Description: Tiger Mask comes comes dramatically to Bastion Village, to give Nightwolf important information he already knows! Then they argue about ethics and morality forever, before finally settling onto practical matters! Exclamation points!
Hunters are not the only problems these refugee Darkstalkers have to face. Although the village itself offers safe haven to all of them, they have been driven from the comforts of civilization. In today's day and age, its very uncommon for anyone, be it human or Darkstalker, to follow the old ways and fend off through what the land gives them, but forced to move away from the cities and the services they provided means that these refugees will have to learn how to take care of themselves.
Such is the price of living in freedom.
Mind you, many if not all of these Children of the Night have lead rough lives. They aren't frail and its not the first time they spent the night out in the open with naught but the stars above them to keep them warm. However, homeless as they may have been in their past lives, seldom few know the basics of surviving in the wild. Skills they will have to learn if they aim to live in this secluded secret village.
They will have to be taught.
It is snowing now in the forest, with the temperatures well below freezing. Snow has gathered on the expansive fields of the village, on the lodges and even the sky temple beyond. And yet, for some reason, Nightwolf has gathered everyone out in the village center and formed lines. Groups of Darkstalkers are seen huddled together in an attempt to learn how to build a fire.
"To those of you that complained earlier why were chopping trees, this would be the reason why. Although its not impossible to make fires out of snow covered wood, it is certainly not ideal." Says the shaman as he inspects the groups, marching past them whilst dressed in his heavy wolf and deer furs. "Keep in mind that if things do become precarious enough..." Continues the Sin Eater as he summons a lighting bolt to one of the piles of wood, instantly creating a fire. "You are perfectly capable of resorting to your gifts."
"However, using such things will inevitably draw attention to yourselves, one that you may not always want. It is always best to know how to survive with naught but what you have at hand, the option of using your powers may not always be available to you."
A heroic musical sting plays up on the roof of a nearby lodge from a portable boombox! Standing next to it is Tiger Mask, Southtown's Greatest Tiger Mask Hero!
"Nightwolf! We must have words!" One of her fingers points down at the Sin Eater. She lowers her finger, surveying the situation below her, of various groups of nightstalkers, attempting to make fires under Nightwolf's direction.
Tiger Mask's combination of white leather boots, some sort of hooded winter karate-uniformesque garb and an elaborate white tiger mask make her perhaps look more like a hunter of nightstalkers than a nightstalker herself. The eagle feather given to her by Nightwolf is stuck in her hood, which should perhaps somewhat ameliorate concerns?
"...However! I shall wait until you have finished teaching everyone!" She raises her hand to the chin of her mask. "Still! I don't think chopping down trees to make fires is really a sustainable way to stay hidden for a village; Japan has never been wealthy in wood, and deforestation is viewable from overhead. It's sure to draw attention!"
Her heroic demotivational piece said for the moment, she falls silent, and places her hands on her hips.
When the music plays all of the sudden, Nightwolf and the Darkstalkers all look around until they hear the voice up ahead. Miki was wise to keep that feather in clear display, because she does look like a Hunter in that get up.
Even with the feather, the warriors in the group begin to rise up to attack her, the women, children and non-fighters, backing away ready to escape. That is until Nightwolf recognizes the boisterous warrior of justice and keeps the group from attacking her. "Hold, my friends. She's one of us."
The shaman shakes his head when Miki immediately follows up her loud proclamations and entrance with concerns of the environment. Nightwolf has to wonder if that is how he sounds sometimes, no wonder some people get fed up with him.
"Always so judgmental." He mutters to himself before he motions Miki to come down with his hand. "Come down, Tiger Mask. I have time to talk if you wish." He nods at his 'pupils' so that they can carry on the lesson without his instructions. That was kind of the point anyway.
At the invitation, Tiger Mask picks up the boombox, leaps from the lodge, does a flip in midair, and lands a few feet in front of Nightwolf in a kneeling position, one hand on the ground.
She rises to her feet, and stares up at his face from behind that mask. "Have you considered sustainable methods of power? Geothermal, solar, water, wind... I haven't surveyed the area, but these combined could definitely have an off-grid power source." She raises a hand. "Ah, but that's not what I came here to talk about." A pause. "Well, sort of. You... don't seem knowledgeable about the exciting world of tomorrow! In short, you're relying on esoteric methods and technology that is out of date."
