Fallen From Grace

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Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:04 pm

It’d been about twelve hours since Toma had fought Astra. It was a quiet sunset. Though the red hues of the sky seemed to reflect what had been going on around town. Toma had lost all grip on reality. Astra was gone, and the guilt had crushed what was left. And on top of that, Toma had been hunted by the Magic Council in the area. In each encounter he was hurt more and more, though his already dimmed pained senses dulled it down to nothing.

He left a trail of dead bodies in his wake. People who stepped up to either help or stop were cut down. Even civilians, though only one or two had been foolish enough to stop him like that. The scraping of his sword across the stone pathways always seemed to attract more people though, and he was forced to cut them down. Some were still barely alive, though short a limb or two and were bleeding out. Others were eviscerated, clearly beyond help. The path was one without destination.

Finally, the sounds stopped, though there was still a trail of blood to follow. The bodies thinned out as it lead into some alley ways. In one dark, far corner Toma sat propped up on some random wooden objects. It was clear he’d been in a lot of fighting, having many cuts and bruises. Most were minor, but there were a few deeper ones. His sword was drenched in blood, and it was clear that was what left the blood trail Though how much blood on and around him was his was hard to tell. In fact, it was hard to tell from a glance if he was even breathing. One thing was clear though, he was trying to hid his guild tattoo. The cloth around it was torn, but he had shoved it into his cut up vest. Though, it didn’t help much as it was now full of holes.

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:49 pm

Fayte wandered Cerulean. The town had changed quite a bit from her last visit. There were still clear signs of when Shadow Heart had attacked, but the people there were trying their best to rebuild. A while back she had given Toma the answer to his search, the answer to where his friend Astra had gone. He had been in too high spirits… having expectations like that would inevitably lead to being let down. So while she didn’t have a particular idea on what to do… she followed him. Toma had only recently become a Shadow Heart member, and she didn’t want him to get second thoughts… or die.

The sound of a sword swing, and a cry, interrupted her musings. Quickening her pace, she rounded the corner to find… a literal trail of dead bodies. “….” She had seen such things before, and so it was not quite shocking… and yet still somewhat surreal. Momentarily she had stopped, but not for long. The trail was easy to follow… the blood of someone still roaming between the dead. She followed it and reached an alley… finding none other than Toma.

Her stiff gaze softened. The boy looked dead, only the faintest rise of his chest betraying that assumption. Was this what he had devolved into? Had joining Shadow Heart really turned him into a mindless beast? The trail behind him only proved his own desire to join them in rest. Perhaps killing him would be merciful at this point. She was the one who had lead him down this path…

Silently she knelt beside him. One hand tightly gripped Toma’s wrist to stop him from moving. The other began to pry the sword away from his fingers. He didn’t need such a thing any longer. “What happened to you…” It was perhaps more an accusation than a question of his well-being. Something had changed… this quiet boy who could barely stomach killing a single deserter and his brother… now to this. Yes… perhaps his death would be the only freedom…

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:28 pm

Toma knew Fayte was nearby as he sat there. He didn’t know how he knew it was her. Just that it was her. And it was because of that knowing that he didn’t immediately react and try to stab her. In fact, he offered no resistance at all. The sword came effortlessly from his hand when she tried to grab it.

“She… I…” Toma spoke in a shakey voice. It wasn’t like that night at the inn. He wasn’t even trying to hide how broken he felt. His eyes stayed closed as he took a single deep breath. ‘She had promised not to forget me. That we’d always be friends no matter what.”

“...But she didn’t remember me,” Toma shook his head ever so slightly. “She pretended not to know me at all. So I got angry and we fought… It’s a blur after that but I think… I think the paladins in the area came after me. They tried to bring me in… saw the mark and I… I… I killed them and tried to get away. But more kept coming.”

“I don’t get it…” He continued after a moment his eyes finally opened, but they were cast on the ground. “I was loyal. I tried to keep my promise. What did I do wrong…?” He asked no one in particular. However, unlike what Fayte thought, he didn’t want to die. At least not yet.

“...Fayte…” He said, his face taking on harder features as his gaze shifted back towards her. Astra was gone. He was never getting her or their past back. And he was with Shadow Heart now. That imposter could run around all she wanted. If he found her again, she was dead. “If… If I swear my loyalty to you… Will you help me become stronger?”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:21 pm

Fayte had honestly thought Toma was too foregone for words. She removed the sword with little effort from his hands. She set it aside, not far, but not close enough for Toma to reach without getting up, either. The thought of killing him began to die as he spoke. Even though he didn’t give a name, Fayte knew who he was talking about… the person he’d joined Shadow Heart for: Astra. Carefully she watched his face while he revealed his story. A lot had happened… a lot must have happened, for there to be so many dead like this. Honestly, he was stronger than Fayte thought if he had managed to take down so many alone…

What did he do wrong…? Toma had wondered. Maybe he hadn’t done anything wrong at all. “It might be that the world is wrong, not you…” She clasped one of his hands between her own, looking at him intently. Normally she would balk at physical touch, but this was important. What she said was the realization she’d had many years ago, what had transformed Angelique into Fayte. She could see much of herself within him. When she had been lost, had accepted that her lot in life was to be nothing… Master Xian Fei had given her hope. She could be Toma’s Master Xian Fei. She could teach him a new means of thinking, of being strong… and in turn, he would be useful to her.

