Calling

Revisiting a place that was once called home, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.

Moderators: Reiko Souma, Arla Carna

User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

He sighed, holding her close, and delivering a soft kiss to her forehead as he petted her hair. His touch was a gentle one, a soft warmth seemingly emitting from his body in the cold swamp. Gently, he turned her head to look up at him, and he stared into her eyes in silence for a long moment.

"...none of that pain can reach your heart in this place, child. When you are with me...I shall protect you. I have promised to shield you from all threats. This includes the ones that come from within." He gently reached down and lay his hand against her chest, right over her heart.

He has promised me that...and yet, here I am... It was as if the woman had, at least for now, lost her ability to speak. Whilst she definitely hasn't, words simply weren't coming to her. They certainly weren't going to come to her as long as their eyes were meeting! Thoughts were starting to melt away. With those, the pit in her stomach seemed to slowly start to vanish as well. No longer feeling a desire to vomit was always nice.

Fortunately, Reiko wasn't one to get cold easily. She certainly wouldn't complain about any kind of warmth, though! Oh Fate, she could almost feel herself starting to cave. Maybe she needed to sit down? Maybe not yet...she listened silently as he spoke. The pastel pink blush on her face only deepened some from his touching her chest where her heart was, that muscle itself beginning to beat a little faster.

"What...what is..?" She was starting to find the words to speak again. "What is the guarantee...that anyone can actually protect me from myself?" Reiko finally asked.

He paused, looking sorrowfully into her eyes, and speaking barely above a whisper. "There isn't one. I cannot lie to you. That power must come from within you. The tools have been given to you by the Lord...and I his Prophet can show you to use them, should you let me." He paused again, moving his face closer to hers, staring deeply into those eyes of hers. "...I only seek to help you, Reiko."

Willpower. In other words, she needed to have the willpower. But, there was that "Lord" stuff again! "..." The pitted feeling in her stomach was continuing to fade. Soon, it was as if she had never felt gutted to begin with. "How do you show..?" Okay, that probably made little sense. That was because words were now failing her with Joseph's face moving closer to hers. Was he going to kiss her..? She had kissed him a few times, and quite brazenly so, after all.

He paused, a smile coming to the corners of his lips as she seemed to be regaining her composure. His grip remained soft around her, but he did not back away. He also didn't move forward. He kept his face close to hers, smiling down at her gently, those deep green eyes never looking away from hers. He whispered to her, "In time. All in time, child."
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

The quivering in her eyes had stopped. Good. Not only was she regaining her composure, she was regaining her willpower. He had dodged her question...Reiko was going to keep wondering about this until she actually knew. She wanted to know, preferably sooner than later. Still, she found herself not wanting to move away from Joseph. All the same, it had to be several minutes since they'd come to a stop in the very place they continued to stand. Just how much longer were they going to stand there?

"Joseph..." Reiko's hands started to move some, rising slowly. Where they were going...she rested them on his shoulders, at least for now. By now, she's long since memorised the shade of green in his eyes. They were a lovely shade that reminded her of little emeralds. Ack. Where was she even going with this?

The forest had grown darker around the two of them, fireflies coming out and gently glowing, beads of light in the darkness. He kept one hand wrapped around her waist, the other resting on her cheek, as he tilted his head ever so slightly at her voice, a grin coming to his face as he whispered to her. "... Yes?"

I don't even know where I was going with this... It had to be getting late enough to where she was going to need to use a dull flashlight to navigate her way if she was to linger outside any longer. Then again, she'd remembered Joseph carrying a lantern around with him. Now there were little bugs adding their little lights to the darkness like the tiniest of candlelight flames. It was a rather pleasant sight, made more pleasant by the sounds of nature around them. "I guess I like saying your name aloud..." Reiko whispered. Her hands moved inwards, as if they were about to go on a journey of sorts.

He smiled at her, the hand by her cheek moving upwards to brush the hair from her face gently. He said nothing in response, a small hint of red touching at his cheeks...or was that the warmth in the air? He felt her hands run past his open shirt to his bare chest, and suddenly...he leaned forward, giving her a light kiss, their lips touching only a moment before he slowly pulled away, eyes locking once more with hers. He smiled. "As do I... Reiko."

There was almost no way of telling how much, or how little, red there was for Reiko to see anyways. Save for the lantern - wherever it was at by now - and the fireflies, the woman was seeing in a mixed sepia and earthen tone. Her vision might be quite heightened, as she had been born with vision and hearing that was far above average for a human being, but she wasn't some kind of Supergirl. Even in the darkest of environments, there were limits.

Her hands remained on his bare chest, almost joined together. And then, her eyes widened with the most pleasant of surprises. Even if brief, it felt like much longer than such, that he had kissed her. It caused her smile to widen with the spreading blush to go with it. How she wanted more! Reiko felt greedy, but she also knew better. There were no words as she stood still before him, simply enjoying this moment in the darkness.

He said nothing for a long moment, the two simply standing in the darkness with each other, before he turned his head up at the night sky. Stars were coming out...he looked down at her with a smile. "Perhaps it is best to head home, my child...unless, of course...you would prefer to accompany me?"

One quick glance upwards confirmed that. Whenever there were stars, pesky biting bugs were bound to start being really pesky. Did she want to head home? In truth, no...this was the opportunity she had been looking for! Reiko shook her head no. "I'll accompany you," she told him, and she lowered her hands from his bare chest.

He took both of her hands in his and looked at her. "Take a deep breath...and close your eyes."

This, she's been through before. It had only been once, but it still counted. Holding onto his hands, Reiko took a deep inhale. Then she shut her eyes and waited to see what would happen next. Teleportation? Some time warp thing?

She wouldn't feel anything unusual, other than a change in temperature...and suddenly they were stood outside the front door of the house. Joseph squeezed her hands gently to show her it was alright to open her eyes, and the front door gently swung open on its own.

If it wasn't for things feeling perhaps a little warmer, then it was the gentle squeeze of her hands, that served as a cue for Reiko to open her eyes. They slid open slowly, no longer standing in the middle of the swamp. Now they were outside of the front door of his house. With a slow exhale, she saw the door opening on its own (she swore it was him using telekinesis). Seriously, with the temperature increase, it was a damn good thing Reiko was wearing shorts and a tank top! She would probably sweat some from the heat otherwise.

He let go of her hands and raised his arm with the lantern now held in his hand. Where had that come from, exactly...? He took a step back, grinning at her. "After you, my child..."

"Yes...thank you." The soft smile was evident with the raised lantern as she was the first to step into the house. It was going to be one interesting night, Reiko thought...

He stepped in after her, and the door swung shut behind them on its own. With that, the woods returned to silence once more.

It was behind that closed door that the pleasant mood seemed to linger, or so the Albino believed. For the most part, she was just glad to be inside of a house again. She had been spared any mosquito bites after all! As for her appetite, it had started to return to her a bit more. However, she was in need of sleep. And, where she ended up falling asleep that night was in Joseph’s bed.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

16 Jul 20xx: Sweet Dreams

Post by Reiko Souma »

*This particular scene is an abbreviated prelude to the several weeks of gradual manipulation to follow. Please take note of any appropriate advisories.

