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 The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)

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PostSubject: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:28 am

He didn't do this sort of thing outside of his meditation chamber.

Looking objectively, he knew that several hours had gone missing, and from interactions within his semblance, could figure out why, but he had no idea what he had been doing. He only knew what he hadn't been doing. The only pretty girl involved was miles away in Pilum, three pieces of high performance hardware were missing but not lost, and he hadn't refreshed the drug infusions that sustained his unnatural existence when he was supposed to three hours ago.

Already, the giant was feeling some effects, as he sat in an empty classroom in the academy and fiddled with an access port on his upper right arm, a line into his blood stream. There was a degree of cursing, a chair got knocked over, and a thin trickle of blood ran down the outside of his suit, down his arm, but he got an IV hooked in, and was setting up the chemical cocktail involved when his motion trackers pinged.

Slowly, he turned, visor burning. "... Enter... There is nothing... untoward going on here..."

Regardless of intent, however, Leonius tensed up. Sum Sine Sceleri- no, Res Sartae was in standby mode, so if they were hostile, he would be in some trouble, but already the suit was preparing to shift out of Modus: Innocens. Just in case.

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:51 am

Having been wandering the school grounds with no real purpose, Noveria was surprised when the scent of blood managed to hit her nostrils. The next surprise came another moment later, when she registered that it was the blood of a feline Faunus of some sort, though it was somewhat diluted and hard to place exactly which species it was.

Curious, she started investigating, only be to startled by a voice that she knew she'd never be able to forget... mostly because of the feelings associated with it, but also because of how abnormal it really was. Deciding she was better off not ignoring the.. request, she entered the room she knew the smell and voice had come from, taking a position near the door, leaning against the wall. And there she remained, entirely silent, observing the metal-man.
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:50 pm

"Ah... Noveria..." Leonius chuckled, despite hissing when he started the infusion. It was cold, and the chill slowly spread up and down his arm while he patted at the blood on his arm with a cloth.

He didn't look directly at the frightened girl.

"... I suppose... if your olfactory senses are... as good as I suspect... you have an answer to your question... from that day campaigning..." His visor turned slightly, barely facing her. "You aren't visibly trembling... or standing in a puddle of your own piss... so you are clearly not frightened... beyond the capacity for rational thought..."

He adjusted the cloth, parts of it soaked with his blood, and turned his gaze back to his arm.

"... You had said... you won't know what to think... if I stand a Faunus..." Another chuckle escaped his throat, as he turned his head to look straight at her. "... I still say... that I do not. I am Pilorum... But the blood that runs... through my veins is... similar enough to your own... that if only biology is taken into account..." He waved it off, looking back down at his arm and cleaning up more blood. "... I suppose the question now stands... if you are starting to figure out... what you are thinking..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:13 pm

Rolling her eyes slightly at Leo's words, Noveria takes a more relaxed stance, though stays near the door and against the wall. She couldn't really make sense of his roundabout way of speaking, but it no longer mattered, at least enough for her to think about it for long. "The scent of your blood alone makes it easier to be around you, in some ways, at least. Where I'm from, being covered in your own blood is a sign of weakness... in addition to you being similar enough to me, it's enough for my senses to flag you as a non-threat."

Briefly moving a hand up to scratch her head, she continues observing him for a moment before speaking again. "That is... non-threat for the moment. Just because I'm no longer frightened does not mean I trust you."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:39 pm

Leonius laughed, a bit of derisiveness in his tone. "One's own blood... as a sign of weakness? ... Curious... I would think that would engender a society... where one would be afraid to be seen bleeding... and fear... is a much more potent... form of weakness..."

His gaze went back to Noveria.

