1964-02-06 - Fairest of the Fair
Summary: Merlin intercedes with some very unhappy elves, and fey Wanda learns how to negotiate with the otherworldly.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
merlin wanda 


"They're called the huldufolk." Merlin explains as they walk through the portal he made for them, having explained that they'll all need to bundle up rather warmly for their adventure to Iceland. "The word itself is Icelandic." He continues, looking about the small village they've just entered. "The word itself translates loosely into 'Hidden Folk' or 'Hidden People'. What they are," he glances at his companions, "Is elves. My theory, from what experiences I've had with them, is that they're originally Ice Elves from the realm of Alfheim. A small fraction of them, perhaps just a couple, seem to have been causing a ruckus among the humans of this village."

At that moment, a woman with shockingly pale blue eyes, like ice, approaches. «I…I didn't think you'd come.» She mutters in Icelandic. «My grandparents told stories…stories that their own grandparents through the ages…I mean…» She clears her throat. Switching to English, she says, "I am Asta Vilhjalmsson. Thank you for coming. The huldufolk…they've been coming frequently and raiding our supplies. I didn't know who to call!" She explains. "I believe they're living in a nearby cave." She points to a small forested area on the edge of town.

Merlin pats her on the arm. «We shall have a firm discussion with them.» He responds in Icelandic. Turning back to his companions, he smiles. "Shall we?"


"I know the skogsra. Important that we show them manners and respect, yes?" Wanda is well enough aware of how to handle the forest folk. She grew up practically wild in an Estonian and Lithuanian forest, and the old stories preserved there in spite of endemic efforts by the Russians to eradicate their footprint failed utterly in that respect. Finns and Scandinavians are not so far removed upon this business. The witch listens to Merlin's warning and dips her head, as though one might even expect the veil to drop and a whole village of blue elves to leap out, white caps on their heads, and complaining for a lack of food.

She looks as she always does, though speaking Icelandic is well beyond the brunette. Not without cheating, anyways, and out of respect to Ms. Vilhjalmsson's privacy, not a word will be made untoward. "You called us." A friendly nod, then. "We have come. It will not be difficult for us to speak with them, I hope, and then we will make right what is out of place." Thievery may not be an appropriate elven behaviour, or perhaps it is, given the whole litany of stories about changelings. But then, they're dealing with the lady of fortune. Things may not turn out well for naughty elves.

On Merlin's lead, she taps her fingers. "Have I told you about the magic staves they have? I noted a few on a map for the Doctor."


"The skogsra!" Merlin chirps cheerfully. "Ah, I'd forgotten all about them." He chuckles. Giving Asta a little bow, he speaks to her in Icelandic once more, saying, «Have a good day. Be well in all you do.» She bows to him in return and turns abruptly to leave.

Motioning for Wanda to follow him, Merlin leads toward the small nearby forest. "She is a descendent of Vilhjalmur, a young warlock from here who assisted me many, many years ago." He tells the young witch. "I pledged that should he, or any of his descendants, require my assistance in turn, I would do anything in my power to help." As they enter the little forest, he starts tilting his head various ways. "Do you know the best way to track an elf?"


Tramping through the countryside in Iceland puts a surprisingly carefree air about the usually paranoid, distrustful creature. It might also be Merlin stamping about in search of the magical which lightens Wanda's bearings somewhat, but she almost doesn't resemble her usual self out and about in New York. Never mind her black and grey ensemble helps her blend in to the surrounding landscape, she allows for a lighter swing of her arms. "Vilhjalmur?" Nordic languages aren't so far away from the Slavic and actually, in some ways, come easier to her tongue than English does. "It is a good name. You have given your word. They will be glad for this help you offer. Can we expect they will receive us well or are these fae not so comfortable with our presence?"

Her stability on the rocky path is considerable, even if those volcanic stones can especially treacherous in the damp. Wet basalt, snow, and ice are full of danger. If Merlin is trying to kid with her, there's no chance Wanda picks up on this unless hit over the head with a mallet. "It depends upon the elf. Those of night and darkness want power, so a presentation of power and weakness to exploit would draw them out. The day elves are harder to detect. Glamour. Yes?"


