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Scald-Crow

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2 years 2 months ago - 2 years 1 month ago #50272 by ShadowedSin
ShadowedSin created the topic: Scald-Crow
Scald-Crow
A Whately Story by ShadowedSin

See my discussion thread for more info and to comment.

Part 1 - A Convoluted Deal
November 9th
Where it all began. I like thinking that, where it all began. It, of course, being my current state of affairs or the utter complete spontaneous change of my life for the better, or worse. I remember it because it was the night after my beloved pet, a pug named Gremlin, passed away. THere I was just a night after he was buried and I was still a wreck and trying my best to cope. Being filled with emotion I went for a run around the local county road in the fading sunlight of the night. I remember it was cold enough to pain my skin, and my hands were numb near the end.

I also remember it because it was the night I almost killed myself, and the night I was born again. See this is where the -it- in 'where it all began' actually begins. Some poor sap filled with tons of wonderful mental baggage makes one fatal mistake, and then one really bad decision.

So, there I was, my feet pounding away at the sidewalk in that slowly dimming day. I run past the shops of downtown Mount Vernon and I aim myself toward the bridge. I'm only in a hoodie, a running top, and I can feel the rush of air biting my hair. Now, I really wasn't sweating on account of the chill evening, but still, I was breathing hard. I run up to cross the bridge and see people in the way. I'm not really the most "sociable" person, and I'm not the strongest so I turn around and decide to go the other way. Now at this moment is when I make my mistake.

Maybe it was the grief; the impatience of my run; or maybe I did want to kill myself. I darted out to pass the cars an didn't see the red blur of the sedan as it raced through my body. Onlookers said I went up and over the windshield. Afterward, they said I just got up and ran off after shaking myself off. What they won't say is that I was bleeding, that my blood was blacker than tar, and that my eyes were like empty voids in space.

When the car hit me something or someone grabbed onto me, pulled me down into a deep dark void and gave me a deal. Her (and I think it's her because of her voice) visage was like ripped up children's doll in human form. She too was dying and wanted to make a deal.

"My life and yours will be one," she offered, "the pain will be gone."

I thought about it, pain, and feeling being gone sounded nice. Not being dead sound nice too.

"Deal," I said and took her seemingly severed hand.

I still don't know how I got home that night, or how I even go to work. I apparently did a good job, and then called in sick the next day. Took my hormone pills (I'll cover that down the road) and went to sleep. No one mentioned the car accident, and no one seemed to care that I was groggy the entire time.

===

A collar, something so inconsequential you'd think it wouldn't be more than a way to identify your dog. When you lose him though, it became the focus of for all the questions I bottled up inside. Oh well, it wasn't like I was going to be doing much at all that day. I was still in the fugue of the deal when found it hanging off the small stairs that lead down toward my room in the garage of the home I shared with my little sister and her husband. I was home from another run (this time not self-destructive) and my eyes were drawn to the stupid color of the color. I held it up and rubbed the little name tag between my fingers. I cried for a moment as tears well up in my eyes.

You have a strong love for this animal. The voice was clear as day in my head. Did I mention I was a bit different? Yeah, I apparently have some sort of spirit riding my skull now.

The day I got back and after I cried I walked into my room and slammed the door. My collection of coats, hats and my purse jostled there as I stared at myself in the in the mirror. Right then, and there I noted my face and the tears. I learned in and after calming down got a look at my jawline. It was different, sure months of hormone therapy had changed a lot, but my jaw was rounder. I did wake up the night before with a splitting headache, but I wasn't expecting my face to mutate.

Was this something related to the deal? I blinked, was I manifesting as a mutant? That made no damn sense, I was in my late twenties so there was no way I could begin now. Even then, you'd think the MCO would have found me by now with my bleeding heart liberal posts on social media.

Nope,

So I asked the voice of any good possessed individual would.

"What's happening?" I asked in frustration.

And as if on cue the reflection in my mirror blurred and jolted before my eyes. But before I could get any sense of what I just witness my face was back, and this time there was a strange outline of a woman around it.

"Our deal saved your life and mine, it means our essence must bond," that was all I got. My eyes widened as emotion rolled up from the depths of my mind and I shook.

"EXPLAIN!" I screamed in the mirror. Gods, my sister is gonna wonder what the hell I'm doing.

"Your mortal skin will change to suit me and you. I will not control you, but I will continue to exist with you." So fucking clinical.

"Thank you for that," I groused, I turned as I stood on the balls of my feet. I pulled off my shirt and got a better look all over at my body. Body hair was looking a lot less prevalent meaning less shaving for me. and then there were a few other developments which were definitely noticeable. I sighed and shook my head while drying my tears.

I needed a new bra, great.

===

November 13th
Everything was going well for once! In between my job at a local pet store and going clothe shopping I had procured some updated delicates easily. I was surprised to note that my bra size had gone up to a B-cup and that my face had continued to change throughout the day. Even my voice was getting higher. I spent most of my day off running around from JC Penny to a few other places at the mall. My inner age-old punker had me also raiding the local value village for some new leggings. All in all, by the time lunch, rolled around I was at home staring at ads on the internet.

Let me corrected myself, the first damn half of the day went just fine, then along came act 2. That's when it all went crawling back to shit.

There I was in a pair of comfy boxers and a t-shirt just working on my laptop. In some way I was trying to work on those many book projects I never seemed to have time to finish. The words weren't just coming today. I got some cold brew from my mason jar in the fridge and headed back to my room. Just as I entered I heard someone clear their voice and stared in my mirror.

She was bac, the ghost girl.

This time she was much clearer than before. A body shrouded in a dress made of shadow straight out of Arthurian legend. Her hair itself appeared to ebb with a strange energy and floated above her head as if she were underwater. Her face was tanned from soft summers and her face was heart shaped. I sat down as she watched me and noticed the long talon-like nails she bore on her fingers. Around her waist was a silver belt engraved from what I guess was Ogham (a sort of ancient Celtic writing).

"What are you doing here?" I greeted her with the voice I'd use for facial blemish.

"Changing still, and I can see the magicks are binding us closer," she said in a voice traced with eerie melody.

"Yup, yup," I replied.

"You are well to not push me Cailin," she said to me.

"Push you? Don't push me! You live in my flesh sack, so show me some respect!" I snapped back at her.

"Fiery responses, good you'll need that passion soon," she smiled. Her face alight with pleasure at my anger as if it were feeing her.

"Morrigan take your fucking ghost face," I shouted at her.

"I will not take my face in any manner," she answered.

"This again, are you telling me somehow I'm bonded to a bloody goddess?" I laughed.

"Is that so difficult to believe?" she quipped.

"Maybe. I don't believe, your probably some sort of demon who saved my life to save her own."

"Possibly, but I am not related to the enemy, none of the Dark Children share their ichor with my Sidhe Blood," she said showing a tinge of offensive.

I wondered what I was supposed to do here, console a fucking self-proclaimed god. Her image suddenly vanished from the mirror and I felt my arm jerk. Then my muscles in my legs spasmed as first my calves an then my thighs burned pain. I yelped as I fell over on the ground as my legs gave way under me. I hit the ground hard and rolled into a fetal ball as pain wracked my body. My bones creaked like wood on an old tree waning an against the tree, More pain, like bits fire and stabbings to my body as acid poured over my face.

Another attempt at screaming and the result was a pained gurgle. My vision started to fade into darkness How bloody cliche! I rolled over and felt my arms go limp. I finally gave in and let the sweet darkness take me.

===

This is the part of the story where exposition usually reveals itself in some long dragged out way. Oh no, you are totally getting that, but I wanted to preface that my story doesn't make shit sense without it. Darkness took me (I already covered that, right?) and my body turned cold. I felt like something was dragged me into cold water and I was slowly drowning. Even as I blacked out I wanted to cough and sputtered as I felt my lungs laboring for air. After an eternity as these things always feel I was finally under and a world of confusion welcomed me.

Flashes of information passed before my sight and my body was bombarded by a serious of familiar and yet alien experiences. The first was strangest of them all. An image of a terrible thing, a bastard of creation against all sin and prohibition. The death of the rulers, and the renting of the world as it was known. A strange portal and found myself chained to a table as a wise man carrying a staff lorded over me. The chains burned my skin, iron, why was it iron! I screamed as I cursed them in the mother tongue of my clan. The figure was like me, my kin, and yet he used a contract of essence fo enforce a ban on my line.

I was made a vassal and seethe as the iron bit deeper into my flesh. I then found myself bending the knee before a grand old king with a strange antlered crown and a silver arm.

"You are now war-caste, and the carrier of the Silver Bough,"


I sighed as life eclipsed my thoughts again became a restless sea of whirling thoughts and shredded memory. Again I was ordered to battle and after losing against a proud prince I was angry. His stupid face was all I could think about as I used my lore to shift from mortal to raven form and take to the skies. For years I tracked him, planning my revenge. And I would have it dammit, by the Ancients! By my kith and clan, I would rend his flesh with my talons and I would-

"FUCKING HELL!" my eyes snapped open. A hangover of epic proportions met me like a hated frenemy just as I tried to move. I can say right now that even my hair hurt, and I could barely move let alone breathe. My chest wobbled more than it did earlier. Another new bra and my funds were already limited. I lay on that fucking terrible carpet covered in thick layers of sweat an in pain for about an hour. I fixed my eyes on my door and let my mind wander. I tried to pick apart the images I had sene and derive some sort of meaning from them.

