Brief Cameo: Himiko, The Rock, Haldor, Jason
|Scene Title||The Truth Revealed|
|Synopsis||Amaterasu is found! A mission is given. Kidnap babies!|
The palace of fire and light lies in the past, structure by now gutted by the flames without the woman that was at it's core. The travel to find someone who can see the party back in their right bodies takes several days, but eventually an expert is uncovered and soon people are feeling much more like their old selves. Time in camp has revealed no treasonous intent, no hidding away of the sun. For all there are whiffs and hints at a thousand plots, none of them are those. Far to the north the palace remains, home to Susano-o and his current rule and a possible place to continue investigations while to the east are those reported sitings of the missing duo dressed in peasants attire.
The rumors from the captain still bother her. Maia razed the palace and she's annoyed and huffy and puffy. Still, she sits down and crouches now that she's back in her body as she takes a deep breath and tries to clear her head. She's pacing, looking for anything of value in the palace before eventually meeting with the redheaded Viking.
"Haldor, I think we should investigate the rumors in the east. That could be mom and Himiko.."
Haldor patrols the perimeter of the ruins, keeping Maia safe while she explores the ruins. Idly he flings some iceballs at this point or that point on the mangled palace before rejoining Maia. The Viking arches a red eyebrow and shrugs a little bit.
"Your Overworld. Your call."
Finally, now that everything is more or less quiet, Preston has a moment to relax and actually take in the scenery. He can see telltales of its fallen state. No war zone can ever truly be considered a paradise, but it's still amazing. He's enjoying it a lot more in his own body, that's for sure. He's wandering the ruins out of idle curiosity more than vigilance, confident of their safety. He keeps within earshot though, just in case.
There's a wriggly little Drake wandering around, sniffing at this and that before bounding on over to the trio as he lets out a happy little barkbarkyelpbark.
Maia crouches down, scooping the puppy up and letting him balance on her head as she wrinkles her nose and takes a deep breath, pursing her lips.
"If we can find my mom and then bring her back to the palace proper, things might have order restored here. So let's head east!" she says with a fistpump in the air.
For a place Preethi must have lived for some time there is shocking little of use in the gutted palace, or perhaps it is no surprise that the home of one dedicated to the worlds destruction is left so thoroughly destroyed in her wake. Empty rooms show little more than ashes and dust, the occasional ember still glowing.
Long distance to Haldor: Maia nibbles.
Haldor takes point, again, as he meanders toward the east. For now the Viking moves at a nice, easy pace. After all, he has other people following him and no particular reason to go super fast. Sorry, Jason, you missed out on the casual walking part of this mission.
Upon hearing the order to march, as it were, Preston leaps from the ruins, landing with a slight grin. Even after all the adventures he still takes simple delight in the little things—like being able to jump ridonkulously high and far. Godric bounds out of the ruins not long after and the pair fall into step with the others.
The journey east, walking as it is, is not exactly a quick one and allows a good chance at what has become of the countryside. In the west so close to the Oni things are surprisingly peaceful, conflict already past these lands. That changes after a short time, more armed patrols of Hachiman seen sometimes in the distance as well as Imperial Guardsmen still carrying the colors of Ameterasu, although now wearing those of Susano-o as well. These lands show fress fires, fresh corpses, conflict active and recent. Then as one continues to travel east things almost seem to go back in time, here there are no mecha standing guard but rather the old time Samurai in their armor. Here the architecture is no longer quick and dirty fortifications but more ancient structures. Here the old order still holds say in these lands as yet least touched by the conflict.
Jason pages: Check! You see Himiko wards in the classical Japanese style in a fishing village. She's got the whole area rigged with guardian foo to keep an eye on those who are passing and to watch out for threats. Most people probably would not recognize her work but.. you are feeling uber perceptive today. It's definitely her.
Haldor strolls along quietly, occasionally humming a jaunty tune for but a few moments. As the journey wears on, Haldor's attention seems more and more distracted. Every few moments his head shifts this way or that, looking at the weirdest things.
"So. Maia. What's with the glyphs here?"
Of all those here, Maia is usually the least perceptive. But she's looking for her mother, so instead of looking with her mouth and asking things, she's actually peering around all squinty eyed as she spies the glyphs as well, wrinkling her nose as she heads on over. She takes a deep breath and inspects the various kanji and glyphs as she chews on her bottom lip.
"These are advanced talismans well hidden. Someone's set up a barrier, a kekkai, if you will.." she says softly. "It has to be Himiko.." she says, sounding hopefully, beaming the entire time. "She was the Shaman Queen.."
Drake barkbarkyelpbarks as he jumps off and starts sniffing around, waggling his butt and fluffy little tail as he sniffs around as wel.
Sadly, with the onus of knowing where they're headed and what they'll do there resting squarely on stronger shoulders than his (if only in a metaphorical sense), Preston falls prey to the temptation to sightsee and daydream and lose himself in musings on the fluctuating state of the countryside. Anything of special significance is largely lost on him. He's actually startled from one such reverie when the others start talking, and sounding purposeful about it. "Will it keep us out, or does it only work on…oni, was it?"
