We Must Stand Together

July 18, 2015:

A discussion among friends

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The day is warm and the sun shines brightly in the sky. in the distant horizon, clouds gather over the ocean brining the promise of summer rain. Residents on the island are trying to keep cool as the sun beats down on them. The beaches are crowded with sun worshipers trying to induce various skin cancers and those slathered with enough sunblock to help promote the rise in Rickets. The small shops that grace the various areas of the island are making a killing selling cold beverages and anything cold. Those that live on the island are hiding behind air-conditioned walls. Yet, where Joshua and Lynwen live, it is a different story. The windows are open and breeze moves through the house. The lush green gardens that surround the house are a cool oasis. Powerful ancient magic is here and it it has a feeling of nature, it is as if this magic has always been here and is just waking back up. The earth is alive with it, the air is full of it, the plants seem more than just plants. In the back yard is where Lynwen can be found. She is floating a pool. Her hair is down and a wild mass of golden tresses move around her like medusa's snakes. She is not wearing her usual heavy gold jewelry. In fact the only jewelry she is wearing is a gold ring. She is pale and the water seems to hold her in a gentle embrace as she floats. Her breathing is deep and even. She is for once dressed in a bathing suit.

Ryden approaches slowly and stands for a time across the street, lost in memories of other times and places summoned forth by the feel of this acient magic. A soft sigh falls from his lips and after awhile those crystal sky colored eyes open, showing centuries of pain and regret. He shakes it off and takes a breath and moves forward towards the yard, guessing that he'll find the Ard Draoi outside if she is home. He's dressed for the heat, jean shorts, brown leather sandals and his pack back. No shirt today, but most of the men he's seen are clad much the same. Ryden pauses as he moves into the yard and spots Lynwen. He doesn't want to interrupt her meditation.

The yard around the house has more than magic to protect it, as any of the neighborhood's pets can attest. Electronic sensors peep from the eaves of the roof, ready to alert the couple when anyone arrives. While Lynwen enjoyed the pool, Joshua is tending the grill. Wearing a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a loose Hawaiian shirt, he holds a pair of tongs and eyes the food - ears of corn, steaks, and a basket made from aluminum foil to contain a mix of vegetables. As soon as Ryden approaches the property, the system silently signals Joshua's iPhone. he pulls the device from a pocket and peers at the screen. After a moment, he nods and shoves the device into the pocket again. Then he looks toward the pool. Unlike Roder, Joshua has no fear of breaking Lynwen's meditation. He knows that she is napping. "We have company!" he calls to her. "I'll fetch another steak on my way back. Will you prepare another glass of tea and plate?" Before she can answer, he disappears into the house and heads for the front door.

Her eyes snap open and she sputters and sinks into the water then emerges. When she speaks she is speaking in that ancient form of Welsh. «I can do that, who is here?» She turns her head and looks around. When she spots Rydan a warm smile tugs the corners of her mouth. «Welcome! Will you have dinner with us? And rest with us here by the pool?» She goes to get out of the water by swimming towards the stairs. She moves like an otter in the water, fast and sleek. When she reaches the other side she steps out. The water slides off her skin. «We have plenty, vegetables from here and no alchemical food. We baked this morning before we greeted the dawn.» She says to him. She then calls to Joshua. «Glad I was too lazy to take of the swim clothing.» She looks back to their Guest. «I will be back, I need to get you some barley tea.» She dashes into the house leaving a trail of wet foot prints behind her. She is gone for just a bit and when she returns she is carrying plates, utensils and a frosty cold glass of slightly sweetened barley tea. She hold it out to him. To take as she calls to Joshua. «I got the plate and the tea.»

Ryden smiles watching her, she's graceful of movement even in water. Ryden chuckles at her and shakes his head. "People these days are all so picky about clothes. Drives me nuts. Clothes for men, for women, for swimming, sleeping, night time, day time, work, after work." He shrugs helplessly. "Dinner sounds lovely, I'd enjoy that." When she dashes inside, Ryden moves over towards Joshua and then accepts the tea with a genuine smile when Lyn returns. "Thank you. I can't recall the last time I had barley tea." He takes a slow sip and smiles again. Nodding at Joshua before looking Lynwen over carefully as he shrugs out of his travel pack and sets it down. "How are you feeling? Joshua told me of your visit to the dead lands."

