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Subject Post 1Subject: Dinner Date [Yaksha/Zeda] Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:42 pm
Busy days, busy nights. That was the key to making it through the rough times, Yaksha found. If he kept himself busy, he could almost forget the crippling hunger. The ravaging pain. If he made sure to rub as many elbows as possible, to shake hands and kiss babies, if he kept his escalator wit under control, he could almost convince himself it was a month prior, and everything was going just perfectly. He could forget all about the moments that had marked him forever, moments that had left him withered and broken, scars that even his impressive capacity for healing couldn't undo.
He leaned over the pot, inhaling deeply, and then reaching out with a spare hand, to draw forth a vial of what looked to be assorted herbs, throwing it into the pot along with water that boiled vigorously, filling the air with various delightful savory smells. He could almost forget about the cane in his other hand, clutched so tightly that it almost felt fused to the flesh. He could almost ignore the twinging in his back as he turned, and began to limp towards the table, setting it slowly, with meticulous care. If he kept himself fully absorbed in the rituals of sharing a meal, he could almost feel human again.
He had been lounging in somewhat of a funk, since the day Mirja had -once again- swept into his life, leaving all manner of refuse and unwanted excrement in her passing, and expecting him to clean it up somehow. He had spent a few days just trying to recover, to heal, but he found that the time and energy it took was just...too monumental. He would likely die, or lose too much of himself in the process. And so he had simply tried to wait it out, to allow himself to reach the closest approximation to normal he could hope for. He still felt as if his spine were filled with steel hooks, dragging against his nerve endings time and time again, but pain was nothing new to him. Even so, it had left him a wreck, hardly fit to pursue his normal passions.
He'd taken a 'sabbatical' as he termed it, showing up only rarely in public, and always in some unexpected guise, to get what he needed to make it through the tougher days. He'd despaired that this was the limit of his capabilities, that he was going to die on the very doorstep of what he had sought, and worked so hard for. And yet, here he stood, preparing one last dinner plate, for his vaunted guest. He inhaled deeply once more, rib bones outlined in painful detail against his chest, and shoulderblades exposed far too much in the back, as he went back about his work. He was withered now, nearly all the time...a man who looked wasted, eaten up by cancer or something equally virulent. And in a very real sense, he was.
"Alright, Captain Zeda. Let's see if this is my last hurrah, or the hail mary I've been looking for."
Yaksha felt it, even before Zeda had begun to extend it fully; the telltale signatures, the delightful sense of frisson in the air that left him feeling like his hairs had gone on end...even hairs on the inside of his skin. The grin was plastered on his face even before he could push himself back to his feet, hands both pushing on the cane for just a moment to help him get to his feet. He began to tap his way down the corridor slowly, head tilting to the left, then the right, with a series of audible pops that almost sounded painful to hear, like thick ice cracking. He walked forward slowly, hunched over at first, as he approached the entrance to his building. He opened it slowly, and allowed his associate to set the pace of their conversation.
"Evening... I'm Zeda, and you're the mystery man that wants me yes?"
Oh, dear. The first line out of his mouth, and it was like a softball, lobbed right over the plate. Did he even have a -choice- but to knock it out of the park, and make it clear that he wasn't some trifling pissant? He inhaled, leaning against the doorframe, and allowing himself to lean forward, just a bit. His eyes, lemon-yellow slits that glowed with a faint luminescence, began to widen, and he chuckled deep in his throat, ever so slightly, before tilting his head to the side.
"Captain Zeda, I am the mystery man that wants everything. For you...I'm willing to settle."
There wasn't any malice in the tone, nor any irritation; it seemed, in fact, as if the depth of his arrogance was so simple and profound that it was simply a kneejerk reaction to him at this point. It was like saying that an ocean 'had' water; Yaksha wasn't arrogant, so much as he was arrogance. He stepped aside, hands extending inwards, towards the living room. His eyes never left the captain's, as he rose his brows, and tutted, ever so softly.
