Of Books And Rats

May 20, 2016:

A meeting in the Shadowcrest Library discusses what needs to be done to fix the Pillars of Heaven

Shadowcrest - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Shadowcrest, Gotham.

Zee's home actually has a fairly extensive library on all topics magical and mythological as might be expected of the house of a very old family of magi. There are whole wings of it dedicated to this obscure, arcane topic or that. More importantly aside from the lore that Fenris has secreted away various gods only know where and whatever resources Walker might have it's the most complete collection of reference material that the group called 'Primal Force' has access to.

The topic at hand? Five colored stones and their connection to a ley line nexus underneath China's most sacred mountain. It's fairly clear now that the 'Pillar of Heaven' was something that took that power and channeled it to productive uses. Now that this 'pillar' be it a physical item or a spell has been damaged that power is building up in the nexus. There's a lot of room down there but when it's full…

Let's just say Mount Saint Hellens may have a Chinese twin at some point.

So there's the question of the myth itself and then the more general question of how to tap a ley nexus of that size in a manner that doesn't blow it up and doesn't just spill the magic onto the surrounding countryside where it will invariably create a fairy tale land.

And the people who wrote those in Europe were called 'Grimm' for a reason.

In any case, this is the place since Fenris himself is rather occupied with the question of his brother and at least at the moment quite unreachable.


"Come down, Crotchet…"

Lichbane's voice is weary — but mainly from having to manage his Familiar. The necromancer stands in the library, his arms folded across his chest while his hands float among the shelves, pulling out books to have a look at the titles and covers.

Crotchet the Rat scampers across the uppermost shelves, amusing himself. "Not yet, Boss!" he calls back in a shrill Cockney voice. "Wot kinda library is this anyway? Nuffin' on Kama Sutra, or — never mind."

"What would /you/ do with Ka — ," Lichbane starts to inquire before catching himself mid-word. "Forget that I asked. Please."


Melinda May arrives from having SHIELD stuff to deal with, and having been directed to the Library, steps into the room cautiously. She looks at Lichbane, then up at Crotchet, then at Lichbane again. She has sort of become the defacto mage-familiar wrangler. Why Damnyou and Captain both think she's good people is actually a bit beyond her. But, she's not going to question it. She just watches the rat's path, then moves to climb one of the ladders that lead to the upper reaches of the shelves and is in the rodent's path.


Jesana is going to be having an interesting couple of months. At least. Perhaps longer, until she regains her self control and is able to keep the two halves of her self on an even keel. She's rarely alone these days and her frequent trips all over the place have been put on hold. She doesn't leave her place or Walker's unless she's needed somewhere, so she's happy to be out at Zee's even if it's more work than a social visit.
Currently she's in Coyote form, sitting at Walker's feet and watching Crotchet go crazy over the books, brown eyes lit with amusement. She'll have to show Crotchet some of her own books later, if he hasn't found them yet. The Familiar has been all over her boat but she keeps the more sensitive things in the Den. 'Don't ask him if you don't want to know…' She laughs into Walker's mind via her pendulum. When May arrives Jes looks over and wags her tail. The coyote demigod's eyes widen and she cranes around to watch May. 'Ooooh. I would pay to see whatever happens next.'


The books Lichbane hands are pulling from the bookcase are all related to chinese mythology or Leylines. Walker might note that one book that seems to be repeating every book or so is the 'Huainanzi', and it seems to be quite in the scheme of things.

Zee herself is seated in a chair in the centre of the room with a series of books already about her and a wooden box, inscribed with Nordic sigils, laying on the coffee table in front of her.

"Hello May." she looks as the woman enters and gestures to one of the chairs. She seems totally oblivious to Crotchets grumblings about what isn't kept in this part of the library. "So… we need to work out how to use these stones and … why the resonate so clearly with May."


"These are interesting…" Walker speaks up, chin raised and head turned slightly to direct his voice back over his shoulder. Leaving the shelves a moment later, his hands float along behind, carrying two books with them. "Fascinating how this library of yours works, my dear," Walker tells Zee with a smile.

He is steadfastly trying to ignore Crotchet.

"I could quite happily spend several lifetimes in this room alone."

"BOLLOCKS, IT'S TH' CAVLARY!!"

That would be Crotchet. The little Familiar had been too preoccupied trying to find books that would interest /him/ to notice May climb the ladder to try and nab him. The rat's exclamation of alarm is extremely high-pitched — as if one were watching 'Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels' but with Alvin and the Chipmunks playing the principal roles.

Rather than come quietly, the rat backs up as quickly as he can, only to run butt-first into the spine of a book he had pulled out and forgotten to put back. To compensate, the Familiar grabs a smaller tome…

And ditches it at May.

"I 'eard about yew! 'Ere — take that! …An' that! …An' Th — !" The rat slips and falls.


