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Scion: Rise of the Fallen - Scion [Morrigan]: Where The Angels Keep Silence

Dave ST

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Our story begins with a Goddess of Old, whose name inspired fear in the hearts of the bold. She was vibrant and tough, she was fearsome and cagey, and even her followers would say, a bit ragey. On one grim, fateful day, in those long ages past, she defied all her kin, from the Tuatha was cast. From a small, humble shop, she now weaves her tales, telling fortunes for cash, with bright futures on sale. Gone is her power and lost is her pride, and hope is a memory she keeps locked inside. As her story unfolds, on an ordinary day, a couple chance by with whom Fate has its way…

“I’m not sure about this Brad,” the young blond spoke up hesitantly as the chime above the door… well, chimed. She was lovely, in a Susan Sarandon sort of way but on the streets of New Orleans one could smell ‘up state New York’ all over her. “I mean, this is a little silly, don’t you think?”

“Come on!” Her companion, a handsome man with a sweater tied about this shoulders. “Janet, The Firm gave us the weekend off, right? Come on, we’ll have some fun, see how the other side lives. This a center of culture, let’s take in a few sights and have some fun…”

“I smell pot.” Janet said bluntly.

“Incense, I’m sure, sweetie.” Brad chuckled as he looked about the small shop filled all manner of occult materials. “All these small stores burn it to… uhh… to…”

“Cover up the smell of pot.” Janet said bluntly, none to thrilled to be in this small hole in the wall store that obviously offended her designer senses.

Her husband sighed and looked to her. “The proprietor could have glaucoma, it could be medicinal. We should not judge others, especially those with Obama’s health plan, they have enough worries.”

In that moment, the beads concealing the portal to the back room were brushed aside…

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In the darkness beyond the beads, the young couple saw a flash of movement, perhaps a pale hand. Both leaned forward a little, eyes narrowing as they tried to pierce the darkness in the room. A raucous call rang out as a black shape darted at them. Janet recoiled with a scream, throwing herself against Brad and hiding her face. Brad also screamed, at a fairly high octave. He looked like he wanted to throw himself behind Janet, but by the time he’d started to react, he saw what had emerged from the room: a raven.

The big bird jinked to the right and settled on the white skull on the shelf. It half spread its wings and cawed again as the two stared at it, their eyes wide. The bird stared at them menacingly, its dark gaze unfathomable. “Jesus Christ,” Brad breathed, holding Janet to him. “Is that thing tame?”

“Onla as tame as blood-soaked lands o’ Eire.” The couple spun back to the curtain, blinking at the form that stared at them. The woman was tall with dark hair and striking blue eyes. Her long hair was half-pinned high on her head, hanging in thick clues down around her shoulders. Her flowing garment was almost clichéd; a full red skirt and white top with a fringed shawl over her shoulders. It looked almost pretty on her but could do nothing to hide her weight – all of it. While there was that immediate recoil of ‘oh, a fat person’ there was also a sense of gravitas to the woman that made the couple even more uncomfortable than was normal. “Wha canna Ah do for ye?”

Janet recovered before Brad. “Well,” she said snippily, “you’re a fortune teller. We want our fortunes told.”

“It’s thirdy dollas, ye pay first,” the fortune teller said, sweeping her shawl over her arms and pulling it higher on her shoulders.

Brad shrugged and dug for his wallet. “One or both?” he asked.

“Ah’ll throw in one free fo’ a handsome youn’ man like you,” the woman said softly, giving Brad a smile. “Ye remind me o’ a young man Ah knew, once upona time.”

Brad grinned but didn’t look completely happy as he tossed a twenty and a ten on the table. “Right, so… what do we need to do?”

The woman looked at him for a moment, her eyes strangely hard. Brad had a sudden feeling that he was staring into the eyes of a terrible, old woman. The moment passed when she smiled. “Tha’ depends on ye. Who wants ta go first?”

“You do it, Brad,” Janet said, pushing on his arm. “You’re the handsome, after all.”

“Alright,” Brad said, “what should I do?”

“Put ye hands on th’ table, palms doon,” the fortune teller said, demonstrating with her own hands. Brad complied and the woman’s eyes drifted shut. She was quiet, not moving or speaking; she barely seemed to be breathing. Brad and Janet looked at one another after a moment, clearly both wondering if she’d fallen asleep. Both jumped when she seized the back of each of his hands and flipped them over. She examined them closely for a moment, then seemed to reject his right hand for his left. She peered closely at his left hand, tracing the lines on it with her fingers. “Ah see a long path,” she said softly, turning his hand slight as if to see better. “Th’s line here, it means ye hava a long life aheada ye.”

