8054/City Fall: Meeting in the Middle

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City Fall: Meeting in the Middle
Date of Scene: 25 June 2019
Location: NYC - Midtown
Synopsis: Both needing time to themselves, Leonardo and Karai cross paths. Conflict follows.
Cast of Characters: Leonardo, Shredder

Leonardo has posed:
Leonardo needed a night away from everything.

With what was going on around the Lair, meditating was not working. It wasn't any one person (used loosely here) or thing, just a combination of factors. Mikey being Mikey, Raph grumbling, Donnie hard at work on something, getting used to having others around...and, of course, the situation with Cody, Shredder, and the Foot in general.

Leonardo needed a night to himself.

His idea of this involved sneaking into a movie theater under cover, hanging out in the back to watch something designed to distract him, to take his mind off of things. It didn't help, so he left halfway through. The movie wasn't that good anyway, just one of those mindless action flicks where the director throws in flashy amounts of nothing to distract from the lack of a story. Then he got a couple hot dogs from a corner stand around Mutant Town, still in his trenchcoat and hat, but it left him feeling unfulfilled. He didn't have the fashion sense of Michelangelo or Raphael, the two turtles most accustomed to going topside to interact with others undercover. Maybe he'd work on that sometime.

The turtle's travels took him away from the area of the Lair, toward Midtown where he ascended to the rooftops - and here, some of those rooftops were much higher than the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. Leo didn't go that high up. With basketball and hockey seasons done, Madison Square Garden was in a quieter period as it transitioned over to holding more events that weren't related to sports. There, he found a spot near the center to sit down, crossing his legs, opening his senses and mind to what was around him. Voices below. Car horns. The general drone of the City that Never Sleeps. It transitioned into white noise as he focused on clearing his head.

Shredder has posed:
    Karai, for her part, wanted to be by herself as well. Her shoulder was bandaged, recovering from the bullet wound still. The bruise on her face says that the lesson her grandfather gave her was not a friendly one. She took a set of kunai with her, and her smoke pellets, but tonight, she wasn't looking for a fight. Tonight, she just wanted to blow off some steam.

    From one roof to another, she vaults, taking an unnecessary risk as she leaps from a fourth story down to a second story fire escape, and then down onto an old mattress used by a bum at times.

    She rolls off, and makes her way over the fence of the same Madison Square Garden center, relishing in the easy with which she bypasses their security and makes her way through the center. She finds every guard she can, just so she can sneak past them. Their lives are hers if she wanted them. She leaves them alive, though. No purpose in their death, and no honor in taking it. Her journey leaves her exiting onto the roof, wearing compression shorts and a sleeveless form fitting top and her black tabi boots. She angrily punches the air, then kicks, then roundhouses. Her soul is certainly not quiet.

Leonardo has posed:
Leonardo has been whacked by Splinter before during training, but it was never out of anger or an intent to harm, at least not the way Leo ever saw it. It was always a mild form of correction, to get the turtles to focus when distracted, to pay attention when being rowdy, to do better when not putting in full effort.

He couldn't remember the last time he got a reprimand like that.

When Karai reaches the rooftop, taking a very different path to get there than Leo did, he can be found in the Lotus Position. The katanas are present across the back of his shell, and if he's as prepared as he normally is that won't be the only thing he's got. Think smoke pellets, shuriken. At first glance, he might even blend in with the air conditioning units and venting that rings the middle portion of the roof, away from the edges. He might, if not for the breeze that picks up the ends of his mask and sends the blue fabric to flutter.

Unseen by her, his eyes open slowly. He is no longer alone, he realizes.

Shredder has posed:
    Karai lets out a grunt of frustration as she flings her kunai, the red tassles following until they plunge into a poor unsuspecting air conditioner. She rolls forward and pulls them free again, breathing hard from the intense exertion she had been showing. She stares at the wounded metal...

    Then she realizes that she's not alone as well. Her eyes drift up, and she scans the roof, no yet looking in Leo's direction. Something on the wind catches her nose, and she spins to look in the direction of Leo. It still takes a second for her to register his presence due to the stillness with which he sits, the lack of presence in his far more peaceful stance. A curl comes to her lip.

Leonardo has posed:
Peaceful as he appears, if Karai is good at reading body language she might make out that there's a tightness to the turtle's stance. It's difficult to relax, and it shows in a slightly more rigid position than expected. Or, it could just be the limitation of the large shell.

If Leonardo had a question about who it was on the roof with him, a potential friend or foe, the flickering of his eyes in the direction of the AC unit when the kunai stick into it lets him know this may not be an encounter that ends without blood spilled. Then again, it might remain peaceful. One never knows. His angle does not allow him to see who retrieves the weapons.

Slowly, he rises. The katanas remain sheathed, for now. Even fully upright, the two are of a similar height. "You are Foot?" the eldest of the four brothers questions. If she's looking for fear or uncertainty in him, there is none. It is a simple question, seeking the knowledge it will soon bring as he slowly turns to face her.

