Roundtable Rivals: Venezuelan Rhapsody [Closed CVnU RPG]

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Arquitenens

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The Shogun's Palace

I've got some nerve showing up like this after last time. And after Klaus...Hell, it'd be a miracle if she even allowed me after last time. Or a 'stop trying' message from God if she doesn't.

There was no telling how she'd react. Ivana was a mercurial figure but more bitch than anything. She laughed like a normal person, even joked like a normal person at times, but she was far from normal and her greatest pleasures seemed to arise out of actions that would do others harm.

Truthfully Abigail harboured serious doubts about her own ability to compose herself once she actually faced the woman she blamed for the root of her current problems; especially given her uncontrolled reaction to Klaus' mere mention. She even questioned her own motives. They were bizarre, stupid even. Maybe dumber than thinking sparring would help strengthen an already-fragile partnership. And her without her bow or armour...

Even still, her steps carried her into the palace with an outwardly perfect façade of self-assuredness.

OOC Stuff

  • This is a closed RP between myself, Arquitenens, and @the_shogun.
  • This thread serves as both IC and OOC. Using first post(s) basically recounting the previous posts between us, subsequently continuing from there.
  • Standard CVnU rules apply. Otherwise, not much to say.
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deactivated-59c716930b8a6

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This is a closed RP between myself, Arquitenens, and @the_shogun.

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Ali_Sani_Bashir

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The mercurial ship between these two is real

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The mercurial ship between these two is real

Pretty sure Zauby ships Ivana and Abby's boots.

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Ali_Sani_Bashir

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The_Shogun

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The majority of the Shogunate's government were unaware of the feud between Ivana and Abigail. The same was true of the Orochi. Ivana didn't make a habit of telling others her feelings or opinions, or sharing the events of her day. Therefore, Abigail wasn't challenged as she passed through the halls of the Shogunate.

And Ivana wasn't informed of her presence, only discovering her as she rounded a corner, nearly colliding with the heroic archer as she was absorbed in an after action report from the armies recent engagement with the green skinned invaders.

Looking up her eyes flicked across Abigail, searching for weapons on the strength of reflexes which had saved her from assassination for decades now.

"Oh. Is great. Just who I wish to see." Her voice oozed sarcasm. "What is it you want now?"

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Arquitenens

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@the_shogun:

"Oh! Sorr—!"

Abby started to apologise purely on instinct before realising just who she'd bumped into. Just as disgusted to see her as she was glad to end her search, her eye ran down and back up the Shogun's body, no false pretences in her glare. A vein jumped on her forehead and her eyebrow twitched.

Just as expected. Ivana was abrasive and Abigail was angry just looking at her. But she hadn't spent the whole trip re-reminding herself her purpose and their relative positions for nothing. Her expression then softened, an almost conciliatory gaze into Ivana's eyes. She didn't want a fight; not in her present state, not without backup. And with the balance of power as it was (which would become apparent enough soon), she had everything to lose risking the Shogun's bad side.

"M–my...Last time...You...My blood. You didn't...Did you do anything, do you have it?"

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The_Shogun

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#9  Edited By The_Shogun

@arquitenens:

"What? Oh yes. Blood." Ivana trailed off, looking back down at the after action reports. Her eyes followed several lines and she spoke without looking up, tone distant. "I send to lab. They do thing-" A free hand swirled randomly in the air. "-whatever. DNA thing."

"Then they send me results."

Eyes serpent cold and gemstone hard looked up and locked with the archer's remaining eye. Now they burned with laser focus. "Results in 'inbox'. I not read yet."

"Any time, I open. Read. Who know what I think. What I do." Both her shoulders lifted in a shrug and her eyes never left Abigail's.

"But this remind me."

Ivana begin to pace in a circle behind the heroine, walking deliberately into her blind spot and reaching out to casually, carelessly rest a hand on her shoulder unless she prevented it.

"Where is Alyssa."

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@the_shogun:

Shit.

Ivana's words froze her in place just as her hand dropped onto her shoulder, weighing on the retired heroine's shoulders like the weight of the world she'd been trying so hard to drop. Her eye remained locked on the spot where Ivana originally stood while she searched for the appropriate response.

"She's safe." Her answer was vague, guarded. An attempt at being moderately safe, though she knew that was a futile effort. Nice of you to finally think of her, she thought but refrained from saying, admittedly surprised Ivana even knew her name. But her genuine reaction was a keen despair. Damn it, why now?

