Description: With the Hunters Guild's intentions now evidently clear, the Full Moon Society prepares to defend itself.
It's true, Raiden had not recently been seen out as much. But the protecting of the village and the surrounding area had been taking up all of his time and attention. It wasn't so much the physical protection of the area as much as keeping the place hidden and chase away the things that would harm those here. He hopes that investing his energy into the place, particularly at the temple in the center, it will radiate outwards and create a barrier of sorts around the village.
Hence why he's here now, at the top level of the temple, in the 'sky garden'. His presence is easy to find here, just follow your nose to the smell of ozone. Raiden sits upon a large rock, eyes closed, legs folded under him, hands at waist-level. One hand is drawn into a fist; the other hand is cupped around it. Even though he seems at peace, he seems to glow as lightning arcs over his form.
Gods are reclusive beings by nature. Having transcended all mortality, there is little that the material realm has to offer and prefer to explore the leylines from the seclusion of the devoted shrines.
Its only when Gods walk amongst mortals that one truly must be wary, as it is almost always a herald of troubling times to come.
Nightwolf knows this much having met many Gods face to face. From the Egyptian Pantheon, to ancient warped monstrosities that should not exist, to Thunder made manifest in the form of Raiden. That the Thunder God had not come out of the Sky Temple, gave good news for all, as it meant that his assistance was not needed, and whatever threat Earthrealm was currently facing, could be solved by mortal hands.
However, perhaps it couldn't hurt to give the ol' thunder spirit a heads up of what was about to come. The least Nightwolf could do as the second in command of the Society was to keep Haokah informed.
Ascending the steps to the Sky Temple, the Apache Sin Eater approached the meditating Raiden and stood a respectful distance away from him, quietly waiting to be noticed rather than break Raiden's concentration.
Even with the troubles facing the mortal realm, it's true-- at this time mortals were handling it. So Raiden had not left the Sky Temple to rush out and fix things. Besides that, sometimes creating a bastion of safety is the better idea. Backup plans are always useful. For if the darkness comes to this place, there will need to be a safe place for the people to go to safety and wait out the storm.
But not to worry, Nightwolf. Raiden's attention is not just on his task. It's focused around him as well. It's Nightwolf's energy that he notices first. Visually, the lightning begins to fade over the Thunder God's form, the arcing becoming sporadic, and Raiden raises his head. Opening his blank eyes and focusing on Nightwolf, he nods. "Greetings to you," he offers pleasantly.
Nightwolf returns the pleasant nod of his head in greetings. "Haokah." He says softly before straightening up again to stare back at Raiden with equally blank eyes.
Speaking with the Apache is never a casual affair however, even for a literal deity like Raiden. Though Nightwolf is very much a mortal still, his is a mind that is much more attuned to all things spiritual instead focusing solely on what's around him. It is a side effect of his shamanistic path but also of learned wisdom. He takes a brief pause before speaking, never simply rushing to blurt out things as most people do, thinking and gathering his thoughts to properly convey the message he wishes to carry to the God of Thunder.
"Pardon me for interrupting your meditation, but there are certain things I must bring to your attention, Haokah."
"Things that are closer to home than the Metro City incident."
Lack of casual conversation from Nightwolf is actually a good thing. Raiden is still rather unaccustomed to the concept, and has yet to really secure a very reliable ability to do so. He knows that if Nightwolf is here, it's because there's something serious is afoot. And sure enough, Nightwolf begins to speak about the goings-on in Metro City.
"I have felt the darkness threatening that place," he confirms of Metro City, with a nod. But there are fighters battling inside for the fate of the city. It's still within the possibility of mortals to fix this, so he cannot interfere. Nightwolf did, however, mention issues closer to home. "What are these issues?" Raiden inquires.
Perhaps this also works the other way around.
Just as Gods mingling with mortals is a sign of troubling things to come, Nightwolf ascending the stairs of the temple to seek an audience with deities can only mean trouble.
"Because of the darkness that has invaded Metro City, the Society has seen a large influx of refugees crossing the oceans to settle here with us. We are well prepared to receive them, supplies are high and they have all settled well."
