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Time to Breathe
[[Character story from Jacinda Cross biography]]

[[Narrative continued from Spilled Drinks]]]

The rest of the night and the next day were slow going. Yeah. Understatement of the year. She tried to help the others with the unloading and figuring out what to do with Stephan. But she had trouble focusing. Annemarie and the other squints were all freaked out. She was tired and didn't have the energy to bring everyone down. She hoped Yoshi would do it when they met up. He was far more chill and zen anyway.

Everytime she tried to move, her lower back spasmed in pain to the point that she had to freeze just to breathe. She had to admit, she wasn't 20- or even 30- anymore. She was gonna have to start being more careful. It had been a brutal take down. She was bruised all over her back and arms, though it was the lower back pain that got all her attention. They'd lost people. But hopefully it was worth it. Dead God. Actual god. Not some dumb kid.

Normally, she'd celebrate. I mean seriously celebrate. Go out for drinks. Maybe find someone to blow off some steam with. But she was hurt. She hesitated to go to a doctor. She wasn't sure she was on anybody's radar and with them being outed and all- and the fucking Atharim registration, of all things. What kind of idiot would even think to do that?- she kinda wanted to go to ground. Hole up and think. Lick her wounds.

And heal. This was the hard part about being part of a team. The down time together. She'd been alone for a long time, able to come and go as she pleased. Most of the time she was good either way. But when she was tired, when she needed to recharge, it was tough to be around others. Small talk was stupid.

So finally she was able to break away. She still was wearing her clothes from the attack yesterday. Changing hadn't appealed to her at the time. Just get everything done and get out. She felt trapped, with them.

She had gotten Annemarie calm enough to at least find her a quiet safehouse to head to. There would be medical supplies if she needed it. And pain killers. And the greatest one, a nice cold beer or something.

She limped along until her wallet indicated her ride had come. The destination was in the Enlightened District, not too far from where the mansion had been. That turned her stomach. She and Yoshi and Hood and the others were proceeding along as if nothing had changed. And in some ways, that was true. The fight was always gonna be there.

But the Regus was gone, burned to death in the fire. She wasn't sure what that meant for the Atharim, as a group. She was dropped off a couple blocks away- no record of her destination on any system, obviously- and she carefully made her way.

So....the Atharim. Would it be more like it was back home in the US, now? Less organized? In some ways, that would be better. Hunting for creatures didn't require a lot of people- a small team was usually fine, if not one person.

But these returned gods? They needed more weapons. And they needed a lot more people. And strategy. That much she had learned.

She palmed the door- glad the security cloud was redundantly replicated where ever it was- and entered.

She stopped. Every place had a feel. Something in the air. The way it moved, the way it smelled. Even the way it responded to you.

Someone was here. Atharim, of course. Well, probably. She unholstered her gun- she wasn't up to swinging her staves. God she hoped she didn't have to fight. Twisting might just make her cry in pain. And not in the good way either, like the pain when you were really sore and stretched out or when you were getting inked.

she called out as she carefully moved past the front entrance- purposely designed to funnel in case of attack. She wanted out of that kill zone, if there was trouble.

Edited by Jacinda, Jan 24 2018, 12:33 PM.
This city was unkind, its people closed off in a way to which Tenzin was unaccustomed. She had discovered quickly that something bad had happened to the Athari before she got here, and now she knew that the Regus was gone and the old head quarters reduced to ash. Everything had splintered, and with little beyond basic tech to her name Tenzin was almost completely isolated. Her people usually worked alone; it didn't bother her, exactly, to be cast adrift. But she had travelled the long distance to Russia for a reason, and the absence of her wolves made her want to howl her frustration at the empty moon. She'd never been so alone.

Instead, in the weeks that followed, she sniffed around and began to learn her new territory. The hunting was different; she was used to wide spaces and endless tundra, where half the hunt was simply surviving the terrain, but here everything clustered together amongst the dregs of society. The Athari were not respected nor welcomed; they were a secret - or had been. Now that festering wound was in the open and her brothers and sisters were just as swift to bare their teeth at one another. She'd seen evidence of Athari work. Evidence too that her brethren had drifted far from Alchi's teachings. Some of the killing was unnecessary. Worse, she scented the promise of war, a slavering for it, and it shivered through her hackles. This was all so wrong.

