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To Fallen Heroes (Memorial Day 2017)

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Kartanian
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To Fallen Heroes (Memorial Day 2017)

Hazy, shifting Underhill sunlight filtered down through the trees around the Court of Stars. The Faerie Queen's gardens were in full bloom. A riot of color somehow made a grand harmony as each flower and leaf contributed its own brush stroke by merely existing. On this May morning, Gayle and Sheena walked with the Queen. Sheena's great iron wolf, Sharur, followed quietly, keeping watch as usual. Both of the mortals were dressed casually—Sheena in a white and blue flower-pattern dress that left the great wings on her back free, and Gayle in a simple green sundress the color of her hero costume.

The breeze blowing about Gayle was gentle, barely disturbing the bees that buzzed from flower to flower. It carried a tinge of something sweet and wistful as she looked at the little marker stones at the base of each plant. The stones bore the names of the fallen, engraved for as long as it took for weather to carry the carvings away into memory. And, she knew, that would be a very long time in garden of the elven court.

“Are these planted for everybody?” the heroine asked.

"For all who have given their lives in service of the Court, yes," Queen Gloriana answered. Her voice was like a choir, soft and sweet and melodious.

“Just elves, or other fey, too?”

"And some occasional mortals, as well." The Queen's face was somber and her gaze far away. "No matter where they have fallen, they are remembered here. Whether the cause was just or petty, their sacrifices were great."

Gayle nodded.

They walked the garden paths in silence for a time. Sheena stopped in front of the bush of golden roses planted for Sir Vincent and knelt down. She touched the plant. Memories flooded her senses. Through the rose bush she could feel the forest beyond, and through the forest, all of the forests, everywhere. It was all connected, and at the same time, each was distinct. She stood again and asked, "What happens to fey when they die?"

"We are spirit. We go on until we are reborn where we are needed." The Queen answered. Then she smiled wistfully, one corner of her lip quirked up. "But in truth? We have no better idea of what really happens than you mortals do. But don't pass that on. It wouldn't do for the folk to think their queen didn't know everything there was to know about such subjects."

Sheena smiled appreciatively and Gayle giggled brightly.

"But we do remember the sacrifices," the Queen added.

"And that isn't so much different than what we do," Sheena observed.

"Yes. And you have many fallen heroes to remember on this day."

Sheena nodded. "You can say that all deaths have meaning, but those who chose to bear the risk and put themselves in harm's way carry a bit more. It's worth remembering."

"And definitely worth remembering what they gave their lives to protect," Gayle insisted. "Freedom for all, equality, fairness, the ideals of liberty and justice... When that's under attack, we fight to defend it."

"That's what we should remember," Sheena agreed. "So that we don't let the sacrifices of the fallen be lessened by the evil and pettiness. After all, that's why we're heroes, right?"

"Right!" Gayle nodded emphatically. Her breeze swirled around her with flag-rippling strength and the scent of fresh-baked apple pie. "And the world still needs heroes. More than ever, maybe!"

The Queen smiled. "Then the world is in good hands with you two and all of those who stand with you. Make your efforts count, and you shall never lack for allies to your cause."

"And we will remember," Sheena said. She fluttered her wings to settle the feathers disturbed by the change in the wind and nodded toward Vincent's rosebush. "There remains work to be done."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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(( OOC: I do an annual

(( OOC: I do an annual Memorial Day thread or post something like this. Feel free to add your own posts. If it develops into an RP situation, we'll roll it forward. If not, it's still a good way to commemorate the sacrifices of the fallen. ~K ))

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Near one edge of the Garden,

Near one edge of the Garden, a young human of indeterminate gender and a lynx-sized cat with black and orange stripes looked at a stone marked with an inscription of a flower and the name, "Dame Periwinkle Peregrine". The cat was telling a story. "She led the charge against the ogres, though she was no larger than a kitten herself. Flew right up and stuck her rapier in the leader's eye."

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Sheena paused and smiled as

Sheena paused and smiled as she listened to the cat from what she considered a respectful distance. After the faerie war, she now knew something of ogres. Gayle bobbed into the air and swooped closer.

"She sounds brave!" the singer said. "Tell me more, please, sir Cat!" She offered the young human a companionable smile.

