By The Pricking Of My Thumbs

October 31, 2015:

The Titans encounter matters magical and supernatural on the eve that is most Hallowed.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"When shall we three meet again? In Thunder, Lightning, or in Rain?"

"Oh, that's gotten old, Myrtle. Let's go for something colder."

"I have a nice spot in mind, north where the black-flies are bigger than horses," the third witch says. "Let's meet there. I've sent an invitation."

"OK, whatever you say, Willow, you're the one with the big name nowadays."

"Now don't get all bent out of shape, Hemlock, you get to call down the doom, after all."

And it's early morning when Gar Logan, Miguel Barragan, and Keith O'Neal are out running. Why? Because Gar is a sadist and wants to check their physical training levels just before sunrise. And yes, he's also running, because he's also checking his own levels.

But then something odd happens.

The light morning fog, dimly lit by the pre-dawn, suddenly gets thicker, opaque.

Miguel is jogging along, purple running shorts and tank-top lightly dappled with sweat, keeping up with the others easily as he does this most days anyway. He likes the early morning best, though, and the chillinh fog is just perfect for… wait… "Huh.." he says, looking at the fog they're running into, unable to see very deep at all…

Running in the early morning is clearly something that only a sadist would favor. See Garfield Logan under the dictionary, thank you very much.

"You do realize…" Keith says, running behind Gar and Miguel for absolutely no secondary purposes whatsoever "… that if you didn't look so good in those running shorts, you'd be dead by now?" he says to Gar. Unlike Miguel, Keith is sporting those black underarmour running shorts and a long-sleeved compression shirt, because it is October in the Yorks, and the mornings can be chilly. He's not a morning person, even when he had to be, he wasn't really.

"… okay, what's this?" the redhead says, slowing down to a light trot as he spots the fog. "This isn't San Francisco in the summer… what gives?"

The fog goes dark, then light and then the direction of the light changes, as if someone were moving a giant spotlight. Then, it's COLDER. The wind picks up, thinning the fog a bit, and the path they were running becomes a bit absent.

"Uh oh," Gar says. "This ain't Kansas any more. Not that it was, before."

The smell of fall in New England is nothing like the smell of things as they fester and rot in the crater-shaped-but-not-an-actual-crater hole full of water, left behind after the glaciers melted in Northern Canada. Of course, the attempts to turn some of that left-behind ancient rot into useful oil (seriously stupid not to mention unprofitable) have added to the lovely aromas, as has the melting methane hydrate in some of the places where permafrost is less perma than frost, but that's not what's causing the stench today. Today, there's a pile of dead things, and a rather tall fellow with deep blue skin, adding to the pile. He may be blue from cold; he's wearing not much more than a few polar bear hides strapped around his waist.

There are a pack of large pale-blue-furred canids of some sort fighting over one or two of the more moose-like dead things.

"Hello, Boys," a woman's voice speaks. "We have a small problem," and that sets the other two women cackling, "but you seem to be the right people to help us get rid of it."

"That's Hemlock," a different woman's voice says. None of the three are quite visible, because it's still quite foggy, at least, in the direction of the voices.

"I'm Willow," a third voice says, sounding vaguely familiar, "And Myrtle. We're the Hags On Duty today."

"HUSH YOU TWO, It's MY turn to set the doom. You three. Get rid of that frost giant. He doesn't belong here."

"I thought you were more poetical than this," Gar says. "Or was Shakespeare embellishing?"

That earns another round of cackling laughter, but no actual answer, and the fog vanishes on a gust of wind. This is definitely nowhere in New England.

Miguel slows to to a stop as Vorpal comments on the weather, and then.. it's elsewhere, and there are several monsters in front of him, along with… He looks at Gar. "Friends of yours?" he says about the Brujah, even as he forms up purple bricks along his arms - no real chance of blowing his secret ID out here, it seems.

+MEET: Fenris has arrived via +meet.

"This is the last time I let you choose the running route," Keith mutters to Gar as the Witches make like Bette Midler's career and vanish, leaving the giant smurf behind.

"Outside of not being a slave to fashion.. what do we make of this guy?"

There's a tearing of reality next to Vorpal and through it steps a tall, lean man with a predatory aspect about him. "Ah, I thought I sensed trouble." The man rumbles. "Vorpal. Gar…" He peers over at Miguel. "I don't think we've met."

There's a frost giant. Over there. Fernis isn't overly fond of them not out of any sense of nordic duty but rather because they're rather bad houseguests the few times they've come over to his end of reality.

