Fragile Existance

November 03 2014: Keith finds Fenris to thank him for his help and the two talk about fragile things.

The Bronx City Street

Nice neighborhood near the zoo, not too poor, not too rich.



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Fenris, aka Jeremiah Wolfson - Park Ranger, is walking home. He leaves near the Bronx Zoo and at present there's no imminent threat of magical disaster. There's the looming threat of magical disaster but that's sort of always the case. The question at any given time is simply how close it's looming. At the moment, not hugely close. So he's whistling as his coat billows behind him. He still feels creepy but the Old Wolf can''t help that.

And speaking of magical disasters, a certain purple figure crouching on top of a lamp post joins in the whistling.

Thing is, cats can't whistle that well. It's the shape of the muzzle. So it sounds rather… awful. Vorpal hadn't planned to run into Fenris yet, but the chaos nexus that was his life obviously made his paths cross with the old wolf, and that was fine by Vorpal.

"Does that technically count as Wolf-whistling?" He says, stopping and grinning down at Fenris as he becomes visible.

Fenris looks up, a smile gracing his lean face. It's odd the way that you can see common features between his human face and his wolf face. "I suppose it does, technically." Fenris isn't actually a human. Nor is he actually a wolf. He looks like the latter and can make himself appear to be the former.

"Hello Keith. Back in one piece I see."

"Thanks to you, and the others," Vorpal slips from the post to land in a crouch next to Fenris, standing up immediately after. "You know, I owe you big time for this, and for the crap you and Booster had to deal with when the Cait was loose. That was my fault."

"Mmmmm…" Fenris makes a motion for Vorpal to walk with him. "Yes… and then no. You were victimized by a circle of very powerful mages. You could have done everything right and still been in the same situation. They were quite relentless." He smiles a bit. "But I appreciate the sentiment. How are your friends?"

The cheshire walks by Fenris' side, casting an illusion of Keith over himself so as not to draw too much attention. "Well… Gar is sleeping again, thank heavens, and everybody is fine. Raven had to do some… cleansing, but I think she will pull through."

The mention of the druids makes his expression somber, and the young man says, "Yes… about these druids. They're still around and kicking, aren't they? Even if their super druid was blasted into smithereens?"

"An Archdruid. One of their Potents. They have a number of those. He wasn't one of the three Omnipotents. They've not been seen, if you'll forgive the expression, in a dogs age." Fenris shrugs. "Yes, they're still out there, still dangerous. As you experiened with the Zoo."

"Alright, then…" Vorpal mutters. "How do we find them, and make sure there's not enough of them left to find thereafter?"

It's not that he condoned killing. But it was obvious that these men would not stop… and that no earthly cell could hold them.

"I am not yet sure. They have not returned to the world proper. They hide in some nexus of power." Fenris glances over at Keith. "There are many of those and no few of them are controlled by this group of magi or that coven of witches. Locating them could take some time even if they were not concealing their location which they most certainly are."

"Unless, of course, you are someone like Doctor Strange?" Vorpal says with an arched eyebrow. "Who also seems to be incredibly adept at hiding himself, I might add. I'd suggest Constantine, but… is it bad form of me to say that I am not incredibly fond of the man who was instrumental in saving my life?"

"Mmmm. John Constantine is an irritatnt. He has a lot of enemies for exactly that reason. He does what he does for his own reasons, so no, not particularly bad form." Fenris shrugs once more. "Most of the mystical types hide well. My own allies I find only because I have a lot of experience doing so." Illyana, for example, has her own pocket dimension. "I am unusual in that I live in this world and other than my form, I don't take too many pains to conceal myself from mortals. My fellow asgardians, that's another matter."

"Yeah… about that… are you really going to cause an apocalypse, someday?" Vorpal asks, because… well, he had to ask. Wouldn't you ask, if you had the chance?

"So the sagas say." Fenris chuckles, perhaps a bit wryly. "They're prophecy of a sort, and the prophesy is cyclic. I have caused apocalypses in the past. I may do so again. I came here, to Midgard and adopted this guise because I tired of being cast as the villian in a story without end."

"To answer the question I think you're asking, though, I do not know. Such destruction is in my nature. Were I ever to unleash my full power that would become obvious. Fortunately, that has yet to happen in two thousand years save for brief and very localized 'apocalypses.'"

"And did you really bite off… you know. The hand?" Vorpal says, and holds up his hands "If I'm getting too nosy, just let me know. I mean, I've never had the chance to talk to - well, you get my gist, right?"

"Tyr's hand?" There's a slight growl to Frenris' voice now. "Yes. I did. He lied to me, and it led to me being imprisoned in a cave while I slowly went mad." The Old Wolf shakes his head. "We're not friends, Tyr and I. I'm not friends with many of my fellows comes to that. Another reason for me to be down here and not up in Asgard." At least he doesn't seem to have any problems answering questions.