The locals really do seem to be simple folk. If they are something in disguise, it is not showing. Despite the Scion's talking of runes they simply go about their business and no ravening hoards leap upon them. It's probably for the best. The glyphs certainly don't seem to be holding anyone back that can be seen.
Haldor shrugs at Preston. The Viking watches Drake curiously, crouching down a little bit and starting to duckwalk after the pup. Everybody, do the Drake-io! No, don't. That's a terrible joke.
"Doesn't seem to be keeping anything out. If I had to guess, it's to see who is coming in.." Maia says as she speaks up and decides to follow the puppy, chuckling softly as she watches Haldor duckwalking.
"Maybe he's sniffed something out. My mom did give him to us, so maybe he knows of her scent?"
That works. Preston shrugs, and looks toward Godric as if expecting the Lundie to be looking back at him. They're usually in synch about this kind of thing, but the dog is following the puppy too, although he's not duck-walking. "Here's hoping," he says. "I can't imagine how relieved you'll be once we finally find her and sort this bit out." So far it hasn't gone well for his friends' parents.
Perhaps so. Drake does seem to be leading the way down a northbound thoroughfare out of town and then down a more winding path that branches off of it. Finally coming into view in the distance is a old manor house. Suitable for a country lord it is not much to speak of, pretty but simple with a large mountain in the background. Maia at least would recognize it, she's been here once before as part of her competition.
"Waittaminute, I've been here before. My half-brother's dad lives here, but he's mortal.."
Maia seems confused now as she starts running towards the manor as she chews on her bottom lip before looking back towards Haldor and Preston with a bright and chirpy smile.
"These are good people. So I don't think anything should come out to try to eat us or kill us. "The Rock"'s dad lives here.. and he's like a Japanese version of you Haldor. I think you two will get along!"
Haldor looks puzzled at Maia's chirping remark. The Viking looks over at Preston, one red eyebrow arched as he starts jogging after Maia.
"There are so many questions at this point, aren't there, Preston?"
For a few moments, Haldor is silent.
"But the most important question is whether this The Rock guy is a Samurai Metal Drummer, isn't it?"
Preston is chuckling and shaking his head as he meets Haldor's look, and shrugs as he quickens the pace to follow along with the others. He comes up abreast of Haldor, poised to speak. That last question stops him in his tracks and he just stares after Haldor for a moment. "Um…sure?" He laughs as he starts jogging again, admitting, "I've sort of resolved to not ask too many questions. If I kick back and listen I tend to pick up the broad strokes and the rest? Well, it'd probably go right over my head anyway. If we were here under better circumstances I'd be trying to get autographs. How often is an opportunity like this going to pop up? Although I'm pretty sure I'm thinking of a different Rock…"
Out of nowhere comes a golden arrow, zipping quickly through the air to plant itself just slightly to the side of Maia's foot as she rushes forward. A warning, obviously. "Who are you? What business have you here?" calls out a female voice sounding ready to make the next shot count.
The golden arrow lands right next to her foot and she squeaks, looking for a few moments like she's flailing. But she isn't flailing! She's grabbing her own bow slung over her shoulder as her body starts to radiate with a bright warm glow as an arrow of pure light forms between her fingers. Her eyes widen as she starts pointing somewhere, anywhere, trying to find the source of the arrow.
"Tsuchimikado Maia, daughter of Amaterasu-omikami. These are my companions, Haldor Englund, son of Thor and Preston Masterson, son of Baldur.."
There is an arrow implanting itself in the ground beside Maia's foot. Haldor suddenly is no longer beside Preston. Rather abruptly, Haldor is standing in front of Maia with a pair of katana in his hands (presumably formed from his drumsticks) as the Viking sweeps his gaze around.
"Why is it that people shoot at us whenever we come in peace?"
"Maybe they've just heard it too often and had it not be true?" Preston posits as he casts about for a visible threat, rather than the implicit perforation represented by the arrow in front of Maia. His axes are manifest, held ready in the space of a blink. He reconsiders this posture, reflexive as it was and not exactly conveying peaceful intentions. He'll release the weapons, causing them to dematerialize as he relaxes, exposing empty hands.
There is simply silence for awhile after that announcement and finally the voice says, "You may approach. Enter the house by the servants door on the eastern face, it has been warded against shapeshifters or those masked in illusion. You are recognized, but if you are not who you appear to be the reaction shall be swift and violent."
"No shapeshifting here. I like how I am." Maia chirps brightly, still trying to remain optimistic as she has to appreciate such security for a place considering the civil war going on in the overworld. The arrow of light soon disappears as she brings her bow over her shoulders before placing a hand on one of Haldor's and Preston's, squeezing them both reassuringly.
"If my mother is here,then I'm glad for the extra precaution. Can't fault them for being paranoid.." she says seeming to understand the paranoia before motioning for Drake to follow. "Come on boy, let's see what's going on. I'm sure mom would like to see how you've grown as well.." See the optimism! Her mom is definitely not dead!
