Rora And The Kid

[12:54] * Rora sat in his usual spot - the alcove halfway up the wall, in the back of the restaurant. It had been a slower day, but that was alright; people who came in on these kinds of days seemed to enjoy when he played whatever he wanted. So he started on an old classic, lute held close.
[13:00] <FrontierWarGM> [There was a little kid watching him. He was thin and a little tall for his age, with black skin and black hair with streaks of white. He had red eyes.]
[13:06] <Rora> Halfway through the song, Rora noticed him; he gave the child a cordial gesture with a newly-materialized arm of light. He kept playing, unworried, even despite the newfound sensation of those crimson eyes staring at him.
[13:06] <FrontierWarGM> [The kid walked closer to Rora.]
[13:10] * Rora took note from his peripheral vision, focusing on the music; focusing on not paying attention to the sense of unease that he suddenly couldn't shake.
[13:11] <FrontierWarGM> [The kid walked closer to Rora. Now he was only half a metre away.]
[13:15] <Rora> As he played the last flourishing notes, Rora nodded to the kid. "Hello there; did you have a request, friend?" He maintained a show of lighthearted, verdant AT feathers.
[13:15] <FrontierWarGM> [The kid leaned in close. Really close.-
[13:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["…"-
[13:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHY ARE YOU MAKING THE SOUNDS"]
[13:18] * Rora leapt back, hanging a few feet further in the air. He stared at this…person…stunned silent for a few moments.-
[13:19] <Rora> "…It…it's my job. Playing music." A gentle chord.
[13:19] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHY"]
[13:21] <Rora> "Because…because I can't cook?" Worried blues in his plumage. "People seem to like it; a sense of ambience for their meal."
[13:22] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHY AMBIENCE WHY SOUNDS"]
[13:26] <Rora> "Because…they're pleasant?" He stared back at those crimson eyes, a bit of red of his own tinging his luminescence. "Why do you insist on yelling? stomping through gardens"
[13:26] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHY PLEASANT, WHAT YELLING"]
[13:29] * Rora pressed at his forehead, a curt sigh escaping him. "Pleasantness isn't something I can explain; it's feeling something that you like - that makes you happy. Like sinking into bed after a long day.-
[13:30] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHAT BED"]
[13:32] <Rora> "Yelling is when you speak very loudly; you have been doing so this entire-!" He glared at at the red-eyed urchin, shining fully crimson now.
[13:33] <FrontierWarGM> [The boy eyed Rora suspiciously.-
[13:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["…"-
[13:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["WHAT BED"]
[13:37] * Rora took a steadying breath. "A bed is something people sleep on. You know: sleeping?" He glanced at the counter, trying to catch Anni's eye, but she wasn't there. "…Who are you, child?"
[13:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["ME"]
[13:43] <Rora> "I…right." A sigh, as he floated down to finally touch down to the floor. "You are you; I am me. I am also Rora; you are also…?"
[13:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["ME"]
[13:45] <Rora> "…O…kay." He pressed his hands together, expecting to feel fabric between them for some reason. Why did it feel like ages since he'd seen Anni or Maud? "How about a name, then? What do you call yourself?"
[13:45] <Rora> [*And why]
[13:49] <FrontierWarGM> [The boy's AT Field shimmered, bouncing off of Rora's own and leaving a very distinctive pattern shimmering on the boundary of his soul for a moment.]
[13:53] <Rora> "Oh." Rora openly stared, unable to look away from their crimson eyes.-
[13:53] <Rora> "…Hi."
[13:54] <FrontierWarGM> [And now he was sitting in the Valletta cafeteria.-
[13:54] <FrontierWarGM> ["HI"]
[14:01] <Rora> "…Right. So," he frowned with concentration, carefully trying to recreate their Pattern on his own AT Field, "what, ah…brings you here? To us, way out in this corner of space?"
[14:10] <FrontierWarGM> ["HERE" Said the kid. He ruminated on the question.-
[14:10] <FrontierWarGM> ["LOST"]
[14:15] <Rora> "Oh, dear." Rora did some thinking of his own. "Can you tell me how you lost your way? Or is there perhaps something - or someone - who could help you find your way again?"