"'Tis a very good name indeed." Merlin agrees, as he looks about, eyes narrowing slightly. Slowing his pace a bit, he sticks his tongue out a few times, as if tasting the air. "Hmm." He blinks as he looks back at Wanda. "Hmm? Oh, yes. Well, it's hard to say what to expect, really." He says softly. "Light elves are so rarely instigators of such acts of thievery and ill will. Of course," he ponders, "their acts could be more out of desperation rather than maliciousness. If that's the case, our presence shall be welcomed, if a bit suspiciously at first. Although, suspicion shall no doubt reign regardless of the initial intent of their actions."

He sniffs the air a little and changes direction slightly. "This way!" He smiles and nods at Wanda. "Ah, yes. Glamour. Yes. Good. You've paid attention to who ever taught you about them! Or…well, perhaps you learned that on your own, like myself. Either way, good. They shall be drawn out, and we shall discover their reasoning behind their actions. If they are willing to speak to us, of course."


Wanda considers her broad, strange array of knowledge scattered widely through the mythology and folklore of Europe, albeit one that tracks more easterly than westerly. Thin creases radiate above her sepia brows, painting a look of concentration upon the young sorceress' face. "Hunger, anger, betrayal. A promise not honoured. Oh, and the oldest of reasons. Someone has harmed their secret places, the sacred ones." She is quick to jump upon that. "It was not allowed to disturb their sacred sites in the forest, not at all. Even the kind ones were moved to wrath by such activities, done even by children." Scraps of knowledge snatched out of memory stitch together and she offers their bounty for a faint meal.

"Maybe you need ears that look like leaves, as they have. It could go a ways to trust." This is likely not the case, but convincing Merlin to give himself pointed elf ears is entirely worth the effort, and risking everything. Stepping lightly, she glances about for distortions, signs of elfshot, and worse.


"Those could very well be the reasons, yes. I concur." Merlin raises an eyebrow at the suggest that he make his ears like theirs. He murmurs under his breath and lets out a little grunt. "Is that better?" With a free hand, he flicks his long hair behind his ears. They are, quite evidently, not the rounded human shape they normally are. They are molded and pointed like an elf's. "I don't see how this would make them more comfortable." He grins, that playful twinkle appearing in his eyes once more.

Stopping, he raises a finger to his lips to indicate quiet. "We come in peace." He says loudly. "We only wish to speak."


Pointed elf ears on Merlin will be one of those memories Wanda maintains forever, engraved upon a jewel and shattered to be hidden across the universe so the fortunate followers of the Sorcerers Supreme can also share in the singular experience.

Pray Hoggoth does not break a fang laughing himself silly.

"You do not have their yak hair. It is much more comfortable with that length when one has flowing hair or very impressive hats." Alas, Peaseblossom and Lord Dandelionwine have not thought to adopt floofy hats adorned by impressive ostrich feathers and fae bird plumage. Not here, anyways, where the great auk and lesser auk have created a much more modest array of clothing for the huldufolk.

The Scarlet Witch does not adopt a different look, though she stands perfectly straight and mindful. They know the wizard of the Otherworld. They will likely look at her as a mere child and little interest, which is well and fine. Those who overlook Wanda rarely realize the real danger.


"Who…are…you…?" Comes a voice from behind a large boulder as two blue ice elves step around it from either side.

"I am Merlin of Camelot, and this is my companion, Wanda of Transia. We seek an audience with the ones who have been stealing the supplies of the human settlement." Merlin calls to them. He glances to Wanda. "What do you make of them? What do your senses tell you?"

The elves seem thin, and despite their attempts to appear fierce, there is fear in their eyes. Their auras are black, indicating anger and grief.


Blue elves meet white sorcerer and gilded witch, her skin as honeyed as if she bathed in the sunset sea. Her pupils are reduced to pinpricks, eyes full of iridescence tinted distinctively towards amaranthine, the celestial influence heavy upon her. The Sight of their kind infuses her visual perception more than any other, though the other six senses respond in like, feeding her invaluable information beyond the mortal spectrum.

"They may be starving. They are in despair and wrath. Do walk lightly," she says in English, of course, "for we mean no ill. It is a difficult balance, this." Between peace and violence, diplomacy and supremacy.


"And walk lightly I shall." Merlin murmurs. Stepping gently forward, one hand still on his staff, but the other held up defensively, he smiles. "We shall not harm you. But please, why are you so angry, friends? Why are you hungry? Why do you steal from the humans?"

