Description: Testament finds Chisaki in the forest outside of Southtown. They talk about humans and monsters, but can't quite bring themselves to see eye-to-eye.
Yesterday, Chisaki had her first Neo-League match, and it went about as bad as it possibly could.
She doesn't quite believe what Testament told her, still. She has worried about being seen as a monster; she has worried about being thought of as a threat more than a person. Part of her thinks those people would be right. Being beaten readily and called a freak... it ran something home. She isn't looking for Testament, but sometimes fate has a funny way of working. She came out to the woods to get away, and get her mind off things, but her mind is on what the Gear said.
The forest is an easy place to train. It is quiet and secluded; it lets her use her arm without drawing the stares and shock that it could in a gym. She is here for that today, and she goes through forms with her fists and feet. And her claw.
It bleeds shadow and motes of purple energy, which drift away from her. Periodically, it shifts; the claws becoming larger, the fingers extending. She hasn't shifted it into another shape, yet. She works up a sweat.
But it isn't, really, relieving any anger or stress. That sits deeper.
Chisaki's quiet training is uninterrupted for a few moments longer. And then... a presence. It's always a presence first, the feeling of something horrible and dark watching one, just out of sight. The feeling that something may leap from the darkness, grab one, and then retreat to God only knows where. That's the first thing that happens. It may not affect Chisaki so much, however. Not only thanks to her dark alignment, but to her greater will. Then... his voice.
"A strange place to find a dark savior of mankind."
There is a rather disgusting liquidy sound-- probably that blood-teleport thing he did when escaping from the UN building-- and then Testament steps out of the shadows, the raven on his shoulder. His scythe is not in hand, so he doesn't appear to want to kill her.
Chisaki feels the presence first, and that slows her motions, as she goes on alert. The last punch of her form with her still-human fist is slower, and she stops to look around; it isn't until she hears the gurgling, fluid sound of Testament's teleportation that she turns. She knows the voice instantly. She knows who will be there when she turns, and she stares at him for a moment. The lack of a scythe is a relief.
She isn't so sure she could take him. It wouldn't stop her from trying, but she isn't sure about that.
"It's you," she says. Then her lips curl down into a frown, while she looks him over. "Dark savior of mankind? That's some heavy shit. And I don't think it's right." She glances to the side. "Way too gothy for my tastes. And I'm not strong enough to say that kinda thing, anyways."
Testament looks to her arm in response. "Whether you believe you are or not-- maybe whether you are or not-- something's chosen you," he says, in a matter of fact voice. And then he points to the clawed arm. "You wouldn't have THIS if not." Light-hearted conversation is not, it seems, on the agenda tonight.
"You have a few questions to answer," Testament observes. "And they won't be easy ones, either. Power does not come to those who aren't meant to use it for some purpose. So... now you have to wonder. Who, or what, chose you? For what purpose? Was it to save the world? Or to destroy it?"
"More importantly... how will you use it?" he asks. "Because in the end, where power is concerned, that's all that's important is how you use it. Will you stand up and fight a battle you can't hope to win? Or will you turn on the fate that chose you and set your own terms?"
Here hs pauses, and tilts his head. "You have a lot to think about. A lot of questions to answer. And none of them are easy or quick answers. Even if you think you have the answer now, you may find later that it's the wrong answer... and you'll have to re-evaluate yourself."
He almost sounds... calm here. Almost sane. And almost... concerned?
"Yeah, something chose me all right," Chisaki says. She tries to sound flippant, but it's a defense mechanism. Something did choose her; it was because she was angry and scared, because it was like her. She trails off, whatever biting reply she had for him dying in her throat. She could argue, but he's not telling her what to do. He isn't telling her to pick his side or die. It comes perilously close to concern, which is something few enough people have shown.
She knows what chose her. It has no purpose, from what she can discern -- and there, she is wrong. She just remembers the darkened temple and the body at her feet, blood pooling around her hiking boots, while she stared at the thing that became her arm.
She swallows, hard, before she looks up.
"It's gotta make shit right," she says. "I don't--I don't know what happened to you. But I saw those people you killed. The ones I saw... they didn't hurt you, not just by breathing. I can't--" No, she thinks, she could. She corrects herself, "--I'm not gonna use it for that."