"If you are not terrified... I wonder if you remaining... is due to curiosity... or simply daring... Though you said before... that running is pointless... so I suppose it's a moot point..." He shrugged, finishing his clean up and checking on the IV. "You did not answer my question... though I phrased it poorly... That day of campaigning... you said you would not know what to think... if a Faunus had such influence over you... I am curious... if you are starting... to figure it out..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:18 pm

Narrowing her eyes slightly at his tone, Noveria stretches briefly before shrugging off her coat and placing it over a nearby chair, returning to her spot on the wall and crossing her arms afterwards. "Being injured is always a sign of weakness in my opinion. Winning a fight without bleeding or even getting touched is a show of prowess, and shows people that you're a threat. That being said, bloody fights are always the most fun for me, though it is rarely my own blood..."

Scrunching her nose slightly as she considers his next question, Noveria sighs before responding. "I still don't know. I was raised in a monarchy of sorts, but it was one where brute strength and martial skills where what determined your ability to rule or how much power you had in the area, rather than the courts and such a lot of them seem to use. I've just been chalking my... relatively submission towards you down to that. I know you're stronger than me, so treating you as my equal isn't going to happen, and you're clearly not my lesser... However, you are the first person I've ever met that instills that feeling of submission in me, which is still concerning. Not even my parents managed that."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:30 pm

"Interesting..." Leo started to cross his arms out of habit, remembering quickly the IV and stopping. He frowned under the mask. "You're remarkably forward... about that fact... but it raises interesting thoughts... that parallel what I have been... contemplating..."

He looked down at his right arm, imagining it as it was before the explosion. He clenched his fist, the port stinging, and looked back at Noveria.

"... I am Pilorum... Not Human... Not Faunus... Philosophically, the concept is tied... to the idea that one phrase... separates the children of Pilum... from the Barbarians... anyone who is not Pilorum... Those outside of Pilum consider themselves, and they cognitively initiate recognition with phrases... like... 'I am human,' or... 'I am faunus...' 'I am a man or a woman.' 'I am... such and such, from... such and such...'" He waved his left hand, as if gesturing to the many identifiers. "... To the Pilorum... there is only one phrase... that commands 'I Am.' No qualifiers... no references. Just an expression... that one's will exists... and that is the large difference..." He chuckled, closing his eye. "... We dominant creatures upon Remnant... Human and Faunus... are creatures of will... not flesh... yet Barbarians are raised... and mentally structured... to think in such terms..."

He held out his right arm, a small amount of blood still present, but not enough to make a mess.

"... You think... in terms of the flesh... You are a Faunus... You are female... You are hungry, or thirsty... You are warm or cold. While I... I Am. You speak... of how much stronger I am than you... but that first contact... when you trembled like a frightened kitten... before a much larger cat... You did not witness... my physical capabilities... Your first contact... was with my will... The actions driven by intellect... the drive toward a goal..." His eye opened, and he established eye contact with Noveria. "... You do not fear the machine and near-corpse within... You fear the steel-clad will that animates it... Does this seem... correct?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:04 pm

Raising an eyebrow as Leonius goes on a rather lengthy... rant, of sorts, Noveria tilts her head slightly to think on his words and how she should reply. He... kind of had a point, at least in some ways, though she wasn't raised very traditionally either. "Something along those lines, I suppose. However, years of hunting and being around at least moderately powerful individuals has helped to give me the ability to read people, to what I consider a decent standard. So... it's not very difficult for me to tell that you're stronger, both in martial prowess and mental fortitude. But... that's not really a concern of mine any longer, unless you give a reason for it to be."

Moving across the room slightly, taking a seat a little closer to Leonius now that she was moderately comfortable with him, Noveria tilts her head back to stare at the ceiling briefly, resting her tail in her lap in the process. "As odd as it sounds, though, the scent of your blood is relatively calming for me. Knowing someone I perceive as more powerful has his vulnerable moments as well... is nice."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:17 pm

"Invulnerability... is impossible... I am nigh-unstoppable on the battlefield... but I require this manner of maintenance... to persist in my existence... So it is... with all potential threats... No one is invincible... and those who believe they are an exception... to this rule... will quickly fall to their hubris..."

He rested his arm on a desk, drumming his fingers lightly, as he looked at Noveria.

