2020-01-07 - Pony Rides in Central Park


So a valkyrie and a God meet in the park…

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jan 7 16:20:01 2020
Location: Central Park

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Theme Song



Nothing's changed. Despite all that's passed for the blond youth, despite the time and ceremony and experiences, and the subtly changed outlook, New York is still New York. Central Park is still Central Park, what with its small dusting of snow and the way people walk along the sidewalks in their winter wear. Scenes of domestic bliss and Wintery cheer are evident in the people wandering about the paths that wend their way around the large fountain and the wrought iron gates of Central Park.
But to one Alexander Aaron, Olympian, it's a welcome sight. A simple pleasure to be seated on the edge of the large fountain nearest to NYU, where people film themselves in various poses of that old sitcom and enjoy eating from the myriad food trucks. Simple pleasures.
So he seems content, leaning forward with his forearms resting on his knees and his Yankees hat upon his head. A great grey pea coat covers his form and brown work boots his feet with jeans to complete the look. Not out of place at all for the city and the time of year. Though sometimes, sometimes, he does get a curious second glance.

Of course, what can help avoid second glances is if someone gets more of them… in this case, the sudden descent of a winged stallion from the sky. Even in New York, that does attract a fair amount of attention!
The horse lands not too far from the fountain that Alex is sitting at, not paying him too much mind. However, the horse does have a rider, a woman clad in medieval looking chainmail with a winged helm obscuring her features. She dismounts easily, patting her horse on the side as she grins, "Okay, no more than two… I remember what happened last time, Brightwind." A faint nickering comes from the horse, which causes the woman to roll her eyes as she steps over towards the hot dog cart line, queueing up like everyone else.
Not that everyone else is a Valkyrie, but there's no need to be pushy…

It's a casual social experiment, at least as much as Alexander observes. His smile is there though, bright and lighting his features as he looks across the way. Like all of them he looks to the winged horse and straightens up a little, hands resting flat on his thighs as if supporting him. He watches the majestic creature and its rider, then hears the casual back and forth… though the horse he does not understand.
But the social experiment part comes in when the young woman steps into line and the effect it has on people. Of course the children are curious as a little girl asks…
"Is that your horse, lady?"
Though her mother quickly shushes her and smiles nervously at Dani, then tells her daughter. "Come on, Maya, let's get hamburgers instead."
"But I want hot dogs, momma."
But the mother seems intent.
As well as some others in the line, for an armored woman with a flying horse in New York doesn't necessarily mean bad things. But it's a weird thing. And weird things in this city often lead to mayhem.

Dani grins at the young girl and her mother, "It's alright, really." Oddly, she talks with a pretty American accent and not with the Shakespearean style that a lot of Asgardians prefer. She takes off her helm to reveal very Native American features, hair braided back as she gives the girl a grin, "I think the horse would say that I'm his rider, though."
She then shrugs a bit at the mother, "And these are the best hot dogs in the city, according to Brightwind, so I'd not want to deny you that. Tell you what, I can pay for the lunch, and Maya can visit with the horse for a bit? It's perfectly safe for her, I promise."

It's likely the mother is a tourist, some small tell-tale signs like the small foldable umbrella with an I <3 NY logo on it. Or the pamphlet for the Met that sticks out of her bag. But, to her credit, she smiles and gives a nod. "Alright, thank you."
And at that Maya's smile broadens and she rushes away, her small blue winter coat flaring and her hood falling from her features as she runs so fast. Straight over to the winged horse where she stops… and then watches for a while.
Another small smile from the mother, mildly nervous, but then it's her turn to order as the vendor snares her attention with a short quick, "Whatcha need, lady?"
During that, however, Alexander has gained his feet. He approaches the Asgardian pegasus but stops some good fifteen feet away, hands in the pockets of his coat. He has that curious smile on his features one wears when they're not entirely sure of what they're looking at.

