2020-08-02 - Bounty of the Sea


Hercules and Betty meet on a beach.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: August 2nd, 2020
Location: Long Island, NYC

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Long Island almost seems like a world away from the hustle of New York. Oh sure, it has its own pace and drive, but here on the beaches the tempo seems to slow a bit. A place for men to catch their breath, and recover. Even a god can respect that.

Hercules, for his part, has taken a couple days to cool down. He's not worried about doing something rash — to be honest, doing something rash is kind of his thing. But he's contemplating what the future might bring, while he swims effortless through the surf or spearfishes further out. There's no fear in him of the ocean, but at least he's offering a nod to sensibilities. As he walks up out of the surf, a speared striped bass in hand, at least he remembered to wear swim trunks this time.

Perhaps it was the heat. Perhaps it was that need to just get out of the house and do something not city or work related. Perhaps it was because she could think of nothing else to do - Betty Brant is taking time on the beach as well. She wasn't swimming, but she was training. She decided that, today, she would be one of 'those' people. The odd. The very New Yorker. With wooden sword in hand, the woman practices stances and strikes. Her partially braided and beaded hair is pulled back and away from her face, as her attire is fitting for the sand and surf.

Pink from the sun, shimmering from both work and sea spray, Brant seems more than content to stay in her little world for the time being.

As Hercules advances up onto the beach, he stretches, muscles flexing. Catching sight of a slim form further down the strand, he shades his eyes to get a good look, and smiles appreciatively before cocking his head. That style… hm. He's seen that before. Northerner. Aesir, perhaps? He ambles over to pick up his small pack, before starting to approach the woman, careful not to startle her. It's ALWAYS embarrassing when they break their practice sword on your head.

The Priestess can't help but notice the rather massive figure heading her way. Communal, if not at least conversational, she brings her practice to a close and offers the man a warm smile and open wave. "Good morning." She greets, pausing briefly. There's a squint of her eyes, studying his face before a knowing smirk pressing a dimple into her cheek.

"Hercules, I assume?" Hand out for a shake, she now smiles earnestly. "Betty Brant. It's a pleasure to meet you."

Hooray, recognition! Then again, it's not like Hercules hides from the limelight. He's a superhero crossed with a modern sports star, and he's rapidly adapting to how fast word spreads. "The one and only," Herc replies with a broad smile. Setting his pack down, he offers her his hand to shake. "A pleasure, Miss Brant. I thought I was on my own on this stretch of beach. I guess I was out in the water for longer than I thought."

Betty Brant grips at his forearm instead of his hand alone. Not that her fingers can make a very tight hold, but the older welcomingly is very pressent. She grips, she shakes, she pulls away respectfully. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you or anything. I can head down to another stretch if you'd rather." A glance to his quarry, Brant makes a tick noise with her tongue and even finger-guns toward it. "Nice catch. I didn't know fish like that were anywhere near this place."

Hercules shakes his head. "Believe me, Miss Brant, you could hardly disturb me." He grins, before pulling out a towel and sitting down. "I wasn't objecting in the slightest. Interesting style though… reminds me of Sif in some ways." He inspects his catch, and nods with a grin. "I'm trying to decide whether to cook him here, or take him home with me. There's something… relaxing about fishing and swimming, I find. Even if I don't have the patience for using the rods and mechanisms other fishermen do."

"Good eye. She's one of my teachers." Beaming, perhaps somewhat proudly that the style spoke of its master, Betty shifts about and moves to stand near Herc. Taking a moment to breathe, the woman sits on the sands beside him, digging her feet into the tiny dunes. "I'm not sure if it's legal to cook him here or make a fire bit…but hey. I won't tell if you don't."

"Y'know, I never did much swimming as a kid. Well, besides in a pool. Guess that's what you get for growing up in a city always." Nibbling her lower lip, she considers her words before speaking up. "Hercules, may I ask you something?"

