Description: Sometimes, not even a deity descending from the skies speaking of freedom, peace and understanding, is enough for people to let go of the bloody past shared between humans and Darkstalkers.
To say that it was an invigorating experience would be the understatement of the century.
It had been a long time since Nightwolf had allowed himself to given to his instinct. With what it seemed like the weight of the world resting on his shoulders, the Apache brave seldom if ever took time to enjoy himself, it seemed like his every waking moment and action was meant towards the betterment and the protection of Earthrealm.
In a way, tonight was also the case as he hoped to reel yet another hopeful Darkstalker into the fold of the Society. But he had thoroughly enjoyed the hunt, the undeniable sensation of having run free and the still fresh blood and flesh of a rabbit on his tongue. It felt good to forget the responsibilities of a Sin Eater, if only momentarily, and be himself in the company of his wildkins.
But Nightwolf is and always has been a man of many responsibilities. As soon as the fun was over it was back to the Shrine to do business. Nightwolf had sensed that Raiden had returned from whatever errand the God of Thunder could possibly be doing and lead the fox-kin Kiyomi back into the Shrine, still in wolf form.
But not for long.
As the fox and the wolf approached the Shrine's courtyard, a dark green mist surrounded the wolf with the dark pelt and transformed him into something else. A tall, muscular, dark skinned human dressed in buck-skins with a head band and eagle feathers adorning his head. He was decidedly not a local, and considering his white blank eyes, he barely looked human either. "This way, sister." He motioned to the white fox to follow. "I sense Haokah has returned." He made no suggestion that Kiyomi should also shape shift, that is entirely her decision.
There are no words to describe the intoxicating feeling of the hunt : a pure sensation of freedom, the call of the wild. There were no better way for two wolves to bond together, a run and hunt, howling at the moon. She still had the mark of the hunt on her muzzle, the blood over it.
While Kiyomi's slender frame was more vulpine than anything else, her demeanor obviously showed that she understood and followed the rules of the pack, as if she had been raised by wolves. Her multiple tails though was enough to show she was definately no mere vixen.
Respecting Nightwolf's authority over his territory, Kiyomi enjoyed the run with him, following him from behind. She slows down when Nightwolf approaches the courtyard, padding into the clearing. She stares a moment at Nightwolf's transformation.
Perhaps out of respect, Kiyomi shapeshifts as well -- though her transformation seems less mythic and mysterious, the white fur fades away, her features turning human like. The myriad of tails flail around of her, giving her some modesty for a moment, as she rises to her feet and slowly fasten some clothes on her : two pieces of clothes that she keeps folded on her tails for this, a simple kimono with sandals.
Her features clearly show her asian heritage, with the fitting kimono. It takes her a moment though to dress up properly, focusing on adjusting her kimono.
While transformations occur, there's a strange feeling in the air. It's like the feeling during a storm when lightning is about to strike. Charged air, there might be some little hairs standing up-- particularly those on the arms or back of the neck. The ones that always tell one when something's wrong. But this isn't so much a feeling of 'wrong', so much as a feeling of 'power'.
The Shrine seems abandoned, but there is a large enough fire in the courtyard to keep warm on chilly nights. It's burning merrily at the moment, as if it was recently tended. And sure enough, just as the two are in the courtyard proper, lightning leaps down from the sky somewhere, and forms the shape of a large man with a conical hat and blank eyes, like Nightwolf.
He bows his head in greeting. "Greetings to you both." He looks to Kiyomi, tilting his head inquisitively. But he doesn't immediately bombard her with questions; instead he waits for either her or Nightwolf to introduce her.
Incidentally, that fire wasn't lit when Kiyomi first got to the Shrine, making it quite obvious that there is someone here now.
It is a more mundane signal of who approaches as familiar electrifying power surges through the air before lighting strikes. "Lord Raiden." Nightwolf's response is immediate when the figure appears in a flash of blindingly white power, he brings his fist to his chest and nods his head, a warrior salute and one that is the cultural equivalent of bowing. The two know each other, that's for sure, although it might be more obvious by the fact they both have the same blank eyes.
