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 In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:55 pm

"Out of... earshot..."

He glanced at her, sighing.

"... Apologies... again... one does not forget... the instincts one is taught... growing up being groomed... for Pilorum politics..." Keeping track of Kirkka's presence through his sensor suite, the cyborg saw another pair of benches and sat down, eye focused on Isabelle. "Is there anything... I can do to make it up..?"
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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:41 pm

Isabelle took a seat next to him, leaning her head back against the bench.  "Nothing I can think of.  If you come up with something, be sure to let me know," she continued with a shrug.  "And I'm sure I can get over it either way, as long as you don't do it again."
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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:10 am

Leonius smirked under his mask. "... Do it at all... or just in public..?"

He shook his head, realizing what he had said.

"Apologies... That was... bad..."

The cyborg sighed, adjusting his cannon wings behind the bench.

"... But you should... never be afraid to ask me something..." Slowly, he glanced down to Isabelle. "The hesitation you showed... when you were approaching... you were afraid to ask... about Viola... I take it...?"

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:10 am

Ignoring his first statement, or at least pretending not to care, Isabelle sighed.  "More or less...  I was mainly worried that I'd get an answer that would make me afraid to be around you, which would kind of suck, considering I don't have many friends in the first place.  Losing one would be bad.  Even if you are a pervert at times."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:08 pm

Leonius was silent a while, as he looked down at his left hand. The machine. The inhuman side. His eye drifted to the right. Was the flesh any better? "... At least one of us... is not afraid of me..."

It took the giant a moment to realize the turn he had taken the conversation to, and looked at Isabelle.

"... Apologies. ... For that... and my nature." A slight smile formed under his mask, and he shrugged. "Also technically... I think it is impossible... to be a pervert only some of the time..." His massive arms crossed over his chest, and Leo tilted his head. "... And I doubt you are... completely innocent... yourself..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:15 pm

Isabelle crossed her own arms as well.  "Fine then, you are always a pervert, just not acting like it all the time.  And I don't think it'd hurt to do it less."  Frowning at his next statement, she looked up at him.  "Hey, when have I-" she paused, shaking her head. "Nevermind, I don't want to know."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:32 am

"... It wouldn't hurt... to not act like a pervert less..?" Leonius tilted his head, chuckling at the interpretation of the relatively small girl's statement. Leo kept his attention on her, unfolding his arms. "If one is always a pervert... and merely hides or shows it... It stands to reason... that there have most certainly been... relevant thoughts... in your head."

A giant hand reached over, gently booping Isabelle's nose.

"I am not saying... you are a pervert... Statistics are... And I didn't hear... a denial of it either..."

Slowly, however, Leo's gaze went to Kirkka, and he gave a frustrated sigh.

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:30 am

"... That's not what I meant." was all Isabelle had to say, considering that she had given up on trying to argue about it.  She grinned slightly as he booped her nose, though the smile faded when she noticed him sighing.  "Is she still bothering you?  If so, we could always go somewhere else.  I'm sure there are plenty of other benches around that are out of her sight."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:47 pm

"... No..." Leonius looked back at Isabelle, smiling under his mask. "... I suppose... I should get it over with... and see what the murderer has to say..." Slowly, the giant rose, looking back at Isabelle as he turned. "Otherwise I suppose... it's going to bother me..."

Nonus. Viola. Kirkka. He had found himself at the middle of matters he did not want to care about, and required him to deal with those whom he wanted little more to do with. Yet still he pressed on. Rather than remain, in pleasant company, and comfortable circumstances, he was on his feet, ready for another irritating encounter. The thought was enough to make Leonius pause.

"... Isabelle... Would you like me... to take you out for dinner after I... have dealt with Kirkka?" He blinked, averting his eye as he chuckled. "... Strange phrasing... It sounded... like I was asking you... out..." A massive hand rose to his chin, and he shrugged. "... Perhaps... I was... This should not... take long... but you have time... to think..."

His face was warm as he turned, his cannons flexing as Sum Sine Sceleri picked up on his anticipation. Both regarding Isabelle, and the woman he approached. More the latter, as he grew closer, and his smile faded.

He said only four words to Kirkka. "I am listening... Speak..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:58 pm

Kirkka had been sweeping up the leaves near where they last met just a minute ago. As he approached her, she stopped, turning to face him with a calm smile. Wow. He actually came back. I'm impressed...

