|Scene Title||Shaman King Pt 1|
|Synopsis||A competition that comes every couple of centuries has arrived. Maia is their latest recruit…|
The invitation had arrived only the day before, left outside the door. The finest of paper and the calligraphy is impeccable. The envelope sporting the classic symbols of the elements and the duality of Yin and Yang, the interior simply containing an address in downtown Manhattan and a time of 10 AM. While no name appears on it in any fashion, the symbology and language are certainly more befitting Maia than any of her occasional houseguests.
Bah! The paper! The envelope! It's definitely someone who would know what she's done the past several years. Maia prepares, wearing her finest white robe, the sleeves long and wide, going over her hands. Her hair is tied up in a bun, jade chopsticks holding them back and she slips into her wooden sandals as she heads towards the building in downtown Manhattan. Of course, she asked Haldor to drop her off, and she arrives ten minutes early, waiting outside until it's time..don't want to seem too eager after all.
The building appears to be little special, a typical office building with tired looking people in less weary looking suits. The office specified is, ominously enough, on the fourth floor. The halls here swarm with no people, still and quiet as the grave as Maia takes her seat and waits the office itself having a cloudy glass door which reveals nothing on the other side. Then the appointed time comes and faint ripples seem to warm the air, the door suddenly taking on a far more modern look of ebon and chrone and clear glass, the same symbol from the envelope centrally located upon it "Onmyoji" written below.
It's the red painted star! It's totally not a pentagram or a seal of Solomon. Totally not. Maia acks a little as she wrinkles her nose, as her nerves are shot. She's been out of practice for a while and she wrinkles her nose as she heads towards the door and opens it slowly..
Indeed it is not! Not in the least! It is the red painted star, damn it! The interior is both the inside of a Japanese office building and it is not, certainly the lone secretary behind a reception desk looks perfectly and professional dressed and her computer seems a top of the line piece of equipment. Still the place is a bit too much of a Platonic ideal, the small stone garden behind a wall within the entrance seeming to expand the mind simply by looking at it, secrets and enlightenment hidden within the curves. The small garden on the other is is perfectly suited for the dimensions of the office, the faint sound of water over rushes adding an almost musical counterpoint. The secretary glances up as the door opens and taps a few keys at her desk. A series of lights upon the ceiling lighting up, a guide to be followed to an office it seems.
Follow the lights! When on an airplane that's downed, you should always follow the lights, and this place doesnt seem that different, except it's not a downed airplane. Maia idly runs her fingers through her hair as she smiles warmly and bows her head towards the secretary. She should perhaps say hi first, or something like that. "Um…should I just follow the lights or wait until I'm called in?" Hey, it couldnt hurt to ask.
"Follow the lights" The secretary answers, "You have an appointment." Assuming that Maia does so she is soon led to the door of an office, a handsome looking man who appears to be somewhere in his fifties in an impeccable if somewhat old fashioned suit giving her a respectful if not obsequious bow, waiting for hers in return before motioning her to a chair across the desk and settling down for himself.
And there's a low and deep bow. A perfect ninety degrees in front of the handsome gentleman as she nods and eases on down in the chair only after he sits down as well. Maia looks at the letter once more and chews on her bottom lip as she looks back towards the man, seeming unfamiliar with him.
"Tsuchimikado Maia" The older man says, indicating that at least is familiar with her. "Daughter of Amaterasu, prodigy at the violin. You may call me Aka. You likely have questions about this meeting, many of them will go unanswered. An opportunity has appeared, you are under consideration for it. How much do you know of the Onmyoji"
"I..uh.." and she pauses for a few moments, wrinkling her nose for a few moments. The Tsuchimikado family has been the guardians of the onmyoudo arts for quite some time, since the time of Abe no Seimei even. She bows her head. "I know a little. I'm still an onmyouji-in-training.." she admits ruefully.
"Beyond the arts" Aka responds, "Many religions of this world have swirled around bits of truth. What some believe to simply be symbols of philosophies actual individuals, you know this more than most. This is true of the Onmyouji as well, a physical truth in mirror to the philosophical. Truths unknown are truths without value, we have an opening for one to learn. There would be competition, quite fierce, neither your survival or your purity can be guaranteed through such things. Abe no Seimei knew our truths, gained access to what we can offer."