First, Iron equals pain made me think faeries which wasn' exactly surprising. If this was related (which it's kind of obvious it is by now) to mirror bitch I was dealing with a half-dead fae. Okay, the deal made sense then, and her talking to me in a mirror. She must be in some sort of alternate plane and needed my body to maintain herself. That was fiction 101 when it came to fucking spirits like this, especially since I ate all and any book I got my hands in related to mythology.

Second, her weird belted skirt in the mirror look liked some straight out of one of my pagan metal band albums. Long sleeves that draped at a slight diagonal angle from the lower arm. I recognized bits and pieces of the strange words she spoke when we first met and something from the dream. It reminded me of Gaelic for some reason but was far older than I could put together. Goddess, this was all too damn familiar.

"What did she do to me?" I was finally able to croak aloud. After the hour finally passed I felt whatever was holding my movement was gone. It still hurt to actually move, but I was able to slowly force myself to sit up. I was far away from the mirror just out of view. I could see that my legs were far more shapely than before which of a trans girl like me was a bonus. I shifted and noted the new cup-size I now sported, a large b-cup at least. Not super big, but nice, which meant I could keep the pretty bras.

I slowly rose to shaky feet (which were definitely a size right now, yes I can get shoes more easily!) and pulled myself onto my bed sat up on the edge to get a good view of myself in the mirror. Good news, I still had some good muscle definition and even more than before. Gone was my slight paunch and now what met e was a muscled flat stomach spreading into wide hips. My arms were presented a nice level of definition when I flexed. I could feel the lean honed warrior born muscles and felt muscle memory coming back as my arms easily shifted into the standard shield and spear defensive pose.

"So am I her or?" I then decided to get a better look at my face. Well good news, I didn't look completely like her, and instead had inherited a few other traits. My eyes were now a strange fuschia color ringed with a few strange flecks of silver. Then there was my hair it was long and a strange ombre of obsidian at the roots and turned to an almost fire-like gradient to the tips. That was just weird, were my roots actually going to light or what the hell (I still don't know).

My face was the stereotypical heart-shaped face with a slight hawkish overtone. I had a sharp nose and cheekbones giving me a weird avian beauty. My ears were pointed like an elf which was strange since mirror girl's ears were definitely the normal elf type. My lips were blood red, like the color of freshly drawn blood which was just creepy.

"So, do I got to the local MCO or hide it," I muttered without really thinking. I turned around to get a look at my back and happily noted that my large tattoo was still present. It covered my arm and half of my shoulder blade, the Goddess Morrigan bearing her spear and surrounded by rolling Celtic scrollwork. I, of course, got a good look at my bum and noted with satisfaction it was definitely rounder than before and I could likely bounce a nickel off it.

I was officially pole dancing worthy on the muscle level.

Now that I had a decent idea of what I was, I had to figure out what I was going to do. I was definitely much younger looking, and I was not going to meet any requirements for my previous identity easily. Alright, I was up shit creek without a paddle and now a hottie to boot. One dream met, one life also fucked up.

Now what?

I had barely enough money for clothing, and now I was needing an entirely new wardrobe. I wasn't going to bug my sister with this as she was barely making ends meet as it is. I need more information about mirror girl, and figure out what I was going to do about work. I sighed, bit my lip, and grabbed a towel hanging off my office chair before heading to the bathroom for a shower. At least here, I would be alone for long enough to get a proper shower in.

Inside I checked my privates to find, I was almost a girl down there as much as I could wish. There was more to change (great more pain), but I was far enough along I was done with my gaff underwear for a while. Hot water began the cleansing I need of the layers of sweat from my last change and while it was on the highest setting my skin didn't note a pained response. The exact opposite, in fact, it felt good, really good. I wondered if I had some kind of high level of regeneration. That or I was just more resistant to pain than before.

I spent a good amount of time scrubbing my skin and face before I then shampooed my hair. I finished up with some leftover conditioner from a former roommate and wrapped up my new mane to dry. I rubbed my body and pulled the towel around me as I head back to my room.

Now, I was going to corner that bitch and get some bloody answers!

===

She didn't come right away like last time. Instead, I found myself staring into the mirror again for half an hour and when nothing happened I just screamed. I was made, very mod. A rush of energy pent up in form and unable to be released. Not ennui, the exact opposite. Whereas ennui was listlessness, this was a form of beguilment, I need to speak to her. Goddess, I nearly struck the mirror with a fist before I stopped myself at the last minute. I was about to burst with energy that finally I decided to just go for a fucking run. My underwear still fit and I was able to pull on my leggings without much issue. The only real problem was my new sports bra was a bit smalls. This was going to be irritating.

I stomped up the landing of my room in one jaunt before snatching up my baby blue hoody. My hair was still drying, but at this point, I was too damn angry to care. My chest bounced one as I pulled it on an then yanked the hood down hair. Next came to my earbuds plugged into some old heavy metal tunes on my smartphone before I snagged my keys from my desk. It was time for a run, and with this body and the muscles, I wanted a test. I had so much energy I was sure I was easily going to be pacing a few of the cars outside.

I finished tying up my Nike running shoes and I was ready. My new body was far more precise in its movements as I found myself making nary a sound as I snuck out of the house. I was the only one home, and yet my door opening or my footsteps usually awoke my sister's three chihuahua mixes. I was outside much faster than I thought and didn't even bother to locate a jogging app before taking to the road. I was going to head out of town this time and avoid the Riverwalk. I loved Mount Vernon's downtown area, but I was too damn pissed still to deal with people.

Anyone giving me an errant catcall was likely to get me in their face. I could already sense years of carefully learned coping methods going flying out the window, hurrah! Who the hell needs to be high functioning in this day and this society? THIS GIRL APPARENTLY! Goddess, my angst was reaching CW Teen Show levels, and I just took off. The music I chose for the run started to play,
In your eyes is the picture perfect?
In your eyes does the grass look greener.
Have you seen it through my eyes?

Pavement and sidewalk sped beneath me. I was far faster than before and found my breathing easier to control. The Tool like tones and cords of the song played out as I sang along in my new alto voice. I didn't care if anyone heard or gave me a weird look. I was out running at sunset for myself, no other person out there.
The world has caught on fire from what I've told.
These city lights are killing ever slowly.
The sanity within me.
Maybe I lost in my creation.
This isn't how I thought I turn out.

I quickly rounded the first cornered to dash across the street. I felt like a blur, though I was likely only cruising at about nine miles an hour, maybe. I felt my muscles scream with joy at being used in movement and I lost myself in the mournful poetic lyrics of alternative metal. My mouth took to lip-syncing the words of the second track after my favorite as I stopped for a quickly walked to read through some locale internet news.

I selected the Bellingham Herald to check in on my old hometown and noticed a strange headline on the front page.

ARC Van Sighted In Local Crime Scene

What the hell? There was an explosion on one of the mountains, and ARC was involved. I stopped my run for a moment. What the hell as arc?

I sprinted a bit farther down the road to avoid a few locals I didn't know. Sue me, I'm a trans girl out and about, I do not trust people at all. I'm hyper sensitive to danger. Even now I can feel my eyes rolling at someone lecturing on how I'm antisocial, so let's get back to the actual story. I jogged for a bit before the coast was clear and I slowed down to a light trot while googling the acronym. Okay, I got somewhere when the words "Arkham Research Consortium" to appear on my screen.

Arkham? As in Gotham? Or as in Cthulhu? Wait. was that shit real? I cocked my head at reading a bit of the article before preparing to take off on another sprint.

"You shouldn't be here little crow," a voice said, and then a dark figure was reaching for her. Pain ebbed from something jutting in her chest. A spearhead covered in runes, someone had literally stabbed her in the back. She tried to move but strange metallic blood poured from the wound.

"Whyyyy?" she asked using the local language.

"I didn't do this little crow, something followed you here, and it's going to keep coming until you are bled dry."


I gasped and fell to my knees in shock. I could still feel the pain of the spear and the feeling six inches of bronze jab into my back and burst through my ribcage. Splinters burned in the open flesh and I tried my best to not scream as I swore that there was blood on my chest. I was hyperventilating when the Ravens were starting to gather in and around where I sat.

GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!

I rose to my feet, my chest heaving heavily and I steadied myself. My stomach clenched as he pained memory and I did what anyone with my level of problems does, I ran from it. Again, literally, I ran, I channel all the feelings from that memory right into my legs. I flew down the road past a few cars who veered out of my way and past several houses. I didn't care how far away from home I was or if I got lost. I wanted to get away from the painful experience and alien memories. This wasn't me!