"Very well. I'm sure you know all about the accident that got all those people killed, and how its all our fault. Yet, the only reason there was any fighting at all is because the group that hired us to go there in the first place abandoned us and set a trap to help us look like big bad spies. Worked pretty well, just not sure why still."
Her stance shifts slightly as she begins removing the broom attachment from her staff, hanging the attachment on its belt loop on her left back side. "Kyronic Order. I'm sure you've heard of them? We helped them out from time to time. The last time was the Pilum mission. We were supposed to be there on behalf of the Order and Vale, but at the last minute, something went wrong. We lost comms with our contact, and suddenly we weren't supposed to be in Pilum. Things went south, we got attacked, got out of there and over five hundred people died because we were tricked into the whole thing."

She pauses briefly after her recap of her past mission, before looking up toward Leo with a final statement. "Nobody in the Kyronic Order believes us, or has any record of the mission. Same of course with the Pilorum, and there is no trail of our 'contact' or the person who assigned us the job that I could find, though I don't exactly have a high security clearance to anything."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:10 pm

Leonius crossed his arms, glancing back at Isabelle before settling his gaze back upon Kirkka. "... That does not explain... why your team was in... a restricted area... Or why you knocked out... life support to a hospital..."

Kyronic Order. A group devoted to keeping the balance between the four kingdoms. An enemy of Pilum, for the threat the Holy City posed to that balance in years past. Leonius has been told of them, by those grooming him to take his father's seat on the Senate, but the actions Kirkka accused them of made no sense if the order itself was behind it.

"... Assuming... you are not lying to me..." Leo's visor was locked onto Kirkka's eyes, an unflinching stare from the motionless cyborg. "... If you are telling the truth... I am still in the company... of a murderer... and dealing with you... remains the optimal route to defusing... whatever Nonus is planning..."

The visor finally moved, as Leo looked at the academy's towers.

"... In the immediate sense... nothing has changed... Only the circumstances leading... to present situation... Confirm or deny it..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:21 am

Kirkka's voice quiets somewhat, as her memories of the past are refreshed once more. "We didn't cut power to a hospital on purpose, Leonius. I made a call, hoping your damned monsters would stay their attacks in such a risky location. A mistake to assume that, however. My knowledge of the frumentarii's combat ability was severely lacking, as that knowledge wasn't necessary for the mission. And restricted areas. They become... less restricted if they may assist in avoiding detection from people making attempts to skewer you."

She pauses, taking a slow breath as she steps to the next subject. Her gaze avoids Leo's briefly, as she tries to dispel some of the tension. The topic of the conversation makes it difficult to do, however.

"You declare me a murderer as if I did it on purpose. It was quite difficult to learn of what happened when we did, but there was nothing we could do to make amends by then. We only learned of the incident a week after the fact. What could be done by then?" Her left hand raises up to her forehead, pressing her thumb and fingers on the side of her face as she thinks further. Perhaps he will want me to go to Pilum and let them kill me as payment. As if murdering more people is proper payment..


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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:07 am

The giant was silent a moment, as he looked up toward the sky. "If I fire my cannons... at an enemy... and civilians are caught... in the crossfire... am I less culpable... for their deaths... than if I had fired at them... with intent to kill..? If I shell a building... to eliminate a sniper... am I less a murderer... for the family killed... by debris..? You voice... and the way you are speaking... betray a lack... of innocence... You argue semantics... not action..."

Slowly, Leo looked back at Kirkka.

"Perhaps... it is a difference... in how the Pilorum view the word... 'murder'... compared to how... the Valish view it... but as I said... Nothing has changed... Only the circumstances... leading to our present situation..."

His right fist clenched. The flesh felt. The metal merely was. There was nothing for the combat computer to get agitated about, but Leonius, as a person, felt the issue.

"... Nonus does not care... how much or how little guilt... you may feel... I merely ask... to hear your side..." His left hand opened, and a holographic screen appeared. Much like the one that had started the open hostilities between the giant and groundskeeper, when he had nerve stapled Aoife. This bore no message that he had assumed control. This was shipping manifests. Movements. Staging plans. "... And I am now sure... that I am not simply sending a monster... to fight a monster..."