"Not necessarily," Gar answers Bunker. "More like possibly cousins or aunts of Rain's. But they're acting like the Wyrd Sisters from the Scottish Play."

He looks across the heath at the very tall fellow making piles of dead things. Some of those dead things were probably humans or very close to it. Also, there's a leftover stench of burnt air that smells vaguely like the barrier-rifts that the Necroponce threw around. Space-time has probably been abused. Well, yeah. Because Jotun don't live on Midgard. He shrugs to Keith.

"Hello, Fenris. Bunker, this is Fenris. Fenris, this is Bunker. I'm going to go say hello and please go home."

He leaps into the air turning into an eagle in the process and circles around to fly in front of the big blue fellow. Ugh. Breath.

"HEY! Hello! Why are you here?"

Jotuns have all sorts of magic. This one happens to know how to talk to things.

"Who are you, little green bird? I am THJaasi THJaasison. And I am here because this is where I am."

"I'm Gar. You're not supposed to be here on Midgard. It's not safe."

That earns some laughter from the giant, and with lips pursed, he blows a gust of air that sends the green eagle flying …

Miguel gives a quick nod to Fenris. "Yeah, I usually wear a mask - " he says as Gar introduces them in a lightning-fast manner. Then he's watching between Gar and Vorpal as Gar goes to try and make friends. Once he's sent tumbling, Miguel growls and springs forward, creating a flying platform of purple glowing bricks. He angles for Gar, in case he's been stunned and is about to become an Ex-Gar. He also tries firing off a few bricks towards the Jotun, at least to distract him while he zooms in.

"HEY!" Keith shouts indignantly as the eagle is sent flying, "Nobody blows my boyfriend, you oaf! Miguel, catch Gar before he gets thwacked into a tree!"

Keith nods at Fenris, "… excuse me, Fen, I need to teach someone some goddamned manners!"

And so the human stomps towards the giant, transforming into Vorpalxon his way there, seeing Miguel racing to intercept Gar.

"Alright, Papa Smurf. Chill the eff down or I'm going to have to get rough with you. Savvy?" the cheshire glares daggers up at the Jotun.

No. Really. Daggers actually fly from his eyes- it's an illusion, but he doesn't know that.

Fenris sighs. This is going to get ugly. Giants aren't stupid, or at least these Giants aren't but they are ill tempered, clannish and arrogant. The perfect combination for 'strong, tough, frost powers.' No wonder the Aesir and the Jotun never got a long.

The God-Wolf moves forward at an easy pace, waiting to see how the Titans handle it.

+MEET: Astryd has arrived via +meet.

The Jotun wasn't just stacking dead things for fun and profit. He was making something. It smelled bad but, well, that's what happens when mortal things rot, after all. He doesn't wish to be distracted. A growled command to the wolfpack: "Earn your keep. Stop the skraelings."

The wolves, all ten of them, whine and growl and straggle, as they'd rather keep eating on the moose carcasses they were enjoying earlier, but Boss says attack, so they attack. Three of them aimed at the flying purple fellow (only three of them know how to run on cold air) and six aimed at the weird cat thing that's glaring daggers.

Meanwhile, bricks and daggers alike are not particularly effective — they shatter, frozen, against the giant's skin. And that's … definitely not normal.

Gar isn't hurt, though he's been assaulted by the already noted seriously BAD breath from the giant. He turns into a monkey as he flies into Bunker, catching himself.

"OK, that's how it is."

The tenth wolf looks up at the giant. "There's an Alpha Wolf over there, Boss."

"Don't bother me," the Giant says, and he starts throwing different dead things from the different piles into a hole in the ground that is only visible from close up. Weird flashes of light come from the hole, and each body gets a word in a language older than Asgard as it's tossed in.

Miguel gets Gar scooped up and dropped onto the platform, then turns in the air to see three wolves running at him - through the air. "That is SO unfair!" Miguel growls loudly, and sends a stream of rapid-fire purple bricks at the trio, trying to hammer them into unconsciousness. "Gar, what are they doing down there?" he says, but their immediate danger is his biggest concern as his brick platform swoops and rolls with them both on it.

The wolves that are running towards Vorpal are going to find that there is a brick wall standing in their path.

Now, normal wolves would call that the end of the road- but these are not normal wolves, and the cheshire knows it. As the winter wolves crash through Vorpal's construct, they might realize why the cheshire cat sought to use such a wall…

To hide a rabbit hole, of course. The rabbit hole into which those three are going to careen unless they manage to change their course mid-leap. The destination of that particular hole? The rather lovely paradise of Bora-Bora.

"Never send a dog to do a cat's job!"

