[1]
I believe this to be all. Well...

[In the days after the Lady's defeat, Project Unification is slowly being dissolved. Sielje may not be a member, but now she is leaving. AHer belongings are already gathered and packed up, a small load for the Arm. All that is left is to await a portal opening...]

The Earth is safe, I have fulfilled my vow. It is time. Time for me to return... home.

I am honored. Where would I be without you - my allies, my dearest friends? Know this, this is not our last farewell. I have my duty as the envoy to Earth, and even though for now I depart to Ankaia, I will be back. Back when the duty calls me. And even when it does not...

I will make sure to keep our bonds alive. That is a promise.

[The knight's eyes are wet as she speaks the words, but this time, finally, her back is straight with pride, her expression happy.]

[2 - for Gwen]
[But before she can depart for real, there is an important person to speak to.]


Gwen? The Lady is of the past now, I had time to think without worries. And I made my choice.

Back then, when I spoke to Jen... when I spoke to you, we decided that we should try - to date. But, but it is not going to work. I did not give you attention it requires. All that time, we did not even...

[Sielje coughs, getting red on her face. It's not the time to get distracted.]

No, that is not important. You and I, our lives are too different. We are too different. I am sorry saying that. It must hurt to hear, I know it hurts me to say it. But...

But you deserve the truth, and this is how I truly feel. We are close friends, but you would not be happy at my side.

...


Please do not be angry. There are so many things in this world worth living for. I am sure you know that far better than I do.
[Pre "Story's End"]

[1]

There's no rest for the wicked or the righteous. As the final military operation against the Lady shifts into high gear, Project Unification staff and civilian volunteers are streaming in and out of Saikhama to donate memory imprints to the crystalline weapon.

Dido Sybil has been hovering around the hanger bay where the Anti-Lady weapon is store. Observant people might see her take a few steps toward the memory copying station, then turn around and walk away, looking at something on her phone.

Finally, she sees and approaches you. "Hey," she says with a weak smile. "If you've got a free evening next week, could you do me a favor?" She chuckles nervously. "It's a doozy."

[2]



"I, Alexia Sybil, ask of you all!" Dido's mom proclaims. "In the world of Italian cuisine, what is the mightiest dish? Calamari? Chicken Alfredo? No, it is bell peppers; the spicier the better! Those who can eat these peppers whole are shining champions of taste! Those who cannot stomach them...should just order from the children's menu!"

You've tagged along with Dido to have Italian dinner with her billionaire mother. More specifically, you're dining in a zero-g Italian restaurant, located in the central torus of a space colony, where all the the food is broiled in raw sunlight focused by skyscraper-sized solar mirrors.

For an utterly posh restaurant, it's rather messy.

"Anyways," Alexia Sybil says, turning toward you. "Wont you tell me what my little Dido's been up to?" She grabs a stray pepper floating through the air and wolfs it down. "She never talks about her work at the Unity Group...or is it Project Unification now?"
[Following the operation to bring down Cambio Protocol, a certain someone was very, very quiet and evasive. But the door to Sielje's room is unlocked, so if you want to check how she's doing...]

So many lost their lives on the island. They fought, we all did, to save countless others from the lava weapon.

[Sielje sits in the dark, curled up on the bed. She doesn't look up while talking, but she speaks up only when some kind of company arrives.]

Then, why is it that all I can selfishly think of...


She is not coming back, is she?
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[1]

A. Ah... be more careful if you please... tch!

[Sielje is wincing and making various strange noises from discomfort of being shot in the back. But the beasthide she wore protected her - all she suffers from is a bruised rib or two. It could've been so much worse.

Regardless the knight needs some medical attention now.]

[2]
[The artifact from the Great Forge is back on Earth now. Another part of Discovery of Self has been retrieved - however an old trouble seems to be not quite defeated as everyone originally thought.]

That group of merchants... no - of all kinds of people. To think Fumerco still exists. Even if it is under a different name, housed in a different city. But it is the same.

What may we do to put an end to it? Not just defend Ankaia against their predations, but to defeat a corporation once and for all?

It may seem as if... not all battles can be won with the sword.
[Frontdated a little.]

The Great Forge...