Brightwind peers curiously at Alex, then glances over towards Dani where she's standing. Then he spies the little girl and ambles over towards her slowly, wings folded so he doesn't appear threatening. Then he lowers his head near the girl, letting her touch him if she wants to.
Dani grins at the mother with that, "Believe it or not, I'm from Colorado, I only work in Asgard. It's a bit of a long story. Brightwind is perfectly safe, and he wouldn't ever hurt her." She says that mostly to reassure the mother, and after the mother orders, Dani adds in, "One chili dog, two dogs with extra relish, and put her order on my tab too, please." She then slides the vendor more than enough cash to cover for it.
Hey, when you still get paid in gold coins, it's pretty easy to afford New York prices. Conversion can be a pain though…

The young mother places her order and gets it, but then turns back to look towards where Maya had run off to, and she's ambling a little closer to the winged steed, but still not quite closing that distance. But there are people taking pictures and video, most likely little Maya will have a bright presence on social media for the next few weeks. Hopefully not too many memes will come to life around her.
Holding her hotdogs in hand, Maya's mother says, "You're very kind. Just the tour guides all say when something str…" She stops herself and then adds politely, "When something out of the ordinary happens in New York it's best to stay clear."
And, considering the city's history… it may well be true.
It's only after Brightwind makes a chuffing sound that the Olympian's eyes widen a little. It's then that he slips away from looking upon the great mount and moves quietly toward the hot dog cart. He doesn't get in line, however. Instead he takes up a respectable place some small distance from them and waits for the conversation to be over. Apparently having a question or something to say.

Dani laughs a little at the comment, "Well, they aren't entirely wrong, but even Valkyries take a break for lunch. Particularly when their steed demands hot dogs." She takes her order from the vendor, giving the woman a smile, "Where are you from, if you don't mind my asking?"
Meanwhile, Brightwind actually hunkers down a bit, resting on the ground near Maya, being as inoffensive as possible towards the girl as he looks very woefully at her in a 'why won't you pet me!' gaze.
Then, well, Dani does notice Alex a bit, though she doesn't seem to recognize him… she does notice that he's lingering there. Which does cause her to give him a bit of a once-over, out of curiosity.

That breaks the ice with Maya as she steps forward and without further preamble slips her small arms around Brightwind's neck. A small hug given tightly and the little girl starts to whisper little girl stories, telling the pegasus all of the adventures they'd surely have together if she had a pegasus all her own. It's a cute tableau even if it's partially broken at times by people filming and the occasional little 'awww' from the crowd.
Maya's mother says, "Oh, Portland, Oregon. My husband's on a long trip and has a lay over and we had these bonus miles and…" She starts to lose herself a little in the telling of the story, but then interrupts herself by calling over. "Maya, let the horse breathe, be nice."
And to Maya's credit she stops with the hugging but still gives pets.
"Thank you," Maya's mother says, "By the way my name's Alicia. Or Ally." She offers her hand, "Ally Reed."

Dani takes the offered hand, "Dani Moonstar." She grins cheerfully at Ally, "And it's alright, I hugged him pretty hard when I first found him, though that was a few years ago." She then leads the way back over, giving Ally a grin, "If it's alright with you, I think Maya could ride on him for a bit." She says that while Maya's out of earshot, at least!
Dani then glances over towards Alex again, noticing him lingering, and she waves towards him in a friendly enough way.

"I…" Ally does seem hesitant, but then the little girl in her own thoughts seems to smile a bit and she looks over at Dani and says, "That would be lovely, thank you." And with that said she steps over to her daughter and lifts her up. As if a mental barrier is broken and she was enjoying a dream of her own youth she lifts her daughter up and sets her gently on Brightwind's back, "Brightwind's friend said you can go for a small ride, Maya."
To which the squeals of delight are entirely going to make the meme go viral.
A few moments are given for Dani to reflect and perhaps enjoy the small touch of good into the lives of the pair before she'll hear that blond youth finally give voice to a handful of words.
"That must be a nice feeling," He says as he steps up beside her, looking at the mother and daughter couple. But he means more Dani than the pair. "To be able to give such positivity to another person."

Brightwind spreads his wings a bit, but doesn't take off, instead a series of extended gentle trots to give the feeling of flying without leaving the ground. It's a delightful sight, really, and causes Dani to smile pretty wide herself.
"If I ever don't smile like that when I ride him, that's when I need to rethink my life." She then glances curiously over towards Alex, chuckling softly, "We're not all harbingers of death… well, I mainly show up in the aftermath more than anything. It's nice to bring joy to people though." She then extends a hand towards Alex, saying simply, "Dani."

