An Apple A Day

January 06, 2016:

Sent to Asgard to secure one of Idun's Apples, Zee and Pepper are asked to give a boon (emits by Fenris)



NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

There are ways to get Asgard. Fenris doesn't truck with most of them. The simplest - getting the Rainbow Bridge opened - isn't going to happen. But there are secret ways through the cosmos that will you there eventually.

For obvious reasons the God-Wolf hasn't come himself. He's far from welcome there and would rather this mission not end up in a stand off. The particular way he's sent his allies opens up outside the city. The only instructions he's been able to give them are to find the garden and talk to a woman named Idun… whom he seems to have a history with.

Asgard is… brilliant. Beauitiful. Crystal clear waters, vibrant blue skies. A city of gold gleams in the distance and despite the bright light stars dance at the horizon. This… if this is not the realm of the gods, it should be.

Stepping through the portal leading to Asgard, Pepper does her level best to not stumble, and then she turns to make sure Zatanna makes it through okay as well. And then she takes a few moments to look around. WOW, descriptions she's read do not come even close. Of course…

"I'm… suddenly thinking I wore the wrong shoes for this."

Zee had taken some time consulting with Fenris, ensuring they might fit in when they got there. For herself, she's chosen a gold sheath dress that shimmers with a white flowing overlay, and no sleeves. For Pepper, something slightly more regal - a long white dress, trimmed in gold with a flowing cape.

"The shoes might not be correct, Pepper, but they'll help us pass as one of the Asgardians." Looking around, the raven haired mage, takes a moment to get her bearings, taking her time to drink in the surroundings before nodding in a particular direction. "There's the grove, that Fenris mentioned. Let's go".

It might be noted she's favouring her left arm, and the sleeveless dress reveals a healing wound ….

She felt just wrong not carrying SOMETHING with her, so Pepper insisted on having SOME kind of purse/pouch/pocket like item in which she's got her phone, her Leatherman, and a few other odds and ends with her. Following Zee's gaze toward the grove, she takes a breath then carefully hitches up her skirt just enough to not trip over it if they encounter uneven terrain and starts at a deliberate but not over hurried walk. "Were we supposed to meet someone there, or just steal an apple and run?"

The garden… where can it be? The grove is here but the garden… wait. Up ahead. Trees. And singing. A woman singing, in fact. The voice is high and clear and young.

There are traditions of maiden goddesses. Zee and Pepper may have both heard of them. Now they meet one. Idun is singing in the gove, bright and clear, surrounded by trees laden with golden apples. She seems to be singing to the trees themselves…

"Snatching and running isn't our first option, Pepper." Zee smiles at her friend, gracefully holding her skirt out of the dirt and moving along the path to the grove … "And there's the garden our friend told us to look for."

Schooled well by Fenris, the young mage won't use his name here … the last the two women want are Asgardian swords at their throats and to be used against the God-Wolf.

Spying Idun, well hearing her first, Zee slows their pace little. Letting the singing maiden hear their approach … Pepper, can do the greeting … or whatever.

Pepper smiles and nods, then lifting her chin and squaring her shoulders as if entering a corporate boardroom, she takes a longer step or two to put herself slightly in front of Zee so she steps into the garden proper first. She also stops holding up her skirt. At this point if she trips, she trips. She'll try to do so as regally as possible.

The rustle in the grass is what does it. The blonde haired maiden turns to regard Zatana and Pepper silently for a long moment. And for that moment the only sounds are the wind through the trees and the birds singing in the distance.

"Well met, mortals." She finally says in a soft voice. "Well met, but most unlooked for. What brings two ladies of Midgard so deep into the higher realms?" And why are they in her garden?

Falling back, to Peppers left shoulder, Zee takes her place, lets her skirts down and dips into a courtesy to the maiden goddess. Showing due deferences. "Hail Idun, the ever young, my lady and I are on quest and seek thy assistance…." with a glance to Pepper, Zee presses on "May I present to thee, Lady Pepper Potts of Stark Industries." Poor Pepper. It's going to be up to her to request the apple.

