2020-02-15 - Just Part Of The Plan


A trip to India results in an unplanned meeting

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Feb 15 05:20:49 2020
Location: India

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India. It is cold here, despite the subtropical climate in general. At nights it gets down to freezing and there is a distinct lack of humidity in the air. Fenris is about 100 miles northwest of Varanasi, a city of one million in northern India. This far out though, there's little sign of the metropolis. This is wild India. Not untamed but definitely left to its own devices for the most part. The people out this way are poor, but there really aren't all that many of them. It's about midday and it's gotten as warm as it's going to get.

Fenris pulls his coat a bit closer and takes a deep breath, looking around for his companions.

Ambrose, at least, emerges from a nearby stand of elephant grass. Wiping at his mouth with a handkerchief he must have pulled from an interior pocket of his duster-like winter coat, he scowls and spits off to one side.

"Would that I had some of those ruddy chewable anti-acids," the Jackal mutters to himself. The Way, as usual, hadn't agreed with him, but a nervous stomach hadn't helped with matters. This time, the Way had won the arm-wrestling match over his nausea. One last spit off to one side and Ambrose tucks the handkerchief away again. It flashes revolvers at his belt; their presence means knives are secreted in places all over his body, sure to show like demented parlor tricks when necessary.

"And I do not recognize this place. How far are we from Patna, Dread Wolf?" Closing up his coat again, Ambrose fusses at the wrapping of his scarf and his stocking cap with gloved hands.

Astryds breath forms mist in the air as she huddles in her fur lined coat. She's so very pale again and can't keep warm - which is unusual. "Have you bought us to Everest or something, Fenris?" She asks mildly.

It doesn't look anything like Everest and she's teasing a little.

"Why are we here again?"

"About two hundred and fifty kilometers." The Old Wolf says as he walks. "Don't worry, we aren't walking the entire way. Something was disrupting the ways and we need to walk around it."

"No, it's not Everest. You can tell by how green it is." Fenris chuckles and glances around. Then he frowns and stops and holds up a hand. "Hold up. Something is wrong…"

He turns to his right to find a wolf staring right at him. A grey wolf. A big one. Not native to this place. It has no eyes. Just great gaping black holes where they should be. Fenris just… stares… before he can say anything the wolf is just gone.

"The hell?"

"I would hate you if it were Everest." And by Ambrose's scowl, he's sincere in this opinion. Shoving his gloved hands in his pockets, he's still wary enough to stay nearer to Astryd than Fenris, though that might be the Dread Wolf's aura speaking. The Jackal might be getting more used to it, but it's no walk in the park when anxiety is already tickling up his spine like a pair of eyes staring dead at his kidneys.

Or, rather, no set of eyes. The appearance of the sightless wolf is enough to make the master-thief freeze up completely still beside Astryd, as if this might render him invisible, and feel at the ring he has tucked at the bottom of his pocket.

Then it's gone. He gives both Raven and Dread Wolf an owlish look gleaming with the Bane's ruddy glow in his pupils. "The ruddy hell?!"

"It's cold. I don't care how green it is." Astryd mutters, passing Ambrose a peppermint to settle his stomach. "It's not a antacid, but I find these help." She does look curiously at Fenris though "That's not happened in a long, long time. The Ways being disrupted like that."

When the grey wolf appears, the blonde frowns and then blinks. "That is not a wolf I recognise Fenris. Is it familiar to you?"

"No, not exactly…" Fenris says. He takes a step forward toward where that wolf disappeared but his progress is arrested by a voice behind them.

"Out walking your pet, Father?"

It's a male voice, light and dripping with contempt. Fenris turns again to see - of course - another wolf. This one much larger with silvery fur, gleaming as if in the moonlight.

"Hathis…" Fenris growls. Ambrose might remember the name. Astryd definitely will. Hathis was one of the wolves who attacked Fenris with Gurim Ur.

It doesn't settle Ambrose any further to hear the Dread Wolf uncertain about one of his kin, even a lesser variant of the form. It isn't the ring he's feeling around for now, it's the peppermint Astryd handed earlier, but the introduction of an unknown voice has the master-thief spinning in place. His hands blur.

