In Dire Straits
[PRP] Headway [Sphinx] - Printable Version

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Headway [Sphinx] - Ashtaroth - January 04, 2018

   She can't help herself.
   She has wandered Oukoku-Kai so extensively, with her sister or alone. There are mechanics in her head, and mud on her feet, that keeps her sliding forward. Their Rite of Passage is overdue, after Thetis's hissy fit, and although she escaped relatively unscathed, she still feels betrayed. All her rebellion against Scheherazade, and now she thinks it may be the best thing for her. Ashtaroth never wanted to be a Slaver, ever since she assigned one of her siblings to the role, saw Tovelo's expression when she mused that Hanna had left. Virra vacated, the war was lost, and all she wants...
   The girl isn't interested in seeing the slaves, really. She was an acting force upon Leocor, and hasn't acknowledged one since. Ashtar isn't a compassionate woman, and she is too engrossed in Gigantea to mingle with the heathens. No, she is here because she knows she should not be-- because she is a child of a god, pampered in puppyhood, now unattended. Desperate for attention, but so very bright.
   The Youth pokes her nose at the discarded, rotten remains of a meal once fought for. She doesn't attempt to conceal her presence, or so much as turn to the sound of footsteps until addressed. Nonchalant, like she was expecting as much.
   She wants a bond, and an Officer can be a powerful ally.

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Sphinx - January 14, 2018

It had been a long time since the Warden Priestess had decided to take a bond. Nephilim. Sphinx's green eyes, half-lidded in a daydream, stared off into the distance as she walked forward, a spark of affection dancing in them for the briefest of seconds. The name was still near and dear to her heart, despite not seeing the soft-spoken, diffident girl in so, so long. Sphinx hoped she was alright, her first and only bond. That was all she allowed herself to do though; she had no time to be caught up in the past, not this time. Now, it was time for change. The valley had begun to feel stagnant after the war. Wolves were missing, traitors were named... and yet, there was no movement in the holy land. Sphinx felt choked under the broad feeling of inactivity and dissatisfaction. It was concerning, but the pretty little priestess had a theory why.

The youth of Oukoku-Kai were not being guided properly. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted, but never shown the ways of their very different, very hallowed world. They needed to be bonded, placed into ranks, and shown what it truly meant to be the righteous, true-blooded wolves of the divine Rosas.

Crux had been the first to come to mind when she had set out to take a youth under her wing. She saw the boy around often, working to better himself and engage in his surroundings; it was not meant to be however. She had heard recently that her own officer had gotten to him first. Sphinx smiled at the thought, unconcerned in the least that she was not the one to bond Nevada's son. She was proud that Garrison had recognized the same talent she had also seen in the boy. If the officers were to become strong and proud again, they would need both Garrison and Crux.  

Her other choice was the one she thought might work out even better than what she had originally planned. Another active youth, the child of two of her dear friends (before they became traitors, of course), and raised by a god. There was another figure in Hanna's children's life, but the Warden had no plan to even acknowledge any hand Thetis might have played in their upbringing. She'd make sure any influence of the White Seour's was deleted. Thetis was toxic, blasphemy be damned. 

"Ashtaroth," When she came across the wolf she had been seeking, she came to a halt, genuine smile spreading quickly across her face. Her voice was nothing but warm, friendly, inviting. Her personality, so kind, so honestly caring, would have been seen as weak in any other wolf in the valley, but had always been her greatest strength. "I've been looking for you."

Despite her nature, she was still a valley wolf... a follower of the White Rose. She could kill... had already killed someone she had loved dearly for the betterment of the valley. It would be in Ashtaroth's best interest to not make her angry.

"Tell me about yourself. Who are you now... and who do you want to become?"

With her rank, she didn't have to explain her questions. Her status demanded answers.

