Illyria - Illyria Act 2 - The Quality of Loyalty[Toggle Names]
Description: Questioning the corruption run amok in his own organization, Sacred Order exorcist Claudio Serafino goes to visit the NOL base camp in hopes of discovering a more like-minded organization. A chance encounter with an enlisted NOL darkstalker might put the NOL's own status into doubt, however.
For all the efforts she puts into trying to be like them, one detail will always standout about Private Kaneko - she doesn't have to sleep. Oh, sure, she can sleep, but it's only for the conservation of energy rather than the restorative process it is for most other creatures, more akin to a hibernation while away the time until a new source of energy presents itself for consumption. But she doesn't have to.
And she's discovered that detail weirds out those she works with, whether they'll admit to it out loud or not. Everything about human life operates on a schedule that allocates predictable chunks of time for sleep and they don't quite seem to know what to do with the fox-eared darkstalker that is always awake.
Most of the time, it means being assigned to the night patrols. After all, she's going to be up anyway. But now and then, even those are fully staffed, and she's left to her own devices to fill the time until morning comes and a new day full of the usual routines begins. Fetch this, stand there, guard that, watch him or her, or whatever other chore her new commanding officer comes up with.
Tonight is one of those nights. The camp is quiet as all but those assigned to the night watch have probably retired to their tents. There are those on patrol around the perimeter and at watch from atop elevated platforms that give them a vantage view across the surrounding region.
But Renka isn't within the perimeter now. With no official duty, and no need to rest, she's slipped off under the cover of darkness, moving silently through what shadows exist, and putting some distance between her and the base camp.
Having to stay in such a small area for too long makes the creature antsy to get out and wander like she used to do. She won't go too far. The lights of the outer fence can still be seen in the distance. But sometimes one just needs to get a little space away from it all.
She makes no effort to conceal her presence, seated now on a rocky outcropping atop a hill. The full moon out tonight makes it easy to see, and even if it were overcast, she'd likely still see as well as mid-day. The rock affords her a view of the European countryside, deceptively tranquil at night even though there is ever a sense of some big impending doom on the horizon.
The lonely soldier isn't silent, either. In her left hand, she holds up a small, metal box. And with her right hand, she turns a crank on the side of it. It's a music box of unclear origin. The notes come slowly, the song soft and mysterious.
A quiet smile marks Renka's expression, wistful eyes gazing up at the star-lit sky above.
Demons. A world beset by demons. The Sacred Order once protected humanity from these creatures. The violence, ugly, monstrous and inhuman creatures from realms unknown. They were the vanguard against the creatures of the night that would prey on humanity, body and soul. The Archers of Sirius were foremost among the exorcists that drove the darkness from mankind's lands. And Claudio is foremost among them. He would do anything to keep the demons from their corruptive clutch on humanity.
And yet here in this day and age, in this part of the world, so shortly after a clear invasion of humankind by the darkstalkers, the mechanically inhuman gears, and more, the very protection of mankind was infested. Infested with the deviant demons who could only seek to slake their unholy thirsts on mankind and drive deep their thorns until humanity is choking on its own red blood.
Even the Sacred Order has done so much in the service of those creatures. Recruiting them, securing them, saving them. It's a mistake. A horrid, misguided mistake but Claudio still serves. He can feel the corruption winding its way through the hierarchy, but he will be there for when it grows complacent and exposes its head. And then he will remove it.
These are the things running through Claudio Serafino's mind as he strolls the mountain paths and gentle countryside. He drifts closer to the NOL camps. He had heard mixed stories of their behaviors. On one hand, they were actively recruiting and assisting the demonic presence, and yet he heard many tales of their cleansing the blights at the same time. He had to know which was the truth.
Under the night sky, Claudio's shoes crunch on the unpaved path up toward the Base Camp. He isn't hiding himself, he has no need to. If anything, to draw out the things that may spy and prey on man would be the braver duty. It would be nothing but his pleasure to erase a beast from its cursed existence.
But then he hears music. Soft and curious music. Running his hand over his face and fixing his hair, he looks upwards along the rocky hills. What is that sound, he wonders. And in wondering, he wanders. Toward the source, moving as a steady, stalwart knight for humanity, seeking out the strange and unknown.