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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He looked back and up,

He looked back and up, nodding at Sheena and Sharur in the distance before addressing the one who spoke. "Certainly, Miss Magnusson. Dame Periwinkle sent her spell down the length of her blade, and the ogre leader fell. She flew to the left, dodging a club, striking the hand that had held another, causing that ogre to be disarmed, before reaching the third ranking ogre. This one raised his weapon-hand to cover his eyes, and so she changed her attack to his neck. But her luck ran out. He slapped his left hand over her, breaking her wings and crushing her body. Though I was yards away, with the other kittens, I clearly Heard her dying words, 'So, a draw then...' The ogre looked at her, puzzled, before the cut she had placed on the great vessel that lead from his heart gave way, and he spun as he fell upon his back, dead as she was."

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"Oh, how brave! And, how sad,

"Oh, how brave! And, how sad, too," Gayle mused. "How did everything turn out? Her heroics helped the cause, whatever it was?"

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The Cat nodded. "At the very

The Cat nodded. "At the very least, many Cats of the Trout Run Clan would have died stopping the Ogres. But though we honor her sacrifice, it could be argued that she saved the Trout Run Clan, and the other three clans that were attacked that day, about forty years earlier in a distant part of Underhill. That was when she accepted Claws in the Night as her squire." The teenager gestured, and an image appeared in the air: a Cat with black fur placed his forepaws between the hands of a pixie-like female with brilliant butterfly wings and a rapier at her side.

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((OOC: hey so does anyone

((OOC: hey so does anyone mind if I introduce a villain here? Or would that be too disrespectful?))

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(( Go ahead! Let's see what

(( Go ahead! Let's see what develops. ))

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Suddenly a black figure

Suddenly a black figure arrives behind them, his clothes reminiscent of a high tech Plague doctor, with a belt filled with flasks of chemicals and metal claws as sharp as a tiger's. "I'm sorry to interrupt such a pleasant meeting... but you have something I want...."

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"Oh, geez!" Gayle breathed.

"Oh, geez!" Gayle breathed. "What are you after? And who are you, for that matter?"

"Pretty gutsy move, popping into the Faerie Court, mere yards from its Queen," Sheena muttered to the wolf demon. Her bow appeared in her hand. "Let's hope this doesn't end with a mess."

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"Hmmph I didn't come

"Hmmph I didn't come unprepared for this you know... I am simply a humble scientist looking to buy some flowers..." he takes a potion off of his belt and holds it loosely in his palm "Many of these are filled with iron... they don't agree with fae physiology...."

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The Cat nodded. "In general.

The Cat nodded. "In general. There are exceptions, though. Many of the Wise Animal varieties won't get more than a rash from prolonged contact. Those fey with partial human ancestry usually don't have any problem, likewise the Alfar. Even excluding those groups, which isn't the case here, you might run into someone like Ziebolt Adelbertsmiter, who has some reputation as a smith and as an auto mechanic. So it's a good thing you weren't threatening anybody with that. That said, I am Sir Sings Loudly of the Trout Run Clan, a Knight of this Court. My Squire here goes by the nom du cape of Féerique."

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(OOC: I'm not sure if

(OOC: I'm not sure if Patricia Briggs made up Siebolt or if she found the Dark Smith of Trondheim in some obscure tome. If the former, then Sings Loudly only knows of him from the Mercy Thompson books. But people like him, fey who work with iron, those he knows.)

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((FYI, there is a memorial

((FYI, there is a memorial park in Alexandria, using a holo-projector of fallen heroes at the center of a hedge labyrinth, attached is a picture of one particular hero memorial))

Technical Director

Read enough Facebook and you have to make Sanity Checks. I guess FB is the Great Old One of the interent these days... - Beamrider

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Shadows shift and formed a

Shadows shift and formed a Portal. Out came Rotten Luck dressed in a suit for a change, and one other. The man that followed Ron Bolton was the Hero from WW2 time Fred Tomson aka D-Day dressed in a remake of his WW2 dressed uniform. "Thanks for the lift Mr. Bolton." He said looking out among the flowers. "So this is what you wanted to show me?"

