Greyscale accepts the mug, which too is made out of stone. He makes a sound of appreciation following a sip. “Interesting”, he muses, “I had never taken you for someone that drinks rootbeer. More of a stout-man, I had thought.”
Gomagog rolls his massive shoulders and shrugs. “Ennui is the poison whose sole cure is new experiences”, he responds. “Cheers to that!” Greyscale proclaims, drinking deep.
“Hey”, Greyscale continues to say,” do you remember the Old Places? The Forgotten Realms?” The question isn’t idle; Gomagog, youngest of his siblings might have ruled here on Earth, but his siblings held far loftier positions on stranger… worlds.
Gomagog holds up his thumb. ” Edom and Moab.”
His index finger, crowned by a simple band of steel, goes up.”Bashan.”
His middle finger points down. “Mount Olympus, stolen from us by the those Greek upstarts”, he mutters with a trace of bitterness.
He clutches his ring-finger with his other hand.”Our fiery Jotunheim”, he reminisces.
He stares down at his pinky.”And of course the realm for which my dead race is most famous; the Celestial Beanstalk, which that monster Jack cut down.”
Gomagog’s hooded eyes, dark just not in color, but with everything he has lost, holds Greyscale’s.
Tam Linn inspects the semi-frozen stream of what the locals call ‘Fenner Bog’. He can see the remnants of magic used here, after-images on the eye-lids for someone with his keen sight.
Of course, the kappa is nowhere, not that he’d expect her to be here. If he hadn’t been working from a position of weakness, he’d be real polite to her and ask. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.
His form flicker, and a tidal-wave of light sheathes out. Snow and ice boils away, rocks are scoured clean. A second wave boils another amount of water and steam roars away. The third wave causes several nearby trees to ignite, their bark burnt crisp.
Magic of the ocean, smelling of brine and saltwater causes Tam Linn to sneeze. A large tentacle moves up on him; he severs it into miniscule pieces with a lance of light. A dozen tentacles, each the size and width of a steel-beam snakes up from the ruined stream.
Kraken…..! Tam Linn spits. A kraken, even a young one, near a town? He shakes his head. “Come up and talk to me, else I will be eating calamari for a month”, he threatens.
The tentacles stop their writhing, and reluctantly go back from where they came from, which is a place Tam Linn tries to think of as little as possible. A geiser of hot water, implausible as it may seem, spurts out from the ground. Linn covers his face with a scalded hand. When he removes it, the kappa stands before him, a neutral smile plastered on her face.
“And if you could have them back?” Greyscale asks.
“Helena Gravsten is dead, and even if she weren’t I wouldn’t turn to necromancy. Black arts and bitter fates as they say”, Gomagog says with the air of someone who has given a question a great amount of thought.
“No, that wasn’t what I meant. The dead are dead, and that is how it should be” Greyscale temporizes. Gomagog frowns and leans back in his chair of stone. “You have lost me somewhere?”
“What”, Greyscale says, launching his mug high up in the air, catching it on its descent without looking,” if you could visit those places again? Not just once, or twice, but go as you like?”
Gomagog starts to laugh. He spills rootbeer all over the table. “Are you telling me that you have some kind of rare magic, or a lost art or even an ancient artifact on you? Hmm? A pair of ruby slippers?” Greyscale calls upon his inhuman nature and locks eyes with Gomagog.
“Mizu-san”, is the greeting with which Tam Linn greets her. Light-green eyes set in a face of bruised blue takes the whole of him in. She tenses, a movement that causes the crown of lilies on her head to sway. He wonders if he has ever met her? Some patches of his memories are… unclear.
“Yes”, she responds, crossing her arms over chest. “Can I help you perhaps?”
Tam Linn’s eyes dilate, a preparation to the provocation he has planned. “A small matter, really. When you encountered Greyscale in this very spot that I stand in, did he ask you about the places of power?”
Her heart skips a beat, and her brain signals her body to lie. “No.” Should he call her out on the lie? The temptation is strong, yet in a place of power that she is attuned to, with a kraken at her beck and call, her power could very well match his, if not overpower him.
No, he won’t call her out. He takes the conversation towards more innocuous subjects, while quietly pondering what he should do.
Gomagog treks after Greyscale, the two of them walking through the deep nameless forests of Fallowfell. “Where”, Gomagog begins,” are we going?”
“You’ll see”, is the only clue Greyscale offers, his back towards Gomagog, his feet moving with purpose.
The trek goes on.
“What is the first place you’ll visit?”
“I am not too sure that I believe your claims”, Gomagog affirms.
“Nifelheim? Jotunheim?” Greyscale asks as if he didn’t hear the response.
“Look, Greyscale, I appreciate you coming over, but this joke-” Gomagog stops speaking. In front of them is a thicket with a large ash in the center. None of them are mages, but even a mortal, blind, deaf and stupid would know that there is something… peculiar with particular tree.
A force that beats at your subconscious, tantalizing you to go somewhere, anywhere. A World-Tree.
Gomagog speaks an exclamation in a language that is akin to Hebrew, but whose roots are older still. Tears flow down his eyes, and the bitterness that he has carried since even before Greyscale’s birth easens. Not erased, but it lightens. Home. He can go home now.