“KAJI!” Thump, thumpthumpthumpthump.
It certainly sounds like Kaji falling down the stairs and the sound is enough to make Aiden look up from his brooding on the ground floor. And he IS brooding. He’s brooding so much that he’s into his second glass of vodka – a drink Grans start getting just for him – and hasn’t touched half of his lunch plate. In fact he’s brooding so much that Penelope, who would normally be pulling the source of the ecstatic voice OFF Kaji isn’t doing that. She’s standing off to the side, watching Aiden and looking concerned.
His brood is bringing the whole mood down in the dining room, really. Or at least a ten foot area around him.
The main door to the bed and breakfast opens, admitting the very necromancer who’s apparently being called for upstairs. Lifting a hand to scritch the head of the cat draped over his shoulder, Kaji steps on inside while offering a sliver of compy jerky to Kiri. The atmosphere in the room doesn’t go amiss however, bringing a frown to his face.
“Uh…” A quick glance is enough to tell him the source of the problem, which is a bit of a surprise to him. He wanders on over towards Aiden, glancing at Penelope as though to ask what’s going on as he sinks into a seat across from the psychic.
Aiden’s not the only one looking down. Slaine is sitting at a table in the corner, some distance from Aiden, pale and sulking. And staring at him.
He still has her Crown and won’t give it back to her.
As the voice sounds from the stairs and Kaji appears at the door, she rolls her eyes. “I think Sophia is needin’ yer help, Penelope,” she says dryly. “Hello Kaji, what did ye do to Sophia?”
“I’ll… take a look.” Penelope says as she passes from the room to go check on her erstwhile compatriot.
The moment she’s gone a burning blue rune appears on the floor near the door. Then another next to it. Then another and another and another until in the space of about ten seconds a wide circle of runes encompasses most of the main floor. They’re magic, Slaine can tell though what language is unclear. They’re not english and they’re not demonic. That’s about all that seems clear. Kaji, being from another time, might think them vaguely greek, but only vaguely.
They start to brighten and Aiden stands wondering what on earth is going on.
Then they flash and the inn vanishes leaving just Aiden, Slaine and Kaji in a forest. Aiden and Slaine still have their chairs.
“Sophia?” Kaji echoes, looking at Slaine blankly. “I didn’t do anything. I was out early to stop by the trader stalls for some jerky.” He shifts his cat from his shoulder to hold in his lap as she tries to sniff out another piece of the dried meat he’d given her earlier.
As Penelope heads off he watches her, but as Kiri suddenly tenses he looks down at her and then around at the glowing runes that suddenly appear on the floor.
“Um, so is that a good thing…?” he starts to ask.
Everything around them is suddenly gone, and Kaji finds himself dropping unceremoniously on the grassy forest floor, looking very puzzled as he hugs an equally startled kitty cat. “What?”
“Ye do tha’…” Slaine mutters to Penelope, still staring at Aiden as the Dryad leaves.
The runes have her eyes widening but she doesn’t get time to leave her chair. “Somethin’ tells me we ain’ in Vesper anymore, Aiden….” That might sound like the line from an old movie to Kaji.
It’s not escaped her notice that Kaji has a cat, either. But she’ll worry about that in a moment.
Rising from her chair, blue energy crackles over the backs of her hands and her eyes glow faintly. “Can I have my Crown now, Aiden?”
“No. I don’t have it on me, so we’re SOL there…” Aiden says also rising from his chair and looking around. It’s not any forest he recognizes. The trees are… very tree ish but not species he can name. The smells are very earthy but not anything he can identify. Flowers and earth is about as close as it gets…
“I’m not sure where we’ve been-”
That’s when an arrow lances out of the woods and strikes Aiden in the chest. In the heart, it looks like.
“Hah!” That’s a woman’s voice and she souds… triumphant. She can just be made out through the trees, a bowshot away. Dark, curly hair. A circlet on her brow made of laurel leaves. A very short… toga kind of garment that leaves a lot of leg bare.
Aiden crumples, bonelessly, and lays on the floor, bleeding dark blood out.
