Alleyway to Heaven Pt. 1

July 25, 2015:

Sho and Tim Hunter travel the cosmos.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There isn't an actual name for it, but well you know it when you see it all the same. There are places that aren't in fact in any particular location, rather they tend to be everywhere. This is a work around for many who're comfortable in working above the fourth dimension or just those comfortable with good old fashioned non-euclidian architecture. It's actually related to the reason socks go missing, and it's a related crack in space to portals used by wizards and witches and all the while. Sometimes these wandering places take you noplace interesting at all, like a strange broom closet somewhere. Today though, in the Village? You'd have to be looking to find it, really it's not so much hidden as it is fairly common.
It's an alleyway, where an alleyway should be but it's not the -right- alleyway yaknow? Usually there are NYC dumpsters and, well the ones here are covered in kanji and the whole place is flooded with an odd array of neon lights that doesn't seem to be coming from any of the surrounding alleyways. That's to be expected because -this- alleyway, doesn't belong in New York City much less in America at all. These things tend to be harmless, little wrinkles of reality that fix themselves except for one thing. A familar all black and gold CBR parked just past a row of dumpsters and beside it, stands it's black and gold clad rider as he dismounts. Pausing to check his cell phone, not that he needs to of course.
Sho has been here many times, usually once a month but well he's no mage or priest. This hoodoo voodoo is uncertain territory for him, so yes he goes and checks that GPS signal. As if he could end up anywhere else but here even if he tried, especially on tonight of all nights and when he's got such precious cargo in tow.


Sho knows this neighborhood most likely. Greenwich is a unique place all on its own, and this particular corner of the burg is known for the dominant hippie culture as well as a bit of the new age belief system. Along its way there are a few shops, some selling crystals, dreamcatchers, the occasional Grateful Dead shirt. All closed now of course, so late at night. But there's still an air of potentiality that is manifest in the area, a subtle feel of power harnessed and at ease.
Yet this alleyway is new. The young man who calls this block of Greenwich his home, Timothy Hunter, finds himself stopping on his way back to his apartment. In his hand is his dinner, a cardboard cup of soup and a bit of garlic bread both held in napkins and in one hand. In his other hand is the strap of his backpack over his shoulder as he looks curiously at the passway through the neighborhood that wasn't there before… or rather wasn't like this.
"Could have been redecorated." He says to himself, though upon closer consideration he might be speaking to the small brown owl that has alighted upon his shoulder. "Festival. Asia Awareness Week?" He looks over at the Owl that responds with a simple…
"Hoo?"


Sho remains as still as a statue for a moment, before lifting a hand to roll that helmet off and stashing that phone away. "Hello again my friend, If you're going to step across the threshhold you should do it swiftly. It would seem heaven has seen fit to show you this, but you must abandon your meal if you are to sate your curiosity."Ever the cool dude, Sho seems about as excited as if he was discussing the relative merits over lightweight spackle. Turning to rest his helmet on the mirror of his bike, before thrusting his gloved hands through his jacket pockets. "Step lively, we have a short walk if we are to be on time my friend."
You know it's almost sad how casual and cool-guy Sho is about all of this, it's not every day you can step from New York City to Koka City for dinner. Then again when you're a champion of a god, you do get sort've used to alot've this sort of thing. He has been raised around all this sort've thing, destined at birth. Not unlike Tim in a way, only the two are on very different paths in life because nobody is ever going to accuse Sho of being Merlin.


Looking over at him, recognition lights up Tim's features. He blinks, "Oh hello, again!" The young Hunter looks back over towards the area of differing geometry and hms to himself. "You can see this to? That's good to know." He takes a quick bite of his garlic bread, perhaps to fill himself up a bit should he so choose to abandon it and step through. "Why would I have to lose my dinner? Something about it wouldn't translate? Or are you referring to the stomach upset that can occur from travelling in such a way?"
He seems to be taking it in stride, at least in some manner. The young Tim's eyes have opened up to some things of late. He glances back at Sho, "Also I'm not sure if it's safe for me to go through. For it… not for me, well for me too might not be safe. But apparently I cause issues with portals at times."


"The food has no spirit, it cannot pass the boundry or it shall rot. It is safe though, heaven wills it to be and so it is. You are standing at the threshold of an entrance, not an exit. We may return, but not the way you came."Cryptic much, but well he's a ninja with a divine sponsor. The fuck did you expect? "You will be enlightened, and at my voucher you may enjoy the hospitality of my master but you must step quickly if you are to accompany me. Heaven has seen fit to put you and I together for a second time, and now just before something of great importance. Heaven has intended for you to see what is to follow, and it is not my place to question the will of heaven."


