Walk With Me

March 24, 2016:

The God Wolf and the once-God finally meet.

Westchester County


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scott Summers


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The Xavier school grounds are very extensive. Very private property but the actual school buildings and fenced off campus and dorms only comprise a small portion of the property actually owned by the foundation that supports the school.

Most of that is just woodland and wilderness. Even taking away the land above the secret base several miles away from the school itself there’s a whole lot of nothing up in Westchester. Mostly this is for very good reasons. Gives the school room to expand as needed, gives a great deal of privacy and provides areas for the children to train away from anything that might be injured or destroyed by out of control powers. Well, mostly. It’s also the home of a great deal of wildlife and today there’s a guest among them. A great black wolf stalking through the woods. His psychic ‘emanations’ are hard to miss. There’s an aura of dread that precedes him everywhere he goes, the feeling that a predator unlike any other has come. It’s uncanny.

And it’s a good way to knock on the door. The God-Wolf is here with a purpose and while he’s polite enough not to simply waltz up to the compound grounds unannounced and uninvited, he still wants to get someone’s attention. Good thing for him that there are a number of very perceptive individuals on those grounds. People who might feel him, even at a distance.

The great black wolf steps into a clearing in the woods. He takes up most of it. The sun is shining down, warm for spring. The brook to his left almost makes it picturesque. This seems like a good place to lay down and wait for a bit.

After the meeting with X-Black and the one sole member of Cyberforce.. If that’s what they’re calling themselves, Jean couldn’t wait to sit back down at her desk, allowing her eyes to close for a tiny bit of rest. There was a little added slump as she settled in, chair pushed back and feet soon resting against her surface, crossed and relaxed. Her eyes close soon to take a little nap, but whatever that feeling was..

..it hits her like a ton of bricks.

She immediately stands from her chair, still remaining with her coat on, the window soon opened with a flick of the wrist as she flies out and into the open. Granted, if any of the children who could fly see her do it, they’d make sure that they could try. But this was a pressing moment and it needed to be dealt with soon.

The vast landscape of Westchester was cleared within a minute, pinpointing that feeling of terrible and upset dread. But she was taken aback mid-flight, the large wolf was something she had never seen before, though that really doesn’t account for the dragon-turned-man. Strange world this is!

She lands down by the head of the god-wolf, her shields immediately raising to protect her from harm long enough for her to get away. There was a little dip of her head, her mind reaching out towards the beast to form a connection most easily.

And who are you, great beast?

The wolf really is quite large. Easily the size of a couple of cars, fur black as night, eyes like dull red coals. He lifts his head and sniffs at Jean as she lands, a canine smile gracing his face. It’s not entirely pleasant but it’s hard to say if that’s because of the aura he projects… or the size of his teeth.

You may call me Fenris. Beat. Yes, that Fenris. I’ve been looking for you. He remembers her scent from the time when there was some discussion of putting Crocuta in the school, though he’d dealt more with another at that time.

When you get to be my age you learn to recognize certain signs, scents, feelings. I saw an image on the television weeks back that I never thought to see in many a mortal lifetime. A flaming bird, incinerating monsters on a Hawaiian military installation. Strange that so far from those warm shores I should sense the imprint of that power, the faint echoes of a force unique in the cosmos. We have a lot in common, you and I. I thought it was time I paid a visit.

At least he’s not moving aggressively, and he does seem to be rather well practiced in mind-speech. The surface thoughts fade back as he addresses her. She could dig if she wants, he’s not trying to keep her out. But the mind she can feel behind that isn’t even remotely human, so whether or not she thinks that’s a good idea is entirely up to her.

Oh. That Fenris.

Even though her mindspeak doesn’t seem amused, she really is. For a smile forms upon her lips as the shield around her drops. But she listens, her smile fading almost immediately as she takes a step forward to reach out and rest a hand upon the large wolf’s nose.

I was hoping something like that wouldn’t reach the media outlets. But I suppose something like that couldn’t be helped.

She doesn’t pry, Jean wasn’t that way. But there was that feeling, the feeling that something was more than it seemed. Even as her hand does remain upon his nose, she takes a few steps closer, trying to bite back that predatory feel to become accustomed to the large wolf, especially if he sought her out for conversation.

(Or to eat her.)

She shakes her head almost quickly, drawing back to wisely raise those shields again. But I’ve heard of you as well. You are a guardian of sorts. For the pendant that Scott wears around his neck. I have wanted to meet you for so long and to discuss your intentions with him but..