[14:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["DREAM"]
[14:26] <Rora> "I- well, yes we are dreaming, that much has been made clear now, but I more meant-" Golden epiphany dawned upon his luminescence. "…Wait. Are you saying you have become trapped here? In this dream?"
[14:34] <FrontierWarGM> [The kid's AT Field flared, giving Rora a strange jolt of happiness.]
[14:41] * Rora giggled despite himself, not quite successfully stifling an accompanying grin. "Aha! I see…hmmm." He stared at the surface of the table they were sitting at. "A dream from which one cannot wake. How to circumvent this…?"-
[14:43] <Rora> After a moment, he found himself contemplating his arm. Then, with a shrug and "sometimes simplicitly", he pinched himself.
[14:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Good job, dream cadet, it hurt and you're still stuck with a shouty space boy.]
[14:52] <Rora> "kicking a wall, expecting a wall" he winced, rubbing at the spot of pain. "Alright, so…hm. No simple dream." He reached out with his AT Field, trying to get a sense of the nature of the place they found themselves in. Would someone try to keep them here…?
[14:57] <FrontierWarGM> [It was strange. It wasn't that his ping found nothing, it was that it found everything. In every single direction he found the presence of the Great One in front of him- mingled in with the feeling of Gatherer.]
[15:05] * Rora looked about, baffled. "So…hold the phone. This, dreamscape, shall we say…this is your dream. I am part of it now, except I was also dreaming. But then why would I sense…"-
[15:10] <Rora> He leaned forward, leaning his chin on his interlaced fingers. "…No, perhaps that does follow. I remember now; I fell asleep while still in Gatherer's Dirac Sea. Does that mean…" He nodded to his fellow dreamer inmate, "Do you recognize them? The one who also pervades this space." He focused on the feeling of the Overseer, trying to suffuse his AT Field with the sensation
[15:10] <Rora> before gently reaching out to bounce it ever so gently off the kid's.
[15:11] <FrontierWarGM> ["TRAPPER"]
[15:18] * Rora nodded, notes of mournful blue tinging his AT feathers. "'And mercy shall be their weapon most terrible.'" A sigh. "You mean to tell me then that he has confined the both of us here, then."-
[15:18] <Rora> He looked the kid in the eye, expression serious. "I imagine you were quite furious, when he initially snared you."
[15:18] <FrontierWarGM> ["LOST TRAPPER"]
[15:23] <Rora> "Hmm. Let us attempt to rectify that." He stood up now, looking about the cafeteria with an air of determination. "Or, failing that, perhaps test this veil; see if it will not tear under sufficient persuasion."-
[15:25] * Rora sought out Gatherer once more, now trying to infuse it with a beacon; perhaps to trace it to some source, or make it distinct - and therefore perhaps separable - from the Great One.
[15:34] <FrontierWarGM> [And for a moment the illusion around Rora shifted. He was in a perfectly round glass sphere with the Great One. Below him was the city square- identical to the one in the Dirac Sea, but surrounded by buildings and populated by Overseers.-
[15:35] <FrontierWarGM> [Below him he saw Kess, Kayoko, Inara and Liane. They were asleep, having apparently fallen where they'd stood. Kess was glowing a bright white, and Alereb had her paw gently on Kess's head.]
[15:58] <Rora> "No!" He pressed against the glass, lost to panic…but then he shook himself. "Alright, Rora, come on: think. How do we solve this…?" He was thoughtful for a moment, but then gave a start, shifting his field to a mental shroud. "No telling what else he might try at this point, hm?" he nodded to red-eyes.-
[16:03] <Rora> "…Okay, first things first." Rora focused on his friends, reaching out with his mind. A telepathic link; he just needed to know they were alright. If he could do that…
[16:07] <FrontierWarGM> [A connection was made. Tenuous. Weak. He had time to say maybe 20 words. What would those words be?]
[16:13] <Rora> Hoo boy, uhhhh… {"Is everyone alright? Trapped in Gatherer's Dirac Sea/Dreamscape. Trying to break free, along with Great One."}-
[16:13] <Rora> …{"Please be ok."}
[16:15] <FrontierWarGM> [They stirred- just as the vision vanished.-
[16:16] <FrontierWarGM> [They were in the Valletta's engineering room now, although it was empty except for the Evangelion Chamber, where Idris's true form sat, inert.-
[16:17] <FrontierWarGM> ["Is… Everyone alright." Said the Great One. "Trapped… In Gatherer's Dirac Sea. Dreamscape. Is Everyone Alright."-
[16:17] <FrontierWarGM> [The kid frowned. "HOW END?"]
