Clio - Lion and Hound

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Description: In the mountainous forests of Albania, where the NOL and SO are making inroads and discoveries, two members of the tenuous allies meet as the sun is setting. Conversation happens between Lieutenant Clio St. Jeanne, and the Great Knight of the Sacred Order, Leo Whitefang. One is a young woman raised on the stories of heroes and knights in shining armor, the other is a man who is living that ideal. But there is something to be said for the grass being greener on the other side.

The Wheel of Fate is turning.

Two years ago.

Clio St. Jeanne, student at the military academy controlled by the Novus Orbis Librarium, walks into her room to find a sealed letter on her bed. It is, as she finds out, an invitation to a service in association with the Librarium known as the Sacred Order. The letter takes the young woman aback. A kind of dream that the girl had been chasing most of her young life was there in front of her.

She could be a genuine knight.

Lieutenant Clio St. Jeanne of the NOL is in Europe. Albania, seeking a small kingdom and arcane artifacts. She holds a cup of coffee in her hands and quietly laments being in Europe and yet not being able to find a good cup. She walks the rocky terrain of the Balkan countryside, not far from the Sacred Order camp she returned a darkstalker researcher to after an incident with a cursed object. She has a bandage on her shoulder, puncture wounds, a bite from a snake. She will recover perfectly fine, but for safety, she has stayed on near the Order's camp.

Two years ago, she thinks, she held in her hand a letter that could have introduced her to an entirely different life. Though one not so different in major strokes. Service to mankind, though in differing uniforms and differing titles. She has to wonder about how things could have been if she hadn't made a decision what feels like a lifetime ago.

Clio drinks the weak coffee and looks out at the reddening sun. Already she can feel the shadows grow longer on the ground, and the peacefulness of the coming night is waking her up. Her uniform cloak warm in the damp early spring air. Her chain wrapped about her crossways, off her arm as she isn't planning on fighting tonight. The heavy links not seeming to weigh her down at all. From time to time, a violet glow runs along etched line work and magic formula carved into the metal.

A woman at a time of peace, when day meets night, where she can consider how fate turns and how they can direct someone down a path to either heaven or hell. And just which way is which.

The arrival of Leo Whitefang is without much fanfare or pomp and circumstances. Actually, more then likely that's already happened back in the basecamp and now, as the powerful great knight makes his way along the rugged dirt roads and barely tamed landscape of the countryside, he comes alone to survey the area for himself without the push and pull of guards and silly things like protocol and 'behave yourself' being whispered into his ear over and over again from his assistants and soldiers.

He's Leo Whitefang. He's much to important to worry about silly things like ruffling the NOL's feathers or paying attention to things like signs stating 'Keep Out' and 'Private'

But occasionally solitude and a chance to think things over and survey the area to ponder next steps without such interruptions is a good thing. And again, he's Leo Whitefang. He carries with him enough presence by simply 'being' there that he's an entourage all to himself.

As such, the sound of his heavy soled footsteps crunching against the ground is quite audible well before he steps around a bend in the road to emerge from behind large rocks in sight of Clio. He's easily noticeable well before he notices her as she has the high ground from where she currently traverses the terrain and Leo seems slightly lost in thought.. There's a certain prowling like movement to his steps and gestures though, as if on the hunt for 'something' or another..even if he's yet to notice the NOL officer nearby.

Fanfare, pomp, circumstance would just ruin the moment. The night is falling and there is a stillness to take in and a shift in energy. For some, the lower light causes fear. For others, a steady confidence. But the sun hasn't fully given up the ghost yet, and that means the forests below the ridge are ablaze in golden red light.

Leo Whitefang is a good sized man and he makes a good deal of noise. Even with her chain, Clio isn't moving much or fidgeting in the way she normally does. It gives her a vantage. And so she watches, amused. She knows who he is. The man's reputation precedes him. It's a reputation that Clio approves of.