One of the elves growl. "The humans destroy our own reserves, they flatten are sacred grounds. They take from us without question, we only take what we need. They cause us harm and when we just take what we need, they send more harm. Step back, magician, and magician's apprentice. You will find no friends here." It is probably their unique Sight as elves that tell them the magic held within Merlin and Wanda, even as they glare at them.

"Oh…no, no. She's not my…she's not an apprentice." No. Merlin, there are other things to focus on right now. He stops in his tracks and takes a deep breath in. "I am sorry for your supplies, and your sacred location. What may we do to rectify this?" He asks as he glances back toward Wanda.


Apprentice indeed. It may merely be deeply alarming who she studies with, and his presence sits flat in the matrix of her aura and the pentacle charm around her neck. Little magic ignites that relic crafted by the Sorcerer Supreme's hands, yet the potential lies folded up neatly. Wanda does nothing that would warrant hostile action on its own, her hands clasped in front of her, arms close to her sides. Distinct calm lingers upon her, her gaze settled upon the elves. "We may restore your sacred places." Purging darkness is something of a specialty, though undoing a parking lot or whatever happens to be built is a realistic concern.

Tongue flashing over her lips, she looks past Merlin but makes no move to approach further. Structures bisecting the land, be it a road or a fenceline, ought to be fairly tangible. The sorceress murmurs a word, Transian if the elves no doubt had to guess, and sinks herself into the earth's own awareness.


Taking a deep breath in and letting it out slowly, Merlin is silent for a moment, pondering the situation at hand. "If we were to…provide you with nourishment, with food, and if we were to, as my companion suggested, restore your sacred place, would you turn away from the humans and become the hidden people once more?"

One of the elves let out a low growl, pensive. The other one, the quieter of the two, speaks this time. "We do not know you. How can we trust you? Your names mean nothing!"

The growling one holds a hand up to quiet the other as he takes in Merlin and Wanda. "I want to believe you, but he is correct. We do not know you. How can we trust you?"


"I am a witch. I walk the Witch Road." The calm expression resting upon Wanda's features meets the elves' gaze, and her heavy-lidded eyes do not veer away from them for long. "Can you not see what energy balances within me? The earth would not allow me to borrow without honouring it." Simple fact, rendered in simplified English. "You come here to this world to make your home here? I do not think it too much that we could help guard your fences, the lines where you keep yourselves. Why would we come to talk if we meant badly for you?"


"Follow us." The talkative one speaks, finally, after the two mutter furiously back and forth for a few minutes. "But be warned. We've eyes everywhere. Should you take but a step out of line, you will come to regret it." His tone drips with suspicion. As they guide the way, they keep glancing back at Wanda and Merlin, as if to suspect the worst of them.

Merlin bows to the elves, while giving a nod to Wanda. She's done good. He waits until she's beside him before he starts walking. "Be cautious. They may be leading us to the defiled land. However, this could as easily be a trap. We must be on alert."


A threat following on the heels of a sharp discussion brings a slightly derisive arch of her eyebrows, though no word passes her lips. Possibly they know how to read human expressions, and possibly not. With her hands stowed into the pockets of that magnificent coat, the sorceress inclines her head and takes a step or two forward, testing she's not about to fall face first on the soil. That might be an awkward impression and undermine the ancient Sorcerer Supreme of the past's authority upon the mystical community, to say the least. Her stalking footsteps build into a ready stride, treading light and cautious, and it may well be far smarter to simply start levitating. That might be convenient.

Albeit, not so likely.

"Is it wrong to thank the invisible ones?" A question for Merlin is given under her breath. "Some must not be given that benefit, I know."


"Oh, no. Not at all. Not wrong in the least!" Merlin shakes his head at the question, smiling softly. As he gazes about the land that surrounds them, he hums softly. "You know, I remember when this land was barely lived upon, back when neither elf nor human spent much time here. It was a much more peaceful time." He murmurs. Of course, with fewer beings inhabiting the land, it makes sense that there'd be less issues.

After what seems like, perhaps, a half hour of walking, they're brought to a statue of a man that has been erected. It seems rather new. At it's base is a sign in Icelandic. Slowly approaching, Merlin leans forward and reads the sign in English. "'Egill Skallagrimsson. He is believed to have camped on this spot on many occasions to write his works.'" He sighs and furrows his brow.


