895/Who Is That Masked Man

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Who Is That Masked Man
Date of Scene: 01 November 2014
Location: Brockton Bay
Synopsis: Mordred seeks out the mysterious superheroes Mourning Cloak and Ruri.
Cast of Characters: 12, 518, Zero Kiryu

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    It's late afternoon/early evening in Brockton Bay, the perfect time for capes to get around and do good and stop evil!

    Especially if they're the types that wake up around this time. So after a 'breakfast' in their still-not-broken-in nice apartment in one of the better parts of town, Yuuki - who hadn't settled on a good cover name, so she's 'borrowing' her best friend's - Sayori - to make 'Sayori Cross'.

    After eating and dealing with wake-up things, it's off to the streets!

    To wander around Brockton Bay in the shadows and alleyways, looking for trouble with Mourning Cloak.

    "You know, Cloak, I really need to spice up my costume. Yours is so awesome and colorful, and mine... Mine's boring. It's just purple." Ruri grumbles, peering at a stray cat that is staring at her in the middle of the alley, crouching down to pet the cat as she sighs heavily. "This is really hard without... I dunno, support. But at least maybe tonight we can find some people to help!"

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "Maybe." Mourning Cloak's answer is distinctly distant, his gaze unfocused and definitely not mindful of the persent. He is dressed much as he was during the incident with the party, though a little more warmly than before. The cloak he's wearing is heavier, and the gear underneath is suited to winter weather. It's quite comfortable, even though it's chilly out. Not that the chill of the weather is terrifically relevant to him in terms of actual functionality, but there are some things that never stop being appealing. Being warm when it's cold out is one of them.

    If there WERE real trouble, it would be easy to detect. The parahumans around here appear -- more weakly than other beings, but nevertheless -- as minor blips on his radar. The ones that he is familiar with have fairly distinct scents as well. As it is, even paying attention for something going on nearby, he just doesn't feel... much of anything.

    It's a big city, and minor crimes can occur and pass under their radar fairly easily.

    "What would you prefer in place of purple?" He asks Ruri, glancing sidelong at her and focusing on the present again for the moment. It's true that he's a bit more colorful than his companion, but his theme is also a bit more... specific.

Mordred (12) has posed:
    It has been some time since Mordred requested someone to look into the katana-wielding superhero, and eventually the Undersiders came through. Names are good enough. They're new and staying away from the big guns. Looks like they handle small-time criminals? Ugh, she's not a superhero though. Or even a supervillain. Taylor is though! And they can vaguely predict or track movement with parameters like that. Probably.

    It was a pretty safe bet that "looking around town at night for petty thieves being caught" was going to pay off eventually. And for a Servant, watching large sections of a city is not TOO hard, especially if you're not bringing attention to yourself and actively being hunted.

    The telltale sound of armor moving, and the extremely obvious spiritual presence of a Servant, come from the edge of a roof overlooking the alley a bit ahead of Mourning Cloak and Ruri, as Mordred not only appears but rises from a sitting position on the edge itself. Her helmet's off, since it's completely pointless now. They've both seen her without it, its effects would be diminished. And besides, she kind of wants the former to know it's her again. The latter, she actually hasn't figured out was the butterflies.

    "Red is a pretty cool color, you know? Dress in white, paint it with the blood of criminals you stop. That's way more impressive than a necklace made of teeth or bones you collect from your foes," she offers as an answer to the color question.

    It's possible Skitter is with her, somewhere in the background. Probably watching. Mordred has less concern overall for Bitch and her dogs, and most of her care really limits itself to the one girl, so if Bitch went and tried to get even... well, it wouldn't be any of her damn business, and she'd be unlikely to care.

    "Yo, night birds. Catch anyone yet?"

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Ruri is mildly on guard when Mordred appears, though she seems to think this is just a social call when she just starts... Talking. In fact, talking is all she does! And... speak on morbid things.

    "I'm not so good around blood. And wouldn't clothing colored in blood be... smelly, and dirty? That seems very unhygenic." She notes. "I'm uh, Ruri. This is Mourning Cloak. Why are you here? I mean, we've not found anyone tonight, but we haven't been looking long. Do you want to... fight?" She asks, slightly incredulous.

    Was that how this worked?

    To Zero, she just blanches. "Well, I don't know. We have a theme going, but now that I've gone public with my name, I sort of have to keep the same getup! So it's just purple for me. Well, I guess that's what you get for not being original..." She complains good-naturedly, more concerned with Mordred than her lack of flair.