She pulls out a burner cellphone - turned off, of course - and holds it out to the shaman. "But part of the reason I came here was I thought it would be useful to have a way to contact you. I have my burner's phone number and Johnny Cage's burner's phone number already preprogrammed in there. Through such things, we can talk whenever we want, and we're relatively hard to track! It has a limited number of minutes, but it's still useful as an emergency contact. Raiden can do that... strange scroll thing, but other than that: we should have a phone tree. Especially because of the second, extremely important piece of information I'm about to give to you." She pauses significantly.
"We have a generator." Nightwolf cuts her off almost as soon as she's done talking, sounding the tiniest bit exasperated by the girl. Honestly, what is it about all these young girls in the organization questioning his methods at every turn? Nightwolf guesses that's kind of what they do. "We also have a limitless source of electricity and also solar panels. It simply never hurts to know the basics."
He rolls his head on his shoulders seemingly to ease off the tension, the Darkstalkers behind him scattering to continue on their attempts to build fires. "Do not think for a second that because I dress the way I do I live in the past. You are too quick to judge others, Tiger Mask." Then again, Nightwolf has learned that is often more often the norm than the exception with these young people.
"Sure." The shaman quickly agrees, pulling out his own phone that he keeps in the pockets of his vest, a stark contrast to his pelt made attire. "What is your number?" Asks he, not sounding extremely curious about this 'important information' Miki wants to give him. He has plenty of reason to believe that its not overly important considering how easily excitable Miki is. Perhaps now it is he who is judging people too quickly.
Tiger Mask clutches her chest dramatically with one hand. "Ah! I... I did assume that. It pains my heart to know I misjudged you so greatly!" She rattles off a phone number, and places the phone back into her karate-esque uniform. "You didn't give me any method of contact when we first met, and when I came here I saw you teaching people how to make fire, so I assumed you were terrible at organizing things. However, perhaps that was merely your mistrust for me, in retrospect. Which I understand!" She shakes her head. "People tend to think masked people can't be trusted. It's too often we're all judged solely on appearances." Her head turns, her gaze moving across the town of darkstalkers significantly. "I think there's a lesson in there somewhere."
She looks back to the shaman. "Well, perhaps this other piece of information will be useful to you, if you have not already been told by Johnny Cage: I talked with Testament, the man who attacked the UN. We also fought, and I lost, but those are just minor details! The important thing is he said the UN is what created him, and they intended to create more, use modified humans as tools, as weapons without will of their own."
"In short, if his words are true?" Her hand slowly clenches into a fist. "They are an Evil Organization, and will either make more tools to serve them, or will create more like Testament! I believe either outcome is opposed to our cause. So we must find out for sure if they are evil, and if they are-" She pauses, looking around, then walks over a short distance, picks up an acorn, walks back, and resumes her stance, looking up at Nightwolf. "We must-" She crushes the acorn in her palm "-destroy them!"
Nightwolf gives a simple shrug in response. "It's fine, I get that all the time." Granted, the shaman has never given people a reason to /not/ think that he lives in the past considering what he wears. However, he's never felt inclined that is his responsibility to do so. People will always think whatever they want after all, it's only those that ask, like Miki, who deserve to know the real man behind the pelts and the face tattoos.
After acquiring said phone number and placing it back in his vest, the skinwalker crosses his arms and listens to Miki intently, frowning a bit as he tries to decipher what the girl is trying to tell him.. it's like she has a machine gun instead of a mouth... "Well.. I hope you've learned your lesson." Says Nightwolf trying to pretend he's not slightly confused.
He then shakes his head at the mention of the actor. "I have not talked to Cage in some time. I hear he is busy fighting in an island with Lightning Spangles." What Nightwolf doesn't say is that if Johnny Cage is associating with that actress, he's going to be avoiding him for the entirety of his partnership with the woman. Mind you, the shaman is not childish enough to avoid all contacts with the actor for such a petty thing, but if he'd still prefer to not deal with Lightning Spangles if he doesn't have to. The woman vexes him /that/ much.
