Ardul has been somewhat out of communication for a little bit which has probably impacted her spear-training with Kaji. In truth things have been kind of touch and go for her and Hunter but now they’re back in town. It’s the early afternoon at Grans, just after the lunch rush. The wolfen with the red duster has a partly disassembled laser-revolver on the table in front of him along with a mug of something strong. Off to the side a small portable computing device is doing something that can only be described as ‘tedious’, which is to say it’s methodically trying to break the encryption on some Iyesgarthan communications technology. The wolfen clearly doesn’t expect for it to be done any time soon.
“What exactly is a ‘lightsaber’ anyway?” The phrasology just doesn’t ping for him. Ardul uses a plasma sword confined in a very advanced magnetic containment field. It is neither made of light nor is it a saber. If one were to be pedantic, it much more resembles a long sword or an ‘arming sword’ than a saber. No curve for one thing.
Hunter isn’t being pedantic.
Not out loud anyway.
There’s been rumours that Ardul was treated at the Restorium. No one knows why, but there’s been something a little different about the blonde when she’s around Hunter since they started.
Seated next to the Wolfen, her hands curled around a mug something with steam curling from the top, Arduls shoulders lift in a shrug, causing her wings to move as well. “I’m not sure, but the first time he saw my sword, that’s what he called it. Now he wants help … making one. I guess we’ll find out.”
“Any luck with the decoding?”
Even if Ardul’s been absent, Kaji still drops by the headquarters to make use of the training space, mostly because it’s an area he doesn’t have to worry too much about accidentally smacking someone with his spear. It’s not a consistent practice, but he manages to at least try to go two or three times a week, having had to juggle his schedule a bit between that, helping at Gran’s and dropping by the Academy.
It’s just about breaktime, for which Kaji is grateful as he putters out of the kitchen with a pastry of sorts in his mouth and a cup of tea in hand. He hasn’t seen Ardul for a while so he’s eager to touch base with her when he can, and today’s no exception, especially since she’s here with Hunter at Gran’s.
“Hey!” he greets, somewhat muffled for what’s in his mouth, but he sets his tea down at the other end of the table from them to remove the pastry from between his teeth in short order. “How’s it going you two?” Despite the things he’s heard, he reserves his concerns for the time being. Surely nothing’s wrong!
“Nothing yet. It’ll take time. Patience.” Hunter says. Ardul knows it will take time and she’s quite patient truthfully so there’s that. The wolfen continues to wipe the oiled cloth in his hand over the weapon housing in front of him.
“Ah speak of the young devil. Ardul was just explaining your rather unusual request. Lightsaber? I’ve not met anyone who knows what that is and yet you seem to think Ardul can make one?” There’s of course no one here who knows what Star Wars was anymore. It’s possible that classic had long been played out before the end of the golden age. Which might make Kaji sad.
Or happy that he gets to explain it all. Either way.
“I was just asking, Lo— ” Ardul draws in a deep breath “… Hunter. I’m patient… though the sooner we get this sorted out …” She watches him for a moment cleaning the weapon and rests a hand on his arm, looking up the wolfen.
That’s how Kaji finds them with that greeting. Turning her attention to him, the winged warrior smiles – nothing outwardly wrong and she looks well. A little tired maybe, but that’s not unusual. “Kaji. I got the message you left at the hall. You want me to teach to make a….” Hunters already explaining so she kicks out a chair and gestures for him to sit.
“What Hunter said. What is it you want?”
Kaji plops down on the chair, beaming. “Oh! You know, the sword thingy you have,” he says, looking then at Ardul. “With the electricky light blade…thing?” He’ll forgive her for forgetting that he’d referred to her weapon as a lightsaber when he’d first seen it, granted it seems like it’s been forever ago.
True enough there are plenty of things he might be sad about, now that he’s in a time so far away and a word that might not even be exactly the same as his own in its past. He’s definitely missed the new movies that were set to come out. Have come out? Augh, it’s been over a year already.
“I thought you might know how to make one. I mean, I only have an idea of how one works fictionally…”
“You want her to help you build a plasma sword?” Hunter quirks a brow as if trying to judge whether Kaji could wield such a thing without cutting his own arm off. Rather than ask that question though he asks instead: “What would you do with it if she could?”
