Ayame - Mission #6: A New Journey

Description: At the cusp of death, Ayame is found and tended to by another who feels he might have known someone like her before?

For the fallen demon hunter, the passage of time is an unknown. It is night, sometime after eleven PM. The full moon hangs in the sky above, visible through the dead, leafless branches of the Southtown Park trees. In a clearing off the beaten path, the fallen priestess lies still, crumpled over beneath the trunk of a large oak.
The scene is one of devestation. The grass for meters around her is dead, much of it looking burned away, the earth beneath it blackened. Several trees have been slashed, nasty gouges carved out their trunks and, in many cases, severed all together, the top halves of several of the trees scattered about as a great reaping of the woods took place here.
Scattered around the unconscious girl are the accoutrements of her battle. Three wooden sticks of roughly two feet in length rest upon the ground, their rent ends suggesting they once belonged to the same weapon at one time. At her side a emerald green talisman rests inches away, its surface inscribed with intricately drawn runes that look to be blends of ancient kanji and symbols entirely unreleated to the modern lexicon.
The wounded girl is clothed in a kimono top with long, billowing sleeves that must have been white at one time, but is now stained the color blood, dirt, ash, and grass. An equally filthy crimson knee lengthed skirt, stockings, and sandals complete the hybridized look of a modernized shrine priestess.
Even a cursory glance would easily identify the multiple tears in the shoulders of her top where something slashed or cut her multiple times. Her hair is damp against her cheeks with perspiration, her breaths weak and shallow.
As far as the responsible parties, there is no further evidence to be found. A few meters away, toward the center of small clearing, a small, pyramid shaped pile of ash sits inertly, its original purpose unclear.
Absent are the signs of who did this or how. Every last drop of evidence was reclaimed by the master who shaped and he left not a single trace of his presence remains.

Zach Glenn had seen some of the more... brilliant parts of the end of the struggle. Green fire... can be something of an eye-catch. The psion took off at a full sprint, checking his gear as he went. Phone, first aid kit, check.

The Marine was prepared for some things, but... this. Zach stops, and takes it in with mute amazement. "Some fight," he mutters as he walks into the small hellscape.

He sees the body... no, he thinks... the young woman. Zach pulls the first-aid kit out of his back pack, and sets it next to him as he takes a knee beside the miko. He is about to check to see if she is responsive by shaking her shoulder when he stops short. He recognizes her. From... somewhere. Hammers of memory, of fights and conversations that never happened slam into the psion. Zach stops and takes a deep breath.

He shakes the young girls shoulder. "Hey. Are you okay?"

The response at the shake is almost immediate.
Hopefully the marine is more than just mildly prepared.
A sharp help of pain, the girl rolling on her side toward him. Even in the awkward position, she is able to slip her fingers into her left sleeve, drawing a talisman that would be white but for the traces of blood seeping into it.
Only then do her eyes open, right hand slamming forward, attempting to plant the ofuda on Zach's lowered face. Of course, it just so happens to be completely inert, and as dangerous as any other slightly dirty silp of paper can be.
Watch out for paper cuts, one supposes.
Whether or not successful, she collapses right back down immediately after the flurry of motion, now face down in the dirt, eyes closed again, arms out at her sides.
That seems to be about all he's going to get out of her at the moment.

Zach blinks once at the sudden surge of intent, and takes the slapped seal cleanly to the forehead. His surprise, however, doesn't stop him from catching the young woman and preventing a total faceplant.

Zach eases the young woman onto his back, and reaches for the first-aid kit. His hands move with the quickness of practice as he brings forth the bandages and ointments, cleaning and dressing wounds not covered by clothing.

Moments later, Zach has handled most of the injuries. There may be nothing for it, unless the young girl stirs again.

At first his administrations get little to no attention. At least she doesn't seem to be getting any worse. Talcum powder helps control the bleeding of her deeper gashes and the smaller cuts seem to have scabbed over well enough on their own ad interim.
She remains still this time, eyes flicking open, focusing on nothing in particular but the empty boughs of the leafless tree above. After several seconds, she blinks and then turns her attention toward the young man. There is no reaction, no shift in expression from her quiet, neutral look.
When the marine asks his question, he finally gets a vocal response.
Eyes close for a moment, a soft exhale released, a quiet review of the memories she had carefully tucked into the compartments of her mind. She can remember every last detail with perfect recollection - a cursed blessing if ever there was one.
"I will live."
Eyes open again as the girl resumes gazing at the sky above.
"Probably partially thanks to you, I suppose."
At least he gets some begruding credit?

Zach grins faintly at this. This is familiar, almost safe. Like something is finally, after a very long time, /right/ with the world. He backs away slowly.

"Good," he says as he plucks the ofuda off of his forehead, examining it before returning it to her. "This is new," he says.

