2019-05-24 - Pavlova For Dessert


Returned from the hell realm of Mephisto, it's time to see what was recovered

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri May 24 06:59:33 2019
Location: 74-36 62nd Street

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The journey back from Mephisto's realm had been arduous and long. The party had to keep moving to leave Blackheart and Lilith behind. Astryds mist had lingered behind them, obscuring their path but still… the feeling of being hunted had taken a while to shake.

The Valkyr had sent everyone home, with an invitation to meet for dinner the next night.

Those who could make it are now gathered in the 'Kerenskys' back yard and Fenris has a bbq going. It smells good. Steaks, sausages and … lambchops. Where Astryd had found the latter, is anyones guess.

On the table there's bowls of salads - a nice looking tossed green one, a potato one and something that Astryd told Sif was called Coleslaw.

And of course, there's wine and beer for their guests.

In the centre of the table is the tablet that Bucky, Kai and Ambrose had secured.

"Is everyone recovered from yesterday?" The blonde asks, as she watches the God-Wolf at the grill.


As if he were some dread guardian of the tablet itself, Ambrose is slouched at the table. In his hand, a glass bomber of some beer nice and dark and with an ABV he can appreciate. He hasn't touched the tablet just yet today, but his eyes linger upon it, half-lidded, introspectively…almost obsessively.

Astryd's question brings him to lift his face up from its rested place upon his palm and glance towards her. "If I could sleep, I would be having nightmares. Given that I cannot, I am blessed in this. I can't speak for anyone else," he adds, glancing around at the motley crew.


Kai says, "I slept, but not very well." Gone are his fancy Alfheim stealin' clothes. Now he's in jeans and a striped blue t-shirt. "I guess going back to the Underworld was bound to result in some insomnia." He's got a beer, himself. Looking at the tablet, he says, "Now that we've got it, what do we do with it?"

Buck is tired and grim, dressed in t-shirt, jeans, that sleeve over the arm. His hair's pulled back in a low ponytail. The pale eyes are weary, shadowed, and his lips pressed into that thin line. "Tired," he agrees.

Sif is also back to casual Midgardian clothing, though one person's suggestion of a 'sun dress' — she did not fully understand that as Midgardians don't know how to make coherent sunlight — was summarily ignored. She's wearing the simple jeans and shirt she's starting growing accustomed to. Unlike the others, she seems quite unaffected by the raid into the underworld they just returned from. Maybe it's because she's Vanir. Maybe it's Maybelline.

"This tablet is one of the items we need to find Loki's Godkiller bow, yes?" she asks of their hosts. "How should we proceed?" Because the mystical arts? SO not her forte.

Fenris is indeed on the grill and the food being grilled up is surprisingly normal. There's steak. There's brats. There's burgers. A lot of it looks hand made too. Well, hand mixed at any rate. Thes two, they might like food and they take hospitality very, very seriously. Especially given just what they've put these people through.

"I think recovered is a bit much to ask there, raven. But alive… well. Alive is a good start."

The Old Wolf smiles at Sif's question. "We need to translate it first, and likely when we've done that we will need it's twin, which is presently in Russia. But one thing at a time. Anyone hungry?"

Astryd watches the group as they sit there, a look of concern for Bucky at least. She doesn't know what he, or any of them, was challenged with but she see the effects it had on them. "I think you might be right, my heart." she answers. "Are you all sure you wish to come with me to Russia? There would be no shame in sitting it out."

It will be a lot harder for her if they don't, but the Valkyr is resourceful if anything.

At Fenris question, the blonde hands out plates, gesturing them all to the BBQ and the waiting Apocalypse.

"We need to decode the tablet, Lady Sif." she agrees with Fenris. "Which neither Fenris nor I can do." Ambrose has probably recognised the writing on the tablet as Akkadian. "I hope that Ambrose might be able to." beat "After you've all eaten."

For all her stern, chilly, countenance. Astryd is very focussed on making sure her people look after themself.


Taking a long slug of the dark beer, the Jackal sets aside the bottle and rises to his feet. He takes the offered plate and wanders over to Fenris — sort of — mostly near Fenris.

