Leo Whitefang - The Lion, The Knight and The Princess

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Description: In the aftermath of Ramlethals' attack, Illyria recovers and Ky and Leo are forced to make a difficult decision.

It's been a few days since the aftermath of Ramlethal's assault and the courtyard is still abit of a mess. Cleanup is underway but resources are strained across all Illyria due to numerous infrastructure projects and exploratory efforts of the magic-focused kingdom and an assault like this was has left more scars then physical ones.

Memorial services have been quickly held for those who were lost in the attack while healing magic and good ol'fashioned medical science attend to the rest. One particular victim has proven to be a bit of a handful in terms of following doctor and clerical orders.

"I won't stay in here any longer! I'm fine!" thunders Leo, wearing an ill fitting hospital gown while nervous attendants flinch under his aggressive roaring. "There's work to do! And-Ooowwwww!"

The head nurse, an older unflinching woman, pushes Leo back down into the bed with a sort of gentle-firmness and despite that it ends up flaring up the pain from his remaining wounds. A runic circle forms around her hand as she absently lowers his feeling of pain and soothes the wound..

"It was you who refused the aid of our magical healing, Sir Leo, to allow our resources to serve others. So you will have to be a little more patient. Sir."

Leo grumbles. "..That hurt."

Since returning from his mission, Ky Kiske has barely stopped to breathe. The other king of Illyria seems to have set himself on making up for lost time---and for his absence during Ramlethal's "visit." He has been overseeing much of the repair efforts and reinforcement of the defenses.

But now he's paying a visit to the medical bay to see the still-recovering second king.

"Leo," Ky Kiske, "I do hope you're giving the healers too much trouble." He runs his slender fingers through his blond hair, bowing slightly to the head nurse. "Is he?"

Ky inhales, not skipping a beat. "How are you feeling, Leo?" Beat. "I should have been there. Had I known there were other Command Gears I'd have sent someone else to look into that situation on the border..."

"He's as surly as a grieved lion being harassed by his cubs." answers the head nurse, apparently knowing Leo well: Translation - he's doing fine.

Leo glares but seems to have enough sense to not dare to push his luck with her and instead turns his attention to Ky while grumbling, "It's alright. If either of us can't defend our interests when on our own..."

He grimaces, both from the shock of pain and also the memory of his defeat at Ramlethal's hands.

"How could there be another command Gear? This is strange. Where could she have come from? She had no interest in the thought that Gears have found refuge here. It's like she found them..malfunctioning and she was not fond of humanity either.."

"It's certainly a shock," Ky said, "so she seems to be fulfilling some sort of mission left to her by Justice?" The Frenchman furrows his brow, his blue eyes narrowing as he looks Leo in the eye. He reaches up, stroking his chin slightly. "But why now? For her to have laid low for this long..."

"Did she seem to know about Dizzy or Dr. Paradigm? Did she mention anything that---well," Ky breaks away, pacing around the room in thought.

"Was there anything she mentioned we might have done to draw her ire?"

"Wasn't Justice under the direction of The United Nations?" questions Leo, trying to sit up and slowly and grimacing once again. "She seemed to have nothing but disdain for humans. It seemed as if she was on a mission to assess and then destroy us. She literally declared war on humanity."

Leo shakes his head and puts a hand to it, both nursing a headache and a bandage still on his head.

"She acted as if she had no regard for free will and free thinking. A tool that ceases to be a tool is no longer useful. No longer serves a purpose and is now redundant. The thought of Gears like Dr. Paradigm and Dizzy seemed to disgust her. In fact, I'd go as far as suggesting the idea threatened her and she saw them as beneath her..maybe even worth exterminating. They could all be in just as much danger as we are. But who is behind her? I don't know... who would want to declare war on humanity?"

Leo considers his next words and then shakes his head again, "Dr. Paradigm, Dizzy...the rest..they've come so far. If they find out about this threat to them by a fellow Gear...it could devestate them and set back all of our efforts if they try to go to war with this intruder. She's a threat to their free will."