Pepper Potts is hating Zee just a little bit right now. She offers a similar, if shallower curtsey to Idun. "Recently, the area of our realm that is home to a very large number of individuals has been … compromised. Magically. A learned elder has researched and discovered a way to strengthen those magical underpinnings again, but to do so needs a truly precious item."

Idun quirks an eyebrow. "Mortals learned of the secrets of the arcane? I had thought that a lost art on Midgard. Are you sure you should be speaking to me though? It is not mine to grant any great boon. The king of this realm, Odin, sits on the throne in yon city. If your realm is in peril, is it not to him to whom you should appeal?"

Zee can imagine how Pepper feels about her right now but it can't be helped - the spell calls for a high born lady and if the Asgardian Goddess is to help, she must truly believe that Pepper is that person.

Rising from her curtsey, the raven haired hand maiden glances to Pepper "Most definitely, my lady. You are the one who grant our request. The spell requires a high born lady, a mage and … only something you can provide." Idun should be able to sense Zee's own power, even if it is locked away.

Those clear blue eyes fix on the goddess "Our … learned elder" not mentioning Fenris, yet "sent us to speak with you."

"I will be honest, my lady." Pepper manages to refrain from glancing at Zee. "Until recently, I also thought belief in the arcane arts had been relegated to old fireside stories and the mentally touched. But it is still very real despite nearly all Midgardians no longer believing. And those of us that can, are doing our best to protect the realm from what might happen if those magical bonds were to collapse completely." She, clearly, has zero magical anything about her, but she's still counting herself amongst those tasked with protecting Earth. Hopefully it'll help convince Idun.

"A boon that only I can grant?" Idun's clear blue eyes become thoughtful… and then narrow. "An apple. Mortal these apples can bestow health and life. They are potent. Forgive, you come to me and I know you not. How am I to know that you mean this for good use?"

"Test us, my lady" Zee speaks quietly. There are marks on her soul - more now than the last time she stood in the cleansing light. Pepper might freak out a little at that - but it's the best way, surely?

"We two, are honourable and wish only the best for our world." Drawing in a deep breath, she finally gives a name "I am Zatanna Zatara, daughter of Giovani and Sindel, Homo Magi of the plane of Midgard and sworn to protect the realms magic." Whether that means /anything/ to the Goddess, Zee doesn't know. But the giving of names … and that much information, cedes some power to the other.

Glancing to Pepper, Zee quirks a brow. Do they dare mention Fenris, to this lovely creature?

Pepper Potts is not at all sure they should mention Fenris, so to play it safe she doesn't. "Again, I offer honesty. You don't know that we mean this for good use. But as Zatanna said, test us. Let us prove to you that we would only ever dare ask this of you to protect our homes and Midgard. My full proper name is Virginia Elizabeth Potts, daughter of Conrad, an accountant, and Amelia, a, um, teacher. She teaches music to young children." That's not too much info.. is it?

Idun regards Pepper very solomnly and then Zee. "Stand, a moment…" There's a sense of presence. A not quite felt pressure somewhere undefineable as she seems to sense them with something other than her eyes. "You are… both of you scarred. Young one, you are stained with darkness. And you…" She looks up at Pepper… "Carry great weights." Beat. "And there is something you are not telling me…"

Zee bows her head "I am, my lady. One can not do the work that I do with expecting something like this. It might not seem so now, but I have the key to resolve many issues - and when one does, should one not use it?" That… might be clumsily paraphrasing John … "But what I do, is for the love of our world and those around me."

As to what they aren't telling? "We come at the behest of the God-Wolf, he… is my mentor."

"We hesitated the tell you the name of Zatanna's mentor, who is the learned elder that sent us," Pepper adds. "He mentioned that his presence is, well, rarely well received here. But like us, his only concern is for the safety and well-being of Midgard and everyone that lives there. Otherwise he would never have so much as considered seeking help from Asgard."

Idun rocks back at the name. "Fenris…" She breathes. Clearly there's a history there. "I have not… seen Fenris in many thousands of years. Why now? You say that there is a great arcane danger to the world and the barriers fall. What is it that he's thinking?" She's seraching less for answers now and more for truth. Also her feelings on the God-Wolf are clearly… mixed.