The public message of the Librarium certainly positioned the para-military organization as a force that stood against the dangerous creatures that preyed on mankind from the shadows. Their soldiers had been featured in the news assisting local law enforcement and military agencies with the defeat or capture of rogue darkstalkers known to be a threat to humans and their bounty boards, public to any who was interested in browsing them, were chock full of wanted notices for vampires, werewolves, zombies, and all other manner of horrific creatures that simply cannot be left to roam freely as they have throughout all time.
Yet there is the other side of the question, as Claudio himself well knows. Serving within the ranks of the Novus Orbis Librarium are also darkstalkers sworn to the cause of fighting their own kind, of putting themselves in harm's way to protect human societies and bring rogue magicians and predatory creatures to heel. Rumors abound that there are NOL prisons where captured monsters vanish, never to be heard of again.
What is the truth behind the organization? They have been public in declaring their role in taking down monsters, yet monsters, while clearly a vast minority, can be found within their ranks. Case in point, the young looking but undoubtedly far older private currently enjoying the dark night with only her little music box to keep her company.
Clothed in a uniform common for NOL enlisted, she only lacks for the customary beret atop her head, her tall, pointed ears no doubt to blame for that missing detail. Her ears are sharp enough to detect the sound of another in the area, the grinding of dust and pebbles beneath an expensive shoe. The turning of the crank slows, the individual notes coming more and more infrequently, until at last the song ceases to fill the air.
It pays to be wary out here. It hasn't been lost on her that they are an invading force, pressing into lands that have seen little of strife over the centuries and care even less for it now that the organizations have brought an entire military campaign into this region. Disturbing tombs, exploring ancient vaults, she's overheard a lot of what is going on discussed in hushed tones by the higher ranking officers. None of it makes any sense to her, but when one is at the bottom of the chain of command, nothing really needs to.
Releasing a soft breath, she shifts out of her seated position, letting the music box slip into a pocket in the side of her uniform skirt, freeing her hand to close over the shaft of a long spear of foreign design that had been resting adjacent to her.
When she moves from the rock, it is with absolute silence, leaning forward and stalking toward the source of the sound. Her predatory origins play well when it comes to tracking down targets of interest.
Of course, while she can avoid giving herself away by moving through shadows and placing each footstep in such a way as to create effectively not a sound, there's no concealing what she is or the aura she gives off, and those sensitive to such things would be well aware before she could get too close.
Detecting the direction of movement, however, she makes it a point to try and circle around, to come at this unknown individual from the side. Just to get a look. Chances are, it's nothing to worry about, but it's better to be careful, right?
Dark power used as a tool is something that Claudio can understand. The ritual bindings wrapped about his arm are testament to such. However, he finds the use of darkstalker soliders as risking, sloppy, dangerous. The kind of corruption that could absorb an organization and consume them from within. Demon adjacent is not much different from demonic collusion.
Claudio has only surface concern for the truths of the NOL. Inasmuch as those truths are related to his own desires and needs. Because perhaps it's time that the inside of the Sacred Order was shaken up. For how much they are willing to sacrifice for their misguided ideals that cause them to strike the NOL.
He continues his approach. Not changing his stride even as the music that draws him in subsides. He follows around the pathways, walking around, looking up as he gets closer to the rocks that the music came from. He looks upward, his hands rest behind his back.
A quiet hum and he rubs his chin. Something is near. He hides his smile with his gloved hand and looks around quietly.
He can't quite pinpoint the person he can feel must be around. Not entirely certain, he goes for a more genial manner of attracting attention. Simply pretend that he does notice. "Good evening," he says, speaking to the night all around him, "I heard your lovely music and I had to see who made it for myself."
He adjusts his hair and looks around, hands at his hips, looking confident as he scans the shadows and the trees for motion. "The night is dangerous. I would hope that whatever makes such music isn't getting into any trouble being here all alone."
Circling in closer to the sound of movement, Private Kaneko continues to listen carefully, trying to make sure that she isn't being lured out just to be ambushed from another party lying in wait. But she can't seem to find any evidence of an unknown third party, giving her confidence to creep even closer. Using the uneven lay of the land to avoid being in line of sight, Renka manages to slip within thirty feet before finally risking sticking her head up over some round stones to get a look at who else is moving in the dark with her.
Upon seeing the man, she cants her head to the side slightly, emerald green eyes blinking. There is no recognition of the details of his clothing. That it isn't NOL-issue is obvious at a glance, but the Sacred Order either has no dress code or simply doesn't enforce it, leading her to believe that is who the man in white must be associated with.