Joshua grins and beckons to Ryden. "As I told you, you're very welcome here!" he calls, using the same ancient variant of Welsh that Lynwen. When the man approaches the grill, Joshua grins. and nods. "I'm glad that you came before we finished the cooking," When Ryden mentions the dead zone, Joshua frowns. "I'm not sure that anyone knows why that blight happened, but I think that those two behind the skeletons hold a fair clue. Zee seemed to recognize them, and that's enough to worry me. She's young, but she seems to know much about the magical realm."

«Tired, I have been sleeping much. I am worn out. Plague has passed and poor Joshua was there to guide me through it. I had created a seed with what was left of the magic in that area that was not tainted, but it came with a coast. I cannot draw upon what is tainted, if I do I will simply sicken like the land, I am refection of the land.» Autumn explains to Ryden. «The realm of the dead, has merged with the living. I am wondering if they used the natural nodes. I have been thinking about this a lot though I have not had a chance to speak with others.» She tells them both. «I agree with you on clothing, I sleep as I should and swim as I should but I had gone to the beach earlier and was too lazy to take it off. They are like the romans with their laws.» She leans over and kisses Joshua's cheek when she says that last bit.

Ryden can't help but smile watching them. It stirs emotions he's long let sleep. He hasn't seen that kind of love in quite some time. "Yeah, so many laws anymore and for such silly things. I'm glad you're getting better. You must be very careful if you go back there." Ryden looks to Joshua and shakes his head. "No, those two we saw were just puppets of their Master I fear. Strong as they were, they aren't the true threat. I'm afraid things are going to get much worse before they get better. If.. if they do. I'm not certain we can succed but obviously we have to try. I was there, a bit after it started. I fought the dark aspect of the God-Wolf Fenris and helped restore the power that was stolen. I also fought and helpted to destroy the dark aspect of Artemis Goddess of the greeks. I do not know if she lives, but her power went back that way so I've hope she might. The one we fight against, he calls himself Master Darque and has worked long and hard from the shadows, stealing and taking whatever power he could for himself. Now he's declared himself God and what he wants I don't know, but obviously nothing good for us or our world." Ryden sits a bit heavily. He's been growing more and more troubled with what he's seen and frustrated with the little help he can give.

Joshua laughs when Lynwen passes him and kisses his cheek. Looking to Ryden, he adds, "They might have been puppets, but puppets have strings that lead to the puppeteer." He nods at the rest. "We were there. I don't believe that any sane person would welcome such things as we've seen. I think that even those who work evil here should see that this Master Darque bears no good for them." He notes the look of frustration on Ryden's face, and he replies, "I have less to offer than you, but I will fight. Darque and his minions are destroyong this land, and through that, bringing its people to ruin."

"That is what I hope too. If we don't stop this guy…" Ryden sighs. The dead lands are a pretty good example of what will probably happen every where. "I just don't know if we can get everyone to work together before it's too late. Not to mention with the current politcal climate here, this is not happening at a good time. Not that bad things ever do.." Ryden says with dark amusement. "There's this Darque asshole trying to take over the world or whatever and we all need to be focused on that but there's other stuff going that just, its just as worse, or nearly. I would have never thought I'd see a day like this, not here in America. I was around when this country first started you know. People are being murdered, children are being slaughtered and no one lifts a finger to stop it. And all because they are mutants. It's like, people learn nothing from history." Ryden has grown more tense as he talked and his voice cracks with emotion. His failure to save all of the kids during the rec center fire has affected him in a deep and lasting way. He hadn't expected to run into this kind of thing again. Not here at least.

Lynwen goes to refresh hers and Joshua's glasses of tea. Once this is done she goes to sit down it is apparent her burst of energy is gone. «There is little I can do, but I will give as much aid as I can. I do not think the others understand the nature of this magic. It is not quite like the high magic they wield.» She says to them. She lifts her glass to her lips and takes a sip. She is seated on the emerald grass that is thick and lush like a carpet. «There is much that we call can do, the key is gathering our resources from afar and putting our heads together. We each know pieces of the puzzle. To stop him he needs to be cut off from his power or by either being trapped or boxed up or completely severed.» Another sip is taken. «I have something I show you both after I rest. Perhaps it can help. It is to be used to help restore the land and the balance after he is defeated.»

