2019-05-11 - You Have Arete


Betty returns with her treasures and Sif just … drops in.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat May 11 06:28:13 2019
Location: 74-36 62nd Street

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Theme Song



"And it's no, nay, never. No nay never no more!"
"Will I play the Wild Rover, no never, no more."

"I've played the Wild Rover for many a year. And I've spent all my money on whiskey and beer."
"And now I'm returning with gold in great store and never will play the Wild Rover no more."

"And it's no, nay, never. No nay never no more."
"Will I play the Wild Rover. No never, no more."

There is often music at Fenris' house and that is the case now. It is past lunch, but not yet dinner time. Fenris, being at heart a wild predator often thinks in terms of meals. The Old Wolf is playing an old Irish drinking song on his new koa wood guitar as he sits on the arm of the couch. He's expecting visitors today. By the look of the weaves, possibly more than one, and is thus mostly entertaining himself until they arrive. One of them will probably be Betty Brant. The brave young lady had sent the Great Wolf a message that she'd walked the Narrow Path. The other?

Well, Fenris thinks someone will be coming around to ask about plans for retrieving the Godkiller. And that means there's an opportunity to make some introductions.

That would be precisely why Sif has come to visit. As before, she doesn't know to send word ahead to notify them of her arrival even if she were in the habit of doing so. Thus, she just shows up, having walked here from the Embassy. At least this time she doesn't hesitate to knock on the door, as she has learned that that is the Midgardian custom for announcing her arrival to those inside the dwelling.

Betty's bag was a bit heavier than before. Boxy, clunky, and stretching tight. Most things she lost in here were smaller and less…world affecting. Usually. Dragging herself up and out of her home, the more plainly looking Brant walks up toward the home of the Wolf and his Keeper, her red eyes and puffy cheeks giving away who knew how many long nights and days. A smile toward Sif, apologetic instantly, she offers a silent greeting to the woman and swallows, hard. Standing beside her, she waits at the door.

At length, she whispers, "I'm sorry I asked about your hair…"

It's a good thing that Fenris can read Fates threads occassionally, Astryd had just placed a cake on the table, set out plates and cake forks. Yes. Cake Forks - that's right.

I really wish you'd play those bawdy ditty I enjoy so much, my heart. I'm going to be singing that one all night as it is." The tune really is catchy and it's a bit of an earworm.

When the door sounds, the blonde is basically already opening it, smiling broadly at the two women who wait outside. "Welcome little sister." That's to Betty "Lady Sif. Won't you both come in and partake of our hospitality?" She steps back, gesturing the stand where Sif can leave her weapons and Betty anything she might wish to.

"Perhaps I'll play one for you later when we don't have company." The Old Wolf smiles.

Fenris strums his guitar one more time and lays it aside, leaning it against the wall as he goes to greet his guests. "Betty. Lady Sif. I see you're both already acquainted." That's more evident on Betty's face than on Sif's. Fenris himself just chuckles amicably and motions.

"Come in. Astryd just put out cake and it happens to not be a lie."

Sif won't get that, probably.

"Sif, Betty has undertaken a quest on our behalf and it seems she has returned successful. I hope the trials weren't too… trying?"

It takes Sif a moment to not only figure out what Betty's referring to but to realize that she'd truly let that unintended slight go. After all, she couldn't immediately remember that it had been said to begin with. "Thank you for the apology. I do not harbor any resentment." For the Midgardian woman's words, anyway.

Then Astryd's greeting them and inviting them in, and Sif gives the former Valkyrie a warrior's bow as she steps inside and sets her buckler and sword there by the door. "Thank you for your hospitality, Astryd and Fenris."

No, she doesn't understand what cake and lie have to do with each other, but a quest she does comprehend. "Do share the tale of your quest, Lady Betty."

"I, well, I'd rather not talk about that." She murmurs to the trio, slipping inside and not leaving anything by the door. Portal humor aside, she offers a tired smile in response and little more. Setting her purse upon the table, she digs out two things. One being the box 'keys' to the door, and the other being a cloth like bundle. "I-I think these are yours. Or, well, I could take that box back to the Fox. Foxes?" Glancing to the trio, she exhales and swallows. "I don't know how this will help, but it's here now." A pause, she blinks. "I-I don't know why, but Phobos was with me."

"Please help yourselves … " Astryd gestures to the cake which has already been cut. "It's lemon and orange poppy seed with a cream cheese frosting." It truly is a wonder that Fenris is still as lean as he is. Astryd certainly likes to cook up a storm.

"Are you alright, little sister?" The Valkyrs words are quiet as she watches Betty's face. She's perceptive, the taller blonde is and Betty might feel those grey eyes are boring right into her.

