Felipe has been… voluntold, more or less, to be the conduit in a spirit summoning ceremony that may be a little bit of necromancy or shamanism or what have you. Whatever the purpose, it is intended to invoke the wisdom of the ancestors to break the deadlock on the council as to whether or not to allow Hunter access to the ‘sacred’ crashed wolfen battlecruiser.
The preparations for this take the better part of the day and in theory there isn’t much for Hunter or Ardul to do. The reality is that they’re under close obersavation and it seems to be expected that both will be present. Ardul and Felipe both have engendered a fair amount of curiosity. Hunter seems to //universally// evoke fear. Or hatred. Or both.
As some of Felipe’s peers have said: two out of three isn’t so bad.
There isn’t much he can do to assuage a whole village about their prejudiced view of their Wolfen companion, nor can he really say much else about himself or Ardul. All three of them are completely different; none are Saurian in the slightest, and his personal Saurian credit as an adopted ‘little’ brother doesn’t count here.
So he waits. He passes the time speaking when a question does arise, watching when there is nothing to be said, mentally preparing himself for whatever may take place.
There hasn’t been much for Ardul to do, that’s true. However, she’s seen how the Saurians respond to Hunter and hasn’t been far from his side.
As with the way of soldiers, she’s used to the waiting and has been pleasant enough when spoken to. She might have even let them touch her wings … if they asked politely enough.
“I hope you are ready, Doctor.” she says quietly as dusk starts to descend, casting a sideways look at Hunter. “I rather hope the spirits speak in our favour.” Does she share the beliefs of the Saurians? Or is it like Magic to the Valkyr? Not believing in it, because there’s nothing, really, that Science can’t explain.
Hunter has been cleaning his weapons. It’s not the most peaceful thing in the world to do but it clears his head, calms his nerves and makes a statement all at once. Three out of three is even better. The saurians have been keeping their distance from him.
The barrage of questions from the younger and less frightened members of the clan died down a few hours ago. Now the communal area in the center of the village is starting to come alive. Magewyn lights a bonfire in the center with a rather theatrical gesture of her spear and no visible flint.
She might have Talent.
One of the younger saurians beckons to Felipe. “It’s time. Do you need anything before the ceremony starts?” That’s Ardul and Hunter’s cue as well.
Casting a sideways glance toward Ardul, Felipe shrugs, giving her a half-hearted smile. “I’m as prepared as I would be for minor surgeries,” he says. He then glances back over to the Saurians, brow lifting slightly in casual resignation. “Except I’m pretty sure minor surgeries never had anything to do with the supernatural…”
When the young Saurian speaks to them, the Doctor blinks. “Time. Right.” He gets to his feet, tugging at the end of his shirt to smooth out the wrinkles as best he can. “Ah, I think we’re okay. I’m okay, anyway — Ardul? Hunter? You need anything?”
Ardul might have given Hunter a look as he started to clean his weapons, but didn’t say anything. Just settled and fielded questions.
“Interesting. I wonder about Magewyns travels.” the blonde murmurs to the Wolfen beside her. There’s the slightest of ticks as the bonfire is lit “She seems … more worldly than the others.” To Felipe, the Valkyr nods “You say that and yet you live on this world, where Magic and the Supernatural is rife. I need nothing but to have this happen so a decision can be made.” beat “Good luck, Doctor. We will be here.”
Hunter rises as things begin to move. As the trio approaches Magewyn the woman holds out her spear to Ardul. “In the event that this goes poorly, you will need this. Stand ready, for our ancestors do not always appreciate being disturbed.”
Felipe meanwhile is tugged off to one side and given a brief face painting session. He winds up looking not a little bit like a certain old earth actor in a movie called Mavrick, but no one here himself included is likely to realize that.
When he comes back before Magewyn the real ceremony begins.
“Honored Ancestors, hear us from beyond the farthest stars and harken unto our call. We wrestle with matters that divide us. Return to us with your wisdom through this willing vessel that we might find our way…” Power gathers and then abruptly goes forth…
“Well, my personal preferences are pretty solid in their practicality. I’m used to being grounded without magical influences weaving their way into things and creating more of a mess than there needs to be.” Still, Ardul’s well-wishes are acknowledged, nodding as he’s led off to one side of the communal area.
Face-painting. He’s okay with face-painting, but he does feel a little ridiculous. Like he needs to feel more out of place, right? Except he chose to go with it, so he takes most of the responsibility for that. “All right,” Felipe sighs under a breath, approaching Magewyn to take his place in the strange ceremony she commences. Although calm, he can feel a low pull of anxiety tugging at the pit of his stomach.
And perhaps he should have heeded that feeling.
He remembers listening to Magewyn as she speaks, hearing her call on the spirits to kick things off without any further delay. It’s when she says ‘this willing vessel,’ he suddenly feels off.
Off? More like /awful/.
