gene, Jolie, Maia, Haldor, Jason, Preston
|Scene Title||Shinigami and Sickles|
|Synopsis||Getting to Takamagahara. It's in a mess. Epic battle with shinigami. Meet up with mecha guards of Hachiman. Long scene is long.|
With all the rumors she's been hearing about the state of her Overworld, Maia is in a tizzy. Her uncle made a power play! Rawr! She is not amused and she paces back and forth, texting like a mad woman. It's easier to contact multiple people at once, and she already had a long conversation with her beau. Haldor will meet up with them after Sojobo finishes with him.
So that's one check for an Aesir. Then there's another Aesir. Her ex! Preston needs to come along, because well, she's gotten used to him coming along. Lots of texts are sent. Then there's someone who she ran into at Saks! Gene of course! Then Jason because well, she's gotten used to the son of Aphrodite. Then finally, Jolie. Hopefully the mambo can make it.
so for now, she paces back and forth in her apartment. There's not even a Drake whom can distract her for now! Sadness.
That's going to break poor Godric's heart. The uber-Lundie has become quite fond of having little Drake to play with. They're buddies, and even the fact that the shiba can turn into a horse-sized engine of destruction doesn't really affect their dynamic all that much. All Preston had to do was say Maia's name and suddenly it was the dog walking the man, making a beeline for the demigoddess's pad. One text prompted several others as Preston called off his other plans for the indefinite future. There's adventure ahead!
He tries the door first. Sometimes it's unlocked and the pair can just wander in to say 'hi'. He's suspicious due to the lack of shrieking shiba enthusiasm before they've even reached the door, so he sounds a bit wary as he announces himself from outside. "Hey, Maia? We're here.."
Along in quick order there is a Jason, making his way around Preston and beelining for a comfortable chair because those are always at a premium. "So am I" he calls out, "What's going on? You make it sound urgent in a text based lots of exclamation points kind of way. Has something new happened?"
Jolie isn't too far behind the others, in her leather gear and ready for war. "I'm here, hon. What's goin down?" She grins at Jason and nods to Preston, not familiar with him (or just forgetting).
"Hey.." It's Maia not sounding too chirpy as almost everyone arrives. She's dressed for the part. She's in a long flowing white onmyouji's robe, the sleeves extra long so she can hide a variety of accoutrements, such as various Buddha beads, her ofuda and a few ceremonials daggers. She's not sure what's going on, but she's at least going to dress like a daughter of Amaterasu.
"Takamagahara. My mom is missing, and apparently my eldest half-sister, Himiko is missing as well. I was hoping she would take care of things, but apparently there's a civil war between Uncle Susano-o, Uncle Tsuki-yomi, some old Oni warlord, Nobanuga, and my mother's loyal followers. It's a mess there so we're going to try to fix it."
The door to the condominium swings open easily once more, of its own accord - the spirit of the place recognizing Gene well enough - and the son of Eris strolls along into the place with his usual casual swagger, a smile curving to his lips in the shade of his fedora. He's dressed in his usual clothes. Fedora, leather jacket, denim jeans, camera hanging around his neck.
"Hey, Jolie. Been awhile, beautiful," he greets with a nod over to the woman, before calling out casually, "Everybody else, good evening. I hear we're going on a trip, eh?"
Preston slips in as the door opens to admit everyone else, nodding to Gene and Jason and perking curiously as he sees Jolie for the first time. His attention lingers on her for a moment, but the question he looks poised to ask is held back as Maia describes the game plan. He lets out a low whistle as she spells out just how bad it is, eyes widening. "Did they say what started the war?"
Jason gives a wave to Jolie as she arrives as well and in response to Maia's words he says, "That sounds like a mess we're going into. Well. Ok. We've all been helping each other out on this. What is our first move? Do you know of a good doorway to Takmagahara or are we going to have to go looking for one?"
Jolie winks at Gene. "Good to see you again too, Gene." Maia in full priestess gear makes her whistle. "Oh man. Family drama, huh? Girl, maybe if ya'll had a reunion every once in a while…" She shakes her head. "So, are there any good guys or bad guys, or just a buncha gods will issues?" Looking to Jason, she says, "Yeah, Maia helped with that."
"The main priority will be finding my mom. All our parents have been inside the Overworlds still, so I'm guessing that all of this was started by my mother's disappearance when we heard them all scream in pain several months ago. So, there are lots of bad guys, particularly the Oni Warlord. If Uncle Susano-o and Uncle Tsuki-yomi are fighting against each other, it's the perfect opportunity for the oni to take over the palace, so we're going directly to the palace to find out what's going on.." she says matter of factly, sighing as she wrinkles her nose and puts on her wooden sandals while looking towards the others.
"Unlike the axis mundi of the other overworlds, anyplace that has a strong connection to Japan is a way in. At least that's what I remember being told before. There's a Shrine to my mother at the Buddhist Temple in Chinatown. I figure we can make our way from there.."
"So we've got gods arguing with each other," Gene observes wryly, one hand thumbing back the edge of his fedora, "Titanspawn infiltrating the palace to try and take advantage of the situation, Amaterasu's missing and presumably in the hands of one of La Fromage Noir's little undead minions, and… what?" His brows lift, "Is it raining, on top of everything? Lemme call my girl, let her know I'm going on a trip."
He produces a cell phone, humming to himself as he scrolls through his contact list.
"What, no transatlantic flight on Drake?" Preston asks with a grin. He was just starting to get used to that. After a quick look around he deduces, "He's with Haldor, isn't he?" And Haldor's probably already on the case, if the trend remains consistent with the last couple adventures they've had. "This'll be different. I've never actually been to Chinatown."
Jason looks over towards Jolie at Maia's words and he says, "That sounds like a plan. If there is a doorway there either Jolie or me should be able to actually see it. Although if it is like lots of the others you might have to open it up yourself. So finding your mom comes first, and hopefully if we can do that the rest of the stuff will work itself out? Ok."
"Well, if we do find my mom, I may need to fight my uncles and their followers to get her place back as rightful queen of the heavenly plains. At that point, whether you decide to help or not is up to you.." she says softly, sighing once more as she looks towards Preston. "And Haldor and Drake have been training with Sojobo. He'll find his own way there. Sojobo's monastary is strongly connected to the Takamagahara afterall."
And so she leads the others. It's time to go to Chinatown!
Jolie rubs the back of her neck. "Chinatown. You'd think we'd have to go through Japantown. But yeah, that's the way," she says, following Maia out.
"Hey, love," Gene chatters into the phone as they head out, "I'm going on a business trip— I'll pick you up a souvenier while I'm there, hopefully I won't be too long…"
Preston brings up the rear of the procession, while Godric trots on ahead to brush his head and back under Maia's hands and looks up at her with as reassuring a look as his canine face can give. She seems down, and there's no shiba pup to cheer her.
Jason heads along. To Chinatown they go!
Scions arrive by their respective means of transport at the Buddhist temple, a place barely populated at this time of day with only a few people occasionally strolling about. Things are quiet and peaceful, and if there are any portals locally they are not leaping about to make themselves known.
Maia smiles warmly as she looks down towads Godric, ruffling up the headfur of the lundie. She brought her own car and parked not too far from the temple. There are Shinto rites that take place here every now and then. There's no full Shinto temple in the city afterall, so they share space with the Buddhists! There are various similarities afterall between the two religions.
Still, Maia looks like she belongs there. She's in full garb as she hrmms and looks around as she beelines to the mini shrine of Amaterasu. She takes a deep breath and bows low, a perfect ninety degrees before she starts pouring water over her hands to bring it to her lips before spitting it out to the side. Shinto purification ritual.
Jolie waits respectfully near the door. She doesn't want to bow to the wrong person or not bow at the right angle or do something crazy to anger the gods or just plain get kicked out.
Gene lingers along near the entrance as well, scratching under his chin a bit as he watches the proceedings; if anyone knows how to open the gate, it's her, after all, certainly not him! "So how've you been," he asks Jolie conversationally, "I haven't seen you since— hell, been a long time."
Jason goes about having a look around, not quite as worried about being respecful and more inclined to be curious as he takes in the lay of the land. Looking behind this and that and generally being a rather quiet nuisance.
The efforts of Maia are respectful but they do not cause any sort of door to simply open, with Amaterasu missing the air is strangely quiet and unyielding as such reverance is given.
Long distance to Preston: Maia wriggles.
While waiting for Maia's efforts to bear fruit, with unshakable confidence in her abilities convincing him that they will yield a means to travel to Takamagahara any second now, Preston heads over to Jolie, as he is already acquainted with the other two of Maia's colleagues. "Hi, you're Jolie, right? I'm Preston. She talks about you and the others a lot. Sorry to hear about your dad. How's he doing?" Might as well make conversation, he decides, while they wait.
There are proper protocols when entering a shrine. Maia is just following them as she doesn't want her mother to disown her for not bowing properly at the shrine afterall. Once she's finished the purification ritual she hrmms and wrinkles her nose as she looks around for anything that might have the strongest connection to her mother or Japan.
"Uh, you guys see anything?" Are there even any torii (those Shinto gates) around?
