2020-04-25 - Bad News Visiting


Kamduis-Ur comes to visit and delivers unwanted news

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Apr 25 06:39:43 2020
Location: 74-36 62nd Street

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Knock knock knock.

Fenris had been enjoying a rare moment of down time at his house. He hasn't been able to just BE here a whole lot recently. He is in the process of painstakingly crafting a sandwich out of deli meats and cheeses and kosher dill pickles. It promises to be quite the self contained repast when it is finally completed.

While there is not much directly going on per se, Fenris had invited Ambrose over for lunch and Astryd should be around here somewhere. In the back of his mind he was wondering if she wanted mustard on her sandwich or not.

And then someone knocked on the door.

"I'm not expecting any visitors…" He mutters.

Ambrose, for his part, is ensconced at the kitchen table with a mug of steaming tea, a plate of kosher dill pickles for his own consumption (and just the pickles, nothing else given the cheese was already eaten), and the page given to him by the Finder. In a warm long-sleeved thermal against the phantom chill perpetually in his chest and jeans, he at least shucked his coat off at the door even if his boots are still laced on his feet.

A little crunch as he bites into one of the pickles lifted on a fork, his attention focused far more on the page between the museum-quality layers of preservationist glass. This way, the parchment is spared damage from spill. He hasn't made much of a peep since settling in; it's clear his mind is working quickly away.

Then comes the knock. His jaw pauses in mid-chew as his eyes flick up, flashing their Bane-glow in his pupils. The master-thief with his pale hair then looks towards Fenris questioningly and in concern alike. Very slooooowly, the Jackal puts down the unfinished pickle and rises from his chair, fingertips still rested on the tabletop, silent as the grave as he watches the door.

Astryd wasn't here when Ambrose showed up and is only just coming through the back door as the door sounds. "Do we have visitors, Fenris?" She asks of the God Wolf, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "And wholegrain mustard for me, please. I'll get the door. Hello Ambrose."

No word of where she'd been or what she'd been doing.

Passing through the house, the blonde opens the door.

"We seem to." Fenris says as he reaches into the refrigerator looking for the wholegrain mustard.

When Astryd opens the door there's a young woman there, a woman who looks sort of like a younger Sandra Bullock. She's in torn jeans and slightly loose flannel and her hair is somewhat disheveled. She cants her head and then smiles a little bit at Astryd.

"Hello Raven." That voice. Astryd knows that voice. This is Kamduis-Ur, the Death Wolf, somehow in human form and come to visit. "I didn't call ahead. I hope this isn't a private party?" Because yes she can smell Ambrose.

At least she didn't call Astryd a Birb?

"Miss Astryd," Ambrose returns as a near sotto-voce greeting when the Valkyrie makes her appearance through the back door. His eyes weigh upon her travels to the door and he waits by the table yet, having swallowed his bite of pickle with some effort.

When he hears the voice, he cocks his head and immediately narrows his gaze in suspicion. A woman? And not Rachana, he'd know that voice in nearly any instance but a fugue state or one of dementia. Still, rather than make a sound, he looks to Fenris and then to Astryd, gauging by their own reactions how threatening this arrival is.

Astryd looks at the young woman when the door opens. "It's on the top shelf in the door, my heart." The mustard she means. Pale eyebrows rise when the woman speaks. "That depends." She says with a chill in her voice - something Ambrose has heard but rarely from the normally hospitable Raven. "We extend guest right to any who wish entry and I'm sure your Father will be pleased to see you. You may enter, Kamduis-Ur." The threat is implied but not spoken. Hurt her Lord and the Raven will fix it. Not in a way the younger Wolf will like either.

"Have you met our friend, Leuitenant Atherton? My heart, you have family to entertain."

"I don't think I have. But I have scented him. A traveler on the road to Shamballa had his scent, if only faintly." Kamduis steps in and looks to see Fenris finishing Astryd's sandwich. She smirks and looks at Ambrose.

"So you're the mystery man who smells like death. Why am I not surprised to find you in my father's house?"

The wolf-made-woman looks to Astryd again. "How much do you talk to you sisters?"

There's a familiar feeling here. She feels a little bit like Kali. Not a full on death goddess but definitely a being steeped in the power of death. That makes sense given her name but Astryd at least knows she didn't feel quite so formidable a few months ago.

Astryd mentions a name which just happens to fall in line with the schema of the other Fenris offspring. His eyes narrow again at the doorway and very subtly, he shifts to stand behind the chair he was sitting in; fingers rested around the top of it portend its immediate throwing if necessary.