"Yeah… I don't really like liars, myself," the cheshire under the human guise mutters. "So… this is going to sound strange, but are the Asgardians really gods? And what does that mean, anyways? I mean, Wonder Woman has her own gods, are those real too? And if so.. then… er…" he rubs his forehead. "Confusing."

"Yes, and no. Imagine, for a moment Vorpal that you were taken back in time to, oh, let's say ancient Egypt and that you were exposed in all your felinity to a population whose most advanced technology was basic metalworking. Would you not, with all your wonderous tricks and abilities be considered divine? The notion that the unexplainable and miraculous must come from a higher form of being is not one unique to humanity, but it is quite common. Even today, in a modern society where men fancy themselves beyond such things you can still see belief in this kind of white and black magic." Understanding and body of knowledge does not change the basic human character. Fenris knows this quite well.

"Well, I am pretty divine," Vorpal jokes at Fenris, but then follows with, "Well… but magic exists you see. I know, 'cause I am made up of it. If you look at the fact that there's people who can etch-a-sketch the laws of physics with a whim out there… wouldn't you think that gods are not that far away a conclusion? It'd be different in a world where none of us happened… but what you're telling me is that the Asgardians aren't gods in the way that humans think of them- divine beings in charge of or who created the universe?"

"No, they are not. They are extremely powerful beings yes, but it was not by their will, nor that of the Olympians, nor that of the Tuatha, nor any of the others I have met that what is came to be. And that is largely reflected in their stories. The greeks in particular, proud as they could be, never claimed to have made this all." That, ironically, was ascribed to the Titans. Fenris does chuckle at the irony.

"But they were other things that humans belived them to be. Time was when the gods meddled in the affairs of this planet, shepherding their own chosen people while warring with the others like them."

"The Trojan War," Vorpal hehs, "This is all a little… surreal. Even if they're not gods in the way that humanity considers them… I mean, I'm a speck of dust. I'll die before you even really notice I'm here, you've been around for thousands of years. You must've seen so much…"

"Yes and no. Your lives are… very very short by my standards. A few decades are not much time it all. It takes me that long often to notice new ideas and developments. And recently your people have begun advancing so very fast. But at the same time now that I do not isolate myself I'm much more aware of the passage of time in terms of days and weeks, and not years and decades. Time was when I lived mostly alone and had little contact with men."

"In a way, I wish we didn't live so little. I would love to see what comes up in the next few centuries," Vorpal sighs a little. "Doesn't help that the Cait remembers millennia. Makes me a little envious."

"It's not all… what's the phrase… 'unicorns and rainbows.' Living a long time means seeing a lot, but it also means dealing with a lot. And when those around you have mayfly lives, the ones you care about are gone all too soon." The Old Wolf, and he isn't called that for nothing, sounds like he has some experience with both of those things.

Vorpal frowns. "Doing what we do, we already live under the threat of dying at any moment. Still…" he ponders. "An eternity by myself isn't as attractive a thought. I'd like Gar to be there. And Bunker, and-" he smirks "Heh, okay, maybe I don't want any one of us to die. Man, I am setting myself up for a disappointment."

"The hero business isn't particularly conducive to long lives." Fenris notes. "I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, but you should probably be aware of what you're getting yourself into. The world in which you live is getting stranger, and darker, by the day. I have not seen this kind of magical chaos in five hundred years and it's only going to get worse, everywhere. On the one hand, it means people like you and your Titans are needed. On the other…"

"On the other, it means rocks can fall and everybody dies. Yeah… magical chaos. You just don't mean the Circle, do you?" Vorpal gives Fenris a sidelong glance. "There's more?"

"There's always more, Keith. It's one of the truisms of the world. Most people in the city, I dare say in the nation if not on the planet, would not sleep nearly so soundly if they knew how close to the brink the world was every night. The Circle, the Darkhold, the Elder Gods, various demons and hell lords and that's just to name a few on the magical side. That's leaving off ambitious, powerful, unscrupulous men, ancient conspiracies, threats from beyond the void… your little blue planet spins in a fragile existence and every sunrise is the gift of someone who stopped something awful at great cost." Fenris doesn't often tell people these things. He's not a doom and gloom kind of person. But he is a hunter and a predator and he knows the signs of an ecosystem in flux.

Keith goes silent at this. He walks with Fenris for at least a block before he says "… oh wow…"

Congratulations, Wolf, you broke the Cheshire. He definitely looks like he may not sleep for a few nights.

Fenris chuckles and the shadows that seemed to have grown about them may seem to lighten, just a little. Glancing sidelong at Keith after a few moments more, that grins widens just a bit. "Still want to be a hero, Keith?"

"I can't exactly stop being one and still live with myself, Fenris," Keith mutters quietly, hands inside his jacket pockets. Or, rather, inside the pockets of his suit.

"That is, perhaps, the sanest answer to that question." Fenris walks a bit more in silence. "So what will you do now, with your soul restored and your friends at your side? Forgive me for being curious but few get second chances as you did. Few would have lasted long enough to be given them."