Haldor whirls his katanas around, though between one frame and the next he is returned to spinning drumsticks in his hands. The Viking promptly stuffs his drumsticks in his hoodie's pockets, gently squeezing Maia's hand instead. Idly he leads the way toward the indicated door, eyes shifting this way and that under his eyebrows as he tries to figure out where that voice is coming from.
Swift and violent? "Both at the same time," Preston muses. "They mean business." He moseys along after Maia, offering Godric a reassuring ruffling of headfur as they skirt around to the servants' entrance.
No more arrows fly at the trio as they approach the house, no further displays of violence are immediate. The side door is a simple wooden affair, leading to a small hallway marked with runs of various detecting natures. At the end they finally come to a room. Hey! It's a scary ass looking woman with a golden bow. It's a studly Japanese guy with massive muscles. It's a rather nice looking elderly man and a very tired and weary looking woman sitting with her hands folded in her lap within a chair. It's.. Maia's mother. She really looks like hell.
Drake barkbarkyelpbarks at the familiar faces as he runs and bounds to Amaterasu's lap, whining as he tries to lick her face. Grandmommy looks sick!
Still, Maia remains calm. She's trembling just a bit as she sees the state of her mother and takes a deep and cleansing breath. There's a time for hysterics and there's a time to remain calm and clear headed. When in the presence of her half siblings and her mother, it's better to choose the latter than the former in this case. She bows low and slowly, a perfect ninety degrees as she remains there, her hands pressed together.
A soft and calm whisper can be heard from her lips..
"Gomenasai, okasan.." (sorry mother)."
Haldor can't quite decide between grabbing Drake and helping Preston. In the face of possibly taking a golden arrow to the gut before being punched by some Japanese muscle man, Haldor opts for nudging Preston and, if necessary, attempting to bend Preston into the appropriate contortion. While this goes on, Haldor also bends at the hips to a perfect ninety degrees.
What? Just because he's gaijin doesn't mean he wants to be a barbarian.
Fortunately, Preston knows his manners. He does need a bit of nudging, but only because he's studying the people in the room with them at the time. Quick to bow, palms pressed together as formally as he knows, he keeps his eyes downcast to be on the safe side. Even Godric lowers his head to make obesiance to the beleaguered goddess.
There is no acknowledgement to Maia from the seated former Goddess. She is staring straight ahead vacant eyed, expresionless almost seeming to look right through Maia more than at her. She looks for all the world like one of those charachters in anime that have faced their greatest challenge and failed, mind broken and lost in it's own defeat. Himiko continues to look ready to do terrible violence if necessary but it is the Rock that speaks up, his rumbly tones surprisingly quiet and reserved, "She is not well. She has not been since she came here. She will eat and sometimes say a few words but…" he turns his gaze helplessly and sadly towards her. It's his mom too!
Himiko finally makes herself known, "Who are you working for? Why have you come here?"
"We aren't working for anyone. She is my mother as well.." Maia says softly, wrinkling her nose as she takes a deep breath. Right now doesn't seem an appropriate time for introductions, so she puts that on the back burner as she chews on her bottom lip and wrinkles her nose.
"I apologize. We were too late to stop it. We fought Preethi at her palace of fire and light to the west of here. I came here to see if the rumors were true, and it seems they are. The last time we saw her, she gave us Drake.." she says softly.
Haldor slowly straightens up as Himiko queries the quintet. One red eyebrow is raised at the first question, the Viking casting a sideways glance toward both The Rock and Amaterasu before he looks back at Himiko. Maybe he was trying to see if they thought she was serious.
"We "work" for no one. We work against Preethi and her "friends". We came here because A) Maia is a daughter of Amaterasu and B) we were worried about Amaterasu, especially since Preethi was crowing about having killed Her Royal Sunliness."
Sunliness. Maybe Haldor works for the Colbert Report.
Although his jaw tightens against the urge to speak out, Preston has the good sense to keep his trap shut. He does glance upward sharply as they're asked such an offensive question. Well, it seemed offensive to him anyway.
Himiko looks between the pair and finally simply lets out a long sigh, "Fuck it" she says in a distinctly uncordial fashion as she storms over to a nearby table, "Sake? I didn't make it in time either, by the time I found her the work had already been done and our mother drained. That.. woman.. was planning to pass her around to the soldiers and the demons. Turn her into servant and whore until she went mad with the shame of it. I freed her and she ordered me to bring her here, to protect her, to keep her being still alive and what had happened to her a secret from the public. Then she turned like this and nothing we've been able to do has shaken her from it. Is Preethi dead now? Did you finish her off?"
At the question, Maia scratches the back of her head,surprised by her sister's brash behavior. This is not behavior becoming of a daughter of Amaterasu. She's more of a child of the storm and chaos god at this point,but she doesn't say, though her facial expression might reveal a bit of her feeling. She coughs and lets out a nervous laugh.