She gestures around, glancing out towards the highest point of the school that she could see from where she stands. Busy busy.

That makes the two of us. Fenris rumbles mentally, not seeming to mind the touch. His nose is the size of a couple car headlamps. She could put both hands on it and not cover it. But I’d be happy to discuss that with you. The short version is I have no intentions toward him at all, per se. He agreed to become one of my Ley Guardians and, actually, we’re going to need him soon I think.

Well, if he answers the call. Fenris never imposed structure or rank upon his group of defenders nor does he expect all of them to answer every call every time. That’s one of the reasons there’s more than just a couple of them. People get busy. Mortals especially. They’ve so much to do before their flash-in-the-pan lifespans end.

I am a guardian. I am an incarnation of life. I am also the End. The Destroyer. The Sun-Eater. He whose howls shake the stars, and other names as well. Something I rather suspect you know a thing or two about. Tell me, young one: What keeps you so occupied? What troubles pull your attention? I can scent your fatigue. I can hear your exhaustion. It’s more than just someone with a busy work life, mmm?

The inquiry seems to be honest. Fenris has no need for ulterior motives here. He’s curious. There aren’t many mortals at all that he finds interesting. Hell there aren’t even many immortals he finds interesting. So when something catches his attention he’s prone to investigate… even if he does so in a way that’s ever so slightly inhuman.

I wonder if I should find that satisfactory or not. Jean admits. Stray thoughts, though she wasn’t one to hide nor pull punches. Mostly.

I’m sure he’ll answer the call, he always does. Instead of remaining close to the wolf, she puts herself at an angle where he could see her, then lifts herself from the ground to take a seat midair. These Ley Guardians, what is the sole purpose of your people?

Questions upon questions she has, but she lets it go for now, her head tilted faintly as she speaks outloud. “He whose howls shake the stars..” A hand lifts to touch upon her lips, her cheeks burning with a red that nearly matches her hair. Was that shame? Just a touch.

So you know of it.. She mentally speaks now, her gaze soon lifting towards the stars and back down again, her lips curling ever so slightly, wanting to frown, but doesn’t. His honest inquiry does draw out the look of fatigue, as if she could melt right then and there into dust.

Yes. She confesses, the mind-voice quiet. I barely sleep. My mind often travels when I do back into a memory that, try as I might, cannot shake.

Her shoulders shrug idly. Whether I choose to try to forget or choose to make myself remember the faults I created before my third life.. Forth now.. I’ve done things back then when I was my younger self that I regret. Even if it was just a shadow of who I am now.

She smiles a little sadly. But, that being is long gone. The Phoenix. Never to return as long as I remain alive.

I once told a young man with a cat spirit sewn onto his soul that the world is more fragile than most know and every new dawn is the gift of someone who stopped something horrible at great cost. It wasn’t much of an exaggeration, I’m afraid. The guardians, the knights of magic, exist to safeguard the very being of the world. Any threats to this world’s magic threaten the world itself. The bearers of the pendants are those face the void and the night and the eternal silence unsung and unknown to make sure that the sun rises in the morning. There’s a short pause and Fenris chuckles, a low rumbling sound that makes pebbles jump around him a little. A bit over poetic perhaps, but there you have it.

Why don’t I… change into something you’ll find a bit more comfortable. The wolf rises to his feet, but oddly, shrinks as he does, down and down until he’s just a lean faced, tall but otherwise ordinary looking man in a coat and shirt and tie with a mop of muddy brown hair. The aura of dread lessens as he cloaks his nature, though it doesn’t recede entirely.

Yes, I know. I’ve lived a long time on this earth and an even longer time off it. I’ve heard of the Phoenix before, a force of the endless cycle, destroyer of life to make way for other life. A somewhat… Darwinian being. Pity it’s got no sense of that. The man that is Fenris looks up at the stars, following Jean’s eyes.

Never to return? Never is a very strong word, though I should hope you’re right. Destroying the world is my job. There’s a smirk with that. A light joke, despite the weighty topic. Is it the memories of lives past that weigh you down now? Or something more… immediate? I’ve seen that look on people before. A weariness of mind and soul, rather than body. It’s rather more serious than simply being tired. People who remain there become numb, and if they’re not careful they stop caring about that entirely.

And there lies the wide gate to hell. The road to becoming a monster because it’s the only way left to feel anything at all.

