2020-07-15 - Ask Not


It's time to decide what to do with the Bell

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Jul 15 06:37:37 2020
Location: New York

Related Logs


Theme Song



Ambrose, Fenris and Zee had agreed to meet in a couple of days unfortunately a couple of days has become over a week. Things had transpired to delay Zee but at least it gave Ambrose time to look at the journal and find the references to the jewel that was worth weeping for. The jewel that is now in his possession.

Fenris might have found out more about the Bell.

Given the weather is nice, Zee has suggested Central Park as a place to meet. There's a number of areas they can have some privacy and she'll get to enjoy the sun and fresh air.

She's sitting at a bench, throwing seed to some birds as she waits. On the table there's takeout coffee and donuts.

"No tea? Miss Zatanna, tsk." Ambrose approaches from the right side towards the bench, his pace languid and full of no hurry whatsoever. He's dressed rather like he was for the initial acquiring of the tearful jewel: a dark blazer overtop a light-weight button-down shirt and dark jeans tucked into combat boots. His temples still haven't darkened, leaving them silvered as he once was. "But donuts. Perhaps I will forgive you after all," he continues in the fencer-like manner of tease in his habits. He seats himself at the far end of the bench and plucks out a chocolate-coated donut, the standard in make and model.

"Early each day to the steps of St. Pauls the little old bird woman comes. In her own special way to the people she calls: Come buy my bags full of crumbs. Come feed the little birds, show them you care, and you'll be glad if you do. The young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare. All it takes is tuppence from you."

It is possibly slightly odd to hear that in Fenris' voice as he approaches and possibly ever so slightly creepy since the first part of that song is most definitely in a minor key but it must be said that he doesn't let Miss Roberts down even if he does sing it deeper than she could ever manage. It is also a playful dig at Zee's choice of pass time but then it wouldn't be Fenris if he did not make one.

"Mmmm. Doughnuts. Hello you two."

"I suppose you were around when that was written." Zee smiles as she greets the God Wolf and Gentlemen thief. "And yes, Leuitenant, coffee, not tea. I'm an American, not a brit." Actually, Zatanna's ethnicity is a good question - but she definitely identifies as American.

"Help yourselves, I got you both coffee and sufficient donuts, I hope." When the pair join her fully, Zee looks between the pair. "I hear you two found a new artifact the other day." There had been a few reports in the various media columns and a photo of Fenris waiting for the police to arrive. Zee does wonder how that went.

"We need to decide what to do with them before we go chasing anymore, I think. The Bell is my biggest concern - returning it to its owner is out of the question, obviously but it needs to be put somewhere where it won't be found. The question is where… "

No donut in his mouth when he speaks, of course, but a spackling of chocolate icing at one corner, yes: "Fenris, good to see you. I would have thought you had been arrested by now, but did they dislike your cologne so much?" Ambrose smiles benevolently after he asks his teasing question.

He does behave enough to fall silent and glance over at the magician as she speaks. "Indeed, I would say we did fine such a thing." Fenris gets another look, this one more conspiratorial and just that touch reprimanding — think fast indeed. "I do still this Bell hidden away," the master-thief notes. "If you have not found it yet, I think it well-hidden."

"As it turns out they were not particularly eager to have the extended attention of law enforcement which meant the only other option was to attempt to intimidate me." Fenris chuckles. That had rather failed before it began and he wound up leaving with the check that the man who had nearly given away his entire life savings had written. He still has it. Maybe he'll get it framed. It might be worth something someday.

"If you think it can remain hidden where you have it all well and good though you may want to hear more of what I have found before you decide if you do. The Bell contains some of the essence of Ikonn and Ikonn that entire circle of beings is very prone to have the attention of two others. I'm not sure if you have heard of either Gaea or Hoggoth. Both are primordial beings though of very different origins and neither are - thankfully - strictly speaking evil. In fact if any such beings may be said to be on humanity's 'side' it is probably they. However one does not gain the attention of such powers without consequence and that Bell tends consequently to be someone consequential."

