Description: The spirit of duty carries Amy Johnson close to cardinal sin, her way forced until - in striving for an end - she finds a new path opening before her. Evil burns at the heart of hope and beauty, and in forgiveness she finds opportunity. The question that remains; will others fight as she does, in the name of what's right? Sometimes, answers are found in the most unexpected places, amongst strange bedfriends...
Somewhere, a wolf howls at the moon. The pack will eat well tonight.
Three hundred miles away, a man is beaten into a bloody pulp because he refused his mugger the right to a shiny new iPhone. Every soul in this world is after something; every item has value, every being a worth in what it provides to others.
Once the veil of beauty is brushed aside, there's a carnivorous core to this vast land of opportunity. To take only what's needed and throw the rest away - that's the key to survival, to evolution, to civilization. On the dust and bones of one ideal are the foundations for another laid, but sometimes... things are cast aside that can be found again, used to gain an advantage once the rules have changed. The present is ever-changing and savage, but the past is never entirely redundant. Some lessons are learned at the forsaking of others - progress is not always what it seems.
A relic of the past stalks through the luxurious suburbs of Southtown, dark blue sash fluttering in the wintry air as booted footfalls land with graceful suppression on the smooth, worn stone of the street. There's a purpose to this anachronistic vision's step, her resolve carrying her to a particular apartment building and up, up, up...
Only once she's mere feet away from an even more particular door does Knight Officer Amy Johnson reach into the front of her buttoned jacket and smoothly withdraw a poignard-like dagger. The hilt is coated in the same silver the edges the blade, gleaming under halogen lights quite unlike the wolf-worshipped moon. It does the job nonetheless; makes the ceremonial weapon glimmer and shine, highlights the purpose that it serves. It's sharp, certainly, but not robust. This is a ritual tool. An athame.
Reaching the door she's certain holds her quarry, Amy inhales and exhales slowly, the rough material of her trousers snapping as she draws to a sudden halt. It's otherwise soundless, her motion, but for the breath still being released. Stormy eyes regard the door, tracing the lettering upon it and then alighting not on the surface but beyond; picturing her prey, envisioning the action she must take. It's the end of a long road - the reason she's come to Southtown, the purpose she must fulfil.
Nature is a cruel mistress. God can be no better. But duty calls.
Prepared to make the sacrifice, Amy reaches out and raps her knuckles with stern efficiency upon the door of one Alma Towazu. The wolf's howl ends, the unconscious man stirs, and fate's coils twist beneath the Earth's surface.
The Templar grips the weapon at her side, her entire form ready to strike.
Loud music is being played behind this particular door. At the very least, loud enough for someone with keen senses to hear it. It seems to be some light metal, with a female lead singer.
The knock on the door causes a few more noises that are definately not part of the music : barks. The repeated barks finally cause the music to husher down. A few footsteps can be heard before the locks of the door are removed and it finally opens up.
The person who opens the door is a young woman with pink hair. Her hair are glistening and wet, probably from a shower that was taken a couple of minutes ago. A tooth brush is currently in her mouth, and the woman is clad in a simple tank-top as well as a petite pair of sport shorts.
Behind her, there's a large mountain bernese dog sitting by and waiting patiently. The japense girl just stands there, door wide open, staring and assessing at the woman for a moment, keeping an eye at the weapon she holds at her side. She narrows her eyes a bit and puts her toohbrust out, pointing it in Amy's direction, "Huuum, I bet you're here for the nude painting session or something? Alma's not here tonight, sorry.." She says, giving a shrug of her shoulder to Amy.
History holds back a breath as Amy Johnson comes face-to-disarmingly-pretty-face with something entirely unexpected; the details of her mission were uncertain about the precise nature of the apparition she'd be facing, but she never expected a young girl. It's a first impression that requires a rapid re-assessment itself. The Templar mentally corrects herself in a moment that costs her the opportunity to conceal her blade, the athame still gleaming above her hip as both *women* stare at one another.
Rarely is she caught without words on her lips, spoken or not, but on this occasion the freckled Englishwoman is well and truly beaten to the punch. Her heart skips a beat as the toothbrush shifts toward her, stormy blue eyes flashing with wary intensity and grip tightening at her side. She bites upon her lip, not to curtail words but remind herself how to find them; fortunately, she's bought a little time.
Less so, she's blindsided by casual sexuality.
