Ayame - Mission #3: This is Just the Beginning

Description: The dangerous rescue operation is a success. Daniel Little is once more along the living, the operative having his eyes opened to a whole new world of dangers he might not have been ready to discover.

The clearing is the same as when Nightwolf left it. It is any wonder how much time passed for those beyond the veil while only thirty minutes transpired in the world he left behind. The scent of incense and burning cloth fills the air on the small slope just below where the two men would empty out of the portal. The time was still night. The wind was still brisk but not too cold.
For the rest of the world, it was just another Wednesday night.
Ayame hasn't moved from where she was kneeling. In front of her is the aftermath of a small pyre, burnt carefully and deliberately slow to buy the bold Shaman as much time as she could. It would only take a glance to see that such effort came at personal cost. Still on her knees, the priestess is hunched forward. Her hands are pressed against the ground, her fingers clawing into the dirt in front of her.
When Agent Little speaks, she's gasping for breath, head bowed, long hair draped against her shoulders. Bangs and locks of hair stick to her forehead and cheeks, damp with perspiration. The ordeal of keeping the path open was not one to be undertaken lightly. It would take only passing familiarity with Japan to recognize her clothing as that belonging to a shrine miko - a white, long sleeved kimino worn beneath a red hakama.
'Would you mind telling me what the hell is going on, scuzzy?'
Ayame glances up finally, breaths coming stronger and stronger now that the ritual has finally run its course. In front of her, dozens of melted candles sit pressed into the sand with a pile of burnt ash in the center of their star-shaped pattern. Tired eyes blink at Daniel before Ayame presses herself the rest of the way up, leaning back on her feet, hands resting against her knees as she stares at him for a long moment without comment.
Eyes flick over to the brave man who invaded the realm of the gods to retrieve Daniel, evaluating his condition as well. Finally, sucking in one deep breath, she releases a long sigh.
"It looks like he succeeded. You are not dead."
The girl reaches to her side to take hold of a wooden staff and starts using it as support to pull herself to her feet. Her work here is done.
"That's good."

Some Wednesday...

When he wakes after his momentary black out from exhaustion and lack of air, Nightwolf's eyes open to see the familiar night sky, and the sensation of air around him. He takes in a deep breath first to clear his mind and remind himself that he still is control of his soul, before he straightens up from his crumbled position on the ground.

The Shaman first gently pushes Daniel off from on top of him before he staggers back to his knees into a kneeled position. Dead eyes stare at Ayame first, glad to see the Demon Hunter again, and then turn to Daniel, who seems to be well off if maybe just a tad confused, which is to be expected.

They are all here, in the world of the living.

All is well.

Nightwolf allows himself a little smile not normally seen on his stoic face before he clears his throat. "From what I understand.." Nightwolf beings to fill Daniel in on the details he might have missed when he was going through his journey. "When you confronted the Pharaoh Anakaris, he threw you into the Egyptian Underworld. There you were to be judged by the Gods to see if you were to transcend into the afterlife. I had to bargain for your soul to bring you back into Earthrrealm by means of a portal created by the priestess here." Keep in mind that Ayame never really introduced herself to Nightwolf, so even after all this, the Shaman is still referring to her as just 'the priestess'. "Now we are back and your soul is safe.. for the moment." Nightwolf nods, yes that about covers it.

He gets back to his feet and offers helping hand to Daniel to get him back up.

Daniel Jack takes his time in trying to understand what was happening.

It was night. The sun hasn't risen yet. But when did the sun ever rise? He was in the aftermath of some sort of ritual. He well recognized the brave Native American who saved him. But now there was a shrine girl as well? Her exhaustion was well noted by the perceptive detective, as he clings to his clothing remains. Energy was flowing back into him... and so was hunger. Thirst. Fear.

"Thank you."

That is what Daniel has to say, at first, before continuing on, the scale of what has happened to him weighing upon his shoulders. "Who are you? Why did you both rescue me from..." The Agent of Interpol's eyes goes wide. The cats. The swamp. The desert. The creatures. The slab... the fever dream was so clear to him now. What had happened in the last few... hours? Days? Weeks? Time was impossible for him now. Eyes wide like an owl's he looks towards Nightwolf.

"Was I actually in...?"

His skin grows clammy. Daniel begins to shiver. "Why did I come there? How did you find out about? I mean, thank you, oh lord, thank you both. I knew I wasn't dead. But..." He stares at the miko who saved him, jaw slack.


