Description: Sensing great change coming, Lord Raiden, The God of Thunder, awakens from his long slumber to walk Earthrealm once more. The shaman Nightwolf is there to greet him but so is an unexpected visitor; Rachel, the heiress of the Alucard family. Here presence makes the defenders of realm wonder, what role could the Darkstalkers play in a possible Outworld invasion?
How often does this happen? A freak lightning storm in the mountains! There's no rain, and very few clouds. But there's electricity in the air. Literally. The storm is focused at the base of a mountain near the forest outside Southtown. But this storm isn't like anything that should be happening naturally. The lightning is a deep electric blue (no pun intended), the color far too vivid to be real.
And it's not just that. The whole area just FEELS different, to those who are more sensitive to the ebb and flow of the energy around them. The sensational amongst them might call it 'magical'. But it's not that. There is a massive amount of chi charging the air. Not just chi...
A storm is coming...
Nay.. the storm is /here/.
Attuned to all things spiritual, the Sin Eater known as Nightwolf felt the abnormality for what it was. No mere thunder storm, but an event that heralded the coming of a great being. Anticipation and sensations of wariness swirled inside the shaman, for this could both fortunate news or very, very unfortunates. The sudden creation of life in Earthrealm could mean a number of things, one of them being a rift opening to Outworld.
Upon his arrival in wolf form, the shaman transforms back into his human self and glances at the area with blank concerned eyes. The spirits are in upheaval here, and though he cannot sense decidedly evil energies, Nightwolf isn't going to take any chances. Whatever is trying to pass through the veil of realities needs to be greeted properly. And depending on what it is, for Nightwolf that can mean a salute or an energy axe to the face.
The first step when a being from another world is trying to make its way to Earthrealm is to first minimize the damage to the surrounding area. Nightwolf takes a deep breath and raises his hands up to his waist, palms up and eyes closed as he begins to chant in order to keep the lighting from striking an innocent tree or animal.
Wiconi mitawa ki el
Anpetu wanji a ke mi qui,
Heon wo pi la eci ci ye,
Micante ki eciya tanhan.."
It's almost as if the storm responds to Nightwolf's chanting. The feeling is one of eyes turning to the shaman, as if someone was looking at him from above. And the storm seems to hold its breath, figuratively speaking, as if listening to his words. Could the storm be calmed merely by listening to the prayer of an Apache shaman? Could the being within be reconsidering its passage into Earthrealm?
Apparently not. Because towards the end of Nightwolf's prayer the lightning gathers strength, crackling in the sky, wind whipping across the tops of the trees. Could the being be angry? Perhaps evil and angered by the prayer? There doesn't seem to be any malice in all this, that cold, stabbing sensation should not be present in his stomach. There is power yes, but no malice.
It seems the lightning has made its choice. There is a tremendous *CRACK!* of thunder as a large bolt of electric blue lightning lances to the ground not far from Nightwolf. And then all is silent, the storm fading away, the winds dying down. But Nightwolf is not alone.
There is a man there, sitting with his legs folded in the lotus position, precisely where the lightning struck the ground, tiny bolts of that same lightning arcing over his body as if residual from the strike. The man is garbed in white monks' robes, with a blue rakusu and a large round amulet pinned to it. His arms are at about the level of his chest; one hand is balled into a fist and pressed against the palm of the other hand, which is left open, fingers pointing up. His face can't be seen though. Mainly because he's wearing a large bamboo sedge-hat (a 'coolie hat', if you want to be really politically incorrect) and his head is down.
The man is still as death for a moment... and then tilts his head up slowly. And then his form seems to glow white, then melt into the ground, only for the energy to reform in the shape of the man standing... and then he is on his feet. He is extremely tall for a human. But those white, blank eyes... perhaps he's NOT human. He looks to either side of him, his brow furrowing in confusion... and then he looks to Nightwolf. He says nothing, but the confused frown remains.
Nightwolf knows better than to believe his prayers will suffice to calm the storm's fury. This will no prevent it, or even slow it down, it is just to contain in within a closed area so whatever is trying to make its way to Earthrealm has to deal with Nightwolf first.
