2020-06-16 - Dream Time


A call from Rachana has Fenris, Ambrose and Astryd responding

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jun 16 05:27:31 2020
Location: East Village

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The message, when it had come, had come from an unexpected source. In flowing script, a plain cardstock invitation read. "Wolf, Raven and Jackal, I have need of you. Gurim's brother, Huzuruth, is near claiming an unexpected victory and only with your help can it be prevented. Come meet me at the park at the end of M-Town. Signed, Rachana."

Rachana, in New York? Curious. Fenris had assumed that she would remain in Indida tending to her goddess and cleaning up the MESS that Gurim made of that. The news that Dire Wolf was close to having an unexpected victory was also unwelcome. That would probably help Gurim and Gurim DIDN'T need any help right now.

So, finding Astryd and Ambrose, Fenris proceeded down to M-Town to an empty and partly ruined park. It's night when he arrives. Rachana is standing in human guise - and flattering western clothing - under one of the few functional lights in the park. There doesn't seem to be anyone about but she looks anxious.


The name had been breathed with the tightness of unexpected worry and nearly through his teeth when Ambrose had been informed of this invitation. Of course, he'd immediately gathered the necessities: revolvers at his hips, knives secreted in places only a thief would recognize, and the golden ring within quick reach of his field jacket's pocket. Dark fatigue pants are tucked into combat boots and, with that, the silver-haired Jackal accompanies both the Raven and Wolf to this park. Its incomplete state and shadows gone deeper for the lack of proper lighting has the fine hairs on his neck rising.

If Rachana doesn't recognize him in their arrival by the reflective nightshine gleam from his pupils, full of Bane-glow, maybe it'll be the smile just a touch too concerned — or how his voice rises in quiet greeting to her in a familiar tongue they spoke as Harbingers: "«Rachana, it is us. You are well?»"

Astryd arrives Fenris, her usually stern countenance even sterner. She's not asked or said anything since Fenris found them.

Anyone who was just looking at her would see a blonde woman in jeans and t-shirt. Completely unarmed and supposedly harmless. Until they felt the aura coming from her.

"You wanted to see us, Rachana."

«I am well yes, but there is one who is not.» Fenris and Astryd understand it perfectly because, well… All-Tongue. Which is good but… one who is not? There is no one here.

Rachana moves her hands in a gesture. "Yes, Astryd and I thank you all for coming. A moment and I will show you what has me so concerned…"

A spell goes off. A small one meant to reveal hidden things. And such a hidden thing is revealed. There is a snake in this park. An ENORMOUS snake. Its scales are all the colors of the rainbow and it is so large that it actually takes up MOST of the park behind them. The head - which is the size of a city bus - is about ten feet away. And it is wounded. It is wounded and bleeding from a dozen gashes.

The MOMENT Astryd sees it her Maeljin begins to prod her. A serpent. This is perfect. It must have venom. Power. Something she can take into her. Something she can use.

Never before has this spirit tried to push Astryd to END another being.

"It came to me asking for help. It is wounded and dying and when it dies Huzuruth will take its power. And it is VERY powerful. But if it can be saved, I think it will help us. Right now it is… well…"

She points to the being and there are what look like leeches on it. Leeches the size of sleeping bags but still. They aren't leeches though. Astryd knows them as a particular kind of spiritual parasite native to the Underworlds. Ghost Eaters that drain unfortunate souls that wander from the safer and more populated portions of the lands of the dead.

One who is not? Ambrose tilts his head in a canid-like gesture and immediately searches the area around the Naga, his eyes narrowed. Back to her he looks again, in time to see the magic enacted. The curtain falls and he stares, eyes wide enough that the lamp's light reflects in them.

"Ruddy hell…" he breathes, having never seen a serpent so large. His brows meet and his nose wrinkles, lip lifting to flash a touch of teeth in disgust at the leeches.

"It must not pass then, not if this is what fate it is doomed to," he says to the others. "I may be able to offer it healing, but mine is an unkind process. It will not be painless."

Astryd is already putting herself in a guard stance - ready to protect Fenris, and Ambrose, if needed. With the spell going off, she's already on alert so the maeljin doesn't quite take her by surprise.

"I want it …." The valkyrie still growls, taking a step towards the poor creature but catching herself.

"I can't be here. Send me home, Fenris …" the parasites get a look and she shakes her head. "I … those are not easy to remove."

"I can't." Fenris recognizes the the Ghost Eaters as well. They're difficult to deal with even for one like him. For one, if you just pull them off without killing them they have a tendency to latch onto a new victim, usually the person who pulled them off. On the other hand, killing them while attached to the host can have some… severe effects.

"I need you to deal with those, you're the only one who can manipulate the energies to do it." The Old Wolf says to Astryd even as the Maeljin muses on the possibilities of absorbing that much power.

"Please, Ambrose." Rachana implores. "Do what you can. It must not die."

Ambrose MIGHT catch Fenris muttering something about 'what the hell is the Rainbow Serpent' doing here. Astryd of course probably recognized it right away.

