Overcoming The Codex

March 10, 2016:

The Codex Manifests again and Ryden has to face facts

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

When people think about momentous descions, they often think of agonizing life or death choices made as the world threatens to stop spinning. The Cuban Missile crisis is a good example. Stress, limited time, incomplete information and the ever present threat of nuclear apocalypse. Very few people stop to realize that most life and death choices are actually made very quietly, in situations where the world isn't going to burn. In some ways that makes them easier, but in some ways it makes it more difficult. If someone were to screw up a stressed, time pressed decision history might at least remember that they did what they could. But the weight of a decision made when you have all the time in the world… well if you get that one wrong there's no one to blame but yourself.

These decions often find people in quiet moments, doing quiet things. But since this is Ryden odds are he's dressed like he just came out of a tumble drier that was caught in a property dispute between Hot Topic and an anime convention. And he's probably not doing anything quiet.

Ryden has been doing some online shopping from within the (relatively) safe confines of the church basement he's been living in. A lot but not all of the things after the book are unwelcome on holy ground. It's also right by Stark Tower and so near Pepper and Ryden has the damned thing in the bag again.
It helps, somewhat. So does the almost mindless entertainment of buying all the pretty things. It's something to do while he thinks, a sort of meditation almost. He's been doing it all week and few of the things have even arrived so when Damnyou pecks him into going out for fresh air, Ryden dresses, ignores the gooses looks and heads outside and down the sidewalk.
The lorekeeper definitely garners some attention. His old travelpack kinda stands out against the rest of what he is wearing. A *very* short lime green pleather miniskirt, black tights and clogs and a bedazzled black jean jacket with a bright orange silk tank top beneath. He's got a circa 1980's boombox on one shoulder and is dancing to some classic rock as he strolls down the sidewalk. He's forcing cheer and happiness and godsbedamned this bloody book and its bloody problems for the moment. Damnyou sighs and bobs along in time to the music in a very halfhearted seeming manner.

Not quiet and not subtly. That's for sure!

Zee's has to speak Fenris to deliver the news she has. She's made a decision and he should be one of the first to now.

Right now she's approaching the boom box carrying, rather brightly dressed mage … not that she really see's him … she's too far away and New York is full of "Interesting Characters (TM)" … and she's thinking.

She's been doing that a lot, lately.

Pepper Potts just so happens to be walking briskly along that same stretch of sidewalk. Well, let's be honest, she's walking on the other side of Damnyou from Ryden. And she's really wishing he'd turn that boombox down, even if only just a little. She's gets enough eardrumm-rattling from Tony as it is.

What's the best way to make Ryden and his attendant goose seem even WEIRDER? Have a woman in a business suit and crazytall heels walking in step with them.

If Fenris could go grey he'd be doing so by now just sharing a planet with Ryden. Fortunately that's not likely to happen any time soon. He appears, rounding a corner and looking somewhat bemused at the music. Mortals change their musical tastes quite often by his standards. It's like a new generation crops up every time he turns around. So with the blur of styles picking out one he's heard before is unusual.

Fenris will be the last of their worries though. A man appears about twenty feet in front of Ryden. He's wearing plain but very fine robes that mark him as a senior Librarian of an order that Ryden knows for a fact doesn't exist anymore. And in fact, Ryden knows who this man is. And knows he's quite dead.

Catching sight of Pepper's look at the boombox, the little white and black tinged goose pecks Ryden about the ankles until he turns it down some. "What? Oh, Pepper! Hi." The lorekeeper smiles at his welldressed companion. He's about to say more when he catches sight of the man and drops the radio on the ground, not even noticing that it breaks apart and silences, Ryden looks that shocked.
"Dude. What kind of mushrooms were on that pizza?!" The lorekeeper hisses and glances down at his goose. It looks askance at Ryden, then at the man and then fly-hops to land in front of Pepper and squawk at the robed stranger threateningly. "Okay. You see him too then. Shit." …"Hi Elder J'kar. How's uh.. death?" Weapons.. what have they got for weapons.. Ryden fishes around the side of his pack. Where's the lightsaber, where's the damned lightsaber?! He hasn't yet seen Fenris or Zee but he'll likely be very glad to.