Kaji lets Kiri clamber into his anorak’s large inner pocket as he gets to his feet and dusts off. “But if we’re not in Vesper then where..?” Aiden’s already answering that question, at least until he’s rather rudely interrupted.
“Whoa! Aiden??” he yelps, hurrying over. Eyes wide, he looks frantically between the psychic’s face and the bleeding wound. You can’t just pull something like that out, can you? And then a new voice sounds, and the necromancer is glancing over at her, suddenly guarded if not pretty upset.
“What the heck are you doing?!”
“Of course we are …” Slaine mutters, still so very pale. The separation from the Crown hasn’t been easy.
Her animosity is lost though as the psychic falls to the ground and without thinking, a blast of blue energy shoots out as she mutters – right at the dark haired woman in a short dress.
It hits her solidly in the chest, blasting her backwards as Halfpint moves to Aiden’s side, pressing hands over the wound and trying to stop the flow of blood. “C’mon ye damn eyelarch, do yer thing….” she mutters, leaving the arrow right where it is.
“Who the hell are ye an’ why di’ ye shoot him?”
“Kaji, help me with the bleeding, he should be alrigh’ in a moment or two…” Aiden will? He’s been shot in the heart.
BOOM! The blast that Slaine projects throws dust and debris everywhere. When it clears the woman is holding her bow in front of her like a shield. Kaji might think it reminiscent of some anime or other. “You dare!”
She knocks and takes aim as the others rush to Aiden. His eyelarch is quite bright now. Deep, deep red. Almost the color of the blood Aiden is bleeding.
“I’m removing a problem, you should consider yourself lucky.” The woman says directly to Slaine. “The only reason I do not remove you for your impudence is because you’re important to my brother.”
It is maybe a good idea to take that arrow out. If the eyelarch does help Aiden, the arrow in his heart will still be a problem.
All this time he should know Slaine by now enough that things like this are no surprise, but her follow-up still manages to do so, and for a moment Kaji stares before being prompted by the mystic to help.
“All right?! What do you mean- he’s, oh gosh look at this…” Ignoring the plaintive mews coming from his jacket, he pulls out a few sheets of paper. “How deep does this even go? Did it go out the back?” He hoped not- not if it hit what he thinks it did, and judging from all the blood….
No, don’t think about it. Shaking his head, Kaji sets the paper around the arrow, swiping some of the pooling blood onto a finger to quickly write out the kanji words for closing a wound before the blood seeped into it from beneath.
“Dangit Aiden, this is why I didn’t wanna be a doctor,” he mutters, steeling himself and his stomach as he grabs hold of the arrow shaft and braces himself to pull it. “I’msosorryifI’mdoingthiswrong!!!”
“I mean …” The eyelarch’s lines pulse on Aidens body and Slaine grimaces. “Work harder ye danged annoyin’ creature. Ye won’ let him die, I know ye won’t…” Still Kaji is doing something and Slaine nods approvingly, putting her hands on the shaft of the arrow and tugs. It’s going to make a hell of a mess, she knows that.
The arrow drops to the ground as the redhead leaves Kaji to tend to the wound, blue energy crackles, arcane symbols form and seep into the ground at the woman’s feet “Brother? Wha’ are ye talkin’ abou’ ye’ daft woman and Vargr ain’ no problem…” The Earth shakes and moves beneath the archers feet, hopefully unsettling her enough to disturb her aim.
The woman sways and windmill’s a bit to balance and then leaps – DEFINITELY like an anime this time – and winds up forty feet up on a large tree branch.
She’s not aiming a bow at Slaine or Kaji anymore though. Well, not yet.
The arrow comes out with a wet ‘squelch’ sound which must be quite pleasant and blood wells forth from the wound. Aiden isn’t breathing. Isn’t moving.
And then all the light seems to ‘flow’ into Aiden’s heart and suddenly the blood isn’t flowing anymore. Aiden’s eyes snap open and he sits bolt up right – possibly headbutting one or more people as he gulps in a breath.
“Well…” The woman’s voice comes from above. “So a simple arrow to the heart isn’t enough. That’s annoying.”
Kaji clamps his mouth shut as he tries to fight of that queasy feeling, stumbling back and promptly dropping the arrow. He can’t help but stare anxiously at Aiden, but once the man sits up he jumps back with a gasp.