“It is a never-ending path, one that even I still travel…” The path of strength… it was one she did not regret. “However, I will show you what I can. You will become strong and become my sword…” The faintest of smiles briefly touched her lips. “Now rest, and I shall take care of the rest…” If Toma was to survive, he needed medical aid… Fayte could help stem the blood loss, but knew that a true doctor’s touch was needed. Was this how Master Xian Fei had felt when she saved Fayte? Was this the kind of loyalty that Kyle felt when he promised to serve Takiro? She wondered if the stories she’d heard about and seen… if now those same were happening to her and Toma.

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:35 pm

“It might be that the world is wrong, not you…”

Hearing those words made his eyes go wide. It was a radical thought, one that he remembered thinking when he tried to justify his previous murders. But it had never struck home until right then. It had felt like the world was stacked against him, and it was easy to feel like he was wrong in that situation. But what if Fayte was right? What if the world was wrong and needed fixing?

Looking at it that way, Toma could see why Fayte fought. At least a little… And why it was important for Shadow Heart to succeed. He could get behind that… even as weak as he was. Everything was a blur, and he didn’t remember how many people he’d cut down to make it into the alleyway they were in.

She took his hand, and his gaze shifted between her hands and her face. He was confused, but the warmth was comforting. It felt like she really cared. Her promise of strength was also reassuring. He didn’t care that his sword was out of reach right then, he’d already fought so much that day.

“I’ll be your sword huh…? That won't be so bad,” He stated quietly, though a small smile also crossed his face. A sword stayed at it’s wielder's side until it was needed. And he was okay with that. He didn’t want to get left behind like that again. When she moved to his wounds he shook his head slowly. As she might have noticed by then, he didn’t seem as bogged down by pain as normal people were. He still felt it, but it wasn’t enough to cloud his mind. “It doesn’t hurt that bad.”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:21 pm

Fayte stopped when Toma mentioned that it didn’t hurt that bad. Her fingers against the clothe paused, her eyes looking into his. His wounds were on the verge of taking his life. Yet looking into his eyes, she knew it was more than an act of bravery. It was as if he really couldn’t feel the pain. Was he that close to death? Or did he really not feel it? Although Fayte had dulled her emotional senses compared to most others, she still felt pain. Pain was very real. It required the correct mindset to even fight while in extreme pain. But… she still felt it.

She could feel the pulse of magical energy in him, even if he claimed not to use it. Was this related to his tolerance? Whether it was or not, she suspected he was stronger than he believed. Her work continued, patching up Toma as best she could. “I want you to become strong, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone,” she said. She shouldered his weight upon her back, so that Toma would have to move very little. Fayte also made sure to pick up his sword; she wouldn’t leave it behind carelessly. Then she began to the trek towards the inn, carrying her injured companion. “Bare with me until we get you the proper care…”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:20 am

He was silent as she worked, shifting as needed to make her work easier. When she stopped he stared at her with mild confusion. She was searching him for something… even he could understand that. But he didn’t know what she was looking for. But then after a short time she was back to making sure he wouldn’t bleed out.

Then she shouldered him, and he did his best to move. He still felt the pain, and moving caused him to wince with a gasp. But it was dulled, and he was still thinking ‘clearly’. At least as clearly as his broken mind allowed. He was about to mention the sword, but she grabbed that too. He didn’t know about the faint spark of magic within him. Nor did he know that it was the only reason he’d survived as long as he did that evening. What he did know was that his only way of being useful was with that sword.

“Thanks… for not leaving me alone, Fayte,” Toma said quietly, clearly more worn out than he would have normally liked to admit. He might be unnaturally resistant to pain, but he was still human. And he still had limits. “For whatever it’s worth… I promise I won’t let you down. I’ll do whatever it takes to become strong and useful.”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:51 pm

Fayte was prepared to shoulder all of Toma's weight, not honestly expecting him to be able to move at all. The fact tha he was even attempting to do so was impressive. A faint mist grew around them, obscuring their movements. Fayte generally knew the way to the inn, planning to find a doctor to come to Toma... rather than forcing him to wander about for medical care. There was the possibility that others would come after them, especially with Toma's violent trail... but that would be a barrier to pass in the future. She was taking one step at a time now, focusing on their immediate situation.