"Originally," Ky says, "but she seemed to follow her own goals. I don't know if it was resentment at her creation, a sense of superiority, or something else..." Ky furrows his brow again, staring into the distance for a long, lingering moment. The knight places a hand on the windowsill, his fingers curling around the edge and clenching around it ever so slightly.

"It's...troubling. Maybe some of the Gear Project is still around and steering Ramlethal at threats to their supremacy? Do you think---no, we need to address this one problem at a time."

Ky's knuckles white before he lets go of the ledge and steps away. "Can we keep that from them, though? Perhaps they could reach her where we couldn't--but then again," he looks at Leo intently. "It seems she had no desire to talk..."

"I don't know.." admits Leo as he continues holding his bandaged head both in annoyance at his condition and a headache at the situation, "She seemed disinterested in the very idea that they had rejected their original purpose. Redundant. Pointless. That was her overall mantra. No matter how I tried to reason with her she just couldn't see it. It was as if the idea of Gears..anything..choosing to be something more then what it was made for disgusted her even thoug she hardly showed true emotion on her features.."

Leo pushes up again to sit up. "She might try to destroy them, seeing them as broken tools. We'd have to remove from her any means of offense and force her to listen or try and seperate her from whatever force is giving her orders. She can't be operating on her own. If she's truly a 'tool' then who is at the controls?"

Leo ponders this and then asks, a part of him almost looking for a reason to become agressive with them: "You don't think it's Relius and the NOL, do you?"

"Mm," Ky reaches up, running his fingers through his hair. "That's troubling...she really does see herself as a living weapon..." He paces around, taking slow, methodical steps, his eyes turned downward as he's lost in thought..

"She has to be stopped for her own good," he says, "I just hope that she can see that there's another path besides being someone's tool. Perhaps whoever has given her orders can be subverted. It could be they have some sort of control or conditioning. Something we could use to help reach her." He sighs. "But if not..." He trails off, not finishing the thought.

"Relius." Ky's mouth twitches, slightly, as he fights back a scowl. "--for her sake, I hope that is not the case."

"Either control over her or she believes so strongly in what she is saying that she will be difficult to have her mind change." observes Leo. He looks out of the window of the room in thought for a moment. Then..

"Let's assume for a moment that it isn't the NOL.. I did strike a deal with their Imperator that they would leave Illyria alone even though their spies are probably everywhere. Do we have access to the United Nations records regarding the Gears? DO we know -why- Justice turned her attention towards wanting ot destroy mankind instead of simply working for the United Nation? Did someone free her from their control? A third party?"

"Have you tried asking her?"

The words are very small, very strudy, and have very little emotion behind them. And what emotion there were, it was a heavy stone, impossibly dense. Because the words come from a young lady with yellow ribbons in her blue hair, dressed in a modest black dress to match the Sacred Order nuns and ladies. Her eyes are wide, and only a little watery. Her mouth is small, tightly pursed together. And at her feet is a small basket of flowers, having just been dropped. Her other hand is clutched over her heart. Dizzy looks at the two kings from the small chair by the doorway, partially concealed by a privacy screen. It's not clear how long she's been there, how long she's waited. But she's been very quiet.

Until now.

She clears her throat, and repeats again louder. "Have you tried talking to her. Because when I was alone in the world, without any friends, I was very scared. And I was very blessed, and fortunate, to have come to you, instead of anybody else. Because I don't know what would have happened, if someone else found me, and I got all confused, and scared, and hurt people." She trails off a bit, her chest rising and falling as she takes her deep, heaving breathing. "I am sorry, I was waiting for you to stop, so I could drop off these flowers and a little card. I wanted you to get well soon, and I thought if you saw all these beautiful mountain flowers, you would feel so happy Leo, that you wouldn't feel sad, and then you could come out to pick more flowers." She feebly shakes her arm down at the basket, having some trouble to move. Her eyes were still watery.

"I should have left, and come back later..."

"Either way," Ky says, "we can't leave her to rampage---especially if it's at the whim of some unknown master. Ky clenches his fist, his glove squeaking just a little from the pressure. "...Sol has the most knowledge on Justice, if we can track him down. We may have to make it worth his time...but we run the risk of him going after Ramlethal himself..."

