5944/Never Powerless

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Never Powerless
Date of Scene: 10 July 2018
Location: Maslow Peak - Psychonauts Earth
Synopsis: Empty Tidings meets with a now powerless August Kohler and makes a bargain.
Cast of Characters: August Kohler, Empty Tidings

August Kohler has posed:
Near the massive psychic mountain of Maslow Peak, up on a lower part of the moutain, August Kohler has set up camp in a clear area. Instead of getting a motel, he decided a mobile base like this would be superior, so he has a cheap tent, a fire, and a chair to sit at the fire, drink cheap beer, eat wild animal, and look off towards the base of the mountain with binoculars. The redhead's dressed in hiking clothes that he might have worn overnight, with a basin nearby for washing some, which atleast implies he hasn't been wearing the same outfit for four days. He's armed with a pistol and a knife, and has set up hunting traps, likely to avoid the psychic animals.

For now, he's sitting at the chair getting some food into him, some sort of rabbit he cooked. August never expected he'd be a wild type of guy, hunting and camping, when he first joined the Multiverse. How it clearly changes you.

Empty Tidings has posed:
Hiking through the wilderness to get to August has been terrible. There's all sorts of animals there, and bugs, and mud to get in your everything and it's basically just not a good time. Maybe if there were paths, or trails. The kind with, say, paving stones, or even just gravel. With buildings instead of trees.

You know, Tidings is really more of a city girl when you get right down to it.

She tramples and stomps her way through the wilderness nonetheless. When she shows up, she's not at all alone. A procession of identically-clad men, all of whom must be closely related and shop at the same hunting supply store, clear the path for her. A trail has been blazed behind them, through a combination of machetes, human passage and super strength. It would have been simpler to go around, if you knew how to handle the wilderness.

"So this is where you're hiding out?" Empty Tidings' voice is about the same, but she looks a bit like a goth girl from August's age group instead of her usual flowery and elegant self. He might recognize her from that trek through a particularly villainous maze with a giant and a lot of broken glass. "It's..." She adjusts her glasses, peering around as she makes her way into the camp, "...functional."

August Kohler has posed:
As Tidings and her entourage arrive, August turns to face them. There's bags under his eyes from the lack of sleep. He does reach to his pistol, briefly, until he recognizes Empty Tidings, and moves his hand away from the gun. "Yeah. I have a good view over the mountain here without being too high up. Why're you here?" A pause, as August realizes something. "How'd you find me, anyways?"

Either way, he reclines into the chair, putting his rabbit away, as August nods to the strange men but doesn't address them. "You said on the radio you'd help me. I assume that's why you're here. It's going to be pretty boring, though, there's no sign of him." Unless she's here to help in another way...?

Empty Tidings has posed:
The entourage spreads out, sticking to the trees. They linger barely in sight, blending in and keeping to themselves. Tidings walks into the camp like she owns the place, however, which is much more her style. "I asked an acquaintance of mine to hunt for the most sleepless scent she could find and paid her well for the service. You stand out, at least when it comes to extremely specific means of searching."

She stops near him, looking up the mountain for a moment. She sighs. "Do you really think I'd waste my time being on watch? No. Though I did bring them --" She nods back towards the identical... something-tuplets, lurking in the trees. "-- to do that very thing, if you'd like to get some rest."

"Your message said you couldn't use your Persona," Tidings says, after another moment of quiet. "Do you think you can fight it like that?"

August Kohler has posed:
August doesn't bother to offer Tidings any rabbit or anything, doubting she'd accept. "That easy, huh? Your applied theology really has its merits." It's not even sarcastic, he just likes calling it that. A nod to the men there. "Thanks. I appreciate it. So, then..."

August isn't actually sure what she has up her sleeve. When she starts talking about his Persona, he rubs his face, considering the question. "No, it'd rip me to shreds if it wanted to. But I have to try, don't I? I may be powerless, but I can't just give up. Not when I can /try/ and do something. Why? You have a weapon or something to offer? I'm only good with handguns, if so."

Empty Tidings has posed:
"It's more about knowing who to call and when to call them," Empty Tidings says, smiling a little. "Services like that are part of the benefits of finishing that shopping list."

She steps out in front of August's seat, looking down at him. "No, I don't really... 'do' weaponry." She crouches down and plucks a stone off the ground with her right hand. She rolls and bounces it in her palm. "I am, however, empowered by my patrons to bestow a certain degree of their might to the powerless. If the price is right, that is. There are always costs when it comes to such transactions, else I wouldn't be asking you for so many trinkets and trifles already."

August Kohler has posed:
August looks back up at Empty Tidings as she stands in front of him, nodding about the shopping list with a light but tired smile. As she mentions what she can do, though...August considers for a long minute. Some sort of power to fight back against his Shadow. There's some questions he has. What is it? What will it do to him? What's the cost, and can he really afford it? It's probably not money, but something spiritual, seeing as Tidings works in the occult. None of those are really his question, though. August gets right down to business, because he knows what he wants. He wants to be able to fight.

"What do I need to do?" Said with such confidence that August is already ready to take any price, though there's still some nervousness in his voice, like he's forcing himself to be confident.

Empty Tidings has posed:
Empty Tidings waits patiently. She's not in any particular hurry, and the sort of power she offers doesn't come without its own risks. August weighing his need against the potential price speaks well of him.

