Description: Licking her wounds from her encounter with The Hunter, Azumi had many different ways the next morning could be worse. Unfortunately for her, this morning had picked the presence of Eadni, the wretched hag she had encountered in Majigen before. A fight would be too simple. Instead, the witch is more interested in a peaceful encounter with the ninja... and to learn of the curses that hang over her head.
Normally, Azumi didn't stay up so late, but after the last few nights, things have been anything but normal. Still though, she'd managed to find a nice spot just outside of town to just...be. Nobody to evade, no forest hiding hunters and no real way anyone would really be out here. It's in the wee hours of the morning and the weather is a little moist, thanks to the slight drizzle moving through the area. It felt...nice. A little chilly thanks to the night air, but still, nice. The gentle sound of the distant freeways provided plenty of white noise, and it was still dark enough to look onward towards the Southtown skyline and just admire it.
Azumi is sitting in a tree, resting herself on one of it's larger branches, with one leg draped over the side and the other along the branch's length. A long shish-kebob stick rests in her hand, the werewolf occasionally digging into the bark beneath her leg with it. Her mind wanders as she breathes in deep, the chaos of her last fight providing her with plenty of stress to keep her distracted from her surroundings.
It's the smell that announces the presence first.
It was a sharp, toxic smell, a penetrating stench. Turpentine. A strong, burnt pine scent, refined and boiled down. The smell was faint at first. And then, enveloping. Next was the sound, the sound of rustling leaves, followed by a low groan of a tree bending. And then, whistling. The tree shudders. The smell fades, but only slightly. Azumi wasn't alone anymore, that much was clear.
The sound pipes up, almost too swiftly. It was from a young lady, seemingly about the same age as Azumi. She is seated on another branch of the tree, sharing a seperate branch slightly higher than the werewolf. She had only just been there, only in a moment. While her scent, her sound was not concealed, her arrival was unseen. The girl is dressed in what could charitably described as dyed burlap, wrapping around her form tightly, concealing her figure. Her hair was black and shiny in the dim pre-dawn, and a thin sheen of dew covers her pock-marked, freckled face. Her eyes are black, pure black. Her feet are bare, and somewhat twisted and gnarled. But a smile was on her lips, as she kicks her legs idly on the branch. Her voice comes, bright and chipper, sharp and confident.
"Are you alright?"
The werewolf covers her nose as that putrid stench hits it. One of the truly regrettable thing about having half your face be a muzzle was that bad things...smell really, really bad. And it's such a sharp stink, one that seemed...eerily familiar. The shifting of the branches of her tree force her legs up underneath herself, putting the girl on alert. Her pupils widen as she hears Eadni's voice yet again, her fur rising in reaction. As soon as she shows herself, the werewolf immediately leaps off of the tree, backflipping in a tight ball before landing on the slick ground. She slides back a few feet in the wet grass and brings up a rigid and serious martial arts stance, the ninja ready for battle. It's worth noting that the moment, Azumi is only wearing an A-shirt and jeans, both of which were likely pilfered from somewhere. Her feet are bare, as per the usual.
She speaks in a dark tone, her eyes furrowing up towards the tree branch where the smelly woman stood. "You have some real guts to show up again in front of ME after all that you did! What are you doing here witch? Here to hatch another one of Jedah's schemes?"
Beauty was only skin deep.
The witch had been outed. Once you learned that scent, you never forgot it. But where there was once an old crone, was a young lady. A shaped form. Or a stolen one. As the werewolf drops down, the woman's hair swirls, the motion coming with a hidden wind. But Eadni did not leave her perch. She was smiling, a tight-lipped smile, looking down at the ninja.
"Lord Dohma and I have an understanding, child."
That is what the witch states cryptically. "I will not interfere with him again, but if he wishes for my service, he must have something to offer for me. I have no come for malice, my child. I have come because... I am concerned." She is silent. And then, tilting her head back, she draws in a heavy breath through her nose. She stares her dark, unblinking skyward. "You have the scent of Benedict following you. I remember that scent well." She wiggles her toes at Azumi, the order of them cracking as they reshuffle themselves.
"You've been marked by a hunter, haven't you child?~"
Azumi is given pause by that statement. She's still peering hard at Eadni's form, having dealt with enough demonic and supernatural situations to know that whatever her true form is, she's likely not seen it yet. But still, how'd she know about that? The werewolf's mind heads down that mental trail. Was it the burn of silver? Not really; any hunter going after her might have that. Was it his gunpowder? Possibly, though she didn't know about that. She eventually concludes that the close range fisticuffs must have rubbed off a little on herself, and somehow, this witch knew about it.
Azumi growls towards Eadni all the same though. She practically barks while speaking, seeming rather unwilling to drop her guard. "He got lucky he had brainwashed a fox into stopping me the first time, because if he comes back, I will fight him. And I will end him." She states matter of factly.
