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[LOG] Numina Numina Iei~

WHO: Akimoto Nagamori, Midori Nakashima, Chidori Yoshino, Nagisa Renge, Numina the Faceless (NPCed by Margaret)
WHERE: Hayashioka Shrine, Inaba Forest

WHEN: Saturday September 05, 2009 (IC time)

WHAT: Akimoto wants to make a deal with a devil. The ladies of Strega tag along for the ritual.
WATCH FOR: 'Please put Lord Numina down', broomsmacking, Chidori bleeding AGAIN, Nagisa overpowering a small god with <3, and Midori's desperate quest for friends!

The promised night has fallen on the woods that hide the Hayashioka Shrine from the eyes of non-believers. The forest and grounds are black like ink with no nearby streetlamps or electric lights to provide illumination; Strega will need to bring its own light, or stumble along in the darkness unaided. The moon has turned its gentle face away tonight, and will not witness the sin being committed on 'hallowed' ground.

The nights are beginning to cool down, although the day was warm enough. The temperature is just beneath that of freshly-spilled blood, and an eerie wind ruffles the forest canopy, sends twigs rustling to the forest floor.

It doesn't forget the shrine itself, either. Torn panels of dingy greyish paper flutter like wagging tongues from the wooden frames that used to be sliding doors and walls. The shrine is in direpair with nobody living to tend it, and the damage from a months-ago battle has only hastened its decay. The courtyard stones have weeds sprouting up between them in many places, drying out day after day in the summer sun.

Akimoto had prepared the shrine before tonight's event. She had hung up oil lamps around the place, taking lamps from her own shrine. She could do only a little to try and fight the decay of the place by herself, she tried, but without a stronger crew of people...and perhaps someone with more skill in building, the Shrine will never return to it's glory. It was sad, to Akimoto, for places like this were sacred...and while she might be a believer of Nyx, she was a Shinto Priest. Akimoto would arrange with other Stregites to meet on the edge of the forest, and from there she would lead them towards the Shrine.
Akimoto would arrive with a hand held oil lamp herself, and a small bottle of oil. She also carried a small backpack, filled with various materials to start the ritual...including something very precious of hers. Tonight would just be another test for her...to show her divotion to the cult. It was a burden for her to bear, and one she would willingly do.
The Priestess would move slowly compared to others, she was young, yes, but she was also weakened by her condition, but she moved fast enough to not be a hinderance. Once they were at the Shrine, she would move to each lamp carefully, and start placing oil in each one, lighting it with a candle lit from her handheld lantern. She moved carefully, almost like a ghost, lighting each one until they had enough light to at least see...there would be no moon to work by this night. Slowly she would move to the alter, kneeling infront of it and slowly setting things up. While the act of her sacrifice would be what would summon the spirit...she did not neglect leaving other offerings, and of course, the componets to actually start the ritual. Finally infront of her and on the shrine, she placed a very fragile figurine.
It would look unimportant, to those with her, but to her, it was one of the very last things to remind her of her mother...it was a pillar she had based her entire life around now, and it now sat on the alter of sacrifice.

Tomomi got into some bad (...well, worse) mood over things and probably got one of her terrible groupies to go in her place, perhaps in only a token amount of faith in the idea. If this is all for real, maybe her little overdressed pawn will tell her aaaaall about it in her own way.
Midori, for her part, rationalizes this as just a little outing with some of her friends to celebrate the ending of the school week even through the bizarre darkness of a night under a new moon. She is surprisingly (let's instead say /thankfully/) quiet as the priestess Aki sets up the ritual. Midori, for her part, brought very little other than her own presence and continued disregard for the concept of the temperature outside, looking as though she were dressing for rain and snow and other such nature-related unpleasantness instead of, say, the supposed coming of everyone they were all waiting for.
She keeprs her hands clasped together around her chest and watches on with a very inappropriate smile for every little thing about the scene that is unappealing, worrying, and outright wrong.