Being a Sin Eater.. kind of sucks. It is a life of eternal sacrifice, a life of facing evil head on with wild abandon, simply so that others do not have to lead the same life. The Apache shaman braces himself to feel the inevitable heart wrenching sensation of evil energies as the being pierces the veil of reality. But it does not happen.. Nightwolf feels great currents of chi flow through his body.. and yet.. he does not feel afraid. He is strangely at peace. As if feeling secure on whatever is watching him from the skies.
Finally the storm ends with an electrifying call of lighting that hits the ground right in front of the Sin Eater. Nightwolf is steadfast and holds his ground all while maintaining the incantation, until at last the energy fades. Leaving Nightwolf with a visitor.
Maybe surprisingly, the Apache does not take a step back from the monk that just materialized in front of him. Nightwolf stares into those blank eyes that are just like his and narrows his eyelids in realization.
"I know who you are." It is the Apache who breaks the silence after the storm.
"Great Haokah. God of Thunder."
"Welcome back to Earthrealm."
The silence is broken, and the monk tilts his head. 'Haokah'. He knows this name. Somehow. It fits. But he's never heard it. "...Haokah." He says the name as if trying it out. "That is... one of my names." He doesn't sound completely sure. Disoriented? Probably. If so, it's to be expected. He's just come here, a god descended to Earthrealm. It's bound to be confusing for him, to suddenly have his godly essences compressed into the space a human body occupies.
Suddenly the sky rumbles quietly above him, and he tilts his head up as if someone had called his name. He pauses. Listens to the rumble of thunder above him. And nods. "...That is another name. I am Raiden." He's not correcting the shaman; if Nightwolf knows him as Haokah, then he is Haokah. He looks to Nightwolf again. "Who are you?"
"It is the title given to you by my people when you visited us." Nightwolf is very quick on the uptake and can already discern why Raiden seems so disoriented. The Sin Eater is deeply connected to the super natural and knows how many deities work. Incidentally, this is not his first time face to face with a God, which gives him quite a bit more experience on this kind of situation than others. He introduces himself as Raiden and the Apache nods in understanding, he appeared in Japan as in no doubt referring to himself as what the people here would call him. "Lord Raiden then, your arrival is very timely."
Nightwolf makes a warrior salute when his identity is questioned, fist over his chest, right above his heart. "I am Nightwolf, a Sin Eater and Demon Hunter. It is fortunate that I am here to greet you for there are many things that you must know."
He wastes no time putting Raiden up to speed. "Much has changed since your previous visit to Earthrealm. Dark forces are encroaching Earthrealm, the warriors of Outworld are beginning to pierce the veil of reality to enter our realm. This has caused the Darkstalkers to stir from their lairs and even now they brazenly walk amongst mortals, preying on whatever victim they can find. It is imperative that you lead us in this time of peril, Lord Raiden. We are in need of your power."
Raiden returns the salute with a respectful nod of his head. He doesn't reply though, not being one for casual talk. Then again, there's a reason for that-- not being mortal will do that to one. He listens to the words of 'Nightwolf', frown growing progressively less confused and more displeased. Not at Nightwolf, of course. 'Outworld'-- some part of him knows this word too, and the implications upset him greatly. Something on a primal level tells him this is in fact VERY BAD, and shouldn't be allowed.
'Previous visit'? He... couldn't remember ever coming here before. But he must have, if someone remembers him. Perhaps when he had done his job then, he had returned to the sky? Well, that's not important. What's important is stopping these 'Darkstalkers' and the forces of Outworld. "I see." It's true that he understands only a very small part of what Nightwolf speaks of. "These 'Darkstalkers'... this word I do not understand. What is a 'Darkstalker'?" Of course, the first thing he wants to know, "Do they ally with Outworld?" That will make it tons easier to decide how best to deal with them.
Above, a perfectly night starry sky in which hangs a huge yellow moon. Below, a carefully tended carpet of red roses on which a white-painted iron patio table and chairs have been set. In one of those chairs sits a figure that at first glance ill befits the setting. She cannot be older than a child, dressed in flowing and complex petticoats... is she someone's daughter, playing at dress up on their parents' estate, perhaps?
But the bored expression she wears as she glances into the middle distance describes an age the first glance belies.
