you've told me. But I reckon I've seen the results of all this, I've experienced them, an' I've always known..." she smiles sadly, "I've always known y'were never all that happy."

"But Xue, you're my /friend/. Old, young, ten years or a thousand, a person defines themselves. Age brings wisdom sometimes, and strength, but it's not something you have to suffer with. If you need to share, then please; I'm here. So long as I'm alive, I always will be. Even if I've been... self-absorbed, I-" A sigh of frustration, though her eyes glint with a touch of humour at her own expense, "I care a helluva lot more than I could ever put into words. I understand if you don't want to talk, but if you do..."

Xue seems lost in thought at this. No ones ever asked about her past, and she never speaks to any of it, save those who shared the even being discussed...... A full minute passes, before she looks at the booth seat on the other side of her table. The temperature gets slightly colder, but not uncomfortably so. Her eyes glow a slightly brighter blue. Ice begins to form around them, encasing the entire booth in a solid block, although inside stays just under room temperature "You'll forgive my desire that what is spoken here is kept here.... ". Wards protecting from scrying appear in the ice, and as the spell is cast, her eyes return to their normal pale blue. "Where to begin......"

The human body reacts to cold without prompting, and as the threat of lowered temperature closes in, Samantha quite instinctively gathers herself more closely. Her legs press together beneath the table, and her arms fold about her middle, that silver bracer settling against her lap with a solid, but comfortable weight. "Of course," she murmurs in reply to the first, flicking a glance to the barrier.

Turning back to Xue with a small smile of encouragement, she relaxes, shoulders wriggling into the cushion behind her. "I'd say start at the beginnin'," she continues softly, "But.. wherever you feel comfortable." Her tail, just pulled away from the closing ice, curls up on the chair beside her, twitching just once more as she settles, watching her friend with wide, curious eyes amidst the concern she still feels.

Xue thinks for almost a full minute, before she begins "I was born, unexpectedly, to an elvan man named Eol Vananear, and a Ryukaian woman named Jun Qian. They disappeared when i was four years old, and have never found hide nor hair of them since". She stops, thinking, as if digging in a trunk long left unexplored. "I was sent to live with my grandparents on my fathers side. High Elf minor nobility. VERY traditional. Took me in simply for appearances". She gives a hard gaze, dripping with venom "They treated me like less than the dirt under your fingernails. Any injuries i sustained, i had to learn to treat myself. Any servant was caught being nice to the 'half-breed welp' was punished". Her gaze softens somewhat "I was lucky when one of the older servants, who had reputation all his own, who they didn't dare mistreat due to lineage, befriended me out of pity. He taught me my first spells, helped me fix some older injuries that had healed...." she seems to think of a colorful enough word "..... incorrectly. Even let me study under the guise of 'punishing' me". She stops agaon, to think.... "A creature called a carrion vine attacked us while out on the grounds on an errand. I had been studying magic far above my ability without his knowledge, and the fire spell went awry. The vine was killed, i was badly hurt, and he was, i thought at the time, killed. So i ran away....." distance comes to her gaze at this..... pained distance ".... i took my mothers sword, which had been left with me, and ran....". She stops, lost in memory.....

Seeing the essence of another is something that can be done relatively quickly. But to know someone - to truly know them - takes a long time. Longer than most people ever find a chance for, between their own concerns and the general mayhem of life... still. Listening to the story unfold, Samantha feels herself draw several steps closer to knowing this woman. She is trying not to interrupt, to ask the questions she would have spouted near-senselessly so few years ago.

But the mention of the sword draws special interest, if only because it is a familiar element in a tale of names and races she does not know. A finger lifts at her waist, gesturing subtly toward the blade at Xue's hip.

"SilverFrost was your mother's?" She remembers the day she was allowed to wield the sentient weapon... recalls the feeling of that boon. It makes a lot more sense; but at the same time, it feels as though she already knew this, albeit in the most distant of ways. A person's essence can tell one a great deal, without really telling.

Xue nods, speaking once again, as more comes back to her "I wandered for days.... weeks.... even i can't recall how i survived. It's all a blur. I remember being picked up eventually by a caravan, half starving, poorly healed burns covering one of my arms and side. I remember them saying i was ill with a fever of some kind, and it was a miracle i was still alive at all. By the time i had recovered, they had reached their destination: the capital of the Drygon nation, near my mothers birthplace. Tacticians, the Drygons. Brilliant. Perfectionists, most of them. They appearantly saw something impressive in my magical potential, and sponsored me, along with several other children, in the Adventurers school in the Sky Elf nation. I only found out later their motives were slightly alterior. Shortly after arriving, and beginning my studies, we 'awoke'. Myself as Davelia's Grace, Latran as Oakali's, Lauryn as Lashea's, Alyssia, or Ally as you might have known her, as Morvun's, and Angtian as Erynnia's. All of which itself is a tale all its own...."

Latran. Alyssia. More familiarity in a storm of fresh information... though the association of the former most resonates, and an almost wild grin appears for an instant upon Samantha's watching features. The Bane of Oakali. She knew the source for the name, but to hear that Latran and Xue share this... this is what kills the expression as quickly as it starts. So much pain.