"Yakusoku no yoru~ tsutsunde kuru~ muyami ni mu to yami wo... Hisoka, hissori, hisohiso hisonde iru..." Nagisa sings, making words up out of thin air to go along with a tune she composes as she goes along as she follows behind Akimoto and Midori as the former leads them back to the shrine. These are not her usual people, but when Akimoto told of some kind of fascinating thing of some sort at Hayashioka Shrine, Nagisa vaguely remembered the battle there, and found herself curious as to what it might be. If she goes, she can tell Takaya and Jin all about it! And Chidori is with her too, so all is well. Ergo it makes perfect sense for her to go. It's not as if she /cares/ if Akimoto and Midori are not her usual people.
The temperature is nice as well. Nagisa knows this temperature. It's a warmth she rather enjoys. She likes it better when it's hotter, because she gets cold so easily, but this is nice. Summer is leaving and winter is coming, but she's not sad. One day, summer will come again. All things come around again in the end, until one day, they all are reduced to dust.
And who knows? Given an infinite amount of time, even Nagisa may be here again one day.
Despite the eeriness and the pitch black of the night, Nagisa is not particularly threatened or intimidated by what's going on. The shrine looks just as bad as it was the last time; the only real difference is that it's warm instead of freezing. Underneath her many layers, her Evoker, pill box, and the cell phone that Jin gave to her as a present--what allows her to keep in contact with the people who are dear to her, even when they're far apart--rest against her waist on the belt she has for them comfortably.
Tonight, she thinks as she watches Akimoto lighting the lamps, will be a nice night.

Why was Chidori here? She was told to be here, probably. Akimoto had arranged this outing for a portentous purpose, but Midori saw it as nothing more than an outing with her friends in Strega, and maybe as a representative for Tomomi, who saw it as an annoying obligation. Only Nyx knew what Nagisa thought of all this, although she seemed happy enough; that singing was getting on this side of irritating.

Chidori just saw it as... a thing. Just an event that held no more or less significance than any other that Strega had sent her out on. Maybe what Akimoto was doing would indeed turn the tide to Strega's favour, or maybe it was all a bunch of hokey mumbo-jumbo. Chidori did not really care.

Chidori brought herself, her clothing, and whatever mysterious accessories were hidden inside the voluminous folds of her frilly dress. There was her Evoker, of course, and the infrequent faint jingling of chains from somewhere in that general area indicated the presence of her usual means of pre-emptive self-defense.

She did not bring her sketchbook. There didn't seem to be enough proper illumination anyway, oil lamps notwithstanding.

Chidori watched Akimoto place the figuring on the altar with a disinterested stare. Was that the sacrifice? Such a small thing. What could it be worth?

Akimoto's recent preparations may have made this place more tenable for Strega and her accomplices, but even that seems like for too little. Branches continue to clutch at the roof tiles, far-reaching roots dig beneath the soil in the courtyard and coil like chains around the foundation posts. It's almost as if the forest itself is attempting to consume to shrine and the forbidden secrets that it holds... almost like nature itself respondering to a cancerous growth in its midst.

Even still, the only creatures present on the temple grounds are the last few remaining fireflies of summer, and a single orb spider that makes its web in a dusty, forgotten corner.

The wind comes in through cracks in the walls and hinges of the doorframe. The lamps cast a flickering, unsteady yellow light on the walls and floor, flickering strangely across a few leftover scorched chrysanthemum-shapes left by long-ago battle. The smell of lamp oil is everywhere, entwined with the savory smell of wood dust.

Akimoto was careful with her placement...everything ment something. While others here may not even guess the meaning of her work, she herself did not need them to...she needed them to be there...
In case perhaps she needed to sacrafice them.
Kidding...or am I?
Akimoto started to speak, but her words were simple...she prayed homage to the spirits of the forest first, trying to sooth the anger and resentment this place represented to them. She then said her thanks and prayer towards Nyx...this was obviously her doing...her guidance had brought them to this place.
Then finally, came the topic of the night...
The small god, or spirit of this shrine, was spoken of...her words took on a very real quality suddenly. They were not just hollow words...their very utterings seemed to channel an untapped power. Perhaps it was her persona, perhaps it was some sacred art...
Or maybe it was just simply the magic inherriant in the night.
At the apex of her chanting, because there was no other way to discribe it...her hand gripped a small rock, polished and cleaned for the ritual...and brought it down viciously against the figurine. The figurine would shatter, no doubt breaking into pieces, and scratching and drawling her own blood...
"Long forgotten God of Hayashioka, I humbly ask for your guidance and for you to share your knowledge with those who seek to it!"