The wolfen glances over at the winged woman. He is sure the components are expensive. But does she even know how that blade is made? She knows how to take care of it so he supposes its possible. The computer continues to crunch numbers in the background. It’d be mind numbing if it had a mind.
Ardul’s pale brows rise as Kaji gives her the reason and she looks up at Hunter in surprise. He’s asking the right questions and she’s happy for that.
“Well, I do. It’s one of our initiations – to make our own blades.” That might explain to Hunter why she takes such care of it. “And it’s been a while since I made mine, but … I could given the right components.” Her blade isn’t powered by Kyber crystals of course, but it might as be. Iyesgarthian tech is a step up on most and their power sources have been miniaturised considerably.
“Remember that discussion we had about finding a power source for my suit? We’re going to need to do that soon.”
That’s murmured to Hunter.
It’s a question Kaji’s figured to anticipate as well. He’s chewing thoughtfully on his snack, blinking then before he nods, snap-pointing at Hunter as he gives name to the weapon. Plasma sword. Yeah, that thing. “Well, I figure a secondary melee weapon can’t hurt to have. And something like that can be used as a tool too.”
He’s had a liking to portable weaponry, as can be told for his spear that magically shifts forms to compact to the size of a large knife. Being a big ol’ nerd aside, having a blade of light or energy could be useful for opening or making your own doors or cutting through obstructions. Not that he’d lie if he were to be called out on the nerd angle, if people were aware of it.
His eyes practically light up as Ardul talks about her weapon. Making it for initiation? He’d almost bounce in his seat. “Aaah, cool. So is it like… a powercell of some kind, and an object of focus- maybe a crystal? Aaand…an emitter, was it?” Kaji squints up at the rafters as he tries to remember fictional schematics.
Kaji seems pretty excited about this. Very excited indeed. He’s about to note as much when the computer beeps and he leans over to look at what it’s found. Ardul and the young man can talk a bit more about energy swords. As he reads though his expression changes and it becomes evident that whatever he’s looking at it’s at least a little bit disturbing.
“Why so excited?” Ardul frowns. “It’s just a sword. Yes to all of those things and whilst I can get similar items here, I’ve not yet found a suitable power source. But my Lo– Hunter said there were marketplaces we could try. It won’t be inexpensive though and I’ll want to be sure you’re able to use it before we do this.”
Hunter’s not the only one who’s considered the mage might cut his arm off. “And it’s not a tool. It’s a weapon. Never forget that.”
The Wolfen’s frown has the Valkyr frowning as well and leaning over to look at what he’s reading “You’ve found them?”
There’s that odd slip, unusual for Ardul, really, that has Kaji tilt his head a bit at her. It didn’t particularly sound like the missing half of that word ended with a ‘ve’ either. Blinking, he nibbles again at his pastry before he realizes he hasn’t answered her question.
“It just reminds me of something from home,” he says, deciding that was easier than explaining a movie. “Except there it’s not real, but here, I guess it’s possible.”
That it probably won’t be a cheap investment and would take some testing and further training really doesn’t surprise him. He considers what Ardul says to follow, nodding slowly. “…although even tools can be weapons.” Anything can, really. He feels that mindset plays a great part in it.
“…found what?” The ping from Hunter’s computer doesn’t go unnoticed, and as Ardul’s attention is drawn back to the Wolfen, so to is Kaji’s.
“Trouble…” Hunter says grimly. He turns the computer and taps it to display an image. There’s a group of winged men and women. All wear soft grey robes and are kneeling in a position that suggests meditation. They’re arranged in rows, as if in a class of some manner. In front of them are energy blades like Ardul’s.
Ardul will know many of them. Palace guard and other supporters of Nina. Someone off camera says a word in Iyesgarthian and all rise. They raise their blades in salute and light them. All are the same shade of deep violet. The color of Nina’s uncle.
It looks like an initiation and it may well be. But from the blank looks on some of the participants, one might wonder.
No the word didn’t end in ‘ve’. Even if Ardul is fond of Hunter, and perhaps he of her, that’s not the language they’re likely to use. But was it slip? She certainly concentrated to correct it. “It reminds of you of something that’s not real at home?” That draws her attention for a moment but as the image appears, her grey eyes widen and she pales.