"Me and a...diseased hunter fought, yes. Better question, how do you know about him and follow up question, why do you care? Last I checked, you couldn't give much of a shit for anyone but you and that demonic lord of yours."
The response comes with a hungry glee, a deep and thirsty pleasure. An energy comes over the figure, a manic, free vigor. She drops from the tree branch, landing on all fours with a crack. She rises up unnaturally, almost bonelessly. ON level ground, she's shorter than Azumi, and somewhat... lopsided. Those black eyes are wide, a smile still burned on her face. It was almost mask-like. "My child, you can trust me. You can trust Eadni."
"You can trust me like a mother."
She backs away from Azumi, lowering her head. "I am not a servant of Lord Domha, though I've learned in my many years you that certain individuals earn the right to be addressed the titles they desire. I am only bound to serve the needs of the Earth, my child. I am a protector of this realm, a healer, a nurturer." The young lady instinctively writhes her hands together. "I cleanse the world of sickness, of disease, and... stir the sleeping so they may rest deeper." Drool forms at the corner of her tight lips. "I can tell you about him. Benedict... we have met before. He has killed some of my children before. He is a wretched hunter, a murderer, and a... misguided soul." She straightens herself up, eyes widening suddenly. She lurches forward, a passionate glee boiling from her.
"And you say he is afflicted?!"
Azumi bites her lip at her luck. First came one freak of the week, and now here is the encore act. She stiffens as she watches Eadni leap onto the ground, unnerved by the presence of this woman. She was so unnatural in her sharp stench and her mannerisms, yet sickeningly sweet, like a foul syrup. She bares her teeth as she listens to her talk, the werewolf doing her best to ignore the agony inside of her nasal cavity.
"Stop trying to trick me, it won't work. We've fought before. I know your stench witch. I stopped your Amalgamation and I will stop you again. I don't know what your game is but if it's information on the Hunter you want, then fine. Take this information and be gone."
Her tail remains stiff and her ears alert as she continues speaking, her stance remaining stoic. "Yes. He is diseased. Covered in bandages and with eyes like a savage. He hinted at something else within him but I have no idea. I've fought some foul darkstalkers, slain demons and rubbed elbows with some of the absolute worst of humanity with other hunters, but I have never met a man as disgustingly twisted as he. He fights with resolve I have never seen before."
She sneers at Eadni, shaking her head slightly to force herself to focus on the woman on the ground. "There. You have your information. I have nothing else for you witch."
"The Leviathan, child."
She recoils again, circling the wolf girl with soft steps, at a distance. "Lord Dohma was not pleased when I broke the beast from his control, and which allowed it to be destroyed, which freed countless souls from his grasp, and return to the natural order." The muttering comes with a conspirical tone. "I was imprisoned for my defiance. You see, I am not trying to trick you. I do not need anything from you, other than to understand that a hunter has your trail... and will be coming soon." Eadni sighs wistly.
"But I might have something for you, child~"
She was closer now, but not too close. There was a hesitation with the woman. A hint of fear, of caution. "You were a hunter too, weren't you? It seems that is the fate of many a hunter these days. THey are cursed into blessings, or blessed into curses." The girl lets out a sinister chuckle, briskly rubbing her hands. Her gaze was transfixed upon her. "Child..." Her voice was softening. "You didn't choose this form, did you." The voice was warm, and gentle, and embracing. She was moving in closer, her expression still that smiling mask, those eyes still pits. But the words were coming with a heavy air of motherly love, of understanding, of a sweet, haunting aroma that was drowning out the stench of pine.
"What happened to you, my child?"
"How did you become this way?~"
Azumi's ears furrow back as Eadni draws closer. Her muscles are tense and prone to snapping forward in a whirlwind of action at any moment, but she holds her ground for now. The information about Jedah comes as a mild surprise, but she doesn't change her expression much, if at all. Once Eadni passes a certain threshold though, she barks loudly. "That is FAR enough. You are doing well enough to get this close without me taking revenge on you for all those people. Do not come any closer. I'm stronger than I was the last time we fought."
The question gives her another moment of contemplation, but one that seemed make her look apprehensive, unlike last time. A silent moment passes with the werewolf merely staring back into the witch's eyes, clearly trying to find something. She relents eventually, shaking her head slightly. "If I tell you....will you leave? Will your questions cease and you go back to whatever void you crawled out of?"
The witch recoils again, as Azumi demands.
"A mother must listen to her children~" She murmurs to herself, as the sweet smell grows stronger. "And I do not doubt your strength. Never doubt your strength. You are so strong, I can sense it." The smile continues transfixed. She keeps her distance, not circling, not approaching. And yet, the gaze continues. When she yields, only when the werewolf yields, does she break the stare, bowing her head.
"I can promise I will leave."
