RP:The Sound of Sirens Makes A Lot Of Noise
Summary: Having briefly met in Chartsend, Khitti and Bastion cross paths again.
The Hanging Corpse Tavern, Vailkrin
The tryouts for Khitti’s new band, The Sound of Sirens, had gone surprisingly well. Each new member all were really amazing at their individual job. There was just one problem though: they all seemed to hate one another. Jon 3, the zombie lead guitarist with three fingers on each hand couldn’t stand Dayv Ghoul’s incessant flailing and drooling on the drums and everything that was three feet in front of him; both very unfortunate characteristics that came with being, well, a ghoul. Spyder, the skeleton bassist was irate with Gorey Taelyr’s banshee-like cries that he used as back-up singer; the spectre’s singing voice was scaring off the bassist’s little spiderlings that made their home in his empty chest cavity. And poor Khitti, the redheaded human amongst all of them, was trying desperately to get them to pay attention. “Guys… guys! Come on. This is literally the easiest of Yuletide songs. Icy the Elemental is the best way to warm up! You just need to focus! Please?” They ignored her for now, arguing amongst themselves and irritating the current, and thankfully few, patrons of the tavern.
Bastion had been warned. Thoroughly. Not thoroughly enough. Where he came from, undead were the things of nightmares, the sole province of the most wicked of dark practitioners, slaves to their masters, among the greatest terrors to roam the lands. He'd met so many vampires, though, who were far from wicked... as normal as the people they walked amongst, in their moral codes and ways. But this... he was watching a zombie/ghoul/skeleton band trying to get into the yuletide spirit. What was this?! The boy sat at a table, knees to his chin, staring wide eyed. He didn't know whether to be impressed, or scared, or whether to drink whatever was in that cup the barkeep had given him when he asked for milk... he was seeing things, here. Things that could not be unseen. At least there was the human, trying to organize the band. Or at least, he assumed she was human. Considering where they were, that was a lot to assume. He rose and approached her, a bit timidly, and tugged on the hem of her skirts/pants. "Excuse me, miss. I, um. I might be able to be of assistance, perhaps. I'm not really sure, though." A little boy with goat horns, in monk robes, with a bow on his back of pink wood distressed with black runes that was of legendary artifact quality. Nah, he wasn't out of place here. Not at all.
Khitti just barely managed to hear Bastion over the sound of shrieks and shouts from her new bandmates--sometimes, she almost missed those vampiric senses she’d just gotten rid of a few months ago. Not enough to get bit again, mind you. Nope. Blinking several times, first because she was approached by someone, and second because that someone else was a very strange looking child. Funny enough, she’d seen stranger. “Oh, um. Hello.” The offer for help was considered as she studied Bastion with a tilt of her head, “Nice bow--hey wait a second. You were at that marksman tournament in Chartsend.” She motioned to the side of the stage where her stuff lay, including that black ice recurve bow she’d used in the competition. “What the heck are you doing out here, kid? It’s not safe.” Well, it wasn’t really all that safe for her anymore either, what with this civil war going on, but still. “If you can get them to quit arguing so we can get to making money, I’d appreciate it. Not sure how you’d be able to though. They’re not even listening to me and -I’m- the one that’s paying them.
Bastion tugged at the collar of his robes a little. "The archery competition? Oh, yes. I've been studying the martial arts since I could walk. Archery was... part of that." The range of weapons he could wield was mind boggling, especially considering he couldn't really use any of them in combat. It took Bastion a moment to register the sheer absurdity of her comment. She was paying them? Did they have distinctive personalities and an actual need or desire for any kind of payment? It was a difficult concept to integrate into his preconceived notions of the mindless undead. "Well, uh. You see, I manipulate life energies. Er, I mean, 'vital' energies. Even the undead have them, though they're different. I, uh. I think I can. I mean, since I have experience in exorcism... I think I can at least calm them. Make them feel... better." He wanted to ask if they could feel at all, but something told him that might be rude. He didn't comment on it being not safe. He had quite a leg up on the undead, truth be told, if it came to blows. His vows didn't prohibit him from defending himself against the undead like they did against the living... for the most part. That part was becoming more and more confusing, considering what he'd seen of the undead, here.