She sinks back a little further in her seat, head canting to one side.

Xue continues after a moment of thought "The closest word i can think of for a Grace is an avatar of sorts, for the goddess they represent. There are never more than five at a time, one for each, and more are never born to replace those deceased until all have perished. It isn't known who or why entirely, but one is chosen for such destiny before while still in the womb. Upon reaching a certain age, they 'awaken', and their powers manifest. That power has a price, however. Power beyond control, for one, as you've experienced firsthand. It can be channeled in smaller, more managable doses, but never full blown. Too much could kill even the Grace themself. Immortality. The body stops aging, although the mind is still that of a mortal, and like all mortals, can only handle lifespans of so long before dementia and insanity occur. Perhaps worst of all are the memories.....". Flecks of ice begin to fall slowly from her eyes, her tears freezing. She is silent for several minutes. Appearantly a nerve has been hit, and the mask has dropped. She eventually regains her composure, and continues "On awakening, all Graces recieve memories from their predecessor. Not every detail of their long life. Flashes, key events, things that were of serious importance to them, or affected them deeply.....". She shakes her head, seeming to peer off, composure slipping a bit once more....

'As you've experienced firsthand.'

"Yeah..." The catgirl whispers, lifting a hand to brush away an imaginary stray hair, fingertips lingering at the edge of one ear before smoothing down a sweep of black hair. An involuntary shudder runs up her spine as she glances first at Xue, then at the prison of ice. For all the power she has faced, and been subjected to, no single moment of pain has struck such a nerve as during that day on the Badlands... It stays with her, for all that she has consolidated what happened.

Nodding slowly as Xue's soliloquy flows onward, Samantha continues to absent-mindedly toy with her hair, a single finger winding back and forth. It stills abruptly as the first tear speckles, and she barely resists the urge to lean across the table and offer physical comfort. In compromise, her arm extends, straying across the surface between them, a hand drifting outward, fingers brushing the far edge - more to offer compassion than to offer the warmth of her body. Her eyes, though, tell the story far more than any gesture could. Wider than before, they fixate on Xue with a gentle imploring; telling her that she can stop, if she wants to, that this is her decision. This is her time.

To put that into words would only cheapen what Sam cannot fully understand. The pain of an immortal, amplified by the pains of another...

Xue takes a full two minutes to regain her composure, before giving Sam a long look, a mask older than what she usually displays now in place, it would seem "Some things are better left unknown..... but as you have asked, i offer you the memory that broke me so long ago.....". She holds out her hand, glowing with purple and pink swirls of magic..... red pill, or blue?

Samantha cannot fight a frown at those words, at the idea that she might be the one to choose this path. A careful, measured gaze meets the formidable onslaught of that centuries-old mask. Swallowing tightly, the young woman shifts her hand a few inches from the table, twisting her wrist and tightening a fist. She voices her decision without looking at either limb, without heed of the magical energies and what they might imply. All she sees before her is a friend, and a trust she is willing to extend.

"I asked," she says softly, "Because I care."

She raises her hand above Xue's, and brings her fingers down to interlock with the offered digits.

For better, not for worse.

The magic makes you relive the memory Xue has specified. You see a man. ARE a man. Short white hair. Tall. Stern, weary face. World-traveled. Scarred. Several centuries old. A woman. The only one who both loved you in turn, and lived as long as you. You, the Grace of Davelia. She, the Grace of Morvun. Destruction and Creation, respectively. You open a door of some building, to allow her to exit. A shot from a ranged weapon. Her chest and throat explode as you watch. Life leaks from the fatal wounds, eyes wishing to say something, but going dark. Rage. Lost in rage. Madness. All goes white, as they say. You draw your sword, and unless your goddesses power. The entire city burns, save the temples, and those lucky or smart enough to find shelter there. Men. Women. Children. Young. Old. You slay them all, some quickly, their bodies wafting apart like the ashes of a cigarette in a wind. Others, with your sword, left to die in agony if not killed outright. Others, your bare hands, choking the life from them, tearing them apart. Blood soaks the ground, while fire, some violet, some red, burn the structures and people. Explosions rip through places as ancient, arcane power is released from the area. A large wall of violet fire encircles the city, incinerating all who attempt escape. At the end of it all, none live, save those in the temples, and yourself, surrounded by the ashes of the destruction you have wrought.


The world suddenly snaps back as the memory ends, your eyes meeting Xues haunted look. She steadies herself right before speaking "Imagine finding out your, in a past life, were responsible for such genocide, in such vivid detail, at the ripe old age of around twenty. Among other, sometimes equally harrowing memories of a man who lived a crual life, and many times gave crualty back when he could no longer stand it".

Xue sighs tiredly again "My childhood ended before i was twelve. My youthful optimism ended with that....."

