Description: Is it an inscrutable message from an unknowable god or a simply the random odds of pure chaotic chance that puts Nakoruru on a path to an encounter with the self proclaimed Sorcha, the Mighty Terrible?
In truth, there are almost no places on the planet Earth that have been found to be entirely devoid of life. In the hottest climes and most frigged wastelands, life has found a way to exist, subsisting off of the smallest iota of moisture or evolving ways to exist without even the grace of energy from the sun. The miracle of life is a tenacious thing, refusing to be stamped out by even the most inhospitable of conditions.
But to stand here, in this stretch of broken land, is to know true desolation. It is obvious that life once flourished here. All around, signs abound that a civilized people once inhabited this land. But whatever age that may have been has surely passed. The ground is covered by broken stone walkways that must have once serviced whatever people called this land home. Ruined statues of marble and stone stand vigil over the dead land, their faces and limbs broken off as if someone took the time to take a wrecking ball to each and every one of thousands of stone artworks. And the ruinous piles of rubble must have once been great stone structures, their borders now only marked by the few cracked walls that have not been demolished by whatever calamity struck here. The few flashes of green that suggest at plant light is, upon closer inspection, some kind of slimy residue that is best left untouched.
And finally, the bones. Scattered all around are dry skeletal remains in various poses. Some are broken against the ground, others skewered into spikes sticking upright, and others dangling from crossbeams of stone where their crucified bodies have hung for years.
The sky above is foreign, otherworldly, violet in color with the occasional flashes of dry lightning and distant thunder that promise rain that seems to never come. In the east, a might tower rises from a rocky outcropping over the ocean. And all along the west, a treeline forms the border of the most corrupted, despoiled stretch of forest one could ever imagine.
It is impossible to shake the impression that this stretch of land somehow doesn't belong to this island but rather was pulled from somewhere else - a patch of bleak suffering somehow ripped across the worlds to occupy the eastern half of the hosting island.
But even in a place this far gone, there is one who hopes for something better. She has been on the island for days. Navigating the forest was treacherous, but coming out on the other side of it she discovered a land so bereft of life it seemed to try and actively sap energy from her for being here. It is here, right on the outskirts of the fel wood that the time lost Ainu kneels in the white, powdery dust that covers the landscape.
Dressed in an ankle length robe of white that is bordered by a red and blue interlocking geometric pattern, the raven-haired priestess is fixated on a small project of hers - an attempt to grow a single living thing here, where the soil of the cursed forest and the ashen dust of this wasteland mix together. It seemed a futile effort to devote her attention to, but she had to know if it was possible that this land could someday live again, that perhaps she could start it on its way.
To that end, she has devoted her focus, her energy, her prayers, and for her devotion, a tiny seedling has sprouted up in the dirt filled bowl of a shattered fountain she decided to make into a planter. A quiet smile works its way to her mouth as she pulls her hands back from willing life into the tiny spec of green. Maybe there is some chance this place can live again after all.
Overhead, the darkened skies rumble with the constant ambling of distant thunder, the twisted shades of black and purple casting the entirity of the heavens into a sickly palor as if it were nothing more than a giant bruise upon reality itself. If there are clouds lingering within the chaotic mass of vile colors then they serve only to further defy the laws of nature to which one from the realm of Earth may be accustomed for it is clear that no water has touched these blasted plains for centuries or longer, as evidenced by the heavy coating of undisturbed dust, the fading remnants of a once thriving civilization.
That is not to say that the blighted expanse of churning energies above have nothing to give. Searing bolts of arcane lightning stab at the earth in random intervals, venting their fury into statues, walls, and bodies alike across the vast expanse of the ancient battlefield. Where they strike the earth explodes with violent upheaval, tossing bits of shattered debris into the nearby terrain in a chain-reaction of pointless destruction. Broken pillars crash into half-ruined walls, toppling further onto barely recognizable bits of rock and bone, smashing all into shapeless heaps of detrius. It is as if the very land itself is attempting to erase all traces of its own history, disgusted by the very idea that life might have once held sway here. This is a place of death, a realm of destruction for its own sake.
Perhaps it is the nature of this turbulent land that is then responsible for the series of events that are to follow. Some distance away, though exactly how far is difficult to say for the twisted expanse of ghostly forest devours all but the most tenacious attempts to keep one's bearings within its haunted paths, the castle of the great sorcerer plays host to a vile ceremony of dark magic. It is hardly a thing of particular importance, a ritual of summoning performed as hundreds of others before it. A dozen figures in dark robes stand in a neat circle, their heads bowed as they chant profane words of eldritch power.
A storm of energy begins to build in the exact center of the circle, a gateway between the realms of Earth and this place in between. It is an irresistable call, a mighty hand of fate that reaches out for the chosen soul, demanding their presence with a forcefulness and finality that transcends the laws of nature by tapping into something far more ancient and primal. The energies begin to quicken as the spell reaches its climax and for a few brief instants reality is ripped asunder to give way to the empty void as a connection is made between this place and their target. Just as quickly, the portal is gone, the power ebbing away into the dark recesses of the world from whence it came leaving only that which was called forth in its place.
Or... it should have. Instead of a person, naked and wriggling as disorientation overwhelms their limited mortal senses, only a small pile of cloth sits at the center of the room, dull oranges mixed with black upon which sits a strange pointy hat.
Above the blasted lands of the war-torn battlefield, a second portal violates the already tormented skies, tearing a fresh wound in the ugly scab stretched across the island. Its arrival is portended by another of the great hammering blasts of cacophanous thunder, an explosion backed by the angry voices of tormented souls. From within its foul depths comes a small meteorite. Black fire burns with an intensity that might have been remeniscent of a small sun, a twisted mass of evil light that seems almost fitting in the ruined shambles of this nightmarish horrorscape. However, like all things that show even the slightest traces of life, the newly born star is short-lived and begins to fall towards the shattered ground even as its malignant flames begin to gutter and fail.
It drops like a comet upon the land below, a streaking star across the chaotic sky upon which no wish should be cast for it would surely be twisted into the most foul and evil interpretation of the speaker's dreams, crushing them with a ruthless and devious glee.
Much like those of the girl who stands below, kneeling in deluded prayer over the vague hope for new life. It is rare that the gods deign to deliver an answer of any obvious form to the hopes cast into the darkness by petty mortals with their self-serving cries for succor. But today is a day for rejoicing for they have heard the pleas and devotion of this single pure soul and sent an answer!
Life has come anew to this land! It just might not quite be what she is expecting...
She knew more would be coming eventually. The extravagant banquet gathering was just a hint of what was to come, a preview for a select few champions chosen seemingly at random. But it wouldn't be long before they, and the scores of palace guards, would be joined by dozens of others fated to shoulder a grave burden. This would not be the first time she had seen these events play out, the shock and awe of those plucked from their lives, the gruesome tournament to follow... But with the stakes such as they were, she knew this one would have to be the last one way or another.
Hopefully those chosen were up to the task. Hopefully they bore the noble souls of true champions that could aside whatever concerns and distractions the modern world had heaped upon them. They would need to cast away petty squabbles and concentrate on the task ahead. In this, the tenth of ten possible rounds of the millennia long tournament, Earth needed its best, its boldest, its bravest, its most self-sacrificing...
But they weren't here yet and thus the warrior maiden kept to herself, trying to understand the harm that was done to this broken land, attempting to start the chain reaction of life that could, someday, replace this wasteland with a verdant landscape. She was blissfully unaware that the summons had commenced as most... well, really, nearly all of the Kombatants would be getting pulled directly into castle on the other side of the perilous forest.
But the monks busy at work ripping surprised individuals into this world without so much as a scrap of clothing could not account for the touch of the most dangerous element - Chaos. And while they are left puzzling the unexpected outcome of their intense ritual on the other side of the island, Nakoruru finds herself somehow kneeling in the precise location being threatened on the other side.
The occasional crash of thunder or explosion of dust and stone from lightning strikes were something she had become accustomed to. As frightening as the sites were at first, it became apparent that the chance of actually being in the path of the destructive displays was nearly zero. She had put the danger out of her mind in focus on her self-appointed task and even when a new tear in the violet heavens opens, the focused girl doesn't seem to take notice the careening, tumbling comet from above.
The first cry of alarm comes from elsewhere; a high pitched, alarmed screech from the sickly green canopy of the adjacent forest. Looking up, steel blues widened with alarm, Nakoruru glances first toward the source of the sound, "Huh?" She has only an instant to look straight up. If her reflexes were one bit slower, she could not have made it in time, her body uncoiling like a spring as she leaps backward from her kneeling position, arms out at her sides for balance, just narrowly escaping the sudden stop at the end of this unusual comment's plummet.
As if on instinct, she bends her right arm, holding it across in front of her, and a moment later, her watchful hawk perches on the girl's wrist guard as the startled champion stares toward the point of impact.
The impact is quite the spectacle. The ground erupts with a violence that is sadly typical to the ever-present spectacle of constant destruction, dirt and black fire exploding into a vertical column as the dying sun seems to give life to a new-born volcano, a twisted and terrible phoenix shedding its vital essence to create fresh life which serves only to begin a cycle of devastation again.
The explosion itself is much less forceful than the fireworks display would lead one to believe, barely more than a powerful gust of wind that persists for a few seconds as the geyser of dark magic expends itself into the arid air. The flames reach high for a brief time, snapping and licking like a living thing but finding nothing upon which to feed their fel hunger save the cracked and sorched dirt. Seeing that there is little point to continue its brief and violent existance, the bonfire evaporates into air, first becoming an ominous black mist and then nothing at all.