Of course, his calm facade shatters the moment Miki admits to having fought Testament. "YOU DID WHAT!?" Nightwolf screams out, white blanks widening. The Darkstalkers behind him look up to see if he's in trouble but he tells them to not worry before addressing Miki in more composed, whispering tones. "Do not ever engage him again without back up. He is not to be trusted in his current state."
After Miki explains what she's learned, the skinwalker rises to his full height and crosses his arms again, lips tightening. "To be honest, I knew this already. I too spoke to Testament some time ago and learned that he was artificially made. To know that the UN would be capable of such things fills me with no small amount of dread. Never did I think that humanity could stoop so low as to artificially create Darkstalkers."
"I too wish to investigate this matter further, if what Testament is true, the UN must not be allowed to create more like him. They will be investigated, I have the means to do so thanks to certain connections, and if they are found guilty, I will personally ensure the culprits are brought to justice... one way or another."
Nightwolf arches an eyebrow when Miki uses an acorn to drive her point home, and he shakes his head at her. "Why must you always be so dramatic?" That said he does agree with her.. except for one thing.
"I warning to you, Tiger Mask, and I am not singling you out, this is something I have told to the other members of the Society."
"Under no circumstance must you try take justice into your own hands. We are warriors, not assassins. These men will be tried by their own laws and suffer by them. If we were to kill them in cold blood based in only assumptions, we would be no better than them.."
Tiger Mask leans forwards slightly as she hears of Cage's situation. "Is he all right?" She dusts the crushed acorn from her hand. "What kind of island has lightning spangles? ...what /are/ lightning spangles?" Apparently someone isn't following American shows enough to know about Showup Hoedown, a show famed for existing.
She blinks at his outburst, then listens to the rest of Nightwolf's words quietly, but her 'heroic' confident posture doesn't lower.
"Life is dramatic, Nightwolf! When one tries to play off Life and Death as casual, one can't truly focus on Justice! Or... at least I can't." She points up at Nightwolf's face. "If I can't make dramatic gestures, it's hard to think of myself as a hero rather than a girl wearing a ridiculous outfit. Also, you just screamed about me fighting Testament. Isn't that dramatic? The difference is..." She slowly makes a fist. "I... choose my dramatic moments." She raises her fist to the heavens. "And I choose them to happen every minute!"
She lowers her hand, and waves it to the side, as if dismissing the current topic.
"I don't think that creating more darkstalkers is inherently a bad thing - darkstalkers are essentially a big tent consisting mostly humans that look cooler and sometimes get neat powers - but trying to make weapons out of people through horrific torture and deprive them of their willpower - those are definitely bad things."
She places her hands on her hips and looks off into the distance.
"That said? I don't have any current inclination to fight Testament, since he's much stronger than me, or to take on the UN alone. However, if I see either of them up to something I can't ignore, I will of course fight them. Perhaps kill them if I have the opportunity and the reason."
"Because I fight for Justice! The only reason I belong to the Full Moon Society is to give me more avenues to fight for evil and better learn how to turn people's minds from Evil to Good." Her eyes shift back to focus on Nightwolf's from behind that mask.
"Tiger Mask doesn't attack people without reason, but never forget Tiger Mask is a Hero. A Hero sometimes makes mistakes that lets repentant evil go and trusts to easily? But still a hero. If belonging to your legion of superheroes stops my pursuit of Justice, I'll leave."
"Don't worry about it." Nightwolf says simply about Miki's concerns for Johnny Cage, dismissing it quickly. Then, he shakes his head again at Tiger Mask's insistence for the dramatic. It's like everything Miki has to say earns the disapproval of Nightwolf. "Excess is always a bad thing, even if its something that is perceived as good. You would do well to learn some temperance, Tiger Mask. All warriors of Justice know this." Ironically enough, Nightwolf has been at this fighting for justice thing a lot more than Miki has. Although he doesn't say it out of respect to the girl, she really shouldn't try to lecture him.