"Well," Tim seems to take that all in stride, his new outlook on life. He takes another bite of the garlic bread, another… then chews quickly. "Come then, good fellow. We must bustle!" And as he lifts his voice at the last, he looks around rather quickly. He spots old Jeffrey slouched a few doors down on the doorstep of an apartment, the homeless fellow is a bit of a neighborhood institution.
Quickly darting over, he leaves the man the soup and a hunk of bread unbitten before he rushes back to stand beside Sho, the Owl on his shoulder seeming a bit discombobulated by the rush of movement. "Lead and I will follow. And if something untoward happens then most likely it is my fault. Very well? Very well!"


Sho waits patiently where he is, and then it happens the moment that Tim passes over the threshold. New York just, stops being there. Replaced with another street corner in another part of the world entirely, not that Sho seems bothered. He just starts walking, slipping down a set of stairs along the backside of a building and passing through without a moment's hesitation. Thats, when things get more interesting. There is no inside, because going through that door instead takes you -outside-. The world just blinks, the sound of either city suddenly replaced with the rushing of water somewhere off in the distance. A waterfall perhaps, but more immediately it's a forest populated by ancient trees ringed with enormous rope. Theres a path here, illuminated by the otherworldly glow of large stone lanterns set along the way. The path itself is a collection of stones, which have been here for who knows how many hundreds of years. Darkened mysterious forests are usually yaknow, a really bad sign but this whole -place- feels different. It's been clensed daily for, well who knows how long.
"My name by the way, is Sho Tsukino though I go by Sho Mori obviously. I am also known as the Tokyo nightmare however, a name which I did not chose for myself I would like to point out."Sho's footfalls come quietly, perfectly at ease like he's been here a million times before. "I am a Ninja in the service of His honorable Lord Fujin, the god of wind. Tonight we are to return an artifact that predates the rise of written word in Japan, a war fan of sorts. My lord does not easily take offense, but I must ask that you attempt to conduct yourself with respect as this is a very holy place."A beat, as Sho glances over his shoulder. "Do you like Sushi, or well any traditional japanese food?"


Walking along beside Sho, Tim looks around rather curiously. He's not giving voice to any 'oohs' nor 'ahs', but the way his bespectacled gaze moves about it's clear he's observing and storing information for later. He smiles as he looks over towards Sho. "Do you mind if I call you Sho… or is that your family name?" His brow furrows for a moment, "Not trying to give offense, I just am not entirely sure."
But then the moment of awkwardness passes as he walks further along. "I'm Tim Hunter, umm, I'm in data-entry… professionally." He adjusts the hang of his backpack with a shuffling step, the owl offering commentary.
"Hoo?"
"I've not eaten sushi, though I did go to a Teppanyaki restaurant once, that was pretty thoroughly enjoyable."


"Sho is my name, Tsukino would be my family name. I thank you for the consideration, Tim."Through the arched Tori and onto a large cleared area ringed with massive unworked stones which comprise something of a fence, and the feeling here is certainly charged. For certain this place is charged with some sort of energy, divine in nature but predictably alien. Growing more powerful with every step as Sho walks towards the simple squat temple built more than a thousand years prior, and thats about when the silence becomes evident. Nothing beyond the unseasonably cool breeze that blows through, or the distant waterfall is to be heard. The massive moss colored stone lion-dogs stand mute and still, but yeah Tim can likely get the hint that those are not here purely for decoration. "You will forgive me, but I must change my attire. Please, do remove your shoes before we step into the temple proper."
Sho doesn't doff that jacket as he pauses before the massive wooden doors, nor does he kick off his boots. Instead he produces a small length of paper covered in kanji from the inside of his jacket, lifting it up before muttering something under his breath. It only takes the blink of an eye, punctuated by a sudden rush of wind. A flawless black Kimono stitched together with bright gold thread, and what looks like an odd selection of recognizably samurai armor cast in the same hue as the thread of his Kimono. Those tall single bladed Geta clogs, and a pair of carbon fiber sheathed swords at his side. The mask though, is what most people notice. Brilliant almost glow in the dark orange and black, the snarling visage of some sort of beast which bears a striking similarity to the temple guardians. Where those eyes should be visible burns only what looks like brilliant pink candle flame, ghost lights powerful enough to be manifested. His attire changed, Sho gets down to business.
Smoothly stepping out of those Geta and leaving them free standing, which is a feat in and of itself. He draws a gloved hand down to his waist to draw fourth that sheathed Katana, before setting it ever so delicately beside the door. That same hand coming down to rest atop the hilt of his wakizashi most comfortably. "I believe you may be the first non-japanese person to ever visit this place now that I think about it, but I feel as though My lord has invited you in his own way. Like the wind he rules, he does not speak with angels and doves but with the gentle touch of a breeze. So you must forgive his subtle nature, it is just the way he is meant to be."