He nodded "Indeed, the Fae have this garden for the fallen. All fallen for just cause." Ron looked around wondering if the Fae would be freaked at his undead appearance not to mention his magic directly from Death herself.

The older hero nodded and just looked out at the flowers. What thoughts flowed in the old heroes mind only he knew.

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Phoneboy hero ?? xD

Phoneboy hero ?? xD

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(Follow this Link TitanCity.

(Follow this Link TitanCity. There was a player of City of Heroes named Ascendant who done a gag of him talking on the phone. Later the Developers made an NPC responding to Ascendant's call at a phone booth. Sadly he won't be joining us in Titan City as IRL he passed away. http://cityofheroes.wikia.com/wiki/Ascendant-O%27s )

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"Well, I can't really say

"Well, I can't really say about the flowers, but I know who you can ask!" Gayle replied to the Plague Doctor. She inclined her head back toward the Queen. "It would be great if you could keep everything peaceful and pleasant, though. The lady is a bona fide, actual faerie queen!"

The heroine noticed Rotten Luck's portal opening and her eyes brightened. As he can through she exclaimed, "Oh, hi there, RL! Give the Lady my regards! Just visiting?"

Sheena had that sort of mental premonition she sometimes experienced, like a burst of timelines weaving and tangling before something got resolved. Sharur placed himself protectively in front of his mistress and the Queen.

"It's all right," the Queen reassured them. She bowed to the newcomers in a way that defined and exemplified grace. "Be welcome as long as your intentions are noble and your actions pure. These gardens are mine, but I make them open to all who wish to visit, subject to my Rules. There will be no conflict in this garden on this day. Now, how may I help you?"

(( Ah, Ascendant! We remember you well. One of the many neat little things tucked into the environment! ))

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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The Plague Doctor paused

The Plague Doctor paused there for a second there was an air of confusion about him, he looked at the Queen distrustfully, as if he knew he was beaten but did not understand why he was still alive and with a tone of part perplexion and part simmering anger he sighed and said " ....You're highness... may you please point me to the way of the markets? I seem to be lost...." before snapping the toxin in his hand back to his belt

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"Seek you ordinary flowers,

"Seek you ordinary flowers, faerie blooms, or something toxic?" the Queen asked pointedly, one eyebrow tilting up with skeptical curiosity. "Each has its place Underhill, and I would not want to steer you badly."

Gayle stifled a grin. Then, she remembered her own experience with unusual flowers and her smile quickly faded. Sheena simply remained watchful, but let the bow fade from her hand.

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Ya just visitin'. Figured

"Ya just visitin'. Figured tha Warrior here could use a pick me up. He got word a month or so ago he's the last of his unit. Tha others went on beyond the veil." Ron said as he turned to the Queen and bowed showing his respects. "I do hope one such as I wouldn't cause a disturbance. Some would say I fit more among tha Winter Court given my appearance and touch of tha magic of death."

D-Day looked over to the Queen "Forgive me for not bowing. As an American soldier, I made it my goal never to bow or take the knee to anyone be they mortal or immortal. That said you have my respect and gratitude on providing this garden to the fallen of all good-hearted beings."

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Personal rules of good roleplay
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"Vows and oaths come in many

"Vows and oaths come in many forms, sir. To be bound to a noble cause by one's heart is a great thing. Your respect and gratitude are taken as intended." The Queen nodded.

To Rotten Luck, she merely smiled indulgently. "You are welcome, avatar. Death is no stranger to either Court."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Faerie blossoms and toxins

"Faerie blossoms and toxins if you would my liege..." The Doctor forced himself into a bow

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The Queen nodded in

The Queen nodded in acknowledgement of the Plague Doctor's request. "There is a market in the gray city of Kraytjack that specializes in all manner of herbal goods. Both Summer and Winter Court fey do business there. If what you seek is to be found, short of an epic quest, you will find it there. I shall open a gateway there directly for you, if you wish."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"If you would be so kind my

"If you would be so kind my lady..."

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"Certainly. A doctor needs

"Certainly. A doctor needs medicines to do his work, no matter what that work may be."