Midori watches the creepy scene in all but silence, her form - eerie enough given she is wearing too much and smiling - backlit in the only light in the darkness, and even only just enough to let the darkness see that she is there.
Her dress does not move against the breeze, either from it being too heavy, or perhaps just a symbolic indicator of just how little weight this seems to hold in the psyche of this young lady whom has happened to accompany other fellow young ladies to the sort of activities young ladies should not be taking part in.
The weight of the shattered figure is entirely lost upon her, unaware of its importance to the one who is leading the forbidden ritual. It's so weird and unsettling on any level for an ordinary person (but she's fine).

Nagisa, at least, stops singing once it becomes clear that Akimoto is about to begin her ritual, not so much out of any particular perception that 'oh, someone else is talking, I should hush up,' but because she's interested in watching and singing will mean she won't be able to hear as well what's going on. She does hold out a hand for those fireflies still around, stroking one that lands on her hand gently and letting it fly away unmolested.
She once met someone who made necklaces out of the glowing firefly bulbs. They thought it was pretty, until the light faded away and they had to make it all over again. She didn't even think about it much at the time. For some reason, Nagisa remembers that.
One has to make a sacrifice to make this summoning possible, Nagisa remembers as well when she sees Akimoto smash that figurine by her own hand. She wonders vaguely what this 'important object' meant to her, but no more than that. All things pass on. All things die. There isn't really any especial imporance in any one thing. She glances over at Chidori at the apex of the ritual, as Akimoto calls out to the God of Hayashioka, but otherwise doesn't pay the others much mind. Especially not Midori, since clearly she's just fine.

As Akimoto prayed, Chidori settled in for a long wait. Occasionally she envied the other two Strega girls present, with their empty-headed cheer and incessant distractions from reality.

When the figurine shattered by Akimoto's hand, though, Chidori glanced sharply at the altar. Was that... no, it was different, and yet something was /there/. Was it just her imagination? Chidori had hitherto not had much experience using Medea to sense the presence of gods.

What was Akimoto doing? What had she done?

What was she calling out to?

Whether or not the spirits of the forest hear Akimoto's prayer is unknown. Nyx, as well, doesn't respond - at least not in any way those present, even the priestess herself, can identify.
For a moment, it seems as though the sacrifice brings nothing but the shattering of fragile porcelain and the quiet plip, plip of Akimoto's blood falling to the altar and floor.

Nagisa's firefly floats floats silently in mid-air, perhaps innocent of the dangers of landing on a human hand. It sways in its flight as it rises towards the ceiling, where it lands upside down on a wooden beam.

It may take a moment for anyone -save the insightful Chidori- to feel the psychic pressure slowly creeping higher inside the wooden walls of the shrine. It's like a dreadful, stifling humidity inside the mind itself. Abruptly, the wind ceases to find its way through the cracks in the door.

Something is here. Something moves behind the altar, in the darkness beyond the lanterns' light, near the northernmost nook...

In Nagisa's case, it's less 'distraction from reality' so much as 'being aware of reality as a universe, rather than what's immediately in front of her'--though on a practical scale that probably amounts to the same thing. She watches that firefly float up to the surface--and then she too feels the pressure of an actual /god/ coming. Where Chidori reacts in alarm, Nagisa is merely politely interested. Akimoto said that she was going to summon a god; why shouldn't one come?
But it *is* stifling, though, pressing in on all sides. After a moment of seeming completely blase about it, Nagisa begins to show signs of strain--she clutches at her throat and all but squeaks, face pale in the lamplight, knees wobbling. Even when Thanatos appeared before her, she accepted it--but that doesn't mean it didn't scare the hell out of her, and /certainly/ that she didn't scream when it laid waste to her with its blade.
This feeling is a little like that. But... different. She is not exactly sure how.

Akimoto continued to finish up the ritual. She did not wait to heed the feeling of increased spiritual power...she was confident in herself and her abilities. She was not Chidori with her ability to completely know the spiritual presence of an area instaniously, but she was knowledgable in her rituals...it would come, if it still existed...and if it did not, then Strega lost nothing but time.
Akimoto does not stem the wound immediately, she was not sure what kind of god this was...percisely, she allowed her blood to pool into an empty offering bowl, before reaching in for her pack for a bandage to stifle the wound. Slowly, her eyes look up towards the presence in the darkest part of the shrine...politely, she shut off one of the lamps near the alter, her ritual complete as far as componets go.
Now it was time for...negotiation.
"Lord Hayashioka." Akimoto starts...respectful, but confident. She bows but they were here to speak on equal footing, both know that Akimoto is not it's servant, but a possible ally to it. "I come to Ask for the purpose of this Shrine, and why it has been burried to the sands of time."