"Swear an oath," she says. "Form a bond of some kind. A pact. A strong enough emotional tie would usually suffice -- if we were lovers, or family. As nothing of the sort exists," there's a little sigh to Tidings' voice at that, "you'll need to offer me something for..." She closes her right hand, the one with the rock in it, making a tight fist.

The pulverized remains, ground to powder, pour out from between her fingers. "...the /strength/ you desire."

She lifts a hand to her chin, tapping it with a finger. "What would be sufficient, though... hmmmmm~..."

August Kohler has posed:
"Swear an oath." August says it, feeling the words in his mouth. Well...that's not a difficult thing. But he'll need to offer payment. The first thought is 'his soul', jokingly, but she might actually take that seriously and he has no idea what that might entail. So a more serious offer, that is probably strong enough for demonic power, that he's willing to give...it's not weird, but it sure is strong. And he thinks it's worth it.

"I'll serve you however you need, for as long as you need, though I will not use my position in the Watch to your benefit. Presumably, this should start once we've beaten the Shadow and have my Persona back. If you have any terms on this..." August is slightly shaky saying it. It's...a lot, and he doesn't know Tidings well, but he needs the power, and it forms a bond. Especially seeing her crush that rock, being that strong...he needs it.

Empty Tidings has posed:
It's probably not a good idea to offer the lady who lists 'Princess of Hell' in her titles your soul jokingly, no.

(do it anyway)

Tidings frowns slowly. She crouches down in front of his seat, peering at him through her glasses. From that angle, she doesn't have the demeanor of an imperious noblewoman out to snatch up souls and twist people around her little finger. She looks and 'feels' the same: a young woman who is concerned for the well-being of a friend going through a hard time. "August..."

"...you know I wouldn't hurt you, right? I want to help you. I want you to be the best that you can be. I want you to help /me/ help /you/." She reaches out to take his hand. "You're shaking." Her frown deepens. "An oath is nothing if it's so one-sided. So, until you have dealt with your Shadow, I will provide you the power you need to face it. Once you've been restored, I will do everything I can to help you be the person you want to be. In return for your service when it is required, and without the unwilling leverage of your position within the Watch, I will do these things."

She looks him in the eye. "Is this acceptable?"

August Kohler has posed:
August actually feels bad for shaking as Tidings crouches and seems so...normal. It's clear he feels guilty. "...Yeah, I know, just...never made a deal with supernatural forces that went well before. Guess I'm just nervous. I trust you." It's genuine, even if he's still nervous, and he ends up taking her hand briefly.

And as she states her part, including helping him be the person he wants to be, he straightens up and moves to actually stand up if she'll let him. "I accept all parts of this deal fully and with little hesitation." August stares Tidings back in the eye as he says it, swallowing up his hesitations to really show his confidence. It'll be worth it, and the deal is clear. There's no catch, and he made the offer. Nothing to worry about.

Empty Tidings has posed:
Empty Tidings stands with him. She doesn't let go of his hand. She nods, a little reassuringly, smiling warmly. "I promise it won't hurt," she lightly asides."

He speaks the words, and she smiles wider. "Then let it be so, and may vile misfortune befall the one who breaks so solemn an oath." Tidings' grip tightens fractionally.

The world explodes into viridian light.

A bonfire of energy erupts from the point of contact where their hands meet, enveloping the two of them in vivid whorls of Essence. The sensation is like a cloud passing in front of the sun, casting one into shadow on a too-warm day: a feeling of relief, but the knowledge of the pinpricks of sweat and the discomfort leaving the shade would mean. A feeling of tightness grows in August's chest, and his heart beats loudly, hammer in his ears --

The light and the sensation vanishes. An aura of violet and green bleeds off of Empty Tidings' body. A disk of darkness so deep it hurts to look upon rests upon her brow. "There." She smiles again. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

August Kohler has posed:
The sensation August goes through has him visibly stunned, the feeling and light causes his eyes to twitch as a hand moves to grab his chest, make sure he's still alive. Once it fades, August takes a deep breath, shaking his head and twitching out of it.

"That...was strange. But way different than I expected. ...What should I expect?" August flexes his fingers, knowing that no matter what it is, he'll be ready to fight.

Empty Tidings has posed:
The light of a foreign sun radiating around Tidings gradually dims to an outlining glow. The black spot seems to lessen to an inky mark than a hole where the sun should shine. It's less ominous, that's for sure. She releases his hand, clasping hers in front of her and looking him up and down. "You should expect me to be able to provide you with what you need. For instance, that strength I showed you." She smiles.

"I'll show you a few things, so you aren't surprised. But first --" Tidings steps aside, moving around him. "-- you should get some rest. If all you know how to do is pull a trigger... well, we're going to have to fix that. I don't want you to hurt yourself when you try to batter down an iron wall, right?"

August Kohler has posed:
August doesn't necessarily feel stronger, but if she says he is, he is. As she looks him up and down, the redhead nods strongly. "Alright. We'll need to practice it then, yeah."

He also takes her words to heart, moving to start putting out the fire. He'll sleep for the rest of the day and evening until morning, at the least, and Tidings' men watching is certainly helpful - they'll be given strict orders to wake him if they spot anything matching the description of the Shadow. They won't spot him, not yet...but it's reassuring to have help either way.