"Alexander." He grants his name and his hand in the same moment, giving a shake. He's wearing fairly hefty gloves to protect against the chill, but his grip is decently firm. The corner of his mouth twists up as he meets her gaze, but then he looks back to the mother and daughter playing with the winged horse.
"The last one I saw…" He says as if dredging through his memories, "Had fangs." And then he offers a nod to her pegasus, as if to verify that he's indeed speaking about Brightwind. He looks sidelong at her, "I always wondered if there was like… a lend lease thing going on between Zeus and Odin. But they seem to be different breeds."

Dani grins, "Yeah, Brightwind is a winged stallion, not a pegasus. Far less tempermental, though with the flying… well, he does have a omnivorous diet." Hence the hot dogs, as she nods towards Alexander, "So you're one of the Greek ones? Since otherwise mentioning Zeus and Odin together would be a bit unusual." Her lips quirk at that, as Brightwind seems content to show off a bit for Ally and Maya.

"Yeah," Alexander says and not with the enthusiasm one might imagine coming from an Olympian or a newly elevated deity. His features twist up a little, nose crinkling as he takes a breath and murmurs. "Latest and greatest God of Fear, that's me." A little sourness there, but then he looks at her sidelong.
"I mean, not that there have been a lot before. I think there was like." He lifts his head slightly and then adds, "One?"
Then his gaze slips back toward the mother and daughter, who are taking small trotting circles around the fountain. People have stepped out of the way so the two can enjoy their trotting. Though, of course, now other little girls and boys are starting to tug on the coats of their parents and asking if they can go on a pony ride too.
"Though I sorta know a bunch of Asgardians, weirdly enough." Alex adds as if that fact surprised him.

Dani chuckles a bit, "Well, I never thought about being a Valkyrie, but well, the horse picked me, so there it is." She hrms, "God of Fear, huh? Well, I think the Norns, or Fates, are playing a bit of a trick on me." She doesn't really clarify that, but then she does add, "Wait a second…"
Stepping forward, the Valkyrie waves around to everyone, "Alright, here's the thing. If any kids want to ride Brightwind, then that's okay, but we need to make sure that everyone gets a chance." She smiles, "Because that's fair, and that's what Valkyries do. If you can talk to my assistant there, we can get everyone queued up in line!" She gestures towards Alex, tossing him a wink as she grins impishly.

"Clotho is grumpy with me so I wouldn't put it past 'em," Alex offers in rejoinder as to the possibility of the Fates having a mad on for him. But then he's watching her as she steps forward and his features contort into a mildly sour look as she makes her proclamation… but it's good natured as he exhales a small chuff of his own.
But then it's his turn and he steps forward and to the side, "Alright line up, five bucks a pop…" To which he likely might get a glare but he holds it off by gesturing, "Okay, okay, fine. Free of charge!" And he'll start gesturing for people to get into a nice orderly line, though he does have time enough to spare a returned wink for Dani about that whole 'charging money' thing.
Maya and Ally laugh as they bring Brightwind back around and Maya is helped down off the back of the horse. The next youngster is met by Alexander as he says, "Alright, two laps around the fountain sound good?"
"Yeah!" The little boy says and then he's helped up onto the back of the horse… and for the next half hour it's likely the Asgardian and the Olympian are going to be a bit busy.

The half-hour stretches to an hour, but it still feels pretty fast as the kids are given rides one at a time, much to the joy of parents and children alike. As the last kid wanders off, buzzing about something they'll talk about for years, Dani grins over at Alex, "So, yeah, the Fates… well, you being the God of Fear and me with what I can do." She pauses, then lowers her voice a bit, even though the crowds have mostly departed by now.
"I'm a mutant, actually. Well, in addition to working as a Valkyrie, anyway. My powers are a bit weird, but the main one is I can make someone see their worst fear, and manifest it. It's… well, not very nice, and not something I really like to do."