It's cause to relax some of her wariness. The Sacred Order are allies, and as far as the NOL troops at her rank are aware of, still considered allies in this grand joint endeavor. Backing up a little from the rock, she rises to her feet so that she can step around it rather than be seen peeking over it like some kind of spy.
All pretense of stealth is dropped as Private Kaneko moves out into the open, spear held in her right hand, but resting idly against her shoulder and in no position to be put to immediate use. The moonlight is plenty bright for her to easily see by, but she isn't sure if the same could be said for this stranger. She's known humans don't seem to be able to perceive as well in the dark as she can, at least.
Her left hand lifts out to her side, palm up, and a moment later, a small sphere of azure fire appears levitating just over it, casting a soft light over the smaller NOL operative. It's impossible to miss the features that mark her as demi-human - if she's truly human at all. A tall pair of ears and a matching set of two foxtails sweeping back and forth behind her back.
"Heya, there." Renka declares, her tone cordial, not seeming to be guarded in the slightest. She's either considering the man an ally and thus no need to be wary, or is really good at faking as much. "Thanks, but no need to worry. There hasn't been any trouble topside in this area since we setup the camp."
The same can't be said for things going on underground, of course. The catacombs have certainly had some interesting confrontations reported in them... "Sorry to ask, were you headed toward the base camp? I could accompany you the rest of the way?"
And the woman appears. Claudio looks as casual as a man can, smiling easily, placid, half-slouching almost in his confident demeanor. The shape of a pretty young woman coming from the shadows is never really something to denigrate. So he turns, bows slightly, offering to, at the least, gladhand a little. "Ah, a young lady. A pleasure that it's someone like you here in the dark and not some. . ." he trails off when he sees the ears, the tail, the orb of foxfire above Renko.
Claudio's black strap wrapped arm twitches, ready and eager to skewer this demonic succubus and leave her for the animals. But, to his regret and lamentation, the woman is in a uniform. One of an erstwhile ally. This is terribly disheartening. Terribly so indeed and Claudio feels a pang in his heart at how far corruption may spread.
But now she asks questions. She has the presence of a low guard and a bumpkin's friendliness. He stands up straight, losing some of that casual cockiness and replacing it with a hunter's stern eye. "I am. I had heard the Librarium settled near here. I am Claudio Serafino of the Sacred Order. I had heard of dark things happening here." And as he sees the fox girl, he knows many more dark things are afoot. "I was hoping to speak with your leadership. We cannot have strife going forward." Half lies, whole truths. His purpose is clear, and it's becoming clearer if the only other real force in the area is using darkstalkers as door guards.
One thing's for sure, this man looks important. She was never briefed on how the Sacred Order hierarchy works, or how they're even structured. But everything about the man in white suggests power and authority. Now that she can see him more clearly, she decides that perhaps until she knows better, she would do well to treat him as someone of rank within the allied organization. It still doesn't get him a salute - those are reserved for her superior officers, but she straightens up a little, losing a touch of her casual slouch.
"Private Kaneko, sir," she replies following his introduction, her right ear flopping a little to the side as she cants her head sideways a touch. If she caught the shift in inflection as his eyes finally came to rest upon her, she doesn't seem to give it away, her smile persisting every bit as much as when she first stepped out and illuminated herself.
"You're close," she nods then, glancing southward. There are no road here, and with the hills even the lights of the base perimeter aren't visible from this location. "It's not far."
She looks thoughtful as her attention shifts back to Claudio before nodding her head, smile returning, "There have been strange things going on underground in the catacombs. I don't know if there are still patrols assigned to it... but there are a lot of rumors going around among us enlisted types. Magic artifacts, ghosts, banshees..." She shudders slightly, shaking her head. "This land is old... we grunts can only wonder at what things are getting disrupted by all of us coming here. I guess that's for the higher ups to figure out."
She looks south again, "I could show you the rest of the way. I think you'd find it just as well on your own, but there are a few mud holes hidden in the grass that are hard to see in the dark, and a few covered trenches surrounding the outskirts meant to catch the unwary."
She glances back toward Claudio, grinning visibly in her dark blue light, "Wouldn't want you stepping somewhere bad." He's dressed way too nicely to get muddy!
She strides closer then, tails swaying behind her, her stance still casual, and maybe too relaxed for an enlisted NOL soldier, but she had never been accused to being too serious. "You mentioned strife?" Eyes blink, her tone curious, "Is everything okay?"
