Description: Alexis confesses to Walter about her death and experiences during Mortal Kombat. Walter comforts her, while swearing vengeance against the one that performed the deed.
Chicago, night time. After a round of charity work that bled into a few bar trips, Walter decided it was time to stretch his wings. A back alleyway to stretch out his flappers, and the poor dragon-priest found himself face-to-face with streetwalkers. Before he could even start on a pious rant, they were on him. Loose morals, and cybernetic razors on the fingertips alike.
Thirty minutes later, Walter Bardsley finds himself back at his Team's hotel. He's sure there's a first aid kit, as the dragon has a lovely pair of rips down his frock, a shiner on one eye, and one wing is hanging out of his clothes.
"Blessings, my dears." Comes Walter's voice as he opens the door to the decently sized set of rooms. Probably connected. He's already searching for whiskey and a first aide kit alike. His voice rumbles, growling in a most dragony-manner as the adrenaline slowly wears down.
Alexis is sitting in the Sound and Fury Suites, lazily browsing information on the participants and potential future enemies in the King of Fighters tournament. With the qualifying fight already scheduled, she's currently perusing recordings of past battles that their upcoming opponents have participated in.
"Oh, neat. Apparently this Alma guy fought Rainbow Mika once," she remarks to no one in particular as she pulls up the FightTube link. A few minutes later, her face starts to redden. "Wait, I'm not sure if this is a fight or... yeesh!"
The sound of the grumbling priest gets Alexis' attention, and she slides away from the hotel desk, the wheels of the chair rolling across the floor. "Yo, Walter! What's up?" She rises and saunters over to where the dragon-priest is searching, head tilting a little to one side as she sees the state that he's in. "Holy crap, did you get mugged? Somebody's gotta be going to hell for that."
"Hello, Alexis. Ugh. You would think people would respect the cloth, hmm? By the Lord, we might have our differences, but you at least show /some/!" One ear perks though. Alma. He smiles suddenly. It's there for a moment, but as the dragon sits down, he finally finds both of what he's searching for. Down the hatch with booze, then off goes his shirt. Patches of dragon scales are mostly unharmed, but he does have a lovely gash across his unscaled stomach. Looks like something long and jagged.
He bites on the cork to the whiskey, then applies disinfectant. After a long string of inventive curses, he's starting to stitch himself up. First aide is a fighter's lifeline.
"/Attempted/ mugging, thank you! Or involuntary introduction to the world of sin, I'm still not certain. Street walkers, my dear. /Cyborg/ street walkers judging by the long, knifey-nails." His right wing flaps dejectedly. He points to the other.
"Mind doing the honors of getting that back into place?" That wing is definitely dislocated from the socket on his back.
"Studying our opponents? Good! I might even look the other way if you nip my drink tonight then."
"Well, that's what you get for trying to pick up hookers in a strange city, eh?" Alexis chastises Walter as she strolls up beside the draconic battle-priest, leaning over to inspect the injured wing curiously. "Especially when you already have one back at the hotel."
She squints a little as she examines the extent of Walter's injuries, circling around to eye the stitch work. "Wait, you're saying they were cyber-hookers? Are you sure that they didn't just have, you know... nail extensions or something?"
She cautiously brings her hands up to try and feel out how the wing is meant to be positioned. She's not up on her dragon anatomy, and she's not exactly a paramedic otherwise. She also doesn't have any good suggestions on who would be better to help, though - it doesn't seem like the kind of thing one would take to the ER. "I mean, it's not unheard of in the profession, is it? I wouldn't know, you hang out with more prostitutes than I do," she teases. "Speaking of which, I think Alma might be an adult film star. I dunno about the other people on that team, though. How, uh... is this supposed to go back?"
"Hooker, rocker, walking corporate advertisement...you do wear quite a bit of hats, Alexis, for a young woman! I'm not certain whether to smite you here, or admire your flexibility!" Huffs Walter. With a wink and a smile. Reeeach. He'll try to flick her nose!
"A true rogue I am, sneaking away from this den of debauchery to another! And yes, they were. Nail extensions are not made of steel, eight inches long, and make snickt sounds as they emerge from their fingers. Amongst other places. Don't ask, I'm trying to block out the trauma."
More booze. Then a wince as he finishes his own stitch job. Frown.
