In the Witching Hour, Part 1

May 20, 2018:

Alice Walker, with Red Hood as escort, comes to strike a bargain with Enchantress.

South Channel Island - Gotham

The old and disused cemetery on the Island, known as Charon. Old headstones, older monuments, and lots and lots of the dead.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Kendra Walker (NPC), Queen Mab (NPC)

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Perhaps she played to atmosphere. Perhaps she came to commune with the dead. Perhaps she simply searched for a place as unremarked and unremembered as any place in Gotham for the meeting which had, in the manner of all such meetings, been arranged through means best left to the imagination.

Whatever the rhyme or the reason, the meeting place was the old bone orchard on South Channel Island, Charon. And it was where the dark being known as Enchantress had set herself. For her seat, she had selected an old above ground tomb, which had the appearance of an altar. She sat now, still and silent as the grave on which she had made herself at home. Legs folded beneath her, wrists supported on her knees, fingers twitching idly as they dangled in the air. Wild-haired, dusky skinned, with those preternaturally bright blue eyes, and that nimbus of fire flecks and ash swirling around her like a shroud.

-

Alchemist had no intention of meeting the being known as Enchantress on her own. That would be why she had Red Hood with her. Tonight she was adorned in simple black, but prepared for problems. The black trench coat was armored and cut to fit her, as was the shirt below it. At each hip was one of her modified guns she used and any number of small glass vials filled with inert water were about her body.

Through the boneyard they came. There was no point in trying to be sneaky or pull some fancy arrival. She left that to the machos who felt they needed to make a point. Alice had long ago made hers after all. She paused and scanned the graveyard with a frown on her young face. "Over there," She says with a nod towards where Enchantress sat a little ways off. And she begins to find the path towards that altar upon which the witch perches.

-

When Alice asked Jason to come with her when it comes to meeting Enchantress, Jason didn't hesitate to go with her. Dressed in his full bodysuit of armor and kevlar, and his infamous red hood helmet upon his head, with a street jacket around his shoulders, it's not hard to assume that Jason is armed to the teeth. Because he is.

He nods at Alchemist's words and he reaches to give her hand a faint squeeze. No words needed to convey what he means. He Moves at a distance behind Alchemist, Pistoles just an inch away from being fully drawn. From reading reports, he has a bit of an idea of what Enchantress can do…and anyone who uses magic is someone to never take lightly.

Nevertheless, he's the muscle in this case scenario, and so he's more than happy to let Alice be the one who does the talking.

-

If Enchantress had any interest in questioning the Alchemist's arrival with escort (in truth, she didn't), she seemed disinclined to show it. There was something, in the way her eyes tracked the pair as they made their way towards her that seemed, if anything, to appreciate the effort the human woman had put into attempting to ensure her own safety. There were few things Enchantress appreciated in the fully human. Initiative seemed to be one of them.

She did not slip down from her altar, as the pair made their approach, only allowed her attention to drill down, gaze settling first on Alchemist, and then drifting over towards the man who walked beside her. Once they were within speaking distance, her chin lifted, as though she were scenting the air and the way it had chanced on their approach. When her chin fell, her eyes were on the man in the red mask, "You smell of the dead, human." Her voice was husky, bearing a slightly sibilant quality, a subtle vibrato that would be unpleasant to most ears.

-

Alchemist meets the Enchantress' unnatural blue gaze with her own. It isn't challenging, there is respect in there and caution, but neither is she exactly here to beg. Appearances and subtle nuances can have as much power in a meeting as a spell or power.

"He probably does," Alice says mildly and there is a faint quirk to her lips of a smile. "Enchantress I presume?" The question is rhetorical and she bows her head a touch. Again a show of respect from someone whose been around long enough to have heard about the immortal. As she straightens her eyes move across the other woman once more. "Alice Walker," A hand touches her chest and she gestures back at Jason, "Red Hood." She doesn't know the woman could easily pluck their names from their heads. The only reason she is here as herself is because it's about her daughter. Anyone could track that back and not need to be a super slueth.