A delicate white china teacup is set on the table next to her, gentle steam rising from it, and an old man's voice, filled with the warmth of years, says: "I believe it is almost time. He must be awakening soon."
The girl takes the cup, brings it to her lips, and takes a sip, then places the cup back on its saucer before replying. "Yes. I wonder... will anyone be there to greet him this time?"
To her side, the old man's voice continues. "It is difficult to say, my lady. Shall I prepare your things for a trip?"
A long pause. Rachel Alucard's eyes go heavy lidded for a moment, before she brings the cup to her mouth again, drinking in the heat and fragrance of the tea. "...yes. Perhaps you should. But... there is no rush. Time is a resource with which we're well supplied."
"Of course, my lady."
She takes the time to finish her tea. He'd gone through all the trouble to brew it for her, after all.
The entrance of a new player onto this storm-tossed stage is decidedly undramatic, given the circumstances. Away from where Nightwolf treats with the newly-incarnate thunder god, the air... distorts, twisting, suddenly filled with a flurry of rose petals that drift away on the gales. What's left is a young girl, no older than 12 by appearance, dressed in a highly Gothic style. Rather atypically, she has come without her umbrella, perhaps her most distinctive accessory. Glancing at Nightwolf, and then at Raiden, the Alucard heiress brushes one of her long, gold pigtails from her face and smiles a calm, even sardonic-seeming smile. "Ara... it would appear I've missed the main event."
Raiden's perturbed face is shared by Nightwolf when he starts questioning things that should be obvious. This may be worse than what Nightwolf thought, if Raiden has been away for Earthrealm for so long that he has forgotten his purpose then it could take considerable time before he is back to full power. Time that unlike certain immortals he does not have a luxury of having infinite amounts of the supply. But not all is lost, there are moments of clarity within Raiden that allude he remembers certain crucial things, his memory probably just needs a jolt... no pun intended.
"The Darkstalkers.." Nightwolf beings trying to think of the best words as to how explain it. ".. are similar to the beings of Outworld. They were once humans who have been afflicted by some power and transcend their mortality. Unlike Outworlders, the Darkstalkers have stayed here in Earthrealm and not all have been twisted into monstrous creatures like their counterparts. Their allegiance is their own and they can be both powerful allies or troublesome enemies. Above all they can be very deceiving creatures. It is best we tread carefully, Lord."
And just in cue, who would approach this monumental occasion than the Alucard heiress herself? Nightwolf senses alert him of an unnatural presence and his blank eyes widen before turning to face the incoming well dressed young girl. Incidentally, this is also not the first time Nightwolf has encountered a Strigoi, what he makes up in raw power Nightwolf makes up in knowledge and experience.
"Here comes one now, Lord." He alerts Raiden. "They've no doubted sensed your presence."
Having said so he moves towards Rachel and raises a hand of warning, showing that he does not completely trust her. "Halt! Come no further."
It appears his memory may been more than a 'jolt'. It may need a complete restructuring. But the methods the gods use to descend from wherever they are... well, they aren't perfect, unfortunately. Gods were never meant to walk amongst mortals, for doing so places them in danger. Nonetheless, while he may not remember having been here before... he does remember his purpose-- protect Earthrealm. Wild cards in the mix, like these Darkstalkers seem to be, from Nightwolf's explanation, could make the defense of Earthrealm significantly more difficult.
Raiden considers the information carefully. But he's not given much time to consider it, though. The sudden twisting and distorting of the air, and Nightwolf's own reaction, draws Raiden to bring his gaze to the source of the disturbance himself. Something doesn't seem right about this... small sparks of lightning trace over his form as his discomfiture is made evident. Nightwolf has asked the woman to halt her approach though, so there's no reason to repeat it. There is tension in his form, though, visible in the tiny traces of lightning that dance over him.
"If you don't want people to sense your arrival," Rachel says to Nightwolf with a raised eyebrow, seeming content to stay right where she is whether he demanded it or not, "then I'd recommend not making such a dramatic entrance." In stark contrast to the girl's youthful body, her manner of speaking is precise, airy, imperious; her red-eyed gaze takes in Nightwolf's countenance with an expression of detached interest, studying him like one would a particularly curious or interesting painting in an art gallery. "Though it seems as if the audience has traveled quite a long way indeed to see the performance, so one supposes it's best not to disappoint."