Even as Kamduis looks upon Ambrose, the man lifts his chin in subtle challenge. Memory catches up to him now: right, this was the pup Kent met in the passes of the high mountains.

"Yes…well met, Kamduis-Ur," replies the master-thief, his tone polite enough to pass. It surely portents his disinterest in shaking hands with the woman. The Bane curls up out of its somnolent state at the aura about Kamduis — like recognizes like and now, with chary interest, Ambrose tucks his chin enough that he won't appear necessarily coy, but covertly interested in what the curse is telling him.

The name drop had been intentional to give Ambrose a chance to prepare himself.

Her eyes narrow at the feel of the Wolf-made-woman. "Been gorging yourself, lately? Let me guess, your brother has been siphoning power and you've been stealing it." That's almost rude and Astryd is trying to keep the woman off balance.

"Out of touch are you? I'm persona non-grata within the Valkyior." So no, not at all.

The curse tells him that she is Death. Much like Kali was if not quite on the same scale. Not yet. She radiates the power of The End. And she smiles slightly at Astryd as Fenris hands her her sandwich. "Why don't we all sit down." He suggests, eyeing Kamduis.

Kamduis Bullock nods. She might be slightly dopey-cute if it weren't for the smirk and the hard set to her eyes.

"Did you come just to needle my Raven?"

"No, but it is something of a bonus. I also wanted to see what kind of company you were thinking. And no, Astryd, I am not gorging. I've worked quite hard for this. Why do you think that the mountains in the East or so well behaved? I've been teaching the spirits there to stay on their side of the line, and learning the secrets of some of them."

Death spirits. Oy. They're a nasty lot. They are, however, at least of this world. They're part of the natural cycle, so she can't have learned anything too dangerous to reality. Just dangerous to, you know, other people. That along with the power she's consumed.

"Odin's maidens have been having a hard time doing their duty. They've been missing. The All Father has kept it quiet because he doesn't want people to know that his Valkyries are in trouble. But last night one of the missing ones turned back up."

Kamduis extends a hand to project a small scene on it. A gate to the underworld opens. Astryd and Ambrose both know the type. Thrud, a Valkyr that Astryd at least knows of if not knows personally, stumbles out of it. Her skin is pale. She's breathing hard. She straightens herself and draws a blade. It is entirely black. As are her eyes. Black as the darkness between the stars.

Behind her a man steps out. Oliver. He looks the worse for wear. Actually he looks like he got possibly killed and someone had to go retrieve him.

Granted, the Bane is kept in tight check even as it sniffs after the Death Wolf's aura yet. Ambrose's fingers close and loosen on the chair's back as he half-listens to the verbal parries, the other part of his attention devoted to what's…very nearly singing to the curse braided into his person. It is like Kali, but in a different minor key he finds…very nearly beguiling.

Nothing like a sudden portal and then the stumbling arrival of not only a Valkyrie looking frankly like something out of a penny dreadful, but the man least expected to be seen has Ambrose clutching the back of the chair hard again. He straightens in transparent surprise — but only for a second or two.

Then comes the sudden low and shockingly loud rumble of a growl out of him, far deeper than should be managed from a human's chest. The Bane sizzles up beneath his skin as his canines show more sharply too than the standard shape. Whatever he manages to force out of his teeth isn't English and it isn't polite in the least, clipped and ancient in tongue.

Astryd moves to the cabinet when Fenris gives her the sandwich and pours herself a stiff drink. Looking at the others she holds the decanter up - does anyone want one? She knows Fenris' children don't think highly of her.

It doesn't matter.

"So you're stealing their power. It matters not. I hope you realise how dangerous what you're doing is." The blonde murmurs.

It's polite indifference the blonde considers Kamduis with as she drops her news, Astryd's jaw clenching at the scene the Death Wolf projects. "*You* say that the Valkyior are missing and offer this as proof. That's one Valkyrie who seems to be corrupted. I'm assuming you're going to tell me that your brother has done this and you've had no hand in it."

She is assessing the scene though, trying to work out where that was.

"What you're trying to get us to assume is that Gurim-Ur has a host of Valkyries at his beck and call?"

"Astryd." It's a one word reproof from Fenris. While it is possible that Kamduis is in league with Gurim they haven't seen any evidence of that and in any case she's shifting from annoyed into out and out hostile. Fenris is trying to draw her back.

"By your own admission it's not something you'd hear ordinarily." Kamduis says. "And no, I didn't have a hand in it. What interest would I have? I am claiming my power as creatures like me always do. If you dislike predation I wonder why you took up with my father."

