2020-05-17 - Sheer Dumb Luck


Ford drops in at Luke's after meeting some pixies, only to meet the Greek god of strength. Ford shares what he's learned.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun May 17 00:55:27 2020
Location: Luke's

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If Herc didn't know better, he'd assume all these rifts and events and whatnot were for -his- benefit! After all, a man does not stay a hero by letting the grass grow under his feet. Still, after the events of the other day, it's nice to have a cooling off period. Herc is happily perched at the bar, noshing on a burger, a pint glass of beer at his elbow.

Ford, for his part, was not keen on playing hero. If the other day was any indication, he was not suited for the role. Not that it surprised him, he just didn't like drawing attention to himself. Still, when giant steaming horsemen show up and start wrecking things, it bodes well for the whole city. That means it threatens his home, and now, it's become his problem, if only a bit. Hence the motivation to go out of his way, do some research, and find something intriguing. Little fairy creatures in his neighborhood, of all things.

Fresh off a visit to the little things, he had some new information in tow, and although it sounded nice and ominous, it also meant nothing to him. But he knew someone who might have a clue. After all, he was straight out of mythology himself. Thus, it's with a purpose that Ford strides into Luke's, determined to hopefully get some answers. Now, granted, he wasn't looking for Hercules per se - indeed, he was looking for Hod, who he hoped might have an idea on what to do with his new info. He seemeds vaguely wise, mysterious and long in the tooth, as it were. But Herc would hopefully do just as well. "…holy crap, Hercules?" Ford asked, approaching the bar in shock. "What the heck are you doing here? I… how long have you been here?"

Hercules blinks slowly around his pint mug, as he's taking a pull. Setting it down, he brushes the foam off his beard and mustache with his arm. "What, in here? About… half an hour? It was busy earlier and I was willing to wait for the food." He peers at Ford for a second, before recognizing him from a night of staggering inebriation. "Ah, you're Ford, right? I thought I recognized you. The Irish pub, and that trick you were doing with the shotglasses." He looks rueful. "Truth be told, I don't exactly remember EVERYTHING from that night. I hope I was a gentleman."

"I… no, no, I mean, have you…" Ford paused, giving a moment as he thought back. Hod did seem to be long in the years… by his own admission, if he recalled. "…you know what? I'm just presume Hod knows a lot more than he's let on, and I won't pry." Ford assessed, rethinking his priority in questions and sitting down next to Herc. "You were, I'm positive." Truth be told, Ford was finally getting used to being buzzed again. Greek god or not, it was nice to have someone to drink with for a change. His gaze squinted before blinking.

"And you were in Central Park the other day, right? Wrestling those flaming horse guys that came through that portal." Ford paused a second, realizing he might be giving himself a way a bit before quickly adding to it. "I saw what happened. I was working on a truck across the street when those things came barreling out. You do make quite the display." Technically not lying, and a bit of flattery to throw off the scent. "I'm actually glad I ran into you. What were those things you were beating the crap out of? And what were they doing in Central Park?"

"Fomorians," Herc replies, before taking a bite of his burger. Chewing thoughtfully, before continuing, "As far as I know, aside from being anemic knockoffs of cyclopes, they're native to the First World, the lands of the Tuatha de Danaan. Sometimes called the Fair Folk." He fixes Ford with a surprisingly stern eye. "If you find yourself sitting across from one, take care not to offer, or accept, -anything-. They have rules, but their rules are not always fair to mortals or even heroes." Catching his train of thought again, he says, "As to what they were doing in Central Park, that's an excellent question but one I can't answer. You saw the warriors on horseback — the knights of the Round Table? They continually hedge such creatures in, prevent them from leaving. I wonder if something has changed."

"Tuatha de Danaan? First World?" Ford parroted, tilting his head a bit at at Hercules' description before blinking as he suddenly turned very stern in his instruction. He… hadn't seen Herc sport anything other than a jovial grin in his entire time of knowing him. Then again, how long had he really known him. "Trust me, if my luck is anything to go by, they won't be so generous. And I'm a cheap ass, so-" Ford paused, suddenly remembering that, oh yeah, he might actually have done just that. "Quick question: these residents of this 'First World'… are there pixies there?"