My legs burned with exertion as my arms were a blur as I did my best to stabilize myself. Finally, after about five minutes I stopped. Not all at once mind you, I jumped in the air and skipped to a stop just as the night started to claim world from the dying day. I sucked in air when my lungs demanded. My eyes scanned the area as light after light attached to the telephone poles came on. A wonderfully eerie situation.

Five minutes later the sun dipped below the horizon and left me partial darkness. Only the small islets of light revealed anything in front or behind me. My ears picked up the flutter of wings and a heavy labored breathing. Something slumped in a tumble of blackberry vines twenty feet from me across the road. It stumbled and shifted the underbrush loudly.

I froze as the thing got closer and then appeared near the edge of the light. It was tall and gaunt, and while I would love to call it human, this thing never was human. It had several arms, all sown onto a large trunk of flesh molded in the simulacra of a human's. Its head was large and bulbous, covered in unblinking eyes as a singular tear orifice filled with pulsating muscle stood as its mouth.

"Something followed you here, and it won't stop until it's bled you dry."

My blood went cold, as I realized it as here for me, and the spirit bound to my soul.

===

It was several feet from me before it finally sunk in, there was a monster here to kill me. Generally, I assumed such events were nightmares or maybe an everyday hallucination. I mean when I was tired or seriously delirious after drinking my brain cooked up some pretty Geiger-esque imagery. Too bad for me today, nightmare incarnate was here to drain me into a useless husk of flesh. I widened my eyes in fright, and nearly flood my bowels on the spot. I wanted to scream in that moment, but my voice left me.

The creature sloughed off several of its extra arms as they fell away like dead leaves from a tree. Stitches broke as muscle beneath its strangely wet-looking skin shuddered. Its face, a contorted joke of what could fit for a man's was nothing but three holes sealed by scar tissue. Somehow the thing let loose a loud warble which passed through me in a wave of nausea.

I wanted to run, and yet my feet were glued to the spot.

I couldn't run, I would likely get killed or worse draw the accursed monstrosity to my home. It was here for the spirit, and as the host it was here for me. I inhaled the cool autumn air and shook myself to attempt to get my head int he game. It worked just in the cliche nick of time too, I jumped back as the creature lunged at me. The sudden movement caused a murder of crows shifted in their perches above.

Great, I had a murder for an audience.

"Pay attention." the voice spoke in the recesses of my mind. I felt something jerk my hand as an alien force took control of my body. I went from being in control to just being a passenger as I dodge, and rolled out of the way of several lunges from the monster. The spirit gritted my teeth and snarled in response to the thing warbled again.

"What is this thing?!" I asked.

"It has no name, it was once a person or a group of persons, souls are eaten by the Slua, the Nightmare Horde," replied the spirit.

"THIS THING IS A SLUA?!" my eyes widened as images flashed in between movements. Riders being eaten by skeletal birds, and attacked by animated corpses. Each moving like a broken puppet with tangled strings.

I drew from the broken memories as the spirit kept me alive. We danced around its form, keeping it just far away enough keep it hurting too much. My new body, however, was still new and was proving that its changes were far from complete. I slid under one arm and tried to punch the creature, but my hand compacted against the skin with the density of a brick. I bit back of yelp as I backed away and tried to think.

"There is something I could do if only I could remember," the spirit spoke using my lips again.

"Do you have anything to give me sides making me look good and faster?" I growled.

"I use to have a spear, but one of these bastards took it, sod it!" she said and jumped at the thing and kicked it in the face.

Her combat skills were impressive, and I could feel my muscles reacting more and more from memory. Still, the thing in front of me was far stronger, and while it was slowly going to overpower me. My new body needed energy, and my run had used up most of my store. I needed food fast, and here I was fighting Lurch Scarface. She flicked my gaze up toward the crows for a moment, as a memory sat on the edge of her thoughts. I could almost summon it, but it still remained ou of reach.

That's when, as if on cue, the monster finally nailed me in a flailing of its arms. I was struck hard enough to knock me off my back and let out an oof as the wind was knocked out of my lungs. God it hurt, the back of my head banged against the ground and a ringing in my ears. I tried to sit up as a meaty fist slammed into my jaw and I fell on my side. Everything at this point was hurting again. What drew my ire through the most were the tear in my new jogger leggings, and that's when I finally lost it.

"I JUST BOUGHT this YOU PIECE OF SHIT!" I screamed. Yup, being nearly killed was scarier, but when monstroso pushed me to destroy a new favorite piece of clothing I went berserk. I felt my form being overtaken by a burst of newfound energy as my rage unleashed itself. I charged the monster and slammed my right shoulder into it. In response, it wrapped an arm around me and started to squeeze me. I thrashed in its slimy grip as my mind raced for a solution. Sure I was mad, but I couldn't keep fighting something that didn't tired.

The Sluagh of mythology were mindless ravaging spirits who devoured souls and were said to travel as a horde of fluttering made birds. If this thing was one of those creatures then it eats me whole, soul in all. I had no bloody intention of being eaten alive by such a thing or joining a mindless horde in my past time.

But what was I going to do? It squeezed harder and harder, as it turned me around and held me in two of its massive massive hands. One of the scars on its face pulsated before tearing itself open and revealing a singular mouth filled with gnashing hungry teeth. In a low voice reminiscent of a Belfast pub regular and in a rather eloquent level of diction said, "Finally we have you War Caste! You and your contracts will be ours!"

Contracts? War Cast? At the moment all I could think of was "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!" I felt it slowly dig its fingers into my side as it started to dangle me towards its waiting mouth. So it was going to eat and subsume me into the horde of undead. Then it was going to apparently eat up whatever powers my spirit held.

Nope, nope! Screw that! There had to be a way out of this utter nonsense! I tried to think of something, the creature shoved my arm into its mouth and the teeth bit into my flesh. More pain, as always, this day was all about pain. The spirit screamed in my ears as I felt her drawing away from me, and my soul steadily along with her. Words in a language older than Rome itself sputtered in my head as the spirit wracked her own shattered memories for an answer to our predicament.

I would think of one myself, but at the moment I was trying not to rip off my own arm. By now most of my upper shoulder was inside the mount being pulled further by the dagger long teeth. I shut my eyes tight as I let out one final prayer.

The creature suddenly stopped, and I felt the bones in my body quiver. My spine seemed to elongate as my body was wracked by new spasms. I could hear that angry scream from the spirit as she tapped into a new source of change in one final hail mary. I croaked out a growl as I moved to rip my arm from its grasp. Twisting in the Slua's grasp I felt my feet rip free of my shoes as my clothes themselves were destroyed. Was I suddenly a fucking werewolf or something? No, I was still somewhat human, if you ignored the longer nails on both my hands and feet.

Then there was the weird armor slowly forming my body as the spirit drew on whatever magical energy it could sense in the area around it.

"What in the name of the Gods?!" I was about to ask when she spoke through my lips.

"Morrigu, the earth must be fed." I licked my lips as part understanding came to me. I was War Caste, a powerful member of kith and clan who existed to fight. Metal was my love and blood my pay. Muscle rippled underneath my skin as finally broke free of the things grasp. This time when I snapped a hard kick into its arm I was able to knock its grip away from me. That only left my arm still stuck in this Silent Hill rejects mouth!

The small shirt of scale that entombed my torso over a simple quilted top was finished by a blood red kilt around my legs. She planted my feet first on the the things side and I grabbed its head with my free hand. The Slua's skin was taut and leather, reminding me of a rhino's as I tried to dig my nails into its hide. For several milliseconds I struggled to free my arm and felt my magically imbued muscles jerk to get away. I even let out a shattering scream at the creature which seemed to daze it for a moment before its grip returned.

"This is the daughter of the courtly clans? She who sang away the host of Indech King? Who was the consort of the second to wear the Antler Crown after Silverarm? Phah," jested the Slua. It reached for me once more as I squirmed a final protest.

"I don't know who you think I am fuggo," I coughed before I planted my feet on more time and leveraged myself against my arm.

"You don't remember do you War Caste," it cackled around my arm.

"I don't care!" I yelled when finally I felt my arm get a bit of wiggle room. I pulled my free arm and smashed my fist into its teeth. Hard as metal as they were, I felt three loose. Again I pulled again and finally, as the magical moment came I wrenched my arm bleeding from its nightmarish maw.

"Sod it all!" it griped as two of the teeth were pulled along with my arm.

The spirit took my voice again to spit, "I told you Slua, child of winter and harvest. Earth will be fed."

She snatched the teeth sticking from my arm as the two traded a final series of monologues. Did I mention that I was getting sick of this epic fantasy bullcocky? She leaped into the arm and rolled mid-air as the creature made one final lunge. Its neck exposed, she drove the two fangs into its neck. At the moment of contact, a concussion of air blasted me twenty feet away from the creature as it screamed bloody murder at me. Whatever, I had done, a series of strange markings appeared on its skin as its form appeared to implode on the spot.

Squelching wet crunching proceeded as snap snap snap, the bones, and flesh was rent unto themselves. Where hence the monster came, by the grace of whatever gods exist, it went back. Nearly half dead from blood loss I felt myself getting weaker. The scale mail shirt splattered with small bits of gore as the twin fangs fell from my grasp in a small tinny clang. My vision blurred as I tried to stand up, and after ten minutes long after the Slua was gone I finally did.