She gestured with a flick of her fingers and an arcane doorway opened. The circular portal shimmered a dull silver along its outer ring and a momentary gust of air brought the hint of a mossy scent through to those in the garden. The town visible on the other side bustled with all manner of fey and mythical creatures. The portal seemed to show a market square beneath an overcast sky, far different from the dappled sunlight and pleasant breezes of the Queen's Garden.

"Kraytjack Market. You may enter at your will."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Thank you your highness..."

"Thank you your highness..." he walks through hiding his true emotion through a thin veil of false kindness

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"Interesting," said Sir Sings

"Interesting," said Sir Sings Loudly. "Your analysis, Toni?"

Féerique considered for a moment before answering in a high tenor (or maybe a low contralto, if you've guessed his gender incorrectly). "Her Majesty has accepted his story at face value, so it would be rude for those in her service to check up on him. On the other hand, the difference between medicine and poison is often dosage." He smiled broadly. "The gripping hand is, there are people here who aren't in Her Majesty's Service, who might want to make sure nothing bad happens to the doctor while he's at Kraytjack Market."

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The Queen smiled indulgently.

The Queen smiled indulgently. "That is substantially correct, Master Féerique. Do observe that the Doctor has not been offered hospitality, friendship, or service beyond the simple transportation to Kraytjack. He is, therefore, not under Our protection in any way. The Crown has many eyes in many places. He will be watched. After all, his manner suggests him an ally of the Dark Ones. But poor manners may hide a good heart, or a bad heart with noble intentions. That all remains to be seen. But good manners do not also in any way preclude the course of action you have suggested."

Gayle snickered. "So...," she glanced at Sheena, "back for another drink at Glisto's? And hope that the mead has lost that bitter taste from when the bad guys were in charge?"

Sheena considered. "I think we've paid our respects here. Vincent would want us to watch over the place, even if Underhill isn't our territory."

"Indeed," the Queen nodded. "You are some of our best allies. We would appreciate the assistance, though this seems a perfectly normal circumstance for the spirit realm. There are mortal travelers in this world beyond dreams every day. Seldom do they appear in my gardens without reason, however."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Ya ladies said something

"Ya ladies said something about mead? Ya got any proper Luger? I wouldn't mind a good drink and well ya not tha only ones who want to keep an eye on tha good doctor." Ron said having heard the ladies talk.

"Ron before you go mind sending me back home. I give my respects to my fallen brethren back home." He nodded to the Queen "As lovely as this garden is, home always has a beauty none can out match." D-day said, "besides I have a poker game in the local league."

Ron laughed and a portal of shadows open "One-way ticket to Titan City." D-Day nodded and walked through the portal.

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The corner of Sheena's lip

The corner of Sheena's lip quirked up in a half-smile. "Mead, yes, a number of varieties. 'Luger?' I don't know. They probably have lager, if that's what you mean. Both Gayle and I are from from Wisconsin, but I never really got to be much of a beer drinker."

The wind controller laughed brightly. "Glisto has probably stocked a lot more since the town was freed from the Warlord! He and Bimble both survived the battle, so things ought to be back to normal, for them."

Sheena sniffed. "Yeah, 'normal' is relative. You want to go?"

"I've got the annual concert later, but if you can get us back in time, sure!"

Sheena glanced at Sharur and a conversation seemed to pass between them. "Underhill time is fluid. We can get back in plenty of real-world time."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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Ron shrugged "Ya, I meant

Ron shrugged "Ya, I meant Luger... luuager...Stupid undead lips. As long as it dark and had plenty of hops."

"If that doesn't work I could always take ya through Hel's domain. Of course ending up where we want instead of where Hel want's ya is another thin'. Thought a visitin' Goddess might earn her respect."

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"While I would love to meet

"While I would love to meet her," Sheena said, "I think it might be best to save that for when Gayle doesn't have a concert scheduled."

The singer nodded.

The Queen observed with a touch of curiosity, "You seem to be quite concerned with schedules and the linear flow of events for a goddess of Time."

Sheena colored slightly and ducked her head a bit. "I don't like to interfere unless I have to. And 'have to' is always a personal judgment call. I'm getting better at that, though, I think."

Gayle grinned. "You are! How you keep it all in your head is beyond me!"