Hercules nods. "Probably. But such small creatures regularly slip into here as well. A thousand tales of missing car keys, annoyed pets, rearranged dishes? If you find one, though, they're relatively easy to befriend." At Ford's slightly startled look, Herc chuckles. "Sorry, friend Ford. Back around, oh, 1200 or so I got caught up in some Fair Folk machinations and it took a while to get untangled. I think they're still peevish about it too." He shrugs lightly. "It could've been worse."

"So, me offering them pizza and slightly melted ice cream isn't me trading in my soul or something, is it?" Ford asked. Come to think of it, did he have a soul? He was half human, but also have demon. Did he have half a soul? Questions for later. "I read somewhere online that some local chick ran into a bunch of pixies at a local pizza joint. I didn't think much of it, but after the other day? Yeah, I was thinking it was related."

Ford patted the bar for a drink of his own. Just a soda. He had a suspicion something like this required some sobriety. "Turns out, she wasn't screwing. They were there. Took some coaxing, but they talked to me after a bit." Ford blinked. Hercules had encountered the Fair Folk before… Fair Folk… could it be? "Another question, then: these Tuatha de… whatever, these Fair Folk. Do they also go by the title of the… what was it? The 'shining ones'? Their little leader, uh… Xun? I think? She seemed pretty insistent that they needed to find these shining ones and warn them about the 'dark ones'. And that sounded ominous as all hell, so… please tell me I'm wrong. Just this one time?"

Hercules laughs. "No, my friend, pixies are not going to steal your soul. Or trade it. They are at worst mild pests, though there are some that can grow dangerous." He frowns, and you can almost see him rummaging through the pages of mental history. "There's the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, which… might translate to shining and dark, I guess. But it's usually in reference to the shifting of the seasons." He taps his fingertip on the bartop. "Perhaps I need to seek these pixies out myself."

"I can take you to where they like to hide. They love pepperoni pizza, so… might be fitting to buy them one and set it out for them. They called it 'tribute'… I just played along." Ford said, shrugging. "You might make more sense of what they told me. They said the 'dark ones are going to attack the shining ones like before'. But they said it wasn't going to be a direct attack. They said the 'Middle Kingdom' was going to be their battle ground. And their leader was super insistent that the Dark Ones can't have some things called the crown, the horn, and the sceptre. Whatever those are. So… I'm guessing these Unseelie are going to attack the Seelie and do so by trying to get their hands on whatever that trio of trinkets is."

Ford paused a minute in his explanation, before an epiphany hit his face. "…oh dammit, Middle Kingdom means Earth, doesn't it?"

Hercules cocks his head at Ford with a sardonic expression. "Well, it could refer to China, or to Egypt… but I suspect a better translation of their words would be 'Midgard'. So, yes. I am not surprised; Earth and its inhabitants are all too often caught in the middle when the Fair Folk clash." His expression, normally jovial, becomes dour. "The good news is that the Fair Folk have -weaknesses-. Strong ones. But first, I think I will need to speak to those pixies." He pauses, then begins eating again. "Eat something," he advises. "I have a feeling we may all be very busy soon."

Ford watched as his soda arrived, nodding and placing in an order for the burger Hercules was eating. "Why is it always Earth? I've lived her 24 years, gotta say, you could probably pick more friendly battlegrounds. Just saying." Ford mused, taking a sip of his drink. "Not a shabby idea. I think they'll respond more favorably to a god of strength than the greatest mechanic in New York. Proud as I am of that title, I don't think it impressed them too much." Ford waved it off a bit. "Keep in mind, heroics isn't really my thing. I'm just a regular guy. But you seemed to be fairing well against those… what were they? Fomorians? You seemed to handle them pretty well. This sounds like a job for Hercules, by my measure."