Khitti’s face shifted into pensive expression as she thought things over, “Hm. I dunno. I mean, I could do that too. I’m a necromancer. I don’t particularly want to do that though. These undead aren’t mine. They’re free people just like you and I. I had that sort of thing happen to me occasionally as a vampire too and I didn’t much care for it.” Yes, she did just nonchalantly say that she was a member of the undead at one point. “There’s gotta be a better way…” Squinting at Bastion briefly, the proverbial lightning bolt would strike her brain and she’d get an idea. “Oi, you four!” She spun around to face the enraged ensemble, “If you don’t frakking quit it, this pregnant redhead’s either going to get very angry or start crying!” All four of the undead on stage went silent. Khitti narrowed her eyes at them, “Or both.” Without hesitation, they went on to play ‘Icy the Elemental’ sans lyrics. It really seemed like the better option right now. Pivoting back around to face Bastion, she smiled pleasantly, “There we go. All better. So, martial arts, eh? I’m not very good at hand-to-hand combat myself, but my brother and my fiancé have both been teaching me when they can.” Khitti shrugged, “Doesn’t matter much anyway. It’s mostly a just-in-case thing now.”
Bastion looked to Khitti. "If they are, then they would of course have the right to refuse my aid. I do not force anything upon anyone." It was a part of his vows, after all. Her tactic seemed to work about as effectively as it'd work on the living... Bastion knew he'd sober up and do what he was told, faced with that dilemma. The band turned out to be very good at the song. "I don't use the martial arts very much either, save for as a practice in meditation. I'm a pacifist, after all. I have never harmed another living soul." That didn't mean by any stretch of the imagination that he had a limited martial experience, however. His whole was dedicated to three things... his vows, his labors, and his arts. "I do hope you've never need of it, though. So, you used to be a vampire? There is a cure, in these lands?" He didn't know why that should surprise him. Still... it would be good to know.
Khitti nodded in understanding to Bastion’s explanation, “I see. I’m sure it is useful for meditation as you say. I’m not particularly great at meditation. I’ve always got a million and one things going on upstairs--” she motioned to her head briefly, “--so it’s hard to focus and clear my mind.” There was another bit of nodding, but the smile she’d had a little bit ago faded, “If there is a cure, it’s not here. Or, I didn’t acquire it here, rather.” She wandered over to the nearby table, settling down into a chair as the band carried on, performing ‘Krampus Claws Is Coming To Town’, “That’s not something you need to worry about though. You’re not in need of a cure from what I can tell and it’s not something I want to talk about.” Khitti’d made too many deals with too many devils, though not all of the ‘devils’ were evil--some of them were quite good, in fact. “How do you manipulate these life energies? It sounds like some strange combination between a paladin and a necromancer’s magic.” She motioned to another chair at the table, in case he’d not already sat down after she did.
Bastion listened intently, though he wilted a little at the mention that there was no cure she knew of, in these lands. Well, drat. "I can help you clear your mind. Improve your health throughout your pregnancy as well. With enough acupuncture sessions, your health will improve permanently, in fact. My manipulation of Ki... that's the vital energy essential to all living things... is part of the Gentle Fist martial and healing discipline. By injecting small, controlled amounts of my own Ki into others, I'm able to manipulate their vital energies, even if those energies aren't necessarily Ki themselves, though it's more difficult that way. Acupuncture is the highest form of this art... with the use of needles, preferably of the right metal, I can change a person's body chemistry to such extreme extents as to induce euphoria and tranquility, improve metabolism, natural immunity, and all bodily functions, even prolong life and practice emergency medicine. It's very helpful for many things, not the least of which is the birthing process." He'd been midwifing as long as he'd been practicing martial arts and medicine, as well. Painless, easy birthing was... exceptionally welcome in all circles of life. He sat down with her as he spoke, thinking on her take on his abilities. "It's not really magic, per say. Supernatural, to be sure. Nothing holy, and drawn from a god, nor arcane, to be drawn from that inscrutible energy, Mana. It's just extending ones own self, an ability crafted and ultimately advanced simply through understanding of the self, and of the world around us."