Needless to say, the small sliver of green upon which the warrior woman had been doting did not survive the impact. Little more than a crater of blacked and baked earth takes up the space where once the sapling stood, slowly and defiantly attempting to rise above the very land itself. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in this. Or maybe it's just coincidence. Only the gods know and they're done giving out answers today.
One unusual feature stands out at the center of the depressed blister, however - the core of the foul meteor which has ruined Nakoruru's afternoon. It smoulders within the bottom of the crater, a dark lump of black mass. Foul smoke rises into the air from the object filling her nostrils with the unmistakable smell of burning meat and hair. It is a scent that she is likely to be familiar with, coming from a rather turblent peroid of history, and one that rarely evokes pleasant thoughts in those who do. It is the smell of a fiery death. Which is probably why the last thing she is likely to be expecting is for the strange lump to move.
A sharp sound fills the air, a barking wheeze of a cough. The 'meteor' slowly shifts and changes as it tilts to one side, unfolding into a humanoid form. It is difficult to classify the thing that rises to its feet as human for there are several discrepancies between what one would expect to find and what she sees here. The first and most obvious problem is that whoever this creature is they managed to survive a fall from heavens knows how high and simply shake it off. The second problem is that the individual has far too many limbs with far too few digits. Four arms stretch out from its shoulders, each of its gnarled hands sporting only a half dozen or so clawed fingers.
The creature lets out a pained grunt, stretching its many limbs towards the sky in all directions until the faint pop of cracking joints sounds out in staccato rythmn. It twists in place, pivoting at the hips first one direction and then the other until its spine echoes the disturbing drumbeat. The brief glimpse of the figure in profile doesn't reveal much, the body apparently too caked in black ash to provide much in the way of details, but the faint swell of small breasts reveals the person to be a female.
"Nrgggh! What in the name of all hells was that?!"
The girl speaks out loud as if conversing with someone though it isn't clear whether or not she has noticed the presence of the other person present here just yet. This isn't the first time that she's had odd mishaps such as this. For several months she's been tampering with the idea of adding teleportation to her growing list of arcane tricks. The results have been... mixed. This is the first time she's found herself naked on the set of a b-list horror movie though! She adds her neck to the growing list of body parts that are twisted and shaken about until they give a satisfying crunch, her head swiveling in a most grostesque fashion that rotates just a little too far to be anything but creepy. It is during this owl-like stretching that Nakoruru is brought into her field of vision.
"Boy, if this was a miscast, it sure took it's sweet time kicking..."
The girl stares at her with a look of total surprise, her mismatched eyes going wide and her mouth hanging halfway open mid-sentence. It lasts only a brief moment, however, and the shock quickly converts into something resembling glee. She whirls around, her head remaining stationary while her body swivels back into position, which brings the full picture of her mutated anatomy into view.
Her body looks more or less as it should, save the extra arms. Her build is extremely lean, almost unhealthy in how thin it is, but what muscle she does have seems to be well-toned and firm. The faint tips of small nipples protrude on the tiny mounds of her underdeveloped breasts though underneath the layer of ash it's difficult to make out much more than faint shapes, her fiery landing providing atleast a tiny modicum of modesty in that regards. Her womanly parts are all present and accounted for as well, something which she puts no effort into concealing, almost as if unaware that her clothes did not make the journey through the aether along with her. There is no hint of hair on her body anywhere but her head. Infact, the entire surface of her skin seems to be smooth, almost oily, as if she is coated in a thin layer of dried tar or black paint up to the base of her neck.
Despite its more normal coloration, her head is quite probably the most disturbing part of the girl. Thick black hair sprouts from her head, twisted into a pair of almost childish pigtails, each interlaced with a single streak of red that coils about them like the stripe of a barber pole. Somehow, despite her rather dramatic entrance, her hair seems to have remained almost entirely undisturbed - unless the explosion is somehow responsible for the wound up tails.
Her eyes are surrounded by heavy black tattoos of curved triangles, stylized and over-exaggerated depictions of eyelashes or perhaps gouts of flame. The left eye in particular is quite unusual in that the entirity of it glows a bright neon red marred only by the faint circles of a pupil and iris within. Just below, the curved surface of her lips peel away into a broad grin, and as she scampers closer it becomes exceedingly clear that her teeth are little more than a mass of jagged tiny triangles, more at home in the jaws of a shark than a teenage girl.
"Hey! HEY! You there, with the bird!"
She scrambles over the edge of the crater and skids to a halt only a few inches away, leaning towards the white-clad stranger with as much respect for her personal space as she had shown for the poor plant. She practically bounces with glee, her hands all clenching up into excited fists as she looks around, taking in the landscape for the first time.
"THIS. IS. AMAZING!"
A voice that is somewhere between gargled rocks and nails on a chalkboard hits an octave that probably would have shattered glass, if there were any that had somehow survived the untold devastation of the ages to be found. She lets out a cackling giggle, running in a circle around Nakoruru like a child that has just found herself at an amusement park.
"Where is this place?! Do you live here?! I'm soooo jealous! So much destruction! So much anarchy!" She takes a deep breath as another bolt of arcane lightning splits the sky and squeals. "Chaooooos!"
She keeps her distance at first - the one and only living thing visible outside the ominously creaking ancient trees nearby. The broken fountain that had served as the nature girl's makeshift planter is no where to be seen and the tiny life she had carefully, painstakingly guided and willed to life is assuredly extinguished. Everything happens too fast for her to show an immediate reaction beyond quiet bewilderment. Four eyes stare at the crater as both bird and girl wait for the initial dark flame and smoke to clear.
The figure in white hardly casts an impressive sight against the desolate environment. Small in stature, lithe form is largely hidden beneath the robe draped over her body or the pants only visible by the cuffs at her ankles as she stands up straight. The robe whips about her legs from the wind driven by the initial blast before falling back into place. The bird on her arm is huge by hawk standards, its wings folded behind its back, its talons keeping it firmly in place on her right forearm.
A soft breath is taken followed by a quiet sigh. This had to be deliberate. Something had to be preventing her from stoking even one small spark of life outside the border of the forest of the dead. The odds of something landing so directly right on top of it throughout this entire hellscape...
She takes a step forward only to have her sense of smell assaulted, giving the ancient warrior pause. The sickening smell of burning flesh - a scent all too familiar from a warring nation two hundred years in the past. How often in her travels did she come across entire villages smoldering for the fatal offense of being in some marauding warlord's path, farmers put to the sword, the bodies of their women and children nothing but twisted, burnt forms? But what could explain this?
The first thought it is that it is similar to what happened in the forest the other day... flashes from the past, glimpses of how this land has suffered throughout the ages to become how it is. It was not unheard of for cruel generals to launch the burning bodies of the dead over the walls of besieged castles. Is this burning mound of dead flesh something from the past? She takes another step forward, her companion shuffling uncomfortably on her arm.
And the impossible happens.
Twitching at first, then slowly taking on the shape of something that is both familiar yet alien at once. Rather than draw closer, she takes a step back, her right arm shifting over by her left, the great hawk shuffling over to her left wrist guard. The gesture may seem pointless at first unless one notices the handle of the blade at her waist sticking out to her right...
Demons. She has faced them... both the demons of men lost to blood lust and murder, their souls damned before they even perish. And demons infected with fel influences, men and creatures twisted by darkness to become something else entirely. She had faced them before, and each and every time, she had done what was necessary. Her fingers clench and unclench, her body tensing. It's the only possible explanation for something to have survived that fall, for that near-human but not quite silhouette against the last of the drifting ash.
And then they make eye contact - Nakoruru meeting that wide eyed, mismatched gaze with a piercing, calm look of her own, mouth a thin line as she stares at the naked creature. That it doesn't bear clothing comes as only a little bit of a surprise. Even the green skinned claw wielding goblin of bygone times managed the decency to wear burlap shreds over his body. But still, what can she expect from the fevered mind of a demon. Is it sent from Outworld-
She is called out as the energetic creature scampers toward her. She starts to reach fort the weapon at her back but ends up hesitating. She needed to be sure before she acted - as a Kamui Sent warrior, she could not afford mistakes. She needed to know exactly what it was she was about to kill, what its threat implied, who it served... and if possible, who /sent/ it here.
And then she realizes that what she first interpreted as an aggressive charge is more akin to the exuberance of a child old enough to appreciate her first winter snowfall, exploring the pristine white, changed world with wide-eyed awe. But instead of gentle snowflakes, this one is exhilarated at the sight of utter desolation.
And then come the questions and that changes everything. Then this twisted thing isn't from Outworld? "Ah..." She looks around at the ruins so admired by this outlandish arrival. "You don't know where you are?" she asks cautiously, still not letting down her guard, turning in place to try and keep the scrambling... girl? in sight. Did the gods really pick this one to send here on Earth's behalf? That can't possibly be the case!
"You were summoned to this island." she continues, brow furrowed. "At least... I think so." The bird on her arm flaps her wings and cries out, seemingly distressed by the onslaught of questions, or maybe she's just trying to match the four-armed one's pitch.