"You are foreign to these lands... like myself... what brought you to Vale..?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:16 am

Shrugging slightly as she brings her gaze back down, facing Leonius, Noveria frowns slightly. "I don't really know. I left my home village for freedom, but only ended up here because it was the first stop on the ship I was able to get passage on. I don't really plan on staying here either... but I don't know where I'd like to go, either."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:35 pm

Leonius said nothing for a few moments, watching Noveria closely. "... You ended up... at a prestigious school for fighting Grimm... largely out of momentum... and a lack of forward thinking..." He laughed, shaking his head. "... I am not laughing... at you... It is simply... a curious set of circumstances..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:25 pm

Frowning at the laughter she was hearing, Noveria glared at Leonius briefly before responding. "Something along those lines, I suppose. As I said, I don't really intend on staying... I just don't have a place to go yet. Escaping from an unwanted marriage and life of servitude seemed more prudent than thinking of where I'd end up. I knew that no matter where I found myself, I'd always have my fighting and hunting skills to rely on... so that wasn't much of a concern. And those very same skills are what got me in to this school, so I'd say it worked out."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:49 pm

"... Curious..." He tilted his head, monitoring the IV as the last of the chemical poured into his blood stream. "... An arranged marriage... I can see why... you would run from such a thing... but perhaps my perspective is different..."

He pulled the IV from his arm, wincing as the suit's systems sealed the port. He would be sluggish for a bit, while his unnatural chemistry re-asserted itself, but he rubbed his arm where the port was.

"... And I am afraid a life of servitude... is unavoidable... though available in more palatable forms..." He chuckled, looking the Faunus girl in the eye. "... Those who rule... must inherently serve... those below them... or they will cease to rule... Those below must serve those above... or face annihilation... Power flows in a cycle... from top to bottom... and back to top..." He held his hand open, palm up, as a hologram of a spinning circle was projected. "... Unless you intend to live... without others... But then your net amount of power... is effectively zero..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:53 pm

Shrugging slightly as she begins to become slightly unnerved by the giant's gaze, Noveria turns away and kicking her legs up over a chair before speaking. "Being alone would suit me fine, for the most part. There's only one or two things other people ever provide me that I can't provide for myself... So I wouldn't exactly be opposed to spending the rest of my life largely alone. Desiring power may be in my blood and part of my nature, but I honestly don't care too much for all the bullshit that goes along with it. I do enjoy fighting though, and that's the quickest path to power, or at least it was back where I'm from."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:29 am

"Yet you are... undeniably a social creature..." Leo's gaze remained fixed on Noveria, his eye not deviating from hers under the visor. Slowly his hand closed, and the circle faded. "Faced with one... whom before you were terrified of... you keep coming closer... You could have excused yourself... numerous times... but you remain to talk... You say you would be fine... without people... but your actions in the campaign... and now... suggest otherwise..."

He chuckled, flexing his arm as he adjusted to the effects of the infusion.

"... This entire conversation... and the circumstances of how we met... say otherwise... on the path to power..." He reached over, putting a hand on the table and flexing his fingers. "... You submit... with only words and imposing size... as a factor... I crushed two people... with information... The use of the word power in this context... is a sociological construct... the ability to influence people or events..." His arm returned to a more natural position, and he held up a finger. "... I did not have... to subjugate you or Ron... through physical force... and indeed doing so... would not have been as effective... in at least the latter case... I am not so sure... in yours..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:35 am

Snorting slightly at some of the roundabout logic Leonius had, Noveria can't help but laugh quietly to herself, hoping the giant's hearing wasn't on par with her own... "I wouldn't exactly call myself social... I mean, sure, I'm interested in you for many reasons, but being interested in one person shouldn't really make me social. I have a team, but that's more out of necessity than desire... not that I'm not fond of them, but I don't need to be around them either. I was more interested in the campaign for the prospect of power for my team, and I had no interest in holding the position... I had intended on forfeiting it to Fantasia until her reaction to your antics made me reconsider."