Ynya and Kimhone )

[1]
... Adjustments, she said.

[A package arrived to Sielje soon after the talk she had with her friends. With only a moment of hesitation she opens it, to reveal.]


... Ah!

[A dress. A black, vaguely leathery dress, with a tight fitting bodice but flaring, frilly sleeves and a skirt. As well as a veil, and a few assorted trinkets.]

This is what Kimhone wore ten years ago. A rarity like no other.
You wanted me... to have this?

[2]
[Travel to recover the Discovery's relic takes you to mountainous parts of Ankaia - inhospitable and barren even by the planet's standard, with barely any vegetation amidst rocks and crags. But eventually, the Unity Group party arrives at the forges: and the workshops where many an Arm was assembled now lie in ruins. Thanks to Ishin's destructive actions, artifacts put at work here now are shattered, half assembled Knight's Arm skeletons left on their own in empty halls.]

Meetings )
[1]


"Kimhone, will she truly be able to hear me this way? For certain? ... Aha! A familiar face."

[Suddenly a private but low security transmission is received by Unity Group. On the other side you can see the Ankaian champion, pleasantly surprised that this works. And he's not alone.]


"Salutations. How fare you? We heard news of Earth and they were tumultous. It looks like you managed to prevail however, and I am glad for it."


"Is Sielje any place near? It is my turn to ask for her favor. Something she is best suited for, and may it bring our realms closer together in this difficult time."

[2]

"Is this how people of Earth live? Peculiar... I expected a place more austere. It certainly is lively though!"


Not quite... It is not a city, but Unity Group's Fort Alhambra...

[Sielje is playing tour guide for a small group of Ankaian delegates - knights young and old, men and women, they came here to experience themselves how Earth's like. But Ynya made a (probably wise) decision not to shock them with the big cities yet, so far a UG base should suffice.]

"Ignorant upstarts, you know nothing!"

[It looks like most of the tourists have better things to do than to take in the views however.]

Read more... )
[1]
I said I need not protection. I saw sure I saw through the Nemeian Killer's weakness. I knew how to exploit it. And yet...

And yet sometimes that is not enough, is it?

[The broken form of Sielje's Knight's Arm being proof of that. Soon enough it will be whole, but for now its user looks very displeased with herself.]

[2]
What is a 'WMD' anyway?

[One quick browse for information later.]


... Oh.

I suppose we were very fortunate to have reacted so quickly then. Yes, fortunate indeed.

[She puts a hand on her stomach, suddenly feeling not too good.]
[It's over. Ishin is slain, his true nature revealed. Ankaia lies in ruins, many of its artifacts lost. It will not be able to sustain itself much longer - but Ynya and Kimhone promised to lead it to restoration, through cooperation with Earth, and wisdom: knowing whom they can trust, and who to avoid. But...]

Resolution )
To have one final chance to speak to your parents, only to see them fade away in front of your eyes - how painful must it feel? Very so, and yet so many would wish for it regardless...

[Sielje speaks solemnly, mulling in front of her Knight's Arm. The unit is slouched forward and damaged after a fierce fight, but it stands peacefully - using its shield to rest its hands. The shield that bears the hastily painted insignia.]

The Ebon King - I understand, you and the plight of your daughter. I understand and sympathize... but I cannot promise to move blame for all her crimes and heinous deeds on you. This is not my call to make, I will swear a vow only if I can keep it.

...

[Sielje's gaze slowly turns to the pile of scrap metal under the Arm's feet.]


I may need another pike.
[1]

The evening after Halloween, while a spooky atmosphere still fills the air, Dido Sybil invites her friends, allies and workmates to a campfire cookoff in the little forest by Saikhama base.

Together, the party builds a merrily crackling fire in a stone-ringed pit. Hot Dogs and Marshmallows are toasted on sticks and harmonicas are played.

As the sun recedes behind the trees, and shadows gather around the flickering campfire, Dido pulls out a flashlight and shines its beam under her chin.

"Gather round, gather round," she proclaims in a gravely voice. "Don't stray from the light, for we're going tell spooky stories tonight–!"

In a more cheerful voice, she continues: "So who wants to go first?"