    "Weren't you with... the Undersiders? We're neutral. We just wanted to help people. Still do, actually."

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "I don't kill people, and there is no facet of blood that appeals to me." Mourning Cloak repeats what he told Mordred before, but he also reveals that he's a bit squeamish about blood. Weird for a guy who uses a sword. He's not tensed for a fight, but he doesn't seem surprised either, so it seems like he must have noticed Mordred coming before she approached too closely. A vampire she isn't, but there aren't that many blips on his radar around here. Truthfully he'd assumed it was some cape or another, but not her in particular. He sniffs at the air, trying to get a better sense of her. Strangely distorted, though. Weird.

    For the moment, Mourning Cloak decides not to make the assumption that this is about to turn into a fight, and keeps his hands away from his weapon. It's well-suited for a quickdraw anyway, so he's not especially inclined to worry about not having enough time to get it out.

    With regards to Ruri's costume, Mourning Cloak asides, "You can keep the current color while adding something else to it to produce a pattern. It's not that difficult to change it while retaining the existing theme." Guy really isn't concerned with this going south. He regards Mordred more closely when Ruri questions her presence here.

    "I would venture to guess that she has some business with me after our last encounter. It was brief. Those dogs are acceptable targets, but I've no interest in using my blade against people." Strange for a person who wields a weapon that clearly inflicts difficult injuries. For Yuuki, it's easy to determine what he really means by it. He's not interested in bringing death to non-vampires, or at the very least, to those who aren't monsters.

Mordred (12) has posed:
    "Someone's a winner with that guess," Mordred announces, hopping off the roof to land, fairly loudly and with the impact of steel on concrete, roughly in front of the pair, probably a good ten or fifteen feet away. No cause for alarm, at least not yet, it's just more convenient to talk like that.

    "And yeah I guess bloody clothes would get bad after a while, so once it's red enough you just switch to a real red costume and hope the costume painted with blood legend sticks. Isn't that a superhero thing? The mask and its feats are more important than the person inside? Gotta cultivate a myth if you want criminals to think twice about it."

    She shrugs, and moves along. "I'm not with the Undersiders. It's more like that Skitter girl gets shit on a lot so I felt like being a knight for once. Find a damsel in distress and help her. Kind of a fucked up situation, but nobody died, so it's not like I've got blood on my hands for once. I couldn't care less what people in this city do, I just join into the chaos when it looks fun enough."

    In a show of good faith, Mordred's armor disappears in a wispy, colorful gust of red wind, leaving her in some red and gold clothes that probably look more regal than someone with her savagery deserves to wear. It's kind of a one-piece, gold-lined red suit, with slightly poofy shoulders, and the shirt forms a half-skirt over the pants.

    "Right, well, straight to the point. I'm not here to bust your skull open, no. Two on one? Could be fun, but this isn't a very nice battlefield. I got curious about your sword and why it took a while to heal. But now I'm curious about that whole 'I don't kill people, I don't like blood' thing despite swinging a cursed sword around."

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    "Oh, you're right! But... I mean, the actual butterfly is just purple and white. Maybe some black? Or red? It's... Ugh. It's hard to do. I wish I could get someone else to do it, but then..." Ruri frets as Mordred and Cloak posture slightly at each other. In fact, she would be posturing But, frankly, it's not really that big of a deal. This is just talking. And talking is fine! Pleasant, even.

    "Well, it wasn't that hard to guess. But I don't really want to be feared. There's enough fear and subjugation and hatred in the world. I just want to do good. To help people. It's all I ever really wanted. So that's why we moved here! To help. Brockton Bay has a lot of... dangerous people in it."

    "So cultivating a myth isn't really what I'm interested in. What are you interested in? Mourning Cloak, what do you think? Are you just following me around?" She asks, curious now.

    Then, there's concern. "Shit on? You mean, harassed? Damaged? And... You're here for fun?"

    Ruri's masked face frowns as she droops.

    "That's so sad. That you don't actually have anything to drive you beyond amusement. Though... It's noble that you're also helping people, at least!"