"She's safe," she repeated, pulling away, taking a few forward steps and turning to face the shogun. "But please. I'm not here for this. Not here to rehash our history, debate moral philosophy or fight you. I just want to talk."

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The_Shogun

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@arquitenens:

"Safe." Ivana repeated, rolling the word around in her mouth. "Safe. Safe is.. mater of degree. No fortress, how you say.. impenetrable." A grin. "I like this word."

As Abigail stepped away Ivana hooked on of her thumbs in her golden Strigidae belt and let the other hand dangle at her side holding the electronic pad.

"But. Even if what you say is true. It is not. But say it is. For sake of argument. Even if is totally safe, you not help her like us."

"I see now. Once blind, now see. I not even have eyes. Now I have eyes that see.. many things. This reward of mutant science." Which was untrue; Ivana's restored vision was a result of dabbling in mystical forces even the ruthless Strigidae clan had banned.

"Perhaps if never taken, Alyssa already be healed. Perhaps she walk, talk, do as she will already."

"But. This not to be. You believe you always right. Believe you know better than hospital full of doctor. Better than country full of expert."

"Sometimes you great hero. But this go to head. Ego. Ego blind you. And Alyssa pay price."

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Arquitenens

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@the_shogun:

You Goddamned cow. You idiot. You're clueless. If you or your people had any idea what you were doing, she wouldn't have been in a coma in a hospital when I found her. Or better yet, she wouldn't have been in that situation to begin with. Alyssa paid the price because you led her into a war zone. You let her down.

She allowed--even forced herself to think these thoughts consciously, and to dwell on them awhile longer, to keep herself from lashing out. A confrontation there, like that, was unacceptable. Near suicide. Maybe they couldn't kill her for fear of losing the information, but Abby held little doubt there were worse things.

Worse still, she tried to wipe from her mind the idea that she could've fixed Alyssa's condition herself. Or just as likely turn her body into an ice sculpture. Those "powers" are unpredictable.

She didn't beat on herself for long. Just enough to remind herself her place as well as remind herself not to give Ivana the vitriolic retort she deserved.

"Maybe, maybe not," she said, intentionally equivocal with a deceitfully nonchalant shrug. "As far as you know she's gone back home, or somewhere else just not on your radar. Huh," She forced a breath of half-laughter. "Talk about ego. You assume there's something wrong...what, because she didn't come crawling back to you like a dog? Ivana, she's fine."

She lied. Alyssa's condition had seen no visible change and neither Abby nor the priest had any reasonable idea where to start. But, she thought, it might be possible to merit a degree of the terrorist queen's cooperation for her real concerns by playing on the apparent feeling. It'd be a long shot, but Abigail had her angle. Even if she didn't truly believe in Ivana's purported motives.

"But, if you really do care about her like I think you do--like you're suggesting, then we're not entirely opposed in the world. We don't have to be enemies in everything. We can help each other."

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Ali_Sani_Bashir

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#13  Edited By Ali_Sani_Bashir

@arquitenens said:

We don't have to be enemies in everything."

I liked this line for some reason. Entire interaction is on one point and I dont even know who Alyssa is.

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@dreadpool10: @ali_sani_bashir: [My ego assumes that is "on-point" (in which case, thanks ~_^).] Alyssa is @asherah. A mutual connection who fell into an off kinda coma defending from a psionic attack.

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The_Shogun

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#16  Edited By The_Shogun

@arquitenens:

Ivana blinked, surprised. Some mutants with enhanced senses could detect a lie; slight dilation of the pupils, increased heart rate and a change in scent. Perhaps Ivana could have too if Abigail wasn't blessed with the ability to provoke a rage with a word.

A deep breath and then a moment to consider, before replying.

"As far as I know? Is not just what I know. Not anymore. Is what a thousand spies, psychics and technopathes know. And is what they can find out."

Despite her words it wasn't unreasonable that Alyssia had simply moved on. Not everyone was cut out for the eternal mutant/human war. And if she had recovered, Ivana had know way of knowing how she would have reacted. It was possible. It planted a seed of doubt.

"I sense deal incoming. So. For sake of argument. Tell me, how we 'help' each other?"

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@the_shogun:

As the words left her lips Abigail stared into the eyes of her rival, her lips pursed and brow furrowed at the request. It was never her ideal for Ivana to request a something for something. But she knew long before she arrived that one might be coming. It was Ivana's nature to be selfish, and quid pro quo was probably the only way she could keep any of her other alliances alive.