Through that hour Alexander had been a decent barker and good equestrian, keeping the line interested and moving, making sure things moved smoothly and then helping settle the children on Brightwind's back. Dani might also notice him checking at times, the small tell-tale ways one can gauge the stress level and fatigue of a horse, as if making sure the winged steed was not too heavily tasked.
But, to his credit, Brightwind was a war horse and strong and capable. This was perhaps barely a workout for him or even a trot around the pasture.
It was at the end, now with the sun setting and the chill of the Winter creeping into the air that the demand for rides had lessened and people had left. To be fair, however, some new people did show up apparently having seen the 'Winged Horse' live streamed and wanted to see if it was real and if rides were still being given.
But once that all was resolved it left them some time for Alexander to take a seat on one of the park benches and take a deep breath, a little tired himself but most likely just from so much interaction. At Dani's words he smiles sidelong at her, then tilts his head as she confesses.
And curiously his brow knits, she speaks of her powers and how she feels about it. There's an instant of suspicion that slips across his features. But it's quickly replaced with a small 'hnh' as he lifts his eyes upwards, then back to her.
"I think they may well have had a hand in this." He offers at first without elaborating. But then he nods, "I've felt in a similar way." He confides.

Dani chuckles, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Norns get cranky at me since I am just a girl from Colorado that stumbled into a portal to Asgard and rescued a winged horse… which meant that the horse decided to choose me to be a Valkyrie. Not exactly typical recruitment, especially since I was fourteen." She shrugs a bit, not looking that winded at all, but then she seems pretty fit too. "I much prefer talking to animals, which is part of my mutant powers. Which is how I talk so easily to Brightwind, here."
At that, Brightwind nickers, having taken the time from no longer giving rides to finally eating the hot dogs with relish that Dani brought for him. The chili dog? Oh, that was 100% hers.

"So alright," Alexander says as he looks at Brightwind and then the ensuing chomping of the hot dogs, he smirks a little for some reason as if it reminded him of someone but then he turned his attention back to Dani. "Girl from Colorado." His voice lowers a little and then adds, "Mutant. Portal to Asgard. Valkyrie."
His lip twists and he looks over at the horse once again, then his eyes distance with his thoughts. "You should make some children's books. Seriously. I mean that's…" He shakes his head a little and looks back at her, corner of his mouth curled up into a smile. "Every little girl's dream, sort of."
But then he straightens a little, "Though, your power…" He adds that, knowing that likely her dealing with such… was a less positive time in her life.

Dani chuckles, "Yeah, I just planned on being a vet, honestly, but…" She gestures, "I definitely have had an interesting life, and I'm not even old enough to drink yet." Then she snickers, "Well, in America anyway. Asgardian citizenship has different standards."
She grins at that, then looks over towards Alex and nods, "Yeah, it's definitely… something. I mean, I've actually figured out other ways to use it, too. Which is a good thing, because otherwise it'd be… well…" She shrugs, looking a bit pained for a moment before shaking it off.

"I think…" Alexander says as he leans forward, resting his forearms on his knees and then entwining his fingers. He looks distantly for a time then back at her, "That this may be fortune." A positive spin to the concept of the fates. He smiles a little and looks over at her, "If I may indulge in rambling at length about myself?" He asks her.
But before she can answer he explains, "As it seems like, well…" He smiles and lifts his eyes upwards. "We might be like the only two people on the planet that can sort of. Help each other. Maybe." And with that he'll look back to her with a quirk of his eyebrows.

Dani tilts her head towards Alex, then grins a bit, "Sure, ramble away… I've not really had a chance to meet any Olympian types yet, so I wouldn't mind hearing more about you." She settles back on her side of the bench, watching Alex with a curious expression as she keeps her helm off at the moment, head tilted slightly as she waits.

"Alright, I'll try to spare you most of the crazy." He offers as he turns to the side, pulling one leg up onto the bench so he can face her directly, his arm resting across the back of it to the side, a curiously youthful posture, like two kids hunkered under the covers during a sleep over and sharing scary stories.
"My father is Ares, course I didn't know that. He raised me for a good chunk of time. And so alright my upbringing was different than most people but I didn't know that at the time. I mean sure when I was at school I didn't understand how the other six year olds didn't know how to field strip an AR-15, but I thought it was just a thing. I didn't know all the pokemons. So fair trade."
He takes a deep breath, then continues. "I got older, and I mean I sort of started to figure out things were weird. Small hints like angry Satyrs showing up and berating my dad. Or some guy with wings on his feet telling me he's my uncle. Until eventually…"
He lifts a hand to the back of his neck and rubs there, then grimaces. "I got kidnapped by another pantheon." He holds up a hand as if to try and hold any questions, "Long story short, they wanted my help in conquering Olympus and I fought my dad and it sucked. But it turned out alright. Thing was after it, I apparently had inherited the mantle of Phobos as my father's son."