"I really need to find one of those underground doctors." Gauze, and a bit of cleanup. He's at least partially not a horrible mess now.
He's blushing a little, but ignores Alexis for the moment. Reeach. He finds a training spear. Tap tap tap. Right on his back, where wing connects to his spine, there's a little round indentation. Not unlike a shoulder blade, if a bit bigger. "Nngh. Just, take the bottom of my wing, right where it connects, and push up until you hear a pop. ...Then duck, so you don't get cracked in the face. I have enough horrible acts accused of me. Let's not add 'beating friends' to it."
Pause. "Erm...if it is the Alma I met...no. Well. Alright, maybe. But likely he was tricked into it. He's an eccentric poet and artist by trade. Very eccentric. Don't let him coerce you into any drawings.
"I don't think you could smite me. Pretty sure that just hanging out with me drains your purity powers," Alexis taunts, wiggling her nose after the dragon-priest flicks it. She listens as Walter continues his story. "Uhhh huh. And were you drinking /before/ you went out?"
She swings a leg up to the other side of Walter so that she can turn for a better angle as she takes hold of the injured wing. "Cracked in the face, huh? I thought that priests were supposed to have good impulse control. But hey, it wouldn't be the first time you beat me up, so I wouldn't hold it against you."
She starts to try and push the wing up as instructed, wetting her lips with her tongue as she focuses. "Oh, you met the guy, huh? What happened, did he try to draw you like he drew his French girls?"
"There's a reason I visit the confessional weekly, Alexis! At least I'm doing my part to fill the church's coffers." Mutters the dragon, only barely resisting the urge to stick out his tongue. Barely. Pause.
"Shut up." Answer, 'yes'.
Another dragony rumble. He folds in his other wing, and closes his eyes. One more cork chomp. Wrench. Ka-rack! Pardon Walter while he cries for a moment or two. Thankfully no wing-baps. But that tail of his does flail a bit. A knee or leg might keep it down though before wings and tail and arms go limp.
"Ohhh, that feels awful and wonderful every bloody time. ...Don't think too hard about that one. You heard nothing." Harumph's the dragon as he tries to pick up his pride. "Speaking of, we need to both train soon. We need to be at our best."
Alma? Drawing him? Shudder. "Thank the Lord, no. Charity work, actually. He's eccentric, but he loves people. Especially women. But people of any kind. Didn't even blink about the wings. A good man."
A look to Alexis. "Have you talked with your friends, recently? How are they?"
Alexis closes her eyes at the moment that the wing pops back into place, but doesn't duck as instructed. Probably because of her authority issues. "Uhhh huh. Sounds like some kind of masochism to me," Alexis remarks as she shifts her leg to deflect the flailing tail with her thigh. "Is self-flagellation still part of the whole priestly training gig? I thought that went out of style back in the fifteen hundreds or something." She grins as she sits up on her knees behind Walter, looking the priest's wings over given the rare opportunity to do so freely. "Training, eh? You planning on giving me a practice smiting?"
She nods slightly as Walter talks about Alma, not having much to add besides: "Alright, let's not say too many nice things about the guy. Chances are one of us is gonna have to kick his ass."
The inquiry about her friends causes Alexis to pull a face. The pleasant self-assurance from before fades almost instantly. "Oh. My friends...?" Alexis frowns, shifting and dropping her legs over the side of the bed, both hands planting on the mattress as she takes on a pensive look. "I haven't really been in touch with them, much. Not since the whole..." Her brow furrows. "Oh. Right. There's kind of a /lot/ of stuff going on there. I mean, it started with a release party..."
"You...don't make me tickle those horrible thoughts out of your head, little Miss!" Chastizes the dragon man. Then he sticks out his tongue. Oh yes, so mature, this priest!
Flap flap as he tests his wings. A little groan, but they work at least. The things are scaley, and with a ridiculous amount of muscle. Explains why he can even vaguely fly, chi aside. Those scales look pretty tough, though smooth to the touch. How strange!
Walter just laughs though. "What is a few beatings amongst friends, hmm? He might even enjoy it coming from you! Or not. I remember having very strange dreams involving purple elephants the last time you suplexed me."
There's concern on Walter's face. He shifts over, onto his back so as not to disturb his wounds. He looks up to Alexis' face, and a tail gently touches her shoulder. A rumble. A concerned one.