And while Fenris growls the name, the Jackal has both revolvers aimed dead on to this larger silvery wolf with impossibly moon-touched fur. They're locked, they're loaded, and the man swallows carefully as he stands there, silent as the grave but for the balefire glow brighter now in the backs of his pupils.

"And which one of us do you consider a pet, Hathis?" Astryds voice is almost as cold as the weather. "For one who couldn't live without his brother telling him what to do, I would suggest that you be very careful."

As Ambrose raises his pistols, Astryd moves to stand in front of Fenris, not drawing her weapon or shield. "What do you want."

"Is that what you were told, Raven? I think you might be surprised by the truth. But yes. Pet. The little one. The one with the power, Astryd." None of Fenris children call her mother because of course, she isn't. But Hathis has little enough regard for his father so it is perhaps no surprise that when he addresses the Raven his light and quite soft voice positively radiates that disregard.

"Will you shoot me, young one?" The silvery wolf remains on his perch, a low rise that cuts away sharply as it descends to the road, placing him perhaps six or seven feet above the trio. "Does it ease your fear to have a weapon so close to hand? You stink of death and rot. I know someone who might like you a great deal…"

"What do you want, Hathis?" Fenris Astryd's question.

"Me? I came to warn you. You're going to Patna, but you're walking into you know not what. Oh I don't doubt that you will weather it easily enough. But the Raven… the young one." Hathis laughs.

"There's a fever burning in Patna. A fever of the mind and of the soul. And it's quite catching, I think. One of Gurim's little experiments."

It's been long and long since Ambrose has been called a 'pet'. This doesn't seem to matter for all his reaction is nearly canine; his lips lift from their pressed thinness into half of a snarl, his flat ape teeth gleaming but for sharpened cuspids.

Fenris speaks before the Jackal can summon up any smart response to the rhetorical mockery of a question aimed at him. His eyes simply narrow…at least, until the news comes out that Patna isn't the safest place to be.

Black and empty, the revolvers' maws still aimed at Hathis, but Ambrose risks a glance away and towards Astryd and Fenris both, his expression strained.

"Oh my, you wound me so." Astryd smiles ferally at Hathis. The one with the power indeed. "I suppose you would know what it is to stink. I can smell you from here - don't you ever bathe?" She doesn't answer the first question. The blonde just wants to get some barbs in.

"Fenris' Raven, if you please, Hathis. And speak plainly - what in Hel has Gurim done now?"

Fenris jaw is set, but he catches Ambrose's glance. He shakes his head. He actually isn't sure and this is one of the few times that Ambrose might see it so obvious.

"A contagion, Raven of my Father. He wanted to see if men could get sick of the heart and the soul as well as of the body. He tinkered there for what seemed like eons but at last he was satisfied and left. What he left behind though is quite potent and even though he does not tinker there anymore - his research is done - it continues to flare amongst the populace. I believe some of the local… waht are they called… Rakshasa… have turned it to their advantage."

Hathis smiles and while a soft, muted thing it is MOST unpleasant.

"You're quiet, little pet."

Ambrose's throat works to see the indecision shown by the Dread Wolf. He looks back to Hathis and, thankfully, at least his aim with both revolvers hasn't deviated in the least or begun to tremble. The latter he will save for his knees because the mention of the Rakshasa is more than enough to make all the hair on his body rise in primal fear.

The Jackal knows too well of Rakshasa.

"Yes, I am finally stooping to speak to you, rancid bitch," the man fires back, truly pricked by the continued connotation of being a pet. "Since you've a mind to wag your tongue like Tabaqui, by all means, tell me of my latest paramour you think so enamored of me."

Astryd doesn't dare touch Fenris' arm, as much as she wants to. It's a sign of weakness that neither of them can afford. Besides, she's taken up a position just in front of him - if Hathis attacks, it's the blonde who'll get hit first.


"That's … vile. And just what I'd expect of rejects." She says rather cruelly. "But do tell. What is it you think your brother will be doing this creation, now that he's … how did you say it? Perfected it.? And where has gone and left you to clean up after him."

The expression on the spirit wolf's face makes it quite clear that the back talk was very much not appreciated. Point for Ambrose. But then the smile returns and it is as unpleasant as ever. "I'll be sure to pass that along, Astryd." The silvery wolf says.