She blinked when Toma managed to gather enough breath to speak. "I'm sure you will," she agreed quietly. "After all, you became my responsibility when you joined our family. And now, I am saving your life. You have potential, and I trust that you will repay me in the future." For inducting him into Shadow Heart, and again when Fayte found him like this in Cerulean... she had been very close to killing him multiple times. That was because she recognized his potential. If he strayed from the path he chose, then he could become a threat to Shadow Heart. But if he was loyal to her, then he would also be loyal to Shadow Heart. If he would give his life to her cause, she would gladly take it. Both for the glory of their family, and also her own personal mission against Mordekai. This was the path she had taken when she followed Master Xian Fei, and this was the path she would teach her own student.

Sometime later, Fayte had secured a single inn room for herself and Toma. She left only to send a doctor his way, one that was easily convinced to keep their meeting a secret. Already the Magic Council was scouring Cerulean for their suspect, and Fayte knew they wouldn't be able to stay here for long. The night was quickly approaching but she had no plans to leave the room. Actually she hadn't even bothered to rent another, knowing that her first concern was to take care of him. She planned to simply stay in the same room for the night. Toma's sword, she replaced by his side... in the off chance that something happened, even injured as he was, it would be useful.

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:24 pm

Toma was struggling to stay awake, so he didn’t respond. Instead, he focused on getting to wherever Fayte was taking him. He felt so cold, and she was warm. Which only added to the struggle of staying awake until they got there. Repay her? He now carried a debt which could never truly be repaid. But it was one that he would try to repay anyway.

Everything after that was a blur. The next thing he knew he was laying in bed. Fayte left, but returned with someone else. At first he’d panicked, his tired mind mixing with his wounded body making him think even less clearly than normal. But after a short time, he stopped struggling, and passed out as the doctor did his job.

It was several hours later when Toma awoke. His eyes slowly slid open, revealing a room that had faded into dim lighting. He was only half clothed, and covered in bandages and stitches. He could feel a faint, dull throb of pain from places that had been stitched shut. He saw his sword leaning next to the bed he was in, within easy reach. Well… at least he was trusted near it still.

Slowly he pushed himself up, having not noticed Fayte yet. Instantly a hand went to his side, where one of the worst wounds had been. It must have been bad if he felt it that vividly. “Ah…. I guess I was worse off than I thought…”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:54 pm

The clothes Toma had originally been wearing were covered in blood. After the doctor finished his work, Fayte took the clothes and began washing them. A simple bucket of water and rag was all she had. Still, if they were going to leave, blood was going to make them a dead giveaway. She couldn't exactly go shopping for a new set of clothes right now. When she finished his set, he was still asleep... and Fayte realized that her own clothes weren't exactly pretty, either. When Toma had used her as a crutch, her jacket and shirt had been coated in stains. Without a second thought, Fayte removed both jacket and shirt, dutifully rubbing away with a towel and water. Task completed, she was draping them over the bedpost to dry, when Toma finally awakened.

"Don't push yourself," she was instantly at his side when he tried to move. "You'll re-open your wounds," she gently pushed him back down. The fact that her top half was only clothed in undergarments didn't really bother her. Vaguely she knew it was considered taboo, but this was a time of necessity. She couldn't just leave to clean and dry the clothes somewhere else. Besides, it wasn't like it was a big deal to her. "We're likely going to have to travel in the next day or two. Even if you feel fine, you should try to rest as much as you can."

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:21 am

Toma relaxed some when he heard Fayte’s voice. He turned to look at her, but instantly felt his face get warm. He was pale from blood loss, but his cheeks still managed to gain a pink tinge to them as he looked to the side. He hadn’t expected to see her in so little. Though, given some thought it made some sense. He was a mess when she found him after all.

“W-well, I didn’t plan to actually get up,” He said focusing on his words so he wouldn’t stutter. He may have had a crush or two in his life, but he’d never really seen girls undressed in any fashion. So he had no idea how to react outside that he shouldn’t look. He took that time to look himself over and sighed.

“I’m sorry you had to drag me back,” Toma said as he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. It was awkward, partially, because waking up to that had been a likable experience. But he wasn’t a pervert… So he hoped it didn’t become a habit. “I know I was a mess. And I screwed up. I should have just gotten out instead of… whatever it is I ended up deciding to do. I don’t remember everything that happened before you found me very well.”