His body seizes as if he’s been struck by a blow from an invisible hand formed into a fist, hunching, falling forward as the pain from the experience courses through him like trails of lightning…
Ardul takes the spear, reluctantly. That thing had magic in it and she’d rather rely on her own weapons. But she’s a smart Valkyr and won’t insult the Saurians – that might come later. Hopefully not, but you never know.
When Felipe reappears with the facepainting, the blondes eyebrow rises. She might be amused if this wasn’t so serious. Taking her place beside the Wolfen, watching as the ceremony begins.
Even she can’t deny the energy that gathers. It flows over her, ruffling her wings. Then it hits Felipe and the Valkyr takes a step forward … ready to aid the Doctor if he needs it. “What on Iyesgarth …” She can’t believe her eyes, is that Felipe?
Hunter’s brow rises as Felipe… changes. It’s not a gentle change. Something has subverted Felipe’s natural physical processes. He grows muscle. He grows a tail and a muzzle and… er… other things that he didn’t have before. Though Saurians are not dimorphic in the same way mammals are, Hunter can smell the fact that Felipe is no longer //strictly// speaking a he.
It’s all he can do not to laugh.
It’s going to be a coin toss though whether the worst part of it for Felipe is the physical changes or the sense of //someone else// sharing his brainspace, filling his head with thoughts, traditions, knowledge, memories…
“Speak your case to the honored elder…” Magewyn says mostly to Ardul. Felipe may find it disconcerting to be referred to as such.
These are unpleasant feelings. Feelings of being physically ripped apart, stretching, growing into something he as a human shouldn’t be going through. Yet here he is — bigger, longer, much more scaly.
Definitely not a ‘he,’ but he doesn’t know that. Not yet, anyway.
Felipe gasps, emitting a low, guttural croak as he tries to find his words. “What the– ” He stops himself there, surprised by the sound of his voice and the obvious changes in his hands. He’s even more thrown now that he feels like he’s not himself inside of what is now his body.
Among the mental flood, the Doctor slowly looks upward, staring back at all of the eyes that are on him before finally letting them rest on Ardul.
His nostrils flare. Whether it’s done because of Magewyn’s addressing or Hunter’s urge to laugh is left vague.
Ardul just blinks at the changes in Felipe. He … err … she …. is certainly a fine speciman. She thinks. “Uh. Have you ever seen anything like this, Hunter?”
Magewyns words to her have the Valkyr starting a little. Really, Hunter should be doing this but …
“Oh venerable elder, your honour us with your presence. We come about your sacred place. We seek to take possession by it’s original owner.” Carefully she sets out their case, that it’s sacred to Hunter, appealing to the spirits understanding of such things. Acknowledging the wrongs that Hunters ancestors did to the Saurians. Hopefully, Hunter doesn’t snort too loudly at that. “Not withstanding any of that, great elder. We believe the sacred place is now a danger to your tribe. Your descendants will be able to vouch for that. I will fight, by their side to keep your village safe but we must have the sacred place to ensure that safety.”
It’s not the best speech, she knows that. She’s a soldier after all.
Hunter doesn’t speak because he’s fairly certain the other saurians present would shout him down simply because of what he is. Of course were it up to him he would have dispensed with the talking so there’s that.
The being in Felipe’s head doesn’t speak for him. It’s not that manner of possession apparently. But suddenly Felipe has memories. Knowledge. Words. This spirit is old. Possibly one of the first of the honored dead. It – maybe she – remembers finding the wolfen battle cruiser. It knows that it is not of the Saurians, that it belonged to someone else. It remembers the early days of horror and wonder as they explored it finding things that aided them, and deadly dangers the likes of which they could not understand.
It also knows, though, that there is something deep within. A gate, a door, something of vital importance to the tribe. Something that it is imperative that they not lose.
The memories he now possesses are almost overwhelming, each one seen with a clarity and a perspective that one can describe as awesome. Still, inwardly, Felipe isn’t even sure how this setup is working. The Saurian being is there, yes, but he is the one who has to speak for it. That’s his whole purpose at the moment, and he should answer.
His body goes through the motions. His voice, which still sounds odd to his own ears, speaks in a way that is him but…not. The acknowledgement of Ardul’s respect is made known in the subtlest of gestures, intently listening all the while past memories ebb and flow, moving through his mind.
“…We understand,” the Saurian answers, adding to what has been already said. “We have seen it and entered its realm. But there is something…something we keep there — something beyond the gate that is of greater value to us.” Eyes gleam in flickering firelight, unblinking, unwavering. “It must be protected. It must be safe.”
The Saurian is silent for long enough, that Ardul worries she’s messed things up. Then the elder speaks and the Valkyr lets out a slow breath.
The information about a gate has her blonde eyebrow rising and she risks a sideways glance at Hunter. Gateway. Rift. Portal. Could be anything. “We will secure the access. You have my word. We will arrange access for your tribe, should it be needed.”
