Animal Crackers

Summary:
October 23, 2014: The Circle Oroboros tries to recreate the '09 Gotham Earthquake at the Gotham Zoo as its epicenter. It doesn't go the way they intended.

Gotham Zoo

The Gotham Zoo


Characters

NPCs

  • Circle Oroboros Druids
  • Zoo patrons

Mood Music:
Animal Crackers


The Zoo is the perfect place for Keith today. After receiving an infusion of … animal energy (that's the best way he can explain it) from Gar last night, Keith feels rejuvenated. Although his soul is ticking away, bleeding out every minute, the discovery that he can be temporarily 'topped up' and thus extend his time before the final countdown was a relief. To Keith, it meant the stress was lessened, if ever so slightly… and for Gar, it meant not being on the edge of anger all the time.

He sits by the big cat enclosure, unsurprisingly enough, sipping from a bottle of water and trying to organize his thoughts. He knows Zachary and Constantine are on the job… Rain? He has no idea where she is.

Jim is taking advantage of the 'not being followed by creepy stalker bird-girl' window by taking part in excursions and events that normally he would not be a party to. To… live a little, as it were. It's a new concept to him, as he's usually busting his butt working at two jobs, or getting drunk off of said butt to try and ignore the prospect of having to deal with the 'enlightened' partner, who as of late has proven to have quite indeed the feet of clay.

He's not quite dancing a jig, but the chance to 'breathe' a bit and get 'away' from the stress… yes, he's most decidedly 'eating' it up and perhaps along the side an adult beverage or two was imbibed. Nonetheless, he has taken this chance to take in the shining gem that is Gotham's Zoo, probably one of the BEST parts of Gotham!

Fenris is moving quietly through the Gotham Zoo. He is not here to take in the sights nor visit the animals though he could speak to them if he needed. No. He's hunting. There's magic afoot here, somewhere in the crowds. Big magic. Bad magic. He needs to find it and stop it.

Before the Zoo becomes a charnel house.

The tigers seem particularly restless today. More so than usual- there's a lot of pacing around, a lot of focus. Keith knows the body language- he spent six months being a cat, and the man he loves spends a good amount of time being a cat here and there, and has taught him to pay attention to body language.

There's something wrong, somewhere. Cats are very perceptive to unseen things, often even moreso than dogs (Fenris might disagree, though).

The young man frowns and closes the notebook upon which he was writing. Slowly, he begins to look around.

Jim is just eating this up. Giddy would be one word, but *free* would be another. It's been so long since he's felt this sort of feeling, the kind that even the partner agrees is well and long overdue. He does a bit of a skip-hop as he strolls, then drops a ten in the donation for the seal habitat. Definitely the best kind of day he's having, and nothing could possibly ever go wrong with it.

Something is nagging at the back of his mind, though. If it's such a wonderful day, why is he here in Gotham? This is NOT the best city to be so… exuberant? in?

It's sort of frightening how many modern garments include hoods that can obscure the face. Seeded among the crowd are five knots of people at five points throughout the park. They're wearing hoodies and long coats for the most part, talking seemingly quietly among themselves. Were you to get a birds eye view and peck them out, the five groups would form the five points of a star.

Or a pentagram.

Magic begins to build in the air, though it's still subtle. The animals get restless. Aggressive. But nothing firm can be felt.

The hair on the back of Keith's neck stands up, and he feels a prickle at random points in his body. His first thought is that he is getting sick, but that's not it at all. He lacks the ability to see things from a more elevated vantage point, so he cannot see that he is very close to an intersection of those lines, all he knows is that there is a certain sensation of sickness that comes over him that is not physical in origin, and he begins to feel alarmed.

He reaches for his phone- and that is when it hits him. The phone. On the counter of his apartment. He left in such a hurry-

"Oh goddamnit…"

If there's one consolation to having a partner with Nth-composite, it's that it tends to deaden Jim's receptiveness to 'magic'. So despite his knowledge of it, it's even more of a 'null' to him than he'd normally expect. However, there's the antics of the animals, and combined with his above-average giddiness he knows that something is UP.

He starts to cast about for what could be causing such an 'off' reaction then sees the one hood. Okay… no big … two hoods… wait… three… four…

He tries to see where the epicenter of the casting is. He has no clue WHAT is being done, but…

All the leaves have faded.
All the grass is brown
All the nights are longer.
Sun goes down.

