2019-05-02 - The Restless Dead


Sif gets invited to dinner and co-opted into bigger plans. The Lambs nice though.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu May 2 02:54:24 2019
Location: 74-36 62nd Street

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The Kerensky house, where Ulric and Natasha live is a rather nice brownstone in Queens. Certainly it'd be expensive on a layman's salary but Fenris has been her long enough that he's built up some wealth, so he can afford nice little dens like this tucked away in mortal cities.

It is NOTHING like the splendor of Asgard, but then again this planet doesn't really seem to have anything like that. The larger Asian cities come close but Sif might not have visited.

Ulric and Natasha are, of course, just names for Fenris and Astryd. One of many they've taken on over the years. The invitation had come down to the Embassy unsigned for dinner. Dinner and a talk.

Even from out here the lamb roast smells positively divine.

Inside Fenris is just pouring the ale. He opens the door before Sif gets there. "Come in, come in. Astryd's just laying out the veggies."

Fenris looks… normal. Tall man, dark hair. Collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up. No tie. He steps out of the way and directs Sif inward.

They probably didn't invite her here JUST for dinner.

The invitation was … unexpected. But while she'd come to the meetingplace warily and with weapons in hand, the smell of roast meat reminds her strongly enough of Asgard that she's reassured almost immediately. And then Fenris in Midgardian guise answering the door confirms that she has nothing to fear from this place or anyone inside.

"Thank you," she tells him as she steps into the brownstone, promptly glancing about for some place to set her weapons down and dropping her buckler from her arm. "I will admist to being a bit surprised by the invitation, in a good way." Once the buckler and sword are stowed, she moves further inward, possibly following the blissful food aromas.

The invitation shouldn't have been unexpected. Astryd had extended an open one the other day, citing Guest Right. The house smells delicious - the scent of roasting lamb, garlic and wine, fills the air.

By the front door is a stand, clearly meant for the storage of weapons. Well, Sif might think that. It's possible Fenris and Astryd use it for umbrellas. But it works for swords and bucklers, as well.

"Welcome to our home, Lady Sif. Guest Right is extended and we offer food and drink." It's very formal of Astryd as she turns from the table to greet the woman. She's in a dress that fits with the current era, at least.

"Would you like wine or Asgardian Mead?" How they came by that, given they're both in exile, is probably a very good question.

"We're not monsters, Sif. Well, I might be, a little, but we're very polite monsters. Let me help you with that, Astryd."

Fenris helps the tall blonde get the rest of the food set out and then once every one is seated he rises to serve them. First Sif, as guest, then Astryd and last himself.

"I'm hearing some very interesting things from certain corners. Or, well I should say Astryd is telling me some very interesting things from certain corners. The underworlds have been absolutely buzzing in the last couple of days. The restless dead are a bit more talkative than usual."

It helps that many like Astryd since she ferried them to the afterlife. Not all of the keepers of those realms do though, so it's best to be careful.

"Thank you, Dame Astryd. I am honored by your invitation and hospitality." Wine? She's not had Midgardian wine yet, and while she knows there will be no effect from it, she is still curious about the flavor now that she's sampled a few Midgardian items that she found to be quite delicious. "Wine, please."

Once they're settled and Fenris begins to discuss matters, she can't help but frown faintly. "What has the underworlds stirring? This is very unsettling news." She takes a bite of the lamb and her concern and attention are immediately diverted. "This roast is unlike anything I have tasted before." She looks between the couple in pleased surprise. "This is lamb?" She can only imagine how other Warriors would likely attempt to sing praises to this meal. And she's not even sampled the vegetables yet.

Astryd snorts softly at the honorific and shakes her head. "Just Astryd, Lady Sif, but I thank you for the kindness." Whilst Fenris fetches the rest from the kitchen, she pours three glasses of wine. Rich red, to go with the beef of course. From the label it looks it's from California.

"Thank you, my heart." she smiles at Fenris as he holds her chair. "It is, lamb, yes."

There's a little pause as Astryd eats, letting Fenris direct the conversation. "The conflict that is brewing between the pantheons, Lady Sif. There are whispers amongst the dead but the newly arrived are speaking more loudly. It seems that they have been despatched by a being with tentacles on its face. As is normal though, their stories are fragmented and difficult to piece together."

"I believe though, they speak of the Sluagh."

"It is." Fenris says with a smile. "Astryd cooks it, and indeed everything else, well. I… do alright when she's away. Or busy."

The Old Wolf listens as Astryd relates what the dead have told her. "The mortals are… not very good at telling the various types of Fae apart. As one might expect they do so primarily based on which fae are more likely to hurt them. These they call 'Unseelie.' Though Sluagh does sound more like them."