"It's… complicated. Think of Earth as a crossroads and a point where other worlds can cross over. Like… Grand Central Station, or the airport. This makes it convenient for creatures that do not love or care for its inhabitants to use it as a battleground." Clearly Herc doesn't approve of this. He does smile slightly at Ford's 'regular guy' speech. "And yet, here you are, and the Fates continue to cross our threads. Perhaps there is more in store for you than you realize."

Ford took another sip. "I suppose that means that nobody taught them how to be good house guests. If you venture into someone else's dimension or realm, you don't start wrecking the place and bringing everything down. That's astoundingly uncivilized. And immature." Ford replied, exhaling a bit. "I believe in luck. I'll buy coincidence. But fate? Sorry, fresh out of funds for that. I was thinking of seeking you out for this. Sheer dumb luck brought me here sooner than I planned." Ford said.

"Now, on the off chance that is true, and fate is listening, would it be too much to ask that I get the spotlight I darn well deserve? Racing champion? World class mechanic? Smoking hot wife? My own family? I don't think that's asking too much, is it?" Ford asked, leaning over at Herc as his burger arrived.

He actually chuckles at that. "They don't care, Ford. I didn't use the term 'the First World' casually. At one time they were also called the Firstborn, and it's mankind who's the interfering nuisances to them. Why do you think so many tales caution against dealing with them?"

At the latter bit, which sounds… more frustrated than Herc expected, he lifts an eyebrow. "What? You can't find those things yourself? You don't look malformed, or stupid. Arete only waits for you to catch it, but you can't do so by just standing there."

Ford scoffed a bit. "Then you act like the proper example. You want to call yourself better? You gotta act it. Be above petty nonsense like that." Ford rationalized, clearly set on that mentality. He lifted the burger to his mouth and took a bite, nodding in approval. "Maybe they ain't that great after all."

At the question, however, Ford's grip on his burger loosened a bit, inhaling a little while he chewed. Once swallowed, he shook his head. "Believe me, I've been trying. But every time I try, things seem to shut me down… mutants, in particular." Ford exhaled a bit at that. He was braced for the reaction. He had grown used to it by now. "I've run into a lot who have always, and I mean always, misused their 'special gifts'. And when you're just trying to be a regular guy? You get sidelined a lot by folks who can throw chunks of concrete or weld things by spitting on them, or making plants grow to your will."

Ford took another bite, humming a bit to himself. "I've always thought of myself as good… but I guess, when your live in a world full of super people, 'good' isn't the same as 'good enough'."

Hercules shakes his head. "You're missing the point. It's like… like…" He pauses, and his face grows wry, "… like trying to lecture Zeus on not chasing mortal women. He wouldn't understand, and they won't understand either."

Another pull from his pint mug, before he continues, "Power's not everything. Arete — greatness — is something you pursue, over and over. How was it that line went? 'The relentless pursuit of perfection'? You hone your skill until it shines, because when power fails, skill rarely does."

"Hey, I've got skill! Just not a freakishly large super intellect like Stark or the RESCUE CEOs. Everyone wants to insist they're 'normal people', but I always ask how? How do you know they aren't possessed by some ancient Sumerian god of building stuff or something?" Ford asked, taking another bite of his burger. "Believe me, it's not enough to have skill. If it was…" Ford trailed off on that line. How could he even explain it? To a Greek god, no less? If he recalled right, Hercules was, technically, still part mortal. But where Hercules pursued his godly half, Ford chose to pursue his human side… Ford was already playing out the exchange in his mind. It was a lost cause.

He simply decided to shake his head and exhale. "Yeah. I'll keep all that in mind. Thanks, Herc… it's alright if I call you Herc, right?" Ford asked, immediately glossing over his previous diatribe with that usual cocky demeanor of his. Best to keep that up more often. It was clear, to him, at least, that that was just a lot easier and simpler.

What's disturbing is that pinned under those blue eyes, one might get the impression that Herc is seeing and hearing far, far more than Ford's telling. Indeed, his expression isn't so much irritable or angry as it is… curious?

"Herc is fine," he says, his tone even. "Here," he grabs a notepad from the bar, and scribbles something down. A number? "Let me know when your pixie friends are around for visitors. I might want to swing by." He slides the phone number across to Ford.

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