A Bird in the Hand

August 05 2014: Fenris stalks Jim to answer the question of what exactly he is


Not exactly the nice part of town, for which reason it may not be surprising to sense being followed.



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It's an upbeat day for Jim Reha. The portly fellow has just come from a successful job interview with someone who wants him to do day shift management of a scrap recovery center. Okay, so it's a junkyard, but it's paying a damn sight better than no job and the benefits appear to be top-notch. All that and only thirty-two hours a week? Almost a steal, even.

He's making his way towards the flop that is charitably called 'an apartment'… barely a studio with a bathroom in a less than savory part of town… when he gets this feeling that he's being watched… no… followed. He's taken a few precautions to attempt to shake and/or identify his pursuit, but the identification was a failure and even the most recent one where he walked through a couple of businesses and took side exits and the like were… unproductive. He's really becoming paranoid… there IS someone following him. Someone or SOMETHING… and after last night with the strange portal and place, he's beginning to get this sinking feeling…


There he is. Fenris hadn't wanted to pursue the matter in public, in front of others. Particularly the two SHIELD Agents who may or may not know what's what in the magical world and react to everything as a threat. He's a considerate predator, that way. This does not, however, mean that he was prepared to let Jim's presence slide. He just needed a more opportune moment to corner him.

Waiting for that moment is why he's been following Jim for the last five blocks. He'll give the man this, he's perceptive and slippery. Unfortunately for him Fenris can portal and has a very, very good nose. So far, the odd man hasn't made him yet, though clearly, he knows he's being followed.


It is getting a little bit overcast in the late afternoon, and the humidity has picked up a little bit. Thankfully, there's still a bit of a breeze coming in so it isn't completely horrific, but Jim is starting to show signs of melting a bit under the weather.

He takes his jacket off, then his tie, and makes his way into one last store, then back out again. Clever guy apparently picked up a windbreaker and sunglasses when he was in there, and took off his button-down shirt, putting all of that stuff in a plastic bag. Well, perhaps clever for the average tracker, at any rate.

After another block or two he grumbles and goes down a very dark and unsavory looking alleyway. "No. I know. I'm trying, damnit. What the hell do you want me to do? Go to the police? Yeah, right, that's a fucking laugh riot. No, we're not going to do *that*. Absolutely not."

Either he's completely lost his mind, he's talking to someone on the phone, or something else entirely is going on…


It's the something else Fenris is most interested in. Time to turn up the heat a bit, perhaps. Still saying out of sight, Fenris relaxes his hold on his illusion of normality and lets his predatory aura - that frightening presence that tells anyone near him that a superior hunter is on the loose - grow and intensify. If he can just get the man to rabbit.

Hrm. Who is he talking to? He has no earbud, no cell phone and there's no indication that anyone is replying to him… well except that he's carrying on as if someone is. Just get off the street, man. Then we'll have a proper… chat.


It's almost as if the two are reading from the same playbook, but on different pages… or perhaps one is reading the defensive portion of it and the other the offensive. There's a bit of a banging and clanging as the heavy-set fellow grabs a fire escape ladder and yanks it down as hard as he can, throwing his mass behind it before tossing his plastic bag up there. He, on the other hand, ducks down behind a dumpster, full into the darkness of the alley where even the light of day seems to be having a hard time reaching… and no windows on the nearby walls either.

Almost too convenient… a counter-ambush, perhaps?

The fellow is taking very slow breaths, trying to control himself and not panic despite that overwhelming pressure that something is darn certain about to eat him. Again, given events of the last few days, it could be anything. He slowly picks up a loose brick from the ground, holding it in his right hand, back firmly against the wall…


There's, finally, the slow beat-beat-beat of footsteps before a tall, lean, predatory looking man comes into view at the end of the alley. He eyes the bag and the fire escape for a long moment and begins to sniff as he heads down the alley. "I can hear your panting…" He says, his voice resonant and low. "And I can smell your sweat."

There's a pause, as the footsteps get closer. "I know you're here."

He doesn't seem overly concerned at the thought of an ambush, the Old Wolf, if it's occurred to him at all.


Such words are always goads to make people reveal themselves, right? Right?! Jim's heart rate shoots through the roof even as there's the sound of stretching and shifting from somewhere behind the dumpster… and motion… lots of motion as two limbs shoot up and various other things change in the alleyway.

Jim's scent and panting vanish almost completely, replaced by a far more ancient smell and the scent of something metallic. There's a bit of a rumble as the dumpster is pushed to the side a bit and a strange bird-like being stands before the First Wolf.


There's a rod in Fenris' hand, but no blade as Jim, and perhaps thus Corvinus, saw before. Not that he can see him now. Nor can Fenris see the Corvinus, but he does sense the cange in scent… and the pulse of the odd as energy is released from it. It makes him smile and draw up short at the same time. "Aaaaah. There it is. There's that not-quite-normal I'd sensed before. Being much more open about it now, aren't we? Care to come into the light where we may see one another?"


"May this one have assurances that you do not seek to harm the other? You did put quite the fright into him, but such should be expected from a child who has not attained true enlightenment. You do not frighten me, wolf. Part of education is the sad knowledge that when one educates, one destroys the ignorance of that which existed before. So in the efforts of gaining knowledge, knowledge is also lost. By extension, an acceptance of one's role in the universe is in keeping with the harmony of it. You are a hunter, a devourer—so he tells this one. What he does not realize is that such is the fate of all things in the end, and to ignore it or fight against it in the proper time… is fruitless."