"Yeah, it's been awhile," Jolie says softly to Gene. "I've been kinda busy." Preston's greeting prompts a smile. "Niceta meetcha, Preston. He's doing about as well as he can. Holding up pretty well, considering."
"I don't even know what we're looking for…" Gene scratches a hand against the side of his neck, squinting around, "…any clues, Maia?"
"There is over here!" Jason calls out, all of his probing about having uncovered just such a thing. The Torii rather classic looking in gold and red and a number of songbirds perched atop the structure chirping merrily away somewhat out of tune. It's rather idyllic really. The Scion of Aphrodite now has his GPS out, punching at the keys as he circles the structure and he says, "Huh. There is something here. It's not a very strong doorway but it should be enough. The key is somehow.. completing that which is broken. Bringing pieces together."
"If we are to enter Takamagahara, we must do it through the torii. Each torii means you are coming closer to the divinity of the Amatsukami, and you must be purified lest you bring upon yourself the wrath of the gods. I suggest you all do a purification ritual here.." she tells the others before making her way towards the torii, lookin around it as she hrmms, wrinkling her nose a bit.
MAia, even with all the crazyness going on, seems quite serene as she peers up towards the birds wistfully. She lets out a soft chuckle under her breath as she wrinkles her nose, hearing the birds out of tune. "Messengers of the gods, your songs do not ring true.." she says with a warm smile. She bows once more and mutters a soft prayer.
"Likewise," Preston replies to Jolie. He's just about to say more when Jason chimes in with good news and snares his attention. He and his trusty canine head over out of reflexive curiosity despite the fact that neither of them is going to actually be able to see anything until someone with the ability to do so makes the doorway open-or whatever it is that's going to happen. When Maia explains what's required of them he asks for confirmation. "You mean that thing you did with the water?" He grins down at Godric and teases, "Bath time." The Lundie glowers up at him like an irritated child.
Jolie smiles. "Good job, Jason!" She hears Maia's instructions. "So, we hafta be spiritually clean to move on, then? Okay, just show me how to wash up." She walks over to where Maia sits and carefully sits as she does. It's not too graceless, but well meaning.
"You know, most of my family's purification rituals involve nudity and a lot of water," Gene observes mildly, "Yours isn't nearly so much fun." He steps along after Jolie despite his amused protest, bowing respectfully and smoothly before the shrine before pouring the water over his hands, drawing it in and spitting it out. Hey, when in Rome…
Jason watched Maia doing her thing earlier, he repeats it thus becoming pure in an instant! Moving over back closer to her side in the not impure group while continuing to look around curiously. The birds overhead continue to chrip merrily away, merry but still out of any sort of tune. An awkward mishmash of chirping. Perhaps it is symbolic of the current state of the Overworld.
"Well that's what separates my family from yours, Gene. Nudity.." she says with a soft chuckle of amusement. Of course, she puts aside the images of the Fisherman's Wife, cause come on, that's the origin of the Japanese fascination with tentacle rape. But then again, she isn't naked in those pictures. But nonsequitur aside…
Maia looks back towards the torii, studying it for a few moments. She certainly is glad Haldor isn't here cause he'd be complaining about the out of tune birds. So she starts to whistle, finding the nearest notes that each bird is singing. Perhaps they'll be in tune in no time?
"I don't even think my family even /has/ purification rituals," Preston muses as he follows the example of the others. "Or if they do, they involve lots of mead." As for Godric, he lets the pup lap water out of his hands and then just pours it into his mouth, deciding that letting most of it trickle onto the ground counts as 'spitting'. Only one way to be sure, evidently. He stands up, shaking water from his hands as he steps back to watch and listen.
"We do ritual baths at certain times of the year," Jolie pipes up, giving the Loa side of things. "But we're more down with rum, cigars, blood, other stuff like that." She grins, then solemnly does the ritual. She doesn't even giggle after she spits.
The birds do respond to Maia's whistling, but not in any sort of way creating harmony. The mass moves towards the individual notes she whistles, almost attempting to emulate the sounds she makes and failing. Poor birdies.
Jason is continuing to peer at his screen as he paces near the Torii and he says, "That is having some sort of impact. There was a tiny little waver but.. opening the doorway is going to take something different I think?"
"It's a small world af-ter all," Gene sing-songs, trailing off to look at everyone, brows raising, "…what? It's all that came to mind!"
"Maybe they're not out of tune," Preston theorizes aloud. "Maybe they're just missing some notes? Didn't you say something about bringing pieces together? Or maybe the notes need to be rearranged altogether? Does that sound like any song anybody's familiar with?" He's going out on a limb, really. Aesir impatience conflicts with his inherent humility and generally mellow disposition, leading him to decide he has to at least try to help think of a solution rather than waiting for the big kids sort it out. When Gene starts to sing-song he perks, and then listens attentively to see if there's anything remotely like that to be divined from the birdsongs. Better than nothing!
Jolie is a dancer, not a singer, so she pays attention to the rhythm of the birdsong, nodding her head, eyes closed.
There's a soft chuckle of amusement escaping from her lips. She is emulating Mary Poppins rather well afterall as she hrmms and takes a deep breath while peering towards Preston. She reaches over and ruffles his hair, "I think I'm familiar with the tune.." she quips before shaking her head as she looks back towards Gene, snerking once more.
And so she does her Mary Poppins thing, filling in the gaps of the old Japanese traveling song! Huzzah!
Hurrah! Anyone normal whistling that song might not get a reaction but fueled by Maia's divine blood individual dischordant components suddenly take on harmony. Everything suddenly coming together to create a unified whole out of those disparate elements. Between the Torii the air begins to ripple slightly, a faint light shimmering as a doorway opens into the world beyond.
Preston closes his eyes to filter out extraneous stimuli, but even that really doesn't bring him closer to recognizing a melody. Since it was a stab in the dark anyway, he isn't expecting much success in the first place. Then Maia's whistling turns the seemingly random notes into a singular song, and he gasps as he opens his eyes to see the rippling portal.
"Nice job," Gene flashes a grin over to Maia, then gestures towards the door with a dramatic sweep of one arm, "After you, O Princess of the Ninety-Seven Cherry Blossoms, or whatever your proper title might be on the other side of that gateway."
"I don't think I have one yet.." she says with a wry grin as she ushers the others along, wrinkling her nose as she eases on nup and enters the doorway. Woosh!
"Then how's that one?" Preston quips as he moves up to the hazy portal with the others. "It sounds really cool and-I dunno.." He passes through at Maia's prompting with Godric at his side and on the other side he continues the sentence "…majestic." He nods to Gene, grinning to convey that /he/ thinks it's a good one. He also might not be quite aware that Gene is joking. He's been off in his own little world for the past few minutes.
Woosh! Those that step through the portal find themselves in a shrine somewhat akin to the one that they just left, although this one looks to have been ravaged terribly. The structures are charred black and burned, stonework rubble and the Torii on this end is two remnants of posts bent at an awkward angle. A shrine to Amaterasu once existed here but it looks to have had particular care taken to defile it, violence done to it especially heavy and feces and urine look to have been added to further defile that which was especially holy. Whoever did this though is long gone, in the distance perhaps several miles away is the Pillar of Heaven, a jade monolith which towers over the palace of Sakokushiro.
A grin's flashed back to Preston, as Gene steps over through the doorway, "I think we should insist on it." Then out into the otherworld, and he takes a step… and turns, looking back at the defined shrine, brow furrowed beneath the shadow of his fedora. "Well. I'm guessing the oni have been here already…"
Maia seems speechless as she looks at the shrine of her mother with it being defiled. She takes a deep breath, trying to calm herself down as she chews on her bottom lip. She can feel a growing rage building up inside her, but does her best to suppress it for now. She chews on her bottom lip as she looks around for any salvageable pieces.
"The Shrine will have to be rebuilt later. For now, we should head towards the Palace. If my uncle is claiming power, then I need to talk to him."
Long distance to Haldor: Maia nuzzles close and warm, "Sad Maia is sad now at seeing Takamagahara like this. She wants to cry, but won't."
Nothing can snap a daydreamer back to the here and now like the stench of offal, particularly this stuff. Preston recoils in disgust at first, and grimaces even after he's composed himself. Godric whimpers as his more acute sniffer takes in the rarified eau de oni. "This seems a little bit excessive," he observes with disgust. "Is that the kind of thing we can expect from-what did you call them? Anyway, yeah. Palace."
Haldor, rather suddenly, comes flying through the portal. It is probably a good thing that he is actually flying though, otherwise he would have crashed right into everyone else. The Viking blinks a few times, twisting this way and that in the air.
"… Did I just fly into a men's room at a metal concert?"
And there's Maia. Haldor's hand comes up and claps over his mouth as his icy blue eyes widen. Clearly that question just came tumbling out before he could put his mental filter back into place. The Viking, looking utterly apologetic, floats down to the ground.
"So, uh… I should go… Kill an oni or something, huh?"