[2]

Eventually, it's Dido's turn. "As bizarre as it sounds," she says, "this is a true story."

Dido clears her throat. "When I was a child, I lived in a skyscraper, a mansion of glass and steel run by my mother. Back then, mom was always flying off to business meetings in the Sprawl or working late hours in the office, so I spent a lot of time alone. Whenever I got restless, I'd explore the skyscraper, wandering up and down stairs, poking my head into various rooms, riding up and down the dumbwaiters. The skyscraper was huge, and I rarely ever ran into anyone."

Dido pauses for effect. "One night, I was walking down a hallway...and realized I was being followed by a blue ball..."

[3]

[Tell your own spooky campfire tale here! It can be a classic spine-tingler featuring psychopaths who leave hooks dangling on car doors, or something from your character's childhood or unique folklore tradition?]
[1]
Ha! Hyaah!

[After dealing a lethal blow to a practice dummy, Sielje puts down her weapon. The knight is sweaty but for once, seems content. And the weapon in question is not her usual sword, but a long rod. A practice spear.]

Yes, I did not forget. I still have the arm for this.


[2]
Ahem. Do not misunderstand, it is not my intent to request my work done for me.

But there must be a better way to do this.

[Sielje is covered in paint, a large brush in her hand. In the background, her handiwork - a beginning of some kind of shape forming on a large mobile suit shield. A shape painted by hand, as half-empty cans littering underneath betray.]

I know there is a device of sorts for this kind of... purpose. But I know not how to operate it, and...

[She glances at the mess, embarassed.]
[1] - The Feeling Of Having Dodged A Bullet (right after mission)
After the battle at Sakihama, a new unit is dragged into the base-the black-and orange Nemain, a spiky 10 meter thing and the unit Jen was piloting. It now has a giant metal stake through its chest and cockpit, the back of which is covered in blood. It doesn't respond to being dragged around, but automatically starts to devour the area around it-so it's been left outside of the hangar. It is repairing itself-after a few minutes, the stake is devoured by its nanobots, and it starts to resume its original shape.  Getting into the cockpit to help treat Jen isn't happening-the nanobot cloud knocks backwards anyone who gets too close.

It's when more drastic measures involving the use of superpowers and weaponry start to be discussed that its cockpit opens. Jen comes out on a liftwire to the ground-covered in blood, her clothes torn to shreds, and holding a briefcase. She touches down on the ground barefoot, stumbles, and falls flat on her ass.



"Jesus christ...it worked."

[2] - Reconcilliation

[Later, Jen can be found in a calmer common area. By now, word may have gotten around that her betrayal was all an elaborate ploy-or it might not have. Either way, she's drinking some tea in her usual clothes, as though nothing had happened at all.]
[1 - later than other two prompts actually]
[With some caution regarding use of unfamiliar technology, Sielje reviews a mission recording time and time again. Or rather, a part of it - one during which her own words can be clearly heard. A desperate confession forced by an enemy...]

There is no way to make this disappear...

...

So be it, then. This is, after all, the truth.

Painful may it be.

[2]

"I could not find lord Ishin."

The findings )

[3]
[One matter yet remains...]


"Perhaps... it was my mistake to reach out to Fumerco. Blinded by my own optimism, I could not see through intentions of leaders behind it until it was too late. I was blind to many things that seem so obvious now."


"We all made mistakes. What to do of them but to learn and move forward? Look to the future. Is that not right?"

[Kimhone and Ynya both turn towards the third person present.]


"..."

[Sielje is not too eager to start a conversation. Have you something to say perhaps, before leaving the three alone?]
Is this what you really thought of this organisation? Of Unity Group?

[Upon hearing the news of how the mission went, Sielje ran off to somewhere. She can be found in a quiet corner of Alhambra's outside areas. She had a small training area organised, with dummies for stabbing and such. All of which now show signs of frustration, damage done to them with haphazard strikes.]

Was so little required for you to turn traitor, Jen Douglas?

[Her head drops.]


I am a traitor too. I am. But still...
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...

...

By popular decision of the Lords, Ankaia will wage war on Earth. Ishin will be first in line, no doubt using his extraordinary might for great effect.