Confusing perhaps, but the avianoid entity strides forth, brick at the ready, and very much held in the hand of someone who might know how to make something hurt with it.


The Old Wolf chuckles and eyes the bird-thing. "Yes… that's different. I knew there was something a bit off about- hrm? Did you say 'him'? Ah, so you are separate. A possessing spirit perhaps? As to my intentions, I have not yet decided. These cities are my hunting grounds and I do not abide troublemakers or poachers. Especially not now. But… provided you are neither, we may reach an accord. What are you called? I am the Old Wolf. The Fenris."


"This one's speech was perfectly inflected for maximum educational benefit. Your ears did not fail you. We are both the same and different. Possession would imply that this one would have ownership over him, which is a false statement."

The bird-thing twitches a bit, as if settling into limbs after a bit of an absence.

"If enlightenment is troubling to your lands, then this one would depart them. This one seeks no trouble, though trouble often follows those who bear the wisdom of the ages. And 'poaching'. This one has two definitions for that from him. Either an unsavory past-time visited unto the eggs of unquickened avians, or a violation of territorial bounds. You may rest assured this one seeks no trespass, nor does this one wish to start a conflict that would invariably scar this area for years to come. There has been far too much fighting already, to no good end. Wisdom fails when fighting starts."

It was about to finish then it makes an odd almost chortling sound. "This one apologizes. The closest term in the languages of this world would be The Corvinus, though Corvinus would suffice."


"Corvinus…" Fenris practically tastes the word, rolling it around his memory. He has two thousand years of memory to roll around in too. Has he ever… no. He has not. Curious.

"I see… and what does enlightenment seek whilst sharing a body with a mortal. A rather skittish mortal at that. Who talks to - I presume - you aloud whilst walking down the street?


"Under normal operating circumstances this one would carefully approach a world and take centuries to prepare someone to approach and offer shared wisdom. However, due to a recent pre-occupation with a potential threat to this world and many others this one was caught off-guard and was forced into a rather disturbing circumstance of—the term he uses is 'Hobson's Choice', which appears to be no choice at all? Yes. That would be the case."

"Part of his skittishness is an over-reliance on his own merits and strengths and a fear that this world is not ready for this one to enlighten it. This one has offered on more than a few moments to share itself with him, so that he might be better prepared to face the threats of this world. This one has also suggested to him that he not talk aloud, but children have silly habits until they are broken of them. To force him would be to enforce a claim of ownership, which as indicated earlier is a false statement."


"I see." Fenris nods. "And what is this threat to the world of which you speak?" The Old Wolf looks thoughtful. He want to know, primarily, if this is something he's yet to hear about and needs to be aware of. His hunting grounds, after all.


"In epochs past, this one was sent to a people by its creators to bring them to enlightenment. This one's creators were peaceful beings who had not encountered severe warfare, and indeed were somewhat naive about the ways of the universe. When this one… stand by. He is attempting to give me an 'analogy' that you would understand. There we go."

"This one was sent to a world called 'Thanagar' to bring the wisdom of the ages to folk who bore resemblance to this one's creators. Unlike this one's creators, over time the Thanagarians reacted not with enlightenment but more akin to the human 'Oedipal Complex' or the fight for dominance that those who hunger for leadership in a wolf pack engage in against the Alpha of a pack. This one was not prepared for that eventuality, though this one was equipped with every conceivable defensive method known to this one's creators to protect the client people. This one realized that remaining on station was a waste of resources and that there may be other resources in the universe to be brought to bear against the Thanagarians, should they reach outwards…"


"Thanagarians. That is also a name not known to me. I take it, that this was another world and not simply this one in another time. Do you think that they will reach outwards? How did you get here? And will they follow?" Fenris is now quite concerned. Defending the world is not in his line. He doesn't care for the world at large, but he is fiercely protective of his corner of it.


"It is not a name known on this world to the best of this one's knowledge. It is another world. This one would give a seventy-five percent chance that they will reach, given analysis of most recent transmissions from that section of the universe. That analysis was running when this one was knocked from the stars. It took significant resources to calculate the numbers, and sadly, the means to travel from world to world was lost when this one entered the gravity well of this world. If the client people realize that this one is present, the probability of a direct reach may increase to as high as the one hundredth percentile."

The avianoid pauses and tilts its head.

"This one just gained enlightenment from your question, thank you for it. The explanation for his stubbornness has been revealed. He is a precocious child, even if he isn't enlightened. In fact, this one would note that his 'instincts' in some cases are better than carefully modeled operational modes."


"I presume you travelled through the stars via some… contrivance of science and not application of the arcane?" Either would be interesting frankly.

"I think I'm prepared to agree that you are no threat." Fenris gives the Corvinus a sharp, predatory smile. It's not at all comforting. It's the smile a wolf who is passing on dinner. "Though I do hope you have the sense not to become one."

The predatory moment hangs in the air… then passes. "In any case, I shall keep you in this alley no longer."


"He suggests Clarke's Axiom applies here. Namely 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magick'. This one begs to differ, but that is an internal discussion we can have amongst ourselves at our leisure. That being said, he does know a little bit about the term 'arcane' and its implications, and wishes to remain an asset and involved in helping out. This one should also note that this one is hardly edible materiel, and would probably give you horrific gas pain if you tried—again, that's his words."

The avianoid strides over and collects the bag and glances to the Old Wolf. "Please accept his aid in the future. He needs it for his mental well-being. There was some entity or organization that mis-used him sorely and he is still needing to… what is his term… 'prove he is worthy'? Also, we both thank you for your hospitality thus far and seek to be of service should the need arise."

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