Home became various safe houses in the city. Her instincts longed for a permanent den, but it was habit to keep moving. Various caches replenished the weapons she'd left behind in India, though not quite what she was used to. She'd grown more comfortable, though, and routine laid the foundation she needed to begin investigating the wolves' fears. Tonight darkness touched the world outside, but Tenzin waited for the early hours to begin her prowl. She'd been reading in one of the chairs when her sharp ears picked up the approach of an intruder. Scent followed; the sharp tang of blood and pain. The hand straying toward her knife relaxed a fraction, though she didn't take a blink from the entrance. Mostly she avoided the other Athari. With the Regus gone she did not want to risk becoming ensnared in the conflicts of the remaining factions.

she called out in answer. Belatedly remembered to speak English. "Welcome, sister. You are hurt?"
[Image: twolf.jpg]
If they stand behind you, protect them; if they stand beside you, respect them; if they stand against you, destroy them.
She turned the corner and relaxed her grip on her gun- not completely. But she was out of the kill zone anyway. The face that greeted her was unique, as was the accented English.

The woman was tall and had mostly Asian features. Pretty. There were some other elements that tickled at her mind- some similarity to some of Native Americans she had met in her travels especially in the North- though the differences were as strong as those similarities. She wore leather cords around her neck and wrists with various trinkets and her arms contained ink in various patterns.

Atharim were always a varied and independent lot- at least those not mired in Europe and tightly bound to the orthodox leadership. Which was gone, as far as she knew. They were all adrift, really. She and Yoshi were high ranking, they and the other Archangel members, now that Barovsky was dead too. But what did that even mean any more with Regus dead? She could commandeer a group like they had just done. And they could do good work she supposed, that way. But she never wanted to be a leader. Pack leader, hunt leader, yes. But always temporary.

Who knew. Maybe they had some succession plan or something. Some second. Or maybe someone would try to take control. Thunderdome. She had come for the Archangels and for Regus. Now....she wasn't sure what she was doing anymore.

She dropped her gun. She was still ready, but already the feeling of threat leeched out of her. Energy too. She was tired. And sore. And hurt. And just wanted a fucking drink.

"Hi. Jacinda Cross."
She gave no further title. As far as she was concerned, they were all Atharim hunters. And she felt stupid saying Archangel or something. First canticle this. Jeez, Regus had a thing for names.

She felt a mental and emotional tiredness wash over her. Her usual bravado felt forced now. That whole hunt for Nox seeming like an attempt to act as if everything were normal. Clearly, things weren't. Not that she had any intention of baring her soul. No one got that. Not for a long time.

She smiled friendly like and sighed. "Didn't mean to startle you like that. I thought this safe-house was empty. Was just looking for a place to hole up for a while and recover."
She didn't say from what. The girl looked strong and fit. Definitely a hunter, rather than a squint. She would recognize the look.

"Hope you don't mind if I take a short break here. I won't be in your hair long."
She had wanted to be alone but wasn't in the mood for a fight over territory or anything. Being around strangers was better when you wanted to be alone anyway than with friends.

She knew the niceties anyway. Hunters feeling each other out was part of the way of things. Still, safehouses belonged to them all. She limped to the fridge and opened it, looking for a cold beer or something. No luck. But in the cabinets she found some tequila. Good. She grabbed a coffee mug- the container didn't matter in the slightest- and poured a healthy shot or three. Took a long pull, feeling the burn down her throat. Warmth seemed to seep into her skin and she felt tingles in her scalp. She sighed, the twinge in her back and ribs momentarily lessening. She wasn't sure how many cuts or bruises she wore. And her hair and face were probably covered in cuts and dust.

She wasn't gonna go take a shower or get patched up or anything until she had a better read on this girl. Being indisposed in the bath was a bad idea if she turned out to be a threat.
"Ahhh....that's better. It's been a rough night."
She raised an eyebrow and gave a half-smile. "You want one?"

Edited by Jacinda, Jan 12 2018, 08:11 PM.
Still lounged on the chair, the book now folded in her lap, Tenzin watched the woman finally enter the den. Dust and blood filled her nostrils as she tracked the stranger's stiff movements. A pronounced limp marked her passage across to the fridge, and though Tenzin relied more on scent than sight, even to her eyes this one was a mess; something had fought hard for its last breath, more violent than anything else she had seen since touching down on Russia's dirt. A sister come to lick such serious wounds blossomed a warmth of camaraderie in her chest, followed by a painful squeeze as she realised just how lonely she had been these past weeks.