Memories are vivid things. Man has created so many beautiful means of expression, and yet nothing comes close to the truth of experience - the truths one faces after feeling every nuance of a situation. Without loving, a person can never understand love. Without living, life. Without dying, death. The vivacious and vigorous seek experiences for this reason, give of themselves where others will exercise restraint and observe from afar...

But the path of the giver is far more wrought with peril.

As Samantha feels the memory wash over her, as she becomes one with it, she feels that pang of elated fear before the brutality even begins. That familiar spark that heralds emotional up, or downswing. When events begin to unfold, she almost cries out, cutting her breath off in a sharp hiss. She clasps Xue's hand firmly, firmer than intended, with a maniac strength that comes entirely unbidden. Forcing herself to relax this grip does nothing to break the hold the memory has upon her, and she feels every moment; tastes the blood that spatters her lips, slaughters the innocent, screams with the wrath of misery.

As it ends, she jerks violently, tearing her hand away with a gasp. Wild eyes find Xue as if for the first time. Slowly, shuddering, she shakes her head from side to side, tears sparking at the corners of her eyes. They burn, but as nothing to the bitter fire inside. There are things with which she tortured herself as she lingered in Hell, blames she laid upon her person she has only been able to lift after a great deal of personal suffering. But this burden Xue carries... a burden that is even worse than it appears...

"I understand," she croaks out, clearing her throat and tossing her head before she is able to continue, gathering some element of composure. She rubs at her face, dislodging the damp from her eyes only to smear it across her cheeks. And as Xue adds her last, she lowers her hand, placing it palm up upon the table, fingertips curled toward the other woman. "The memory is bad enough, but knowing what you're capable of-- something you never /tried/ to be capable of, that y'were born--"

Samantha sighs deeply, "Xue, I'm sorry. But... how long.... how long's it been?"

Xue s mask holds "Back home, i would be turning three hundred and fourty three sometime soon. Young for Twisted and some of its inhabitants, but old nontheless for one with a mortal mind.....". Her composure, however, doesn't hold, and slowly begins to dissolve, occasional icy tears falling from her eyes, landing with oft hard clatters rather than the normally soft pats of liquid. "That is a burden..... all of us share. We all had..... our own events of a similiar nature. They weren't evil, crual, or bad people, our predecessors..... but were frequently on the recieving end, and when they couldn't take any more..... that was.... often a close result". She shakes her head, taking a moment to regain composure yet again "Of what i recieved, THAT was among the worst he ever experienced. He was possibly well over two hundred at that time, and he never recovered fully from the mental anguish of that. How one only twenty was supposed to do so in his place, goddess only knows.....". The ice around them melts, and the wards drop at this point. "I need to rest..... this has been..... taxing"

'Three hundred and forty three?' Samantha repeats that silently, her lips phrasing the syllables with frank disbelief as she stares across the table at this friend she believed she knew... and yet it changes nothing, it only sharpens what she already feels. Even as that shared memory rages in her skull; for the nightmares it may cause, for the pain it has passed along, she is glad of it. If this comes to make even the slightest difference to Xue, to her happiness then so much the better.

As the frosty shell melts away, the young woman draws breath she did not know she had been holding, offering up one last smile. For all the misery that has been imparted, it shows only partly in her eyes, because compassion is still what shines through. Though a hint of worry cannot be hidden; changes could be made on either side, and what Xue has shared... "Resting's probably best, but before ya go, please listen."

Leaning across the table, Samantha lowers herself to look up into the half-elf's tear-encrusted eyes, her own gaze serious and intent. "This weight you carry, it's huge; it's more than I could bear, Xue. But I hope that by tellin' me all of this, it might become a little easier. You didn't need to feel lonely before, but this changes something between us. It means that any trouble you have, any time these demons surface, any time," she hesitates, "Davelia takes hold, there's one person who understands what's happening. I already forgave you for what happened back in Metropolis, an' maybe that was enough, but now I can do something else for you. I'll feel what you're feeling."

Her train of thought derailing, the catgirl sighs, and nods, sitting back. "I'll let you go. Thank you, Xue, for letting me in. I know it wasn't easy... but it gets easier the more you do it. An' if you were really that much of an old biddy," cracking a dull half-grin, she throws out a slow wink, "Y'wouldn't need me to tell ya that, right?"

Xue smiles tiredly in response "Indeed..... now you ALSO know WHY the events of Metropolis bothered me so much, and also why i was not idle on learning that one i could potentially correct". She wearily stands, looking like shes just run a marathon "Good night. Now that i know your properly outfitted, ill rest easier knowing its less likely youll be killed again". She smiles faintly at her own little joke, and trudges back into the back rooms for needed sleep.

The smile is returned by Sammy as she watches Xue leave, though she does not seem to be laughing; the play of emotion in her eyes would confound most observers, at least before she closes them and leans her head back with a slowly released breath. Her shoulders quake briefly, but in a moment she's settled, relaxed despite the great tension laid upon her.

One hand lies on the ninjato still on the table, and caresses the hilt before closing upon it. "I can't die," she murmurs, unmindful of any other that may hear, "I've got too much to live for." (Sleep well, Xue, and dream well...)

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