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Failed Duties [[Closed]]
[[Continued from Meeting of Families]]

Eido walked for a long time, her hand wrapped around the warm weight of the wallet in her jacket pocket. She meant to pause long enough to contact her brother, to find him, but shame and guilt overburdened the intention so that she only kept moving. The seams of her felt like they might split if she stopped. She was homesick for a world barred to her. Estranged from every duty she had dedicated her life to. Kōta urged her to live; but live for what? Even if she accepted the right, whenever she considered the possibility it fluttered her stomach with nausea. Because it always followed her, that shadow: what she was. What she would always be.

Shadows pooled around the yellow light spilled from streetlamps. Eido walked fast, like she had somewhere to be, chin tucked into her collar. A frown furrowed her brow. Her eyes kept low, breath tight in her chest.

Without her, Kōta could have started again long before now. It was her own lack of Custody legitimacy that forced them to live in shadows. A thousand streets like this. A thousand slums. Six years of exile.

He ought to be the one living.

Shame led her in circles. Eido kept walking.

She realised she was being followed with an abrupt prickle of awareness, when the residential areas began to recede to old warehouses. For a moment she was genuinely afraid it was the stranger from the bar, but the fear fizzled as irrational almost as quickly. She was neighbourhoods away by now. And whatever followed mirrored her footsteps too perfectly.

It wasn’t human.

Her eyes swept low, seeking somewhere with advantage. The options were poor, and when she realised the foolishness of her mistake her heart began to beat insistent and loud in her ears; more so for how silent she realised everything was around her. Without a pause she opted for the darkness of an alley mouth. Obscured for a few precious seconds, she slipped the jacket from her shoulders, unsheathed the small knife, and took a breath. It was unlikely to be enough to save her. But maybe that was fate. She found her peace.

She swept under the first lunge. Eido was fit and agile, and instinct still smoothed her movements. An old sense of calm flooded her with a welcome stillness. But it had been years since she’d trained. She held her own for a moment. But only a moment.

Her wrist slammed into the wall. Something pinged in a blaze of pain that made her cry out in surprise. She gripped the blade still. Just.
[Image: cherry-blosson.png]
• ChihiroKōta •
MalaikaKwan Yin • Diana
Jaxen was top of her mind. They had a date -- well she had a date set in mind for her next visit, but now that the tunnels were cleared getting a hunt was much more complicated. Screw that boy for killing everything down there. She growled to herself even as she tracked a creature through the night.

It stalked its prey that was too far ahead for Zef to see clearly but it didn't matter, unless they turned down a dark alley or ... Well that would do it.

Zef hurried after the creature and found it pressing a small girl against the wall. She wasn't a girl -- but still anyone was a girl when compared to monsters in the might. Quarters were too tight in the alley, and the girl of course. A gun would be best, though she wanted a fight. Zef pulled a retrieved stilleto from her hair and threw it at the back of the creatures head. It turned with a hiss.

"Come on darling lets dance." Zef taunted. Humanoids were the most fun -- except the godlings, their fucking power was an abomination against mankind. It's resurgence had been foretold and they were ready -- except they weren't. They had nothing to fight them. No tools to bring them down except to kill them in their beds. And for gods like the Ascendancy and the boy and his friends, even Jaxen that was too good for them.

The creature rushed at her and Zef kicked it in the face. Her attire much more suited to the work than even her night at Kallisti before the club even. But it wasn't ladylike none-the-less.

She was grateful for the fight -- the adrenaline. She pulled two knives from the inside of her sleeves and prepared for the assault. It would likely be brutal, but that was half the fun.

[[ gonna keep the monster vague cause I don't remember what we said -- I wasn't paying much attention lol feel free to add in and make the decision. ]]
There was a moment in the grapple where Eido thought about letting go. It solved every problem apart from the one of how much she wanted to live, and the shame of that truth was crushing. She met the creature’s eyes, fingers slipping. They stared back strangely human, but its lips curled up over sharp teeth. Maybe the ignominy of a death at a monster’s hands was fitting. Yet all she could think about was Kōta. How his sacrifice would burn because she was careless.

