1964-05-26 - Mother, May I?
Summary: Dreams of a Soul-Thief.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
rogue loki 

The pool is very rocky. There is some hewn stones here, but not as many as earlier in the cave, as if the artists were afraid to mess too much with what is in here. The pool is still water, ringed with ragged stones, about 15 feet long and only 6 inches wide. It is the sort of pool that is meant to be waded in, with a gradual slope down to deeper waist-high water. Though it appears to be simply normal water, there is an aura in the air that mortals should tred carefully here. Partway down the tunnel leading here, there was a warning writ into the wall, saying in old Norse, 'No one leaves the same as they come in.'

Hewn stones in turn receive their careful regard from the skald. Scarlett may never hold the opportunity to see them again, and truth told, she might use her camera to snap a few shots were it not entirely inappropriate. Nothing stops her from grabbing a rubbing with paper and charcoal, applied where the inscriptions are unlikely to be damaged, graffiti, or offensive to the pool in question. Dragon thoughts still steal through the vault of her mind, entrapped for a lifetime and fading out. Though she gently runs her fingers along the walls, she for the most part treads her own pace into the darkness. In her Asgardian garb, she could be a very young warrior of their people. As once it might have been. As soon as water replaces the stone, she glances at her boots and then the liquid awaiting her. How many have walked in stripped down to nothing? How many went clothed? Questions she can't enter.

And, honestly, the redheaded bohemienne is a scion of the counterculture movements that formed her. History guides her, as much as some kind of understanding for tradition. Off go the leathers, bundled up and stored in her retrieved cloak as she walks through the pool. Her loose tunic is good enough to be a minidress, at least for now. If somewhere is suitable to store the garments within arm's reach, all the better.

The water waits for Rogue, dressed lightly in just the tunic, and welcomes her into its waters. She is a sister of Asgard, in many ways. The water is cold, isolated down here in the dark, and underground. Beneath the surface is a sense of current, and now and again something that brushes the leg. This is easily explained as the place has a 'between'ness about it, occupying two places at once, and though they cannot see the other place, or places, echos of them drift through now and then. There is no crackling of lightning or flash of gold as she enters. Instead, she would feel like she is sinking down on an elevator, the world around her becoming black. Then the elevator twists, spiraling her into the vision that the magic of the Norns send to her. She finds herself standing on a quiet street, in San Francisco. She can see, but not hear, her mother, down the street, speaking with a man with short, reddish hair, not her father. The discussion seems to be amiable. The grass is green, and the air smells clean. She is not simply a spectator in the vision, but seems to have freedom of will.

Terrible as the cold is, the frosty bite has a ways to go before sinking into her sunset core. Rune beads rattle among her fiery braids as Scarlett wades through the pool, her hands trailing at her sides through the rippling water. Fingers splay to net the paintbrush ripples under the surface, the slight drag a sensation welcome after worrying about beloved friends harming or being harmed by one of history's living cryptids. How easily her thoughts vanish into the aether as the Norns pull on the tangled threads woven into her life tapestry. Down.. down… down….

Concrete is surprisingly solid underfoot. Transition comes fast and clear to her, shunting the girl into the moment. She brushes her fingers against her brow, the shock of frost eternally hidden. Crossing the lawn, her eyes adjust to the brightness and she approaches, senses keyed to the ambient noises of the neighbourhood. Whomever the man speaking is, he's worth listening to. Memories of her family are things gone, hazy petals that float away in the hours before she wakes up. It's enough at the moment to assess them warmly, and if familiarity sinks in deeply, it beckons her to offer a sunnier smile if someone looks her way. Before she interrupts, best to know the nature of the discourse.

Though the moment seemed to start from memory, as she nears the conversing pair, she can hear a familiar conversation. "…think it is through art, artists have known these things for centuries…its nothing new…" She sees one more person…another man, standing holding a push lawnmower. He is distant compared to the other two, periferal, someone that no one would normally notice, except that the vision is /drawing/ her to notice him. Staring. Staring at her and her mother.