"I've seen worse," Gene says quietly, reaching out to clap a hand on Preston's shoulder, "From mortals, no less. This isn't anything compared to some of the shit I've seen overseas when I was embedded… we can take it out on these titanspawn when we find them." His gloved hand slides away as a viking suddenly soars through the portal, and he ducks, stumbling a step to one side. "Shit. Haldor, you nearly took my head off!"
Jason steps through along with the others, as he did on the other side pacing around and poking here and there as he says to Gene, "It looks like you're right. They really did a number on things."
There are traces of the shrine which are salvagable. A long stretch of unbroken stonework here, a few bits of flourished woodwork there. The destruction is not total, for all that it is thorough. In the distance between that spire can be see a few plumes of campfire smoke and the sillohuetes of encampments. Possible allies? Possible enemies? Things to avoid?
As she picks up the pieces of the shrine, Maia continues to resolve herself against the destruction and defiling of a sacred and holy sight to her mother. She sniffles a little as she looks towards Haldor, giving him a subdued smile as he arrives.
"If there are any around, I would hope so. Where's Drake?" she asks curiously, her brows furrowed before looking out towards the campfire smoke. "And there's people in the distance. Let's go say hello shall we? If they're oni, well, I think I could use a bit of release.." she admits.
Preston nods quietly to Gene, mustering a smile once the initial shock of the stench and devastation around them has worn off, grateful for the reassurance. Then, Haldor whooshes in, and his presence cheers the younger Aesir tremendously. "Count me in," he says eagerly in response to the mention of oni-hunting. "Maybe we'll get started early," he supposes, looking toward the campfire. He's eager to get a move on, while Godric-usually as unflappable as his human comrade, picks his way gingerly through the mess as though wary of getting any on his paws. Now, this is a dog who, when no one's looking, has /occasionally/ sampled his own poo. It's a dog thing. Even so, he wants not a damn thing to do with this stuff.
At the mention of his name, Drake suddenly erupts out of Haldor's hoody. The pup flops through the air and lands on Maia, barking cheerily as Haldor finally makes touch down on the ground. He shrugs a little bit, "Wouldn't know. Little guy was asleep last I saw him," teases the Viking.
Fortunately for Haldor, he opted to wear his shit-kicking boots. The Viking wades through the destruction easily enough, mostly ignoring what he steps in or on as he approaches Maia and Drake to either hug Maia or reclaim Drake. It's not quite clear what exactly Haldor's up to just this moment.
"I think I pissed off your little brother, by the way, Haldor…" Gene reaches under his jacket, pulling out his gun and checking the antique pistol carefully for any dirt or scratches, tending it carefully since they may soon find battle, "…he said I'd regret it, because you'd beat me up."
Jason moves back to the main gathering and says, "Moving on it is. The damage here doesn't look recent but maybe whatever Oni did this stuck around? It does not hurt to find out. It seems like someone might be owed a lot of pain for what happened here."
Maia can't help but giggle at that. She was there when it happened and she wrinkles her nose as she catches the rambunctious little pup and ruffles his head fur. "There you are boy..missed you!" she chirps merrily before placing him on top of her head to balance there. She then turns wraps her arms around the Viking, giving him a fond and affectionate squeezy hug. She sighs, letting it linger for a few moments, savoring his warmth as she gets a bit of her tension out in the squeeze before nodding towards Jason.
"Let's go and check out those encampments. If they're oni, this is going to be hard, brutal and fast. If not, then well, I guess we can talk to them and find out more.."
"So it'll be hard, brutal, and not as fast," Preston muses with his gaze focused on the camp fires. "On account of the talking we'll do first." He's slowly but surely coming around to this whole 'Viking' thing, or at least the essential bits. "We're in the middle of a civil war, you said," he directs that to Maia, and takes a moment to stifle a snicker at the impossible puppy hat she now sports. It never ceases to amuse him.
"Which little brother? Pop seems to have his own damn army of Li'l Thors."
Haldor squeezes Maia gently before stepping back. This is her home town, so to speak, he'll defer to her sense of direction on this little excursion. Cheerily the Viking moves over toward Preston and ruffles up his hair, "We'll see, cuz. We'll see."
"Wesley. He called my lady a worthless whore, so I convinced him that he sucked in bed. Which, I'm told, is true anyway."
The gun's held lightly by Gene's side as he glances to the others, lips twitching in a wry smile, "Shall we, then?"
"Before we leave.."
Maia looks towards Preston, Gene, Haldor and of course the puppies. She wrinkles her nose as she takes a deep breath and pulls out an ofuda with the marking of HEALTH on it as she mutters a soft sutra under her breath. Each of the ofuda glows and she tosses it to stick onto each of her companions to give them an extra little boost, so to speak. And of course, to herself..cause come on. There are scary things here..
Haldor facepalms at the very mention of 'Wesley'. The Viking rubs his face as Maia infuses him (and everyone else) with additional health. Quietly he smiles at the feel of increasing vim and vigor, it's such a weird feeling to him… Which is in and of itself weird because he possesses so much extra health from his Epic Stamina as it stands.
"Don't even worry about Wes. I think all the arms killed off part of his brain."
Preston grins like someone years younger as he gets his hair ruffled. He's ready to go chew ass and kick bubblegum, or something along those lines. His eyes get wide as the sudden infusion of health catches him unawares. At least he knows where to look, turning his head to smile and nod appreciatively to Maia as he catches the tail end of her ritual.
Gene rolls his head on his neck, popping a few vertebrae as the divine energy spills through him, brushing away any lingering hints of weariness—and he grins, thumb drawing back the hammer of his gun with a metal click like the closing door of a tomb. "I may have to hurt him if he talks shit about her again, just to warn you."
Jason looks much refreshed at his own burst of divine power, drawing in a long and happy breath and taking a moment to stretch well formed limbs. "Very nice. Thank you. I can hope that we won't need it but conflict does seem to follow us wherever we go. It is best to be prepared for it."
"Then let's go!" Maia chirps brightly as she reaches up and ruffles the headfur of the yippy little shiba balancing on her head. She starts to head off towards the encampment, but looks to Haldor expectantly. He should be first. Just in case something attacks them!
Haldor moves forward with Maia, idly holding his (Baldur) shield in front of him with one hand. The other hand idly twirls his drum sticks as he marches onward. In theory the scareoni* at the head of the party should secure the group against head-on attacks.
*Haldor may or may not have his likeness replicated in random parts of the Overworld in order to terrify lesser Titanspawn away from targets. There may, or may not, be a company that builds likenesses of many Scions who, like Haldor, are reknown for their ability to kill vast swaths of enemies without suffering more than a few knicks or bruises. You may, or may not, pass likenesses of yourselves while adventuring in the Overworld.
Preston stays at his cousin's side, albeit a half a step behind out of deference and in a subconscious acknowledgement of basic Overworld safety. (Rule Number One, kiddies: Let Haldor tank!) He lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding as they get clear of the desecrated shrine, allowing him to get a really good look at the realm without the smell of oni poo fouling things up.
Gene is not known for his ability to kill vast swathes of his enemies; if anything he's more known to be extremely annoying to his enemies, but not exactly a huge physical threat. He brings up the rear in this little group, idly spinning #19074 by the trigger guard and occasionally tossing her up, catching her, and spinning her again. He's watchful back there, though.
Time passes! The ground is well churned, it looks like a great many footsteps have passed this way lately and soon they begin encountering corpses. Horrible twisted forms of demonic Oni who have been torn apart by bullets or have burned serrated edges of flesh. So too scattered here and there are the corpses of more human looking kami garbed in high tech battle gear. The closer the group gets to that nearest plume of smoke the more corpses they are, this area was obviously the site of a recent great battle. Then.. figures are slowly coming into view. Fresh corpses are scattered near a fire, energy weapons laying useless nearby and bodies bearing the look of diseased rot. Standing among them towering at about nine feet in height are figures dressed in white funery robes and white porcelin masks, massive scythes held in their hands. Gnawing on one corpse nearby is a monstrous dog, larger than usual and possessing no skin whatsoever, musculature and organs openly on display and holding a sickly diseased look.
Oh goodness. The fresh corpses cause Maia to cover her nose from the stench. It's a good thing that she has extra long sleeves afterall! Fortunately, Drake is the size of a purse puppy, and so she hides him in her extra large sleeves as well to keep him away from the gore. She's protective of her puppy afterall, cuddling him close as she looks like she's going to puke as the gore becomes more and more intense.
It's only when she looks up ahead does she realize what caused all this. "No.. no way.." She stares first at the shinigami, the nine foot embodiments of death. She shudders, remembering the time she was possessed by one to kill the Atlantean, but these are different. They are surrounded by darkness and she shivers a little, even taking a few steps back.
"These aren't my grandmother's shinigami. These are Mikaboshi's shinigami. And that's a corpse dog. Be very careful, it seems he knows of my mother's disappearance as well.."
Not for the first time in an increasingly short period of time, Haldor finds himself looking around suspiciously and/or checking himself to make sure he is not in fact hallucinating or high. The high tech battle armor and oni Haldor can reconcile. After all, they're in Japan's Overworld.