"I think you already know, in some capacity." She hesitated briefly before stating her desire. It was a hefty request, after all. If nothing else it would better gauge for her how much Ivana valued her supposed friend. "Th-the test results...I'd like them to be erased. All hard and soft copies destroyed. Anyone who's read or knows what's on it? Forget about it. Litrally. With a nation that employs as many telepaths as you, and all your mutant science," echoing Ivana with a tinge of sarcasm, "I'm sure you've got some way to make it happen."

And for Ivana...

It was far from ideal, she reiterated to herself, uncertain if she even wanted to go through with it. Even if the Shogun accepted, there would be checks that might allow her to know. Meanwhile, the former heroine had no such assurances. But in any case she figured it better she set terms herself than let Ivana make a request herself.

Her chest rose and fell with a deep breath. Guess we'll see."In return, I can give you confirmation that Alyssa is okay."

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The_Shogun

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#18  Edited By The_Shogun

@arquitenens:

"No."

"This.. bad deal. You already tell me she is fine. If this not true, you help her; unless you worse friend than I think. You offer nothing I not already have."

"So. This my offer. I destroy evidence. And Alyssa call me on phone. I give you number for encrypted line, you take to Alyssa. She call. We talk. Then, I destroy evidence."

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@the_shogun:

"No."

Abigail felt her heart stop. And for a short period thereafter she thought she was in trouble. Her entire body ran cold and pale as if she'd been touched by the icy hand of death. She assumed that was next for her anyway. Prepared herself to fight and die in a losing battle, for the conflict she was sure would ensue; or, to accept it. To let it happen. Forget the closure, the stress, the burden, everything. Two letters--one syllable--with so much weight behind it all. That brief moment stretched out for an eternity.

But when it was up, she nearly smiled. Ivana rejected her proposal, but her counter was better than anything the Londoner could've expected. So much so that she found herself, for half a second, reaching out to hug her enemy, a "Tha–" on her lips. This she quickly corrected, receding within herself once more.

"Thank you," she said, a short incline of the head, crossing her arms under her breast. It was good circumstance, but it changed nothing between them. Not really.

And yet, she found herself reconsidering.

"There's...one more thing."

The primary reason she'd come in the first place. It wasn't the blood, a deal, or certainly more verbal sparring, rehashing any past history between them. She debated herself until that very moment. Knew it was a bad idea. But, riding just a bit higher on the feeling of her foot in the door, she spoke almost without any further thought. "I just want to be candid, for a bit."

She sighed.

"Maybe it's because you've been there before and there's hardly anyone more qualified. Maybe it's you because if I don't like the answer I feel like I can toss it out. Maybe the jokes were right; I'm alone, so lonely that I don't have many options."

She looked into the Shogun's blue eyes, searching...At some point, there had to have been something else in her. Nobody just woke up and thought "I'm going to be a killer," right? So there had to be something. Had to be a first. Or a first few, as Abby's own experience unfolded.

Lowering her gaze, she shrugged half-heartedly and spat it out. "I just wanna know...How'd you get past it? Your first death—first kill. What did you do—mentally, physically, maybe something someone said or anything...to keep going?"

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The_Shogun

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#20  Edited By The_Shogun

@arquitenens:

Pleased that Abigail had accepted her offer, and the mystery of Alyssia's health and intentions would soon be solved, Ivana shrugged and said. "Okay."

She hung the electronic tablet from her utility belt and leaned against the wall, crossing her arms over her stomach and looking up at the ceiling, as if staring into the sky, eyes unfocused.

"So. I am malyshka. Little girl. But big for age. Strong. I train. I chop wood."

"Father, he have contact in town. Man sell him bullet, sell him passport, this kind of thing. But, father have bad feeling one day. Man, he seem nervous. Maybe something wrong. Maybe he talk to police. So, father decide man must die. Family, must be protect."

"He have red pickup truck. Big. Old, and have rust. Father drive. I lay in bed with cattle prod and wood cutting axe. Father drive around town at lunch. It very cold, I have thick jacket but shiver. And snow melt in my hair. But. Man, he eat lunch and walk home on sidewalk. Father see him, drive behind him and pull up on curb. I know this signal. Climb out of bed, walk behind man. It cold, wind howl. He not hear me. I jab him in back with cattle prod, hold for long time. He fall face first on sidewalk and jerk. Twitch. I tuck prod in belt, take axe in both hand. Chop back of head. Big overhead chop, like I split wood. He not twitch anymore."

"Axe, prod, I throw back into bed of truck. Get into cab. Father laugh, he put hand on my head and ruffle hair. Tell me he have pride of me. Love me. He have big smile. I like this. Not know man. Not care for him, not like I care for father's smile."