He lets that sink in. "It appears our Assassin has been active. Though why he has been killing mortals I am not sure."

Sif considers. "This is indeed disturbing." Especially as she knows so little about magic. "I will need to consult someone more knowledgeable about Fae than I am," this couple are amongst the very few she feels she can admit a weakness like that and not have it used against her. "Would it be permissible for me to bring one or more allies here to discuss this with you?"

In true Aesir fashion, she's not letting her food grow cold even in spite of the topic of conversation. The vegetables are excellent alongside the roast, and the wine — while nothing like elven wine — blends with the meal in a very pleasing way.

"It is likely, my heart, they don't *know* what a Sluagh actually is. With so many mutants around, they would be justified in thinking of that first. Mortals lives are so fleeting and the Slaugh have not walked this land like this in an eternity." Astryd answers, clearly pleased with the way her food is received.

"You do well enough when I'm away … didn't that sweet little mortal teach you to cook back in the early 1800's?"

"From what I can understand of their talk, Fenris…" Astryd gets back on track "… the dead in question may be descendants of various pantheons. Their blood is very weak though. It's the only link I can find at the moment though I'm still investigating that."

"Of course you may, Lady Sif." Allies are needed and if Sif will vouch for them AND they'll deal with the Exile and the Monster, then all the better.

"Mmm. She did." Fenris chuckles, remembering the one to whom Astryd is referring. Mortals have, collectively, taught these two a lot. Their aggregate wisdom is considerable even if as individuals they can be BLINDINGLY stupid.

"So…" Fenris drums his fingers on the table and then takes another bite. The food really is that good. "Someone is eliminating the various legacies of those who have walked this earth." That's disturbing. Fenris and Astryd both have left various bloodlines in their wake.

"Is there any indication that Sif herself might be at risk, dear? Or that it seeks to make a move against Hod or Loki or Baldur?"

Baldur, Fenris believes is still the primary target. The Old Wolf makes a face.

"He painted a nice big bullseye on his back with that stunt of his earlier, you know Sif."

After a quick moment of thought, Sif offers, "I can think of one worthy of trust immediately, a youngling from Alfheim. While he is much too young to have encountered one of these Sluagh himself, he might know of others who would have such information, and be able to glean it from them without raising suspicion. Also, I would want to contact Loki about this as well, but…" She lets the sentence trail off. She's not really on Loki's good side currently.

But nothing. This is crucial. She'll accept whatever sniping the younger Odinson insists on subjecting her to if it means solving this riddle and stopping the assassin. Finally.

"Then by all means, Lady Sif, please extend our hospitality to him."

Astryd glances at Fenris as Sif trails off and chuckles. "Loki is as he ever was, I see. I still have that task he set me, my heart. Perhaps that can be used as a way to garner … favour … with him. I'm sure Lady Sif will appreciate a good hunt." Fenris can elucidate more on that.

"Cuan was telling me, Fenris, that some of his get are missing. He's concerned that he hasn't heard from them." Cuan. Little Wolf in the Celtic. A name that makes Astryd chuckles. Her riding wolf - one Fenris' great something grandchildren.

"The Godkiller you mean." Fenris nods. It's a good idea. "Loki seems to have misplaced his bow, Sif. Last we heard it was with Mephisto but we've not heard if Mephisto still has it. What we do know is that he was almost certainly the last one to see it. Loki believes that the bow might be an asset in defeating this assassin and if you help him find it…"

Well, he SHOULD be properly grateful. Probably.

"If Cuan is missing some of his, Astryd then the others almost certainly are too. Let's ask around, see if we can get a sense of who and where. It's possible the attacks aren't random…" And if there's a pattern they might know where the assassin will strike next.

At the mention of Loki's bow, Sif's eyebrows go up. "I see. I will be honored to aid in locating and recovering the weapon." She knows how she'd feel if her buckler had been taken. Or, Norns forbid, her sword.

She pays a little more attention to finishing her meals as Astryd and Fenris discuss Cuan, as she's not entirely sure who that is, and it feels like she'd be skirting rudness toward her hosts if she just butted in and asked. If it's important enough, she's sure one or the other will explain for her.

"Cuan is my wolf, Lady Sif." Astryd explains. "He can fly on the wind thanks to his heritage. I met him long ago when he was but a cub. We grew close and he became my mount. I'd say 'agreed to' but it was more that he insisted." The grey eyed woman looks to Fenris "Were we together, my heart? Or had our paths diverged as they sometimes did? I believe I was travelling in Norway at the time."

Fenris can explain just why they're concerned about his line going missing.

"I need to make some enquiries of the Underworlds, Lady Sif." Yes, Astryd said Underworlds, plural. Not just singular. "I would welcome a strong sword by my side."