A chill runs down Ky's spine when the third voice speaks up. He turns quickly, his face starting to flush. "A-ah, Dizzy. I--" Beat. "I haven't spoken to her yet. I am certain that Leo did everything he could to be diplomatic, but--" Ky inhales, then exhales in a sigh.

"...I appreciate your insight, Dizzy, and I'm glad that you're here." The knight steps forward, reaching, slowly, for Dizzy's shoulder. "You don't have any reason to be sorry. You were only speaking your mind, which is what we want Ramlethal to have the chance to do. I--I didn't want you to have to worry for her, which is why we wanted to wait to tell you."

"D...dduuu.." stammers Leo at Dizzy's sudden appearence. He scrambles to pull his hospital bed sheet up towards his shoulders, gripping it tightly with both hands and blinking in a briefly mortified looking expression before calming bit by bit as Ky takes the first swing at calming Dizzy down.

"..Yes..I tried, Dizzy.." Leo relaxes slowly though he grows more troubled as he looks away. "I did the best job I could. I spoke to her of the opportunities here in Illyria and..tried to tell her of the good in humanity and our allies who are trying to make a better life for themselves. She didn't want to listen. It was like.." Leo pauses in consideraiton and then says, "It was like she couldn't understand..and what she couldn't understand she simply dismissed as irrelevant. Like a soldier focused solely on their mission.. And then she attacked as if to prove her point.. No, you were very different Dizzy. Very different.."

He mulls Ky's other words over and then says softly, "..Perhaps we should reach out to Sol. That does come with risks yes...but...we need more information."

"Then why don't I ask her."

Dizzy states again. Her voice was small, and almost a squeak. It was not meek, though. No. There was a strudy strength in it. "Maybe I can understand how she feels better than you two can. I am very alone here. People and gears don't like going around looking at little animals, and writing down their names. They don't spend days watching the birds, and learning how they sing. Maybe... maybe she's afraid, or she has someone who isn't as kind as you, Ky Kiske, or you, Leo Whitefang..." She sighs, her knees locking together meekly. "I've talked to people too, without tell you either. I understand how it feels, when you don't want to tell someone something, because you are worried how they react. And what they say to me... I understand how someone might think humans and disobediant gears could be obsolete, and how they wouldn't change their mind. It could be someone like Ky Kiske, who instead of being kind hearted and gentle, was cruel and mean and used their trust to make them into a good and obediant tool." Dizzy finally gets the courage to pick up her basket of flowers.

"It's easy for command gears like me to end up as tools."

"Would you want to speak with her?" Ky asks, looking toward Leo. "Leo did his best to do so, but--it was at considerable risk to himself." He reaches over to place his hand on Dizzy's shoulder and give it a gentle squeeze. "I will---do everything I can to support you, if you think you can reach her, Dizzy, but I don't want you to put yourself in danger unless that's what you want." Ky sighs, lightly. "But I do want to make sure you've got support. If you were to get hurt, I'd consider myself responsible.."

He turns toward Leo. "We may very well have to reach out to Sol. Perhaps he knows about other members of the Gear Project and where Ramlethal came from and who might have conditioned her to think as she does."

It's a good thing that Leo was struck silent because Ky handled that far more diplomatically then he would have. A solid 'Heelllll no' is in his face..but Ky beats him to the punch, wisely no doubt, and Leo calms down in consideration of his words.

If Dizzy is to mature she has to be allowed to make her own decisions, take her own risks and be her own person. Shielding her forever is impractical and even unfair and wrong. Despite the nagging risks in the back of Leo's mind.
r"..Fine." he grunts, "But I do agree that we should bring Sol in. Dizzy, I took all of that into consideration when I talked to her. But we have also consider that some people out there..-willingly- let themselves be guided and led by others and it takes a lot of work and effort to get through to them. If she's willing to dismiss arguements by attacking others and even killing - like she has - then I wouldn't feel comfortable wity another dialog with her unless we were able to restrain her or somehow counter her powers to prevent her from trying to harm you. She made it clear she doesn't think Gears like yourself have any value and so she might try and honestly hurt you, even while you were just trying to talk..."