The expression on Nakoruru's face has gone from guarded, to apprehensive, to prepared to fight, to now... conflicted. "You... have... been chosen..." The sentence comes out agonizingly slow, as if with each word she becomes less convinced of what she's saying and finds it painful to utter such an obvious falsehood. "... to fight for the sake of Earth in an ancient tournament." Pause.
"Maye." Another pause.
"But probably not."
The girl's eyes slowly widen again as she repeats the word, staring at the ancient warrior as if she'd just told her that she won the grand prize in a lottery. The sparkle in her eyes is mirrored by a huge grin, flashing her predatory teeth as she fails in an attempt to hold in an excited giggle.
"Summoned! I was /summoned/! Wheeheehehehe!"
Sorcha spins in place, practically dancing with glee at the very idea of it. Her! Summoned! That must mean she's doing something right! Or... very wrong, now that she thinks of it. Generally, the mages are the ones who /do/ the summoning not /get/ summoned. But, whatever, she got noticed by the powers that be! That'll teach all those people who said that her spells and rituals were stupid, the fools who dared to mock her efforts! Or it would, if she hadn't killed them all already. Hmm. Maybe she'll find a way to speak with their spirits and laugh in /their/ faces! Yeah... totally gonna happen.
The whole part about fighting in a tournament seems to have gotten lost in her moment of bliss, along with Nakoruru's dejected and disbelieving tone at the idea that this strange creature might be one of Earth's last hopes for survival. The mutant spins back around to face the bearer of great news, only just now starting to wonder exactly what she might be doing out here all alone in what even her twisted mind can tell isn't exactly a budding tourist attraction. A question for another time. There's more important things on her mind!
Lifting all four of her arms into the air, Sorcha holds her palms out towards the girl, and strangely, her bird as well. Shimmering red eyes, akin to the glowing orb in her face, protrude from each of the black hands. While organic in nature, they don't seem to be particularly 'alive' per se, staring only straight ahead in fixed positions emitting their ominous chaotic glow. Decorations, perhaps? The girl grins again and leans in, holding two hands up to Nakoruru and two towards the bird.
"This is the best. day. EVER! This calls for a celebration! Four simultaneous high fives, let's go!"
Nevermind that each hand has only three or four fingers, YOU KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS!
A slow blink marks her initial response. She's had this conversation a few times now - both two hundred years ago, and then again, this time around once or twice. And... not once did she get a reaction even remotely like this one. She stands quietly, clearly uneasy in the presence of such childlike glee at the idea of being yanked through existence to some island in the middle of the Lost Sea from which there is no readily apparent escape. What's to be happy about there?!
Nakoruru's brow furrows a little as the newest arrival to Shang Tsung's resort island starts dancing and spinning in place, her lack of clothing clearly not even something that is remotely crossing her mind. As it continues, she finds herself starting to lose some of her own wariness, as strange as that seems. She should know better, she tells herself. Those teeth are sharp, and there is something all together unwholesome about this one. But if she's a chosen champion by some god's incomprehensible whimsy... she supposes she has to support her until she sees reason not to?
"Yes, well, ah-"
Mamamaha screeches again and the falconer lifts her hand to run it along the back of the hawk's head as if trying to sooth the bird. "There, there-"
It's right about then that all four arms come up, each palm featuring its own eye that shouldn't be, that everything goes wrong. Having basically no idea what high fives are, the young swordswoman recoils, her right hand lifting first due to not being encumbered with the brown feathered hawk. Her left hand lifts a little slower, palms forward, thinking that she would have to clash against an unexpected tackle from the overly energetic and perhaps dangerously predictable dusty covered demon, and the gesture forces her bird into the air at the same time, her wings flapping with sudden downward force.
It all comes together rather unintentionally, Mamahaha's wings colliding with the two higher arms as she tries to catch herself from falling from being jostled away from the girl's arm, and Nakoruru's palms smacking against Sorcha's as she tries to fend off what seemed to her like a sudden attack out of no where.
Perhaps the most awkward Four Way High Five in history resolves, the hawk pushing off to take to the air while the girl in white stumbles backward to land in a seated position on the ground, a cloud of ashen dust exploding up around her, provoking a soft cough. Looking up from her seated position, she shakes her head, lowering her right hand from her mouth, finally concluding that what just transpired was not the initiation of an ambush, but rather some kind of greeting ritual perhaps. "You really need to be careful about doing... /that/ around people in this place."
Another cough amid the dust as she starts to push herself back up to standing, her crimson moccasins looking almost snow dusted by the fine powder. "Tensions are high, there are a lot of very anxious individuals on this island. Behaving like that... you're bound to start a fight!"
This place just keeps sounding better and better, doesn't it?
Sorcha is caught a little off-guard herself as the startled bird takes flight but she proves far less skiddish, apparently not terribly overwhelmed with concern for her safety as an immediate response to surprise. As a result, her totally awesome quadruple high five goes off perfectly! PERFECTLY. The hawk's wings tap her palms at roughly the same instant as its master's hands and the mutant lets out another cackle of glee.
"Haaaahahaha! I totally high-fived a hawk! This is going in my memooooirs!"
Her voice sing-songs cheerfully as she reaches up to grab at the top of her head. When she finds nothing there, a puzzled look overtakes her bizzare face, hand grasping comically at the empty air above her a few times.
"My hat! It's gone!"
Surely, she couldn't have missed that fact until just now? Perhaps not all of the bells are ringing inside the head of this twisted little creature. Her eyes drift down to the rest of her body, the apparent lack of headwear seeming to prompt a thorough inspection of all her assets. She frowns upon discovering her nudity, though makes no attempt to cover up, looking merely annoyed rather than shocked or appalled.
"Oh huh, my clothes too. Awkwaaaard. Hah! This is just like in that dream I used to have. But, with more barren hellscapes and less me standing around in class while everyone laughs at me."
Her gaze shifts to Nakoruru, one eyebrow raising as if she half expects the strange girl to start laughing at her in that very moment. Daring her to, almost. It would be a nice change, mostly because in her usual dreams she's still an awkward gangly and terribly unattractive girl without awesome magic powers and stuff. This time she could atleast have the satisfaction of setting something on fire. However, as such an outcome is unlikely, she gets bored of waiting after a few seconds and ambles on with her thoughts.
%t"Figures. I bet I got summoned by some lonely nerd who wanted a succubus or something to cuddle with." She tilts her head back and smirks up at the sky, cupping two hands around her mouth to amplify her already too-loud voice. "JOKE'S ON YOU, LOSER!"
Well, she's still standing around naked so maybe she's not in the best position to be taunting at this point. Fortunately (?), her attention shifts back to Nakoruru after only a few moments of what probably looks like sheer insanity, soaking in this new tidbit of information about the sorts of people she's likely to encounter on this bizarre dead land. She also gleans the fact that they're on an island which... might be important or something, who knows. More importantly, however, she's told that all it takes to start a fight around here is giving people high fives!
"Wow, really? Even Rae doesn't lose his shit that easily, ahaha!" She pauses then adds. "Most of the time." A quick glance around at the landscape makes her grin again. "I guess that explains this lovely decor though."
Sorcha's hands come up, two of them creating an L-shape with forefingers and thumbs which she presses together into a box, peering through it as an artist or photographer might as she sweeps it slowly around to take in the devasated scene.
"A portait of Heeeeeell~ This is totally like a Kodak moment or something!"
Her makeshift viewfinder eventually makes its way back around to the white-clad ancient warrior and settles on her face, Sorcha peering down at her through the glowing chaotic eye. Her grin widens into Cheshire-esque levels, teeth forming a disturbing zipper of interlocking edges.
"Soooooo, I gotta ask. What's a pretty lady like you doing in a place like this?"
Once more she pauses, her mind dregging up some further thoughts to add only moment after finishing the first. Her smile shifts to something only slightly less off-putting, a look of thoughtful curiousity working its way across her features.
"That kind of sounds like a cheesy pick up line, doesn't it? Hahaha! Not that I'm hitting on you, I'M TOTALLY NOT! That would be weird and inappropriate, unless ofcourse you're maaaaaybe interested? No, NO! I don't swing that way! I DON'T!"
Another pause as the naked girl rubs at the back of her neck.
"Look, how about we just be friends for now and we'll see where it goes? NO PROMISES!"
Again the excitable girl, as Nakoruru is slowly coming around to thinking of her as, no matter how strange she looks, breaks out into a jubilant dance of excitement at having exchanged palm presses with a bird's wings. The long haired Ainu is quiet as she simply tries to puzzle out just why that's so exciting or special... or maybe to this one, /everything/ is that exciting?
Realization dawns finally that her plunge to the burnt land took place without her wardrobe but the verbal acknowledge of it causes the robed young woman to blink, making the mental connection that had eluded her at first, when she had considered the hyperactive 'limb-blessed' girl something other than a champion candidate. "Ah... yes... That would be the fault of the summoning process itself. We'll have to go back to the castle to get you some clothes."
She talks about dreams and nerds, and the look she gets from the chronologically displaced girl is one of continued befuddlement blended with a certain patience that comes from being perpetually bombarded by new words and ideas from nearly everyone she talks to. "Well, the summoning is normally conducted by a group of monks... I can't say if they are nerds or not, but they might be lonely?"
Pausing to dust off her robe, she watches curiously as the energetic survey of the land is conducted through a strange framing ritual, "Kodak moment?" she asks, holding up her own hands to copy the adjoined L shape frame and looking back at Sorcha through it.
