2020-02-01 - Into The Witches Den


Fenris takes Ambrose to see Scathatch

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Feb 1 06:24:14 2020
Location: Isle of Skye

Related Logs


Theme Song



The Isle of Skye is cold this time of year and quite windy. And a bit wet. It had not been necessary to book a flight up here. Fenris had arranged a Way. As before, the little group of wayworn travelers arrives at Dun Scaith, or rather what most people see as Dun Scaith and actually is a small hill fort, walled with storage for food and animals about it. As before, they are shown in by Scathach's daughter, given bread and ale and bade to relax while the young woman goes to get the Shadow Witch.

As before the place looks like it's straight out of the Iron Age. No modern conveniences. No evidence of technology. Nothing but the cloth and sheep and soup and… well the ale is actually pretty good.

Ah, Ways. As usual, poor Ambrose arrives looking as if he's going to showcase the remnants of his meager last meal. He begs a moment to walk off to one side and put his head between his knees, palms gripping at his pants as he gasps in breaths of deep, cold, salt-laden air to ward off the nausea.

Blowing a hard sigh, the man then rejoins his comrades with the ever-pithy comment of, "Bracing!" He's dressed as he normally would on a jaunt in cooler weather: dark long-coat, black scarf wrapped multiple times about his neck, kidskin leather gloves on his hands, and a stocking cap pulled down to his ears. Scathach's daughter gets a small smile before he sits at the table.

This feels familiar and he knows now that to eat is safe — there's no need to wonder at Fae glamours. The ale isn't half-bad either, even if the Jackal has always preferred stout. Still, he sucks at one canine tooth and looks off to one side, towards where the Spear of Pain had been his last trial here.

Fenris had mentioned Oliver, after all…

Standing nearby with the serious air of a bodyguard, Sif accepts ale but passes on the food for the moment. She's wearing her full armor, with the added long-sleeved undershirt and wool-and-fur cloak in deference to the colder climate.

There may not be need for excessive caution, but Sif has never been one to simply trust the reassurances of others. Her buckler and sword are ready to be used at any moment, and she tracks Ambrose's movements with her eyes as if to make sure no harm befalls him.

Or maybe so he doesn't try to abscond with the silverware.

Astryd arrives with the group, her long blonde hair hanging down her back, wrapped in a fur lined coat. She looks just what she is, really, a Norse Warrior - shield maiden - as she nods to the girl who greeted them.

"Tell me again, why we are here, my heart." She says to Fenris. She's so very, very pale. Fenris must have barbered her again.

Fenris looks to Astryd. "Well primarily so that Ambrose isn't stuck here, amusing as that would be. But also because I want to hear this news that the shadow witch says she has. This… Oliver seemed troublesome last time he appeared."

It's probably not an accident that when Scathach arrives next, she has deep auburn hair and a dress somewhat more fitted than would likely be possible given ancient weaving techniques. Gods, and witches, cheat sometimes. She bows to the assembled company.

"Lady Sif. Raven Astryd. Fenris. And of course Ambrose. Welcome. I see my daughter has offered you our hospitality already. I trust you find it satisfactory?" There are forms to be observed after all.

"I imagine you are all here about a man who should be dead but is not. Does that sound right?"

The woman takes a seat and offers a hand out to Sif and Astryd. "I will explain all if you will both give me a strand of your hair?" As she's speaking she plucks out one of her own. "It will make things a bit simpler…"

Fenris gets an eyeroll for his comment about the Jackal being stranded here, but he still gives the Dread Wolf a coolly-amused side-glance even as he sips deeply of the ale in his stein. When Scatach arrives, Ambrose sits up straighter as if he suddenly remembered to keep his elbows off the table and have proper posture while at dinner. Oh…bloody hell, the magical woman still has red hair and…and…that dress is not fair.

Ambrose gulps to himself.

"Yes, milady, that is correct," the brunet confirms quietly as to their reason for being present. He still gives both Sif and Astryd a mild look of concern; even if he's not ear-deep in magic himself, living with Kent for as long as he has granted Ambrose knowledge that hair can be used in many, many ways…both for the good and the bad.

"Right. Oliver. The man you were telling me about." Along with the cult that seemed to be venerating the God Wolf. "I like your dress, Lady Scathatch." The blonde says with a smirk. She might be quiet and look ill, but she's got spunk.

"My hair. Is it the colours you want? Or the fact it is three women - similar to the three Fates. If it is, I fear we are all too old to be known as the maid." Astryd hesistates before plucking a hair from her head. Witches, and other casters, can do powerful magic with a single strand.

Handing it over, the blonde looks at Ambrose. "Fenris could not tell me much about this Oliver. Perhaps you will."

"Something closer to the second. Also you're magical. And so is Sif. And I would not take Fenris' or Ambrose hair for this. Too much death about both of them."