Claudio is in an odd position for the Sacred Order. One of the Archers of Sirius, it's technically a subset of the Order, but part of it. He exists in a hierarchy he never truly feels beholden to. Not when they have such an important task as exorcism on their hands. As for this girl, she isn't within the same group, and much less the same species as he is. He has to do all he can to keep himself civil.
"The Library is giving darkstalkers a position in their ranks?" he asks, slotting away her name in his memory. And her rank. Private, he supposes, is as low as it is in any other armed force. Amusing, he thinks, that they pattern themselves thusly.
"It would be my pleasure to accompany you to your camp," Claudio says after a moment of thought and a nod. So many things out there, if this woman is laying traps for the wary, he would be happy to be the one to bring her to her knees for her crimes. If not, then he finds the NOL camp more easily. Both are winning situations for Claudio. Both work to his advantage.
He talks as he walks, animated as moments go on. A pantomime for the darkstalker to keep her distracted and unassuming about his power and the threat he poses to her and her kind. "Terrible things exist in the night. Like you say. We must be the light that consumes the darkness in the world. To strike back at the night and bring the light of humanity to all corners of the world." He speaks with pride and bombast. He believes his words, whole heartedly. And he's very keen on speaking pointedly about humanity in specific.
"Our two organizations are being tested. The world is doing the testing. Strife will always happen when the world makes us appear at odds. It is the nature of demons and corruption. Something we must always stand against and root out. Surely, as you are, you have meet many, many kinds of people prone to corruption. Perhaps a history of it yourself, no?"
Renka nods without reservation at the question regarding NOL's curious pattern of including the very creatures it claims to fight within its numbers. She doesn't even balk at the moniker - darkstalkers. It's a derogatory term, to be certain. By it's own etymology, it implies that the creatures identified under its wide umbrella are dark by nature, and predatory to boot. But it is one she has had to become accustomed to hearing. For humans, the line in the sand seems to be quite clear - you're either a human or you're an 'other'.
"For a few years now, as I understand it." she states, implying that she has not long been with the organization herself. "As long as we are enlisted in the Librarium, we are afforded the same rights as anyone else." There is a certain happiness to her expression as she explains the policy, eyes beaming with what appears to be appreciation for the opportunity.
When he agrees to accompany her, she starts along the way, guiding along a path that takes the two up a slope along the side of a hill, giving a greater vantage point to view the region, before descending down the other side into a valley between two more large knolls.
"Mmhm," she nods her head agreeably as the exorcist speaks of being a light against the darkness. She keeps glancing over at him as he gesticulates, clearly easily distracted from looking where she's walking in the dark. Fortunate for her, she's as surefooted as she is.
"The only way we can ever hope to live in peace is for our darker halves to be shown a better way..."
She's quiet as he speaks of the organizations, the man likely possessing insights that she lacks about tensions that might exist, perhaps by way of manipulations by those who would like to see both of the organizations fall. But then he turns it back on the smaller private accompanying him.
Surely she has met plenty prone to corruption, yes? And what of her own history? "Ah," she blinks, eyes forward as she navigates the duo around a pond hidden by thick reeds in the gulch between the two hills. Her left hand lifts, closing into a fist as she rests it over her chest, her right hand keeping her long weapon steady against her shoulder. He would likely recognize its make now that he's seen it up close - a naginata of Japanese design, as identified by its longer, edged blade, rather than the standard arrow-like spearhead of a traditional spear.
"Yes... That is true."
She is quiet for a moment before she adds, "I too needed an example, a light to follow." Her left hand lowers, hand unclenching as it comes to rest against her skirt over where she had pocketed the music box. "Now it is my duty to be that light or..." She closes her eyes for a moment, her arm resting against her side now, "If I can't convince them, stop them; keep them from hurting anyone else. We can never hope to be treated fairly if our own kind continues to hurt humans."
She hops over a large rock in the way before veering back up the slope of a rocky hill toward another plateau. "It is only natural for humans to defend themselves, after all. And it's easy to see just by looking at the world that they have already won that fight."
She blinks, then glances up at Claudio, apologizing then, "Ah, sorry." Her left hand comes up to rest against the back of her neck beneath her wild mane of hair, "I didn't mean to ramble on." Her eyes stray over the binding on the man's arm briefly, before she shifts her focus squarely ahead once more. "I'm not going to"
"I'm not going to cause you any problems." she murmurs after another moment of silence. "Don't you have... darkstalkers in your ranks as well?"