I stared at the spot where it once stood and I shot a glance at my torn clothes.

I was much taller than before and still that thing had towered over me. I felt a rush of feeling as the world began to slowly grow around me and it took me a moment to realize, I was changing back. Whatever power had filled me sapped back where it came, leaving me in tattered clothes where I stood. Utterly alone and cold, I was confused what to do next.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. One that calmed and unnerved me at the same time. A familiar voice from nightmare and blissful dreams came to my ears.

"What did I tell you, child? You broke the seals, and you came back. I thought after the last time your kind were here, you would have learned better."

I slowly turned to meet the speaker's eyes in a simple attempt to save face. But I was a half-nude looking teenager out in the middle night. Paler than a ghost I was surprised to see a friendly looking aged native man. His long black hair was worn free around his head, and his face was angular in shape. A series of kindly wrinkles around his eyes and forehead gave a sense of age, as his eyes and his lips reminded me a youthful mirth. Whatever he was, he wasn't human. His grip on my shoulder was tighter than that monster, and the aura around him was, something else entirely.

Cat caught my tongue that moment. His steely black eyes meeting my own as he shook his head. Dressed in a nicely pressed the dark suit, a single black feather hung from a piercing in his right ear.

"I haven't seen such foolish shit since I stole the sun." He spat before lighting a cigarette nonchalantly.

"I didn't have a chance old man," I barely was able to retort.

"Fine fucking mess then, and yes I'm old," he said before exhaling a line of glowing smoke, "Older than some, younger than others."

"And who are you?" I asked.

"Well child, you and that amnesiac faerie of yours can call me either Gerald Jameson or my old name, Raven."

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."
-Commander Susan Ivanova, Earth Force, Babylon 5
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2 years 2 months ago - 2 years 1 month ago #50586 by ShadowedSin
ShadowedSin replied the topic: Scald-Crow
Part 2 - Old Sunstealer

I think I fell asleep in his car on the way to his house. Because all I remember from that night after mister Gerald picked me up was that I was carried into his home. Flashes of painted masks and Salish geometric art filled my glimpses before sleep took me that night. I was so tired I burrowed into whatever bedding I was placed on. Now in the last moments of clear or semi-clear thought before I fell down the rabbit hole I wondered, How scared is my family at this moment.

"I've sent a note to your family that you are getting rest, and I contacted a doctor to send a note to your job to give you a few days off." I heard his voice as a hand stroked my forehead in a fatherly manner. Who the hell was this guy? And did he read my mind? If he was who he said he was, I was in deep shit.

But, I could barely stake away by that point.

When my eyes closed everything around me suddenly changed and I found myself near a small town surrounded by open bogland. I was back on Connemara, back on Galway! My eyes flitted at the scene around me as I felt the cool sea breeze on my face and I admire the rocks which lined the coast. My feet were bare as I stepped out onto the bogs and jumped over to a large stone poking up from them.

Where was I?

"This is your dreamscape sister," the voice said beside me, and in a blink of an eye, she was there. The spirit.

"Dreamscape? This isn't fucking tel'aran'rhiod is it?" I asked for a joke.

"No, and I'm not here to teach you the ways of the Aes Sedai, or how to be a witch of the weirding way?" she smiled back at me.

"WITCHCRAFT!" I snapped in jest.

"I live in your head, and your hollow little one, I know your mind," she whispered.

The spirit this time was different than before. She looked like someone's Celtic wet dream mashed up with an elfin princess. First, she had the ears, and then there was that black and red ombre she had going on. It was braid tightly into two long braids giving her a semi-mohawk-ish look.

Then there was the strange silver piercings in her ears, the way her eyes seemed to follow every movement I mad. Finally, I noted she was wearing a warriors leather jerkin, and her well-muscled arms were covered in whirling blue tattoos.

"You a picture or something?" I asked her.

"Nay...these are the marks of my Clan which I get from my mother who you know as Don, Ana, or Danu," she coughed.

"So you got some of your memories back then?" I asked her as I sat down and she joined me.

"Yes, the Slua bore some and I took it back along with my spear," she gave me a sidewise glance, "And I can give you a name finally. Morrígan daughter of Ana, I was born of the ancient line of the Antler Crown and wielders of the Silver Bough."

"I'm bound to a goddess," I snarked.

"Maybe, call me Morgan for now little one," she said.

"Call me Grainne then," I replied.

"A fitting name for you," she chuckled.


===

November 14th, Somewhere on the Stillaguamish Reservation
You know that moment when you first wake up and the dread of reality hasn't set in? Yeah, you know what I mean, right? If not then oh by the gods your life sucks! See when I first wake up I like to take a few minutes to check facebook on my phone and then turn over to go back to sleep. The problem was someone had left the windows open in my room so the accursed dawn sunlight was keeping me awake. Did this place have no common decency for those of us who didn't like sunbeams in our eyes?

The fucking travesty!

At least they left me a change of clothes. How the bastard got my measurements I wasn't going to ask since I wasn't in the mood to go to the creeper level of worry. I nearly had my arm ripped off last night and after the talk with Morgan, I still felt plenty focused about what was going on. What was one of the Aes Dana doing bound to me in some silly contract?

Why did she end up changing my body?

I mean I looked like her and I could feel my ears hurting as well. I licked my lips and mouth and decided I needed to brush my teeth. I hated that stupid morning mouth feel when your teeth are dirty, and so I went hunting for a bathroom. Strangely enough, I found one in minutes a few doors down from my guest room and down a hallway bedecked in an assortment of paintings. Each was a different artist mixing traditional native American art with that of modern artists.

I snuck into the bathroom and spied toothbrush with my name written on it in black sharpie.

SOMEONE DID CARE!

Now if they have ready-made coffee and cream, and mayhap a little bit of coconut syrup I'll be less hormonal angry mutant reversive teenager. Or maybe not.

I then spied a shower and a towel which I assumed was set aside for me and so I removed my panties and the shirt I had pulled on early. I locked the door and turn on the fan before jumping into a sheet of nigh burning hot water. Oh by the Great Queen it felt great. I was one of those people whose best pain was removed from hot water on the sore areas and so I partook of it quite thoroughly.

A half hour later and after lathering my body plus cleaning my hair I was done. Then there came the lengthy time to dry off and admire me as the mirror defogged. My eyes were red this time, like miss Goddess, and I could feel the lithe muscle beneath my skin. There was a weird faint glow to my eyes as I touch the plastic of a soap dish and my hand started to itch.

"Dammit!" I sighed as I tore it away. I hadn't noticed, as then started to wonder about what had changed about my body.

"Are you decent?" came a female voice from outside the door of my room. I rushed to get into my bra and the clean pair of panties provided to me. Then there were the jeans and the tank which I yanked on in a rush. No pajama pants for this girl apparently! I forgot to worry about makeup as I rushed and open the door to meet the face of a native girl with long black hair and a friendly oval face. Her bust was a bit big for someone her age and she was easily a bit taller than me.

"Good, good, your awake, and I feel she's with you then hmmm," she said in a voice dripping with honey. She gave off a strange aura about her, something which gave me a tinge of lust and drew my eyes to her body.

"Um hi," I said and noted the slight accent to my voice, and then I realized she had one of her own. It reminded me of a girl I met back when studying abroad in Ireland, and she was from Norway. Oh goddess, was she like me?

"I feel your curiosity, and you could say maybe I'm like you," she giggled. Before I could realize it she was walking away down the hall and was out of sight in a minute. Doing my best to keep up I trotted past the assortment of art, and down a winding staircase into a high vaulted living room. At the center stood around open fireplace surrounded by a fine-meshed cover and above it a chimney. The place of warm was then enriched by several comfy looking chairs and two loveseats. On the opposite wall stood a tall and wide flatscreen HD TV which I stared at for just a moment.

What caught my attention though was the massive windowed wall looking out onto the riverfront of the property. Just outside facing towards the room were several tall beautifully carved totem poles. I observed the subtle differences in each one as Raven appeared behind me.

"Each was carved by a master of my peoples and then blessed by a Shaman. They keep this place safe, and entwine my fate with that of the nations who respect the sunbringer," he said to me.

How old was this guy, or god? I looked at him and there again stood a handsomely aged native man with long hair streaked with silver. His eyes are what caused me to pause as they were black and brimming with knowledge. I guessed it because a feeling welled up inside me.

"Now to meet the others who caused me such irritation over this last week," he directed me to take a seat and pointed out a small buffet breakfast for me arrayed near the fire on a lovely carved coffee table. I eagerly took a mug and filled it up with coffee and plenty of cream. I then retreated to one of the large seats and stared at the girl from earlier met my gaze as well as another.

Whereas the native girl was something straight out of an old romance novel this one was appeared to be from a femslash piece I read when depressed. She was tall, blonde, and dark-skinned. Her hair was obviously like mine in that it seemed to be a strange ombre tint to wite at the edges. Why it was this way I would wonder for days to come. The new girl was Filipino or at least southeast Asian by my guess by her wide eyes and kissable lips. On one arm was a prominent Polynesian styled tattoo so I could easily be wrong by where she was from,

"You again," she spat as soon as she spoke, "Why did you bring her here? I can feel his anger in me!"