"Tenzin Dolma."
She had no surname, but doubted the American would understand such and did not bother to clarify. Neither of those were the most precious of her names anyway, though she'd never dare tell the lama that. Her head tilted. She hadn't yet taken a blink away from the stranger, though her gaze was more inquisitive than guarded. She sensed the sharp underlying wariness, strung tight like two predators stuck in a cage, and resisted the urge to yawn out the tension. It was too wolfish a reaction, and much as she welcomed the stranger as pack, some secrets must remain so. Instead she smiled bright white teeth, and hummed out a scoff of laughter. "In my hair. Such funny sayings."

A root around in the cupboards apparently revealed what was sought. A slosh of liquid into a mug later, and a sense of comfort rippled. For a moment Tenzin was uncertain whether or not to just go back to her reading; this one gave off strong solitary vibes, and a pack could be perfectly comfortable without words. But then the other woman offered out the drink. Tenzin's dark brows rose, lips twitching with a hint of amusement. There was no sin in it. At least so long as she did not get intoxicated.

She grinned and held out her hand for the bottle. "Killed it, yes? A toast?"
[Image: twolf.jpg]
If they stand behind you, protect them; if they stand beside you, respect them; if they stand against you, destroy them.
The girl certainly didn't seem worried about anything. As in, she didn't give off any dangerous vibes. Course that didn't mean anything. Getting close to quarry was what a hunter did. Animal, chupe, wolfkin, or godling and their family. It was the way of things. The way it always was, really, as far as she knew.

Still, she had no issue passing the bottle straight to her. She liked that. No worry about wiping the lid or shit like that. If that kind of stuff was gonna kill people, she figured the human race woulda died out the first time two strangers put their mouths on each other.

Yet all her life you had those prissy parents slathering up their kids with purell or whatever, being all vegan and organic and avoiding peanuts and vaccines and anything not pristine so little Rainbow and Brock didn't get the sniffles. Life in a bubble. Not her life. No sir.

Anyway, the other main reason she didn't mind passing the bottle was also simple. Her gut said the girl-Tenzin was it?- Tenzin wasn't a threat. That was not a tactical assessment. The deadliest killers could seem innocent as kittens playing with yarn.

No. Simpler. No one had known she was coming. Annemarie was too freaked out to think coherently and had to be straightened out before she coud begin to help. When she was stable enough, she had rattled off a couple locations. And then she'd gone back to rocking and sobbing as the others tried to clean up the mess and save Tweedle Dumbass.....was that Stephen? Let's see...Henrik had been the one to appear to enjoy the simulated attempted yeah. Stephan.

Bottom line, no one was looking for her or had any idea she'd be here. Not that she'd let her guard down completely. But enough. Couldn't always be paranoid.

She limped over to where she sat and passed the bottle then dropped into the couch and stiffled a cry. Fuck me! Her back screamed at her and she breathed through clenched teeth. And then something else called her attention. She leaned forward and took a deep draw and then put the mug down and carefully, oh so very carefully, (fuuuck she thought through the pain) tried to take her jacket off. Muscles ached everywhere as she worked it off and then she felt dampness on her upper right shoulder where air touched it. On lots of places, really, but that was the worst.

Jacket discarded on the floor, she breathed slowly as she reached over with her left hand and touched the source of the pain. Her fingers came away bloody. She looked at them and smirked at Tenzin. She'd need to clean that. Maybe dig out what was lodged there. The shower was gonna hurt like a mother fucker.

But her new friend was looking on. She leaned back carefully and picked up her mug. "To a good hunt."
Another draw and then she answered. "He better be dead. After what it took to take him down. One of the returned gods. Nearly took out a city block. Who knows what else he might have done. Still, it was a hard one. Cost us."

She looked Tenzin up and down, weighing her out. "Where are you from? What's your story?"
The pain remained but as long as the only thing moving was her eyes, mouth and drinking arm, she'd be ok for a while.

Edited by Jacinda, Jan 12 2018, 11:14 PM.
Her eyes squinted when she took a mouthful, the sharp burn a little stronger than she remembered, but she laughed the reaction away, raised the bottle in a salute, then plopped it for now on the floor beside her chair. It was clear Jacinda was badly injured, but also clear she did not wish to show the vulnerability. Tenzin respected that and simply ignored the obvious difficulty the woman had easing down onto the couch, just as she would ignore when the women eventually rose to clean and tend her wounds.

