Chapter VII - Healing Pains

This is what you came here for. Adventure, intrigue, murder, mystery and action - plus a healthy dose of boring everyday stuff. One continuous story-line, broken up into smaller themes for easier consumption.
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

Post by TennyoCeres84 »

Alastriona grimaced slightly. "I'm aware of who Old Jack is and how much he's suffered over the years, but not to the extent you're talking about. I really hope it doesn't come down to killing him..." she said, resisting her predecessor's memories from welling up to the forefront. Her eyes briefly glistened, but she quickly blinked them back under control.

"Obviously not now, but it'd be worth talking to Nereus about how I might approach him. After all, the whole reason Samoset's curse exists is because of the Chamberlain's machinations."

She ventured closer to the created patch and watched as the glowing tendrils crept toward Quigley. "MacHae's challenge is the main reason for my wanting to hurry my connection to Sophia's root system, but there's others."

"Tom's arcane signature is notably different from when Sophia made his warlock's staff. People change, but not that much that quickly. It feels negatively tainted, somehow. I also worry about Hector Gutierrez's mundane drug cartel influencing the city on a magical level. For example, what if it makes the situation with Old Jack worse? Much of this is speculation, but I have to be as ready as I can be."

The dryad continued to observe him and tilted her head. "You mentioned that this was going to be the reverse of how you connected with your version of Sophia, so how does that work?" she asked.


Neasa nodded in response to Aatxe's confirmation that he was joining them.

Once Cuthbert revealed Apophis' plans, she smiled and briefly wondered if such a form would be bipedal like George Gammell or something more specific to the Animate. "I hope that it goes well for you, as you deserve to have a body that doesn't bring you pain or physical complications."

A thought occurred to her as she finished her food, and the roane then inquired, "I assume you don't mind us telling Meris and Nereus about you and how you helped us, right? I think they ought to know they have another ally on their side. Obviously, we'll wait until we can talk about it in private."


Samigina's words both made her further concerned but also calmed. Even with Vassago's ability to take note of many potentials at once, they still had to deal with the one that was actually going to take place. Whatever that incident would be, they would have to cross that bridge once they came to it.

The captain would get the feeling of acceptance to his advice. "You're right, Sam. Whatever's going to happen will be handled at it happens. In the meantime, I'll cherish this moment in time with Nereus. We deserve to at least have that, after everything that has transpired for us. Thank you for your counsel, and enjoy yourself until we'll need your aid."

As a gesture of this mentality, the Archmage affectionately gripped one of Nereus' hands and squeezed gently.
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

Post by IamLEAM1983 »

For a while longer, the assembly roiled about in the immense space, groups forming and unforming without much to be concerned about, safe perhaps for how this stood as an occasion for Li Si's vampires to display their craft. The same begrudgingly-modernized men and women you saw keeping to the sidelines grew slightly more bold as time passed, touching an elbow here or a scapula there, and every instance came with a gleam of understanding in their eyes. Little by little, they mingled in with the rest of the Fae, supernaturals and dragons in humanoid form, going from illiterate foreigners to graceful conversationalists in the span of a few minutes. The woman Carrie and Aidan had spotted had previously stuck to her own people, but once Nereus had placed his eyes on her, she'd already gone to speaking Irish Gaelic with a native's ease, plastering a bemused and pleased smile on the middle-aged Fae aristocrat she was discussing with.

"The real danger with our new friends isn't really that they could drain us dry," noted the former Augur, "but that they could render everyone in this room virtually obsolete in a few hours. If you're one of them and you enter a hospital, you start out not being able to tie your shoes on your own and leave it knowing exactly how to perform an angioplasty and which statins to watch for in patients with a history of heart failure... Give them an Archmage or a former Augur to play patty-cake with, and..."

He didn't finish his thought. The massive stained-glass doors that shrouded one of Yggdrasil's greater branches slightly opened, letting the visible spectrum of via spill through for a few moments. Four figures were backlit against it and soon came into view. Titania and Oberon were difficult to miss in their swapped tones of arboreal green, autumnal gold and wintry blues and whites, but the other two figures were newcomers. One of them was a dryad as you might've seen elsewhere, with a notably matronly figure. A Tudor dress clung to her, complimenting her wide hips, her skin like polished wood showing middle-aged wrinkles, her gold-green eyes twinkling in the light. Her hair was a careful braid of vines and hair, her Faun-like nose giving her a particularly noble profile.