Fenris quirks a brow, accepts the hair and smiles at Astryd. "I can show you how to make one, if you like. They're very… effective." Yes. She knows it's not fair.

Once the three hairs are twisted together she puts them in a bowl and with a small candle lights them on fire. The smoke rises up and begins to form shapes. A tomb. A tomb Ambrose knows. Collapsing. One person crushed… Oliver on the wrong side of it.

"It begins here, does it not? Lost in a tomb. Left for dead. He hopes for rescue but knows it cannot come. He sits down and waits to die. But he does not die. Something reaches out to him in the darkness…"

A form. A very lupine form moves in the shadows. It seems almost a parody of Fenris. Too long limbs. Slavering jaws. An almost wild look in the eyes.

"Does he look familiar, Old Wolf."

Fenris sucks in a breath. "Gurim-Ur."

There are probably… questions.

"I might as well at one point, Lady Astryd," the Jackal agrees quietly. Still, the efforts of the hairs twined and their destruction by fire has him holding his tale in order to look the better at the silvery-blue smoke now tendriling up from their ashes.

And as he does, one can see Ambrose begin to go paler beneath his eternal sun-kissed skin tone; blotchy color rises to his cheeks and, perhaps more shocking yet, his eyes gloss over with unshed tears. A hand goes to cover his mouth as he watches the ghostly outline of a face he trusted with his life over a century ago in those rolling dunes outside of Basra. He can see the despair…and he can see the arrival of the long-limbed spectre.

"Gurim-Ur, is it…?" His voice is rough now, tight, and he makes himself still watch the prophetic curls of smoke even as he tries not to succumb to another bout of nausea. "I knew not then, but now…now that is familiar enough." Then he disappears behind his hands, elbows heavily leaned on the table.

"Too much death?" That has Astryd quirking a brow. She is a Choser of the Slain - it's her job to deal with death. "You would teach me to scry? Or look to the past, Lady?" As least the blonde is being polite, right?

The blondes eyes narrow as the scene plays out, flicking from the scrying bowl to Ambrose and back again. "I see." Is she all says. Yes, he will tell them exactly what happened, it's likely important but she's not going to push just yet.

"Gurim-Ur? One of your offspring, my heart? Or … something else?"

Despite being not at all sure why the Scathach needs a strand of her hair, Sif plucks a hair of her own as well to offer to the currently red-haired woman. She is quiet as the smoke reveals what happened with the man Ambrose claimed was a friend, and then Astryd asks the question that she'd been about to voice herself.

What is this Gurim-Ur? Or, more importantly, what will it take to defend against that slavering creature?

"I can yes. And would happily." Scathach says to Astryd as she watches.

"Yes…" Fenris says slowly. Now the wolf cult is al ittle bit more clear. "Watch, though."

Though words cannot be heard, it is clear that the wolf-thing offers something to Oliver. Oliver accept with some reluctance and fire pours from the thing's eyes into Oliver's chest. It invigorates him. He walks toward the back of the chamber and shoves another, heavier, stone away, revealing a descending passage. And down he goes.

The smoke shifts. Oliver emerges into the desert on a moonlit night. He's at the base of a mountain range, miles from where he started. He's gaunt and looks hungry and weak, but he walks into the desert. Eventually he passes out only to be found by a party of what looks like merchants. They take him into their caravan and head east.

Fenris sighs.

"Gurim-Ur. In English it roughly translates 'Rabid Wolf'. Yes, he was one of mine, but he grew fevered and sick of mind and heart. He attacked me, seeking my place in Fate. We fought. I cast him into darkness. It seems he found his way out."

As if the prompting were to bring him out, Ambrose appears from behind his hands again. His fingers remain pressed against his mouth and his eyes are red-rimmed now as he watches. The silvery smoke tells the tale of great power granted at the risk of great despair and, again, his heart pangs against his ribs.

While Fenris elucidates on the origin of the horrid creature, the Jackal finishes his ale in a few fell gulps. With it down, he smacks his lips silently and then goes back to slowly rubbing at one temple.

"Oliver was one of mine," he begins, his voice heavily rasping. With a sharp sniff and clearing of his throat, he sits up better and tries again. "Oliver was one of the members of my platoon. The tomb you saw collapse was the containment for my curse." The Bane, which curls indolently through his veins and growls in saurian acknowledgement of being referenced. "Oliver was… I told him to be the look-out, to watch in case anyone approached. When…when James dropped his torch, it…it must have triggered the curse to come forth. I do not.." The Jackal shivers in his seat before he clutches his fists tightly shut. "I do not remember much other than confusion and death. James died as did Georgie. He was Oliver's younger brother. James tripped a set of door and I thought us all trapped, but Oliver heard Rupert…"

A hard sigh and hiccup is Ambrose still composed yet. "Ru and I escaped when Oliver got the doors open. He heard them close. He tried to get Georgie's body and…" A limp-wristed gesture towards the smoke indicates that they've seen the rest. Very quietly, and in a voice very small, Ambrose adds, "He offered aid with my curse. I do not trust him. I think he means revenge."