Incidentally, the shaman again shakes his head as Miki says so casually that the creation of Darkstalker is a good thing. "Do not dismiss the creation of life so lightly. Darkstalkers are not humans that 'look cooler'. They are people, just as you and I. Just as they should not be experimented upon or dissected on labs like some animal, they should not be made in test tubes either. Humanity is not responsible enough yet for that kind of power.. because they will inevitably try to do what the UN is doing now and turn them into weapons."
"People far too often ask what can they do with technology. When they should really be asking themselves what are the consequences of using said things."
Then, when Miki puts her hands on her hips and gives Nightwolf an uppity look, the shaman merely sighs and looks up to the night sky, as if asking for strength to the heavens. "Your impulsiveness is very troubling, girl. See that you do not mistake your pursuit of Justice with Bloodlust."
His blank wide eyes suddenly widen and he locks eyes with Tiger Mask. "You are not bound to this organization and its laws, Tiger Mask. If you wish to leave that is entirely your option. But I will gave you the same warning I gave your sister. If I see you being judge, jury, and executioner over people, thinking that your word is law. I will put a stop to your misguided ways right there and then."
Miki stares back into Nightwolf's eyes, only mildly worried about the threat. It is objectively scary, but she more or less lacks fear - one of the things that made her inhuman long before she acquired the tiger spirit that now lurks inside her.
"Who then, is the law, Nightwolf? You? This 'Raiden' person? In the end, we all have to decide what's right, which rules to follow and which rules we make others follow in our own hearts. If I see you doing something that's evil, I'll fight you, if you think I'm evil, you'll fight me. You'd kill my sister if you thought it was justified. Isn't being willing to fight for one's beliefs the essence of being a hero? By saying you will kill those who don't follow some set of laws, aren't you making yourself judge, jury, and executioner?"
She raises a hand, puts it palm up.
"I haven't killed anyone... yet. But a few days ago someone I was trying to talk to was attacking an old woman and trying to eat her soul, and wouldn't listen to reason when I tried to provide her with other options. She went to attack the old woman again, so a friend of mine destroyed her. Would you say he was wrong to do so? Sometimes one has to act depending upon the situation one is in."
She drops her hand to her side... only to lift the other hand in a sweeping gesture.
"Darkstalkers are just like stronger humans. A lot of their strength isn't that different from martial arts training except in appearance. If people choose that path for /themselves/, I have no issue with that. Some would say taking the Tiger Spirit into ourselves as the Tiger Clan does is unnatural, but I don't see it as any more unnatural than training to throw balls of fire around - just less traditional. If people don't have guns, they'd use swords. If they didn't use swords, they'd use clubs, if not clubs, fists. All power will always be used for good and evil. This is the nature of power. But I believe that Justice will inevitably win, because I refuse to believe otherwise!"
"If I was /impulsive/, I would've firebombed the UN or something. Instead I waited to come and talk to you, even though I didn't have means of contacting you. But you caution people against taking matters into their own hands with threats of taking matters into your own hands. But if I see some UN people kidnapping people to perform such experiments on? I will have no trouble killing them."
She shakes her head slowly, her eyes not leaving his for a moment the entire time.
"...Sometimes I wonder if our vision of Justice is the same, Nightwolf."
"I have killed people before." Answers Nightwolf far too quickly. "And I will do so again, particularly when the darkness that is Outworld comes to try and consume us."
"But the taking of a life, no matter how justified, is never right. That is what makes us mortals.. we are not bound by law of the universe that forbids us from doing something. Whatever laws and culture society imposes on us is of our own design. We, as people, created those things, knowing perfectly well in our hearts that they are naught but imaginary boundaries."
"And even then, humanity does not devolve into senseless chaos, because we know that killing is wrong beyond the threat of legal repercussions."
"Those who no longer believe one are the ones who have been truly lost."
The shaman purses his lips, somewhat annoyed he's having this conversation. But is his duty as the speaker to impart this sort of lectures on the younguns, so he's grown rather used to it. Still, he kinna wishes he'd brought his pipe out though. "Your friend wasn't wrong on killing the one who was attacking the old woman. The taking of a life must simply always be a last resort, not the first conclusion we jump to when we hear someone has committed a crime. We are trying to people that we are not monsters. We would not be helping our case if we start brutalizing criminal on the streets."