Dani listens intently throughout the story, not interrupting, though she does get a brief wince when he mentions being kidnapped by the other pantheon. She then nods, "Sounds like he might have been trying to keep you out of that life, and things just dragged you into it?" Her lips quirk faintly as she gives Alex a sympathetic look, "I can relate to that."

A nod is given and Alex then lets his smile grow a little, "Yeah, you like actually can. That's a nice change of pace." But he continues, "So." He starts, "But bad thing was that I was… eleven. And a jerk." He lifts his eyebrows as if trying to apologize to the world for eleven year olds everywhere, but the crimes are too grievous.
"You have powers and you're not ready for them. I don't know how you handled it, but at first it seemed… surreal?" He asks of her as if trying to find the right word, "Unreal? Too easy to do things that were… out there. I got equal parts scared of them, but also a little arrogant."

Dani nods, "Yeah, well, it was pretty intense the first time my powers manifested. I was thirteen, and there was these kids that would always tease 'the girl from the rez'. And one time… well, I just couldn't take it anymore, and something… snapped, in me."
She takes a breath, "And before I knew it, this bully was crying and screaming in fear, running away from me. Me. I didn't even realize what happened until later, but… well, they didn't bother me again. No one did, well, until some people tried to take me away later. That didn't go over so well."

Alexander's eyes can't help but widen as he looks at her and he leans forwards, but stops short of touching as his hands spread with that indication of surprise or shared experience. His hand touches his chest as he says, "The first time I used them I was at a party, and everyone was asking me to show them and prove it and do a trick…"
He shakes his head, "And the next thing I knew there were people crying and shuddering and one girl was…" He stops as his brow furrows, perhaps not wanting to share it all, but then forces himself to do so as he adds, "One girl was wanting to hurt herself very badly, and people had to be…" He shakes his head slightly, "Taken away. But it was… just horrible. It was one moment everything was normal and the next everyone… just hated me."
He straightens a little and frowns, then adds. "So since then I haven't used them."

Dani nods, "I typically don't… I mean, if I have to, I will. Fortunately, even though it wasn't something the Valkyries were used to seeing… spending time with them, allowed me to do some training with my powers. Honing them a bit." She pauses, concentrating for a moment, then seems to draw a shimmering blade out of nowhere, a sword of psychic energy resting in her hand. "I just don't want things to go like that, to get out of control. But I can't run from them, or from who or what I am, either."

"Thing is," Alexander says as he looks to the psychic blade, and then to the young woman beside him. "Maybe this is why we've met today. But I only recently got back from Olympus." He uncurls a hand, "They had this big party sort of thing, and a ceremony sort of ritual where I had to stand in front of a bunch of different pantheons and proclaim who I was and all."
He waves a hand as if all of that wasn't important, "But afterwards, I spoke with my grandfather, and he had some… pretty good words of wisdom. I mean I know right, Zeus? And words of wisdom?" His lip twitches, apparently feeling comfortable enough to perhaps tease his grandfather, even though the guy might be spying on them. As is his wont to do.

Dani snickers at the lip quirking, "Yeah, well, from what I have heard, the Greek myths were pretty true to form. Unlike the Norse ones." She pauses, then adds as an aside, "Also, never mention the Sagas to Loki. He's still a bit… touchy, about how followers of Thor portrayed him there." She rolls her eyes a bit, "Not that I blame him, but… anyway, what'd he say?"