"Well, you've delivered your warning." Fenris says clearly implying 'go away now'.

"Oh he's wandering I am sure. Preparing for the next part of his master plan." Hathis turns as if to go and then looks over his shoulder. "I never believed much in it. But after you destroyed our family, Fenris, I'd do anything to see you pay. So, maybe his mad ramblings will turn out alright anyway. But even if they don't… well. We'll be settling accounts soon enough father."

One step away and then he looks back again.

"Oh. Oooone more thing. Kali is in town. I suppose ephemeral plagues might well get her attention. Or maybe they'll just… get her." Hathis laughs. "Annnnyway. She was asking around about someone named 'Atherton'. But I'm sure you don't know anything like that. Just interesting I thought. Ta!"

And with that the silvery wolf leaps off the little rise he's on and disappears into the jungle.

Both of Ambrose's revolvers track Hathis seamlessly in his turn as well as his retreat. They both remain leveled on the immediate area where the moon-silvered wolf disappeared even as he asks, his voice low and ironed flat to keep it from shivering,

"I know of a Kali and she is a goddess that I once knew very well, if by a priest or two removed. Whom is your offspring speaking of, Fenris?" Sweat gleams at his temples and upper lip heedless of the cold temperature of the wintry air. He again dares to glance away from his line of sight down the revolvers and towards Fenris and Astryd, his eyes still wide and sparking carmine in their depths.

"Children …" Astryd sighs as the wolf finally leaves. She doesn't say anything to Fenris about what Hathis said. That will be later.

"He means Kali, I'm sure. You say you knew her?" Astryd turns to Fenris "We should be moving."

"Well…" Fenris says slowly, thinking. "He may have implied that Kali has caught this… mental and spiritual rot that Gurim has started. I am not sure WHY he would tell us this, if that is the case, but given that he seems to bear me considerable ill will, I think we should be cautious."

That's the understatement of the century possibly.

"Patna is going to be tricky. We may have been anticipated. We should get there, as quickly as possible and leave as soon as we have what we came for." Because otherwise this is possibly going to get rather protractedly nasty.

Fenris nods at the suggestion that they should move and experimentally opens a Way again. It opens. Normally. Thank goodness.

"Wait. Wait wait waitwaitwaitwaitWAIT."

It's all one string of words as Ambrose turns with revolvers now facing towards the heavens rather than at his cohorts. He's gone rather pale with color spotted high on his cheeks and he presses his lips flat for a long second. "You mean to tell me that your brat meant Kali — the actual goddess Samhara Kali, she of the black skin and blades, she who drinks the blood of the fallen? And this goddess may be plagued with some form of insanity? AND SHE KNOWS MY SURNAME?!"

Some incoherent sound leaves him afterwards, part plea, part frustration, part indignation, and part abject distress.

"That could be it, yes." Astryd says mildly, ushering Ambrose into the Way. "I have more peppermints for when we get to the other end, so don't worry."

"I'm sure Kali looking for you is nothing *much* to worry about. Not after Gurim Ur raised your friend."

So reassuring.

Fenris looks at Ambrose with sympathy and takes in a deep breath as Astryd starts to usher the halted Ambrose into the magical portal. "That is how I would interpret those words yes. And with a friend of yours being one of Gurim's acolytes it is perhaps not surprising that the name might have gotten out. But if that is true it means that Gurim WANTS you for something."

They've already had hints of that. There was, after all, an ambush just especially for Ambrose.

"Let us hope he was simply playing a cruel joke." But in truth… no. Fenris doesn't think he was. And when they get to Patna there is going to be hell to pay.

Possibly multiple hells, this being India.

Thank god for Astryd breaking his lock-kneed hesitation at the opening of the new Way. Ambrose fumbles his revolvers away even as he needs must be physically herded along, his eyes still upon Fenris and mouth hanging open wordlessly to hear the second confirmation.

Somebody pinch him.

"…this is a piss-poor joke," the Jackal mumbles as he joins the travel into the Way with something of the same empty expression of horror one finds on their way to the gallows. Rest assured that flares of utter panic are being sent towards Kent, even if they fail against the walls of Shambhala and its masterful protective wards.

And those peppermints will be desperately needed.

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