1963-08-16 - Finding The End
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darwin eito 

Karate is all the rage, and well there are more than a few teachers in NYC these days. However finding somone who's skilled in it's use, and not just the act of showing off is difficult all by itself. From there though, finding somone to instruct proves even more difficult. Same with the little Dojos teaching Aikido, Jujutsu and even Judo. The answer is always the same, it apparently has less to do with teaching a mutant than being "The wrong teacher". Just whom exactly is the right teacher then, well surprisingly they all seem to have the exact same answer. Not that it makes sense in the least, because they all claim there is some sort of magic fox running around New York they simply call "Owari". Nevermind the fox part, because the Owari portion is likely as strange.

It doesn't exactly translate directly, there is a certain sense of finality that always gets lost in the translation. It signifies "The End", A nearly divine finality of sorts. Not that anyone seems to even know where this guy can even be found, which makes it easy enough to write off as a wild goose chase if not for their absolute conviction. That is, until the very last dojo in all of New York which in and of itself isn't particularly easy to find. Theres this, well they don't even exactly explain what it is that they even practice but the master there? He responds to the queries without a word spoken, the old man only offers a toothless smile and a neat white envelope. Inside on a crisp neat section of card stock, on one side is a wood block print depicting some sort of fox creature with a scroll in it's mouth. The back though, split between classical Tibettan, Cyrillic, Kanji and Pinyin? There is an address, and a date which only makes sense if you know how to read a star chart.

The time and place described, well it's not in New York City though it is at least in the state. It's upstate, over in Cobleskill. A tiny little town most people drive through without even recognizing that theres a town there in the first place. On the Western edge of town though, well the address belongs to what once upon a time was a steel mill before it went bust after the war. These days it's hardly a testiment of industry, it's more or less just a collection of rusting pig iron and broken windows surrounded by barbed wire fences and scrap piles of god knows what. About as obscure as it gets without driving halfway across east jesus, and well not exactly the sort of place one would expect to find a reputable martial arts school either.

If Armando is one thing when it comes to learning its tenacious. Between the X-men and the Avengers, he's decided that he absolutely needs to learn to defend himself. And he is- both groups are teaching him to defend himself. However, Armando wanted more. He wanted to learn for himself as well as those teams- with an intimate knowledge that the world is an increasingly dangerous place, Armando also wants to learn for others. He can survive anything- he can evolve a solution to any survival problem. Others, however, can not. Those people need protection- and Armando is set to protect the helpless.

So, Armando did the work. He went from Dojo to Dojo- speaking Japanese as he goes, respectful in every movement and action. He's never discouraged- always going onward. After all, they didn't say no. They said they weren't the right teacher- which means, somewhere, the right teacher must exist.

Armando was able to make out the wood print- likely faster than almost anyone in the city would be able to. The languages were effortlessly understood- and he almost immediately recognized the star chart. When the date and time arrived, he was there and ten minutes early- one does wish to be punctual.

Armando drives up to the odd location, stepping out of his car, and tipping back his hat. He doesn't wait outside, however, he urges himself forward and into the odd, abandoned factory. He still moves with a certain respect- this, after all, may be someone's home. He knocks at the door, and quietly waits.

"And so, he knocks."Comes a voice, and not exactly a human one mind you. The timbre isn't right, like it was spoken by a mouth English was never intended for. More alarming perhaps, is the distinct impression it's spoken directly into the ear. Hell you can even feel the warm brush of breath against the back of your neck, nearly feel the presence directly behind you. "My my, relentless and polite at the same time. You know, I normally do not take humans as students. It would seem however, you're something a little different though yes?"

Right there out in the open, maybe twenty feet back? It's dressed in brilliant crimson red Kimono, and a neat black Obi which really does tie together that bright white "Samurai" armor of a kind. The chest plate carries long thin magazine pouches, and painted in a bright red set to match that Kimono? The Hand painted kanji script for "Shinken shobu" or "Real Sword". A japanese term of course signifying an undertaking of the utmost seriousness. Theres a pistol at his right hip, and some sort of submachine gun slung across his back. There are of course a pair of neat black and white swords at his left side, the classical "big-little" combination. All of that is wild enough, but that's not the crowd pleaser here. It's the thing wearing all that shit.