Hercules hmms. "Well, while I have earned some goodwill from the various authorities, I'd hate to get into an argument over something as stupid as a fish. Besides, I have things like spices at home, and utensils." He opens his pack, pulling out a clever little pouch with a freeze-pak in it, and slides the fish in before closing the whole thing back up. "Much easier than hauling nets full of them onto a ship deck, that's for sure…"

Perhaps catching Betty's pensive tone, he turns his head to look at her, one eyebrow rising fractionally. "Ask. I cannot always promise an answer, though."

"Of course." The woman nods. "Well, I was wondering what brought you here? I've been down an amazing but twisting road for about a year now. Speckled with things I only thought were stories. You being one of them. So many pantheons and they're all…real. It's humbling. Why is someone like you in New York of all places?"

Hercules ahhs. "There's a tale to tell, and — a theory I have. Which, as I am not one of the great minds of any age, you should take with a large bag of salt." He pauses, tapping his fingers together. "First off, when you are a god, distances are… far less of an issue. Even in the old days, Mount Olympus could reach many places, and I've ridden the Bifrost bridge — the Concorde had nothing on it. But why -not- New York City? It is flawed, true, and wounded… but think: would not such a place have desperate need of heroes?"

"I suppose so. We're flooded with them." She smiles gently. "I suppose that I hope the rest of the world isn't doing without. Perhaps they have all their own heroes and legends coming forth to help protect them. Create new sagas and epics." A nod. "Do good against all else." Chuckling, the sound melodic, the woman shakes her head. "I'm sorry. That type of talk isn't something people want first thing in the morning, hmm? Anyway, thank you for answering me."

Hercules nods. "There are places which draw such events to them, as a needle to the lodestone. I suspect New York is one of them. But no, the world is not unprotected." He looks rueful. "Indeed, there may come a day when certain nations find they have been guarded by very old powers indeed, and those powers will demand at least recognition. It will be… interesting. But that is for another time, and certainly does not apply here." He cocks his head. "The vast plethora of heroes also has given me thought. In the old days, there were few heroes of power. Some had no physical power at all, but were cunning as any god — Odysseus springs to mind. But now, there are many — not as powerful as those few heroes, but many hands can be in more places than a few exalted ones."

"Maybe the world needed less in those days. Every religion had some version of the end of times. A great gathering of warriors for the last battles the world would ever see. Maybe we need those numbers for something like that. Or in some attempt to train for it. To be ready for all the changes constantly coming our way." A smirk, she turns her head to look out toward the ocean. Her knees pull up as she hugs around them casually. "Maybe it's because of the hole in the ozone layer. I honestly couldn't tell you."

"I can say thank you, though. I'm sure many do already, but you deserve at least one more."

"There's no shame in looking at how the world has changed, and feeling trepidation. I've lived three thousand years, Miss Brant. I didn't spend all of it on Olympus. Every time I came back to Earth, I had to reacquaint myself with things. If the changes can disconcert -me-, why shouldn't they disconcert you?" Herc lets that sink in, before continuing, "Live. Love. Fight. Take counsel of your failures and exult in your victories, no matter how large or small."

He gives her a smile, and simply shrugs his shoulders. "You're welcome."

"I've asked this of Lord Fenris and Lord Loki before, but I'm curious of what you'll say. The stories I've read and heard. Well, the stories most hear or read about - how much of it was true for you? Did you take your trials to become a God? Did Hera really hate you as much as the stories say?" A pause, her face softens before she continues her questioning. "You seem very happy. Jovial even. Hopefully the bad parts of fables didn't actually happen to you."

Hercules snorts. "First off, take anything those two tell you with another bag of salt. -Especially- Loki. Fenris can be… honorable, in his own way, but if Loki told me it was raining outside I'd open a window to make sure." He pauses before continuing. "All of it was true. Oh, there are some minor quibbles… but honestly, as much as I hated Hera, and she hated me, it wasn't her fault. Zeus couldn't keep it in his toga on his best day and -no one- could tell him no. But Hera couldn't take it out on him, so who was left?" A deep sadness comes over his face. "I still dream about them. Megara, Therimachus, Ophites. I wonder if I could've done something to turn Hera's wrath so they would be spared."