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Ashtaroth - January 17, 2018

   She sneezes before turning, dispelling any viscera that may have clung to her nostrils. "Me, miss?" She cocks her head, seats herself before the Warden. A perfect picture of confusion, painted on. "I'm a Youth, miss, although eager for bond and rank. I want to contribute to our grand pack." She's spent too much time with Scheherazade; her mannerism has only become more elegant. Her vocabulary would rival Ninkilim's these days-- if ever she saw them.
   Brown eyes blink, so very innocent. That's the beauty of Sphinx, she thinks: honesty, even in all her lies. Ashtar would like to learn that some day. "I have interest in the rank of Tactician, although I favour the White." Like you. "Why do you ask, miss?"
   As if she doesn't know.

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Sphinx - January 17, 2018

"Me, miss?"

Goddesses, she remembered what it was like to be Ash's age. Sphinx smile grew at the seemingly innocuous question, green eyes moving to inspect the wolf in front of her. She let out an amused breath then, and nodded very slightly--half in response and half in approval. The little black and red youth was much better at playing the White Rose's game than she had been back then. Good. That was a very good thing. It showed potential. If Sphinx had gotten as far as she had with less, well, then there was no telling where this little one would go if she played her cards right. 

And Sphinx would know if Ash could play. The beautiful priestess had been hand-chosen, -taught, and -molded by Ana's predecessor and father. The highest White Rosa, the most holy to touch Oukoku's land, Aglacea himself. Enix may have invented the game, but her god had perfected it. And now she had the opportunity to make sure that was never lost. 

"I'm a Youth, miss, although eager for bond and rank. I want to contribute to our grand pack. I have interest in the rank of Tactician, although I favour the White. Why do you ask, miss?"

All good to know, but it wasn't what she was really asking. Sphinx waited until the girl finished speaking, taking careful note of the girl's desired rank and favored path. The tacticians were leaderless after Virra's capture, but she was sure the Rosas would not leave the position vacant for long. When it was possible, the Warden Priestess would be sure to advocate for the child. She'd get her set up with lessons, shadowing opportunities, competency tests--outside of the stringent regimen Sphinx already had planned for her, of course.

"The valley has become still after the war." Sphinx chose her words thoughtfully, plans and dreams and expectations all dancing behind her emerald green eyes. There was a lot to do. "I hope to be one of the ones to get it moving again, pushing forward toward our righteous goals and growing closer to our holy Rosa. I ask because I want to make sure you are someone who can move the valley as well."

"So, you've told me what you are, and what you want to become," The social butterfly smiled softly as she looked down at the girl, green eyes sparkling with mischief and the real question she was trying to get the young girl to answer. Ash could keep any facade and walls up that she wanted when it came to the rest of their packmates--Sphinx would actually encourage that--but when it came to them together, she needed something more genuine. If she were to take the girl as a bond, she really wanted to know her. Ash would have to dig a little, because nothing in the valley ever came easy."But in order to make sure you are really the one I need... that the White Order needs... that Oukoku-Kai needs, I need you to tell me who  you are now... and who you want to become."

Give me some substance, sweetheart.

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Ashtaroth - January 17, 2018

   Brown eyes blink, dark lashes fluttering. The tilt of her head levels. So, Sphinx really is White. Ashtar considers for a moment, ears alert although her eyes focus on the ground just beside Sphinx. "I'm the child of traitors," she starts, slowly. All this time, Ashtaroth has been whatever is best for her, but who is she is without intent? "Two of my siblings left with them. Two followed our god-parents," oh, the meaning in those words, "and one is dead."
   One may wonder how she knows what became of the eldest. One may recall that Ashtaroth had attacked Feizin when they first emerged from the den, and Anamelech had quietly slated her for Jin.
   "Sometimes I make things happen without even meaning to. I don't miss my family, although I do wish Lotus hadn't left. She was incredibly useful." She sounds so much like Scheherazade. She speaks like her life isn't real. "I want..."
   Like a child, staring up at the clouds and imposing shapes upon them. Her ears swivel, and Ashtar really thinks. "Security. I want a place in the pack that relies on my skill, not the whimsy of an impersonator of Gigantea." There's something she wouldn't have said if she weren't entirely honest in this moment. Ashtaroth has stepped out of her body, to speak to Sphinx in person. "I want to be the most ruthless wolf the Valley has ever seen," not for the fame, but satisfaction in completion of a challenge, "and I want everyone to be shocked that Ana's precious plaything is more like Gigantea than she ever was."
   Ashtaroth nods, and looks back to the Warden's intent green gaze. "Is that something you could help me with?"