[Sielje is a mess. She sits with her head lowered, not bothering to change from her fancy dress - now torn and dusty from the fight.]

And it is all my fault.


If only... I was strong enough to face and defeat him...

If... only... I was stronger...!

[Her eyes are full of tears and you can hear pretty undignified sniffing.]
[Suddenly a portal opens up, and from within...]
"I am an envoy! By my honor, we come in peace!"

[A small group of Ankaian knights in their Knight's Arms step out, waving flags and banners, their weapons sheathed.]

"The Ankaian moot, most important of our gatherings, will begin in less than a week. By the given rights, Lord Anya the Champion of Ankaia, and his wife Lady Kimhone, request presence of people of Earth, those who belong to the order of 'Unity Group'. Yours will be the role of important guests. Bring arms as you wish, however rest assured as no harm will befall you. I swear, it is no trap nor deception."

[All prompts frontdated several days - way after Calvin's mission.]
[1]
[It was no trap nor deception. Passing through the portal brings you to a strange land. A world of rolling plains and huge rocky pillars, save for the howling winds its impression is... empty and quiet. Plants are present but infrequently, mostly familiar looking but scarce trees and grasses, and the buildings its people erected in the past are grandiose, huge halls and tall spires - but now, many of them lie abandoned, fallen into ruin and the artifacts stored within long since fallen into disrepair. These are just shadows of former glory, as current people of Ankaia prefer humbler housing in small villages. And yet...]


I... am home.

[At this sight, Sielje seems happy like she rarely is.]

[2]
[The Ankaian capital, where the moot will be held - possibly the only real city yet remaining on the planet, parts of its spires still occupied and surrounded by a serene lake. In this place you have a chance to visit a certain location...]

A knight's dwelling )

[3]
[The moot itself will take several days - a gathering of Ankaia's finest knights and lords, in the capital's largest hall. Those gathered wear attire of differing levels of historical anachronism and practicality, and yet though they all seem to emanate strength and confidence, no one except for the common guards is armed. Also, Sielje doesn't seem to be around.

Some of the lords give you curious looks but say nothing, while others try to distance themselves or frown with outright disgust and hostility. You have a feeling you are not exactly welcome here. There is however a single exception.]

A knight's friends )

[4]
[Whether you try to search for Sielje during the moot or just explore the area, straying from the main meeting hall has you encounter...]

"Are you lost? You would best not wonder. What gave you impression this is a friendly land? It is not."

[A young man who can't be even twenty years old yet. His long cloak obscures most of his body, and he stares in your direction with a disinterested look.]


"Not for the likes of you, anyway."
[1]
Yes! We are victorious! Truly, the day is ours. I expected not for Earth to carry so many talking beasts, yet here we are.

[Well, someone's happy. Sielje's spirits are high after the Cassowary Emperor has been stopped - for good.]

I suggest we celebrate by trying ourselves. A friendly bout, a training fight. I gladly accept any challenges.

[2]
[A few days later, the Ankaian knight can be found around the simulator area. Apparently she figured out the controls enough to be able to use at least the most basic mobile suit functions - a pretty good time, all things considered. And yet...]

[Even the simplest combat scenarios Sielje tried out always went the same: ignore ranged weaponry or ambushes and rush the enemy into melee. Be suppressed by the foe's superior range. Try to dodge and use terrain for cover, get overwhelmed, explode. Repeat over and over again.]


Why...

Why is it this way?

[She sits in the simulator cockpit, obviously frustrated and tired. The monitors display scenario history, at least a dozen attempts failed.]

[3]


...

[Trying to forget about her fiasco, the knight has chosen several books to distract herself with.]

How large is Australia, anyway?

[The books in question are: a technical manual of some handheld rifle, the original version of an old story she saw the movie adaptation of, a monthly fashion magazine, and a picture storybook about animals.

Regardless of contents, she studies each one carefully, with a concentrated look on her face.]
[1, shortly after the mission]
With Lord Moswar's death, a moot will be organized. He has left no one to call an heir, so his titles and the Lord's Arm will be given to others - all knights of Ankaia can participate in the moot and decide on that and other important matters.