Astryd's struggle is of clear concern to the Jackal. While he doesn't have the golden ring on and allowance of the Anti-Bane's presence, he knows of what is making her struggle and the Bane rises in concert with his nervy state.

His eyes flicker to Rachana and then to the Serpent itself. "I will do as I can. If there is anything I should know about this…Rainbow Serpent?" A lilt to his voice imparts a lack of knowledge along with his words. "Please, do inform me. I do not look to be eaten this evening." Carefully, avoiding the hanging bag-leeches, he walks over to the nose of the creature. It looked big from far away, but this close? It strains his sense of 'big'.

"«I am sorry, but do trust me,»" he says very quietly in ancient Persian even as he reaches his hand up. Softly, his palm lands, and immediately, the Bane surges to nibble — until its master spins its polarity from 'take' to 'give'. In surges life-force to the creature's scales and head and…frankly…it probably stings a little. Ambrose has his eyes shut, brows furrowed in concentration, and his free hand hangs fisted beside his thigh, knuckles white.

The Maeljin writhes in satisfaction as it hears what Astryd has to do. It will feed on those energies and cause her to slip, making her kill the creature and imbibe the venom.

"You do not know what you ask." The blonde says, hanging her head. Her lord has commanded though and she is loyal.

"The Rainbow Serpant is the giver of life. It is said that she carved out the mountains and gullies of Australia with her body." The Valkyrie says to Ambrose. "Those creatures on her are spiritual parasites. They are draining her essence … I … can manipulate the energy, as Fenris says but someone will have to remove them as I do and kill them."

"It's a god, essentially…" Fenris says as he moves around it carefully. Mostly he stays near the head. If this thing starts thrashing he's going to need to be able to try to control and wrestle it though this thing is bigger than he is even at his largest.

"I can help with that Raven. Just do it."

Ambrose can feel the creature's awareness but it does not speak or give any indication that it understands. As the Bane begins to push life into it - rather roughly - he can feel the creature taking it in. And then he has a problem. Once started, the current is like, well, a current. Drawing more and more life faster and faster. Ambrose will have to struggle to regulate it. To not give too much too fast. And to not have his own life force caught up in the draw which might be… problematic.

Astryd can sense the fat leeches and their feasting. These are not smart but she knows they'll react the moment she begins her work. And react they do. They start to poison the serpent, pushing unlife into it to compel it to attack her. They're going to have to push a lot into it but there are quite a lot OF them so Astryd and Fenris are going to have to work quickly.

There's a delicate balance here and if it had not been the long years of keeping Kent, if not himself, alive, the Jackal would be struggling mightily. As it stands, he can feel the balance of give and take and wrests control back into his own hands. As he does, the grass beneath him (if any) and around him begins to drain. Its green fades away, it crisps and wilts, and the circle is expanding on the earth itself.

Sweat is just beginning to stand at his temples as he regulates his breathing, the better to keep the flow steady as he directs the excess energy of today's earlier subway ride towards the Serpent. Not yet has it begun to tap his own.

"Do not hesitate to hurt me, my heart, if I should loose control." Astryd murmurs, taking her place by the serpent. "Be still my friend, we will see you well again. I need to resist when they respond to my power."

The feel of power when Astryd works is chilling and dusty. The scent of the tomb obvious. To get the leeches to let go, she has to pump power into them - make them gorge so they will loosen their grip on the serpent. Which also means they have more power to sink into the Rainbow Serpent.

It's hard work and she can feel as the serpent stirs "Nearly, my sweet one … nearly …"

Fenris starts to chomp the disgusting parasites as Astryd pries them off one by one and yes, Astryd needs to resist. The serpent seems to start to recover. Its color brightens. Near where Ambrose is standing one eye opens. One vertically slitted eye. There's a thrum of power that goes through the earth.

But it isn't over yet. It's working but the poison that these things are pumping into the serpent is also doing its work and now Ambrose and Astryd start to feel it well. A sapping not of the body but of the spirit and the will. It grows more powerful with each passing moment and if either of them lose control not only will this not work, but Fenris might have to kill them.

"Almost…" Rachana murmurs.

Ambrose recognizes the lethe pervading his limbs as soon as he feels his knees think about buckling — about how nice it would be to stop and to take a nap — to just lie down and rest for a little, a few hours…day…years, what difference would it make? There's a twitch of his head as if he were warding off a buzzing fly and his teeth appear in a slim showing of grit. Relaxation follows after a second and then another setting of his body, more of his weight leaned into his palm. This must be Kent weighing in from afar, bolstering him with the enormous font of willpower known to the mentalist.

Now the Serpent draws on the last third of the excess life-force available to the Jackal.

Fenris can feel as Astryd fades - but it's not a fading like he's used to. She's weakening, yes, but the maeljin is starting to exert more influence. The pace of removing the parasites slows as the Valkyr struggles to keep it down.

Then she slips and reaches for the pendant that Fenris wears, tugging it to tear it from his neck. His moonsilver blade - she'll drive it into the heart of the serpent.