Sheena chuckled and started to say something, but Gayle cut her off with a mischievous smirk. "Wind controller! Not an airhead!"

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Ya Majesty, time is a

"Ya Majesty, time is a precious thin'. Take it from someone that ran out of time, be it one second, a year, or a Millenium. Tha power to change the flow doesn't change the meanin' once time slips past it's gone. Best instead of tryin' to control it, to enjoy the ride. Tha time I'm on now is not my own but Hel's."

He chuckles "Besides there a sayin'. Power corrupts and I dread seein' a Goddess of time corrupted."

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"I've had plenty of

"I've had plenty of opportunity to look at what happens when someone tampers with the time stream," Sheena replied. "It takes a lot of painstaking fixes to get even partly back to balance."

"And you're absolutely right, Ron. That would be... bad."

The winged goddess nodded appreciatively to the Queen. "Yes, please. A portal to Glisto's tavern would be welcome."

The faerie ruler gestured once more and another portal appeared. "It is our pleasure to aid you. Travel well, Shanikali."

Sheena stepped through the circle. Sharur followed.

Gayle paused to comment, "Thank you, Your Majesty! Be well!" Then she, too, used the portal.

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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Ron nodded and stepped

Ron nodded and stepped through. "Ya know I'm tryin' to wonder if I consider yar equal or just under ya Sheena. I do have the power of a Goddess flowin' in me. In one view the power of multiple gods if Hel just usin' the form and is, in fact, every aspect of death god that is, was, and will be. Or ya bein' the physical reincarnation I'm like a Lord to a Queen. I really hate all this magical supernatural mumbo jumbo. I'm really sure Hel enjoyin' that fact."

He blinked and thought about it. "Wonder if ya can access more than just the powers of Shanikali. If Hel spans all forms of Death Gods then perhaps ya can access all aspects of the gods of time."

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The copper-tressed elf-maid

The copper-tressed elf-maid scooped up her winnings and, following the custom established after the first pot she had won, signalled for the serving person. The silver-scaled kobold opposite her grinned, as this time he had lost less than the cost of the drink he was about to receive. "So, Stormbow, what is the toast this time?"
As the youth passing around the ales took a large portion of her winnings and then scrambled to recover the longish he'd knocked over, the elf raised her cup. "Gentlefolk! To absent friends!". She paid little attention to the man in the plague mask.

Foradain, Mage of Phoenix Rising.
Foradain's Character Conclave
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The Queen's portal placed

The Queen's portal placed them before the front garden wall of a villa of dingy white stucco. Thick vines covered most of the wall, but for an arched doorway with a gate of thin wood latticework. The place had a touch of elegance about it, but the worn patches made it clear that it had seen hard times. Beyond the stucco wall, the columns of the outer courtyard were shrouded in thick, dark green vines. The edges of the roof, doors, and sign-board were done with green and gold paint, fading slightly like a prima donna opera singer past her prime. Still, there was a cheeriness here that been entirely absent the last time Sheena and Gayle had visited.

Sheena looked about. The sky was a shifting overcast, like the town of Kraytjack was wearing the cloud cover like a shawl to protect it from the sun. The dwellings were a wild mix of styles, types, and sizes, made for fey ranging from pixies to ogres. It smelled of fresh moss and the scents of the forest floor. Gayle breathed in and gave Sheena a glance. "Much better."

Sheena nodded and pushed open the wooden gate to the courtyard. There was a softly trickling fountain that hadn't been there before. The stone looked old and touched here and there with accents of moss. Water flowed from a wine glass held by a rendition of the Queen into a bowl, and from the bowl it spilled gently into a basin, and from the basin into the pool at the base of the fountain.

A pair of elves—one male and one female—approached the humans with beaming expressions. The man bowed briskly and said, "Lady Sheena! Lady Gayle! Welcome back, welcome back!"

The elf wore a black waistcoat and a tidy white shirt. He was thin even for an elf, with a short mop of unkempt hair the color of tree bark. The woman was much smaller, but just as thin. Her skin was milky-pale and her low-cut dress was a dark green that matched the vines clinging to the pillars and walls. The faerie had soft, crystalline wings like those of a damselfly folded against her back. Hair the color of autumn leaves was piled artfully up on her head in soft coils. A few wispy strands escaped to give her an earthy appeal.