Then the creature’s head lurched forward with an impact from behind, and it whirled. A woman’s voice taunted.

When the pressure eased Eido fell into a crouch. Her ribs burned. She tested her wrist, found it tender, but her grip held around the kaiken’s hilt. The creature was something Vampiric, but Moscow teemed with non-native monsters – as if everything found itself lured to the vortex epicentre of the Ascendancy’s power. In the heat of the moment Eido was unsure what it was beyond that. When it stumbled back from the kick she slashed low against the back of its thighs. The blade peeled flesh like butter. Blood sprayed.

By now the woman was armed. Saviour and executioner both, she fought with the strength and power of a dervish. But as she caught her balance Eido’s gaze fell on something slipping into the shadows behind.

Vetala,” she warned in sudden realisation, understanding it would out her own identity for certain, but concerned 'behind you' would be met with no trust from a stranger.
[Image: cherry-blosson.png]
• ChihiroKōta •
MalaikaKwan Yin • Diana
"Vetala" The girl shouted a word she should not know. Atharim!

Zef had time to take a look back before the second one slipped in behind them in the shadows. They always fought in pairs. There was no time for movement she went forward, going backwards would be deadly all just the same. With one knife she made a kill through the heart of the first. The claws of the second caught her flank and she howled in the pain as the nails ripped through her clothes.

In a whirl of motion she turned on the second pulling the knife from the first and slashing at it's friend.

Blood dripped from her side and the pain was fierce. It wasn't the first fight against a Vetala, but it was the first one she'd was without her father. She hadn't made a kill that night, and the memories rushed through her mind but she knew the heart or head would kill no matter what and the head is where she aimed. The first blow was deflected and struck her again with a claw to the flesh. Her second knife found purchase in an ear socket. The squelching of the brain as her knife pushed through made a sucking sound as she withdrew her blade and watched the creature fall to the ground.

Heart racing, and blood dripping Zef collapsed to one knee and her hands on the ground before she reached for her side and collapsed on her ass. A new found fear -- what if there was a baby? It wasn't likely at this stage and after one time. But it was a new fear... "Fuck!" It hurt.
It was brutal and quick. When the second creature fell, Eido pressed a hand to her ribs. Pain flared in response to the pressure, but she couldn’t tell if any of the blood of her hands was her own. She sheathed her blade and climbed over the bodies to reach the stranger, who was growling and swearing. An Atharim must have resources, and Eido would assist her to help; for surely she needed it. Even in the shadows she could see the blood bubbling through the hand clamped at her side. She crouched alongside her, offered her jacket to better staunch the flow for now, about to help the woman to her feet. This stranger had saved her life; a life not worth saving, and a debt that could not be repaid. Shame brought her eyes low, but it was the sudden rapid fluttering of her own heart that gave her pause.

Horror flooded her cold.

“No,” she murmured in panic. But the suffusion of power, dutifully ignored for six years, poured like rain from the heavens on parched earth at the moment of touch. She was aware of things she could not possibly know as the light moved around them like the flows of a river. Her hands pressed against hot blood and flesh. In fear she let it go. “Forgive me,” she murmured, unsure in what language the desperate words were uttered. It spilled torrentially for only a moment before it winked out as quickly as it came.

The tremble of Eido’s legs gave way afterwards. She fell heavily to sit alongside the woman. Exhaustion leadened her limbs, like she emptied every ounce of her own vitality into the stranger. Her head bowed, black hair ghosting either cheek. She breathed hard, in fear or supplication she did not know. She thought of Kota then, and it clenched like a fist over her heart, but she did not open her eyes. She was not tired simply in body; she was tired in spirit. “I submit to your judgement, sister.”
[Image: cherry-blosson.png]
• ChihiroKōta •
MalaikaKwan Yin • Diana
Hands laid upon her staunching the flow of blood. It was nice of the girl to rescue her now. But there was a warm feeling about her, and then the feeling of skin and organ knitting together like billions of little spiders crawling across her skin. She shivered and reviled at the sensation when she knew what was happening. Healing from a god. She was a god... and an Atharim.