Fenris starts to change, growing into a large black wolf. Well small ish for him, only the size of an eighteen wheeler. He growls low as he advances, eying the Giant. "I don't know what you're doing but the locals don't seem to appreciate it. Stop." He doesn't think that's going to work but if the giant looks at him, he won't be looking at anyone else. What he wouldn't give for a valkyrie right now…

Astryd likely sensed the disturbance, or maybe its the connection she shares with Fenris… no, she likely sensed it … where death is, the Valkyrie may well appear.

High in the air, a winged woman appears, carrying a spear and a shield …. and aims herself at the Giant, coming in fast and hard behind Fenris.

Two of the wolves get to have an all-expenses paid vacation in a warm place. Ick. As they find themselves landing on ground in a human resort, they glance at each other, and back at the rabbit hole … which is gone. (Being the specific kind of wolf they are, they take on human shapes and end up working as security at one of the resorts, but that's not here, that's there.)

The three wolves attacking Miguel and coincidentally Gar — one takes a face full of bricks and crashes to the ground below. The other two dance around, one of them bouncing off the bottom of the brick platform (and possibly knocking its passenger off) while the other finds himself facing a flying green wolf-chimera twice his size and gets a solid THUMP which also knocks the wolf to the ground.

Back at the Cat - four wolves of the remaining five have to bounce off the air and one another to keep from hitting that wall, while the fifth changes direction as he sees the Alpha-est Wolf and decides that this isn't the fight he should be in.

There are three wolf-bitches and a youngish wolf male not old enough to have any pack status, and they're now circling the cat.

"Here kitty kitty," the young male says, and yelps as his mother nips at him. "Don't talk to your food."

The Valkyrie completely messes up what the Jotun was doing. THJaasi THJaasison actually has to dodge, which shakes the earth a bit, and yells out, "This is not a battlefield, Daughter of Odin. Why do you harrass me? I am just a harmless Jotun, not one of your warriors to be chosen for Valhalla!!"

And then he notices that he's next to a wolf that he DIDN'T adopt.

"Fenris Lokisson. I have no quarrel with you."

Miguel yelps as he's knocked off his platform and since he can't fly without it… he drops. As he does so, he wraps himself in spongy squishy purple micro-bricks, so that by the time he lands he looks something like a purple Michelen Man - then the wolf lands on top of him, grolwling and biting. He responds by stuffing his brick-covered arm into the thing's mouth, much like people do when they are training attack dogs. The bricks keep it's fangs from scoring hits, but at the same time he's beeing shaken and flung about by a pony-sized wolf like a big purple chew toy.

Fenris looks up at the Jotun. "I'm not sure I have one with you yet, but the hags seem to object to your presence and I've learned not to trust Jotun magic. What are you doing?" He glances on over to the wolves. "Leave the Cat." He doesn't expect them to but it's warning that he has to give. Then its chomp chomp time.

Astryd alights on the ground, flanking Fenris, putting the Jotun between them and trying to keep the other wolves in her sight. "Perhaps you are not" her voice low and firm "but some of those you are stacking most certainly were." Fenris' statement gets a cant of her head "And the God-Wolf here seems to take exception to you." That's likely enough for the Valkyrie.

The Jotun shakes his head in disgust. "It's spoiled now anyway."

He slams a fist into the ground, and the hole begins erupting in heavy, thorny vines, that quickly spread. But they begin dying as they get longer than three or four meters.

"See? Useless." The blue-skinned giant looks past Fenris and Astryd towards the east and shouts, "Hræsvelgr, uncle-brother, flap your wings and let me ride their wind back to Jotunheim!"

Of course, it'll take a few minutes for that shout to reach the ends of Midgard, and for the wind-eagle's response to raise even a breeze here.

Meanwhile back at the Cat … the four wolves growling turns into a whine, and they roll on their backs. The fifth wolf yelps, "Yes Grandfather!" and flops himself. This leaves Vorpal surrounded by horse-sized wolf bellies.

A short distance away, Gar wraps a birdlike taloned foreclaw around the head of the wolf who is trying to make Bunker into a chew-toy, and says in a pleasant tone, "I can squeeze a solid iron ball into applesauce. Want to see me do that or do you want to let go instead?"

The wolf loosens his bite … partly because there are claws at either side of his jaw.

And again back at the Jotun, the dead things… remain dead. They seem to have been that way for a while though. None of them is particularly fresh.

Miguel pants as he rolls away from the wolf and lets his bricks fade, leaving him in running shorts and tank-top again. He flexes the fingers on that arm, and then makes another platform ro raise him up several feet. "Is that a good thing?" he says to Gar, looking at the massive frost giant. "I mean, it did just try some horrible magic thing right in our backyard, so to speak."

