Chat log- written with Jack
Jack’s words in italic.
He smiled at the success, and cradled his burnt left hand. He had to direct the excess electricity somewhere and it seemed to have singed his fingertips as it left his hand and struck the ground. He looked at the small singed patch of grass to one side with an approving nod. A minor injury for a desirable result with few tools. He looked up at Emer in her tree.
“Are you okay?” he called curiously as Ruby’s body faded from view.
There was silence for a little while and then a small voice called down from afar.
The branches once again started to shake, denoting her descent from the highest boughs of the tree. Within a blink, she was swinging herself from the lowest branch and landing lightly upon the ground, but still in a crouch as though ready to spring away at a moments notice. Tentatively, she approached him, but she was tense and her eyes wide with tension. Her gaze looked to the ground, and then looked to his hand, but she would not touch him, not while those tattoos were doing crazy things.
“What just happened?”
“Your brain uses electrical impulses to control your body and senses. I created a charge strong enough to disrupt Ruby’s electric charge. It was temporary at best but seems to have pulled her from her nightmare.”
He coldly explain the process and reasoning, his mind starting to knit his muscle and tissues back together. He bent his fingers slightly, testing nerve endings recently reknit.
Her brow knits with confusion at his explanation and again, sucks upon her lower lip. She didn’t understand a bloody word of what he just said, and just wraps up the explanation and puts it in her mental box labelled “MAGIC” She breathes out, with some relief, but is not completely comfortable.
“So where is she?” The Gael asks. “What did ye do with her?”
He shook his head as he looked to where she had landed in a heap.
“My magic didn’t cause her to disappear, most likely it was by her own choice. Possibly a defense when she ‘s knocked unconscious.” he then looked at her and reached down to touch the place where she had been with his good hand. It was warm, so she had been there. “That’s my best guess Madame”
She seems to visibly relax at this explanation and breathes out slowly.
“Will she be alroight d’ye think?” taking the spear from where it lays on the ground, planting it in the ground and hanging on it for support.
It was almost twice her height, but seemed well suited to the wilder-woman. “I hope so” she says almost to herself. Although their introduction had been as chaotic as this situation, she well liked the kitsune demon, and wished her no harm.
Jack would reach out and pat Emer on the head if she let him, though he doubted she would. It was more of an instinct than a thought.
“You are a good friend,” he said with a knowing smile on his face. “I am sorry that I seem to bring discomfort to you every time we meet.”
She did not! Jerking her head away from him before he could make contact, her expression clear that she found his actions patronising.
“Aye well” she said slowly. “I try to be, and nae bother.” Her face brightens with a tight smile.
“I think I am becoming used to it by now” but does not mention the damage that she had done to him, so really, there was a balance. “Just once though, it would be nice to share a fire and have a yarn without insanity”, a snort of laughter followed.
He would nod as he smiled and walked over to the fire, settling on his haunches.
“I’m surprised you accepted the bow so handily.” His hand mostly repaired, he would hold both up to the fire to draw some warmth into them.
“Where I am from, t’is the height of bad manners to refuse a gift.”
Following him to the fire, leaning the spear and mirroring his movements. “No matter how low or how lordly”
The fire was dying down again, but the billy was still hot, as was the tea within it. Her throat clenched and reminded her how thirsty she was. The can that held the tea, had been tipped over in all the chaos, and she reaches for it, and refills. Of course, she offers it to jack first, as per the dictates of hospitality. She has little, but offers what she has, and is still a little overwhelmed by all the gifts.
“Ye don’t have to bring me anything ye know” she comments “Just ye company is enough. A few words to ensure that I am not lost from the Human race”
He held up a hand to the tea,
“No thank you madame.”
He would look to the spear for a moment and shake his head, “As I said, it is my people’s tradition to give a gift to any who ensure a safe journey.”
He then looks down at the fire and looks around for her firewood pile, starting to feed the fire another two logs to keep it going for both heat and light.
“Your home was very beautiful, you should be proud”
She is rather relieved at his refusal and takes the can to her lips. She swallows greedily and it is clear that she has been thirsting for some time. When it is gone, she refills again. This time sipping with a little more restraint. Emer smiles at his compliment and nods her thanks.
“I worry for my people.” she confides. “I do what I can but since coming to this place, learning knowledge that by right should not be gifted to me. Learning their future?”
She appreciates his actions, feeding the fire. “I know that they will not survive. That they will go the same way as my brothers and sisters in Galacia, Gaul- in the place that the Romans call Albion.” Again that wistfully sad expression as she gazes into the fire. “I must do what I can to shore up what few decades they have left”
He watched her face for a time raking coals and restacking the fire so air can cycle more easily.
“Sometimes knowing is all the worse.” A though started to eat at the back of his mind. “However, why have you not considered bringing your people here?” he leaned back against his hands. He would watch her still curiously
Bring them to this place, filled with demons and angels and monsters and wielders of magick?
“Gods, they would be grist for the mill!” she retorts as though the very idea was stupidity itself.
But to be honest, she had considered it. There would certainly be a place for them here. There was land enough. Space to fill. She shakes her head as though to shake the very thought from her mind.
“We have our place in history” she says, a snort of laughter as she plucks at the kilt she wears, tugging it down her thigh. “I still don’t know how Cu Chulainn’s exile will effect the time lines”
Her eyes, an intense green, were narrowed a little as though just thinking about her ex husband gave her pain.
“He should have died strapped to a rock with a blade in hand according to the sagas. Not marrying a peacekeeper from Nu York”
“I’ve lived in this place a long time, and I’ve found there are plenty of secrets hidden away in the wastes and forests of Hellfino.” he reached out and pulled his hat from his head, setting it on a nearby knot on the tree. “What is another small secret that history may forget?” He thought of the hunter he had met on there first meeting. He tilted his head slightly as he considered. “You are a peacekeeper?”
