Broken Compass (attn: Mai)

Amir wasn't going to lie to himself; it wasn't pure chance that had him wandering into the Japanese garden at Heolfor. It was general knowledge that if you wanted to find Elder Mai you didn't look; you put yourself into her area and waited for her to come to you. Amir was sure she knew he was there, but he didn't expect his Elder to jump at his beck and call. If Mai wanted to speak with him she would come to him.

What he wasn't sure about was whether or not he really wanted to talk to her. Want and need were two different things though and Amir was fairly certain he needed to talk to her. He was loathe to admit any failing or weakness in front of Mai; in spite of what Subira had done to him for the last several thousand centuries Amir had always somewhat idolized Mai as the quintessential Hunter. He respected her and looked up to her; Subira had instilled in Amir a deep respect for the chain of command and Mai was the pinnacle.

So even though he didn't relish the idea of looking bad in front of her, it was to her that he went when he was in need of guidance. He very much needed that now. He also doubted Mai would be terribly surprised about it; surprise and Mai were rarely used in the same sentence unless separated by the word 'not.'

After a few minutes Amir stopped wandering. He sat down by an interesting stone feature and, after a minute or two, lay back on it so he was staring up at the night sky. There he waited. If Mai wanted to find him she would. If not, the garden was relaxing.

Mai 12 years ago
Mai had not been hunting tonight. She had listened to the reports of various members of her Order on how their missions went. Morrigan was still being difficult with her people, still trying to evade them whenever possible. Mai had hoped to avoid it but it appeared that it was going to be necessary for her to talk to the Elder of the Rose about her undisciplined behavior. It was strange and unbecoming of a person in her position.

She wanted to talk to her son about what his Order had found out about this killer. So far there had been no new successful attacks. Mai was uncertain that the attack on one of the younger vampires with command was even related to the same series of murders. However, every potential lead must be checked.

Thankfully that was not her job.

Having finished with her people. Mai headed out of her rooms and into the garden out the back. She had sensed someone moving around in there earlier. Whoever it was had settled down. To wait, she supposed or perhaps they were enjoying the scenery. Either was possible; the gardens were a peaceful place.

Coming closer to the individual laying on one of the stones, she realized that it was Amir. It had been a long night of boring talking that left her with the desire to run and chase something. Her first thought was to pounce playfully on Amir. He would probably be willing to indulge her in this whim and might even go hunting with her if she requested it.

However, something about him laying there convinced her to do otherwise. Mai came up and knelt in the sand near his feet, carefully tucking the brilliant red furisode adorned with white cranes and flowers rising up from the bottom hem and sleeves. A servant had arranged her long hair in a neat bun with several kanzashi containing white, red and gold flowers to hold it in place. Apparently because she was having guests over this evening it had been considered a safe assumption that she would not behave like a wild thing. Mai smiled to herself, sometimes she even let them continue believing such nonsense.

"Konbanwa, Amir-san."
Amir 12 years ago
Amir heard Mai approach but only barely; the Elder was perfectly capable of making no noise if she meant to. If he could hear her, it was because she wanted him to know she was there. He sat up as she knelt, taking in her dressy attire and wondering if she was coming from, or going to.

Bending at the waist he bowed to her respectfully.
"Konbanwa, Elder," he said.

And that was when he ran out of things to say. Sad, really, Amir, he thought. Were it Jin or Mara he'd have been able to continue. The presence of either partner was soothing to him. He didn't think, though, that either of them would be able to help him out at this moment. Not this way. For one thing, they gave him emotional support that he would admit he needed badly during this time. For another, though, they were the Acting Elder of the Night and a Nightswoman. He wasn't sure they would grasp his dilemma. Or, maybe, not the way Mai would.

"It's quiet," he finally said softly, his voice blending in with the peacefulness of the garden rather than shattering it. Amir didn't need to speak up for Mai to hear him.

After a long pause he said,
"I need to Hunt, Elder. My hands have been still for too long."

Months ago, Mai had asked him to hold off his games with the werewolves in light of a new threat to the Clan. Amir had done his best in spite of conflicting commands, and, now that he was no longer controlled, he had kept his word and not played any games. Now he was a Huntsman who was hunting nothing.