"I serve Lord Fenris. I'm his Priestess. Loki," she scoffs. "yes, well. In that I completely agree with you." She listens, nods, her expression softening as they get to the story she left silent. "She…shouldn't have taken it out on anyone. I'm sorry for saying, but doing what she did doesn't seem…fitting for a Goddess of Motherhood and Children." Shifting, the woman moves closer and gently wraps her arms around the giant of a God. "There is nothing you could have done. There are…few in your family that understood the word 'no'." Pulling back, she clears her throat.

"Sorry. If I'm out of place, I don't mean to be."

Hercules chuckles a bit. "I've had three thousand years to learn about my divine relations. I have no illusions about them. There are good ones there — Athena, Hermes, even Artemis isn't so bad." He lets Betty put her arms around him, and he sighs, relaxing a little. "It's all right, Miss Brant… Betty. Again, I've had a long time to come to grips with things." He turns, arching an eyebrow at her. "Priestess of Fenris? Now there's a tale to be told, I'd say."

Betty Brant returns to her spot on the sands and gives another nod. "Good, I'm glad to hear that." Another chuckle, she sighs. "I suppose it is. Not a completely happy one but it is what it is. It all started because I was nosey. Once in awhile, I remember I'm a reporter."

Hercules grins at Betty. "And now, instead of simply telling the tales, you've found yourself caught up in one, hm? That happens sometimes." He reaches over to pat her hand fondly. before continuing, "Hopefully your challenges will not test you unduly."

"Ho boy yeah." She agrees, glancing at that pat before shrugging. "I hope so, too. I guess all we can do is deal with those challenges when they appear." A finger up, she points his way. "I hope these years have been kinder to you, too. I hope they remain that way."

"Ah, but who better to endure misfortune than me? I think poor Hod has endured worse, though — he almost fled from me when I first came upon him here." Playfully, he captures her finger in his hand, before releasing it. "One thing I have not lost though, thankfully, is that happy sense of wonder and enjoying the world. How can one defend a world if you don't take any enjoyment in it?"

"I worry for Hod. He yells at me and I yell back. I hate that I yell." Frowning gently, she looks to their hands again. "I know he's suffered. Most do. Almost all do. At some point, you have to decide if it will swallow you whole or to let yourself grow. I…know I cannot fully relate. I do not have his age, nor the amount of loss he's suffered. But others Gods, like yourself, do. And they're different." A nod. "Yes, enjoy what you have. Let it be a reason you fight."

"Get him drunk. He actually mellows a bit if he's got a bottle of grappa in him." Herc pauses, then remarks, "Of course, that means he can't really make a good argument either, so it works out either way." He grins. "Perhaps we should discuss this further over dinner, Miss Grant. It's kind of complicated, after all, and there are more comfortable places to talk it over."

"Is it…bad that I don't want to talk about Hod? Complicated or not?" An apologetic looks falls over her features. "Well, I'm comfortable here. But dinner sounds nice if you'd like to talk again." A beat. "Do you use a phone or anything like that? That…was probably stupid of me to ask, wasn't it?"

Hercules shakes his head. "Hod is complicated. I meant in more general terms, Miss Brant." His smile is impish. "Yes, I am asking you to dinner. And yes, I have a phone. I've even managed to keep from breaking it." He chuckles softly. "Even the gods keep up with things. Well, the ones that don't want to look like yokels from the back country."

"Yes. Well." That made sense. Standing and dusting herself off, she offers him her number. "Call or text when you'd like. I'm sure we can grab a bite somewhere sometime. I'll try to think of better questions to ask next time." Picking up her practice sword, she offers him a genuine smile. "It was nice to meet you. Enjoy the fish."

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