Reeds in Rangon

May 29, 2016:

Research leads members of Primal Force to Myanmar looking for more information on how May can use the stones to repair The Pillar of Heaven

Myanmar

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

To say that countries in the East are swathed in mythos and religion would be an understatement. There's a heap of it and most of the mythos is covered in obscure references. It's possible, at the time, those references meant something but as centuries pass. so does the meaning. Which is why it's taking a little longer to repair the 'Pillar of Heaven' with the five coloured jade stones that Primal Force, ahem, reaquired from HYDRA.

Zee had tasked Jes and Walker to check into legends that might give the group some idea of how Agent Melinda May might use them - the SHIELD agent being the one the stones 'resonated' with and also the one tasked by Nu-Wa to undertake the task.

It's because of Jes research that group is now standing in the wilds on Myanmer, not far from the province of Yangon. Those who know their history, know that Yangon is the home of several pavillions that house Buddhist relics.

"Right." Zee's not dressed all in black leather for once. She's dressed rather sensibly for the conditions, instead. Still, that doesn't hide the fact that her eyes are still darker than used to be and that black flecks swirl in their depths occasionally. "According to Jes' research, there's a shrine about 3 miles up this trail, that might give us information we can use. I didn't want to put us down any closer, just in case … it's protected. Apart from that, it will give us time to discuss our approach." Glancing around the group, she nods to the trail - it's no more than a goat track really "Let's move."


Jes had been happy to help with the research. She usually refuses to let Fenris heal her if she's not seriously injured and her idea of that often differs from everyone else's. She hadn't even told anyone but Walker that she was shot. The laser burn on her left shoulder is much better after a few days rest and she was able to do something that helped her keep quiet and able to heal.
The native american is wearing fades blue jeans, a silky grey halter top that an astute person might notice is the exact shade of Walker's eyes, short buckskin boots and a black leather jacket. Her gun is at her back and daggers hidden in her boots. The smokey quartz pendulum dangles from her neck as usual. "I've never been here before." Jes murmurs, looking around with interest.


Agent May is also dressed for the climate, she's been in this part of the world before, after all. She knows what to expect. Of course, being the center of all of this is NOT what she's accustomed to and she's really trying to not let it rankle. It's a struggle. When Zee explains about their destination, she simply nods and starts up the faint hint of a track that's got delusions of grandeur.


Rain is coming along. She has a pendant, and Captain is here, too. Rain has a backpack on, and Captain is wearing a rather handsome hoodie. They are ready for travel! Either that, or Rain rarely not wears pants and jeans. Probably the second.

Nevertheless, this mythos is curious and new. And Rain is a voracious learner. "Hello," She remarks. She has spare clothes for the weather, although she can cheat and magic sometimes.


The trail is not easy to traverse, it is overgrown and sees infrequent use however, as they're walking those who recognise these things will be able to tell it was used recently. Those tell tale signs that only experienced trackers will be able to see.

"I'm not sure what to expect when we get there. I checked Google Earth before leaving…" yes, Zee is a child of this millenium and despite being a mage can actually use a computer - she just doesn't often. "… and, as expected, there wasn't much to go on. I couldn't scry as I didn't have a sympathetic connection to the place. Rain, Captain, Jes please keep your senses open. We don't want any unwelcomed surprises."

The place is steeped in old magic that gets stronger the closer they draw to the shrine. It's not malicious, it's part of the land now … oozing from the earth and the plantlife around them.


Jes buttons her jacket to protect the shirt. It isn't something she'd usually buy for herself, the color or the expensive material but for some reason, when she'd seen it, she'd been unable to resist, although rather baffled by Crotchet's bursting into laughter when he saw her in it. He'd encouraged her to buy the thing in the first place.
She frowns as she studies the trail. It's easy enough for her, she's coyote and grew up in the wilderness but someone has been here recently. Jes manages not laugh at Zee checking Google earth. That's.. really cute. Brown eyes go to May and Jes wonders how the agent is doing. Usually she's expert at reading people's body language and scent, May is always one of the rare few she finds it very difficult to do so with. "Someone's been here recently but it could just be the locals." Jes grins to herself. Probably not, because when is it ever that easy? But still, it's possible.


Which means that to May, it's just cold. She's not a trained tracker — despite people arguing that she can do ANYTHING — and she's still a Muggle despite everything. Even though she likely could learn to pick up on magical auras and stuff through the help of the pendulum, it's not yet occurred to her to actually try. "Expect the locals to treat you like every Westerner that's come here in the past sic hundred years. With long-ingrained suspicion. And let me do the talking." At least she'll be able to address them in Mandarin or Cantonese, not that will completely erase suspicions.


Rain's got a jacket! It looks like something that escaped from a thrift store. It seems some habits from her time as a homeless person rarely die. She will let Captain walk, and the cat jogs along easily. He sniffs here and there, his ears up, tail up in a ? shape, and triangle nose with a couple of black dots a-wigglin'. The witch herself will keep walking, as somehow, a flying broomstick might make the locals even more frownie faced.