"Nude...?" She begins cleverly, and cunningly tails off into widened eyes and raised brows. A faint flush creeps into her cheeks. To Mimiru, she likely just looks embarrassed, but it goes deeper than that-- she's still feet away from murdering someone who seems perfectly pleasant and absolutely relaxed. Is this a trick?
The devil often travels in disguise. Why not a demon? If she's so profane...
"No." Amy rallies with a toss of her head, long, silky black hair billowing against her shoulders. She reaches up to adjust her cross-adorned beret, glancing sidelong to divert attention while she recklessly sheathes the offending dagger in the waistband of black canvas pants. "That's not why I'm here at all."
Her tone is clipped, brusque, and very identifiably British. Her motion is entirely rude. She steps forward as if with a design to move right through Mimiru, hand rising from her waistband to alight without preamble upon the younger woman's solar plexus. It's not a harmful action, but it is aggressive - the action of one who needs to be somewhere else very, very quickly. There's a deceptive grace in it, too, as if she's both trained and experienced in moving others before they notice they've been moved.
She doesn't want to get far, though. Just inside enough that the door can close behind.
"Who is this Alma?" She demands, sink or swim, "And what is he to you?"
The pink haired girl seems totally unphased by the presence of the armed woman in front of her doorstep. Perhaps she was careless or confident in her abilities... Or blissfully stupid, it's hard to tell, but she doesn't seem to show any sign of stress.
Mimiru arches a brow when Amy answers her. The raised hand at her chest makes her stagger back, allowing her to walk inside. The dog behind Mimiru mimics its mistress, moving backward.
The pink haired girl arches a brow at Amy's question, trying to gauge her and figure out why she came here. The last question makes everything clear now, "Ahhhh, I see what it is... You must be one of Alma's jealous ex or something," Mimiru says, waving her hand dismissingly.
The girl turns on her heels and she walks away from the main hall, going back into the wide open living room, "Who wants to kill whoever he's with now,"
Mimiru stretches a bit, arms above her head, "Nah, don't worry, pretty boy's still single," Her lips curl into a wicked grin as she glances over her shoulder at Amy, "Alma and I are just friends with benefits, if you see what I mean,"
A sarcastic wise-crack. Mimiru loves to play with fire, it makes life interesting and thrilling.
All business, Amy is prepared for success in her invasive endeavour, not missing a beat as she pursues her stumbling victim indoors and then immediately flings her arm out and back, catching the outer edge of the door and flicking it back toward the frame. It's a skilled motion, again; the portal doesn't slam, slowing just when it needs to to close with a soft click unlikely to arise suspicion from those without. Mimiru's taste in music helps a little, the chug of metallic swagger further shielding the Templar.
There's no further action taken against the pink-haired girl. Instead, the raven-haired lady knight sets the other hand to her hip, lingering close to the esconced dagger in a manner equally inclined to draw it once more, or merely keep it from cutting into her hip. She's a practical one, clearly. She's also blocking the door, a fact utterly disregarded by Mimiru as she turns and walks away. Still calm, still casual.
It's a little disheartening to one expecting a tooth-and-nail fight.
"I'm nobody's *ex-girlfriend*," Amy enunciates harshly, tossing her head again at the impunity of this statement before she moves to follow the younger woman at a pace slower and more wary than hers. Those oceanic eyes flick about the interior as she does so, and she begins to focus more deeply; a few tendrils of mist-like chi emerge from the aether betwixt leylines, coiling gently about her ankles and shoulders. The agoraphobia-inducing layout of the living area sees this effect intensify.
"And I don't believe I'm here to kill you."
Her statement is distant with distraction as she glances about, taking in the bulk of Max with a curved brow that's as much warning as acknowledgement. Amy's not really a dog person - as a creature of loyalty herself, she's loathe to mix with others so furious in guarding their masters. You know where you are with an independent mind, but a creature with something to fight for is dangerous at best.
When she glances back to Mimiru and meets that grin, it's... well, it's a little infectious. Amy hesitates again, but this time it's to fight back an empathetic urge to exchange quips with this odd young thing. Like she's one to talk.
Briefly she closes her eyes, breathing a sigh and - silently - a prayer.
"Look, it's not my business who you choose to sleep with, unless you've chosen very poorly indeed," she pauses to shoot another pair of glances at the Bernese and the broader expanse of the apartment. It's a nice place, acknowledges her less professional side. Be a shame to mess it up. Back to Mimiru, and she ekes out a smile, some genuine warmth seeping into her expression and setting a quiet blaze to stormy blues. "I'm sorry to be the harbinger of doom, but if you're innocent in this, you're in more danger than you can possibly imagine. My name's Amy, and I need to know..."