Dizzy looks at Ky Kiske, with big round eyes.

As he explains so sweetly and diplomatically, Dizzy purses her lips more and more. She looks downward, as her wings twitch. They were saying things that sounded right. But why did they feel wrong? Dizzy understood that Ky Kiske and Leo Whitefang were both being good, and both were being reasonable and rational. But none of this felt right. It felt like doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. But it was silly to think like that. That's what Dizzy knew as she was getting older and wiser.

But it wasn't how she felt.

"How could I say any of that is wrong." Dizzy says meekly. "I think you are right too, Leo. I remember when Hazama lured me away, with sweet promises of protecting you, and then I was hooked up to that machine, and Relius wanted me... wanted me..." Dizzy shuts her eyes, going quiet for a moment. She touches at her shoulder after the moment past. "I'm okay. I'm okay. Please don't hurt them."

"They don't know what they are doing, Necro."

"She breathes had, wiping the tears from her eye. "For all I know, Ramlethal could stab me in the neck with a needle or a medicine to make me fall asleep, and kidnap me too." She opens and shuts her eyes a few times, rubbing her knees as she rocks a bit. "But... if I could talk to her without scaring her... and not putting myself, or any of the gears at risk... that is what I feel is best. Who is Sol Badguy though?" She interjects suddenly. "He sounds like a bad guy..." She trails off.

"But he is also alone, is that correct?"

"Leo is correct," Ky says, "but the moment we don't give someone a chance of forgiveness and redemption, well, we're no better than those in the NOL who try and claim absolute justice," Ky's blue eyes are steely resolved as he says this, but there is a certain sadness lingering on the edges, like a second subject out of focus on the edge of the camera lens.

"I'm sorry, Dizzy," Ky quickly interjects. "I didn't want to put any undue strain on you, or Necro, or Undine. We need to act quickly, but wisely. Take your time to decide if you need to." He purses his lips. "Or even if you need a moment to rest after we dredged up some awful memories." He smiles at her, softly, but keeps his distance this time. "We can come up with a plan, and I'll give my counsel--as will Leo, I am certain--but this will be your decision in the end."

"--ah." Ky blinks. "He is--" The knight looks away, adjusting her collar. There seems to be a nerve there, and it has been struck. "--a former member of the Sacred Order. He did not leave on good terms. I do not particularly like or trust him." Beat. "And there are many uncharitable things that I could say about him, but he is very good at what he does, and he seems to know more about Gears than anyone we know."

"...and," Ky relents. "If Sir Kliff was willing to trust him, I assume there must be -something- good in him."

"There's a balance here, Ky." says Leo, "We -aren't- the NOL..but the NOL also persecutes and unjustly attacks. -WE- have been attacked and people have been killed with war declared on everyone we protect."

This is a losing battle though..harsh realities or no. He just sighs and flumps back into his bed while listening to the explanation of Sol. The two have clashed before so he opts to stay silent as Ky explains and he then nods his head. "We need allies..and as I said if we can find a way to be able to neutralize Ramlethal ..then this becomes much easier. What if she just attacks on sight? There's alot we just don't know.."

He pauses as a flash of memory does strike him. "...There was..a point where she did seem..confused..but she shook it off. Maybe we need to track her movements..find out where she's been and who she's encountered. Sol could come in handy there.."

Dizzy shrinks as Ky talks about 'we're no better than those in the NOL'.

If it wasn't Leo and Ky, she might have gone to run away. Run so far away. But she trusted them, right? Of course she did. That's why she stayed in the valley and walked around in the valley every day and all day, to look over and explore every corner of it in endless detail. Sometimes she wanted to explore outside the valley. But that would hurt Ky Kiske. And also Leo. Because they trusted her. Sometimes she thought about being bad.

But why would she ever be bad unless it was very important?