Asked why she would be somewhere like this, she glances back toward the smoldering crater, a soft intake of breath followed by a quiet sigh before a faint smile of resignation works its way to her lips, completely missing the implications of the next rapid fire sentences as she shifts her thoughts back to the question itself. "I was working on something out here, but... for now, it doesn't matter."
The proposal that they be friends for now seems to suit the girl fine as she rests the fingers of her left hand against her chest and nods her head, "If you were summoned here without your knowledge then we must be fighting for the same cause. We shouldn't fight each other." Outworlders don't seem to be nearly as inconvenienced in their arrival methods... "My name is Nakoruru. I would be happy to answer whatever questions you might have. But first we should start heading back to the castle. It's a long walk."
She considers the ball of barely controlled energy for a moment before continuing. "Here." Snapping her right arm out to her side, a billowing white cloth whips out from seemingly no where much like a magician's trick, one corner of it held in her fingers, all four sides bordered by the same crimson geometric pattern as Nakoruru's robe. The cape is large enough to easily wrap around either of the two lithe figures.
Folding it over her forearm, then folding it again to a quarter-square to rest it on her palms, she looks the dusty girl up and down, a flicker of disapproval at her dirty state evident in her eyes before she seems to continue forward with her decision. Holding the folded cape out, she offers it with a smile, "You can wrap yourself up in this until we get you some actual clothes?"
Of course, in her attempt to be helpful, she might be completely overlooking the fact that the Kamui-blessed cape literally ripples with holy, healing energy, and that she's offering it to a pint sized Beacon of Pure Chaos to wrap herself in. Surely nothing could go wrong there.
Well isn't this girl the most adorable thing. Sorcha can't help but grin as her motions are mimicked, the look on her new friend's face seeming to indicate that she's never seen a camera pantomimed before. Hah, and she thought she was the one out of her element here! But all this talk of castles and monks and summoning rituals slowly starts to make more sense in light of that thought.
Maybe she got pulled into the past! Or, even better, into an alternate realm! Ooooh, it's just like one of her RPGs! Will there be knights and wizards? Monsters and moats? Dare she say it - dungeons and dragons?! The very idea makes her squeal with delight yet again, seemingly at random, her hands clapping together in anticipation.
Ofcourse, as a summoned hero, she has a part to play! An important role! She can't just waltz up to the king, or whoever is in charge here, naked as jaybird. I mean, she could, that might be kind of funny too... no no no, bad idea, bad idea! You have to make a good impression first! /Then/ you can get naked. Everyone knows that adventurers are a bunch of sluts anyways, always sleeping around with elven maids and busty tavern wenches.
With these thoughts foremost on her mind, Sorcha gives no hesitation towards accepting the offer of the white cloak, though her nose wrinkles up as the woman unveils the secret of her name. Naco... Neko... Rurwu? Bah! Silly moonspeak! This is a /western/ game!
"Thanks, Steve," she says, snatching up the cloth greedily. "P.S. your name is Steve now."
She drapes it over her shoulders like a cape, tying a knot in two of the corners at the nape of her neck. Not the most comfortable fit but it'll do. Whatever this fabric is, it's terribly itchy. Beggars can't be choosers though. Arranged as such, the cloth manages to atleast cover her from the back, though the lack of fastenings in the front is likely to accomplish little in the way of protection while she is in motion and kicking the flaps about with her feet or moving those arms of hers around. It's an improvement, atleast.
Thus draped in her dazzling new wardrobe, the mutant spins in a circle and flourishes the cape, tossing one flap out of the way so as to bow and pretty much immediately ruining the point.
"I...," she says dramatically, drawing out a long pregnant pause. "...am Sorcha! The Terrible! No, the Mighty! The... Mighty Terrible! Yes." She nods, looking pleased. "I'm the mage of this group! I guess that makes you a ranger or something? Hmm. Odd starting party but I've managed with worse! Atleast you aren't a bard, yeck."
The girl scratches at her shoulder and makes a face. Darn itchy cloak. Best they get on their way back to her actual clothes quick. She turns her head to regard the forest seriously for the first time, letting out a low whistle followed by a gleeful giggle.
"Oh man, oh man, this is gonna be /great/! Let's go, Steve!"
Without waiting for approval, Sorcha (the Mighty Terrible) dashes off towards the edge of the forest. Ofcourse, she's going completely in the wrong direction, but, eh, details.
"Steve?" That doesn't even sound remotely close to the name she offered. "Steve..." She tries it again, slower this time, sounding it out. "I do not think that I like the sound of Steve." she murmurs, shoulders slouching slightly while her company dreams of wild RPG adventures, dragons, and naked parties with royalty while wrapping herself up in the proffered cloak. As she ties the corners into knots to bring it together, the swordswoman offers a supportive smile, "Now, there you..." The problem with it becomes immediately apparent the moment the excitable shark mouthed dustball starts spinning around, kicking her feet, bowing, and generally defeating any attempt at providing her with an iota of modesty. "...go."
The brown hawk circles back down, having recovered from her own startled flight to come to a landing on the arm guard of the young falconer once more. As Sorcha introduces herself, the bird screeches back, flapping her wings twice but staying perched on 'Steve's' arm. "I see..." she considers, glancing to the side slightly, free hand lifting to rub her cheek in thought. "Ranger? That is kind of like a warden, yes? I suppose that is close enough."
The bird screes again, refusing to be ignored. "Oh! Yes, she wants me to let you know that her name is Mamahaha." the party ranger continues, petting the back of the hawk's head. But she's barely even audible over the next shout of exuberance before the tiny figure, naked but for a cloak she is barely putting to good use, takes off without her. Left behind, Nakoruru stares after the sprinting, barely clothed four-armed girl while the raptor on her arm emits a soft noise that almost sounds like a chirped chortle.
"Um... maybe this is the best they could find?" she responds to the hawk, breathing in to release a soft sigh of resignation as she starts off after the one who is about to become Mightily Terribly Lost in the haunted wood. One last forlorn glance is offered the smoldering crater where the small seedling had existed prior to now, days worth of effort gone up in an instant of extremely unlikely happenchance. What were the odds of that even happening?
"Wait, not that way!" She starts to pick up the pace, worry crossing into her expression. That crazy girl is fast!
"Don't get so close to that tree trunk-" She winces.
"Or... that might happen..."
Perhaps unexpectedly, her cry of warning is actually heeded by the errant girl, atleast in part. Sorcha turns her head to peer over her shoulder, a lack of understanding apparent in her quizzical look. She slowly comes to a halt just before hitting the outer edge of the forest, hands on her hips as she stares at the trees. They just look like normal trees to her! Definately old, twisted, and creepy trees but there's nothing particularly ominous or odd about them.
"I don't get it," she calls back, stalking closer to one of the towering trees. Gnarled roots entwine together into thick knots, their long bony tendrils digging into the earth like rusty needles into the wan flesh of the earth, siphoning what little sustenance there is to be found from the ground with greed. Thick clusters of equally corrupted moss and lichen spread out across the lower halves of the trunks, various shades of gray and black staining them in blotchy cancerous patches. Her gaze travels upwards finding only skeletal branches heavy with rot and withered leaves that seem to desperately cling to their perches in defiance of the blight. A cozy little vacation spot to be sure.
"What's wrong with the trees?"
Her answer comes, predictably, almost before the words have finished leaving her mouth. A small cluster of fat mushrooms protruding from one of the many clumps of moss at the base of the tree suddenly come to life. Their domed caps shrink and then expand in a wheezing cough filling the air all around the girl with a thick spray of grimey spores. Sorcha recoils, choking on the foul air. Her arms wave about in an attempt to disperse the cloud but she only succeeds in stirring up the cloying substance and it quickly begins to seep into her tar-black skin.
After a couple moments of helpless flailing, she manages to stagger out of the haze. She bends over, hands on her knees, hacking helplessly at the disgusting sensation as the spores invade her throat and lungs.
"O-oh..." she manages to choke out in between wheezes. "That's what."
Eh, she's had worse. Like the time she sleepily mistook a bottle of nail polish for mouth wash. Blech. Took days for that taste to leave her mouth. Infact, now that she has a moment to think about it the spores weren't that bad at all...
Her vision swims suddenly, the world distorting and shifting as if someone had replaced her eyes with fishbowls. She attempts to stand up straight but the dizzying view of her head moving that far that fast very nearly knocks her off her feet. Sorcha wobbles unsteadily, heaving back and forth as if on the deck of a tossing ship, her many arms stretching out in various directions to steady her balance like a tightrope walker.
"Kyahahaha! Hey, who set the ground to spin dry?!"
Once her increased pass crosses over into a light jog, the bird on her arm takes to the air, probably not much caring for the jostling she's getting perched on Nakoruru's arm. Never quite breaking into a sprint, the girl in dusty white catches up right around the time the aberrant creature stumbles out of the spore cloud that continues to linger around the base of the tree in a thick, noxious haze.
Glancing between the aggressive mushrooms and their most recent victim, she shakes her head, "Everything in this forest will try to kill you. I've figured out a way through, but if you wander off, you might find yourself strangled by vines, snapped at by carnivorous ferns, or entangled in roots that move faster than you would expect." She blinks as the flailing only seems to get worse, not sure if her warning is even comprehensible to the girl that seems barely able to stay standing.
Eyes widen in alarm as one of her staggers takes her dangerously close back toward the poisonous cloud and she slips forward, hand snapping out to grab hold of one of the four boney arms in order to pull her in the opposite direction, trying to tug her along until she's well outside random stumbling range of the last death trap.