But his death is just an excuse for the moot to gather. The real reason for the gathering will be to make a unified decision regarding Earth. Lord Moswar's faction lost its head. There is yet possibility of peace.

In the meantime, I will remain here. Lord Moswar's actions were against Earth's good - and Ankaia's as well. I made a vow to guard the innocents against him and the likes of him. I will not break that vow, so until that time...


I hope you will allow me to fight by your side.

[2]
[There is one more thing that a lot of people will probably ask Sielje about. The title Moswar used to refer to her, that made her so angry...]


Lord Moswar had in his grasp - the secret of Power Within. There used to be a time when that was the case for every of Ankaia's warriors, but nowadays only a few chosen know its incantation. The ultimate technique of self-actualization, any knight may use it once and once alone.

The reason for that is it draws upon the life force of the one who uses it. An old or weak person's life may become quickly extinguished... and even if you survive, you are not the same. Your strength, potency, are but shadows of their former selves.

Such a survivor is known as a Burned Out.


[3]
So the weapons of Earth are not powered by their wielders' might? Of course, they are not made from hide and bone of beasts of Ankaia... but does it not allow for even a weakling to excel in combat, if his or her tools are good?

[Sielje asks this question while sitting atop of a Genoace - the mobile suit took only a few steps from where it stood before losing balance and collapsing. You can probably guess who was the pilot, since she was the one who left the cockpit...]
[Sielje's on leave and she wished to explore a typical human city - Sakihama should suffice. Of course being a prisoner, someone has to escort her. What does she have to say about human civilization?]

[1]

What is this?


What was that?

[You know what draws more attention than a strange woman clad in straps of metal, leather and cloth? The same woman who stares wide eyed at everything, vehicles and crowds in particular. Perhaps it's a good thing her sword and helm are left back at the base.]

[2]
[A little later, Sielje managed to come in terms with the weird surroundings. Somewhat.]


Are all settlements on Earth so loud? I have never seen so many people in one place before... but they all appear unarmed and unprepared for a fight or any kind of danger.

And what is this?

[She gestures at a shop. The city has a lot of them.]

You build solid buildings just to serve as places of trade? Is it so commonplace for you?
[Where is Sielje after the breakout? Her cell looks devastated, full of rubble, partially burned and with one wall just outright gone.

And there she is, standing in the middle of it all, looking like a total mess. Dishevelled hair, ash covering her skin and clothes, body full of cuts and bruises. It was a close call, staying here. She could also just try to flee like the others.

But she gave her word to stay. So she did.]

I heard of what occured.

...

My condolences.
[1]
[Sielje's cell is littered with books. Books that she was reading - because she made a promise to. And in the middle of it all, the knight standing stoically while pondering her available moves, another book in hand.]

Trapped in enemy territory, sworn not to cause trouble to my own captors as is required of a honorable prisoner... what may I do?

Earth is even more dangerous and tumultuous as a place than Ankaia. The planet has been ravaged by wars and invaders, even invaders out of this world.

I... I wish to see. It is too much to ask of a prisoner, but I wish to see how the ordinary people of Earth manage to exist. I find it impossible to believe that they can eke out a living with a constant threat of demise over their heads.

[She closes the book. It's written in ancient Greek. As a matter of fact, the books around the cell are written in all kinds of languages, presently used or classical.]

[2]

Hmm.

Hmm...

[The vending machine outside Sielje's cell roused her curiosity for a while now. As soon as she had a chance, she went out to pick up a few items it had available - probably certainly with assistance of others who needed to explain how it worked.

And now it's time to further inspect her rewards.]

Read more... )
[1, right after mission]
[If you open the captive Ankaian unit cockpit, you find its pilot to look like a completely normal human woman. People who hoped for more weird aliens will be disappointed.

She however is armed with a sword - and points it at you! But the sword is sheathed, and given hilt first.]

I yield. By my name I swear to act like a captive should, make no attempts to backstab nor escape unless let go willfully.

I am now at your mercy.

[2]
Yes? What comes now?

Torture, is it?

[Sitting in a cell, Sielje is ready to be interrogated. She actually behaves without causing trouble as promised so if you have questions, ask them and see if she answers.]
.

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