Not quite six foot, the head is utterly foxlike from what can be seen. It's hidden behind a brilliant white mask Fox mask, the mask alone is a trip really. It's like it was carved out of pure moonlight, hell it -glows-. Theres perfect, peerlessly white fox fur and a pair of tails. The legs are bent back in a distinctly digigrade fashion, like a fox's hind legs. That then, is a god damned Kitsune and it's fairly incredible.

"Think deeply, and speak with perfect honesty. Why do you wish to learn what you believe I can teach, whom is it that you serve in this life?"Theres a flick of an ear, before the creature glances casually over it's shoulder. Then with a swish of those tails, it rests a partially gloved hand comfortably against the hilt of that Katana. "Do you know my name, know what I am at least?"

Armando doesn't exactly look human. His arms are over long and he's tall and thin. His skin is silver-gray, and he lacks hair: even his eyebrows are simple hairless ridges. When he turns, however, its the eyes that catch the most interest. Pure white orbs, featureless. Not the milky-whiteness of a blind man, but simple whiteness. The turn he makes is sharp- a surprised kind of turn at feeling the breath on his neck. The presence behind him. The voice in his ear.

Armando doesn't speak immediately when he's asked that question, he seems to weigh it. To taste it and feel it out. To give it a proper level of respect- its a deeper question for Armando. "Those are two different questions." he begins, "Ultimately, all men serve themselves. How that service is carried out, however, is what decides the type of man he is. I look forward to a future- one where all humanity is at peace with itself, and acts with love and understanding towards one another. This is the future that belongs to two groups of people on this Earth: Children, and Myself. It is, however, for those Children. For those others in the now that I wish to learn what you teach. I can survive anything, it is my gift or curse- I will always survive." he begins, "Others, however, are not so lucky. I can't stand by and simply survive and let those around me perish. I absolutely must learn to defend others, and help build a future I can be proud to give to the children of the future, and their children, and their grand children beyond them." Armando finally finishes his statement.

"They called you Owari. The End." Armando says, "But I will not presume to know you- either in name, spirit or body. I am Armando Munoz- a mutant, born of New York City and I am very pleased to meet you."

"I am the 87nth Kitsune, divine messenger of the Honored High Goddess Inari and humble servant to The Divine Court of the East."There is no bow here, the title is rambled off with an almost casual disinterest. "I was named Eito before my first death, and so I am known as such."There is a pause there, as the fox seems to consider the answer to that question. "There are few absolutes in this life, but know this and consider it deeply. A warrior speaks, or he does not speak. He fights, or he does not fight. He does not undertake half measures, he does not leave a weapon unsheathed out of polite consideration. He is a creature of necessity, he does what he must because others are unable. The sword and the gun do not exist to wound, they are not totems to be displayed out of tradition or fashionable custom. They end lives, because a warrior understands the truth of it all. All conflict is a manner of war, and war is cruelty. He does not fight men, he fights cruelty and in doing so he endeavors to end it as swiftly as possible."

"If you are to study, you must make peace with your nature. Humans are not kind and noble creatures, mutant or otherwise you are all predators. You live because your ancestors gave their enemies the honor of their sword, because they fought and killed as was necessary. You will kill, and perhaps it will be necessary to kill many to preserve the innocent. Your race is an organism, and if you chose to undertake this path you shall have to get your hands dirty. You will be forced to cut out the cancer that is killing your people, and you will have to come to accept your birthrite. Humans are all killers, even if only by association. Your governments no matter how democratic and just, are built upon a monopoly of violence."A pause there, before Eito taps the pommel of that sword softly. "You are not invulnerable, this undertaking may end you. I have killed my fair share of immortals in my time, as have many others. You must never forget, you too shall die in time."

Armando listens carefully to what Eito says, just silent as the other speaks. He nods quietly, "Perhaps." he offers in response. "Ultimately, it will be my decision. I would not give death to anyone I could keep living. I'm not looking to be trained as a killer- I have no interest in dealing death, even to my enemies." he begins.

"However, if no choice remained, I think I would do what was required to save the lives of innocent people." he states quietly, "As for being invulnerable, or immortal- you must understand what I am." he says, "I am evolution given physical form. I survive- its what I do. Its my mutation. You put me in water, I grow gills and fins. Put me in space, and I survive in that inhospitable place. Perhaps, one day, I will meet something that can bring me death- but I somehow doubt that will be any time soon."