"All norse magic is kind of horrible." Fenris points out as he stands down. He can fight giants. He has done it before but honestly he'd rather not do it if he doesn't have to. It's not easy particularly if they're skilled with magic. "Your hag friends only wanted him gone, let him leave. Unless you really want to wrestle him. I'll sit here and watch." He glances over to Astryd. "Hello there. Ears burning?"

Gar peers at the wolf. "You done? Good. Help your packmates."

He lets go of the wolf who looks up at the shire-horse-sized wolf/lion/bird gryphon-chimera and the wolf's ears go back … "OK, sorry," the wolf says and goes over to see if his brothers are still alive. The wind seems to be knocked out of their sails, and one has a broken rib from slamming the ground hard, but they're still alive, for now.

Gar goes over to see what's up with Vorpal, who appears to have been preparing something really quite creative before the wolves all fell over … damn. His snout wrinkles when the waft of piled-up-dead hits as the breeze begins to pick up.

The giant frowns as Gar returns to his cat. "I was doing you no harm, skraelings. It will take me another ten of years before I can find the right place to do this working. Do not interfere with me again."

The wind continues to pick up, blowing rather hard, now. At least the stink is being pushed away.

Astryd might be slightly amused by the turn of events and she moves to stand next to the God Wolf "Hello Fenris. Maybe a little." Perhaps she did sense him through the link that they share. Back to the Jotun, hair whipping around her, she asks the logical question "What kind of working were you doing here, anyway?"

Miguel folds his arms and drifts closer to Gar, still watching the giant as the wind picks up. He looks to Gar and then the other two - "Thank you, for helping," he says, before looking back at the giant - he's worried, but Gar.. seems to know what's what.

Fenris cracks his kneck once and lets his illusion of humanity cloak his form again, becoming seemingly human once more. "Of course." Fenris nods to Miguel. "Don't worry, he'll be okay." In reference to Gar. The changeling seems to have a better than average head for the arcane than your standard superhero. "What exactly are you three doing here anyway?"

The wind is blowing harder now, and the dead things start flying into the air as if they weren't dead flesh, lifeless bone, congealed blood. They vanish like the snow off a wind-scoured glacier, as the wind takes them back to where they fell and were buried … except for the strange vines, struggling but not enough to grow. The giant shrugs, and answers Astryd…

"Jotunheim is not a place for growing things. I wished to speak with my father, but he was killed too long ago for his ghost to come back even if Hel herself called. So I was planting a …" the wind gusts and the giant disappears. There is a faint echo, under the roar of the wind, 'ee … ff' but what it means may not ever be clear.

The wolves… do not vanish. They slink up to Fenris.

"Grandfather," the oldest one, who held back, says, "Will you send us back to our forest in Vanaheimr?"

Gar has his claws dug in, shielding Vorpal and Bunker, so that they can build their own defensive barrier… the wind doesn't die down quite yet though. He looks up at Fenris' question.

"We were brought by the Wyrd Sisters … they wanted us to get rid of the giant."

Note that they haven't come back and there's no suggestion that they planned to. But then, with the Cheshire Cat and the Changeling, the three can probably get back to America one way or another.

"You know these three, Fenris?" Astryd glances up at the man, as tall as she is, he is still taller. The giant black and grey wings that tower over her head and nearly drape on the ground, stir on their own as she turns her attention to the giant.

Smoothing her hair back from her face, she shakes her head as he disappears… saddened that he couldn't let the spirit of his father lie.

Miguel tries to form up a curved wall of bricks to protect their group from the rising wind, while still letting them talk and see what's happening. He does so a soft 'aww' at the thought of the wolves unable to get home - after all, they were just doing their job.

"Of course I will…" Fenris won't leave them stuck here with the hags, after all. He knows what it is to be trapped. He wouldn't inflect that on any of these…

Also, hags.

The Old Wolf puts a hand up and a Way opens back to the home woods of the ice wolves. Will he see them again? Well he's very old after all and he's learned never to say never. "I've met them yes. They are 'Titans', and not of the greek kind." Which is good. Greek Titans are kind of like Jotun, but greek, which is worse.

"That is the Changeling there, the cat is Vorpal and this is… Bunker, you said, yes?"

"Meddlesome hags!" Vorpal mutters, erecting a protective bubble to combine with Miguel's barrier to protect them. "Those are three witches who do not deserve a frickin' familiar," he grumbles. Clearly the cheshire cat is Not Amused. Not Amused At All.