Hunter and she might have words later. That’s likely not going to be easy, if at all possible. But it is the Valkyr who will be foresworn and bear the brunt of that if it all goes wrong.
Hunter frowns. Gate. The only thing that qualifies as a ‘gate’ in a wolfen ship would have been it’s ‘Star Drive’. While the knowledge of that kind of technology has been lost for more than a century among those wolfen on Rifts Earth, Hunter does know that an unstable star drive is exceedingly dangerous. If it is creating tears in space-time, artificial rifts, then the safest thing to do with it would be to shut it down. He doesn’t say that though.
“Honored Elder.” Kovak speaks. “The dog-demon will profane the sanctuary. It may already have brought other demons to bring fire and bloodshed on us all.”
Felipe is assailed with sudden visions. Black insect-like beings creeping through the forest armed to the mandibles. There most be dozens. Silently, fliers buzz overhead. They are drawn, drawn toward something at the sacred site. A flash, another vision. The village burns, it’s people either slain or taken. It’s not clear how near or far the danger is, but it is present, and it is coming.
Against this, what chance do the Saurians have?
Away from the forefront and beside the being inhabiting his body, Felipe flinches at the visions. //No…oh, no, that’s not– no, we can’t have that happen!// His voice sounds so distant, so close. //Spirit, um, Elder! Honored Elder, I’m sure our pal Kovak has the best intentions in keeping us out, but this? This is clearly the last thing any of us need…!//
Outwardly, the Saurian turns its great head toward Kovak, staring him straight in the eye as a clawed hand rises up. A cold hiss whispers among its words. “What is the bigger threat — a dog-demon defiling of our sacred grounds, or the shrill of black wings that will bring ruin, destroying everything you know?” The eyes shift to look at everyone once more. “Consider what is being offered. Consider what /we/ know, and what /they/ know.
“In order to convince them, your word will need to be kept,” the Saurian Elder then replies to Ardul. “That, you already know.”
“My word is my honour.” Ardul answers still not quite sure what she is securing access to. “On my oath as Protector to the Princeps of Iyesgarth and Companion to the Wolfen, it shall be so.”
She has an idea of what is waiting for the Saurian. She’s not seen it, directly but she has confronted a Xiticik.
Hopefully Hunter won’t be too reticent to allow this. But that’s a discussion for later.
Hunter’s hackles rise as the spirit/Felipe begins to describe an insectoid apocalypse. A small one, anyway. “I need access to that ruin.” He says mostly to Ardul, though Magewyn can clearly hear him. “Now.”
“I believe the Elder’s wishes on that are clear. We will abide by your wisdom, Honored Elder.”
Kovak turns and talks off at that, furious. The presence of the spirit departs Felipe… though, awkwardly, his body does not change back to normal.
Satisfied with the answer Ardul provides, the Saurian Elder nods, letting its great head bow the moment Magewyn agrees. Kovak’s anger is known, but it’s a personal path he must struggle through.
And once again, Felipe’s senses are all out of whack once the Elder’s spirit leaves his body. He inhales deeply, the lifting of his head creating a short bout of vertigo. Lacking his balance, he decides to stay on his knees for the time being.
It’s only after a few more beats that he realizes he is still scaly.
“…Really? Hey, what gives??”
“I know, Hunter.” Ardul says quietly. She’s worried, but it does not good to show it overtly.
And there it is. The approval.
“We should be going then. We can’t afford to be wasting anymore time. Maegwyn, do you wish to send an escort with us? I’d prefer it didn’t include Kovak.” The Valkyr is all business, polite though, as she hands the spear back to the Saurian.
“Docto—-” her words are cut short as she looks back to Felipe “… well, that’s different. Do you think it will wear off?”
Now she really is trying not to laugh.
Magewyn looks at Felipe. “I hope so? I’m not sure. This is the first time we’ve used this ritual on an outsider…”
Hunter bites his lip, turns on his heel and marches off to get his bot fired up.
He even manages not to laugh until he gets inside.
There’s a groan shortly after all has been said, giant clawed hands running over the muzzle where a human face should be. “Great,” Felipe mutters, shooting a look after Hunter. “Species identity confusion. Just what I need.”
For his sake, he hopes it wears off. If it doesn’t, Pegi’s really going to have a Saurian sibling after all of this is over and done with.
“Not just species, I think, Doctor.” Ardul actually smirks. It’s not something people see often, the blonde amused by anything.
“Well, let’s roll out. Times a wasting and we’ve a sacred site to secure.” She follows Hunter to his bot. If the Saurians are going to send a delegation, they’ll need to move as well.
Dusk: the perfect time to call on the ancestors across the realms. Using Felipe as a spiritual conduit, will the motley trio get the consent to trespass on sacred Saurian grounds?
May 24, 2410