Testament frowns at her reply. But it's not the insane frown of a man about to fly into a murderous rage. No, it's a genuine frown of disappointment. Maybe with her, maybe not. Either way his voice is soft as he replies. "You'll have to choose one day," he warns. "You'll watch the people you wanted to save, cursing at you and calling you a monster. Telling you to go back to whatever hell you came from..."
His voice trails off here for a moment, his gaze turning to his own hand. His voice is a little distracted as he says the next. "...Or someone will trick you into using your power for them... and then think you're an abomination because you won't submit to them. Both the people you've hurt and the people who made you hurt them will turn you away..."
Freak. She remembers that word and she knows where it goes. It isn't so different than what Testament it is saying. If it grows stronger, if it gets worse, then what happens? Chisaki's frown deepens, and she turns her head to look away from him. Why does he seem so different now? This is not the murderous figure who attacked the United Nations. "Yeah, but... what's your way accomplish?"
She looks back at him. "There's a lot of dead bodies that way. It's telling them we're just what they thought we were," she says. "And it's starting a war with people who we're not that different from."
Not yet, she appends.
"It ends those people that would treat you that way," Testament replies. "It takes away the hate and stupidity that would make your life so miserable." Here's where his voice starts to take on more of that mad tone. "No human can shame your existence if there ARE no humans. You and everyone like you, who doesn't conform to their 'normal', would be free to live as you liked, without hiding your existence... without someone calling you a freak, or a monster. No one controlling you..."
If that tone is any indication, he is completely serious. He's also quite probably insane. And also doesn't seem to be including himself in that humanless paradise. It's as if he doesn't expect to be there when his 'glorious vision' comes to fruition...
"You can't kill all of them," she says, with a frown. "It's--that'd be worse than what they wanna do to us, and there's so many of 'em. And there's people I care about, I don't want some world without them. That's just--that's not..."
But then Chisaki trails off. She realizes belatedly that he left himself out of that stated goal. The world he described was for people like her -- not for people like him. The idea is unsettling; to be pulled apart from everyone she ever knew makes the idea she might be different stand out more. She looks at Testament, her eyes widening with the realization.
"You don't plan to be there, in that world where we'd be 'free?'"
"Of course not," Testament replies. "You said yourself-- there are so many. I don't know if I can die of old age. Even if I can't, my defeat at the UN building was proof that I'm not strong enough to make it happen yet." He shakes his head. "I don't expect to survive it. But I have to get stronger, so I can at least leave a world where people who aren't like everyone else can live, and be free of that."
He looks to the raven on his shoulder, and the bird tucks its head down next to his neck. "I have no one but Tset left. Do you know why?" Maybe if she understood how he came to lose everything, how easy it was, she'd realize that his was a valid path.
She frowns. A suicide mission, then -- a suicide mission to save people like her, who may not even want saving. Her eyes flash with anger and something more. She never asked for this, but she doubts that will stop him. Testament asked a question, though, and she has to given him an answer.
"Tset," she says. "A friend?" Then, she gets to the question he asked: "Why? Someone took 'em from you?"
Testament nods, confirming 'Tset' is a friend. And as for her answer? He nods again. "I didn't want this. Didn't want to be what I am. But those people... those HUMANS. They used my weakness. And I WAS weak. A waste of space. Waste of flesh. They told me that a lot. Every time one more friend died and I did nothing to stop it. It didn't have the heart to fight. Too weak."
One hand clenches into a fist at his side. "They told me they could make me a better fighter. That I could help my father. I believed them. Went with them. Told my father I'd be back soon. Never told him where I was going. I don't remember what they did to me. But when I woke up... they were so surprised. They said I 'retained cognizance' through the 'conversion process'. THEY turned me into this... and then tried to put me back under when they realized I wasn't a mindless puppet."
He's telling her a lot... putting a lot of trust in her. But maybe if she knows, then she'll understand. Maybe if he offers the information in good faith...
Chisaki's eyes widen. This, she thinks, is different than her circumstances. He isn't a Darkstalker at all; he isn't something that brushed with the shadow world and came out different, like she is. No, humans created him. They turned him into this.
No wonder, she thinks, that he is angry.
She sucks a breath in and shakes her head. This is a heavy knowledge to have. She has to look at the government differently -- and she was not inclined to trust them in the first place. She looks up, peering at the Gear for a moment. "No wonder you got problems with them," she mutters. Maybe, she thinks, the people who did that started this. "Did they--they make more people like you?"