-

Jason walks right up until he's just a few feet behind Alice, his arms crossed. At Enchantress's comment that he smiles like death, Jason already has a quip for her. "Kinda what happens when you die." Sassmaster Jason has entered the building. Either way, he remembers that he should really let Alice do the talking, and that's exactly what he does. His arms crossed as he watches the two ladies speak.

His eyes shift to Alice as she introduces him…but he knows that the Enchantress is powerful. Stronger than maybe the both of them combined. So he just waits, but he keeps his eyes mainly on Enchantress…making sure that she won't lift a harmful hand against Alice.

-

"Be careful, human, that you do not become a thing that people look at and say to themselves, only, 'That should have stayed dead." Enchantress's tone is entirely without humour or indeed, any emotion at all. And as soon as she offers her reply to Red Hood's quip, she returns her attention to Alice, dismissing the man, and turning her attention to the woman who was either brave enough or desperate enough to seek her out.

"That is the name they have grown accustomed to using for me here, Alice Walker." And now she does smile, a faint thing, that looks mote terrifying than reassuring. "There is something that you want from me." A glance to her left and right, "You may speak it, if it suits you. The dead keep their secrets. They will keep yours as well."

-

Was that a chill that ran down Alice's spine? Were the ghosts of the graveyard playing with her? A slight shrug of one shoulder is the only visual discomfort the woman shows. Given leave to speak her peace she takes a second or two. Her lips purse and she seems to take that last moment to weight the risks of working with the ancient and wicked worker.

"I am seeking my daughter, Kendra Walker. I believe she has gotten somehow tied up with Queen Mab. I need to find my daughter and hopefully break whatever hold Mab has on her," Alice says in a voice that is firm.

-

Keeping his arms crossed as Enchantress ells him to behave well enough that people don't look at him and say 'he shoulda stayed dead'. With a small sing-songey toon, Jason quips back once again. "toooo late." But he shrugs, and takes the advice, letting Alice speak. Though he moves closer to Alice in the event that she gets emotional, she has him to fall back on if she needs to.

His eyes remain locked ever still on Enchantress, no matter how hard she might try to come off as extremely intimidating and one to revere, Jason has a strong spine. Not even looking uncomfortable. He's been to the other side, so ghosts and other creatures of dread don't bother him really anymore.

If he was here when he was living his first life? He might've been scared shitless.

-

Endlessly patient, is Enchantress, her gaze settled on Alice, the Red Hood having been relegated to background noise. This was, after all, serious business, and not to be entered into lightly, by either woman. The nimbus around Enchantress' body ebbed and flowed like water, occasionally cascading down to wash over the altar on which she settled, before it swirled back around her like a whirlwind in slow motion. She was not and did not, in truth, go out of her way to strike fear into the hearts of anyone. She was simply…what she was.

"Finding your daughter is the least of your worries. She could be returned to you tonight. I have only to reach out and pluck her from the realm where she has been secreted away. But the fae do not relinquish their prizes gladly, and Mab has a powerful ally who will stop at nothing to retrieve her." Again, that smile, something distant in her tone of voice, in her eyes, as she lifted her gaze to look back and behind the two humans standing before her, "How quickly love turns to hate, and one we called friend become our foe."

-

Alchemist nods her head very slowly and says, "I'm aware to some extent of the predicament, thus why I am here now. I know Queen Mab is powerful, I've fallen to her before." The smile is tight and humorless. The memories of the nuclear burns searing her skin would never fade. She could dissolve it from her mind, but it was a reminder of the betrayal.

There was a momentary excitement, carefully hidden, at the thought of seeing Kendra. The Enchantress could probably out-stoic her, she had the eons on her after all, but Alice had tight control of her emotions and expression when she wished. Dealing with dangerous and dark magic users was one of those times. The chemicals that would make her tremble and worry are suppressed and she feels mostly calm. "So do you have any suggestions?" That is why she came here after all, to seek the wisdom of one well versed in magic.

-

Jason remains quiet now, listening as he hears that Enchantress could simply pluck Kendra out of that reality that she was in with extreme ease…but they would have to face this 'powerful ally' of theirs. With that in mind, Jason appears to be in deep thought…or at least he always looks like he is thanks to the helmet. He opens his mouth to speak but promptly shuts it when Alice asks her question..

And now he waits.