Daytime visits to this place or that place were no longer a viable option. Since starting the last leg of her community service as a delivery driver for Nicole's Bistro, Reiko's social life was now limited to the evenings. To be specific, after six o'clock in the evening was when the woman was free. The sun might still be high in the sky for another couple of hours everywhere else, but it wasn't going to be so visible from where she was going. Where she was going was a place that she hasn't been to in what felt like forever. In truth, it had been at least a week.

This time, a different song was on her mind:
"Sweet dreams are made of these,
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas,
Everybody's looking for something."

Think of the version sung by Emily Browning in a particular movie, Sucker Punch, with its slow and ballad-like tempo. Though Reiko was hearing this in her mind, she wouldn't be surprised if she eventually heard the forest choir singing it as well. It was more appropriate for the moment, she thought, as she walked towards the usual entrance she took to enter the woods.
"Some of them want to use you,
Some of them want to get used by you;
Some of them want to abuse you,
Some of them want to be abused..."

That particular verse sounded more sordid to the music that Reiko had first heard it being sung to. Yikes! It was a wonder the song hadn't been banned from the radio stations on Terra. Alas, the song with its slow tempo continued to play through Reiko's mind as she - wearing a short black dress with spaghetti straps and a choker with a buckle attached to it, and two-inch heel boots - walked in the direction she knew to be Joseph's house. She had questions that needed answers.

The forest remained silent to her. The spider no longer needed tricks to lure its fly in, when the prey came willingly. However, as the dirt turned to mud and swampy around the stone path, hundreds of fireflies lit up around Reiko, bathing her in soft, yellow light as she walked through the woods. Carried on the winds came a whisper, low and gravelly.

"The lamb returns to her flock, then..?"

So, there was no forest choir singing this time. Reiko didn't think they would want to sing such a depressing song, not one that had quite possibly contradicted the message of love that she's heard time and time before. It was certainly getting darker around her, and she was seeing the change of scenery around her. What she did appreciate was the soft glows of the fireflies around her, giving an assurance of sorts that she could still see. She was glad for that. The light was yellow, not white, after all.

"Does a lamb seek a companion as much as she seeks a shepherd?" Reiko queried in response to the low whisper as she walked closer to the house. She reached out her left arm some. "I saw the mask on the front door of the Inn..." Her left arm, still raised, was at waist level. Her hand turned to face up, as if to catch one of the fireflies whilst she walked. "...I never needed an invitation to come to you, Joseph."

Soon, Reiko and the fireflies vanished into the darkness of the night.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

19 Jul 20xx: Worlds Collide

Post by Reiko Souma »

*Due to the content of the scene played out live, this post is a summary of what transpired at the Red Dragon Inn in the above date.

It was barely noticeable at first, but the common room of the Inn seemed to get quite cold all of a sudden. It was as though a draught was coming in through the windows... even though no windows were open. There was a gentle pattering sound, as raindrops began to fall against the windows.

Upon Reiko's arrival at the Inn, a number of patrons were already there; of note were Snowflake and his dad, Banjo, Whisk, Haru, and Joseph. Having some time during her deliveries this afternoon, Reiko found herself driving to the Inn. She's not been there in two weeks, not since that day...she shook her head. Why think of that now? An omen? It couldn't be, and yet, she parked in her preferred space before stepping out of her car. Rain. She didn't anticipate this. "How odd...I don't remember today calling for rain." As if she knew! She stepped through the front door and started through the common area.

And froze, surprised to see Joseph sitting there. It showed, though it really shouldn't have. After all, he wasn't limited to just his house in the swamp.

Noticing the exchange between the two, Haru couldn't help but question the connection. As Reiko confirmed, yes, she did know the man. Joseph was special to her. She treasured his very presence, sitting beside him after her nephew was caught taking a photo of him to send to Shourim; of course there were questions - and then some - as the man referred to Reiko as child.

A brief, but awkward, silence then fell as Desdenova and Sammy arrived, the sound of Sammy's bike engine and loud industrial music blaring breaking that silence. When Reiko's fingers curled around Joseph's, and she was sat next to him, it almost seemed as if the rest of the world around the Albino woman was reduced to but a small perspective. That perspective included Joseph, herself, and anyone else who decided to come close enough to them. Unless anyone came close to them, Reiko was perfectly at ease, even with her guards up. That is, until the one who had a rather unusual manner of speaking caught her attention. Who was she? Reiko's manner of curiosity had Joseph's head turning cautiously towards Reiko, his brow furrowed...though he stayed silent, electing to watch the situation unfold.

It had gotten Fauve's attention. She had been praising Sammy's work. Then eyes flashed over to the exotic presence with what appeared to be a stripper man in the back and her head tilted at a disturbing and unnatural angle as she drank these two people in. Then recognition and she peeled herself from Sammy's lap eagerly. All it took was Fauve's answer, given her unique manner of speaking, to have the woman rising to her feet. She could deal with being called sleeping beauty, a harmless nickname. Joseph being called a stripper man was cringeworthy, but otherwise ignorable. What she had done to her guardian Shourim, however...that could not be ignored, even in her current physical state.

No attention was paid to the explanation of the lantern harming someone like Fauve. When close enough, provided her hand was now free, Reiko didn't hesitate - the hand that hadn't been holding onto Joseph's balled into a fist and drove right towards Fauve's face, meaning to punch her square in that demonic face of hers. Yes, Reiko had asked for it now. The punch had been taken, now with Fauve's eyes glowing red and wild on Reiko and only Reiko. Nothing else mattered to Fauve in this moment. Whisk appeared unamused and yawned at the display. Would Reiko take a second hit, even when Joseph glared at the Albino and tell her enough?

No. One punch was all that had been needed in that moment to satisfy Reiko's moment of anger. Nobody took advantage of her drunken guardian and got away with it, even with the promise of a private discussion with Joseph to follow.

Reiko not being back to full health as of yet had started to take its toll on her some, and not at the best time either. As she was tended to by her nephew with some tea, Fauve had chosen that time to seemingly put on a little show of gore. Given Reiko's condition by then, it was safe to say that she wasn't staying for much longer. No more deliveries were needed for the day, either.

With a whisper and a teleport away, Reiko and Joseph were gone.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

29 Jul 20xx: Quick Retreat

Post by Reiko Souma »

The black Mercedes-Benz was parked in the shade, close to trees and out of the way of wildlife...for the most part. Stepping out of the car, Reiko retrieved her backpack and situated it on her person before locking and alarming her car. There were adventures and fun to be had, and a certain someone to enjoy some lengthy quality time with. "Where, oh where, shall my feet carry me now..?" Reiko wondered aloud, though she knew perfectly well where she was going.

At the time. Haru was slipping through the woods quiet as a mouse, being all in all a s—head.

