Description: After hunting down their meal, Kiyomi returns with a hare to feed Walter. They carry on their discussion, the sly vixen attempting to further corrupt and implant the seeds of doubt in father Walter's mind, testing his resolve and convictions for the last time.
The Kitsune had left Walter on his own in the cave -- she left without taking her weapon, her katana resting against one of the wall of the cave. There was still plenty of tea for Walter, as well as some fresh water that came from melted snow.
The vixen was either incredibly foolish or confident to leave her weapon being. She must have doubted Walter would be strong enough to try anything, or simply expect him to be honor bound to her and not attempt to strike down the one who rescued him.
She leaves him in the cave for what seems to be an eternity, with no sign of her returning. She left to find them something to eat, who knows what she must have had in mind. It leaves Walter with plenty of time to meditate on the things they discussed together. Plenty of time for him to ponder on the words of the vixen.
Kiyomi's featerlight steps barely betray her presence until she's actually back into the cave. She carries a snow hare by the scruff of its neck under one hand, the creature bloody, immobile, long since dead.
It might be a wonder how Kiyomi has managed to catch the hare, but Dame Renard has some blood smeared on her cheeks and beside her full lips. "I hope you like meat, Sir Walter," Kiyomi says as she strides back to the fire.
She puts her prey down and takes a few sticks of wood and puts them in the fire to fuel its flamme.
The priest, after a particularly rough night battling fever, seems to have finally broke his illness. He'll likely be weak for a day or two more, but after another near-death to the effects of their battle, the wyrmkin finally seems stable. Indeed, the man is simply far too honorable to try to attack someone who saved his life. Nor does he truly believe he could defeat her at his best right now.
When she arrives, rabbit in hand, the priest is sipping on tea with that vaguely troubled expression that's been there for quite some time after her words of wisdom. His free hand remains on his chest, partially eschewing modesty as he sits up. Rubbing his own scales, the wyrmkin seems deep in thought. If nothing else, she's certainly had him /thinking/.
Maybe, just maybe, if he could tame and /use/ that power he was born with, he could have saved the villagers. Not for the first time has the thought came to him, but it once more worms deeper into his heart. Clawed hands flex, and then reaches up to run through his hair.
Then a voice calls out, and the wyrmkin jumps. Wings flap, and he floats back down from the four foot leap he took. Settling down, and using his wings as a cloak, he scowls.
"Dear /God/ Kiyomi, fit to give a heart attack!" He chastises, though without much force. Then, he settles back down.
"Beggars can hardly be so picky. Besides, I have not had rabbit in years. Shame we lack a pot, I could have made us a stew." Darkastalker or not, the priest is definitely a child of civilization. The blood on her cheeks nets her a frown. And him without a handkerchief.
"...Can you truly teach me to control my inner nature?" Questions the wyrm.
The wyrm's reaction barely seems to startle the Kitsume -- she has a slight step back at first, then a soft chuckle of amusement escape her throat. Once the few sticks of woods are laid into the flammes, Kiyomi takes a step closer to Walter, slowly circling him and letting her tails graze the scales of his wings and shoulders. She leans once she's done circling him, a wry smile on her lips, "Had I been a predator, you would have been done for..." She whispers in a sultry tone, offering him her own observation of what had just happened.
There's an hint of surprise on Kiyomi's face at Walter when he offers her a handerchief. She closes her eyes and chuckles softly, accepting the handerchief silently, lifting it to her lips, gingerly using it to scrub off the blood on her cheeks and lips, "Thank you," She replies softly, giving Walter his hankerchief back.
She trails off to the rabbit and sits down gracefully on her heels. The woman looks into her sleeves and takes a small knife, which she uses to skin the hare's fur off its body : a few expert slice here and there, pulling at the right place at its skin comes off. Fortunately, the hare had already been eviscerated outside the cave and most of its blood had already left its body while Kiyomi carried it to the cave.
Legs are then bound to a large piece of wood and Kiyomi lifts it up so the hare rests above the flammes, slowly roasting. She glances at Walter and arches a brow, "Yes," She replies softly. She turns her gaze away and says, "Years ago, I used to hate and be ashamed of my monstruous nature, much like you," Kiyomi adds, "I learned to accept it, and I attuned myself with it." Kiyomi closes her eyes for a moment and says, "The first step, if you wish to ever control your inner nature, is to learn to accept it, as a part of yourself,"
Kiyomi glances up at Walter, her lips curling into a soft soothing smile, "This path is not an easy one, and will require you a lot of personal inner work... But I sinercely believe it is the only way you will ever be able to find solace,"
Every trace of soft tail upon those scales has him shivering, his soft flesh both warming and causing that blush to return. Letting out a huff of draconic irritation, he stares at the kitsune when she leans in. Biting his lip, tail lashing out behind him, he finally manages to summon up his usual courage.
