2019-12-08 - Strength or Weakness?


Planning needs doing and what better time to do it than when it's quiet.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Dec 8 06:09:37 2019
Location: 74-36 62nd Street

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It is late at the Kerensky House and Fenris has been home for a few hours with a book on the table and a glass of something stiff next to him. Dinner was delicious and he will often read before it gets too late. Usually something arcane and having to do with fate. Fate, after all, waits for no man or god wolf and it pays to keep on top of one's research.

Research is done for the night though and Fenris goes looking for Astryd. She's about, he knows she is. He can smell her.

Astryd had cleaned and tidied while Fenris researched, then disappeared into the the garden for a while. That's where Fenris will find her, going through forms with her sword. The Valkyr rarely goes long without practicing.

The moon catches her long pale hair as she moves, reflects off the light coloured clothing she wears.

It's almost a dance the way she moves with that sword. Clearly at one with the weapon and clearly well versed in its use.

Nearby, the hot tub bubbles gently, the cover drawn back. Clearly the blonde had some thoughts about later tonight.

"Were you looking for me, my Heart?"

"I was." Fenris says as he leans on the deck handrail to watch her. He smiles a little bit to himself as she goes through her forms. She has been doing this for thousands of years. She has, of course, gotten better at it over time. It would be difficult for her not to have done so.

"Mmmmmm. That brings back a lot of memories. Were you thinking on soaking in the tub later?"

"It does, does it?" The blonde turns in a practiced move, raising her stormy grey eyes to the walking apocalypse. "And what memories are they, my heart?" A small smile touches her lips but it doesn't do a lot to soften the stern lines.

"I was thinking of how I might train Betty, actually." Astryd is thoughtful as she takes at lunge at the God Wolf, pulling up well short. "She's going to need training. I know Sif will give her some, but learning from others couldn't hurt her."

"We need to visit the dwarves to get her some armour. They'll want payment of course and I'm thinking on that, as well." She smiles at the mention of the tub and raises a pale eyebrow "That all depends on whether I'll have company or not."

"Too many to count. How many times have I seen you practice in the moonlight? Italy. Germany. Ireland. Africa. Norway. Greece. Egypt. Here in the New World and a thousand places in between." Fenris smiles. "Good memories."

He comes around the guard rail and moves toward the place where he keeps a pair of trunks for a night such as this.

"Armor? Do you think she will be in that much trouble? Though you training Betty is possibly a good idea." He pauses with a smile.

"I was feeling like a soak myself. So I think yes… Shall we?"

"I think it wouldn't hurt to give her something, my heart. She is dedicated to you and has come to harm in doing our bidding. Nothing too much, lightweight I think, but will stop a blow crushing her." Astryd completes the routine and concentrates on her sword - it shrinks down to the pin of her hair clip.

Not resetting the clip in her hair, the Valkyr moves towards Fenris, watching him carefully as she does.

"Would you prefer she did not, Fenris?" He doesn't have to ask twice about the water, the blonde has a suit here for exactly this type of moment.

"Later, I'll have you tell me of your favourite memory…"

"I would prefer in general that she not be exposed to that kind of harm. However I think you are correct. She will be and she already has been and we should put some effort toward protecting her." Though he is of a mind to let her learn with the set of tools she has now for a little bit.

"Mmmm. My favorite? I'd have to pick one. That might be a bit difficult…" Fenris murmurs, leaning over to kiss Astryd's cheek as he turns to get suitably dressed for the water. Once he is he slides on down into it and sighs.

"Ah. Now this is something the modern era has over the past." Hot tubs. Totally a civilization critical item.

"Through no fault of her own, either, Fenris." Astryd answers. "She will be associated with you and that in itself …" The blonde lets that lay. Theoretically he could say the same for her but the Raven is made of tough stuff.

"Will you help me decide a fair price then and come with us, perhaps?" He's often busy and this is a task that Astryd has accepted most willingly.

Turning her cheek so he can kiss, the blonde lands one of her own before changing.

Holding a hand out as she follows him, the blonde sinks into the water before settling easily beside the God Wolf.

"Did you have something on your mind?" he had come looking for her after all.

"And that in and of itself is dangerous." Astryd is indeed at risk because of her association with him but she is a goddess in her own right and therefore much better able to keep up with the danger. And to deal it back, truth be told.

"Of course." Fenris chuckles. "I'll visit the dwarves though they will not thank you for bringing me." He stretches in the water and lets it soak into his tired muscles. Ah. The heat is nice. Very nice. He takes her hand and guides her on into the tub with him.

"Only that it has been some time since we simply enjoyed the house. How do you feel? You still seem a tad… rash." He looks at that mark on her. It's easy to see with the suit she has on.