A gust of wind brushed through the undergrowth around the two of them, suddenly picking up, threatening to knock the young boy off his feet and out of cover. Someone was fiddling around...

Ah, but Reiko had yet to step into the woods. She was out in the open, looking in the direction of the farm where she had previously done her community service at. She suddenly felt a gust of wind blowing and immediately put her hands in front of her dress. "If you want a show, then I'd be happy to oblige...once I lose my tail." Reiko turned her head to her left. "Following me usually means making sure you're not following a psychic, Haru!" she called, "Go back to the car, and you and Salemji can go back home!"

Haru yelped. Then he texted Salem, "She caught me. I need a headband."

Well, that worked well. The wind died down slowly; when it did, Reiko moved her hands away from her dress. Hearing the yelp, the woman put her hands on her hips. "Get going!" she called to him. Her eyes glowed pink; she wasn't going to use her telekinesis just yet, though she would if she had to.

"A headband? Like what Reiko has? Don't ask me about one of those. Just come back to the car." Salem texted in response, much to the sigh of Haru as he headed back to the car. He plopped down on the seat to send a text.

Meanwhile, Reiko continued forward, headed towards the entrance of the woods she usually used. The glow vanished from her eyes, only a blush was on her face as a brilliant shade of pink. Reiko continued on, this time not looking back. "I'm coming..."

Just to ensure no shenanigans would take place, there was a sudden crack which ripped out across the forest. A tree nearby swayed before falling with an almighty crash, separating the car from Reiko.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

Step into the woods, hearing the sound of the tree coming down behind her. Reiko turned, seeing the tree now behind her, and she blinked. Well. That was one way of making sure she wasn't followed any longer. Though, that would do nothing to stop anyone with additional abilities from coming through if they wanted to. That much, Reiko knew for fact. She turned to face forward again and walked onwards towards her destination for the next few days.

As the woman walked through the quickly dampening woods, her usual vigil of fireflies gathered like a protective swarm around her, lighting her way all the way down the path into the darkening woods. The cold breeze warmed up around her. A voice spoke up to her left: "I have missed you, my sweet."

The protective swarm of fireflies was gratefully welcomed, especially as the forest around her darkened rapidly. With her backpack in tow, her cellphone on silent and sitting in one of the pockets of her backpack, Reiko continued on. Boot-covered feet left faint footprints on the ground beneath her with the most noticeable of these being the skinniness of the boot's heels. A smile had returned to her face following the previously intense moment of her ordering Haru to go away. She'd never had to resort to psionic intimidation with her nephew like she had just minutes ago, and she hoped to never have to do so with him again.

Both hands were free, her keys also in her backpack, with the voice to her left. Her smile warmed at the greeting. "And I, you..." Reiko said, "...my handsome."

Joseph was, as ever, strolling alongside her. His lantern lit the way like a headlight in front of them, the fireflies parting around it like a river around a rock. With his free hand, he held hers, though something seemed different about him. He seemed greyer-faced. Cheeks more sunken. Eyes seeming sunken from lack of sleep. His smile didn't reach his eyes. Well, until he looked at her, that is, at which point his face became warmer, though still looking almost sickly.

Even though she had called him handsome and held his hand, the changes in his appearance didn't escape her eyes. It surprised and concerned her some as her head tilted some. "Oh my...are you all right? You seem rather ill and tired...are you in need of rest?" Reiko couldn't help but ask him this and make the observation. If anybody knew a thing or two about sickly, however, then it was her. She's been fighting the war against her own health her entire life, after all, that she couldn't not notice. Leave it to the Albino to not judge the appearance, but rather respond with care and compassion - two things that she knew most in Rhy'din thought she lacked. Those judgmental bastards.

He sighed softly, looking down at the floor. "Reiko, my darling... you must not worry yourself about me..."

"Eh?" Her eyes followed his, only for her to stop and try bringing him to a stop as well so that she could touch his face with her free hand. "But, why not? You are but one, just as I am as well...it would be a sin for me to not be at the least concerned about you. Or to care about your well-being as much as I care for that of the Children...if not more than that."

He looked into her eyes, his own hand coming up to touch gently at her cheek as she did to him, face fallen. "Reiko... my sweet, precious Reiko..." He paused, seeming troubled. "I cannot hide the truth from you. It would be wrong. My heart would not let me."
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

Azalean pinks met deep greens as she stood before him, not walking any longer for the moment. Her white hand caressed his cheek, though his face still seemed grey to her. "Then...don't," were the first words to come from her. The hand that held his gave it a gentle squeeze. "Do you not teach that all are to be honest, sincere..? So then, I will listen to the truths that you share with me." Why not? She did this for others already; why should he be any different.

He nodded solemnly. "My heart is tested, Reiko... I do not wish to worry you...nor cause you undue pain..."

Unless met with resistance, her hand let go of his and joined her other in touching his face, both hands simply holding with gentleness. "Tell me." Her voice was gentle, soft, more so than it usually was. It was just the two of them in the darkness of the woods, surrounded by the glow of his lantern and the fireflies around them, but this moment seemed to warrant the extra sense of gentleness from the Albino. "I will listen to what you say, pass no judgment against you...who am I to judge another when I believe I've been put in this world to help others...do my best to soothe the troubled state of one's heart and soul. Yes, perhaps even their minds as well." It wasn't a stretch of the truth by any means. Just ask her employees, if they were to come forward to meet this man, anyways.

After a pause, he spoke up. "Ever since your headband was removed, and I have been able to use my...inherent abilities to peek into the golden, beautiful tapestry that is your mind...I have found...pain. So much of it. Pain, and hurt, and loss, and anger, and sadness...it...it has had an effect on me, my dear. I seek to heal you of your troubles...I want nothing more than to make you happy, Reiko...but in order to heal your pain, I must experience it..."

Was that why his appearance was as it was? Reiko has never known anyone's physical appearance to change based on what they could sense from others. Or read, in this case, as he had just confessed to reading the sacred diary that was Reiko's mind without her permission. This drew a bit of a sigh from her in response at first as she listened, saying nothing at first. She was also confused at the last thing to come from his mouth. "Do you realise what it is you're asking to do..? Joseph...to bear the source of everything I went through prior to meeting you, every single traumatic and happy experience..." She lifted her head and tilted it back, looking up at the gradually darkening sky as she continued to hold the sides of his face. "...it might be too much for you to bear. Just look at how it's affected you already just from seeing all that you've seen."

He shook his head slightly, his eyes clenching shut as he let his own arms rest on her shoulders. "I...I must, Reiko. You do not understand...I must. You are precious to me, you are....you are sacred, you... I..." He stumbled over his words, his face contorting with the effort to hold back, not to say it. She looked back down to find his eyes shut. Precious? Sacred? What was it he was trying to say that was so difficult for him to find the words? They've not been reunited for more than five minutes, and she was already being given such high compliments. Never in the few short weeks of their knowing each other has Reiko known Joseph to stumble with his words so much. Her face was already starting to warm, just like the air around them.