"Zatanna." May's greeting is offered from near the top of the ladder. And that's when Crotchet notices her and tries throwing a book at her to get her to back off. She deftly catches the book then smacks the rat with it, essentially dropping the thing directly onto Crotchet's head (and body) in a 'whack-a-mole' manner before putting the book back in its spot and reaching to scoop up the wayward Familiar.

Jes can read at the moment, her mind is the one currently active but she can't help pull them from the shelves or turn the pages. 'Can't May just do it by instinct?' Jes broadcasts to everyone this time. It's how she does most things after all, but she knows her way is different than most. People often rely on logic and thought more than instinct.
Still, with the stones responding to May, Jes is curious how much help they can be if they can't find anything written down. Zee's library contains a lot of information though, more than Jes has seen anywhere aside from…… she growls softly. She's not going there. They'll find what they need here, they have to or-
Crotchet's antics are enough to distract Jes from the sudden flare of anger and she gapes up at him and May before rolling onto her side and pawing at the air, panting with laughter. She should definitely move to break the little guy's fall but rats are light enough, he'll probably land on his feet if May doesn't grab him and Jesana is sure she won't actually harm him. She's also pretty unsure of her balance and speed at the moment. Moving around with this form while coyote sleeps is.. not as easy and Jes had a dose of tranquilizers before they left. When she finally manages to stop her silent fit of amusement, the demigod rises and trots over to sit by Walker and Zee. 'I only wish I'd had my phone and you know, hands, to film that.'


"Zatanna." May's greeting is offered from near the top of the ladder. And that's when Crotchet notices her and tries throwing a book at her to get her to back off. She deftly catches the book then smacks the rat with it, essentially dropping the thing directly onto Crotchet's head (and body) in a 'whack-a-mole' manner before he falls off the shelf. She uses the book like a ping pong paddle and lightly swat him onto the next shelf down before returning the book to its place and reaching to scoop up the wayward Familiar.


"This is going to be a work of 'high' magic, Jesana." Zee looks to the Coyote shaking her head. "The stones are responding to May, but from what I saw, May wasn't particularly aware of them… Would that be right, May?"

The antics of the Rat gets a raised eyebrow "I will remind you, Crotchet, you are a guest in my house." And judging by the frown that flashes over her brow, throwing books simply isn't done.

"The other thing that you should know, is that I was approached by the third in charge of a chinese HYDRA arm asking about the stones and obliquely threatening my father. Jes was there." Maybe Jes can add to that … even though being in Coyote form is going to make research difficult.

"What are the books, Walker … oh, The Huainanzai, a collection of chinese myth, history, astronmy, … lots of things, really. The Library gave them to you?" May and Jes at least will know the Library tends to give you what you need most.


Walker Beck seems adamant to ignore the 'misbehavings' of his Familiar, and devotes his attention to the matter at hand… despite a visible tightening around his eyes and jaw, everytime the Rat speaks.

"These are intriguing," says he, in reference to the books as he lays them out on a table. Instead of reading them, each one of his hands floats over and rests upon the covers, palm down. The necromancer's eyes close as he searches through the books for information he and his friends can use.

Crotchet, meanwhile, gets up a little unsteadily, then sits back on his hindlegs so he can bury his head in his little arms, swaying from side to side.

"Oy, fer the luv of… I'm finkin' I'm in luv…"


Melinda May scoops up the rat while he's still reeling and starts to climb back down, though the spine of one book randomly catches her eye — most of the books here seem to be printed in ENglish, and this one has Chinese characters on it instead — so she pulls it off the shelf to bring along as she climbs the rest of the way down nimbly enough despite having a book in one hand and a rat in the other. She steps over to claim a chair near the others, but not before unceremoniously dropping Crotchet into Walker's lap.


Jes ducks her head, the amusement fading at the mention of Hydra. She can't lose her temper. If she takes more of those horse tranquilizers, she'll be more useless than she already is and thinking about that, she still doesn't know how she resisted trying to tear that man to bits. It wouldn't have been likely before, in her current state..
Jes rests her head on Walker's knee for a moment, needing comfort and maybe a little of his strength. She finds it interesting that even with these fits, she doesn't regret their battle in Delaware or what came after. 'It does do that. Sometimes it messes with you too, a little. I kept getting books about the dangers of eating raw meat and all the ways you could cook it for awhile.' She adds after she's calmed a bit. Her head lifts and turns towards May. Even as Coyote the expression is easy to read. "Better you than me!" Then Jes gives Crotchet a nuzzle and pats him gently with her right paw.


"Where did you run into this HYDRA agent, Zatanna?" May wants to know so she can task someone in SHIELD to start tailing him, maybe even take him down to weaken HYDRA's influence in that part of the world.


Walkers search reveals the tale of how Nu Wa, an ancient Chinese goddess, created mankind and the repaired the pillar of heaven when demons fought and broke it. Of particular not in that tale is how the Goddess smelted the five stones together to patch up the sky. Perhaps he's onto something there.