-

"I have many suggestions. What will be, will be what you choose. You may bring her here now, and deal with what comes, but she may well not thank you for that. Certainly, you will bring the wrath of the fae down upon yourself and those who ally themselves with you." Enchantress, for her part, seemed not at all concerned by the prospect of facing the displeasure of the fae. What was the wrath of a fae, even an elder fae, to one who had seen, on this earth alone, over six millennia? "I might send you to where she resides, but you would then be in the territory of your enemies and would have to find your own way back to this realm. And, perhaps, convince her to come with you."

Enchantress slowly allowed her eyes to drift back and settle on Alchemist's face, "In either case, Alice Walker, a vow was made, and a geas laid on the one born of your flesh. She will never be free of it in life."

-

Alchemist lets her fists curl slowly into tight fists at her side as the options are laid out. Neither is appealing and certainly she isn't exactly prepared to face an army of fae. She glances at Jason and meets his gaze thoughtfully. That last bit of information, though, snaps her attention and gaze back to the sorceress. She hides the pain and the worry well, keeping her face a tight mask of the stalwart mother.

"So there is no way to break it?" Alice asks softly. "There has to be a way to free someone from a geas?" Magic was always hard to fight. It frustrated the mutant and she could feel her nails biting into her palms. The faint pain was a helpful focus and so she let it burn.

-

Jason seems to look vaguely…unsurprised. Magic is an absolute bitch. No doubt about that…it has hard defined rules but in -every- spell there lies a weakness…even in it's agreements. "Do we know the specific terms of her vow? There could be a sort of wordplay in there to allow her freedom." his eyes remain locked on Enchantress…and if there is no other way? "If there is no other way…" he looks to Alice.

"I suggest we summon your daughter here now…fight off the legions that will likely come for us. For her." he tells Alice. "But only if there is no other way." a look to Enchantress. "I ask that you be specific and clear."

-

"Despite what the fae would have those they deal with believe, any geas may be broken, if one is willing to make the proper sacrifice, or has the skill, determination, or cleverness to find that particular twist in the warp and weft of the words which the fae have learned to weave so well. The fae often trick those who bind themselves to their contracts by respecting, in some instances, the letter of the law and not the spirit. And at other times, the opposite. You will be pressed to do the same, if it is your daughter that you wish to win, at the end of your battle." The slightest narrowing her her eyes accompanied her next words, "What price are you willing to pay, Alice Walker?"

When the Red Hood offered his suggestion, Enchantress' eyes shifted, lighting on him and studying him in silence. A long moment, before she spoke, "It is not for me to reveal such things as the terms of her arrangement with the fae. You will have to ascertain those answers for yourself." So not a strict, 'I don't know. More an 'I don't want to tell you.' Possibly. Who knows with the Enchantress. "But know that she has given up much, in your human reckoning, to take onto herself the power of the winter fae." At Red Hood's insistence on specificity, she allows a tilt of her head, "Should I bring her here, one, and one alone will come after her. Should I send you there, you will face a legion."

-

Alchemist grows thoughtful and her eyes narrow slightly as she does. The weight of what is being told is processed with slow care and thought. The biggest and hardest question is what is she willing to pay. Of course an immediate answer most would expect from a mother would be, 'Anything', but Alice is not the normal kind of mother. Dozens of children means she has graduated from 'Anything' to usually what is the 'right' thing.

"Well…that is quite the question," The Alchemist says with a sigh. A finger is brought to tap at her lips and finally, "I would kill for her. But I would not trade one person for another…nor do I think taking on her geas would be of any help." She has killed and will likely kill again.

-

With a sigh, Jason looks to Alchemist and he nods lightly to her. "Then it sounds like we don't have much of a choice now do we?" he of course means to say that they should bring Kendra here…and not try to go there and test their odds. Better odds if they face down this 'powerful ally' where they stand.

"It's up to you, Alchemist."

-

"The geas is a means to an end, Alice Walker, nothing more. If you think and consider nothing else, remember that." Enchantress, having taken the time to consider Alice's response, unfolds her legs from beneath her, finally slipping down to the ground. As small and compact as she seemed to be able to make herself, as she sat upon that grave, in standing she was well above the height of the average woman, standing, in her bare feet, at just on five feet and eight inches. In gazing down at the smaller woman before her, she did not, however, give the impression of looking down at her. Though she might well have often given the impression of looking down at the rest of the world, she did not do so now.

