Description: Normally when someone enters a trailer through the window, it's a bad thing. In Honoka's case, it... could still be a bad thing.
If you're going to visit the wounded Twilight Star juggler unannounced, the middle of a show is going to be the best time.
Reason 1: It's nighttime, and it's hard to see since all the lights are aimed at the big top, instead of the travel trailers.
Reason 2: Most of the staff is in the big top itself; only a few guards patrol here and there. Right now, there's two guards specifically tasked with watching the trailers, and it's impossible for them to see everywhere at once.
It will be easy for anyone who knows Honoka Kawamoto to find the trailer -- it's decorated with pink and purple stars. And right now, the light's on, and she appears to be mumbling. The shadow of another, taller, male figure can be seen pacing about, nervously -- though, after irritable words are tossed out by Miss Kawamoto, that figure eventually takes a seat off to one side.
It is a risky approach, but it is unfortunately the only option that it is available to the Sin Eater.
Nightwolf doesn't know the specifics of how the monster that everyone is calling the Butcher contacted this woman, but the shaman thinks he is safe to assume that the meeting didn't involve tea and biscuits. Even now as he approaches the circus he is looking to the ground for signs of a fight if it took place around this area.
Meeting a monster of this magnitude can scan someone in many ways that even the soul. Nightwolf has seen cases like this before, after meeting a deviously evil Darkstalker the victim and those they know seldom wish to meet with other strangers, even if they claim that they want to help.
After following the spirit signature of the Butcher to this circus, Nightwolf didn't want to waste any time arguing with Honoka's handlers to assure them he was here to help, he needed to move and he needed to do it fast.
Looks like he was going to need to sneak in.
The shaman approaches silently in his stealthiest form, that of a wolf with a pelt dark as the night. The wolf prowls in under the cover of the darkness and sniffs about waiting for the sentry posted outside of Honoka's trailer. Nightwolf doesn't need to know Honoka personally to recognize that this is the mark he's looking for, the air around the trailer decorated with pink and purple stars reeks of malevolence.
The shaman shifts back to his human form and presses his hands against a window, sliding up quickly before jumping inside the trailer itself as silently as he can. This will either backfire stupendously or he'll surprise Honoka enough to keep her from crying out in alarm when a man dressed in wolf skins jumps inside her trailer.
Sudo had been in the trailer with Honoka most of the night, but the air was stifling -- he'd needed to get out for a little while. And he'd just happened to go out right before Nightwolf's arrival, as luck would have it, just long enough to sit down and browse on his phone for something. If Honoka needed anything, he figured, she'd let him know through the way she normally does -- directly.
But right now, Honoka can't use the usual methods. She can't even -speak- normally at the moment, let alone project her thoughts into the minds of others she's close to. Her spastic outburst unnoticed, she had sat up, in anticipation of someone coming -- but no idea who that might be.
When the shaman arrives, Honoka is sitting up in her bed, blankets pulled tightly around herself.
And she's staring right at the man in wolf skins. If her mind were completely present, she'd have screamed.
As it is, her jaw hinges open, wordlessly. Utterly aghast that anyone would have the audacity to meet her here. And now.
Given a moment of thought, she closes her eyes and jaws. And, with great effort, she whispers hoarsely, "... what... do you want?!"
Well, Nightwolf eventually had to have a bit of good luck sent his way. Looks like he miraculously picked the perfect time to slide into the trailer, right when the guards weren't looking, and when Honoka would be bewildered, and weakened, enough to not scream by his presence.
Maybe all that good karma is finally paying off.
"Fear not, Honoka." Comes the voice of the stoic shaman. Nightwolf didn't know Honoka's full name, but even showing minor familiarity thanks to the information Zach gave him might help his cause, at least so that Honoka doesn't immediately try to attack him.