"However, their large numbers have brought another problem. A few days ago I've ran into not one, but two hunters that were attracted by the high number of Darkstalkers, one of them even tried to attack our refugees. The first one was likely unaffiliated and was pushed back, but the second hunter confirmed her allegiance. She is a scout of the Hunters Guild and they are preparing to send a strike force against us."
"She was naught but a scout and though she could have been easily silenced, her death would have only caused an even greater wave of Hunters to attack us. Parlaying with them was useless as I suspected. Though I assured them we were not interested in attacking cities, she promised that the Guild would mobilize to strike us simply because most here are Darkstalkers."
The shaman pauses and takes a deep breath, thumbs sliding to his belt. That was the problem and here is where they currently stand.
"As of now, there are a few Guild scouts prowling the outskirts of the forests. They do not where the village is, nor of our true numbers, or that we are an organized group. When I faced their representative, I did so under the guise of my animal totem, and thus they do not even know that there are many humans in our midst. Nevertheless, I know how the Guild operates, and it will not stop them from sending an initial group of Hunters to try and flush us out. They will never find the village without help, but them prowling the woods would mean that nothing outside the village would be safe. We would not be able to forage or hunt, and we would be prisoners within our own homes."
"What are we to do, Haokah?"
Nightwolf asks right before saying what is in everyone's mind.
"Should we finish them?"
Raiden is pleased to hear that some of the people form Metro City have managed to escape before darkness began to fall over it. And that the village can handle the new refugees is also good to hear. What is NOT good to hear, however, is the report of scouts from the hunter's Guild prowling around the village's outskirts. It's true, the wards in place in the forest would very likely see that all of them only ran themselves around in circles when attempting to find the village. But it's still not something they should ignore.
Nightwolf asks whether they should go attack the Guild... end the excursions before they come close enough to the village to be a major threat. And as soon as the words are uttered, Raiden knows. "...That is not the solution to this... yet at the same time it is the only solution that will bring closure. They would attack us without need, thus destroying them is the only means to ensure that the people here are safe. Yet this Guild has not attacked us, yet. If we do the same, we secure peace at the cost of blood. Such a peace cannot last. That is the 'peace' of Outworld."
Raiden is not, however, prepared to just spout philosophical nonsense. He has an idea. "We must measure our force for now. If they come here, they will find us not easily destroyed. Strike them down where you find them, but do not hunt them. If they attack in force, push back as hard as they push us. It will send a message-- come here with ill intent, and you will find nothing but your own death."
The shaman nods in understanding, muscled arms crossing over his chest as he listens to Raiden. His words echoes the Apache's own thoughts, attacking the Guild would be the faster and easier solution, but it would be one that'd be against everything the Society stands for. However, he still feels compelled to mention the truths behind the Hunters Guild.
"I would not be opposed to end the Guild once and for all, Guild. They are a blight upon the world. Although all of them are humans, they are blinded by greed, and hunt Darkstalkers under the pretext of protecting humanity, when in reality they only do so to fill their own pockets. Most of them are no better than the demons of Outworld we fight, and would just as likely assist Outworld if it meant they could turn a profit. For such is humanity's unquenchable thirst for gold."
"Sooner or later, we will have to deal with them in full."
And yet he nods, eyes closing as he knows Raiden speaks the truth. "But you are right, Haokah. I understand that fighting the Guild would be a meaningless conflict which will only force us into a war with two fronts."
"I will go prepare our warriors and rely your instructions. The Guild's scouts will be left unharmed but if a large party of Hunters is spotted within the woods we will wipe them out to the last man."
The shaman's lips purse and he looks up slightly. "Those of the Society that are Darkstalkers will probably have no qualms about this, Haokah. But what of our human allies? What should I tell Johnny Cage or the Hayabusa Clan about how to deal with the Guild?"
"This does not surprise me," Raiden replies at the mention of how the Hunter's Guild does 'business'. "They are not the first group to claim their cause is just, and yet use that cause only to press their own agendas or profit from others' deaths. Inquisitions have been since mortals first learned to turn their eyes upwards to the heavens and decide who resided there.
"I have no doubt that we will one day need to eliminate them. But for now, defense must take priority over attack." He nods to Nightwolf's words of releasing scouts and destroying hunters. If this were war, he would suggest taking out the scouts, but this is defense-- the hunters have more potential to cause loss of life.