"I … would like to learn, Lady." Why on earth Astryd is interested is anyones guess. Maybe it's to do with her 'curse'. Or not. They'll speak about that later, there's something more important right now.

Astryd growls a little as the scene plays out and then looks to Fenris. "This was … before I returned to Midgard?" It's a careful question - but the Old Wolf can see the rest of the questions in her eyes.

"And found his way out? Or let out? Called forth. However you want to put it."

Ambrose's story catches her attention quickly enough and she shakes her head. "I'm not sure Ambrose. I'm not even sure that Oliver still exists, to be honest. I think … they want something more, though."

"It appears he bargained with Gurim-Ur for his life. For power, I would suspect. Gurim appears to have poured magic into your friend." Fenris says quietly. He looks to Scathach. "You knew?"

"I felt something when your Oliver arrived in New York looking for Ambrose. I believe his friendship is sincere, dear man, but it may be more complicated than that. The Bane is an ancient thing. A curse and a power that had been resting in that tomb for uncounted ages before you found it. It is not an accident that Gurim-Ur was there, watching. I believe he arrived… later than he meant to."

Fenris looks at Ambrose now. "You're suggesting he wants the Bane."

"Yes. And that must be connected to the Worship of the Destroyer that he has started."

Fenris scrubs his face. Oy. Kids.

Scathach does get a look very nearly betrayed by the Jackal — she knew?! But the others are taking it in stride and the man reminds himself that the red-haired witch had reached out to Fenris rather than keep this information to herself. He still threads fingers back through his hair; the stocking cap was tucked away after he'd initially seated himself at the grand oakwood table.

"That is not friendship…it is not even well-meaning," Ambrose replies, his voice snarling here and there in hurt. "That is abuse at best. Oliver would not approach me like that! Not the man I knew! He was a good soldier and - and - and - a decent man! If anything, we should be releasing him, NOT him releasing ME! He does not deserve this!"

"Is there a way to do that?" Fenris asks the witch. She shrugs one rather elegant shoulder.

"He would have to want it. He is bound by a more pernicious bond than simple magic. He is bound by purpose and loyalty. He wishes to help his friend and if that happens to help the being that saved his life, so be it."

The Old Wolf sighs. These things are never easy, are they? "What is he going to do next?"

"I do not know. But I do know that the Wolf Cult has been looking for Gurim-Ur's siblings."

Now Fenris' eyes narrow. "That might be… bad. They never got along well. But the ones he DID get along with… are dangerous and nearly as ill as he." And the others? If they were killed or worse turned…

"He seeks something from long ago, Ambrose. A cameo locket. I cannot see what it is, but I know it is important to him. Do you know what it might be?" The Witch Asks, leaning forward a little and smiling at Ambrose.

By the obstinate set of Ambrose's jaw, he's sure as hell intending to talk Oliver out of any form of assistance. Not only would it benefit those who fear about the dire spectre-wolf in league with the unfortunate soul, it would…frankly keep the Jackal alive — and he has no intention of dying any time soon!

"I…" Upon being asked, the master-thief fades into silence. He frowns down at his hands and then off to one side, his eyes shifting without seeing what is before them. There's so much time to cover — so many memories to pick through. Still, it'll become obvious when he hits upon possibilities. His color fades and regains as spots in his cheeks again. "…I once kept a locket of a woman I loved. Oliver would not have known her. I…also keep one of my mate. Kent." By how shy he suddenly appears, this habit is close to his heart and surely based in Victorian sentiment. He gives Scathach a beseeching look as if the witch could deny these possibilities. "If it is not one of these things that Oliver seeks, it might be a locket of his own. I did not ever see him wear one; we wore only what was necessary when on patrol outside of Basra."

"It will be something connected to either you or him." Scathach says gently. "And if he never had one it must be one of yours. Do you keep either on you? Your mate, I would guess. Your friend might possibly know that. Which means it is very likely to be the other." She pauses and looks to Fenris who is presently rubbing his temples.

He looks out of sorts.

"Tell me you have it, Ambrose." PLEASE tell him that Ambrose has it. Because he KNOWS what that locket might be for.

Ambrose swallows.

"…I know in which bedside drawer my more recent locket lies, and only a god could breach the wardings upon Kent's home." He still doesn't seem mollified by this knowledge, given: "The…the other locket I lost in northern India…ruddy hell, I lost it nearly eighty years ago." Bereft of most of his composure, he slouches heavily in his chair, his eyes scrunched shut.