He did that on purpose. Look who can conjugate.

That check is worth something now and if Zee knew Fenris had it she'd been giving him the 'eye'. Or perhaps just face palming.

"I'm sure the bell is safe for the mo—-" Zee peters out and lets Fenris speak. "I'm familiar with Hoggoth, yes. He, Aggamoto and Oshtur are the beings that confer the mantle of the Sorcerer Supreme. They are beings not to be taken lightly and honestly, most of us prefer to avoid their attention."

It's not that they mean to cause harm but … you know … they look at the 'big' picture and miss the macro details.

How the master-thief grins to hear of the outcome of someone attempting to intimidate Fenris. "Well done then," he murmurs crisply. One of the white napkins arrived with the donuts is plucked and his fingertips as well as lips cleaned while Ambrose listens, his brows quirked in both interest and concern.

"Hmm. Gaea sounds familiar, if only because the name has been used by many to mean many things over the decades. Hoggoth…again, it rings a memory of a book Kent has in his library," the Jackal says. He glances over at Zatanna. His eyes light at the other two names listed and he snaps fingers sharply. "Yes, those are the others. We…are careful not to draw his attention, this Sorcerer Supreme."

Ambrose looks vaguely uncomfortable before he readjusts his posture on the bench to a self-confident slouch, arms lightly crossed. "The Bell may still be safe. It is dependent on how much power these beings have at their disposal."

Somebody doesn't quite understand the sheer gigawattage of reality-warping madness at their disposal, apparently.

"Thank you, Ambrose." Fenris smiles and takes a doughnut. It takes him a few moments to finish it and for those few moments he is silent on matters both great and small. Chocolate demands attention after all and the day that humans learned to combine cocoa and sugar they invented something that by itself seals their worthiness to ascend to higher realms.

"The Sorcerer, whomever it happens to be at the moment, is a mortal and can be reasoned with. It's the Elder Beings you don't want to be speaking to. Gaea, or Oshtur as she is known in magical circles, is to slightly misquote a very good book 'Iarwain Ben-adar'. Eldest and fatherless. She is a benevolent being but her attention is perilous. Hoggoth the Hoary only slightly less so. And the Bell has a way of being involved in rather momentous events. And more to the point, so does its owner."

There's a short pause. "Of course it might be nothing or it might work out for the best. If you are still keen to hold onto it then you're saving us a lot of trouble but I would be quite remiss after all you have done for me if I didn't at least read you the fine print."

"I agree. There was a reason that Selim hid the Crown away, not even trusting it to the Shadowcrest archives. And I'm almost certain that that isn't as perilous as the Bell." Zee murmurs, taking a cinnamon donut and biting into it carefully.

"I'm convinced that should they wish, the Vishanti would just walk through Shadowcrests defenses like they didn't exist. If you think where you have the Bell is safe, Ambrose, then … I'll not argue but you really need to consider it."

It's likely that Ambrose is unaware of the sheer power of these being, it's true.

"If however, you think that it's not, we need to decide where to take it."

Ambrose can be seen to almost deflate as he sits there on the bench. With this subtle slump comes an irritated set to his jaw and brows.

"You both appear to be telling me that for all I have done, it shall be for naught. What in the bloody hell. No, I do not want to keep this Bell if it will bring my person to the attention of beings who can simply flounce through wardings as if it were a walk through a tulip field. Kent would not let me hear the end of it."

The true fount of fear revealed: the other half.

"It is hidden in a crypt in a graveyard here in New York. The Fae cannot pass upon hallowed ground. This, I know myself." Cold shivers dance up his spine at memory even as he sighs. "It has been safe from them at the very least."

"Not for naught. It was necessary to hide it. And I am confident it will remain hidden from the people we will hide it from. The next step of course is making sure that your life does not become the subject of someone's great novel series. You know what they say about interesting times, Ambrose."

Reading about them is always more fun than living in them.