She looked at the heroes with twinkling eyes and curtsied. The waiter bowed briskly to Ron, as well, and said with a wink, as if it was all part of the show, “Welcome to Glisto’s Uncommon House, fair travelers. If your gold is good, our wine is better!”

"Good to see you again, Glisto," Sheena replied with a smile. "You, too, Bimbleflower. Glad you made it through the battle."

"And the liberation, too!" Gayle added. "The town looks a lot less dreary than when the Warlord claimed it."

"Aye, and the market is bustling again," Glisto gestured up the street to his right. "That's a thankful event, to be sure. We're beholden to the Queen, now, by Her grace, but we're still a Gray City and we rely on the trade."

(( Note: Kraytjack was first encountered in Chapter 8 of All Forests are One. Things have improved dramatically since then. ))

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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A woman appears sitting in a

A woman appears sitting in a wheelchair at one of the tables. There was no flash, no portals, no sign she was not there before till she just was there. She would be considered beautiful by mortal standards though pale her eyes sparkle as if made of crystal shined blue her hair platinum blonde ending with black tips. Her body lean almost elven thought her legs were under a blanket they laid wrong and the outline was too thin anorexic thin. "Shanikali and Gayle please come join me. Or do you prefer Sheena it's so hard to keep track of names." Hel said as she smiled placing a bunch of Spanish gold doubloons on the table.

"A fine red wine for me and I pay for anything they desire." She looks to Ron "Don't fool yourself Ron Bolton thought you have my power it's a drop of water from an ocean worth. You are a servant, and yes my Avatar, but far from being a living goddess."

Ron stiffened then bowed "Lady Hel, allow me to introduce Gayle Force and Sheena." He sat down and looked at the waiter "I have a Lager tha darkest ya got."

Hel smiled and nodded. Then looked at Sheena "We have met many times, thought this is the first in your current form. It's a pleasure to meet you when it's not on business."

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Memories bubbled up from the

Memories bubbled up from the back of Sheena's mind. A sudden smile lit up her face. "Hel! It's good to see you, cousin!"

She dragged her surprised friend with her to the table and took a seat, ordering from the waiter, "The best clover mead for me, please, Glisto." She turned back to the goddess of the underworld and winked. "But don't think that gets you out of that favor you owe me!"

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"I still don't understand why

"I still don't understand why you dilute yourself with a mortal form. As for any favors, I do believe you called that in. After all, you did extend the life of that archer woman by a good many years... if I allow it."

Ron rolled his eyes "Figures this wasn't a social call."

"Even the All-Father submits to my authority Ron. This is a social call I have no desire to argue over the fate of Elfshot, or the countless that was saved from the Ravenger. However, if my cousin here going to bring up favors I'm just reminding her that one doesn't cheat death even of others without my approval." her form shifts from Hel to the Crone Atropos the third of the Fates from Greek mythos "Changing time is changing the weave of fate itself. With a simple wave, I could snip the threads of countless lives. So there are no favors due because you claimed them when I allowed you to change the weave." Her form shifts again returning to the appearance of Hel as she picks up a wine glass and sips.

"My compliments Glisto for such a fine vintage. Now let's not fuss about such things. Today is a holiday to celebrate the lives of the honored dead is it not? Very rarely do mortals celebrate the passing of others with happiness, parades, and cookouts. It's something I take pleasure in. Mortals stop throwing such fun wakes nowadays."

Ron nods to Glisto as well picking up his tankard. "Really there are times I wonder if ya don't say stuff like that just to annoy me Hel."

"I'm a Goddess Ron. I'm more than able to multi-task my business and pleasure." Smiling to Sheena "So Cousin how this life been treating you. Judging by that flash of memories you are awakening to your true self."

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Sheena chuckled. "Fine. We'll

Sheena chuckled. "Fine. We'll go over the rules again at a different time. Just because you've got one end of inevitability doesn't mean you 'allow' the rest of us to govern our domains, you know. And that favor has nothing to do with any of those subjectively recent events. I'm referring to the one that goes way back to the time of the Tree."