"Don't go getting a second dose of that. I think you will be okay, but..." Brow furrowed in visible concern, she glances deeper into the forest then back to the dazed and dizzy 'champion'. "It would be unfortunate if one of Earth's champion got eliminated without even making it to a fight," she chides softly with almost a tsk'ing tone to her voice. "I've seen it happen before... It's really a rather shameful way to go." She continues to monitor the self-proclaimed party mage with pursed lips. The cloak barely covering her as she flails about does have amelioratory properties, capable of mending even grievous wounds over time. At least, it does for most people. Most people wouldn't be put to uncomfortable itching by the blessed relic either though.
Sizing her up for another moment, she grunts softly, "Do you need me to carry you for a while?" Maybe that would be for the best, she thinks to herself. Less chance of the wild thing running off to poke at some flower only to discover it's the colorful head of a venomous serpent or falling down one of the many spike-laden pit traps the cautious explorer had found in her trips through the woods.
Even with her warnings and gentle chiding, there is almost something sisterly about the tone and concern the warrior maiden displays with the wild-eyed new arrival.
Sorcha hardly seems to notice when she's yanked away from the deadly edge of the spore cloud by her new friend. The world spins around her in a new direction is all. She bumbles towards Nakoruru's firm tug and practically falls into the well-meaning warrior, remaining upright only by virtue of clinging to her shoulders. Well, atleast she's out of immediate danger, right?
The mage breathes heavily but despite her predicament she seems far more amused than worried. High-pitched giggles spill from her in a near constant stream as she wobbles on her feet, head lolling around in lazy circles. Perhaps it is the healing properties of the cloak or a facet of her own chaos-touched anatomy or even a mixture of the two, but her behavior is more in line with that of a cheerful drunk than someone who has been poisoned.
"Eliminated... hehehe... that would be a real shame... REAL SHAME!"
It takes some effort but Sorcha manages to look her in the face when Nakoruru suggests that she might carry the poor girl. Even in her stupor, she manages to look skeptical, eyebrow arching over her glowing eye as she narrows it. The mutant leans in close, giving her new friend a fish-eyed stare for several long long moments. Eventually, she reaches up with one pair of arms and pokes the Ainu warrior on the cheeks, squishing them about. Her eyes go wide again, a slow gasp escaping her mouth as she squeals with surprise and delight.
"You /are/ real!"
Keeping Sorcha upright seems to be enough of an effort right now, her shoulders freely offered for half of her flailing hands to rest against if that will prevent an ungainly fall to the forest floor. Nakoruru winces as the magic-twisted girl yells out again, suddenly glancing around rapidly, eyes peering into the ever shifting shadows of the haunted wood, "Not so loud. There are things in this-"
Whatever concern she was about to express is cut short as she looks back toward the cloak-clad chaos agent only to find her leaning in close to stare right back at her with obvious suspicion. "- forest t-that..." she stammers as she starts to recoil back from the tipsy thing's intrusion well into the range of instinctive personal space.
And then her cheeks are being poked and prodded and Nakoruru brings her hands up to grab the wrists of at least two of those arms, for all the good that might do, while also trying to lean back to put her cheeks outside of touching range. "This place is dangerous!" she whispers urgently. "Everything on this island either is either openly deadly or, if you can't find the threat at first glance, you will find it if you look harder."
She pauses for a moment, listening, trying to make sure that they haven't already drawn attention from whatever stalks these woods. Then she goes back to studying her strange friend, "Are you going to get sick?" Being this close to the poisoned girl, it's a reasonable concern!
Waiting, she finally shakes her head, deciding that her company is in no condition to walk, releasing her wrists while dropping down to one knee, her back half turned toward Sorcha, "Here, climb on my back. I can carry you for a while." She pauses, her mouth curling into a supportive smile, as she tries to encourage at least an iota of cooperation. "Sorcha, the Mighty Terrible, shouldn't have to walk on her own, right?"
The words make sense. Well, as much sense as anything ever does in the deep and twisting halls of what used to be Sorcha's mind. Right now all of the mirrors in her fun house have been replaced with kaleioscopes, however, which makes her even less inclined to rational thought than usual. As if sensing this, in some mind recessed corner of her psyche, the mage just nods dreamily at Nakoruru as she continues to giggle and grin.
"Pffttt... dangerous." She waves a hand or three in the air dismissively, lurching forward onto the surface of the offered back. Sorcha flops down across the soft bed of white, further defiling the pristine white of her traditional clothes with fresh soot. It takes her a couple of moments to realize that she's not standing up any more and she pulls herself up a little higher on the hunter's back, resting her head on the shelf of her shoulder. This, unfortunately, also puts her ear at ground zero for the delusional ramblings which have had no difficulty in being heard thus far.
"Lemme tell you shomfing about dangerous, Stehf...!" Her words degenerate quickly into muttered ramblings, half whispered and half growled. "Theeere ain't no one... NO ONE... more dangeroush... than ME. I have power... you shee? Maaaagick..."
She blinks for a few moments and then lets out a sigh, wrapping all of her arms around Nakoruru, two dangling over her shoulders while the lower pair encircle her slender waist tightly. She rubs her face against the Ainu's cheek, smiling a goofy smile as she spreads the dirt caking her body onto apparently as much of the poor girl as she can manage, almost like that's her goal.
"You are... a great guy, Shteve. Shoft and nice and warm and..."
Once more, Sorcha trails off but this time the look on her face is distant, eyes staring straight ahead with a glossy look of daydreaming thought or perhaps confusion. Her glowing chaotic eye twitches a few times, the corner of her lip twisting up and her nose wrinkling. The look is... not particularly flattering. The contortions in her face slowly grow more and more pronounced until at last they reach some sort of critical mass and unleash the devastation that had been building.
To say that Sorcha sneezes would be to vastly understate the gravity of the event. Her head snaps forward, jaw smashing into the white shoulder holding her aloft with a force akin to a deploying airbag. Twin sprays of foul acrid mist explode from her nostrils with such vehemence that it actually rocks the pair of them backwards, which is a good thing too, because the ejected filth combusts into withering black flames mere moments after being exposed to the air, creating a pair of arcane fireballs that sputter and hiss like sparkler fireworks. They dance madly about in the air, twisting and spiraling in chaotic patterns for a few terrible instants, and then they simply wink out.
Sorcha sniffles, rubbing the back of a hand across her nose, which does little more than to smear the faint traces of what remains across her lip and cheek. She plops her head back down on Nakoruru's shoulder and lets out another giggle.
The process of acquiring her passenger is not all together the smoothest operation. Only after Sorcha flops against her back does she realize that the weapon sheathed at the back of her waist is going to make for a less than comfortable obstruction to rest against. A soft grunt escapes her lips as she reaches behind her, trying to squeeze her hands between the dizzy girl's stomach and her own back in order to retrieve the two-foot long scabbard and pull free the cords that keep it firmly in place. "Excuse me, let me just..." she murmurs, delicate looking fingers making quick work of the blue corded knot and then finally sliding it out from behind her. While her right hand busies itself with sliding it into her belt on her right side, her left arm alternates between reaching behind herself to keep her patient from falling off to one side or the other and trying to retie the knot in her scabbard's sheath.
"There." The ordeal complete, she reaches behind her cloaked companion and scoops her arms under her legs and pushes herself to her feet with another grunt. The Ainu Warrior is tougher than she may look, but it's clear with the pause she takes upon standing that her demonic baggage is a noticeable burden for her to hold upright as well. But after another few moments of trying to adjust where Sorcha rests against her back and helping the girl move her four arms into places that allow for a good distribution of support, she finally seems to be reasonably capable of bearing the weight.
"All right then." She sucks in her breath, glances around briefly to get her bearings, eying the grim violet glow of the wastelands behind her, and starts along moving deeper into the forest. She makes a few turns, adjusting her route as she goes, seeming to have a clear and definite approach to navigating the wretched clime. Eyes in the shadows, movement in the underbrush, and even the impression of being watched by presences unseen accompany the diminutive duo as the atmosphere grows fainter by the minute, the canopy overhead doing all it can to strange out any beam of sunlight.
Getting even further dirtied by her contact with the self-proclaimed chaos mage, Nakoruru seems to simply bear with it, her mind on getting the two of them through this most treacherous divide of the island landmass. Frequently, she turns her head slightly, keeping an eye on the face of her unexpected friend out of her peripheral vision. Which is why she slows to a stop when something begins to look horribly amiss.
"Ah... Are you... do you need to get down for a moment-"
The weaponized sneeze from the depths of hell erupts, Nakoruru's shoulder jammed down by Sorcha's chin before she finds herself being pulled backward by the four arms clinging to her body. Staggering, she nearly loses her footing, her right arm slipping loose from beneath Sorcha's leg to flail about while her left does its best to try and keep her passenger in place.
Finally, she catches herself, right arm looping back around to heft Sorcha back into place while the Doom Sneezer nestles back up against her shoulder. Perspiring from her burdened hike, the time lost warrior catches her breath before finally looking sideways to check on her mucus smearing company. Well. She at least has SOME idea why something like this would be sent to fight for Earth, however strange as it might be. If that's an example of what she can do accidentally, imagine what kind of threat she must be when acting deliberately!