"Zee might be…" Fenris looks at her. "Slightly overselling the possibility that the Vishanti themselves will just decide to pay you a visit or go to retrieve the bell on their own. Had they wanted that they could have easily have done so by now. And it's not really their style. And truth is I don't know what will happen myself. All I can be sure of, and what I am telling you, is that SOMETHING will happen and that SOMETHING will be important."

And here is the thing about important things… they're usually important because a lot of things change very quickly. It was an important day, for example, when JFK was assassinated.

"We should decide what to do with it then. And I do mean we. Were I to handle it for too long everything I'm telling you now would just be my lot tenfold. Do you have any-"

Fenris' voice momentarily goes muted as a rook comes down to take some of the seed that Zee had been tossing to the sparrows and pigeons. It takes a little bit and then looks up at Ambrose. "Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls."

And then it is gone. Neither Zee nor Fenris will have heard that.

"Ambrose? Ambrose?" Fenris appears to have kept talking and just noticed that Ambrose couldn't hear him.

"Maybe I am, but …" Zee resists the urge to poke her tongue at Fenris. She's an adult and adults don't do those things. "I wouldn't say for naught, Ambrose, but you've already found one more artifact and you've a journal full of others…."

As Fenris begins to speak again, Zee takes a sip of her coffee and listens.

"Ambrose? Are you alright?"

More and more dry the expression on Ambrose's face gets as he listens. Goddamned portents and visions and beings interfering in his busy life — all he wanted to do was enjoy the fun of potentially outwitting the Fae because //screw those bastards right up the — //

But wait. Where did the sound go? The Jackal squints and reaches up to snap beside his own ear to test, but just before he does so, the bird speaks. He stares at it. His mouth forms a silent, flabbergasted 'wha' and then, like a magic trick, the rook is gone.

By all appearances, the master-thief appears to have come out of a short trance for how he blinks and sits up abruptly, almost like he wants to pull his combat boots up onto the bench itself.

"Did you — the bird — the talking bird, the rook, it said something — " He looks between Zatanna and Fenris with eyes gone wide enough to flash Bane-crimson in his pupils now.

"Bird?" Fenris looks where Ambrose is looking and… nooooo. Well yes. There were sparrows but not a rook. He would have noticed that. No rook. And definitely no talking rook.

"What did it say?" Fenris asks slowly. He's not thinking that it is just an artifact of Ambrose's imagination though, well… it could be. But given everything he just said about consequential events it probably isn't.

"Did you see anything Zee?"

"Bird? Rook?" Zee shakes her head as she watches Ambrose. "It spoke?" Fenris is asking the right questions, so Zee doesn't repeat it. Ambroses red eyes get a quirk of the brow, though.

"Rooks, like Crows and Ravens, have some supernatural affinity. But there isn't a rook here now. Nor did I see one." The mage is thoughtful as she turns around to look. Nope, just the sparrows and they aren't spooked as you might expect them to be.

It's the complete lack of response in the sparrows which has Ambrose's heart just about doing a tap-dance beneath his voice box. His throat works carefully as cold sheets of goosebumps race over him. Humans can be excellent liars — case in point with himself. Animals tend towards brutal honesty and reaction.

"It…" He sounds faint. A sharp clearing of his throat and the Jackal forces his boot-soles down on the ground. "It said, 'Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls.' I could not tell if the voice was male or female." His eyes flick up from the nonchalance of the sparrows pecking away. "You truly did not hear it? Either of you?"

"No, nor see it." Fenris says rubbing his chin for a moment in thought. "Curious though. I could see a spirit perhaps getting away with that kind of trickery but I don't really know any such spirits that might be inclined to misquote John Donne. Or who would even know who that is…"

He thinks a bit more. "Hrm. And it appeared to you. I wonder…" It could be related to the bell. Or it could just be Ambrose's slightly outrageous luck.