"I lost it before the…" A pained laugh leaves him and he suddenly shakes a finger at Scathach, grimacing up a smile. "You see, it is funny you should say so much death follows me. I lost the locket before I became involved with a cult of Kali there. I am…not proud of this chapter of my life," he says wearily. "I was grieving…and I hated the world for taking Kent from me. It took me many years to escape them."

"Then it is there that I think you should begin your search. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news or bring you pain, Ambrose. But our past has a way of following us when we least expect or want it."

"Isn't that the truth." Fenris mutters. "Death cults like the cult of Kali have a fair amount in common with the kind of Apocalypse Cult that Gurim-Ur is likely to have set up." After all what is worshipping the Destroyer but worshipping death in all it's terrible finality.

"There has been some activity in that area, God Wolf." Scathach says.

"Why am I not surprised…"

"…I am numb to surprise at this point," mumbles the Jackal. He sucks his canine tooth and frowns down at his hands again. Now, with his arms folded and forearms rested on the table, his back is hunched almost defensively.

"Truly, milady? Back to northern India? They…they would not know me there, not…not after such a long time. Well…" And again, he laughs uncomfortably. "The, um…a very few people would still know of me. None of the cult was immmortal as I tend to be, but I…did become…memorable. I am to beat Oliver to finding this locket, milady? That is what you are telling me?" Scathach is given yet another woeful look.

"I think you are well advised to do so. I do not lay this on you like a quest or a burden. I only advise you that ill might result from him getting it."

Fenris looks right at Ambrose. "Gurim-Ur can affect the past if he has enough of a link to it. Not quite time travel more … re-writing what has been. If he gets the locket…"

He can infect the woman it represents. And if that woman is linked to Ambrose…

"…«fuck»," whispers the Jackal so eloquently in Farsi.

Now his face is buried in his arms, but not for long. He lifts up his head and looks with a dead-eyed calm upon both Feris and Scathach as well as the others.

"So be it. I think Fate might be in our favor that I must traipse my old hunting ground. Kent will be nearby as it stands." Not revealing where the mentalist might be is deliberate; it is an ace up the Jackal's sleeve in the end. "Fenris, since this bloody creature is your get, I ask for your assistance in matters. Same with you both," he adds to Astryd and Sif. "I will speak with another about my memories. With Kent gone, I will need to find someone adept in shifting through them…I think." Another hard swallow. "…I admittedly would rather remember of my own accord firstly."

"If it will calm you down, after Fenris leaves." Because Scathach understood that. Because of course she did. Fenris did as well because All-speak. He politely does not snort. But he does think about snorting.

"Yes. Happily. Gurim-Ur needs to be put down. I stayed my hand the last time. I don't think I will be able to this time." The question at this point is CAN he be killed. It's possible he might just fall back into darkness only to return later.

Which would be inconvenient.

"I'm sure a magus can help you with that, should you know one. Or a… what are they called? Ah yes. Telepath." Scathach is not hip to the lingo, but she does alright.

It must speak volumes to the amount of concern and anxiety bottled up in Ambrose that he misses Scathach's comment entirely — swish, right over his head. Instead, he's busy thinking of who might be able to help who isn't Kent.

He minces out his idea. "There is…the owner of a bookstore in New York City. He is the Trickster God and…from what I have seen, a very accomplished magus." Fenris gets a significant glance. Yep, that guy. "I believe I can…who the ruddy fuck am I kidding, I cannot trust him, he is the Liesmith." Ambrose sighs, so put-upon. "I can ask of him a favor and he might aid me in this endeavor of finding the memory of when I lost the locket."

"That sounds potentially rather… tricky." However… it might be the only option.

"You cannot trust Loki, no. But in this matter he will probably help you without too many of his usual tricks. It is a family matter, after all."

Fenris shakes his head. He LIKES his dad. But his Dad's reputation is very, very well earned.

"Is there aught else I can do for you, Ambrose?" That's Scathach once more.

"Hold his beer while he goes to visit Loki." Fenris mutters.

"Hold his… what?"

"Indeed, hold my stout — both of them from each hand, in fact, because I've no other logical option or others that I can trust. My «azizam» is not present. This…spectre of wolfdom would not DARE test me if I had him at my side. Considering that I do not…"

Ambrose waves a hand curtly. "It will be done. I will visit Loki and then contact you, Fenris, and if not you, Lady Astryd or Sif."

Scathach does get a considering look and then, with a winkling of his old charm, he replies to the red-headed witch, "Would that you could, but I am married. Be that as it may, I ask that you change not a wit, so that I may look upon your beauty each and every time I visit."

Scathach chuckles. "Charmer. And granted of course." She rather enjoys the look he gets on his face when she walks in the room.

Fenris shakes his head. He gets it but he is amused. He's allowed to be right?

"Come. Let's take a walk, Ambrose. When the others are done here I'll open a way and get us home." Ambrose may be taking a lot of those in the near future.

Poor guy.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License