Moments of Clarity

August 26, 2015:

Shift hunts down the source of a haunting nightmare. He finds what he's looking for, along with a moment of clarity.

Various, centering on a park in Queens, NY.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Scentless Apprentice by Nirvana


Fade In…

In his dreams, a figure appears to Shift. It's an enigmatic shape, vaguely a man, with pallid skin and pale hair, wearing a dusky trenchcoat that seemingly conceals a form of shadows. His eyes are quite inhuman, and the depths in them tug at what remainds of Shift's soul. There is a power that is vast beyond all fathoming, something so utterly beyond the pull of the universe itself that it staggers and lames the mind to try and peer at it.

"You have been torn asunder and made into one of the Undying. You are the child of my father, May His Name be Uttered in Silence. Only He can restore you to wholeness, he who defied the proscripts of Creation itself during the dawning era when the stars were so few as to each bear a name. He has walked the halls of eternity from beginning to the end of times, and I am his Herald. Seek my Prophet," the being says, a woman (Reese) appearing as a luminescent eidolon. "She will escort you to my holy presence, where you will be made whole again by the blessing of the First of the Undying at my holy hand."

The dream fades, leaving behind a sense of real awe and fear and the sure knowledge that a being far, far beyond even the mightiest of mortals or Gods has touched Shift's mind.


Its quite impressive, how the fantastic can drive a person to action. Fourteen hours ago, Kwabena Odame exacted a silent departure from a SHIELD safehouse in Philadelphia; an easy task, given his particular set of talents, and one that certainly will have drawn the attention of WAND's oversight. Fortunately, the resurrected mercenary has a particular talent for losing a tail. His efforts at evading a tracker, however, have only been halfhearted. Let them follow him, if they put out the effort. So much the better.

The clock at Times Square reads exactly 3:48 AM when a slender knife finds its way into the space between Creflo McGill's fingernail and skin. His cries of suffering fill the damp alleyway, some blocks from the transportation hub, while a detailed drawing of the woman from Kwabena's dreams dangles in front of the man's face.

"You know who dis is," Kwabena seethes, heartlessly. "I want to know everything you know about her."

Forty five seconds later, the knife ends McGill's knife, when it is shoved through the man's face and into his brain pan, the information divulged driving him ever closer to his target.

*

'You still have a job to do. There is still darkness that traverses the doragon rain; even if you are not with us you are still one of us. Remember this.'

The words echo through Seikatsu's psyche as she holds the hilt of the katana, her eyes set a glow within the ley lines, the beast of darkness bearing down upon her as she takes her stance. She didn't forgether job; her favorite past time remained within the astrals, traveling, slaying the darkness and returning it to light. Even though the darkness inside begins to build.. moment.. by moment.. by moment..

She rushes towards the beast, katana drawn to her side, blade backwards as she draws it up with a swift movement and then down. The light of the blade leaves a trail that glows, for it is quick and true. The beast falls, which leaves behind a kanji of her own name, her hand pressed to the middle of the floating charicature which shatters in a dust of light, which soon spreads throughout the area to banish the darkness from the path.

"Stylish." She mutters, flicking her blade left and right, then soon returns it to her sheath. A glance upward into the world allows her a glimpse of her 'lifeless' body, resting against the tree in local park, her abnormal rotweiler shaking its rather large head to fight off a fly that buzzes near by.

*

Rain is working with WAND to put Shift together back the old fashioned way. But one of her talents is divination, so she's likely on Shiftway 2015: When the Shift hits the Fan Electric Boogaloo edition now with more soul.

She's not sure of his ability to evade magic, but likely the safe house was at least warded and/or alarmed. Shift is slipperier than a bag of ferrets dunked into WD-40. She's going out on her flying broomstick, with a bandana over her nose and mouth, as well asgoggles on. A magic GPS rests on the end of her broomstick. Captain, in his tan trenchcoat and cat-goggles sits just behind her, as they head towards where the divination is pinging. SHIFTPING.

*

The park is in a derelict section of Queens, surrounded by Section 8 housing, with the shiny lights and wrought iron fences of Astoria looking over it like the proverbial Cotton Farmer. Kwabena strides past a snoozing junkie, peering down at the addict with a sense of loathing.

Silver eyes peer out from the shadowy figure, garbed in black jeans, a black leather jacket and a dark grey hoodie, drawn up to cover his bald head. McGill had insisted that the girl's been crashing here in recent times, so, he begins combing the park with a keen eye, boots falling silently upon damp grass.