Her fingers caress the silver-clad hilt against her waistline.
"Aside from your friend there, are we alone?"
Most might consider Amy a potential threat -- someone who knocks at your door, armed with some sort of knife or sword... And who imposes herself into your home?
Not Mimiru. At least, nothing in her demanor showed hints of panic or stress. If anything, Amy might spice up her evening. What if she was some crazy serial killer? Mimiru can deal with those, right?
Fortunately, someone is watching over her. Max. The massive mountain bernese dog might be enough to dissuade most from doing anything. Unlike Mimiru, is attitude was one of alertness and wairiness. No tail wagging, just a long stare back at Amy, betraying a cunning nature one would not expect from a dog. When Amy stares at him, the dog stares back and furrows his brows a bit, as if challenging her.
Fortunately, Mimiru's guardian seemed a lot more on its guard and suspicious than Mimiru was. Mimiru makes her way into the kitchen, momentarily to finish brushing her teeth, and then comes back to the living room, still armed with her tooth brush.
"A shame," Mimiru admits, "Would have loved to have seen a crazy ex-girlfriend... If you're not here to kill anyone then, careful with the knife," She says, pointing with her toothbrush. Mimiru then arches a brow, "Well -- we could spend all nigth arguing if Alma's a good lay, but do we want to go there?"
Mimiru blinks a few times as Amy's words become more dire, "Woah, woah... What are you talking about? Why am I in danger?" She asks, arching a brow. The other question makes her shrug, "There's me, Max and... Huh, maybe Alma, I don't know, haven't checked, he got all flustered when I got out of the shower, I bet he jumped off the window or something, ahah,"
To deem this situation merely 'unusual' would be to quite criminally overlook how awkward it is. The Bernese is perhaps the only entity present who's behaving in an appropriate manner - instinctively protective, admirably cautious given the circumstance, nothing more than the loyal companion he's wont to be. Alongside this lurking revelation, his stare is positively wilting to the Templar.
Neither depraved nor socially-unaware, Amy is rapidly getting the sinking, deflating feeling that the ONLY person here who needs to reassess their conduct - or confront the questionable wisdom of their choices - is her. She's in the business of hunting demons and blasphemers of the worst variety, her living - her life - is a series of confrontations in which she must strive for control. In which she must be perceptive.
Perhaps it's time to start.
Closing her eyes, she draws her hand away from the ritual blade, fingers turning up and outward in a gesture of submission. The other hand scrapes at the back of her neck and then joins the other, palms pressing together, the totality coming to rest before her mouth, which curls into a crooked and thoroughly self-effacing half-smile.
"Maybe," she murmurs, stormy blues unveiling to gaze with renewed calm upon the younger woman and her playful, relaxed air. "We should start again, as if I didn't just push my way into your life and start hurling accusations." She breathes something akin to a laugh without making it all the way, shaking her head and dispelling the plaintive gesture to instead offer Mimiru a hand. Her next words echo an earlier meeting, and the memory stirs her to the desired normality... insofar as she can ever maintain such.
"I'm Amy, I'm an idiot, and I'm deeply sorry to interrupt your evening."
She exhales, glancing at the hulking form of Max with a small grin.
"Yours too, Sir Hound." Back to Mimiru, and she bobs her head in the equally subtle phrasing of a bow. "I don't know anybody called Alma, but I *am* tracking an incredibly dangerous heretic. I was given this address by a... source I now realize I should question further. But if you've seen or felt anything strange, it could save me a lot of effort, and possibly save lives with it. When I say strange, I mean..."
Pausing to wet her lips, she chews briefly on the lower, searching for the best words.
"Displays of-- of power. Bright lights, late at night. Chanting. Anything *weird*."
You know, apart from women in archaic, cross-adorned clothing wielding ancient daggers. She doesn't need to add that part, she reasons; though all the while, there's something unquestionably intense and keen in her stare. As if she's still playing with the possibility that this disarming girl could be a master of deception.
Alma, eyes fixed upon his reflection in the mirror, slowly begins to unravel the bandages about his throat with the faint sound of tearing adhesive.
Inscrutably he regards the puncture wounds on his neck which the doctors in Romania had so thoroughly interrogated him about. The psychic's memories are hazy of that time, and here, back in his bathroom in Southtown, his sense of what took place is no clearer. The authorities in Cluj-Napoca had found him collapsed in the city's oldest graveyard, drained of most of his blood and in serious condition, after he disappeared in the wake of the Muzuel de Arta gallery opening he'd attended. Though his life was not critically endangered and he recovered quickly, he was instructed to return home and rest rather than continue his tour.