"Yeah, I haven't got a lot of idea how to do that myself." Ryden admits ruefully. "My magic is pretty specific in how it works and I don't have anything near the power I used to. We're gonna need people like you Lyn, people with healing and earth magics. A few gods wouldn't hurt either. Well, depending on which gods. I am so glad that Fenris is himself again. He won't give up on fighting this Darque bastard and we need that." Ryden is quiet for a few moments thinking. "I just don't know enough to know how we can trap him. He's connected to a source of power that.. if I understand right, most people can't touch. You're right about putting our heads together and I think the God-Wolf will know more who can help. I've been out of touch for a long time. I don't really have any contacts or anyone I can call on for help, but I'll work with anyone to help take this guy down." He eyes Lynwen. "We can wait to see what you want to show. You shouldn't overextend." Boy does he know about that. He's spent half his life drugged to combat the pain incurred from the broken way he draws power.

Joshua swirls his glass of iced tea thoughtfully. "Lynwen, you mentioned that the magic there was different from the magic that people like Zee and others use. I wonder if that is by design. Darque might have chosen to use powers that are unfamiliar here. It is like speaking a powerful language that few understand. I've known a few students at the university who work intensely with computers. Some of them know coding languages and techniques that few others understand, and they can wield those tools with great effect." His gaze drifts to Ryden, and he nods. "I've noticed that your magic takes a great toll on you. I suppose that it is the same for most of us. We need time and energy to recharge, and dealing with the unfamiliar taxes us more than we might realize. Darque might count on that."

«There are different types of magic but he may think those of us from other times can not do what we can do, or think the way we think. He is focused on taking from others and draining the high mages. We are but forgotten in many ways.» Because of the complexity of the conversation and the fact both speak Welsh she continues to speak in that language. «I will be back.» She rises from where she was seated and she sets her glass aside before she goes back into the house. She is gone for a few and when she returns, when she returns she has a bundle wrapped in fern leaves and cloth. The fern leaves are still alive and the bundle is about the size of a softball.

Ryden nods. "It's true, there are at least a few of us older than he is. Though, that didn't stop him from trapping Fenris and stealing his power. We got it back though." Ryden smiles. "I think you're right, its going to take a lot of thinking and different kinds of to do this. Power like his, from another dimension.. it's not going to be easy but we're gonna have to figure it out. Sooner rather than later." He looks to the bundle Lynwen has returned with, curiousity alight in those sky blue eyes. He's too tired yet to probe it magically and honestly, he rather sucks at that anyway. He is not one of the traditional types of homi magi. "That looks interesting." He can see the ferns still seem to be alive.

While Lynwen is gone, Joshua returns his attention to the grill. The third steaks are ready ,and he moves them to the edge of the grill so that they will remain warm while he attends to the third steak for Ryden. "How do you like it?" he asks the man, giving a nod to the thick cut of meat beginning to sizzle not he grill. "I agree that the central point is his desire to bring harm to us." When she returns, Joshua grins. The leaves of ferns form a protective, still living cocoon around the object. More than once since its formation, he has watched flies and other insects come near to it only for the fronds to bat them away like organic fly swatters. "Someone should convene a council, so that those with observations and ideas might share them and create a plan for dealing with him," he urges. "Zee seems to have many resources. I'm sure that others have contacts who should come into the loop to discuss this problem."

Smiling a loving smile like what ever is in the bundle is her child she tenderly begins to unwrap it. « This is what is left of the un tainted elemental magic of that area. It is holds all five elements.» She tells them both. The seed is alive and is the size of an egg and hard as stone. Sometimes it glows bright as fire and other times green as an emerald, then dark brown of good rich loam. Other times it clear or a soft blue. The colors shift move as they are held in this seed. The seed itself glows with power and it throbs with it almost like it has a heart. «I think you two should speak with them as you both have recently been there.»

"Medium rare." Ryden answers the question about the steak rather absently as he watches Lynwen and notes Joshua's grin. "Zee is.. is.." He trails off and rises, kneeling at Lynwen's feet to study the seed with an expression of awe. "You..Lady. You truly are who you claim. Not that I doubted you but..Oh that is a wonder to behold." Ryden's shoulders tremble slightly. It's a rare thing these days, for him to see something new, he's old. Too old he sometimes thinks. Almost 500 years on this earth, not so long really but hundreds more at least in other places, other times. "That is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. That you were able to gather this and save it from that mess.." He just trails off speechless and shakes his head. He swallows back the surge of emotion and ignores the sudden tear that leaks and trickles down the side of one cheek. He's seen so much death of late, so very much and to now see this seed of of life and elements swirling and beating before him.. Ryden is clearly overcome.