"Alexis, my friend. I will listen to whatever you have to say, if you need me to listen. As a priest, or a friend. You're safe, and you're not alone. At your own time." Encourages the man gently.
That done, he listens. "Tell me the release party wasn't in need of a good smiting!" He is, by the way, so going to practice-smite you later Alexis!
"Well, I don't know whether you're going to believe all this," Alexis says as she reaches up to rub the side of her neck, not making eye contact with Walter as she casts her mind back. Nevermind that she's talking to a dragon-man. "I - we - I mean, Killasaurus Orphanage got a record deal. That's what the release party was about. First, you know, non-indie album. Called it Darkstalkers, 'cause, you know, I've met an improbable number of... you know, that's what they call them? I even wrote one about fighting a dragon."
She clears her throat and folds her arms across her stomach. "So anyway, we were at this release party, the whole band was there, I was kiiinda drunk, and when I went to take a piss I fell into a magic mirror and ended up naked on a different plane of existence. With all these creepy dudes in robes."
She lets that point in the story hang in the air for a moment, since it's probably a bit of an odd one to take in.
Squint. "I'm a bloody dragon working for the Vatican to hunt down monsters. That just was attacked by cyber-whores. Whose best friend is a delinquent rock star fighter girl. Oh, and last year I met a mud-person in the swamp who was very gracious. Try me." His british deadpan has not been lost through the years of travel.
Pause. He tries to get up, urks, then flops down. Nope, not hugs. That tail kinda-sorta draping along shoulders and squeezing a minute is kind of like a hug! A scaley IOU. "Hah! With hard work, patience, and fai...fine, the Lord was being charitable! Regardless, you lot have earned it. How many tours, how much time did you spend writing, recording, singing...hard work and talent has paid off!" Grin! There's utter joy in the band's good fortune. He'd group hug the lot of them if he could!
Then he calms though. There's more to the story here. He blushes. "You...did? I'm touched. In a very strange way. But touched nevertheless." Deep breath. Don't get sentimental you scale-brain!
Then his gaze kinda falls, and he squints again. "...What?" His mouth works. Cults. Naked Alexis. Magic mirrors. Alright, that one takes a minute. He rubs his temples.
"You're no lightweight, and I doubt you would let someone drug you. So, I believe you. Go on. Am I going to need a...wait, no, stupid question." Bottle. Two glasses. Walter finds his bardragon's tophat, and then pours.
"Right, carry on. Cheers to the insanity. May the Lord laugh at us all!"
Alexis ends up with a glass of whiskey cradled in her hands between her knees, which seems to improve her spirits somewhat. "Right. Taking into account the conflux of weirdness that is Walter Bardsley, I still think my story is pretty f-" She catches herself before dropping the f-bomb right on the priest's lap. She does have /some/ sense of respect for Walter, after all.
"It's pretty screwed up. I mean..." She takes in a deep breath. "...Well, there were a lot of us. Some of us got invited, some of us fell through magic mirrors, but we all ended up on this island. They were having a tournament to decide whether this other world would be allowed to invade ours. I ended up on the island for... weeks, I guess."
She swirls her drink in the cup for a minute, then knocks back the whole thing. Judging by how well she keeps it down, it's probably not the first time she's done that.
"That's where Aranha and I met, actually. I was on the beach making myself a flute, 'cause I didn't come through with my guitar, and he happened along." She quirks her lips. "They called it Mortal Kombat. Everyone got these things. Depending on what colour they were, you either fought to the death, or you didn't. I... got a red one."
She tugs a little at the choker around her neck. It looks a lot like one that she'd always worn on stage, but closer examination of the jewel inset reveals that it's slightly different, if Walter were the type to remember that sort of thing. One could almost swear it makes a noise when focusing on it.
"They hold souls," she explains plainly.
Walter nods as she catches herself. Good Alexis! The priest is happy, for now.
He pours quickly. This is Bardragon Walter, not priest Walter. Sip. He's more easy on the drink right now. It's Alexis' turn to indulge and loosen up. He's silent throughout. Until she mentions the name, and he looks to her broach. Shudder. It makes his priestly hard dim. Eyes close, and he forces himself to think, rather than condemn.