*

Derelict enough for Reese to come and go as she pleases. There was still a place she called home, this was just another part of it. Rat City, and this is their park. There were times she's moved through like a phantom, the coughing and sick were soon met with a quiet sleep after her gentle touch, the angry vagrants were supped up of their life but only a touch to leave them weak and wanting for the police..

Max shifts ever so slightly, twirling hisself around in a circle to plant himself right next to Reese's body, knocking her just a bit to cause her to lull a little to the side, and slump over in a heap.

Down below, that gaze draws up yet again as she lets out a slight hiss, her knees at a crouch as she launches herself into the astral air to allow the currents to guide her to her earthly coil.

*

Captain and Rain are on their way. It might not be hard to see them up above, although there's the whole 'completely silent mode of transport' going for her (thankfully, she is not chasing a snitch, just Shift). The magic GPS pings on the screen. Captain is quiet, his ears flicking. They move quickly towards Shift, although it may be hard to stop him in all the shadows as he walks so quietly. Waitminute. Almost there. She is nearly upon Shift. Not literally, though. She'd have to buy him dinner for that.

*

For the briefest of moments, Kwabena wonders why he hadn't ended the junkie's life. It would have been so easy. The entire concept of morality is missing, so… stomping on the worthless fuck's face isn't much different to him from swatting a fly, or wiping one's ass after a particularly enjoyable shit.

Ah well. He'll get to that. It's not as if the addict is going anywhere any time soon, considering how vigorously the drool was coating his chin. Kwabena has some bullshit to manage… bullshit which, beneath the cold facade, has him as furious as it has him terrified.

The Ghanaian's silver eyes snap to the left, where a hound is hunkering over another sleeping vagrant. A silent sound of cracking and popping precedes him…he'll handle the canine first.

*

The dog snaps out with his teeth to try to capture the girls shirt, tugging and attempting to draw her upright until his nose begins to work against the air. Like most pups would; he takes guard, dropping her upon the ground again as he looks left and right, scenting the air, his tail lowered as he begins to growl low.

And that wasn't all. Max really wasn't an ordinary hound, he was bred from the best ilk that Tamaranian's could squander; made for a princess yet gifted to the homeless girl as a guard while away from her home. He doesn't hulk out, but his eyes slit almost immediately, the nimbus flashing and blinking as those reptilian eyes dart left and right. Something was coming.. and it was enough to raise his hackles to begin to bark, hoping the noise would wake the blind girl up.

And it does. With a start, she snaps up, her eyes opening wide as she takes in a shrill breath of air, her hands immediately clasping against her chest as she tries to work her lungs into breathing. The snap back from the dragon lines was always hard, but she usually managed after a time.

*

Oh geez. Rain arrives just in time to see Shift about to try to end - is that Reese? And her dog? "Hey! Stop!" If he doesn't stop, she's going to try to turn him into a newt. "Don't hurt her!" Seriously, Rain means it. Captain pauses. "Seriously, man." The two are just out of stabbing range, but magic is whacky that way. His behavior is unnerving.

She isn't able to see the drool, but she is seeing what's about to go down. And it's not nice.

*

When the dog begins to bark, Kwabena's pace quickens, the crackling of his hardening flesh becoming louder. Fortunately for the pup, Reese's rapid awakening, paired with Rain's verbal interdiction, quiets his immoral motives. For a time.

Standing still, he recognizes Rain's voice but he does not turn his wary eye from Reese. "You should not have followed me," he growls to Rain, before pointing at the blind girl. "You. Raggedy Ann. Gonna come with me, with or without yah pet. Got me?"

*

Rain shakes her head. "It is part of my job. We don't want you-know-who to grab you again," She points out. "If you go with her, I am following to make sure she is safe. Or I can send Captain, but you will be watched for your safety and hers," Rain notes. She seems more confident than usual. That's actually probably a bluff. If he startles her, there'll be a sudden newtation on Shift.

But she watches - for now.

*

It takes her a minute to get to her senses, her hand reaching out to grasp her cane, gripping it tight as she slowly begins to stand. She knows the sound of urgency from Max when she hears it, she could also hear the crackling sound that makes up the bones of the dog beginning to shift. "Stand down." She snaps out, the dog suddenly quieting, her head tilted just a little to lend an ear to Shift and Rain.

She had -no- clue what was going on. She recognizes Rain of course, but.. this man? He was new. Her cane presses against the ground as she takes a slight step towards Max, her jaw tensing as teeth grit just beneath the surface.

"I will not go with you. Either of you." The cane lifts towards Rain's direction, and then towards the mans. "I sleep where I need and want. I am not being arrested and you sure as hell do not smell like cop. So go away."