Feet immediately press to the ground as the wolf rises to his feet, all the while speaking afterwards about the poetry that was just given. It’s all rather beautif—fuuuuck

That mindspeak was a daring thing. Especially being taken off guard as she was. But as he reforms into a gentleman she finds that he was still.. Much larger and very much imposing. Though, dampered into a human.

“Don’t speak of her like that.” Jean took minor offense to it, shaking her head just a touch. “Besides, there were more things that she wanted to do that she wasn’t able. I.. can’t remember the last time I touched the skies with her but I knew that she.. That I wanted..” She draws her hands together, squeezing and ringing them out as if there were blood still stained upon her grips. “I wanted more.”

Just talking about it makes her shoulders raise up, turning away from the man now to pace slightly upon the ground. Her step stumbles a little upon an idle rock, but she rights herself again with a slight flail of her hands.

“Yes. And yes.” She doesn’t elaborate what. Not just yet. But she does turn to give a smile, one that was unlike her. “Have you come out here to test your competition?” Sure, Jean was still mad from her earlier meet, broken and nearly downtrodden and felt like a failure, so maybe she was looking for the quickest way out.

“Test perhaps, but not the ‘competition’.” Fenris’ voice is still a low rumble, but not nearly so basso as when he was much, much larger.

“Scant decades ago your people mastered the power of the atom and one reflected upon the older records of the wars of the gods from far away. ‘Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.’” Oppenheimer, if Jean remembers her history. “‘I suppose we’ve all thought that, one way or another’ he is to have said. I find that I do not agree. There is a burden, a weight that comes of such a legacy whether it’s the memories of the fire and blood of an endless inescapable cycle or the weight of the cosmos pressing down upon your soul.” That last gets Jean a rather direct look.

“Not many truly understand what it is to be a Destroyer. Few know what it really means to be purposed for the End. It’s so final, so absolute that mortal minds rarely even glimpse comprehension of the enormity of it, much less grasp the whole of what it means. When I saw that bird on the television I thought that, perhaps, you might be feeling those weights particularly keenly.”

Or put more simply, he knows in some measure what it’s like. He’s never held the Phoenix, but he knows what it is like to be gifted with power whose sole purpose is to destroy. He knows the terrible weight of such a destiny. And he knows better than most beings in the cosmos what it is like to be alone in moments like that.

Compassion is not something for which the God-Wolf is often noted but he is not without it given the right set of circumstances.

“I also came to make sure that the world wouldn’t be ending any time soon. All my stuff’s here, you understand.” And that.

“I feel it because she imprinted upon me and I know that.. Even when it is -my- end, she’ll never let me go. In my end, nothing is final for me. Just.. more.” She gestures around, then turns away from the school, finding the need to traverse the grounds of the forestry that make up most of Westchester.

She does crack a little laugh, her head shaking quite briefly. “It won’t be ending. Not by my hand, at least.”

“But I remember it. The words. The history. And I remember the feel of the power and knowing that I wanted to do better. Make it all better. A perfect utopia where there is death, but there is celebration. Where everyone holds hands.. Sing, dance, love and laugh.”

But I also know and remember that such a thing isn’t possible without freedom of will.” She looks towards him now, stopping briefly in her tracks. “But you know what it means. I feel you do. You’re a living embodiment of that power to erase. To destroy. Maybe even to build up and protect.”

She continues walking then, her hands placed behind her back now, shoulders working back and forth to release some of the tension. “But you protect and not destroy. What are you waiting for?”

“Boredom to set in?” That’s another small joke. Fenris smiles slightly as he walks behind and to Jean’s left. “In truth what I do now I do because I choose it. What I did before I did because it was my nature. I had accepted that I had no choice in the matter… and perhaps ultimately I do not. So far as I know I am still fated to swallow the sun and bathe the world in blood. I’ve done it before. Felt mountains melt beneath my rage. Watched the gods fall before me while mortals trembled at my passing. I was born a monster, the son of monsters, to play a monster’s role in an endless saga. It wasn’t something I chose… just something that was, and perhaps is.”

There’s a moment of quiet while Fenris pulls himself back from older memories. “I grew tired of playing my part some millennia ago. I began to question whether my nature was set in stone, unalterable. The spinnings of a mind near cracked with boredom, at first. Just a way to occupy the time as I lay slowly going mad in my confinement. But the questions gnawed at me and would not let me go. Could I define myself? Eventually I felt that I had to try, so during the confusion of a disaster in Asgard, I slipped my bonds and left.”