Of everything, it's the sudden appearance of the man in robes that finally gets Zee's attention. She truly wasn't paying attention, lost in her own thoughts. Converging with Fenris as he turns the corner, the raven haired mage casts him a sideways look.

"Trouble?" is all she says as she keeps moving closer to the Ryden and Pepper.

Pepper Potts stops abruptly when Ryden does, flinching at the smashing boombox, and then looking at the robed man warily. And even though Ryden just implied that that man is dead, her hand is now clutching her phone closely and she's reaching into her bag for the cold iron hairstick she's taken to keeping there since running afoul of Fae a while back.

Fenris pauses as he sees the ghost appear. He's at a distance at the moment and hasn't engaged. If there's trouble he'll intervene but…

"Ryden…" The man he called J'kar says slowly. "Ryden… you torment us." His face is full of pain. Horrible horrible pain. Just looking at it is physically affecting. It'll start with Pepper since she has fewer protections about this kind of thing but the ghost is throwing off an aura of suffering so intense it causes suffering in those around him.

Ryden just stares at the spirit for several long moments. Until he realizes it's affecting others, people are moving away instead of stopping to stare. It doesn't quite seem to have that affect on the lorekeeper. Oh, he feels it. Of course he does but he's spent the past thousand years trying not to feel that pain. Doing his best to find whatever distraction or trouble or escape from it that he can manage. He'd run for so long he'd forgotten how to do anything else.
Until, until Zee. Seeing her ahead Ryden smiles and then looks back at the spirit, the honest joy seeing at spotting Zee slowly fades from his expression. "I know. I'm sorry. I can't help you though. Our time is past. I've realized that, I've accepted it. I have to move on and you have to let go. I can't, no, I won't change things. It's just not going to happen."
And it could now. With the Codex, he could do it all. Restore his people's legacy. Recreate their world even, perhaps. Or start all anew here on this planet. Ryden could do that, but he won't. He has at last made up his mind. The time of the Lorekeeper's is over.

Yeah, it's trouble. As Zee draws closer, she feels the suffering. With the decision she's just made and the realisation of what it means, the suffering, particularly that of others cuts deep.

Reaching into her satchel, the mage withdraws a tub of salt, getting ready to spread it around the Ghost if she needs to … If she can.

At first, the only indication Pepper gives to anything being wrong is a tightening around her eyes. She's very much aware of Damnyou actually standing in front of her in a defensive posture and as much as she appreciates the gesture, it seems … futile at the moment? And then wahtever that person is doing gets worse. Much, much worse. To her credit, she's trying to not let it show, but she's starting to hunch her shoulders. And, she is THIS close to throwing something at that Sith Lord reject.

"You torment us, Ryden. You keep us bound. You are destroying our legacy, our lives, our memories! You are defiling knowledge!" The ghost of J'kar is very, very upset and that wave goes out again, worse than before. "Release us!"

An instant later the book's manifestation, a woman in grecian dress with curled, dark hair, appears. She's rather lovely though that seems secondary to the impression of wisdom and knowledge she gives off. "Ryden." She greets the mage. "Pepper. Zatanna." She does not greet Fenris who is still watching at a distance. The moment she appears that temptation, the knowledge that anything is possible if only they'll pay the book's price, reaches out to both women. And Ryden as well.

It's all well and good to make him suffer, but the others, especially his friends.. "No. I will not. Now leave them be and you, go back to dead. Or sleep or whatever the hell it is you were doing before this!" Ryden has after watching Zee in the background, remembered that there's salt packets in his jacket pocket and managed to get a few open. He throws the small handfull of salt in J'kar's face and tugs his lightsaber free from the outside of his pack. "I safekeep our legacy as long as I live. I guard knowledge too and sometimes, sometimes that means you don't use it! A lesson our people would have done well to learn." The pink blade comes to life with a hiss and flares bright before Ryden. He will not use the Codex. No one will, if he can help it. The damn thing can go back where it came, where it's safe. He's not going to give in.