"You are?" I asked tersely,

"Dominque," she repliled..

"Uh okay," I gulped the coffee and wondered why it didn't burn my mouth,

"Yes, from what I have come to gather you two have history," the brunette chuckled, "Oh and I'm Sophie."

"Grainne," I replied.

"That's a stupid name." Dominique decided to snipe at me.

"Fuck off," I replied calmly.

"Will you two shut it," Raven or Mister Gerald asked in a quiet but firm voice.

"Yes sir," I heard her and myself utter in supplication.

"GOOD!" he barked and I winced.

"Now you two, let's cover the basics shall we?" Sophie said, "You were hurt badly, and a spirit or thing offered you a deal correct?"

Well, that was right on the nose for me and I felt the eerie sense of deja vu you usually get when someone has the same experience. I look over at Dominique (hence to be known as Nique since I've never liked that name) who was nodding along with me.

"Alright, we'll dispense with back stories for now, and I want to ask. Did either of you get a name from the spirit?"

"Mine calls himself Cu for some reason, but decided on Conal after I bugged him about it," Nique sighed.

"Morgan and she were calling herself Morrigan at one point," I added.

"Excellent, and mine falls herself Frida or Frey for short for a few reasons," Sophie finished.

"So we have the bits and pieces of pagan gods in us, okay? Aren't there a few heroes out there that have that?" I said remembering something about a priestess or something down in California for an Aztec godling.

"There are," Raven said as he joined us by grabbing a seat near Sophie. By the way how comfortable she was with him I assumed they were family.

"They're called Avatars," Sophie stated matter of factly.

"But of course we'll need your thread to get your powers tested and proper MIDs," Raven intoned.

"MIDs? How am I suppose to explain this all to my family?" I asked and I could tell Nique was feeling the same way from the look on her face. I had seen MIDs in passing from the few mutants who ventured when I was on shift at the pet store or as a Starbucks barista a few months earlier. I winced at the ones with some GSD problems, but I never really thought about it. God, I would soon have my identity further around by the government. How the hell was my family going to take this?

"Long story short, you don't have a choice about powers testing. You three are bound and since my granddaughter is part of this mess I'm giving some financial support to the two of you," he growled.

Okay, that had my attention, not the money, but his attitude was far more serious than before. Still, this didn't make a lick of sense of what we were doing at the moment.

"Our families?" Nique decided to chime in at the wrong time.

"Are going to be informed that their sisters are -fine, and have manifested. In the case of you Grainne, I'll be telling them you suffered from a late-term manifestation syndrome caucusing rampant burnout," hi world was a bunch of technobabble to me. Any and all my friends would likely call bullshit on the term. Then again a few of my friends were former Humanity First types and others were bleeding hearts wanting to save the world. So blame me for me wonderfully uninformed on the metagene shit.

"Same for me then?' Nique asked and this time I got the feeling she had something else worrying her.

"Yes, yes," he said with a wave of his hand.

"Okay I was in my late twenties, how old were you two?" I demanded.

"Oh me? I was about fifteen, and this happened," Sophie said cheerily.

"Thirty-fivve and in the fucking closet," Nique replied and I gave her a pretty blank stare, "I was gay and my parents are super constrictive and I hated myself okay?"

That was a ton of information.

"What about your lovely ass self-white girl?" she shot back at me.

"I'm a transgirl, and wonderfully pansexual," I retorted.

"Well since we're all coming out in a hissy fit, I'm bisexual. Now can you two calm your tits so we can move on? PLEASE?" Sophie snapped. Raven was smiling at his granddaughter's ability to shut us up, and I even felt a bit bad by when arguing with the too of em.

"In your case, we can say you ran off, and cover your track," Sophie told Nique.

"My family hates me anyway," she muttered. I sat up a bit and scored from my seat as I clambered over to one that was closer to Monique. While I didn't feel completely friendly to her, she was a fellow queer, so I had to jump and help her.

"So exposition dumps aside," I chortled.

"You three rest up a bit more, after lunch, I'm driving you all to the Burlington Office of the DPA which. That or you can deal with the Bellingham MCO who would just love to jump on any chance to get some notoriety," Raven stated.

I grimaced. Bellingham aka Bha was my hometown and a notorious college city brimming with hipsters and standard liberal Cascadian. Except for the other towns like Ferndale and Lynden, Whatcom had been a fairly open-minded place for years. That changed when the MCO set up shop and recruited a few local Humanity First fiends for help from the old blood of the community. Luckily I was Skagit far enough away I could still hide out from any of the local chapters and even if Glen Bec was from the place, fuck it, still good hiding.

Too bad my little disruption with the monster likely would draw more attention. Dammit! This always happens in bloody stories and one fiction. I kicked myself on the spot as my very usage of strange magics would have left some sort of imprint, right? Was that how it worked?

"So get dressed, we leave in an hour." Raven or "Gerald," told us as the three of us went our ways. I was the first to leave with a small English muffin and a bowl of yogurt. When I returned to my room to get ready.

===

An hour later I was crammed into a nice modern honda crv sitting alongside both Sophie and Nique. I was on the left side, and Nique was right by me in the middle with Soph on the left. Just being in their presence I felt Morgan reach out to them and a strange tingling jolted along my head.

I remember these two. I was with them! Our cadre was sent here by Clans to locate something, a rock of some sort.

"Tell your spirit bitch to stay out of my head, Conall's pissed off by her presence already," Nique said to me.

"Why?" I asked.

"She killed him in one of their past llives," she replied.

I remember no such thing, but if he dishonored me somehow I could see myself doing such a thing. Her words were strangely chosen and if she was who I thought she was it made sense. The Morrigan was not a 'kind' goddess, she was vindictive. A m;mistress of great magic and the Queen of all the Banshees. If she killed someone, she did it because she thought the deserved it.

I let the music on the radio, some random thing by the Killers resolve itself into a boring background music. So I just zoned out for the long drive into town, and only when we finally stopped did I take notice.

We were in Burlington just north of the long road which made up one of those seemingly endless avenues of big business. The small little neat cut building was box-shaped and sported the words "DEPARTMENT OF MUTANT AND PARANORMAL AFFAIRS" in massive white pretentious letters above the door. Of course, they stuck their bloody seal on the door in white and I noted the hours. We walked inside as a woman in a clean cut pantsuit greeted us at the door.

"Are these them Gerald," she asked. Her face was a tad severe for my tastes, and yet she felt nice at least. Her eyes wander over our little trio and then set back to Raven like an old friend.

"Yup Cynthia, these are them. I was hoping we could do some preliminary testing before they attended winter Semester at the Academy this year."

"Academy?" I asked aloud looking at the too of them.

"Yes dear, Mister Jameson has agreed to sponsor you to a highly respectable school for gifted individuals such as yourself." She replied plainly.

I have a roll of my eyes as the woman led us past a simple raised black front desk to a large open lab in the back of the building. Now, this wasn't a big building, but most of it appeared to be set aside for whatever this lab was created to do. A woman in a red jumpsuit greeted me and introduced herself as Alienist. I raised an eyebrow at her as she dragged me over to a strange series of machines which I surmised were devises.

"So," I started before she quickly ordered me in rapid-fire manner to hold out my arm. She used a small scalped to cut my outstretched hand. I noted the pronged red mark on the wall behind me and the fact that her scanning devise looked quite familiar.

"When do I join the House of Martok?" I as grimly.

"Aren't you just a simple tailor?" she smiled back me. I giggled, always good to meet a fellow DS9 fan.

"So, Trekker, and Devisor, fun," I quipped.

"Yupper! And my devises allow me to record a few things others can't! My other abilities include some magical usage coincidentally I can get an idea of your basic abilities. Though you'll need to do more testing when you start school," she smiled.

"Okay, good." I said, she asked me to hold a weird crstyal and 'light y essence' shortly after. I did for a moment and she held up the weird boxy little device in her hand. The damn thing even made the same beeps as a Next Generation tricorder and Is wore I heard a Data like voice coming from it at some point.

"Okay, your regeneration isn't bad, but I want you to show me the form you used when the monster attacked you," she ordered.

"What?"

"Mister Jameson said you fought an unknown paranormal entity on the outskirts of Mount Vernon and he described your battle form of sorts," and as soon as she did I tried to do so.

This time my armor didn't appear, but my eyes turned black; my nails became hard as rock and my hair grew out much longer. I looked at her as she just dialed away on the little devise of her and waved me to return to normal.

"You are bound to a spirit it seems so I'm rating you as an Avatar, interesting, just one a few more things," and she walked over to a few more devises. The first was actually a bloody treadmill which after learning I was an ardent runner set me on a high incline and had me run until I nearly fell off the damn thing. Right after that, she asked me to do a few barbell squats and leg lifts, her only response was a quick nod.