Clasping her hands in front of her, Scarlett follows a current pulling her closer to the small gathering. Whomever the ginger is, the shape of his profile and his face aren't ringing any bells. Nothing stops her from studying him or the animated response of her mother to the conversation, the timbre of a voice long lost to her. The same that showed her flowers in a garden, no longer recalled, or recited beatnik poetry or Vonnegut's works line by line to an alert, curious child. Rhythms so unlike her own flood through her, a kind of music buoying her up, so terribly light and radiant. She almost hums to the rhythm, to imprint it on memory. "Good afternoon," passes as a gentle greeting, unrushed, inflected by her blithe sunniness.

The grass is clipped and kempt, the one responsible standing at a remove. His bold stare is met by her own, surreal green eyes the shade of the northern lights, a transgression shielded some by the polite mask. Who, who, who? One could ask a hundred times without an answer.

Again she's spiraling through darkness, and her mother never looked at her. When her feel hit solid ground again, she is in a New York still reeking with mob influence. The house, she recognizes, that of her Grandparents. Her grandmother is standing in front of her, near to the door of the house on the inside, saying, "You look lovely, dear. Trust me."

It takes a few moments for the reeling shadows to align to her thoughts, locked into place and time. Not the first time she's been shunted roughly around in space or time, the girl exhaling slowly and might be mistaken for sighing instead of meditative breathing to balance herself. "Where are we going?" she asks her grandmother, and then stares down at herself to see what become of that filmy shift. Certainly no one is going to be expecting her to look lovely in that, when half the city panics if she wears something above the knee.

Though she is still wearing the shift, the grandmother doesn't seem to notice it. She is looking at a memory, not the woman that Rogue is now. "We're going to church, dear." Outside the window, she can hear the soft clicking of a lawnmower and the shadow of a man moving past it. As before, the vision seems to serve as a way to cause the re-evaluation of memory to notice this person that she had not noticed before, as a youth.

Church? The very notion of it briefly widens Scarlett's eyes and she turns out to see the same damn lawnmower. It stands out for the oddity of its existence in the city, and without a moment of hesitation, she smiles back over her shoulder. "Let me go get my book from outside!" No doubt a child is saying something totally different, but she rotates on her feet and hurries after the landscape architect. Gardener. Interloper, whatever he is. Whomever he is. THe warmth promised by that house is not the same as the need to track that down.

She steps outside and indeed, she can see it is the same man. He looks at her, his expression unmoved. His features are so plain, so average, it is almost like he is TRYING to look like everyone else, a face easily forgotten. Then he starts to smile.

She goes through two more visions like this one, stepping forward…bit by bit, move by move, and every time that she changes places, there is the same man, watching her. It could go on this way for a while, except that finally she is dropped into a memory that she does not recognize at all. This time…she is in an abandoned house. It is extremely dark, but the faint sound of voices speaking in a rhythm can be heard from a room up the staircase.

Rogue has partially disconnected.

Repetition of a process is the scientific method. And it also makes for a terrible story. The redhead bites her lip, whislt the waters close over her head and throw her back to whatever corner of reality the Norns wish her to see. Take what she can, memories are harrowing things. Or placid, in truth.

People who have been familiar and happy places are plastered up in the broken fault of her memories. Sparkling gems to be appreciated later, those. Instead, when that dark, dingy house appears, it produces a visceral wariness forcing her to glance around. The first thought, defense: exits, points of ingress. Her eyes struggle to adjust and she rises, feeling her way for a wall, carefully navigating around anything that might hit her in the shins. It brings her closer to the discussion, and old lessons in stealth urge her to proceed with care.

Like a piece of music that has used repetition to build up a sense of expectation in the audience, only to betray it at the last moment, so has this tale betrayed Rogue. The air is no longer warm and she no longer dwells through memory of her own, but instead, she feels through the darkness, as her eyes adjust to the lower light, and that path leads her up the stairs, and to the left, of an unfamiliar house. The voices grow louder as she nears, until finally she can see the room. Not a terribly large bedroom has been cleared of its furniture to instead host what appears to be a ritual. Symbols have been drawn into the floor. There are bundled sticks hanging from the ceiling. There is a rabbit's skull…and vials of unknown liquids. The air here hangs heavy with the smell of burning roots. Her mother, clearly high as a kite, is mostly naked, chanting, intent on opening that path to the 'far side' of reality. The man with her though, is not Rogue's father, but is the man from all of the other visions. He has a knife and appears to be ready to stab Rogue's mother.