He frowns then, impassive blank eyes suddenly growing slightly fiercer. "That is what I mean by impulsiveness. I said we will investigate the UN first. Only after we have done so will we act accordingly. You seem awfully willing to destroy them on reaction, which is /not/ what the Society is for. That is not Justice.."
"That is Brutality."
As for her talk about Darkstalkers being the same as humans with extensive martial arts training, it draws an arched eyebrow from Nightwolf. "I agree on that, and it also has nothing to do with what we're talking about." Heck, Nightwolf himself is evidence enough of that, he's become what he is through undergoing a spiritual ceremony that effectively damned his soul by binding it with that of a wolf. He's as much Darkstalker as everyone else here.
"Our vision of Justice is not the same, Tiger Mask." Says Nightwolf rather calmly. "Simply because there are as many different visions of Justice as there are people in the world."
"Once you understand that perhaps you will learn to not be so quick to judge others by your personal standards."
Tiger Mask nods slowly. "You're attempting to win people's hearts, and I understand how acting recklessly gets in the way of that.
"As for me... I talk to people as I fight them, and try to suss out their motivations and their likelihood of doing more positive things with the rest of their lives. But in the end, I can't always save people from the path they're walking, and if they continue to do damage to the innocent, I have to damage them enough to stop them. Sometimes that just a wound, sometimes that means permanent injury or death."
"But as someone's who killed people before, while I never have, and who will kill again... how can you say 'it's wrong to kill people' to me? It's not something I seek out, or I would've killed by now. It seems to me you simply don't trust my judgement."
She places a hand on her chest. "I am someone who talks large. Because talking is also a kind of power. Through speech, one can learn what lies in the hearts of others. I don't rule anything out - but I'd only use killing people as a tool of last resort. Still, I'm not going to say I won't kill people on my own if they're in the middle of an evil deed and it's the only way to safely stop them."
She reaches a hand out towards Nightwolf's chest, attempts to place it over his heart.
"As for you? I think you're afraid that I'll become the same sort of person my sister is."
"But I think that's because deep down, you're more like her than I am."
"You are only half right." Says Nightwolf rather strangely, eyes narrowing just a tad. "Speech is a power, but more so when you let others."
"Heed my words, girl. For they might some day be of use to you. The more you listen, the more you learn.
He then frowns. "And you cannot listen if you are talking constantly."
"I have chosen to kill those who perform evil deeds for the same reason I became the Sin Eater. Because I do not wish for others to follow this same path. It is better than only my soul be cursed, than to force countless others into a war that will only create more suffering. The people of Earthrealm were meant to be free, not cursed souls burdened with a life of endless slaughter like myself. "
The shaman allows Miki to place her hand on his broad chest, though he still regards her with disapproving white eyes. The furs that are wrapped around him feel warm, and rather solid too, like he's wearing some kind of armor underneath. Hard to tell if that's actual armor or might just be his chest.
"We had this conversation before too. As I told you back then, to follow your own path is never wrong as long as it does not mean you will harm others."
"You know as well as I do that your sister follows her path of power recklessly for her own selfish satisfaction. I am nothing like her, and neither are you."
He stares at Miki for a long moment.. and furrows his eyebrows even more.
"Why are you touching me exactly?"
"You have chosen to kill those who perform evil deeds for the same reason you became the Sin Eater... Isn't that the same as following your own path in a way that harms others?"
Tiger Mask blinks at that last question. "My hand was on your chest because it was a good dramatic gesture. Symbolism!" Also she could try to measure his heartbeat and see his reaction to having a hand placed on his chest. She shrugs, removes her hand.
"You can do a lot of things just to find out where people stand without real risk. I want to teach others as much as I want to learn myself. If we can all understand each other, we're somewhat less likely to need to resolve our problems by killing each other."
She slams her fist into her palm.
"That reminds me, Nightwolf! My friend who killed that person who was trying to eat an old woman's soul - he's a darkstalker too. He said he was searching for more strength and allies, said he wanted to make this world into one where people like him can live openly in peace with everyone. Maybe you should talk to him sometime!"