The concept of time lines were as tangled in her mind as the string that they were labelled with in the modern world, so much so that she closes her eyes tight, bony fingers reaching to the bridge of her nose and pressing upon it to relieve the pressure. She was 24. Just 24. And had a child a year since she was married at 14. She had been ruling the clan single handed since The Hounds expulsion. At least when he was there, he could keep a rein on the warband and the raiders, leaving her to administration- what she was good at. She felt that she was spread as thin as the last scrape of butter on a heel of bread. No wonder she came to this place. It was the only place she had peace.
“No” she shakes her head, realising that Jack did not know the story. “His woman- Zoey. She is a peacekeeper.” A sigh. “We parted some time ago”
He did not pry, that was his policy. He stayed silent, not impeding on her thoughts as he listened. His mind unintentionally causing the sparks from the flame to burst forth into small fireworks as he continued to rake the flames.
“No, I am married now to a chieftain- Caractacus” This might be a surprise to Jack as she had never mentioned a spouse before now, let alone two. “He and his clans are refugees from the Romans. Their home was invaded some time ago”
A sigh though as she remembers the hopes that she had for such a match, purely political, joining the two clans into one. But that had brought it’s own problems. They were not really accepted and they were a defeated people.
“He is a good man. But battleworn. He spends his night in fevered dreams and his days drinking to forget them” It was more information than she had ever given any creature in her year of visiting Hellifyno, and she surprised herself now by disclosing such information.
If he was suprised his face didn’t show it.
“Must be difficult on you to be responsible for so much and have no one you can rely upon,” as he said it he considered her home, and her personality.
He wondered if her lack of reliance was really a personality trait or if she simply had no one left to reach out to. Two husbands and seemed that neither was willing to shoulder her burden. He shook his head as thoughts of families in his own home came to mind. He would keep that to himself though as he looked at her.
She chews upon her lip again as she gazes into the flickering flames that place her into that thousand yard stare, seeing but not seeing. In the time that they have spent in each others company, the night draws in and it has darkened without them even noticing. The glow from the fire illuminates her face and reveals a woman who has had to age before her time, whose sense of duty has overridden every decision she would have made for she and she alone, and who was still dutifully fighting for a people that she knew would be forgotten by history. What a life! She does not answer for some time, but eventually drawn from her reverie, merely shrugs and says
“It is what it is. Such is life”
Jack watched her face and made a decision. One he may soon come to regret. He looked back at the fire and took in a breath choosing his words for effect,
“Strange, it’s not like you to back down from a fight”. He threw out the challenge as boldly as possible. Letting it hang in the air for a time. “I didn’t think you would simply let your people roll over and die,” he spoke coldly, as if he were stating fact.
His words, the delivery, everything that he says, touches her now, and that fire that she wears upon her head now bursts forth from her heart as she glares at him- fierce and with a stubborn tilt to her chin.
“What?” she responds, with more than a little outrage. “Ye think this is me giving up? Throwing in the rag, eh?”
He has offended her greatly by his words and his gambit may have just blown up in his face like the sparks from the fire that he prods.
“I am once again faced with a dilemma. A King has offered his hand. A powerful King. One with troops enough and resources enough to easily fend off the Northmen invaders”
She gets to her feet now, highly offended that he would think that of her. She spins on her heel and walks off, though quickly returning with a rejoiner.
“What choice do ye think a woman has in my world eh? To marry someone that she hopes won’t rape the feck out of her and that will treat her children kindly” She is furious now. “What choice do ye think I have as a Queen?”
He stands, his slight frame tall and lank, there is no power in his stance, no anger. Some may say he radiated compassion as he looks at the wildfire he has created and starts to stoke it with his words.
“What choice are you giving yourself?” he asked in an even and clear tone. “You claim to be Queen. I see you take the burdens of leadership everyday, so why are you running from plausible solutions. I’ve seen both the queen and the woman and neither thinks another marriage will do. So I ask you this, what reason would you marry again?
“In the hopes of a King to shoulder the burden with you. Hoping your people will survive maybe one more winter. Be honest with yourself. As Queen, the ruler of people, why will you not give your people a chance for a long history? As a mother what will you tell your children when they ask of their future? That they are doomed to fail and die? Or will you at least give them a chance? So I ask again, why will you not move your people from the wars they are bound to and bring them here?”
Her mouth works as she tries to come by the words that would illustrate her thoughts to him. She paces agitated, furious at how quickly he has fired her up. Everything he say makes good sense. Everything. And she has longer considered the possibility of doing just that. Finally, with voice raised she replies
“Because this place terrifies me!” There it was out. It was done. “And I am learned in comparison with the rest of my people so what the feck will it do to them?”
She throws up her arms, rakes her hair with hands that wish, at this very moment to throttle the life out of him. Her eyes are wide and staring, there are spots of high color upon her cheeks and a flush of the same across her chest as the adrenaline surges.
“Not this place” she concedes. “But Persistence? Consequence? Can you imagine the hardship they would face there?” Still pacing and tugging at her mane she lists the ways.
“What with beasts and beings that they have only heard of in our legends. The religions that are becoming prominent. Some of the vile fecks that I have met here- it would be tantamount to selling them into slavery. We might as well stay at home and take our chance with the slave pits at the place of the Black Pool” referring to the Norse dock and town that would eventually be named Dublin. “It amounts to much of the same!”
“They must grow,” he said quietly. “Your people will learn and grow, and you as the Queen will show them how.” He reached out and picked up the spear nearby, walking over to her and holding it out to her, the blunt end facing her. “You don’t need to conquer this land, or even worry about your people. You do need only conquer your own fears. of the unknown“