O sweet, terrible darkness. Night has long been friend, holding no terrors for the bright spark of autumn light and resolute optimism. Its velvet confines enfold her in a familiar drape, its secrets heard in the electric glow and cathartic hum of the urban landscape. A brooding shadowscape littered in dangers to shins and well-being settles around the young woman uneasily, its very hostility extruded from the fissures in her memory and the waters that buoy Scarlett's thoughts up. She can taste the iron tang of blood and her narrowed eyes focus on the smeared formations.

Symbols of what kind? Steeped in hermetic lore, something far outside the classical western practices popularised by the Golden Dawn? The tribal symbols of the far west are nothing like the Aztec imagery favoured by some, nor the Tibetan mandalas or runes taught by Aesir sorcerers. A glimpse might betray a truth. It might warn her what she's walking into naked, a thief of souls, no great mystic, no mighty sorceress, no fearsome acolyte ripe with potential.

What are choices in a time like that? She advances into the chamber on fleet, light feet. Maybe the light ones of a child, perhaps with the terrible speed of a theft, or perhaps robbed of all volition because the past is the past, untouchable, inviolate. The choice is not one she even has to think about, arm outstretched to push the woman out of the way and impose herself, if she must. The sacrifice; always the sacrifice.

Kai heads to Out <O>.

Kai has left.

In the vision…she can save her mother, but she cannot change the past. She can feel the sharp knife dig into her sternum and the man, with a voice like a snake, siblant and evil, hisses, "Any sacrifice would do…" Her mother in the vision screams, and the vision…takes a strange and unexpected turn. Unprepared for the meddling, the things go in and out of focus, like the vision is drunk, and then she hurtles through space towards where the realm is that her parents were trying to summon things from…such strangeness, everyting moving in and out of focus like that. And the evil man's face appears and disappears, laughing. And all the while, her blood runs from that wound…

A knife slipping through bone is a sensation so long lost to her. Knives crack against her flesh. Metal fragments trying to penetrate Scarlett's skin. It might be enough to make her scream in a voice not her own, or utter a harsh, bubbling breath of pain when the drugs can no longer separate damage from the soaring perceptions seeking an escape.

She drops, or simply always was lying on her back floating in space. The world spinning around and around robs her of direction and distance, the blur colluding to give little sense of floating up or crashing down. Any sacrifice will do. At least it means another lives. And what purpose is there, except that? Every heartbeat is a step closer to ruin.

If she can bring her hands to her chest, she pushes down to ease some of that bleeding. If not, then focusing upon the shapes frankly too unbelievable for her to readily identify. Names spin around her thoughts, the lodestones of loyalty, a chant meant to tether her to herself. Those friends, those trusted associates, loves and names and identities. In the dark, who else is there?

The vision fades away. Everything fades away. Vaguely, she can hear thrashing, feel a hand, a patting at her face, a voice that moves in and out of hearing, "Scarlett! Scarlett!" The walls did warn the visions could be dangerous!

Violence is a storm, one that kicks her up, up, up. Seek answers, seek light. "What?"

It's enough to jar her voice out, and the curve of her back pushes up.

"You looked as if you were dying…you fell into the water…" Indeed she is soaking. Loki is holding her, to the side, bits of clothing in his hands. "We didn't know what to do…we pulled you out."

A drowning victim there, though not to be. The glance down to her chest proves no gaping wound is there, and the mouthful of water spat out is enough. "I shan't be angry for someone doing their best to keep me alive," Scarlett replies with a spluttering cough. She gazes through the blur at Loki, at least not thrashing. "Better this way than in Valhalla."

Loki exhales when she seems herself upon spitting out some water. "Yes…this is not the road to Valhalla…dying in a vision. We will soon be out of here…and safe."

Norn Stone has left.

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