Description: After all the events that occured in europe, Kiyomi finally returns to the Full Moon Society, craving to alleviate the burden of her responsability and seeking some comfort. Her desperate attempt for affection ends up backfiring on her and she has that inevitable clash with Nightwolf about their different views on the darkstalker problem.
It has been weeks since Kiyomi's last visit to the village of the Full Moon Society : nothing to be too worried about, the vixen was an independant Darkstalker, a nomad that rarely stood in one place for too long. The call of the wild or the wanderlust so many Darkstalkers had. In spite of her rare occurence and visits, most Darkstalkers in the village had been guided here by her care and she had helped them in more than one way in their past life.
Kiyomi finally returned after her long absence. The younger infants were always quite eager to see her, mostly due to her way of giving them the attention they were looking for from an adult... Or maybe due to her little magic tricks with her illusions she did to them from time to time.
The kitsune was hard-pressed into offering them bits of her attention this time, unfortunately. The woman sought some solitude and tranquility and she found it atop the sky temple built in the middle of the village.
The woman sits on her heels underneath one of the tree, her katana by her side and a couple of simple objects, mostly related to tea. Kiyomi holds a cup on her hands her gaze seems lost in the distance, staring at the horizon, a strange drop of melancholy on her features. She is perfectly motionless, except for her tails that idly twitches and her hands that brings the cup to her lips every now and then.
Nothing to worry about..
Things had been tense in Bastion Village while Kiyomi was out wandering the world. Just because it was secluded didn't meant they didn't get any news from the outside world, after all, Nightwolf strongly encouraged everyone to keep their ears and eyes open to what happened outside, for they were a part of this world as much as everyone else.
And what misfortune indeed to be part of a world like this.
Nightwolf was sitting down along with some of the warrior Darkstalkers as they all watched the news through the shaman's laptop. Even though he was well hidden behind a dozen proxies, Nightwolf seldom used the thing unless there was dire need to do so.. and the recent news unfortunately merited such a thing. "I can't believe it.." He whispered whilst the other Darkstalkers watched in silence, hundreds killed in Eastern Europe, shadowy killers robbing a bank, the media wasn't clear on who it was but both the skinwalker and his Darkstalker compatriots could read the sign well enough. These were rogue Darkstalkers spreading havoc.
Nightwolf rubbed his forehead and grimaced "Why is it never enough..?" Some of the other Darkstalkers shook their heads but didn't voice their opinions, whether they supported their actions or not would cause too much controversy, and it was something they were well used to anyhow, their more vicious brethren waging open war with the humans.
"I should track them down.. talk to them.." Muttered Nightwolf.
"And then what?" Voiced a Darkstalker. "Bring them here so they can drag us into their war??"
The shaman sighed. "I know what you mean.. but I'm afraid that we're already at war..."
Just then, a boy came running towards the group of elders cheerfully announcing the return of a certain fox lady. Nightwolf's blank eyes widened, but he knew that this was not necessarily an occasion to be overjoyed. Whenever Kiyomi was around, big things happened, and they weren't always good..
A moment later, Nightwolf's steps are overhead approaching Kiyomi from behind, he's still in his winter gear, with deer skins and a wolf hood covering his head. "Greetings stranger." Says the shaman with a hint of amusement in his voice. "What brings you here?"
The Kitsune doesn't react until Nightwolf's voice speaks up : her ears twitch, as if coming back to life, snapping out of her gloomy thoughts. Her tails sway gently and Kiyomi glances over her shoulder at Nightwolf. His presence manages to earn a gentle smile on Kiyomi's lips before she turns her gaze away to stare back at the distance, into the forest. "Want some tea?" Kiyomi offers idly, before she takes a sip of her cup.
The woman seems to contemplate the scenery for a moment, before she returns her eyes back on Nightwolf. She lowers her gaze, averting her eyes from Nightwolf as if she was ashamed of herself for some reason, "Forgive me if I didn't come to see you right away when I returned," Her voice is gentle and soft, speaking her words slowly. She is lost in her thoughts, pondering why exactly she came back here of all places.
It was impossible to put a word on it : her instincts and emotions drove her back here, seeking a sort of recomfort in the maelstrom of hate and sorrow that have been consuming her so far. She lifts her eyes back on Nightwolf and says, "I think I sought some tranquility and serenity..." Kiyomi admits with a weak smile.
Nightwolf is still his ever silent self. He too doesn't respond immediately, instead walking towards the fox woman to take a seat quietly next to her. "No thank you, I'm fine." Only then he speaks and doesn't say much else for a long time either, preferring to stare out into the woods that Kiyomi surveys first, as if perhaps the answers he sought are hidden somewhere out there in the trees. He does, at least, look a bit miffed that Kiyomi didn't go greet him first and that he instead had to find out she was back in the village through rumors. But it's a fleeting emotion, one that quickly vanishes from his ever stoic face.
"I take it you didn't find much tranquility and serenity out there in the world.." Does he suspect anything perhaps? Nightwolf is a perceptive fellow, and it doesn't take a practitioner of the mystical arts to know that there is something that is gnawing at Kiyomi's soul.
The Kitsune's apology did seem honest ; she truly regretted not to have come to Nightwolf before. The woman's usual keen senses didn't seem as sharp, her mind and soul weary from something that was devouring her from the inside. Kiyomi had always been a master at concealing her emotions and bluffing other emotions : she's the pillar of a huge family and cannot affort a moment of frailty.
"Not this time around," She replies softly. She glances at Nightwolf and gives him a frail and weak smile. She attempts to keep a strong front like she always has, though this time it seems particulary difficult for some reason. Her features were heavy with fatigue, though not a physical one, but emotional one, like a woman who was on the edge of a burn out.
"I..." She starts, "I don't think I will be staying here too long," Kiyomi admits. She still had many things to do, so little time... And she felt like she bore the weight of the whole world on her shoulders. She glances back up at Nightwolf, "Nightwolf," She says with an interrogative tone, assessing his reaction, "there's something I'd like to ask you," She bites her lips and says, "... Would you stay with me tonight?" She asks. A soft chuckle escape her throat, as if she laughed at her own request. She turns her eyes away and adds, "I want to feel someone's arms around me, the heat of another body against me..."