    Yuuki/Ruri seems to be kind of depressed now. This town... was depressing. It was like home, if home also never let up with the gutshots to the emotions.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "Hmm... What's the best way to explain it?" Mourning Cloak folds his arms over his chest, one raised so that he can rub at his chin. After a moment he continues his explanation, though there's more than a little bit of self-loathing there, "Let's use a common ground example that I'm sure everyone has experienced. Have you ever eaten so much of a food that you enjoy that its taste became bland and you were unable to endure it any further? The concept is similar. I've been through enough bloodshed that I have no interest in bringing it about needlessly. This sword is not cursed, but there is no being that it cannot cut. You could say that it's specialized in overcoming those who heal near instantaneously, and that it has similar ramifications even when used against those who do not."

    "In summary, my power is to kill absolutely, and I've done plenty enough of that. The smell of blood makes me want to vomit." Strictly speaking these are half-truths, but he really does hate the smell of blood, and really does feel profound disgust at everything surrounding his own oddities. That he can channel these into an explanation that is not entirely truthful is helpful, but it isn't necessarily healthy.

    As for why he fights in spite of this aversion, this is far too personal, and neither Mourning Cloak or Zero deign to answer. It would probably be a lie, either way.

    As for Ruri's costume, he offers, "You could trim it in silver or gray, with black spots within if you wished to imitate my cloak in some fashion." This is such an odd side-conversation to have.

    But, concerning why he's here...

    Mourning Cloak chooses his words carefully, "I've told you why I'm here. I'm not going to speak about it in depth to strangers, but..." He looks at Mordred, "I'm interested in helping people, even if this isn't my preferred method of accomplishing that. If I found no worth in doing these things, then I simply wouldn't be here."

Mordred (12) has posed:
    "Butterflies, huh? Are you the one who scattered them all over the other day?" Mordred glares towards Yuuki, although she takes a moment to address the other things too. "Helping people one crime at a time isn't gonna fix anything. If you really wanted to help, you'd want a way to make criminals actually fear being criminals. From what I hear, this place just pampers 'em. No killing, but do whatever you want with minimal consequences. Ain't much good to do here. Whatever, though, I'm not here to tell strangers what to do with their time. Sad? I guess it is. Doesn't bother me one bit."

    She shrugs, and shuffles into a pocket. She digs a chocolate bar out, tears the wrapper off with her teeth and just starts chewing.

    "Yeah, harassed. Whatever you want to call it. I'm not one for one-sided bickering and haughty assholes who can't at least hear the other side out. Had enough of that in my life."

    On to Zero now. Green eyes size him up, head to toe. If he says his power is to kill absolutely, she's not going to start doubting him. She's already seen what the sword can do, and while it might not be too big a deal on its own it does mean if he has anything else up his sleeve it'll be that much more effective.

    "Killed so much you got tired of it, huh? Not gonna lie, that's the first I meet someone like that in person. Heard stories and legends, sure, not about you, just the antihero archetype. So bad it makes you physically ill though? Must be something to it other than killing. Personal matters? Had to kill someone you didn't want to?"

    She considers whether or not she's being too pushy.
    ... naaaah.

    "Sure, whatever. I buy it. You don't sound like the kind of person who jokes or lies about that sort of stuff. Why here specifically though? One city among millions, what's the real scoop?"

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    "We're here because... We thought here would be the best place to start. It's hard to be a cape in the bigger cities. Why would we go to Chicago, or New York, where there would be hundreds of heroes, huge gangs... You say that we won't make a difference one crime at a time, but we will, here. We're not trying to fight titans, but something manageable. Isn't that better?" Yuuki wonders, her innocence in this matter ALMOST adorable. Almost.

    If she didn't know that it was kind of naive in and of itself. Mordred was right. What they were doing was, in and of itself... Kind of pointless. She was just playing hero, validating herself in a system that played to the validation of people like her. Put on a cape. Wear a mask. Do GOOD! It doesn't really matter if the seedier elements hurt people or ruined things... It made you feel better.

    "I can't really say I know much about being a normal person. But my life was also filled with sad days just as it was filled with happy ones. Maybe I can help someone have one less bad day, that'll be enough. Making a real difference is a bloody, sorrow-filled job. Maybe I'm just... shallow, and want to make people smile. I want to see less people hurt."

    Ruri just sort of hugs her arms to her sides, her rather thin clothing (compared to Tuxeudo Mask I MEAN MOURNING CLOAK) in the winter weather giving her a sort of odd look in the group.

    "Cloak and I want to help. We both have our reasons. Part of his may also be making sure someone doesn't stab me in the gut, too, but..." She grins, despite herself. "Maybe that's because he hates blood instead of because of anything else."