"Ah... Try to warn me about any more outbursts like that." She makes a bit of a face before leaning forward to resume the trek through the forest, staying as far away as possible from some of the thicker, more ancient trees, suspecting they are the ones more likely to have been well fed by the fallen over the millennia this place has existed.
"And you really need a bath." She glances over herself, noticing how dirty she's gotten just by proximity, realizing that she does as well all things considered.
"So... you must be some kind of fighter, yes? What kind of training have you had?" Another turn is made around a fetid pond full of rotting bodies barely protruding through the thick scum that coats the surface, some reduced almost to bone while others look strangely fresh.
The passage of time seems to do much for the malady inflicted upon the mutant by the strange spores. Slowly, her senses begin to recover to the point that her words manage to regain proper pronounciation though it does little for the coherency of the strange things that come out of her mouth. Despite this, Sorcha remains content to stay flopped out across her living palanquin, enjoying the warmth put out by the other girl's body.
It's been a long time since anyone was willing to touch her. Or, for that matter, since she let anyone get close enough to do so. There was usually fire and teeth involved in standing too close to the little chaos mage and a great deal of screaming insults besides. How odd. Perhaps her wonder at being dropped into a strange land had distracted her from the usual hunger for violence. Maybe there was simply so much chaos here already that she didn't feel the need to add to it - much.
Whatever the case, she finds herself in the strange position of having the real potential to make a friend. The thought is almost alien to her at this point, her mind consumed with revenge and hatred and a desire to see the world burn. Somehow, she doubts it will last. The friendly girl with her, admittedly cool, bird would likely come to her senses soon enough and see Sorcha for what she really is - a monster.
Not just on the outside - one didn't have to look very hard to see that - but deep down in the dregs of her little black soul. There isn't much there left to salvage. She had willingly cast it aside, sold it off to powers unknown, and laughed with sheer glee when it was all said and done. She isn't a story of tragic circumstances or dark necessity. She is the avatar of chaos, a being that exists for the sole sake of tearing down all that has been built for the sheer fun of watching it all burn.
Damn but she loves her job. Snuggling is nice too, though.
"No, I'm a mage, I /told you this already/! Pay attention, Steve!" She flicks Nakoruru on the ear one one of her meaty digits. "Fighters have big swords and armor, duh! Mages usually have staves or wands, I guess, but I'm too awesome for waving sticks around!"
Sorcha leans forward and holds her hands out infront of the holy warrior, displaying her glowing-eyed palms to her. The bizarre bumps which had before seemed to be inanimate decorations slowly swivel inwards, each mutated eye looking very clearly at her face with their lid-less stare.
"The magick is in here! A gift from the gods of chaos!"
She gives one of her wide sharky grins and rests her face next to Nakoruru's, pressing their cheeks together as she holds the girl's head from the other side. Her expression is positively predatory, the entropic glow in her mutated face-eye seeming to radiate an aura of sadistic anticipation that is reflected in her voice.
The humidity of the forest and the exertion of navigating its treacherous ways with someone not that much smaller than herself on her back is taking its toll on 'Steve', perspiration rolling down her cheeks and her back becoming damp beneath her unnatural burden. But Nakoruru has yet to voice a complaint, pressing forward once she resumed, only breaking the quiet repetition of her breathing with the occasional question. All along, she has been giving the gangly thing the benefit of the doubt, treating her as if by default, the potential was there for her to be good.
All the while, she can't miss the unmistakable signs, the flashes of wildness untamed or unrestrained. But the resolved warrior is no stranger to ferocity in living things. Wildlife seemed to reciprocate her kind attentions most of the time... and when it hasn't, she had come to learn the hard way that there comes times when the sharp end of the blade is the only resolution, when ferocity spills over into bloodthirsty madness. It was a hard, painful lesson learned a lifetime a go, but that doesn't make the moments any easier to endure when forced.
But for now, she seems to exhibit only concern for the curious friend she's made in this inhospitable land. It could simply her nature to be so nurturing... and anyone who the time to truly observe would see that the creature clinging to her shoulders and waist was a living void of nurturing.
Her ear gets flicked, provoking a nose wrinkle of annoyance as she leans her head away for a moment, "Fine, fine, mage." She ruminates on the word quietly to herself, connecting it to to synonyms that she has encountered. Shang Tsung, the man at the apex of this island of predators, is known as a sorcerer. Shiro Tokisada Amakusa was a magician... were there no so called magic wielders that weren't malevolent beings? "But where's my armor?" she asks, grinning a little in spite herself.
She has to come to a stop as the hands obstruct her view. Every step here requires at least some degree of caution, and that's not really possible when one has palm-eyes staring back at them. Her own eyes flick back and forth between each hand before glancing to the side at that changed face, the human girl she must have been at one time almost impossible to perceive beneath the changes she's undergone.
Her own face aglow from the crimson luminescence provided by the unnatural eyes, she frowns just a little as Sorcha begins to find her energy again. Maybe it was better when she was barely cognizant.
"It isn't going to involve any more exploding, is it?" she asks hesitantly, clearly still nervous about that sneeze, especially with how close their faces are now.
"Isn't going to...?"
Sorcha's grin falters as she repeats the words incredulously. Surely... surely that was a joke? Haha! A wonderful joke, yes! She starts to smile again, the beginnings of a cackle building in her throat but it becomes painfully obvious by the look on the Ainu girl's face that she was entirely serious. Oh dear.
The mutated mage lets out a sigh and shakes her head, eyes closing as she clucks her tongue like a disappointed parent seeing their child's failing report card. Her hands withdraw and she pushes herself off the perch of Nakoruru's shoulders, dropping back onto her own two feet.
"Steve, Steve, Steve..."
A hand comes to rest on her shoulder and it squeezes gently. She doesn't know. She doesn't understand. How terrible, to drift aimlessly through the annals of one's short and pointless existence, unaware and ignorant. Sorcha gives her a reassuring smile - well, it's supposed to be reassuring atleast. Everything will be alright. She doesn't know; but she will. Sorcha leans in close and wraps her arm around the ancient warrior's shoulders, draping it across her neck like an old friend and pulling her close until her face has smooshed up against Nakoruru's once more.
She seems to enjoy that. Squish squish. So soft. Ahem, back to the point.
Another arm snakes around her waist, binding the pair of them together at the hips as well as the head. She doesn't know yet. She'll be so amazed, wouldn't want her new friend to fall over from sheer shock. It's just the nice thing to do, right?
Sorcha's grin expands to Cheshire Cat size and she giggles softly as she extends the two arms not entangled about her pal's body, pointing her palms at the nearby forest. Crackling black fire springs to life about those hands, hungry and dancing as if caught up in a terrible maelstrom that touches only them.
"The best magic is nothing /but/ explosions!"
Sorcha's shrill voice explodes into maniac laughter as she unleashes the magick in her body upon the twisted forest. Massive balls of blazing oily fire erupt from her palms with a great roar, streaking in lazy arcs through the air to crash upon the woods. The fireballs burst like over-fed ticks upon impact, shattering the ancient trunks into so much detrious and splashing gouts of inky flame in all directions. The chaotic fires need little encouragement to set about their task of devouring everything they touch, eager and hungry as ravenous wolves.
Sorcha clings tightly to her companion, turning them both in place with shuffling steps as she swings her arms about with haphazard glee, swiveling so that each horrendous explosion is front and center in Nakoruru's captive vision. Projectile after projectile is lobbed into the soul-steeped trees, magical artillery crashing down among their great ranks in an act of pure wanton destruction.
"Mooooore /fire/! Ahaha... Haaaahahahaha!"
Standing up straight as the chaos-bearer finally lets herself down, Nakoruru lifts her hands to adjust the hang of her robe on her shoulders, tucking cloth and shifting the way it fits through the belt at her waist, all the while giving the unnervingly gleeful girl a wary look. A moment later and they're basically attached again, this time side by side, cheek to cheek, so that they can be assured of synchronized appreciation of the spectacle about to play out.
Seeing the fire crackle to life, answering her call to action and course down over her extended hands, Nakoruru begins to protest, glancing sidelong toward the nearly glowing face of the eager spell weaver. "I don't think this would be a good place to-" Her approach continues to be too passive, too meek to enforce her will. Has she fallen back to old habits so fast?
The warrior priestess's words are drown out by the high pitched, shrill cry for explosions as the first meteor of chaotic destruction is conjured into slow but inevitable arc toward the first tree to serve as a demonstration of exactly what her magick is capable of. The power of unmaking is on full display as the ancient wood is shattered, splinters and flaming fragments of wood rain all around as if the ancient living thing had simply disintegrated.
Eyes widen, face pale beneath the perverse shadows cast by rippling darkflame, as she starts to shake her head against the cheek pressed against hers. "N-no," she stammers at first, her voice inaudible over the crackle of flame and the disturbingly delighted noises being made by the excitable one responsible for the chain of destruction playing out before her.
Each shattered tree sends up a cloud of energy, swirling, ghostly green wisps that spiral upward none too silently as one by one, their wails begin to echo throughout the deep places of the woods. "Stop it-"
It wasn't that the trees were being destroyed. Even the earth priestess knew that the tainted ground they stood upon was likely a lost cause, that no amount of prayer or even a life time of sacrifice could undo the damage wrought by the history of this place. It wasn't even the nature of the unholy flames being used to execute the malignant trees, one after another, as they stand stationary, helpless to defy the whims of chaos's little avatar.