Giants in full funerary garb and possibly kabuki-style masks, armed with giant scythes and a giant Resident Evil dog are rather more difficult for Haldor to reconcile. Anime and Maia just don't prepare you for what, at first glance, appear to be giant KKK wannabes eating dead people. The Viking leans back toward Maia and, quietly as he can, inquires, "What?" Helpfully Haldor points a drumstick at a giant figure to indicate that he means '/WHAT/ the hell is /THAT/?!'.
And then Maia answers. Haldor considers this for a few moments. Curiously, and quietly, he inquires, "Kill 'em?"
Under better circumstances, Preston might be able to be awed by the fanciful designs and obvious technological sophistication of the scattered battle gear among the corpses. Clearly these are no such circumstances. "This place is probably nice when it's not a battleground," he murmurs, grimacing at the sheer carnage around them. It's more than he's used to, to say the least. He manages to roll with it, and even the revelation of the figures left standing amongst the dead. After Maia explains what they are, and Haldor proposes a solution to their existence, he smiles tentatively and, sounding more confident than he feels assures his cousin, "Ready when you are." Of course the only way he can back that up is by hurling his gut instinct to the wind. He's got a fairly tight grip on that just yet.
Jason has not yet drawn his guns because.. hey.. things might actually be peaceful. Although Maia's words kind of seem to dash that hope and he quietly pushes his jacket aside so that he can wrap his fingers around the pistol grips in preperation for terrible shooting of things. "Yeah" he asks of Maia, "Do we attack or do we go around."
Nearby, utterly silent as the grave which they embody the two figures in white turn to face the gathered Scions, their scythes held at the ready in skeletal fingers and their masks unreadable and empty. They are seriously seriously spooky. Terrifying spooky. Suddenly the corpse dog begins to growl, head turning this way and that and then fixating it's guise upon Godric and the nearby Preston. Oh dear.
The dark aura that surrounds them causes Maia to hesitate, if only for a second.She is here on a mission! She must be strong and have resolve! And miraculously, she garners her divine will as she stares down the creatures that are up on the horizon. Her eyes widen as her body starts to glow with an intense light, her skin becoming flushed as she takes a deep cleansing breath. She chews on her bottom lip and reaches into her sleeves (past Drake) to pull out a series of ofuda.
She starts running to the side, trying to give herself some distance between the rest of the group. There's three of them versus five Scions. They have the odds and she wants to know who they'll attack. Sudenly, she pulls out a few ofuda, becoming razor sharp in an instant as she tosses one towards one of the shinigami, wanting to know what she's dealing with first. It's a very straightforward move, but she needs to know what they're capable of.
If this were Bleach the scary Death God would totally have just flash stepped. One moment it is standing there still and silent and freakish as Maia's ofuda flingers itself in it's direction and the next moment it is standing still and silent and freakish off to the side so that the ofuda simply goes past it. Looks like they are capable of a good bit!
This is way too anime-esque. But then again, they're in the land of the Amatsukami. Things should be like that. Her eyes widen at the ridiculous speed of the creature as she already starts calculating various trajectories in her head. The gears are turning as she hops, skips and jumps from one side to the other as she makes her way towards the shinigami. She is serious. Very serious.
She can move ridiculously fast too! One moment she's in one place, then in the blink of an eye, she's in another as she utilizes her divine speed to help her out. There's still a feminine grace in her movements as she tries to emulate the water which she controls, trying to find the path of least resistance amongst the corpses on the battlefield as she approaches her target.
When she nears, she jumps nup in the air, pulling out an ofuda once more. The kanji for BANISH is on this one as she lets out a high pitched battle cry. Perhaps she's been hanging around Aesir too much.
At the end of her battle cry, she lets the piece of paper fly. She wants to cut a bitch. With paper.
Maia's wild movements and bouncing around seem to do a lot to disorient the towering figure this time around. It fails to sidestep in time to avoid that paper that goes flying at it. However.. it does not actually do much. The paper simply hits that aura of palpable darkness that surrounds the creature and the kanji flares for just a second before scattering apart having just met something far stronger than it is.
"Wait, let's…" Ah, but they're already attacking the pale-masked, corrupted godlings of death, and whatever Gene was about to say is lost to the sudden rush of battle. The palpable, ominous promise of death that lingers about the shinigami washes over him as he looks up to them, and he feels his heart rush faster before the thought of the desecration of the shrine comes to him. Someone has to pay for that horror.
The servants of Mikaboshi will serve. Mere mortal eyes could barely follow his movements as he sheds any semblance of normal speed for the unnatural deftness and speed of his birthright, his sister - his gun - brought up in a sweep between two eyeblinks, eyes narrowing down the cold iron sights of the antique pistol to take aim upon the pale masked monstrosities.
Jason is looking as absolutely shaken as the others by the sight of these living incarnations of death, these horribly monstrous entities which appear so implaccable and deadly. His body begins to move faster and his complexion slowly taking on the sheen and color of unblemished flawless white marble in his own version of body armor, at once transforming the Scion of Aphrodite into the vision of one you might find in any gallery of ancient art. Perfect features and form given for a moment that semblance of immortality. "Heading to the right" he shouts towards Haldor before he does just that, flanking the one that Maia has already attacked, steps rapidly carrying him towards and past it before he backflips, up and over to avoid any possible attacks of that scythe while guns are withdrawn. Supernatural attention is focused, intense, waiting and biding that perfect moment as the whole world goes all slow mo for an instant and then two shots are being fired towards the giants neck in an improptu effort to decapitate the freaky monstrous death thing with gunfire.
Haldor, apparently, exists slightly out of synch with the rest of the Overworld tonight. Dice are coming up successes and, more importantly, he is easily overcoming this mysterious "Miasmatic Template" nonsense that seems to be giving everyone else a case of the agina. Of course, this means that Haldor has to do him some killing of Shinigami, which is a proposition that may be easier said than done.
The Viking hesitates for a moment, perhaps trying to heed Gene's warning, but as the Scion of Chaos trails off, so too does Haldor's hesitation. In a blur of motion and a wash of frigid air, Haldor surges forward. Cold mist wafts off of his hands and ice crackles into existence ahead of his every footfall, as Haldor draws ever closer Johanssen suddenly warps to life.
His golden shield warps and twists as it engulfs his charging body, golden armor appearing and lightly frosting over as his bracer suddenly emerges from the gold on his left forearm while a sapphire sphere emerges from the back of his right hand, glowing a chilling blue. Both hands whip out to either side as his helmet forms, nunchakus suddenly whipping and whirling as his drumsticks shift to their latest incarnation of death.
"Stop me if you've heard this one already… So an onmyouji, two Vikings, a war journalist, a hero, and three Shinigami bump into one another in the woods."
Faintly Yip Man can be seen behind Haldor, guiding his movements as the Viking acknowledges Jason's call. Supernatural senses keen, sound suddenly becoming all important as Haldor coordinates himself with the Flying Gunman that is Jason. The Viking lets loose a mighty roar of his own as he bites back his trepidation at facing such an incredibly present enemy as a Shinigami.
And then the nunchakus start flying, whipping and snapping about as Haldor turns into a frigid whirlwind of murder.
Preston has become adept at figuring out where his talents lie in relation to his friends, and thus comfortably laid to rest any apprehension he might've had about not going toe to toe with the biggest and scariest on the field when there's something that looks more…well…comprehensible to throw down with. Auras of darkness are that can repel razor-ofuda probably make light of his own respectably sharp blades as well. The mere sight of them withers his confidence away to a raisinlike mote of insignificance. Meanwhile there's a perfectly good, if absolutely disgusting, skinless mastiff giving him the hairy eyeball.
"Ready boy?" he asks his trusty, and quite fuzzy, hound. Godric quirks a brow and whuffs softly, the Lundie equivalent of '…kinda?'
"Me either," Preston muses as he closes his hands over empty air and welcomes the weight of the Tveirbrandr into his grasp, the paired axes with their long hafts and elegantly curved blades, as close as any bladed butchery implement fashioned by Aesir can get to being a sports car as befits a gift from the god of beauty. He starts to run, pointedly ignoring the towering figures garbed in the color of death in the fervent hope that they return the favor.
He bounds across the field, finding purchase upon the soiled carapace of an oni's armor to launch himself toward the massive corpse-hound while Godric pelts along the ground, jaws parted and eyes wild, like a growling furry bullet lunging at the last minute to go for the raw, gristly throat while Preston arcs downward from on high, blades held up nearly parallel with his back and then delivered downward in matching, vicious strikes toward the meaty column of its neck.
The Death Gods remain seemingly still and silent impassive figures, flickering of movement as they try to get out of the way of the Demigod's strikes against them but they are simply nto fast enough and the blows strike. Sadly they don't seem to do much, those robes barely ruffle under the wake of Jason's bullets in response to Haldor's furious strikes and the death gods seem not phased in the least. Impassive. Invincible. Fearsome. Then they are suddenly moving forward as those scythes come down in unison, one aiming to sever Haldor in twain and the other looking to do the same as Gene. Corpsepuppy meanwhile jiggled a little as Preston hit it, turning it's attention from ripping apart Godric and those powerful jaws aiming themselves instead at Preston's leg.