Once on her feet, the miko watches the foreign shaman. Will he be okay? What ordeals did he suffer within? What bargain did he have to strike to escape that realm alive with the stolen life returned? As he moves and takes in his breaths, she can see that, at least on the surface level, the Sin Eater appears to be fine. What scars he hides beneath his impassive face will be his secrets to keep.
Weary, the girl plants her staff against the ground and leans forward, using it for support as she grips it tightly. Her breaths are still coming quickly and she seems exhausted. But for it all, she doesn't complain, merely watching the two men gather their wits about them after what must have been one intensely disorienting experience. She lets Nightwolf give Daniel the, ah, cliffnotes version of what he just went through, offering no elaboration on her part, only nodding slightly in afirmation as he comments on the state of Daniel's soul this night.
Safe for the moment.
It's all anyone can ask.
Eyes flick to Daniel as he offers his thanks and begins to question how it came to be that two strangers came to his rescue from the Underworld. She frowns a little, offering no immediate answers to his burning question.
Slowly she sucks in her breath, lifting her right hand to brush some of her dampened hair behind her ear before returning her hand to grip the staff for support for all the trouble she is going to to hide its necessity.
"You did this land a great service. You did not deserve to be lost for it."
She turns toward the Shaman next, nodding her head slightly. "My name is Ayame of the Ichijo clan. If you should ever need assistence in matters... like this, you may call upon me in the future, warrior." She leans forward slightly, offering a bow of her head before standing up straight.
"You owe him your life. Do not take his gift lightly, Agent Little."
And with that, she turns, brushing aside ash at her feet in the process. Her intent to leave is abundantly clear. Her work here is done.

All will be explained in due time. Ayame's deduction of Nightwolf's current state seems to be an accurate one, the Shaman does look fine aside his exhausted breathing and dripping sweat, though it is hard to truly tell thanks to his blank eyes, it makes it hard to convey expression. It doesn't help that he's so guarded with his words too, which only means that he can only explain further if directly asked.

Tucking his thumbs in his belt in an attempt to gather his bearings, Nightwolf lets Ayame further explain to Daniel the events that lead to his abduction and eventual rescue. He first nods to the helpful priestess, as he finally has a name to give his unlikely ally. "I extend the same offer to you, Ayame of the Ichijo clan. Great change is upon us and it is likely we will run into each other again."

Then Nightwolf shakes his head lightly when the miko suggests that Daniel is somehow indebted to him. "Nonsense, he stood against Anakaris. I merely helped to return the favor for helping maintain the balance of Earthrrealm." Says the shaman as he regards Daniel. "You owe me no debt, Daniel Little."

Ayame turns to leave and he makes no motion to try and stop her, he is certain she has her own duties to attend to after this grueling experience. He'll stay with Daniel for now if he has any more questions, they are after all, at the very least, both Westerners, and Nightwolf might be able to do some cultural mediating in case that there are things the Interpol Agent still does not understand.

Agent Little does nothing to stop Ayame.

He just watches her. Head tilted. Still letting her sink in. She never made it clear why, a complete stranger, pulled him out of the afterlife. He might never get the answer. It was suspicious, maybe. Or maybe, maybe there were more good people in the world than the detective thought.

It was actually kind of inspiring.

He glances back at Nightwolf, raising his voice. "I might not owe you anything, but Interpol does. You both have done the United Nations a great service. I will be sure to tell them of your incredible contributions. I-I... I am so sorry, I am just overwhelmed. There is an entire spirit realm? Or something? Is that the true afterlife? I think I might faint, it is just so incredible-"

And he actually does collapse.

"Urk!" Was the groan. "Is it normal to be so hungry, and thirsty, after journeying to the underworld?"

At Nightwolf's offer, Ayame pauses, lowering her head for a moment. Finally she nods slightly, glancing over her shoulder just enough to set eyes on the spirit warrior one more time. "I agree." she muses softly. To find a kindrid spirit in this world - one who has also seen the signs and knows of the calamities to come... She closes her eyes for a moment in thought. Perhaps her mother was right afterall. She does not have to fight this war alone.
As he mentions no debt exists between him and Daniel, her attention flicks to the Interpol operative, watching his reaction for a moment. From the angle she is standing, he wouldn't see her disapproving frown at the mention of telling Interpol about all of this. Will they just think that he's crazy? Or will he actually get somewhere with such a report? She opens her mouth as of to question the judgement of such open declaration of what he has been through but before she can say a word the man has fallen to the ground.
A soft 'hmph' escapes her lips before she looks away and releases a soft sigh. She's exhausted. It's time to go home. Now she has seen just how real the dangers are in the world. These Darkstalkers are for real... and their threat... considerable.
With no further word, the girl walks off into the moonlit night.

To follow the path of the spirits means that one had to keep an objective mind at all times. There are many facets to nature, some darker that others, but they all serve their purpose, all part of the same system even if they seem to be worlds apart. Nightwolf knows this much, and the realization gives him a certain insight that allows him to see past his own limitations as a mortal and consider things in a different way.