Leonius looked back at the sky, closing his fist as everything he was displaying was sent to Kirkka's scroll.

"... The Ninth Circle is here in Vale... And they are planning retaliation... for what happened in Astus Fortuna... six years ago... They do not care why... This is about... revenge... And not... against you... and your team alone... They will kill hundreds... in repayment... for that raid..." Leo's hands found their way behind his back, and his posture relaxed. "... I still... do not trust you... completely... in light of recent history... but I have sent you... everything that I have pried... from the Frumentarii tacnet... when Harvest was not... monitoring their network... All of the details of their plans... that I can muster..." Leo's head tilted. "... I trust... the reason I give you this... is clear..?"

Nonus Decimi Anguis. Reaper. Imperator of the Frumentarii. A man who had to be stopped, no matter the cost.

"... I do not have clear memories... of Autunno..." His left hand shifted, sliding up and holding his right arm where a new scar he was sure did not exist two weeks ago marred his already damaged flesh. "... But I have pieced together... that what we do not know... is a source of potential advantage..."

Leo's hands fell to his sides, and slowly he raised his right, offering it to Kirkka.

"... Like it or not... we have a common foe... A common interest... in stopping the Frumentarii..." Astus Fortuna. Vale. Viola. The Senate. Gaia. A thousand factors kept the combat computer busy as Leonius, not the suit, looked Kirkka in the eyes. "... Find a way to stop the Ninth Circle... I will weaken their leadership... because when Nonus comes after Viola... in defiance of my will... I intend to destroy him..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:18 pm

Kirkka takes her scroll out, opening it and watching the data transfer, nodding to his question of if she knows why he is doing this. As Leo extends his arm, she looks down at his hand briefly, before taking it with her own and smiling lightly. "I will gladly assist you if it means protecting lives, as that is all I wish for now. Hopefully this data will alleviate my concern of stopping him before more people are injured or killed because of my presence."

As she lowers her hand from the handshake, she glances around, pausing briefly in Isabelle's direction. "I will provide you with my debriefing report, so you may see the full details of my mission. Perhaps it will give insight into how I view what happened. ... but that is for tomorrow. I have stolen enough time from you." Kirkka takes a step back, politely bowing in gratitude.

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:39 pm

Leonius returned the bow as a nod, saying nothing else as he turned to leave, returning to Isabelle and sighing. "... That went... better than expected..."

The giant took a deep breath, recalling the last thing he said to Isabelle as he cleared his throat and looked away.

"... So... about what I... asked... Sorry... about the suddenness..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:01 pm

"Oh, uh, right..."  Isabelle spoke quietly, as the question had managed to catch her somewhat off-guard.  Standing up, she smiled at him, her face turning slightly red yet again. "Well, I would love to.  Perhaps it'll be enough to make up for earlier.  Where will we be going?"

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:20 pm

Leonius was silent for a moment, before giving a soft chuckle. "Somewhere nice... The grand theatre downtown... is having a dinner and show... and I can get us in... for a reserved box seat... using my diplomatic credentials..."

The giant shrugged, noting Isabelle's blush.

"There would be no need... to dress up if you... do not want to... and I'm told the food is... quite good..." Slowly, his eye drifted as his tone grew slightly distant. "... And being an opera... I won't just be sitting awkwardly... watching you eat... and trying to imagine... the taste..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:48 am

Isabelle nodded.  "That sounds like it would be nice.  To be completely honest, I've never been to anything like that before.  I suppose there is a first time for everything."  His last statement made her frown a bit, along with making her slightly uncomfortable.  Moving on to something else couldn't be a horrible idea.

After a few moments of silence, a question came to mind, one that she was somewhat surprised she hadn't bothered to ask before.  "Hey, Leo.  How old are you?"

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:36 pm

Leonius flinched when he saw Isabelle frown, realizing what he had said entirely too late. A new topic was very much welcome, and he was about to break the awkward silence, when she asked.

Another short silence followed, before Leonius looked down at his left arm. "... Twenty. I am here... two years late... a third being due to... the different structure of Pilorum... combat training... thanks to the explosion..."

Slowly, he turned his head to her, trying to smile under the helmet.