As for the Society's human allies? "If the Guild fights only for profit, they would destroy Johnny Cage or the Hayabusa clan just as easily as they would destroy those in this village, merely because they 'associate with devils'," Raiden replies, guessing one of the ways they would justify it. "Johnny Cage's celebrity will be an ally here-- if he is attacked, the public will know. This may turn the public opinion against the Guild, since they would not know the full truth of the company he keeps.
"Tell them this, that that they are human will not keep the Hunter's Guild from striking against them. Encourage them to defend themselves with their full power. Whatever force is brought against them by the Hunter's Guild, they should equal or overwhelm it if they can."
Raiden has not forgotten the Hayabusa clan, either! "If the Guild harms one of the Hayabusa clan, others in the clan will take vengeance. This is their way. They should do so as the Hayabusa clan, not as representatives of the Full Moon Society, nor should the Hayabusa clan's vengeance be taken in our name."
A nod. "If aggressions are to escalate, they will be the ones to do so. Whatever force the Hunters' Guild brings to bear, we will match it. And if that ends with enough force to crush one or the other, then so be it."
Nightwolf's eyes close at the mention of humanity's folly over the course of history. He only knows too well of such transgressions...
Being living proof of the extent of humanity's greed after all.
He leaves the topic as it is for now, preferring to focus on more present matters. A smirk comes to his lip when Raiden says that the Guild could just as likely try to assault Cage or the Hayabusa. "Hmph, they could try." Says the shaman with confidence.
Then he nods, "I shall inform them of such, Haokah. Both Cage and the Hayabusa have been spotted in Metro City but it would serve us well that they are kept abreast of the situation here."
The shaman's fist close and he gives a grim scowl. "It shall be they who are crushed, Raiden. The Hunters of the Guild fight well, but they are ultimately nothing in comparison to the aberrations of Outworld."
"We shall overcome them."
"In the name of Earthrealm!"
Now it's Nightwolf that is crackling with power all of the sudden, a testament to all the challenges he has defeated in his time leading the Society. Fittingly, he too is crackling with electricity, much like the deity he brushes shoulders with constantly. Raiden would feel just a tad of his own energy within the Apache, as it is perhaps what happens to those fiercely devoted protectors of Earthrealm.
A visage of how Raiden looked before he ascended to Godhood perhaps.
"Is there anything else I should tell our warriors?"
Raiden senses that the topic of humanity's greed is a close one to Nightwolf. And he knows that history well. So when Nightwolf leaves the subject be, Raiden does as well. He knows that much about mortals, that they do not like discussing things that upset them. The smirk and the Apache's words bring a small smile to Raiden as well. "Yes, they can," he notes to the mention of trying to attack Cage of the Hayabusa clan. It's possible, after all. "Whether they succeed or not is another matter. Even if they do, the victory will be costly. Neither will submit so easily."
Nightwolf suddenly crackling with power, appearing as a vision of earthly power and might, brings an honest smile to Raiden's face. It's not just the lightning. It's the strength he can see, the resolve. The reason Nightwolf has remained one of, if not THE, most loyal defender of Earthrealm. Nightwolf possesses the strength and resolve to accept the path of Sin-Eater, and with it the responsibility of protecting Earthrealm.
The mention of crushing the Guild gets a thoughtful nod. "But do not forget-- even if their beliefs oppose ours... they think, and they feel. Perhaps there are some in the Guild who are not as the majority. Observe them carefully when you fight. For some may open their eyes if the Guild's lustre is rubbed off. Each mortal is worthy of concern... until he proves himself to be more monster than man."
That attitude, the always believing in the power of an individual mortal to overcome the hate around one, the belief that humans have it in them to be peaceful if given the opportunity... that's going to get Raiden in trouble one of these days, he knows. But it's not only his concern for mortal life that drives him to say this. "There are times when mercy is not an option. But there are also times when it is one's greatest weapon. If the Guild hates 'devils', for a truly honorable member of the Guild to owe a 'devil' his life will be more than he can bear."