He still doesn't know how to make sense of that bizarre encounter, or how much of his journey into that crypt was real or a dream. Does it fit in at all when the confused memories that have beset him over the last few months, or was that a completely random event? And even if it was a random event, was that woman -- Eliza -- released upon an unsuspecting world by his doings? It feels almost as though this is his punishment for finally, after long years of training quietly, stepping out onto the world stage, a counterbalance to the thrill that was facing Athena in the Acropolis.
Needless to say, when he finally made his weary way back to his apartment, the last thing he needed was the heart attack he got when he walked in on Mimiru fresh out of the shower. Sometimes Alma forgets he shares his apartment now, so often is Mimiru off traveling the world. With his current fatigue, it was all he could do to suppress visions of painting Mimiru nude and mumble something about running errands before escaping to cool his head outside. It reminded him of the shocking flashbacks he experienced when encountering Mimiru for the first time. In the last few months, so many mysteries have arisen. What secrets dwell within his past? What darkness lurks within this world? To what degree are those entangled, and to what extent is he simply becoming attentive to terrors that had existed all along?
In the end, he decided to slip back inside while Mimiru was back in her room and take a shower himself, seeing as she was done. It's only natural she might imagine he's still gone for the night, but Alma, still a little woozy, doesn't really consider this, or why the sound of talking is now emanating from the living room. Instead, gaze leaving the puncture wounds on his throat, he finishes stripping and steps into the shower, turning on the faucet and letting the warm water pour down onto his golden hair and bronze skin. He sighs deeply and inhales, then blinks as he takes in with the steam the scent of Mimiru's shampoo, applied only minutes before. Once again, he feels faintly unsettled and excited, and isn't quite sure why.
The sentiment doesn't fade here in the shower, and it soon becomes clear there's not much hot water remaining in any case after Mimiru's recent usage. Still feeling sluggish, Alma turns off the faucet and steps out, toweling off his hair and body and wrapping the towel about his waist before, without thinking much of his, opening the door to the bathroom and stepping out.
He blinks, then, as he sees Mimiru clad in tank top and short shorts and an unexpected guest standing in the living room. "Oh, Mimiru," he murmurs, "I should have announced myself when I returned. I didn't realize you were receiving a guest." Looks like he didn't jump out the window -- this time. Still a bit out of it but maintaining his typical mild-mannered self-possession, he turns his gaze to Amy, who might notice those conspicuous fanged bite marks upon his throat, and smiles. "Hello. I'm Alma. Please pardon my not being better prepared to welcome you."
Mimiru's lips curl into a smile and she waves her hand dismissingly at Amy, "Nah! You didn't interrupt anything," The girl kneels down by Max's side and ruffles the dog's hair, which finally seems to make him relax a bit.
"My name's Mimiru -- and you can call him Max. Figured you were here for Alma, he's a famous artist or something," Mimiru explains. The girl straightens herself up and arches a brow, "Chasing an heretic?" She frowns and asks, "And what would you have done if you found that heretic?"
Mimiru shakes her head a bit and folds her arms in front of her chest, "Nope, sorry... I'm not here all that often, haven't noticed anything strange," She taps her chin a moment and then snaps her fingers, "Oh! Yeah, not that you mention it, there's that..." Mimiru opens her palm up. She focuses and concentrates for a moment, causing a crimson flame to engulft her hand and burn brightly for a monent. She clenches her hand into a fist, extinguishing the flame, "But aside from that..." After all, it's not like Mimiru was the only one who could do crazy flame stuff like that, right? Right?
Mimiru glances over to Alma when he finally staps out. Her cheeks blush faintly for a moment and she can't help but laugh, "Ahah, god, Alma... You're something, I think I'll never tire myself of you," Mimiru waves her hand up and says, "Not really, Amy's looking for an heretic but she probably got the wrong address..."
"Mimiru," Amy echoes graciously, "Pleased to meet you."
Probably more than she is to meet me, the Knight Officer notes in the back of her mind, not extending the same courtesy to Max this time. She's not perfect, but she seems to have recovered herself reasonably well. When the small display of power comes, she not unkindly says, with a smile and a tip of her head, "No, not quite like that."
She seems somewhat relieved though, as if addressing someone who may not be a total neophyte to the world of supernature were welcome indeed. "It's more..."
