|maryellenw (maryellenw) wrote in spinningcompass,|
@ 2021-07-03 06:06:00
Mary hadn’t been out much, not since everything had started to go weird. She had convinced Stevie to let her go out on her own so they wouldn’t have to take the kids out too, just for a few minutes. They needed some groceries yes, but she wanted to get him a birthday gift, weird shit be damned. She’d taken a flashlight like Annie had suggested, but it was currently stuffed in her armpit so she could carry the bags. She’d probably gotten more than she really needed to but the rest of her family ate so much that she always worried about running out when things got bad.
She didn’t notice the out-of-place shadow at first, distracted trying to shift the bags where they’d started to cut into her fingers. But when it moved into the center of the room, she let out a small shout and dropped one of the bags, surprised and a little bit frightened. She didn’t know much about them, only what Annie had written, but she’d also looked at the photos. If this was somehow also one of those things she didn’t want to see it in person. She fumbled for the flashlight but dropped that too and it rolled toward and under the shadow.
“I...please don’t...I just want to go home.” she murmured softly, her voice nervous. She didn’t know if this thing could understand her, but she needed some time to gather herself out of the shock before trying much else.
Ylligth saw the creature fumble. Either her incompetence or her fear was on display. He was no expert in such things. Beings like hers had never been anything he had studied.
“Greetings, I am Ylligth, a representative of Narabou. We did not come here to take your home from you,” he announced through the translation spell. “We merely want to return to ours.” He was still young and idealistic, believing every word he said. In his mind, the solution was simple. The different factions only had to see it the way he could see it. “If you help us, we can help you.”
She blinked, her breath steadied. She was still nervous, this could be a trap or some kind of trick, but she was also...intrigued. She hadn’t really expected it to say anything back, especially not something like that. Maybe it was foolish, but Mary set her other bag down and took a (small) step toward the shadow.
“Where is your home?” she asked, then, after a beat, “What kind of help?”
“On the other side,” he said proudly. Obviously, what he was doing was working. “The other here… what we can offer to you are powers. You help us come here and we can make you equal to the ones in this place. Superior to many others.” Why magical beings seemed to already exist here was a source of confusion among the Ka’garan. Some voiced that others of their race must already be living here and given them the power.
Mary’s brows furrowed, “I don’t...think we can get to the other side. We don’t control this place, it opens doors when it wants to, brings people when it wants them. We don’t know how it works” She was aware, a bit, of the girl and the man and the heart. Knew that they had something to do with the magic of this place, but didn’t want to give that away just yet. It was too much information.
She shook her head lightly, “ Is that why it’s been happening? We get powers when we get close to you?” She couldn’t completely lie and say she’d never wished for something, anything. She was just a person surrounded by superhumans, someone small and fragile who’d been so hurt just carrying her children. Children who already were stronger than she was. “I don’t know if everyone would be okay with that.”
“But that is the good thing about having power,” he said with an exciting tone. He was sure he was on the path. It had worked for so many others. “You don’t need others to be okay with it. You will have the powers to defend yourself against all foes. You will be marvelled and adored for them. We have only shown you a small part of them so far. We can give you so much more.”
“They aren’t foes.” Mary stated simply, shaking her head again. “The people with powers are my friends, some of them are my family, my children.”
She paused for a moment, debating, but then stepped closer once more and sat on the floor. It was partly to offer casualty, she didn’t want to seem a threat when this being seemed easily worked up, when they spoke of foes and adoration. But it also put her closer to the flashlight, if she should need it. “I meant that I don’t know if everyone would want powers like that.”
Ylligth saw himself win. For him, the being’s crouched position was a sign of surrender and devotion. The smaller you make yourself the lower you belonged in the hierarchy. The being knew he was the superior. It was good.
“Why would you not want powers?” he asked. “Your friends and your family accepted them.” In his mind, it was clearer than ever that the theories must be true. The Ka’garan were not the first to cross to the other side.
“Most of them didn’t have a choice.” Some did, she knew that, but it seemed the majority of the people she knew with powers hadn’t been fully involved in getting them. “A lot of them were born the way they are, or they were given the powers in a way they didn’t ask for. They were experimented on, or through an accident.”
She shrugged a little bit, “Some people are happy how they are, I think.” But maybe she was wrong, maybe everyone felt the way she did sometimes.
“It doesn’t matter if we don’t know how to get you home though. How did you end up here?”
The lack of choice to him seemed highly unlikely. Why would the ones that had come before them give out their powers for free?
“This is our home,” he said. “We ended up here because we wanted to be here.” It was half a truth but he did not want to play all his cards at once.
“If this is your home, how can we help you get there?” she asked. She felt...uneasy, in a way, talking to him. She didn’t really know where to look, something in her gut just unhappy with her being there, being so unguarded.
And she worried too, that Stevie might come looking, or send someone else after her when she didn’t get home, but she wanted to get as much information as she could. If these things really meant no harm then she could try to convince the others not to fight them and if they did, more information would mean a better chance against them.
“What do you need from us?”
If Ylligth could have smiled, he would have done so. But shadows did not smile. “Many things can open the ways between the realms,” he said. He enjoyed this role. He already felt like a hero, leading his people into a new era. “The more magic is spread in this world, the more it corrodes the pathways. But it is not enough to let us stay.” Or to give them a proper form here. “There are rituals who can grant us hold in this world and rituals who can strengthen the ways. Where there is sorrow and despair, tragedy and mourning these rituals can turn that energy into a bridge.”
“So which is it you want? Do you want a bridge or a tether?”
When he mentioned the rituals though, sorrow and despair, tragedy and mourning, her shoulders tensed, her voice got harsher. “We do not need any more sorrow or mourning. Powers are not worth causing more hurt. You won’t get that from us.”
Not willingly she thought briefly.
For a moment, Ylligth was thrown off guard. He did not know enough about the procedures to answer these questions. He had not expected a being of her status to be so full of them. “There is enough sorrow in this world,” he said, ignoring her first question for his lack of answer. “It… creates…” He searched for the right words. “A foundation. An energy. One simply needs to use that energy.”