That scythe shears through the air as if even the air itself were being cut, downward towards Gene— but he moves to one side like the shift of a shadow, and the blade cuts nothing /but/ air. His free hand presses down against the haft of the great weapon, the pistol coming up and finger pulling down on the trigger. The aim's true, the bullet cracking into the mask of the death god, but it does naught but chip the surface as it reflects off. "Damn it to hell," the Erisian demigod swears, tumbling back away.
Preston twists at the last second in midair, his lithe body snapping to one side as his blades rebound off of the unwholesomely sturdy beasts's raw tissues. Similarly its teeth close upon empty air rather than the Baldurson's midsection. Momentum carries Preston to his feet as the evasive twist makes him spin aside, landing in a crouch with his blades low to the ground. The opponents turn to face each other, and the young hero nods sharply to signal his companion into action again. As Preston uncoils from his crouch with steel flashing about him in blinding, vicious arcs, Godric lunges to harry the unholy mastiff's back leg, going for the taut band of its exposed hamstring as Preston advances, his hands moving in a blur to propel his paired weapons like the inexorable advance of an oversized thresher intent on shredding the beast.
Haldor comes out of his tornado of death only to find the Shinigami seemingly unaffected. Sadly Haldor doesn't get much chance to contemplate whether this is just because the Shinigami are heavily armored or if they are, in fact, soaking terrible Viking murder.
A scythe, Haldor isn't really sure which scythe mind you, suddenly swings around and sends him sailing backward. One enormous gash is rent into Johanssen's armor and cleanly through Haldor's flashy new silksteel threads to carve into the flesh and soul beneath it all. Needless to say, Haldor howls in exquisite agony as he rolls back to his feet, blood flowing steadily from the hole in his side.
The Viking, however, is made of sterner stuff than that and presses his nunchakus together until they form an enormous labrys. Haldor grips the axe in one hand, his other moving to clutch the enormous gash in his and Johanssen's sides, the sharp *CRACK* of flash-freezing ice audible before Haldor lets out another howl of terrible pain. As Haldor wrenches his hand away from the wound, jagged icicles of frozen blood and ichor spray away from his hand, though the momentary "patch" holds for the moment.
"Okay. I guess you heard that one."
With a deep breath, Haldor seems to be slowly regaining his strength. He charges forward again, bringing his axe up and around, Yip Man's hands ethereally present over Haldor's own. Power sizzles and cracks around Haldor's frigid golden-armored body, though much of it seems to be coalescing around his and Johanssen's conjoined wound. Slowly the frozen blood starts to melt, receding as Haldor launches himself at the nearest Shinigami, hopefully the one he was attacking before, in an attempt to land upon its shoulders and PLOW his Viking Labrys through that ceramic-plated skull.
Still more of Haldor's frozen blood and ichor sizzles off as the Viking wrenches his axe free of whatever he did manage to cleave into with his blade. He kicks back and into a strange race-start stance before suddenly launching forward at full-tilt again, aiming to cleave the Shinigami's robes in twain and, perhaps, reveal that which lies beneath. Clearly Haldor is now in a bad mood. Power seems almost to gleam along the whole length of his axe as he swings again and again, trying to hack an X into the Shinigami before he goes for a finishing blow.
The finishing blow is, of course, another tornado. Unlike before, however, it is executed with his axe and it starts with the blades against the ground before he executes a rising strike not unlike a shouryuken… Except without the flames. Haldor kills bitches with cold, you see.
Despite casting fetid chunks of the corpse hound's substance flying with every strike, Preston's assault is not leaving as telling a mark upon it as he'd hoped. This likely owes to the fact that its threshold for suffering surpassed anything either of the pair could imagine well before it ever laid its sickly, rheumy eyes upon them. Godric's jaws slip through the gore that adorns its legbones, allowing the beast some freedom of movement again. The tactic worked, but they'll have to try something different next time. They slowed it down, and made it uglier, but there's some fight in the dread, dead dog yet.
Against the renewed onslaught the death gods simply are continuing to look their imposing impossibly deadly selves. Flicker, flicker, flicker. Blows barely able to reach them at all and when they do barely stirring the fabrif of their robes. Somewhere along the line though something goes wrong, Haldor's last strike cleanly cleaving the material of their garment and an audible crack being heard from the skeleton beneath as the massive labrys hits it.
This is way too complicated. It's way too chaotic for her liking, but as she watches Haldor have a difficult time against the death psychopomp, she's scared. Really, really scared. But still, years of playing video games gives her an idea. When dealing with creatures of death, what do white mages do to the undead? They infuse life into them, therefore damaging them. Hopefully the same principle takes into effect here.
And so she takes the gamble. She focuses in on the shinigami that seemed flapped by the shattering bone as she hrmms for a few moments. She starts darting around back and forth, back and forth as she hears the cracking of bone. She really doesn't want to touch it, but she needs to make contact.
Soon enough, she reaches into her sleeve, pulling out an ofuda with the kanji of LIFE embedded on it. She runs towards the creature, facing it head on. She doesn't fight dirty afterall. It's face it or nothing.
She lets out another battle cry as she jumps high into the air, her robes flapping about before aiming her palm with the ofuda on the creature's chest.
"Creature of death, begone!" she cries out.
And she slams her palm forward, making contact with the death god as a white light shines brightly on her magatama ring soon covering the pair momentarily. What the heck is going on?
The Death God that Maia thrashes silently in pain in response to her touch. It is cold. So so cold. She can feel horrible damage happening to her fingertips at even that brief contact, but the Death God is getting the worse of it. That skeleton arm beneath the robe jerking about uncomfortably for several moments before the bone simply flakes and peels away leaving nothing in it's wake. The Scythe drops to the ground, dissolving away into nothingness almost at once.
As the light from the hit fades away, Maia stands there and sees the shinigami just inches away from her with her hand slowly rotting from contact with the creature.
"Uh.. that's for slicing up my boyfriend. Yeah.." and she quickly dashes to try to get away. Squeak!
The Death Gods are a little worse for wear now. The armless one, for whatever bizarre reason does not go after the viking that chopped it up or the little Japanese girl that melted off it's arm but rather glides silently and deadly towards the Scion of Aphrodite that has thus far failed to scratch it, sharp bony claws suddenly emerging from the sleeve of it's remaining arm lashing out in a savage swipe at Jason's chest. The other one remains armed and this one flickers, flickers, flickers towards Maia suddenly there beside her and that massive deadly scythe coming down to try to make her spill blood as her man already has.
The Corpose Dog growls savagely as it is liping a little more after the continued assaults of Preston, bark bark barking before with a jiggle of internal organs that is really quite disturbing to behold it tries to fling itself for Preston's throat. Rawr!
The Viking, at the apex of his shouryuken of ice and murderous axe, suddenly manifests a rail of ice that he slides down as Maia surges in to attempt to banish the beastie. Haldor watches as Maia's hand starts to rot and sizzle with the awful power of the Shinigami. Murder wells up in Haldor's barely visible, though icy blue eyes under his helmet.
With a roar, Haldor powers back toward the Shinigami. The axe comes around again, the blades growing jagged with the growing layers of rime building over them. Haldor blurs as he enters full-motion, a portion of the spectrum of speed where slow-motion becomes necessary to keep up with the sort of retardedly fast super-human speed of which Haldor is capable. As he moves in, Haldor swings his axe around to send the Shinigami sailing away from Maia.
"Heal Thy Self," hisses Haldor in passing.
Of course, the armless Shinigami whose bones Haldor just broke is no longer the one in the path of Haldor's burgeoning fury. No, it's the one with the gorram scythe still that hasn't been pounded to Hel and back. DAMN YOU RANDOM PROBABILITY! Either way, Haldor doesn't give the Shinigami much chance to regain its senses after either dodging Haldor's murderous axe or taking it the hard way. Haldor whips himself around in mid-air hanging for inexplicable seconds at a time as he builds up momentum before suddenly tilting and whirling his axe at the giant Shinigami's neck, attempting to behead the beast.
Whether or not sweet, sweet death is so easy to attain, Haldor keeps right on trying to kill the Shinigami. The Viking wrenches the axe back and whirls it about his body with both hands before swinging at the Shinigami's scythe arm. Maia isn't the only one that can, ah-heh, disarm a Shinigami… Or, at least, Haldor hopes she's not. Even so, the axe is in excellent position at that point for Haldor back-swing at the Shinigami's midsection, again trying to cripple it by taking out its spine.
Or, at least, Haldor hopes you can cripple a Shinigami by annihilating its spine. He hasn't really had a chance to study up on Titanspawn anatomy.
Jason arches his spine backwards as that long bony claws swipe right over his head, a blow that comes entirerly too close to hitting for the Scion's comfort. It is an almost artistic visual, the perfect white marble facade of the Scion and the grisly death tinted white of the Death Gods claw in sharp contrast. One pistol comes up almost in slow motion, the barrel of the gun just pressing to the wrist of that claws hand before pulling the trigger. Then he is over and off to the side rolling free and out of range of the attack as that second pistol fires away at the creatures expressionless mask. A ballet of deadly motion on behalf of both of them taking place in only seconds. White death in two alltogether different forms each attempting to put an end to the other.