Seven years ago, past nightfall. Clio St. Jeanne, still a girl, tucks a book under her pillow. It's an old collection of stories of knights and damsels and fights and dragons. She has stars in her eyes when she opens the window of her bedroom and drops down onto the fire escape. Up the old metal stairs until she hits the roof. There, hidden behind the ventilation, is a duffelbag that holds an old oversized hooded sweatshirt and a length of bicycle chain. It's no sword and shield, but she makes due with what she has.

Something about prowling in the darkening hour, hunting. It's not an unappealing thing to Clio. And so she watches, waiting, and sipping her coffee. The night is young and already she finds something to watch and something to consider. After all, she can see right in front of her a place she might have been if just for some change in the wheel of fate.

Whatever has caught the interest of the Sacred Order commander seems to have diminished or left his notice or otherwise satisfied him with what he's observed in the area. He comes to a stop, one hand resting on his waist as his head turns from side to side to finish its survey of the immediate area. Then:

"There's no need to quietly observe forever, NOL. I'm sure you've been given orders to watch us like hawks but if you wish to speak, I assure you all is well. I was merely taking stock of the boundaries of our territories and investigating some early reports on my own."

With this, Leo turns, his eyes seemingly gleaming a faint gold as the catch what remains of the setting sun light while focusing their attention on Clio's position beyond and above his present place on the terrain. His expression is..neutral at the moment. Not quite stern but not exactly warm and inviting either. A certain guardedness settles about him as well as curiousity as he studies Clio and inclines his head after a moment of taking her in.

There's still a good deal to see, but for the most part it's just scenery. Even the prettiest of mountain valleys can be looked at for only so long. And after all, people are drawn to movement. so, there's that too. Clio has a lot of excuses to give the Sacred Order knight when he calls up to her. But she doesn't do but have a little laugh.

"You're not that pretty," she teases casually, one hand resting in the broad pockets of her cloak. Her chain starts to flicker with growing light as the sun dips further away on the horizon. Licks and wisps of flame coming as though from within the metal.

"I'm just having a coffee," she explains, holding up the paper cup. "It's not great, I'll admit. I expected better coffee from people stationed in the heart of Italy." Still, she sips the coffee, though more noisily this time.

"And I'm not here for you. I'm escorting an academic."

"Of all the words used to describe my overwhelming lion like presence.. 'pretty' is probably not high on the list." Leo's response takes Clio's words in stride and he seems rather unperturbed regarding all of that. Instead his eyes remain fixated on her, studying her garments, what is visible of her weaponry, her cadence, her demeanor, her professionalism. Taking it all in with a clear appraising gaze.

"And I should hope you were not here for 'me' though I wouldn't have been much surprised if you were considering the surprise nature of my visit to the camp. I'm quite certain NOL wants to keep tabs on my movement.."

He studies the awakening magic of the weapon at her side and inclines an eyebrow curiously before returning his gaze back to her face, "An academic, you say? Who and for what purpose?"

Clio's coat and uniform is normally a little custom compared to others, on account of her weapon of choice. The weapon that, wrapped around her, flickers with the violet flame she calls from it. The weapon is clear, if not obvious, the thick metal links run across her torso diagonally. They also occasionally spout wisps of violet flame before settling in a steady, purple-y glow. She stands square, solid, looking down. She sips her coffee, which is nearly cold and stale. She's NOL, she's an officer, she is in what is technically a uniform.

"With hair like that?" Clio asks, eyebrows arching imperiously as she looks down at Leo. "Used to have it that long a few years ago," she explains, her hair being considerably shorter than what Leo Whitefang has. "You make a girl jealous."

She laughs easily and with a quick skip, falls to the ground nearer the Knight. Her chains clink, but they seem to correct and move, almost slithering around her to keep more still than they should have otherwise. "If you want that kind of information I'm going to need a promise," she tells the man that has a good foot of height on her with all the stern regard that an officer can have. "She's shaken up, she needs some kindness. I know your people were willing to harbor a darkstalker before and I want to know they'll treat her with kid gloves. Promise me that and I'll give you the information you want."