"We have a visitor." Said Nightwolf, motioning for the woman trailing behind him to more closer towards Raiden. "A wayward fox-kin who is well apt on the arts of hunting." Very aware of Kiyomi's double cultural nature, the shaman also decides that it is best for Kiyomi to introduce herself and pick which of her two names Raiden would know her by.
This intangible sensation in the air makes Kiyomi feel a bit uneasy, like her sixth sense telling her something was amist. The thunder that accompagnies the lightning strike causes Kiyomi to jerk up in surprise slightly.
The man that appears before him is quite a sight to behold. Kiyomi spreads her arms gracefully, taking a step behind and bowing her head respectfully in greeting. She spares a glance in Nightwolf's direction, assessing and studying their demeanor and how Nightwolf pays his respect to this new man.
The woman keeps her deference, keeping her gaze low out of respect and submission, "It is an honor to meet you. Nightwolf has but praise to say about you... My name is Kiyomi Miyamato, though amongst the children of the night, I am known as Renard," Alas, the woman doesn't give any specific indication on which name she'd prefer to be refered as.
After a moment of silence though, Kiyomi asks, "Is it true...? That you wish to defend those who dwell in the night?"
Raiden nods to Nightwolf's introduction. There's subtext there, in Nightwolf praising the fox-kin's knowledge of the hunt. That sort of thing isn't in Raiden's portfolio, so to speak, but he understands it, especially as how it relates to Nightwolf, with the Sin-Eater being just as much wolf as he is man.
To her introduction, Raiden also bows, politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you... Kiyomi? Renard?" Both names used with an upward-lilting tone, as if in question. He is asking which she prefers. As for her question? "We wish to defend those who would live in peace," Raiden replies. "Whether they walk in the night or not is of no consequence. It is difficult for humanity to understand those who are different. Here in this place you are welcome, no matter whether human or not, so long as you intend no harm to those here."
Nightwolf nods firmly when Kiyomi questions Raiden about their motives. It is a strange hierarchy that seems to be placed in here, which is to say, there really isn't one. Raiden's power is undeniably tremendous, the very air around Nightwolf and Kiyomi seems to be charged electricity despite the fact that Raiden is calm and composed, gently explaining their role in this world. However, despite Nightwolf's deference to the deity, he is assertive in his speech and follows through with the God of Thunder's explanations. He wasn't kidding when he said he's the speaker of the Society, as he is the one that has done all the recruiting thus far.
"Be they humans or Darkstalkers, we are all living within the same world and must learn to share it, sister. Whatever happens to one of us, affects the other, and should catastrophe befall one of us, we are all inevitably left weaker."
"For there are even greater evils out there that surpass far beyond what any human or even Darkstalker could achieve."
"The realm of Outworld is poised to attack Earthrealm and only working together do we have hope of defeating them."
In the pack, speaking out of turn like this would be considered disrespectful. Raiden seems clearly to be leader and yet Nightwolf speaks with seemingly the same authority. However, as Kiyomi may soon realize, pack rules do not apply to the Society who seem very eager to welcome just about anyone who has good intentions in their heart into the fold. To think a place like this would exist in a world full of prejudice and xenophobia, where even humans refuse to work together and darkstalkers often tear each other to pieces in their competitions for power. All this is clearly very different.
The Apache turned to Raiden then after his brief explanation, speaking directly to the deity. "I have invited her to join us, Haokah, but I thought it best she met you before making any decisions." Eh, guess there is a little bit of hierarchy here after all.
Once Raiden returns the bow, Kiyomi straightens herself up and she folds her arms against her chest, her arms going into the wide sleeves of her kimono. As much as she respects the rules of the wild, there is at least enough humanity left in her to recognize the difference between the rules of the pack and the different socio-cultural conventions. Her lips curl into a gentle smile, a soft chuckle escaping her throat at Raiden's confusion with her name, "Just call me Kiyomi," She offers.