"No. She stole mother's powers. Instead we fought robotic doppelgangers of one of our companions that she's obsessed with. There were a lot of phallic statues.." she admits ruefully, her cheeks flushed a bright tinge of red, as she reverts back to her shy self in the presence of her mother and relatives.
"She immediately left before we could face her.." she continues before looking towards the Rock. "And uh.. can we talk about something later?" Oooooh, intriguing.
Long distance to Haldor: Maia dipkisses.
You paged Haldor with 'Your pose babe?'
Haldor folds his arms across his chest as he considers Himiko's response. For the moment, the Viking remains quiet. This seems to be Maia's rodeo, so far as Haldor is concerned, except for the parts where he feels slighted by Himiko's… Fast mouth.
The jarring break from formality startles Preston. He looks up, and then settles into something closer to his normal posture as it appears etiquette's been thrown to the wind. At least it seems Himiko's attitude went with it. He's not hearing anything especially upsetting anymore. He also holds up a hand, two fingers raised, to accept an offer of sake. Hey, if it's available…
Himiko catches that look from Maia and says, "Try to live up to mothers standards of propriety you are always going to fall short. Best to play along when she's watching close but I'll not be bothered when she is a vegetable who has checked out. Especially when she planned to check out, reason she had me bring her here and out of the public eye." Yeah. Guarding her looks to be wearing Himiko down, while normally somewhat brash this is way outspoken even for her. "I'm stuck here playing babysitter. You've got to hunt that bitch down and get her to give back what she stole. Don't suppose you have one of those statues with you?" Peer about and she looks at Preston, sliding him over the Sake at his motion, "Or you using that one?"
Right. Himiko is worn down and sex starved. Scary. The Rock seems to be doing better and he simply nods politely to Maia, "Of course. It is good to see you, however surprising. I wound up being drawn into the affairs here after all. We may speak later."
Wah! It seems that Maia is not the only daughter of Amaterasu with an Aesir fetish. She wrinkles her nose and facepalms, wrinkling her nose and nods agreeing with the whole thing. "Will do. Her companions, including our cousin, Mitsurigi Kamui have stolen the divinities of multiple gods. I don't know if you're aware, but Thor, Kali, Thoth, Baron Samedi and Eris have been depowered by our enemies. They seem to have made a pact with Atlanteans who knew how to accomplish such a feat.."
She takes a deep breath and sighs, looking towards Preston, wrinkling her nose once again as she gives him an apologetic glance. She then looks back to the Rock and smiles before motioning to Haldor. "He's the one who I thought you might get along with." she whispers to her Viking beau before looking back to the muscley Japanese man. "And I'm glad to see you're doing better after that last bit in the competition, I was worried.." she admits ruefully before looking back to her mother, sighing once more.
Drake continues to whine, wanting attention from Amaterasu so he keeps on licking at her face.
Haldor offers a slight smile and a nod to The Rock. Promptly he looks back at Himiko and Preston. The Viking, in his current position, feels faintly uncomfortable. As a result he shuffles away from Preston and toward Maia, doing his best not to look like he's purposefully isolating the other Viking.
Suddenly Preston is quite happy to forgive the abominable first impression Himiko made and start fresh from the moment she passes him the cup. He meets her look with a flirtatious bounce of his eyebrows above a broad, sunny grin. He coyly maintains eye contact as he sips the sake, hooding his eyes in approval. He catches Maia's look and deflect the sympathy with that grin shaking with a soundless chuckle. At his feet, Godric hides his eyes with his paws and groans in exasperation.
"Your ordeal sounds harrowing," he says sympathetically, "especially if you had to face all that alone." While he won't be so crass as to say no, he's not 'in use' at the moment, he's not exactly being subtle with his amenability to the notion of helping the goddess relax a bit. He /was/ Haldor when his cousin's wedding tackle got pasted. The trauma might've made his own bits not work! Best to check and be sure. Y'know. For Science.
Himiko is suddenly looking a good bit cheerier as she looks over Preston. Being pressed for time before they leave she wastes none! "If you two have something to discuss I should leave you for it. And as you are here to watch mother for a moment I might take a little time for myself." Focusing on the weaker of the Aesir, "But I'm sure they don't need another defender. Why don't I.. show you around. I'm sure you have to leave soon and would enjoy seeing what the place has to offer." Right. Like her.
The Rock is looking very hard as if he is not trying to roll his eyes. "That is an awful thing. It is no wonder these Atlanteans were sealed away so long ago, it sounds as if that must happen again. That last competition was.. difficult. But I recovered. Thank you for healing me."
"I can't let my partner die horribly. Aya was a cheated anyway. And it seems Winterheart still survived!" she chirps merrily, beaming brightly before bowing a bit to the Rock's father as well. "It is good to see you again, and I am glad you are well.."
Now it's time to mingle and say hi to the others before looking towards her /MUCH OLDER/ sister goddess. "I'll watch over mother for a bit. Have there been many attacks or are you just.. paranoid?" she asks curiously, her brows raising before motioning for Haldor to head over and make nice with what is, in her mind, his Japanese equivalent.