Testament nods. "The people who were there when I woke up talked like it was something they'd done before," he confirms. "So that means that somewhere in this world, there are people who didn't retain their cognizance through the 'conversion'. Somewhere out there, there are people who have been turned into nothing more than mindless robots under someone else's control."
"I don't know who holds the strings," he replies. "But I will FIND them, and I'll cut THEIR strings." He said something like that at the UN building, too... "But I'm not stupid enough to think that making them go away will solve it. More people will just be put in their place, and they'll just continue. There's only one way to stop it completely." Which he mentioned-- killing all humans.
She agrees with him to a point; that point is killing all humans. This may be something to think about later.
She frowns. "It's not gonna make it go away," she says. "Killing everyone who could do that... that's just gonna piss them off more. They'll do it to more people, out of desperation, to try to stop it." Chisaki's eyes cast down at the ground while she thinks about it, and then she lifts her shadowed claw. Her fingers flex, the too-long fingers ending in sharp points catching the light with their eerie sheen.
"The people who're doing this gotta be stopped," she says. "But you can't kill everyone. There's a lot of them out there--and I got ones I care about. People I can't leave behind."
She closes her eyes. A body at her feet, again, and blood pooling around her hiking boots. She opens her eyes, because the forest, Testament, and her cursed hand are a better sight than what her mind sees.
"People I won't," she says. "And I'm not the only one."
Testament tilts his head. "...Do you really believe that 'innocents' exist?" He sounds incredulous. His head goes back, and he laughs. "You have to be smarter than that," he insists, still looking up. "All that exist are 'guilty' and 'not yet guilty'. All people will eventually fall to their greed and lust for power. No matter how pure someone seems, when given power and the option to use it, everyone will eventually choose to use it to hurt others to get what they want."
Then he looks at her again. "Even you. You'd use your power to hurt me-- even kill me if you had to-- because you don't WANT me to do this. Because what you want is more 'real' to you than what I want. More important to you." He doesn't sound like he's judging her for that. "But that's because you think like them. You've been raised to think like them. But now you're more. One day you'll have to abandon a human's viewpoint. You aren't human, not anymore. You can't think like them."
"That's..." Chisaki trails off. She met people who were guilty. She can't say she is innocent; far from it, she did things that she regrets and nothing will atone for. "There's people who can't do shit about the world around them. They're just swept up in all this. They can't protect themselves. If they're not innocent, I don't know what is. They're nothing like you or me."
She frowns. Even if it is because she thinks like a human. She doesn't deny it, because he is right: she does and she isn't. But she has to hold onto that.
For as long as she can.
"They're stuck," Testament replies. "Those without the power to change their fates only have two choices-- either become part of the machine that churns out these mindless puppets, or to be crushed under the gears of the machine that makes them. Serve those who do have power by giving in to their demands, or die. And given that choice, every one of them would choose to become part of the machine. None of them would think twice about the lives they would destroy. They'd just take the path of least resistance and become numb to the pain they cause. If it doesn't affect them, it doesn't matter."
She frowns at that, glancing away again. There is another kernel of truth there. People choose life, every time. Can she blame them? Chisaki made that choice herself. "Trying to survive is human nature," she says. "But they... they don't even know. If they did, they might try to do something different. Do what they could against it or fuckin' something. You're not giving them the chance."
"Even if they had the chance, most wouldn't take it," Testament states. "You're right-- trying to survive is human nature. Even if it means the death of someone else. Didn't you read about the Milgram experiment? Overwhelmingly, when given orders that were obviously hurting others, most people continued to carry them out. Why? Because they were TOLD to. Because they were told 'what you're doing here is very important'. So... why give them the chance, if they're not even going to take it?"
"'Cause you're making the choice for them," Chisaki says. "Maybe some do, maybe some don't. But you're punishing them before they've done shit. That's not..." She frowns again and looks away, shaking her head. Maybe she is being naive. But that couldn't be right, and she had to find some way to make things right. It was still not an answer she could accept. "That's not justice."
"There's no such thing," comes the reply. Testament shakes his head. "'Justice' is a commodity in this world. Given to whoever can either buy it or take it. It's not obtainable by the average human being. And most won't care to try for it. There's only one hope those of us who aren't like them have."
Here he extends a hand. "And that's to band together. To make them bleed. Teach them we're not to be trifled with. Peace is impossible where their fear and hatred remains. It has to be wiped out, and only by wiping THEM out can it disappear."