Yes, his hair is indeed glorious isn't it. But Leo allows his attention to be diverted to the sudden interesting matter at hand. He inclines his head and peers at Clio as she approaches him and makes her demands.

This causes abit of a double take.

"Hmm? Since when does the NOL have a concern about the well being of a Darkstalker? I've had it drilled into my head by your leadership that they are less then human and afforded no rights as a result.. Now you tell me you are concerned about ones well being?"

He allows that to sink in and then simply nods his head and shrugs, "The Sacred Order will treat this Darkstalker as we do all beings in need of assistance and safety. Should she seek sanctuary and protection with us, she will be given it. Now then.." He folds his arms and leans forward slightly, "What's this all about?"

Clio smiles, looking up at the taller man. Her eyes are dark, accented by her make up. That part is certainly not uniform. There's a glimmer to the eyeshadow that catches where the firelight meets the sunset. She's pleased with the reaction, but sharply serious with her request.

A though back to two years ago. To remain with the NOL, or to join the Order. To be the Knight. Everything the Librarium has given her. Taken her from a brawling youth to show her a better way to be. The lessons taught, the truth to her arcane potential were all well and good but it wasn't that that made her who she was sitting and reading the invitation to meet with the Order's higher up powers. She had found genuine allies and friends in that school. One of which was a darkstalker herself.

Clio nearly laughs at Leo's sentiments on the NOL's darkstalker policy. And by nearly, she almost spit-takes her coffee. "I don't know which leadership you dealt with," she says, "But that's not the case." She shakes her head and sighs. "First off, Lieutenant St. Jeanne, call me Clio, though. My rank doesn't mean squat to a Knight like yourself."

She looks back in the direction of Sacred Order camp. "I brought her here because it was the closest sanctuary. The matter at hand was isolating and studying artifacts in the area. Came across something a bit spicy for her and she got bitey." Clio shifts under her cloak to show the edge of the bandage on her shoulder. "I put up a containment spell and got things under control. But her name is Sophia Nede. Also, I promised her ice cream. It's a thing. If you have some, that'd be great."

lLeo raises an eyebrow at Clio's reaction. He listens, looking curious and then finally it is his turn to look amused though abit of deadly seriousness in his eyes.

"Which members of your leadership was I dealing with? Well aside from Colonel Relius Clover.. the other in question relevant to this conversation was a First Lieutenant, much like yourself. She also saw fit to execute several Darkstalkers on the spot, who had surrendered and were willing to come along peacefully after having been subdued and captured." He pauses to let that sink in and then says, "I do think, Clio, that the left hand of the NOL might not know what the right hand of the NOL is doing. I would suggest being careful, less your kindness get you into a certain degree of trouble.."

He quiets though, pondering matters as he lets the entire situation be slowly absorbed.

Finally: "She can have as much ice cream as she wants. We'll be sure she's well taken care of, Clio." His voice trails off and he then looks back to her and nods, "You should be commended for your empathy for Sophia and your quick thinking."

Clio finishes her coffee and looks into the empty cup with a distant look of betrayal at finding it empty. She tucks her arm back under her uniform cloak. She turns her focus back onto Leo, nodding as he speaks.

"It's not that we don't know," she tells Leo, shaking her head before looking off into the last rays of the sun still stretching out over the earth. "I know what sort of things go on. What lengths some are willing to go. Trust me, I've seen it first hand. But that's why I'm here. The NOL is meant to be the flame in the darkness. The light for people to follow. There are dark elements with the Librarium. But there's a great deal more to it than that."

She looks back toward Leo. Her thoughts go back to a time two years ago. She frowns and sighs and looks older than she really is in that moment. "And thanks. You know, I almost was one of you guys," she admits, eyes traveling back up to the much taller Whitefang.