It was that she enjoyed doing it.
"No! Stop it!"
She finally wrests herself away, whirling to face Sorcha directly then, jaw set, hands clenched at her sides as she stands a meter from the tree burner. Her right hand lifts, running through the bangs over forehead as she seems at a loss for further words at first.
If the forest had to be burned, as she had been slowly coming to believe in her risky, life endangering attempts to purge the corruption from its very heart, it needed to be an act of solemnity, of respect and remorse. Not... not a flame thrower party for showing off raw destructive potential.
"How can you..." she stammers, still in shock, her voice strained. Even though she had only known the four-armed mutant for a little while, she still can't help but feel betrayed by such open, reckless, irreverent destruction. The look in her eyes seems to ask how Sorcha could even do something like this!
The act of desecration has not gone unnoticed by the environment around them either. Fel mists begin to pour in around the two, seeping from the empty spots left by the trees and a heavy presence builds in the air itself.
Still reeling, Nakoruru takes a step forward, hand outstretched, not even aware of the forest's own response to these two intruders who have brought so much wanton destruction with them. This is one of the ones the powers that be chose to represent Earth? Someone who would destroy life, any life, with such unrestrained exuberance?
"Sorcha- please, don't use your power that way!"
Sorcha's mad cackling glee is interrupted rather rudely by her new 'friend's' sudden desire to be free of her tainted touch. The mutant offers no resistance to being pushed away, her open-mouthed grin fading to a knowning smile as her teeth glint in the darkfire that burns with the same intense madness.
Well, that didn't take long. One little display of her true passion and it's all 'how could you' and 'please, stop!'. Pfeh. It's a song she's heard so many times now, she knows the words by heart. Second verse, same at the first, and on and on it goes. They're all the same. Squeamish, whiny, do-gooders who can't understand the purity of the power that drives her. Chaos, it all its uncontrollable majesty. It is the very substance of existence, the building blocks from which everything emerges and eventually returns to.
All around them, the fires flicker and spread, creeping outwards over the forest floor and up the trees, engulfing everything they touch in the dull light of raw chaotic power. In some places the darkflame burns as any normal fire might, consuming and searing all that it touches with a terrible heat, while in others it has far less rational effects. A few of the trees begin to melt like wax, their thick trunks and skeletal limbs running together into piles of gelatinous slag that wobbles and quivers as if somehow alive. Elsewhere, the magical flames cause the gnarled wooden surfaces to bleed as if composed of thousands of tiny razorblades scratching and scoring the bark. Shapes appear beneath the surface of these particular trees, imprints that disturbingly resemble the faces of humans. They press up against the now-malleable skin as if trying to escape, their wails rising up to join the growing chorus of damned souls.
Perhaps most disturbing and unexpected, however, is the fires that bring new life. The flames land upon the small colonies of mushrooms lying crouched and hidden beneath the tangled roots and they suddenly begin to swell up and expand. Their growth is swift and violent, massive caps bloating outwards, smashing aside root and tree with sharp cracks like breaking bones. The lichens and mosses too seem only to benefit from this maelstrom of entropy. Little more than patches of dark fuzz, they shoot up into the air in all directions, each thin scraggly strand of fiber becoming a sharp blade-like protrusion that coils and twists about in alarmingly controlled ways.
Sorcha holds her arms out as if presenting the scene to her new friend like an painter unveiling a portrait of unparalleled beauty, smug in her talent and artistry. She throws her head back and laughs, her shrill voice briefly drowning out the chorus of screaming damned roused to ire by her sudden and unwanted intrusion.
"You're not my dad! Ahahahaha! Can't tell me what to do, Steve! Besides!" She spins in place, arms extended as if to give the whole big thing a giant hug. "Look at all the lovely nightmares! It's like my owwwwn little garden of doom! AhaHAHAhaaaa!"
Every direction she glances is even more horrific than the last. It isn't just raw destructive power, it's corruption incarnate, twisting, turning, and toying with life in one revolting, unconscionable way after another. Trees that had born witness to the passing of entire ages of man vaporized, melted, and bloodied as souls who have known nothing but torment are introduced to a fresh new hell of agony rather than the peaceful release they had likely long given up hope for.
Elsewhere, gargantuan growth surges into existence, shattering anything that gets in its way. Nakoruru ducks, her hands over her head as a bough sent spinning through the air narrowly misses braining her, before she stands up again to take it all in. The unnatural growth can't possibly sustain itself as it expands at the touch of wild magicks, turning the entire area into a glade of twisted dreams.
The inherent entropy of this lost world seems to drink in the chaos being fed to it, old matter replaced with new, vibrant, voracious growth, becoming even more dangerous than the cursed trees that lurched there before. And between watching for dangers to herself, and glancing toward each new, stomach churning repulsive sight, the timeless warrior keeps looking back at Sorcha with an increasingly sickened expression. There is no doubt in her mind that she would have exercised this corrupt power on Earth as well, no doubt leaving destruction and twisted life in her wake. How could the Elder Gods possibly send her here to fight for a planet she can't possibly love?
Her breaths come faster, adrenaline coursing through her body. She should have seen the signs... she HAD seen the signs. But it was easier to ignore them, to believe anyone could be good, no matter what might have warped her body into the disfigured mutant she is now. Her fists clenched at her sides, her arms tremble, teeth grit. If this were happening elsewhere, she would know what to do. But here, this crazy thing is supposed to be on the same side? It isn't so simple anymore.
Or is it? She closes her eyes briefly - she knows all too well the danger of a rabid wolf left unculled. Before long, the fatal disease has spread to the pack, then other animals, catching unsuspecting people with its vile death sentence. Is this thing so different? Left to live, how far would her corruption spread? How many others would suffer because of it?
Eyes snap open, a second look taken at the cloak-clad spinning spellbinder. Was she so naive to think she could tame the little demon? Shouldn't she have responded the way she had to every other fallen creature and drawn her blade without hesitation? Was she lulled in by behavior that was not even a conscious deception? Even if Sorcha stopped now, the truth was laid bare, it was impossible to deny what her heart and mind knew without a doubt.
"You can't help what you are... and for that, I am sorry..."
She slides her left foot forward, her right arm bending, her hand lifting to hover near the handle of her sheathed weapon. Her breaths are coming quickly, the stress of such an uncertain situation leaving her mind reeling. Why couldn't she at least get a sign, a clear answer about what she was supposed to do when confronted with something like this?
"I know that you were chosen to be here. But I cannot abide by your ways for even a moment." The fingers of her hand close then open again, "I think I understand how strong you must be. The gods may have chosen to place you in the path of our enemies, but fate brought you to me and I cannot ignore my own solemn duty." She tenses, visibly shaken at the idea of drawing her weapon against the dark skinned Agent of Entropy. A chiding voice echoes in her mind - calling her soft, weak, slow to do what she knew she was supposed to do.
"I wish it hadn't come to this."
A cry from the large hawk that had taken to the skies before the two ventured into the forest announces its plunge from above, the canopy that had concealed them now gone as tree after ancient tree surrenders to the power Scorcha, the Mighty Terrible, unleashes with such ease. Swooping over, it comes to rest over the robed falconer, heavy beats of its wings keeping the raptor aloft meters above the ground.
Sorcha rolls her eyes at the overly dramatic agonizing of her brief friend, one set of arms crossing over her bare chest while the other looms above her shoulders, clawed fingers splayed out like some sort of Hollywood monster ready to pounce. Fresh darkfire flickers in her grasp, the tainted pitch-black skin of the mutant apparently immune to the warping effects of the chaotic magic. She doesn't look particularly worried about the imminent threat posed by Nakoruru and her blade, suffering no measure of the conflicted emotions that wrack the good-hearted girl.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I upset you? Not quite what you were expecting? Don't meet your exacting standards of decency and 'good'? Blah blah blah, heard it all before, sister."
The grin remains firmly fixed on her face, a crazed lopsided thing with far too many of her wicked teeth showing, but there's also an element of something else present. The smile doesn't touch her eyes, their corners pinched and slightly downcast. Disappointment? Annoyance? Sadness? It's difficult to tell exactly what means what with the bizarre creature.
Sorcha spits on the ground and her saliva hisses with a dull sizzling sound as it slowly eats into the blasted earth like acid. She peers at the slowly expanding hole, looking somewhat surprised. Huh, that's new. What properties might her spit have developed to create such an effect? Maybe if she... No, focus, Sorcha! Experiments later, mocking heroes now!
The malignant gaze of her chaotic eye snaps back up to Nakoruru and she shrugs, revealing her own ignorance on the matter. Chaos gonna chaos. Which is precisely the point that seems to have eluded her dear 'friend'. She shakes her head and lets out another of her disapproving sighs.
"Steve, Steve, Steve. Still don't get it do ya? There is no victory to be had over Chaos. It is the nature of all things to change. Sometimes slow and steady... in otherwords /booooring/! Sometimes fast and crazy! That's where I come in."
The girl leans forward, tilting her head in the same manner as she had done several times thus far as if pressing her cheek right up against the Ainu warrior's face, though several feet seperate them now. The angle gives her grin a somehow yet more sinister cast as if she is intentially trying to look as much like a villain as she possibly can. Which she totally is because being the badguy is /amazing fun/. Especially when she gets to step all over the beliefs of naive little fools. Like this!