It's clear this meant something to Alexander as he seems to focus, to lower his eyes and try to return the memory to the forefront of his mind with some mental effort. His brow knits and his gaze lowers, then he looks to her, his blue eyes meeting her gaze as he offers what insight he can.
"We were in the gardens. It was beautiful, and I liked going there because very few of my family appeared to spend any time there. I was standing beside an old tree that looked like it had a face and throwing some stones into a small brook."
He takes a breath and then says, "And my grandfather spoke to me from behind my shoulder, and asked me how I felt now to be amongst them. How it was to be the god of fear."
A small smile, then he adds, "And, he didn't compel me. At least as far as I could tell. But I found myself answering him honestly. I told him that I didn't know if I wanted it. That being the god of fear was not something that would… make me a better person." She might get the feeling that Alexander might be cushioning the words used in the conversation.
"So that's when he told me. He said, 'Alexander.' The first time he used my actual name. He said, 'Alexander. The family. Our family. We are all given our gifts. Our purview. It is our sphere of influence and our mantle. You are the god of fear, yes. Your father is the god of war. Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty. But with each gift we hold dominion over the other side of the coin as well."
Alexander sits up a little, changing the tone of voice. "He said that my gift…" He twists his lip a little as he looks to Dani then appends, "Perhaps our gift? That not only am I the God of Fear. But by the nature of things…"
"That I am to be the God of Courage as well. That it is so for all of his children." He uncurls a hand, "Maybe that goes for you as well, Dani."

Dani grins slightly, "Yeah, that's what the Prof always told me, once I came back to Midga… er, Earth. Our gifts aren't inherently good, or evil. What we do with them, matters." She smiles a bit, "So yeah, I definitely made a bunch of kids' dreams come true today, and that matters a lot. Maybe it won't affect me so much, but each of them and their dreams and hopes took a little bit more flight today. And they'll think of possibilities instead of limits."
She nods a little at that, "And that's what it's all about. To me, anyway."

"So maybe this is the whole thing, we were supposed to meet and rub off on each other and get some positive karma or whatever." Alexander draws his other leg up and crosses them, sitting almost in a lotus posture though the work boots make it a lil awkward. He looks away toward the fountain where they had entertained the kids and then looks back toward her.
"Or I dunno, day's still young, maybe we'll still end up punching each other and shouting invectives back and forth while posing heroically."
He smirks, then adds. "But I'm sorta not in the mood."

Dani snickers, "I never like fighting after having a chili dog." She winks over at Alex, "Besides, it's cool to know someone in another pantheon that's in the same spot I am, more or less. I mean, I'm not a god of anything… but still, I'm definitely the least-senior Valkyrie by the fact I'm only nineteen and not nine hundred or something."
With that, she offers a hand in a handshake over to Alex, "But it's good to meet you Alex, hopefully you aren't going to be a stranger." She quirks that impish grin again, apparently glad to have met someone new.

Taking her hand, Alexander gives it a firm shake, "Here, I mean unless you Asgard people don't have phones." He shakes her hand with one of his even as he reaches inside his coat for his phone. He produces it and then lets her hand go so he can pull one of the gloves off with his teeth, holding it there as he swipes a fingertip to bring the phone to life.
"You can have my info and stuff. I mean, there's nothing clandestine about me for the most part. I just sorta go to NYU." And sometimes helps the Bat people, but still.
He extends the phone to her, "If that's cool."

Dani grins, "Well, we haven't discovered wifi yet, but…" She chuckles and pulls out her own smartphone, a nice Starkphone, "We do have some perks working as Valkyries." With that, she taps her fingertip on the sensor, unlocking it, and she nods, "But yeah, I've been going to NYU too, doing my pre-vet work when I have time." She grins, "Which isn't as much as you might think, but yeah, we should definitely exchange info." With that, she selects the ShareInfo app on the phone, setting her phone next to his.

As quick as that they have the info needed and Alexander takes his back up, starting to fiddle with it as he types in additional notes and info. If Dani glances over she'll see him putting in the identifier her as, 'Weird Girl from the Park' and grins to himself as he swipes it into the memory of his phone. Then he looks over as he pushes himself off a bit from the bench, gaining his feet and smoothing out the wrinkles of his coat with the sweep of his hands.
"Alright. Seeya later Asgardian." He takes a step back and lifts a hand for a small wave.

Dani chuckles and waves back, "See ya, Olympian." And she might put his identifier as 'YankeeFan404' for whatever reason, if he peeks at her phone while she's doing that. "Take care of yourself, Alex." She says that with a touch more seriousness.

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