The sensation of oozing magic is odd, reminding her somehow of the mushroom fairy rings. She shakes it off, dark purple eyes alert and attentive. Magic senses make things more vibrant, and so Rain will reach a bit with them.


As they push through the brush, the roof of a structure becomes visible. It's not the towering creation of Shwedagon, Sule or Botataung Pagoda's down in the Rangon proper, it's much smaller but still boasts the spire atop a gleaming golden roof. It's not long before the little group is on the edges of a clearing and the building becomes clear - round, with small archways leading into a small courtyard, where beyond is a door.

This is a place of pilgrimage, that much is clear. In the courtyard are several pedestals where 'offerings' have been left. Right now though, it seems to be unoccupied although there's two or three scents heading towards the back of the structure.

Zee stops for a moment to take in the beauty and the power, blue eyes glittering just a little as she does. "Alright. I'm not sure what we're looking for… the research Jes did indicated there may be a ritual or similar that's performed here." Glancing around at the group, she gestures to the right of the courtyard "I'm going to start looking over there. Split up and see what you can find?"

Rains senses are drawn to a pedestal to the left, which seems to have a 'stone' book upon it. May might notice a wall not far from them that seems to be inscribed with words - maybe she can read them.


Jes isn't disturbed by the aura of magic everywhere. Some places in the world are like this, and her Father's realm, it's overwhelming compared to this. As they approach the structure, Jesana studies it intently. There might not be reception out here, even on he Stark phone, but Jes just wants the camera. She'll take a few pictures. It's pretty and interesting and she knows a person or two who might like to see it.
As they get closer, Jes's nostrils flare. Her sense of smell isn't as keen as a human but it's still far above average. She can tell how roughly how many people have been here, that it wasn't long and that they all seem to be male. Though in this form, that's more of an intuitive guess based on what she doesn't scent. Her voice is quiet and low as she relays the information. She does see the words but can't read them. The Dragon keeps telling her she must learn but there are only so many hours in the day and the list of things she needs to learn just keeps growing.


Melinda May nods to Zee and heads straight for the wall with the inscription. She frowns at the unfamiliar characters for a moment, then as they seemingly reform before her eyes, she reads what they have to say and can't help but be very much concerned by the last part of the first phrase. The second phrase that jumps out at her is more baffling than worrying. And that's the only part she repeats aloud. "And humanity pays homage in the form of water-splashing festivals." She turns to look at Zee. "Why is that making me think of a water balloon fight?"


Captain's paws are totally digging the softer parts of dirt. But even he hops onto his witch's shoulders after a time. Cats can only jog so long, or he prefers taking a break. Rain is taking it all in, eyes a bit wide. And Rain only has slightly above average senses.

She peers at - a pedestal. Her senses did their thing, it seems. She decides to amble over, Captain on her shoulders. She mumbles something, furrowing her brow. "How odd, this one is - sculpted two thirds through, most books are carved as being halfway open." Read: Open in the middle. She squints. "It does not want to be fully translated. Anyway, what I got is… After slaying the Dragon, he Serpent-Goddess burned reeds and- uh." Squint. "Crap. Anyway, something about ashes stopping the flooding." Headshake. "No idea past that." She pauses.


"Can you track them, Jes? Make sure we aren't blindsided by Snakes or the like?" Jes can follow that trail, to a small structure behind the shrine. The scent seems to finish there, but if she looks closely with her magical senses, she'll detect there's been some kind of portal opened there. Whoever it was is now gone…

Zee looks over to May and then to Rain, a frown furrowing her brow. "Water Splashing? Reminds me more of a pool party. Did you say 'pay homage'"? Blue eyes fix on May and flick to the wall "That's a lot of text for such a small amount of phrasing."

Rain gets a look too and Zee peers at the 'book' "Well, I know from one version of the legends that I read, Nu-Wa did burn reeds and used the ashes to stop the flooding … but I can't help wonder, if we're only seeing the bits that we need to help May repair the Pillar."

Casting a look around the shrine, Zee shakes her head "I've not found anything of note, myself. Is there anything else, any of you have noticed? If not, we should consider leaving, and soon. Oh, Jes … good, you've got a camera - could you photograph the book and the wall? Might not help, but you never know."


Snakes? like HYDRA or actual snakes? Jes stealthily makes her way around the shrine and spots a smaller structure. She doesn't see anyone but reaches out with her power. She's very glad it's returned enough fo rher to be able to sense things again. A portal? "Noo that isn't weird at all. Old shrines always have shacks out back with mystery portals to Fenris knows where." Oookay then. She turns and heads back towards the others after another careful look around.
They're talking about pool parties? She can't read that stuff, so Jes knows she isn't much help here. "Sure! I can do that." The demigod brightens and takes several pictures. "What about those offering altars? Should someone do that? I figured it'd be disrespectful if I did. I mean, I don't worship this.. I'm not a practition of this religion. I'm a native american godling and I worship Fenris. My own gods aren't that thrilled with me." Jes shrugs. She can't imagine anything watching over here would believe any attempt from her to appease them. "But maybe that would do something? The people are gone. Took a portal out back."