Seeing Ryden throw the salt, Zee does the same, chanting a banishing spell that she's memorised. It takes so much longer than it usually would and those who know can see the frustration boiling off her.

And that woman appears, causing Zee to stagger … the desire to reach out and use it … solve her own problem, is nearly overwhelming. Through a sheer force of will, the raven haired mage completes her spell …

Pepper Potts gasps, but only manages to not stagger as well because she'd topple over in these heels and possibly injure an ankle. Or, she'd fall over and squish Damnyou. What she DOES do, though, is make a sound VERY close to a growl as she (clumsily) flings her iron hairstick at the woman. She's the one that made this go from painful to almost unbearable. Not cool.

The woman just vanishes. Poof. Gone. The ghost not so much. He remains. He must be very powerful and anchored very, very nearby in order for that to be the case.

Then two seconds later the woman reappears. "Tsk tsk." She shakes her head.

J'kar's face twists in agony as he resists the banishing. The book begins to glow in the sack Pepper gave Ryden not too long ago.

"You hold us Ryden! Release us!" Zee and probably Pepper will figure it out fairly quickly. Somehow, some way, J'kar is bound to the Codex. Actually if anyone looks it's not just J'kar. All the lorekeepers, the entire order, is bound to the codex, their knowledge has been absorbed and their ghosts…

Will haunt Ryden forever. They're stuck with the book. He keeps it and thus keeps them. The only way to free them is to rid himself of the book which means renouncing it and all that it means, sending all that knowledge - the collected memories and lore of his people - to oblivion.

Now is when Ryden falters for a moment. It's one thing to say the words, another to mean them. It's something far harder and more complex to actually do them. Consigning all those memories, centuries upon centuries of knowledge and technology, wonders the like of which will never be seen again.. renouncing everything he and his people were.. it's what he has to do to banish the Codex.
It's what Ryden has known all along but hasn't quite been able to bring himself to do. It took time, time to prepare, time to understand, to accept this thing, this horrible, horrible thing that he must do. He knew the second he took responsibility for the Codex, the moment before actually but he'd done it because it was better him than another. Better him, who knew what he was getting into, who understood the risk, and still it's taken him this long to be ready. Or as ready as he can manage, for really, how do you withstand the single hardest thing you've ever had to do, harder than most people could ever imagine, ever understand.
The answer is that you can't, not really. "I'm already so broken. So damaged." Ryden murmurs softly as he shuts down his lightsaber and pockets it. Quickly, he takes the bag from his pack and the Codex from the bag. He'll never be whole, never be fixed, and knowing what he's giving up, knowing no one else will ever understand, they can't, not without having been there, Ryden sighs and shudders and then simply lets go, of the Codex and his world, the lorekeeper's, all of it. A single tear trails down his cream colored cheek and there's a world's worth of emotions glimmering in those crystaline skyblue eyes. He can't help but wish that he too could find oblivion but that reward isn't his. It never will be, now.

As J'Kar resists the banishing, Zee closes her eyes and lets the spell drop. She's worked it out and now it's up to Ryden to finish. No amount of power she can channel, even fully powered, will be able to combat this.

Then Ryden drops the book and the mageling looks to the woman in the Grecian Dress "Enjoy your trip…"

Pepper Potts is gritting her teeth, her hands clenched into fists. She puts every bit of unpleasantness she's feeling into a glare aimed at the Grecian woman. "Go. Away." And that's about as polite as she can manage right now.