Kiyomi is indeed a master of deception, but if there's one person who will never fall prey to her fox tricks and illusions..
Nightwolf could see the worry in her eyes, that weakness of one that has been spent. It troubles him in more way that one, and though his stoic expression does not show it when he looks at her, he really wishes Kiyomi would stop following this path of self destruction.
The shaman has always insisted that people should learn from their own mistakes, his role in the Society and in the world, is to be the provider of wisdom, not the enforcer. He can offer every possible solution out there to everyone's problems, but it is ultimately their decision whether they want to listen to him or not. Many times has Nightwolf seen those he tries to guide gently walk deeper into the path of darkness despite his best efforts, and he respects their decision, for their descent into the abyss was of their own free will.
Seeing Kiyomi as she is now makes him consider that his methods may not be the best. Perhaps if he really were to pull the leash on her he could save her.. and yet he fears that taking that kind of command would just make him into that which he hates.
It was decision time now though, for Kiyomi's next words weigh on him heavily..
She warns that she won't stay long, no doubt soon to leave again to continue suffering needlessly. And yet she wishes for him to stay with her. All these mixed signals, even a tempered man such as Nightwolf does not appreciate being lead on endlessly like that.
He has to do something more drastic.
"Kiyomi." He says suddenly, blank white eyes opening fully to stare at the kitsune. "Surely you must see that asking something like that of me right after announcing you'll be leaving shortly is quite cruel. I would prefer to think that you see me as something more than just a body to warm your nights."
"If you wish me to be your mate, you need only to ask it of me."
Eye contact was never broken.
It is dificult to save those who do not wish to be saved : for Kiyomi, the path she had chosen was not one of self-destruction but salvation. The woman was at peace with her decisions, though something had troubled this peace and had shaken her deeply, leaving her in a state of disarray and vulnerability.
The distress she felt came mostly from the fact she had to support more than she thought she could, or felt was ready to handle, and she no longer had anyone to help her bear this burn. Nothing is worse than suffering alone...
She lifts her gaze up to meet the apache's blank white eyes. His answer causes a faint smile to spread on her lips, a nervous and soft chuckle escaping her throat. The way he said it, it made her sound so selfish and cruel. Maybe that's what she was, after all, to have such a request. Was it what she truly wanted from Nightwolf? His lingering words make her question herself and only adds to her confused emotions.
The kitsune is the first one to break the eye contact, turning her eyes away, "I'm sorry," She answers softly. "I..." She hestiates. "That's not what I meant..." She turns her head slightly, one hand going up to rub her left gently, "I guess... All I wanted was some recomfort,"
She closes her eyes a moment, an obvious shiver running down her spine, lost in her thoughts. What is this thing she seeks so desperately? To have someone's arms around her, to feel small yet safe, this warm feeling to soothe and chase everything away, "... One night, where I can stop being strong, let someone else protect me, hold me tight,"
She heaves a soft sigh and opens her eyes, looking up at Nightwolf, "This is what I want," She says, her voice soft, pleading. She bites her lips, "... I know, it's cruel, it's selfish but.." The woman thinks about offering more, of asking Nightwolf to be her mate, and the thought causes her eyes to grow watery, "It's all I can offer for now," She adds in a soft murmur.
Indeed, if there is something Nightwolf has learned ever since he founded the Society.. is that not everyone wishes to be saved.
In fact, there is a disturbingly large amount of people that are quite willing to continue walking their path of corruption, where there is a far better path plainly offered to them. It discourages the skinwalker, far more than any Outworld invader, or Darkstalker or Hunter, to see those he wishes to protect destroy themselves.. that is a fight he cannot win.. and Nightwolf is not used to feeling helpless.
The shaman continues to stare at Kiyomi but he relents after a while, sensing that her eyes are getting watery. It is very rough, but he simply cannot encourage Kiyomi's escapades in such a manner. To offer her sanctum whenever she wishes to escape the destruction she no doubt created would be folly. This is not what the Society was created for, the village is not here to harbor criminals, or as a launching pad for raids. This is a place of peace and enlightenment and those who seek to live here are expected to spread those ideals, not reap havoc across the lands.
A long sigh escapes Nightwolf and he crosses his muscled arms, eyes once again gazing towards the green and white glades of the Japanese forest.
"I am also sorry." He says softly but firmly. Nightwolf is also very steadfast in his ideals and nothing has thus far broken him, not Outworld invaders and not a night of comfort. "I cannot give you this, Kiyomi."
"Time and time again have I offered you the means to overcome this misery of yours. To stay with us, forge a future together, unite everyone under an unified banner for the betterment of all.. and yet you still prefer to leave whenever you please, and when you return, it is always the same, wanting someone to lick your wounds until you recover your strength so you can continue this destructive cycle."
"Loyalty is all I ask in return, and if you cannot give me that.. then I am afraid there is little more I can offer you."
"I am not going to be your enabler."
Kiyomi's lips curl into a gentle smile. His words make her realize how little Nightwolf knows about her, how secretive she has been with her true life and the things she does when she wanders away. Nightwolf must have seen her like an enigma or a mystery, she thinks to herself, and drew a picture about her from what he could gather.
A part of her understands and sympathizes with his reaction : how can she holds it against him, after all? His reaction was natural and his ideals were his own after all and she respects this but the more emotive side of her that's been raw sore with all the things she's been through only seem to ache even more. 'What was I expecting?' she wonders to herself, the thought making a weak, self-mocking chuckle escape her throat.
Something inside her wants to retort about the reasons why she came and left, to deny that she comes here only to get her wounds licked but she realizes she's guilty of just that this exact moment. Something she has to slowly resign herself not to have this night.