The fourth figure looked like an armor-clad knight, if you'd carved the knight out of living wood. His beard was a stream of moss and his plate mail stretches of bark over radicella, his long cape a weave of living ivy. Ponderously, he drew a longsword from a scabbard at his back and rested it against the floor, crackles of energy snaking outwards upon contact. That seemed to serve as a signal of sorts, as the assembly turned to face the group.

The knight spoke, his voice filling the Great Hall's space effortlessly. He didn't need to scream or shout, but still commanded absolute authority.

"On this day, we are gathered here in the Elder Tree's shade in an act of rememberance, and to renew our vows. We are gathered here to forge new ties and to..."

He paused, meeting Herbert's gaze in the crowd. "...recognize those whose Lordships and Principalities ultimately served to safeguard us. I am Hengist of Avalon, Knight Protector to Lady Scatha of the Elder Tree. I am the Green Knight, Yggdrasil's Sword and Shield. I offer you what has been offered to the Tuatha since time immemorial. Safety, cordiality and honor. Let my vow remain unbroken."

The older dryad then stepped forward. "I am Lady Scatha, and have watched over the British Isles and Yggdrasil's eldest spawn since before Men knew to wield bronze tools. I am sister-in-bond with London's own dryad, and my root network extends far past these islands. The Elder Tree knows you all, senses you all - and so do I. I offer you peace, friendship and wisdom. Let my vow remain unbroken."

Titania then stepped forward. "I am Titania, Queen of Summer. My Mantle reaches from the days of our liberation and ascension to this very day, over millions of years of human history. My word is Law and Power for all those in Summer's golden rays. I offer you respite, release from your travels, and a table and hearth to call your own. Let my vow remain unbroken."

Oberon followed. "I am Oberon, King of All Winters. My Mantle stems from the hardships of our first days under dragon rule and extends its glad hand to you, over seas of time. My word is Law and Power for all those in the Hearth's warm embrace - and a bane to those who would follow the Mistresses of the Wilds, Mab and Morgana."

He smirked. "It may come as a surprise to some of you to hear my accent. I am indeed American by birth. Tradition, obviously, demands that all those who bear the Mantle of Oberon challenge Tradition itself - in as playful a means as possible. I offer you joy, my friends - the very joy at the heart of my Hearth's blazing fire. My gifts might only manifest as the day ends - but mark my words: by the end of it, you shall drink and be merry, one and all."

His smirk then darkened. "Unless you are one of those who would despoil the sanctity of this moment for our newest charges and our youngest of gifts. Then, and I offer this as cordially as possible - you shall find me to be... glacial. Seek not my ire and you shall not receive it. It's as plain as day."

The murmur of several translators nestled in the throng came to a stop. Titania then stepped forward.

"We have convened over the past several days and have concluded that while all of the mortal realm's cities have known their heroes, there is one fiefdom in particular where Destiny has been inflected for us all."

She found Eirean in the crowd, and smiled. "Lady McHale, it is my understanding that your Knights have fought against the Black Goat in direct engagements and that your closest allies now count Thrones of Heaven in their number."

Eirean smiled back, an enchantment carrying her voice for others to hear. "It is as you say, My Queen. None of us in Hope could have survived without my Knights, without Lord Haskill's dilligence, and without our allies, far and wide. Many of those who fought with us are here today. Some, I feel, warrant special commendations."

Titania nodded. "And which ones among them have not received your grace yet?
- There are several. Feel my Mantle, O Queen, and call out their names."

Titania nodded once more, this time withdrawing her gaze for a moment. When she spoke again, there was power in her words, reaching out to those mentioned and carrying with it a sense of recognition unlike anything they would've felt before. "I call out your names: Marius Vlastos, Marianna Jameson, Carrie Silva, Aatxe of the Black Wastes, Silas Robertson, Aspasia Robertson, Zebediah Buck, Eliphas Buck, all of Heaven's Thrones and the Seat of its Angels, the Kami-domo of Fae's Japanese provinces and all its representatives in Eien-no-Yuki, Meris of the Orcades, Heiress of Solomon and all of her Court, Jubal Whitney and his wiley Gentlemen; Horatio Grimley, Priest of Selene..."