Joshua removes a probe from his pocket, sets it, and then stabs the tiny pin into the steak. When the meat is ready, the probe will alert him. He then steps away from the grill to witness the unveiling. He practically glows with pride when Lynwen folds back the leaves to reveal the seed. "As you said, love, few from this time appreciate the nuances of this magic." He looks from her to Ryden and then back to Lynwen. "I think that all three of us should meet them, if they will listen. They need to understand that this battle requires every talent that we can muster. I think that the sheer variety might be key to overcoming him. If we present many different challenges, he might not be able to combat all of them, and some might manage to slip past his defenses."

«I am my lady's druid, a child of Avalon.» She answers warmly and when Lynwen sees the tears and the emotions she softens. «Friend have you touched something like this before? You can hold it.» She offers. She looks to Joshua and she grins. «My sunstone, that is a brilliant idea, you should call the meeting on that phone thing.» The pulse of magic is steady and strong off the seed it powers held within it continues to swirl.
Joshua says, "I don't know how many will listen, love, but it's worth a risk," Joshua"

It takes Ryden a few moments to find his voice and he just watches the seed still looking awed. "Lady, I am not worthy of that honor but it is a delight to see. A delight and a hope. As sorry as I am for the events that brought you here to us, I'm very glad that you are here." Ryden closes his eyes for a minute to gather himself and nods. "A meeting is a wonderful idea. It's possible they are planning something of the sort. The last few times I saw Zee..it was either in battle or.." Ryden pales suddenly and sits back on his heels. A sheen of sweat breaks out on his forehead. "Another thing I am not worthy of. By all the gods I don't know what they were thinking!" He shivers. "How can I ignore their call, but I don't believe in my heart that I can do anything but fail." Ryden's shoulders slump. He looks up and realizes by their expressions they have no idea what he's talking about. "I went to see Zee, to talk about these things. Only we didn't get the chance. We were taken elsewhere and one of Them spoke to me. The Vishanti." Ryden whispers.

"I don't know how many will listen, love, but it's worth a risk," Joshua answers with a nod to Lynwen. He gazes at the seed. He looks sideweays to Ryden, and he frowns, clearly worried for the man, but not thinking that his ramblings are those of a madman. "You helped greatly last night," he encourages gently. "You will help again. I am sure of that," he predicts. "As I said, all three of us should be there. Every voice, every idea, counts." Then he asks, "Are you sure that it will be enough? Does it need other magic to act as a fertilizer, so that it will grow?"

"You know that we do not do that, you know that we are not like the alhambrans, we do not harm children. We only banish those who are a harm to Pathi. The need of the many outweigh the need of the few or the one." She tells the howling creatures. She is trying to stay calm more power is drawn the earth continues to try and hold the woman. She is still a mouse in the claws of a cat. She knows it she begins to call on fire, tiny balls of fire appear and the dance around her. She is starting to sweat and shiver. "You will not touch me and you will not tarnish me in that manner, death I am not afraid of but I will not let you drag me to that place." Talking is all she can do to keep her calm at the moment. More magic is pulled to her. She is glowing with it. The tiny balls of fire continue to dance around them. She holds the fire there and then releases it at one of the creatures. This is fire is born of magic.

«What was said? And what curse do you bear? You are safe here my wards are up none will here what is said or can see what is said.» Lynwen asks. She does not wrap the seed in cloth instead she leaves it out as she sinks back into a chair. «What happen last night.» She asks them both. «You may my sweet Sunstone have put me in the guest room for three weeks after this and put a white X on our door.» She tells him. «The magic will be enough.»

"My curse..my curse is the duty that I fled so long ago. I mean to try to remedy that now but why, why they would call upon me..I don't understand. I've been nothing but a wandering selfish bastard for so long..I wasn't sure I could be anything else anymore. I've been trying lately. Then I was summoned and spoken to." Ryden closes his eyes and summons the words from the memory seared into his mind. "Ryden, magus of the Libram, you have been recoginzed. Know that the time of trials comes. The dead walk upon the earth and mad gods raise themselves up glutted on stolen souls. A new watcher of the veils shall be appointed. Many shall be tested. So say I, Hoggoth. Gird yourself for the time to come."