"I am unused to those who slink about in the shadows rather than face an opponent properly!" Not /quite/ true. He can track down his own kind well enough. But a predator on the level of the kitsune is beyond his own conflicted means.
Then, he reaches out, and tries to poke her on the nose. There's even a little tickle there!
"And you /are/ a predator. Lucky for me that you don't seem interested in dragon meat any time soon." A small sigh of relief. No, he would rather not be eaten. For all that he's a knight, he /likes/ being alive.
Walter shows no sign of being bothered by the skinning of the rabbit. Not squeemish around blood, for all his faults. If anything, he licks his lips at the prospect of roast rabbit. There's a grumbling sound from the direction of his scaled tummy. Staring at Kiyomi's handiwork, he can't help but give a little draconic hiss and a grumble. Wyrms are impatient.
Her words have the man sighing. Face plain with the wavering nature of his conflict, of whether his is a gift or curse, both hands rub his forehead.
"How did you learn? I...if you do not mind saying." It's another intensely personal topic, and he's gentler now. Part of it is deflection from his own inner turmoil. For once her soothing smile doesn't seem to help. Truly, the wyrm is having an internal crisis right about now. He could /really/ use a drink.
He laughs bitterly. "At times I fear I never shall find such. I truly hate what our world has become, my friend." For all that they're different, he can call her that. No one but a friend would offer so much wisdom, so much mercy despite their differing, divergent paths of blood.
The Kitsune closes her eyes and seems thoughtful a moment. "My mother taught me benelovence, passion and courage," The vixen opens her eyes and she averts her gaze from the fire, her tails idly swaying behind her, "My father taught me to feel shame, discipline, honor..." Her words trail off as she glances over the katana, adding, "And his ancestral iaijutsu that was handed down from father to son in his family..."
She lifts her eyes to Walter and says, "My father was harsh and very demanding. A proud, traditionnal Japanese man," Her lips curl into a faint smirk at the thought, "... My opinions and desires meant little to him, alas," She says. Her words trail off, before she adds, "When my third tail grew, in my adolescent, I acquired the capacity to transform into a fox with many tails," Her lips curl into a nostalgic smile, a soft glimmer in her eyes, "I was rebellious, and challenged my father's authority, and despite his orders never to leave the household after our exile, I constantly sneaked out under the guise of the fox,"
The woman arches her back, closing her eyes. Those memories felt fresh to her mind : she still feels the cool night breeze against her skin, the freedom of the chase in the woods, the call of the wild she responded to, something that was stronger and beyond her, that she failed to comprehend. She heaves a soft dreamy sigh before she opens her eyes, "This is where I met Him," She says, lowering her eyes to Walter. Her lips curl into a gentle smile, "He taught me not to fear, not to feel shame. He had been a guide and a mentor," The woman moistens her lips gently, lost in her thoughts as she adds, "Taught me to feel beautiful despite my monstruous aspect, instilled confidence in me..."
The vixen finally seems to snap out of her reverie, lifting her eyes up to Walter, "Without Him, I wouldn't have been here. I'd probably still cower in the shadows, afraid of the rest of the world, mutilating myself to the very core for being who I am," The woman slowly shakes her head at the thought, her disgust at such a future obvious on her feature.
The vixen leans in a bit closer and says, "Sir Walter -- the future is in our hand, we are the only ones who can change the world as it is," She says, "Do not sit idly and wait for a miracle -- be your own miracle," She encourages.
There's a crossing of his chest at the mention of her mother. Aoi, from all that he's heard, shared something with the wyrmkin: a dream of peace and harmony.
There's a frown at her treatment by her father. The englishman has never liked others who treat women as mere property in such a way. His body tenses just a bit, trying to look every bit as chivalrous as possible.
He warms a little as she mentions sneaking away. "Crafty then, even, were you?" He says with a smirk and a flick of tail.
The tale of meeting her guide, her mentor, and the pure passion it ignites in her has the wyrm both curious, and smiling widely.
"He sounds like a wonderful person. I...am glad you have found someone who cares so to guide you and bring you such joy. Such people are gifts from the Lord. Cherish him so long as you both live." His words are gentle and kind, his priestly demeanor returning.
A bite of the lip, and the male leans back.
"...My own miracle..." Mutters the man. A deep sigh exits his mouth.
