Description: Tiger Mask attempts to put out a fire, but it turns out it's just a smoking Nightwolf. The environment is protected. Tiger Mask denies that she's Black Tiger Mask, insisting that person is actually her sister. Nightwolf isn't convinced, but goes along with it anyways. He suggests Tiger Mask joins a legion of superheroes, which she is totally up for.
Still a human. Still a mortal.
Although Nightwolf has seen far more than most people would ever expect to see in their lifetimes, it still bothers him that despite all that effort he has spent struggling against the creatures of darkness and the Outworld invaders alike, he still feels that he does not have the means to do what he must. In a sense, he guesses that is how life is, a constant struggle against that which would crush you, it is what keeps humanity struggle, what makes them sometimes transcend their humanity. But no matter how much strength he acquires, it never seems to be enough, there is always one demon out there that eludes him, or one invader that could overcome him. He always felt like he needed /more/ power, and the thought bothered him, for he knows that the road to greed only leads to ruin. Perhaps there is no greater example of that than Nightwolf himself, for the more sins he eats, the closer he comes to become utterly corrupted.
Thoughts like those are what reminds him that sometimes, its best to take a step back, stop looking at the big picture, and meditate on your origins. In Nightwolf's case, that would be him being an Apache, and thus the shaman, protector of Earthrealm, leans back on a very primal need of his; smoking.
Seated on the very far side of Southtonwn park by a secluded grove of trees, the Apache sits in Lotus Flower position, back leaning against the trunk of a tree. On his lips rests a wooden pipe which he draws from deeply in relaxed, timed breaths, smoke coming out of his nostrils as he simply sits there, alone with his thoughts.
Tiger Mask stalks through the park, wearing her white karate uniform and a white tiger mask, seeking evil to defeat. However, it seems there's nothing particularly illegal or evil going on here at the moment, and a Warrior of Justice doesn't have much to do. As she sees smoke rise up. Her eyes widen.
She runs over to a nearby vending machine, and buys four bottles of water, then runs back to where she saw the smoke, holding three of them under her left arm, the fourth bottle of water is in her right hand, her thumb twisting off the top, poised to throw the bottle on the fire.
And comes to a stop as she sees Nightwolf. Just sitting there, smoking from a pipe.
The top skitters to the ground nearby her.
"...My apologies for disturbing you, citizen! Pipe smoke doesn't leave the same smoke trails as cigarette smoke, so I thought a fire had started! But you are smoking in a responsible manner, and I have no reason to interrupt you."
She glances down at the opened bottle of water, then kneels down, offering it to him. "...Would you like a bottle of water as an apology? It seems I have several more than I need at the moment, and carrying so many will only weigh me down in my fight against Evil."
The shaman knows there is someone approaching before the girl breaks into the clearing where he is. Not because he can sense chi approaching, although he can, but because someone running at that speed makes vibrations on the ground which he can feel due to being sitting down. Despite feeling that someone is approaching him in a very hurried manner, Nightwolf makes no attempt to move, or even open his eyes, much less put his pipe away. By the weight of the feet, he can guess that it's someone small or young, perhaps a youngster playing around in the park or some such? Nightwolf assumes many things of what this noise could possible be, but no matter his experience in hunting and tracking, he never would have guessed he would see a familiar sight.
As the figure breaks through the bushes, Nightwolf's blank eyes finally open, recognition flashing across his face. Its the Tiger Mask girl! And it looks like she's about to.. throw water at him?
The shaman doesn't move, he's honestly caught quite off guard by this, particularly when Tiger Mask boldly proclaims that she is here to fight evil. Whatever happened to that crazed girl that was beating on martial arts students for the thrill of it? She /is/ the same girl, her energy signatures are the same, even though he can no longer sense malicious intent within her.
For a long moment, Nightwolf is just there, sitting and staring, smoking idly coming out of his pipe even whilst Miki kneels close to him and offers him some water.
"Tiger Mask." The shaman finally speaks, making no motion to accept the bottle offered to him. He has a rule of not accepting any gifts from girls that clearly have split personalities. "We meet again." Because even though she doesn't seem to recognize her, he does. "I see you've taken the cause of justice now. Although I am glad you've come to your senses, I have to wonder, what on earth warranted this drastic change of heart?"
"...Again?" Tiger Mask sounds a little confused. "...My memory may not be perfect, but I don't think I've met you." Tiger Mask pauses. She's lying, of course, but because she doesn't feel the least bit embarassed or uncomfortable telling lies, she doesn't have any of the natural tells, although if he can /supernaturally/ read lies, that might be something else.
Her eyes widen. "Ah, is it because of the outfit? Were you wearing a suit last time or something?" She pauses. "...I still can't place you, though. Did we meet when I was a young child, perhaps? My memories of those times aren't perfect. I imagine there must've been a time when I didn't worry about justice, but...."