Some time later…
It's late at night at the mansion. The Rock and his Father both proved to be amiable hosts, if rather subdued one given the august nature of their other guests who had obviously been there some time. Himiko happily ran off with Preston, although curiously despite her bold talk and rather blunt flirtations any effort towards the bedroom was carefully avoided. He has Sake pushed in his direction until he might be fit to explode though! She left him almost two hours ago, in such time Maia presumbly went to bed with her own viking. It is only to be shaken and awake in the middle of the night by a gentle, motherly touch. Something which only makes sense given that it is her mother doing the shaking with one hand while she holds a tiny candle for light with the other.
Fortunately for her mother and for herself, Maia did not fool around with her Viking last night. That would have been bad if she was found naked! Still, she starts to wake up, a light sleeper as she wrinkles her nose and rolls on over towards the touch on her shoulder, grumbling something under her breath.
"Five more minutes, I don't wanna go to school today.." she whines, reverting just a bit before she wakes up more, peering to see who is waking her up.
Amaterasu has seen Maia naked! Given the kids she has everywhere she has obviously seen lots and lots of people naked, although being Amaterasu she probably primly disapproves of much of it. For now in response to that peer she makes a shushing symbol over her lips before motioning down the hall, turning to head that way herself. It seems she does not want to wake the slumbering Haldor, or the rest of the household, and wants to lead her someplace more silent to chat. Should Maia actually follow that turns out to be a small study which is tastefully but simply appointed.
Of course she follows! It is mother! Maia groggily follows idly running her fingers through her hair as she eases on up, letting Drake and Haldor sleep soundly in the room as she peers around. She hrmms and remains quiet for now as she heads into the study as she chews on her bottom lip.
While he's been denied the pleasures of divine flesh, Preston has been generously plied with sake and this will suffice. While he's curious as to the shift in mood he decorously refrains from asking Himiko about it, simply going with the flow and respecting her intentions as they change. Besides, it's good sake and he is in a very comfortable place. Presently he reclines on a mat with Godric curled up beside him, humming contentedly to himself in a state of comfortable but not excessive inebriation. He's still aware of what's going on and disinclined toward sleep.
Preston might well see that flicker of passing light then as Maia is led to the study, the house is otherwise surprisingly dark. One would suspect more light around Amaterasu, even in a downed divine state.
Leading Maia into the study Amaterasu does close the door behind the pair before taking a long moment to look her daughter up and down. Unlike earlier there is nothing dull or vacant about her gaze, eyes sharply critical in the way only those of an overbearing mother can be and fearfully shrewed in the nature of one who has run such a tight ship at home for so very long. "Daughter" she says quietly, "It is good to see you. You understand how much it pains me to skip the formalities, but we are pressed for time and need to speak."
Maia bows low, another perfect ninety degrees remaining prostate in that position until she's acknowledged by her mother. She slowly eases on up and wrinkles her nose as she idly runs her fingers through her hair and nods, taking a deep breath.
"Of course, of course. What happened to you?" she asks with concern. "What did that monster do to you.." she continues, her hands trembling once again.
The dark fits Preston's mood, not because he's suddenly discovered how to be emo but because it's a warm, comforting atmosphere. Everything seems softer. It's been hours since he was to the 'can't feel lips, dog fur is soooo soooooft' stage and now his inebriation has eased down to a mere warm, fuzzy contentment. He catches a glimpse of the light passing down the hall and, motivated by curiosity and distant from common sense, picks himself up to follow it. He doesn't /mean/ to eavesdrop, he just forgets to knock on the screen and stands there.
That perfect bow is acknowledged by the tiniest of motherly approval smiles. Yes. It is noticed and it is appreciated. "She locked in my cave, utilizing the magic of the Atlanteans to drain my powers as she had the power of others." Amaterasu answers simply and frankly, "It was something which could not be avoided, it had to happen. I arranged for my own rescue to occur quickly after it did, Himiko may not be the most respectful of my daughters but she knows her duty. Far worse had been planned for me, but my own plans so far have proven to be superior."
Another of those hard motherly looks and Amaterasu says, "The darkness has touched you child. Even without my powers I can see as much, and more than once. Tell me about it." It does not sound a request, while her words are no longer backed by divine charisma or authority she still speaks with the conviction and certainy of any mortal Queen. She remains a woman used to being obeyed. All of this plays out to Preston's ears, eavesdropping somewhat difficult given the harsh tones but he can pick up most of it. Still there is the danger of being caught, the occasional groaning bit of wood elsewhere in the home cause for concern about who else is still awake.
Uh oh. This isn't good, but then again, she doesn't have much to hide before the queen of the realm, and her mother. Moms are psychic afterall, especially when it comes to their children. Maia looks down, not dare looking into her mother's eyes as she chews on her bottom lip a bit. She swallows a bit nervously and nods.