"You are right. I just need to find the strength to change. Myself, and the world. Thus far...I have not forged my own path, merely been dragged along by a leash. Can I truly become strong enough to walk beside those who share my dream?" Muses the dragon-priest.
A weak smile crosses her lips, "I despised my father for many reasons... Though in retrospect, most of what he did were, in his own clumsy ways, because he cherished me, I believe..." The woman muses. She shakes her head slowly, as if dismissing the thought.
Walter's comment brings a mischievous smile on her lips, "Who wouldn't?" The Kitsune nods her head slowly to Walter, her smile growing gentle and motherly. "Indeed, he is, Sir Walter..."
Kiyomi remains silent, allowing Walter to ponder her words, giving him some time to let them sink in. Kiyomi tilts her head to one side, her expression growing stern as she speaks softly, "Sir Walter," Once she has his attention, she adds, "You have to ask yourself the right questions : who are you, Sir Walter, and who it is you want to become?" Kiyomi says.
Kiyomi closes her eyes, taking a deep breath before she adds, "This strength you seek is inside of you : if you will it, you can change and use this strength to change the world, Sir Walter, but you have to ask yourself, is this who you want to become? Who you want to be?"
Her lips curl into a thin smile and she says, "I cannot give you this strength, but I can help you and guide you, much as I have been, years before..."
The kitsune reaches out for the knife she used on the hare to skin it and she uses it to tear off a long strip of silk from the long sleeves of her kimono. One of her fluffy tail then curls up in front of her and Kiyomi caresses the fur for a moment, before using the knife to cut a handful of pristine fur from it. She uses the crimson strip of cloth to bind the fur together with a small bow.
"A little souvenir," Kiyomi says. Her smile widens and Kiyomi giggles, "A good luck charm -- something to remind you that you possess the strength to change and become who you want,"
The priest-dragon laughs a bit. "Perhaps I shall meet him one day." Pause. He basks in that gentle, motherly smile for a moment, before his brief period of simple enjoyment with another person fades.
"No. I would say it is fate." Adds on the priest with a deep, troubled frown. Conflict has been a hallmark of his life, and he doubts meeting Kiyomi's mentor shall end in peace and understanding.
That stern look and words has his full attention. His expression slackens as the kitsune cuts straight to the heart of his troubles. Walter Bardsley has lived his life on the influences of others. Constantly subjected to being told he's a monster, a sin, even as he has worked so hard to try to save others. The abuses of his master, though perhaps well meaning, has surely hampered his potential. But Kiyomi's words offer hope: a chance to change, to find a mentor and friend, and perhaps even come to truly know what he was born as. It's utterly tempting. Perhaps most crafty of all, his many oaths offer no swift way out. He swore to protect humanity, to uphold his faith, to do honor to himself and to others. To be virtuous, kind, and loving. And to show honor even to his enemies.
Some small part of his mind realizes that he's never once loved himself, shedding his own blood without care, thinking it tainted and worthless. And that, in itself, is a sin. He too is an act of God, should he not also show care for himself?
A long, exasperated sigh escapes him. Once more he flops down, a wing concealing his face.
"...I never knew a person could be both so infuriating and wise as you are. Thank the Lord there is only one of you, else I think I would go mad." It's said with affection, irritation, and a bit of proper cheek all the same.
It's not quite an acceptance of the offer, but he's clearly on the verge of a decision. The pious priest simply hasn't spent enough time in prayer; the downside of working with a man of such faith.
He sits up, and before him, is a tie of her fluffy tail-fur, taken into his hands like a precious treasure. There's that blushing young creature again, so unused to women and gestures of kindness between people. "...Renard? I.." He trails off, and gently ties it about his wrist.
When he looks to her once more, it's with a touched smile. His head bows.
"Thank you. I will cherish this. And...maybe, just maybe, I can find the strength to change the world. Make it a little closer to my dream." Vows the knight as he strokes the trinket of fluffy fox fur.
The thought of Walter meeting her Mentor makes Kiyomi chuckles softly, "Perhaps one day," She replies semi-dismissingly. For some reason, she does not see this day forthcoming any time soon.
The woman slowly pulls the hare off from the fire, poking and probing it with her knife to check if the meat has been roasted enough for them to eat. Alas, aside from her handy knife, it seems Kiyomi does not possess any kind of plate or other implements. She uses the knife to slice one of the rabbit's leg, tearing it off from its body and then offers it to Walter.
Kiyomi glances up at Walter and she smiles at him, "Believe in yourself," The woman simply replies, "Never doubt about yourself, never let others belittle you, and always remember that you are capable of grand things," The woman nods her head slowly and says, "This is the best word of wisdom I can give you," She grins, "The conclusion of a life of ordeals. I can only hope they will be able to help you, as they helped me," The woman says.