She almost manages to hide the wince as she lifts her arm to snatch the offered talisman back, her cheeks tinting a faint pink at the pain she's biting back, the aching throb, lingering reminders of vicious attacks delivered by a master of inflicting pain.
The talisman is pristine white but for the inscriptions on its surface, the characters painted in black ink that appears to have been applied with a brush. It otherwise seems harmless enough. Held between two fingers and her thumb, the wounded girl lifts it up and glances over it for a brief moment of contemplative thought.
"Yes, I suppose it is."
A soft exhale is released as she presses her hands together, burying them within her torn sleeves. When she withdraws them again the card is gone, no doubt tucked away for safe keeping.
Her brow furrows, the girl content to remain lying on her back for the immediate moment as dark brown eyes flick back to Zach with a faint frown. "Wait, what? What do you know about Onmyoujutsu?"

Zach tilts his head to one side, thinking. "Um," he stalls. He might have goofed. He thinks furiously, picking at the word in his mind. "Has something to do with divination, right?"

The psion sits back on his heels. "Influenced by Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto, I think." He starts to pack up the first aid kit as he speaks, his movements careful and concise so as not to worry the young woman. Some of the memories were... clearly antagonistic in nature.

A slow blink at Zach's reasoned, thought out responses.
"Well, well, gold star for you. You pass."
She sinks down a little, relaxing even further, trying to not aggravate the aches in her shoulders.
Another painful gesture, another flinch mostly suppressed, the girl lifting her left arm and waving her hand in the air absently, "Fine, fine, what else do you want. You can go now."

"Well," Zach says after a slight pause. "I'm kind of wondering what happened here. Saw some of the light show, saw the mess, saw you on the ground, beat all to crap." He finishes packing his gear.

"Plus, I am pretty sure it's not safe to just leave you here alone," he says. "If you had back-up, they'd have been here. And they probably would have tried to start something with me before I got this close."

"What happened here?" The girl blinks again, rolling her eyes, lifting her right hand to rest against her forehead. "If you're so smart, you figure it out." She closes her eyes and releases another exasperated sigh as he continues with his patient explanation of his concern.
"Good grief. What are you, some kind of boy scout?" Her left hand lifts, trying to wave him on again before she finally gives up. Rolling onto her right side with a pained grunt, she finally pushes herself upright before flopping right back to leaning against the base of the tree in a seated position, legs out in front of her, her arms resting against her sides.
After a few moments, she lifts her left hand to brush her hair out of her face, back behind her ears, without saying anything. Finally, at last she begins to study the young man that has come to her aid in earnest. They narrow for a moment, brow furrowing for only a split second, before the expression fades, a faintly amused smile crossing her lips.
"I see. Of course you are."
Another breath is taken, another sigh. She glances up at the sky, comparing the current position of the moon to where it had been when she had stalked the werewolf through the park. That sure didn't go how she had expected. She can't help but wonder what happened to the cowering creature after she blacked out.
Leaning over slightly with a grunt, she pulls one of her broken staff fragments into her lap to study the severed end quietly. "No, no one else is coming. Just you, I suppose. What were you doing out in this park so late, anyway?"

"Marine, actually," Zach corrects with perfect politeness, keeping an eye on his surroundings, "Though I /was/ a Boy Scout when I was younger," he admits with a faint smile. He takes in the wreckage, the dead earth, the dead and dying plant life.

"One hell of a fight, though," he finally says. "Guessing from the rents and tears in the trees." He frowns thoughtfully, then gestures at the circle of dead grass where he found the young woman. "Though I have no idea what the heck caused that," he admits. "That's a new one by me."

There is a look of surprise at the mention of marine, eyebrows raising for a moment then falling. "Really." She closes her eyes for another few seconds of contemplation, about what she does not say. "I suppose... that mkase sense." she concludes after a moment, eyes opening to study him once again.
The resting girl glances around the grove as he does, eyes tracing over the gouges in the trees, the broken branches, the severed trunks, her own blood stained clothing, before looking back at him again.
"Hell of a fight seems as apt a way to describe it as any..."
He indicates the dead grass, every blade sucked utterly dry of life. "Heh. Me too." Her expression is one of faint bemusement now. She's offering him little in the way of information just as he appeared to brush off her inquiry without further comment.
Her head cants to the side slightly, "Why did you say my talisman was new? Are you some kind of expert on the subject?"

Zach lets a sound that is somewhere between a sigh and a chuckle, as he runs a hand back through short cut hair. It might be the light, but the tips appear to be a very faint purple. "I..." He blinks slowly. "You remind me, a lot, of someone I knew. Or think I knew, anyway. She didn't use those... Onmyoujutsu, you called it? She was really good with staves. Or just about any other weapon you could think to name." He frowns. "It's hard to explain. I hardly understand it myself."