"Know that I am Nightwolf, Sin Eater, Demon Hunter... Defender of Earthrealm. And that I am here to help you." Nightwolf lowers his wolf hood to show his face, hoping that Honoka might interpret it as a sign of his honest intentions. Then again, its possible that his face tattoos and blank, white eyes could have just the exact opposite effect.
Point 1: Someone just slipped past her guards, and into her trailer. Point 2: Honoka still can't sense presences, not fully. She knew something was up, but not where, not who, not -what-. And Point 3: ... She's being told 'fear not' by someone showing all the signs of someone who wants to scare the mess out of her.
Point 4, of course, is that he announced himself as the Sin Eater, and Honoka's not exactly been the most sparkling example of a person without sin. She flattens her back against the wall, drawing her knees up close, a look of abject, terrified fear in her eyes as she looks back at Nightwolf. Even with his lowered hood, his face tattoos and white eyes... yeah. Not helping things.
The fact that he's making no -further- hostile overtures, however, is.
"... N...night...wolf. I... I have... Why are you h-here? Wh-who sent you?" Her voice comes haltingly -- it's been too long since Zach Glenn was last here, had last helped her voice come out a bit more smoothly. For a person like Honoka so thoroughly defined by her powerful presence, having it stripped away from her leaves her feeling quite defenseless. Especially when she can't even raise her voice to alert the inattentive guard standing maybe a dozen or two feet away.
Nightwolf can't help the way he looks, for such is part of the many, many... many challenges of following the path of the Sin Eater. To take the form of that which people fear the most, to fight that which makes them scared. It is a fight fire with fire role, and no matter how careful one is, playing with fire gets you burned every now and then.
The burning in this case is Honoka's obvious mistrust. It would be foolish to think that Honoka wouldn't be concerned about a stranger that looks like Nightwolf slipping inside her trailer. Had Nightwolf tried more diplomatic manners.. he probably never would have been allowed to see Honoka without using force, which wouldn't help his case at all.
But it's fine, sneaking in was one of the hardest steps, and Honoka not screaming in his presence was arguably the hardest leap of faith. They were making progress.
The healing could begin now.
"No one sent me. I came here off my own free will, for I have sworn an ancient oath to fight the darkness wherever it may appear."
"Darkness such as the one that now gnaws at your soul." The shaman's white lich like eyes widen and he tilts his head strangely at Honoka. "Yes.. I can see it, twisting its tendrils around your heart."
"I have come, because Zach Glenn informed me of your meeting with the horrid creature known as the Butcher. I will take this affliction from you and make you whole again."
"If you'd just let me."
Honoka has many reasons to be paranoid. She's gone to great pains to separate her life as a circus performer from her other, darker pursuits -- and she'd foolishly thought herself safe within an impenetrable cocoon so long as she's surrounded by people. On most days, that's enough -- and on most days, she'd be surrounded by an audience.
But while her sixth sense is untrustworthy, her eyes tell her plenty. There is nothing about the shaman which speaks of untrustworthiness. He may be throwing words out faster than the shaken, half-composed juggler can fully process, but something he says signals an instant change in Honoka's demeanor.
The name: Zach Glenn.
She moistens her lips, lets her bare feet slide down along her bedsheets, lowering her guard -- mostly, but not entirely. "O-okay." Even in her addled state, she always bears some measure of unease around people who claim to be acting in her best interests.
"... You... you will make yourself... a target. He is... in me." She balls her fist, places it atop her heart. "... We... are linked. N-not by choice, but."
She looks down at her blankets, shifts them about to such a degree that she can scoot to the side of the bed. She plants her palm on the bed -- and as she does so, the brace on her right shoulder might become a bit more visible, with the blanket no longer covering it, as would a beige camisole. Clearly, she was not expecting visitors.
"... Sudo... will be coming back inside soon. Y-you may want to..." Words fail her for a moment.
She looks around the bed for a moment, and finds a notepad scattered among the blankets, retrieving it.