Her smile fades away slightly though when they get to the heart of the matter : the coexistence of humans and darkstalkers. The woman simply nods her head solemnly to their speech even though her beliefs on the matter slightly differ from them both. Now was not the time for a philosophical argument on the matter, nor does she believe she could convince either of them.
Kiyomi arches a curious brow at Nightwolf's words, curious about this Outworld he speaks off, but her attention soon returns to Raiden. "My brethren and I have long sought to free others like us from oppression... And I vowed to myself I would continue till the very end of my existence... Those rumors I have heard about this refuge... Of this society have led me to search for it, and I have finally found you. I would like to join you, if just momentarly, to see the life of those who have found shelter in this society..."
The woman spares a glance at Nightwolf, and then back at Raiden, "So that perhaps, I could lead others who do not possess the strength to defend themself to seek your assistance and protection..." If she truly believes, in the end, that this society might indeed prove to be a safe haven for her kin.
Raiden remains quiet as Nightwolf explains what's at stake, and why they're gathering here at this Shrine. He nods once, closing his eyes as his head dips, to emphasize the severity of the threat.
And indeed, it's true. Nightwolf may be disobeying pack mentality, but Raiden doesn't call him on it. In fact, when Nightwolf's done speaking, he says kindly, "Thank you." As for meeting him first? "A good idea," he agrees. He's met some who choose to believe he's not who he purports to be. Knowing how humans lock themselves into a believe pattern, that could prove a problem. So it's better to get the 'yeah, dude is a god, now let's move on' over with sooner rather than later.
He nods to the confirmation of name. "Kiyomi, then," he agrees. He listens to her dilemma carefully. "Oppression? From whom?" he inquires. He frowns a little-- not at HER, mind you. Just at the thought of someone oppressing her people. He has a feeling he knows who and why... but he'll let her explain that herself.
The shaman gives another polite bow of his head towards Raiden. He is a servant of Earthrealm after all, one can't fault him for being very enthusiastic about doing his job, which includes filling in people about everything that threatens this world. He may not have intimate knowledge that Raiden has about Outworld for hundreds of centuries, but what he does have is the perspective of Outworld fiends from the eyes of a mortal, which is one normal people, Darkstalkers included, are more inclined to accept.
Nightwolf then pauses to listen of Kiyomi's plight, blank white eyes narrowing whilst he brushes his chin. The shaman has always been careful of jumping to conclusions, since assuming too much can be quite deadly in his profession. However, he has learned to read the signs and if an expert huntress such as Kiyomi is having doubts about joining a group of Hunters.. it may because of one reason.
You see, most of the Darkstalkers that the Society already has are very young and inexperienced, they quickly flocked to the ranks of the Society seeking shelter from people that did not understand them. But Nightwolf knows there is another group out there who isn't so keen on allowing Darkstalkers to exist, and it's not their Hayabusa allies, who are quite renowned in their own right.
When Raiden questions Kiyomi just who is it that is oppressing them, Nightwolf ventures to wonder out loud. "Do you mean the Hunters Guild, sister?"
The Kitsune's senses were keen enough to feel the electricity in the air -- the supernatural aura around of Raiden, along with his appearance and the otherworldly trait he possesses impose only one conclusion. Was he truly a God? Perhaps... The only thing Kiyomi was certain about this man is that his power is tremendous : probably enough to offer protection to those who seeks it, and that this Society might be a good alternative for those like her.
Her lips curl into a soft smile. "From those who fears those who are different," She replies, her voice calm and serene. She glances at Nightwolf and gives him a solemn nod in reply, "You name one of the many who would seek to do us harm, though not all claim such an affiliation. Be it the Hunter's Guild, or another faction, my pack has roamed the land through the years, secretly liberating and saving others like us. Some have joined the children of the night, but many did not have the resolve, or strength to rise against them,"
Her head tilts to one side, an hint of gentle grief and saddness into her eyes for a moment, "I wish to be able to tell my brethren that there is a place where one can find peace and a normal life, without fear of oppression or harm," Her gaze rises up to Raiden, "Is this what the ideals you wish to carry on with your Society? Is this what you want to offer to the darkstalkers?" She asks, "Please, allow me to see it with my own eyes, to stay with you, if only for a fleeting moment, so that I can tell others such a place exist.."