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:06 am

Fayte backed off a little when Toma complied. As long as he didn't injure himself, that was fine. Although... "Your face looks a little red... I hope you aren't coming down with a fever, too..." At this point, if Toma got sick... she was fairly certain it would kill him. "Your friend betrayed you." She understood that much. The exact circumstances, she didn't know. But this was the only part that made sense to her. The very reason why he'd joined Shadow Heart... that reason was now gone. No, more than just Shadow Heart. That had been his entire purpose for living. Fayte was giving him the opportunity to find a different reason to live. She still suspected that Toma's original reason for going on a rampage was an indirect suicide. If she hadn't come, she figured he would be already dead.

"...What exactly do you want now?" Fayte wondered. If he wanted to be used, then she would use him. But that wouldn't necessarily be a replacement to his purpose in life. "I have chosen to dedicate my life to finding and killing a certain man. it is why I remained at Shadow Heart originally. But now the entire family means much to me." Lightly she sat on the side of his bed, next to him, looking at the eyes that wouldn't meet hers. "I was with you when you could barely kill a single man. And now this. There is a limit to how much a person's mind can handle."

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:28 am

“I don’t feel sick…” Toma frowned and placed the back of his hand against his forehead. He didn’t feel feverish. Though his hand did feel kinda cold. He had lost a lot of blood though, judging from the bandages and stitches. His focus on that was broken however, when the still shirtless Fayte sat near him on the bed. A closer proximity, combined with his current lack of a shirt only added to the embarrassment.

As such it was hard to focus on her question. But it was a rather important question. He wouldn’t admit it… but a large part of him had wanted to die. In fact, he still found himself wishing he had. He was putting on a brave face, but at the end of the day that was the inescapable truth.

“I…” He started in a quiet voice. Now that he was focused on that, he was paying less attention to Fayte’s lack of clothing and was speaking more clearly. His eyes still didn’t meet hers as he continued. “I don’t want to be alone anymore. That’s why I spent all my energy chasing after her when she disappeared. She’d been the only one that gave a damn to someone who was otherwise useless and unwanted.”

“I lost her,” There were tears he hadn’t shed in weeks now starting to flow freely. Feelings that went back years came flooding to mind. Guilt, sorrow, fear… all of it was there. He gripped the blankets as he tried to fight back the feelings. She was right, there was only so much he could handle. And this whole situation had been a wake up call for him. “Because I was worthless I lost her. So I want to be strong enough to be worth something to someone. If that means I’m only a tool then… so be it. Though I would hope I could be worth something more than that. I... I want to be worth the effort you're putting out for me."

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Fayte Scarlett on Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:52 am

The color Fayte thought she'd seen was already beginning to fade. Toma's complexion was mainly pale, but at least it was better than when she first found him. At first she stared intently at him, even moreso when he refused to meet her gaze still. However, her harsh eyes softened a bit when Toma poured his life out... and his tears. She had been there when Toma tried to act tough, when he severed his ties to Hosenka in order to join Shadow Heart. Even during that time, he hadn't cried. But he was very lost right now... and extremely vulnerable. Angelique had also been like this, before she awoke as a different person.

She turned away briefly... but only to grab her shirt from the bedpost. Easily she slipped into it. A little damp yet, but not bad. So Toma didn't want to be alone, huh... How long had Fayte been alone? Pretty much her entire time at Shadow Heart. With Master Xian Fei gone, Fayte had no desire to replace her with someone else. "I can't be a replacement for your friend," she looked back. Intonation and expression, she still appeared neutral. "I can be a mentor, and teach you how to fight. I can use you. But friendship, that's not something I have, or can give. If you understand that, then there is no issue." Her hands folded neatly in her lap, she didn't bother to steady Toma's hand which clutched the blanket, nor stem his tears. "...It's fine to have one day to be weak. One last day to mourn without hopes or plans for the future. But only one day."

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Re: Fallen From Grace

Post by Toma Hawke on Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:34 am

Fayte’s words were like a jarring punch that knocked the wind from him. What little hope he’d had of building something he could be happy with was shattered like a cracked vase being pushed from a table. His shoulders shook as he tried to calm himself. Who had he been kidding? If he was worth anything more than a tool, he wouldn’t have lost Astra. His family wouldn’t have forsaken him. He’d have people who cared about him.

He let his shoulders slump as resignation washed over him. Even if he wanted something else, he was in too deep already. Countless people had been murdered at his hands already. All for an organization that would kill him should he try to leave. And with no other direction to go, Toma simply let go of his feelings.

“...There was never anything to mourn to begin with,” He said flatly as he closed his eyes. He wiped away his tears and leaned back. He noticed she had a shirt on just before he closed his eyes, but it didn’t click in his head one way or another at this point. Instead he reached for his sword and set it in his lap.

“As soon as I’ve recovered I’ll get straight to work,” He said quietly. He was clearly still wrestling with his feelings. But they were subdued, and he looked about as happy as he felt. Which wasn’t happy at all. “After all… A sword that isn’t used is a sword without purpose.”

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