"If he is so angry at us..." Dizzy begins, trying to understand what the strong wise men were explaining to her. "Then it would make sense that he would try to collect Leo's bounty, wouldn't it? And Leo was attacked by Ramlethal too, and almost killed!" Dizzy seems to be sounding so confused and curious in her tone. "Wouldn't it make more sense for Leo to stay home instead of risking his life again? Or are you going to be coming along to protect him from those dangerous people, Ky Kiske?" She asks so innocently, looking from Leo to Ky. "If Leo was kidnapped by the NOL, or worse, you would try as hard to save him as you would save me, right?" And then, the sad pout comes, as she turns her eyes away, holding her arms as she turns her legs up underneath her.

"I heard Leo and you got to do so many exciting, dangerous things far away from here..."

"Even so," Ky says, "I favor diplomacy if possible. Even if some might seem like they do not deserve it---at least a times." There's a pause when Leo mentions her being a bit confused. "--hm. That might be promising. Perhaps there's a way to get through to her."

Ky smiles at Dizzy reassuringly, his eyes filled with concern. "A-ah, of course, Dizzy. I was intending to accompany you from the start." The edge of Ky's mouth moves, just a little. "--and I suppose you have a point, it might be best if I approach Sol as well."

And then Dizzy raises a troubling idea. Ky considers. He starts to say something, stops himself, then tries again.

"Perhaps, Dizzy," Ky suggests. "You and I should do some reconaissance first," he suggests. "Something a bit safer than hunting down Ramlethal. After all," he says, "it is such an important task that some training might be in order. Does that sound reasonable to you?"

Yes. There's just an itsy, bitsy, teensy, weensy, teeny, tiny little detail here that isn't outright being stated but is hanging over the room like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.

Ky and Leo won't nuke an entire city or more if they get upset, nervous, injured, threatened or angry. The idea of Ramlethal threatening Dizzy is a terrible prospect, yes. But so is the idea of the two command gears clashing should Dizzy be forced to use her powers to defend herself. But how can she learn better control in times of crisis and use her abilities if she's not trained and afforded the opportunity to at least try.

A serious problem.

"Yes.." Leo agrees, with some hesitation. "Ky and I put ourselves in harms way because ..we're trained to do so. Because it's our duty. Because we want to help others. You want to help others Dizzy.. If..this is to work....it...it might be time to move beyond simply being on your own and exploring Illyria and its natural wonders. Maybe...it is time past for you to really discover what you can do and how you can..use it to help everyone.."

And just like that, it is like Dizzy's sadness just washes away.

When Ky talks about 'training' her and 'special reconaissance', she perks up brightly. "Oh! I never would have thought of that." She says, gasping and covering her mouth. "You really think that a special scouting mission alone with you would be exactly what would help the most! Oh what a smart and wonderful idea from both of you! And you would train me too? Oh, you are so smart and wonderful!" She stands up, picking up her basket. Taking tiny steps towards Ky Kiske, she immediately gives him a hug, pressing her chest against his, before turning back towards Leo. "You are so wise Leo! I hope I will be an excellent student, and learn in your ways! You can have my flowers now. Well..." She lowers her head.

"They would be your flowers now."

Ky nods slowly to Leo. "Yes...I am still a bit hesitant, but we cannot simply keep waiting. I think it best to take it one step at a time."

And suddenly, Dizzy is hugging him. The knight's cheeks flush a bit as he reaches down to pat Dizzy before she breaks away again.

"You flatter me, Dizzy," Ky says, "but I just do what I can with what I have been given."

"And speaking of, they are very nice flowers." He smiles. "Who knows, we might find some new varieties in the field. There is truly much to see in Illyria. I cannot say that it's not one of the more pleasant parts of reconnaissance."

"Reconnaissance." says Leo, half snorting that word back out as he stares at Ky after Dizzy has taken her leave. He reminds himself to add a new definition next to that word in the dictionary for Ky: Playboy.

"Right. Well I refuse to stay here any longer." he begins to sit up once again, preparing to contend with the nurses.

"I'll leave the particulars of reaching out to Sol and your...reconnaissance..to you. I'll have the command center begin to hunt for signs of Ramlethal's activities. Hopefully we'll be able to act before Ramlethal strikes again.."

Log created on 21:55:21 05/18/2021 by Leo Whitefang, and last modified on 22:29:26 05/23/2021.