"... Why? ... I do not mean to imply anything... by asking... I had just... never thought about it..." His smile slowly faded, not that the mask betrayed any of it. "... Or perhaps... tried not to..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:47 pm

Isabelle only nodded at first, followed by a bit of giggling.  "Just curious, is all.  Although, seeing as I'm only seventeen, you might be a little old for me.  I don't really mind, at least."  She shrugged.  "I'm not sure why I came up with the question.  Most first years are the same age as myself, but you always seemed to act a bit...  Older.  I suppose I was right, at least."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:49 am

Leonius chuckled, a bit of joviality returning to him as Isabelle pulled his thought from that other, darker place. "... Perhaps... but you would probably have thought the same... were I here at the proper age... Observation and analysis... are often mistaken for wisdom... which implies age..." He shrugged, looking down at the relatively tiny Faunus. "Three years... is a trifle... but it contributed to being unsure... of my own intentions..."

His gaze was averted, as he flashed back to memories he only had full access to because his semblance had allowed him to cheat. In his mind's eye, what he had seen in that storage room in Autunno, providing Isabelle with a shower, was overlayed on the girl, and under the helmet his face bur was flushed with blood.

"... That... and the last time the words... quod vita... fell from my tongue... I ended up sleeping with an assassin... with orders to kill me..." He cleared his throat, rasping a bit afterward. "... So I am being a bit more... cautious... about impulses..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:50 pm

"Yeah, as I said, I'm not too concerned about age difference.  I feel like size difference would be a bigger problem, anyway."  Isabelle paused as she realized that what she had said could easily be taken wrong.  "That's not...  Nevermind."

Shaking her head at his last statement, it was somewhat obvious that she was trying not to laugh.  "... Well, I don't quite know how to respond to that.  Being more cautious would probably be a good idea, yes."  After yet another awkward silence, she turned and looked up at him.  "Perhaps we should get going?  It's getting a bit late."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:06 pm

"Wow..." Leonius couldn't help but laugh at Isabelle's slip, turning his head and scratching at the side of his helmet out of instinct. "You were saying something... about not being a pervert..?"

At the time, however, the giant could just nod.

"Casual is fine... unless you want to dress up... I have already arranged... transportation... and RSVP'd for Holy Pilum's... diplomatic box..." He paused, glancing back to where Kirkka had been. "... Also the... groundskeeper-slash-spy... was partially correct on one thing... Pilorum food... is somewhat... different... than Valish cuisine..." He cleared his throat, glancing aside. "Just... a fair warning..."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:29 pm

"I swear, that wasn't what I intended for it to sound like."  Isabelle attempted to look serious by crossing her arms, but failed, giggling at her mistake as well. "And I'm still not nearly as perverted as you, as I don't just grope people whenever I feel like it."

After pondering whether or not getting dressed up would be worth it, she nodded.  "I can go back to my dorm and get my dress, I probably wouldn't be too long.  As for the food, I can live without it, if it's that bad."

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:08 pm

"I'll have you know... I do not just randomly... grope people." Leonius crossed his arms as well, holding his head high. "I only grope... pretty girls... and never without reason." He chuckled, shaking his head. "... And there is nothing wrong... with the food of my homeland... You may just find it... strange... But yes... Go change if you wish... Our ride is on its way..."

((TIME SKIP))

Ride, he said. On its way, he said. Cleared by Vale's air traffic control, he did not, but a rather nice VTOL delivered the two close to the theater. After a brief check of Leo's credentials, with a Pilorum Aurametric scanner on hand, the two were ushered inside.

"Decimus Regulus? Box sixteen, sir." The attendant at the front pointed Leonius and Isabelle at a set of stairs, smiling. A forced, strained smile. "The other man from House Decimus is already seated..."

Under the mask, Leo's eye widened, but he walked toward the stairs, whispering to Isabelle. "... Do not make... any sudden moves... Someone very dangerous... is here..."

The box was a comfortable affair, with couches laid out with a clear view of the stage, set to provide privacy to communications while still allowing those within to clearly hear what was going on. The stage buzzed with preparations for the coming show, and tables on the floor below were being set and people seated.

Within the box, however, there were only two people. A quiet, pink-haired girl whose eyes remained fixed on the floor, wearing a uniform with a white coat, and a collar around her neck...