"... You can see... tendrils?" She flips the notepad over to a drawing she'd made for Daniel -- the outline of a figure, with many faces inside. And a partial outline of a second figure, with one face removed. "This... is what I saw of him."
She seems receptive to whatever Nightwolf asks, as she looks back to him. The words might not come out quite as such, though.
"Long have I dealt with creatures such as this one." Nightwolf assures the weakened juggler when she warns him of the risks of his methods. "I have my own ways to deal with them." Honestly, Honoka is a few decades late of warning Nightwolf of the risks involved with eating the sins of people. As he told Ayame long ago, he was forsaken the moment he received those tattoos on his face, and that was when he was quite young.
"You have chosen well in trusting me." Continues the Nightwolf once he sees that his patient is now fully receptive. "Your faith may yet be restored." But as to what does Nightwolf mean by that, he doesn't specify.
The shaman knows that he has little time before Honoka's bodyguard wises up and returns to his charge, but he still finds interest in the notebook that she shows him, moving far too casually for a man that is in the presence of a girl that is essentially in her undergarments. Nightwolf is far too dedicated to the cause of protecting Earthrealm and its denizens to let something as petty as modesty slow him down.
"Hmm.." The Sin Eater muses loudly at the drawing. "I have seen this work before.. naught but a loathsome parasite." Says Nightwolf looking somewhat sickened. "Those who feast on the souls of others share that similar trait. Driven by that insatiable hunger to fill the void inside of them, doomed to never have a soul they can call their own."
He frowns at Honoka and lowers the notepad. "You have a gift, girl. Be certain that you do not squander it with this second chance you will receive."
Taking a few steps back, the shaman instructs Honoka to sit at the edge of her bed and face him. "Brace yourself, this will feel not unlike ripping a bandage from a wound."
"Are you ready?"
"... Right..." She nods quietly, but doesn't seem convinced -- probably due to her affliction more than anything else.
Honoka scoots further, letting her legs hang over the edge of the bed. Yes, it's clear as she pulls the blankets off that she's in her underclothes. She wears a skintight costume when she goes on stage in front of thousands of people, showing off her trim figure is -not- the reason she's nervous.
Part of it is because she's receiving veiled threats -while- clad in little more than her underclothes. Threats to... behave. It's enough to raise her blood pressure just a bit more than before.
But, with the additional warning from Nightwolf, she nods slowly. And she knows she's likely to scream, with that knowledge. Sudo will -totally- take this the wrong way. She turns to a new page and scribbles, 'SUDO IT'S OKAY - honoka <3'. Ripping the page out, she hands it to Nightwolf. "P-put that on the door. Th-then, I'm ready."
And her fingertips pull the sheets taut as she braces for... whatever Nightwolf is about to do.
Nightwolf is no fool, despite the fact that most of his plans of fighting evil involve him literally eating it and let it consume his own soul...
But that's beside the point, fact is, Nightwolf knows that all that darkness he is seeing stirring within Honoka is not all of the Butcher's doing. He knows that Honoka stores genuine evil within herself, and he would be remiss if he were not to warn her that he is not saving her just so she can continue on her evil path.
Let's just say that if Nightwolf's path converges with Honoka's after this, and he catches her committing some kind of crime against humanity..
He's going to be less than thrilled.
Alas, as a Defender of Earthrealm, it is Nightwolf's duty to always save the lives of those that can yet be redeemed, particularly when letting said human die would just empower some horrendous fiend that does nothing besides feast on souls.
Nightwolf places the page handed to him by Honoka on the door as instructed, closes it, locks it, and then faces the juggler again.
Wide blank eyes widen and muscled arms raise, fingers outstretched.
Soon, the inside of the trailer grows darker than that of the night outside as Nightwolf begins with a sickly green glow when he makes his spiritual connection with the cursed circus star.
Wiconi mitawa ki el
Anpetu wanji a ke mi qui,
Heon wo pi la eci ci ye,
Micante ki eciya tanhan.."