His denial and rejection seems to have her more than she thought : perhaps because she simply did not expect this simple outcome, yet this eventuality was not hard to expect.
She craved for a chance to let go of the masks, and let it go, feel frail and vulnerable though with someone there for her to support her but... She has no one now. All of this is her fault, for the most part, all the lies and deceits backfiring on her when she'd need it the most. She could try to patch it up with more lies, more illusions and trickery, but Nightwolf didn't deserve this... And explaining the truth would be too painful for her, too strainful for whatever results it could get her.
Her long moments of silence and contemplation, only punctuated by her soft chuckle of self-mockery when Kiyomi realized her folly, finally comes to an end as she reaches the only possible conclusion to all of this. It has an obvious physical reaction on Kiyomi too : she straightens herself up and buff her chest slightly to assume a confident posture. Her resolve manages to brush away the fatigue on her feature, giving her a more serene and stern look as she represses the emotions she felt to put on her unyielding and stern expression.
"Forgive me, Nightwolf," The woman replies, "I feel ashamed I asked you something like that..." She bites her lips before she takes a last sip of her tea and finishes her cup. She puts it aside and her hand and slowly packs up the various objects she used to make her tea, "My earnest wish," She says, "Is that one day, we'll know each other better..." She muses, "... And maybe you'll see me for what I truly am," She adds.
The woman shakes her head and heaves a soft sigh as she reaches for the sheath of her katana with one hand and lifts it up into her lap. An amused smile spreads on her lips as she says, "I reaped what I sowed, though, I shouldn't be surprised, ah," She nods her head and says, "You were right about one thing : I did come back this time to have my wounds licked..." She lets her words trail off... And since she's not going to get what she craved, "I should leave now, thank you for your hospitality, Nightwolf," She says.
Its true, despite their familiarity Kiyomi is a complete mystery to Nightwolf.
And she really shouldn't.
All these secrets, disguises, and more importantly, lies are not something Nightwolf expects nor wishes from those he calls his allies. Though they seem to have many a great things in common and have spent much time together, the shaman still knows nothing about the kitsune, and its not his lack of trying. She refuses to open up, and it that raises all kinds of red flags for the skinwalker. How can he really trust someone when they are clearly lying to his face? For all he knows, Kiyomi could very well slip him a dagger between the ribs when they're sleeping together. Its classic, and considering Nightwolf has no idea whom Kiyomi truly serves, there is a very real possibility that will happen.
No.. there is nothing to gain from a night of pleasure with Kiyomi but fleeting comfort that will undoubtedly lead to more suffering. Not in her current state, Nightwolf would just be doing more harm than good.
And the thought honestly pains him. Who would have thought that offering comfort to a friend and ally could potentially hurt them both?
Its just so.. foolish. Sometimes Nightwolf wonders if he's the only one left in Earthrealm that is sane.
Where he less reasonable this whole debacle would anger him, but instead he simply seems to be mildly annoyed at the kitsune.
"There is nothing to forgive." He says simply. "Not from me, anyway. The only one you can ask for forgiveness now is yourself.."
The skinwalker leans back, arms crossed and eyes lightly gazing up to the sky. "You say that it is your earnest wish that we become close and yet you drift away from me every day."
He glances at her suddenly looking curious, wolf hood covering his blank eyes lightly. "My hand is extended, Kiyomi.. it has been for quite a long time. You need naught but to grasp it for your wishes to become true."
The absurdity of it all seems to hit Nightwolf when Kiyomi announces she will now depart again. His gaze grows firm and his voice dangerously low, much like a defensive wolf one gruff hand coming down to hold the plates and tea cups from being taken by Kiyomi. "I am not the kind of man that will hold someone down against their will.. much less a woman."
"But I will if I have to."
The Kitsune seems to consider his offer for a moment : debating whether leaving again, now she knows she will not find what she craved for, or staying, accepting Nightwolf's exposed hand. Her dilemma seems obvious as she just waits silently, staring at Nightwolf's lap.
Must she really depart and suffer alone? Is there the slightest chance Kiyomi could alleviate her burden by staying her, atop this shrine, with Nightwolf? She might not receive the warmth she craved and desired, that recomforting sensation she missed so dearly, though perhaps she could ease her troubled mind other ways... After all, it might be a long time before she can lose herself into someone's arms like this again.
The woman puts the sheath of her blade aside and leaves her plates aside. She lies back on her heels, her lips curling into a smile. "How have things been going in the village?" Kiyomi asks, turning her eyes away to stare off in the distance, "Have you been training well?"
She felt like a fool, with this maelstrom of emotions burning and swirling inside of her, driving her to act, clouding her judgement. She might have made mistakes, but it's never too late to try and make up for it.
"I love this place..." The woman heaves a soft dreamy sigh, "I wish I had more time to spend here..." She lifts her gaze up and closes her eyes, "This is where I think I'd love to stay and grow old... Somewhere peaceful... Where life is easy.." This sudden ramble makes her think about something important. She lowers her gaze at Nightwolf and smiles, "Tell me, have you ever thought about having your own family?"
Hmph, changing the topic. Kiyomi better not think Nightwolf doesn't know what she's doing! Her illusions may be able to cloud his eyes and his senses, but Nightwolf knows sufficiently about to people to recognize when someone is avoiding the topic.
Still, its better than her leaving in tears or attacking him, so for now, the shaman is willing to dance the tune of deception. Apaches are, after all, very patient hunters.
Nightwolf loses the sharpness to his eyes and voice, his features softening lightly as he takes his hand away from Kiyomi's things and stares down to the village and the forest. "Very good, actually." He responds calmly. "Slowly, the village grows in numbers and we train every day. There are some here that have the will and the strength to fight if the cause is just and I lead them daily in the practices of Okichitaw."
"Should we ever have need to defend ourselves, we will be more than ready." The skinwalker sounds confident as always, his faith in his mission keeping him from ever faltering to foes both known and that are yet to come.
