1963-12-16 - The 12 Days: Fourth - Part II
Summary: Turns out recovering a treasure for the Sorcerer Supreme's Christmas present is not without its temptations.
Related: The 12 Days: Fourth
Theme Song: Carillon
merlin wanda 

Meanwhile… something else happens…

"Oh. And what do we have here?" A rather posh, yet sinister, sounding British voice murmurs in a lackadaisical tone. "Hmm. Young. But healthy curiosity it seems." There's a pause as the voice hums. "Why have you awoken me? I was have a rather pleasant sleep!"

A young woman rests at the bottom of a rather shallow lake. The scratches imposed in this part of England aren't particularly deep, not like the loughs in Northern Ireland or the glacial remnants scattered hither and fro through northern Europe. Yet Wanda can swim unimpeded, absorbing oxygen unimpeded, thanks to some petite enchantment tied into the elemental heart of the sea. Her swimming talent is entirely her own, especially when she settles down into the muck and slow-moving weeds to locate the source of the white hum. The aura calls to her as she seeks it, which makes hearing anything down there other than bubbles in a eutrophic environment odd.

At once she rolls, inverting herself to be feet down rather than facedown. Her knees drawn slightly up, she has to fight to stay down rather than at neutral buoyancy. A gift of that gift, at least, upon her person: she's mildly audible around a pop of bubbles and the oxygen spilled out.

"I am sorry, sleeping one. Rest you well?"

"Well I was resting well until you swam along. However, I suppose I'm awake now, and I might as well see what's happening!" The words fall off his tongue easily. He lets out a long, lazy yawn, a black mass starting to form. "What brings you to my lake? What draws you here? Hmm?" The being's essence can be felt all around.

As the black, as yet formless, mass continues to come to life, nearby plants shrivel, as if trying to hide. They don't like this, whatever it is.

The witch’s communion binds her to the earth as much as the other elements, and life flooding through her art renders her bound at some essential level to nature. When plants recoil from the presence of the formless, inchoate substance, she senses something through the Sight bleeding around her. Her attention focuses upon the sentience, narrowed fully down to its wavelength, tracing whatever she can. Magical, demonic, extraplanar? Is this a corrupted divinity or an outpouring of a forgotten faith? Such details are plied, even as Wanda rounds towards the original magical signature. Not rushed, nor hurried, every sense is peaked for danger and imminent threats.

What manner of threat with two Sorcerers Supreme in relative arm’s reach? Plenty, perchance.

“The winter turn of the year comes. It is suitable to give gifts and remember months past,” she explains after a long moment, translating her thoughts back into English. Assuming it speaks English.
"Gift giving?" The essence becomes stronger, the very core of its magic pushes forward. It's trying to learn the magical history of this being before it. "What isssss the gift you search for? Maybe I can help you find it!" The being, or whatever it is, screams of being of a magical source.

Her gaze aches under the radiant aura spilling across her Sight, and Wanda narrows the wavelength future, communicating a deep breath through the murky water. What a gentleman even massed shapes can be! Or gentlewoman, offering a speech. Her history blazes in tangled lines across her veins and genetics, cross-sections that make little sense, origins that speak to a saga sung by many different voices and pens, none of them sensible.

She replies, “The right thing. It is not clear, always. A gift sometimes is best when you see it and know.” Her measured distance to the surface helps to be on the bottom. At her throat, under her shirt, the only other relic she wears — a pentacle, like the pearl, is not powerful — carries the unmistakable shapes and taste of the Mystic Arts, woven in citrine fire and sky blue sigils of the present wearer of the mantle. “Who are you, sleeper?”

It never hurts to be polite. Manners count as she slips one way sidelong, and is within toe’s reach of a chess piece. Or the board. Or nothing but muck and dirt, waterlogged, as her gaze dims slightly.


"I wouldn't go over there, if I were you." The essence, the being, cackles. "Could be the gift you want isn't the gift you think it is." He cackles again. When she asks who he is, he pauses for a few moments. "I once belonged to a young wizard who spent a fair bit of time in these part. Oh, how he liked to wander these lands." The presence tries to break through Wanda's magical barriers once more. "Who are you?"

Whatever manner that assault takes, with the Sight infusing her garnet-tinged gaze, Wanda has at least some inkling of trouble incoming. Water does little to help her in this sense, and the wards stitched into the lands hardly help her. "Myrddin?" The old Welsh form of the name isn't much different than the existing one, but intonation is odd. It need be, too, for it's as alien as English.

Neither of the men above will like what she does, but choices as limited given her state submerged. She is slowed sweeping the gestures, forced to more precision, but the very presence of the water assists in responding to her. "Apa, scoala-te!" Seizing rays of water to herself, she collapses the columns into tendrils that fling her — and the chessboard — up through the lake and out towards the sorcerers combined. At least the board ought to be lighter; she'll take being hurled into the shadows or sent tumbling into the lake weeds if it matters.

The cackling continues and the dark mass starts to take its final form of young man. "Oh, but what if I was a remnant of Myrddin? What a thing that would have been? But I'm sure he'd enjoy being reminded of the young druid boy he once helped, hmm?" There's a gasp as she starts to perform her spell. "No…wait…you can't leave! Not yet!"

Suddenly a dark energy lifts from the witch, leaving her with the chess board in hand, all the pieces in their places, near the shore of the lake.

Can't is a terrible thing to tell a sorcerer. It tends to make novices and acolytes attempt things they cannot, and the masters to show proof of their talent. Wanda yelps when she falls into the shallows, rolling with absolutely no shame for the state of her soaking wet garments. Mire and murk flies into the air and she rolls with it, liquid running in rivulets off her hanks of hair and pouring down her brow, gathering in mush.

"«Stars above and gods below,»" she says to them all and none, staring at the scattering of crystal and metal in a constellation away from her, pushed further. The darkness lingering in there might well still be shouting from the water, or lapping at her legs.

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