"Please return the box to the Fox. I take they appeared in both guises?" Astryd shakes her head as she takes the cloth bundle and begins to open it, displaying the contents for all to see.

"Lady Sif, how goes your preparations for our journey?"

"Phobos…" Fenris muses. God of fear. He is not entirely sure why Phobos would be involved but he suspects that it's not simple chance that he was. "Interesting. May I?"

The Old Wolf gestures to the bundle and when Betty says it's okay, he slides it over to himself and unwraps it to reveal a number of bronze plates bound together by leather with the world 'Arete' on the top leaf.

"Excellence. Or Mastery." Fenris translates as he opens it. Just inside the cover is a relief of a woman, battered but determined laying hold of the book. And after a moment's inspection… that woman looks a lot like Betty.

"Are you curious why I sent you to find this at such a cost to you personally?" Fenris asks the woman, seeing as how Astryd is already asking Sif how things proceed.

"You have certainly earned the right to know if you are."

"Hmm?" Betty looks to Astryd. "Fine, just…it'll be fine. There are bigger things to worry about than myself." Glancing toward Sif, and then to Fenris, she blinks and glances at the plates only now. It seems that in all this time, she never looked at what she claimed.

"Well, yes. If you can tell me, I'd like to know. If that doesn't hurt or hender whatever you and yours need to do." Reaching out, she tucks away the box into her purse. They'd get back to its playful owners, no doubt.

"They proceed well. One of the shield brothers is unable to assist but the other is committed. I have been working with Bucky to prepare him as much as possible for what is ahead, but for a Midgardian he seems to have seen a decent amount of battle already. I have requested additional weapons, but that takes time. I am hopeful that the approval will arrive in time."

She leans a bit to look at the plate in the book, her eyes going from the relief image there to Betty. Fascinating.

Astryd gives Betty one searching look. "Betty. It is important that each of us are cared for and if something is wrong, I want you to know that you can come to us. To me. You must worry about yourself, and ensure your needs are catered first."

That's all the blonde has to say, though her eyes linger a moment a longer before sliding to the plate.

"Did you know …" she says lightly, noting the similarities in the image "… that arete was used by Homer in The Odyssey?" That's a leading question as she makes her way to the table, dishing out cake and handing the plates out as she does. "It was used to describe heroes and nobles, with particular reference to strength and courage but it also described Penelopes cooperation… I wonder which, you Betty, embody. Or is it all?"

"Very good, Lady Sif. I am waiting to hear from Ambrose and whether he's managed to procure the trinkets that he mentioned. Once we have those, we can continue. I myself, am preparing to enter Mephistos den once more."

"The Ancient Greeks believed that something had 'Arete' if it was good at filling it's 'telos', it's purpose. They considered such excellence a virtue. Even the Olympians admired it, or so the legends say."

Fenris leafs through the pages, scanning images and words, clearly looking for something.

"This book was once in the care of a king named Lycaon. The legends say that Zeus turned him into a wolf for crimes against men and gods. The truth is that he learned how to adopt the Arete of other beings, and the wolf just happened to be his favorite. This was the tome he used to do that. As for why I needed it…"

Fenris stops on a page and taps it a few times with his finger before looking up. "It is because of the manner in which the book does this. Allow my to demonstrate if you don't mind. Would you both kindly place your hands on the bronze, Sif and Betty? The effects are not unpleasant and will be short lived, I assure you."

When both hands finally ARE placed on the book… something… swaps between the two of them. Betty gains, if just for a moment, all of Sif's Excellence. Everything she's good at. Her very purpose in being. And Sif, well, Sif gains all of Betty's it's rather eye opening really. The effect lasts only about ten or so seconds but it's quite a rush.

And Astryd, well she's been with Fenris long enough that she might recognize the telltale signs of Fate itself… swapping. And then swapping back.

Watching after Astryd, all Betty can do is give her a soft nod. There's something there, a voice resting against the tip of her tongue, but she remains silent. A glance to Fenris and to the plates, she glances Sif's direction before placing her hand down as she was asked to do.

That rush of something godly within her body causes her eyes to snap round. Her fingers tense and dig in. Before she can say anything about the sensation, it's all over. Pulling away, shuddering, she swallows and sinks down into a near by seat. Sans cake.

"I-I, um. What else do you need me to do? You're getting ready for a battle?" Her brows furrow, "It's still the end, right? The great battle?"

Sif is a bit reticent about putting her hand on the bronze, but she does so at Fenris' reassurance. When the swap occurs she gasps in surprise at the sensation, her eyes turning toward Betty. Is this what it feels like to be Midgardian?