"A mother must always listen to her children~"
Azumi hisses at Eadni, shaking her head. "You are not my mother! My parents may have disowned me due to their short-sightedness and hatred, but me and you have next to nothing in common. But fine." She finally drops her guard, lowering her hands to her sides, but still keeping her legs in a position to where she could move in a millisecond's notice if need be.
"You want to know about the night I became this? I can't imagine why but I'm trusting you. You break this trust..." She points a finger at Eadni's stolen form. "...and if there is a next time, I won't be so kind."
She draws her finger back. "I was on a routine assignment to finish off a wounded darkstalker who escaped another one of our teams. I lead my own team down to the abandoned village where we suspected he was hiding. We found him there, but not before he had sprang some traps on us. I evaded his gimmicks and went in with my blade. But he wasn't acting like how he should. Something was wrong. I didn't realize it, but he should have either ran or attacked me. But he sat, knees on the ground, holding his chest. When I got close he bit me with gleaming teeth, like they were made of silver."
She crosses her arms as she continues to recall the event. "The change happened instantly. The man fled through the window while my team came up to me. I remember it got hot. And bright. And the next thing I know, the city is gone, my team were turned into charred remains, and I'm in a crater and looking like this. It was not a pleasant evening." She looks up from her state of rememberance, her expression remarkably straight-faced.
"And for the record, I have no idea what happened to the wolf we were chasing. He could easily be dead by now."
And Eadni listens.
Her face is frozen, but her attention was rapt. Oh, she rejected her. Just as they rejected their daughter. But whereever there was a darling young girl who was cast away by their parents, Eadni would be there. She hated Eadni.
But she would learn to love her.
Every word comes, with a gentle nod, a tilted head. A story of a woman who was once a hunter, and now the hunted. How she was forced to transform. How she was forced to survive. The story of Azumi, the ninja who was cursed into the form of a wolf and a woman. Hot and bright. The death of her companions. As the end of the story comes, Eadni just shakes her head.
"Child, I do not believe the creature would be dead."
The words are as sweet as the necter-like aroma; fake and misleading. "You are blessed and cursed child. You will not die, not by violence, and not by your own hand. That is the blessing, and the curse. But every blessing and every curse can be taken away. Your afflicition has a cure." And with that, the witch turns around. "But a promise has been made."
"And I would never break a promise."
Azumi offers Eadni a small shrug at her response, shaking her head. "It's been a year and a half. The village could have sent someone after that wolf. Or they could not have. Or he could have died of natural causes. Hell if I know. If the village finds me again, they will attempt to kill me, so what they do now, I don't care."
She apprehensively brushes her noses, her eyes beading up with tears in discomfort from the lingering stench. "God...just....Yes, I know. I don't hate this form as much as I once did and I am still learning on my own what it can do, but I do wish to be rid of it one day. We'll see if that's possible. But I answered your question..."
She coughs into the inner part of her elbow, shaking her head again. "..and you promised to leave. And if I see you again witch, please, for the love of whatever the hell you hold dear, take a bath. Your stench ruins my nose."
"Get rid of it someday..."
The witch repeats it, as she lowers herself down and down. She was nearly bent over. And then, nearly bent in half. As the son continued to rise, the young lady seemed to.. sink into the earth. Wading into the grass, she pauses, turning back. "I will serve you well, my child. When I return, and I promise I will, I will make my scent pleasing for you~" She would help Azumi.
And Azumi would adore her.
And then, she would have a brand new daughter.
The witch sinks into the earth, out of sight. The scent disappears, no lingering, no sign. The presence of the witch was gone. But the hag was not gone, she was never truly gone. She had a duty to Azumi now. She wanted to be cured. She wanted vengence against the village that wished to kill her. She wanted vengence against a family that rejected her. She wanted to much against a world that hates her. And now, Eadni knew that she could give that to her.
And she would.
Because that was a mother's love.
Azumi frowns at her the whole way through Eadni's last statement, and it's only when she finally disappears into the earth that the werewolf lets out sigh of relief. She looks down at the ground and taps her bare feet upon it. "...Well that explains how the hell she came upon me without me noticing. Creep."
She takes a deep breath, more than happy that the ability to smell has returned. She leans her head up to the still drizzling morning sky and runs a hand through her fur, lightly rinsing the bile she had for the witch away from her. She leaps back up into her tree, draping her legs from it. She wonders aloud for a moment, placing her head against her palms. "...I don't know why I told her that. Everything I've ever read said that Lycanthropy is permanent without extreme measures and...maybe just controlling whatever version of it I have would be good enough. She's probably lying anyway. I don't think she can fix what happened the other night."
She leans back against the tree, content to go back to watching the distant highways and their traffic, all while ignoring that she would need to spend a good 20 minutes later with a towel.
Because wet fur is a bitch.
...No pun intended.
Log created on 20:51:28 06/22/2016 by Eadni, and last modified on 00:52:11 06/23/2016.