Yeah, the magic is definitely building to palpable levels. Enough that it's masking even Fenris' predatory aura. The God-Wolf stops hunting and looks about. Druids. Lots of druids. And they're already casting. The center has to be…

About ten feet from where Keith and Jim are standing.

When he takes a few steps, Keith begins to feel nauseous. It was hard to focus, hard to think correctly. A hand goes up to his forehead to rub it, to try to regain some of his bearings, because he feels something very disturbing for which he has no words.

And the magic builds…

Jim is not a caster. He's not a ritualist. Heck, he's not even in any way, shape, or form a magi. But when that finally clicks he runs himself off at an odd angle AWAY from the casting circle. The further away he can get, the greater a chance he can get to disrupt. He shouts back to Keith. "Come with me if you want to live!"

It's corny, it's stupid and attention-getting, and so gosh-darn '80's. And even as he runs… he starts singing… badly, but still…

Time, time, time, see what's become of me… while I looked around for my possibilities… I was so hard to please… But look around… leaves are brown… and the sky is a hazy shade of winter…

Crows are in the branches
Wolves are in the wild.
Others in the shadows.
There's a long keening moan and suddenly the animals begin to go ape. Fenris concentrates, pouring power against the spell construct but he's not a magi either. He's a god, yes and has some mystic ability but against what must be twenty or more druids, the best he can hope to do is delay them.

Delay what though? The ground begins to rumble and tremble. Loose pebbles hop and jump as the animals go absoltuely wild with fear. Small hairline cracks appear in the concrete and metal bars can be heard groaning.

Someone is shouting at him. The voice sounds like— Jim?

"I can't-"

There's an earthquake. He feels the earth move beneath his feet. There's an earthquake in Gotham! The last one in '09 was devastating for the city. It is the sound of the menagerie that draws Keith out of his stupor. He looks up from the cracks to see … druids. The ones he hadn't noticed before because he was awash in …

Hairline cracks appear, the rumbling beneath his feet. People are going to be killed if someone doesn't stop them.

Too many druids. Only one Keith. Only one depowered Keith.

It is a very strange sensation that comes over him when in contact with this… magic. Something stirs inside him, reacts to it- it feels like what Gar felt like, when he had come off the Red, dripping with something primal. Similar, but not the same.

~I was able to absorb that from Gar… maybe…~

He stumbles and falls to his knees, just a foot away from the epicenter would be. The idea is forming slowly in his head- everything seems to be slowing down.

He's not sure if it is because of the earthquake or because of the magic. He remembers the '09 Earthquake- it was days compressed in seconds.

…Hear the Salvation Army Band.. down by the riverside it's bound to be a better ride carry your cup in your hand… hang onto your hopes my friend… and if your hopes should pass away, simply pretend… That you can build them again…

The portly fellow couldn't begin to describe why he has that particular gut reaction, the 'flight' before the 'fight' scenario, even as the partner rails against him internally, demanding to be let out to let this matter be set aright. It is quite possibly the largest 'tug - of - war' he's ever had with the Corvinus, as disparate halves insist on ascendancy and neither one enough in the grasp of it to determine a 'true winner'. His body shifts in one direction, then back in the other for a good moment or so…

I look around.. the grass is high… it's the springtime of my life!! Seasons change with the scenery… weaving Time in a tapestry… won't you stop and remember me… at any convenient time… funny how my memory skips while looking over manuscripts of unpublished rhyme… drinking my vodka and lime…

And then the Corvinus is out, and leaping BACK INTO THE CENTER, standing over Keith with talons extended… and if an avianoid entity could snarl, well, it is quite frothy indeed.

"You WILL NOT!"

Not what?

The sudden arrival of Corvinus on the scene gets Fenris attention. Well, what of it he has to spare. Most of it is occupied by desperately trying to keep the earth from ripping itself apart at this critical place and causing a chain reaction that would be felt across the city and possibly further still. Then he feels the power… go some place. Something is absorbing it. Draining it from the pentagram. He looks up see..

Keith. The hollowed out one. If he can soak it all in…

"Keith! Get to the center! Corvinus! Catch!" And with that he tosses his Gale Rod to the Bird, trusting that the self contained magic might work, or at least that he can use it as a club.