Almost as quickly, the sensation is gone and she also finds herself sinking into a convenient chair. She still has plans to eat some of that cake, though. "Fe—" She clears her throat and tries again. "Fenris, what purpose do you have in mind for that?"

Astryd glances back to Betty, almost as if she knows the woman wants to speak. Perhaps she'll encourage her to stay when they're done here. Maybe not.

"Perhaps I should have encouraged Lycaon to be my mount instead of grandson, my heart." The Valkyr is incredibly irreverent.

There's faintest of gasps from her as she watches Fate switch, her grey eyes rising to Fenris. "Are you planning on switching the brothers, Fenris? Or something else …" she's curious. "You want to … twist fate, I think. Move one persons destiny to another …. yes?"

All these years and he still surprises her.

"No, not the great battle, Betty." The blonde answers easily. "Lady Sif, myself and I are heading to the Underworlds, deep into the Underworlds to retrieve a relic. There is a bow, known as God Killer, that once wielded by Loki. We are going to find it. It is needed to stop whatever is afoot now …"

Fenris offers Betty a kind smile. It's an expression that Astryd will have seen before but one that may be very surprising to Sif. That the Destroyer Wolf might have some consideration for the feelings of mortals is likely not something many would attribute to him.

"The end of all things? I am always getting ready for that battle. But that is not the fight at hand. I still hope to avoid that last, great bloodletting. Or at least put it off for as long as possible."

Fenris closes the book and pushes it aside. "There are uses for tools that let you fool fate like this. Call it a… back up plan. In case the next phase of things goes horribly wrong. The fates of the two brothers… might well be something I might seek to obfuscate. Or may own." There's a short pause as Fenris gathers his thoughts and lets that sink in.

"To answer your question, Betty, while Astryd and Sif and others are playing in the underworld and Chernobyl, I would ask something of you, but before I do I wish you to know that this will be incredibly dangerous, more so than the last one. There is an assassin loose in the city. A creature of the faeries your kind call Unseelie. It's movements are hidden to me, but mortals have eyes everywhere. Someone has seen it. It will be leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, be the killings ever so discrete. If you are willing, Betty… track it. Find it. I know your ability to sift and judge information is significant…"

But again, this will be dangerous.

There's another short pause. "I do not think Lycaon would have made a good mount." The God-Wolf winks at Astryd.

Betty watches after Sif. She just felt what she was and it lingers. Turning her head, she watches between Fenris and Astryd in turn. Thinning her lips, she licks them smoothly and slumps back. Breathing, she considers what's being asked of her. "I-I'm trying to help Batman." She confesses after a moment, rubbing at her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose. "I'm sorry…may I have some coffee, or tea?" Second guessing herself, she reaches out and accepts the cake.

"I'm, um." A sigh out. "It's something big, isn't it? All of this? It means more than, than just one passing? It's to protect a lot of people?"

Fooling Fate. This is something Sif can't even truly comprehend. "I know there must be a very good reason for wanting to do so, but isn't influencing Fate in this manner just as dangerous as what you have been working to stop?"

Downright unsettling is what it is.

She takes up the slice of cake given to her and samples a small morsel. As with most Midgardian foods, she finds it to be a riot of unusual and very differing flavors that still somehow complement each other perfectly. She would be truly fascinated if the topic at hand were not so potentially disturbing.

"Of course you may…" Astryd has tea steeping in a pot on the table and takes a moment to pour a cup for the younger blonde. "Lady Sif, would you like to try this lavendar Earl Grey. It's simply divine. I get from a little store that's run by a pair of Aralez." Aralez are Aralez are dog-like creatures with powers to resuscitate fallen warriors from the Armenian pantheon. "They have an unique ability to make these blends."

Astryd hands the cup to Betty, placing the sugar bowl and creamer near her. "Batman … hmmm?" If she knows anything she's not saying. "Do be careful, won't you?"

"We believe so, Betty. Hodr fled Asgard aeons ago so he wouldn't kill Baldur but we're seeing the two being drawn together." Astryd's smile is sharp as she looks at Sif. "Not exactly, Lady Sif. We seek to foil those who sit in shadows above."

Finally Fenris draws a snort from the Valkyrie. "Depends on what type of mount, doesn't it, my heart?"

Aaaaand she'll leave it at that.

"Batman. I met one of his protege's… not long ago. A couple of weeks. Definitely a woman though." That was the night his guitar had gotten smashed. The blonde valkyrie gets an arch look for her comment and he leaves it at that as well.

"It is bigger than just one person. The ones responsible for what's happening right now are playing with fire. They think they can survive the end of the world to rule what comes after. And maybe they're right about that. But I do not intend to give them the opportunity if I have a choice."