Mays book has a more detailed account the telling and it too mentions the five stones being used to make repairs.

"We need to work out how May can use these stones. And yes, I'm convinced that May is the one who has to do it. I believe we should start with working out why they respond to May and not any of us."

Taking the box up, she opens it, revealing the five stones within. "May, would you mind … and tell me what you feel." As May draws near, all the magic users can see them warp time and reality around them. May, though, will feel something call to her within her pendulum.
urning to May to answer the question, "About two days ago, in a park in New York. He'd heard I'd been at that soiree and made it clear, they'd like the stones back. Jericho had been tracking him, that's how I know who he was."


The necromancer looks up from the two tomes and both his hands fly back to his wrists. Giving Jesana a fond nod of his head, the man turns his attention toward Zee and May, his brow furrowed in concern.

"There is a tale in these books of how the stones were… merged? melted together, somehow, to repair the rift in the sky. I'm at a loss as to how this was accomplished but I would advise we the book's example…" and his voice trails off. He gives a helpless shrug of his shoulders and looks at both Jesana and Zee.

"Tell me more of this HYDRA… what could they possibly want with the stones? It does not sound as though they are the hand — or tentacle — behind the leyline disturbances, but rather a faction hoping to profit from it…"


Melinda May just shakes her head at the mention of the HYDRA agent. She looks at the stones, then without realizing it puts one hand over the pendulum hidden under the neckline of her shirt. Feeling the call through the pendulum, she tries to send an answer back the same way. She has no idea what'll happen, or even why she feels like that's the correct response.


Jesana listens to the stories in silence. It's not usually easy to read a coyote's expressions but Walker can possibly sense her interest and more than a little confusion but she puts that aside for later. 'Well. That seems obvious, doesn't it? She's Chinese. Those came from China. The stories were Chinese creation myths or legends.'
'I mean, doesn't that make sense?' Belief could also have something to do with it but Jes isn't quite willing to suggest that. Her own ideas and beliefs about some things are better left unspoken. Jes bares her fangs. 'I wanted to rip out his guts and strangle him to death with them.' That is sent only to Walker. 'He said he knew that she stole them. Might have recognized me too by the way he kept grinning at me. Shiteating mother-'
Jes closes her eyes then gives the Necromancer and apologetic look. He hears enough colorful language from Crotchet. Besides, she should try to be more of use here. 'What about a Monastery or Temple or something near where this Pillar place was, or is? Maybe they'd have journals or something with more detail.' She asks the others before tilting her head to watch May. 'Geeze. That feeling. It's kinda like when I'm near my Father.'


"The Leyline disturbance is just part of a bigger picture. Someone is trying to wake Jorgamundr and I'm sure the Leylines are just one method." Zee explains to Walker as she watches the stones. "HYDRA have always seemed to have an interest in magic. I've come up against them on a number of occassions. He didn't say what he wanted them for - and it might be related, it's impossible to tell at the moment."

As May reaches out through her pendulum, the stones seem to glow a little a brighter. She will notice though, that it's not the pendulum itself, there's something within her responding.

"May…" Zee says slowly. "Did you just do something?"


Walker gives Zee a nod of his head.

As various expletives issue forth from Jesana, he smirks ruefully and shakes his head. It is fine. May's actions over by the stones draw the necromancer's attention, causing a hand to swivel around, snap its fingers and then point to the SHIELD agent as though the limb had a life and mind of its own.

"What did you do?" Beck inquires.


Melinda May blinks and stops focusing on that calling sensation from the stones when others start addressing her. "Sorry, what? Oh, I… they were calling. I answered them." She then looks at the hand that snapped at her and her eyebrows draw together slightly. "Was I not supposed to?"


Jesana coyotegrins at May. 'I think you were, yes.' She had felt them and felt May's answer but had no desire to try to talk to the stones herself and doubts that she could. They aren't interested in her and Jes is fine with this. Her life is interesting enough thank you.
'What do they want with these things? Do they even have anyone that can use them, it doesn't seem like it. They just had them sitting in that, Museum or whatever it was. What if HYDRA or whoever is trying to wake the Serpent come for May? If they find out she can do this.. and they already knew who Zee was, they knew me too. Of course they could have know me for another reason. My stepfather had some kind of big position there. Never found out all the details and I've been you know, killing them horribly whenever I find them.' And making sure the sonsofbitches know it.


"I think you were, May." Zee considers thoughtfully "So you can 'feel' them… that's interesting." the dark haired mage looks to those gathered. "That's a start at least."

There's a lot of work to be done. "Walker, Jes, can you work together. Find any references you can to spells, rituals, workings, that might relate? We might have to create something specific to May, and the way she interacts with the stones.

"May, you and I. We'll work together and see if we can work out what's going on here." With the inkling of an approach in place, it's time to get down to work.

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