Releasing a brief sigh as she turns back to face Leonius properly, Noveria looks at him with a slightly uncomfortable look in her eyes before speaking again, much more softly than usual this time. Admitting weakness wasn't something she did often, let alone easily. "My ideal days would involve me finding a nice place to settle down and sleep, and that would be it. As I said before, I crave very few things from others, and need even less of those things. But that is not really important at the moment, yet leads me to disagree with your assessment of me being a social creature. I don't like being around humans in any capacity, and dislike being around other Faunus almost as much, unless they're also cats."

Allowing her voice to raise to the normal levels for her, she continues talking but closes her eyes for the next part. She was still rather unsure of her feelings for the man she was conversing with, but... she had more or less convinced herself that he could be trusted to know more about her now that she knew a little bit about him. "You may not have needed to dominate me physically, though you surely could if you wanted, but it's not difficult for me to recognize when I'm beat regardless. The difference being that with words I can still fight back, but if you decided to force my submission... Well, the result would be rather be disappointing now. Seeing as I consider the fight a loss on my part, there'd be no sense in me fighting back to begin with... Of course, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't believe me, so feel free to test it for yourself."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:48 pm

A single eyebrow raised at Noveria's laugh, but Leonius didn't respond. He merely listened to the changes in her voice, paying attention to her posture and body language. "Perhaps... you are what you think... that you are... and perhaps you... will find evidence... that says otherwise..." Leonius chuckled, slowly rising to his feet.

His large stride length meant it only took two steps to reach her. Two thumps of his heavy footfalls on the floor, before he towered over here.

"... But I am curious... how cat-like you are... given your displayed traits... thus far... And how willing to speak up... you are..."

It was the only warning Noveria got before the giant picked her up, holding her with one arm as he stroked her hair with the other, turning and sitting back down to face the door. Under the armor, faintly audible despite the background noise of his life support, the sound of someone trying not to laugh and having difficulty could be heard.

"... Tell me if you want... me to let go..." Amusement tinged the giant's voice, but he listened closely even as he set her on his lap and continued stroking her hair, scratching behind her ears. "... Just ask..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:20 pm

There was a brief moment of fear in Noveria's mind as Leonius approached, though it immediately vanished once she found herself in his arms, though she still wasn't quite sure why she felt entirely safe around him now. Her thoughts were put on hold almost instantly after her change of location, however, because Leonius had started stroking her hair. It was an act that was surprisingly nice, both of him to think of, and for her to experience, but it was entirely unexpected all the same.

Turning her head slightly to glare at him after hearing his slight laughter and the tone of his voice, her brain turned to mush yet again once she felt the scratching coming from right behind her ears. Leonius wasn't playing fair, and Noveria was pretty confident that he knew that... but that was the whole point, or so she suspected. Deciding to give in to his actions, at least for now, she lets herself fully relax, closing her eyes in the process.

After a few more moments of being scratched however, she registered the fact that she was beginning to purr... which was not something she expected either. Feeling a faint blush crossing her face as well, she turns her head to the side before finally responding to the man's statements. "No... you don't need to stop or put me down, but you certainly don't need to continue either, unless you want to..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:47 am

Leonius chuckled as he adjusted the much smaller girl on his lap, continuing his unfair petting and scratching activities. "Your reaction makes it... fairly clear what the answer... to my question is... and your phrasing... says quite a it... as well..."

He thought a moment, an idea popping into his head.

"... I'm curious... how you will react... to something... Tell me... when you want me... to stop..." Widening his legs a bit, so she was sat up more securely, he put a hand on her knee. A low chuckle issued from his throat. "... Are you... nervous..?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:29 am

Sighing contentedly as she maneuvers her body in to a slightly more comfortable position, Noveria lightly shakes her head under Leo's scratching hand. Only slightly recognizing the fact that one of his hands had moved, it takes her a moment before she can respond to his question and prior statements at all. "Mmm... not nervous anymore." Is her first brief reply, slightly slurred by her distraction at his actions. "Knowing you're... at least some kind of Faunus helps me relax around you, and giving me physical attention without being prompted allows me to trust you, at least a little bit. I've realized that if you actually had the intention of harming me, you would have done it... so that makes it easier still."