The shaman begins to chant an incantation in his own language and begins to probe inside Honoka's soul, seeking whatever curse has taken a hold of her. He finds.. it feels.. like some kind of festering scar. What is its origin? Does it come from Outworld? Somewhere else? He can't tell for sure, he has only ever heard of tales of a curse of his magnitude. But he does know one thing for certain.
He can rip it out.
With a hard pulling motion with his arms, the shaman pries the cursed seal away from the juggler and it floats out in the air before he transfers it into his own chest. A snarl comes from him forcing the curse to remain inside his body until it finally settles.
After the deed is done, Nightwolf looks... a bit more pale.
Honoka certainly had many reservations about a complete stranger absolving her of the infectious soul of the spirit -- amidst holier-than-thou ministrations about how she should 'do the right thing' at all times in her life. There's a reason she hasn't been back home for years. But the fact remains that this man came with Zach's apparent blessing, and her will is not to the degree that she can really fight back. This will have long-lasting repercussions, to be sure.
She eyes the Sin Eater warily as he pins the message on the door, then pulls it shut. The flimsy door needs to be effectively slammed to lock it. Which would shake the trailer. Which would draw Sudo's attention.
And, as predicted, her trusty bodyguard would try the door anyway -- once, twice, thrice -- before taking note of the sign on the door.
Once again, the sound of a balled fist against the door would be heard, but no more, as Sudo notices the change in lights.
Honoka stares up at Nightwolf as he turns green, gripping the edge of the bed. She's, quite honestly, beyond words, staring up at the glow which suffuses her unusual guest.
The language -- it sounds familiar to her native tongue, and yet... not so. A frown pulls at her hips, as she finds it more and more difficult to keep her eyes open. She can sense Nightwolf's power within her, wrestling against the accursed spirit that has a stranglehold upon her heart.
Her back arches, her eyes shooting open as her face tilts up towards the roof of the trailer. Her mouth parts, but only a high-pitched, keening whine escapes her lungs -- for a mere couple of seconds.
It's gone. She can feel it, and as she falls sideways onto the bed, she finds herself exhausted as well.
But not pale, not like Nightwolf. Blood rushes to her cheeks, and she pants, her lungs eager to taste the boon of fresh air, once again. She lies on her side for a good few moments, staring back at her nighttime guest with a mixture of awe and... anger.
"... Sin Eater... I don't know how... but I think you did it." Her brow furrows, as she plants her hand before her on the bed, lifting herself back up to a seated position. "... Thank you. ... I'm a... terrible hostess," she jokes, noting the shaman's condition. "Would you like some tea?"
Sudo thumps lightly on the door. He's trying not to be rude. But he's being rude anyway.
"I'm fine, Sudo!" she calls out. "Just... give us a few."
Long ago Nightwolf swore he'd defend Earthrealm at all cost..
Though he be damned..
Whether Honoka will take his advice to follow the path of righteousness from now is relevant. The point was that Nightwolf could not simply leave her there suffering from her affliction whilst that fiend of the Butcher grew stronger. Being the Sin Eater was very often a thankless job.. only time would tell if Honoka would make the full use of her second chance, or if she would simply return to her old ways.
Nightwolf understandably doesn't look himself at the moment, his head twists this way and the other as he seems to struggle with some internal battle before his blank eyes focus once again on Honoka. She looks much better already.. that much satisfies him.
"Perhaps some other time." Comes the Apache's stoic voice when Honoka offers him some tea in appreciation, his gaze turning slightly to the door where Sudo knocks, the guard's desperation and concern heard plainly despite the lightness in which he raps the door. "There are others that need me.. and I do not think your bodyguard will take kindly to my presence here."
Although Nightwolf refuses anything Honoka might give him, he does have something he wishes to give her. The shaman digs through the pockets of his deer leather jacket and he pulls a pristine eagle feather. With somewhat shaky hands, he extends the feather towards the juggler.