Leo Whitefang is an expressive man. It's impossible for him to hide the slight hardening of his gaze at Clio's words but it only lasts an instant as he considers her and the reality of her statement and the circumstances they all find themselves in. That brief instant of judgement passes and he instead considers her more neutrally..and perhaps fairly. He then nods his head and acknowledges, "It would be foolish of me to say or even imply that all NOL members are of a dark quality. Corruption exists everywhere but there is also good..or at least those with the best of intentions.."

he pauses..and then adds solemnly, "But those Darkstalkers are still..dead..."

He looks as if he wants to add more to that but for once restrains himself and studies Clio curiously, "NOl is hardly alone in their stated intention but..I have ask..what led you to choose the NOL over the Sacred Order?"

"I know that look," Clio says, looking sidelongs toward Leo, but she holds a small smile about her. A glimmer of amusement. "I know what they do. I probably know worse than you do. But knowing what I know is why I remain. Someone has to be the one to show that the motto means something. Because it does."

She holds her hand out from under her cloak. She has one of her spikes in hand. A wave of her hand over the spike and the formula carved within begin to glow. The spike stands up and bursts into a violet flame. Light for the two sharing the darkness of the wilderness path. "Intentions are only so good. Let's be honest about who we are in the dark. We're predators. We're fighters. And I dare say that we're both killers when you get down to it. I know I am. I can admit it. But I also know that I have choices. I can use that darkness to make things safer for others. To make sure those who don't want to or can't be the kind of person I am aren't forced to do so just to survive."

She looks up from the flame that hovers above her hand to look up to the stars in the night sky. Far enough away from the urban centers and light pollution to give a band of speckled glow stretching to the horizon. "They are dead. Nothing we want to do can bring them back. Can't unring that bell. But we can know what happened and I can continue to do my damnedest to keep some from dying, even if I know that I may very well have to kill for that."

A laugh, bitter and sharpened. "I'm not too devout. Not sure how well I'd go over in a religious organization. I might burst into flame in your church."

She thinks back to a few years ago. She sees the reasons why the wheel of fate spun in the direction that it did. She knows that for all the branching paths of fate, the one that placed her alongside Leo Whitefang in the Order was one that was never really going to happen. "Because one thing the NOL gave me they never expected. My friends. People that I could call mine. After years of fistfights and blood in the darker parts of Metro City, I had people that laughed with me. That liked me. Makoto. Noel. Tsubaki. Mai. You don't know them, we all serve the Librarium. They're good people. My people. And for them I'd throw away the chance to be some knight in shining armor any time."

"It would seem our recruiters need some additional training." Leo allows a small smile to crease his features, "Commander Ky Kiske is about as devout a man of God that one can be..but that is his personal choice though he represents the Order in a lot of ways. However the Sacred Order is not a religious faction and we have members from all walks of life. " he gestures in a sort of acquiescing way, "Given that The Vatican does house us and some of our past history and maybe more archaic looks at times..I can understand the confusion but we're actually Interpol and the church lends support and aid in exchange for certain benefits. You'd not be the only one to fear bursting into flames if it was otherwise.."

Leo studies her, eyes roving over the produced flame and then back down to the chain itself. He then shakes his head..

"Your words are noble, Clio, but association with a murderer whom you know commits murder in hopes of 'changing them' can not only put you in danger but ultimately make you party in your own way to their actions. Such behavior will grow a heavier and heavier burden on your conscious.. At some point you are going to have to choose..because when you are ordered to take an action or make a stand that runs counter to the fiber of your very won't have time to reflect on how you got to where you are or the friends you made along the way. You, and others like you, will instead have to face the reality of the forces you've chosen to ally yourself with and their intentions for the world."

But he ultimately relents, "...And...If that's the path you've chosen then so be it."

Leo inclines his head, his massive shoulders shrugging slightly and heaving his fur lined coat. Not exactly dismissive but apparently..there's little more to be said. But then..