"It is, Fenris but one that I accept readily. I fear Betty doesn't understand what it means to be your Priestess and that she will learn, probably sooner rather than later." Not that any being is likely to be so forthright as to attack one under Fenris' care, but there are other ways the younger blonde could be targetted.

"Maybe they won't, my heart, but I would like you beside us. Though perhaps they will be willing to accept you when you give them what they I have." For a moment the stormy grey eyes sparkle with amusement. "Shall I rub your shoulders for you?" She saw the look on his face.

"I feel wonderful, Fenris. So alive. The world has a colour and a scent to it that I hadn't realised was missing." That mark is still there, just above her heart - and it's not fading at all. If anything, he might wonder if it's getting stronger. "I don't feel rash. Does it worry you that I am?"

"I might like that." A shoulder rub that is. Fenris turns to make that easier, considering what Astryd has to say. "She will learn, but that is inevitable. To be associated with us is to have to learn hard lessons. Perhaps she will come through them well. Perhaps not. But we can only do what we can do."

Of course Fenris and Astryd can do a great deal more than most.

"The change in your character has been significant, Astryd. You seem alive but you take chances that you would not have in past centuries." It reminds him of Thor, really, or Thor as he has a reputation to be, at any rate. Not that he says that. But they really need to get this fixed. Or she's going to do something sooner rather than later that will be trouble.

"I thought you might." When Fenris moves, Astryd settles behind him, bringing her hands to his shoulders and starting to massage. It's not rough, but it is firm - working the muscles in his shoulders to warm them up first and then relax them.

"Just what is it you were doing to be so tense? If I didn't know better, I'd say you'd been wrestling a lion." A Nemean type one.

"Much like our children, we can't protect them, I know that Fenris. And we will do for her what each of us did for our own." Children they had with others of course.

"It does not seem that I am so rash, to me, Fenris." The comparison to Thors 'publicised' behaviour might sting a little. "You know that I won't let anything harm you and in past centuries, we have not seen the types of threats that we see now. There are Pantheons joining together against us, to get you and our Kin to meet their Fate."

The danger isn't really what Astryd will do, exactly. It's what she'll do that will cause Fenris to react should his Raven be harmed.

"No lion wrestling for me today." Fenris murmurs, rolling his shoulders as she massages him. He lets out a sigh. She is quite good it must be said. But then she has had much practice at this as well.

"See to it that they had the tools to see to themselves. I know. But as with them it is always a concern. Every time we have an attachment to one weaker than ourselves, no matter what the attachment is, that person is in danger."

Astryd knows well what it feels like to have her own targeted.

"But it has worked out better for us than for many, I think. Sigyn sounded so… doleful when reflecting on how short mortal lives are."

"Ah well, maybe I should give you a Valkyr to wrestle some time." The response is cheeky and murmured in Fenris' ear. There's a rhythm to her massage, designed to lull and soothe even as she works the tension out. "How many nights have we done this? At least I'm not cleaning a wound and stitching it…"

"Sigyn did. It is hard, as you know, when you become attached to someone to lose them. I'm sure there's more than one bonny lass that you mourn. I, and you, took the view that we cherish the midgardians whilst we had them and enable them to live their lives to the fullest. It gave us something to celebrate …. "

The blonde stops her massage for the moment, resting her cheek against Fenris' and sighing. "And we had each other to return to. What we have …. " She shakes her head before sitting back to start moving again.

"I can go get wounded if that would help with the experience." Fenris says quietly. He rolls his shoulder under her hands. That's nice.

"I cherish the memory. And mourned their deaths. But I do not mourn them now. While we live and remember them, they live also. And their lives mattered, to us if to no one else." The sense of time, and the sense of the dearness of time, is something that both Fenris and Astryd have learned from those around them. Something that their fellows have not really learned.

"There was always the comfort of knowing that one companion would not fade away, yes."

"I said at least I'm not…" Astryd chides a little. "I find I rather prefer you in one piece. I'm sure we can enhance this experience, later." she can be cheeky when she wants to be.

"I like that, Fenris. While we remember them, they live in. And through their descendants as well. That's something I really admire in the Midgardians, their ability to pass their legacies on." She's quiet as she works, moving down Fenris back to find the knots there and work them carefully. "In a way, it enables us to keep our distance as well. We don't … feel for the midgardians as they feel for each other."

They are Asgardians after all, they have a morality all of their own. It does make Astryd wonder what makes her and Fenris different - why they feel as they do for Midgardians.

"Ah so you did." Fenris smirks over his shoulder. "That feels nice though." He feels like just laying here and letting her do that. At least, for as long as she feels like doing that. Sore muscles are sore. Fenris has been under a lot of tension lately. Partly about Astryd but partly about Fate in General.