The recovering girl looks at Zach quietly, not interrupting as he speaks, her expression neither friendly or encouraging, but also not hostile, as if she's really just waiting to see where his answer goes.
"Ara..." He mentions staves and she glances at the broken fragment in her lap for a moment, offering no commentary on the subject before glancing back up, leaning forward just a little then.
"Tell me more about this other person," she requests with a faint grin. "She sounds really talented."

Zach glances at the young girl. He grins a bit as well. "She was," he agrees. "She was... she was incredibly skilled, and..." He sighs. "Sometimes, I think she might have been a bit... amoral. Out for what she wanted for herself, and didn't really care if someone else got hurt in the process. Sometimes, she was... altruistic isn't the right word, but she'd do something to help... me but not me," he scowls. "Again, hard to explain. Anyway, she'd do it and it would be hard to find where it benefitted her." Zach shrugs.

"If I had to sum it up in one word," he finally says, "Complex."

Once again, his captive audience is content to listen to him extol the attributes of the one she reminds him of. Someone familiar, that he's met before... maybe.
As he finishes, she waves her hand dismissively in front of her before moving it up to rub at her sore shoulder. "Saa, that sounds nothing like me at all." Her faint smile suggests she might not be sincere in the sentiment, but since she's been regarding him with that look for a little bit now, it's hard to say for certain.
Drawing her legs up, she shifts to a kneeling position with a soft huff of breath. "Whew." One thing at a time, she thinks to herself.
"I am uncomplex, perfectly moral, and, not going to feign at being altruistic at any time."
She flexes her legs, pushing herself up slowly to standing with the use of the staff fragment to get her started, and the trunk of the tree for additional support.
"Well, you will not have to carry me out of here. I can make it on my own." The inflection in her voice at the last statement suggests she's referring to more than just the walk out of the park.

Zach just laughs at this. It's not a mocking laugh. Something about what the young woman said is genuinely humorous to the Marine. "I found you, unconscious, in a park, at night, in the middle of destruction that defies easy description. You are most definitely /not/ not complex," Zach says good naturedly. He turns to face the young woman, holding out a hand to shake, and most definitely not a hand to help her up the rest of the way. Something tells him that she'd take that incredibly personally.

"Zach Glenn," he says by way of explanation. "I'm not sure we've actually met."

There is a flicker of amusement in her tired eyes when he describes the unsual circumstances of the clearing, the evidence of a battle that defies conventional wisdom. Is she refusing to comment on it just to be difficult, or is there some glim hope of keeping the realities of the wars she fights from those who don't need to know about it?
He does get a reaction when he extends his hand, however, as the dirty, strawberry-blonde's eyes widen slightly, the girl glancing down at the proferred limb with an almost open, suspicious look, a faint frown crossing her lips. Finally, she snaps her dried blood-crusted hand out to grip his, squeeze it quickly, shake it once, then withdraw her hand just as abruptly as if she expected the friendly gesture to inflict some kind of pain.
The gesture complete, she whips her hand against her filthy kimono top, giving Zach a faintly wary look the entire time. But the moment passes, her hand lowering to rest against her side as she remains leaning against the tree.
"Nyami." she offers, faint grin returning. "And from the way you say it, it feels like you're not entirely sure one way or the other."
Sucking in her breath, she exhales softly, pushing off from the tree to stand, wobbly so, on her own. She'd wave off any offers of help, but he seems to sense that to be the case already.
"Be careful out there." she offers with a nod toward the nearest shreaded tree. "The strays in this park are pretty fierce."

Zach doesn't wipe his hand off after it is released; it was pretty dirty with her blood and the antibiotic gels before the conversation started. But he grins. "Oh, I am definitely sure of my name," he answers, "I grew up with it, after all."

He grins a bit wider at the warning. "I don't know about all that," he says with plenty of confidence. "I mean, yeah, the 'strays' might dangerous," he nods toward the tree, then the grass. "But I'm not exactly a slouch in the self defense department." That grin is still present.

"Stay safe, Nyami," Zach says. "Or don't, I guess," he says with a trace of humor. She seems like she might actually be capable, but perhaps she bit off more than she could chew this time around.

One eye narrows a little as he comments on his self defense skills, "I would imagine... being a marine and all." she replies with a neutral tone. A nod afterward is offered at his ambigious remark on staying safe.
"You too." she replies equally equivocally, that faint smile returning, eyes sparkling at some amusement that remains neither shared nor exlained.
She won't budge until left alone, though she won't offer anything in the way of conversation anymore either. She intends to walk out on her own but that doesn't mean it will be an easy journey and she has no intentions of letting anyone else see her struggle all the way back home.
Leaning her head back against the tree while gathering her resolve to press forward, she finally hehs softly, her expression contemplative.
"A marine, huh. I guess some things worked out for the better afterall..."

Log created on 20:04:38 12/20/2014 by Ayame, and last modified on 06:06:31 12/21/2014.