Although Nightwolf says nothing about the time Kiyomi spends here, her question about him starting a family is one he has dwelled with before. "I am the Sin Eater, I am forbidden to have a family or friends. My path is to hunt alone, renouncing family and friends to protect them from the sin I consume, until one day I return to the earth mother taking with me as much evil as I can to be purified."
Then he scoffs in disdain. "But I know that laws.. traditions.. these are naught but imaginary boundaries that humans set on themselves to feel secure. I've lived longer that most Sin Eaters before me, and I have accomplished much by working as a pack. Should I survive the dark days that loom in the distance, I see no reason why I cannot settle down."
"Truly, my biggest obstacle is finding a mate. I've not had much luck with that." His lips purse in thought, it looks like he had actually tried before and was not successful. Who would have thought that someone like Nightwolf dated?
The Kitsune did not believe it would have been a good idea to dive right into a conversation about what she does in her long absence. The last thing she wants, after all she went through, is to have an argument over her ideals because she knows neither of them will back down about their respective ideology and it will only bring her further and needless anxiety.
Kiyomi wasn't ready for that, not just yet, though she knows they will eventually clash about it sooner or later, even though she's delaying this inevitable moment farther and farther.
"That's good to hear," Kiyomi replies with a slow nod. Her lips curl into a gentle smile : she is obviously pleased to hear those good news from Nightwolf. "Hopefully, it won't be necessary and we'll be able to keep on living peacefully here," Kiyomi adds.
His vows about being a soul eater makes her quirk a brow : she does not approve of such things, restrictions she does not deem necessary though she knows better than to judge him on such decisions. She nods her head and says, "Some might have done it in order not to have any earthly bounds or distractions from their duty," Kiyomi replies, "I personally believe that those 'distractions' is what allows you to remember what you fight for and what makes it worth living for,"
Kiyomi arches a brow, surprised by Nightwolf's revelation, "Really?" She asks. The woman muses softly, her tails swaying behind her idly as she stares at Nightwolf, "I suppose, with your current duty, meeting women isn't common place..."
One day, surely. Even Nightwolf senses that the time will come where he will have to confront Kiyomi about /something/. He is not certain he will be able to convince her through words alone, but he is confident that one way or another, justice will prevail, and in the end, the safety of Earthrealm is all that truly matters.
"We'll live here one way or another." Adds the skinwalker. "Peacefully.. that remains to be seen." There is always conflict everywhere, where they are, back at home, in Outworld and the Leylines, Nightwolf doubts he'll see total peace one day. But he does not shrink away from the challenge, for such is the life of a warrior and the warriors of the Society. They will prevail somehow.
As for his traditions, he seems to shrug, clearly not caring too terribly much about them. "The Apache have their laws just like any other culture. Some are good.. others not so much.. and others are simply ridiculous. It is only a matter of differentiating between them to truly reach our potential. A life of chastity and solitude may have worked for my predecessors in the Sin Eater lineage. But I've found it does not work for me."
"After all, I could not have achieved all this." He raises his muscled arms to the sky temple where they sit now and down to Bastion village. "If I had staid by my lonesome."
Nightwolf turns to look at Kiyomi when he senses she's staring at him. He gives her a knowing look and returns her quirked eyebrow. "You would be.. surprised." She better not pretend like she didn't just offer him to sleep with her a few moments ago.
Kiyomi turns her eyes away to glance down at the bastion village, "This is proof enough, I hope, that it was well worth it..." Kiyomi moistens her lips and adds, "After all, nature adapts itself to its environment, just as we should and traditions should," She nods slowly, "I am certain this was for the better,"
His last reply makes her laugh. Her lips curl into an amused, playful smile, her tails swaying back and forth gently behind her. "We're dificult to understand, alas..." Kiyomi replies. She knows this is getting on a slippery slope here.
The woman did not seek to satisfy her lust with Nightwolf : she merely sought to have recomfort from him, to give herself in a strong man's embrace and just let go of her burdens momentarily and feel safe. It might have been a clumsy way to present it, but she knows, in the end, that if it had happened, Nightwolf might have felt just used for her own ends. It would have been selfish and cruel, especially knowing how little time she had here.
"Did you ever have a mate, or an eye for one?" Kiyomi asks with curiousity, tails swaying bac kand forth. She tries to act like she's only midly interested but it obviously picked her curiousity.
"I concur." Says Nightwolf who has long delegated for the growth of people. It is, after all, conservative traditions that keep humanity from not seeing all Darkstalkers as monsters that lurk in the night. This is certainly true for many of them, but the times of an evil vampire ruling over a terrorized hamlet and demanding sacrifices every day are lone gone. The time for peace and acceptance is now... because if they do not get their act together they will all be consumed by Outworld, human and darkstalker alike.
The Apache brave could have very well provided all these things to Kiyomi. Comfort, safety.. pleasure. In a way it's his duty as guardian of Earthrealm, and yet he knew that what the kitsune sought was far too superficial to provide any real comfort for either of them. Just regret and unfulfilled desires. It's almost like he's been in that situation before? Has he? Even someone that is so reserved? Perhaps he's just that perceptive.
One thing is certain. Nightwolf seems to have no problems opening up to Kiyomi, because how could she ever open to him if he does not give back the same trust? He scratches his chin, not looking uncomfortable about the subject, he's merely pensive as he often is.
"There was one I courted.." He admits. "But she was a creature of the city and I let her go." As Nightwolf does with most things he loves.. if they do not come back they were never his to begin with.
"She was also a cat kin and perhaps too flighty for this lifestyle. I would not have wanted to burden her with all the responsibility that comes from being a defender of Earthrealm."
Kiyomi listens carefully to Nightwolf and she frowns slowly. She moistens her lips and says, "It must have been dificult, with two different lifestyle like that..." The kitsune admits. "Loving someone means that you accept them as a whole, including their background... And support them, no matter what..."