The Hunter's Guild. The werewolf Azumi has mentioned them, and usually not in a pleasant context. Though much like Nightwolf, he too keeps his assumptions quiet until he hears the exact nature of the problem. Kiyomi might also sense that, behind his power there is no malice or foreboding. For all the tales of thunder gods being mercurial and easily-angered, Raiden's been pretty easy-going thus far.
However, understanding lights Raiden's face as Kiyomi explains her plight. "Ah. Yes." He nods slowly. "That... was what I thought." A pause, to think of how best to explain his point of view. "I am often seen as a protector of humankind. But that is not strictly true. It is not false, either. I have sworn myself to protect Earthrealm. This means all creatures that reside within it. That does include you, Kiyomi, and those like you. Your existence is just as important to me.
"I approve of protecting your people against those who would harm them," he notes. "Though I will not partake in unnecessary violence against them. That is all I ask in return for safety and sanctuary here-- do not needlessly attack those who do not harm you. It is far too easy to become that which you hate along that path."
The Apache hmms in thought as Kiyomi speaks and Raiden listens. White blank eyes glancing at them both.
The speaker of the Society is not unlike an interpreter, a cultural broker even, it is Nightwolf's job to ensure that everyone within the Society is understanding each other, from Human to Darkstalker to Deity. A speaker of a God is not light job, but it helps that Nightwolf has spoken to actual deities before and has forged understandings with them, deties who are by far more mercurial than Raiden, the God of Thunder is actually one the most reasonable one the shaman has seen.
But it does not change the fact that he is still a God attempting to speak with mortals, and something is /bound/ to get lost in translation.
Whether Kiyomi believes Raiden's Godhood is irrelevant for the moment, Nightwolf just wants to make sure that everything is understood. Raiden has been away from the people for a long time, hundreds of years if what the Apache recorded is true, he might not realize just who the Guild is and how its not the only Guild that hunts Darkstalkers.
"It is very likely it will turn violent, Haokah." Nightwolf speaks grimly. Just as Raiden knows Outworld very well, so does Nightwolf knows of the Hunters Guild. "The Society has kept its existence hidden from the Hunters Guild for quite some time. Only those clans who can be reasoned with know of us, such as the Hayabusa who have already allied with us. However, it will not be long until the Guild hears of our works and moves against us."
Nightwolf turns to Raiden then. "I fear they are not unlike fiends of Outworld, Haokah. Very rarely can the Hunters of the Guild be talked out of their kills, for they see Darkstalkers as nothing but loathsome beasts. Animals to be hunted and skinned and sold for their corpses." The Apache nearly spits, making a face of distaste. "I know such for they have tried to recruit me before. Long have they sought to bring a Sin Eater into their clan, but they have failed thus far in tempting us with their worthless money."
He crosses his arms in thought, eyes closing momentarily, before speaking again, directly to Kiyomi. "Sister, there is no need for a trial. Although we do hope to band the people of Earthrealm together to oppose Outworld, we of the Society are not trying to build an army. Here, all can come and go as they please, sharing in our protection then returning to the wilds as their heart desires."
"But as Haokah said, all that we ask in return is that you do not antagonize the Hunters. They will be dealt with when the time comes, and if they make the first move, it will be their blood which will spill, not ours."
"Promise this to us, and we will be more than glad to offer you and all you know sanctuary for as long as you desire it."
The Kitsune's ears twitch a bit and she bows her head respectfully to Raiden's words. She remains silent though, listening carefully to the discussion between the Apache and the God of thunder, her tails swaying slowly behind her like an hypnotic dance.
Her expression seems to soften a bit as she hears Nightwolf's speech : despite what she had heard about this society, there might be a glimmer of hope that perhaps he could understand her views of things eventually and that he doesn't cling too much to what she'd call lofty ideals.