In the who is the more fearsome stark white agent of destruction contest, Jason appears to be winning this particular round. The first bullet blasts that clawed hand clean off sending it soaring through the ground and the second that hits that mask leaves it unmarred but.. ripples of force seem to ripple through the Death God. Tremors growing as bones rattle themselves loose and out of place and it is with a final silent reach of a handless arms towards the heavens that it collapses into a pile and dissolves from sight leaving only that perfect white mask behind.
Meanwhile the second Death God has faced viking fury and found it /sucks/. That implaccable demeanor is now totally disrupted as it is driven back step by step, scythe whirling in an attempt to protect itself. That last blow causes the shadows to swell up around it, completely absorbing the force at the cost of some of it's essence. Scions on the attack!
The corpse-thing's teeth scissor together in a cage of rotted bone glistening with thick slaver an inch away from Preston's face, and in that grisly distorted mirror the Baldurson can see his own grimacing reflection trapped a dozen times over in each broad dagger of discolored bone. He rears back with the fluid flexibility that is equal parts birthright and hard-won training until his shoulders are nearly parallel to the ground while he whips his axes 'round in whistling arcs past its ears. He twists his waist to corkscrew to one side, legs crossing and spreading out to catch his weight as he continues to emulate an aesthetically pleasing and graceful food processor in his bid to bring the beast low. Mostly he just wants some room to breathe something other than the horrid funk exhaled from its dead lungs, and once he has this breath he uses it to whistle sharply, pivoting to one side to let Godric shoot past him like a bullet, intent on leaping into the creature's face and bounding off its snout to get clear. Meanwhile Preston seeks to capitalize upon its state of distraction to bury the hatchet-well, hatchets plural- into its throat just behind its jaw in a quick chop with his muscles already bunched to tear them free if they strike home. He lets out a strained cry of rage that has been slow-burning in him since he engaged the beast.
When Preston tears his blades free he feels the sickening wrench as the corpse hound's jaw snaps apart and as he feels the resistance give way he opens his hands to release his weapons, completing the arc of his upper body to handplant past its back legs and flip backwards as the thing's raw, fleshy body starts to violently shudder. As the first of its seams begins to burst he is already clear, bounding upward to twist in midair, spinning with his body held like a tight spindle until his limbs unfold to catch him on bare ground, a hair's breadth from the absolute outer edge of the explosion of gore his opponent becomes. He holds this position like a bow for a moment, and then looks up sharply before rising to stand, to see how his friends are doing.
Maia's been watching the whole time. Especially as a high pitched squeak escapes from her lips as the one with the withered arm doesn't attack her. Phew! But the other one does and she gets out of the way to watch her beau unleash his protective boyfriend fury over it. She lets out a happy chirp and cheers.
"Yay! Go Haldor!" she says, fistpumping in the air before remembering that she is still in the fight. "Hal! I've been watching, freeze it! Then make it go boom!"
There's a soft prayer under her breath and soon a little chibi frog appears on her shoulder. She chuckles softly as she closes her eyes and puts her hands together, slowly expanding apart as a large blob of water starts to appear before her. She quickly starts moving to direct the water around the creature, engulfing it in water as the frog helps her control the water.
"Hal! The waist is exposed. Slice there!" she calls out as she waits for Viking to FINISH HIM!
Haldor doesn't like it when people hurt people he cares about. In fact, if him mauling the crap out of a Shinigami in four strikes weren't proof enough, then the way he launches himself backward in perfect harmony with Maia's watery attack and his subsequent return should prove him to be a bad. Bad. /BAD/ man.
The Viking's lips peel back in a malevolent smile at the Shinigami as he rams his freezing hand into the water surrounding it. Haldor's blood is pumping hard enough that he can barely hear Maia over the roaring trains that is his blood in his ears, but his ichor flows harder still as he channels the Cold directly through his hand as the other hand readies his axe.
Ice *CRACK*s and *SNAP*s as water flash freezes around his flesh. With an almost pre-meditated sloth, Haldor withdraws his hand from the core of the ice cube, what little water remains freezing in the wake of his passage. His icy blue eyes look upward at that impassive ceramic mask before Haldor lets out another roar of terrible fury.
At the height of the roar, Haldor whips himself around. It's like watching a tornado form, the Viking building up his speed as ice creeps ever outward from beneath his feet. Suddenly, the labrys erupts out of the whirling blur, aimed at the Shinigami's midsection. That's probably going to hurt. A lot.
Immovable object and unstoppable force. The remaining Death God is frozen solid in ice from the waist down in response to Maia and Haldor's teamwork and then the viking is rushing in. That Scythe whirls up to intercept the furious viking even as that giant axe moves towards it and simultaneously the two meet. Even rolling away from the blow and quickly armored that scythe bites deeply into Haldor's side in a blow that would kill anyone less resiliant chopping them cleanly in half. To the viking though it is simply a gruesome wound, one of many. The axe sinks at the same time into the Death God and as if the one before it riplles and convulses before finally dissolving away. Scythe buried within the viking dissolving to let blood and ichor take it's place in the suddenly vacant gasp in flesh.
A few hours pass.
The epic fight was epic. At least, that would be an understatement for what actually happened. Seeing opponents like that was definitely a scare, considering they probably haven't fought as hard like that since they ran into Kamui and his minions at Vanaheim and Asgard. Still, there's a bit of peace and quiet for now, as Maia found a nice patch of land.
The Heavenly Plains are beautiful. They're serene and generally peaceful when there aren't war torn bodies or oni poop laying on the ground. She's made a small hut for each of them, making enough creature comforts with her new found skills in divine botany. As such, she sits on a bench made of the local saplings that have been bent while looking into a fire.
Dinner for the evening? Well, that's why she asked someone to look for some. There should be rabbits and other wild animals nearby for dinner anyway.
Dinner happens to be right up Haldor's alley. Shadow Step, super-human speed, and Speed 1 murder weapons are useful for spearing poor, sweet, delicious rabbits and similar wild animals. The Viking finally returns, Drake barking and bouncing around him as Haldor draws close enough to be seen with an assortment of game slung over his shoulders by the giant spears that his drumsticks have become for the moment.
"So. Uh. Who knows how to skin and gut small game?"
Jolie is both a little shaken and a little proud. Shinigami! Death gods! And her team came out on top, barely, but on top. She decides to do the dinner thing. With her top speed, she manages to catch a few rabbits before they even know what happened. And she's good for the killing part too, with no squeamishness.
The skinning part is a little problem for her too. "Um…I don't know how to clean rabbits, man!" She stares at Haldor, then laughs as they both had the same idea.
Fortunately for the both of them, Maia is a practiced domestic! She just stares at the both and wrinkles her nose as she whines and has a few sharpened sticks ready. "Fiiiiiine, I'll clean the carcasses.." she says softly. "And I'll save the offal for Drake and Godric, but you guys can stick those on sticks too for cooking. They aren't eating rare innards. That's just groddy.." she says matter of factly as she motions for the carcasses to be brought to her.
Haldor sets his spears of small game down on the ground. A few seconds later he's rooting around to retrieve his drumsticks. Cheerily he smiles at Maia and shrugs his shoulders at her, a playful expression on his face.
"Hey. You're the one that said I'm not allowed to do cooking stuff anymore."
Clearly the oven was trying to kill itself and he just helped it along by causing it to explode with his "cooking". Yeah, that's the ticket. Haldor grins at Jolie and shrugs, "What can I say? Great minds think alike."
Jolie smirks, then hands the rabbits over to the chef. "What he said. And rabbit chitlins? I would have never thought of that. But I'm not gonna try them. I hate the pork kind too, no matter how much my gramma goes on about history."
"Hal, love, there's an uncanny knack for food to spontaneously combust around you. So yes, no cooking for you. But you can however spear these for Drake and Godric!" Maia chirps merrily.
She's nimble and she hasa nice sharp knife that made quick work of the carcasses. They're all cleaned out as she wrinkles her nose, trying to impale the meat on sharp sticks to place over the fire. She hrmms for a few moments.
"I've never cooked rabbit before, so I figure a good 40 minutes over the spit should allow them to get all roastie. So how are you guys feeling?"
Stabbing things? Haldor has proven himself to be an able-bodied stabber of things. Quite quickly, Haldor sets about stabbing rabbit bits for roasting over the fire. It's probably a very good thing that he's stopped channelling Hrimthurssar's Touch or else there would be difficulties in roasting the rabbits or assorted rabbit parts.
"I'm feeling fine. Took a Hel of a hit that first time around, the second one wasn't quite as bad. Healed up nice and fast though."
Across the way, Johanssen mutters and grumbles about Haldor not paying enough attention for a guy that practically has eyes in the back of his head. Clearly the shield is upset that it got cut up too.
Maia's lips twitch for a few moments. Part of the reason why she fought so hard was because Haldor was in mortal danger! That scared her. She wrinkles her nose as she sets up the first stick near the fire and nods.
"Yeah, I almost stopped fighting to try to heal Haldor, but I figured he'd get mad at me.." she admits ruefully, chewing on her bottom lip. "I almost forgot he can regenerate.." she chuckles as she gives a subdued smile to the Viking.