"They have to. They are, as Sigyn has said, so very short lived. But yes. They do everything with an intensity that puts elder races like us to shame. It is one of their greatest strengths, though it may one day also be their undoing…"

The Old Wolf lets out a sigh. "How many, out of curiosity? How many have you loved?"

"Indeed I did…" Astryd smirks, steal a kiss as the Old Wolf smirks at her. "And I'm glad it does. It means that I've lost my touch in my old age …" She *is* older than Fenris after all. As she works, the mark pulses faintly, the magic in it reaching out to touch Fenris.

Taking the bindings that already exist and draw them tighter to the Blonde.

"Ah, you mean their passion for things. It might be their undoing but I think they have a capacity to learn as well. Besides, there are beings like us to watch over them. If needed, we can nudge them but if they do destroy themselves … maybe it's meant to be."

When the question comes, Astryd quiets. "You've never asked me that before, my heart. Why now?" She's quiet, not upset or evasive more curious than anything. "And by love do you mean romantically? Or love in general because I have loved each everyone of my children and their children and … in some cases, their childrens children as well."

"Just love." Fenris chuckles. "And I am simply curious. Our conversations recently have given me cause to think why we are so different from the others. Why we see the midgardians differently. I think, perhaps, it is because we have loved them. Not as a people, but personally. Individually." And of course have done so many times over the centuries.

"If they destroy themselves, I will not accept fate as a cause. It must be their choice." And it is a choice that Fenris would shield them from. Ironic. He who is to end the world would preserve their race. But then, those two things are not necessarily incompatible, are they?

"No indeed. You have not lost your touch in your old age…" Fenris glances back. He felt that touch of magic, be it ever so faint.

"Then many, my heart. I didn't have many children but those that I did, had many, let me think… about four hundred, maybe a bit more or less? And love them, I truly did. As most Midgardian mothers love their children. Not the fleeting touch of romantic love, or lust, but a deep abiding feeling of being willing to do anything for them."

"Yourself, my heart?" Astryd thinks it might be different for the Destroyer but his answer is certainly of interest.

"I think that you might have the right of it. Living with a family, raising your children with their birth parent, is different. Unlike the All Father and others who have children and then leave them alone, we've been actively involved with many of them."

Point in fact, Cuan still visits his Grandfather and is expected to bring some of the latest batch of cubs to visit soon.

When Fenris looks back, Astryd cants her head questioningly, she didn't feel it, not really. But it's there, that binding - the more she feels for him, the more it seems to try to bind him.

"Did you not feel that?" Fenris murmurs. "A touch of power? Is that not you?" Perhaps it was something else. It is very, very faint. And he hasn't identified what it does. Not yet.

"Less, less than that. I'm somewhat less attached to my children than you." But not 'unattached'. He cares for Cuan, and the various other bloodlines that he has sired. But the 'children' of his unions, the first generation, most of them are long dead, along with their mothers. "But eighty, perhaps." Eighty consorts and their children. Neither of them do that kind of thing often, but they have done it often enough.

"Do you think it is our strength? Or no?"

"I know you are, my heart. Less attached. It is your nature, to begin with and then the nature of the children you have sired. Eighty is no small number, Fenris. There aren't many who can number that many themselves."

And still, Astryd has not kept contact with her descendants. Once she returned to Fenris, the families were left to grow on their own. It was, in her mind, better for them. And certainly safer the ever youthful looking woman.

"It is our strength, yes. It is also our weakness. As we recently discovered when our lines were attacked. What would you do, my Heart, if your lines were wiped out? Or perhaps I should ask, what would you NOT do?"

As she speaks, the magic surges again. Each time she thinks on him, on her love and devotion, the magic connects with him. Still, she shakes her head "Only the love that I feel you, Fenris?"

"There is little I would not do. Which you know." Fenris murmurs. He had reacted with cold fury when Cuan's pack had been targeted. It is a weakness she's right. But he would not at this point shed the weakness. He would not be rid of the connections he has built. For as much as they are something that can be used to cause him pain, they are what keeps him sane.

Fenris leans back. Perhaps the power is nothing. He can't connect it with what's going on in her head because of course he cannot read her mind. "The Octessence is being invoked somehow. We will need to disrupt that. We'll need to find more of their artifacts and find out if the Eight are in on this or if they are being used as tools, or fools."

"Exactly, thus it is our weakness but it one that I readily accept to have what we have." Astryd smiles as she slips her arms over Fenris' shoulders, letting him lean against her in comfort. Kissing his hair, she's silent for a while.

"They are yes and the Finder will give us the location of one, when we retrieve my Feather to take to her." That's Betty's task. "That gives us two. The Third, the Finder will tell us when I retrieve an object of power from a God. I'm still working that one out - it is risky and dangerous and I confess, I'm not sure what she might want…" Of course, she's expecting that Fenris will come her on that task.