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Sphinx - January 18, 2018

Sphinx listened carefully to everything Ash had to say, nodding along every so often to encourage her to keep going. This was what she wanted, the very core of the girl... the thoughts that she couldn't shake, the dreams she yearned for, the recognition of what she was missing. The Warden Priestess knew the dark red youth was close to the mark, because she herself felt a little bit uncomfortable just listening to her speak. There was something beautiful, yet truly unnerving, about seeing something that you weren't meant to, that wasn't for you. She wondered if the younger girl could feel it, the unease that came with truly exposing yourself to someone else. 
Maybe it didn't bother Ash at all.
Sphinx wondered if the real reason it bothered her was because of how different they were.
"Of course it is." Sphinx said without hesitation in response to the question asked of her. She didn't see either of the younger girl's future goals as being extremely difficult to reach, especially with the Warden Priestess there to guide her. Ash was already Whiter than most in the order; there was a cool, calculating aura about her... a view of others as tools. She may have thought she had the tones of Scherezade, but she echoed many statements that Aglacea had made before he had left. In order to be the most ruthless and marveled for her skill... Sphinx would show her what it was like to emulate a true White Rosa. Ana was ruthless and amoral, sure, but she moved without purpose. There was no "the ends justify the means", no goal in mind. She did things just because she wanted to, or because she thought something was pretty. It was petty, unbecoming of a real deity. If Ash could move past pettiness and into purpose, well, she would have already made leaps and bounds past her god-parent.
It was decided then.
"Ashtaroth, I'm going to take you as my false-bond." She watched the girl carefully as she said it, and despite the seriousness of their conversation, her features melted into their usual warmth. White as she was, she was still a genuinely sweet person at heart, and this was a big deal for her. She was taking a bond again. "You will remain in my house until you earn your rank goal of Tactician, or a position of similar or higher status--should you change your mind. As your Shogun, I promise to help you grow closer to the Rosas, to help you reach your true potential as a righteous wolf of the valley, and to help you meet the goals you have set for yourself.”
”You’ll have combat training with me every other day, by the lake. Culture and history lessons once a week should be sufficient with your background, but will increase if deemed necessary.”The Warden priestess appraised her new bond for a few silent heartbeats before continuing,”I will talk to a tactician about allowing you to shadow them and receiving private lessons at least twice a week. You will accompany on Warden duties once a week; I understand Officer isn’t one of your career goals, but the position will allow you to get a more varied combat experience with the potential to learn takedowns and choke-outs. Outside of this, you are expected to keep yourself in shape.”
It was a lot to process, she knew. But lofty goals required hard work and dedication.
”Do you have any questions?”

RE: Headway [Sphinx] - Ashtaroth - June 30, 2018

   The marks on her face sharpen as her eyes narrow, a smile curls. Sphinx has children, and compassion. She also has a prestigious rank, and an offer for Ashtar. All according to plan.
   The girl listens, enrapt, and blinks uninflected. She does not nod along with each order, as the Warden would not take an imbecile. She is expected to remember each addition, and indeed, she will. She will do more.
   "You will accompany on Warden duties once a week; I understand Officer isn’t one of your career goals, but the position will allow you to get a more varied combat experience with the potential to learn takedowns and choke-outs." This interests her. She does not aspire to Officer, no, but how brilliant would it be to intimately understand a rank outside of her own? Ashtaroth is such the overachiever, after all. "Outside of this, you are expected to keep yourself in shape." Child's play-- laughable, if she expressed emotion as more than an act. If anything, this caveat only concerns her that she may have to reduce her exercise. Exhaustion is hardly the point. ”Do you have any questions?”
   Ashtar cocks her head, considering. "You're a priestess as well, correct?" It has come to her attention since one of the gods abandoned them: Anamelech lied. "Would you be willing to teach me culture twice weekly?"
   She intends to learn from the best.