She looks down at the hare and says, "It's all for you, if you wish," Kiyomi says, "Not that I don't want to share it with you, but you'll need it to recover and get better," She waves her head up dismissingly and adds, "Beside, I have already taken my own share earlier,"
Like a real pack leader -- feeding herself first and leaving the rest for the rest. She was clearly the dominant one here anyway.
Though wishing he had a knife or a fork, the leg of rabbit is taken. Not even thinking, he starts to chomp on meat and bone alike, cracking both as he chomps them up. They're devoured with animalistic, hungry glee. The kitsune's presence, his weakness and fever-effects still have him teetering on the edge of inhuman habits coming to the fore. Proof that she's been effecting him, and his ever-loosening grip on the chains of his inner beast.
And then she offers wisdom of a lifetime. The male lets a bone hang out of his mouth as he crosses his legs and sits near the foxess. Utterly rapt, it's like a cub sitting before his mother. Given just how little he knows of being a Darkstalker, it might be the truth.
"Confidence, hmm?" He ponders, and eventually just rubs his temples. Self-doubt is a plague for the man, and it shows with his every movement.
There's a slow nod, and then there's more food being offered. He can't help but huff. Her dismissive manner, how she took her meal before him, and simply makes it all seem so trivial...it forces a draconic huff. NOt quite a challenge, but a youngster's chafing against pack ways. With perhaps reluctance, he submits with a tuck of his tail and begins to devour the rabbit with crunching sounds. At least he's not slobbering like a dog. Crunch nom nom crunch.
That done, he pauses. "If believing in myself with bring me strength, then I have no choice." Mutters the dragon. A weakling can't change the world, and the vixen has shown him that.
The Kitsune leaves the roasted hare in front of Walter and she sits on her heels by Walter's side. Her tails sway behind her, moving in sinusoidal patterns, going in opposite direction, seldom in synch with each others.
The expression on her face was devoid of malice : she wore a genuine and honest smile, watching Walter feasts on her prey and devour it. It all seemed natural for her to see Walter eat with his bare hand, without any knife or fork. His beastial manner did not bother her at all and she remained unphased by it.
His words make her smile slowly diminishes. The woman leans in closer to Walter, moving one of her hand to brush Walter's clawed one. She rubs the hand gently, keeping her gaze locked with Walter's one, "Sir Walter," She murmurs "You make it sound like you do wish this strength for yourself, but for someone else," There was obviously some worries in her intonation.
The woman leans back and says, "Are you sure your fight is truly yours, that it isn't a cause that has been forced on you in spite of yourself?"
With the kitsune at his side, food in his belly, Walter feels better than he has in days. The recovering priest lets out a tiny sigh of relief. It's peaceful here. Maybe he really could stay here, learn from the vixen, and simply dissappear...
Walter shakes his head as the thought strikes him, shoving it aside. A hand touches his, and he gazes into the vixen's own eyes.
His body tenses, growling, but he can't quite find it in him to be angry as she challenges his reasons. She seemed to care. Whether for manipulation, or honesty, it feels good that someone cares so. It reminds him in a strange way of Amy.
"You are correct in a way. I do not desire strength for my own sake. I want strength so that I can help others. Gifts and strengths are not to be selfishly hoarded, but used to make the world a better place."
He stands up just a little taller, more proudly. "Forced or not, it is one I have accepted. /Sworn/ to do. I will not be an oathbreaker. Hardly anything more low than such honorless cravens." In many ways the priest is archaic: eschewing all but the most basic of modern technology, often living in seclusion in England when not on a mission, and much preferring prayer, stories of knightood, and scripture to just about anything else. It's something that the Church has certainly encouraged in order to keep their pet monster under control.
The vixen closes her eyes as Walter replies to her vehemently and show his pride. She did not expect such fervor and resolve in his words, but he seems determined. It might take longer than she expected.
Her lips curl into a smile and she straightens herself up, striding back on the other side of the fire, taking up her katana. The Kitsune seems content with the answer Walter has given her, it seems, or at the very least she remains silent.
"I am going out to find us some dry wood for the fire," Kiyomi says. She makes her way back to Walter and kneels in front of him. A lingering touch with her hand to his cheek, and a motherly kiss on his temple, "Good bye," She whispers to him, before she rises up to her full height, "Rest well," She adds, before she turns on her heels and strides out of the cave.
Log created on 11:10:30 02/13/2015 by Kiyomi, and last modified on 08:37:05 02/14/2015.