That leaves three more. Three more that will require some detective work to find.

"Which do you think it is? Tools or fools?"

That leaves potentially five more but under NO circumstances should all eight be brought together and also it's possible that some of them have bearers. Also, they do NOT want to hold onto these things long term. Not only are they incredibly powerful magical artifacts, but they are HEAVY with fate.

"Once we have a few of them we can talk to the deities themselves. I am quite curious to hear what they have to say. But that will have to wait."

Fenris kisses back and enjoys Astryd's presence. And the warmth of the tub.

"I am not sure. The Octessence have always been hard to read. It's possible they are not paying attention. Then again it is possible that they are getting something out of this. We shall have to be prepared for either possibilitiy."

If the artifacts have bearers then that's probably good. At lest they've been claimed for good or bad.

"We will use the artifacts to contact the Deities?" Astryd is curious "And have you dealt with any of them before?" She is, after all, *just* a Valkyrie. A soldier of Asgard. There are some deities she deals with but more often not.

She sighs, settling into the water. It's nice, being here like this.

"We will, yes. Much like the tale of Middle Earth, the gods have invested a great deal of their power into these artifacts. They are intimately connected." Fenris says as he settles back in the tub. "I have not spoken to most of them and the ones I have spoken to I have not spoken to in a very long time. They… sleep, for the most part. But they can be roused."

Of course, rousing them is dangerous. The Eight are a very potent group of beings, as evidenced by their infamous wager. "Once we have what we need though, we will rouse them." That will be risky. They might want help.

"Then we shall get Betty ready to speak to the Morrigan and retrieve my Feather from Eoghan." Astryd shifts as Fenris does, ending up in his lap. He gets a cheeky look when she does that.

"I have to decide what relic to recover for the Finder. Something Akkadian, I think. Those underways are dangerous but I'm familiar with them… Unless, my heart, you have other thoughts."

"I will make contact with the Dwarves tomorrow and arrange to visit with Betty. Then we can encourage her to … hurry."

"You'd potentially have to deal with Ereshkigal or Ishtar, then. She's… ahem." Fenris chuckles. "Fiery. I recall she made eyes at me once. I pointed out how this might not go so well for a goddess associated with cattle." Which she is. Though Ishtar never decided to take revenge on Fenris for spurning her.

Because he didn't. He simply warned her. And she was smart enough to take the warning.

"Granted, Ishtar will make eyes at just about anything that catches her eye." Which is one reason Tammuz is not very… fond of her. And possibly a reason he decided to try to keep Astryd. A bound raven would be better company than the fickle goddess of love and war.

Astryd chuckles. "How did she enjoy you calling her a cow?" Fenris hadn't, of course, but Astryd can't resist the jest. "Maybe the fact we dealt Tammuz a blow will appease her. Let me think on it but I could offer her you for a while…"

"I mean, I can't blame her, Fenris. You caught my eye, didn't you?" So much so, Astryd was exiled for her support of him. But no, she's not going to share her God Wolf with the Akkadian.

The mention of Tammuz is enough to sober the blonde, though. That experience had been recent after all. Closely followed by Lughs bolt of Light. It had marked and changed the Valkyr - both of them.

"Maybe I should look to other paths."

"Not very much. And I am not sure how she would react to being offered me." Fenris snorts. Ishtar might take her up on it. Fenris is preeeety sure Astryd is joking. If she is not… well. He'll find out soon enough, won't he?

"Possibly. If you decide to walk them I will go with you. I do not think Tammuz will be eager to have his throat torn out again. But if he is I will be happy to oblige him." The earth god had not made a friend of Fenris that day. And the Old Wolf knows how to hold a grudge with the best fo them.

"Maybe we'll find out." Astryd chuckles again.

Pressing a kiss to Fenris' lips, the Valkyr looks up. "Now … before I forget. Cuan will be visiting with a few of the cubs in about a week. Ambrose has expressed interest in meeting them. I didn't see the harm in allowing that, unless you do."

Settling in against the dark hair man. "And what were you saying about enhancing this experience."

"I don't see any harm. Beyond potentially harm to Ambrose if the cubs are too rough. But if he wants to take that chance, I say we let him." If nothing else it will be HIGHLY amusing.

"Well. I was, wasn't I?" We should do that. We can start now if you'd like?"

He suspects the answer is going to be yes.

"Something tells me that Ambrose will be able to handle the cubs if they get that way." With Fenris' agreement though, Astryd will arrange that. It will do the cubs good to meet others.

"We should do that, yes. As long as it doesn't involve injuring you … well, at least through battle … I'd like that very much." The blonde draws Fenris' head down to hers. "And I'd like to start that right now …."

A resounding yes.

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