Again she searches for words. How does she put it without seeming even crazier? Could she seem any crazier, right now? All occupations have hazards. The world's a minefield, and the ruination of life is only ever a fumbling misstep away; but sometimes, Amy swears she's far more a danger to others than herself. Perhaps there's a hint of hubris in this belief, that she's tantamount to God's avatar upon Earth, that she commands the power of fate if only through the actions she takes to forge and guide it, but here she stands. Nobody's threatening her, nobody judges her harshly, and as she strives to explain... one way or another, she's here with murder in mind.
Or she was, until Alma Towazu makes himself known. Her reined calm suddenly leaps from renewed wariness to astonishment, her lips parting before she clamps them vigorously shut, unable to stop in kind the half-turn that guides her toward the courtesously-spoken, towel-clad apparition of Mimiru's apparent sometime-lover.
"Oh," she echoes his own interjection with a pause before the name tumbles out, "Alma?"
Well, who else could he be? It's supposed to sound like a formal query, 'Dr. Towazu, I presume?', but instead resounds with far too much familiarity. She blushes before she has a chance to recover her verbal composure, and tries to pridefully toss her head in a misplaced attempt to sink back into professional courtesy. Which would be fine...
If the odd tilt of her hip didn't end up forcing the athame into her pelvis.
"Fuck!!" The exclamation is a hiss, entirely unreasoned and absolutely instinctive, the Templar biting down on her lip once more and going almost as red as the unseen crimson bloom below her waistline. She fumbles toward the offending spot, hauling the weapon out and dropping it onto the carpet as if it were aflame. It lands with a soft smack, just a prick of blood upon the silver-coated tip. Then Amy looks up, wide-eyed.
So much for remaining cool and composed.
Stormy blues, oft so brooding, alight - in their desperation not to look the half-naked, and rather attractive, young man in the eye - on two small puncture wounds. Her own is abruptly forgotten, and she's suddenly all business again, bending low to snatch up the athame in a reverse grip. Athletic and powerful, she crosses the room with a motion that begins at her booted feet and ends at the tip of the blade, her action entirely aggressive but stopping short - if she gets that far - of impaling Alma.
It ends hovering scant inches from his telltale wounds. Her arm is bent at the elbow; all she'd need to do to drive the dagger home is flick her forearm outward. Her gaze strives for Alma's now, dark, condemning yet also pleading. She's seen enough innocents fall to wounds like those; she's been here before, if in a rather different role.
"I'm sorry," she states, harshly genuine in her sympathies, "But prepared or not, you're going to have to explain where you've been... and who you really are. Mimiru--" She speaks over her shoulder without shifting her attention from the psion. "Don't come any closer to your friend until I tell you to."
Despite his persistent disorientation, Alma finds himself all too conscious of how Mimiru's cheeks color at his entrance, feeling a flush begin to creep up upon him as well. "I'm glad to hear that," he says, not quite fathoming her meaning but pleased nonetheless. His roommate's playful demeanor is always a joy to be around, and he feels as though their dynamic is improving, but he remains no closer to understanding why, upon encountering her, he experienced such intense and -- how to put it -- evocative flashbacks. Though he had no flashbacks during his dreamlike meeting with Eliza, he has become subtly more aware that though passion and aesthetic wonder trump selfishness and conventional desire within him, it is not as though the latter two are completely absent.
Looking at Mimiru in her casual yet suggestive attire, Alma is slightly more conscious of what it might mean to want someone else all to oneself. He must come to understand these new feelings better, and perhaps in doing so he will come to understand these flashbacks and strange memories as well. He must attain to greater intimacy with this young woman. Yes -- he must paint Mimiru Kasagi.
What else would he do?
"A heretic?" he repeats, tone remaining mild, eyes on Amy. Their beautiful visitor seems a little flustered herself, perhaps because she did not expect the presence of another. Quietly he reprimands himself for not informing Mimiru of his return; he really must snap out of his current funk. He smiles again, hoping to set her at ease. "In violation of what--"
She leaps at him.
Alma's eyes have widened somewhat as Amy's dagger stops poised at his throat, the intruder's blue eyes intense yet somehow apologetic, as though hoping that this will end better than it might. The towel-clad young man looks for his part uncharacteristically alarmed, though this might make sense given that he's on the verge of being stabbed in his own home.
It might, but--
"Amy, are you alright?"
He's looking at her hip, not her blade.