Khitti cringed a little at the thought of getting gently stabbed with several hundred needles. “Erm, no thank you. I, uh, am not quite fond of getting poked and prodded with sharp objects. No offense. Not too keen on having my energies, or my kid’s, messed with either. I’ve got my own healer, back on the ship that I live on, so we’ll do just fine there, I think.” She let out a ‘hm’, pondering on something. She didn’t want to just leave the kid hanging--he -did- offer to help with the band where no one else had dared to. “Do you have any way of showing me how to properly meditate without that? I would definitely like to learn as I’m sure it’d help with my guild studies too. Anything would be great, and would be really appreciated. I’m sure Brand, my fiance, would be grateful too--especially if that means I’m a lot less upset about every little thing. Too bad your abilities aren’t god gifts, I guess. If only because I’ve been researching about that stuff too.”
Bastion smiled at her refusal. "Very understandable. Meditation is... a unique experience to everyone. The key is to find something that calms you, naturally. Different things work best for different people, but there are some constants, and many health benefits to meditation." He launched right into it, as he had hundreds of times before with so many others. He spent some time helping her find something that helped clear her mind... a memory, a song, an item that she could hold. Something to center herself, and create something of a ritual of the practice, so that she'd gain the benefits of meditation simply by holding onto that special something, and her efforts would be enhanced with it. A focus, of sorts. He taught her to get a basic 'feel' of her vital energies... to feel, from below her naval, the source of her vital energies, close to where her babe now dwelt. He showed her how to feel those energies flow, and how to direct them, to some extent... by alternating breathing in different cycles, aligning the practice with the elements. The Breath of Earth, to center the self, and maintain a solid foundation. The Breath of Water, to help the self maintain fluidity in mind and body. The Breath of Wind, to help the self feel the flow of the world around them, and to move with, rather than against it. The Breath of Fire, to control the passions that often ruled the self, to gather them like the warmth of a fire, to soothe the body. These were all very basic lessons of meditation, and required a lot of practice to learn... but they were easy to remember, easy for someone to practice on their own, once they had a basic understanding to work with.
Khitti took mental notes as they went along and he showed her the difference techniques, taking each one into consideration and deciding when it seemed like the best time to use each one. “Thank you, Bastion. I really appreciate it. I’m sure it’ll come in handy.” Hm. How should she repay him, she wondered? Not money, as he’d given those winnings of his in Chartsend to charity to help the town. “As repayment, get whatever you’d like from here--food and whatnot or a room if you need it--and have Steadman put it on my tab. And, if you’d like, if you happen to travel to Cenril after my bakery’s opened up, you can get something free whenever you visit. It’ll be along the main road with all the other shops.” The band continued to play, and Khitti would give them a side-eye, “I s’pose I should get back up there with them before they think about trying to kill each other again.”
Bastion seemed quite content with the reward she'd given him. "I thank you for your genorosity, ma'dam Khitti." With his vow of poverty, he was used to living off of the charity of others, and what she'd given him was a great boon, indeed. It would certainly make his time easier in Cenril, where he'd learned that a very high rate of crime might make it difficult for him to offer his labors for charity, as he usually did. He was far more likely to be fingered as a charlatan, in such a place... which was never pleasant. "You do a good job, managing the band." A compliment he meant... he'd not seen many things more outlandish than something so absurdly normal as a pregnant worman threatening craziness at something so utterly abnormal as a band of the undead at odds with each other over... violent instinctual differences. It was a sight to see, and then to see them play such wondrous music in harmony as well... what a day.