The Old Wolf turns his eyes toward the ground near the sparrows and stands. "I don't see any evidence of a spell near us. But…" He looks back at Ambrose and frowns. "I DO see a newly formed thread of fate going off… somewhere."

Possibly Zee and Ambrose can track that. Well. Zee can track it and Ambrose will be needed to experience it.

"I sense no magic." Zee agrees "It could be a spirit - and if it's appearing as a Rook, then that's possibly telling. Then again, it could just be playing with you. That's a strange thing for it to say as well."

"I know several legends, tales, that involve Corvids and the like. None of them really snap to mind in this instance, though." When Fenris says he can see a thread of Fate, Zee quirks a brow. "Well, shall we see where that heads then? If it's new …"

She doesn't really wait for an answer, arcane blue energy forms about her hands and her eyes glow bright blue as she starts to cast. Symbols form in answer to the spell she casts and the thread of Fate becomes tangible.

They sense no magic. They saw nothing and heard nothing. Ambrose thins his lips and lets out a long-suffering sigh with just a hint of graveled noise beneath it. Peace — he had peace for so short a time. Kent's going to give him That Look.

"Do let's…" he still murmurs, mustering up his stiff and steely British spine and upper lip as he rises to his feet. With a wariness, he watches Zee at her work and once her incantation is complete, he looks around for the thread of Fate no doubt bisecting him if not emerging from him entirely.

It is, indeed, as though Ambrose is tangled in ethereal yarn. Fenris walks around Ambrose and then puts his finger on a silvery thread emerging from him. "This one." He looks it over and cants his head this way and that.

"Ambrose when I do this…" Fenris plucks it like a guitar string and well… Ambrose can feel that. It is not an unpleasant sensation though it is also not really a pleasant one. It reverberates almost in his very bones and when Fenris does that Ambrose can see a temple deep in the African jungle. It is stone and overgrown but still shimmers with power. Something dark reaches out for at. A shadow of a man wearing a bladed crown, though Ambrose cannot see who is casting it.

Zee on the other hand might notice something entirely different. Something is vibrating. A semi-mystical energy field that is always present but usually calm known as the Morphogenic field. That thread is all but made of it.

"Huh…" Zee cants her head, a dark tress falling over her shoulder in a curl as she does. "Will you look at that … I've heard about this and seen it once but never quite so strongly …"

That's probably not comforting to Ambrose as Zee continues to study the strand. "Have you ever heard Noetic Science, Ambrose? It's the study of how beliefs, thoughts and intentions affect the world. If you take part of that science, it's thought that mass consciousness manifests in a form of energy. Energy called a Morphogenic Field. That thread that Fenris is playing with is made of it … "

She's not quite decided what that means just yet but "I'm fairly sure it means that you created that thread, or someone did, simply by intending to do something."

Visually, the skein of his Fate-threads is always awe-inspiring to Ambrose. He's seen it in abstract a time or not, through Kent's eyes, and the man's own visualization of Fate is different than this. When Fenris plucks at the strand, the Jackal almost rises on his toes; his shoulders definitely rise to his ears in a quick flick as more goosebumps run down his spine and then he's seeing something else by the slack in his face.

Thick heat. Leaves. Old stone. Ancient stone. Shadows darkened by light brightened. Power worn with sharp tines. The taste of magic on the back of his tongue.

A blink and New York washes back into his view. "Noetic science?" he echoes, looking at Zatanna. She goes on to explain it and he sucks on a canine tooth behind closed lips as he processes the information. "I feel that if I had intended such a thing, I would have had to put enormous intent behind it…? Or is it more the…purity of the intent? That one did not think twice and simply did?"

"I have to wonder if it was something that you intended to do, or something that you WILL intend to do…" Fenris murmurs, refraining from plucking that thread again though it is quite tempting. "The thread is slightly out of phase…"

He's about to go on when he sees the look on Ambrose's face. As if he had been a moment somewhere before.

"What is it?" Noetic science. A field he prefers far more than Goetia which more often than not ends poorly.