" However...should your merits and virtue stay true - you will always have an option in the Sacred Order.. if you choose to come our way .."

He pauses and then smirks lightly and adds, "I would suggest that you've long been a knight in shining armor, if a misguided one."

"Mom, can the dragon save the princess sometimes?"

A much younger Clio asks that question to her mother several times. She never did get an answer. Sometimes, the people around her don't do a very good job of listening to what she says. Maybe her youth, maybe her choice in make-up. Maybe it's just her presence. But despite the misgivings, Leo Whitefang does seem to have a modicum of esteem for the Lieutenant, and Clio's not about to push back for the sake of pride.

"Thanks," she tells the stalwart knight, shadows playing at his coat and mane of hair from the flickering flame of Clio's light. "But I'm not looking to change things I can't. The cause of the NOL is a good one. Even if not everyone follows it the way they should. You might want to consider your own house and wonder a little deeper at who populates it. Call me suspicious, but I'm a knight that's also kind of a cop. It's in my nature."

Two years back. A letter from the Sacred Order. Opened, read, folded up and kept. Through her return to Metro City. Through her reassignment to Japan. Seeing her old friends. Learning the depths of blackness that coil around some of her leadership.

Clio St. Jeanne is comfortable with darkness. She knows she is similar to this great Lion of the Sacred Order, but she also knows he's something of light and she isn't. "I appreciate the offer. I won't forget it. Just don't forget the NOL is more than you may credit it."

"Did I not say we were also Interpol?" asks Leo, "....Corruption is everywhere. The Sacred Order isn't exempt either, though maybe there are degree's." He leaves alone any further admonishing of the NOL. To begin with who knows just how much Clio does know..and sense in making her close herself off to him as there are things he needs to learn that a sympathetic element may be willing to grant an education on. The possible whereabouts of a certain command Gear for example.

Not to mention - It would be utterly naive and foolish of him to imply that The Order is perfect..different standards or no.

Still, perhaps there's something he picks up on in Clio's comment and he raises an eyebrow slightly while turning towards a more three quarter stance to also partially face the direction of the camp,

"Has something happened I need to be informed about, Clio?"

Quietude for a long moment. Clio doesn't answer. She looks into the darkness and the specks of light scattered across the sky. She wonders things. The times gone by, the way things have been. Jubei and his wife and how she hasn't seen either of them since the time in the forest. Wondering where the wheel has turned for them.

She shakes her head. "No. Not that I know of."

Her back is to the camp. She looks outward to the things in the blanket of night. "If you find your Order isn't what you thought or hoped for. What will you do?" she asks after a long moment, curious and probing. Wondering now where the man stands. Expecting him to answer in one way, and entirely unsure if she wants him to answer any way else.

"I think you misunderstand The Sacred Order and my resolve as well as the differences between us. The corruption that concerns me about The NOL lies at its heart with its leadership and principle members. The very ones who created the charter you uphold. The Sacred Order does -not- have that problem. But that doesn't mean that there aren't members of the NOL trying to do their best in spite of those challenges or that The Sacred Order hasn't encountered corruption ..."

Leo quiets and then adds, "A corruption and a danger perhaps even closer than the heart." Indeed, it is this knowledge that has led them to this very place to begin with. The whole reason for sheltering Dizzy was because of the discovery of this corruption within The United Nations, Interpol and other places that bank rolled the Order and attempted to guide them and control them. So what to do upon its discovery..?

"..Sometimes doors close and you have to find another one and another path. The ideals of the Sacred Order and the ideals you yourself wish to uphold will never die as long as someone is trying to uphold them. If you call yourself 'Sacred Order' or 'NOL' or 'Interpol' or anything else, at that point, doesn't really matter does it? Those are just titles. Methods of organization with like minded people. People don't need such things to band together to do what's right.."

Lieutenant St. Jeanne shakes her head. Her eyes close and she takes a deep breath. The lights run along under the markings and etchings of her chain. "Kagura Mutsuki," she says. Eyes opening, catching in the light of her fire. "Remember that name."