Fenris looks at Sif very seriously and nods. "Yes. It is quite dangerous. It could cause fate to snarl and snap in unpredictable ways. But when the option is extinction…"

Brant stays silent. She eats from her plate, accepts the tea and mixes in sugar and cream accordingly. Talk of Batman causes her to glance up, another story and trail of blood to follow. Cake. Tea. Silence. Talk of Fates and the world around her softens against her ears. It wasn't her time to plan.

With nothing but crumbs left and a last sip of tea, she sets it all aside and exhales unevenly. "I, I want to help you." She decides. "Just, how pressing is the matter? You're acting quickly, I assume?" Another thinning of her lips, the dishevelled woman moves to stand. "I'd like some time to mourn. If that's alright."

Sif nods to the offer of the tea. She's not had many different kinds of Midgardian beverages yet, but the ones that fizz do not appeal to her, and she does not comprehend why simple water must always be excessively chilled or inundated with chemical flavorings or both. This should be a more pleasant beverage as Astryd is recommending it.

Fenris does not reassure her in any way, though it is entirely true that the option to taunting Fate is assured destruction…

Sipping at the tea as it was poured, she finds it reminds her of a morning beverage the palace servants on Asgard prefer, though this is again more nuanced.

She looks at Betty as the woman moves to stand, now more able to empathize with her after the momentary swapping of their Fates. "Would you care for company as you return home?"

Astryd's attention immediately turns to Betty, any teasing of Fenris laid aside. "Mourn, little sister?" Those grey eyes seem to pierce the younger blonde again. "Who is it … you are mourning?" She suspects she knows already.

Fenris can speak to his timetable. Astryd has hers and she's on the clock but that doesn't mean she won't make time for her … friend. OK, Mortal. And provide what support she can during this time.

"Take what time you need. I am moving with some urgency, yes, but you have already done far, far more than I should have asked of you. If you wish to help more I will be grateful. If you do not, I will not think less of you. You will always be welcome here."

For as long as Fenris lives here that is. It should be for at least another century.

"Sif, we will contact you when we are ready. It should be soon."

Sif gets a a tight smile. Betty might well do with some company on the way home if she wants it. That's if she doesn't want to stay here… which she might not.

Fenris for his part is considering looking for this 'Bat man'. How does one go about finding him, he wonders. He does sympathize with Betty but… well, this is one of Fenris' things. He isn't human and he doesn't process things like humans do even if feels for the ones he likes nonetheless.

"Oh, I…lost my mother recently. A couple weeks ago? Sorry, I know that sounds like a long time but I-" Clearing her throat, she shakes her head and forces a smile. "I just need a bit more time. If I go hunting like I do with my head tangled up, I'll make mistakes. I don't want to do that to you or anyone. Especially not when something is so dire."

Looking toward Sif, she smiles again. "I'd like that sometime, Lady. I'd like to wander alone for a bit, though. You stay here with your people. Work out what you need to do." Then to all of them. "Call me when you need me. I'll help you. I promise." Adjusting her bag strap, she gives a bow of her head before stepping back to leave.

Sif moves to stand now, bowing to Betty with her right hand in a fist against her chest — a highly respectful gesture. She doesn't try to convince the Midgardian to let her tag along, but she does mentally resolve to keep in contact with her. And to that end, something occurs to her that Astryd and Fenris can likely assist her with. Something she does not feel entirely comfortable asking of anyone at the Embassy.

"I do have a request in return, Astryd, if I am permitted to ask."

"I … am sorry, Betty." Astryd says quietly, moving to open the door for the other woman. "You are my people now, I want you to know that." she says quietly, reaching out to draw the blonde in for a quick, tight, hug before letting her go.

"I will search for your Mother, Betty and ensure she finds her way."

Sifs request has the Valkyrie turning to the dark haired woman. "Of course you may ask, Lady Sif." Whether Astryd can comply or not … well that depends.

Fenris nods in agreement with Astryd. Mortals… die so quickly, and the loss those left behind feel is so very keen. He speaks no words of comfort. That is more for Astryd and Sif, but he does watch as Betty goes, remembering surely similar conversations over the centuries.

After a moment he picks up his guitar once more. "Sit a spell then, Sif and tell us what it is you wish."

The song that the Old Wolf sings floats out after Betty as she leaves, the pensive strumming and minor chords a frame to the afternoon's conversation.

"A serpent lights the ancient sky, a threat of tainted stars."
"Evil stirs and in its wake the souls of mortals sway."
"Sorrow reigns over fields of red."
"And spirits pace through the shadows cast by their graves."

"These are days and nights of venom and blood."
"Heroes will rise as the anchors fall."
"Brave the strife. Reclaim every soul that belongs…
"… to the beauty of dawn."

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