It's a good thing, then, that Fenris has been chomping and that pendent isn't really available but the act itself causes the Wolf God to rather roughly nudge Astryd. "Focus. Only two more." Whether she recovers or not he simply ends the last two and the poison coursing through the Serpent instantly abates. Ambrose feels life suddenly RUSH back into him as if someone had opened a flood gate. His Bane may struggle to keep up.

Astryd though finds the Serpent staring right at her. It opens its mouth and fangs unhinge. She can see Venom. And she hears or rather feels a command.


It's like being hit with a tidal wave of champagne and starlight, stronger even than Asgardian life-force. Ambrose makes a hollow sound as if he were punched and immediately falls to his knees, gone trembling as the Bane attempts indeed to absolutely glut itself on the near-depthless ocean of godly life-force.

His heart slams off his chest with enough force to steal his breath from his lungs and it's only when his own body chokes him into inhaling roughly that he manages to tear away his palm from the Serpent's nose. Back he flumps to the browned grass, appearing like the offspring of a half-drowned kitten and someone flying kite-high on a huge hit of drugs.

"Bloody fffffffuck," he slurs, feeling around as if he can't find the ground and then working at getting to his feet, his joints only now stiffening up from rubber. He knows there's a knife — and he knows there's giant teeth — and he says, very confused, "Rachana…?" — as if she might have the answer for what he's now staring at. It's all hyper-gleaming with feverish sight anyways.

Astryd stumbles when Fenris nudges her but it's all she needs to get her to focus. The parasites drop off and Fenris chomps on them, leaving Astryd to sway on her feet.

"No. It wants me too…" She fights the command of the Serpent but with the combined urging of the maeljin, the Valkyr can't help herself. Gathering the venom in cupped hands, she does drink. It's bitter and acidic … burning her tongue and throat as she gulps it down …

"Hush, Ambrose. Watch." Rachana says as she moves over to… well not quite pick Ambrose up but definitely be there for support if needed.

The draught of venom goes down, burning and bitter, yes. And suddenly Astryd hurts. She hurts like she has never hurt in her life before. And the maeljin hurts too. Worse. It catches fire, though it's the kind of fire that can't be seen, and the markings on Astryd's chest and abdomen burn away and flake off like ash. The serpent closes its mouth.

Oh also, Astryd is now a snek woman because… of course she is.

"Raven?" Fenris says carefully. "Ambrose? Are you alright?"

Ambrose once tried a rattlesnake shot, but as he stands beside Rachana, not needing her supportive poise just yet, he admits that it was probably nothing like what he's seeing now. The man's nose wrinkles. Madness!

"I…" A clearing of throat before he continues replying to Fenris. "I feel as if I have had enough black tea to set an elephant to tap-dancing and may be able to see more colors than I have before, but otherwise, I am fine." Rainbow Serpent life-force highs, man. "What of Miss Astryd?" He doesn't dare to take another step closer, not with this God-Snek alive and kicking and its mouth which is far too big for his comfort — and not to mention those fangs!

Astryd screams at the pain. Exhausted as she is, there's nothing left. Hunching over and wrapping her arms about herself, the Valkyrie finally falls to silence keeping her head bowed so her blonde hair shrouds her face.

"I …. " her voice is hoarse and she coughs a little. "I …. thank you, my friend." She addresses the Rainbow Serpent. "I am in your debt."

To the others, the snek-Valkyrie, shudders "I … will live. But I'd very much like to go home …"

"You've got a snake allergy I swear." Fenris says as he lifts the Valkyr-naga up and onto her… er. Not feet. Upright.

The Rainbow Snake bows its great head once and then seems to fade as if a dream, leaving the park empty.

"Well. I would say we should leave. I've got some good news when we get home. Perhaps you'd both care to come for a drink? Ambrose? Rachana?"

A glance over at the true Naga and then Ambrose rubs a hand down the side of his face, the better to scratch at his jawline briefly with blunt nails. Of course the five o'clock shadow is moonsilvered.

"Kent is aware of the status of things, so this would be best, I think. Rachana, you will come along? We have not seen you in some time. Surely you have further information to share with us? That is…" He peers at where the gigantic snake once more, mouth moving soundlessly for a second. "…that will fit in the confines of their home."

A look is shot at Fenris and Astryd, as if to silently complain about the utter weirdness of their lives lately.

"Or a curse …" the Valkyrie says weakly, leaning against the God Wolf and curling her serpentine coils about his feet. "The good news is … I think … the maeljin was burned away with that. That which it wanted to consume, consumed it."

"Home. Please." And she might relax in the pool until these effects wear off.

And yes, Ambrose, their lives are weird. But then, Astryds and Fenris' life have always been weird.

"I may. It will at least fit in their homes." Rachana confirms.

"Well then, let's go." Fenris opens a way. One more bit of weirdness for Ambrose to put up with and then he can have a stiff drink.

They're all probably going to need one.

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