Description: Sometime after their first encounter, Walter finally seeks out Kiyomi and asks her to teach him how to control the beast within. This is the beginning of a long journey of self-perfection and inner discovery, a path Walter must walk alone, guided by the kitsune.
Tracking down one Lady Renard has been harder than anticipated. Walter has spent some time trying to predict their movements, but he's simply too unused to thinking like a pack animal. Thus, all he's had is a trail of corpses. A vast majority have been dead-ends or the acts of others. But finally after a tip from a young Darkstalker who owed him quite a bit, the Church's hunter arrives at the ruins of a tiny village. Same m.o.: isolated, small, and no survivors. It's a sobering sight as he passes into the wilderness around the area. For all that he respects her, Renard is a killer and the exact thing he has to defeat if there is to be peace.
With that bit of mental strengthening, he stalks openly into the countryside. There's no cloak to hide his features this time. Walking a little more proudly, he doesn't bother to hide what he is this time. Tail swaying agressively, ears out for any sound of canines, he lets his senses open. Smell, hearing, sight, all beyond a mere human come to him as he lets the chains slip once more. The exertion from doing so already has him panting as he struggles to keep control.
It's a massive risk. IN a way, he's vulnerable, a slight push easily rending him into a mere animal. But it's the only way he can truly make his presence known to those he suspects to be in the area.
The ear-splitting roar of rage, hate, and pure draconic dominance might just help too.
This is the reason why the Children of the Nights were able to survive for so long : constantly on the move and they leave little trails behind. It's easier to track them down on a large scale, following the path of destruction they sow as they go on, killing humans that might prove troublesome against Darkstalkers. They avoid populated areas most of the time, going for more secluded areas knowing Darkstalkers tend to flee oppression...
The path of destruction leads Walter to the nothern part of Canada, Quebec : deep within the boreal forest, to another village that was torn asunder. Fortunately for Walter, the track he's been followed is a fresh one : the ashes left behind their previous slaughter are still fresh. They are not too far away. Still, easier said than done, Walter has never been trained to be a real tracker, even though it is a part of his instincts.
His deep roar causes the animals to flee : birds fly away and the forest remains silent for a long time. Such a dominant and powerful roar though, it is bound to attract other power beasts and make the others cower in fear...
Soon though, if Walter is patient enough, the Children of the Nights heed his call. A dozens beasts of all sort : humanoid sort of animals for the most part, some looking like prehistorical walking creatures, others appear to be gargoyles of some kind.
The pack is approaching him, circling the Darkstalker -- one of them stands out from the lot : an imposing and menacing werewolf. His fur is as dark as the night, his body athletic and muscular, his posture full of pride and confidence, a thick mane around his broad neck, a long muzzle with sharp fangs and long claws. He stares at Walter for a long moment, assessing him : his eyes showing a glee of cunning and intelligence one wouldn't expect from such a beast. His muzzle twitch a few times and his eyes scan his body.
THis menacing posture shifts, the aggressive stance shifting to a more neutral one, which seems to diminish the tension in the air, the other Darkstalkers' reactions shifting with their leader as he seems to see this beast not as a threat anymore.
"You've come a long way, from Norwain to here," Calls out the man, "Why have you come to us?" He asks.
It felt good to unleash himself a bit. To not hide, to offer himself to the world is refreshing in the extreme. Walter finds himself smiling before he yanks back on those chains. Resting his spear casually on his shoulder, little bit of fox-fluff just below the head, the priest waits patiently. It's rewarded with the gathering pack. He doesn't bother raising any defensive postures. He's not here to make war, and he doesn't like his odds against so many. No, that humble priest-dragon breaks into a smile as he looks over the Children of the Night. These are lost, angry creatures. They are his enemies. But he cannot help but ache for them, that the world would drive them to such madness.
A glance over the massive werewolf. The much more slender dragon-man slowly bows. The leader, perhaps? He hasn't spotted his target, and in truth, didn't expect the entire pack.
"I suppose you know who I am, then. Well, I will not waste time with introductions. Simply put, I seek an audience with Dame Renard of the Children of the Night, oh great wolf. Though it likely means little to you, I swear upon my honor and before God that I mean her no harm this night. I shall not raise a blade upon her so long as she does not invite it herself." The wyrm-priest grips his cross as he swears, before turning again to look the man in the eye.
"Nor yourself or your fellows. War is not my intent this night."