She shakes her head, watching his face, stands back up. "No... your reactions seem off for that. Clearly, I'm missing something here!" She glances down to see where she dropped the bottlecap, and kicks it up into the air, ricochetting it off of the tree next to him, and catches it in her hand that's holding the bottle, starts to manuever her hand around to screw the cap back on.
Nightwolf frowns, because how else would he react? Naught but a few days ago he was bringing his axes to bear against this girl and now she says that she doesn't recognize him?
The shaman exhales a few more plumes of smoke from his nostrils in thought, always taking a moment or two before he speaks. Its as if he's incapable of just reacting and saying the first thing that comes to his mind, he must think before each and every action of his.
As he briefly analyses the girl from head to toe, he looks at the situation from an objective manner rather than jump to conclusions. Nightwolf does not have a supernatural ability to tell if someone is lying or not, but he can attune to people spirits, and he can sense this is the same energy signature as before, just no longer evil. It is a possibility that she could have a split personality, however, with no means to prove it, all Nightwolf could do in this situation is explain himself and let the girl come to her own conclusion.
"My name is Nightwolf." He explains, idly watching her pick up the bottle cap and put it back on. She doesn't even pollute! That earns her tons of brownie points with Nightwolf. He really has to get to the bottom of this.
"We met a few weeks ago, in battle." A pause as he draws in smoke to himself and then exhales out. The smoke from his pipe swirls in front of him in a rather unnatural way, forming a black screen for an image to form.
There, in the cloud of smoke, the figure of Black Tiger Mask comes to view, clad in her normal mask but far different, more revealing attire. "You wore this when we first fought. You were preying upon some martial arts students claiming to do so for the thrill of the hunt."
The image vanishes then and Nightwolf returns to chewing on the tip of his pipe, looking pensive. "Back then, you were firmly set on the path of cruelty."
Tiger Mask nods at that as she finishes screwing the bottlecap back on. "Ahhh, now I see your confusion. I go by 'Tiger Mask'. I call her 'Black Tiger Mask'. It seems simpler than making up other names, and I don't want to give out our clan names to outsiders."
"She's my sister, another member of the Tiger Clan. I came to Southtown to hunt her down. We've clashed a few more times, but it's not easy to just go all out and eliminate someone who you grew up with." She spreads out her fingers, clasps them into a fist dramatically. "Hurting people for her own sake is bad enough, but I worry it's just a matter of time before she kills someone. Maybe... maybe I'll be able to convince her Justice is the right path." A little doubt creeps into her voice.
"She's a problem I must solve, but it seems there are other problems going on in this city and others. I wasn't really aware of much of the world outside of our village, so I didn't know there was so much Evil to fight."
She sits down next to Nightwolf, laying the water bottles at her sides, completely unafraid of him, pulls her knees up against her chest, turns her masked face to look towards his unmasked face. "I guess, if you fought her... you're an Ally of Justice too?"
Nightwolf raises a quizzical eyebrow at her explanation, clearly not believing her. This /is/ the same girl, he knows that for sure. However, he decides its best not to force someone who is touched to believe otherwise. From experience, that only leads to a lot of trouble, and pain, if Nightwolf can consider his experience with Jezebel proof enough of the futility of that.
Instead, Nightwolf opts for a more subtle solution. He is just going to play along until he can figure out what is this girl's deal.
"I see." He says at last, his amused arched eyebrow expression returning to its normal stoic stone face. "That would explain it." Inwardly Nightwolf might be laughing where the situation not so serious, 'Tiger Mask' is right, her evil counterpart could eventually kill someone and she must be stopped at all costs. "It is always problematic when someone so close to us turns away from the light." Although in Miki's case, that someone close to her happens to be herself.
As the girl sits next to her, the shaman regards her silently with his unnatural white eyes. It's always kind of hard to tell where is Nightwolf looking to considering he has no iris, but in this case, it's clear he is looking at her. "I am indeed an ally of Justice." He declares with no small amount of pride. "All of Earthrealm is under my protection. As I told your sister when we fought, I will tolerate no evil in my watch, be it in my homeland or in these foreign soils. This whole world is my home and so it is my duty to protect it."
He breathes from his pipe, suddenly thinking of something. "If you seek to redeem your sister, mayhap I can help you." Despite phrasing it in that particular manner, he is not lying.
Tiger Mask doesn't miss that quizzical eyebrow, tilts her head a bit to one side, continuing to watch Nightwolf, but then perks up a bit as he talks as Justice.
"Yes!" She raises her hand up in front of her, clutches it into fist. "All allies of Justice have to work together to protect the world from Evil! Root out Corruption! Eviscerate the Unjust!"
"You'd really help me help her help herself?" Her smile under that mask is almost audible. "Any help you can give me would be very... helpful! Do you have any experience guiding people towards Justice? I've tried to do that with a few people, but one of the people was evil and just ended up tricking me. The other person wasn't a bad person but had just lost faith in the world, but I think I made some headway!"