Shredder has posed:
    Karai flips the kunai in hand. Her weaponry is a serious disadvantage at the moment, but it doesn't stop her from approaching, the red scarf blowing to one side behind her. "Turtle." The word is said like it's a curse. "Perhaps something good will come from tonight after all. I am Oroku Karai, and you are just what I need right now, so I can present your head to the Shredder. Prepare yourself." She takes a ready stance, eyes studying who she has decided to be her foe.

Leonardo has posed:
There, then, is the answer. Leonardo's voice nearly grates as he responds, "Karai. Yes, I know who you are." He adjusts his stance to one light on his feet, itching to draw swords, but waiting. "And I believe you know who I am, yet you don't use my name." He leaves it to her to explain why, or not.

"Is he the one who did that to you?" A thick finger comes up to gesture toward her shoulder. "Or did he beat you after you failed him?" It shifts to indicate the bruising at her face. He keeps his distance, not even within reach of the katanas if they were out. "You'll find my head is harder to remove than you think, and you are injured." And to do it, she'll probably need one of his own swords based on what she's got right now.

The questions that come are meant to give her pause. "What honor is there in fighting an injured opponent, and why are you so eager to kill me the moment you see me?" His readiness is unchanged. There is no doubt the swords will be out in the blink of an eye if need be.

Shredder has posed:
    "Self-fashioned son of a traitor, your name is not worthy to be spoken," Karai answers. "My injuries come at the service of the Foot," she says, evading a direct answer.

    She glances at the blades, knowing that it will be her biggest disadvantage, even more than her injury. "And how are you injured?" she asks. "I am injured, you do not see me back down for a disadvantage. Are you afraid of death?"

Leonardo has posed:
"I am as I am, as are you," Leonardo answers, still delaying the unsheathing of his primary weapons. "We both learned from masters with specific things they taught us, and we both believe our senseis to be in the right. You know it to be true, as you also know neither of us were present for whatever they did to each other. They were once friends, after all." Does that mean he's suggesting something similar here? Probably not.

"I am physically healthy, yes," he verifies, spreading his arms to either side of him by a foot or two. "Kill me here and now, and I'm sure Shredder will forgive whatever transgressions you made. Or, will he punish you further because he wants to kill us himself? Has he given you this task, or do you act on your own?"

Now, a step toward her, hands closer to those weapons. "Know this. I am not afraid to die when the time comes. The only thing I am afraid of right now is not living up to the expectations I and others have of me."

He sniffs, chin up slightly. "And what are /you/ afraid of, Oroku Karai?"

Shredder has posed:
    "Transgressions?" Karai echoes. "I fear nothing." A lie to herself more than anything. "Only that I will not have the opportunity to kill you and each of your brothers myself." She lunges forward, trying to close the distance quickly. She'll need to stay in either extreme distance, or extremely close range in order to have a chance against the swords, she chooses the latter.

Leonardo has posed:

Leonardo's answer is the shortest one yet as she gives him little chance at more. So quick is her charge that he shifts course to vault over her as she comes in, landing softly a few feet away, already facing her again. Now, the katanas are out, and while there is not a lot of light up on the roof of the old, iconic arena, there is enough from the city itself and the skies above to give the sharpened steel a bit of a shine.

Rather than lunge toward her yet, he gives her room to set the pace. He's feeling her out, seeking to learn as much as he can, as fast as he can, so he might understand how to counter rather than go too far with an attack and leave himself vulnerable.

Shredder has posed:
    The pace is fast. As Leo leaps over her, Karai plants her foot where he stood, pulling a 180, throwing one of the kunai toward the turtle's head as she dives back toward him, the newly free hand reaching to try to catch him by the wrist. "Don't patronize me," she spits the words, uninterested in talking.

Leonardo has posed:
As the kunai flies toward him, Leonardo uses the edge of his blade to strike it off course. It sticks in another AC unit nearby. They can be used as obstacles, as a bit of cover if necessary. With his other hand, still gripping the sword, he comes down with the end of it to knock her hand away, pushing with a forward leg to create some space again as he keeps her at bay with the extended reach the katanas provide.

"So you're content with the life of crime Shredder has brought to you and your clan?" he challenges verbally in addition to the physical side. "Taking people or animals and turning them into mutants? Yeah, we were accidents. Maybe we never should have existed, but what honor is there in him creating more like us, against their will?" Has she even considered that? Worse, has she and determined it acceptable?

Shredder has posed:
    "Content?" Karai laughs, "Whose idea did you think it was to create the new mutants?" she asks. "You think I didn't /want/ to see the Foot regain their glory?" She pulls one of her smoke pellets out, and quickly flicks it at Leo's chest, planning to use his hard undershell as a surface to break the pellet and create a black smoke cloud for an opportunity of attack.

Leonardo has posed:
"If that's what you call glory," Leonardo bites back, making his opinion clear. "You had a federal agent on your tail, so you kidnapped him, turned him into a mutant, and brainwashed him to serve you. There is /no/ honor in that!" Does she even care about honor? He might have heard rumors one way or the other, but right here and now, that is being put to the question and coming up well short.