She paused. "If you were not named, consider yourself blessed as well as those peers of yours, near or far, of whom I have spoken the Name. Unnamed are the Lady's Knights, for their blessings are already known. I know you, see you - and thank you."

Oberon stepped forward as well. "I would extend my own gratitude to those who have suffered most in the past months: the turncoat Void Weavers who now walk in the Light and the demons who sought to honor their forbears and stand before us as spirits of Wisdom, as opposed to tormenting horrors from beyond our plane. I See and Name all of the men of the Burning Legion, as honored as they were by Lucian Rothchild, and turn my gaze, especially, toward Nereus of Dalarath."

He extended a hand. "Please, my Lord Augur. Step forward."

Looking bemused, Nereus muttered apologies to Meris and did as asked of him, Oberon keeping his outstretched hand until Nereus was just a step away. "As per the Old Ways, I offer you respite and claim you as my own, as long as you stand in these halls of mine."

Realizing Nereus was confused, Oberon gave the assembly an amused look. "He's confused, nobody thought to tell him that the Celtic chieftains of old symbolically adopted their own allies as sons or brothers."

Polite laughter shook the room, and Oberon looked down on Nereus. "It's alright, I'm not about to lay claim on what's left of your charge, mister Marinos. All this means is that you and yours are mine to protect. Rest your forehead on my chest for a second, and we'll call it a day."

Nereus cleared his throat. "I am, er... honored to have you as a brother, my King. Those of us who turned away from the dark are now in your hands."

Oberon spent a few seconds stroking the back of Nereus' head. "I'll take care of them as if they were my own, Nereus. Better me than Mab or the Fomor, trust me."

Nereus seemed a bit surprised. "You're acting as though stating you'd protect us were enough..."

Oberon smirk. "Our Word is our Bond, Augur. If one of the Sidhe makes a promise, the Old Ways and the New alike will bend the entire world to see it to fruition. How else do you think Lord Haskill managed to cover Hope's battlefields in blizzards in the middle of August?"

The Squid smiled sheepishly. "I'm no Augur, either. Not anymore. I've been removed from Dalarath from a long time - first in spirit, then in intent."

The Winter King chuckled as if this were a mildly funny joke. "No, Mister Marinos. You're still an Augur - only now your portents are luminous and filled with hope and gladness."

By the way Nereus looked, Oberon might as well have gut-punched him with an inconvenient, if entirely correct truth that stripped away all of his personal justifications for seeing himself as flawed. Returning to Meris, Nereus looked equally dazed, on the verge of tears and happier than ever before.

As he sat back down next to Meris, all Nereus could murmur was "He's seen me, Meris. He's seen me better than I see myself..."
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

Post by TennyoCeres84 »

Meris was about to respond to his speculation about the jiangshi, but that was halted by the partial opening of the double doors and the emergence of Hengist, Scatha, Titania, and Oberon into the Great Hall.

She had already met with the Queen and King, but the Elder Tree's dryad and the Green Knight were definite firsts. She could see a bit of similarity to Sophia and Alastriona's noses in the noble air it gave her. As for the Green Knight, she obviously knew of him from legends, but didn't realize they would meet him as well today.

After their introductions and declarations, the Archmage was surprised to see Nereus called forth to accept Oberon's show of protection and support for the Augur. Hearing the Winter King's words, her heart swelled with pride and happiness for her husband. All of the monarch's observations about the Voidweaver were true, even though the latter didn't realize that about himself.

Once he was seated, the selkie smiled gently and placed a hand over his. "He saw what I've seen in you at different times in your life. Now that you're free of Chambers, you will be able express those qualities in the light. Your love of architecture, your compassion, your zeal for life, and your optimism. Those things aren't in the shadows any longer. They're visible for those who are willing to see your true self and who share your interests."
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