Melinda May looks at Zee and shakes her head no. "Most of it doesn't translate for me. The rest is a fragment of the Wu-Na myth. Again." And she refuses to voice that little snippet that had not been mentioned in previous translations. "And I agree. We should leave. The sooner the better."


Captain keeps on Rain's shoulder, watching them. Her murrps a little. "This is all I could manage," She admits. Rain looks to Jes, and nods. "I can write the bit I got down for you later," She remarks. "Sorry about that," She remarks. "Most of the time…" Most of the time a spell brute forces a translation, but, well. She shrugs and Captain merps!

"Sorry." "Mmph." Captain peers down, ears flicking. Sniff. "It's stone." "Thanks, Sherlock."


May should remember that magic is often symbolic. The phrase that has her concerned could well be metaphorical and not literal. Maybe she'll talk it out with Zee later. Maybe not too.

Jes' words have Zee looking over though "A portal? Interesting… " but the idea of making an offering gets a raised eyebrow "I think we should, at least to say 'thanks'. Now, if I'm not mistaken, a material offering is traditionally a candle or oil lamp, burning incense, flowers or food or water … let me see… I think I contribute something to that."

Eyes glowing, the Mistress of Magic murmurs words, backwards, and a burning oil lamp appears in her hand. "I think we should all try to add something, yes? What did you all bring?" she asks as she sets the lamp on one of the pillars, ready for the others to add their offerings.


Jes eyes May. She just can't tell for sure if the woman is holding something back. Her instinct says yes, probably but it's not like that's so realiable lately. She's really considering herself very lucky she hasn't shifted forms or mindsets yet today. Having it happen randomly without her control is such a pain in the ass.
"Um." Candles? lamp oil? It occurs to Jes that those are probably things most people take into the wilderness. They're also things someone like her doesn't normally need. She pats down her pockets. "I've got a lighter but.. I don't think we really need to start a fire. Oh. And a dove chocolate bar." Or Zee can magic up a freakin lamp. Jes grins and gently sets the chocolate bar down, then backs away, looking around as if expecting to be struck by lightening or something.


Melinda May nods her agreement that an offering would be appropriate, and thinks about what she's got on her that would suffice. Really, only one thing comes to mind. She reaches one hand into the other sleeve and after a moment sets a small armband knife sheath with the knife still in place on the pillar next to the oil lamp.


"Uh. We've been planting lotuses in the back yard pond. Hang on." Rain concentrates. Captain's tail flicks, eyeing the oil lamp. He can't knock it over. He can't knock it over.

It takes Rain a few minutes, but there'll be a trio of lotii in hand. One pink, two white. "Here we go." They are in a little pot, ready for transplanting. "Steve bought a bunch, he's been on a real gardening kick," She admits. Time to set it with the others.


Of course Zee can magic up a lamp. If Jes thinks about it, the raven haired woman likely has a some in a room at Shadowcrest, ready to go!

As the last of the offerings are laid on the pillar, Zee speaks clearly and quietly:

With lights brightly shining
Abolishing this gloom
I adore the Enlightened One,
The Light of the three worlds

The words of a traditional Buddhist offering, made in a very non-traditional way!

As the last of the words spill from Zee's the offering disappears and clump of five reeds, bound together, appear in its place.

"Did someone mention Reeds?" Zee inclines her head "May, I think these are meant for you … take them. We can examine them after."

Once May does that, Zee looks to the others. "If you're all ready, I'll take us out of here …"


Jesana blinks. Well, that was interesting. And somewhat creepy. She's definitely ready to go. Maybe sometime she'll return to explore the wilderness in this country but it won't be near this shrine! "I'm ready. Definitely ready. Let's go. Everyone got everything?" She tries not to appear too nervous. It's just, the last time she dealt with a foreign God, it kinda ate her. The only reason she's still alive is that Fenris is not someone that even ancient egyptian Gods want to piss off lightly. The worst part of the whole situation is, she'd do it all again, current problems and all, and she knows it. "Got Captain Rain? Yep, okay!" Jes might be failing on the hiding her nerves front. Usually she's damn good at that. Not today apparently.


Rain nods. "Yeah," She remarks. Captain is curled about Rain's shoulder. He probably sees. Rain nods. "Yeah. And ready when you guys are." Deep breath.


Melinda May stares at the reeds, then takes them as Zee suggests. "Ready." She studies the bundle as Zee prepres to take them back. What kind of reed? And what is the bundle bound with? Even the way the bundle is knotted is something she studies. She puts one hand on Jesana's arm to help calm the woman.


Rain nods. "Yeah," She remarks. Captain is curled about Rain's shoulder. He probably sees. Rain nods. "Yeah. And ready when you guys are." Deep breath. She's dealt with gods before. Heck, she lived with Loki as his apprentice for awhile. It's a wonder she survived those years. But she did, so there's that. She pets Captain.


The reeds are … reeds and bound by what looks twine or perhaps another thin reed. Anything more will require some investigation - Zee's certainly no botanist.

With a nod to the group, Zee's eyes glow once more and she murmurs the words of her teleport spell, sending the group back to Shadowcrest. She'll arrange 'lifts' as the others require.

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