"Sausages, two." The 'please' must be implied, apparently. He glances over at Astryd and then at the others. "I've been looking it over and I believe I have the gist of it. The third millenium is always such a bloody sprachbund." Blunt nails scratch at his jaw, still covered with a layer of five o' clock shadow he apparently ignored today in the morning mirror. "A sprachbund meaning a point in time where multiple languages come together within a region and influence one another. The morphology is a pain in my ass," he grouses. "Still, yes…let us eat before I expand further upon it." His stomach does an appreciative growl for those sausages.


Kai takes a plate and steps up to the grill. "I'd like a steak, please," he says. He then tells Astryd, "I don't mind going to Russia. I don't think I've ever actually been." He smiles a little. "It'll be fun." He doesn't look convinced about that part, but there's a sort of tentative optimism about him. They managed to get the tablet so far, and that's something, right? "For Elves and the Aesir, reading or speaking any language automatically translates. Do you think that works with written language?"

You know who minds going to Russia? The guy with the metal arm that still has a red star anodized on its deltoid. Cut Bucky's lack of enthusiasm with a knife. There's that fractional tilt of the head, tipping it down….though since his hair's still bound, it doesn't veil his features as it otherwise might. "I don't wish to," he says, simply, "But I will. It sounds like it needs doing."

With a glance at the tablet, and then at some random Midgardian object or other with writing on it, Sif is able to answer Kai's question immediately. And, if there are any individuals she'd trust outside of Asgard, they are here currently.

"Allspeak does not translate the written word, Kai." This likely goes a very long way toward explaining how she'd wander so far afield getting lost in New York before having to resort to a taxi to return to the Embassy. "If such were the case, I think my introduction to Midgard might have been vastly different."

"Yes, Asgardians have to work for their languages if they want to live somewhere and be able to read what sign says 'Pub' and what sign says 'Bus'. Despite the similarity of those words it turns out they are actually quite different." Fenris gives Ambrose the requested sausages and Kai a steak.

"If it helps, Bucky, I believe it's TECHNICALLY Ukraine these days." The Old Wolf notes. "And we're not likely to see any people. Er, well, we're not likely to see any NORMAL people." That's an important distinction to make.

"So. What does it say?"

HE looks up at that, some of the weariness abandoned in favor of overt dismay. "Oh, Jeez. Please don't say we're going to Chernobyl," he says, the accent stronger than ever.

Astryd lets Fenris dish the protein up, watching the group carefully before handing her plate to him. "Lamb chops please. I even have mint sauce to go with them." That has to be something she picked up in England. Or perhaps Australia.

"I'm not sure about fun, Kai." the blonde does smile though. "We're going to Chernobyl, yes, Bucky." she answers "I'm suspecting into the heart of the reactor there…"

Because, you know, that's how it goes.

"And Kai, we can understand any language in the nine realms but we can't read or write them. Any languages Fenris and I know, we've worked for."

Kai helps himself to an amount of potato salad one might find difficult to comprehend for an Elf. Not an impolite amount of potato salad, but it's a lot. He serves up a little green salad as a nod to health, then sits down at the table and digs in. "I grew up here," he says, "and we moved around, so I grew up reading, like, six languages. Which isn't a lot, but…" He glances over at the tablet. "Oh yeah, that makes no sense." At the mention of the reactor, he says, "Gosh. We're going to need some kind of hazard suit."


Having returned to his seat at a politely brisk pace (Fenris will recognize it as beating a composed if hasty retreat), Ambrose plates himself up some coleslaw and potato salad. He approves of the copious amounts of dill in the latter by the hum of pleasure he makes. For all appearances, he seems no more shaken by the affair than Sif and cuts into his sausage with every intent to enjoy it.

Astryd's further explanation on precisely where the group is headed to within the deserted cess of humanity's failure does make him scowl down at his plate, but he doesn't cease at cutting up the sausages.

"It'll be a ruddy stroll in the park, my good man, just bring a parasol and enjoy it," the Jackal mutters towards Bucky in particular, his lips curling at the corners. "You — " he points his cutting knife at Kai. " — will be a boon when the light falls. I presume there's no electricity in Chernobyl and I know you glow when you put your mind to it. Then again, you might attract unnecessary company…mmm." A soft snort. "We appeared to have been prepared thus far. Let our ingenuity not fail us yet."