"I give you my word that for the duration of this conversation I will do no harm unto you, and allow no harm to come unto you. I realize Vegas is a very dangerous place for you to be tromping around, so I hope you will appreciate the very depths of that obligation. I will not allow our negotiations to be interrupted, even by Shadow Fall. For now, feel free to have a seat, and get comfortable, as I finish the appetizers. You're free to ask whatever questions you like, and I shall answer to the best of my ability. After all...now that I've -got- you here, there's no point being coy. Let's make this a pleasant experience for the both of us."
"You insult me. I suppose that's not something I should be surprised by, at this point. Manners towards a hollow is very nearly high treason after all. Never mind that I've done everything I could to make this easier for you. Yaksha Dokuja. I doubt it'll mean much of anything to you. It's not really mattered much until this year."
He continued to walk towards the dining room, his movements slow and meticulous, seemingly with no needless actions as he examined the table, adjusting a plate and a set of silverware slowly, and then pulling back the chair. He began to walk, cane striking the ground several times in quick succession as he plodded along towards the kitchen, snatching up a pot of boiling water, and walking towards the table with it. He hummed to himself under his breath, ever so slightly, bending at the knees more than the waist as he set it down, and then settled into the chair, shuffling it forward with a series of painful-sounding creaks, and several grimaces.
"I don't expect you to understand, or care, about much of anything at this point, Zeda. In my old age, I've grown somewhat jaded with shinigami. You'd like to get this over and done with, and I can only surmise that's because you want to get back to your studies. I, on the other hand, am very old indeed, and to me something that takes the better part of a day is very quick. I have been trying my very best to make this as pleasant as possible, Zeda. I know this isn't easy for you, Zeda, but I must have at least a token gesture of acknowledgement if I'm going to launch into the specifics. Whether or not you eat, I will. I would at the very least suggest you use this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the lifestyles of the rich and famous."
He reached out one hand, grasping a bottle and rattling it ever so faintly, before shaking a few of the pills inside into his palm, and then swallowing them dry. He gestured towards the seat across from him, and then removed the lid from the pot he had brought over, a hand metamorphozing slowly into a ladle as he sucked at his lower lip.
"I assume it's still standard procedure for shinigami to carry soul pills on their persons when in the human world? Or did they do away with that when you stopped trying to pretend you were beholden to the same rules and restrictions as those you oversaw?"
Yaksha spread his hands outwards, a gesture of frustration and confusion there as he rose his brows, clearly trying his very best to keep his temper under control as he spoke. There wasn't a single twitch of a facial muscle, as he watched his dinner partner, the contents of the pot he had brought over gently bubbling away as he began to speak.
"What would you prefer to be doing right now then, Captain Zeda? Dissecting me? Perfecting the Yuudeshi Network? Working on your networking? I'm trying to make you an offer here, and your entire aura is one of irritation. You are a -guest- here, Captain Zeda. You are free to go at any time. At which point I will extract a rifle from the cabinet I keep them in, and blow my own head off. You are, quite literally, my last chance. Is that what it will take to get you to pay attention, and put your wanderlust to bed for a few hours?"
He never looked away from Zeda, hand probing along the table blindly for a few moments, before raising the pill bottle he'd just opened, and pouring its contents onto the table; the pills inside were uniform in nature, and not circular in the slightest. They looked, as a matter of fact, like any mortal medication. He plucked up one without looking, and then held it up between them, eyes dilating faintly.
"Oxycodone. Ever since Mirja Eola kicked my ass up between my ears, I've been a shell of my former self. Yes, I'm aware of the pun, but there's really no better way to put it. I have no method of reliably obtaining soul pills at this moment. Considering your lack of disgust, or surprise, I can only assume you're already aware they do a perfectly serviceable job as meal replacement options for hollows. Is that something every shinigami knows, or just those in the know?"
He popped the pill in his mouth before he got an answer, folding his hands on the table and looking at a spot about five inches above Zeda's earlobe, as the medication began to kick in, seeming almost to...switch off. It felt like Zeda was staring at a mannequin instead of a person, as if there truly was no vitality to speak of left in the creature in front of him. He came back slowly, in degrees, a smile creeping across his face faintly, and his voice sounding dreamy.
