The Break Before Bonfire Ball
Two weeks go by, and none are the wiser for it. Hermann’s Reign of Terror continues, while Helena Gravsten, now wearing a new body, trains and prepares her final nail in the coffin. Rune travels to the capital of Sweden on the advice of Hermann to buy a proper suit for the Bonfire Ball.
Gravsten, in the body of the barrowman, stares at a window. With Tregaro, Sihle and Gran dead, there are only two ordinary humans left to avenge herself on. Oh, there are more than five people that have wronged her but you can’t have all, she thinks to herself. If she were to kill all those people, she’d need an eternity.
She employs a trick she has learnt by using the barrowman’s body. Her size shrinks. At first she is human-tall. Then as tall as a bush. Then as tall as stone, as to say, not very tall at all. She shrinks further; eventually she is no bigger than an ant. This is how the barrowman managed to infiltrate Ochre, she figures. A large group of supernaturals have extra-senses, but detecting a being no smaller than a grain of rice is hard, if not impossible.
In this form her mass may be much diminished, but not her stolen strength. She walks up to the wall that connects to the window. She digs her fingers into the wall and starts an impromptu crawl upwards. She reaches the window-sill and looks down. The square-ratio ensures that if she were to fall from this height she wouldn’t be too hurt. Ironically really– had she been wearing her true height the fall would hurt more.
She rolls beneath the window and fall onto a table. A young man sits in front of a laptop, wearing a pink headset and shouting something. The light from the screen of the laptop illuminates his face; full of pimples, eyes an odious shade of green, brown hair. Bjarne Odre.
She jumps of the table and places herself behind his chair. A hand carrying a camera.Screams. Shouts. She pleads, but they won’t stop filming her. They won’t stop filming her!
She grits her teeth. Oh, but I will have my vengeance. Her size increases until she human-tall. Bjarne notices nothing. Without pausing she grabs Bjarne’s head with her left hand, and her right hand sneaks around to seize his jaw.
The sound Bjarne makes as his head is pulled in one direction while his jaw an other, is beautiful to her ears. Blood flows over the laptop and soon he is dead. Not quite finished, she grabs the laptop and rams her fists through it before throwing it at a wall.
She laughs; high and joyful. She drags a finger through Bjarne’s lifeblood, and starts to write a message on a wall.
Two minutes later she jumps down the window, having shrunken once more.
Hermann moves the weight of his body from foot to foot. The stream makes its way through Fenner Bog, and the marshy ground is as Greyscale described.
He focuses his magic and his mind, and sends a sonar-probe deep into the ground. A nearby pool explodes in a torrent of water that floods upwards, and suddenly Mizu stands there.
He gives her the sort of bow a samurai would give an empress. “Mizu. It’s been a long time.”
“Hermann-dono”, she demures. “And that it has been”, she adds, a rebuke following her sentence.
Hermann spreads his hands far apart, as if to say, well what can I say?
“You been raising the child of that woman you loved.”And neglecting me, Hermann hears. An accusation. He shakes his head. “Grandchild. And she… she is dead, gone the same way as all mortals.” For a moment they stand there, remembering an old war and the pillar of light that shook Hiroshima, the very destruction that drove a young Mizu to cross the world for a promise.
“Why”, she asks more gently,” have you come?”
“It is as you described. A unliving creature stalks Fallowfell. He is aided by one who uses magic very much like yours; a magic that traverses watery bounds….” He starts to explain what has happened.
Helena Gravsten makes a running leaps. The force of her new legs carry her over the trees, a small pond and towards a house situated at the edge of the forest, as many houses are in Fallowfell. Midleap she shrinks to the size of a small bird.
She hits the roof with an all too loud crash. Gravsten winces; hopefully they will just think it a drunk bird or something. She crawls, one crawl at the time, over the roof. She grows in size, becoming as big as a small dog, and places her legs into the chimney. She shrinks once more– and falls downwards.
I am like Santa, she thinks to herself. Bearing gifts of death.
“… and so I am here.”
Mizu gazes towards Fallowfell, knowing that she can never truly be there. Kappas aren’t fae; they don’t have the sort of magic that allows them look cute and unthreatening.
“And so you would have me save them?”
She continues. “If I were in the city, I might be able to feel this girl’s magic. But alas I won’t. I can’t”, she says to Hermann.
“Can there be no way then?”
She scratches the back of her shell in an absent motion. A way to track a particular kind of magic, especially that of water, which is everywhere, is no small feat. You’d need- she stops.
“I might have a way. But you’re not going to like it.” Without waiting for an answer she rips a hole in this reality and links it to a place that has little in common with Earth. One of the pools of Fenner Bog swirls in a ominous counterclock whorl.
A small shape makes its way out of the pool. It shakes the water of its fur.The bonespikes at its back make a crunching sound as it stretches carefully. The ahuizotle glances at Mizu, and then at the visitor.
Hermann frowns. Greyscale described the ahuizotles as big as wolfhounds, but this particular specimen must be smaller, or perhaps a pup.
“This is Runt. He’s the smallest one of the litter…. and he needs a home. Because he and his brothers and sisters have lived with me for so long, they know magic that is connected to water. He’ll be able to guide you.”
Hermann nods. Apprehension or not, he needs a way to track the magic. “I’ll take care of him.”
Mizu crouches. “This is Herman… and he’ll take care of you.” The ahuizotle belongs to a breed of supernatural dogs that the old Aztecs revered and feared, but that is hard to remember as Runt looks at her with those puppy eyes. “No, do not look at me like that. If you stay… you will not survive. Hellfire or Granite will eat you. You know this.” Runt whines. “You can visit.. in a year. Alright?” Runt nods. “Now go to Hermann.”
Runt changes; one step he is the ahuizotle; glossy oily fur, bonespikes, dark eyes, and then he is terrier pup. But his eyes are still dark.
And that is how Hermann, and by extension Rune, found themselves owners of an Aztec demondog.
Gravsten lands amidst burnt wood and old newspaper clips. She stops to listen. Nobody is looking into the fireplace, so she considers the infiltration a success. She makes her way out of the fireplace, and shakes off the dust and ashes.
In front of her is the living room, with two doors connecting to other rooms, and a stairway going up. She makes her way to the left door, and slips beneath it. It strikes Helena that she could have done the same with front door. But then again, one doesn’t get the opportunity to jump down chimneys every day.
She glances around. The room in question is a questionable shade of pink. Miriam always did like pink. Her would be victim is sleeping on her bed, a bed surrounded by frilly draperies, like something out of regency-novel. She strides up to the bed.
In a burst of magic she grows to mansize. She admires Miriam sleeping form; curly black, almost blue hair, olive-toned skin and in her sleep an innocent smile. She grabs a large pillow from a nearby chair.
Here. Have a drink. You’ll like it. And then you end up roofied, raped and raving in a forest. She grabs Miriam’s head with her left hand and brings the pillow down with her right.