A returned god. It wasn't news, but it was a topic she hadn't intended to engage with. Blood boiled hot when the debate of that particular quarry came up, even back home. Practices might be different there from here, but the answers were no less easy to come by. Tenzin already knew they killed on sight here, but if was different to be confronted with the reality of the consequences. She gently examined the idea in her mind, but found no strong feelings. It was done, and however Tenzin might have acted in the same situation, right now she chose not to judge.

But she did reflect on the differences.

Like many rākṣasa hatyārā in northern India, Tenzin collected the Sick children when they were rejected by their parents, but she did not actively hunt the young adults -- not unless they gave her a reason to believe they threatened the peace. Even then the decision was passed to the lamas first. The sin was shared. But it was not a task she relished, or a decision made lightly. Given her own unique circumstances, she had more right than most to bare teeth at the notion.

Probably the biggest difference was that they simply did not kill the pups (at least, they were not told to do so); instead they brought the suspected spirit-touched to the temples and handed them over to the lamas. Many died despite the meditations, and those that survived were kept separate in the monasteries -- because what else could be done with them? They were still human. Of course some felt that was simply a disaster waiting to happen. Especially when the first trickles of adults began to arrive, begging such aid as could be given. Alchi was a small community and the situation before she'd left was becoming precarious, but Tenzin was living proof that sometimes compassion was the better medicine.

She snorted. "Not 'gods'. Hate that name. Like they are above us."
Her lips pursed; the irritation was real, but it didn't tell the whole story. They were human, that was the point -- just as human as she was. Imagining them as anything else only heightened the sense of fear that surrounded their unique abilities. They were capable of great destruction, she knew that; but give any man a gun and he was capable of the same.

She mentally shook the feeling off, glad to seize a different topic. Home made her heart ache. Thinking on her pack was like prodding a wound, but it also brought about the warmth of memory. Despite being abandoned as a child she had had a good childhood. Not an ordinary one, perhaps, but she was surprisingly well adjusted. "Jammu and Kashmir. Very in the north is home. Different names and customs there - here is so different! But, Destroyer is here, so they say. So I come."
She would have said more, but she didn't quite know how to articulate it; her English was still a work in progress, and she understood more than she could easily express herself. "And you? You are not from here either."
[Image: twolf.jpg]
If they stand behind you, protect them; if they stand beside you, respect them; if they stand against you, destroy them.
Tenzin didn't seem to hesitate to take a drink and of course she reacted as you'd expect from the first shot of tequila. Jacinda smiled broadly.

And then she was done, bottle on the floor. Jacinda felt a stab of disappointment. Nothing loosened the tongue like a drink. And she was 50,000 secrets pent up and ready to burst. Not real secrets, you know. Just everything swirling on the mind and you kinda wanted someone as addled as you to follow as you meandered from one thing to another, as they jumped around with their own stuff.

Not a fucking thing would be solved. No problems erased. No great realizations to be had. But by God it would be fucking fun and memorable and not all at the same time. It would just feel good.

Still, she did chuckle at the girl's reaction to the term 'gods'. She got it. She really did. But she had no interest in being the PC police. No. Sorry. We don't call them gods anymore. And godlings is worse. There's an element of dismissal in that term. Alienness. Other. We call then powered humans. Augmented humans. Gifted.

Blati-fucking-blah! They were what they were. And the potential for danger was too great. Simplistic? Maybe. But she never claimed to be a philosophizer or whatever. She was who she was and she fought for humanity. She didn't know of any other way to define humanity. Not without endangering them. It wasn't something she was willing to live with.

Still, the girl was Atharim, had shared a drink and had come from wherever she said- was that the Himalayas? Until now she'd never travelled out of North America and all the geography she learned was part of her job.

"You've come a long way. What did you hope to do?"

Her eyes kept being drawn to the tattoos. Now those alwayd told a story. Some were meaningful. Some were drunken whims. Some were jokes. And some just had to be. And some were a mix. And all of that was good. Good or bad, mistake or not, it was who you were at that moment. What was important to you or meaningful. You were made by what you experienced. You couldn't forget or reject that even of it had been wrong or a mistake or even bad. It all shaped you.

Her first had been her snake, in the figure eight. Part of it was similar to Regan's. But there was one part that few if any noticed. The eight was lopsided and looked like a stream or river surrounding and crossing an island. One of the jogs of the lake bent slightly in the shape of a letter. It was vague, but she knew it was there. She had drawn it herself, when she was 20. The letter 'J'. And there on the island were all kinds of fanciful shapes. Candy canes. Little bears. A tiger. It was all very weird in these bright colors.