"He has been visiting me. Ever since I received the invitation for the onmyouji competition, he has been tempting me to use his power to serve him. I am not sure if you are aware, but Aya serves him. He admitted so and said he had a particular interest in the both of us. However, he did give us an advantage when trying to take down Preethi as he gave me a cloak of shadow to pass through the hallways of her palace undetected and that's how we were undetected." she says softly, hopefully not omitting anything on purpose.
Preston has every intention of knocking to announce himself at any moment. The trouble is, he can tell they're discussing something very important that might be interrupted if he were to do so now. It doesn't occur to him that any of it might not be appropriate for a third (or fourth, counting Godric's) pair of ears. Maia's his friend, and the more he knows the more help he can be. When he's more sober he has a more realistic outlook on this, but right now he feels like he could wrestle Mikaboshi to the ground and curb stomp him. Bold thoughts to be having in a dark room, but he doesn't know better. He has his hand raised to knock, and that's as far as he gets so far. Any second now, he urges himself.
"Of course I am aware child" Amaterasu says with a prim sort of sterness, "Too often others thing me removed and disconnected in my palace, not realizing that the sun watches over all and sees all that occurs. Part of the price I must pay for order within my realms is disorder within my own family. I know of my wayward children. I know of their tresspasses." Oh she does not sound happy about such trespasses though, no, not in the least. "Which brings us to where we are. While the mad one thought that she was draining my power to help destroy the realms she never realized that she was doing just what needed to be done. Throwing the realms for a time into disorder that it might be restored to the family. You need to remain strong, daughter. Mikaboshi will try to lure you with tales of compassion, play upon your weaknesses and your hopes and convince you that he is necessary. You must always remember that he alone is not the darkness, and even so much as darkness is necessary it's proper place is cowering under a rock hiding from the sun. You must remind Aya of this fact as well, you must save her from him. He would use you both as I would, daughter, and though you are unaware of those plans I must stress their importance."
Nothing stops Preston from knocking on the door! Really! Apart from the talk of.. secret plans.. by a now mortal but possibly one day to be powered up again goddess known for holding grudges over the most minor of slights. But he's a viking right? Fortune favors the bold, or something.
Amaterasu is a plotter! This fact doesn't exactly surprise Maia due to the various courtly intrigues of Takamagahara. They are a court afterall, not setup like the other pantheons and with her mother at the helm, she imagined there must've been some Queen Victoria-esque plotting going on.
still, Maia hrmms as she nods, taking a deep breath before letting out a soft sigh under her breath. "He does say that. He says that the oni were a necessity and that I shouldn't have gone. Part of me thinks he was just warning us due to the powerful clones of one of our bandmates who switched our minds and bodies.." she says softly, trying to keep a straight face about the whole thing. "But I wouldn't fall for his lies. I know that our family balances harmony and balance, but his sense of balance is the harmony of oblivion. I do not want that.." she says firmly and resolutely.
Then there's talk about Aya. Maia wants to whine at this point. She hates her nhalf-sister with a passion and thinks it's mutual. "And about Aya.. I well… uh… okay, I'll try. She hates me though."
Fortune does not favor people who are trying to have a nice, quiet chat about the secret puppetmastery of the Worlds around inebriated proto-vikings. Accompanied by the clearing of a throat is a gentle rap upon the screen as Preston announces himself. "Excuse me," he says as he pulls it open to look inside. He hadn't planned for much past this point, so he blinks around owlishly. "I heard talking," he explains quite unnecessarily. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"That is to be expected" Amaterasu answers, "For you are both bound by powerful strands of fate to your own paths. Each ultimately tied as much to your destiny by your human fathers as you are by myself. I say too much however." Right. Plotting Amaterasu never says too much but says exactly as much as she intends to say. Plotting Amaterasu is also never taken off guard by unexpectedly arriving vikings and without losing a beat she is motioning for Preston to sit, "Of course there is something you can do to help or you would not be here. You are a dancer, and one of my wayward daughters has just lost all those who served as her companions and her council in just such roles. You shall join her entrouage, serve as a bridge and a middle ground between my daughters who have too much bad blood between them to openly deal with each other."
Maia facepalms. She wrinkles her nose as she has to play nice with her sister. Still, she blinks as she looks towards Preston, raising her brows a bit. "Fujiwara Aya is an international pop star trying to break into the US industry. She's staying with us when we get back to New York for a bit, I guess you can meet her theN? she says, really wanting to whine at this point. But she remains strong!
If Preston were fully sober he might be appropriately in awe of how smoothly Amaterasu receives him, but right now it just feels mellow. He can roll with just about anything, so obviously a goddess is going to be okay with whatever comes her way. From what he's overheard so far, it's entirely possible he's only here because that was part of her plan too. He smiles a little at the thought. Neat. He also sits obediently when bidden by the goddess. She's someone's mom, after all. The goddess thing just helps.
Surprise enlivens his contentedly sleepy-eyed visage as every trace of that warm buzz is flushed from him by the task he's been given. He has no objections to it, but it comes as a surprise and only reinforces his suspicion that this is all part of the plan.