"What will you choose, Alice Walker? And what will you give me in return?" There has never been any doubt that this was, no matter how strange or odd the situation, or how disparate the bailiwicks of the two women, a business arrangement between the Alchemist and the Enchantress. And if business was to be done, the offers were to be placed on the table. "I offer you your daughter. Here, now, physically hale and whole."

-

"All right. Bring her here then. We'll deal with whoever follows, but I…need to talk to her," Alice decides with a nod of her head. "And as to what offer," She purses her lips for a moment before sighing and pulling something from a pocket. She was fairly certain that the Enchantress had no interest in money. With her abilities, after all…

It is a small box, a jewellry box even, of black velvet. "In setting this up I wasn't given a lot of information on the types of payments you want. I have several offers I can make you. The first of which is simply financial, which I doubt you have interest in," But hey, maybe she's wrong. "So I had shipped from my safe in England something I've had for several centuries. It was supposedly a knife used in sacrifice by old druids. I've no clue if it has real power, but it's an artifact of the Walker family and I know it dates back to the appropriate time era," The odd boxe is opened to reveal a blade in surprisingly good condition, though most of the magic it had is drained now. Of course Alice has no way of knowing -that-.

"Otherwise tell me what you would want. I can make things happen in the mortal world, I have ties with governments and people of power. If you need something influenced," She doesn't say it, but it's there in her thoughts, o O (Or someone.)

-

Enchantress allowed her eyes to fall, looking down at the dagger, though she did not reach for it. Indeed, she had, it seemed, little interest in any material thing, whether it was the dagger she offers, or the weapons they had brought with them to protect themselves from her. "I do not wish for material things. I will take from you, in return for your daughter, a promise, Alice Walker. You have, within you, a power to heal, not only the body, I think, but the mind, which rivals nearly all others that I have known over the years. The day may come, when I will have need of that ability. And on that day, I will take your promise that you will come to me willingly, and provide what healing I require of you, if it is within the realm of your powers to provide it."

-

Jason nods to Alchemist as he looks between the women, crossing his arms as he looks to Alice when she pulls out that dagger…wow. That would have been nice to know that she had. But alas, Jason just lets Alice do her thing, and his eyes drift to Enchantress. Looking at her curiously. Though as she states her terms for what she wants in return, so long as she doesn't drain Alice of her healing -powers-, Jason's pretty okay with it.

If Alchemist glances his way, he'll nod approvingly.

-

Alchemist closes the box and slips it away as the woman speaks. There is a faint smile that stretches her lips at what is presented. And indeed she does glance at Jason and then back. "Very well. That is a deal that I think, and hope, I can live with," She says even as her mind goes through dozens or horrible ways it could go wrong. At least she's a realist. "How long do you think we will have between you bringing her here and Mab's ally coming?" Alice asks as she holds out a hand for the traditional 'shake' on the deal.

-

Enchantress, after a moment's consideration, and Alice's acceptance of her terms, reaches out her own hand, her grip firm, her skin almost feverishly hot. The handshake seals the deal, and Enchantress steps back, creating as much space as she can between herself and the two humans arrayed in front of her, "That I cannot say. I can mask myself from his sight, even such as has been given to him by Mab, but it will not take long for him to ascertain where she has gone. And he will come for what he believes is, in its own way, his."

Alchemist would feel it then, like the flutter of butterfly wings in her mind, and she would know that she felt it because Enchantress willed for her to feel it. Her attempt, in her own way, to be transparent in what she was doing. Alice would feel Enchantress rifling through her memories of Kendra, she would even catch glimpses of the moments of Kendra's life as Enchantress saw them. Even onto the moment of her conception, when Alice's life and soul had splintered and became a new thing. A singular soul, unique and new. A soul which, is the world of the mystic was inexorably bound to the life and soul that made it. A ley line of power to lead Enchantress to where she needed to go.

"Prepare yourself, Alice Walker. She comes." The nimbus around Enchantress flared, and in an instant, she was gone.

To Be Continued…

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