"...I must heal you of this...I must...because..." He looked up into her eyes. That warmth spread and Reiko's face ablaze with pink almost like her hair. "...because I love you, Reiko."
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

The last words he spoke to her widened her eyes like platters, and time seemed to almost slow for her. If sense was still with her to be rationally-minded, then she would know that it was far too soon for such a confession to be made to her. Something like this ordinarily took months to a year, not weeks - except for special circumstances. Was this one of them? Reiko couldn't speak, she was so full of emotion that she was utterly speechless in that moment.

He took a deep breath, taking a step back. "I know...I know it is very soon and please, do not mistake my quickness of action with a lack of forethought...I had known that you were special on this earth from the moment I let my eyes rest upon you that day in the forest. Our hour could arrive any day, Reiko. Why waste time when we know it is true?"

Did he? Eyes were still wide as platters as Reiko listened, hearing his words. Slowly, reality started to return to the woman. Her face was still pink, only now she could feel herself melting into a puddle of mush - figuratively speaking, anyways. "I..." She really had no idea of what to say! Their hour...for what? Reiko started to gather herself, and she moved slightly closer to lessen the distance between them. "...yes...I can feel it coming for us...our time..." Her heart fluttered as she searched for the right thing to say.

He took a step forward, matching her, his hands gently squeezing hers as he looked into her eyes. "Look inside of your mind Reiko...you will find the answer to the question unasked..."

With her hands now beneath his, her hands having been on the sides of his face still, she blinked silently a single time. Look inside of her mind...she could do that with her eyes open and with minimal effort. And so, she did start to look. She started to search within, first for the question unasked, and then for the answer. Joseph stayed silent, taking another step forward to close the distance between them, his eyes large and hopeful, his hands squeezing hers gently.

Deeper and deeper within herself she searched. She simply had to go back a few weeks to when they first met...yes. Their very first meeting had ended with her making the first move of taking hold of him and kissing him. So had their second. It really did beg the question to be asked, and rightly so. Did she? When it all boiled down to the root, Reiko simply could not lie whatsoever. No matter how soon it was, she's certainly seen crazier things happen. If it meant Reiko was crazy, then so be it. She was crazy. "I can't deny it...and I certainly can't hide what's so likely obvious," the woman said. Her heart started to beat faster as she spoke the soul-baring words next, her eyes not leaving his as she said them: "I love you, Joseph."

At those final words, the man's face lit up, leaning forward to take her gently into his arms, beaming down into her face. There was a long moment of silence as he stared into her eyes. "And so the world is that much less empty of compassion..." He leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her lips, pulling back with an almost tearful smile. "I...I believe it's my turn to be at a loss for words, my dear..."

Her arms came around him as he took her into his, and a fully warm smile was on her face at his words. She committed to memory his smiles and bright expressions, not one to forget things so significant to her - especially not easily. "Sh..." she whispered to him, her lips finding his as a means to silence him. Eventually, she wanted to go inside, but for now, she wanted this moment to last.

He kissed her back, the two of them standing in the marshland path, soft yellow fireflies swirling around the two of them. With their eyes closed it was though nothing else in the world mattered but the two of them in that moment. Nothing at all.

Perhaps the world had indeed dissolved away from around them after all? Her eyes remained shut, but a soft glow surrounded Reiko before it started to extend to slowly surround Joseph. Provided there was no resistance to this, the woman was using her telepathy to project the images she saw in her mind around them both, as if she was creating an alternate version of reality. The marshland around them transitioned smoothly into the imagery of a grassy meadow with different-coloured flowers dotting the blades of grass with their delicate blossoms. There were no roses among them, though, a hint that she was allergic to them.

He opened his eyes, looking around in wonder...before looking back to her with a smile. "It is beautiful, my darling, though...perhaps a greater beauty stands before me..." A hand came up and gently leaned against her cheek as he stared into her eyes.

If only it was more than her psychic projection, then she wouldn't want them to leave it behind. In this projection, the sun was shining in the distance. Neither too hot nor cool, the temperature was just right. Clouds puffed the light aquamarine-hued sky with their gentle white cotton ball puffs. It made for a picture-perfect setting, if nothing else. "My love..." Her eyes opened to meet with his yet again yet the projection remained. It was easy to deactivate, once she was ready to.

A hand leant down to gently touch her chest, right above her heart as he smiled down at her. "Perhaps it's best we head home, my love..." Joseph leaned in and gently kissed her forehead. "...after what happened earlier, I would rather us be behind closed doors, at least for the night."

Reiko was starting to get used to that place above her heart being touched by him. At first, it had come across as most unusual, but by the third or so, it ceased to feel so unusual. Almost like something special between the two of them, if one may. Being reminded of the earlier scene where she'd put her hands in front of the skirt of her dress to keep from being upskirted in front of her nephew, the rings of pink returned to her with a vengeance. "Yes...I think we'd better..." Not another moment was spent before the psychic projection faded from around them with a blink of Reiko's eyes, and they were surrounded by the marshland setting once more.

A grin spread across his face when she turned pink, as though that image had seeped from her mind into his. He extended a hand to her. "Remember. Close your eyes and hold your breath." Moving her arms away from around him, she took hold of his hand. Her eyes closed, and she - to humour him - held her breath, but only because she too knew how to teleport. He clearly didn't mean literally, but he came up with a solution to both of them. He leaned in and planted a deep kiss on her lips, holding it tight...

...until with a flutter of the leaves, they were gone.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

30 Jul 20xx: Nothing At All

Post by Reiko Souma »

The sun beamed in through soft, silken curtains as the white, morning sun hit the sky. The bedroom was silent. A four poster bed lavishly decorated in the centre of the room, and on a nightstand, by Reiko's head was a tray of breakfast. Scrambled eggs on toast. Joseph was, as of yet, nowhere to be found, most likely having disappeared sometime in the night, during sleep. Lying beneath the blanket was a peacefully sleeping Reiko, the tips of her just below the shoulders hair touching the edge of the blanket. She could be an incredibly difficult person to awaken sometimes; once she was asleep, she was completely out cold. Well, unless there was food next to her. The smell of scrambled eggs was the first to reach her nose, and her eyelash-less eyes slowly slid open to find the plate of food in her direct line of vision. Not yet aware of being alone, the woman simply rubbed her eyes and stared at the plate. Zombie Reiko?

Good thing she didn't realise she was alone because, when she turned away, Joseph was once again lying in bed next to her. He slid up, leaning up on one elbow in his side, his bare chest sliding out of the blanket slightly as he put an arm around Reiko's waist over the covers. "Good morning, my dear..." he greeted smoothly.

It was either the first or second time he was going to see Zombie Reiko up close. Apart from rubbing her eyes and slowly blinking, the woman hasn't yet moved. Her eyes slid open a little bit more at the arm around her waist, and she turned to face its owner. "Mornin'..." Oh yeah. She was still mostly asleep, mentally, which meant she was using her native New Jersey accent that she usually disguised in public so effortlessly (unless she was drunk...).