Chisaki looks down at that extended hand and considers, for just a moment, taking it. What they did to Testament, and what Lee said to her, it all sticks with her. He knows more than most do. But then she thinks of her uncle; she thinks of the people who tried to stop Testament, and the people that he killed. She remembers the looks of terror on their faces -- and the look on the face of the man who lay at her feet months before, in the Himalayas.
She thinks of her uncle, then.
She shakes her head at Testament. "Sorry," she says. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I still think like them. But I'm not gonna turn on all of them. I'll keep your secret, but you wanna do this shit..." She summons a little courage, her expression hardening. "Then I'm gonna have to fight you."
Testament actually looks sad. He looks at his hand, and lets it fall to his side. "...I shouldn't have expected you to understand," he says quietly. "Not from just my words alone. You'll have to see for yourself. And you will. It won't be long. Show any human your secret." A look to that arm. "Let them see it. And watch them run away. Or worse. They'll hurt you. Even if you're trying to help. And they'll all say the same thing..."
"'You're a monster'."
He sighs. "...I only wish I could spare you that pain. Fight me if you want, kill me if you can. But don't let THEM beat you down. Don't let them tell you that they're better than you, just because you're different than all of them. They AREN'T better." But he does not say 'we are', or even 'you are'.
She frowns at him. "If you keep on like you are, you're gonna get your ass killed. Think about it, at least. For your friend's sake, at least." She doubts he will stop. He seems set on that course. "Or just be careful or something."
"That's what awaits me either way," Testament replies. "We both know this." He could be talking about his raven, or he could be talking about Chisaki herself. It's hard to tell. "It's inevitable." He raises a hand to his face, fingernails digging in, and rips a line across his cheek. The blood answers him as if he'd called it by name-- like it did at the UN building-- and forms that scythe.
But before she can think he's going to attack her, he grips the scythe underneath its crimson blade. He raises his off-arm. "Watch this." He sets the live blade against his forearm, about halfway up. And with not even a second's hesitation, the blade bites deeply into his arm. So deeply, in fact... that the end of the limb is literally cleaved from the arm. It falls to the ground, lifeless, and the stump of his arm spurts blood.
But not for long. In a few heartbeats, the limb regenerates. Oddly, including the glove. And as it does, the limb on the ground melts into a puddle of what looks like half-set gelatin. "I haven't tried it, but I don't doubt I could have done that with my head if I wanted." Mercifully he'd spared her that. "I can't even kill myself. I tried after I escaped that laboratory. I tried so many times. Maybe someone else can. But even IF they can, I'm not going to just bow down and die. I don't want to die like a coward."
"Holy fucking shit!"
Chisaki sums her feelings up precisely when he tears his own arm off. Part of her wonders, for a second, if she could tear off the shadow arm and have it grow back. She suspects the answer is yes. She is in no rush to find out. She gawks at him, looking at the freshly regenerated arm, and then up at him.
"I guess, uh," she sputters. "I guess maybe don't sweat being careful so much." If he hates himself that much. She can imagine that; she never got there, but she can make the leap. The fact she might have to fight him -- and try to kill him -- isn't lost on her. "And if you've got health insurance, cancel that shit. You're good."
This also might explain why he's so pale. If he's always regenerating damage he's doing to himself-- either purposely or getting hurt in fights-- his skin doesn't have time to tan before it regenerates. Also explains the 'new' appearance his skin always has. Because it probably almost always is. Still, her quip brings a smirk to his face. It's a self-depreciating smirk, but it's better than that frown.
It soon fades, though, and he looks at the ground. "I won't... take up any more of your time," he says, almost in a whisper. A pause, and then he looks up at her. "But I won't say this is your only chance to join me. You'll see it... and when you do, if I'm still alive, I'll be here."
She hesitates a moment, frowning. She wants to be stronger, to tell him to keep his offer to himself; that it will be a cold day in hell before she thinks that way. She wants to say she is the sort of heroic person who would never consider his view. But, that would be a paper thin lie, and she knows it. She knows he would see through it.
So, Chisaki stares right at him, a scowl on her face, but not a denial. "Yeah," she agrees. "We'll see. Until next time, then."
Testament spares no other words. He releases the scythe, and it disappears. And then he steps back, into the shadows of the trees. That gross liquidy sound bubbles from the spot...
And then silence.
Log created on 20:29:53 01/16/2015 by Chisaki, and last modified on 10:56:05 01/17/2015.