Ambrose's reaction gets a bit of a chuckle. "Well. That is a little bit more like it. I take it you know one of the people there? It's the man isn't it, you don't seem like you have much to do with valkyries at large, Mister Aetherton. That was quite the growl."

It was. The scene is a bit hard to judge but there are clues. It's in the mountains, in the spring but frost covers the nearby plants when the Valkyr emerges. Those dark eyes and dark blade MIGHT not be the void of course and the best way to tell would be by being present to feel the effect, but if they're not the void then they're something else that's black and probably infectious. Astryd knows full well that this kind of thing isn't normal for the sisterhood and it's unlikely that Odin would have changed it.

"A host? No I don't think so. You and I both know the All-Father wouldn't stand for that. But does he have a dozen? Half a dozen? Maybe. And more importantly does that mean he can interfere with death itself?"

Well if that line of reasoning is true, and that is admittedly an if, then… possibly yes.

"He sits poorly with me."

How Ambrose manages this particular spate of proper language is due to a wrench on himself to bring back propriety and composure, ragged as it is, before his hosts and their guest. He's straightened back up again now behind his chair. It doesn't appear that he wants to throw it at Kamduis — not yet, anyways. The material isn't suffering under his grip for the moment. He still drills a bright carmine-point glare at the Death Wolf and hates how the Bane just wants to cuddle up next to her like the warmth of a fire.

Hearing that potentially a half-dozen to a dozen of beings like Astryd might have gone to the Dark Side doesn't sit well either. It flitters across his face, his thought, clearly an uncomfortable one. He can't help but ask: "…was the man a stalking horse for the manner of retrieval…?"

Astryd drains the glass and fills it again, biting her tongue on anything more. Ambrose gets a glass of the excellent Irish Whisky they keep, the glass pushed across the table towards him as she watches Sandra Ur.

"There are those that the power sits well on." OK. She couldn't hold that one back. "Your father is one of them." And Kamduis is not.

"Not even we can interfere with death, Kamduis. Not in any great way. But your brother could indeed change the direction of things with Valkyries by his side." Ignoring the woman for the moment, Astryd looks to Fenris and Ambrose "I would say she was retrieving him."

"What is your price for bringing us this information, Kamduis?" Astryd is certain there is nothing altruistic about this.

The Death Wolf is a cold flame. A shape glimpsed in the dark. Tantalizing and possibly not entirely real. And she seems to know what Ambrose's curse is doing by the way she slightly smirks. "I would agree with the Raven. He was being retrieved after something unfortunate happened to him."

They were told that Oliver was not to be allowed to die, that it would be disaster. Maybe there are limits to that. Or maybe he didn't die. Maybe he stumbled into something he should not have. That's easy enough to do when one messes with powers beyond the ken of mortal men.

Fenris also nods. "It makes sense. If Gurim has been subverting Valkyir, Astryd, could he intercept souls before they got to their proper destination?"

"I want you to do something about it. Gurim will bring doom on us all if he is not stopped, and if he is subverting Odin's maidens then me confronting him directly is not a good idea. Not yet."

To hear that Oliver possibly died in light of the warning so recently received has Ambrose flicking his gaze to both Fenris and Astryd. They seems less than flustered, so he attempts to keep his heart from ricocheting around his chest. Now the idea of eating another pickle sours his tongue as well as his stomach.

Having no wisdom to commit to the conversation, he simply continues listening, his brows deeply knitted.

"He does not have the look of one dead and raised." Astryd answers. "A detour. Perhaps taken by one of the Underworld or perhaps a misfire on some other endeavour. If he had died …" She shakes her head. She's felt the power in his body and it's disturbing.

"They could, Fenris. You know that. You've seen me do it when we've had to and you know what that's done to Fate."

"You want us to stop him. And do you offer any wisdom on how we might do this?" Astryd snorts. Kamduis is saying she's weak at the moment. The Raven doesn't believe that for a moment.

"Neutralize the Valkyr? You know your sisters. You know how they will likely operate if they're given the chance to do so. And I know you can walk the underways. Perhaps some death gods might become offended that someone is interfering in their business." Kamduis offers.

That's not a terrible idea. Getting Anubis or the Morrigan sufficiently invested in stopping this…

"I wonder if Sedna would talk to us." Fenris looks at Astryd consideringly and then continues. "Then this is potentially quite serious. I'd lay good odds that he's looking for something or someone. Either already deceased or possibly soon to be. Some way they can-"

"I heard the name Janaya mentioned while I was snooping." Kamduis adds.

Fenris freezes. Kamduis doesn't know what she just said but… he does.