She looks then to Raiden, taking in the nascent avatar's form with slightly more interest. As the two men were discussing before she arrived, the 'thunder god' is hardly a single culture's auspice. In her long lifetime, Rachel has observed how a large number of cultures express the idea. American First Nations is a new one for her, that information filed away for future use.
"Not the first time you've taken the stage, nor the last, I imagine," Rachel says to Raiden, with a faint smile. It's not even a particularly insincere smile, but there's just... something about it. Certainly, she's not treating Raiden with the reverence one might imagine a deity is due. Respect, certainly, but not reverence. "I do wonder, though, why you chose to wear this particular costume for today's performance. What trouble is it that rouses the spirit of thunder from its long sleep?"
"That is not something that can be helped, Vampire." Nightwolf's blank eyes return Rachel's stare with intensity rather than with the distant curiosity that Rachel gives him. As a Sin Eater and a hunter of dark, Nightwolf at the very least has the ability to know when he's talking to a creature of the dark.
As much as the Apache loathes to do the talking for Raiden, it is clear to him that the newly formed Avatar of Thunder is in no condition to speak having just stirred from his long long slumber. He knows of the Strigois' self serving nature however, and if Rachel's visit here is merely to satisfy her curiosity, he sees no need to try and stop her. Surely she is already aware what troubles are brewing in Earthrealm, particularly because she is likely one of said troubles.
"Be wary of what you say to this mischievous one, Raiden. She is one of the dark ones I spoke of."
The dichotomy in the girl is palpable. She's young, yet she speaks with a kind of sophistication that much belies her apparent age. That's apparent even to Raiden, even with his lack of knowledge about modern humans. Though as Nightwolf points out, the girl is not exactly 'human', so that may explain it. Perhaps she's older than she appears. Or she may be able to appear how she wishes, and chose this form to try to seem disarmingly harmless.
...Honestly this is a little embarrassing for Raiden. He's being spoken to by both of these two people like they know him, and... he has no idea who they are. It's tremendously putting him off his game, so to speak. Even the sparks that trace across him, jumping erratically across his robe, seem almost irritated. And it's not just that. He can see and hear the city in the distance, and it confuses him. There is man-made lightning, and all matter of things that set his senses reeling oddly. Clearly he DOES have much to learn about the modern world. But for now, he needs to get himself together, draw together his substance more completely.
He pauses, shifting to stand with his feet closer together. Trusting Nightwolf to keep him safe, he closes his eyes, appearing to draw a breath in deeply, raising his hands up as his lungs fill with air. The sparks across his form become less erratic, and as he breathes out, the sparks are drawn up his body, into his eyes as they open. And then the lightning around him fades. He seems less disoriented now, and stands with much less uncertainty.
Nightwolf's warning prompts and look and a nod in the shaman's direction. Then Raiden looks to Rachel and speaks finally, "Are you one who would cause harm to this world?" Plain question, he wants to know where she stands.
"Ah, to see the world through the eyes of a child; the purity of darkness and light, the crispness of line, without the blurring of age," Rachel says, her words cryptic, her tone light. Does she mean Raiden... or Nightwolf? Possibly both? Turning to look down the mountainside for a moment at the sprawl of civilization distantly visible below, the Alucard heiress continues to wax poetic. "'Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.' We are all players of a kind, don't you think?" she asks, turning back to the avatar and the Sin Eater with a curious glance. "We have our appointed roles to play until the script removes us from the stage..."
Well, if Raiden finds power lines curious, he's going to REALLY love vampires that quote Macbeth.
"I'm not sure I can answer your question, Thunder God," Rachel says to Raiden with a shrug, closing her eyes and bringing one pale hand up to brush her golden locks from her face. "Do I mean this world harm? I imagine that depends on who is being 'harmed'. As for why I am here today? I simply wished to witness your arrival, though being sadly late for that, I offer my welcome to your latest incarnation. I imagine the world has changed greatly since last you walked it."