Nightwolf tilts his head to one side, almost looking like he's going to fall over. "Don't be so literal minded." He says with a bit of a groan. "Of course it harms others, that was the whole point. Where you not one who said just a moment ago that you would do anything to see that Justice is done? Even to harm others? Now you are simply speaking in circles."
Its also a good thing that Miki took her hand off him since it looked like Nightwolf was about to bat it away. "And what did I tell you about being overly dramatic for no reason?" Why, if Nightwolf was this girl's father he'd be pulling her by the ear right about now. Fortunately, Miki is at best just a tad annoying, the shaman is certain that with proper guidance he might make a decent hero out of her in the long run. Provided she actually listens to his advice every now and then.
That said, the shaman simply nods when the masked girl assures him that understanding is the key to everyone getting along. Wasn't that what they were talking about this whole time? Nightwolf wisely decides not to point this out lest Miki takes him for another wild ride of philosophical talking again.
"Yes, I should." The skinwalker agrees about the Darkstalker that assisted Miki. "Although.. did you get his name? Or perhaps could you describe to me how he looked." Nightwolf is always wary of bringing killers into the Society, and chances are if this Darkstalker is willing to kill people, the skinwalker has maybe already heard of him. Darkstalkers that kill tend to leave trails you see, and reputations.
Tiger Mask blinks at his words of 'don't be so literal minded', then nods as he says she'd be willing to do anything to see Justice done.
"Exactly, which is why I was thinking you're being hypocritical of you to tell me not to. A sort of 'do as I say not as I do feeling'." She stares as he says not to act overly dramatic for no reason. "I don't have a problem with you killing people for Justice, or telling me that killing is always wrong, but when you're doing both, I find that hard to accept."
"Well, you /did/ say that..." she concurs, making a fist, "...but you didn't say why and I think acting dramatic is fun and useful." She throws her hand to one side as she opens it up. "...so I decided to ignore that piece of advice." Acting dramatic is probably the best part about playing a hero, really, but she's not going to tell this serious guy that.
"My friend's name is Father Walter Bardsley." She pulls out a card. "His number is...." She rattles off the number. She pauses, narrows her eyes up at Nightwolf. "And you'd better not randomly start threatening or attacking him. He's a good guy."
Why it takes all of Nightwolf's willpower to not reach for Miki and give her a good shake or something. The Shaman actually goes wide eyed again like if he's about to lose it, only deflate and draw upon immense self restraint, head lowered, his wolf hood covering most of his face.
"In a perfect world. I would follow my own advice and never harm another living begin again."
"However, since we live far from a perfect world, I will continue to preach my beliefs whilst having to resort to necessary violence. That it makes a hypocrite in your eyes is a risk I am willing to take."
Then Nightwolf finally gives in to despair when Miki blatantly confesses she's going to ignore that particular piece of advice. The shaman brings a hand to his face and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Right.. well, if you insist on adhering to theatrics, perhaps you can at least do so while giving us a hand here in the village. There is a lot that needs to be done." Speaking of which, the Darkstalkers behind him have all made bonfires of their own and are enjoying some well earned warmth.
Frowning again, because Nightwolf sure does a lot of that, the shaman puts the phone number down on his cell looking thoughtful. He's never heard of a Father Walter Bardsley before. Even though the's never been particularly fond of religious types, specially the types that kill, the skinwalker decides he'll still pay this man a visit if he has time. Another shake of his head is given when Miki warns him not to bully her new friend and he sighs. "Cross my heart." Something about dealing with Miki makes the shaman engage in very childish antics.
Tiger Mask smiles under her mask at the pun, then nods, raising her fist towards the sky. "Of course! I like helping people out! The next part of my plan after talking to you is to talk to and help every single person in this village, like a True Hero!" She pauses, lowers her hand.
"...Well. Until things get too late. I do have school tomorrow, and a Hero never runs away from challenges. But until then, every single fiber of my being will be focused on this single task of doing various things!" She points up at the shaman... dramatically. "I'll talk to you later, Nightwolf!"
And with that, she runs off to greet one of the more friendly looking darkstalkers - she'll get to the more surly ones later, but might as well start with the path of least resistance - and try to be helpful while talking their ear off.
Log created on 18:41:44 02/16/2015 by Miki, and last modified on 01:12:27 02/17/2015.