The woman heaves a soft sigh and she shakes her head, "It comes with many hardship, but they're well worth the price..." Kiyomi's lips curl into a gentle smile and she asks, teasingly, "I hope you were able to enjoy the best part of a relationship before you let go of her..." She bites her lips and says, "The first times : the burning desires and lust, those moments when you're totally enamored and spellbound by your mate," Kiyomi heaves a soft dreamy sigh. Whether it was love or not, it was always the most enjoyable moments.
She glances at Nightwolf and says, "Love is like a flower : it takes a lot of time and care for it to blossom from both persons involved... Once the magic of the first times slowly fade away, you start noticing the flaws and knacks of the other," She grins and adds, "That's when the real test begins,"
Nightwolf isn't one that kisses and tells. When Kiyomi wonders if they were at least able to consume their relationship, the shaman seems more thoughtful than usual, no doubt mentally debating what he should say. As a rule, the Apache brave is one that always thinks before thinking if he can help it, and doesn't respond immediately.
In the end he decides that being ambiguous about it might be for the best. "I am a man of the wilds, Kiyomi. Long have I seen the wonders of the Earth Mother at work, enough to recognize when they will flourish and when they will not survive. More often than not, I can tell when a flower is not going to bloom." Nightwolf, it seems, doesn't put much stock in relationships. His duty is foremost to the people of Earthrealm and personal satisfaction is only to be taken as a happy consequence, not a complete certainty.
Still, he has proven that he is a progressive fellow, the Society and Bastion village being proof enough of that. He smiles softly despite himself and glances at Kiyomi, looking at her strangely, meeting her gaze. "But I am by no means an expert. There are other times when a flower blossoming is quite more... uncertain."
The kitsune arches a brow and stares at Nightwolf in disbelief, "Really?" She asks, "Perhaps that is why you decided not to commit yourself further into it and let her go," Her eyes meet Nightwolf's own, and his smile causes her lips to curl into a gentle one. Her tails sway slowly behind her, dancing on their own as she weights his words for a moment.
Kiyomi lowers her gaze and she says, "I remember fondly the times I spent with my mother when I was younger," A sudden change of topic, it would seem : "When I spend time with the younger Darkstalkers here, in this village, it reminds me of easier days... Of a time long forgotten, of my naive childhood," Kiyomi bites her lips and lets her gaze drift off, "I wish I could have a family of my own... My own child to give my love to, to see them grow, to feel proud of them, to support them..."
She heaves a soft sigh and glances back at Nightwolf, "Alas, I would have to settle down and... There are too many people who depends on me for it to happen... Though I manage to satisfy my maternal urges with the infants around here when I come from time to time.."
"There were several reasons." Confesses the skinwalker, still looking pensively, index tapping his chin. He offers a half smile to the kitsune as she averts her gaze and he returns to look down at the village again, taking joy in seeing the people milling about in harmony. A great step from their past lives as refugees no doubt. Its the little things, indeed.
Kiyomi seems to think similarly, and the shaman hmms in thought. How many hunters out there don't even realize there are Darkstalker children. The thought bothers Nightwolf greatly, as it often happens when he thinks about human ignorance, but he's not going to dwell on that too deeply and fall prey to Kiyomi's devious tactics of changing the subject. He is willing to skirt about the issue but not fully disengage from it. Wolves don't let go after they've bitten you after all.
"I used to think the same." Says he about settling down. "I sure I would not live past my younger years. Killed by some demon or consumed by the evil I've absorbed."
"And yet here I am, with a village all of my own. Not exactly the lonely life of the Sin Eater that the elders foresaw, to be sure."
He grasps Kiyomi's hand gently, thought he still is looking down from the temple to hamlet below. "Only time will tell."
It's hard to know whether or not Kiyomi's sudden changes of topics were truly intentional or not, or her elusive nature made her switch back and forth from a topic to another.
"How was your first time?" Kiyomi asks, tilting her head to one side. She grins playfully, correcting herself, "I mean, as a Sin Eater," The woman frowns and says, "It must have been hard, to perform a task like this, for the first time, knowing that... In the end, it might consume you fully,"
When he reaches out for his hand in her lap, Kiyomi seems a bit surprised. Her lips curl into a grateful smile and she lowers her gaze into his hand. She squeezes it gently and rubs her fingers against his and his palm.
She enjoys his touch, his warmth -- this is what she wanted, this is how she craved to have her wounds licked. She remains silent for a moment, lost in her contemplation before she asks in a murmur, "Why did you think I live a life of mysery?"
So hard to know in fact that even she doesn't know if she's doing it on purpose from the looks of it. The skills of a Hunter are versatile like that, for Nightwolf can tell when someone is unsure of themselves by the way they are avoiding eye contact and desperately thinking of things to talk about. The shaman indulges her though, because sooner or later she's going to back herself up into a corner and forced to confront the inevitable truth. When you build your entire persona around lies, that comes often sooner than later.
He does give a soft chuckle at the innuendo but soon loses his amusement when takes in a deep breath and recalls his first hunt. His first demon killed. His first sin eating. "Imagine.. the worst possible pain that you have ever experienced.. then multiply that by a thousand. That is what sin eating feels like." A soft exhalation through his nostrils. "And it never gets any easier.."
The skinwalker squeezes the kitsune's hand gently, peering at her from the sides with those blank eyes of his. "You mean you don't?"
The kitsune remains silent, lost in her own contemplation : her tails sway idly behind her, almost hypnotically in the similar wavy patterns. "Strength through unity," Kiyomi replies, her lips curling into a smile, "I am certain you were able to bear this pain and those ordeals longer than your ancestor because you did not live your life on your own and were able to find strength and support in those around you," Kiyomi lowers her gaze toward Nightwolf's hand, "Isn't it what a pack is for, after all?" The woman adds.
The woman can't help but wonder if his pain is similar to physical one or emotional one... And how long it lingers inside of him when he's doing those sort of things. Neither are very pleasant thought, and she doesn't want to compare her suffering to his own.