Her eyes widen as she hrmms for a few moments, chewing on her bottom lip as she takes a deep breath. Sojobo said she needed more spiritual enlightenment so he could teach her more. This was her chance. "I..I'm interested!" Maia chirps brightly, the entire time.
Aka pulls a paper from the desk and passes it over, it appears to be a rather straightforward disclaimer form. "If you would sign and date. I realize it seems a foolish priority, given the nature of things, but we too change with the times. Your mother has a great deal investigated in you and we would not choose to experience her anger, signing is an expression of your commitment and willingness to move forward. The time between your challenges will vary, so will how much notification you receive. I encourage you to make use of that to prepare yourself for what you might face."
There's a contract? Oh geeez. Still, Maia's quite gung ho. If she can face Atlanteans, have her soul ripped out and come back to the land of the living these challenges shouldnt be so bad. Right? Right? She wrinkles her nose and looks for a pen before she signs the disclaimer form…"There we go.." and she looks around for any magical effect hoping that her soul doesnt get trapped once more.
Her soul is not ripped out to suffer eternal torment! Yay! For Maia that probably makes it a good day. Aka retrieves the form and says, "Very good. There will be a dinner soon where you will have an opportunity to meet some of the major powers involved. You may bring your partner. You will also have opportunity to meet your competition at that time. Do you have any questions before we call this to a close?"
"Um..what exactly is all this?" That is a very good question! She knows it's a competition of some sort, but hey, it's still a good day. She looks towards the man for a few moments and chews on her bottom lip once more.
"That depends upon which this you mean" Aka answers, "The Gods are powers and we pay them due reverence, but that which I serve is of a different sort of power. Mingled truths. Typically one of our number with access to those truths has always been a child of your mother, he recently died. You are one of the better choices to take his place and so we offer the opportunity to try to do so."
"Oh..I see.." she hrmms for a few moments, idly running her fingers through her hair as she chews on her bottom lip once more. She looks towards the man. "Well, I hope that I am chosen then..and partner, you mean my boyfriend or someone I can choose to help me?" she asks curiously.
"Your boyfriend I would assume" Aka replies, "While some challenges that you face may allow for assistance, the dinner invitation is strictly a plus one. Should you decide to invite another you might do so."
"I'll bring him then.." she says with a warm smile, idly running her fingers through her hair as she studies the man for a few more moments. "If I may ask..who was the previous onmyouji who happened to be a half-brother..and what happened to him?"
"You may inquire. Saitou Akio, he was murdered quite violently and terribly. A rather impressive accomplishment, considering." Aka answers as he looks her over, "You are one of the most likely people to have done it, of course. So is your competition. It's an old story with the Onymoyji, jealousy and the desire to take what another has."
Maia just blinks blankly towards him for a few moments as she wrinkles her nose. "No. I can't say I've killed anyone recently..I really kind of don't do that.." she admits ruefully as she runs her fingers through her hair once more. She's been busy dealing with Atlanteans and other sorts of creatures afterall. "And who is my competition?"
"You would of course say that if you were guilty" Aka says calmly, "Unless you were one of those especially honest breed of murderers. It is little matter, while we do not encourage such behavior it is no bar to entering the challenge if otherwise worthy. Your competition is still being finalized, you may meet them at the dinner."
"Are they all..relatives?" she asks curiously. "as in all my mother's children?" It might be good to see if they still have their connections afterall!
"Yes" Aka answers, "That much at least I can say with certainty. This position is reserved for one of the children of your mother."
Maia just ahhhs and nods, idly running her fingers through her hair once more as she takes adeep breath. She hrmms for a few moments, wrinkling her nose as she nods and bows her head towards him. "And in the end, the winner becomes what..he or she learns all the secrets of the onmyoudo arts and then what?"
"And then the winner reassesses their place in the world. Truths highlight new truths, expose lies and misconceptions. Truths reshape and reform that which they touch, molding them anew. Within those secrets the winner might find new responsibilities to honor, new obligations to fulfill, many do. Some on the other hand find new opportunities and ways to exploit." Aka responds, "As you can see, we are not fond of absolute answers."