"I do not think that we will need to warn the neighbors, love," Joshua replies, giving Lynwen a warm smile and a shake of his head. "Your magic has not drawn them, although we know that it has drawn others." Then he nods to Ryden and listens attentively to his words. "You said that one of the Vishanti visited you. I do not know these Vishanti, but we had a visitor here, not long ago. She was an … appparition." He glances to Lynwen. Then he continues. "I did not hear her, but Lynwen says that it, or she, spoke, and said much of what you now say, about a time of testing and of one who will watch the veil." He bites his bottom lip before he continues. "I recall that the words of the apparition were remarkably similar to what you now say."

«That is right Sunstone, and I almost forgot, I think have failed already but I will continue. They called upon Ryden. They called upon you because now is the time when the balance is threatened. Now is the time to set it right. Now is the time rise above your self-doubt. What you were is not who you are now. You have a choice to make. Do you hide or do you step away from the shade that you were to once again embrace the light.» Lynwen says to him. «This is your choice, you can do this and you are valuable to them. You have knowledge and you have the weight of years on you. Years brings wisdom and knowledge»

"I..I doubt myself. I do. But I have chosen, Lady. I will try, try with all my being to do what I was meant and complete whatever trials the Elders of Light put before me. I cannot go on as I have any longer. No more hiding, no more running. Not for me. I'll stand and I'll hope the light doesn't reject me but if it does I'll still stay and do whatever good I can."

Joshua steps to the grill and flips the steak while Lynwen and Ryden talk, but much of his attention remains with them. When he returns, he looks to the other man and nods. "All sane people have doubts, and we have regrets. Both are part of living. By facing both, we become better than we were. I suspect that you already have served more than you know, and you will continue to serve." He looks to Lynwwen, and he announces, "The food is almost ready, love."

«Then stand by us, I am of the light and I do not reject you. Be our friend and companion in both arms and magic, when you feel weak lean on us. Be warned when we feel week we will lean against you.» Lynwen offers. «Trials or no trials you should stand with us.»

She looks to Joshua and she nods her head «Wise words, I knew there was another reason I am more than fond of you sunstone» She motions for their guest to join her at the table. «Joshua do you need me to do anything to help get the food on the table? You are have been very right on the points you are making today. The food smells delightful.»

Ryden stands and then gives a courtly bow to the both of them. "I will do whatever I can for either of you. I promise it. And yes, I will stand with you, in battle and in friendship." Ryden smiles and then looks startled and chagrined as his stomach rumbles loudly. He covers his face with his hand and sighs. "It uh..yeah it smells great." When he lowers his hand Ryden is blushing slightly. "Well there went that grand gesture but I meant it all the same." He smiles and after pulling out a chair for Lynwen and then with a grin, one for Joshua, Ryden sits.

Joshua smiles and blushes slightly. He carefully lifts the aluminum-foil pack that holds the asserted vegetables, and brings it to the table. "If you'll serve that and the salads, I'll bring the steaks," he offers. "Then I'll go inside and bring the bread." He begins to transfer the steaks to a platter, removing the small probe from each one. He drops the probes into a small bowl for later cleaning. Then he brings the platter to the table and transfers each steak to the person's plate. "The Americans have a hero who once said, 'We must all hang together, or we will hang separately.' Those were wise words. We must rally together. We must ally our skills against this Darque." Having stressed that point, he heads for the house to fetch the bread.

«It is natural, Johua is a master cook and my stomach is seconding the motion to eat.» She grins then she turns her attention to Joshua. « I agree with you and this smells delightful.» Salad is served onto the plates and she sets each plate in front of the correct placement. Once this is done she goes to make sure they all have enough tea to go with their food.

Ryden is thinking a bit about how to return this invitation to dinner. He's been living in a hotel, a nice one but its still a hotel. He doubts Lynwen would feel very at home there. Its also in the middle of the city. He'll have to think of something better. "It does smell wonderful. I can cook, I mean, really if I can read about a thing, then I can do it. But that doesn't mean I can do it well. More like, mostly edible. Somewhat resembling what it was supposed to be." Knowing how to do a thing and being good at it are two very different things unfortunately.

Joshua returns with the loaf of dark bread, still warm from the oven, and a bowl of soft butter. He places the platter on the table and then settles at a place, giving Lynwen a warm smile. "I'm not alone int he kitchen, love," he observes. "Together, we set a fine table." Then he looks to Ryden and assures the man, "You are welcome whenever yo have need. Both of us understand that the tasks before us can weary both body and soul. We should build our strength for the coming days."

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