At the wondrous transformation, Tim seems entirely intrigued. His calm brown eyes remain on the form of Sho, noting the play of color and the elegance of execution as he moves to make entrance. For most of the time he's silent, but then at his companion's behest he offers a smile. "Well, I hope he did. I already feel terribly out of place, would be terrible to think I was intruding."
Having said that he walks to a place next to the door as well, taking what cues he can from the other man and moving to remove his own shoes. At that the owl comments…
"Hoo?"
To which Timothy replies, "I don't know. Best not to risk it… just… perch over there. I'll get you before we go."
"Hoo."
The young magical fellow looks back to Sho, "I don't know what he could want of me, however. Things have been a bit crazy, what with the Deadzone and all. But I wouldn't imagine he'd have part of that."


"That is not his concern for the most part."Sho pulls open the temple doors and inside it's, well very simple. "You have no need to bow, by the way."Which is good, because at the far end of the room is an enormous painted statue of Fujin. Twenty feet of green, horned fanged wildman with an enormous wing bag balanced atop his shoulders. Along either side of the hall lie armor stands, like little miniature shrines to presumably the Ninja who wore them. A pair of swords, or some other more exotic ninja weaponry set infront of each brilliantly colored set. From glow in the dark yellow, to orange and even patterns and stylized motifs but the mask is always the same shape just different colors to reflect it's user. Some feature a little photograph above, others portaits or even just name placards. None of these little displays is happy though, the armor in every case is damaged. Some with what look like bullet holes, others seem charred or crushed or ripped, torn, blood soaked or whatever else which lead to the demise of the Ninja who wore them. Tokyo by contrast, looks like the rebel here. Black and gold? Anywho anyway he sets his sword down onto the floor before him, before delivering a kneeling bow.
"It is not my place to question the will of heaven Tim, I merely act on it's behalf. To do more would be to act above my station, which is how a faithful servant becomes a Evil murderer."Rising slowly to approach the statue, and from behind that chest plate he produces a war far. It doesn't look like much truly, but the sense of release when it's placed at the foot of the statue is more than subtle by a long shot. This done, Sho offers another kneeling bow before rising to seat himself in aproximately the center of the room."Are you hungry then, my friend?"


"I, ummm." Timothy steps further into the room, looking up and up at the large statue. In some ways it looks a bit familiar, an old movie that he saw ages and ages ago perhaps as a child, or perhaps it's some form of… not genetic memory, but mystical resonance energy? Perhaps one other self of his existence had known such or similar. "I could maybe eat something small. Don't go to any trouble though. My blood sugar seems ok for the moment."
He removes his loose overshirt, looping it over his arm for safekeeping, as if somehow feeling that's the right thing to do. But who knows? Well, Sho does. But still. "I should ask, umm, Sho… do I look familiar to you at all? Like did you ever see me before that time in the package store?"


"I do not recognize you, but I am from here. I was born about a mile from here in fact, in the main temple. Just as every Ninja before me has."Sho folds his legs and gets comfortable, before gently pulling that mask from his face. For a split second theres just, a skull back there before it's gone. On a nuts and bolts sort've level, it says a lot really. Spiritually speaking the mask is his real face, the rest is just divine costume to permit Sho to move around the world. Thats not something you can gain over time, or turn on or be granted. It's the sort've connection you're born with. It makes the presence of all the masks of dead ninja, well take on a whole new tone doesn't it?" I have only been in America a short time, and well in my past life I was not a learned person."
A low table forms infront of Sho, in the blink of an eye. There is a neat black earthen tea pot and cups, fused with seams of solid gold. Kintsugi, is what they call that incidentally. A platter of sushi, dumplings, red bean cake and of course rice. "Why is it that you ask me this question Tim?"Tone more curious than anything, motioning for Tim to sit. "I was born to this, but before that I was not terribly well schooled or well traveled. I believe when I came to America a few years ago, it was the first time I ever left Japan."