While the pellet hits and the smoke spreads, Leo uses it to his benefit as well as he practically flows out of the spreading cloud, intentionally coughing before he does so in order to give her a spot to lead into her attack. The trick is he's left one of those metal AC units behind where he was, using others to circle around behind her to ready a strike when she goes in and either realizes he's not there, or she hits the big box instead. Footsteps are silent.

Shredder has posed:
    "What are you talking about?" Karai says, "More poison from traitorous lips?" Maybe she doesn't know about that one. She leaps into the cloud, stabbing the air with the kunai before turning to make a kick at Leo, her foot connecting with the metal AC unit. She growls. "Who wouldn't want to be a part of something powerful and glorious like that Foot? We once ruled Japan, but we had slid into apathy. The Shredder brings the Foot back to the glory it once had in ancient days!"

Leonardo has posed:
Oh, so a little surprise has been revealed? Leonardo doesn't press on that knowledge just yet, not wanting to give away his position. Aware of where she is, especially after the sound of foot on metal along with her words, he comes in from one side with a low kick aimed at the legs, meant to take her off her feet before putting some room between them again. He's seeking to keep a distance that gives him the advantage with his swords, opposed to being too close or too far.

"Ask Shredder about Cody Garrett. We stopped one of the shipments to the Foot at the docks and found a vial of mutagen." No, he doesn't mind her knowing. In fact, she may have already got wind of it, in which case she would know he speaks truth. "Garrett insisted on holding on to it, Shredder found him, and now he's been turned into a lion. Do you think that was his choice? Coincidence? No. Shredder found an adversary and forced him into his service while making him believe we did it to him. I wonder how much he's brainwashed the rest of you."

Shredder has posed:
    Karai it caught under the leg, and lands on her back, only to immediately kip back up to her feet, with a frown. She charges forward, a little more directly, looking to grab hold of Leo, spin and monkey flip him toward one of the AC units. "I never brainwashed anyone," she says. "We have a enough that are willing to join, does that bother you?" She smirks. "Is it so impossible that Agent Garrett just saw the truth of what you are? And if he was brainwashed, it would have been for the greater good."

Leonardo has posed:
Whether he allows it or she simply gets past defenses - it's tough to grapple with someone when dual-wielding swords - Leonardo finds himself flying through the air in the direction of more metal. In mid-flight, he has the body control to put the swords away while spinning to catch the edge of the unit, flipping himself up to land atop it in a crouch. How did he..?

Eyes narrow behind the slits of his mask. "You may not have, but someone in the Foot did. And you have enough who are willing to join, yet he was brought in against his will and made to believe we betrayed him? Do you even see the contradictions in your own words, Karai?"

The turtle studies her intently, keeping himself openly aware of all around him. So far, it's just the two of them. No other turtles, no other Foot. "You say the Foot is being returned to its former glory. I see a lost group digging for scraps of relevancy, resorting to low-class crime and chaos, offering nothing but lies and empty promises to people down on their luck, and acting without any sense of honor. The Foot is nothing more than a clan full of street thugs trying to prey on the weak, led by a man so drunk on power and control that he doesn't care who it harms. If that is your idea of glory, you can have it."

Rising to his full height as he remains standing atop the AC unit, Leonardo continues, "We are both chunin of our respective clans, and I have a begrudging respect for your abilities. I do not wish to fight you simply because of who you are and who you serve. I thought I might appeal to whatever sense of honor you have. I know your numbers are much greater than ours and we may not be able to defeat you alone, but we will never stop as long as the Foot continues down this path. Since I will not allow you to have my head, take that message back to Oroku Saki, so he knows what is in store for him."

Shredder has posed:
    "You have no idea of the Foot!" she angirly retorts. "We run this city. We run the state! We will rule all of it soon, and there's nothing that four freaks of nature can do to stop it." She flings the second Kunai in a rage toward the Leonardo, ears closed currently to the argument.

Leonardo has posed:
"Listen to yourself." Such anger and rage. Karai may have more in common with Raphael at times than Leonardo may like to admit, and that alone could be dangerous in ways yet unknown.

As the kunai flies toward him, it is on a direct path for the center of his mask, but Leo does not move out of the way this time. Instead, his hands come up to stop the path of the throwing blade with it mere inches from hitting the mark, caught between his palms. He considers it and the tassels tied to it, then he flings it down toward her feet. Not at them, but it will clatter just short of them.

"Go home, Karai. Meditate. Clear your head. Then, ask yourself if what you're doing is truly the right thing." To aid in his own departure, Leonardo casts down a volley of his own smoke pellets around his location, giving him all the room he needs to disappear.

Shredder has posed:
    Karai tenses her fists, watching as the smoke cloud disappates. She knows he's gone already, though. What would a turtle know about honor? A creature that simply became sentient through an accident. "I made the Foot what it is," she reminds herself. "I led them." She walks angrily to the kunai, picking it up off the ground.

    "Didn't I?" She squeezes it, squeezing hard enough to draw blood. from her hand. It doesn't hurt as much as other things.