Sometimes, when she took someone to bed, they noticed and remarked on it. Just didn't seem to match her tough exterior. But she loved it. It had been her first tattoo. Her secret, that no one knew. A good memory of a special moment when her life truly began.

She answered. "No, I'm not from here. I'm from America. But I came for the same reason as you. The Destroyer. The leader of the Atharim here- he is called Regus- calls him Apollyon or something. From the Bible I think. And he set up these groups to protect man and to stop him. So I came to join. Course he's gone now...."

The answer was just words, now. Brandon lived. Regus was dead. The Atharim scattered. What was their point here? Something needed to happen. She took another long draw on her drink. She already felt warm

In the meantime she nodded to the Tenzin's arms. "I like your work. Very different. Is it all one piece or did you get it over a period of time? Do they have any special meaning for you?"
Duh. Still, asking was part of the process. It was one way to connect with a person. And for some reason she just felt like talking.

Edited by Jacinda, Jan 15 2018, 08:55 PM.
"What do we all hope to do?"
She laughed, but didn't offer an answer to the question. Stopping the Destroyer from the disastrous path he rent through this world would restore equilibrium, and if that wasn't enough of a reason, the wolves fired the core intensity of her motivations. Even if she spent her life no more than snapping at his heels, it would be time well spent, and all the better if she had a pack to do it with; together, they were stronger, and their jaws would crush every dark blight of the world. The importance of that built up like pressure in her chest, and unravelled all the emotions she kept balled there; so ferocious she almost growled low in her throat. Ah, thinking too much of her pack and her reasons for being here made her restless. It buzzed through her limbs like too much caffeine.

She shifted in her seat. Jacinda's eyes kept straying to her arms, but the scrutiny didn't bother her. The pent up energy did. The sudden desire to stretch her legs. To run. "Bible. Pft."
She grinned, nose wrinkled, half teasing with the mischievousness of a pup in first snow. It seemed doubtful that Jacinda was the religious type, and she did not expect to offend with her flippancy, but she knew at least in principle how closely the Athari aligned with the church here. In any case, she made it clear she considered herself free of the indoctrination that bound her distant brethren. "Good? Bad? Not told by book. Is in here."
She tapped her chest. By the brash seeming nature of the woman opposite, she expected to be scoffed at. If it seemed simplistic, it was. It didn't need rules and scripture.

To her arm she looked in surprise when asked, the ink and colour so intrinsic it had not occurred to her that the stares had been curiosity and not the sizing up of another predator. The wolves didn't understand why she mutilated herself, but accepted it as one of the human things about her that didn't need understanding. Everything had its own meaning, important or frivolous, but the colour wrapped most of her arm, disappearing under the sleeve of her t-shirt. Too much to tell, even if she had the vocabulary. "Work of progress. But important - ah, common? Common theme. Good, bad. Light, dark. Sometimes the difference is difficult. But always repeating, yes? Like the samsāra."
She touched some of the designs, thinking. "It worries you? That Regus is gone?"
[Image: twolf.jpg]
If they stand behind you, protect them; if they stand beside you, respect them; if they stand against you, destroy them.
Jacinda laughed herself. She nodded. "Yeah. In here. I believe that."
She paused, not sure when she had become Regus' defender. Well, she wasn't. But it's not like there weren't wierd things in the world. They knew that better than anyone. And that meant strange places for information.

"Still, I think people like Regus look to old writings and prophecies for clues. What might happen. How to defeat Apollyon. I've met Regus. He's....well, he wasn't a stupid man. Distant. Not approachable. No one you or I would have a drink with. But driven....that kind of thing is contagious.
Very much so."

She stopped, didn't say more. She knew about that. Being sucked into another soul. 25 years. 25 fucking years. Has it really been that long? It felt like yesterday. The fear. No, call it what it fucking was. The absolute terror. The hurt. Absently she glanced at her right hand. The deep scar just under her palm was still there. Occassionally, she noticed lately, she felt twinges when the weather changed.

And she remembered Regan's face, the last time he saw her. And the last time she saw him. She still loved him. Part of her always would. He had made her. But sometimes she hated him, not even really sure why.

She took another drink and drained the rest of the tequila.

No other person had ever consumed her before or after. Owned her to her core, so completely. And even free and on her own, militantly and fiercly independent, she knew deep down that if she had the chance, just one chance to hear him call her 'sweetie' or 'my girl,' just one more time, and mean it.....well she would do almost anything to have it. Even now. Even after all these years. God help her, she would.

Regus might have, if she'd gotten to know him. Maybe.