It's as though he hasn't noticed that his life is in danger. In truth, his psychic intuitions informed him both of Amy's flash of pain, which had brightly colored her aura, and of her determination to move into striking position without seeking to immediately end his life. Though her resolve is clearly complete, it seemed clear to Alma that she was not actually attacking, and thus it did not occur to him to react, giving him the appearance of a preternatural calm.
"Don't be sorry," he replies. "We need to get you bandaged up. Mimiru, would you be so kind as to get some gauze from the bathroom? I bought some earlier today." He was going to rebandage his neck wound later, but it seems as though now may not be the time. He doesn't quite understand, but she wants him to talk about who he is and where he's been, so talk he shall.
"I am Alma Towazu," he says, his urgency fading and his mild manner returning as he meets Amy's gaze, "a painter and student of the psychic Rose, with whom I have trained for several years now. I recently visited Romania for a gallery opening where some of my work was being displayed, and when returning to my hotel at night, I somehow became lost in fog and found myself in a graveyard, where I was drawn as though summoned into a crypt that seemed to emerge from the mist. There I found a woman who slumbered in a coffin as though dead, but who awoke when--" He pauses, furrowing his brow for a moment. "--who awoke when I cut my finger on one of her accessories and a spot of my blood fell to her lips." It sounds as though he didn't consider this relevant until just now, but he continues. "She called herself Eliza and seemed disoriented, questioning me about people I hadn't seen. She grew aggressive and demanded I be her 'companion,' but when I offered friendship, she demanded instead submission and attacked. She was--" He exhales. "Very strong. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to challenge Athena Asamiya recently, and this woman was stronger. She had the strange habit of biting my neck and ..."
Alma hesitates, and then reaches up to place a hand against his temple, struggling to piece his thoughts together.
"... drinking my blood? Was she drinking my blood? Thought of submission continued to rise up within me, but I fought them off each time, and eventually, she ... said she would let me live, I think. But I do not know where she went. I lost consciousness, and when I awoke, I was in the hospital in Cluj-Napoca, and told that I was found wounded in the graveyard."
He stops, apparently finished. He says nothing of his personal struggles prior to this encounter with the supernatural, but Amy didn't ask, and at this point, Mimiru has probably already heard a lot she didn't know about him.
"Is this information of help to you?"
The sudden swearing surprises Mimiru, though what really destabilizes her is Amy's sudden charge at Alma. Her dog barks and growls at the sudden aggression and Mimiru instinctively lunges foward toward Amy to come to Alma's rescue. The moment her dagger grazes Alma's flesh, Mimiru's dash comes to an abrupt end.
She glares at Amy and bites her lips, "Woah there, girl, calm down..." She glances over to Alma, who seems literally unphased by the sudden assault.
Mimiru doesn't risk anything for the time being though, which allows her to listen to Alma's story. She stares at him and then can't help it but burst into laughter, "Ahah... No, no... Seriously, Alma?" Mimiru asks, arching a brow, "You sure you didn't do drugs or something, and had a weird wet-dream? Being a vampire boy-toy, the vampire mistress, clad in leather.."
Mimiru's lips curl into a wide grin, resting her hands on her hips, glancing over to Amy... Then back at Alma. Neither of them seems to be kidding (well, hard to know with Alma), but Amy seems to be taking this very seriously. She blinks, her smile slowly fading, "No way... You're kidding... Vampires? For real?" She asks, growing overtly excited rather than distressed.
As for the bandage? Mimiru seems to have willingly forgotten about it.
The Templar's aura is keenly-displayed, at least to someone with Alma's talents. Rather than radiating solely from her oddly-dressed core, it seems more than usually intertwined with the greater environs - as if she were an extension of the area's latent energies, and vice versa. There's a symbiosis between woman and chi that suggests, if not great power per se, then the potential for it. Though ultimately in control of this faculty, Amy is allowing her power to blossom...
The mists were faintly-visible to Mimiru before; now they're back in greater force, seeping tendrils curling insidious fingers about the woman's shoulders, falling like a half-imagined cloak, feathery and unconfining, about her athletic form.
She's unconcerned by her own injury, but as Alma's explanation comes spilling forth - verbose and well-reasoned as it can be, given the import of his experiences - Amy's hand is plainly shaking. There might be one or several reasons for that.
She betrays none of them, explicitly, but all the same, her digits quiver.
When his narrative halts, she finally seems to notice this phenomenon, and with a gritting of her teeth she relaxes her grip enough to stop the shaking. It's a moment of weakness that an aggressor could capitalize upon-- and she knows it, her intent flowing through the buoying mist, which twists and rises, sweeping over her stormy-eyed countenance as it encompasses - however subtly - her totality.