He bends at the waist quickly, forgetting the proper form but bowing all the same. "Of course," he assures emphatically. "I'm honored and pleased to do this." He spares a quick glance to Maia, offering a reassuring smile. He's an even worse optimist when he's got the sake in him. Everything's going to be just /peachy!/ Yeah. Himiko loaded him up gooooood.
Amaterasu's stern shrewd gaze does make it clear to Maia that no whining will be tolerated! A mother she might be, but the gushy motherly type she is not! "She has led a difficult life, as befits her as her father's daughter. She has made poor choice which does not suit her as mine. Return her to the path of the light over the darkness and when you are convinced that this is so you both must return here to me. Keep my presence a secret otherwise, while Himiko is a stallwart guardian I have made a great many enemies over my lifetime that would take advantage of the current state of affairs."
Preston gets a faintly approving look too at his bow, sure it is not proper in the least but he /is/ a barbarian, and not one fucking her daughter. That makes him the most likable barbarian in the house! To him Amaterasu says, "Be cautious swaying does not go in the other direction. Just as I hope to use you two to turn her back to the light, so will Mikaboshi realize that such a bridge might help to sway towards the dark. He is likely to visit you."
Maia lets out a little meep at the stern look. She hasn't had to deal with her mother in a few years, but she still is scared of the angry mother goddess. She nods and takes a deep cleansing breath as she bows her head once more. "No one else will know. But what about Uncle Susano-o? Is it right to keep him in power for now? Surely he must have ruined the palace at this point.." cause come on, he throws flayed horses on dinner tables!
Preston would probably have made a better showing etiquette-wise if he were in full possession of his senses, but he is earnest in his desire to help and that appears to be counting a lot in his favor. "I'll be wary," he assures. "I understand how these things can happen." He honestly had no idea what he was getting into until Maia explained what her sister does for a living. He's not just seeing an opportunity to help now, but a chance to do what he loves at the same time. This has him in even better spirits (hurhurhur), a marked contrast to his friend's anxiety and dismay. "I won't say a word to anyone either," he assures earnestly.
Amaterasu gives Maia an even sterner look at that meep. Daughters of the sun do not meep, they are perfectly composed and calm at all times! She will need lessons! Lessons! "I will want my palace back at some point daughter, better it be in the hands of one I shall have no problem taking it from when the time is right even if it will require a thorough disinfection afterwards. He is also competent to hold the land against the Oni to the west, despite his failings he is not corrupted. He will hold that line."
Oh noes! Not another stern look. At least the issue of getting into a serious relationship with a barbarian hasn't been brought up yet. So thank goodness for small blessings. Maia smiles sheepishly as her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red and takes a deep breath. "Okay, then I suppose that will be all right that he's in charge for now. Perhaps before we leave I will pay him a visit just to say hi.." she says softly and takes a deep breath. "I am glad that you are okay though…" she says with another nervous chuckle in the end. Awkward!
With his duty assigned, Preston settles in to attend the discussion between mother and daughter as unobtrusively as possible. It's clear him that Maia's distressed, but also just as clear that her mother doesn't think she should be. He sneaks reassuring glances to her when he thinks he can get away with it, and silently goads Godric-who has an excuse because he's a big wubbable puppy dawg and not a godling- to pad over and bump his head beneath her hand.
That Amaterasu has not brought up the Haldor bomb probably means she plans to do so. Maybe when Aya is present, so Aya can point and laugh and feel better about herself. She's a good mother after all always thinking about her children. "Use caution if you should visit the palace. It is rumored that your Uncle has recently taken a new.. companion. A Greek woman of great beauty, she has added some.. unpredictability to his actions." She remains aware of Preston of course, but a quiet viking is a good viking! She continues to faintly approve.
Maia's jaw drops a bit at this new bit of news. She blinks for a few moments as she chews on her bottom lip as she scratches the back of her head. She lets out another nervous chuckle as she shiftyeyes to Preston.
"That has to be Aphrodite. We encountered her at Olympus and she seems to be on the side of the corrupted Scions. I know that she did a few favors for my cousin, Kamui, son of Tsuki-yomi. Do you think he might be here? He's incredibly dangerous."
"That is a concern" Amaterasu admits, "If you do visit the palace, it would be helpful if you found a way to disrupt that pairing. On his own he is a predictable if brutish element. Should he fall under the sway of someone brighter or more manipulative things could prove difficult. If Kamui is here he would likely be working with his father. You came by way of their camp did you not? Did you see any signs of his presence there?"
There really were no such traces, while manipulation ran rampant within that camp while everybody was returning to their proper forms that particularly brilliant deviousness of Kamui did not seem to be present. Small favors.
"Kamui is meticulous. He's a puppetmaster and I did not notice any traces of his presence when we were facing Preethi and her minions.."
Maia lets out a sigh of relief at that. Tsuki-yomi isn't brutish, at least Maia doesn't think so, but her mother is a bit more picky afterall. The whole slaying one of her handmaidens must still be a sore spot for her afterall.