He does wait, however, to eat his sausage because somebody asked about the tablet. "Now, this convoluted amalgamation of information pans out to be another delightful series of warnings." He takes up his beer and idly swirls the dark brew within it as he gives the tablet a look almost adoring. "It contains the usual reserves of death and despair…your crop will die and your nads will shrivel to prunes…pffft. There are some specific being listed. The…" Ambrose hums again, searching for the correct words. "Dawn Guardians. Oh, and the Spirit of the Hunt." He delivers this edict with a delicate enunciation revealing a distaste for it; boo, Fey, he knows that one well. "But there are also directions. 'Past the Mountain of Mashu where dwells the scorpion and his wife.' They must be a charming pair." Another snort and he drinks deeply of his beer, nearly killing the bottle.


Despite Astryd and Fenris being adamant about their hospitality, Sif waits until everyone else has food — yes, Bucky as well even if she has to ferry a plate of hot dogs to him — before claiming a burger for herself. Well, technically three burger patties. She's not bothering with the formality of building a proper burger. Her plate does get a respectable amount of salad greens and 'just a taste' servings of the other things. She'd already learned that things called 'hot' or 'spicy' did NOT appeal, and the more unusual the Midgardian food item, the more likely it will have some previously unknown to her flavor. Then, with the hamburger bun being used like a weak bread, she starts eating the way it's customary to do so on Asgard — no utensils except for a knife.

"The Mountain of Mashu? I am certain I've not been there before. Which realm is it on? Midgard?"

At that confirmation, Buck hides his face behind his hands like a kid not wanting to see something scary in a movie. IT's an absurdly theatrical gesture, but….genuine enough. "Jesus Christ," he says, on a sigh. "Chernobyl. Really? Even I can't survive an encounter with that much radiation. What's there, though?"

Fenris serves up Sif as well and when he's done all that he serves Astryd, then himself. Lamb chops are good. The last time Fenris had fresh lamb it didn't have mint sauce to go with it, though. Very. Fresh. Lamb.

"Mashu… Scorpion. That sounds like a reference to the tale of Gilgamesh. We're not talking about some place on Midgard in that case. We're talking about a pocket realm. Which should be… entertaining. Presumably the Chernobyl tablet has the rest of the information we'd need to figure out where to go. Spirit of the Hunt though…"

The Old Wolf muses. "Herne?"

That might not make Kai very happy.

"Well I doubt we're going into the reactor itself. If I'm remembering right there was rumors of a paranormal research facility near the town. Possibly located somewhere under the old reactor plant. If it really exists, that's where I'd look."

There are probably ways to find out…

Astryd takes out her phone once she sits and brings up a Google search. "According to the all knowing Search Engine, there are rumours of facility. As usual, my heart, you are likely correct. Which means there must be an entrance from a safe distance."

Maybe one of the others will be able to procure maps of the location and investigate the rumours in more depth. It shouldn't be too hard.

"Dawn Guardians?" She frowns. "If my lore is correct, and it usually is in this regard, that might well be the Zorya. Well that might be fun."

Kai nods to Ambrose and says, "I can see in the dark, too. Even magical darkness. It's like twilight to me." Handy when the roomie hasn't left the light on. The mention of the Hunt causes him to frown. "Will I be a liability?" he asks, casual-like, "if we need to hide from the Hunt? I've been marked by them. Ask any predatory bastard you can imagine who they want to snack on, and you're looking at him." He gives Fenris a grudging look of apology. "Maybe not every predator."


"I do believe Herne is considered to be the Lord of the Hunt…" Ambrose says thoughtfully, partially through his serving of sausage by now. He reaches out and brushes fingertips along the tablet's edge, as if he wants to feel the carven indents of the language on it but knows better. "A Spirit of the Hunt might be an individual being. The cultures of this world have any number of iterations… Pakhet would enjoy you, sir Elf, I think," the Jackal asides with a quick and sharp grin at Kai.

He gestures at Astryd with his knife. "If we are to deal with the Zorya, then I wonder at the iteration of this Spirit. Slavic… Mmm…Leshy, perhaps." A glance over at both Sif and Bucky, inviting their thoughts on things.


"I … must admit to not being overly familiar with any of the names mentioned. We always had a companion who studied lore and would know such things, or know where to find the information." She looks at the others, but then her attention stays on Bucky.