"What manner of man meets a creature of pure darkness and offers his hand in friendship?" The query comes from beyond the veil, her features visible but unavoidably blurred as she rapidly blinks. Her head cants, forming half a doubtful shake. "I have allies who'd take your life, here and now. I'd say you're lucky..."
Suddenly she moves her hand, elbow twisting to send the athame out and down. She doesn't drop it, but it's rendered harmless enough, and with a noticeable effort - her aura spiking in intensity then calming - she dismisses the chi-fog around her, tendrils looping inward and fading from view so smoothly that they seem never to have been there at all. Putting up her free hand, she takes a sliding backstep.
"...That it was I who found you. Psychic or not," she forms a sardonic smile, searching Alma's eyes for the truth in his implication - yes, there are real psychics in the world, and no, she doesn't believe everybody who claims to be one, "You put yourself in mortal danger for the mere pursuit of art. You're *still* in danger."
Glancing to Mimiru, she hesitates, half-snorts amusement at the younger woman's reaction. In spite of herself, she likes this one...
"Both of you. I hope you know how to use that fire."
Without further preamble, she reaches for her neck and seizes the filigree chain just concealed within her jacket, hauling out the small, silver, and thrice-blessed crucifix she wears at all times. It's more than a trinket - a symbol of faith, and is furthermore intertwined with the Templar's distinctive energy.
Snapping the chain with a brisk motion, she thrusts the relic toward Alma.
"It's not whether the information helps me," she murmurs with rather jarring calm, watching his reaction with the deceptive coolness of the deep ocean in her eyes, fixated past the gleam of her crucifix. "It's whether it helps you." To Mimiru she glances, offering by way of explanation, "There's a lot in this world we don't understand, and can't fight. But, God willing, we'll find a way."
Back to Alma, who we'll charitably assume isn't burning with the heat of a thousand suns and clawing at his smoking eyes, she lowers her arm and breathes a deep sigh.
"You might want to sit down."
Alma glances at Mimiru, noticing that she seems rather dubious. "I don't think so," he replies, blithely unfazed by her insinuations. "Though I was surprised to find myself not uninterested." He pauses, sincerely thoughtful for a moment. "She didn't wear leather, but she did have a powerful and provocative personality. I think you and she are rather similar in that regard." Little does he know that Mimiru pretended to be a vampire not so long ago, only to be tossed in jail for her troubles. Maybe she still needs more practice at being a vampire mistress.
Maybe Alma can help.
"Vampires ... the mythological beings?" Alma looks bemused, but not entirely unbelieving. "Isn't it said that one bit by a vampire becomes a vampire? But I haven't experienced any such transformations. If anything, my power seemed to repel her mental manipulations, though she also seemed quite resilient against psychic attacks." As he speaks, he notices Amy's aura gathering, saying nothing of his examinations of her power or her faintly trembling hand. Though the woman appears on edge, he can tell she's tightly self-controlled, and is likely to behave rationally even if he cannot grasp her motives.
A creature of pure darkness?
"She has a soul, just like you," Alma says as though it's obvious. A glimmer of light can be caught in his eye. "All souls are tied together. To offer a hand is friendship is only to confirm what is already true, and to not deny it." That is the world Alma lives in.
At Amy's reference to 'mere art,' Alma simply smiles, only then to curiously examine the objectt that has been thrust before his face. He leans in toward the crucifix. "This is fine craftsmanship, on close inspection," he murmurs. "How has this object been endowed with such power--?" He pulls back, looking Amy in the eyes, and blinks. "Helps me? I feel-- I feel--"
He raises a hand to his temple again.
"Actually, yes," he continues, voice a little weaker, "I will sit down. I apologize for my fatigue. If I were in better health, I would offer you some tea ... ah." He sighs softly as he settles down on the couch, leaning back on the pillow and closing his eyes for a moment, unusually vulnerable.
"Amy ... who are you?"
The idea of vampires and other supernatural beasts actually being real seems to please Mimiru -- this seems to open new experiences to her, a wide array of new possibilities, of thrills to seek. How it would be to chase vampires? Be enthrall or possessed by one? Just being around them must be a true life of constant danger, of constant adrenaline rush.
"Use my fire? You bet! You've got one of the most kick ass martial artist here, before your very eyes! Holder of the Western pro champion belt, sugar," Mimiru says, buffing her chest proudly, "Ain't affraid of no vampires, and if that vampire chick comes to dominate you, sexually or mentally, Alma, I'll protect you... Unless you're into that, but.." She lets her words trail off and scratches the back of her head.