*

Kwabena extends a hand behind him, pointing toward Rain. "I have tolahrated you and May's entourage. Right now, I'm running de show." He has no concept of just how powerful Rain can be. He's underestimating her; something he'd never have done, were he in his right mind at all.

His attention still fixed upon Reese and her strangely-eyed animal pet, Kwabena's expression becomes yet more malicious. "I'll give you ten seconds to explain, 'Prophet', how you appeared in my dreams. How you will 'lead' me to my 'restoration', before shit gets real ugly. I'm counting, now."

*

"Is that so?" Rain asks, frowning. While she herself tends to underestimate her own power, she also knows Shift is not to be toyed with. "Well, if you wish a room, ma'am, you are always welcome at my home." Pause. "But I'm not here to detain you. I was tailing this fellow," She explains.

"I'll let you two talk but if he makes ONE move to hurt you…" There's a quiet, shakey attempt at sounding authoritative. "And do not forget, Mister, that our entourage is half so that you are not retaken." And half to metaphysically duct tape his soul. Captain just watches them. For now, they watch and listen, although Rain is alert and tense.

*

A brow is lifted as she listens.. she could hear the tones and intent. She could feel the slight hint of fear that comes at her like a raw nerve, and yet she is unmoved. Her hand lifts to swipe the curled hair away from her face, her empty gaze soon drawing towards Rain as a room is offered. Another place to lay her head. She'll take it!

"Alright, then. Your house." Hope Rain has food.. but then there was the problem of Shift.. the angry man who begins his countdown.

"Max. Go home." The pup listens, much to his dismay, and quickly runs around the tree as a flash of light carries him to the HMSS. (Sleight of hand, Reese pushed a button.) And then she steps forward, her eyes slowly lighting a hint of red as she picks up upon the lifeforce of Shift. Prophet.

Yogen-Sha. She is willing just to see how far she could go before he finally.. snaps.

"..3.."
"..2.."
"..1.."

By then, she stood within arms length, her head slightly tilted as she would, cane held off to the side to strike if she need be but there was a chance, and she was betting on it, that it wouldn't be the case. "I am the Yogen-Sha, Prophet of He WhoDwells in Silence. Daughter of the Undying and of His blood. You will not lay hand on me; for restoration will be denied if harm comes unto me."

Of course, she was bluffing. Bluffing big time, but she was old enough to hold a very keen poker face..

*

Were it not for those particularly chosen words, things might have taken an unfortunate turn. However, a note of familiarity is struck, and it ushers into Kwabena's mind a nearly blinding reminder of so vivid a dream; something that will undoubtedly haunt him for months to come.

Grimacing, the Ghanaian takes a step back, lifting one super solid hand to touch his face. "You… make… no sense," he struggles. "None of dis, any sense. You should… should speak. Plainly."

Stubbornness, fueled by the raw, animal passions that his fragmented soul has left him with, drive a sudden change in the man. His apparent distress is shattered by a cry of anger. "SPEAK PLAIN ENGLISH, YOU STUPID CUNT!!!"

*

Rain nods. "Sounds good." There's food. Plenty of it, really. For now, the two watch over the conversation ready to newt Shift harder than a Monty Python sketch.

*

When Shift finally snaps- in that moment when frustration and desperation drives him to rage- something overtakes Reese. Her body stiffens in a rictus of desperation, eyes vanishing, mouth opening wide to reveal a soul-searing abyss of raw, eldritch power unlike anything Shift- or Rain- has likely seen before. Her body twists into a stiff arch and she elevates a few inches off the ground, and those burning eyes focus on Shift's face. A hand snaps out in a gesture of forestalling benediction, the earth itself groaning protest at the raw power using her as a conduit.

And she speaks. She speaks in a tone no human voice could hope to achieve, highs and lows, terrible and beautiful as a crashing glacier. There is a proud and terrible dignity about her form that no mortal could hope to bear with real sincerity. The words are lost as a dull murmur against the senses, buried in the cavalcade of force and beautiful chaos that erupts reality and bends the mind of any who behold it. They are words of power and pride, of unutturable assurance, and though the specifics are lost to the limitaton of mere human senses, the tone of absolutely authority and nigh-omniscient power is impossible to ignore.

There is no doubt that something is speaking /through/ Reese, and that Something is a power literally beyond human comprehension.

The words end and the calamity of sound ceases, and Reese's hand lowers, the burning fury of light closed behind tensed lips and narrowed eyes. She stares at Shift with a wild-eyed look, unable to completely hide her awe at the sensation of that power surging through her very mortal essence.

*

The transfiguration of Reese happens so quickly, so overwhelmingly, that Kwabena finds himself staggering backward, mouth ajar. The ground vibrates beneath him. The eyes stare at him. Darque did not remove his capacity to experience fear.