She glances at Raiden, and then back at Nightwolf, "It would have been presumptuous of me to ask, or expect any member of this Society to fight or partake in some bloodsheed," The kitsune shakes her head slowly and adds, "I do not possess the strength to defend those who lack the resolve and courage to fight for themselves, and my heart is heavy with the countless I had to leave behind," She admits. "To know that I could offer them a place to stay, to live in peace, would soothe my heart, and ease my saddness,"
Her lips curl into a slow, wairy smile. "To know that a place where one can live without fear of oppression..." She lets her words trail off a moment, and then she bows her head respectfully "I vow not to shed blood on your ground, for as long as you offer me hospitality within your society," She then straightens herself up.
Nightwolf's mention of the Guild gets a tilted head from Raiden. "This Guild... these are not those who Azumi spoke of?" he inquires. She'd mentioned a fairly strict hunters' clan that had driven her out when she took her current shape. Though he keeps this little bit of information to himself and Nightwolf at the moment. The shaman knows Azumi, after all.
Raiden frowns when he realizes the implications. "It is sad that there are people who believe they have the right to exterminate another kind of being simply because they exist." To both Kiyomi and Nightwolf, he says, "This Guild will have no place here, and if any in the Society are attacked needlessly by them, we will help in defense."
Kiyomi speaks slyly, and Raiden hears what she does NOT say, as well as what she DOES say. But nonetheless he nods. "I have one final request." Uh-oh. Here it comes. "It is not my place to tell you how you must live your life. But as it pertains to those others who find refuge here, I will need to say this. Do not bring hatreds here, and do not incite them in those who reside here. I do know you have very likely been wronged by those who are different. But when you, as one of us, attack without need, you make us accomplices. We cannot say we offer freedom for all if one of our members attacks the innocent."
Nightwolf shakes his head at Raiden and clarifies. As he suspected, Raiden doesn't know the minute details due to not having been around for so long. "No Haokah, they are not the same. Azumi's clan is local, the Hunters Guild is worldwide." Like Raiden, Nightwolf is very wary of not saying information that pertains the Society's members in front of others. Confidentially and all that.
The shaman keeps his arms crossed whilst Raiden speaks, pointing out the cruelties that is the xenophobia of humanity. Nightwolf sighs softly; story of his life, really. And yet, he does not cling to hate.
To leave hatreds behind is the whole point of Society.
Which Raiden points out well. Nightwolf is listening carefully well, and he also knows of the sly nature of foxes. Sometimes, its not so important to hear what they say, but what they are not saying. The Apache watches Kiyomi carefully, there is no suspicion on his blank eyes, there is mostly concern. Concern that she might make the wrong decision. Raiden's words are kind and gentle, however their nature are undeniable. They are a warning. So that Kiyomi doesn't get the wrong idea.
The shaman knows that blind faith is difficult, and that letting go of hate is even harder, and he seeks to sooth the situation by approaching her. "When the time comes, we will fight. I can assure you of that, sister."
"But it would be best to heed the wisdom of Haokah's words. Let us not cause unnecessary suffering to our people by provoking meaningless fights."
"We will need to conserve our strength after all for the real battles that lay ahead."
Through the years, Kiyomi has learned the art of deception and excels in it, true to the myths that surrounds creatures like her. Cunning use of words, perhaps, not to trap herself into a promise she could not take? Nothing about her seems to betray other intentions when she made her vows though.
When Raiden asks his other request, Kiyomi's lips curl into an angelic and innocent smile, the kind you'd expect from a child who is well aware he had been caught red-handed. She nods her head slowly, "We all have our own personal fights to wage," Kiyomi admits, "I do not wish to impose mine to anyone, but I believe we share similar interests to you an extend.." She bows her head to Raiden and adds, "I will follow your rules, for the time I stay here, and those whom I might guide here are those who do not wish to fight and seek a place to live in peace,"
Kiyomi glances at Nightwolf and she nods at him, "I wish to preserve your land, as a land of peace and freedom," She says in all honesty. She would not let go of the hatred that exists within her, though she has enough wisdom and strength to put it aside momentarily, for the greater good of her own kin.