"One of our companions is a son of aphrodite. He's missing right now, but I'm sure we can disrupt it.." She'll just have to deal with her fear of the dark when dealing with her uncle. Eeep
"Perhaps he is in league with his mother?" Amaterasu says with her brow wrinkling just a touch. Her now human intellect trying to deal with the complexity of divine plots. "Aphrodite or her children seem greatly involved in these events, and you have already spoken of the meticulousness of Kamui. Puppet strings sometimes pull even those closest to you and you must always be alert and aware for signs of betrayal." Wow. Cynical mother!
"Considering he trapped his half-sister into one of Pandora's Boxes, I do not think he is in league with his mother. He was even willing to shoot her, but I will keep the possibility in mind. He's proven susceptible to a woman's wiles afterall.." she says softly while taking a deep breath and hrmms for a few moment. "But we will do what we can to disrupt her connection on Uncle Tsuki-yomi. Is there anything else you'd like us to do?"
Amaterasu looks faintly disappointed and he says, "And have you seen this half sister that he keeps in a box? Do you know if she is even still there? Might it not have been a ruse staged for your benefit? His sister removed from harms way without violence being done to her, the act earning him trust in the process. I do not say this man has manipulated you for I do not know him, but be cautious of appearances. The enemy you know is rarely the most dangerous. There is.. one other task." She actually looks uncertain for a moment but she presses on, "When I left there was no time to visit the nursery. You have a baby brother within it. That palace is no place right now, nor is being here. Steal him away and keep him safe."
"Well, I was there when he sealed her into the box, but I haven't exactly seen the box since then.." she admits ruefully, hrmming as she purses her lips. She isn't as paranoid as her mother who has been part of courtly intrigues for thousands of years. So she's not as cynical, but she takes in the advice anyway. "And I will be careful.." And she's about to say more until there's the mention of a baby brother.
There's a bit of hesitation on her part before she takes a deep breath. "I will do it. I think Himiko's head might explode if she had to take care of a baby as well. How old is he? Another scion? What of his father?" she asks curiously.
"Akemi is one year old" Amaterasu responds, "And the fathers is dead or he would be raising her as I have had most of my daughters raised. I can see much coming but I cannot predict car accidents. And.. this is no place for a child to be raised. Not now. I have hidden myself well but there are many that would do me harm if they knew I was here, or that might seek to use the child to influence me. Your uncle may be keeping him for just that purpose and so he may be guarded."
Complicated. Maia takes yet another deep breath to relax as she nods. "It sounds like Haldor may be useful to take her away. He can merge wit the shadows as well.." she says softly under her breath before already making plans in the condo. One room will be painted pink! Yes!
Amaterasu frowns just a touch at the mention of Haldor! Grr! But he is also useful in this case and utility outweights intrinsic disapproval, "Perhaps so. While you have her you will of course see her raised properly in the ways of her people. I would be most unhappy if her formative years helped shape her to be disrespectful for feral."
"She will be raised just like I was raised." Strict Maia is strict! She hrmms for a few moments and smiles warly as she bows once more. "I'll definitely consult with father about things. Baby formula, diapers, and all that. But none of her abilities have manifested yet,right? I'm not exactly sure how I was at that age, so this will be definitely different from babysitting a mortal baby.."
Already Preston can see himself getting conscripted to babysit. In a lapse of his usual charitable nature he crosses his fingers and hopes with all sincerity that his previous obligation to help 'save' Aya keeps him far away. He has no problems with children as long as they're a safe distance away from him. However, knowing what he does about Maia, he turns to give her a pained look as she describes the baby's future upbringing, shaking his head pleadingly. So much for being part of the scenery!
Amaterasu nods slowly in that. Maia 2.0 is acceptable. Then she clutches the table, looking surprisingly weak for a moment although she is making an effort to conceal it. Maybe this whole mortal thing really is being hard on her. Still she is perfectly poised, covering for her infirmness by instead saying "Thank you for hearing me out Daughter, and her friend. I am certain you shall both do what is right to the best of your abilities. Akemi may be unusual, her time in the Overworld is not typical. We tend not to raise our Scions here for a reason. Her blood will be more active than yours was at that age, how much more I don't know. However.. I should let you go. You will need your rest for all that is ahead of you."
"Um, do you need help to get back to your quarters?" Maia isn't wanting to insult her mother, but she does notice the infirmity in her mother's body. She doe shave the health purview afterall! Still, there's practice for raising future godchildren! Yay!
"You may escort me and wish me good night" Amaterasu allows. No she doesn't /need/ help but that is acceptable surely! Maia's health senses shows nothing glaringly wrong with her mother but.. her mortal body really is worn down. Too much stress, a change in diet, a sharp change in surroundings, severe lack of sleep. Someone who has never before had to deal with human limitations suddenly being forced to work within them.
With only the best of intentions, Preston makes a false start toward assisting the goddess as she grasps the table for support, and is halfway out of his seat before he thinks better of it and sinks back down with an apologetic look. "You're welcome, ma'am," he replies, again without giving it enough thought to wait and figure out how a goddess is most properly addressed.
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