There's a pause, and then Rachel lets a smile spread across her face. It's a tight expression, guarded, more 'amusement' than genuine happiness. "But be careful of seeing things as children do. Youth begets the innocence of wonder, but it also begets the violence of ignorance."
"Life is but one generation." Announces Nightwolf suddenly feeling the contempt that Rachel gives them both with her poetry.
"But a name that is never forgotten, is for eternity." And the Shaman would know of such too, being a Sin Eater he is destined to be consumed by evil at one point. His whole life marked by the knowledge of impending doom, and yet he walks the path willingly.
"I know extensively of your kind, vampire. Do not think this is my first encounter with a Strigoi. If it is mere self-serving curiosity that compels your actions then look and be on your way." Being the mediator is a task that comes naturally to Nightwolf even if he prefers being in the back stage. He knows quite well that creatures as ancient as Rachel seems to be are very mercurial and will do whatever they seem to deem more amusing. Raiden on the other hand as the protector of Earthrealm is very driven in the resolve to do his duty. Nightwolf shares this trait with the Thunder God, but unlike him, he's walked this earth as a mortal for a while now and can see the situation from numerous perspectives; the perspective of a Darkstalker, of a Deity, and a mortal like himself.
"Events approach that go even beyond your grasp. Be a mute spectator if you so wish it, but I warn you not to let your detachment cloud your eyes lest you pick the wrong side in the coming conflict. I assure you it is not something you will find amusing."
All this time Nightwolf has been aware that Raiden's power has been swirling around him and he's been wisely moving away from him. If he feels like smiting this Darkstalker then he's not really in any position to dissuade him. The skinwalker will admit that he finds Rachel's contempt for most things at least somewhat annoying. Impending doom just doesn't motivate people as it used to.
Raiden frowns a little, confused at Rachel's words. And rather displeased at the roundabout answer she gives. "...That is the sort of roundabout answer I would expect of someone trying to squirm out of revealing his allegiances without overtly speaking false," he observes.
Not to worry, Nightwolf. Raiden's power is only swirling around him long enough to get it under control. Still getting himself 'put together', so to speak. Now that he's 'centered', it's not swirling about so much. He is rather displeased though.
Nightwolf's warning of the events that approach is followed by a statement from Raiden. "When these events begin, you may need to step into the center of the conflict. The choice of which side you will offer your aid to is yours. But I offer a warning. I will let none harm Earthrealm." Nope. No smiting today. Heroic speeches, but no smiting.
There will be questions asked of Nightwolf later. First amongst them being, if Raiden has walked Earthrealm before, why doesn't he remember it? But not here and now-- it's not safe.
If Rachel's reaction to Nightwolf before this point put him off, her reaction to his speech -- or, rather, barely-veiled threat -- about what is to come isn't going to earn her any points either. Placing her hand to her chin, the diminutive vampire is all smiles, relatively speaking; even at her friendliest, there's an aura of amused condescencion built in to Rachel, it seems. Even to the avatar of the thunder god. "I agree that forces are in motion. The machinery of the stage is beginning to come to life. I am interested to see what sort of play will be written this time." 'This time'? What does she mean, 'this time'?
"Regardless..." Rachel continues, and now she trains her red-eyed gaze on Nightwolf, and there is a hardness to the scarlet eyes that is unlike her demeanor until now. To this point, the vampire has presented herself as not particularly charming, but hardly aggressive; by contrast, the expression she turns on the Sin Eater is positively imperious. "I've paid my respects, and I've little desire to be lectured on perspective by a man wearing blinders. Children should be more humble in the presence of their elders. How refreshing to find that the Spirit of Thunder has awoken from his long speech with his manners and grace intact." She says this last to Raiden, giving the newly-awakened spirit a genuine, if slightly cold, smile.
Just as it did when she arrived, the air around the vampire seems to distort, wind swirling into a compact vortex at a gesture from her delicate little hand, setting her petticoats briefly aflutter. "I look forward to our next encounter... 'Raiden'."
With that, she steps into the windy disturbance and is gone, a brief flutter of rose petals in her wake all that remains to mark that the Alucard heiress was here at all.
Log created on 13:34:52 12/05/2014 by Nightwolf, and last modified on 23:20:21 12/05/2014.