"That is the question, isn't it?" Timothy steps around the appearance of the table, footsteps light and almost delicate as he seems to be on tip toes in such a beautiful and refined environment. He slowly settles down into a seat opposite the man, unslinging his backpack and setting it in his lap before him. "It just seems most everyone I meet of late has seemed to remember meeting me though I have no recollection of them."
He turns over one of the cups and fills them both for himself and for Sho if he allows it. He settles back, cradling the tea cup in his hands gingerly, shifting it lightly from one hand to the other before taking a sip. "You met me at a very curious time in my life, so I'm still adjusting."


"I am a very simple man truly Tim, I am merely a servant. I have lived as primarily a warrior, though the more recent the incarnation the more difficult it is for me to discern but I have a sensation of flight. So perhaps I was a pilot, it seems that may have been when my soul was pledged to Lord Fujin. Kamikaze means "Divine wind" after all, but I'm only guessing. This said, it is the way of heaven to operate in a manner in which is beyond all mortal knowing."Sho shrugs, sipping after his tea quietly. "You may have met my predecessor however, Daiten Futekina is what he was known as. In english this is difficult to translate, but it means he is incapable of fear or hesitation. He was much better traveled than I was, but our swordplay is similar as he was my sensei."Sho turns to point out a set of armor near the end of the hall, deep blue and a dull grey. His sword lay broken infront, his armor sliced nearly in half from shoulder to hip.
"I am a very rare thing I find, I am exactly what you see for the most part. I am a just a Ninja, no legend or curse or any such thing. I know Daiten Futekina traveled to Europe before the second world war though, that is where we believe his spirit was poisoned. Though if it is a Ninja you feel some connection to, well there are our honorable rivals from Iga. The Ninjas who claim allegiance to Honorable Lord Raijin, if you wish it we could visit their shrine and ask the head priest there if there is a Ninja available for you to talk to. We may be rivals, but this is a friendly rivalry after all."Sho offers a little shrug, reaching across the table to snag a tuna roll. "How familar are you with how all of this, Ninja thing works?"


Replying with a growing familiarity and ease, "Not at all I'm afraid. My knowledge is primarily made up of pop cultural references and the occasional bit of torrid fiction." Timothy smiles a bit, almost embarassed as he makes this confession. But he presses on in any case, "Though on some level…"
The young man looks away as he considers that large statue again, Sho can see Tim's eyes drift from that to the suits of armor, considering each in turn. "I believe I'm gaining some understanding, though some of it feels curiously like… deja vu?" He lifts a hand from the backpack on his lap and gestures helplessly. "Anyways."
He lets that word trail off as he finally lifts the cup of tea to his lips to take a sip. It's cooled off enough that he is able to take another for a touch longer. He looks back to Sho. "Of late most of the magic I've encountered had been of the European variety. I was wondering if I'd have some familiarity with other kinds, seems perhaps I might."


"The villages of Koga and Iga, are the only two who remained independent in the face of the shogun. Lord Raijin is the lord of storms, and Lord Fujin the lord of wind. They trace their origins from unknown parts, though representations can be found in europe, India, China and Japan which predate their inclusion as Kami. They saw these two villages and were pleased, and so they came down from the above to walk amongst men. They built temples, taught men and raised a select few from each village up above mortal men. Koga and Iga survived the shogunate allied together, and the legend of Ninja was born. We are not thieves, or assasins but warriors. You could call us Paladins in a way, we fight honorably for the glory of our lord in polite and honorable competition with our brothers from Iga. Besting one another with feats of bravery, intellect and martial skill. We are chosen before birth, I began my training when I was five. Most of us, have been Ninja in prior lives or at least warriors such as I have been. We are warriors, not magicians though we make use of magic in our own way."Sho ponders a moment, before peering towards the door.
"My old partner would know more about magic, she is a very powerful witch from a family of very powerful shamans and witches. Kuro Neko, the Black Cat. She lives not far from here, and she knows much more of such things as her art is of the classical magic used in Japan. Well the riding a broom stick and the big pointy hat and such is all very western, but we've both always had something of a love of theatrics. I suppose we could visit, though I will warn you she is somewhat sensitive and enormously powerful. She has a, wounded soul you might say as a result of her sister."Theres a casual shrug there.


"I'd be delighted to meet her if you like," Timothy smiles as he shifts a bit on his seat, taking another sip of tea as he tries to get a bit more comfortable. He looks a touch more animated than normal, however. Perhaps it's due to the choice of topic at the moment, or perhaps it's just that he's becoming more acclimated and coming to grips with the curiousness of his position in reality.
"But I would not want to put you out. I'm perfectly at peace here as a guest. Also if you must tend to your duties or your lord, do not let my presence alter your schedule. I can keep to myself and bide." He takes another swig of the tea, then sets his empty cup down upon the table with a faint ceramic click.

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