He chuckled a little, both at her accent and at her sleep mode. He leaned his head down on the pillow next to hers, giving her a small peck on the forehead and whispering to her as he gently brushed some of the hair from her face. "Did you sleep well, my darling..?"

"Mhm..." For the moment, the breakfast was going ignored. Surely her stomach would be the first to remind her that it was a black hole, given enough time. One hand rubbed her eyes again as she said, "...Ah' did...and you?" Even her telepathy needed time to wake up, so she was completely ignorant to anything that might have transpired before her waking up. Unbeknownst to her, dreams and sleep often presented the perfect opportunity for one with the ability to dig into someone's mind and play.

Joseph gently pressed his forehead against hers, his arms now sliding under the blanket and around her. "Of course...I was with you, after all..." He closed his eyes and leaned against her, smiling.

She was especially prone to nightmares, no matter where she went. It was one thing she had enjoyed not having when she'd worn her headband, but now that it was off and she had no intention of ever wearing it again, they had returned with a vengeance. As her brain started to catch up with the rest of her in waking up, a reminder of the one she'd had - and been unable to wake up from - was slowly making its way towards the front of her mind. The woman feared very little, mind it, but that didn't stop her mind from having been plagued with one of the most common: the psychological abuse she'd experienced at the hands of her parents as a young child.

Being shut in her room almost nonstop, except to eat, use the toilet, and spend time with her uncle. Replace the room with a giant cage, and her parents with her guardian and Haru as the ones who had locked her away, and it was enough for Reiko to scoot closer to Joseph beneath the blanket. Her arms came around him as she willed the thought of the nightmare away. "Good..." Reiko simply said.

He held her close, warmth seeming to emanate from his body as he started to pet at her hair. He sighed, looking down at her. "Something troubling you, darling?"

A slow nod came from her at first, albeit a hesitant one. When was the last time she'd told anyone other than her uncle Salem about her dreams and nightmares? He'd been the only one to date to soothe her and comfourt her back to sleep whenever she'd awoken from said nightmares, after all. "A nightmare..." As she started to wake more, her native New Jersey was becoming less. "...different from some of what I usually wake up from, though I couldn't wake up from this one." One arm slid free to give her eyes one last rub. Then it returned around him. "Usually, I dream about what my parents did to me. It's odd...this time, it was like my own guardian and nephew had locked me up somewhere as soon as I'd returned from being with you...separating us." Reiko shook her head. "I won't let that happen..."

He frowned, looking down at her thoughtfully, before leaning in and giving her a comforting squeeze. He leant down to peck her forehead once more, nuzzling his cheek against the top of her head with a sigh. "Ordinarily, I would say that nightmares mean nothing...though, what with the events of just yesterday and their reaction to you leaving..." He trailed off, looking down at her and letting her finish that thought herself.

"...yes." Her uncle and nephew both owed her an explanation for why they had decided on following her that day, especially Haru. Reiko understood that they cared about her and only wanted what was best for her. Did they even know what exactly was best for her? "My dreams and nightmares...they always mean something." Whether they were visions that came to fruition or not, she made sure to never forget a single one. "They were worried for me. This time..? It bordered overprotective. I don't like overprotective." Her hands moved to his shoulders, absently rubbing them.

Sorrow and guilt crossed his face, as he leaned into his lover's grasp, his eyes suddenly averting from hers. "I know...I just do not understand...how can they not see that all I want is to help you? I only seek to keep you safe...I cannot help but...but feel that this is somehow my fault..." He gulped, still staring away into the middle distance, curling in on himself and threatening to pull away from her arms.

Her hands stopped rubbing his shoulders then, and she listened. "Don't say that," may have come from her too quickly. Reiko shook her head once she realised what she had said. Since when did she have such a controlling nature? Yikes! "I'm sorry. What I mean is...the others. They don't know you like I do. Different cultures, different upbringings...like two worlds colliding." One hand moved to the side of his face, as if trying to gently guide it to turn to look at her again. "There's no reason for you to be at fault, Joseph. It is not your fault." The word was given a soft emphasis.

He looked at her, a smile returning to his face softly. "You always say such sweet things..." He leaned forward and gave her a kiss on the nose, smiling at her and once more running a hand through her hair. "Perhaps you're right. They don't understand me...or you, really. They don't understand us, and I fear they might never will."

It was the truth - or, it was what she believed was the truth, anyways, with the time they've spent together. With a little bit of a nod, the beginnings of a smile were finding place on her. "Perhaps...maybe they might. Someday, soon, if you'd like. Maybe you could come have dinner with me and my family at my house..?" Her house in Rhy'din, that is. She wouldn't expect a trip to her home world of Terra, where she also owned a house. Her business was there. "You could have dinner with them...and maybe spend the night. Maybe then, they could start to understand you, and some of what it is I see in you."

He smiled slightly. "Yes, I expected you were going to ask this of me...and as such, I had an answer already decided. I will accompany you...and I will do my best to change their outlook on us. On you."

Her smile spread, becoming fuller and warmer, at this. Her eyes might even have a little twinkle to them. "I knew you'd agree to it...I'm glad." Speaking of food, there was still that plate of scrambled eggs and toast on the nightstand behind her. At last, a quiet rumble sounded from her stomach. She should eat...and take her medicine, which she'd brought with her. Her cellphone was still off, and it was going to stay off - at least for now. He heard the rumble from her stomach, or perhaps knew her hunger by other means.

Either way, Joseph nodded his head towards the plate of breakfast. "You need to eat, my darling." As he spoke, the small plate of food doubled in contents to match her hunger exactly.

"I really should..." Her arms slid away from him, and she finally sat up. One look to the left had her blink a couple of times. Maybe she had been too asleep to notice at first, but Reiko could have sworn that there wasn't this much on the plate when she first opened her eyes. Her travel-sized bottle of iron pills, enough to last a week, sat on the nightstand as well to remind her not to forget about those. Alas, she moved the pillows so that she was more comfortable and pulled the plate over to her. "It looks so good...will you be eating as well?" Reiko asked, looking his way.

He shook his head softly. "No, my dear, I already have." With that, he got up from the bed, and went over to the wardrobe to get dressed from the night before. As he strode across the room, he called over to her. "I made that myself, however... Hope you like it."

Another look was given at the plate of food now before her. "I'm sure I will," she called back over to him quietly, and started to eat. One could believe her eyes were following him...she was only human, after all, and her stomach wasn't the only thing that needed satisfying! Her eyes did too, and her iron pills were taken as she ate, fully aware of what she wore beneath the blanket.

The man disappeared into the other room, emerging not even half a second later, fully dressed in his usual attire. Floral print shirt, baggy jeans, yellow sunglasses and a low-brimmed hat. He walked over to the bed, sitting beside her and gently petting her hair as she ate.