Mimiru blinks a few times at Alma and she growls, "The hell you're talking about!? Being alike? Pfft! I'm not /quite/ like that, not like I ever forced you into anything!" Mimiru protests.
Mimiru watches the scene and hums softly, glancing over to Amy, "Need anything for whatever ritual you'll do to extract the evil out of Alma?" She asks, seeming ready and quite willing to be in any help she can. This was, to say the least, a most unexpected turn of events and a good way to spice up her evening.
Who is she?
"I'm an Englishwoman who prefers coffee. I suppose that makes me an enigma?"
The Templar is smiling as she says it, relaxing her manner in the face of revelation. She came here intending to 'seal' a heretic she's been stalking for several weeks, not expecting to discover a new threat any more than she intended to tear herself open with a ritual knife because a gorgeous young artist walked into the room wearing only a towel. God works in mysterious ways, indeed. There's no reason to continue being unruly-- if she's found a fresh purpose, so be it. She'll be human about it.
She'll also be honest. Call it a gut instinct.
Glancing toward Mimiru, Amy breathes a laugh and reaches up to her beret - bearing the sigil of her order - to abruptly snatch it off and toss it onto the arm of the couch. The dark hair beneath is a little dishevelled, and she's just vain enough to run her fingers through it, swiftly rearranging the strands to fall about her freckled features in an accustomed, and eminently flattering, fashion. What is she?
"I'm not going to perform a 'ritual'. Like you, I'm a fighter," she phrases it with some discomfort, however, perhaps not willing to attribute herself as that and nothing more. "Properly, I'm addressed as Dame Amy Johnson, though I think we're a little past propriety..." Her lips quirk, gaze lowering in good-natured humour as she perches casually on that same couch-arm, crossing her leg and idly groping at the wound beneath her canvas pants. She doesn't flinch, continuing quite conversationally, "I'm a ranking Officer in the Order of Knights Templar, and I *fight* evil."
Stormy blue eyes flick sidelong to Alma, the tone of the statement making it too clear what she thinks of his kindly attitude to his vampiric aggressor. Reaching into a pocket, she pulls out the crucifix and looks it over, her lips pursing.
And then, she tosses it underhand to Mimiru.
"That's been blessed by some of the most holy men in this world, or any other. Keep it safe, and it will protect you, if you believe it will." That word. 'Believe'. Amy doesn't say it lightly; she loads it with meaning, her chin rising a little with a deep pride that seeps through the intensity of her gaze. If anyone *believes*, it's her.
With that resolve steeling her, she looks Mimiru over as if for the first time.
"You're not afraid of much, are you? Would you fight to protect him? Alma, I mean..."
The discussion Alma and Amy had, and they shared with Mimiru gave her a new insight on life as a whole. Mimiru's mind goes wild, thinking about Amy as some sort of Holy Knight, chasing the creatures of the night : vampires, evil werewolves, demons and other monstruous humans like the mangas she read in her youth.
Mimiru had a phase in her youth where she chased some imaginary evil being, which allowed her to be some sort of heroine for justice... Well, Amy was probably the closest to all of this. A woman who fought secretly all sort of evil. The thought of her riding some mythical unicorn on a battlefield with all the grace and poise of a vigilant heroine.
"Oooh, Dame Amy..." Mimiru muses, as if the word 'Dame' was some sort of badass title there could be. It certainly did sound quite regal and awe inspiring.
After the quick explanation given about the crucific, Mimiru instinctively reacts to it when she grasps it. "Ouch-ouch!" She says, juggling with the crucifix in her hands, as if it was burning her.
"Ahah, just kidding, I'm all saint and holy," She says with a wide grin as she holds the crucifix proudly in front of her, as if she had passed the worst test. Looks like she's no demon or something, which is a good thing, she supposes.
"Afraid? Ah! I love fear, I crave fear!" Mimiru replies, buffing her chest a bit, "Of course I would!" She glances over to Alma, "I'm not one to let my friends down, count on me, Dame Amy," Mimiru says, a bright smile on her lips.
"For now, Max will take the watch," Mimiru says. "I'll go fetch some bandage and holy water or something," She says with a wide grin.
The idea amuses her -- at least long enough to focus on it. And with that, Mimiru dashes off to fetch things that might help patching up Alma.
Log created on 18:57:30 01/20/2015 by Amy, and last modified on 03:20:57 01/24/2015.