"It's not for the people that do the fighting," Clio says, shaking her head. "I was running on rooftops, swinging a bike chain at Mad Gear when I was ten. I didn't need anyone then to do that. But it helps. And more, it gives people something to hold onto." She crosses her arms underneath her cloak. "Not everyone out there trusts a knight errant, they don't always like a soldier. But having something that people like does make it easier. They listen to the uniform."

A concerned grunt bubbles up from her throat. "Who was it? The NOL officer that murdered those darkstalkers?"

"I know the name Kagura Mutsuki. A Colonel of some positive reputation." He allows a slight laugh and then rumbles, "I know more about NOL and what's going on then you may give me credit for."

There's also much he -can't- say..that goes unspoken. Who knows how much Clio actually knows. A pang of minor guilt actually strikes him as she presses for further information.

"The one I speak of will just rattle off international law and global agreement in regards to the status of unregistered Darkstalkers and authority in some matters that the NOL has managed to get handed to it, especially on Japanese soil. It's not my intention to get you engaged in some sort of internal conflict."

He hesitates, nearly slipping the name out but opting to hold back and simply says, "I'm sure that you can identify possible culprits based upon your interactions with them. It's in the past now though. It's just a symptom of the larger issues that have people in the know on edge."

"But then you won't say," Clio retorts, her chains clinking when she turns to face Leo. Looking up at him, a hard look, an appraising look.

"You want to be a man of convictions, but I don't see it," she shakes her head and turns from the knight. The fire she's making fades, flickers and laps a few final times against the darkness until only starlight is there to see by.

"You're more a man of opinions and a lot of self-worth. Thank you for your group's hospitality and taking care of Sophia. I hope this country doesn't mistake our paired invasion as something like Japan. Intentions or otherwise." Her boots scrape the ground, the Lieutenant walking from the knight. Once more, the wheel of fate turns.

"I am not a man of conviction because I refuse to name drop in order to keep you from going back into your organization to play hero and possibly get yourself censured or worse?" responds Leo sharply, "I thought you used to be a cop?"

Granted he does have considerable self worth.

He makes no move to halt her departure though. Leo's disinclined to go chasing her down over something like this. These are things she'll need to figure out on her own. He does add, however..

"Things have already long been cleared with the local government. We're here to solve a problem and address dangerous information we've been given. Have some faith. Lieutenant Clio." He watches as she moves off, hands behind his back and eyes narrowing slightly.

"I see," Clio says with a wave of her hand. Her chain slides down her arm, the spike dangles above the ground. With a whiplike motion, she lashes the chain up and into the rocks higher up the cliffside.

Two years ago, Clio St. Jeanne held a letter of invitation. Agony over the decisions placed before her. Held between loyalty and the dream hammered into her of knights and rescues. Of heroes and monsters. Those years ago she looked and saw that what she wanted more were her friends and allies against the greater problems. The warmth of her friends from the Academy. The things that led her to meeting them, knowing them, and eventually siding with them against what could've been her time to step from the darkness and into a service of light.

"I've read the report she wrote," Clio says, back still to Whitefang. "I know the situation. And while you're playing coy and covering it for my own good, she's more than ready to try and get her way and push buttons." She shakes her head and sighs. "A little respect would be appreciated. And it pays to know who I can trust to be open with me."

There is long silence for a moment as Leo considers her words. He finally nods his head and rumbles, "Fine. You've made your choices. Chosen your path.." he quiets and then shrugs,

"During the initial outbreak of monster attacks after the war, I was leading a small contingent of Sacred Order soldiers to help the NOL in containing the attacks in Southtown. We fought and subdued a group of oni who had claimed the city edges were impeding on their land but really it was just an excuse to fight. We subdued them and after we took the ring leader down, it turned out he had bullied most of them into making the attack and that there was indeed a village that was nearby and recently exposed. They had still done considerable property damage and there some civilian injuries."