“Short of having your blood slither back into you, when did you turn immortal?” he mutters. That was not a mere flesh wound!
Stepping beside Aiden, he looks up towards the trees for the archer. “Who are you? That’s a pretty rude way to greet someone, don’tcha think?”
Slaine doesn’t move. She’s put herself between Aiden and the woman and the blue energy still crackles over her hands. She’s a little concerned for Kaji’s passenger but there’s not much to be done about that at the moment.
“I told ye, Kaji. He woul’ be alrigh’. Vargr. It’s good to have ye with us…”
She’s already asked her questions of the archer, and now Kaji’s asking more. She just stands there, glaring bright green daggers at the woman. She has her suspicions, she can read after all.
“Good to be back, Slaine. I think…” Aiden’s chest hurts. A lot.
“Ever since Atlantean slavers don’t like letting their slaves escape. Even into death.” Aiden mutters to Kaji. It’s not really a good reason to be immortal. Or… anything akin to it.
The woman sighs and slings her bow over her shoulder though she doesn’t come down from the tree. “And here I thought this would be easy. You should feel honored, Slaine McClellan. My bother holds you in high regards. And I hold my brother in high regard. I was simply trying to clear away an obstacle for him. My name is Artemis. I won’t, this time, demand that you all bow.”
So kind of her. But if she’s Artemis, that would make her brother…
“I didn’t intend to greet him. I intended to shoot him. And I did. My arrows never miss.”
“I tried putting a bandage on it but I guess you’re not leaking anymore at least…” Atlantean slavers… There’s something new he learns about Aiden and this place every day. Not exactly fun things either.
Kaji doesn’t glance back towards Aiden, his left hand resting over the lump under his jacket pocket, still frowning up at the archer. At the introduction he arches a brow, but otherwise doesn’t seem too surprised. Then again it’s not like Artemis is the first of the Greek pantheon to have crossed their path.
“You didn’t miss, technically.” He scrunches up his nose. “So Apollo wants him dead?” That doesn’t make much sense to him, but then he didn’t trust Greek gods as far as they could be thrown, and he was no wrestler.
All Aiden gets a tensing of Slaine’s shoulders to say that she’s heard him, the blue energy still flickers over her knuckles as Artemis slings her bow. “I’m no’ easy and neither is Vargr. But ye haven’ said why ye’re shootin’ him. He’s my friend and my mentor …”
Sort of. He took her Crown and won’t give it back.
“An’ I don’ bow.” That’s said sullenly. “So Lysander is yer brother…”
She really has no idea why they’re here.
“Ye ok, Kaji? An’ yer passenger?”
“Eh.” Artemis says. “Not in so many words. But he’s expressed an interest in the ‘fair redhead’ down there.” She points to Slaine and shakes her head. “I’m a good sister so I figured I’d make things easy for him. Figures that it wouldn’t be that easy. The one time I decide to do something nice…”
Kind of an odd thing to grumble about when you’ve just shot someone in the heart. Aiden finally picks himself up.
“Does that make it clear oh fair Slaine McClellan?” There’s a pause and she looks at Aiden as he stands up. “I don’t like his face.”
Looks to Kaji. “You’re not bad though.”
Kaji glances at Slaine, smiling ruefully. “We’re okay. Kiri’s not used to the excitement.” At which he pointedly looks towards Artemis again, frowning in disapproval.
“Expressed interest, huh. That’s pretty vague. I don’t see how that equates to shooting Vargr.” On the other hand it seems typically underhanded of Greek deities if their stories had anything to say about it.
Sighing, Kaji tilts his head at her. “Thanks? I guess? -so um, could you not try killing our friend anymore? Be really appreciated.”
“Kiri?” Slaine is almost distracted but she can ask about that later.
“No, it doesn’, Artemis.” the words are sullen. “If yer brother is interested in me, he can come and talk to me an’ hurtin’ my friends isn’ goin’ to win him any favours. Don’ touch, Vargr, again. Or shoot him with yer arrows or try to harm him…”
She’d continue about other things that the Goddess might try but Aiden might welcome them. Even if he doesn’t welcome them from Slaine.