Who knows what even runs through Midori's head. Does she even really have one? She is a Shadow-possessed, a fact that already differentiates her from those gathered here - overcome by whatever her repressed thoughts and desires are. Less of a human, more of a Shadow.
But she sure does seem more than willing to pretend the part of there nothing being wrong about this, at all, even as a somewhat choking feeling inches in on her psyche that so seems readily willing to deny anything that goes against this lie. What is more powerful? The fear, or her lies?
Her head bows forward as the pressure does its damned hardest to just make her crack outright, her brown hair obscuring her face. She shivers just a bit, the movement maybe too subtle to pick up from all that she is wearing on her.

After the initial surprise, Chidori's expression became wary, but determined not to let the Presence in the shrine intimidate her. Impassive as ever... even if the very faint jingling of chains became slightly more pronounced. Was Chidori trembling? Or was it, as in all the other times, a signal, like the flaring of a cobra's hood?

A challenge, or desperate fear?

A god, was it? A god who had let his shrine fall into obscurity. One of the many forgotten gods of the land, perhaps; a spirit worshipped by the populace for a better harvest, or good weather, or...

... something else. There /were/ beliefs along those lines, after all; people were people no matter where or when, and when one person was unhappy enough with another, there would be a spirit, perhaps even a god, to answer that call.

As Akimoto may have just done.

Nagisa, meanwhile, does not significantly change her position. She still seems as if she's quailing, and yet... neither does she back away or fall to her knees. She seems to be an empty-headed girl, but... she's someone who, when she was thrown away by the Kirijo Group, had neither a Persona nor a Shadow, just a half-formed /thing/ that occasionally came out and tried to kill her, and eventually awakened to that as a true Persona.
She's strong-willed. She would have to be, to be able to survive the way she has--even as, at the same time, she has no attachment to life. That this being is making her quake like this...
It just shows that Nagisa acknowledges this as serious.

The psychic pressure remains heavy, though exposure to it for more than a few minutes brings a sort of numbness of the brain; not of one's thinking ability, but a slow creeping silence from senses that used to scream out the god's presence. A silence like the faint taste of oblivion on the tongue.

"Priestess," a voice replies at length, once Akimoto has thoughtfully turned off the closest lamp. It seems weak, holding only a faint echo of the power that a god with a dedicated shrine should hold. "You are the first in many years to come to me with a willing sacrifice, one that is so dear to your heart. It has revived me, and for that, I thank you."

On the altar, the pieces of the figurine and the blood in the bowl, are being eaten by a darkness that burns like embers and consumes like locusts from the inside out. Soon, nothing is left but flickers of that living ink as it licks the table for a chance missed crumb.

"Once," the hidden god begins again, and this time it seems a little more coherent from the blood and sentiment that Akimoto has given up, "This temple was dedicated to worship of Mikaboshi the August Star. A place meant to accept the sacrifices offered to him and to summon me for matters of cousel and aid. But, over time, the people that used to flock here in multitudes lost their faith. They became afraid of me, and hid me away in a deep grove to forget me."

"...I hunger still," it sighs. "I remember my former glory and yearn for it, for the worshippers who came and sacrificed to me all they had, and eventually all that they were, in service..."

She understood now...she thought a god named Numina...a god of greek origin was odd. She realized that this was a discriptor...not the god's name. They litterally had invoked Amatsu-Mikaboshi...she knew the ledgends, and the rumors of world war two...she just now started to finally put the last bit of pieces together. To say she wasn't taken by surprise by this would be a lie.
"My appologies, Lord Amatsu-Mikaboshi, this place is so obscured by those that wish to bury your knowledge. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Akimoto Nagamori, priestess of Nyx." she says, waving a hand to her colleages, they would either introduce themselves or stare in awe of the primordial...
"I understand your strength is weak right now...we have come here seeking answers, and possibly an alliance between us."