Which is an achievement all on its own.
“No, Lord. That cannot be…” There she said it and hasn’t even realised she has. “Where is this, can you tell, my Lord? We have to go to them … Lucius has enslaved them.”
For the first time, both Hunter and Kaji hear fear in the Valkyrs voice. Normally so composed and calm, the epitome of a soldier, she’s not … now.
“They are my people.” she explains to Kaji, realising he won’t know what they’re looking at… she looks to Hunter to get him to help her explain “… Now we know what they wanted with me, my Lord.” Not Hunter. Her Lord. What has happened?
Frowning, Kaji turns his attention to the computer as Hunter toggles it to show them visuals. “Whoa…” He’s not sure what he’s seeing at first, not until Ardul offers explanation, but the reason he looks over at her at first isn’t for that. ‘Lord’? When did she start calling Hunter that? Or sound so meek for that matter? Realizing he’s staring, he shifts his attention back towards the video again.
“Where is this from? Is there a camera somewhere? This is happening now?” Trouble’s only scratching the surface, although Kaji’s starting to piece together a very grim picture from what they watch and what Ardul explains.
“Hunter.” The grey wolfen corrects the winged woman gently. He looks to Kaji and shakes his head. Later. He can explain later if the young man is really that curious.
“The usurper that drove Ardul from her homeland is apparently using forbidden nanotechnology to get… converts. It’s bad. It looks like some kind of military induction. If I had to guess, that’s a new, elite, palace guard.” Made up of the old elite palace guard who did not support him.
“I’ve got worse news too. The file says this was taken on earth less then four days ago. I think, Ardul, Kaji might need that blade after all…”
Because as sure as anything trouble is coming for them.
“My Lord?” The blonde blinks at the correction and blows out a breath “…Hunter… ” she runs a hand through her hair, hooking it back behind her ears. “… sorry, Lord. Hunter.” Meek only when speaking to the Wolfen and then perhaps it’s more deferential.
She nods though as Hunter fills in the rest of the blanks adding “They sent an operative to retrieve me. I was … infected by the same technology but a Doctor at the Restorium managed to neutralise it.” Mostly, it seems, but not all. But Hunters offered to explain more if Kaji’s curious. “Is that at Lynchburg?”
Hunter’s final words to her have the blonde nodding. “As you command, my Lo– Hunter.” There’s a look to Kaji, the soldier slowly reasserting herself “We have to work to do, young man. First, we need to go shopping.”
Oh, there are definitely explanations in store. Kaji looks at Hunter, his nod near imperceptible as they’ve more pressing matters they’re witnessing here. He frowns at the video file as Hunter continues to bring him up to speed on the situation. “Nanotechnology? Wow. After all the magic stuff, hearing that word around here’s kinda weird,” he admits. “So basically this nanotech’s being used to control people?” Yeah, that sounds terrible. “And it’s somewhere here? …where’s Lynchburg?”
That he might need a lightsaber or a plasma weapon for a suddenly very specific reason doesn’t make him feel as eager about it. It means this isn’t something to be done at leisure now, and as exciting as the idea had been, naturally there’s the concerns that both Hunter and Ardul had had about his wanting one. For a moment he shoves down the inklings of anxiety, looking towards Ardul.
There’s a lot he doesn’t know about her, he realizes. But now he has a better idea of what’s going on with her that she’s calling Hunter such a formal title and acting so strangely. It’s troubling to hear, and while he’s glad that the Restorium’s managed to help out somehow, it’s obvious that this nanotechery is still affecting her somehow. Eyes flicking back towards Hunter, he doesn’t ask for the further explanation now, but he’ll be expecting it eventually. Instead, he pushes himself to his feet, his pastry forgotten, his tea left cooling.
“Well, whenever you’re ready.”
“I think so. I’ll see if I can get more. You two get started. I’ll catch up soon.” He has to put his weapon back together but this predator knows that there’s no time to lose when you’re the one being hunted.
With concerning recent developments of the Iyesgarthian flavor, Ardul and Hunter start to consider Kaji's interests in certain tech more seriously.
March 26, 2411