The spirit realm and the material realm may be words apart, but they still exist within the same universe, both linked to each other despite the very clear boundaries. This became even more evident to Nightwolf after returning to Duat and saw how the old Gods languished there now that their worshipers had forgotten them. One way or another, the material realm affect the spirits, just like the Demon Hunters of the East affected the world just as much as the West.

It is why Nightwolf is so quick to offer his assistance in future endeavors to Ayame, and how he thinks nothing of Daniel submitting a report to Interpol about his journey. The Ichijo clan, Interpol, they are naught but fractions of what makes this world whole, different sides of the same dice, if one breaks the other is that much weaker.

Now whether any of them accept his help is another matter. Only time will tell if Ayame will truly surpass her suspicions and call upon his help when the time comes and what will Interpol will do with this information. All questions for another time. Because for now, there are more dire things to attend to.

Like exhaustion and hunger.

"Well.." Nightwolf begins sounding someone amused that Daniel seems utterly unable to keep his footing. "It is not often that I transverse to the realm of the dead and back to Earthrealm." Says the Shaman as he leans down to try and pick up Daniel again, offering to hold him up in at least a more dignified way this time as opposed to the previous bridal style carry. "If I were to try to compare it to anything, I would say its not unlike waking up after being sedated for a long time. Your body forgot it existed and it is just now reminded it has needs."

He begins to walk away from the park, it is best they do not linger here lest they have to answer more questions than they need to. "We should go eat. Are you partial to Japanese food?" After having survived a trip to the Underworld and back, Nightwolf thinks the least they deserve is some sushi.

Daniel Jack was a bit embarrassed how he couldn't even carry himself.

As Ayame drifts off into the night, he is left alone with the shaman who saved his life. Mysteries amongst mysteries. If the Chief could forgive him for screwing up the mummy thing, he might have a new calling within Interpol. But only IF the Chief felt mercy. As Nightwolf heaves him upright, he pats his partner on the shoulder. "Nightwolf, right? Yeah, it is no cheeseburger, but I can handle sushi. Also, uh, wait, we are in Japan? Why am I being. . ."

With his good hand, Agent Little rubs his mustache.

"There is still a lot I need you to tell me, scuzzy." The detective states flatly. Waking from the fever dream just meant he could reflect on what was happening. "Like. . . you can give the details on the way to sushi. But there is so much that I don't understand. What was that place? I mean, you keep using these words, like 'realm of the dead' and 'Earthrealm.' And what were those creatures? And. . . " The detective hesistates, trying to find the most tactful way to approach this. "I don't mean to be rude, but..."

"What are you, and Ayame?"

Of course Daniel would have questions. All of the questions in fact.

Nightwolf keeps a stoic facade as they slowly travel out the Southtown park and into the city proper. On the way there, Nightwolf first take of some more mundane business and takes a pair of sunglasses to put over his eyes. A guy walking around with shades draws less suspicion than someone with blank eyes.

"First understand that I cannot tell you everything, Daniel Little." Continues Nightwolf as they walk. "Not because I am sworn to secrecy, but because there are countless things I myself do not know or even understand. Though you may not think so, I am mortal just like you."

"One thing I can tell you, is that you will learn more on your own if you decide to continue walking this path. Such does not mean that you must relinquish your normal life, for there are many things in Earthrealm that must be handled by your Interpol. Do not change your horizons, merely expand them. Be more aware of your surroundings, question them, do not take them at face value, and consider that there are other things at work beyond what you can normally see."

"You are Interpol after all, you should know how to do all these things."

Nightwolf spots one of those street vendors in their carts and suggests they go there as opposed of walking into a restaurant where they can potentially attract more attention to themselves. "I can only tell you what I am, as I am only vaguely aware of Ayame's true nature. I am a Sin Eater, a Demon Hunter. I am tasked to hunt down the unseen evils that lurk the darkness and banish them from this realm. As far as I can deduce, Ayame is a Demon Hunter as well, though of what speciality I do not know for sure."

Just like him.

It was a bit hard to believe, when he puts on the sunglasses at night. Then again, in his younger days, Daniel also would wear shades at night. But that was more of the cool factor. This was more a practical thing. Daniel still didn't know how long he was gone. He didn't really want to know yet. He was already shakened by what he had learned so far.

At least he was around mortals.

But incredible mortals. The detective glances as the carts, heeding Nightwolf's words. A second world, behind all those people? The notion was absurd. And yet, going to an Egyptian underworld was absurd. Everything up to this moment was absurd. "Demon Hunters, Sin Eaters. . . Sort of like a police for the supernatural. You are gonna have to explain things over sushi. Even a sliver of the truth behind this would be a lifetime of knowledge. Besides, one thing's for certain, scuzzy." He states, taking a seat at a stand.

"I'm glad to be back to the Earthrealm."

Log created on 22:38:49 11/13/2014 by Ayame, and last modified on 02:23:39 11/14/2014.