"Pain is no stranger to me. The body acclimates to pain, as does the mind. The hunger is terrible, and wasting. But so long as I don't push myself, I'm able to survive on a single hollow for a year. It's the rough equivalent of bread and water for a human, but...sacrifices need to be made. I make up for the loss in pastas, pastries, the company of very affectionate women, and pharmaceuticals. And central air. That invention was the greatest one mankind has ever created, in my opinion. I am able to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, and that is enough to distract me from the desires of the mind, and the soul. I eat to survive, Zeda. I kill acceptable targets. Again, I don't expect that to make any difference to you. The rhetoric of the Gotei is clear, after all. Mine is a tortured existence, and yours is to bring me peace at the end of a blade. I won't fight my ultimate fate, or beg for mercy, or plead. I simply can't find it in me to commit acts of violence. I would be too distracted by my desire to understand my opponent to...do what needed to be done."
He shrugged, ever so slightly, rising from the table and walking towards Zeda, both hands clutching the cane he carried now, as he approached. He blinked a few times, with the slowness of glaciers, without any expression, as he examined the captain, and then sighed, ever so slightly. His voice this time was less than a whisper, a mere impression on the air.
"Will you be the one to destroy me, Captain Zeda? Or do you, too, seek to understand others?"
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Subject Post 10Subject: Re: Dinner Date [Yaksha/Zeda] Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:45 pm
"Captain Zeda, you sell yourself so short. I don't care about Ibiki right now. Ibiki is not here. To claim you are a messenger and nothing else upsets me. You are a clever man, and you are perhaps the one best-suited to convey to the world the feasibility of my goals. As well as the long-term consequences. I don't care what you go to tell Ibiki after this negotiation is complete. Tell her to kill me and take credit for my ideas, if it will please you. I only care that right here, right now...I can have you understand."
He did indeed snatch the bottle of Gikon out of the air, hobbling towards a table, and then reaching into thin air; a purplish-black rend in reality formed, and as Yaksha reached into it, rooting around, he began to suck at his teeth, in a faint gesture that seemed to convey irritation and concern at the same time. But it didn't take longer than a minute for him to extract a manila envelope, a couple inches thick, and slide it across the table towards Zeda.
"Jamaica. Sting Chikara's rampage. Short-lived, but devastating in its intensity. Inside you can find a detailed dossier of all parties present, and the projected likelihood they'll play a part in future such scenarios. Djibouti. The seige on Vanguard. I was personally approached by a gentleman who claimed he was the one responsible, albeit before the events went down. You'll find his details in there as well. The Chicago event. Zombies, running amok. I came to that one a bit late to the scene, but I still gleaned some meaningful information off of it. Take it with you. Read it over. I'll be here if you want any more information."
He settled back into his chair, folding his hands in his lap this time, and meeting the shinigami's gaze with unflinching certainty, with a depth and breadth of warmth that was oddly unexpected. He tilted his head to the side, smiling ever so slightly; it was a knowing smile, the sort of smile you expected to see from someone who knew no one else in the room would get the in-joke, but was quite pleased with the joke all the same.
"I was part of World War Three, you know. I tried my hand at playing diplomatic, and politic. I was too young, too monstrous, and too green. I couldn't actually make a difference. But it's different now, Captain Zeda. I have sponsors. I have ambition. I wish for you to be one of them, Captain Zeda. I abhor violence and animosity. I can scarcely stomach the thought of you walking away from this conversation feeling confused or unfulfilled. I firmly believe that all humans can find common ground with one another. I'm simply here as facilitator."
He looked down at the bottle of gikon in front of him, lips moving slowly, silently, his eyes darting about a few times, before he spoke, in a pleasant, almost singsong tone.
"How long do you think it would take you to make a million of these? That should be enough for me to pacify all the hollows within America for the rest of the year. Perhaps less, if there are a few who feel particularly certain they can force a confrontation."
He blinked once, ever so slowly, and -this- time when he spoke, his voice was sickly sweet, the kind of sweetness that only came from those who were very very angry, and trying very very hard to hide it, and still failing.
"Does the Gotei...want? The knowledge of how to end this hideous trend of skirmishes and confrontations before World War Four is upon us?"