For a moment, the mutant's mind is indeed bent. However, the voice is familiar to him. He's been twisted by ancient, arcane witchcraft at the hand of HYDRA; dispelled that witchcraft by way of a charm obtained in the Nowhere Market; performed horrible acts so that he might burrow his way to the side of the feared Red Skull himself.

Then, he met a fate worse than death; his soul shattered into a thousand pieces, not even to have a taste of the afterlife. It was a fate worse than death, for it was total annihilation of his mind, body, and soul. Were it not for science - the very abnormality that is woven into his molecular genetics - Darque wouldn't have found the pieces. That overwhelming Essense is a thing he touched, embraced even, and the compatible yang to its yin brought him back from annihilation.

Like the whisper of a mother to her infant child, it calls to him. Shock and awe fade from Kwabena's expression, and he stretches out a hand, now mere flesh and blood, with no twisting into impervious shell or sublimation into gas, to reach for hers.

"Da'mene. Hawa lu k'ni." The words are in his native tongue, all else forgotten for the next moment.

*

Rain is - not entirely sure what's going on. But she is watching, quietly concerned. She's making sure nothing gets out of hand. A magical bouncer, if you will.

*

The small form of Takeda Seikatsu reaches out to grasp Shift's hand; that calming light, one that surges through her hand as the gaze remains leveled, eyes remade anew with the power flowing through. It was her own powers at play, subtly fighting against the darkness that peels, rips and roars inside, tugging at that grasp only to bring him closer to where she stood.

Bare feet presses against the ground as she takes that final step, fingers lacing and latching into him as the soothing calm attempts to coat, radiate, and ease the soul. She was a walking connundum, the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light, met with equal parts darkness yet missing that light in which the Yogen-Sha /will not/ tame.

"Anata ga watashitachi no serendipiti o karite inai, anata wa watashitachi ni anata no kyofu o oimasen. Wareware ga hitsuyo to suru subete wa anata no ikei no nendesu."

And then she embraces him; One of the First of the Undying, to he who was torn asunder and made to one of her ilk. Son to He Who Dwells in Silence; now Brother to She Who Guides the Light into the Darkness into the Light, to Daughter of He Who Dwells in Silence. "I'll go with you." She finally murmurs, allowing herself to embrace him as if she would a relative.. only letting go if and when he chooses the moment to.

*

Let one not be mistaken; Shift is still very much a fragmented person, a few steps beyond the true definition of 'Undead'. He still bears no capacity for friendship, or trust, or any of those qualities that make one anything but raw, animal immorality.

When Reese hugs him, however, such a flood of goodness comes to him that, for the blink of a moment, he seems himself once more.

When at last the embrace is broken, Kwabena turns to Rain. "Tell de oddahs… I am…" It's admittedly a struggle for the words to form. "… grateful. And… dis was all shown to me. In a dream. I don't trust it, it may be a trap, but… if it is… I am about to spring it."

A pause, during which he comes close to apologizing. For what? His behavior? The senseless vitriol that's poured from his mouth? The people he's murdered without even bearing the capacity to understand what murder really is? No. The apology is in his eyes, but it never finds its way to his lips.

"Tell May."

With that last bit of instruction, the effects of Reese's healing power fade, leaving Kwabena to turn, life draining from his eyes. "Come with me," he tells her, icily, and leads her out of the park, past the junkie who's life will be spared this morning.

*

"…" Rain seems - dubious. This is not an energy or magic she's familiar with. "I'll tell her. But I don't want you unsupervised. I'll either get to track you or go with you," Rain explains. "You-know-who has intensified his activities. We've already had an absurdly powerful succubus coming." Pause. "Plus, I'd probably get in serious trouble. So you can either meet at my manor and I will give her the room and food I promised or you may go back. Trap or not…" She is an intent guardian.

"Or at least take Captain with you." "Sup. Chicks love cats."

*

Seikatsu didn't know the full range of what happened with Shift. But what she does know that something is missing, just by touch alone, she felt that void, that sinking pit in her stomach that needs to be filled. She says nothing, her ear tilted towards Rain's direction, a slight smile drawing to her lips but in that smile was worry.

What has she done? What has she agreed to? And could it be kept secret for long?

There had to be a way to combat this; to overcome the darkness with the light. But she had to play the game first, to find the end. She draws her cane around to the front, listening to the sounds of Kwabena's footsteps, reaching out to latch onto his arm and then stopping to give Rain slight regard. "Lead the way, Rain."

Moontree Manor was going to be hell.

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