"But I get it. Most people can't understand the deep and intricate complexities of the universe and junk. They wanna see pretty things like flowers and trees and birds and delude themselves into thinking that life has some sort of 'pure form' that can be corrupted. Hah! As if there's anything pure about life!"
The mage turns and scampers over to one of the many patches of blade-glass now growing from the forest floor and snatches up one of the long fronds. Its edge bites into her slick skin with a sharp squelch as she rips it free of the earth, causing her to hiss softly in pain. She turns around to show the plant to Nakoruru, thin rivulets of black ichor instead of blood running down its length.
"/This/ is life! Dangerous. Bloody! Everything on this world eats or is eaten by something else. Everything is locked in a terrible struggle for survival that ends only when it dies! Nature, red in tooth and claw!"
She shakes her head and chuckles as if she's talking to an ignornant child. Who knows, maybe she is, in the grand scheme of things. After all, /she/ is the one blessed with the truth of the gods! The truth of Chaos!
"Humans have grown ignorant of this simple fact. Nothing exists without Chaos. It's ironic, really! We are the worst offenders of them all! We spread and devour, slaughtering everything in our path and taking whatever we want! Kyahaha! Truly," she says, with a sneer, "a fine example of life's sacred purity!"
She holds her ground, all attention on the source of the wildgrowth and twisted reality forming in this altered section of forest, listening to the maniacal laughter, the shrill cackles of the bemused chaos demon. "I would imagine you have," she replies to her first declaration before shifting focus to the spit inflicted divot, melted soil giving way to the acidic saliva. That Sorcha seems a bit surprised by it as well is enough to give Nakoruru pause.
"I understand change," she answers through clenched teeth, her left hand sweeping out to gesture at the same unnatural phenomenon that their creator indicated with such pride an instant before. "But not like this! You can't use it as an excuse to do whatever you want."
Shadows flicker over the gallery of freakish mutations, melted trees, and weaponized lichen. She seems rooted in place, unable to commit to drawing her blade nor withdrawing from the confrontation she certainly didn't seem to relish if the pained look in her eyes is any indicator. Caught between the strict ethos that had guided her life, structure imposed by divinity and reflected in the natural world she had rescued on more than one occasion, and an underlying regret that she had not acted sooner, before she had come to worry and fret over the wellbeing of the diminutive living Chaos Cannon. She should have known better than to even take the chance on her!
She watches as Sorcha tears free the razor edged frond, eyes widening in alarm at the obvious harm she's doing to herself to make the point, hand slicked with ebony fluid instead of the sanguine blood of a normal person. "Survival is a fight," she agrees. "Life is a fierce struggle to exist. But that also means... removing threats that endanger everyone else's survival. Is that what you are? Is that what you want to be?"
But then she speaks about humanity in general and the Ainu priestess's hand slips further from her blade, eyes breaking contact, the girl looking suddenly even less sure than she had been a moment before. Glancing to the ground, she blinks, brow furrowed, before glancing back up, mouth forming a thoughtful frown. The antipathy for mankind is not new... she had heard it before, seen it drive other powerful beings to inflict awful calamities upon the world. They had had a cause, a goal, a motive that she had known she had to put a stop to no matter the personal regret.
"Why do you take it upon yourself to conjure more dangers in an already perilous world? Why do you revel in such flagrant, unnecessary destruction and deviant change? You are just as contemptible as whoever is responsible for the calamity that created this forest or the desolate ruin you fell into! Why do you embrace such a fatalistic outlook so vigorously?!"
She looks over her shoulder toward the East where she knows the castle sits, where the tournament will be organized soon. How can she permit this chaos agent to continue on into the tournament? Wouldn't that make her complicit in whatever awful things she might do next? Another look at the power her chaos magick was responsible for in so short a time. Can she deny Earth's chance in the tournament by getting in the way of one so potentially strong as this? Maybe that attunement with the forces natural to this chaotic place are exactly why she was sent?
Finally, Nakoruru stands up straight, her arms against her sides, her mouth a thin line of frustrated indignation as it seems she reaches a conclusion that renders her unwilling to act though she lends no voice to what cemented her decision.
Sorcha tilts her head back and laughs maniacally as if she just heard the greatest joke in the world, her shrill voice echoing through the burning mutated patch of forest. Her arms shift from her chest to her stomach, wrapping around her belly as she tries to keep from falling over at the sheer absurdity of the question. She laughs until it hurts, her lungs burning as she almost gasps for breath, tears forming in the corners of her eyes which she wipes away with her upper hands.
"Why do I do it?! Aahaaaahahahaa! WHY DO I DO IT?!" She sucks in a deep breath and stares at the holy maiden, flashing her the biggest smile yet, her eyes still watering. Her voice shifts pitch into something between a bellowing laugh and a weeping sob as if she can't even quite understand her own emotions well enough to pick which one fits.
"Ahaha... hahaHahaHa.... I HAVE NO IDEA!"
It's bizarre, she thinks. Up until now, no one has bothered to ask the question 'why?'. Not even her. It's always just 'aaaah, monster! kill it!' or something along those lines. Rae and his band of wanna-be monsters were the first ones to show any real hint of empathy for her unusual circumstances but even those chumps cower and try not to look her in the eye. Hah. Bunch of pussy-ass half-breeds. They didn't care to ask why either, not that she's /terribly/ surprised by the lack of philosphical musings from that lot.
But now that she stops to think about it, she hasn't the first clue why she's so hellbent on tearing the world down. It's just... what comes naturally. Might as well ask a bird why it flies. It has the equipment to do so and the instinct to use it. For her, that instinct is to blow things up, tear them open, maim them, rip out their insides and slather them on a wall.
Strange, but she finds it to be rather enjoyable. Certainly more so than the pitiful existence she had before the change took her. Back then she was weak and useless, barely better than a doormat that moved around and occassionally needed to be fed. Now, she's powerful! Strong! Sure, that strength came at the price of her humanity but she never really saw much use in something like that anyways. People are cruel and selfish. Atleast as a monster she has an excuse.
Wheezing with the fading spams of her uncontrolled laughing fit, Sorcha drops to her knees and takes long deep breaths. The soot-stain cloak of divine power settles around her shoulders like a shroud and she scratches at it idly, hardly even seeming to notice this particular aspect of her existence either, her arm almost an entity of its own mind.
She tilts her head back and stares up at the sky through the twisted canopy of trees, letting out a wistful sigh. After a few seconds her gaze shifts sideways, head lolling towards Nakoruru so that she can stare into that look of pure frustration with a listless expression.
"I'm bored. You wanna go play a boardgame or something?"
Uncontrollable laughter was clearly not the reaction Nakoruru was expecting as evidenced by the bewildered look on her face. The shift from condescending to undisciplined laughter run amok has the nature priestess stunned to silence once again as the spastic fit continues to run unchecked until even the source of the unrelenting, confusing mirth seems to end up unsure what emotion to actually land on exactly.
It lasts long enough that Nakoruru extends her left arm, allowing Mamahaha to perch on her protective arm guard so that she doesn't get tired trying to hover in place in a combat ready fashion, the hawk flapping her wings a few time before settling down and joining her falconer in staring at the still ongoing laughter with dark brown eyes.
It even lasts long enough that the Kamui Sent warrior begins to look aside as if actually considering whether she should walk away. It was clear she was not going to attack the strangest champion she had ever seen sent for fight for the future of Earth. So maybe she should leave the wild thing to her fate here in the forest? She certainly seems home enough in it... or failing that, she'll make it her home!
But she finally manages to gasp out remotely intelligible words and the girl pauses, both her and the bird now focusing back on her as tears roll down the chaos demon's eyes.
And finally she gets her answer. She has no idea. She has no great cause. No ambition. No desire to punish a nation that had tormented her culture, no urge to lead a rebellion of religious zealots against an oppressive regime... she wasn't trying to herald in some dark god through her dark acts.
She has. No idea.
Nakoruru inhales deeply then exhales, shoulders slouching, left arm held aloft for the hawk, her right arm slack at her side.
She seems to have nothing to say when presented with a complete cipher of an answer, and her set jaw and thin lipped mouth probably makes it clear that she is not used to being caught so completely flatfooted as to how to respond, cheeks a hint of blush born from frustration as she rolls her eyes toward the skies in much the same way Sorcha does but for an entirely different reason.
Why, Kamui, would you send this thing to the island? Why to her? It couldn't have been random chance, right? In everything, there must be a sign, a reason, an explanation... what is she supposed to take away from this impossible event? The death of the seedling, the desecration of the haunted life of this forest... Is there a message she's supposed to be receiving there that she has yet to discern? Can't she get at least a hint?
But the sky is as forthcoming with answers as the party mage finally catching her breath after the uproarious ruckus. Glancing down, steel-blue eyes meet the mismatched eyes of her companion, she's asked a question that has nothing to do at all with what they had argued over.
She pauses a moment to imagine what playing a game of Go would be like with this one only to dispel the idea immediately. A soft sigh ends with her gesturing behind herself toward the West, "I'll... guide you to the castle if you like." She dreads imagining what new chapter of trouble would be started there, but the little anarchist is going to have to get there at some point. And she would really like her cloak back too, which means getting her some actual clothes!
Lifting her right hand to run through her bangs, she shakes her head to start looking for the path amid the nightmarish pocket of forest that had just been created.
Goodness, Kamui, is this some kind of test?
Log created on 19:40:07 09/10/2016 by Nakoruru, and last modified on 10:23:13 09/12/2016.