    About her powers, she just nods. "Yep. That's me. I um... Do butterflies. And... some other stuff. It's not really a good idea to explain to someone what your powers do!"

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "Well... at the very least, blood is certainly revolting to me." Mourning Cloak isn't disposed towards concretely confirming that he just got sick of killing people, but this much at least is incredibly true. His reasons for disliking blood, of course, are somewhat different from the reasons he's given. But the truth is that Mordred actually does hit on a point of history that gnaws at him from some time past, now. It was his brother, after all, that forced the issue. Shot him with his own weapon, and gave him a choice to eat and live or refuse and die. It wasn't really a choice at all. There was still something that he had to get done, at the time.

    Dying was unacceptable.

    Lowering his arms to his sides, he answers, "A combination of a number of factors, including one that you've touched on here. But also the consequences of killing without careful consideration. A straightforward case in which an enemy appears indisputably worthy of death may prove more complicated when some time has passed and new information has come to light. Truthfully, those beasts are not responsible for what they've been made into."

    "But, they're beasts. Not people. So I have no issue with killing them." He concludes, straightforwardly. As to the specifics, Mourning Cloak shrugs. "I didn't choose this place. She did. There is no other reason."

    In response to Yuuki's apparent discomfort, Mourning Cloak adopts a rather aggravated expression. Or at least, he would if his face was entirely visible. Thankfully his mask prevents that, although the shift in how his eyes are set might give him away a little bit. He steps over and shares his cloak with his "sister".

    "The seasons are getting on. Adopt warmer fabrics along with a new color scheme." He advises.

Mordred (12) has posed:
    "That wrapped up in doing good, huh?"

    Mordred frowns. There's a clause somewhere in the code that says, if someone opens up to you, you kind of have to open up to them too. Or at least, not be a huge dick. Stories and motivations are best traded than offered for mutual understanding. Oh well. She could bet on no one finding out she doesn't care, or she could just suck it down.

    "Man," Mordred starts towards Yuuki, closing her eyes. "Way back when, me and a dozen others were like that. Because there was one guy, with a crowd and a holy sword, who radiated the impression if we followed him and did that, it'd all work out for us, and we could really change the world. And no matter how long, painful or dumb the war in his name got, we stuck through it because I guess we really wanted to do good. Kill monsters, save kingdoms, route armies, prevent invasions, keep order."

    She opens her eyes again to fixate Yuuki. "And that, that was hundreds of years ago. And I look at the modern day and I think what a huge waste that was. There's still bad people. Still war. Still hunger, still death. I guess there's more people, too. And sometimes, rarely, despite knowing full well how much of a waste it all was, I still have the dumb reflex to think it's fine, we did good where we could, and the guy with the crowd was worth following. Still is, I guess. But anyway, that's not the point."

    The knight sighs. "The point is your innocence is ridiculous, but if that's how you really feel I guess I can't talk. Or I could, and I'd be a huge asshole, and I'd be fine with that, but since you're not threatening me right now I'll keep this civil, because next time I probably won't be in a position to bother. Not gonna lie, if you two go after the Undersiders again, I'll enjoy the rematch, if I'm around."

    She makes no notes about the powers, because it's true.
    Telling your enemy how your shit works is dumb.

    Her eyes shift back to Zero, and she shrugs. "Fair enough. So you hunt people who do shit so awful they can no longer be considered people. You know what they say, that overused quote about monsters and those who fight them. Guess my last question to you is, do you consider you crossed the line and you're trying to do good to compensate, or did you realize you were going to cross it eventually and took a different path before you did?

    She could ask a few more things, like 'what beasts do you fight' or 'how do those beasts get created' but since it's likely their paths will across again she'll have plenty of opportunities to ask. Over a swordfight, or a feast, or hopefully both at the same time, that'd be the best.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "Good works are not a waste simply because you did not make the world conform to universal good." Mourning Cloak interjects rather abruptly, speaking ahead and over Yuuki if he needs to. He focuses on Mordred quite seriously, "The ability of an individual or even a group to enact change is inherently limited. No matter what one's goal is, you can only make so much progress with the time available to you. If all you are able to do is ensure the well-being of those within arm's reach, then there is no harm in that being acceptable to you. It's not a waste, even if what you accomplish is small and limited. It sounds to me as if they were a great many people whose happiness can be directly attributed to you and yours."