Claudio's use of the term "Darkstalker" is about as euphemistic as he is capable of. As polite as he is willing to be. It may be derogatory, and it is, but it is arguably better for immediately diplomacy that he uses that term instead of the one currently running in his head. Demon.
Claudio stays silent when Renka speaks, watching her as she does. The watching toes the line between predatory and friendly intent. A darkness in him that he hides, binds and controls is lashing out against his mind and one that encourages him to rip through this lesser beast to save a world of trouble that she no doubt will cause.
"Can a darker half be shown a better way?" he asks. "Does that not invite corruption? Temptation? Degredation? It's a dangerous step to think you are the one that is strong enough to control the darker things." He says this with no shred of irony. To him, he has a tainted power under control demonstrably. This girl beside him, she is merely a liar and a scoundrel and worming into ranks that will no doubt rot and fester from the inside.
But for now, she remains useful.
He follows Renka at a slower, steadier pace. He isn't motivated by speed or need to show off his athleticism by leaping large rocks in the way. Her story is more disregarded than listened to. He doesn't much care outside of any indication of her secrets or a potential weakness. He finds none there. Merely something that could be a sob story concocted to evoke sympathy in an unsympathetic man. The tale of needing redemption may sit well with others in the Order, but it doesn't stand with Claudio.
"You entertain me. No need to be sorry," he says, finally answering when she apologizes. Doing so with an easy to wear, meaningless smile. "And yes, I don't think you would cause me any problems." A testament to her strength of character or an indictment of her abilities compared to his, both are viable but it is most certainly the latter.
The camp not far ahead, he's finally asked a question that cuts him to the quick. Darkstalkers in the Order. "Yes," he answers, truthful, through his teeth. "We have some. We can only hope that the misguided that seek retribution in defense of mankind can find it when it's offered." More double meaning, more shifting intent. The leaders of the Sacred Order, for all their failings in idolizing these new Darkstalker "allies", can always be recovered. Once, of course, demonic taint is cleansed.
The large-eared NOL soldier doesn't seem to notice the intensity of Claudio's scrutiny, often leading the way by a half meter or so, illuminated as plain as day by the drifting sphere of azure foxfire that keeps pace with her. It would be trivial to stab the little monster in the back - but it would surely need to be a certain thing. If she made it back to the base camp before her demise, it isn't too difficult to imagine the complex consequences that would result.
At his question, Private Kaneko glances over her shoulder, face lifted up to glance at Claudio. "Is not your entire justice system based on the idea that reformation is possible for some?" She grins faintly, enough to reveal one of her longer, pointed canine teeth. "Or else your kind would simply dispose of every human that ever made a mistake." She pauses for a heartbeat, looking forward again, before adding.
"And if that were the case, well." Another heartbeat. "There would be none of you left to fight my kind."
She leans her head from left to right, right arm swinging freely as she continues to test her footing on the terrain, navigating around a large swath of mud and then another pond before veering toward the now visible lights of the Librarium base camp.
She doesn't seem to mind not being pressed on whatever her own story may be, happy to move on. She also seems not to respond to anything but the most obvious, surface level interpretation of the man's words when he says that she wouldn't cause him any problems, nodding her head a few times. Instead, Renka seems most interested in what answer he provides to the question she all but pounced on to ask at the first available opportunity.
"Hmm," she replies to his equivocal yet seemingly agreeable answer. "Yes, that is a hope I hold as well." From here, the fenced in perimeter of the improvised compound can be seen. "And no doubt, any other darkstalkers that have thrown their lot in to support the Librarium or Sacred Order. It's not like it makes us particularly popular with other darkstalkers either. But in the end, maybe some will change theirs ways and realize that the fighting can only end if we all reach an understanding."
She stands up a little straighter as the duo draw nearer to the camp, approaching a location where two elevated guard towers border a gate that can be opened up. "And for those who don't change, then the time for talk is over." She sounds a little glum at the last bit, the thought of fighting fellow demons who are unwilling to lay down their fight clearly unpleasant to her.
Closer to the gate, mounted spotlights veer toward the two. Renka allows the sphere of ghostly dark blue fire to vanish, becoming an almost imperceptible mist that seems drawn toward her nostrils where it is breathed back in. A call from the right tower asks who approaches at this time of night and Renka answers, declaring her own rank and identity, then adding, "I was escorting this man, Claudio Serafino of the Sacred Order to the safety of our border!"
The chatter from the other side of the fence is brief before the gate is pulled open by another party on night duty, unblocking the way forward.