"May the Lord smite whomever decided to visit such twisted cruelty upon this world...and you." With an audible creak to his body, he gets up, and then he's hugging Alexis gently. 'Mortal Kombat'. The name alone sends chills up him. 'Fight to the death'.
"So you were essentially captured and...forced to fight. To the death." His tone is slowly growing with an animalistic anger, backed up by the fury of the zealous. It's a rumble, slow, starting up. He sucks it down with another drink. Pushes that into a deep, dark corner of his heart. Perhaps, he might need it.
"Do you...want to tell me what happened?" No condemnations about the 'souls'. No, he won't blame Alexis for this, no matter what.
"Yeah. I mean... I didn't kill anyone. The winner got to choose whether the loser lived or died, if they both had the yellow or red ones," Alexis says as she draws in a deep breath though her nostrils. "The way I understand it... the crystals already had souls from people who fought in the tournament before. if you won, the souls from their crystal ended up in yours. Or at least, part of them did. I actually... got pretty close to winning, believe it or not, even though I got cut half to ribbons in the first round," she says quietly as she holds her glass up toward the bottle that Walter's holding.
"But I did have to fight a friend. And then cold cock his kid. To... you know, officially eliminate the kid from the tournament. He had a yellow crystal." She swallows. "Pour another before I get to the next part, eh?"
Walter lets out an audible sigh of relief. He /does/ wince at the whole 'fighting friends and punching kids' bit. Still, better than the alternative.
His smile is soft, but proud. "Let no one ever tell you, that you aren't a good woman, Alexis." The dragon priest /means/ it, too.
There's this growing ball of dread in his stomach, as the story progresses. The dragon isn't stupid, he can feel where this is going. He pours happily.
"As though you would do anything less. Just as we shall all fight out hardest here!" A little bit of cheer, to take off the edge. Salt to the liquor.
Silence. Walter looks to Alexis, one arm around her, just in case. A reminder of where she is, once more, as he awaits the conclusion of Alexis' journey to the world beyond.
Alexis doesn't knock back the second glass. Instead, she nurses it long and slow. She draws air in slowly, as if preparing for something. The silence has started to get awkward when she finally continues her story. It seems that the time was spent gathering whatever cheer she could muster, as she speaks the next words with a casual tone and a smile, even making eye contact: "So, then, basically, I died."
She starts to drum her thumbs on the rim of the glass as she settles it half-full between her knees again. "And you can choose to take this how you want, but - I didn't end up in Heaven when I was dead. Probably didn't do enough Hail Marys when I was a kid. I don't know where I was, really. But if anything, it was probably Hell."
Though the girl tries to keep calm and carry on with the tale unabated, there's an unavoidable quaver in her voice by the time she gets to the word 'Hell.'
"Then? I came back. Except I wasn't really back. The guy who was running the whole tournament was using me as some kind of zombie puppet." She takes another long sip from her glass. 'Ahh.' "Fixing that was fun, 'cause it involved killing myself again."
Ripples are visible on the surface of the whiskey as her hands tremble around the glass.
Walter is nothing if not patient. His reaction is a full body wince. His mouth is a line, and even moreso as she mentions /where/ she went. Where she thinks she went. Slowly, it all dawns on him. Walter is silent for a good minute and a half, the priest trying to reconcile the story with theology, and what he knows of the girl. She died. Twice. Once by the hand of another, and once by her own. Used as a zombie, and possibly being tormented.
Arms wrap around Alexis silently, he draws her eyes to his shoulder. And then he casts a baleful eye to the ceiling. Beyond it.
He's going to have a Chat with the Big Man Upstairs, and soon. For now, he looks back down, and manages to speak. It's quiet, and filled with a growl of righteous anger. "Oh Alexis. I...there aren't words." Squeeze. White hot tears fall onto her head.
"I refuse to believe that you would be driven down, no matter your faults, Alexis. Damnit, girl! Your friendship has saved a bloody priest more than once. If that isn't some brownie points, then methinks I need to have a talk with my employer!" He doesn't mean the Vatican.
"Shhh. Let it out. You are a good person. You did not, in any way, deserve such...such torture! No! In the Lord's name, I deny it! You have walked through Hell enough for several life times. Shhh. You are safe. I won't..." He should have saved her. She's his friend. Guilt wells up.