"I don't know how to talk to my sister, though. She's always like..."
She adopts a voice which sounds like a pretty good imitation of her 'sister', but isn't quite there. "...power... must have power... crushing the weak is the natural order of things...."
She shakes her head, returns to her 'normal' Tiger Mask voice. "I don't even know how to talk to stuff like that!"
The girl's enthusiasm is at the very least refreshing. For too long have Nightwolf's proclamations of being a warrior of Justice been met with nothing but scorn or even mockery. Not even from villains either, but perfectly normal people who thought his heroic deeds were far too corny. The shaman simply didn't understand, if your heart is genuinely good, then there is no shame speaking of your true good intentions to the world. Good thoughts were meant to be shared.
That is why, despite looking like a very grim person, he nods slowly to Tiger Mask as she proclaims her alignment to JUSTICE. He even makes no attempt to convince Tiger Mask against 'eviscerating the unjust'. He knows sometimes the only thing can change a villain's mind is a good ol' eviscerating.
"Of course." Nods he. "Helping people is what I do." Fighting monsters is just one of the hazards that comes with helping people, as it is enduring overly eager young fighters. Tiger Mask's strange antics don't seem to phase him at all. He must have a lot of experience dealing with this type of hyper active behavior.
"I have met many a dark one who refuses to see past their own needs." Testament comes to mind. "Selfishness and self pity seem to be the driving factors that delude impressionable minds to follow the path of darkness."
He hmms and chews on his pipe some more. "But I am getting ahead of myself. There are those who are like me who have the interests of Earthrealm and its inhabitants as their main concern. We cover all problems that afflict this realm, from the mundane to the supernatural and we are always looking for fellow allies of good to join us. While I can offer no immediate assistance to the problem with your sister, I am certain that after working together, we can offer a solution to your problems."
Nightwolf blinks a few times in thought, realizing that there might be a way of further simplifying what his group is to this clearly impressionable young warrior. "We are as some might say.. a league of super heroes." Yes, he thinks that's pretty accurate.
Tiger Mask listens to all this quietly, nodding slightly. Until he gets to the 'league of superheroes' part, and then she leaps into the air, lands on a nearby park bench, the moon shining down on her from overhead.
"Yes! I will join your league of superheroes! I've been building my own network, but if I knew that yours existed, I could have just joined that in the first place! Together we will fight for Justice!"
She's silent for a long moment, and looks down at Nightwolf from where she's standing on the back of a nearby park bench, one fist raised to the sky. She slowly lowers the fist back down.
"But... I like to protect people and see everyone's smiling faces and fight for Good and Justice. But I do them because they make me happy and righteous, so... isn't that selfishness?"
"If I wanted to see people cower and scream, is that what I'd end up doing? Am I just a good person because I have positive feelings towards people?"
"These are the sorts of questions that have been troubling me. I always thought me and my sister thought alike, but these days...." She shakes her head, and slowly clutches her hand back into a Fist of Righteousness, raises it up once again.
"But, if you're sure your league of superheroes can eventually help offer a solution to that sort of problem, I guess I don't have to worry about that anymore, at least for the moment!"
"It doesn't make you selfish." Nightwolf answers almost too quickly to be true.
Young aspiring champions such as Tiger Mask may struggle with these existential questions now and then. Are the things they do worth the trouble? Why bother fighting for justice when the world seems to be naturally evil? Why struggle against that which seems inevitable? Do they fight for the genuine desire to do good or simply for self satisfaction?
The shaman has lived and experienced enough to know the answers to all these questions. It has been a very long time since he's had felt doubt in his mission. Indeed, there is no room for doubt in the path of the Sin Eater. All doubt must be cast aside to he who has forsaken everything for the good of the world.
"Humans, you see, are free to believe and do whatever they like. It is our undeniable right as living beings to live freely. Some choose to live their life pursuing their own ambitions, others, like us, strive to make this world a better place simply because it brings us joy. There is no selfishness in this, it is merely us mortals being mortals."
"But when the freedom to do whatever you wish leads you to hurt others... that is the meaning of selfishness. To allow your own needs to bring others harm. That is a clear misuse of the freedom given to each one of us."
Nightwolf exhales smoke, white blank eyes no staring up to the night sky. "You are not like your sister. You understand that true power doesn't come from the strength that you posses, but what you do with it."
And just like that, Nightwolf gets his answer to his own previous dilemma.
The blank eyed shaman turns to Tiger Mask and after digging in one of his front pockets, gives her an eagle feather. "We call ourselves the Full Moon Society. Wear this on your person and our members will recognize you wherever you may go. We are scattered across the globe and have many independent bases of operations. But we are good at recognizing our own. You will know when you run into others like me and if they can help you, they will."
Log created on 20:47:15 01/17/2015 by Miki, and last modified on 00:33:04 01/18/2015.