Stepping in past the opened gate, Renka looks back up at the Sacred Order exorcist. Seeming to ponder, she lifts her right hand up, scratching behind her right ear thoughtfully. "Did you have a specific officer you wanted to meet with? Or would you like to meet with the Lieutenant on duty tonight?" He's in luck, she thinks to herself. Lieutenant Katarina does not tend to work the night shift - her station affords her a lot of latitude in picking what hours she choses to be involved in the camp operations, and of course the day shift is the premium time preferred by most people.
The light of Renka's foxfire orb cast Claudio in a long light, shadows interplay more deeply in the blues and the darkness. His face, stonier and pale in the soft glow of night's shade. His eyes cold despite the fire inside. He has no intention to stab her in the back now. No. That time will come. He is a man of pride and presence. It won't do to stab in the back when it could reflect so poorly on him in the immediate.
"Some," he agrees. Not delving further into the intricacies of who or what 'some' of the people for whom reformation is possible. But some is a great deal lesser than all or even most.
His response to her missing his meaning is a small degree of approval. He prefers the darkstalker remain somewhat ignorant of the situation. He detests the use of them and holds a hope that his fellows can learn from their mistakes and correct their actions. But for now he has to bide his time and swallow the growing unease that both options before him are cavorting with the demonic corruption.
"What form of change have you made?" he asks, getting closer to the camp, closer to the lights, he's smiling now. Wondering just what he can learn here. It may help to know what demons he will be up against soon.
He lets the woman introduce him. He understand protocols and safety measures well enough. "I will be certain to find the officer I need," he informs Renka with a dismissing wave. He's not actually looking for one in particular, he's just a curious man who had questions about the NOL's resolve on the matter of Darkstalkers. But he has seen a great deal already and it's begun to color his opinion. Until one side or both is cleansed, neither may be an option. But the Archers of Sirius would not be brought low by the temptations of their lessers.
Just how long HAS NOL been enlisting Darkstalkers, anyway? The para-military organization was a known entity but operated largely in secret until just the last half-year. And while non-humans populated its ranks, they all seemed to be newer members of the troops - recently graduated lieutenants or simply enlisted soldiers like Private Kaneko herself. Was this, then, a recent change of affairs within the Librarium, or were they always operating this way in secret?
Now inside the compound, the dangerous exorcist will find that the camp is fairly quiet but not dead still in the early night. Some tents still have lights on, and in some corners, men lean against poles or crates, passing the time with card games or just shooting the bull. Ahead down the central way, a tent larger than six of the standard troop tents is almost definitely the improvised command center where officers on duty must be located and it is toward there that Renka seems to be glancing when she asks who in particular the Sacred Order knight was interested in visiting.
The question from before the gate must still be on her mind, however, as she speaks up finally, addressing it with quiet solemnity. "Understanding." she states, pausing beneath a light mounted atop a wooden pole. "That we're all just trying to find ways to survive in this world. That we're not so different as I once thought."
She exhales as Claudio declares he will find who it is he needs to speak to, the somberness of her expression shifting into a more neutral expression as she looks up at him, scrutinizing him a little. She's not really sure if she should leave him to his own devices after getting him into the camp, but he looks really important and said he's with the Sacred Order, so it should be okay, right? Of course, anyone could say that... and it's not like she ever got any kind of ID or verification from him.
She lifts her right hand to scratch behind her right ear, glancing back toward the gate where the fence has been closed back up and the soldiers on duty gone back to their stations, and then back toward the command tent. "Okay then. You'll find the officer on duty in that tent over there. I guess this is farewell Mister Serafino."
She takes a step back. She hesitates a moment, as if looking a touch confused. Were he a NOL officer, she would salute the man, but regardless whatever his rank is in the Sacred Order, he's a civilian as far as NOL is concerned, so saluting isn't proper decorum. She resolves the conflict by putting her right arm to her side, left arm shifting her spear off her shoulder and to her other side, and bowing forward at the waist.
Standing up straight, she takes a few more steps back, clearly leaving Claudio to his own devices. Of course, she doesn't completely leave, lingering to watch him approach the command tent where two soldiers stand at the entrance to check anyone who would want to enter. A glance over his shoulder at any point would find the darkstalker lingering where he left her, clearly waiting to make sure he doesn't veer off the path. For his own safety, of course.
Log created on 23:44:46 04/15/2018 by Renka, and last modified on 00:59:50 04/21/2018.