"Cuan is a descendent of mine. I had a child with the north wind, long ago." Which is much less metaphorical than it sounds. This is how one gets flying wolves, after all. It definitely DIDN'T come from Fenris. He can't do that.

"If his bloodline is being targeted it means MY bloodline is being targeted." And that is a cause for concern both personally and professionally for Fenris.

"Mmmmm. I believe I was in Egypt at the time." The two did sometimes spend decades apart. But then on the time scale of gods even spending a mortal lifetime away isn't much.

Sif ohs. That explains much. "You have my sword, Astryd." Norns know, Hod certainly hasn't appreciated her presence. "When would you wish to embark on this hunt? I get the impression that the sooner we get underway, the better."

As if to illustrate that she's ready to proceed right away, she finishes her meal and the glass of wine. Of course, then curiosity strikes as Fenris comments about having been in Egypt. "Is it true that Midgard is not just one people, but countless different civilizations all sharing the one realm?"

"The sooner the better but there are paths I must tread alone first, I fear." Astryd smiles at Fenris "I shall do that this evening, my heart. The moon is full I believe and many of the gateways open more easily." beat "Lady Sif, I will contact you soon, but be ready. I suspect that some of my … information will have time limits."

The question about Egypt has Astryd sitting back. Fenris can answer. How many civilizations had they seen?

"It is yes and has been for as long as we've been here. The humans are not united as Asgard is. They keep to their tribes and cities. Even the great powers like the ones here have many regions within them that are tribes unto themselves. They are only now starting to speak of whether or not to treat their world and people as one world, or to keep to their tribes. They value their identity and independence so… as they say. It is a thing."

"You should do that soon, though, Astryd. You and Sif. The things I am seeing in the way Fate looks to be coming together suggests that something momentous is at hand and the sooner Loki has that bow, the better."

He leans forward and scrubs his face a little. "In some ways it would almost be easier to let this one go and let Fate toy with Hod and Baldur as it will. But…"

That way lies Ragnarok so no can do.

This information has Sif contemplating the differences between Midgard and Asgard. For all that their people appear similar on a very superficial level, they are clearly VERY different. Perhaps that sense of tribe comes from having such short lifespans. But that is a thought for when there is idle time to contemplate.

"Would it be acceptable to ask for Midgardian champions to accompany us on this hunt, Astryd? I met two warriors the other evening that, while not Aesir, seemed to be honorable shield brothers."

"Tonight, my heart. When dinner is done. Perhaps Lady Sif will keep you company while I take my … walk." Fenris had better have wine or mead waiting for her when she returns. The Underworlds can be chilling, even for her.

"Yes, Lady Sif, it would be. There may be some paths that we may not tread that they can. I also find mortals perception inciteful. They're lives are so short, they see things differently to us. Which can be in ways and not so much in others."

"Shall I get us dessert?"

"They certainly think a lot more about death. That's one of the topics I find they have some surprisingly original thoughts on." Fenris notes. "Just be aware that mortals are at significantly more risk when it comes to underworlds. Their souls are so very easily separated from their forms…"

He shakes himself. "You are of course welcome to stay and reminisce, Sif. I am most curious to know how things have gone in Asgard since we left."

And it's been a long time.

"What IS for dessert tonight, dear?"

Sif nods her thanks when both Astryd and Fenris accept and even approve of her suggestion to invite the two Midgardian shield brothers to accompany them. She'll just need to ask Kai how to get in contact with them. The tiny, illuminated boxes that almost every Midgardian she has seen is apparently enamored of, perhaps she should consider investing in one of those.

Dessert? Sif has never been one for excessive amounts of sweets, but the thought of something of Midgardian origin does pique her interest. For a dessert, she is more than happy to share recent (and not so recent) news with the couple.

"Bread and butter pudding tonight, Fenris." Astryd is already rising, knowing Fenris never says 'no' to dessert. "I will take you running, though, you know that." She winks to Sif as she heads out, returning not too long after with bowls filled the steaming hot treat and a small silver pitcher filled with cream.

"I learned to make this during war when I spent time in England. Oh, the second world war …" She clarifies. How many wars had they seen between them? Countless. "And it's a bit of a favourite of mine."

They have some time to catch up before she'll go. Of course, that will leave clearing the table and cleaning up to Fenris.

"Wonderful." Fenris is clearly a fan of bread pudding. Or is it running. Possibly both. These two exiles are not like the other that Sif has been interacting with and that is… possibly a better experience. Maybe.

"Well, let's enjoy the evening then. Mead, Sif?"

The strong stuff, that is. It goes well with Bread Pudding…

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