"Technically speaking this is my third chance, if we count how I got my powers." Vorpal walks in silence for a little more, then he says "I'm not sure I am not sure I am very good at this, though. Look at all the crap that happened because of me? Maybe Gotham is safer with me not being active? I'm not sure. I've got to figure stuff out, I guess."

He looks up at Fenris with a smirk, "How stereotypical, right? Encounter with Death, and suddenly 'I must find myself.'"

"Very Homeric." Fenris agrees with a matching smirk. "It's as well you've decided on a greek inspiration. Were you Japanese you may have a different path to follow." Fenris has visited Japan, though not in over a thousand years. He's read up on it though. Fascinating land, always was.

"Remember, if you go looking for yourself, though, that people tend to find what they seek. And that sometimes means confronting some uncomfortable truths. Not everyone wishes to stare in the mirror. Especially when one has been stabbed by it."

Vorpal looks at the ground as they walk. "What if you are the mirror?" he says quietly. "Sometimes I wonder."

"Then have a care what looks into you, or one day you may wake to discover that you do not like what is reflected." Fenris smile is a bit knowing. Almost like… he's had this conversation before.

Vorpal exhales. That was an answer that made him uneasy. "… can people who are not real… exist?" he asks. "I know it sounds nonsensical, but there you have it."

"That depends on what you mean by 'exist'." Fenris says, now a bit curious himself. "My definition, I suspect, is broader than yours and there are dark places, places inbetween, 'not places' if you will where the things that 'don't exist' there are as real as anything that ever walked under the light of day. The universe has an infinite capacity to surprise."

"Sometimes the universe forgets I exist, though." Vorpal says quietly. "Nobody can see me, nobody remembers me. Everything is as if I had never been there- my cards don't work, my phone goes dead. Nobody notices my things, I've seen people walk around a bicycle I owned and act as if it was not there."

"It usually lasts a day. By the next day, everything is back to normal, except nobody remembers seeing me anywhere. I've gotten fired over it before."

Fenris' fingers drum on his rod at his side. "There could be a number of reasons for that. Shifting out of phase with this world, or slightly into phase with another where you simply aren't. It could be magic. It could be the result of containing so much chaos. I am honstly rather surprised, Keith, that you and the Cait get along as well as you do. Mortal bodies were not made for such things."

"We don't have a choice. At first, he needed me to escape. Now, I need him to live, and he won't admit it, but…" Vorpal trails off.

"It's because I am dead, Fenris. Not right now… but I was meant to die, that day when I first got my powers. The Cait interfered with his chaos magic…"

"Maybe I'm not supposed to be alive, you know? Maybe that means I'm not really real…" the young feline closes his eyes for a moment. "It terrifies me when I think about it. Sometimes I'm afraid I won't come back, or that nobody will ever remember me again."

Fenris stops and gives Keith a once over, then takes his rod out and raps Vorpal solidly on the dome. "Seem real enough to me…"
Giving that a moment to sink in, the God-Wolf continues. "So it's Death, then, mmm? Death does not like being denied, but it is not with in its power to simply make you fade. For better or worse you and the Cait are joined and that means that you are. Mmmmm. The next time this happens, come find me. I wish to see if it affects me as well. My existance is fundamentally different than yours. If worse comes to worse… we can go see my sister. Distasteful as that may be."

Vorpal ows, rubbing his head. Yep, solid enough, at least. "But… how am I to find you? Usually then whis happens, none of my electronics work for me, so I can't send messages. Not that anyone would see my messages, so even if I sent word to the tower, my messages would be never read of heard."

Fenris grins now. "Well, you found me today did you not? Do your powers still work when you are 'forgotten'? Or do you exist as Keith and Keith only?" If the latter, it's probably a form of being partially pulled into the underworld. Sort of in the manner of ghosts except Keith isn't dead. Except he is. Well, no one ever said this would be easy or simple.

"I exist only as Keith," comes the answer, "No powers. The Cait is still inside me… but he… slumbers, I guess, during those times? That's the closest I can think of."

"Ah, you may have hit on it then. In that case, I shall find you. If the Cait truly slumbers, I'll sense the shift in you. I've simply not had a reason to pay attention to it before. Such shifts rarely pressage anything particularly earth shattering. Not on a large level anyway. I'm sure it's distrubing enough for you." Fenris puts his rod back into it's place at his side.

"It hasn't happened in a few months. Not since before I joined the Titans…" Vorpal frowns. "That's… going to be a mess. Alright. I should head back to the Castle for the night. It's been a long day…"^

"Sleep well, Vorpal." Fenris waves, now approaching his house. It's a surprisingly normal, single family kind of home. "You know how to find me, I suspect, and if you do not…" The wolf grins. It may or may not be reassuring.

Well, it's Fenris. Probably not.

"I know how to find you."

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