[16:25] * Rora looked around without seeing for a moment, mottled with indigo despair…but then smiled at the Great One. "There was a 'trying to break free' in there somewhere, but that was otherwise the gist of it." A moment's reflection. "…'please be ok' was the last bit, though. Should you still wish for the direct answer to your query."-
[16:26] <Rora> He sighed. "A bit redundant of me, now that I say it aloud. thinking too fast to write"
[16:30] <FrontierWarGM> [The Kid stared at Rora.-
[16:30] <FrontierWarGM> [Then he spread his hands. Little holograms of Liane, Kayoko, Kess, Inara and Violet appeared. "WHO THESE?"]
[17:06] <Rora> "Hm?- Ah." He studied them for a moment, lost to sudden reverie.-
[17:07] <Rora> "…They are Captain Hyuga; Doctor Khalef; Ensigns Meier, and Spiro; our Guide Shadowfire. They are part of the crew of the Valetta, the ship we all travel in. But, they are also more than that: they depend on each other to see us all through whatever conflicts we find ourselves in. I depend on them, trust them to act in the name of good, even if - or perhaps, particularly because
[17:07] <Rora> - they are in ways I would not think to myself. I…fear for them, wish to shield them from harm - as with anyone else, but…more keenly. They are my responsibility; they are my saving grace; they are…"-
[17:08] * Rora took a deep breath. "They're my friends."
[17:11] <FrontierWarGM> ["Friends" Said the Kid.-
[17:11] <FrontierWarGM> [He stared down at the images, then slowly reached up to touch Rora's face.-
[17:12] <FrontierWarGM> [The sudden pressure from the Great One's AT Field rushed around Rora, seeming into the very air he breathed, making it feel almost too thick to swallow. Rora suddenly saw the sheer gulf between them, the little kid whose Light of the Soul cast a very wide shadow- a shadow that Rora could and would get lost in.-
[17:13] <FrontierWarGM> [The pressure wasn't going away even as the Kid took his hand away. Pinched between his fingers was another hologram- the one Rora had made of the Great One, back in Gatherer's secret garden.-
[17:14] <FrontierWarGM> [The Kid held the hologram up, then gently pushed the holograms of Kayoko and Liane apart, creating a space. He then placed his hologram in between them- tentatively. He looked up at Rora.]
[17:27] <Rora> "…I…" His breathing became more ragged, as though he had just been sprinting. He trembled visibly in the wake of this immense shadow; this sheer, constricting force that was reality. He stood there for a long moment, struggling not to look away from the Kid, panting.-
[17:28] <Rora> "…I hope…the ribbons weren't…too much." Rora gave him as reassuring a smile as he could muster.
[17:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["Ribbons not."-
[17:41] <FrontierWarGM> [The world around them shimmered.-
[17:42] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora would feel like he'd been hit by a truck at the sheer AT force that struck him, a force of will that could only really be Kayoko.-
[17:42] <FrontierWarGM> [Below him he saw the city square once again. Kess's thoughts were screaming at him.-
[17:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["GATHERER TRAUMA WHY TRAPPED. UNKNOWN, EXPRESSING THROUGH OURS. NEED IDING TO ESCAPE. ARE OKAY, HELP PLEASE. ANGEL IS SIGNAL LINE."-
[17:45] <FrontierWarGM> [But after that came something more solid- a command, an AT Field compulsion. A Suggestion. Meant not for him, yet hitting him anyway.-
[17:45] <FrontierWarGM> [Unable to find its intended target, it did the next best thing.-
[17:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora fell to his hands and knees and found his gorge rising. A cough. A splutter. A moment later he threw up- not the contents of his stomach, but a gleaming ball of rainbow light.-
[17:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Kayoko's 'Suggestion'.-
[17:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Malleable. Holdable. And could be thrown at something, to force the Suggestion on it.]
[18:05] * Rora stayed grounded for a solid minute, focused on simply…existing.-
[18:06] <Rora> Once he'd convinced himself that he was, in fact, clear of any further vomitting for the time being, he sat back on his heels. He gingerly picked up the Suggestion via telekinesis, still shaky even as he braced himself with a free hand.-
[18:06] <Rora> He glared at it. "Seriously, Kayoko??"