Relief flooded her mind, but her body bore the tension of being at the hands of yet another god. If it were not for Jaxen's playfulness in the bedroom her reaction would have been instant. Her blades remained on the ground even as the girl submitted herself to her judgement. "What is your name? The one the Atharim would know?" Because obviously she was not in practice, nor was she going by the same name. And it wouldn't do to have her outed before she could determine what to do about it. Meek, trained, and a god. Could anything else be so perfect to fall into her lap?

Sure the men were powerful. Nox was trained and a god but was strong willed and needed to be put down. Though he had cleared the tunnels of vile creatures -- and survived. The last being key. He had ins with the Ascendancy himself and it would be to keep the boy on a leash. Maybe a stable of Atharim gods. It made Zef smile. And then there was Jaxen in all his glory. No training to speak of, only money and good genes. No a different stable perhaps.

New plans forming -- traitors and gods and the will of Atalanta.
Judgement was not cast immediately. In the quiet Eido breathed slowly, eyes closed, seeking a calm that did not want to come – listening despite herself for sounds that indicated the other woman was reaching for her weapons. She wondered if it meant she would be asked to complete the duty herself. A last chance at honour, though she was not sure it wiped the slate of her soul clean. She had never hurt anyone though, and as a last act, perhaps healing a sister went some way to redress the balance.

Silence held Eido’s tongue for a long moment when the Atharim asked her name. Answering truthfully would put Kota in danger as a relative, and while she would accept her own life as forfeit, she would protect her brother to the last.

Memories plagued. The fierceness of his expression when he’d tackled her for the kaiken on that mountain. Guilt burned, and her eyes too, though she would let no tears fall. Kota would struggle to be alone.

“They wouldn’t,” she said eventually. “I’m dead, and have been for years.
[Image: cherry-blosson.png]
• ChihiroKōta •
MalaikaKwan Yin • Diana
Zef understood. She knew the consequences of someone knowing you were a godling. Death of all those you love -- any related by blood anyway. Some fell through the cracks. Other's fell off the grid entirely. And that in and of itself was a lure she could use. "I will keep your secret." Zef smiled. "Under one condition." Zef didn't expand more. She wanted to know what the girl would do if given a choice -- death? or something else? Though Zef had no intentions of killing the girl. She had healed her. And with trust and time, perhaps this godling would be useful if the meekness grated upon Zef's very soul.

"We will keep your family safe, if you agree." That was the only bargaining chip she saw right now. This girl wanted to keep her loved ones safe, it was written all over her face. And her refusal to tell her name spoke to that truth. There were ways of course -- none of which Zef had at the moment. But she knew a boy god Atharim who did. A collection of gods at her bidding? She liked that idea more and more -- all the more to tear down those in her way.
It was both concern and surprise that finally opened her eyes. A frown pressed her brow in response, and she did not look at the other woman, only at her own hands and the sheathed knife still held there. The words hung for a long time between them, during which Eido only caught her breath and acclimated to the truce. The idea of a compromise warred in her soul. It felt like a trap and an absolution all at once. Permission for her sins in return for a figurative collar about her neck. That was the only thing a sister might mean. Eido touched her throat in silent thought.

“What is your condition?” she asked, finally.
[Image: cherry-blosson.png]
• ChihiroKōta •
MalaikaKwan Yin • Diana
The condition was simple. Zef noticed the girls posture and her demeanor. She was a slip of a girl. But with renewed training she could be deadly again. And with her skills, maybe she'd have need of the boy god as well. He fought well, or so she could assume, even after losing an arm.

"You work for me. I will cleanse your name and your families name from the Atharim records. They won't hunt you as long as you remain secret. And you will pick back up where you left off in training. We fight monsters, and we fight gods. We need powerful allies, and you and I can be that."

She didn't need to mention the fact that she had other plans and avenues, and Zef wasn't sure she was ready to kill this girl after having saved her. But honor restored to her family? Maybe that was enough for the girl to say yes.

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