"I had a very clear purpose for to thousand years. Now I have none. Is there nothing you need me for? Here in Nachton, or elsewhere?"

Amir would leave the city if Mai had a job for him someplace else. He was a Huntsman, that was what he did. He wouldn't particularly relish the thought of parting so soon from Jin and, yes, Mara, for he suspected she would ultimately choose to remain with Jin, but he needed a task or he was like to find himself going crazier than he had with Subira at the controls. Amir was not one to stay idle. He detested it with a passion.

It was more than a job, though. Amir needed an identity. He thought that maybe he could find it in his Order but they didn't have anything for him to do. He needed to do something. Anything.
Mai 12 years ago
Mai smiled at Amir and tilted her head at his statement. Was it quiet? She thought a moment, listening to noises of the night. There was plenty of sounds around them, however they were mostly peaceful sounds. No humans, no technology, nothing was screaming or dying at least not right here.

Perhaps she understood what he meant.

She waited quietly and knew that in time he would say whatever it was that he needed to say. So often humans felt a need to converse, fill in the silence, but it served very little purpose except to comfort their own minds. Mai did not have the same problem.

Amir explained himself very quickly. She both understood and did not. His first struggle, needing to hunt, this she understood. There were times when she felt that civilization was stealing her strength, her basic uncomplicated understanding of life and death, she was becoming too attached and too engrossed in the affairs of her kind. When that happened she wandered away. How long she hunted alone depended on how long it took to find herself again. Sometimes it was months, sometimes decades.

Mai did not understand what it meant to not be your own person. She had never been controlled by her Creator. Her mind had always been her own. These days she did not know a vampire with command who was strong enough to even attempt such a thing as to control her mind. What must it be like? Not knowing who you were? Did he know when it was happening or was he only now waking up to the reality of what was done to him? Jin explained that Amir had given himself to the wolves to free himself of his Creator's hold. That meant he had known, at least on some level, what she had been doing. The full extent of the damage...he might still not know the answer to that.

Perhaps it did not matter. The cure might be the same for however a person such as herself and Amir found themselves lost.

"You love my son." She did not state it as a question. Mai tilted her white eyes up toward Amir. "And Mara-kun."

Mai sighed softly and reached down to draw three dots in the sand. She connected them with a line through the middle. "They cannot help you. They would try." And probably have already been trying. She severed the lines tying the middle dot to the other two with a couple of quick ruthless slashes of her finger. "Only you can choose to save yourself."

"You fear that you do not know who you truly are or who you were, Amir-san? That you have lost yourself." Mai smiled at him. "I say that it does not matter who you were. We change, whatever the reason. Your Creator has changed you, marked you and owned you but she does not have you any longer." Mai shrugged delicately. "Take what makes you stronger from that time. Throw away the rest. Take my son and Mara-kun and make new decisions on who you are." She smoothed out the sand with a sweep of her hand. "Your life is like this." Her hand tilted toward the newly level space next to her. "You can choose who makes the impressions on your spirit now."

Mai tilted her head down to the hands resting in her lap, a small smile played across her lips.
"And of course we can find you something to do." There was always a need for hunters.
Amir 12 years ago
Amir looked Mai in the eyes when she turned her face up to him; he didn't shy away from her pale white gaze and it never occurred to him that she couldn't see him. When she spoke, he wasn't terribly surprised. He just listened to see where she was going with her statement.

He nodded with a little hum of assent when she mentioned Jin and Mara. Yes, he loved them. Mara, obviously. Jin perhaps less obviously, as that development was fairly new. New, but no less powerful. Of course Amir loved them. How could you not love your heart and your soul?

He nodded again at the Elder's correct assessment. Of course they'd tried to help, but Mai was right. As she slashed her finger through the line in the sand Amir felt it inside, deeply, as if she were severing his arms or his legs. He didn't show it outwardly.

He remained quiet while Mai was speaking, looking at the sand, breathing slowly and deeply; meditative breathing, meant to calm. She saw things very clearly. He hadn't expected anything less but it didn't mean he liked hearing it.