As she was saying: free will. It’s still not clear whether or not Fenris actually has any, but he’ll fight for the idea that he does. Fight the gods, and fate and even himself.

Especially himself.

“But yes, I know what it means.” The God-Wolf is quiet for a few minutes, watching the treeline, listening to the call of the nightingales.

“What did you do with it? That drive to make everything better, I mean. You strike me as the kind of person who holds onto something like that.”

The joke was immediately had and gotten with a little bit of a laugh, though it quiets as he speaks to his truth. She does keep an open mind and ear to his words, a little glance in his direction, still shielded but yet the unease never fails.

“There are a lot of people in the world as we speak who feel as you do. Or did. People who stick to what they know and are afraid to remake themselves in the unknown. Which is their right and possibly their way. But imagine if they actually did? Become something more, become something better. And then we have to ask as well, what if they didn’t?”

Jean’s lips purse for a moment, hanging back just a touch to allow them both to walk on an even keel. It didn’t feel right him walking behind her, it was unnerving.

“What do I do with that need to make everything better? Easy.” She laughs just a little. “I start small. With one person or maybe a group of people at a time. Even a city.” She looks at him then, and then away.

“And I hope that whatever I’ve done for that one person, or thirty.. Creates a ripple effect. Some effect that inspires them to do good for the ones they love. And so on and so forth.” She grins then, stopping as a small family of chipmunks run past up ahead. She could hear their thoughts, or at least a sense of them. Hence why she grew so quiet.

“Even if there are Gods, they can only do so much. The rest is up to everyone else.”

“I don’t generally count on the gods for much myself. They tend to be sort of jerks.” Beat. “Or Greek, which is just as bad.” Seriously. Greeks. Ugh.

When Fenris steps even with her he casts a sideways glance in Jean’s direction. He’s still curious. Most mortals trying to handle that kind of power go mad. Even the echoes of that kind of power drives them a little bit nuts. He’s seen it before with things much less potent than the Phoenix. That Jean is still more or less sane (travails of running the X-Men notwithstanding) is a bit of a miracle.

“That’s a healthier outlook than I expected to hear from you, honestly.” The pay it forward philosophy is not one he personally subscribes to, but… he is an ancient predator god from beyond the stars, after all. “I know what’s in that school over there. A lot of young ones who must give you chances daily to make… small differences.” Even if they give her headaches in the process.

“So what has you so weary?” If not the weight of the Phoenix, what brings out that exhaustion he can still scent from her, and hear even in her laugh.

“Some of them.” Jean admits. Has she ever met a god? Probably. But the stories that were told of them does make it seem as if everything had to be all or nothing.

“What did you think I was going to say? That..” There was a pause there. She couldn’t even think of anything terrible to say, she couldn’t think of anything that would make her look as crazy as the dreams she had for the world to be. It’s what most people strived for, peace. That wasn’t so crazy, but the way to get there, usually was.

His last question has her growing silent. She couldn’t really, really think of anything else that had her weary on the outside. (X-shenanigans notwithstanding.) But there could also be the fact of her not wanting to actually think or admit what has actually gotten her down and tired.

“I’ve yet to figure that one out.” She admits. And lies all at once. “But.. I’m fine. Really Fenris.”

Not all lies are something to be upset about. People lie every day. ‘I’m fine’ is one of the most common ones of all. It’s usually not important to push.

At least until it becomes important to push.

“As you say then.” Fenris nods and glances out toward the hills. “If ever you decide you need some… perspective, though, I believe the school has my number. Jeremiah Wolfson. We spoke, once, of sending a child I knew here.” Didn’t work out but there’s no animus in that. Just wasn’t meant to be.

“Few burdens need be carried alone. Give me a call, if the need presses.”

“It presses.” Jean states, admitting that she had lied. Lied through her teeth and taken it as it was.

“But right now? I just want to walk.”

“Then let’s walk.” Fenris chuckles. Unlike many he very seldom feels the need to do things right now. Even a mortal lifetime is the passing of not much time at all from his perspective. Take a few hours to walk?

It’s like telling someone to take a deep breath.

The God-Wolf turns, sure footed and familiar with these lands. They are, after all, his hunting grounds. “If you’ve never been back this way, you might find it soothing.”

And then he steps off the path.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License