And there's a hrmm for a few moments as she chews on her bottom lip. That sounds…well it sounds mind boggling. Her eyes widen as she ahhhs and nods, taking a deep breath before she nods once more. "I see, I see..well, I am up for it!" she chirps merrily. Perhaps she should get more combat training from Sojobo in the meantime.
"Excellent" Aka responds absently straightening out his business suit, "I hope to see you give it your all. If you have no further questions then we may call this session to a close. Further messages shall be left at your home as the first one was." He guides her towards the door before more seriously saying, "And if you truly are not the killer, be cautious. They truly are likely to be in the competition, somewhere."
Sometime later that night…
Oh goodness. It's late at night once more and Maia's out and about. It's still dark in the city that never sleeps..at least dark enough to where she gets the wiggins and wrinkles her nose as she continues to walk along the streets. She stuffs her hands in her pockets as she hrmms for a few moments and chews on her bottom lip.
Nothing terrifying leaps out at her! Shocking, I know. Although in an alley she is passing there is for a moment a rainbow glimmering, a sparkle of flashy light that quickly fades and a young japanese man in his early twenties steps out. He's dressed on the wild side of Japanese fashions, hair a vivid shade of red and the cut anything but traditional and his clothing leaning towards the garish.
That…is unusual. The red sparkly of flashy light causing her to blink a little. Maia squints as she stares at the man and hrmms for a few moments as she looks over him. "Um..you're several thousand miles away from the Harajuku district.." she says and points towards the east. "You kinda wanna go that way..or the other way..it doesnt matter..the Earth is a sphere anyway.."
"Oh I know!" The man says cheerfully as he steps out of the alley, taking a moment to peer this way and that as if taking in the sights of New York, which is kind of sad as the city is not looking it's best at night. "I came to see you! You are in the competition right?!? I follow competition very closely!" He hops a bit excitedly, "You look different than I expected! Young! You will be very popular trading card!"
There's a blink for a few moments as she just stares towards him for a few moments. Trading cards? There's a little baroo escaping from her lips as she wrinkles her nose and looks back towards her possible competition as she watches him. "Are…you in it as well?" Maia asks curiously.
"No no" assures the man scrounging about for a moment before pulling a small digital camera from his pocket and he begins to circle her, snapping pictures. The passing crowds find this interesting enough they are starting to pay the pair more attention. "Just fan! Not many, not many know of competition. Few there are? Very loyal! Very excited! Hokusai make cards, very beautiful! Very prized!" Lowering the camera a bit he asks hopefully, "Show me best attack pose? I take action shot!"
Maia flails a little as it seems to be attracting attention. Her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red as she wrinkles and tries to grab the camera or at least block the photo. "N-no..who are the others..and what..how do you know who is involved? I thought it was still being decided.." and she looks towards the passing customers. "He thinks I'm Speidi..heh…"
"She is very impressive woman! Very mighty!" Calls out the fellow happily to the crowd as he continues to try to circle around her, managing to keep the camera out of reach although her efforts are greatly complicating his ability to snap shots. "You are not being decided! You are on big board! Looked you up, Juliard, came to see you!" Another snap of the camera manages to go off, mostly getting her feet. "What is your blood type?"
"…" Maia continues to stare towards the man for a few moments as she continues to block the photos. She wrinkles her nose and blinks blankly for a few moments. "Big board? What big board?..and um..thanks? But no..I'm not giving that information out..I just want to know where you're getting all this information from. Who else is on said board?"
"John Endo, "The Rock"" bubbles the man excitedly trying to snap another picture, "Fijuwara no Aya, "The Shadow Princess"" Snap Snap. "On big board! In main lobby." He glances down to a digital watch and looks highly startled, "Have to go! Very busy! If they come to make card of you show them attack stance. Best cards are in attack stance!" Then without a word he is darting back into the dark alley, another shimmer of rainbow light and he's gone. Huh. The crowd is still milling around Maia, now strongly suspecting she is somehow famous and not seeming to have the least idea why.
"John Endo? Fujiwara no Aya?" The names arent familiar to her at all, but considering what she knows, it's at least a half-brother and a half sister. She gets lost in thought for a few moments before looking towards the crowd around her. Her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red and she acks, letting out a nervous chuckle. "It's no big deal… don't worry…um..I gotta go.." she says, starting to head off.
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