Leo shrugs and folds his arms, "NOL arrived shortly afterwards. First Lieutenant Katarina Shimotsuki. She berated us for our actions and thern summarily executed the captured Darkstalkers on the spot. When I objected she cited very -real- perspectives on unknown Darkstalkers and what limited rights they actually have in comparison to humans."

Leo shrugs again, frowning, "She has quite the mouth on her. Especially if emboldened by like minded thinkers such as Colonel Relius Clover. I'm afraid she's unnecessarily riled up Commander Kiske with her needling and poking. Something she seems to delight in."

Clio St. Jeanne listens, nodding along and considering. Things lining up, as expected. She doesn't speak for a long while. Standing like a sentinel with her arm outward, the chain reaching deep into the darkness. But after some time, the chain alights, a run of violet fire flaring up before dying down again.

"Thanks for being straight with me," Clio says, looking back over her shoulder. "As far as Colonel Clover goes, don't think you can ever know what's gone on his head. I've met the man, I don't think he realizes it just yet but he opened up my eyes to a lot of what goes on that the NOL doesn't care people to know about."

"I should go get this bandage changed," Clio says, rolling her chain covered shoulder before twisting up the links and snapping off the ground and into the darker ways above the mountainside path. She lights up the spike end of her chain and looks down at Leo.

"The world's a dark place. You should know that by now. You keep being as bright as you can and light things up with your order. Just know that sometimes the people wrapped up in the dark aren't really your enemy."

Oh..yes indeed. The mind of Relius is indeed a labyrinth but what Leo -does- enough to have him gravely concerned.. but that's neither for here and now ..and also he has no way of knowing just how much Clio really knows about what's at stake. A Command Gear in the hands of Relius and the rest of the darker chiefs of the NOL. The corruption in the United Nations..the list goes on.

But he keeps his mouth shut. Probably wisely. He simply nods his head to her and then looks way to let her begin to take her leave.

At the end he nods, "I know. It's not those within the darkness that have me concerned, Clio. But I bid you good day. It was pleasure to meet you. Perhaps, next time, I might get a better look at your weapon." He gives her a mild smirk and then nods once more before turning to face away and look back over the shadowed wild lands.

Heaven or Hell.

A choice that is made every day, the world over, by countless people. Each decision could be the one that leads to one or the other for a single person, a city, a whole world. What's impossible is defining which is which and what choices bring raze and ruin and what choices bring joy and comfort.

Clio St. Jeanne smiles, laughing internally, when the knight shows his curiosity to her chain. She reaches from under her cloak to run her fingers along the arcane markings, the magical formula etched within the links. So many of the NOL carry the ars magus. They have artifacts of power and strength. They have hand me downs heirlooms of their families. They have power in their bloodlines.

Clio is, and there's little else to say, a witch. Her weapon acts on her own craft and her own power fed through ritual markings. It's almost frightfully mundane to Clio. But it does make her think on the offer Relius Clover made to her back in Japan. Perhaps there is potential. More and dark potential. And for now it has been refused.

And she knows that Captain Hazama is the controller of a powerful artifact. One on par with the Nox Nyctores that Jubei wields. She knows a good deal, and maybe there will be a time when her more humble chain is seen on a closer par with the weapons of earthbound demigods.

Now is not that time. Now is just time for Clio St. Jeanne to watch the stars in the sky. To see a different blanket of light from that in the United States, or in Japan. But to know that regardless, people see the patterns in the lights and in many cases have found their way by them.

Much as she has had to find her way. There was a great deal of darkness to the NOL, but she knows after speaking with Leo that the Sacred Order would have swallowed her in the light. So she's happy that Fate's Great Wheel has turned her down the path she is on now. Perhaps in this way, by the end of it all, they'll find something better between Heaven and Hell.

Log created on 00:54:05 03/23/2018 by Clio, and last modified on 21:05:07 03/24/2018.