She then had me brush my hand over an assortment of items and every time I touched something that made me itch or wince she noted it down. We stopped a pair of cold iron nails and I simply shuddered at their presence.

"Okay, we're all done." Alienist chirped before sending me outside into the waiting room, but not before having me stand in front of a DOL standard camera for an ID photo. She then asked me to list off a few of my current crediential and identifiction before sending me back into the waiting room to wait for the others to complete their testing.

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."
-Commander Susan Ivanova, Earth Force, Babylon 5
Last Edit: 2 years 1 month ago by ShadowedSin.
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2 years 1 month ago #50990 by ShadowedSin
ShadowedSin replied the topic: Scald-Crow
Part 3 - Self Hating Sidhe
November 16th

The day after the testing I was dealing with the biggest question of my family. I mean, it's not every day that I get to tell everyone "I'M A GIRL!" and not expect a little surprise. Let me rewind that and relay the fact, I was always a girl. Until the last few months of this year, I'd never accepted the fact. So, started the transition last April and my life changed faster than the roadrunner. I went through three jobs in a year, which was a new record for me. I went through hours upon hours of fighting my sibling as my hormones raged in puberty 2.0. So through all of that and digging into repressed feelings built up over the years.

This left me wondering how to break it to the family that not only was a genetic woman now, but I was a mutant. Not to mention I was the conduit for a fairy angry ancient Goddess. Morgan whispered to me at night after the testing and as we waited for the office to process my DPA. The long wait for even a temporary one was long and I did my best to just hide in my room. At least once I was dropped off at work a cashiering shift at the pet store. My boss didn't really blink at my slight changes as my body seem to give off a strange aura.

I poked Sophie and Nique about it a night a few days after I fought the Slua. Nique told me about how her family had hidden from her after she awoke from a painful burnout. Sophie herself gave off a weird lust infused aura which also made me tense and disoriented. I begin to piece it together that our mutating nature was similar to the game "Changeling The Lost" which I use to play when I was younger.

A quick description, it's a sort of tabletop roleplay game like Dungeons and Dragons, except in this case its humans kidnapped and changed by Faeries. In this case, Faeries being super scary nigh Cthulhu-esque monstrosities which are beyond the ken of humans. I figured this somehow related to the weird images of "the Otherworld" that Morgan and I kept sifting through in my dreams. While she and I were kind of learning from each other I could still feel blanks and rips in her memories.

Both Nique and Sophie could rely on Frey and Conall to tell them where they were from, this Otherworld place. My dreams were filled with brass cities filled with fairy wings and shifting spirits. Humans swore as slaves and a giant throne room filled with a thousand mirrors. What made me shudder at night and nearly scream was the re-occurring images of being tied to iron chains. My back was on a cold slab of stone carved with eerie circular runes as I was forced to bind myself to someone. The pain was so horrible I woke every night in a cold sweat.

"Morgan, why do we feel this?" I asked her weeping one night as I stared at my arms and almost saw the scored wounds on my wrists.

"They wanted my power loved one," she said to me, and I felt a warmth overtaking me.

"Why? Will they come or me as well?" I asked.

"Maybe, but Conall will not let them," she smiled at me in that way Fae did. It reminded me of a cat eating a canary, a mirth hiding ulterior motives.

"We need to find another shard of your memory," I sighed.

"More of the horde has it, and when they come we'll take it back," she said.

"Yes, even if I have to rip it from their flesh," I grinned as I felt bloodlust in my dream state."


===

November 20th

My MID arrived as a small envelope left for me on the porch of my house in Mount Vernon. Deidre, my little sister, was due home soon any minute and I was wearing a woolen pair of pajama pants and sweater. My new MID show a picture of myself and my codename "Scald-Crow". I loved it, as Morgan giggled in my ear at how I gave her a little homage to her nature. I was admiring it when the front door opened and Deidre walked in. I had avoided really seeing her in the last few days, and only when she really wasn't paying attention.

My sister was shorter than me, about five four, curvy and in her mid-twenties. Her short dirty blond hair was growing out after she spent a quarter a year with a half-shave. She trained her gold eyes on me and gave a once over. I found myself unable to reply as her eyes widened, and then a little twinge of fury crossed her face.

"...WHEN DID YOU FINISH CHANGING?" was the abrupt snap I got.

I gave her a shocked look as she glared at me.

"A few days ago," I mumbled in reply.

"How did you get so..." she stopped and rubbed her head. Deidre then proceeded to clomp into the kitchen and divest herself of the bags she was carrying. I followed her as I lean against the edge of the counter by the sink. Her eyes were squarely on me as I hugged my arms against my sides.

"You were going through burnout...I think. I almost called the hospital, but with how some of the local cops are." She stopped and gave me a worried look.

"So you knew?"

"I'm your sister, of course,I knew!" she said.

"A lot happened...I was out on a run and some monster tried to eat me." I muttered.

"A monster tried to eat you, classic you," she shook her head and started putting away her groceries.

"Oh and a Native American God is kind of sponsoring me for tests and stuff," I added.

"Always the drama magnet, aren't you," she chided me before shaking her head. My sister and I had grown up in a loving family, but one riddled with dysfunction. They were accepting and bleeding hearts through and through. But my plushy sarcasm and outward dislike of humanity were in part from how I grew up.

Still, I was surprised by how well my sister was taking everything. She and I went on to banter for another half an hour as I told her about what I had seen and a little about Morgan. When she heard about the Goddess she demanded to meet her and it was then that I wished there was a way for me to manifest her in some form. For now, I could change into my "battle form", but I couldn't make her appear magically beside me. This wasn't an anime or a JRPG the spirit in my head was going to stay there. Plus, I wasn't going to ask Raven to help, knowing that old trickster he'd likely rope me further into something.

"Give me a mirror, I can appear in it." She uttered to me and started to list off a series of things I would need to complete the minor invocation. Apparently, the fae used mirrors to communicate and she was gonna teach me a simple spell. I relayed the information to Deidre who appeared far from surprised that I was also a witch now.

"She says it's a simple scrying spell they use to talk to each other," I groused.

"Yup, and this is before she sucks out our souls," my sister ranted.

"She needs my hollow to live, not my soul," I spat.

"Okay let's do this," Deidre snapped as she directed me to the bathroom. Ingredients and or regents would be used, I just needed some blood and the mirror. The more complicated part was reciting the words in Gaelic. Apparently, it had to be in a descendant language as she couldn't teach me proto-Celtic -yet-.

"Alright," I sighed. Morgan whispered the words in my ear as I used I bit my thumb to draw blood. My body shivered as I drew a three-spoked spiral at the base of the mirror. On each outward spoke I quickly marked out the words "see" and "view" in old Gaelic "sell and".

Next was the minor incantation which turned out was just me saying "Feicim tú́ Morrígan."

For a moment everything stood still. It all froze in motion and like a pool of quicksilver the mirror suddenly rippled. Its surfaced fogged and cracked before our eyes as the spiral turned black. The damn thing sizzled as charged energy ran through it and then, THUNK! THUNK! A heavy hand hit the mirror on the other side causing cracks break away from the fog. What remained was the visage of Morgan except for this time in something more modern. An elfish punk with an oval face framed by a flock of seagulls haircut stared back us dressed in what could only be described as biker chic.

"Now we can speak Deidre," Morgan's voice was darkly musical, and her eyes were fixed directly on my sister.

"Why did you possess my sister?" Deidre asked.

"I did not possess her. She was dying and so was I, she had potential and wanted to be female." Morgan's deflection meshed with pure truth.

"We're both bound by an oath to keep each other alive," I sighed.

"This is your best decision ever," Deidre growled.

"I'm a girl now, I'm faster than usual, and I can do magic. Yes, the monsters suck balls, but I do like being a warrior-witch," I replied,

"You are a kindred soul, a stór." I rolled my eyes as Morgan purred at me.

"Yes yes, mo chroí́," I said.

"Where does this leave us? Do you still have a job? Can you pay rent?" Of course, Deidre was jumped to the issue of money. I paid a portion of the utility bills plus my rent helped with covering mortgage payments.

"She need's schooling, which Raven told us he can provide for us," Morgan happily told my sister.

"He want's me to attend an Academy in New Hampshire," I muttered.

"NEW HAMPSHIRE?! You already have a Masters and a Bachelors!" Deidre exclaimed.

"Physically I'm like sixteen now," I sighed.

"Raven has agreed to pay our way and to give money for your mortgage if we guard his granddaughter," Morgan said nonchalantly.

"When did he tell us that?" I asked, honestly I didn't remember any part of that conversation.

"The part where she almost died like you fighting Slua,' Morgan chided me, "You were busy ogling and having a glaring contest with Nique."

"She's hot and she hates me! I mean us," I complained.

"Yeah so, we're going as bodyguards and Raven wants the monsters kept away from his home," Morgan added.

"Okay and the MCO was snooping around here earlier," I decided to bring up that little bit earlier.

"WHAT?!" Deidre yelled and added to my growing headache.