Raiden gives a quiet 'hrm' of thought when Nightwolf mentions that the Hunter's Guild is another group. The annoyed expression says what he doesn't-- wonderful, ANOTHER group wanting to kill us. Mind, the annoyance is not aimed at Nightwolf, but at the situation. "We will need to keep our wits about us then. Defenses for this place will need to be a priority if they begin to show themselves."
Kiyomi's smile actually get a chuckle. Yep, he caught it. He may not be too familiar with people, but he's familiar with the tricky ways that spirits talk around each other. He nods to her words, though. "So long as it doesn't place those here in danger, then," he agrees. "Those you bring here would also be in danger otherwise. But please be aware of something."
His voice is gentle as he speaks the next. "While I do not presume to instruct you in your duty, if your personal fight does involve the death of innocents, we may end up in conflict. Despite this, I will not turn away those of your brethren who wish sanctuary. We all must control our own fates. Their paths-- and their fates-- are not tied with yours unless they wish to be. Is this agreeable?"
Nightwolf gives a helpless shrug to Raiden, lips tightening in what appears to be resignation to their fate. Of course there's plenty of people wanting to kill them. An idealistic group like them that harbors both humans and darkstalkers and publicly opposes Outworld? Nightwolf is honestly surprised he hasn't gotten to kill anyone yet in defense of their group.
Mind you he has gotten remarkably close, though.
"They will need to find us first, Haokah." Nightwolf assures the God of Thunder when he speaks of reinforcing the Shrine. "I know of the ways of the Guild, they hardly concern themselves when there's no money involved. It will only be when we start taking their bounties away when they'll start to look for us."
An arched eyebrow look is given to Kiyomi as she gives an oh so innocent smile, a smile that is so prevalent amongst the tricky fox-kin. "Which... I suspect it will be soon." Oh yes, this kitsune /reeks/ of trouble, but if Raiden and Nightwolf know this very well, its still their duty to offer her shelter. Whatever happens, she is still their responsibility.
The Apache merely sighs when Kiyomi assures them that while she'll follow their rules, she has no intentions of giving up her ways of attacking the Hunters, and by extension, probably mistrusting humans too. "Clinging to old hatreds..." Nightwolf whispers to himself.. how often has he had to say that to people lately? It's like the whole world forgot what forgiveness means.
The skinwalker says nothing more for now since Raiden has covered most of their points.
Ah, but there is something else. He snaps his fingers and reaches for his pocket pulling an eagle feather and offers it to the kitsune. "If you find our terms agreeable, have this. Society members will recognize you as one of their own."
The Kitsune's expression grows stern when she replies to Raiden with a solemn nod of her head. This was a serious matter and Kiyomi did not wish to endanger others like her when she thought she might have found a place for them to live peacefully. "I understand, and believe this is fair, and honorable," The vixen concurs. She does not deny or speak of her intentions outside of their land, outside of the society, nothing to deny whether or not her doing involves the death of innocent.
The Kitsune glances at Nightwolf, her lips curling into a motherly smile as she replies to him, almost in a scolding tone of a mother who knows best, "It's never all white or all black, life comes in many different shades of grey," The woman reaches out for the feather offered to her, and once she takes it into her hands, she fastens it into the lock of her hair.
She gives both Raiden and Nightwolf a deference bow, spreading her arms wide open, bowing her head low, "I am honored and I will be eternally grateful of your kindness and trust,"
Hopefully, she won't give them reasons to regret it. Hopefully...
Bounties, hm? Could be of some use. But Raiden doesn't mention this yet. Though Nightwolf will be able to see the wheels in his head turning, so to speak. Might be working on plans. He's prooobably smelling the trouble too. But with this too, he's not commenting just yet. They'll just need to watch out. The Society has to extend the trust first, after all, for those who are hurt and angry to trust it in return...
Raiden watches the exchnge carefully, and offers a smile when she fastens the feather in her hair. "I await those who wish to come here for protection," he replies. A pause. "Do take care of yourself as well. If your path leads into the darkness, keep sight of your Light. Whatever that may be."
Log created on 18:56:05 01/26/2015 by Nightwolf, and last modified on 00:36:40 01/27/2015.