"A time of winter and empty rock or greener than now?" Wanda's facility with English improves through regular use, leaving a great deal of work to hammer out in the trickier pronunciations and lack of regular rules the language smooshed out of French, Celtic, and Teutonic origins. Sometimes her mouth refuses to match what her mind knows, and at odds, they split one way or the other. Otherwise, she does not interrupt and moves lightly over the rocks, feeling their shape and flow, until she might be able to describe the lava flows in terms pleasing to the ear… if one knows Transian. Technicalities, and all.

Her light movements make her an even partner to walking, and when they reach the bit of civilisation standing out here in the middle of a lava field of sorts — hell, all Iceland is — she is left staring. Head tilted, her expression forms a solid, stern mask harder than anything on that statue. "This is not a statue he would like, surely? He camps and writes? Why would he want the view ruined?"


"This was a man who lived long ago…" Merlin murmurs softly. "On occasion, people become nostalgic and wish to place monuments to those great minds of their peoples who once lived and did great things in their lands." He sighs and shakes his head.

Turning to the elves. "If this is what defiled your sacred place, I do apologize. But you needn't have harmed the mortals so." He frowns. "But I suppose your ways are certainly not their ways. We may be able to move this." He speaks firmly. It should be simple enough, with their magic. "To where shall it be moved, however? Where would be acceptable to your sights?" To Wanda, quietly he says, "Once it is moved, perhaps we may place a ward upon this land permitting only the elves to come to this spot? A ward that makes humans unconsciously avoid it?"


Alas, the poet in question goes beyond the witch's knowledge, for hers has been an east and southern facing rather than west to the icy atoll at the edge of the world. Though she knows of its witches, Frigg and Freya, a number of quiet heroes in that direction. None of them apply here, especially given the gent in question may be several centuries dead, much more likely to attempt a pillaging until she drew daggers and started whirling into a dervish dance. Then he might reconsider her as insane and hide under a rock.

"They want their past to make their days now grand. It is a mistake, a foolish one, but a simple one." Lips tighten. She could anger, but she does not. The elves receive a look, measured simply enough, and then she says to Merlin in English, "Take down their things, they will only build another."


"Perhaps we can do something about that, as well. Move the statue somewhere nearby. Weave into the spell that when a person comes looking for this spot, they believe the new location is, in actuality, this one?" Merlin seems to think that it's a good idea.

"What are the two of you muttering on about?" The more talkative elf snaps at them, still on edge. "Are you or are you not going to help us?"


"An island? Somewhere off the beach, or in a lake? It would be new land. They could not complain for an affront because it comes from somewhere." They are standing right there, but good luck if the elves want Wanda to speak directly to them. She murmurs softly to Merlin all the same, apprentice consulting the master upon a strategic course of action. Reconvening upon the matter, his questions are taken in the stride of testing her knowledge. "Wards need maintenance. It is enough to ask them to avoid it, but will this still work with their equipment? Would that harm the elf folk, leaving it too wild? I would move it elsewhere and convince them it is where the spot always has been. Maybe an artifact or two. Tell a news writer of it. They could have a scholar or someone come to test, and think it is so, therefore the story is changed."

The grumpy elves are on the verge of a sigh earned from the witch. Wanda shrugs her shoulders lightly and then says, "We help. We want the best way to help, a way that will not harm your neighbours or cause someone to act against the land."


"I believe I might be able to convince our friend, who greeted us in the village to…what is the expression? 'Pull some strings' with local government and proper historical authorities. They may find that the new location, whoever we move it, is in fact the 'true location' that this poet did camp? Hmm?" Merlin nods.

Turning to speak to the elves he smiles gently. "Friends. We shall endeavours to move this…monstrosity of a statue to a new location, a place with your approval, and we shall do all we can to ensure that the mortals no longer journey to this spot." He explains. "In addition, I am sure we can assist in cleansing this most sacred of spots, if you shall permit us." He didn't discuss this with Wanda, but he hopes she'd agree. "However, we must request that you no longer harm the mortals of this realm. This is our agreement, such as it is."

The elves chatter amongst themselves for what seems like ages. In the distance, every now and then, heads of other elves can be seen poking out from behind boulders, curious as to the happenings. Finally, the elves face the old sorcerer and his witch companion and nod. "We shall…agree."