"We are the culmination of our past experiences, aren't we?" He finally pointed out. "If that's so, who am I?"

Was he a hunter, really? There was so much in him that he questioned. Decisions that had once come easily to him now made him hesitate and a hunter couldn't afford hesitation. Every choice made him stop and question where the choice came from. Was it truly his, or was it some echo from Subira left over in his memory?

The smooth sand did not remind him much of himself. Amir slid from his seat to kneel across the sand from Mai, regarding it solemnly.
"I don't feel like this," he said, indicating the level plane of sand.

Using both hands he piled the sand into a small mountain. Then he sliced his hand through it, scattering it, again and again until the mountain had crumbled and lay scattered between them. Pulling back his open palm he thrust it at the scattered fragments, driving them deep into the rest of the sand.

"I feel like this," he growled softly, taking his hand away to see the pattern he'd made, crushed, broken, strewn about with no organization whatsoever. That was more representative of what he felt inside his head.

He understood what Mai was saying though. It would take discipline to keep hat image in his head, but Amir had discipline. He wasn't arguing with her now - oddly enough, he was venting. Why was he comfortable enough with his Elder to discuss it, where he stumbled over the words with Mara and Jin? He didn't know. For all he knew Mai would find him weak, broken, and unfit to Hunt. But... he didn't think so. He might be a broken Hunter but he was not irreparably damaged. He had to believe that his pieces could be put back together.

"If I get that choice," he said with a bittersweet smile, "I choose you. And Jin, and Mara. Bao. Those are the people I want."

He took a deep fortifying breath. It was in his nature to be so openly... fragile. It galled him. Fortunately Mai seemed to think she could find him something to do.

"You mentioned a threat to myself and those like me," he said, thinking back on the first conversation he'd had with Mai in Nachton. "Can I help? Surely there must be something I can do."

Bait, even. Whoever was killing those who Commanded the werewolves ought to love a chance to get at Amir. He'd been a werewolf cuisinart over the past few thousand years. That wasn't the best idea, maybe, but at least it gave him a purpose.
Mai 12 years ago
Mai shrugged. "That is so, Amir-san but which experiences and how those parts come together to make you are..." She looked around at the garden and then turned back to the hunter in front of her. Mai doubted that Amir would truly appreciate her flower arranging explanation. She would try something else. "You have two brothers." Mai held up two fingers like people and had them both bow to Amir. "They are raised by the same loving parents but one brother becomes a doctor and devotes his life to helping people and the other brother." She raised the second finger. "Becomes a thief and spends his life taking things from others. They had the same home life but they chose to view it different ways."

Amir showed her how he was feeling on the inside and it was apparently very tumultuous. He piled the sand up and began hacking and pounding at it to find the most adequate way to describe the many pieces he felt his life had fallen into. She covered her mouth and tried not to smile at his vehement 'description' of his inner unrest. "I think you owe the sand an apology for creating within it this stress." Mai tsked softly at him and then let the smile shine through. "It is no easy task before you but you live, ne? Perhaps the hard part is already done."

Nodding to Amir, she said. "You get a choice." Mai tilted her head to the side. "Perhaps you should find that which made you happy before." She stood and stepped back, waiting for him to stand and follow her. "There are things that make me happy: flowers, music, little bits of paper, dancing, moving and..." She gave him a sly sideways look and a small half smile. "hunting, of course."

"What makes Amir-san happy? What do you think made you happy in the past. Perhaps you should seek these things out and see if they still make you happy. If they do then you know they are part of you. If they do not then perhaps you have changed or perhaps they were never really a part of your true self at all."

Stopping at the end of one of the paths, she looked out into the darkness beyond the ordered garden.

"Does hunting still make you happy, Amir-san?"
Amir 12 years ago
Amir listened to Mai as she began to say something then stopped and tried again. What had she been about to say before? He wondered. It mattered little; he understood what she was trying to say. As with all things, his fate was in his own hands and no one else's. She was right. Dwelling on the past could only lead him so far.