"Mmn...it's really delicious," she'd remarked as she ate. There had been a glass of orange juice with her breakfast, which she could tell was completely fresh and only the best in quality. Perfection. She looked up mid-chew of the last of her toast to see what Joseph was wearing, now finishing the last of her breakfast, her stomach now satisfied. Hm...she was sure she'd put something not so gothic-themed in her backpack.

He smiled down at her as he pet her hair, leaning down and planting a kiss on her forehead as she ate. "You gonna get dressed darling? You know I like you in anything you wear." As though he had read her mind!

The last of what he said, it made her smirk some. Was there slyness present in that smirk? Maybe there was! "And if I chose something else?" Her right eye winked following that. She turned some, setting her now-clean plate and empty glass aside. And turned again, the blanket barely clinging to her at this point as she rested two fingers beneath his chin and her thumb on it. "Would you complain..? Or," and Reiko leaned in close, her lips near his left ear, "would you be unable to focus on anything but me..?" Her voice had lowered in volume, her eyes expressing some kind of motive.

His grin widened greatly as she whispered to him, and he leaned forward to gently kiss up her neck and whisper back. "Nothing but you, my dear...nothing at all~"
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

2 Aug 20xx: Ceremony of Darkness

Post by Reiko Souma »

*Although not an 18+ scene, advisory to the reader is given that this is a cult initiation ceremony.

It was getting to be the last day of Reiko's series of days at Joseph's house. She's found herself feeling a little more closely bonded with the man, especially with some of the conversations they've had. It was no lie that she thought he was terrific with meal preparation as well. Had she formally asked him to come over for dinner to meet her uncle and guardian? A lot has happened that she was trying to keep everything in her memory. Meanwhile, unknown to her, some of her earlier memories had been "modified." But, never mind that for now. She was standing at one of the windows in Joseph's room, looking out with a serene smile on her face.

Outside in the swamp, the masked figures of the Children of Sacrifice were beginning to converge around a flat, dry part of the land, each standing in place at the top of the subtle incline sat a wooden podium, with Joseph's lantern sat upon it.

As Reiko looked out the window, she was seeing the masked figures starting to gather en masse. With her vision as keen as it was, the wooden podium with the easily-recognised lantern on it didn't escape her attention. Reiko? She was dressed in one of her signature black wardrobes, a tank top with a short pleated black and pink plaid skirt, her black knee-high boots, and her hair pulled back from her face. There were some additions this time, though. One who never wore makeup outside of special occasions now had smoky grey eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and black lipstick. Both of her arms were adorned with black cuffs just below her shoulders. She felt as if she should be out there...should she? For now, she watched. Waited. Deep down, she could feel it in her gut...in her mind. Something important was about to happen. But, what?

Once all the figures were gathered, they organised themselves neatly into rows. A square of people, with a gap in the middle, as though they were each positioned in imaginary church pews. Once positioned, they dropped onto their knees, heads bowed in prayer in front of the lantern. Suddenly, the lantern began to glow a bright white, dazzlingly bright in fact. So bright, one would be forced to look away, and when it died down, Joseph was stood behind it. He dropped to one knee in front of the lantern in a bow, before getting to his feet. He placed a hand on either side of the lantern and closed his eyes...and the congregation sat in silent prayer. Unmoving.

Maybe I should be out there with them... is what crossed her mind at first. As the figures finished gathering, Reiko took a glance at her phone. It was still off. Good. She didn't want to be interrupted by some kind of contact whilst observing this...whatever it was supposed to be. It looked like some kind of service of sorts, similar to what she used to see in the shroudth on Terra. The only difference was, they were gathered outside. The processions she attended were always inside.

With her sunglasses in her backpack, Reiko was forced to avert her eyes from the lantern's temporarily blinding glow. Turning her head and covering her eyes with one hand, she waited a couple of moments before turning again. There was Joseph! Reiko watched his scribe, and she watched the masked figures kneel next. So far, not a single word. Maybe she could open the window...even though it might not prove necessary.

Nobody moved, or spoke. All had their eyes closed, though at one point, Joseph raised both of his arms at his sides, almost Christ-like.

Because Reiko's faith acknowledged a different deity, she saw the raising of Joseph's arms with a possibly different meaning. To her, she thought he might be attempting to summon something - or someone. Maybe he was waiting for something to transpire as he raised his arms. Whatever it was, he had her full attention. Now it was a matter of her deciding whether to go outside and join in the rear at a distance, or to wait for some kind of an invitation to step outside.

Her eyes were scanning for that little girl who had given her the flower a few weeks back. It was a quick scan, as she didn't want to lose her attention on Joseph otherwise. If only I could give her a hug without her moving away in fear...or any of them, for that matter. But especially her. She wanted to show that, though she lacked a robe and a mask (and always would lack the kind of mask that they wore), they had nothing to fear with her. Reiko loved them, even though she didn't know them from any holes in a wall.

That girl was at the front row, clutching a flower in her hands as she prayed. Suddenly, Reiko would hear a voice whispered into her mind, as Joseph's eyes opened and met hers in the window. "Join us in ceremony, my love...even if only to observe."

And, there it was. Her serene smile grew, spreading into a very warm smile, at Joseph's invitation for her to join. Their eyes meeting in that moment, she gave a nod in response. "Yes, my love," followed, and she decided to spare any extra time. Given her ability to teleport certain distances, she softly teleported outside. Her landing place was several metres behind the congregation with no sound, and she quietly stepped closer, stopping a couple of metres away.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

Joseph, upon seeing her, smiled and slowly lowered his arms. "We have a guest, my children." The congregation raised their heads, then sat with their hands on their laps, still clasped in prayer as they all watched her. Joseph was beaming from ear to ear. "Come, Reiko...join me." Joseph reached a hand down and grasped hers, turning to the rest of them. When her left hand was taken hold of by his, she couldn't help but wonder how the others felt about this. Reiko hadn't made any attempts of using her telepathy to try glancing into any of their minds just yet, anyways. Would she be able to succeed with doing so, even with permission? Probably not, she assumed, and she wasn't going to worry about it either.

"My Children...I know some of you have asked me about the Outsider in our midst. I felt it right to introduce her, as you will be seeing more of her...this is Reiko. And she is the woman I love." As it was, she was quiet as she listened to his words. It seemed like a normal enough introduction, anyways. At least, it was right up until the last sentence after her name was spoken.

Shocked eyes stared from behind the masks all round.

"I know some of you may worry about an Outsider being permitted in this, God's cherished place, but you have nothing to fear...she is one of us." A knowing look to the congregation, a silent message shared to all of them. Reiko could see, and feel, the shock all around. It had to be completely out of left field, and she was rather surprised herself at the proclamation. The surprise was in how boldly he had told the Children of her being the woman he loved, not the fact behind the statement itself. Yet her smile was serene, and she continued to listen as he spoke.

When he had finished, Reiko felt it only proper to give a polite bow. She then raised herself up, her eyes taking on a seemingly different expression in them. They almost appeared to be glazed-over with a faint pink glow as she spoke, "My Children...how blessed I am to be among you today."