"Your part in this is not yet over. Should you be attacked by the Butcher again, call upon me by whispering my name into this feather. There are others who carry this symbol as well, show it to them and they will help you however they can."
His gift given, Nightwolf stumbles towards the trailer's window and prepares to leave, slowly enough that it gives Honoka time to send some parting words his way if she wishes.
The malevolent scarring of her soul may have been healed, the infectious tendrils that caused it transferred to Nightwolf, but the dark residences within Honoka's soul remain intact. The seeds of Honoka's personality were planted at birth, her gift hereditary. As long as she's known she could shape minds, she's done so -- and the mark of her presence is impressed, however subtly, upon Sudo and everyone in the Twilight Star Circus.
"... Very well, Nightwolf. I... truly appreciate all you've done for me tonight." The words flow more freely than before, but she still lacks some conviction in her tone. Her will is strong... and it's getting stronger by the moment.
She stands, reaching out to accept the feather with a grateful bow of her head. "Of course. There's no way only one of us can succeed. He needs to be surrounded. Attacked from all fronts simultaenously. And destroyed, utterly." She spares a glance towards her drawing, from before. "Part of me... is still in there," she notes, turning back to Nightwolf, raising the feather for emphasis. "So this should go both ways, if it can. I want to help."
She wasn't pleased at Nightwolf's manner of entering. And she's even less pleased that he feels the need to abscond like a thief. "Please, we're friends, now. Inextricably bound by fate, until this crisis abates. I hope you can feel comfortable using the door?"
As Honoka offers a friendly smile, the soft rapping upon the door abates. The grind of gravel under the feet of a tall man can be heard stepping away from the door. "Sudo won't bite," she explains. "I promise."
Rather ironically, it is now Nightwolf who cannot trust Honoka. Although it was his duty to free her from such a curse that no one truly deserved, he knows he has only opted for the lesser of the two evils. This strange dark juggler is still not in the same level of monstrosity as the Butcher, but if left to her own devices... she might.
But not today, today Honoka is free to continue misusing her gifts as she revels in her regained freedom. Because for the lack of a better term, Nightwolf has bigger fish to fry.
"Thank you, but I cannot. It is imperative that I maintain the outmost secrecy." Answers the skinwalker. "The less that know of my involvement the better."
"The Butcher now has no control over you, and it is this tool that will be used against him. When the time comes, you and his other victims will have to band together to destroy him, reaping rightful vengeance for the suffering that he has put you all through. Only then will you truly be free from his curse.."
The shaman clears his throat and coughs a little, already looking a bit sick. "Understandably I might not be able to join you, but I will if I am able to."
Nightwolf chuckles despite himself and opens the window. "Until our paths converge again, my friend." Because that's what they are now apparently. "Keep your eyes and ears open and await my signal. Strike ruthlessly when you do, the time draws nigh for the Butcher to drown in his own blood."
His body is then consumed by that same dark green energy and he turns into a large black wolf that leaps out of the window, back into the night.
Honoka twiddles her fingers in a farewell to Nightwolf. "I understand. Thank you again." With each moment, her will grows stronger. She can sense his weakness... and she can sense that the foul energies of the Butcher are now safely contained within him. "And... don't force yourself. You will need rest."
Nightwolf may not have taken her up on the offer of tea, as he spirits out the window, but damn if she isn't going to steep a kettle for herself. The circus should be entering halftime soon, and... with a tentative roll of her shoulder, she considers the possibility of rejoining them in a couple of days.
Unless that feather flutters.
Once she starts the kettle, she opens the door, allowing her bodyguard/driver/companion to step inside. A questioning smile from Sudo is answered by a knowing smile from the juggler. No words are exchanged.
None that can be heard, anyway.
Log created on 21:10:56 02/11/2015 by Honoka, and last modified on 01:06:41 02/12/2015.