He got that; he just couldn't explain the rest of it adequately. The fact that Subira's influence had left him dazed, as if he'd woken up in a thick fog and it was lifting too slowly for his own patience. That was his trouble, though, and he supposed there was nothing to do about it except what Mai was suggesting.

He didn't miss the fact that the Elder was covering a smile at his rampant sand-mountain destruction. He huffed a small sigh; he couldn't help it if that was exactly how he felt. Maybe the visual aid hadn't been necessary. His lips twitched up and he shrugged slightly sheepishly. As Mai stood Amir followed suit, offering the demolished pile of sand a brief bow of 'apology' before walking with Mai.

He thought about things that made him happy, nodding at Mai's words. Maybe that would help this fog lift faster. He still loved the stars and the night sky. He still loved to fly, and hadn't forgotten any of it. Sailing, too, he still enjoyed. Maybe more of him had survived Subira's presence than he realized.

His family made him happy. Amir had done many things he might not have on his own, but he'd thought long and hard about those he'd Created in the last several thousand years and he wouldn't take a single one of them back. Those had been his choices.

As they stopped at the edge of the garden Amir turned to Mai when she asked him if hunting still made him happy. Good question. Hunting was him. It was what he did. It was all he did. But would he have done that without Subira?

He considered it in the context of his order. It wasn't unheard of for a vampire to decide their skills ad calling lay elsewhere, and move between orders. Amir tried, and failed, to imagine himself doing the Night's work or that of the Rose.

He smiled at Mai, a content, silky smile from one Hunter to another. Amir nodded.

"It is what I am," he said simply. The hunt was in his blood. Amir didn't think he could stop hunting any more than he could stop avoiding sunlight.
Mai 12 years ago
Amir took a moment to answer her question. Good. He was seriously considering it. Even something so fundamental must be looked at from time to time. Is this me? Do I still want it to be me?

The answer was yes. She expected as much but at least it was an informed yes.

Mai smiled at Amir and then looked down at her lovely clothes. They might just get dirty after all. Ah well. Her servants were certainly accustomed to such dilemmas. At least they had not chosen white. It was a colour she rarely wore. Its meaning made it only useful in certain, very specific circumstances. Wearing white meant she was death itself.

There were times when it was very appropriate indeed.

Looking out toward the tree line, she turned back to Amir. An animal to hunt was simply too easy. It caused the blood to pump a little faster and perhaps engaged all the senses for that short burst of chase and kill but beyond that there was no challenge for ones such as themselves.

She turned her back on the woods and went instead toward the Manor.

"Come lets find something more worthy of our talent." Stepping up to the door of rooms, Mai turned back to him and smiled. "I will meet you out front in thirty minutes. I will probably take that long for Mika to find me something appropriate to wear. She is teaching me what is..." Mai heaved a soft long suffering sigh. "fashionable."

With that said, she stepped in the building, stepped out of her shoes and went looking for Mika.
Amir 12 years ago
Amir watched Mai as they paused at the edge of the garden, balanced on the brink of the darkness just beyond. Mai was silent for a little bit before turning to him with a smile and heading back into the garden. Amir tilted his head curiously at her but followed.

He gave a soft 'ah' of comprehension when Mai spoke again, and a smile touched his own features as well. He would very much like to hunt with Mai. He nodded to her and bowed deeply as she left to find more appropriate clothing.

Given her words he assumed he should probably do the same. if Mai was being instructed in 'trendy' then Amir had best put on something appropriate for going out in. He was currently barely presentable in ragged, comfortable jeans, an old tee, a fleece jacket, and tennis shoes. He could do better. Should, if they were going hunting.

Once inside he sent a quick text to Mara and Jin, who were at the house they all shared now, off Clan property. He smiled to himself, suspecting the text might go unread until they finished, cough, 'unpacking.' It was unimportant; he just wanted to let them know he'd be out for an unspecified amount of time and that he was with Mai. He didn't want them to worry; he hadn't gone very long without their company in the past couple of months. The time alone would be good for the two of them and hopefully his being with Mai would comfort Jin instead of ringing alarms.

If not, well, he could be the responsible one.


((ooc: Amir and Mai out))