Ambrose goes very, very still. A hand barely lifted from the back of the chair to collect the offered whiskey returns to its place. His pose shifts fragile, like the barest crackling spring-ice overtop a deep dark pool. Kamduis will now find pupils nearly entirely subsumed by the Bane's nightshine-red glow aimed dead at her.

"And what a name to be heard. Did you happen to see who mentioned this name, perchance, my lady?" How politely he asks. The underbelly of his words is soft and sweet, cool as the shadow of a cobra's den. "Was it, perhaps, one of the death gods…?"

"So you want to pit me against my sisters." Astryd sighs and pours herself another drink that she gulps down and then pours another. They'll need more whisky after this - maybe she'll take a trip to that delightful place she found in the Scottish highlands to replenish their stock.

"You can see if Sedna will speak with you, my heart. She will not speak with and you know it." At least she won't try to kill Astryd now but still. "And I would be surprised if the other Death dieties are not already aware - they guard their realms jealously."

Notably, the Valkyrie doesn't say she'll do this and it's good that Kamduis mentions Janaya. Falling silent, those cold eyes fall Kamduis, waiting for an answer.

"I am doing no such thing. If Gurim really has them under his sway he will pit you against your sisters whether you listen to me or not." Kamduis says shaking her head. She looks at Ambrose. Oh. Well. That got a reaction didn't it?

"The Valkyr. She said it in a conversation with the man she was with but I do not know the context. I only heard snatches of it."

So it could be entirely coincidental but… do any of them really think that? Do they want to risk it?

"I'd rather not…" Fenris says of speaking to Sedna. "There's friendlier. You may have to take me to see them in their realms though. Even the social ones don't often come out." Because it's not like the dead go anywhere and riding herd on them is a full time job. "Is there anything else Kamduis?"

"No. I won't intrude on your hospitality further. I think I'm driving your Raven to drink?"

White-knuckled, his grip on the chair now. It's rather evident that he's unconsciously wringing someone's neck rather than attempting to strangle the chair's backing. Still, Ambrose endeavors his thin veneer of poise.

"Thank you, my lady," he replies to Kamduis about her more detailed explanation. His smile isn't really a smile, not with how it never reaches his eyes. As if to distract himself, he finally does reach for the whiskey and frankly throws it back in one fell gulp or two, quality be damned. Apparently, Kamduis is driving the Jackal to drink as well.

"I will find her, Ambrose and we will get to the bottom of that." Astryd says tiredly, pouring Ambrose another measure and handing that over as well.

"This is lolly water, Kamduis. However, I extended guest right to you, you are welcome to take your ease beneath our roof." With a glance towards the garden, Astryd considers heading back out there. The sun is out and the air is fresh.

There's now more to do however and Astryd needs to think.

"Another time perhaps. We can share a sandwich." Kamduis says and rises. "I'll be in town for a little while. Something tells me we might be in for a family reunion. Later pops."

Fenris sighs as Kamduis sees herself out. Pops indeed. It's like she's been listening to TV shows from the 70's. Which… given where she was is a possibility.

"Well…" Fenris looks between the two drinking people not quiiit knowing what to say.

He listens, hard, to make sure the footsteps of Kamduis disappear entirely after the front door is entirely shut. The second glass of whiskey is then taken and thrown back with equal lack of care or concern for quality. Behold, the reason why Kent never takes Ambrose to wine tastings. He visibly sucks a canine tooth behind his pinched lips as he sets the second glass down and remains standing behind his chair.

It starts off quietly enough. "I…beg someone, please — remind me again why I cannot simply bring down every manner of — of — WRATH down upon that — that — putrescent, scavenging husk of a whoreson?! How dare he — how DARE HE attempt anything involving her?! I should — FUCK!!!"

Astryd actually shows Kamduis out and doesn't let the door hit her ass on the way out. Such restraint.

She walks back in, just in time to hear Ambroses outburst. "Because if you do, you'll finish mankind and the woman you're so upset about." She says simply, pouring another whisky and handing it to Ambrose.

"We start by finding Thrud, I suppose. I will see what news I can get on my other sisters. That won't go well."

"Yes, it will be rather bad for everything if you do." Fenris says. He looks at Astryd and says quite mildly. "Perhaps he needs something stronger."

He might give Ambrose the Asgardian Ale for this. It might knock him out for a week but that might not be a bad thing.

"I'll go with you. And we can get started soonish." They have one other thing to tend to but the Wolf and the Raven are still sorting that out.

"Whatever you do, don't do anything rash, Ambrose. Oliver is probably counting on that. Now, I'm going to go break out a bottle of Bacchian wine. You can help us drink it."

Because right now it sounds like they'll need it.

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