Kiyomi slowly shakes her head, "No..." She replies without hesitation. "Though you have not seen them, I have my own pack... And all the Darkstalkers are like my own children," Kiyomi admits with a slow nod of her head. "When they suffer, so do I... But I would not say my life is filled with misery. There will always be hardship, though there are plenty of little moments filled with joy,"
Kiyomi turns her eyes away from Nightwolf to peer off the distance, "Running free and feeling the fresh air brushing your furr... Howling at the moon with your pack... Hearing the gleeful laughters of the children in the village, their awe and bewilderment at little magic tricks..." The woman lets her words trail off, rubbing her hand softly against Nightwolf's one, squeezing it a bit tighter, "Holding someone's hand while watching a wonderful scenery..." She adds with a playful smile.
The woman heaves a soft sigh and says, "Though lately, I've had many ordeals and hardship in my life... I felt like my responsability have been crushing me, and lack of having anyone to support me, I've sought some recomfort in a place that has been anything but warmth and comfort..."
"More than likely." Agrees the skin walker, still holding the Kitsune's hand before he too turns too look towards the horizon. "Many have been the generations that have passed since Haokah first visited my people. Perhaps the tradition of the Sin Eater changed without our knowledge. I cannot say for sure, but the power of a pack seems too great to deny."
"If I cannot appreciate the beauty of this realm, then why protect it?" Nightwolf seems pensive when Kiyomi speaks of all Darkstalkers as if they were her family. It elates him to hear that there is room for true kindness in her heart and yet at the same time it troubles him what that implies. "Generalizations are dangerous." He says carefully. "Although I care deeply about Darkstalkers too, there are those who have chosen the path of darkness, just as there are humans who have allowed evil to consume their souls."
He smiles though when Kiyomi says she enjoys his presence and gives her hand another gentle squeeze.
"But you do have some one to support you." Says he. "And this place offers all the comfort and warmth anyone could need." He shakes his head and slowly raises Kiyomi's hand to his face so he can kiss her knuckles.. if she lets him. "I care for you deeply, Kiyomi. Which is why your decisions concern me so.. when you are hurt, so am I."
The shaman glances away, lips tightening in thought. "What made you hate humans, Kiyomi?"
Kiyomi's lips curl into a smile at Nightwolf's gesture, her hand light in his, allowing him to kiss her knuckles with ease. His gentle attention makes her feel a bit of guilt about how she first approached him, a blush spreading on her cheeks at the thought. For all the good he did, he did not deserve the sort of cruel denial her request would have ended into.
He was kind enough to give her, in his own way, the comfort and warmth Kiyomi sought, and for that she's grateful. She closes her eyes and leans against Nightwolf so she can rest her head against his shoulder, her slender frame pressed against his side. Her tails sway and move on their own behind her, close enough from him that he could feel them move and brush his back from time to time.
"It's a long story," She admits. Her lips curl into a gentle smile, "Like it has been, for most of us who hates humans..." She admits. No need to hide it, after all, even if she did her best to conceal her hate for humans, it was obvious she had some reserve when dealing with them and acted haugthy around them. "My story is, I suppose, a lot more tame than it has been for other Darkstalkers," she explains.
"After all, I do look vaguely more humanoid than most, and I do have certain powers to hide my particular features..." Kiyomi says, "This is how my mother managed to live with humans... A hard task, because there's so much illusions can do, though she lived long enough to find a mate and have a family,"
"Hard to believe, but I did not have all those tails in my childhood," Kiyomi says with a soft chuckle. The reminescence of her youth and mother seems to bring some joy in her voice. She stares off the distance, a little sparkle in her eyes, "When I grew old enough though, I started to develop the same powers as my mother did... And with it, I started to grow a tail," Kiyomi waves her free hand up dismissingly, flicking her fingers and making a flower appear, shifting it to turn it into a bird which flies away from her hand, "Little trickery of the mind... My mother tried to teach me out to conceal myself and for a time, I managed to do it but... You can't expect a child's performance to match the one of a fully grown out adult, and eventually, the word spread out that a Yokai was haunting the village,"
Softness of this kind is not something Nightwolf is used to. His is a life spent in the wilderness, when he's not fighting demons and Outworld invaders, he's inevitably fixing some kind of building, be it Jam's restaurant, the shrine, and now Bastion village. To have a comely kitsune resting on his shoulder feels strange at first, before he welcomes the sensation and gets comfortable. His shoulder proving to be steady support for Kiyomi's frame and the deer pelts he's wearing soft enough to be a pleasant perch.
Kiyomi has never said outright that she hates humans, but as she can guess it's one of the few things she doesn't bother to hide. The evidence is as clear as day, and with a perception like the one Nightwolf has it was impossible to miss.
He quiets down to listen to the tale, feeling Kiyomi's tails brush against his back whilst he watches her perform minor magic tricks. When she nears the end of her tale, however, he can sort of see where this is going.
"I can imagine the rest. Scared villagers looked for you and tried to hunt you down, did they not?" Chances are that these villagers also killed her mother and she somehow managed to save Kiyomi's life giving her own. Only the death of parent would be enough to fuel hatred of such intensity.
The kitsune nods her head slowly. Her voice was soft and did not seem feel with hatred as she spoke of her past though, in spite of her true feeling toward humanity, "Sooner or later, my mother knew they would have found me or her..." Kiyomi closes her eyes and heaves a soft sigh, "She could have run away with me, leaving the peaceful life she sought, but I think she was weary of running away, and did not want them to hunt her and me. She did what she thought would be best for me... And they ended up finding her,"
Her grasp tightens up a bit around Nightwolf's hand and she says, "This sort of thing is not uncommon to Darkstalkers who had to deal with humans, after all... When it had been found that my mother had been this Yokai all along, put shame on my father's name, and he exiled himself with me from our village,"
The kitsune seems pensive for a moment, squirming slightly as she nests herself on Nightwolf's side, "Far away, some secluded place where it would be harder for something like that to happen again," While Kiyomi's voice was soft and warm about her mother, bordering idolation, her voice seems harsh and scornful when she speaks of her father, total opposites of one another.