Joseph's hand squeezed hers slightly when she said that, and he sighed, an amused smile coming to her face. "She is not very well-versed in the practices of God's chosen few...though she shall be educated, as all of you once were. Treat her with the kindness and openness you have given each other upon your enlightenment." In her head, Reiko would hear his voice. "My Children, I am afraid. You are one of them, you are not above them...this is alright. Mistakes are common amongst the unanointed."

Oops. The woman had misspoken by accident. She raised her right hand in front of her mouth delicately like a member of royalty, even though she definitely was not. Reiko then lowered her hand, her eyes still glazed-over. "I do apologise, for I misspoke." The serene smile was still ever-present on her face. "I was simply eager to be welcomed by you like a family member that I let some of my thoughts blend in with my words. I'm happy to be here with you...each and every one of you." Reiko bowed again. "Forgive me...I allowed one of my innermost desires to show as a weakness," she relayed to him telepathically.

Joseph squeezed her hand in approval as he smiled down at her, before turning again to the crowd. "She will come and leave freely, and when she does, she shall live here in peace and tranquillity with all of you as though she, too, wears your faces..." He stepped down from the podium, walking amongst the kneeling crowd and inviting her to do the same. They bowed their heads as he walked past them. "I know it is...different. But the Good Lord offers challenges to our mercy and our acceptance on many an occasion."

This time, the woman remained silent as he continued to speak. She was glad that he was doing the talking instead of her. Their earlier reaction of shock to the news of her being the woman he loved was why she was glad he was doing the talking. When invited to do so, she started to walk alongside him towards the kneeling congregation. She noticed them bowing their heads as they walked. This wasn't just different to the Children...it was different to Reiko as well. The woman turned her head and looked to Joseph, wanting to find the little girl with the flower. She wanted to give her a hug.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

Joseph turned to Reiko, and as though he understood immediately...he nodded behind her. Standing there was the little girl, her head tilted slightly...she reached down and, once more, picked up a clump of dirt from the ground. she held it in both palms, looking down, as another flower bloomed... this time, a golden tulip. She plucked it, letting the dirt fall from her hands, and held it out. In a sweet little voice, she spoke.

"Welcome to the Family."

The nod was almost like a cue for her to turn around. When she did, she saw the same little girl from her second visit to the house. Watching, she saw the golden tulip form instead of a pink azalea. Gold was considered a rather sacred colour in Reiko's faith, a symbol of illumination, wisdom, prosperity, and - dare it be mentioned - love, as cousin to the colour yellow. Cheerfulness in thought for the tulip itself, she remembered. Sunshine, just like the little girl before her.

Oh, how adorable her sweet little voice was! Reiko's smile grew, becoming fuller and warmer, as she lowered herself to eye level before the child. "Thank you, little one," she said as she accepted the "sacred tulip." For the moment, the woman put the tulip in her hair with the blossom in front and the stem extending back. Then her arms opened with the offer for the same child to come give her a hug, should she want to.

The child was cautious, looking to Joseph, who gave her a nod and a comforting smile. The little girl wandered over and wrapped her arms around Reiko softly, nestling her head into her chest. Joseph smiled wider, placing a hand on Reiko's shoulder as he spoke softly. "Her name is Jessica."

Patience was with Reiko in the moment as she waited. She remembered being the same size as the little girl before her, so long ago, having been seven then. Reiko had hidden behind Shourim for the longest time after her parents had died, so she understood the reluctance in approaching. She was still an outsider to the little girl and to the rest of the followers, even. It was when the girl finally stepped closer and hugged Reiko with her head nestling into her chest that the woman gently wrapped her arms around the girl in return. One hand gently touched her back whilst the other touched her head, careful not to remove the mask. "Jessica...you are truly a precious soul, and oh so very fortunate to be in a peaceful place like this, just like everybody else." If Reiko's children were alive today, then they would be at least a few years older than she guessed Jessica to be, no older than six or seven.

"She came to me as an orphan, wandering the streets." Joseph walked around the two, placing a hand on the little girl's shoulder as well now, and looking down at her with a smile. "I took her in. Gave her schooling. Food. Shelter... and family."

The little girl looked up at Reiko, dazzling blue eyes shining up at her. "Father Dawson looks after me...is that why you're here? So Father Dawson can look after you too?"

So, Jessica was an orphan, just like Reiko was. Reiko had never spent a single moment of her childhood wandering the streets, though...her heart couldn't help but break a little for Jessica right now. If she was allowing Reiko to continue hugging her, then she would be rubbing her back in gentle, but smooth, circles right now. Then she saw Jessica's blue eyes when she looked up at the Albino. Such beautiful eyes she had, so innocent and pure! "He truly is such a caring man...and you are such an adorable little sweetheart." Oh dear, Reiko was starting to get emotional now. She knew for sure that the tiny droplets threatening to grow in size and roll free from the corners of her eyes weren't from any kind of moisture or condensation. Those were the start of her tears, which did indeed start growing in size. "Yes, Jessica...he's looking after me, and I hope to be able to return the favour in the best way possible." And then...those tears started to trickle free at last. Reiko gently pressed Jessica's head to her chest so that the little girl wouldn't see her "Father's lover" crying.

Joseph was smiling down at both of them, his hands on either of their shoulders. He looked across the congregation. They were all sat up now, watching either them or Joseph. Joseph himself spoke up, then. "This is a place of safety for you as it is for her, Reiko. Your Family have nothing but adoration for you."

Crying in front of all of these people, family or otherwise, was still very much embarrassing to the woman. She wasn't doing more than quietly weeping, so there was that. It had hit home for her in that she saw a part of herself in Jessica's shoes, walking part of the same road that she had in terms of being an orphan. Her eyes shut, as she didn't want to see the many pairs of eyes upon her as much as she could feel several watching her already. When her eyes opened again, she finally released Jessica from her hug, and she looked up at Joseph...golden tulip still in her hair. "I...I truly am grateful to be here, Joseph," Reiko told him.

He held both of her hands, eyes only for her as they stared into hers, smiling widely. "Your gratitude is more than felt by all those here, my love." He leaned in and kissed her on the forehead, the action seeming to evaporate her tears from her face.
User avatar
Reiko Souma
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Location: Camden, NJ, Terra; Dragon's Gate, Rhy'din
Contact:

Post by Reiko Souma »

As if a heat had been emitted, there were no signs of tears to be found anywhere on the Albino's face any longer. Her eyes locked in a gaze into Joseph's, Reiko's voice was at a whisper. "I've never been to a service outside of the type my faith holds indoors. What comes next?" she asked.

He smiled down at her. "It's...difficult to describe to those without the masks. Most of the ceremony is held in silence. Just feelings exchanged between us...though you're in luck." He turned, offering her a free space near the front row, in between two of the kneeling members. He stood on the podium. "For you are not the only Outsider in our midst."