The eight wolves practically sprint through the Way, only a slight bit of regret about not getting to eat either of the purple-glowing skraelings, because purple is of course one of the most delicious colors.

(The Ice-wolf forest is a sort of no-vanir's-land between Vanaheimr and the frozen mountains that are the outer face of Niflheim, the land of frozen death. There's a similar place, a desert, leading from Vanaheimr to Muspelheim, the land of burning death. It probably has fire cats instead of ice wolves. Also, isn't it strange how many Norse realms carry "of death" in their kennings somewhere?)

The wind dies down as soon as the wolves are gone. The thing growing from the hole doesn't keep growing, but neither did it vanish. It's just THERE.

"Hello," Gar says as he shifts back to a green human in under-armour-looking purple and red compression shorts and shirt. He looks up at the ominous woman. Black wings, not part of the usual Norse accoutrement unless perhaps she's part dragon?

Miguel does smile to see the wolves run off towards whatever home they have, the youth possibly influenced more by nature specials than any real experience with thing that love to eat other people. Still, he gives Fenris a smile. "Yeah, Bunker," he says.

"Yeah. Vorpal," the cat mellows out a little, probably seeing Gar turning back to his regular self. "… it would be nice if we could do one thing without being involved with supernatural affairs at the whim of others. I swear…" grumble grumble, hiss and rumble.

Astryd's not part dragon, just a Valkyrie. Bowing to the wolves as they leave, she smirks a little at Fenris. "Grandfather mmmmm." As he introduces the trio, her grey eyes fall on them "I am Astryd. You don't look Titans I remember." she jokes.

"You don't think I've never had kids before do you?" Fenris smirks back as he shuts the Way. "Well, what about you three, do you need a ride back or did you intend to look about the hag forest for a bit longer?" He won't begrudge them their curiosity but… honestly… hags.

"A ride back to Manhattan? Really, anywhere near, yeah, that would be great," Gar says. "Guys, I think all of us passed our PT test."

Well, none of them was panting, wheezing, huffing or puffing even after the unexpected fight. That's a good thing!

"As Fenris said, we're not the Greek version. We're basically a sort of halfway-house for people with extra abilities to make sure they know how to use them in human society without being marked as dangers to the common good. We just … needed a catchy name."

That's directly from one of the advertising flyers.

"And costumes. Don't forget costumes," Miguel says. "And a ride back that doesn't involve broom-back, I'm all for that.."

Indeed, they passed. As for the wheezing, huffing or puffing, Vorpa may have something to see about that. Later Maybe.

"We're better than the Greek Titans, in that we don't go around trying to rule the world. We just try to help it along. And Bunker here tries to help and make it a more fashionable place. Every bit helps. I could probably give us a ride back… but I am not entirely sure I can jum between… well… you know."

"You also don't eat your own children." Fenris extends his hand and tears open another way. This one is back to New York. Central Park. As good a starting point as anywhere. He steps through, beckoning to Astryd. It'll stay open long enough for the others to follow, but when they get there, he'll be gone.

Mysterious magical wolf is mysterious.

Astryd smirks at Fenris again, grey eyes dancing with mirth "I … decline to answer that, God Wolf." The explaination of the Titans gets an amused nod, the Valkyrie had only been teasing - perhaps she needs to practice.

Seeing Fenris beckon, Astryd laughs "Nice meeting you, Titans" she calls over her shoulder and follows the God Wolf through.

Mmmm, children. Wait, no, that's the OTHER Titans. Gar nudges Vorpal and Bunker, suggesting that they head through now … as usual he's going through last to make sure everyone gets there.

Behind them, the tentacle-thorn-vines shrivel, smoking. A breeze blows the ashes away.

And in New York in Central Park, three youngish women are doing a public reading of that Scottish Play, with a small theatre group. When the Titans step through a hole in the air one of them catches the heroes' eyes and winks, without breaking her place as she gives the Thane of Cawdor his comforting instructions.

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him."

Gar shakes his head. "Let's go home, guys? Or maybe get breakfast somewhere?"

Miguel's stomach rumbles. "Totally doing breakfast," he says. "A big one."

"At Tiffany's, even," Vorpal smirks and sneaks a pinch at Gar. "Let's go somewhere they don't mind us showing up in… well, I'd say underwear except it's exercise clothes. Hopefully we won't end up having to defeat a witch in a candy house to get there."

Vorpal ponders. "… I could just Rabbit Hole us to IHOP. That'd be safe."

"Then down the rabbit hole it is!" Gar says, and shivers. "And I want hot coffee and waffles."

That wind was COLD after all.

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