Goodbye, Child

The incantation complete power surges into the pentagram, past Fenris' blocks. The earth begins to groan and rumble in earnest.

"The Druids. Get to them!" Fenris' blade is out and he's moving, best he can, hoping Keith and Corvinus can… do something.

Get to the center? The center of what? Keith wasn't entirely sure what Fenris meant, until he slowly gets it. Being awash in magic, and being incomplete, makes him more susceptible to the ebb and flow of these things. He can see the convergence of the threads, luminous and twisting like snakes.

He darts forward, jumping into the center as Fenris instructs.

He doesn't know what is going to happen to him at this point, so he decides to do something that will stick, in case he doesn't.

He faces the nearest druid and flips him the bird.

The bird-being catches the rod as it becomes the center of the maelstrom, then mimics the action it as it has seen the wolf-god do so many times in the past, spinning in a circle as it aims the swirling rod at each of the druids in turn in an attempt to knock them off their feet, perhaps even wing them into each other as it continues its motion, providing the cover that Keith needs for… whatever the heck is going on. Hopefully that isn't killing a sacrifice, but the ancient being has made far worse choices in its past.

It's free hand it keeps right above Keith, to catch him if the ground opens up, or to block any attacks upon him.

The ground begins to crack right under Keith. It hasn't split yet. But it's looking like it wants to. Fenris goes after the druids blade in hand. They turn out to be armed. Good for them. They're not warriors with two thousand plus years of fencing expertise. Bad for them. As druids get disrupted, flung about like Ragdolls by Corvinus, knocked into open Ways or simply sliced in various and not unifromaly fatal ways, the magic powering the pentagram and the earquake begins to die off. There is, however, still a metric crapton (a very specific and precice unit of arcane measurement) in the pentagram itself. This, magic of the earth and sky and sea and beasts all goes into Keith and his hollowed out shell of a soul.

Even a mostly-empty soul has a limit. It would be unfair to say that Keith was a husk of a soul, because there was still Keith in there. The wide emptyspot that the Cait occupied was, of course, vacant, but even then it was not nearly enough to contain the power of such ancient magic- a magic that touched on the green, the grey, the red. He's just one tired, somewhat scared young man.

At first, it seems that the magic has dissipated quickly. "Fenris… Corvinus, what on earth-"

Think again. It is as if he is trying to contain infinities, and they're all trying to burst out of him. His back arches and his eyes open wide, as does his mouth. There isn't a scream because he doesn't have the presence of mind to operate his vocal cords, all he knows is incredible expanses of being, as if his tiny self were trying to become the galaxy itself.

The blast that comes immediately after is sent straight into the sky, where it cannot harm anyone immediately— but it causes severe disturbances of the weather- it snows for a few seconds over Central Park in New York. A brief hail over Metropolis. Gotham sees direct sunlight for the first time since time immemorial. Animals in the vicinity will not be quite at rest for days, tingling with residual energy that plays upon them, drawing out their natures.

Keith is on his knees, and much of his leather jacket and shirt are destroyed. That is surprising, but what is more concerning is that the skin that appears underneath is red, like blood.

The bird-being stands tall and does not flinch even as an arcane wave of life energy washes through the area. It is also ready, if need be, to end Keith. It will deal with the partner later if it becomes an issue. This pile of energy is a threat to the city and potentially the world if it expands. If it cannot be controlled by the human, then it must be released back to whence it came. Forthwith.

Then it is seemingly absorbed and the human remains in shredded clothing. The talons remain out, the lethal weaponry watching for any sign, any indication that the vessel of this unimaginable power is anything other than in full control of himself. The skin color is irrelevant. Humans change their skin color with the passing of the sun. Unleashed energy that has no master… that is the concern.

Fenris returns, the druids scattered like crows. He stares at Keith for a moment and then rushes over. "Corvinus. HUG HIM!" He's hoping that the Bird being's odd magic dampening nature will keep everything under control until he can siphon the exess magic off and safely radiate it away.

Granted, Keith's still gonna be full of it for a couple of days.

If this is how Gar feels, Keith thinks rather numbly, then he can totally understand why his boyfriend is always so 'in the moment.' Everything is in very sharp relief- colors, shapes, sounds and smells assault him, far more intense than even when he was Vorpal. It's stunning, and at the same time it only makes him focus on everything. He is hyper-aware of his body, of how the muscles in his legs respond to his attempt to kneel, what the curving of his back does when some muscles contract and others release. His heartbeat, and the acrid smell of his own sweat.