“In fact. Leave all my friends and acquaintances well enoug’ alone.” beat “And I ain’ fair…”
“I won’t try to kill him again.” Artemis says dismissively. “It apparently doesn’t work. Which is annoying. I pride myself on accurate shots. To not get the payoff for it is just… rude.”
Not as rude as murdering someone with no warning, or murdering them at all but she doesn’t seem to know or care about that.
“Leave all of your friends alone? Is HE your friend?” Now Artemis points at Kaji and grins. “He’d make a cute hound…”
There’s a teeny meow from Kaji’s jacket at her name being said.
Kaji folds his arms, frowning again at Artemis’s response. “Promise?” he asks, although he wonders that whether they said as much would make a difference. Although he’s pretty sure that the huntress might be sincere despite how insincere she sounds. Gods who lost interest in things just moved onto other interests.
His thoughts momentarily derail him from paying attention as he finds Artemis pointing at him. “What now?”
“Or hurt or annoy or … anythin’ really…” Slaine presses, green eyes not moving from the Goddess as they talk. Her lips quirk just a little at the little meow, though.
“Yes, Kaji is. An’ if yer no’ sure, assume they are …” Maybe it’s the fact that Aiden has taken her Crown but Slaine seems particularly … disgruntled.
“No, no. No Hound.” She looks quickly at Kaji “Ye mus’ know the story.”
“Anyway, are ye goin’ to send us home?”
“Yes. With floppy ears. And curly fur. Like a wolf hound. Oh, you’d make a wonderful wolfhound…” Artemis eyes actually sparkle and she grins at Kaji in a manner that is enthusiastic and more than a little creepy.
Then she looks at Aiden. “You wouldn’t even make a decent dachshund.”
Aiden rolls his eyes. “Thanks.”
“Home? Oh the place in the city with the people…” She blows out a sigh out her cheek. “Finnnnnnnne.”
A wave of her hand and they’re all suddenly back in Gran’s.
Aiden’s got blood all over him which has everyone staring at him. The fact that Slaine and Kaji have said blood all over their hands…
“Aiden do you need help?” Penelope says, standing in the doorway with wide eyes.
Kaji just takes a ste~p back as Artemis eyes him in such a way. Why’s it always the creepy ones who like him??
He glances at Slaine, nodding emphatically at her inquiry about their being sent home, but at least Artemis follows through, as in the next instance they’re back at Gran’s. “Oh, well that’s…”
He notes the stares, looks at Aiden and then down at themselves, mouthing an ‘oh.’
“Errr…. just a little goddess trouble, ‘Nel,” he says with a sigh. “Vargr, you should go take a bath or something. I…am going to go wash my hands before people get anymore weird ideas.”
Slaine growls at Artemis. “No hounds!” she says bringing her foot down on the loamy earth. Well, it was earth just a moment ago, now it’s the floor in the Grans dining room.
“Aiden, ye need a wash and I want to see to ye …” her earlier annoyance not quite forgotten but it’s lessened for the moment. “Kaji, Kiri should get a saucer of milk for being so good and Penelope …” the fiery redhead turns on the Dryad. “… tell Lysander to leave my friends and family alone. If he wants me, he can come an’ damn well get me…”
She might regret those words. For now though, if nothing stops them, she’ll drag Aiden out.
“Um, right. I’ll… pass your words along.” Penelope turns to leave as Slaine drags Aiden upstairs. The moment both Slaine and Penelope are gone though…
“KAJI!” Sophia throws herself toward the cat bearing necromancer and he gets, likely… bosomed…
Aiden won’t argue though. He’ll leave Kaji to Sophia. It’s more pleasant than being left to Artemis, he suspects.
Kiri is not having any of that, apparently, making her escape to go scamper to her favorite hiding place in the kitchen while Kaji tries to disentangle himself from the nymph. “Off, please! You want blood all over you?” is heard before the door swings shut after them because one way or another he’s going into the kitchen. He’s got Aiden goo to wash off.
An unknown force snatches Aiden, Slaine and Kaji from Gran's, forcing a bloody confrontation. Greek gods give love a bad name.
September 30, 2411
Gran's and elsewhere