    "Even if those people are gone now, your value to them was immense. That power doesn't go away entirely even when you're gone, either. It echoes on through the ages and inspires others to act as you once did. The same is true of those who act out of malice, but do not mistake an inability to conclusively 'win' the world as pointlessness." He looks towards Yuuki. Of the two of them, she's doubtlessly the more innocent. Still...

    A snort escapes Mourning Cloak in answer to Mordred's question. He says, "There aren't many things I would do with my life, monster or no. What I'm doing now is simply my path. The only things that change are the trappings and the location."

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Yuuki opens her mouth, and then closes it. Mourning Cloak speaks, and she doesn't have much to add. So, she simply nods at the words, and the sentiment. Zero and Yuuki were in total agreement. Just because your good didn't destroy all of the world's evil doesn't mean your good was meaningless.

    Finally, Ruri speaks again, and this time she has a little smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

    "Well... Aren't we already monsters? Super-human? Beyond the norm? We have powers. We're all monsters. The only choice we have is to use our powers for a cause, ourselves, or not at all. And that last one... Doesn't really seem like an option, depending on the power. I mean, I'm no great laser-slinger, or swing around a flaming sword. I don't do a lot of things, in fact. My powers aren't really all that good for /helping/ people. Not... not in a good way. So, I try. I'm my own little monster and I try to do the best I can. And Mourning Cloak helps me out." She grins at the other Butterfly-themed cape, before looking down at herself.

    "Huh? Oh! Oh, no... I don't really mind the cold, any more. Not since I got my powers. It's... Well, I can bundle up. Sorry, am I making you sympathetically cold?" She wonders, finally cracking a smile, before just lightly giggling to herself, holding a hand to her mouth as she finds the idea... Well, far too funny.

    She looks confused... And a little sick. "A feast and a fight? That... I'm sorry, it just reminds me of a bad memory..."

Mordred (12) has posed:
    "If feasts and fights give you bad flashbacks then the sad one here might not be me at all," Mordred says through her shit-eating grin, finishing the chocolate bar and carelessly littering in this shady alley. Crossing her arms again, she gives Mourning Cloak and Ruri a final look, before turning her back to them outright.

    "You're right, though. Just because it ended doesn't mean the legends weren't for nothing. Still, you'd think the world could have taken a better example from the things it turned into myths and stories. Ah well. Can't talk, can I? That's not how my story gets painted anyway. Monster's pretty accurate. Traitor. Madman. Beast. Can't argue, you have me there."

    She starts to disappear, her body dissipating into wisps of blue and red mana, flowing off into the wind. "Good answer, though. Here I thought you were just a guy with a cursed sword and it turns out you're both pretty interesting. That idealism and innocence is kind of refreshing. Well, thanks for the chatters. I've got my answers, if we have more questions for each other we'll probably get other chances to answer them."

    Unless held, her presence pretty much fades over the next few seconds entirely, leaving only mild residue of magic in the area.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    "No. I'm dressed warmly to start with. You're acting uncomfortable." Mourning Cloak says to Yuuki. Realistically she can't be cold, but if she's acting like it then maybe she's feeling it in spite of realism or any other factors. He regards Mordred through the slits of his mask, uncertain of ... well, pretty much everything about her. It is unusual for an exchange to occur in this way, particularly with somebody that he's fought. He wouldn't call her a monster, though, even though she appears to be some kind of particularly aggressive ghost.

    As Mordred begins to fade away, the hunter contemplates her words. He says at last, "If she thought too much about the food that she'd eaten, then she would be quite sad. Life hasn't been kind to either one of us. And, I think, life hasn't been kind to you either. People do not ask the questions that you do, or arrive at the conclusions that you do, without living through bad times."

    "Goodbye, knight. Thank you for being forthright." Zero says, to the vanishing spirit.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    "It was just the words she said. I'm not cold." Ruri replies, with a quiet sort of 'oh, that's why' expression, before smiling warmly. "At least that all worked out... Right?" She wonders hopefully, before shrugging. Mordred fades away, and she just gives a wistful smile to the disappearing knight. "It's not feasts and fights. It's both at the same time that has a poor memory for me. Goodnight, red knight!" She calls.

    Then she slumps. "I think that's it for me, tonight, Cloak. I want to curl up and watch movies or something." She offers, a bit poutily. She doens't really mean it.

    But it was kind of an odd thing to have happen on your night!

    Also, Brockton Bay will keep. Right? I mean, there's nothing that could ruin it overnight!