It is an intensely disturbing picture that has absolutely no rational explanation to completely ordinary people, of a thing that should be forgotten or, ultimately, not even exist in a world just about ready to leave all manners of spells and sorcery behind for a matured, enlightened people.
In a moment of supreme foolishness, a moment where she believes so very hard that this is not some absolutely horrible, discomforting, awful look into things man should not come in contact with... she rationalizes it the only way one so very irrational could.
A new friend!
Midori's eagerness is tempered only by the fear she cannot push back, the net result a measured, dignified approach where she bows her head - once more obscuring her face - and introduces herself from there.
"I am Midori Nakashima. It's good to meet you. Let's be friends." Which is, in the end, the general gist of what she seems to say to just about anyone and everyone, a blatantly false confidence attempting to obscure and hide those feelings that would read plainly on her face if she bothered to lift her head up at this point.

Amatsu-Mikaboshi was the god's name, it seemed. A forgotten god, like so many others. These things seemed to be all over the place.

Then again, Nyx could probably fall under the same category.

Chidori did not waste any time trying to compare the respective power levels and standings of this shrine god and the Mother of Night. After a certain point, comparisons became meaningless. Gods thrived on belief, or so Chidori had learned somewhere; that was, after all, why Takaya had been trying to convert as many as possible to the truth of Nyx.

For a god without believers to still have such a presence...

Chidori remained silent even through Midori's greeting. She did, however, blink.

Well, friends and allies were close enough, so maybe it was all the same deal.

Amatsu? Mikaboshi? Nagisa, who is ignorant of gods but has spent quite a long time in libraries, finds the name vaguely familiar. She remembers now--not so much Mikaboshi, of whom she's never before heard, but Amatsu--Amatsukami, the gods of heaven. Of course, this is something children learn, but despite Nagisa's appearance, it's been a fair while since she was a child...
The numbness sets in. Nagisa's legs still, but she doesn't remove her hands. Is this a big god? Goodness, it must be, if he's an Amatsukami. He's Mikaboshi himself? Akimoto seems to think so. And there we are with Midori, saying she'd be delighted to be friends. Nagisa tilts her head, considering this.
"Is it a good idea to be friends with this god?" she wonders aloud. That is the closest thing she'll raise as an objection, though. Nagisa isn't a leader; she's a follower, or a loner (who may happen to get some people revolving around her, because Nagisa has a high sense of self-possession).
It's not, she muses, as if they're trying to be friends with Nyx, either, is it. Goodness. What *will* happen now that they've actually made contact with a real god, oozing darkness and licking up blood and broken dreams?
Within her soul, Miao Shan shudders.

The spirit makes a quiet noise of polite, pleased surprise. "Ah... Priestess of Nyx, I fear I've been mistaken for something that I am not." Its weak voice takes on a echo of tinny, long-ago pride like the tarnished buttons on a veteran's forgotten uniform. "I am a fragment of my Lord Amatsu-Mikaboshi's once-immense power, invested in this shrine many centuries ago. While I was once a part of him, like your foot or ear is to you, Lord Mikaboshi sleeps now in the hearts of greedy men. I have been given many titles over the centuries, but my true name is Numina, the Faceless." Still, it seems proud at having been mistaken for such a legendary being. "I have little power left, it is true... but for such a fine compliment, I am grateful."

Akimoto, through complete accident, has managed to flatter this dusty fragment of a god. Already its voice is doing something analogous to 'warming up to them', as much as spirits like it understand the word 'warm'.

"Friend..." it repeats after Midori has introduced itself. "Midori Nakashima. Are you also a worshipper of Nyx?" It seems vaguely curious. Chidori is silent, and thus the spirit seems unable to sense her. Does this once-proud being now only know light and darkness and the call of a worshipper's voice? "...I will give you what aid I can," it says at length, as though it's still uncertain. "I am weak with hunger, though... there are no more worshippers who come here. If people began to return, to worship and give of themselves here, then perhaps I could do more. Of course, you are dedicated wholly to another force, and I will not ask gifts of you other than the one which has been given."

It pauses thoughtfully... is its voice already growing quieter again? "...I do not think anyone has ever been 'friends' with a god, even a small one. Though... I would not dislike it if you were to visit me again..."

Akimoto now realizes that the information was not incorrect...this was actually different than what she was used to. This was, however, a primordial god...it was possible that it was different. However, she had managed to compliment it...so Akimoto's mistake turned to be a benificial one. She breathes deeply, the hardest part of what has happened as passed, and now he seems willing to answer their questions...and perhaps even more. She only worships Nyx...but a alliance between another similar god would be in both interests. If at the very least, it would hold a boon to Nyx...and that in itself would only strengthen her mistress' position in the realm of the gods farther. However, failure would be something on her shoulders as well.
"I am not sure if you can see into the recent history of your shrine, but a short time ago, maybe only a few months, a entity known as the Snow Queen attempted to use this Shrine as her own. Was she a follower of Lord Amatsu-Mikaboshi, or perhaps one of your servants, Lord Numina?" she says. "And if not, what purpose was she here for?"