Zee's eyes widen at Idun's response, a blush lightly colouring her cheeks. Hey! She's young and she /might/ have misinterpreted that but… really?

"My lady, my mentor is thinking to redirect the power of the Leylines via conductors to repair the veil between worlds." Blowing out a breath, Zee thinks about about that … "There has been much power expended of late, none of it good, to gain a foothold in our realm. Those few of us, who can, stand against it … but still it's had an effect."

Pepper Potts can only nod her agreement with what Zee has just said. "What Fenris is wanting to do sounds very risky to me, but then I am not one of those who actively wields magic. If this works, it will save many, many lives. If I didn't feel it were worth the risk, I would not be here."

Idun considers both their words. There must be something to them, or perhaps osme background they're unaware of, since she doesn't outright dismiss them at the mention of the Destroyer Wolf. "And are you willing to pledge your lives, fortunes and sacred honor to that?" She's… borrowing that phrase surely. "Are you willing to put that much on the line to secure this boon?"

"Yes." It's a simple answer and one that doesn't take Zee a lot of thought. Blue eyes meeting Idun's, Zee's adamanent and earnest. Because really, what good is any of that, if the world crumbles around her.

Pepper Potts says, "I … kind of already have," Pepper offers. "I'm here willing to go through with this and my, my lord doesn't know I've agreed to assist Fenris. I know he would be equally willing to protect our realm but, well, he is one of those that does not believe in magic.""

Idun regards Pepper for a long moment.. and then Zee. "I shall grant you your request and give to you a single apple. But, you must swear to see that it will be used only for the benefit of the realms and the people therein… and you shall promise to grant me a boon if ever I should need it."

That's not unexpected, being asked for a boon and Zee takes time to consider. "I swear, by my blood if you wish, that it will only be used to benefit the realms and people therein." That's easy enough… as long as they don't loose the Apple.

As to the boon, that takes a bit more thought "I will grant a boon with the following restrictions: It will not harm the realms, my friends or allies, and that includes Fenris. I would also ask that it does not bind my service to one or one group for any length time." She's sure she could word that a whole lot better, but she's thinking on her feet.

"I swear by everything I hold dear that the Apple you share with us will be used only to … wait. Zatanna, what about Normand? Has anything been done yet about his rapid aging?" Pepper looks at the mage concernedly. This might be their only chance to help him at the same time, and she's not willing to let that chance slip by.

"Rapid aging?" That sounds different. Idun glaces from woman to woman. "Why? And what does this have to do with the other business you mentioned." There are only a few reasons such a thing might happen. And none of them are good. And most of them are suspicious.

"He's worsening, Pepper." Zee murmurs. She has been concerned but there's little to be done till the ritual is conducted. At Idun's question, she offers a small, sad smile "A friend of ours, saved one of his friends, bought them back from the dead and sacrificed his life force to do so." Maintaining eye contact with the Goddess "Fenris believes that Normand will be able undergo a trial with the very spirit of the earth itself to regain his lost life force. He will have to do that, whilst we conduct the ritual to redirect the power of the Leylines." It's a rather large undertaking.

Pepper Potts ohs softly. That's what his role is going to be. Clearly, she'd not been certain of that before. "He won't have access to the Apple at all, then." She nods at that, figuring that it would probably be a rather extreme temptation to the mystical hacker. "So, yes, I swear that the Apple will not see any other use, and I will guard it myself."

Idun reaches up and plucks an apple of the boughs of the nearest tree and holds it out to the two women. "Then we have an accord. Take this is trust and return it to Midgard as swiftly as you can. And may the Norns smile on your efforts."

Beat. "Or not. The Destroyer would probably prefer that they not show up."

Zee will let Pepper take the Apple, she's already vouchsafed it's safety. "My thanks, Lady Idun." she offers with a deep curtesy. "Fenris would prefer not to see the Norns, no."

When Pepper has the Apple and has bid her farewell, Zee will lead them back the way they came.

Pepper Potts also offers Idun a deep curtsey, the Apple held in her hands like a delicate crystal. And then they're on their way back, and Pepper is very intentionally NOT studying the apple in her hands.

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