"But I keep myself in mortal form because I feel it's necessary to keep the perspective of what we're about." The winged heroine waved a hand at Hel's current get-up. "Your role is less served by closeness or empathy, of course. I benefit from a constant reminder of what's at stake, lest I get too many urges to experiment. It helps me keep my domain flowing as it should. You'd be sorely vexed with me if I tampered poorly and flooded your gates with souls you weren't supposed to receive for centuries to come, for example, or deprived you of them."

Gayle's eyes were open wide and her slender eyebrows crooked upward. A hint of sour milk blew about the common room. Her back was stiff against the back of her seat as she stared at her friend.

Sheena patted her hand. "Don't worry, Gayle. I'm still me, and I'm Shanikali, too."

"I hate it when you do that," the mutant replied with a tense frown.

"It is what it is," Sheena shrugged. She nodded to Hel as she swirled her mug of mead with a quick glance at the liquid inside. "I do like the holiday, myself, though it's more for you, Odin, and Raven. And the fallen heroes, of course. Time has little meaning to these memories. Or maybe for the kin of heroism and sacrifice? Once you're dead, you're normally beyond worrying about time."

She inclined her head toward Ron. "Present company excepted, of course."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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Ron took a drink of his beer

Ron took a drink of his beer "I know how ya feel Gayle. Me I think Hel here does it on purpose just to frustrate me." Then he looks to Sheena "I'm finding much more respect for time now that I'm kind of running on borrowed time."

Hel smiled sipping the wine "Very well Shanikali when you desire we shall discuss that old favor. I have learned to be more careful. To ease your mind Gayle think of it as she remembering her childhood from long ago. That first friend in kindergarten and such. Sheena still has to follow the mortal rules of rebirth so she not going to be remembering earlier lifetimes just more of herself she was forgotten. She won't, for example, remember the time she was an African man."

Ron rolled his eyes "Please don't Hel. That last part ya said just to be annoying I can tell."

Yeah, Hel smirked as she sipped.

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"Really?" Sheena cast her

"Really?" Sheena cast her thoughts back, and came up with nothing. She shook her head. "Huh. No memories. Good suggestion, though. I'll have to explore that, thank you."

Gayle gazed pensively into her glass. Her fingers marched the smoothly blown goblet around and around in circles between them. She had barely sipped at her wine.

"What?" Sheena asked her.

"The year before last, at the Green Line. The Cardinal called up my mother. I was just thinking about her again."

Sheena nodded. "You actually got to talk to her ghost, didn't you?"

"Yeah...," the singer's voice trailed off. A hint of a sad smile quirked up her lip. She turned to the goddess of death. "Thank you for that, Ma'am."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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Hel set her glass down.

Hel set her glass down. "Thank you, Gayle. Too many confuse a cause of death with the death itself. Unlike those stupid Final Destination movies, I and other beings that are aspects of death truthfully rarely cause it. I almost expected you to curse me for taking your love ones away." A rare true smile came to her face "Besides your mother is a very strong willed soul. I doubt she would let me have peace for a thousand years if I didn't allow her to visit."

"There are those who still worship death but don't understand. I'm more of a border patrol guard. To many spirits roaming the mortal realm causes... troubles. It's the cause of some madness in mortals for example. Same in the other direction souls trapped or roaming the moral realm are damaged there is a reason you don't hear about souls from the war of 1812 for example. Or Native American spirits seeking vengeance for the sickness Colonials caused when they formed the British colonies. It is not a task that is thanked often, so I thank you for being understanding."

Ron blinked and look to Hel then to Gayle. "Okay, ya just impressed me."

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Gayle swallowed uncomfortably

Gayle swallowed uncomfortably and gave a brief nod. "I've had a lot of opportunity to think about death."

Sheena raised an eyebrow.

"I mean, no one wishes for it, but it's part of life, in the end," Gayle explained. "At least, no one healthy wishes for it. I've been there. The best we can hope for is a long, productive, joyful life and a death with meaning to it. I don't suppose you're in the meaning business, Ma'am, but I do understand that you keep things as they ought to be, and that's important."

"And your mother's death had meaning," Sheena observed.

"And Bryan's. And yours. And even Leo's, I guess."