And that was that, she thought, stifling the other emotions that threatened to come up, that always followed when she thought of him The darker, angry ones she preferred to keep down, the rage, the anger, the betrayal. The only way she wouldn't ever break. Hide it. A dangerous road. Everything was falling apart, reopening old wounds for her.

She held her empty mug. "You want to know if it worries me he's gone? Fuck yes. We are scattered in a hundred little cells all around the world. Up till now, we have had the freedom to hunt what we wanted, to keep the worst at bay. But Apollyon....he and his followers are different. Times have changed. These 'men', since you don't want to call them gods, are intent on ruling. And they have the power, unlike any others in history. In the CCD there is Brandon and his generals. And don't think he doesn't have more you don't know about. In the United States, the Secretary of Powers- they call it that!- is one. And at least one senator willing to admit it."

The tequila made her warm and fuzzy. Or maybe it was everything. "Not an accident. Tenzin. They are moving into power. You're from the Himalayas. You know what China did to Tibet. Other places. Don't tell me you can't see a danger in China adding them to their army. Worse, a Chinese general or member of the ruling class BEING one. All over the world a shift is going on."

She sat back, barely feeling the pain or anything really. "And WE, the one people who know and have protected mankind for millenia, are fragmented across the world. Fuck yes I miss Regus for all that he was a huge colossal dick. Because he could have united all of us. One people. Given us a vision. Given us a coherent strategy. When you are outnumbered, strategy, planning and unity evens the odds. We needed to be one. And now...."
She dropped her hand. Nothing.

She looked at her mug, then moved to put it on the table. She missed and it dropped to the ground, shattering. She laughed and tried to get up to clean it up, but had a tough time.

She was so very tired. Physically. Emotionally. She'd lost a lot of blood probably. And the three shots. She stood and suddenly felt light headed, then dizzy.

She barely noticed as she pitched forward, felt her head hit the corner of the table.

All went black.

Edited by Jacinda, Jan 18 2018, 09:56 AM.
Tenzin shrugged; she wasn't spoiling for a fight over ideology, she was just being open with her own values. "Not bad thing. But might is big word. We learn from past, sure. But not live in it."
Jacinda had stopped herself short; not mid sentence or anything, but there was lots roiling beneath her surface; Tenzin could scent the subtle changes in her emotions, but didn't know how to interpret it. Her head tilted, considering as she watched Jacinda down the rest of her drink. She didn't think it was as a result of something she'd said; the reaction was too visceral for that.

Then their conversation took a serious turn. Passion emblazoned every word. Tenzin thought about it, remembering to temper her own furious opinions and the defence burning on the tip of her tongue. In fact she didn't disagree with the danger, and nothing Jacinda said was untrue. She wore the same mark on her wrist, had sworn the same oaths, and walked the same balance. But she saw things through a different lens; one difficult to share, all things considered, and so she was wary to pursue it too far. Instead she choose to diffuse the situation. "Huge colossal dick."
She laughed, about to say something else to lighten the serious cast to the mood, when Jacinda's hand slipped and the mug shattered across the floor. Tenzin unfurled from her chair to help, just as the woman pitched forward and smacked her head. She didn't move after.

"Ah, silly pup."
Tenzin shifted the table out the way to crouch down, china crunching beneath her boots. She brushed the blonde strands from her face, grimed by dust and blood. The woman seemed out cold. And her shoulder wound was still leaking sluggish black, a poor combination with the alcohol and smacking her head. Nothing broke the skin across her forehead, though she'd probably have a bad bruise to add to the collection. Tenzin gently shook her good shoulder to encourage her back, hoping she hadn't hurt herself badly. Still talking, though she assumed Jacinda would be oblivious to that. "Frustrated because new task is impossible. Can't kill all. And since when did genocide cause good? Nowhere, never. We protect good. Man is both. Spirit-touched is both. And others. Make task difficult? Sure. But not impossible. Sometimes protect is not death. Just easy option. Everything different bad, yes? Pft. So we tell ourself."
She understood the sense of loss, though; Jacinda might couch it in different terms, but she pined for the remains of her pack. That Tenzin understood, very well. "But, don't need to agree. Need to wake up. Come on. Not time for sleeping now. Let me help you clean up."
Her ears perked for signs of consciousness. Her breathing was okay, but sometimes head injuries could be worse than they appeared.
[Image: twolf.jpg]
If they stand behind you, protect them; if they stand beside you, respect them; if they stand against you, destroy them.

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