This is where the conversation stopped including Morgan and turned backed to being between me and the li' sis. She went into a long-winded adult-level (yes she does this thing where she acts like my mom) argument. I told her the full story about the MCO appearing in the neighborhood and passing out images of a supposed troublesome mutant. She proceeded to pull out of me every little detail I'd forgotten to mention from the last few days.

Where to begin, where to begin. Alright, first the MCO popped all over the town and I was able to avoid them on a run only by keeping my hoodie over my head. This elicited another mini-rant about my lack of forethought and I could only mope about it. She stared me down and I tried so - so hard not to roll my eyes. Luckily, by the grace of Danu, I was able to actually keep my inner bitch under control.

We bickered back and forth for about another four minutes straight. When two Irish Svenk sisters go at it might as well bring a shield, am I right? Near the end, I sighed out a pained apology for my recklessness and she said sorry for being so over the top. This is what my family freaks out, I made a possibly bad deal, not that I'm a mutant, no it's over my impulsive nature. I ended the high reading femslash (I'm gay and I like happy gay ficton, kiss my elfish ass)!

===

Time Outside Mortal Preception

Around a lonely throne stood two figures, one appearing as a heavily aged man rife with a silvery metallic beard and long thick pokey eyebrows. His eyes held a deep sadness as he and his compatriot walked the massive room and dodged the glowing forms of two lesser fae. The elder was one of the gentry, the trueborn, who worked for the blood royal. His livery was purple and gold in the form of a long cloak stitched with leaping salmon.

"Ah, so he sent them then did he? Old One-Eye summoned the pact and sent his manifold court-hunters a field?" the voice came from a much younger woman. Her hair was the color of burnished silver and she was kitted in bronze war armor made of fine scales. A thick pleated kilt hugged her legs and sturdy woolen boots covered her feet.

"Yes, Rhiannon, he summoned all of our hosts who be bound to the oath of iron," he said sorrowfully.

"Ogam, why did you not protest his actions? she asked of the elder.

"I am not a Shining One! I hold not the old lines of the nine in my blood or the lore of center city!" he spat.

"So how did the Cold respond?" she asked. The two came to stop before a tapestry hanging in the hall of mirrors. Atop it was the image of a man flying a many-legged horse in a battle against dreadful monsters. The oldest of enemies, even far worse than the Nightmare serving the Cold Ones.

"Yes, yes," he sighed again. Speaking to Don's youngest was like dealing with a child.

"The Burning-Eye and his brother the King of Fires hate old One-Eye," he replied sagely.

"How the courts are now these day! Us of the world remade work hard so one day we can return to the lost home," the girl chirped. Her hair caught the dancing light of the dawning sun outside as it was reflected infinitely through the hall of mirrors. Elder Ogam, a sage of scroll and script chuckled at her enthusiasm and then shook his head.

"Five War-Cast, two Witch-Cast and three Scroll-Caste like me," he told her, "That is what the Lord of our host ordered sent. He gave her the Silver Bough and send your sister through."

Rhiannon closed her eyes and shook her head. Her body pulsed with determination when she clenched her hands into fists. Then as if on cue her face split into a youthful smile only a young godling such as she could bear.

"She'll come back Ogam, you'll see! By our mother's line, by kith and kin, my dear sister will return what she seeks!"

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."
-Commander Susan Ivanova, Earth Force, Babylon 5
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10 months 1 week ago #63854 by ShadowedSin
ShadowedSin replied the topic: Scald-Crow
Part 4 – Here Comes Trouble
December 1st

At the beginning of this story, I said I would cut the exposition. I hate it when stories get chock filled with it. Too bad I have a bit more to explain. My life slowed down before long and I was back at work. My two weeks were put in and I cried a bit to myself at losing a new group of friends I was just beginning to make.

Good thing though as I hadn't run into any more of the Harvest Horde (as Morgan called them). And of course, being the stubborn runner I was I put on a decent pair of leggings and my usual tank top. The air was chill and so I grabbed a hoody for the wind. I jumped off the porch with my newfound strength and landed with a slight trip but luckily caught myself.

I glared at the dying light and this time zipped for the long roadway just past and idiot bar named the Town Pump. My legs took me away as I turned up my music for the run. Little did I know what was waiting for me not far away.

===

The Sluagh, flying souls on the wind that love to steal the spirits of others. In Ireland, they use to keep westerly doors closed to keep them out. Yeah, that’s now how they really work. Sluagh is from another plane, another realm, so when the Fae brought them here it all went to shit in the olden days. Now I get hunted by the damn things.

Just like the one trying to devour my ribs and my arm. Pain spiked in my body, I heaved as my advanced healing kept it a bay. We were in an abandoned field as we fought and I thanked the gods no one was going to get hurt. ‘Good thing, little one.’ Spoke the spirit in my mind. ‘We would not wish such a horrible fate on anyone.’ Another tooth ripped into my skin, blood was drawn and I gritted my teeth harder than a vise. This thing was not going to let it go, and it was sapping my strength somehow so I couldn’t summon my spear. I used my free hand to tear at the things skin. My nails were as hard as metal and shined like flaming bronze the moonlight. I got a good grip the nails causing enough leverage to where I felt like they would rip out of my fingers.

“You can try all you can Bright One,” coughed the Sluagh. Its body was formed two bodies stitched facing together there was no face, only an eye, and an open mouth. How it spoke I really have no clue, but it sounded like rocks cracking from pressure.

“I killed the last one and sent it back. I’ll do the same,” I growled. I closed my fist on my injured arm and pushed hard against it. The teeth of it dull and yellow, yet not rotten held. I looked around, what could I do. My fire red hair swished from side to side as I tried to think of an answer. What if I —

‘Summon the Ripper. the Spear of the Hound,’ Morgan called in the depths of my skull.

“I can’t do that he’s got my spear arm,” I sighed.

‘You don’t need it just call for it and it will come,’ she said. To summon my blade I did so reaching into the between, the empty that existed across the world. But now, how was I supposed to pull a weapon from its hidey hole?

I cringed, my teeth were already giving under the pressure from my gritting, and I swear they were starting to crack.

“I call the Boar RIpper,” I gasped in Old Irish.

‘Used your blood, paint the spiral,’ she said and I felt an image come to mind of her idea. With my free arm, I drew my finger near my wound and after a minute I painted a rough lopsided three-pronged spiral.

“This will have to do.” I breathed, feeling the air rush out of my lungs as I closed my eyes as I pressed my hand against it.


The muck of flesth around my arm only served to hold me in place like a rotting vise. I wasn’t interested in dying in the thing south so as the last bit of the incantation left my lips I could feel a shock of electricity. Energy surged along my free arm as arcs of magic tingled and then twisted up my exposed skin. A series of lines and dashes, the ancient ogham of the gods started scrawling onto my arm. I could feel a series of whispers cahnting in my inner ear, as the air around me was filled with errant static. All I could do was sstare up at the sky and the darkness pervading my vision.

Clouds, that high flying kind that always trapped out the light of the moo. I forgot what their actual name was and I had not damn care at all for what it was. I centered my vision, I could feel my captured fist tightened as a rush of air smacked the sluagh’s exposed side, and my hair shifted from the sudden shockwave of air and the change of pressure. My ears popped as something shot past my vision and into the creature’s side. A sickening crunch of bone and muscle rolled through my body as I didn’t just hear the creature concuss from the blood. I could feel the meat of its body roll with the impact.

“CURSE YOU WAR-CAST! CURSE YOUR KIND TO THE NULL!” I heard it croak in that gravel-rock voice of it’s. I use the shock from the wound as the monster teeth released their grip and I yanked out my arm. I could feel bits of my dermis being sliced open along the way, and pain lanced up my arm. But, I was free, I used my legs to push off the beast and snag leverage myself against the spear shaft to pull it free. Gore was sloughing off the thing as I did the trick and my weapon was in hand.

“Seriously?” I heard it cawing at me to curse my name, what was this thing a medieval villain fro a grail quest?
I scoffed and twirled the spear over my shoulder as I angled across my arm for a hard thrust.

“I am the daughter of mortals, but my blood is divine,” I grinned revealing sharpened white teeth, “You’ll give me back my memories stitch thing. And when you do, the null will have you.”

My angle was set and my aim true and as I thrust the weapon struck throw the creatures twice thick ribcage. Bone chipped but held. I gritted my teeth again. The creature coughed out a laugh. I twisted free my weapon ad the monster parried me with a single hard swing of one of its ape-like arms. It struck my side and sent me rolling across the ground like a broken rag-doll.

My limbs screamed as I was sure only my regenerative abilities were keeping me intact. The creature slammed a four-fingered clawed hand into the ground to tear it up. Its body began to shake as my spear let off a wave of sizzling heat. Boar Ripper was a legendary weapon, insane except for the most stalwart fighters. In fact, I never kept it in my home dimension.

I could feel my bones knitting themselves back together, and I could smell the arrow as I pop a leg back into its socket. Wait, marrow? How did? I saw the blood, great, I had ruined another pair of leggings.

Now to deal with the monstrosity, and end this dumpster fire of a day.