That statue requires a good eyeing up, and Wanda stalks up to it, possibly unamused it is taller than she is. Standing upon her toes does not help her balance out over its head, though she can most certainly do away with it after a little effort, presumably. Humming under her breath, she walks widdershins around it, languid movements mistaking the fact she effectively measures and discerns any temporal anomalies that might bleed through, assuring said statue does not sit on a leyline or mark a shallow point between the dimensions, somewhere that kicking over said statue and relocating it elsewhere would fray, tear, or allow Shuma-Gorath to shove one wiggly tentacle through to wave very enthusiastically to his second favourite human.

Oh Merlin….


On the other side of things, Merlin merely watches Wanda, even as a teacher would watch a student. Certainly she's no student, however he can't help but feel a bit of like tutor in a place like this. A place in which he has spent some time. "What do you mystical senses inform you of this place? Can we safely move the statue with our combined powers without causes damage to the natural flow of energy in this location? Is there any reason we should fear moving it any other way than by 'conventional' methods." Of course, by 'conventional' he means 'non-magical'.

He holds up a finger to the elves who stand behind him now. He knows that they were about to speak up and ask what takes them so long. "We shall not be hurried. A wizard, and a witch, shall do things in their own time. If we do not, there could be terrible consequences beyond our control that we could not foresee. We do not desire to cause undo harm to this land."


"Flame. Change, which I am not surprised by. We stand where water and fire meet, the earth cracking open to grow. The elements are in a very narrow balance, the borders thin and the forces violent. It is important not to change these too much, or else the fire will be trapped, the water too heavy, the earth cold. What can grow in cold earth?" A shake of her head, and Wanda taps her fingertips against her corseted waistline, the golden skin outlined on deep claret trending into black. "No power is plugged here. This does not act as a key, the main part of an arch. There could be a knot if we pull too hard one way or the other." Amber eyes saturated to a blooded purple hue anoint her as inhuman or mystic, maybe both, and she sweeps past the elves again with that gaze, head tilted as she listens for the perturbations and flickering imperfections in the musica universalis she's always in key to. Almost always.

If she's not, it's time to shackle her or run for the hills. Preferably the nice verdant hills in the third dimension for all the good it will do.

Following the stave-marked score audible only through the lens of her aura, she glides over the rippled soil and rocky outcroppings, almost tripping twice, hardly paying attention except to throw her arms out and bend her legs, absorbing the worst of it. "Out of key here, not badly. A half-step there, A minor." She points, humming the chord almost pitch perfect with a literal wobble in the midst. "Removing the statue would make it higher." She jumps to the next note, B. "Not so bad, but different. A tolerable range, I think."


"You see much. And you see quite true." Merlin bows his head. He's forced to raise his finger once more, however. "I said to not speak. We are helping." His voice is rather more curt than usual. However, he has a difficult time abiding rudeness in anyone he's attempting to help.

"What of some sort of…substitutiary locomotion type of spell? The statue would not just-" He snaps his fingers, "-disappear from here and appear elsewhere. Instead, it would move of its own accord."


Is he asking the witch or the elf not to speak? Arguably the elf. They exist, yes, but they are not her business to attend to, until the witch flicks her gaze towards the knife-eared outlander and her glowing gaze grows all the brighter, the light swamping her irises and rendering pupils invisible. Fever pangs strike her aura, coalescing into a broken ring of light around her head, painted in sparks of deepest heliotrope. The low melodies approach a threnody to the ears, if audible at all. "Yes, yes, you are all very tired and hungry, angry and impatient. Making him stop? You do not get what you want. When I am angry, things blow up like your volcanoes. Do you want your house to be a volcano? This space, a volcano? Over there, a volcano?"

Might not be so wise to argue with the girl the same damn colour as cooling lava, especially with Pele's skintone in the low-lit conditions. "Now. I think yes, it could work if we walked the statue. Floated it?"


The old wizard nods to the young witch, glancing back at the elves. "Let us move this. And we shall secure their sacred place, I shall give them plenty of supplies, and this shall be the end of it." He sighs softly. "Floating it is the best, I think. Together?" He asks with a little smile.

He glances once more to the elves before holding out a free hand toward the statue and murmuring a spell softly.

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