Midori nods at the word 'friend' - or rather, her head dips a little lower than it already is. "When we find Nyx I'll be their friend too." Nyx will do many great things and the thought is very (misguidedly) happy, a bright blip of cheeriness in the giant ocean of dread and unease that lets Midori step along next to Akimoto.
She lifts her head just a bit, hands clasped together around chest level. Her fingers squeeze at their adjacent hands. Nervousness. She knows better, somewhere, deep down. Apate gleefully acts in defiance of this truth. After all, the clear declaration of the name is, in itself, a great form of sincerity.
"I'll visit you!" She raises her voice maybe a little too loud, which might incite the wrath of Akimoto for all the careful effort and respect she has put into the ritual. "Maybe we can all make lots more friends together!"

Chidori's silence was not an avant-garde commentary on the god's presence as such. She just didn't talk much when tagging along on Strega business.

The god's acceptance of Midori's offer of friendship merited a raised eyebrow. It probably wouldn't hurt to have friends in high places, as it were. And Midori's business was her own; she probably already knew that friends leave, sooner or later. This might have been her own way of dealing with it.

Perhaps it was a form of self-flagellation, with every friend who left her forever adding to the pain. Chidori could understand that.

At least it looked like the god was not going to kill and eat them all. Chidori remained ready nonetheless; gods came from humans, took their form and lives from them.

And humans knew all about betrayal and backstabbing.

Nagisa is not perhaps a perfect Buddhist--though certainly if she met the Buddha in the road, she would happily kill him--but her life is one of non-attachment. All the universe is cold, detached suffering, and there is no meaning in a single small life, so one may be free from suffering by realizing that one has no need to hold on to it. But there are things that can trigger Nagisa's pathos.
One of them is a detachment from humanity. Another is loneliness.
When 'Numina' reveals that it is a lonely little thing who hardly ever gets any followers to feed it gifts, Nagisa softens, lowering her hands. "I see... So you have been alone all this time here," she murmurs. Smiling warmly as Midori LOUDLY DECLARES that they should all be ~friends forever~, and completely unheeding of anything like 'proper respect for rituals,' Nagisa walks right up to the tiny godling and, should Numina allow her to, attempt to stroke its... stroke *it*. And perhaps even pick it up gently and hold it in both tiny hands. "I will be happy to come visit you again," she reassures the Faceless. Then she smiles right over at the others. "It seems the others don't mind either."
But Akimoto does still have her extant questions that need answering, and without seeming to realize that her standing /right there/ next to Numina, or possibly with Numina in her hands, is SERIOUSLY NOT COOL, Nagisa gives her a bright-eyed look, waiting for the answer.

Akimoto's mistake has worked toward their benefit; the small god, pleased to be mistaken for its once-powerful master, seems inclined to acquiesce to their requests. "I have slumbered here since the last caretaker of Hayashioka Shrine ceased to draw breath," it admits. "I remember... a coldness that seemed to last forever, and then the sound of a vessel shattering." It goes quiet; the air has a hazy, half-remembering quality to it. "...Lord Amatsu-Mikaboshi has many servants. It is possible that this Snow Queen was one of them," it says slowly, uncertainly.

Its voice is becoming weaker, slowly and surely. "If you will come again, Midori Nakashima, I would enjoy speaking to you-- aah--"

Gods make funny, small sounds when they are picked up. Brought into the light in Nagisa's hands, Numina is revealed to be about the size of a small dog, and shaped like a fat cushion held aloft by tapering tendril 'legs'. It has no appreciable head, unless maybe the 'pillow' part is it? ...It sort of resembles a very squat jellyfish made of void-darkness, or a Shadow-possessed footstool. If it were eternally melting and reforming itself.

It seems to have been made speechless by the power of '<3'. "..."

Akimoto is very calm while her cohorts both declare themselves it's friend...and pick it up. She does not face palm, and instead becomes suddenly lightning quick. Her hand grips a brome not unlike a samuri with a blade, and quickly aims to bap both Nagisa and Midori. Quickly, the broom is placed back where it came, while Akimoto stares calmly towards the two.
"Please put Lord Numina down, he is still weary from his weakened state." Akimoto speaks, tensly...but her tone hides a blizzard. "May I ask another question?" She asks, and if it is granted... "What is the purpose of this Shrine, besides being a shrine to your lord?"
"Also, the Guardian of Samegawa was recently laid low, I believe this may present itself an oppertunity for yourself, Lord Numina, based on how you wish to proceed."

Chidori had been keeping her hands in the pockets of her dress, possibly in preparation for a battle with... whatever. The last time she went on a Strega fact-finding excursion they ended up fighting some kind of brain monster Shadow thing, so it never hurt to be prepared.

When Nagisa lovingly picked up the... /thing/ that was apparently Numina's physical manifestation upon this plane, Chidori removed a hand from her pocket, and pinched the bridge of her nose.


Midori starts working up inappropriate giggling when Nagisa goes to pick up the little god. The little god whom radiates such a... numbing, fearful feeling in its power. She lifts her face enough that the Faceless one might be able to make out her lips. Assuming, of course, the Faceless even needed to look up to it.
The giggling goes from nervous to gleeful, up until Akimoto smacks the Lunarvale-dwelling girl across the face with a well-timed broom that leaves her head bowed again, mumbling the beginnings of some other half-formed justification on her part.
"B-B-But it's so cute, and, and, and, and it's... it's starving," her psyche attempts to spring back up from the reality-inducing broom smack with mixed results, "let's give it some more!"
...But does anyone here truly have any more food to give?

A starving god... what had Akimoto done earlier? How had she summoned this fragment of Amatsu-Mikaboshi?

With a sudden movement, Chidori strode up to the altar. If Akimoto tried to stop her, Chidori would... ignore her, actually. This was something Chidori felt she should try.

It was, after all, the only thing she was good for.

Chidori held a hand over the empty offering bowl. It gleamed red in the light of the oil lamps; when had she done it? Had there been a blade in her hands at any time?

She stood there, motionless, as her blood dripped down into the offering bowl. There was not a lot of it, as Medea's life energy patched the wound up almost miraculously, but it was all Chidori was willing to give for now.

Blood for the blood god.

"Also, the Guardian of Samegawa was recently laid low, I believe this may present itself an oppertunity for yourself, Lord Numina, based on how you wish to proceed."

It's not Nagisa's fault that Numina looks like a squishy plush toy you'd take to bed to cuddle. An /evil/ squishy plush toy but a squishy plush toy all the same.
Of course, Akimoto takes it upon herself to bap Nagisa and Midori over the head. "Ow!" she cries, shutting one eye. However, she obeys without further complaint, setting Numina down and patting it one more time affectionately before moving back out of the way. Chidori grabbing the bridge of her nose is met with a "Hm?" as Nagisa tilts her head the redhead's way, seemingly not understanding why someone would facepalm over someone picking up a minor manifestation of the god of primordial evil as if it were a pet dog. She does smile at Midori, though.
"Yes, he does look rather sweet, doesn't he?" she says brightly. That brightness turns to thoughtfulness, though, when Midori suggests that they feed him more. Including herself in the question, Nagisa remarks, "He eats things that are important to people, doesn't he, though? Does anyone here have anything dear to them?"
That numbing, fearful feeling hasn't gone away, mind. But Nagisa has simply... accepted it, and allowed it to become one with her. This is her way. She approached Minato to become friends only /after/ he accidentally sicced Thanatos on her, after all.
Chidori offers her own blood then, and Nagisa smiles at her. "Ah, a good idea," she says pleasantly to her fellow experiment. "I wonder if that will be enough, though?" A tap to her chin. "Would you like some of my blood as well, Numina-chan? I'm afraid it doesn't matter very much to me if I am hurt, though, so I am not sure if it would suit your tastes."
N, Numina-chan... The questions, otherwise, are left entirely to Akimoto.

Lord Numina does not have a face, yet somehow it manages to radiate a sense of embarrassment at having been found out. "P-priestess of Nyx," it stutters, "This shrine accepted offerings and acted as a c-conduit--" It makes a noise that could be akin to clearing its throat, assuming it actually /has/ one. "A conduit for requests to Lord Amatsu-Mikaboshi, and boons granted to his worshippers." It thinks over the things Akimoto has said, and the information about the guardian of the Samegawa. "There has never been an accordance between the Guardian and myself. I wonder what could have laid it low? ...I must consider this carefully, but... there is a human settlement there, is there not? Surely they would remember me if they were always reminded of my presence."

The shrine god seems to stare at Akimoto as she disciplines two of her charges. Of course, it's eyeless and blind as humans know sight. "...I am still weak with hunger," it admits, perhaps in lieu of requesting to be treated with the respect due to a deity. Still, it seems relieved when Nagisa finally relents and places it back on the floor. When Chidori's blood hits the offering bowl, darkness immediately begins to eat at the edges of the crimson liquid. A sacrifice is a sacrifice, even if what's given up is not terribly precious to the one giving it up. "...Of your own free will?" it questions softly, even as it devours the blood Chidori has shed for it. "I thank you, all of you. You have done me a great service." With spindly shadow legs, it climbs the altar and sits hunched and goopy on the spot where Akimoto gave up her precious possession. "I cannot ask such things of you, another god's chosen followers. Whatever is given to me must be of your own free will. That is why I am weak now, because you are the first to feed me in a very long time."

Lord Numina-tan is perhaps too proud to beg for food, but it does make a request of the cultist assembled together. "If you would bring someone to look after the temple and offer me prayers, I would be able to stay aware of the human world. If you will bring me someone willing to wear my crest, someone not bound to another god, I will spread my influence to the river of Samegawa."

Akimoto nods slowly..
"Very well, I will find someone willingly to take care of your shrine. The arm of Strega is long, I, of course, hope that Lord Numina and his master remember the favors that Nyx and his followers have done for him." Akimoto says, playing politics.
"I have a plan myself...I am sure you can chase away a few minor dieties, should I use them to plague the nearby city, and I should be able to keep them under control..." she continues.
"I, in the interm will help repair and bring your Shrine back to life the best that I can, until a suitable replacement can be found." Akimoto says, standing, she bows once. "My friends here will no doubt enjoy helping to solidify your strength, while we carry out our plan." she says, and bows again. "I will take my leave, Lord Numina. My strength leaves me, and it is a long walk back."

"Oh, of course," Nagisa reassures Numina, beaming at him. "I never do anything I don't want to do." And, perhaps to illustrate this fact, she draws one of her knives from under her sweaters, pulls back her sleeves, and slashes open her forearm before letting the blood drain into Numina's bowl.
Political matters are, as always, otherwise left up to Akimoto. Well, at least Nagisa's helping with the sacrifice?

Midori continues to - perhaps by necessity for her apparent simple-mindedness - simply assume the little stool-shaped Faceless thing just wants more friends. Friends are great. They only ever say nice things about you. Even though this thing is not nice at all she is a friend and thus friends do not say nasty things about friends because that is what friends are and she is a friend and they are all friends and--
(Please let's move on to another paragraph now -Mgmt)
"Okay." Midori says with another nod, the very basest sense of fear being all that keeps her from showing her entire face and just truly looking at all this for what it is.
Chidori and Nagisa cut themselves open for his benefit. Midori only gives the slightest pause, quickly bashed down because they are her friends and they aren't weird and she's not weird and she doesn't hang with weird people because they're her friends and this is what friends do and--
(Please, stop -Mgmt)
"Mmm." She mutters without any real committed thought as she looms near Nagisa and Chidori. "Mmm... me too! Me too." Peer pressure presses at prime prominence!

Cut open one vein and everyone wanted to follow suit.

Her offering of blood complete, Chidori turned on her heel, walking away from the altar. If the little god wanted any more from her, be it blood or boon, it would have to prove its worth.

(Intimidating presence notwithstanding.)

Chidori did not spare a second glance at the exsanguination of her companions. If they wanted to bleed themselves out, they were welcome to. Maybe one of them would end up being the sacrifice that tipped the god-fragment's power into usefulness.

Besides, Nagisa could take care of her own wounds, and Midori...

... Midori would be fine. Probably.

Numina accepts the offerings with profuse thanks (for a god), but eventually becomes too tired to keep up his corporeal form for much longer. In the end, he bids the girls goodnight, and fades away.

Once 'Lord Numina-tan' has vanished for the night, the breeze once again begins to seep in through the cracks; the fireflies take to the air again. The moonless night is dark, but at least the oil lamps Akimoto brought have enough oil left to get them back to town without having to stumble through the trees blindly.


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