Sheena snorted and shook her head in wry amusement. "That turned out all right in the end, though. It was not, in fact, my time."

Gayle smiled sadly and raised her glass. "Here's to fallen heroes. May their deaths ring with meaning, long after their specific sacrifices are forgotten."

(( OOC: Trying to avoid too many spoilers here. ))

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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((I know that why I tried to

((I know that why I tried to avoid mentioning Bryan and Leo!))

"To fallen heroes. Even death itself honors their sacrifice."

"Speaking about such. I wish I could have been at that battle in Venture City. Been a long time since I appeared on a battlefield. I'm sure you would have allowed me to manifest as such. Perhaps you could have convinced Raven to allow the Crow Queen to fly over the battle!" She looked to Gayle "I try to make it easier for mortals to understand. Where I and Shanikali could be considered cousins, I and Raven are more alike."

She held up her glass of wine oddly never seeming to run out by the way. "Take this wine, it the same wine in the bottle isn't it? I can pour it back into the bottle or add to it from the bottle. It's the same wine. I and Raven are the glass or glasses in this case. We share the same wine so I can't take what he has already taken. Our powers are feed from the same bottle. Add to that our glasses can be melted down and reform into one goblet or made into multiple glasses. I have done this earlier where I took the aspect of Atropos. My form is shifting always mortals affect my appearance and my will affects what I appear as. I and Raven are more like Twins we can influence the other if we are to close. Even link togeather to be stronger. Though we prefer to be separated keeping to different locations and aspects of ourselves. For example, me taking on the face of a modernized Hel in Titan City."

A flash of anger her eyes grew black with red iris her hair jet black for a moment her physical body was that of a Warrior woman on par with any Amazon. "What the Night Court has done to Raven could have spread to me if we got to close to each other during that time. A fate I did not wish to partake." Her form returned to that of the Hel they saw earlier.

"The Morrigan of Irish myths is such a combo of gods or goddesses. Badb, Macha, and Nemain are the three goddesses of Irish lore that is the Morrigan." She motions to Sheena "Sheena here has taken a form that's more solid. She has cast her glass in a permanent form so can't blend or connect to others. Well unless she looses the mortal life. That what I meant by she diluted herself by mortality."

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"Of course," Sheena nodded.

"Of course," Sheena nodded. "That's why I did it. So that I could die. So my power would be used by someone who understands the time in which it is needed, and isn't bound by my unchanging ideas of how things should necessarily work. Metaphorical rebirth, refresh, and a new perspective."

"But what about Wisconsin? High school? Growing up?" Gayle asked unsteadily.

"That's all still there. I am Sheena Gardner, after all. And I am also Shanikali, who remembers and has experienced time before and after human history. As Shanikali, I chose Sheena because there is such a close match in personality that we might essentially be the same person. And for other more practical reasons."

"That was an awful lot of coincidence to manage, then, to get Sheena in the right place and time...." Gayle's protest trailed off and her eyes widened. Then, she giggled. "Oh, geez! You did that to yourself!"

Sheena grinned in response. "Yes! But I had no idea, as Sheena, that was what had happened! I still haven't taken the time to figure out how I did it, even."

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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Sheena and Gayle enjoyed

Sheena and Gayle enjoyed their "drink with Death." Gayle made a point of remembering each of the heroes she knew who had fallen in service of others. This was a long list, and still incomplete when her cup of recall ran dry. She sighed and shrugged. "To each, a little honor and memory. Let them never be forgotten," she said and drained the last of her wine.

Sheena remarked, "It's been a pleasure seeing you again, Hel. Time for us to check up on a little thing, though."

They picked up Sharur in the yard again and ventured down the street to the market to find out what the mysterious plague doctor had been up to.

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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"Oh yes of corse. It has

"Oh yes of corse. It has been a pleasure. Time for me and Ron here to get back to business. No rest for the undead and all that." A shadow portal opened behind her. "Ron do be a dear and guide my chair."

Ron stood up "We all know the fact ya are in a wheelchair is because ya want to be."

She smiled as he pushed her into the portal "True but being a Goddess does have its perks."

--------------------------------------------------------
Personal rules of good roleplay
1.) Nothing goes as planned.
2.) If it goes as planned it's not good RP