"The thread is certainly out of phase. I couldn't say whether that's usual or not - this isn't something that many get to see." Zee agrees, watching Ambrose. She saw him vague out and nods to encourage his answer. "Where were you?"

"Is it possible, Fenris, that the thread does not belong to Ambrose? That it is someone elses intent that has forged it? I'm not the expert on Fate, I'm afraid." So she'll defer to his … extensive experience.

"Out of phase…" mouths the Jackal before looking down at this particular thread. He's tempted to see about plucking it himself, but has this impression that it might be akin to pulling on a strand of one's own hair, and elects not to do so. Instead, he shifts his attention between Fenris and Zatanna once more, standing as he is.

"When Fenris touched the thread, I saw another place. I do not know if I recognize it, not just yet, but I recognize where it is by the plants. I think it to be found in Africa. It was a temple, very old, with much of the native growth upon it, but I tasted magic." An unthinking smack of lips at the memory of this. "There was a man wearing a crown with spires upon it. A darkness reaching." He frowns. "But if I have not done what I intended, how does this thread exist?"

"An old temple, in Africa." Fenris considers. "Well, if that temple is connected to that thread of fate, we might be able to locate it." In fact they might be able to do so now. But why would Ambrose have seen it. Clearly he has some connection to it, or he does now even if he did not before. But what is it?

"It certainly COULD be someone else that has connected to him. The fact that it seems to have appeared after Ambrose had a vision or similar suggests that is most likely." Beat. "The Morphogenic Field is often linked to Hoggoth, is it not?"

As Fenris asks that he touches the thread again and THIS time… pain. Not searing, no. Or well, not intense. It does feel a bit like burning though. And Ambrose can smell fire and blood. And hear howls. It may take him a moment to realize that somehow, he's picking up on FENRIS' own fate through the thread that he's touching. Ragnarok.

"An old temple in Africa …." Zee frowns "With some preparation I can help you scry it but I'm not sure we want to. Scrying is a double edged sword … whatever we find at the other end might be able to find us …" And sometimes that just not preferable.

"It is, yes, Fenris. Though as you pointed out earlier - it's not something he's likely to interact with directly. It's more like an … aura … I guess. What are you thinking, though?"

"Is it?" Linked to Hoggoth, Ambrose wants to know, even as he's glancing over at Zatanna. He misses the reach of the Dread Wolf's touch to the thread once more and his face slackens before it suddenly clutches tight in horror. Teeth are bared, back to the canines and farther, as he cringes, grabbing at his own biceps as he feels the heat and crisp — scents burnt material and spilt ichor — tastes it on his tongue even as New York's atmosphere again falls to the temporary hang of bestial cries —

— and he's back with a sharp gasp, feeling cold sweat at his temples and between his shoulderblades. Fenris gets a shocked stare now; daylight flashes again carmine in the Jackal's pupils. "…fire and blood, howls," he wheezes at the Old Wolf. Zatanna is given the same rendition of the look a second later as if SHE could explain what the hell he just saw.

Fenris jerks his hand back and looks at Ambrose. "Ahem…" He knows what Ambrose just saw and it probably won't take Zee much to figure it out either. He doesn't ask if Ambrose is alright. It's unlikely the poor guy would be after seeing that. Fenris often isn't alright when he sees that.

"Sorry about that…" He murmurs. "Curious, though, that you picked that up…" Curious is PROBABLY not the word Ambrose wants to use right now.

"I am thinking that I was just saying that the owner of that damn bell tends to get caught up in things. What if HOGGOTH intended something and Ambrose… well. Is the intended, pardon the pun."

"Uh… Fenris …" Zee looks at the God Wolf and puts a hand on Ambroses arm. She … doesn't know about the Bane, after all. "Are you alright, Ambrose?" It's a caring question.

"You might be right, Fenris and it makes sense in a mystical sort of way … " The dark haired mage turns a look on Ambrose. "What is it, you would like to do?"