He also doesn't look exactly like Keith- his wears are pointier, his eyes are red, hair is definitely shaggier and there may be fangs protruding ever so slightly from his lower lip. He may or may not be sporting the beginnings of claws.

"Hug… who? What?…" there are more overtones to those voices, too. As Vorpal, he heard more, but never this much. The red does not limit itself to his skin, but there is also a faint aura of red around him. It is clear that some of the Red has remained within Keith and is, in some way, overflowing from him. He will not be able to maintain this for much longer, and it is clear to see because he seems to be growing stronger, ever so slowly his muscles seem to gain in size, but his posture also curves more and more, like a feral beast. "—You smell strange…" he speaks with a half-growl, and the pupils in his eyes are slowly starting to slit. That hug is probably needed right about… now.

Out of all the things expected during the encounter, being requested by the Sun-Eater to hug the human containing unstable wild energy was the last thing Corvinus expected to hear. Still, it is largely blind to such manifestations, relying on its partner to make such judgements and assessments under normal circumstances. As a result, it does indeed reach down and over the kneeling human, wrapping arms around it with expert precision even as it fans its wings up and wide.

Strange glowing traceries appear across its form, as it attempts to control the flow of the energies that it is being exposed to, outwards and upwards. Even with the venting and the dampening, it crackles and pops a bit….

"This one is strange, child. Never forget that."

Fenris' magical senses and abilites scream as he begins to siphon off the magic pouring out of Keith. It speaks to the depths of the young man's resiliance that it hasn't utterly destroyed him. The God-Wolf actually feels a bit bad about telling Keith to do what he did, but it was that or the city…

"Just… a bit… longer…" Fenris grits through clenched teeth, now rather glowing himself with power as he radiates it out.

It feels like it takes forever for the magic to drain out of him. As it does so, the world loses focus until it is just your average human perception. To someone who just spent a dew moments in the height of perception, everything seems a little muddled and indistinct. But most importantly, the magic is leaving him, and the touch of the Red grows slighter until it is no more. Enough magic remains to recoup some of his timer, put a little more sand in the hourglass, but he feels exhausted regardless of his new reserves, because he had just been metaphysically stretched and then put through the wringer.

"… already knew that," Keith mutters with a slight smile at Corvinus' remark, feeling his body giving way to exhaustion. "… hate… those druids…."

Thankfully, with the abating of the energies it means that the safeguards that the ancient artifact has built into itself do not need to trigger, though for a few moments it did glow quite a bit before fading the energies out.

"This one is hurt by one's tacit admission."

The tone is not chiding, but instead loaded with the ancient language of Low Snarkese.

"These entities are dangerous and are being added to the threat assessment folder as we speak. Any information one has on them would be most incredibly useful in determining their capabilities and future dispensation."

When the flow slows to a trickle it stops hugging Keith and stands up, backing away some, then tossing the Rod back to Fenris. "Catch!"

Catch the God-Wolf does with a relieved smile. "The danger is passed." He sighs, perhaps unecessarily. He seemed exhausted somehow. "That was bravely done. Both of you. Do either of you wish to depart via my usual method?"

The young man is no longer red, except the parts that came with the original packaging. He doesn't seem to acknowledge what Fenris or Corvinus say, as he only seems to have one thing in mind.

"Bed. Sleep." He says, sounding extremely monotonic. The reason for that is that he's close to collapsing. He'd be sleeping on the floor right now, if hit arms weren't holding him up.

"This one thinks, given that the alleged Thanagarian isn't tracking this one, that this one will partake of one's kind and generous offer of transit. The partner would appreciate it, at least, though he did not get a chance to partake of all the enjoyment he was seeking here today. This one also expresses thanks for fear that if this one were solely here, things may not have been… as well considered."

Enigmatic as always, eh, Buddha Bird?

"Sure…" Fenris chuckles to the both of them, tearing open a Way in the now deserted Zoo. "Visiting hours are now over. Thank you for coming to the Gotham Zoo. Next stop, Birdvana and Keith's Apartment. Not necessarily in that order." Ushering the other two into the tear, Fenris closes it behind him and vanishes without a trace.


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