"We tried to start a new life, though he would not let me out of our home, even if our house was in the country side... I had to remain hidden, like I was his shame and burden to bear," Her lips curl into a faint smile, "There has always been frictions between my father and I, after my mother passed away..." It makes her chuckle faintly, "I was a rebel, I felt like I did not belong, and all my father wanted was for me to be 'normal'. You could say I had a rough adolescent crisis..."
Of course Nightwolf knows what happens to most Darkstalkers that live freely with the humans. Namely because when villages cried out for Hunters to rid them from said plagues, it was likely they would bring someone like him to destroy the creatures of the night. Nightwolf would like to think that he never destroyed a Darkstalker that didn't deserve it, because many times when he arrived to villages half of their population had already been killed, but there were so many cases, and he is naught but a mortal, it is possible that he could have misjudged some of his hunts.
He has grown older now, wiser, and through experience he knows many times hunts are simply villagers who are terrified of that which they don't understand, and sometimes those Yokai they refer to are harmless Kitsune, who if not trifled with are at worst just tricksters.
The shaman holds Kiyomi tightly, guarding her from the cold air that can be felt on the top of the shrine with his body. "I can see why being exiled simply for being different could make you think that all humans are like that."
"Believe it or not, I have more reasons than most to hate humans." But isn't he human himself?
"Although I've pledged my life to the spirits and relinquished a normal existence, it is impossible to ignore the history of my people."
"We were exterminated, you see, not only the Apache but all the tribes of the plains, the mountains, the forests and the jungles. Those of us who survived lived in but a shadow of our past. Doomed to a life of being prisoners within our own homes, constantly forced into ignorance by laws not our own."
"We will never recover, and in time.. we will surely become extinct. Our ways and knowledge naught but the analogs of a history that nobody wishes to remember."
His eyebrows frown. "I was resentful for a long time. I sought to use the powers I had gained to inflict as much suffering as I could on everyone who gave me a reason to."
"But I learned that lashing out against everything would only turn me into that which I hate. I would not defend this realm if I did not believe there is honest good within it, and as I have learned, I hope that you too realize that you shouldn't allow the ignorance of your village and your father dictate how you feel about the rest of humanity."
"There is nothing that can be done about the past : no amounth of action will undo what has been done," Kiyomi simply replies, "There is no use for me to dwell in the past, and become hateful for what has happened then... I will always feel sorrow about the events that occured in my youth and adolescence, but I've learned to focus on what I can change instead of grieving over what I can't,"
"I have lived all of my adult life as a nomad : constantly on the move, looking for others like me... I have seen my share of humans hunting down darkstalkers, fearing what they do not comprehend and understand, and their instinctive reaction to something they fear is always force, oppression and violence," Kiyomi's lips curl into a smile and she says, "All the things I have seen from them is what made my hate grow stronger and stronger with each passing month, with each passing year -- every single encounter with them bringing its share of pain and suffering, inevitably, because it is in human's nature, and I believe that it will be impossible for them to fully accept us. There will always be some out there to fear us, and hate us for what we are,"
Kiyomi closes her eyes and says, "The same thing happened with your people, as it will with ours, and history will repeat itself, unless something is done," Kiyomi says.
"Something /is/ being done." Nightwolf responds sounding rather anxious all of the sudden. When he senses Kiyomi closing her eyes, he brings his index and thumb up to clasp her chin gently, raising her head so she can look into his white eyes. "You cannot truly mean that. You have met humans that do not mean you ill will. What about me? What about the redeemed hunters that I have brought to the Society?"
The shaman's gloved, gruff hand passes gently across Kiyomi's cheek, moving her long hair out of her eyes for him to cup her face. "It is true.. Darkstalkers and humans will never fully integrate. But we can make them acknowledge each other, we can all share this world, and together stand against Outworld." Because if they don't, they are all screwed he seems to want to say. Why won't anyone see that??
"Kiyomi, hatred only begets more hatred, and every action taken against humanity only cements the idea that we truly are monsters."
"Why do you seek to become that which you hate?"
His light touches cause Kiyomi to move her head up, guided by his gesture. She opens her eyes when he does, her gaze meeting his and his grazing caress on her cheek and over her hair make her smile gently at Nightwolf. "I would lie if I were to say I did not meet humans who are able to tolerate us," Kiyomi admits. "It is in human's nature," Kiyomi says even though this conviction seems like a painful reality to admit, "... I am looking foward to see how our coexistence here will fare, and I do hope, from the bottom of my heart, that it will be able to last..." There was obvious doubt in her voice though as she spoke those words.
Kiyomi closes her eyes and says, "Humanity is lazy -- great changes require great events to set them in motion... Has it ever occured to you, that this invasion of Outworld might be humanity's last chance at salvation? That it is what it will take for humans and darkstalkers alike to band together?" She ponders.
Kiyomi growls and shakes her head, "You're wrong, Nightwolf," She states harshly, "I am no more than what humans have made me into -- I cry and grieve for my fallen brethren like a mother would grieve for the lost of her child, and I fight with the ferocity of a mother who defends her own blood," The woman says, "I will not stand idle while a handful of humans plot our untimely demise, Nightwolf -- and I have seen enough about humanity, to know that this fear of us plagues their heart and devours them from the inside much more than you can imagine,"
Nightwolf relinquishes his hold on Kiyomi when she begins to shake her head in denial. He doesn't seem frustrated, Nightwolf hardly ever does unless he's in one of his berserker sin powered rages, he seems frustrated as he often feels when dealing the younger folk, human and Darkstalker alike. "Have you not been listening? That /is/ what have I been saying all along. Outworld will invade and it will force everyone to band together. And yet, do you think it will help that in the meantime we fight as we had for senseless centuries? All because the danger is not before us yet?"
"If what it takes for humanity and Darkstalkers to join forces is fire raining from the skies and a demonic army warping from portals that tear at the veil of reality.. then we have already lost."