Their reactions were purely animalistic ones : the growls and aggressive stance they showed when they first met Walter. Though this rage faded away, switching from their primal instincts back to a more civilized one with relative ease, making the beast he had seen in the large werewolf seem tame in comparaison with the werewolf he saw before him.
The predatorial glee and menace in his eyes, the aggressive posture : it all shifts suddenly and the beast seems a different person wholely. It wasn't Walter's words that made him change though : it was something about him. The lingering familiar scent, the token Kiyomi had given Walter was enough to mark him. His general human scent made them wary, but the beast had recognized him from this odour.
The werewolf nods his head slowly to him, "Renard did not expect you to come here so soon," He says sternly, his expression impassive. The werewolf glances at the other and he performs a few quick gesture with his hand, dismissing them : the other Darkstalkers leave the scene and leave their leader deal with the draconic man.
"Come with me," The werewolf says, turning on his heels and walking away slowly, allowing Walter to follow after him. He guides him through the woods and remains quiet during the small stroll. The werewolf knows enough about the situation : he would not be his guide, this wasn't one of his child, but one of Renard's very own and it was Renard who would take him under her wings.
They finally arrive to a small clearing, where the Darkstalkers have decided to settle around for the night. Despite their beastial appearance, they had some tents and used fire to warm themselves, like you'd expect a group of human nomads. They do not shun their humanity but see it as a duality, the human and the beast in one whole.
Kiyomi is there -- in the middle of the settlement, tending to someone. The tall werewolf calls out for her, "Renard," He says to get her attention, "Someone came for you," He says, waving his hand to Walter.
Really, he can almost feel a certain kinship for these creatures as they shed their animalistic wariness. Especially after the treatment by a certain police officer, the dragon-priest has simply been a little salty towards his charges. Certainly not enough to lose faith or vow, but it helped his decision.
"Let us merely say my week has caused me much to think on. Your name?" Walter offers the big werewolf conversationally. He's good at talking. And hates silent air for that matter.
Tail flicking, he can't help but sigh as warmth is found from the camp fire. A glance over, and he can't help but smile a bit. Seeing Kiyomi here, tending to the wounded...it's what his heart wants to see of the woman. Helpful, a healer, a warrior, and loving of those she cares for. Likely true. It only causes him more pain, knowing the suffering she can inflict.
"I see the good Lady is not merely talented in patching up foolish wyrms. Blessings, my dear."
Finally, he offers a warm smile to Kiyomi, only to turn to the wounded.
"What can I do?" The predatory job up to the hurt darkstalker is hardly to be meant that way, but hopefully his expression will ward off any thoughts of being here to eat the weak.
Mind completely turned from his own mission to helping someone who needs it, he looks expectantly to Kiyomi.
The werewolf remains quiet -- he does spare a glance at Walter but he does not answer him. It was not out of spite, nor to be disrespectful but he keeps his stone faced expression.
When they reach their encampment, a smirk spreads on the werewolf's features at Walter's words and he spares a glance in his direction, "She has many talents you ignore," He simply replies.
Kiyomi turns her eyes in the werewolf's direction, and then over to Walter. The surprise on her face soon fades into a warm, welcoming smile. She rises up to her feet and bows her head to him.
The werewolf rests his hand on Walter's shoulder at his question, "Nothing for now -- time and rest is all they need, thanks to Renard's care," The werewolf takes a step foward closer to Kiyomi and he stares at her for a moment. The two keeps their gaze locked for a moment, staring at each other in silence. The werewolf smiles at her and takes a step foward to embrace Kiyomi in his strong arms for a few seconds before he lets go of her.
He then walks away, leaving Kiyomi and Walter alone for now. Kiyomi's gaze lingers on him for a moment, before she glances back at Walter. "Sir Walter," Kiyomi says, as she glances back at him, "If you've come here, it must mean you've finally decided to learn more about your true self..." Kiyomi says, her gentle smile widening a bit as she folds her arms against each other, inside of her long sleeves.
The words of the werewolf send a shiver up Walter's spine. The man's mind races a bit. What could he mean? He knows she's crafty and powerful. A rub of his temple. Maybe the beast is just screwing with him. Walter offers a slightly irritated peer at the big wolf. /Git/.
But he does relax a touch at the shoulder rub. Concern and breath rushes out of him. The priest is tense, and rightly guarded.
"God keep this Child."