I had the spear, or at least it was in reach. I could feel the power of aetheric energy wafting off it. It was like a torch in the night to me as the skin around it began to black and cook on the sluagh’s flesh. My eyes narrowed to slits as I focused, and I could feel a wasp-spasm seizing my body. It wasn’t like what others had, but I could feel my hands clenched as my muscles corded and ready to spring. I felt it pushed me forward as I lunged at the spear with all my might. Increased mutant strength hurtled me faster than a human could blink and I seized the spear.

All of my weight and forced went into that grip and it came out. Well, it was more of a wet messy crunch as the muscle and dermis around it gave way and gore flew off around me in the night.

I spun the spear around my arm three times as I felt something heavy starting to form around my arm. It was like an electric field as energy sparkled and sizzle as a metallic round shield suddenly popped into existence.

‘I called them, the Shield and Spear love, and now we will have my Shard in the beast!’

Morgan whispered sweet nothings in my internal ear and I smiled revealing sharpened pointed teeth. I was more predator than human now as I felt my wild mane of red hair whip in the night wind. I was ready to end this thing life. I would send its pack of slavering souls screaming back to the hell it crawled up from.

THUMP – THUMP. Massive clawed hands turned the creature around me as its long lanky body faced me. Unlike the last one, this one had a semblance of a face and I could see its eyes glaring at me. They burned like coals in the night and I could feel the hunger from it. Its emotions were obvious me and Morgan fed off its hate for me. As a Goddess of War, she lived off feelings of hate, anger and much more. It powered her and thus me in turn.

“…WE WILL HAVE YOU!.” it gasped as it swiped at me and I raised my shield. Its force caused me to skid across the street. My spear responded in kind and stabbed through the hand. It was a barbed spear, hence it's named Boar-Ripper. Those barbs easily tore into flesh and more gore-met the night air. It pushed against my spear as I stood my ground.

Morgan screamed in my mind as I used my rage to push back as the kinetic force from it shuddered in reverse from my shield. Again the wasp spasm came and I used the built up rage to send two great bashes of my shield just as the monster’s hand recoiled. CRUNCH. The sickening sound of breaking bone snapping like wooden logs in a storm.

CRACK and the arm was hanging by threads of dermis.

“That all you got?” I said and knew it was going to make another play for me. These things always did. Just as the first did it would try something!

Leaning on its broken arm the sluagh grappled with something on the ground by its slovenly body. A jingle of metal caught my attention as a chain went whipping past me and hit my shield. It slashed my side and I hissed in pain.

IRON

IT HAD IRON?!

“Stupid War-Caste, we come prepared.” It heaved again and battered at my shield. My magic was ripped from me by the Iron as I could feel my skin burn and crawl as my allergy was forced upon me.
How was a sluagh, a thing like me of faerie magic wielding IRON? What pact or oath had it wrought do such a thing?

Another bang against my shield and the iron entangled my spear. Boar-Ripper shuddered in pain in my hand as I dragged against the ground and the creature started to pull me forward.

He hoped the iron would weaken me enough so it could finally have me. But it didn’t bet on my rage, on my drive, and my refusal to give in. Too long I had been the brunt of bad jokes and listened to ti the incompetence of others. I had shat on relationships and proven myself incapable of being a mature person. Life had pissed on my fortunes and in one last ditch effort, I had bound myself to a goddess to save myself.

I was too damn selfish to give up to a Frankenstein monster who had a chain fetish.

Crap I kink shamed a monster, scream at me later.

I swiveled my right foot and my hip and dropped the spear. As it fell to the ground I pushed forward with all my might and shoved my shield against the hand holding the chain. Just as I did I called out to the spear and it leaped to my had.

“WHAT?!” it said as the surprised of my tenacity was all it had in time as my spear bit deep into it’s body and straight into its blackened thorny heart.

“NOOOOO!” The scream it let out was like a maddened animal a deer in the throes of its end melded with a rabbit. It was rather horrible is what I’m saying. As its blood seeped on the ground, again and again, I removed my spear and shoved my clawed hand into the wound.

‘I can sense it, my shard, myself!” as the creature began to turn to dust around my hand I clenched the bit of magic Morgan wanted, a Shard of her memory. A way for us to know why she was here, and what purpose I was to serve.

“Thank you, love,” I said to her as she sighed as the magic was devoured by our collective soul ravenously.

The last of the creature shrunk and faded to dusty motes of black as I stared up at the street light above me. It was one of those half-assed jobs put out in the country. A light connected to a telephone pole and a powerline for just enough power. It didn’t illuminate shit.

I coughed as I felt my inside still riddled with the iron allergy and noticed the chain was missing as well.
Good.

I had less evidence to leave for the authorities when they came to a calling. Even my mutant ID wouldn’t save my ass this time. Soon news of Scald-Crow would get out and I would have to leave town for a while.
That meant goodbye to my job, and I was going to have to find a place to stay. I kicked a rock into a nearby ditch and spit on the ground.

Well, fuck me.

‘Calm down love, we have what we need. Raven said he would send us east so we can learn more and get protection.’ Morgan was thinking ahead, and yet I knew I had to leave at least for now. It was only a matter of time before one of those monsters manifested on top of my home and ate my family.
I was not going to be the reason my loved one’s ended devoured by what I could only call the bastard child of a shoggoth and a ditto.

I slung my spear over my shoulder, I guess Boar-Ripper wasn’t interested in going back to its hidey hole just yet. I turned to ready to walk home. I had about three times to go and dammit I had to open cashier tomorrow morning.

Fuck my life.

===

I don't know when I got home. I ignored the pain in my body and lifted the heavy spear in my hands to maneuver it into the house. I had to be quiet, and even with my dulled sound field, I didn't want to wake up my sister after a long day of work. I made my way past the kitchen and through the laundry room into my room. The spear was laid up against my book case and I collapsed onto the bed in a rush of exhaustion.

Iron weighed heavily on my hands. I could feel it biting into my wrists as the two guards in conical helms towed me along the mirror hall. The long series of doors on either side reminded me of the numerous rooms fitted in the Hall of Gold. Here the Lord of the Shining Ones held court and bound me and my ilk to the Iron Oath. He had summoned me as War-Caste and so I was bound to his throne beneath the great roof of silver that vaulted above us all.

He might say his name was Odin King, but he was a pretender. But still I am bound to his family and to keep my sisters free I fight in his wars. I was made a God in name only and sent to stir up trouble up for mortals of an Island I barely remembered. Another Warrior like me bore me ill fate for the terrible curses I reaped upon him.
Even now, I can feel the stolen memories the King has taken from me as punishment for my insubordination. He will one day he says take it all so I am nothing. I will forget my mother's stories of the Nine Queens, and the glittery cities of old. Or what it means to be a warrior of the Tuatha.


I awoke in a bit of sweat, the memories and how I felt at that moment all too real. Morgan was me and I was here. We didn't always speak in our dreamscape and in often more than not we simply were. I stroke my own arm and sighed. The early morning of black greeted me as I stared out the shaded window. A glance was given from me to the spear before I snuck back into the kitchen to get something to eat. Whatever energy I once had was gone and even as I sought out food I could see how my meager income was not going to feed my new body.

'They found us again my heart and it was only a mile from home.' Morgan spoke to me and I saw her in the reflection of the metal handle of the fridge.

“They'll harm Deidre and her husband next. I need to leave....” I sighed as I closed the fridge door and stopped dead in my tracks. My sister was waiting quietly her arms crossed as she glanced at me. Her eyes widened still as she saw the healing wounds on my body. I wanted to tell her that it was okay, but I could only shake my head. She had heard what I said, and I could see she was already understanding the weight on my shoulders.

“I thought we had another month at least,” she said a reference to an earlier schedule sent to us in person by Mister Jameson.

“That was until another franken-mug tried to eat me again. And this time he was closer to the house.” I stopped as I felt it catch in my throat, “if they get close enough they could just pop right in here and kill us before I could do a thing.”

“I get it,” she said quietly, “You know I've seen some shit in my life sis, and I'll admit I had to grow up faster than you. But I won't say it's killing me to have you just leave us like this.” I could hear her frustration in her voice as she was doing her absolute best to remain calm.

“Your hubby's gonna ball his bloody eyes out.”

“Yup like a little bitch.”

“I'm going to call Jameson in the morning and let him know one of those things got closer. If one showed up on my run, one likely made a run at one of the others.” I shrugged.

“Gotcha I support you, sis. Just remember, when you are at that fancy ass prep school to not get into too much shit. I'm already going to have a long tired conversation with mom about how you can't come to Christmas.” she chided me. I broke out laughing louder than I meant to and suddenly I could hear the dogs barking from her room. My sister yelled at them promptly and they quieted down. She gave me a hug then and there.

You'd think my story would have a big good bye where my family cried. No, this one was about a silent getaway in the middle of the day. I would have to shove as many of my clothes as I could as Raven's goons went through my room and packed it all up to send over to the school. I was lucky he told me. Unlike others, I was avoiding a
lot of the drama of getting my ass hunted down by the MCO or worse.

What he didn't tell me is fate never favors the bold, it only make fools of us all.

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."
-Commander Susan Ivanova, Earth Force, Babylon 5
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