"I'm not?" she asked. She looked in the direction of the free space in the front row. For either the second or third time in that day alone, surprise showed itself on Reiko's face. "How do the Children feel about them being here? What is their purpose, the other Outsiders?" So many questions desiring answers...like how feelings are exchanged in silence. Reiko was used to feelings being exchanged loudly.

"Only one. Other than you. Please...join." He indicated again to the free space, asking her to kneel and join the crowd for the display. He stood on the podium, holding a hand against the lantern.

It was as if the one open space was beckoning to her. But, that was silly. Inanimate objects couldn't talk, let alone extend an invitation like sentient beings could. Why not just do this, though? Reiko still had some learning to do (okay, maybe she had a lot of learning to do), and her body seemed to decide for her. Now in that indicated place, Reiko found herself kneeling like the rest of the congregation was. Out of curiosity, she was looking around for the one other person who had the same status she had. Yet, when she saw Joseph standing on the podium, her attention returned to him.

It was almost as though Joseph physically swelled with pride, seeing her join the congregation. He paused for a moment, beaming down at her, and whispering softly. "Thank you, my love." With that, he returned to the podium. "Children, we have gathered here in this, God's Sacred Place, to witness the anointment and coronation of yet another of the Lord's chosen few." His eyes were closed, his arms spread once more. "They have come to us as lost sheep find their flock and come before me, as I am their shepherd."

A man rose from the crowd, noticeably not wearing a mask and, after a nod from Joseph, he approached the podium.

He took the time...to speak directly to me. Still kneeling, the woman watched Joseph's every movement. Though surrounded by many, it was almost as if - for just that moment - it was just the two of them in this area of land. It felt special, at least to Reiko. To her, it was special. Her right hand touched the part of her chest where Joseph's fingers seemed to gravitate to whenever it was just the two of them, just above her heart. Sure enough...it was warm, just like the little bits of warmth she felt on her face.

Then her "world" seemed to open up again, and some kind of ceremony started. She listened and was attentive. Imagine her surprise when she saw a man without a mask walk past on his way to the podium. Was this a defining moment? What was to happen next. She took a silent bet that, maybe in the next few minutes, the man was going to be given a mask to wear and put it on right then and there. Good thing she wasn't taking this bet with anyone else...

The man was soon flanked by two masked figures, these ones wearing ceremonial black robes. They stood either side of the podium, each holding a large candle which burned a black flame. A strange thing... almost sucking in light instead of emitting it. Joseph turned to this Outsider, and the man dropped to his hands and knees in a bow, his forehead touching the floor. Joseph took the lantern from the podium, looking down at him. "What is your name, Outsider?"

The young man got up to his feet, standing in front of Joseph. "Uhm...L-Lucas, sir..."

Her hand lowered as the unmasked man was joined by two of those wearing masks, and Reiko noticed that they wore black robes. Had her attention not already been completely transfixed on what was unfolding in front of her, her mind would surely be thinking of every appealling way to wear one of said robes. Unlike those masks Joseph's followers wore, Reiko would gladly wear one of those robes. It would certainly come across as a surprise to some of her close friends and family if they saw her wearing such a thing. Her typical fashion was either revealling a good amount of skin and gothic (like now), athletic and sometimes modest, or slightly modest and gothic or Lolita. Reiko liked what she liked.

The candle burning a black flame caught her attention as well. In years' past, before her return to Terra, she had worked two part-time jobs: candlemaker in the Rhy'din Marketplace had been one of them. Making candles had been the gateway to her working with wood and eventually running her own shop, but this candle was different. Interesting. Reiko's never made candles that could burn black before. A mental note was made to visit the stand she used to work at sometime this week and ask about it. There certainly had to be some way to make it...right?

Her face was void of expression as she watched the one other unmasked person fall to his hands and knees in a reverent bow. This Lucas man looked rather nervous, yet seemed to want to be here. What about those who should change their minds at the last minute and decide they didn't want to be here? Not that they would have a reason to do so, Reiko was sure...after all, everyone seemed to enjoy this place. She wondered what Lucas' background was. What was his story? How and why did he come here? These were questions she wanted to ask later on.

Joseph gently brought his hand up, placing it on Lucas' cheek and smiling at him. "Are you ready, Lucas?" There was a pause, and the young man nodded with a nervous smile as he answered with confirmation. Joseph nodded. "Very well." He took a step back, and the young man turned, getting down on his knees and facing the congregation with his eyes closed. Joseph walked around to stand behind him, one hand on the lantern, the other resting on the top of his head.

"In the name of the Lord our God Almighty, and by the power with which he has blessed my hand...I, Joseph Dawson, the Father of Destruction, shepherd of weakened and lost souls, recognize you as one of God's chosen few... and bestow upon you the symbol of his mercy." He removed his hand from the boy's head, and turned it palm-up. The lantern glowed white, as slowly, a black mass began to take shape in his hand...growing and melting and solidifying.

As she watched this, her hand raised to her chest where her heart was again. She noticed, was Lucas nervous? Induction was the first thing to come to her mind. It was like an induction ceremony, and she was the special guest of honour. What a privilege it was to be able to witness this. She felt privileged...blessed.

Something stuck out in her mind then. Father of Destruction? That didn't sound very nurturing...then again, Reiko remembered much of the time she'd spent in the bedroom with Joseph throughout the last few days. If she started to focus on that, then she was going to have a difficult time trying to focus on watching the rest of the ceremony. Besides, something was happening now. Something was forming, and growing, in her lover's hand.

The black mass soon took shape, as what could be expected. A sleek black sheep mask, looking almost identical to the rest of them. It looked like it was made from darkness itself, almost. Joseph leaned forward and placed the mask on the boy's face, and immediately his eyes snapped open. His pupils expanded widely, too widely. A relaxed and serene exhale of pure bliss escaped him, hairs on his body standing on end as goosebumps his his skin. The mask slowly molded itself, changing and reshaping to fit his face.

Reiko's eyes widened in surprise. So, that was how they were made? No matter, seeing as how she was still never going to wear one. She would rather be dead than wear any kind of a mask! Alas, she continued to watch...having recovered from the surprise that had been visible just moments before. The way the mask moulded itself, at least from where Reiko was sitting, reminded her of a scene from a fairly old movie that she had watched out sheer boredom once.

After a few moments, the man began shuddering and twitching, his body shaking as his eyes bulged behind the mask, before it then subsided, back to normal. Joseph grinned widely from behind him. "Rise." The young man rose to his feet immediately, turning to face him with the mask now attached to his head. Joseph placed a hand on his shoulder. "Welcome, Lucas. You are a Child of Sacrifice now."

What the..? That wasn't normal, well at least outside of movies and books. She had a feeling that she and Joseph would be having a conversation about this when they were alone next, whether sooner or later before the day's end. Questions were there about what she had witnessed. Was it typical of everybody who was inducted? Probably, but Reiko preferred to not assume. For some reason though, as she heard the welcome being spoken to Lucas, Reiko's smile widened from its serene state.
Post Reply

Return to “Home Between Homes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest