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Mark Hunt: Bloodwing
(2013-02-05 - 2013-02-14)
No description.
Hati It's strange. A few months ago, Hati might not even have noticed nor cared if she was left alone for long stretches of time. She had no memories to come to her in the night, to remind her of those that she'd lost. The wolf-girl had lived a long time without the plague of those memories, and even now, they return to haunt her time and again. They aren't all bad, but being alone now makes her feel... restless and uneasy. Wolves are meant to be part of packs. They are meant to be around others. Yet, she is alone.

The girl stands before the mark board, looking over the postings. Whenever another hunter comes close, she growls low in her throat, which is enough of a threat to keep most from daring to put their hand in front of her to grab one of the pieces of paper pinned to the board. Eventually, she picks out one that seems a suitable fit. Snatching it before some grizzled, older looking hunter can. If it weren't for the flash of those inhuman fangs, he might have challenged her for the mark, but this time, he backs off, glaring at the girl as she turns and stalks away, her tail swishing beneath her cloak.

That leads us to today.

Hati is leaning against a building across from the Shard Seekers HQ. She isn't wearing her usual trenchcoat, perhaps due to the desert heat. Instead, she's got just a vest, held closed by a few buttons, which leaves her arms and midriff bare. The white lines of scars are clearly visible down her side, but she doesn't seem to care much if people stare at them - and they do. There is a bitter sort of irony there, as this is much the same way she'd stood when she had first encountered Faruja in Traverse Town. Just the calm form of the watchful wolf.

Of course, there is that deadly quality to her as well. Twin daggers are strapped to her shoulders, in easy reach if she were to just move her hands back. She has some idea of what they'll face out there, but she isn't about to go in unprepared. Even so, the real wolf within might still be needed. Strands of dark hair hang across her scarred eye, leaving the green one to stare across the street, tail twitching as she waits.
Faruja Senra Though he likes to be punctual, the wolfess might be waiting for a bit. After a recent expedition with Mullonde's halls, the Burmecian's usual rounds of prayer and other religious ceremonies have seemingly doubled. Quite a thing for someone already so very pious! But having one's faith, in religion and in his superiors, reaffirmed physically is a joyous moment for someone like him.

Thus, the Burmecian's taken to ritually annointing his silver spear as well as praying for his partner in Mark hunting. Nor for success, but for safety. When he steps outside of the Headquarters, the weapon upon his back is still dripping at the head with holy water. Given the fur, even cut short as it is, the rat's abandoned plate mail for lighter leathers, though the robe and necklace remain. Gazing upon Hati, and her scarred features, Faruja smiles.

"My, my, my Hati. Lord bless! Such a fierce contenance you display, with blade upon thy hips. 'Tis a goodly sight for our task. What shall we be seeking this day, hmm?" There's a hint of excitement in his voice. He'd not monster hunted since his days as a raw recruit back home. It's almost nostalgic, were it not for the lack of rain.
Hati While Hati might be ignorant of the events leading to the mouse's sudden resurgence of faith, she does realize that he's spending an inordinate amount of time getting prepared. There is a wry comment about her expecting him to come hunting in the maid outfit with the time he'd kept her waiting, but she holds it back. It's easy enough to tell what he's been up to just by looking at his weapon, but the wolf still raises an eyebrow, tilting her head to the side. "Gave your blade a bath, sir knight?" Okay, she isn't quite able to keep herself from some sort of quip, but it's kept light-hearted as much as possible.

Her nose twitches, the usual response of taking in scent as he approaches. "I was wondering what took you so long." She doesn't manage a smile in return, but her lips do quirk wryly. For all the uncertainty and hurt that had shown before, it seems gone now, or at least well hidden. Her ears are perked, tail swaying, and most of her mannerisms speak of a wolf who is ready for a challenge.

The compliment has her folding her arms, giving one short chuckle. "If you think this is fierce, you should see the real wolf. Then again, maybe you will." She isn't exactly sure how much of a chore it will be to find this particular mark, so there is always the possibility that she'd need to call on that more feral side of herself. The girl reaches into her pocket and plucks out a piece of folded paper, offering it out to him between two fingers. "There seems to be a creature infesting a ruin from your world. A temple." She's fully expecting him to get her drift. This is some defiled place of worship. "Lots of ghosts and undead, and one giant bat-mark for the taking. Sounded like a good place for a Templar to test his steel."

Once he takes it to read, the wolf moves around him, making a slow circle as if she were checking his equipment. A strange thing for a girl who isn't wearing any armor, herself. Then again, those daggers do look quite wickedly sharp. At the end of her appraising circle, she steps up against his back on the pretense of looking at the posting. "We could cleanse a place in the honor of estemed prophet, and earn a bit of coin for your church in the process." It seems she's done a bit of research in the time apart, at least enough to know a few things.
Faruja Senra The comment has Faruja's head tilting. Any other person would likely earn themselves a slap for such blasphemy. A Squire would be on cleanup duty for months. To Hati, the rat smirks.

"'Twould be rather unkind of me to lay my blade to collect dirt for all of its stalwart service. Besides, poor things sweats, truly the least I could do." His tail tip waggles at Hati a bit playfully.

At least she's not looking as pained as she had been. It's a start, if he wants to help her away from the darkness. Nor can he stop himself from looking kindly upon her, that unknown warmth suffusing him even as it causes an uncertain look towards her. It's there for an instant, but confusion is plain.

A brow rises. One ear tilts as Faruja's tail sways all the faster. "Oh, my Lady Hati, such /boasting/. Consider my curiousity piqued. I should like to see this wolf indeed."

A memory of her idea to test him against the wolf has him grinning, knightly honor feeling a challenge. "Besides, 'twould put us on even ground for when our duel begins, hmm?"

All of that warmth bleeds out as soon as she mentions a temple being infested by the undead, and worse. Claws clench, righteous anger rising up as holy Light ignites about him, aura hot and passionate.

"Hati, you have done well. 'Tis one for my calling indeed, the Ser or Lady that posted it should have come to /us/ in the first place." Snort. He manages to look a bit miffed beneath the self righteousness.

Even as the wolfess circles, Faruja's ears follow her when his single eye can't; which more often than not. Smell and hearing are more his thing, after all. She might notice his stance changing slightly, being circled not an easy thing for any trained fighter. Even if he knows /why/ she's doing it.

It's even worse when he knows there's someone who has daggers on her is upon his back. Training screams for him to turn around. But he's supposed to trust her. And so, he doesn't move, even if his tail lashes a bit more.

"And so it shall be! In the name of the Heavenly Father, and the Divine Prophet Saint Ajora, we shall see His shrine brought from accursed defilement back into proper service!" The Templar's head tilts up proudly, eye full of determination and looking /very/ eager.

Only then does he notice the idea of coin. "I suppose coin would be useful as well."
Hati By one glance at the wolf-girl's daggers, it would be clear that she takes immaculate care of them, herself, although she does not go quite to the extent of annointing them or saying prayers over the blades. Still, they are clean and honed where they lie against her back. "Is that so?" She asks, reaching a hand to trace the edge of the speartip with her fingertip. Once, it had been held towards her throat, but now she has no fear of it. It is sharp enough to leave a trickle of blood behind, which the girl quickly stifles with a lick of her tongue. There's no alarm there, just an appraisal of how well he keeps his weapon.

"I think we'll save the duel for another day. We'll need all of our strength for mark, I think." The smirk on her lips shows a bit more truly then as he talks about even footing. "Do you doubt my abilities in this form?" She asks, that faint hint of a threat in her voice. There is a part of her pride that demands she answer the challenge now, to show him just how strong she really is. "The wolf would tear you apart. If you don't beleive me, ask Reize." The girl had beaten him quite soundly, although the only person who was there to observe it other than the dazed boy was someone who claimed that she 'pounced him over while naked'. It isn't too far from the truth.

With a growl, she dismisses the urge to challenge, knowing that it would only delay them getting a move on. The last thing she needs right now is to hurt him and end up feeling guilty about it. There's also the fact that they are not the only bounty hunters out there. If they don't seek out the mark, others will come soon enough in their place.

It is heartening to see the way he reacts at the prospect, just as she had thought he would. "Apparently, it's been attacking trade caravans through the desert. I tracked it from the trade road to a cave out in the dunes yesterday. That's where I found this." Reaching into the pocket of her trousers, Hati plucks out a talisman which looks quite similar to the one many templar wear, although it is an older style. "It stank of undead, and I wasn't about to go down there without my partner." She looks at him, raising her eyebrows. Clearly, it is some matter of respect that she would consider him such, even if only for this one hunt.

The wolf's breath is warm against his ears as she looks over his shoulder, knowing just how much self control it must take for him to not keep that watchful eye on her. "First I want to see how well you fight against a monster... then we'll see if you can handle me." She chuckles darkly. As the girl moves back, though, her hand makes one of those quick little movements, stroking along the length of his tail for a few inches before releasing it. "Come on. I want to get there before mid-day. Easier to catch it while it's holed up below rather than trying to track it at night."

Regardless of his response, she begins to head out towards the desert beyond. It can't be too far, no more than a few hours walk, because the girl has no chocobo or camel or other beast of burden. It's hard to imagine something so close by, but then again, the worlds did seem a little closer these days, with so many squashed together horizon to horizon.
Faruja Senra And what blades they are! A worthy side arm for any warrior, or in the case of agile sorts like Hati, perfect in the pair she has. He has no doubt that one of those could slip their way beneath field plate should it be necessary.

The rat's own weapon is well honed, and may even seem freshly so. Much of the morning was spent sharpening each tip to perfection.

Faruja chuckles, nodding in agreement. "Quite." A small tilt of the head. "Hardly. 'Tis merely that the prospect of this 'wolf' of yours seems more my 'speed' as the manhattanites would put it. You have shown your skills of slipping betwixt shadows and rafters quite well in visiting me. Let us see how they are upon the throat of a beast!"

Pause. Head-tilt. "Mmm." Threats is it? Faruja chuckles, far too used to being the one dispensing those rather than receiving them.

"I look forward to my utter trouncing then. Or yours, as the case may be. Mmm. Nay, I do believe the battle shall be closer than either of us would like to admit." The Templar does have /some/ pride himself, but is more one to direct it towards nation, kin, and Order. Hati's own pride manages to get him to show a little of his own personal brand. It's not unlike how his sister would always nag him into things, though with slightly less violence involved.

Reaching out, Faruja will take the necklace if she allows. Inspecting it slowly, he whistles. "Though I shan't boast of any great scholarly persuits, this must date back at /least/ two hundred years judging by the style. Mayhap even older...If I may?" The question is mostly for politeness' sake, as he begins to wrap it up in a handkerchief reverently. It /is/ technically a holy artifact, and worthy of respect.

'Partner'. For a moment, the rat looks stunned. A woman who'd been so harmed, and in the heart no less by the rat himself, wouldn't say such a thing lightly. Not a word escapes his muzzle, vocabulary utterly failing him.

Setting his jaw, Faruja nods. "Lord willing, I shall see to it that harm befalls naught to you, in soul if not in body." It's the solemn promise of a Templar. Whatever happens, he's not going to let the already rage-filled wolfess be consumed by evil that lurks!

Speaking of self control, a shiver runs down the rat's form at the breath upon his ears. So sensitive. Even worse, she follows it up with a stroaking of his tail. /That/ gets a tiny squeak, and one heck of a blush out of the Burmecian. His look is somewhere between appreciative and scandalized...which swiftly turns to self-deprecating amusement.

"...Ahh, this wolf shall be the death of me. Or turn our hot springs to ones of chill." Mumbles the rat as he follows along. "Quite!" He could call upon Arista here, but this is a job for the pair of Dragoon and Wolf. Not to mention she's still sleeping off all that meat she stole back in Fluorgis!
Hati It is quite possible that those blades had been used to take a number of lives. Not all of the scars that the girl bears are from her father, although the vast majority are. She has been a soldier for the Shadow Lords for years, ever since she had been exiled from her own pack and left adrift. Yet, somehow she'd avoided being directly involved in the fall of any worlds. Serrak had other motives, and she had believed in his will. Now... not so much.

"I don't know. If it's a test of speed, then this body might be the better match for you." She muses, a sly sort of look in her eyes. "The wolf is raw strength, and fearsome determination." Then again, she had that even in this form. Some might call it stubbornness, but she is a huntress, and it is a matter of pride to be a capable fighter. "We'll just have to see when the time comes. I'll look forward to testing you."

The wolf doesn't hear his mumbling as they head out, but she has no qualms about him wrapping up the artifact. There are likely more down in the ruins, but she had only grabbed that one. The thief could get in and out quickly, without drawing too much undead attention, but this would be an extended battle. They probably need to clear them out first before confronting the mark, itself. She explains as much as they walk, her keen mind explaining what she knows of the layout of the ruins. Part of the temple has caved in, but there are still many rooms and passages.

Strangely, it's like talking to someone who has studied military strategy. She doesn't stop to elaborate on things, explaining what she can in words. Of course, the words do nothing to really sum up what they would come to find those short hours later.

The temple, itself, is mostly lost beneath the sands. A bit of it has opened due to a cave in, revealing a passage through some rock that leads downwards. It's a large opening, probably the one the mark used to get in and out. The smell coming up from below is mostly that of dust, without the smell of decay that might come in places occupied by most undead. "Ghosts and skeletons from what I saw. No shambling dead, thankfully. I don't think my nose could of tolerated that." There is no source of fresh air down there, or light, but the wolf has at least one good 'night-eye'. Somewhere in the distance, though, there seems to be a faint blue glow.

"If we're quiet, we should be able to sneak down to the temple and go unnoticed. But we'll need to draw them away from where it sleeps and dispatch them before we face it." She reiterates, one hand on a crumbling bit of stone.
Faruja Senra Faruja outright grins at the challenge offered. "I shall wait with bated breath." There's no sarcasm in his voice, only true desire to test his blade against a strong opponent. This time, his tail flicks against her own, playfully tapping fuzzy tip to fuzzy tip.

The upshot of not bringing platemail is the increased stealth potential. Otherwise, he'd likely be ruining their efforts. Not that the Burmecian's good at stealth, mind you, only adequate at best. Be glad he's at his best today, miss thief!

The ratling listens, nodding at several points, even as he occasionally glances to the ruined architecture. Oh yes, he's going to have this temple claimed for the Church no matter what. Surely, with enough coin at hand, they would cede enough land over.

The Templar's forced to hold in a snort, even as he admires the wolfess' analytical, strategic mind. For a brief span of moments, he's entranced. An admittedly cute woman, /and/ a sharp brain? His heart beats faster.

"A Templar does not /sneak/, Lady Hati." Responds the rat proudly, before he gets a better look at the number of enemies. Oh. This is why the Templar usually have Squires and Mages at their side.

"...However, I do suppose an ambush is called for." Yes. Ambush.

Smile. "Shall we?"

Doing his best to sneak, he'll use sand dunes and whatever rocks might be close to the passageway leading down to get near to the closest undead. A (quiet) incantation! Holy ice will fall upon the creature. Stasis Sword! Hopefully the creature comes after the rat.
Hati Luckily, the ghosts and skeleton knights seem to be going about their business as if this were some regular day, heedless of those approaching through the tunnels. As they draw closer, the eerie blue light reveals more of the temple as Hati had described it on the way. The tunnel actually breaks through one far wall of a large central chamber. Pillars hold up the roof which seems to be the only thing keeping the sand from crushing in on this place. Occassionally, little streams of it can be seen trickling in, perhaps due to the recent passage of the mark they're here to hunt.

A pair of ghosts are praying at the alter, although it no longer seems to be dedicated to the Church of Glabados. Instead, there is a symbol painted in a dark liquid that might have once been blood. Heresy! Skeletal templar patrol along the hallway, some guarding an entrance that is no longer there. None of them seem to realize that they are dead. There are probably ten or so individuals, ghosts and skeletons alike, in this central space. One side is caved in, but the other extends down through a long hallway, and at the end is a creature that seems to be hanging upside down, rapped in a cacoon.

Hati holds a finger to her lips to signal Faruja to keep quiet. It isn't until he comes closer that she smirks, "A Templar may not sneak, but a wise one does appraise a battle before jumping in head first." She's well aware of his fiery spirit and the fact that he does tend to be a bit headstrong when it comes to such matters. But the girl offers him a playful wink as she watches, her tail swaying behind her.

As soon as he begins his incantation, the wolf has those daggers drawn out from her sides. Ice falls from seemingly out of nowhere, landing on one of the knights and spearing through bone, cleaving off one arm and leaving it to clatter to the ground. This, of course, alerts some of the others. All of a sudden, they seem all too aware of the invasion on their territory. Hati looks over. "Fight back to back, so they can't flank us." She offers, knowing that this, again, is a show of trust. It means that they must both depend on each other to keep the other safe from attack.

Leaping out to finish off the skeleton that Faruja had attacked, the wolf plucks up one of the bones. It almost looks like she might try to gnaw on it, but instead, she chucks it towards one of the approaching skeletons. "Hey bone head, over here." She calls out, the blow causing the knight's helmet to spin around on his head until it ends up backwards, and he stumbles into another one. "Death didn't help these ones in the intelligence department." She notes, but that doesn't really help them in the matter of the wraith-like ghosts that are fast approaching from the alter.
Faruja Senra Asking a Templar to be quiet, when there's Heresy out in plain sight, isn't something that happens often. Reaching into his clothes, the rat has to chew on a clean handkerchief and old wine cork for a bit until he calms down enough to properly speak, nevermind stay quiet. All the while, barely strangled noises of utter outrage can be heard by the wolfess.

A shift of the head at Hati's words. A wise wolfess! With a supreme act of effort, he manages to /not/ go charging off into the depths. His paladin's aura, quite stirred, might be more of a problem however. "...Fair enough." Normally the wink and tail swaying would have him joining in, but the rat's a little too angry right now. She might just pick up whispered words of nooses, Inquisitors, and whoever was responsible.

As the undead are now all sorts of on their collective tails, Faruja falls to Hati's back without question. Burmecia's Aerial Corp, and definitely the Temple Knights, don't skimp on combat training. Hati is his ally, and for now, has his absolute trust and faith.

"Dame Hati." An acknowledgement to an equal. Maybe she'd never join in on cavalry charges or front-line wall breaching, but she's so far proven herself an excellent partner. The respect in his voice is easily heard.

As Hati leaps, and applies Throw Bone, the rat turns his attention to the wraith-like ghosts about the altar since she seems to have the skeletons well in hand. Even if these poor spirits are innocent, they're in the wrong befouled temple rushing at the wrong righteous zealot. Not holding back, the group is met with an incantation, then the falling heavenly wrath that is Holy Explosion, a crater added to the temple's list of defects if nothing else. Hopefully Hati wasn't expecting subtlety from a Templar in battle.

"Lord in heaven, give us the strength to fight the Heretic, the Witch, the Unclean! To save the souls of those not yet lost --- being bereft of flesh and tissue oft has that result! --- and guide those already saved away from the desires of the craven and greedy!" Prays and battle quips, all without missing a martial beat.
Hati In some ways, Hati has to marvel at the mouse's self control in this moment, not giving away the ambush the moment he'd seen the look of the place. While she might have taken some time to research his beliefs, the girl had no real attachment to them. There was no such things as heresy to her own people, and while spiritual, they weren't terribly religious. Great temples like this seem like little more than a waste of space when they were made, and now they seem only a burial place for artifacts.

She doesn't expect him to be quite as amused as she is about the prospect of the fight. To him, this is serious business. Even if cleansing this place isn't her priority, she at least respects him enough to fight with her usual vigor. A slash slices through joints that no longer hold flesh, striking at exact places to take out legs and arms. With a kick that would likely rival some professional footballers, she launches one skeletal head into a nearby wall.

"And may there always be meat for the victor." She adds on to his prayer with a smirk. One of these days, she's going to push things too far, but the girl is a simple soul. At least she's not bacon obsessed like her brother. One of the skeletons tries to take a bite out of her then, and Hati smashes her fist into it's face. "No meat for you. Go back to the land of the dead where you belong." She slices clean through the neck, leaving the head to roll away.

In the distance, the beast begins to stir from the sound of battle. Wings ruffle, and beedy green eyes glow in the darkness. The ghosts are still quite focused on Faruja, though. So much so that they walk... no, float, right into the explosion of holy light. With a shriek, two of them disappear immediately, but two more quickly take their place, sunken eyes and grasping, withered hands reaching for the Templar. "So, I've got three so far, how bout you?" Yes, she's going to sit there and count kills. What do you expect?
Faruja Senra With the enemy before him, the rat can let loose with all of his pent up holy aggression. As two of the grasping creatures reach for him, he doesn't bother dodging. Indeed, their hands pierce through his leather armor, blood dripping as the chill of the grave enters his chest. The Templar doesn't seem to notice, spear pierced straight through one wraith before he quite simply rips his glowing white weapon out of the defeated ghostly apparition to bring the tri-pointed head down upon the other offending creature. With a snarl of defiance, those three points rip into it mercilessly, for one moment the Burmecian embodying the Saint's wrath.

Smirk. "I fear we shall find little meat in /these/ ones. Let us feast upon our prey's flesh after we cleanse this place." Hati might have seen this one coming, but it seems the Templar's priorities have shifted. Pause. "Four." It's even done in a slightly challenging tone as he helpfully casts Protect and Regen on them both. Can she beat him?
Hati With the four wraiths dispatched by Faruja's magic and his spear, that only leaves a trio of the remaining skeletons behind. There is the one whose helmet is spun around, and another one which are closest to Hati. The other is further off. At first, it wouldn't seem obvious what that one is up to, but there is a glint as the skeleton sets an arrow to the string of a bow.

Hati is already heading the other direction after the two nearer enemies, but that bow is aimed not at her, but at Faruja, himself. One knight goes down in a clatter of bones and armor, while the other tries to leap for the wolf's back and is quickly slamed backwards into the pillar. Seems the wolf-girl can hold her own for now, with so few remaining.

The arrow is let loose, though, followed by a second that is set quickly there-after. Skeleton archers are always the worst, because they always seem to come out of nowhere. Why would they even have just /one/ archer anyways?

Bloodwing seems to wake in earnest now, stretching long wings away from a bat-like body. Someone has disturbed this place. If both of them manage to dispatch their chosen enemies, that means the mark itself might end up being the deciding factor. Then again, it's going to take teamwork to bring this large of a creature down. The demon-bat screeches, sending a torrent of air down the hallway, bringing with it a cloud of dust that obscures vision and leads Hati to a bout of coughing.
Faruja Senra Archers! Hati seems to have things in hand, and so Faruja sets to dealing with the ranged threat. Normally he'd just step out of the way, but with the wolfess so near, he's forced to try to deflect them. Can't risk having his ally and would-be friend hurt! Flicking his spear downwards, one arrow is deflected. Then, up he thrusts with his blade, catching the fletcing of the arrows. It spins, catching the ratling in the shoulder. Squeaking in pain, he calls upon his own abilities, a swift Lightning Stab reaching out with a crack and smash of lightning blade!

Skeletons fall, and their Mark makes its appearance! Faruja's cloak flutters in the dusty cloud, the ratling quick to stand between Hati and the great creature.

"Foul knave! COME! Thy defiling presence has been abidden upon holy soil far too long! Know the wrath of the Lord!" The ratling taunts, roaring at the flying creature in the hopes of getting its attention of him rather than the coughing and choking Hati. Seems he's intent on playing tank today.
Hati There is still a torso trying to escape as Hati coughs, but it no longer really serves as much of a threat as it wiggles along the floor. Eventually, the wolf-girl dispatches it by stepping down on it, crunching the dry, brittle bones under her foot. Perhaps the creature might have been human once, but whatever keeps it animated here is nothing to be sympathized with. It, surely, would have no mercy for them, so she isn't about to return the favor.

Clearing the dust out of her eyes and lungs, the wolf-girl's ears slick backwards as she looks towards the great bat-like creature, now screeching in earnest, sending out radiating rings of energy that make the walls shudder and sand pour in through cracks above. It doesn't seem to be a dungeon-supporting boss monster, but certainly it has no qualms about bringing the entire building down on their heads. Chances are, the big beast will be able to wriggle it's way free, whereas these smaller interlopers would be crushed.

The wolf squints towards the shadow of Faruja through the dust, the mouse looking the part of a hero with his cloak fluttering in the wing-made wind. Bloodwing drops from the wall then, winging through the narrow hallway and into the main chamber, swooping once around the room before landing right on the alter, clawed feet digging in as it fans those four wings out. It's almost as if the monster is claiming this place as it's own, standing in defiance of Faruja and his 'Lord'.

Hati isn't one to let Faruja steal the entire show, though. Of course, what she does is probably not what the ratling would be expecting. From the pocket of her jeans, the wolf plucks out what looks to be a small compact. There is a shuffling behind him, and if the mouse were to look, he might just spot the girl wearing significantly less than she had been a moment before. Her jeans and vest have been discarded to the side, leaving her in a pair of dark boxer-shorts and a tight fitting tank top. Since when was getting nearly naked a way of fighting monsters?

Oh, it would all become clear a moment later as she flips the compact open and aims that one green eye towards it. The moment her own reflection catches in the mirror, that eye glows, and Hati's form begins to tremble. Crouching, she seems to curl in on herself, setting down the compact and barely containing a shiver as her form seems to explode from one to the other. There is no drawn out transformation, just girl one moment, and wolf the next. The six foot tall beast rises, shaking dust from her fur.

If nothing else, the size change explains the need for getting rid of clothing, since she certainly would have torn anything she'd been wearing. With a roar, the wolf prowls forward to stand beside Faruja, her tail lashing. Her drawn out muzzle quirks in what might be a lupine smile, showing rows of sharp teeth. "So... tie breaker?" She muses, her voice sounding more like a growl than her usual tones.

Bloodwing is not amused, and fans his wings towards the two, but rather than attacking them, it extends them outward, glowing slightly. Oh crap, monster just buffed itself. It's clear by the little shimmery aura around it now.

"That's not good." Hati mutters, then chuckles to herself. "Well, turn about is fair play." With that, she crouches on all fours, then lowers her head to take in a breath before she howls. The sound reverberates in the small room. Below both herself and Faruja, a rune appears. This isn't the sort of magic that would usually be used by Templar, and probably goes back to some older type of hedge magic, but it seems to be the sort of strange spell meant to bolster defenses, and to protect. An odd thing coming from the dark wolf.
Faruja Senra Faruja's eye narrows as Bloodwing's claws score the surface of the once holy altar. "VILE BEAST!!! Get thyself from this hallowed ground, or face the wrath of the Lord! 'Tis not your place to..."

Stripping wolf interrupt! The rat's words die on his muzzle as he glances back to Hati, tail swaying just a touch more quickly. Eye glancing up and down, he tries to beat down his blush as blood drips from his nose. "What in the Lord's name are you /doing/? Highly do I doubt such a beast would be distracted even by your charms, Hati!" Comes the rat's question, and a compliment he'd blurted out.

"...My, my, my." He then mutters. The outfit is rather cute, truth be told. Ahem! Turning away, he gets his mind back on the job. Wave spear threateningly!

Bloodwing buffs itself. Frown. A howl followed by a rune has the rat's attention on the wolf again...who is far more wolf-like. "....Hati?" A pause. "Mmm. Fierce indeed." The rat comment, finally understanding. She'd rip her clothes otherwise. "Pray we not stand on ceremony!" Ladies won't be first today. Leaping into the fray, the rat thrusts his blade, crescents of purple energy seeking to rip through whatever physical protections Bloodwing might have.

"Armor won't help the heart stay sharp! Shellburst Stab!"
Hati The wolf-girl just rolls her eyes at the mouse's assumption. She'll never understand why people seem to think that removing a layer of clothing somehow means more than it does. Reize had responded much the same way. In her wolf form, the girl was actually /naked/, not that you could actually see anything beneath the layer of fur. She doesn't justify it with a response, though. If this mark is anywhere near as bad as it had been described, she'd need every advantage that her lupine form could offer.

"Of course. Unless you regularly travel with other blue-haired werewolves." She smirks. It's almost impossible to tell her gender in wolf form, but the voice is distinctly feminine, even with that growl behind it. It's strange how the blue dye of her hair shifts to accent the wolf's fur. "Quit staring and get to the fight before you bleed to death." Her nose had caught the scent, but the comment is said with a playful sort of air to it.

As Faruja charges forward, the wolf is quick to follow behind. Since this creature is clearly made for the air, it would be harder for her to deal with it without her more agile form. Then again, she had more power in this body than the other. "Time to bring you down." She growls, and then launches herself up, catching the beast just as it takes flight and slaming herself into it, trying to knock it down towards the ground. Her way of movement is feral, like a beast rather than a human. Her jaws try to latch on, and those claws work along with her weight to try to drag Bloodwing down onto the cracked floor of the temple.

With a cry, the beast gets slammed down against the marble floor, wiggling beneath the wolf, wings flapping. It turns then, and tries to spray the both of them with a thick blast of cold air from it's mouth, trying to freeze them both into rat and wolfcicles.
Faruja Senra Silly civilized beings and their lecherous ways! Clearly the mouse needs some lessons on dealing with women from other cultures! Coming from a constantly raining city certainly leads to people being bashful about that sort of thing.

So fierce! So tall! So fluffy! Despite it all, Faruja has to squash an urge to hug the big werewolf, thoughts briefly revolving around how comfy she'd be as a pillow. Frown. A free hand swats himself on the chin for the odd thoughts.

Snort! "I...I am not so weak as to bleed away from merely /that/! One must work harder upon the prospect, dear Lady!" Returns the flustered, yet equally playful Burmecian.

Whump! The creature is pinned down. Perfect! Faruja raises his spear even as white light filters around his hand. Whatever he was planning is briefly interrupted as chilling, poisonous breath sprays about him. Coughing and choking, ice forming on robes and armor, he struggles a bit. Some of it shatters even as he shivers from the utter chill. Where's Maira when you need her!? Mostly immobilized, he's forced to simply support his companion.

Incantations! "Esuna! Regen!"
Hati The wolf snorts a chuckle, but there is no more time for that type of banter. Battle awaits. Within a matter of moments, she has the beast pinned down, although it certainly flails around on the ground, trying to escape from her grasp. The wolf has her teeth sunk into part of one wing, so she can't exactly thank her companion for the sudden bit of healing that helps to get rid of some of the ice that has frozen her fur up in odd directions. Luckily, it's warm enough out here that the ice begins to melt almost as soon as it takes hold. Alas, wet wolf smell.

With the beast still pinned, it is quite easy for Hati to dig into the thing, tearing at it with her claws. It screeches, flails, and only at the last moment manages to buck her off, sending the wolf tumbling down along the dusty floor. She lands in a crouch, growling and showing her teeth, lips curled back. Bloodwing snarls towards them, backwinging as it tries to get airborn again.

The monster radiates dark energy, even more-so than Hati herself. A whirlwind seems to be summoned up out of nowhere, drawn by the force if the creature's wings, trying to blast them both backwards. Hati's eyes snap to towards Faruja. Without a moment's hesitation, the wolf launches to set her larger form in front of him, taking the brunt of the damage, digging her claws in to the floor. It's impossible to keep them both from being flung back a bit, but the sound of claws on marble is enough to set anyone's teeth on edge.

At the end of it, the wolf lets out a whimper, some water dripping from her muzzle, and her own darker energies flaring in response to the attack. She doesn't seem injured on the surface, but there is a subtle tremble in her limbs that shows that damage certainly was done. "You... alright?" She asks, catching her breath. Then her eyes look back to the monster who is now circling over the altar again, preparing another swoop at them. With a hard breath, Hati growls, "Show me what you can do, Faruja. Strike it down with a Templar's strength."
Faruja Senra Sniff sniff. Wet wolf! If they weren't in the middle of deadly combat, the rat would throw her a towel or something. For now, he'll have to abide by it while trying to not die.

Speaking of, Bloodwing is at it again, summoning up a tornado of horrible dark energy. Snagged up by the ice, the ratling can't exactly move, until the bulk of Hati's current form intercepts the attack. Even then, the winds shatter the ice holding him down, and send the rat tumbling. All he gets are a few bruises out of the deal. "Hati!" he yells, rushing back to her side. She's okay! Mostly.

Faruja /snarls/ in response, not at the wolfess, but at the hovering Bloodwing. Waiting a moment, watching the creature's pattern, he then leaps! Unfortunately, his falling attack misses by a small margin, much to the Burmecian's displeasure. Agile bastard! Landing behind the altar, he lets go of his spear, white energy surrounding his other hand. Reaching down, he concentrates, body alight with burning holy energy that seems to consume the darkness of the defiled Temple hungrily, burning it away. Making a slashing motion, both hands clench a massive two-handed poleaxe summoned with Warp, the great weapon cleaving through the defiled altar and sending shards of it as well as a blinding crescent of light at the great beast!

Hati Although the flying beast does seem to be able to avoid Faruja's enraged attack, that doesn't mean that there isn't something good that comes of it. As the Burmecian's attack strikes that alter, it crumbles beneath the power of the blow, draining away some of the taint that had stricken this place for so many years. If he were to look down, he might just catch sight of a leather-bound book amongst the rubble. Clearly, what might have been a mistake in judgement had a higher purpose, since it caused him to find... well, whatever it is. Likely combat will make it so he has to investigate that later.

The wolf slowly pushes herself up onto her kind legs, rising to her full height. The beast isn't looking at Faruja at the moment, since he had landed behind him. The two warriors face off against it, one on either side. "I'm the one you want." Hati growls, showing her teeth and then letting out a roar loud enough to send some more sand trickling down from the cracking roof. She's giving Faruja a chance to get an attack in while the mark is too occupied with her. It's a hunter's ploy, and a clever one at that.

The roar shifts into a howl, another call to whatever forces there are, and another glyph appears beneath the pair of hunters. Unlike before, this one strengthens the muscles, heightens the senses, and drives the urge to fight.

Of course, this means that the werewolf has Bloodwing's full attention. Flapping those strange wings, it draws in a breath, and then blows out one filled with a putrid sort of gas, meant to blast the wolf back, and possibly poison her in the process. Hati is quick on her feet though, and she rolls sideways, raising a paw to cover her mouth. It doesn't stop some part of it from getting close to her, and there is a shimmer as some energy gets drained away from her, replenishing the beast instead. "Now, Faruja!" She calls.
Faruja Senra A book. Faruja peers at for a mere moment, but it's etched into his mind. Something found within a once holy temple, hidden beneath the altar. Clearly, whatever it contains, it must be important!

But he has more immediate concerns as Hati draws off the creature's attention. Feeling her howl reverberate through him, filling him with her own wolven strength, he nods to the wolfess. With a mighty war cry, he thrusts his blade, calling down a flaming sword of judgement, followed by the radiant Light of the Saint himself to smite the creature, once again blowing a crater into the surface of the already scarred and possibly structurally unsound Templar.

Shrine Knights, after all, aren't known for being quiet about things. "TO THE ABYSS WITH THEE!'
Hati At the same moment that Faruja moves to strike the beast from the back, Hati charges from the front. It is the spear that brings the beast down first, breaking right through the monsterous bat's chest and sticking out the other side. For a moment, it continues to flap those four wings before it falters. That is when the wolf grabs on, using her weight to slam the beast down hard onto the ground.

It gives one great creel of pain, twitching beneath the force of both warriors as Hati smooshes it's bat-like head beneath one foot. "Oh just die already." She growls at it, her claws covered in monster blood. Bloodwing twitches, tries to blow out another breath of putrid air, and then its head sinks to the floor, tongue lolling out.

Hati, for good measure, leans down and siffs at it, then pokes at the bat with one claw, trying to figure out if it's really dead or not. "Not bad." She notes, looking up at him with those mismatched eyes and lupine features. "But you need more practice. Days with the Templar have made you soft against monsters who don't fight like soldiers." Her words are appraising rather than chiding, although they are likely to still grate upon his pride either way.

She crouches near the monster's head, pulling it up so she can get a look. The posting had demanded a fang as proof of the kill, and the wolf is quick to grab one of those daggers from their place against her back and pry free both fangs. Clearly, Hati is not grossed out by dead things, or by handling a kill. It looks a bit strange, though, as the wolf sheaths the dagger back behind her, wearing nothing but the leather straps that hold those knives in place. One paw holds out one of the fangs as his half of the prize.
Faruja Senra And the beast falls! Blast, he lost! Indeed, it was a poor showing from the Burmecian. As much as her words visibly grate along his pride, teeth showing in a shrill squeak upon his Order being insulted, the rat realizes it's true. Stuffing down his irritation, he nods.

"Truly, my Light yet shines too dimly. Nay, 'tis not the Templariate that has made me weak, but my own lack of strength...and experience against such creatures at this. How ever shall I free my home from the forces that claimed it without being able to slay this wretch alone?" The frustration in his voice is easily noted, Light quickly snuffed out. His attention first goes to Hati as she works on her kill.

"Lady Hati...would you consider training with me? It seems 'twas not boasting when you spoke of this form of yours. I would learn from you, if you would allow it, in what ways I may be able to." While he certainly wouldn't learn about her Darkness, her physical abilities are plain enough. Besides, isn't she in part a beast?

Curaga! The rat's sure to start to tend to her wounds quickly. "There, should keep you on your feet." Peering over her, he checks for major injuries as she works on claiming their proof of victory.

That done, he moves to /his/ prize. Stooping down, he gingerly picks up the book to examine it, reverently flipping open the pages should there be no clasp to hold it closed.
Hati The wolf tilts her head, one ear up, one ear sideways in an expression that seems quizzical at best. Sometimes, she is easier to read as a wolf than as a human. "I mean no disrespect." Is her response to his squeek, her tail swishing once behind her. "Soldiers train as soldiers. Strict. Regimented. Good for the body, but not so good for the mind." Her eyes remain on him as she watches those little plays of emotion on his features, her nose twitching curiously. "Most who train inside walls have trouble out here. The fiends don't react like sparing partners. They fight to kill. That kind of battle readiness only comes with experience."

If she knew that part of his reasoning for wanting to train with her comes from the fact that she can turn into a beast, the girl would likely refuse. Luckily, he doesn't bring this particular thought into words. "If you wish." She shrugs her shoulders. The girl used to train all the time with Katyna and Morgan, fighting against beasts or each other. Serrak had constantly sent her on errands which required fighting her way through monsters, and it kept her mind and body fit to fight anything that comes. "You aren't weak, though." She notes, walking back to fetch her jeans and vest, tucking the two fangs into a pouch. Since he's too busy with the book as his prize, she'll just have both of those. One step closer to unlocking a weapon at the bazaar.

The wolf is at least kind enough to shake herself off far enough away not to spend water spraying at him. Her fur puffs up a bit. The magic seems to have done enough to heal any open wounds, although she does lick over a few scratches where her fur is missing, not looking too much worse for wear for all the fighting. Likely, her human form would show it far more, though. She doesn't immediately change back. Instead, she gathers up her bundle of clothes and stalks over towards him, her big wolfish head looking over his shoulder as he inspects the book.

It seems to be a history of a sort, an account of the temple when it was still a place of worship and not a place for the dead and other foul creatures to roam. It accounts the founding of it, written in one hand, and then others which tell of various major events over the years. Truly, an artifact that might help to add much richness to the history of the Church. Even so, some pages are damaged by time, faded and needing in care.

Hati just twitches her nose at it. "Something important?" She asks, her cheek resting against his. She doesn't even seem to realize that it might be an intimate gesture. The wolf is just trying to get a look, really.
Faruja Senra Faruja can't fault the wolf's logic. "Fair enough. Admittedly, more blood of humans has ran down my claws than that of such creatures. Thank you, Hati. Without you this would not have been possible." Indeed, even his own knighting came after a battle against people. A glance is given to her, looking slightly guilty at having had her hurt defending /him/. At least she looks alright now.

That compliment has the rat chuckling. "Were I not so, my home would stand tall and proud in this world, or at the least her slayers dwelling within shallow graves." Bitterness too is in his voice. The rat's certainly had trials of his own.

Faruja reads, and the ratling's eye goes wide. As she reads over his shoulder, the Burmecian doesn't seem to even realize her presence. At least, until she knocks cheeks with his.

A light flush appears, but he's too enraptured by what is within those pages to get the full close-contact effect. An arm goes around her waist, the rat suddenly weak in the knees at the enormity of the discovery now in his hands.

"This...there is some damage...however..." Taking a moment to let out a breath he'd not realized he'd been holding, he nods.

"'Tis a chronicle of this Temple's history. So much of the Church's own history has been lost to time...holy Faram, it could of the first built in dedication to the Saint and the Heavenly Father." His words come as whispers, truly leaning on the larger wolfess for strength.

A hand goes to his ear as he speaks into a hidden linkshell.

"Lady Inquisitor...with all do respect, M'Lady, the Inquisitorial Poker Game can wait! A..." Pause. What was she to him?

She helped him save a temple. "A companion and friend has assisted me in making a great discovery. A lost Temple within the sands of Dalmasca! 'Tis much that plagues it, however, I believe it may yet be salvaged and returned to true worship!"

Soon enough, Hati will get one side of a very excited conversation.
Hati The female wolf says nothing about the blood on her own claws. As young as the girl can look at times, she is a creature who has seen the ravages of war. She has been a soldier for the Shadow Lords and faced off against powerful fighters. Yet, she has done her best to keep those hands free of innocent blood. Perhaps that is her saving grace, and the one thing that has kept her from truly becoming the monster she so fears. With a snort, the wolf shakes her head. "I couldn't have done this alone, either." This seems to be said in contrast of his earlier comment about being able to face such tasks alone. "We fought as partners, so to both the spoils of the fight."

She inclines her head, not knowing much about his homeland, although she certainly stores that tidbit away to ask him about later. She would have to turn in the mark and divvy up the reward, too, so it gives her reason enough to seek him out again. Any excuse, perhaps, since she seemed to crave his company more these days. The wolf lets him lean towards her as he reads the book, her noes twitching at the smell of old pages. "Whatever this place was, it's been down here for years. I don't know if the darkness that brought back the dead has anything to do with our prey today. It might be a sign of a deeper illness here."

There are still those other passages left unexplored, but with the threat of the roof collapsing in this main hall, it seems like a task better left for another time. Maybe there is something else at the heart of the corruption, and perhaps that is a task for the Church to hunt down and destroy, rather than a bounty hunter.

Hati watches as he begins his conversation with the person on the other side of the linkshell, but she is patient and waits, wary. Her ears twitch at every sound. "We should head back. You can make an official report when we get back to Fluorgis." She suggests, the dark feeling in these walls making her fur stand slightly on end. It isn't a good place for her to spend much time. She disliked being underground, and once night falls, the chill will likely set on this place, and make it a bit too much like those catacombs beneath Traverse Town. Neither seems like a good prospect. "Come." She motions, and then leads the way back up the passage, her clothing and those fangs tucked beneath her arm.

This scene contained 27 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Hati