"The fact that you are here, right now, is proof that you are a good person, beloved by many. Your second coming, if this priest may be so blasphemous. And if I can help it, nothing of that sort will ever harm you again. You're safe Alexis. I promise." A familial kiss to the forehead, and then he just lets the poor girl get out all of that emotion. He doesn't bother concealing his own crying for the pain and soul of the young woman he considers family.
Alexis is still slow to let any genuine emotion show, so much as she can help it. She raises the glass to her lips, this time draining it steadily until it's empty. She doesn't shrink away from Walter's consolation. "I... it doesn't... quite end there. I mean, I haven't really got to your actual question, have I?" She gives a heartless laugh. "About the band." She looks up at something on the ceiling. "Anyway, Steve and Kim got engaged. I knew he was going to pop the question at the release party. And then they went ahead and got married, 'cause they figured if I was alive and not a bitch I would've stuck around instead of bailing when I knew they were getting engaged." She reaches up and pushes her fingers into her hair. "And since I was AWOL, the record company ended up making them pick up a new lead singer. So I'm officially not part of the band that I started anymore."
She sets the glass down on the end table very gently, and wrings her hands. "Anyway, when I found out... I took the low road. I saw them at a tech demo for the V-Gage, but I ducked out before we could really talk." Her eyes are clearly glassy with moisture as she looks at Walter.
"I /don't/ cry," she insists.
The shock of /normalcy/ is enough to have Walter letting go. There's an emotional break in him, he breathes, and lets the animal in him soothe all that human humbled insanity. Cue bottle, face, chug. It's half gone now. Alexis might want to grab more if she wants any. Then he flops backwards.
He reaches up, and flicks her on the back of the head. "Coward." He says simply, admonishingly, with just the right amount of dissappointment to be a proper priest. More silence, and he sighs.
"One horror show to another, I suppose. Of course you don't." He doesn't even challenge her on it. Silence. And then he smiles. "The past is the past. Let's move forward, Alexis. We have a tournament to win! So, that is all behind you." He has a handkerchief. He's trying to dry her tears anyway.
Walter's admonishment does manage to elicit a frown from Alexis. Cowardice is not something that she's accustomed to being accused of - or exhibiting. Is it true, though?
"How would I explain any of it? Even if they believed me about ending up on the island - I mean, hell, they went with me to rescue Zabel Zarock - what do I tell them, that I literally died trying to save the world? I don't want any of them to know that."
She sniffles and rubs the back of her arm across her face. "Besides, if I learned anything by getting impaled on a bed of spikes for two weeks - it's that I need to be stronger. And that means I can't have commitments in the way. Especially knowing that the bitch who killed me is still out there somewhere, in /this/ world, and who knows when Outworld or Majigen or whoever the frig is gonna come knocking again, and..."
And abruptly Alexis is a liar, breaking down into sobs as she buries her face in her arms. At least the other members of the team don't seem to be around to catch the display.
A hand waves. "You'd do it anyway. Whether they believed you or not wasn't the bloody point! If they...bah, nevermind, it doesn't matter. I...I understand. So you're saving them from the pain of knowing what you went through?" The dragon ponders. With a sigh, he nods.
"I can't say whether it is, or isn't for the best. As long as you are fine with your choice, Alexis. If not? I have a few strings to pull, and we shall stage an intervention. If not? Then I trust you know what you're doing."
Then, he lets her continue, to rage, to sniffle. The spikes, the knowledge of who put her on them is still out there...there's a growl of absolute zealous fury, and a brief glow of chi, only to be snuffed out. He'll look into that later.
"And when Hell itself comes knocking, you shall have faced it once, and shall not break! And with your friends, you shall conquer. For now...you rest valiant warrior." Comes Walter. She cries. And the good dragon priest, holds her close. He tries to not show his own, falling back. There's a dragon bed to cry on, to beat with fists, or however Alexis wants to let out the pain.
Walter smiles, and cries alongside her, with nothing but affection for his best friend.
There are no more words from the Canadian for now; she's already said
There are no more words from the Canadian for now; she's already said more than she's told anyone else about her situation. The sobs are subdued, consciously or subconsciously avoiding alerting Tabitha or Aranha to her state.
In the background, the words "Now that you have bared yourself to me... let me show you the perfection of my style!" can be heard playing over laptop speakers.
Log created on 17:24:37 08/06/2017 by Walter, and last modified on 18:40:09 04/13/2018.