"If this land of Chernobyl is too dangerous for you to approach, then you shouldn't. But you seem familiar with the place mentioned. Perhaps you can share with us what you know of the land and the creatures and people that reside there?"

There's that peculiar stillness to Bucky. But he's lowered his hands, and even tried a bite or two of his food. "IT's dangerous for everyone. There was a nuclear reactor that exploded - the whole area remains full of radiation. I don't think you guys are immune to it," He looks between them, in turn, frowning. "I dunno about anything mystical there. Though it mighta been a good place to hide something like that."

"Who would think to look under a nuclear reactor? Plus security could be nice and tight without anyone noticing. Before the accident that is." The Old Wolf shakes his head. "Leshy? Not a name I'm familiar with. Someone you've met before Ambrose?"

"Not immune no, that'd be the wrong word. Resistant. And yes the area is still highly dangerous. But with short exposure and avoiding the most dangerous pockets it is possible to pass within sight of the reactor and not be harmed. Shielded by the earth, any underground facility would be considerably safer."

Kai's exception for him does earn the elf a small smile. "You DO look delicious. But Astryd hasn't seen fit to put you in the oven yet and I've grown a bit spoiled by cooked food over the years."

That's a joke right? Probably?

"Possibly Kai, but we can always use as a distraction." Astryd deadpans. "Sacrificial offering and all that so we can escape."

She's kidding.

"Leshy, Ambrose, do you think so?" She notes Bucky change in demeanour at the name "Familiar to you, Bucky? I know of them in passing. Slavic in nature, are they not, Ambrose?"

"We need maps of the area, but if there is a facility underground, the entry may be sufficiently far from Ground Zero that our exposure is … lessened."

Kai says, "Leshy is the Slavic analog of Herne." He's made a point to learn the names of the enemy, damn it. He pauses mid-bite with a forkful of delicious potato salad, and he regards Fenris for a moment before he says, "I'm all gristle." Lies. He looks like he'd be tender. He knows it, too, shifty-eyed bastard. "If I end up in Svartalfheim again, someone had better come get me. My grandmother is a powerful sorceress, and who do you think she gets mad at when I die? Hint: it's me."


Scraping at his plate, Ambrose is certain to daub at his mouth before he looks over at Fenris. He wears a wry, almost smug little thin smile.

"Heavens no. I simply make use of my literary resources at hand. When one is in my trade, one is certain to know of what can end the fun." The beer bottle is emptied and set aside, his lips licked. "Yes, Astryd, Slavic. I know little of the Leshy other than it is proposed to hunt in the woods. No doubt Chernobyl is situated in abandonment, as our good soldier stated earlier, and the place is overgrown with what flora can survive the radiation. Who knows: we might even encounter communicative, man-eating flowers." The master-thief snickers to himself at this impossibility.


Sif has finished her snack quickly enough, and she watches Bucky step away from the conversation before looking back to the others. "Perhaps I can request healing stones for us to carry, if this place is as harmful to simply walk through as you say." There's a distinct chance that the answer will be no. Of course, there's that other thought: did Midgardians tamper with a force they did understand sufficiently and end up poisoning part of their own realm against themselves? "Are there no other forms of protection that could be employed? Warding spells?"

"Also, once we do locate and reach the tablet, what manner of resistance can we expect in a poisoned land?" She's now imagining bilgesnipes dripping toxic mucus and possibly far worse. Though deep down, being in danger to this 'radiation', this something she can't see or fight is truly worrying her.

"I don't know. Likely no mortals. Possibly only the land itself but if there IS a paranormal research facility down there it's possible whatever they were doing is now out of control. So… hazards unknown and potentially rather variable."

That can't be comforting.

"At any rate healing stones would be a good idea. Especially if we find some of those man eating flowers. Might help Kai avoid visiting family too early."

Because him going to Svartalfhiem to get the elf back? That wouldn't go well for anyone.

"I know of how we can find out before we get there, in any case. Astryd I'll need your help for this though. We can go soon, though."

"Then it's all settled." Astryd answers. It isn't but it's getting there and these are her guests.

"Now. I have a delicious dessert known as Pavlova. Who would like some?" They can plan some more, try to set the mortals minds at ease but in the long run, no plan survives first contact.

Astryd knows that from millenia of experience.

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