"I know what you mean. Those things reeked of badness. Took a lot just to jump in and attack right off the bat," replies Haldor, smiling cheerily at Jolie. The Viking jams the other end of the "spears" into the ground at angles around the campfire, letting the rabbit bits start getting good and hot at the fringes of the flames. He stretches a bit, one hand moving to ruffle his silksteel hoodie.
"Just wish they hadn't obliterated the new threads. I was hoping they'd last a while yet."
Jolie flashes a smile to cover her concern. "Hey! Ass was kicked, and I betcha that manga is gonna be wicked. Pow! Bam! Biff! Magical Fist in Yo Face, attack!" She does a few poses like a magical girl, then mutters, "Um…one of my college roommates made me watch Sailor Moon." A pause. "Really."
Off in the distance there begins to be heard the sound of hydraulic joins and steel moving against steel. The distant movement of figures coming in their direction. How curious! The figures quickly come into better view, a half dozen mecha in a variety of brilliant colors and looking heavily armed in addition to two exceedingly hunky men in black robes with giant swords slung over their shoulders, features concealed by one quarter of a white mask teach wear over their right eye. They look to be a wary bunch, the sound of weapon safeties being unleashed audible across the distance although no violence is impending. An electronically amplified voice echoes out, "Hachiman's Third Squad on patrol. You are not recognized, identify yourselves."
From afar, Haldor zerberts you. "Technically speaking, it is the Tsuchimikado residence, not the Englund residence. As a result of being an Englund rather than a Tsuchimikado, Haldor is just a mate that lives in your room."
There's a soft chuckle that escapes her lips as she watches Jolie pantomime some manga action. It turns into hearty laughter at the admission of Sailor Moon fandom.
"That's why you kept on calling me Bunny. Never figured you'd watch all of them.." she chirps merrily, seemingly in a pleasant mood until there's the sound of mecha around. She aroos, her brows furrowed as she eases on up, her hands all bloodied from butchering the carcasses. Of the three, she's the one who is dressed like she belongs in Takamagahara considering her onmyouji's robe that looks a little worse for wear, but not too bad.
"Tsuchimikado Maia, daughter of Amaterasu-omikami. These are my friends who are helping me find my mother. Haldor Englund, a Thorson, and Jolie Watkins, daughter of Baron Samedi."
"… Hachiman's Third Squad is full of combat mecha and dudes in black robes?"
Haldor rubs his eyes with both hands and then goggle-eyes at them again. The Viking blinks a few times before looking toward Jolie, "At least we're not the only ones here that are big on the anime and manga." Promptly he looks back at the Third Squad, one red eyebrow arched inquisitively.
Jolie almost goes for her baseball bat when the patrol comes over the rise, expecting another fight. But Maia's calm reassures her, and she gives the group a wave and a wink. Then she remembers - oh yea, /Asia/ - and bows. "A pleasure to meet you. And stuff."
There is silence from the distance force for awhile, perhaps they are checking for orders or running a check on the name. Finally though there is the audible click of weapons again being safetied and that voice echoes out, "We're coming in closer to talk.". This they proceed to do, fighting machines and black robed dudes drawing close. Their leader appears to be a young woman in a flatteringly form fitting cybernetic suit, "I'm not sure where you're headed on your search but you'll want to be cautious. We have reports of Oni three kilometers to the west and there are supposed to be two fallen Shinigami in the area toat have been a considerable cause for concern."
Hunky black robed men heft their swords at that. The tall dark and handsome (as opposed to tall blonde and handsome) member of the pair hefts his sword with a cocky grin, "You bump into them you leave them to us. They're all dangerous." He pauses to flash a grin at Jolie, "And stuff."
Jolie does her level best to not do anything close to a swoon when Cocky Guy grins.
Haldor bows to the Squad leader as she and her crew finally draw close enough that Haldor feels comfortable with formalities. The Viking's lips twitch into a smirk at the mention of 'two fallen Shinigami', though he doesn't let that smirk last for more than a second or so. Jolie, after all, is having a moment with Cocky Guy. Even Haldor wouldn't ruin a Moment.
"Fallen Shinigami taken care of!"
Yeah, she's proud of that. It was a tough fit afterall as she idly runs her fingers through her hair as she watches them approach, hrmming for a few moments. "But oni to the west, well, I'm sure we can take care of them, right Hal?" she quips, beaming brightly before motions towards the rabbits cooking away.
"Um, you all hungry? We have extra.." she says, glad that Haldor and Jolie both went hunting for rabbit now. "And we haven't been properly introduced. You know how we are and our names, so what are yours?"
"Captain Kura" says the female in charge by way of introducing herself, her gaze flatly turning towards the rabbit and she offers "We've eaten." They probably have, if her force is on patrol they must have a base camp nearby. "You say you've eliminated the Fallen Shinigami?"
"Not possible!" Interrupts the dark haired hunk, "There is no way puny guys like you could have handled guys like them. They are in full on submission to their death spirit side." He sounds kind of incensed about it, moment ruined! Oh noes!
Clearing his throat to interrupt blonde haired hunk says, "I'm Adam, my companion here is Hideki. If you did handle them they should have left their masks behind. May we see them to confirm the threat is gone?"
Drake, promptly, comes bounding over to Haldor with one of the Shinigami masks in his mouth. Haldor and the pup promptly engage in a brief tug of war that ends when Haldor starts scritching the puppy behind the ear. The Viking holds up the mask in one hand while he continues rubbing Drake down with the other hand. No sense in making Drake feel bad for being cheated in the tug of war.
"I'm afraid we didn't recover anything from the mutant Resident Evil zombie dog they had with them."
Jolie murmurs the name 'Hideki'. Oh yeah, he'll be getting more attention from her later. But she does have an uneasy question. "Um, I'm the outsider here, so please forgive me, but…they were wearing masks, but I see that Adam and…Hideki…have sort of masks here, too?"
"And the other one is here!"
And there's the other one in her hand. She was keeping it for Preston while he went off to go do something with Godric. That leaves the two masks accounted for. She smiles towards the squadron and hrmms for a few moments and wrinkles her nose a bit.
"I wasn't aware Hachiman had shinigami. And I didn't think you were well..really technologically advanced." Now she wants her own mecha!
"Got to do the job gorgeous" says Hideki, looking at the mask with extreme dubiousness while Adam accepts it and withdraws various ofuda from his robes to begin to do some tests upon it. "Some people are just born to ferry souls, we're not like that though. For us it means merging with a death spirit, working with it, keeping it under control. Mask gets too big, things are getting out of control and the human within is losing. Or gone. Then you got big problems."
Captain Kura meanwhile has her attention focused on Maia, "We don't. They're independents looking for the fallen ones. We're currently maintaining the peace in this sector though so weren't about to let them go through a warzone unescorted. Advanced.." She has the good grace to blush a bit, "It has always been kind a thing between Hachiman and your mother. He's always held back here out of deference to her, but with her gone and violence growing extraordinary measures were required to keep the peace. So you mentioned you are looking for your mother, do you have intel on her location?"
Haldor remains quiet for the moment. This is not exactly one of the parts of being a Scion that he's good at, the whole chatting up random people part. Instead the Viking idly inspects the rabbit skewers as they continue cooking away, though he may be keeping an eye on that Adam guy.
Maybe Haldor has mistaken him for some sort of Shinigami Adam Savage that's about to horribly injure himself with a Shinigami mask.
Jolie tilts her hip and rests a fist on it idly, as if posing were a normal part of her life. "So, those guys used to be just like you, and just totally lost their shit?"
"I.." and her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red from embarassment. She scratches the back of her head as she hrmms and wrinkles her nose before shaking her head. "No, no intel. But their parents were missing too and we all found them in the various Overworlds. I was at least hoping for hints as to where she may have gone.." she explains before she nods at the explanation.
"And thank you for keeping the peace. I heard that things aren't exactly doing well with Uncles Tsuki-yomi and Susano-o trying to make a power play, as well as Nobaunga being back apparently.."
Adam finally gives a thumbs up. The masks check out! They really did kill Shinigami! Of course, our intrepid heroes already know that but it is news to everyone else. Hideki looks grudgingly impressed, maybe at Death God slaying, maybe at Jolie posing! It's hard to tell! "Pretty much. Mostly we help ghosts move on. See spirits get where they need to go. Help out where we can. When the death spirit takes over though it becomes about making the living move on, piling up the bodycount and making a river of souls to the underworld."
Captain Kura rolls her eyes a bit at the mention of power plays, "It's complicated. Some are calling what Susano-o is doing as a power play, some are calling it working to maintain order. It might be a bit of both. If it is a power play your mother be there in the palace somewhere, hidden away so nothing interferes with his plans. Tsuki-yomi is pursuing his own ambitions, and we have heard tell he is keeping some high profile prisoners. To the west surrounded by the Oni there is supposedly a new palace of fire and light, there might be a connection there. We also have several reports that claim that your mother and Himiko were seen dressed as peasants heading east but it may just be local gossip."