The bow is returned, deeply, respectfully. There's even a slight tuck of tail. A lower to a superior. She proved /that/ much already.
"It is a pleasure to see you again Dame Re..." Kiyomi and the werewolf embrace. Walter Bardsley is a gentleman. Turning away, he coughs slightly, waiting for some time until they're done.
"Right. God's blessings, my dear! Yes, I..." A frown comes to him. Troubled, worried, and a little shamed.
"Nearly lost control of myself when I tried to...let go. Almost hurt a dear friend. Nevermind a number of beatings recently." Scowl. Walter's been having a bad time of it.
"I suppose you were right, crafty little fox." Sigh. It sounds a little painful to admit that for the Father. He crosses his chest.
"If I am going to spill blood, best that it be done consciously and not like some mindless wretch. If you would give me the honor of your tutelage, I would be eternally grateful honored Lady." Here, the man kneels, a squire before a knight(ess).
The nature of the werewolf's embrace just became more obvious when Walter speaks to her and asks for her tutelage. The werewolf knew what was going to happen and it had been his way to say good bye and give her his blessing. After all, he would not allow someone like Walter to follow the pack. Not someone who is not on their side, though if he accepts his true nature and change his way, who knows, maybe he'll be with them one day...
But for now, he said his farewells to Kiyomi : it was her time now, to be Walter's guide, like an adult would teach a young cub the path to adulthood and show him the way of life.
Kiyomi's lips curl into a gentle smile, her expression filled with silent joy, a heart warming sight. It came both from Walter's reaction, but also the realisation of the meaning behind Lune's embrace. This boy was her responsability now, and like he did with her, it was now her time to show someone else how to walk in the path of the Darkstalker with pride.
"Is that what you seek, Walkter?" Kiyomi asks humbly, tilting her head to one side, "Strength in your beastial nature?" She asks. The Kitsune closes her eyes and says, "You will find it, in this journey, and you will find much more than just strength..." Kiyomi kneels down in front of Walter, her hands reaching out to cup the draconic man's cheeks, forcing him to look at her, to keep his gaze locked with hers, "Over all else, Walter, you'll learn who you really are..." She murmurs to him. "And to accept yourself as you are..." She says, gently helping Walter rise up to her feet.
"I will show you, Sir Walter," Kiyomi says, joing her hands in front of her waist, "If it is what your heart desire... It won't be an easy or short journey, but I will gladly help you walk this path," She says with a warm smile.
She glances back behind her shoulder and says, "... And it is a journey we must do on our own," She adds, before returning her eyes back to Walter.
His heart flutters a bit at that warm smile. It stirrs an old memory, of his beastly parents lost. Indeed, right now, he very much feels as a cub before the experienced kitsune. For all that he knows of humanity, he is but a mere wyrmling as a Darkstalker.
"I..." He chokes down words. A sigh, and nod. "My life has been lived as half of a person. The other half? Locked away, treated as trash. I want to know myself, Dame Renard. Who is Walter Bardsley? Am I beast, man, or both? As a conflicted half-person I am /weak/. Useless."
Looking into Kiyomi's eyes, his own water slightly in pain, anger, and desire. All of the things he's held back, meeting new friends and realizing what he must do, it is almost too much. Closing his eyes and calling upon his resolve, he takes her hand and slowly rises. The wyrmkin feels a little woozy.
"Understood. I shall walk this path. Thank you, Renard. Though we may be enemies, I am honored to have you as teacher." Comes the priest humbly.
The woman's expression seems to reflect the empathy that she feels for Walter as she notices the swelling water in the corner of his eyes. She bites her lips gently and she opens her arms to give him a warm embrace, her hands rubbing Walter's back gently.
"Though it might frighten you, do not fear, for you walk this path not alone... And even if you fear to lose your humanity to the beast within, always remember that I will be near, holding your hand and keeping you from sinking," Kiyomi whispers to his ears, her voice warm and soft, her intonation caring and motherly.
Once she lets go of Walter she reaches out for his hand, holding it. That smile never fades away from her lips : a soothing and reassuring one, one meant to strenghten his resolve, "Let us go now..." She says as she guides Walter away, out of the small encampment.
On her way out, Kiyomi takes her over things : a bag filled with various objects, as well as her scabbard. All she would need for this trip.
The wyrmkin shudders a bit as he's embraced, a mother to child for a moment. In that instant, he's warm, safe, and /loved/. Once he's let go, wiping his tears, he takes the offered hand and walks with his newfound compatriot.