"It is up to people like us to become the change that we wish to see. Whatever alliances we can form now are the ones that will hold the strongest when the tides of darkness are upon us all."
Then, something at the end there arises Nightwolf's suspicions. He narrows his eyes at Kiyomi and leans forward slightly. "What 'handful of humans' is this? And how are they plotting our demise?" His head tilts to the side. "What have you been doing?"
Kiyomi narrows her eyes a bit into a frown : she knew enough about Nightwolf's lofty ideals and her own that this clash would have eventually come. Were they truly irreconcilable on such ends though? They both fought for a similar future yet they had their such diametrically opposed views about the on-going conflicts.
"If we just wait, there might not be any darkstalker left to defend the world, and those left will prefer to cower in fear in their holes rather than come out and defend those who oppressed and hunted them," Kiyomi retorts sharply. Her intonation was scathing, showing she did not take any pleasure in saying what appeared to be an evidence.
Her lips curl into a pout. The naive and innocent child that existed in her heart craved over all else that Nightwolf's ideals were right, but the responsible adult that Kiyomi was could only see the immenient failure of Nightwolf's plans. She choose to believe, only because not believing would have meant all her struggles have been for naught. She does not reply, not wanting to shatter Nightwolf's dream nor have an argument over what she believes is a noble cause, but her silence is more eloquent than any words she could have spoken.
When Nightwolf leans closer and questions her, she averts her gaze : she hardly manages to conceal some guilt on her features, knowing any truthful answer she would give to Nightwolf would not please him. "... Are you sure you want to know, Nightwolf?" She asks softly, "What good would it be, for you to know the inevitable, if there is nothing you can do about it?" And she does believe, considering his ideals, that there is nothing Nightwolf would do that could truly help turn the tide of the recent events.
Oh no. She's pouting! This /really/ a bad sign.
Kiyomi never pouts unless she's been had, and if Nightwolf's presumptions prove to be true then this could be nothing short of catastrophic.
He shifts on his seating so he's facing her completely, grabbing her by the sides when she averts her gaze. "You call all that we have done 'just waiting'?? Look at all whom we have saved. Look at all the hunters whom we have turned to our cause. They would be even more if you stood by my side more often and not run off on your own."
Gone is the softness of the moment where the kitsune was leaning on him. Now there is only grim determination and dread, his patience at an end. "Woman, my entire job is to do the impossible. This whole Society was built on the grounds that we /must/ do the impossible."
He grips her by the arms harder, as if to prevent her to use one of her tricks to wiggle out of this one like she often does.
This time, there is no running away.
"Tell me.. what have you done."
His harsher intonation and grip on her arms cause Kiyomi's body to react defensively. Her muscles stiffen up, her facial expression growing grim and inflexible. The kitsune's tails no longer swaying behind her, her furr bristling up, her tails becoming more rigid and steady. She does not move to push Nightwolf away though, she confronts his stare with an unyielding glare of her own. She grunts before replying, "You of all people should know that you're not alone to build this future, Nightwolf," Her voice is assertive as she stands up to Nightwolf.
"Do not think I have done nothing but pleasing myself those past months, I thought you would know, more than anyone else, the efforts I have done to bring those who seeks refuge here," Her expression softens a moment, "I did probably more than I could by not being here rather than being here," She says, seeming slightly irritated that Nightwolf wouldn't recognize the effort she did justly.
Then again, it is her own fault for working in the shadow, away from him, and not telling him what she had been doing.
"I have done what I have always done, Nightwolf..." The woman replies with a weary sigh, "My pack and I defend the darkstalkers who are oppressed, we fight against the humans who would do them harm and hunt them down, we save them, and fight against those who know only hate against us, Nightwolf..." Kiyomi bites her lips and says, "We are the frontline, Nightwolf, against those who would kill us, nothing more..."
Kiyomi slowly turns her gaze aside and says, "... But the tide has turned now, and the humans have taken it one step beyond to exterminate us," She spares a glare back at Nightwolf and growls, "... And don't you dare tell me we've had it coming," She says, her voice filled with threats and venom, "Without us, there might not have been half as much darkstalker left alive in this village,"
Nightwolf doesn't really have for posturing.
Suddenly he is standing, away from Kiyomi, his blank white eyes are wide, seen from beneath the his wolf hood that covers half of his face. It's no surprise, or fear of Kiyomi's sudden threatening gestures. In fact, it's kind of hard to tell what emotions are passing through his face due to his blank eyes. But there is something that is quite certain..
He does not look happy.
Not in the least.
"A frontline..?" He repeats in a whisper. "Against those who would kill you..?"
Has Kiyomi been attacking Hunters? She isn't saying it openly and Nightwolf does hate to jump to conclusions. But all those news he's read lately of Darkstalkers attacking villages and then the robbery of that Swiss bank by shadowy creatures. Then that company deploying that killing machine cyborg thing in retaliation.
Could all this be Kiyomi's doing?
He dares not say it.. he dares not even think it, but suddenly, Nightwolf is looking a bit more pale.
"I won't say it.." The Sin Eater takes a step back, looking at Kiyomi with an intense gaze, as if he no longer recognized who she was. "Because you already know it."
Then he's moving away, back to the lower floors of the Sky Temple. It looks like he's done.
The kitsune stares at Nightwolf, assessing his reaction. She did not have to justify her actions to him : she knew she was doing the right thing, no matter what Nightwolf would tell her.
How could he know all she went through, all the suffering she had to face? Every one of her actions saved the lives of many...
This conflict was inevitable, Kiyomi knew it.
She lowers her gaze. This was the last thing she needed, at this moment in her life. Things couldn't have turned for the worst.
She doesn't have the strength, nor the will to carry on this argument. Kiyomi closes her eyes and rests her hands in her lap, keeping her head low, lost in her thoughts.
She opens her eyes and stares at the horizon : it was the only thing she had left for now, the only thing she could find comfort in tonight.
Log created on 14:21:09 03/03/2015 by Kiyomi, and last modified on 16:48:21 03/06/2015.