Opening an eye and tilting her head slightly to look up at Leonius, Noveria is well aware that her purring had increased in volume, but was relatively fine with it at this point. Her ears were twitching slightly, seemingly urging more scratching, and her tail was staying rather still, swishing slightly from time to time. Lowering her voice to a near whisper before speaking this time, Noveria was only slightly surprised to find herself willing to share this information here. "The... the last person that was so attentive towards me was my brother... and he was the last person I felt safe around, or trusted at all... so this is nice."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:01 pm

The giant's natural hand slid up the girl's thigh and around to her lower back as he pulled her in to hug her. "... You two... were close... I assume..."

The giant picked her up, shifting the purring catgirl so she was sitting facing him with her legs on either side, a bit of intimate contact required but nothing too intentional. Yet. His left hand went back behind her head, scratching behind her ears. His right was again at her lower back, holding her.

"... Never had siblings... myself... Both of my parents... were too busy for another... before my father died..." His own voice had lowered, listening to her purring as he rubbed her lower back. "... Is he younger... or older... than you?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:33 pm

Squirming slightly at the movement and placement of his right hand, Noveria glares at Leonius briefly before deciding to just give up and respond to his questioning. "We were close enough for me to miss him every day since I've been gone. He was only eight when I left... five years younger than me, just about."

Leaning forward slightly to place her head against the cool metal of the giant's suit, she sighs softly before continuing. "It's been nearly five years since I left... so his thirteenth will be soon, just a month before my eighteenth, I think. Never really kept track of days before living here... so those things are a little fuzzy. But he's the only thing that made it hard to leave... and I was almost tempted to stay, for his sake. Sometimes I regret leaving, just because it means I'll never get to see him again."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:15 pm

"... 'Never' is... the most dangerous word in our shared language... because it denotes a finality that rarely exists... in our world..." He had noted her glare, and moved his hand upward as he held her close. "Not even death... is a confirmed finality... There is even still a chance... I may be reunited with my mother and father... in the next life... So do not speak of your separation... from your brother in such terms... so long as the two of you yet... draw breath..."

His voice was quiet, barely a whisper, as he softly stroked Noveria's hair.

"... What prevents you... from seeing him? One of the advantages... of being a social creature..." He smirked under his helmet, "... is having allies... who can circumvent that... which an individual alone... cannot..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:49 pm

Smiling slightly after Leonius moved his hand, Noveria rolls her eyes at his statement regarding her being social, but ignores it for the time being. "Well for starters, I would be executed on site if I went back... I mean, I could probably kill anyone who came after me... but even though I no longer live there and never will, they're still my people, my family... and I wouldn't wish death on any of them, except maybe my parents."

Snuggling slightly closer to Leonius, she loosely wraps her arms around his large form. "Next thing being his inability to leave. I was given relative freedom to hunt and explore while I was young, but no doubt my departure would have ruined that freedom for him. He's probably been allowed to hunt while under supervision, but I doubt he's rarely out of sight for at least four pairs of eyes at any time of day. Not that he'd ever seek me out, either."

Bringing a hand up to wipe away some of the tears she had felt being shed, Noveria exhales before waiting a few moments to let her thoughts clear up. "I also fear that he'll hate me for leaving him without saying anything. I was his constant protector and companion while he grew up... it was my job as his older sister, in my opinion, and then I was just gone. I don't think I could fogive someone if they did that to me, and I don't expect him to have forgiven me either."
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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:35 pm

The giant was silent as Noveria explained, squeezing her when she cried. "... The first two... are far from insurmountable..." He stroked her hair lightly, closing his eye. "The third... would depend on why you left... and if he knows... and whether he would... understand..."

Leonius shook his head, letting go and lifting Noveria's chin to look up at him.

"... Do not... say never... or you will ensure... that it is the case..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)   

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The Mark of the Beast (CLOSED) (Prelude to Retribution, Third Movement)
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