Unfortunately, Zatanna in her well-meaning laying of palm upon the Jackal's arm will be nipped by the Bane. It's been lingering under the man's skin since the first vision and it tries its best to leave pins-and-needles in her fingers before its host reels it back in. A grimace given to the magician.

"So sorry, I was not minding the curse." Surprise! He smoothly side-steps a few times to grant both her and Fenris more space as the ancient curse still ends up settling just beneath his skin once more, riled up by his nerves.

"What would I like to do? I would like to get the ruddy Bell as far away from myself and my family as I can manage. I understand how Fate tends to strike as it does, but I do not appreciate it," he says, crisply and coldly. As if he could really lambast Fate, but weirder things have been successfully enacted. "Where is this better place you both were thinking it should remain instead?"

"That we don't know yet. If we had surely we wouldn't have subjected you to this." Fenris says. "But I know a place to start looking. The Bell was, some fifteen hundred years ago, once kept safe in Alexandria. And, as we seem to have an appointment somewhere in Africa, that might be on the way."

What was it that old hermit had said about the bell? Fenris can't quite remember but something about 'across the desert and through the mountains to the canyon of the crescent moon? Or was it gibbeous moon?' Bah, he'll remember some time. Probably when he's on the can.

"I'm not sure, but I think you're making the right decision, Ambrose…" Zee says, shaking her hand and rubbing her arm from that 'nip'. No touching - she's got it. The apology is waved away - she should have been careful herself.

"Come by Shadowcrest and we'll do some scrying. Unless either of you know another way to determine where that place was …"

"Alexandria? I suppose you've been there …" Zee looks at Fenris and lets out a sigh. "I would kill to have seen the library."

"Shadowcrest Manor first then. I feel scrying would be appropriate, as subtly as we can manage." A nod to Zatanna in respect to her prowess. He knows few with the ability and less with the level of mastery at hand. "Afterwards, to…" On a sigh, Ambrose continues, realizing he's already made up his mind at heart: "…to Africa and Alexandria if we must."

Clever fingers rise to massage at one silvered temple as he makes a quiet scratchy groan of sound. "I will let Kent know to bolster the wardings and to see them to be more sensitive than normal. Shall I bring the Bell to Shadowcrest then or leave it where it currently hides?"

"I have been most places." And Fenris was around when there was still a library. "We can go to Africa but…" There's a very serious pause and he looks both in the eyes. "Only after I bless the rains."

Fenris smiles slowly and takes another doughnut. "Now, let us not dwell TOO much on portents of certain doom. It's bad for the digestion and the constitution. Shall we go take care of that before the storm clouds gather too much?"

Zee can answer whether or not she wants that bell in her house.

Zee groans at Fenris. "I'm going to have that song in my head all afternoon now …" She's rather fond of the SNC mashup. She's not sure if he's joking or not but he certainly said that deliberately.

"And no, Ambrose, I do not want the Bell at Shadowcrest. It will be safe for the time being, where it is. We just shouldn't leave this too long."

"Now, enjoy the coffee and donuts and I hope I'll see you both again at one of my shows."

Fenris is given a flat look and slow shake of head eventually betraying the ghost of a smirk. "That was abysmal," Ambrose mutters, but takes another donut nonetheless — two, actually, one for himself and one for Kent in case anyone asks.

"The Bell shall be left where it lies then. Thank you the pastries and coffee, Miss Zatanna. Now, if you shall both excuse me and as the old adage goes…I have some 'splainin' to do." He doesn't quite nail the accent required, but this might be deliberate as well by the faint pleased smile. "Do let me know when to attend upon Shadowcrest." A nod to both and then the Jackal departs.

"I am quite happy to attend one of your shows soon, oh most entertaining witch." Fenris says as he takes a coffee and sits down to drink. He waves to Ambrose as the man departs. And then he smirks at Zee. Bless the rains. Yes. He will do that. He has a synth somewhere. And a pair of 70's specs.

But for now, doughnuts.

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