"There are beings who can simply decide they don't want you to have ever existed you know, and it will be so. I am a divine messenger, I have walked amongst the courts of many. I walked in the presence of many gods, and many things which have no mortal words. You are durable, and adaptable. You are not invulnerable, not even a god is."Eito lets that out there, before pondering that reply in full. "Then I shall take you as my student but there are requirements, You must agree to obey the rules of the Divine Court whilst you are my student. You must also know, that if you stray from the correct path? I will slay you myself, and do not believe for a moment that I cannot cut your immortal soul to shreds as easily as your flesh. "Finally taking, ever so silent steps foreward as he lifts a hand to that mask. "Do you agree to these terms, and remember. You are forging a pact with a representative of the Divine Court, breaking accord with me will not end well for you or any you hold dear."

"I would know the rules before I agree to them, Eito." Armando says simply, bowing his head in quiet respect. "And hopefully, neither of us will come to a time where I press the limits of my mutation." he offers with a playful grin.

"You must never give false witness, no matter the consequence. You must never lie, though if we're honest that doesn't seem to cover strict omission. You must never allow the innocent to come to harm if possible. You must never steal for personal gain. You must show the utmost respect to a place of worship, and you may not entangle yourself in the internal politics of another court. I would note, that whilst not strictly a rule? Show respect to those of higher station than yourself. Mortals, Celestial types, then gods."And finally off comes that mask to reveal the fox beneath it, and yeah it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Save that well, that mouth isn't actually moving when he talks it seems. "I respect your desire to avoid killing, but know this. I slay evil when I find it, and I do not have time to justify myself to you. I am happy to have a long and in depth conversation after the fact, but I'm closing in on my third tail here. Give me the benefit of the doubt, alright?"

Armando nods, and again as before he doesn't answer immediately- listening and weighing what is said before he nods quietly, "I agree." he says, with a quiet smile- almost serene. "I'll give you my trust, Eito." he says finally with a quiet smile- "WIll we be meeting here for lessons? Or do the lessons range from place to place?" he wonders next, curiosity in his tone.

"oh I live in the City, but if you had ill intentions? It'd be far more convient to slay you out here, experience breeds caution of course."Theres a little shrug. "So first we will begin with the basics, take a seat on the ground. We will speak of many things, and then I will decide how to train you in time."The fox takes a moment to reach back and delicately relieve himself of that submachinegun, setting that Walther MPL complete with…wait is that an oil filter screwed onto the muzzle? Anyway he sets it on the ground, before fwumping down and pulling those swords across to rest in his lap. "What -can- you do, in terms of raw martial ability? What training have you had, have you taken a life before?"

"I see." Armando says, shaking his head a little at that revelation. Armando moves to sit with a certain grace- crosslegged. "For the most part, I rely on my mutation in a fight. When I'm in a brawl my hands become like rocks, for instance." He begins to explain. "I'm currently training to fight with other groups I'm a member of- groups that are aimed towards the protection of others and the world at large." ARmando continues. "I've never taken a human life- but I have killed pests, such as mosquitoes."

There is a nod there, and a lingering silence before Eito gently folds his hands in his lap. "Zen and confucianism is the way of the Samurai, and Samurai are foolish and weak. We are not Samurai. Shinobi are mercenary and ruthless. We are not Shinobi. We are not knights, or Vikings or any such thing. All of these things, are boxes. We should endeavor to exist and make our way without allowing ourself to fall into such a narrow classification. I am Eito. You are Armando. I am a Fox. You are a Mutant. Labels beyond this, are meaningless. We must examine the abstract for the definition of self, and of most import is not that which we know. It is not important what questions we lack answers to. What is important, is knowing the questions. Examine yourself, become comfortable in the presence of the unknowable. Allow your mind to embrace the void, that which does not exist."Eito gives a little nod there as well. "Do good for it's own sake, as best as you can."

"Locked away deep inside you, there is a force locked away. Something far greater than your mortal senses can actually detect, something science has no words for. Your soul burns like a wildfire, you have in your very essence a kind of violence that men have not invented words for. All men are born this way, mutant or otherwise. I can show you a map, but you must understand. The land you mean to tread, that is your own country. I can add nothing you do not already have within in. I have seen men unleash this in my years, watched a peasant farmer beat a tiger to death with his bare hands to save his daughter. I watched a man take a satchel charge, and run through gunfire more than four hundred yards. He was but human mulch, but bullets can not stop such a man who has found that fire deep within himself. What we aim to accomplish then, is not so much as the introduction of the new as it is an examination of what you already have at your command."And finally a sly little smile, which hardly seems anything but creepy considering those teeth. "Do you understand?"

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