[18:07] <FrontierWarGM> ["SERIOUSLY KAYOKO" shouted the Kid. "SERIOUSLY KAYOKO FRIEND"-
[18:09] <FrontierWarGM> [But the glass sphere faded away…-
[18:10] <FrontierWarGM> [… and now he was somewhere else. A city street, maybe the main thoroughfare in a mall…-
[18:10] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[18:10] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora… Was different. He was aware of his sudden smallness, his undeveloped body, which had become childlike.-
[18:11] <FrontierWarGM> [He looked down at the familiar clothes he wore, and the familiar scents…-
[18:11] <FrontierWarGM> [And the people. These… This…-
[18:11] <FrontierWarGM> [He'd lost his mask, and…-
[18:11] <FrontierWarGM> [Now all around him were people. But not the people he'd remembered being there. Every one of them was Gatherer, pressing in on him with their minds.]
[18:18] * Rora blanched, pressing his hands against the sides of his head. "No, stop…" His breathing grew more frantic, as the Gatherers circled closer. Where had he put it? If only… "Please…!"
[18:21] <FrontierWarGM> [The Gatherers circled, closing in, their minds probing at his, learning secrets, seeing memories.-
[18:22] <FrontierWarGM> [They stopped at the edge of the shadow- a perfectly round shadow that surrounded Rora.-
[18:22] <FrontierWarGM> [The Kid stood next to Rora, hands free at his sides. He was now a little taller than Rora, and his expression was serious.-
[18:23] <FrontierWarGM> [Even amongst the chaos of the Gatherers, Rora could still feel the Kid's AT Field, the shadow enveloping Rora's…]
[18:34] <Rora> It was Rora's turn to look up to the Kid, silent tears leaving wet streaks on his face. "…Thank you…" he managed to squeak, trying to focus on taking long, steady breaths, like Maud always told him to.-
[18:39] <Rora> He struggled to keep from being consumed by this memory. Twisted though it was, it felt real; and he had to remind himself that this was only…this wasn't real. Not actually. And there was something he had to do, something important.-
[18:45] <Rora> "…Trauma. He…" Rora wiped at his face, forcing himself to look at the Gatherers - even if it manifested as a stubborn pout. "That…that's right: we have to find out why. But I don't…" He chewed at the collar of his shirt. "…Hey! Why are you so sad?"
[18:47] <FrontierWarGM> [The Gatherers stopped- and took a step back.-
[18:47] <FrontierWarGM> [All except for one. This one Gatherer, unlike the others, had his staff.-
[18:48] <FrontierWarGM> ["Why am I here?" Asked Gatherer. "What is this place…? Get out of my head… Why should I help an intruder?"]
[18:56] <Rora> "But…don't you remember? You invited me here. I was sleeping in your Dirac Sea, and now I'm trapped." Rora frowned. "Not just me - we all are. We're trapped, and it's because you have some sort of…trauma. Trauma that you're living out through ours."
[18:57] <FrontierWarGM> ["I don't want to remember. You can't help me! Go away!"]
[19:03] <Rora> "I can't go away!" he yelled; his hands had curled into fists. "You don't want to remember your grief, so you're making us relive ours?? That's not fair, Gatherer!" He felt hot tears run down his cheeks once more. Without thinking, he reached for something to throw.-
[19:04] <Rora> "THAT'S. NOT. FAIR!" He found something, hurling it with all his telekinetic might at Gatherer. Something round, and gleaming with rainbow light.
[19:05] <FrontierWarGM> [It struck him in the chest, and sunk in.-
[19:05] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer gasped.-
[19:05] <FrontierWarGM> [He fell backwards, falling onto his back. He thrashed around desperately, unable to breathe.-
[19:06] <FrontierWarGM> [Yet his mouth opened and croaked out words.-
[19:07] <FrontierWarGM> ["Find me… In the ruins of the Hearth of Garnet…"-
[19:07] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer vanished.-
[19:07] <FrontierWarGM> [They were back in the glass sphere, and Rora was- back to his normal self.-
[19:08] <FrontierWarGM> [The Kid gave Rora a smile before vanishing. The glass cracked, too- and…]

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