... And him. The same uniform, minus the collar, but a regal and condescending aura. He rose from his couch and turned when Leonius and Isabelle entered, looking down his nose with disdain at the Faunus, but bowing respectfully to Leonius. "Decimus Regulus. What a pleasant surprise for the Dominus Domus to be here. You remember Pia, do you not?"

"... In terms of network presence if nothing else, Decimus Anguis." Leo looked down at Isabelle, and swallowed nervously. "... Isabelle, this is Nonus Decimi Anguis... The leader of Holy Pilum's... secret police... Husband to my cousin Vita... who holds my Senate seat..." he turned his head to Nonus, tilting it, "... and someone... whom I trust knows better... than to openly defy his Patriarch..."

"I am a Frumentarius, Good Leonius. I do nothing openly." The monster flashed a charming smile, gesturing to a couch sturdy enough for Leonius, and glancing at the pink-haired girl. "Pia. Fetch some of that spiced wine the Dominus Domus enjoyed in his youth."

"I am unable... to drink..." Annoyance tugged at Leo's voice as he sat down. "You needn't... trouble your..." He glanced at Isabelle, then Nonus. "... Assistant."

"Yet you are obviously accompanied by someone who can. Someone whom you have brought to this event seeking to impress or entertain. Someone who..." Nonus looked at Isabelle, tilting his head as Leonius did, "... has eyes rather like your mother's..." He shrugged, holding up his glass as Pia vanished and returned with a bottle of deep crimson liquid. "Besides. My glass stands empty as well."

"You are a blind man... or a fool..." Leo watched Pia carefully as filled the monster's glass, and poured one to set on a table for Isabelle. "My mother's eyes... were golden brown..."

"I wasn't referring to their color." Nonus raised his glass to Isabelle, smirking. "How do you find... our Patriarch's company... ... Isabelle, is it?"

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:12 am

"Well, I'm glad to know that you think I'm 'pretty'.  But I still think you should stop doing that."  Keeping her arms crossed, Isabelle would begin to walk back to her dorm, feeling a bit anxious about the upcoming event.

((TIMESKEEP))

While Isabelle was not exactly a fan of airships in general, having an easy method of transportation to the theater was nice.  She wore the same blue dress as she would for any formal event, though without the hat that was usually worn with it.  Waiting patiently behind Leo as they were eventually led in, she would follow closely, frowning as he whispered to her.  "Alright.  I won't talk much."

Indeed, she would remain quiet as the others greeted and conversed, her eyes staying focused on the ground for most of it.  As Leo took his seat, Isabelle would do the same, quickly taking the seat closest to him.  The word "assistant" caused her to raise an eyebrow, as assistants typically don't wear collars, at least not to her knowledge.  It took her a few moments of pondering that to realize that she had been spoken to, and not by Leo.  "Oh.  It's... Nice." she answered as she looked up at Nonus, giving him a light smile.

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PostSubject: Re: In the Eye of the Storm (Closed) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:35 pm

Nonus smirked, watching Isabelle's reaction closely. "I may be... what did Decimus Regulus call me... someone very dangerous, Isabelle, but you're here with my Dominus Domus. Relax a little." He glanced at Leonius, his smirk becoming a full smile, and leaned back. "Drink. Enjoy the show. Has Leonius Regulus told you what it is?"

Reaper's arms went behind his head, and he stretched his back.

"A fictionalized account of a battle in the Faunus War. One of the darker points for both Vale, and your people, involved when the specter of Holy Pilum rose over both Barbarian armies." He chuckled, handing her a program. "Very popular in Pilum, despite our people being cast as the villains. But then, that suits us." His cup raised to his lips, and his eyes were locked on Isabelle's. "One of our peoples' biggest questions is whether it is better to be feared or loved..."


Leo's visor was locked onto Nonus. Pia did not divert her eyes from Leonius. Nonus paid neither of them heed.

"What do you think, kitten?" There was a humor to Reaper's voice, an acknowledgement of the racism in his words, but no caring. "You are, after all, here on what is essentially a Valish 'date' with what is, by all accounts, a very scary man..." Another drink. "Something some would think makes you fairly scary by association..."

His cup descended, and finally his eyes moved. To Isabelle's cup. Then back to hers.

"... Drink. It's all quite legal and safe, I assure you."

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