As for anything else to tell the warriors? Raiden nods. "It is a difficult time that lays ahead. We must not falter or fail. But neither can we give in to the darkness that resides in all our hearts. Stand strong against the storm to come, concern yourselves only with keeping your footing where you are. The storm can only howl for so long, and then the skies will clear."
Nightwolf is ever mindful of controlling his very real bloodlust. While its true that as a Sin Eater he runs the ever constant risk of being corrupted by the countless negative energy he has ingested over his life, Raiden is right in realizing Nightwolf is perhaps /too/ eager about protecting Earthrealm.
To him perhaps it goes far beyond duty. It's personal, an opportunity to set transgressions of the past right. He is after all mortal and even an experienced mind like his can be clouded by tremendous desire to protect others.
This is why seeking Raiden counsel never hurts, the God of Thunder reminds him of what is not only his, but the Society's true mission.
"Of course Haokah." Nods the shaman. "Those who surrender shall be given quarter."
"We aren't monsters after all.."
That is the true irony of this whole debacle.
It suits Nightwolf just fine that Raiden has an ever constant belief of thinking that all, no matter who they are or what they believe in, can be saved. /Someone/ has to be their pillar of hope, that unshakable foundation of what it means to have faith in humanity no matter what they do.
Because Nightwolf, while sharing many of those ideals, can only manage to give people exactly one chance to redeem themselves before finishing them.
He's not quite as patient as Raiden.
With another nod and a warrior salute, Nightwolf turns and departs out of the Sky Temple to tell the warriors of the Society of Raiden's inspiring words.
Raiden nods in approval when Nightwolf promises mercy to the hunters who surrender. As much as he would like to, he can't expect everyone to believe endlessly in humanity's redeeming qualities. Especially in this case, where it's been humanity that's given the people here the most trouble throughout their lives. Including Nightwolf!
As Nightwolf salutes, Raiden utters, "Thank you." Nightwolf has been here since Raiden appeared, and has been the first to truly believe in him. It's only been through Nightwolf's help that the village was even made a reality. Now the Darkstalkers here have the chance to learn that not all humans are evil. A world where humans and Darkstalkers can live peacefully together-- or at least not atagonize each other-- may just start here.
Nightwolf departs, and Raiden lowers his head again, closing his eyes. Once more lightning begins to arc over him. Hope perhaps yet springs eternal in Raiden, and that energy he uses to hope he channels into protecting the village.
A crowd of Darkstalkers await Nightwolf when he comes out of the Sky Temple. It isn't as if no one is allowed inside the temple's ground save for Nightwolf, but most Bastion village residents are either too shy, too superstitious, too respectful, or all of the above, to actually dare to talk to Raiden and so prefer that the shaman acts as the messenger of the Gods.
He raises his arms to the crowd and relays the message, that this is naught but a storm which will pass, and that they all must hold steadfast to see it to its end. It alleviates many there who take heart that Raiden's got their back, though there are many more still that seem doubtful. Why doesn't Raiden simply walk out of the temple and puts an end to these Hunters personally? It would be child's play for him.
This is when Nightwolf adds his own words to the message.
Raising one hand, lighting is brought down from the skies and hits the shaman's open palm. A glowing green and golden axe appears there and he embeds it on the side of Sky Temple's archway. The crowd gasps and goes silent, thinking that what Nightwolf had just done is sacrilege for defiling a God's temple.
"When the Apache went to war, a hatchet was buried to a post to signal when it started. Only after the threat had ended would be the hatchet be removed."
Speechless and still silent the crowd of Children of the Night look at each other whilst Nightwolf walks forward.
"We are individuals no longer. We are not secluded refugees, cowering and hiding in fear."
"We are a nation! We are the Society of the Full Moon! And as I told you once before, if the Guild wants blood, then they shall have it."
"But it will be -their- blood that will be spilled. Not ours!"
"We hide no longer, brothers and sisters. We fight!!"
Outside the Sky Temple a clamor of howls and yells and cheers is heard, raising up to the sky. A defiant people, ready to be wronged no longer.
Only one older Darkstalker shakes his head, muttering about Nightwolf's rather abrupt decision of soiling the Sky Temple with an axe. "He could have buried that hatchet on a tree or something.."
Log created on 12:20:34 04/24/2015 by Nightwolf, and last modified on 17:02:46 04/24/2015.