Jolie is hearing "Blah blah blah" from everyone but Hideki. "Wow, that's kinda what I do, too, bein the daughter of a Death God and all. Sendin people on to their place of rest and stuff. But mostly I've had to do more kickin ass than that."
Haldor is attentively listening to everyone and everything because he loves the Parallel Attention knack. Fortunately for everyone, he is also still scritching the murderously adorable Drake and thus sparing everyone else the pup's deadly cuteness. Plus Haldor is making sure the rabbit cooks just right… And doesn't burst into flame.
Information overload! Maia hrmms as she listens to it all, hrmming for a few moments as she chews on her bottom lip. She's concerned for mommy afterall.
"So that means momcould be north, east, south or west. Wonderful. Still, I want to check in with Uncle Susano-o and Uncle Tsuki-yomi. I want to know what they are doing and I want to see the state of the other kami here. Then,I guess we should go to the area surrounded by the Oni. Where's there's fire and light is a possibility that mom and Himiko can be there. Or it could be a dangerous trap and we can almost die again, but what's life without alittle risk?" she says cheerily, trying to add a bit of levity to the current situation.
Hideko keeps a cocky grin aimed at Jolie and he gives that giant sword slung over one shoulder a brief heft, "Things are always wanting to harvest the energy of the dead. Bad things are always coming up. These aren't just for show. Kicking the tail of the unworthy is the business. You should come along on a run sometime, see what it's like on our side of things."
Captain Kura regards Maia neutrally for a long moment and she finally says, "Listen. I understand your desire to check all options but I don't think you have that luxury. This is a warzone already and things are only getting worse as time goes on. Maybe your mother is fine wherever she is, but these lands aren't. She's needed back and if you dither around aimlessly she is not going to have a home to return to, at least not one she'd recognize. Make your choice and do it."
"I just might take you up on that," Jolie says, eyeing the size of Hideki's sword in a way that would make Doctor Freud jump up and down and yell, "See! I told you, I told you!"
"So, Captain. You said there's a new palace of fire and light to the west, where the oni are mostly camped?"
Haldor stands up, moving toward Maia's side. Lightly he rests his right hand on her shoulder, the fire light gleaming dimly in the sapphire ring on his hand as he regards the cyborg Kura.
"Did you mean to say that that palace of fire and light might be connected to Tsuki-Yomi or did you mean to say it could be connected to Amaterasu's disappearance?"
Gently Haldor squeezes Maia's shoulder, watching Captain Kura with a speculative gaze. Haldor may have mecha envy… Or, maybe, he's a little concerned that Kura doesn't seem entirely interested in search and rescue. Who knows what goes on in Haldor's mind?
Maia stares at Hideki and Jolie as she facepalms once more. It's a good thing that she setup some extra tents around here for privacy cause she wanted a little alone cuddle time with Haldor afterall. She points to a little hut not too far away as she peers at the two before looking back towards the Captain as she hrmms, mulling over the situation.
"Of the various things you told me, only one doesn't belong, and that's the castle of fire and light that is surrounded by oni. And I think she meant it's with mom's disappearance. So, let's get rid of it! I'll just have to deal with my uncles later. Hopefully they don't get too comfortable.." sighing softly soon afterwards as she leans against Haldor for some support. "What of the other squads? Is anyone looking for my mother?" she asks curiously.
Captain Kura states, "Your mother has been regularly looked for since her disappearance. Some out of esteem for her, some in hopes of a reward, some probably wanting to finish her off if she is in some distress. If anyone has found her yet, though, word has not leaked out. Those four rumors I provided you are the most common ones currently under investigation."
Hideki hefts that sword a little more. So Freud. So so Freud. "You do that after this whole thing is wrapped up. When you're ready just tell your local ghosts to pass a message to Hideki of the Shinigami. They'll get word."
"If you were a betting woman, who would you say did it?"
Haldor doesn't seem judgmental at all. Rather he just looks as curious as can be, icy blue eyes fixed on Captain Kura as he waits for a response.
Jolie grins. "I'll do just that, Hideki. I hope we're not holdin you up if you've got more sword swingin to do, though. Hate to make a man late for work."
"All it takes is ten minutes.." Maia speaks up as she spies Jolie and Hideki once more, letting out another impish giggle as she hrmms for a few moments, still seeming torn about the whole thing. She wrinkles her nose as she looks back towards Haldor.
"Palace of fire and light. Wanna bet it's Scott's stalker there?" she says with raised brows. "That's too obvious though. Maybe I'm missing something." Gah, indecisive Maia is indecisive!
"But..let's go there anyway first.." she says in the end.
Captain Kura is looking at Maia as if she is just a little bit crazy! Indecisive Maia really is Indecisive! Clearing her throat she punches a few commands into an arm mounted terminal and calling back to one of her men is handed a datapad in quick order which she offers order. "The reported location of the palace is indicated on the map. We've also marked scouted Oni troop movements, you should be able to avoid their patrols on the way but to gain actual access to the palace itself is likely to take a fight. That does not seem something that is a problem for you."
Hideki looks like he is about to say that it is no problem at all but this time Adam gestures and speaks, "Actually we do need to report that the fallen have been neutralized. You two can flirt later."
Haldor snorts at the implied slight from Captain Kura, but he doesn't make a fuss over it. Maia's made up her mind and, Haldor hopes, it is one for the better. Sudden palaces of fire and light are rarely a good thing, especially in the Overworld. Not to mention Haldor suspects that oni encampments are probably even worse.
The Viking squeezes Maia's shoulder again before withdrawing his hand. He moves back to the fire, tending the rabbits thoughtfully as he watches Third Squad out of the corner of his eyes.
Jolie peers at Adam as he dumps on the flirting, but she accepts the scolding with good grace. There will be time for flirting and more later. So, her attention goes back to Maia and Haldor, waiting for the departure of the troop so that they can discuss plans.
"Thank you. We can save precious energy by not fighting their scouts, because what's inside has to be well.. ridiculous.."
If their past adventures are any indication, it's going to get ridiculous rather fast. She wrinkles her nose as she sets the various maps down and bows deeply to each of the trio, sighing softly.
"I thank you for all your help, not just in giving us this information but in peace keeping as well. If you run into a Scion of Inari by the name of Hikaru, please tell him what I am doing. I believe Shou, a son of Susano-o should be with him."
The Captain gives a grimace at the mention of a Scion of Inari, "Damned tricksters" she mutters, "They're always causing trouble. If we should encounter the one you mention we'll pass along your message." A wave of her arm and the various mecha begin turning and soon the squad is making their way off elsewhere.
Hideki gives a last cocky grin to Jolie before being tugged along by Adam. The pair vanishing from sight in a flicker.
Haldor returns to Maia's side, several skewers of rabbit in his hands. Casually he offers some to Maia and Jolie alike, the Viking peering down at the maps with an inquisitive eye.
Jolie waves to the departing troop, and flashes a wink at Hideki. Then she says to Maia and Haldor, "I think we've got a really good working relationship with those guys." She takes some rabbit from Haldor with thanks, and eats. Nom nom nom.
"You just wanna sleep with Hideki, but it's all good. If they serve my mother, I should be able to call upon them as well.."
Maia takes one for the team! or rather for Jolie. That's what friends are for afterall and she hrmms as she eases back down to look into the fire,wrinkling her nose as she chews on her bottom lip.
"The palace will be heavily guarded. We have to be ready for anything, creatures possibly more powerful than the shinigami we faced.."
Jason comes wandering out of his hut about that point, having been listening in hiding in case things went bad. "It would be best if we could avoid that sort of thing entirerly" Jason offers, "If the place really does have a major fire component I should be able to transport myself up close once it comes in range. If I can get inside and open any gates perhaps we can use that to slip inside before their defenses have time to really manifest?"
"If it's all fire and light, I probably can't sneak inside with my powers, but I can get damned close," remarks Haldor. The Viking promptly rips some cooked rabbit off and chews upon it thoughtfully as he considers the maps. He muses over this deployment and that deployment as he studies the map.
Jolie coughs, then grins at Maia. She waves at Jason as he appears. "Yeah, kinda hard to sneak into a light show. Even if it doesn't hurt. And this one might hurt. I brought my silk jammies, just in case. Maybe we split up, and some of us make a lot of noise, so that the others can sneak and get info?"
"Then we should all get some rest. We just fought the shinigami hours ago. And we need to be at our strongest to face them.."
And that's Maia as she flops onto Haldor, just wanting some cuddle time afterall. It can wait for one more night.
"At dawn we strike.. or something like that.." she says, her cheeks flushed even as she fistpumps in the air.
Suddenly Maia flops onto Haldor. The Viking emits an alarmed sound as he topples to the side, mouth full of roasted rabbit. As soon as Haldor is on the ground, Drake scoots across the ground to rip the remains of the rabbit from Haldor's skewer and romp away with it.
"… My dinner."
Jason waves to the others and retreats back to his cabin. He lacks flop on company! Or cute Shinigami chicks. And the girl in the recent gathering was heavily armored! He's just not having a good day.
Jolie grins and laughs at Drake's thievery. "Hey, Drake knows that if you want something, you have to go and get it. Night." And she heads to her tent, to dream sweet dreams of cocky Asian men.
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