Fenris once said that to get rid of the Codex Ryden had to move past the place where he either needed or wanted it. It may be with some trepidation that he waits for it to return to him…

But it doesn't. The book is gone and the moment Ryden gives up on it, and the last hope of a dream where his world is in some way reborn even if only in memory and honor, the pressing magical feelings go with it. Its sudden stark absence leaves something like a void in the three standing there. Fenris is still a distance off, watching with something like approval. The woman is gone. The ghosts are gone. It's over.

Ryden sinks down onto his knees next to Pepper. The feeling of relief at all that weight finally lifted from his thin shoulders is muted by the sense of grief and later perhaps, he'll be glad it's over. He is glad that his friends and his familiar are safe from this threat at least and the damned thing can't torment Zee now either. "..Y-you alright?" He pants up at Pepper and reaches over to reassuringly pat Damnyou's head. The little goose is hopping up and down between the lorekeeper and Pepper, craning his head back and forth and eyeing them both with worry in his beady little eyes.
On the one hand, it knows how that must have been for the human woman but it also felt a whole lot of Ryden just did, and is and it's torn between the two and.. Damnyou whirls his head around and looks for Zee! Her too. Now the little guy really doesn't know what to do. "QWEK!!!!!" "QWEKQWEKQWEEEEK!" Ryden winces and frowns then looks vaguely alarmed. "Oh hell no. That's the world needs, two of you. I don't think so buddy. Look, we're okay, go check on Zee." The gooses antics seem to help the man focus a bit on something other than his emotions.

Pepper Potts sinks to her knees next to Ryden, taking a ragged breath. No, she doesn't know precisely what Ryden just sacrificed to stop the torment, but she does know that he gave up something VERY important. "I'll be fine. Are you okay?" Her eyes flick toward the broken boombox briefly. Maybe she can get one of the electrical engineering types to repair it. Not Tony, or it'll end up able to pick up radio signals from EVERYONE, including NASA and SHIELD. Or worse.

Zee can't sense Fenris. She can't sense a damn thing… and the void that was left is nearly unbearable. Jaw tightening, fists clenching, it's going to take a moment for her to relax.

Then Damnyou's there, QWEKKING at her and she bends and scoops him up to pet him briefly.

Hearing both Pepper and Ryden say they're ok, the raven haired mage gives Damnyou one last pet before setting him on the ground and nudging back to Ryden. "That was well done, Ryden. I'm sorry about your stereo … Rain might be able to help repair it. But I … must be going." beat "You know how to contact me if I'm needed."

Turning on heel with a nod to the pair, Zee heads back towards the Leyline.

Ryden watches Zee go for a moment as Damnyou waddles back. He understands her need to go and get away from there. The Codex could have solved all her problems too and he knows it but he's also pretty sure it wasn't the way. In anycase, it's gone now. It actually takes the lorekeeper a second to figure out the stereo part and then he looks around at the scattered pieces.
"Oh crap, the Bishop is gonna be pissed. That was his favorite radio. Well, I've probably got another one or twenty in this pack somewhere. Maybe he won't notice. Guy's nearly as blind as a bat anyway." Okay so he's a little rambly. It's just too much to proccess right now. "I'm.. I'm.. here." He shrugs a bit. "I did it. It's gone." Oh holy shit. It's gone. Damnyou toddles up to nuzzle Pepper and Ryden stares out and suddenly spots Fenris. He waves tiredly.

Fenris raises a hand to retun the wave then turns and steps into an opening portal and disappears. He can chide Ryden about his choice in music some other day.

Pepper Potts ruffles the goose's neck feathers fondly, then takes a deep breath and stands again, only briefly wobbly on her heels. Then she's scooping up the now empty dampening sack and offering her hand to Ryden. "Come on. I think we both need some tea."

Ryden picks up the stereo pieces and stuffs them in his pack really quick, it won't do to litter and then takes Pepper's hand and rises. "Yeah, tea sounds excellent right now. Thanks for lending me that bag. It really helped out until I could.." He falters for a moment but shrugs it off with a visabel effort. Time for that later, if he just focuses on this moment with pepper and the tea and his goose, he'll be okay.

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