"So, this not come from nowhere. I hunt deer and squirrel. Skin, gut, butcher. Sight of thing.. transform.. from moving, from one piece to dead eyes and guts spilling out and no skin.. I use to this. Normal."

"This important. You must understand; thing-" She tapped the side of her head. "-that happen, not one big moment from nowhere. I use to animals dying. I see it, I do it, I see what is like when something.. come apart. Then I eat it later."

"When you little child you know things of future. You know you go to school at certain age. Know you have boyfriend. Know you get married. Know you have children. Child expect these thing. I expect to kill. Father kills, I see father kill many time. Mother kills. I see mother kill many time. I kill, but start with animal. Learn how it work. Learn very young to hide, to attack from surprise. Learn what make up inside of animal body by seeing, by smelling by feeling. So human death not huge shock to me."

"Everyone think that I crazy. That I 'sociopath'. This not true. I just start young and come to it in stages, so it not big deal."

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Soterichor

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@the_shogun: I was gonna try to fit another hour of nap in before responding to things but that really got to me! Not in the traditional "feels" way, but in the way that I'm hearing all this from inside Abby's mind (you know how I do) and I am horrified, and feeling despair for myself, and a little bit wanna give the crazy woman a hug.

But I'll probably try to save this one for last. I know you're stacked right now and other stuff.

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The_Shogun

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@soterichor: I'm glad you enjoyed it, and reply however and whenever you like :-)

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@the_shogun:

It was exactly what she was hoping for but Abigail was astonished by Ivana's agreement. Despite all her internal reasoning she could never get a clear indication how the Shogun would react to anything. Most often she'd come to expect the worst of everything, but in that moment she was convinced of a change. Not in the woman or their relationship. But for the first time in ages, taking a chance on hope was paying off for her. "Thank you, thank you so much!" She would've embraced the Shogun then and there were it not for their last encounter and the tension still between them; instead she clasped her hands firmly and did a slight bow with her head, hoping to show the extent of her gratitude without coming off as obsequious by an overly effusive display.

She listened intently to Ivana's story and the light never left her eyes. Even her dead eye seemed to shine with a renewed life. It was probably the first time in months that she'd felt anything like it and she didn't care who was responsible. Anything but the misery and depression. She listened, and reacted visibly. Disturbed at times, disgusted, even spiteful as Ivana hit certain notes. But even through her brief averse expressions, the underlying visage of hope shone more or less constantly.

A myriad of emotions turned inside her. Sympathy for the Devil. Horror for what the malyshka had done and the fact that she'd been desensitised, capable of such a thing, from such a young age. A hatred for her parents for making her that way. For all the lives – hers and the others, the innocent victims, and for Ivana herself – damaged by the indoctrination.

But as the Russian concluded her story and the lesson, the hero's brightened visage faded, along with Abby's hope for the future – for her future. If she ever did make it back, which she once again doubted she would, there would be one more barrier to facing her rival. She'd long-expected some type of closure if she ever found out what caused it all for Ivana but that was wrong. She didn't feel any better. Worse, even.

The Shogun wasn't wrong, not entirely anyway. Ivana seemed still to believe in her life as "the Aensland Golden Girl," a perfect world until she hit the age of eighteen; just as Abigail still held some notions of "a land and life of misery," slightly ashamed for her belief perseverance after hearing the story. And yet, Ivana was right in many ways. Despite the unfortunate events of her past and her growing misery, throughout most of her life Abigail held a set of normative beliefs about the way her life was supposed to unfold. Although actuality rarely went according to those expectations and most were gradually dismissed as she got older. Even still, her beliefs throughout most of her life were...hopeful.

And with her words that brought some measure of understanding Ivana also damaged that hope, more than what had already been. The light of hopeful expectancy gradually faded from Abby's eyes as Ivana explained the moral of her tale. Her remaining good eye glossed over, becoming a pale blue, and the blood drained from her face. It was a struggle not to vomit in the Shogun's presence.

A trail of red streamed down her cheek from the damaged eye, flowing like tears of blood or a reopening in the months-old wound. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Breathlessly silent. They were just fundamentally different people, in nearly every way. Different backgrounds, different families, different values. Worlds apart. But as much as she wanted to, Abby couldn't just "toss it out." She would carry Ivana's words and those feelings, maybe for the rest of her life. Even if she didn't know what for.

"U-uh...I..." She cleared her throat and heaved a deep breath, turning. She spoke softly, the weight of a defeated soul dragging her words down. "I'm sorry. Thank you. I'll be going then."