"Thank you. I...I have trouble pulling it back. It is so powerful. I fear stronger than my faith." Looking at the foxess, he relaxes somewhat. There's fear in his eyes, but resolve. He needs the strength this woman could teach him. And he needs to unleash the dragon that he is. To become himself. He can't hide any more.
A bow to the Children of the Night, his unfortunate enemies. There's deep sadness in his eyes as he looks back. A muttered curse is spat at a world where it must be.
Thankfully Walter has come fairly prepared, himself. A duffel bag full of supplies lurks in one hand. A pocket has a bible, and of course his spear rests on his shoulder. Iti's soon used as a walking stick as they travel.
"What is a Darkstalker?" It's a simple question. Perhaps even a silly one. But thinking upon it, having been so filled with propaganda about his own kind, he's never really asked.
"The name man has given to the creatures he cannot comprehend," Kiyomi simply answers. She bites her lips and lifts her gaze up to the sky for a moment, "Dwellers in the shadow, creatures who feasts on fear and lives in the imaginary of mankind, bloodthirsty killers who craves the flesh of man..." Kiyomi slowly shakes her head, "A soiled and pejorative term,"
"We prefer to call ourselves, Children of the Night," Kiyomi says with a slow nod of her head, "Because we long for a world with no oppression, a world where we can live without fear... And to this end, we live during the night, so our presence remains ignored by man..." The kitsune glances at Walter, that gentle expression still on her face as she scans him, "All of us are different, and it's that difference that defines us. It is a part of yourself, a part that is, more often that not, one overshadowed by fear, guilt, shame, grief and lies..."
"Remember those emotions, Walter," Kiyomi says softly, "For they are all the chains that binds you, and the ones you will have to free yourself from," Her smile widens, a bit of melancholy crossing her features as she turns her face away, "But for now, let us walk... Until our feet grow numb, and our body weary... Let us enjoy the serenity, tranquility and beauty of nature, and meditate on this..." Kiyomi says, turning her head away.
Walter-bot falls asleep.
Walter-bot wakes up.
Walter considers. The police officer that he fought certainly looked at him as a monster, like some wild animal rather than a person. It makes him scowl suddenly, growling low. He rubs his chest, remembering those kicks.
"A far too broad brush. I have seen beings that are utterly alient when compared to myself. You, at least, I can understand. Well. As much as a kitsune can be." A smirk there. He's done some research recently.
He looks to his scaled hands, his claws, as he flexes them. 'Monster'. 'Demon'. 'Beast of Sin'. It's all things that have been drilled into his head. Even now Kiyomi would see the self-loathing that he can't quite make go away. This is a man, who for all his love for others, can't seem to find love for himself.
"Freedom..." He mutters. Could he ever truly find that? A man of the cloth with dreams and responsibilities. No, he doesn't believe in freedom for himself. But he certainly can find release for his instincts.
His walk is slow, measured, but with that predatory and proud gate. He's changed since their last meeting. A little prouder, a little more open. Certainly conflicted. But coming here has marked something of a change. A way forward.
"Perhaps they were indeed wrong. I...can be good, even as a dragon. It is my actions, not my flesh, that is sin."
A nod, and he walks along. He's quiet for a time, taking in the beauty of nature. As time passes, he seems to relax. It feels good here, with a companion he respects.
"Truly, nature is God's greatest work."
"Walter..." Kiyomi says softly, glancing at him for a moment, "If you keep repeating to someone that he is a beast, he will eventually start believing it, and when he believes it, he will eventually become one," Kiyomi turns her gaze away and heaves a soft sigh. She closes her eyes and can easily imagine what Walter must have gone through -- similar experiences as she did.
Kiyomi knows she is a blessed Darkstalkers, one of the few whose appearance is mostly humanoid, who can strive for a normal life in society, though she has chosen none of it because she is not a human and she would lie to herself by doing so.
Now she had the chance to help Walter, and so she would.
This is the beginning of a long journey : one where the destination did not matter as much as the path taken for it. A journey that was akin to a pilgrimage, one of inner discovery and perfection, one that Walter needs to understand on his own.
The two walk this path in silent contemplation, learning from the nature of the canadian boreal forest, a place where nature has not been tainted by man's presence.
Log created on 13:58:20 02/19/2015 by Chun-Li, and last modified on 14:48:59 02/20/2015.