“That’s good,” Brad smiled.

“Ach, Ah see a woman who will be a burden ta ye,” the fortune teller said before Janet sighed, interrupting her.

“Of course you do,” she muttered snottily, but the woman had continued on without her.

“She’s a profession’l rival,” the woman added, shooting a quick glance at Janet. “She’ll be a pow’rful force against ye, but I see ye o’ercomin’ her.” She paused, taking a moment to gauge their reactions.

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"That has to be Patricia, she's been jockeying me for the promotion since the I handled the Bryant case in February." He looked to wife and rolled his eyes. "It's gotta be."

"She the one with the really big hair?" Janet asked, paying more attention to the exotic decor than the reading.

Brad chuckled, "Yeah." He looked to his fortune spinner and his eyes met hers. With a polite smile he asked her: "What else do you see?"

His voice was demonic as his eyes flared with brimstone and fire. Onla squawked loudly but Janet didn't seem to hear it. The Morrigan, try as she might, could not tear her eyes from the sight she beheld and in an instant she seemed swallowed up by his gaze.

The rumble of engines tore through the streets. Harley Davidson engines vibrated the pavements and shook the glass of store fronts as their thunderous engines roared. Each of the four choppers was heavily customized but remained in a theme of spikes everywhere, flames launching from the exhausts and a massive, polished chrome horse's skull mounted in the center of the handle bars. Their riders, as unique as their mounts remained obscured by the haze and fog of The Morrigan's still very weak Mind's Eye.

One rider was massive and powerful and he sat upon the blood red chopper with the word 'Ruin' scribed in elaborate writing across the gas tank. A giant double bladed axe rest upon his back and his face obscured by a roman helmet.

The second was frail and thin, a small man whose bony fingers slowly revved the engine of his 'steed'. The word 'Strife' was etched across his mount's tank. He was shrouded in an old western duster as black as chopper and leathery as his own skin. An old cowboy hat shadowed his visage and a pair of six-shooters rested at his hip.

The third atop a simple flat finished mount of nothing but whiteish gray primer. 'Mercy' was etched plainly in rusted letters on the tank and despite the chopper not seeming to move very fast at all... it always kept pace with the other three. The rider was clad in all black. A sleeveless denim jacket with frayed seams and tattered edges wavered slowly in the wind and the large patch on the back of jacket displayed a skull with wings with the script "Its rider was named Death, and Hel was following close behind him". A sweat shirt was under that, it's hood pulled up and over to conceal the riders face. Upon his hands he wore massive gauntlets littered with spikes and sharp edges.

The pearlescent hue of two-toned, bright white paint shimmered in the moon's light. The fourth rider was the only one whose face the ancient Goddess could see but she did not recognize him. He was charming and handsome but possessed a arrogant and smug visage that betrayed his exterior and told her that he was vile and cruel to the very core. 'Penance' was scribed in brilliant, sparkling golden letters upon the tank of his 'steed'. His heavy denim jacket swayed in the wind along with his long flowing white hair. He looked upon the other three and then seemed to look directly into The Morrigan's eyes...

He grinned at her! Like he knew she was there, watching... weakened... unable to stop what they brought with them...

And in the back of her mind she heard the words echo plainly on the winds...

Four horses enter The World

With hooves of steel, eyes of bone,

Four riders sit upon them,

Each one rides alone.

Silence chokes the mountain stairs,

As the Titan's reapers pass,

Hollowed screams echo in the mind,

Like a demonic midnight Mass.

Charon's minions come ariding,

On horses black as night,

Cloaks swirling in a cold, dark wind,

Like harpies taking flight.

They carry darkness with them,

In frozen hearts and long forsaken souls,

Hold their reins in blood-soaked hands,

And watch with eyes of Hel-stoked coals.

And as they climb the mountain heights,

From which to view The Fall,

To bloodless lips a trumpet lifts,

To sound the final call.

They sigh a soft, decaying laugh,

At the coming of their turn,

And pause upon the mountaintop,

To watch The World burn.

"Ma'am?" Brad asked, a little worried. "Miss?! Miss!" He raised his voice slightly and it seemed to be enough to gain her attention. He was just, Brad again no flaming eyes or brimstone voice, just a successful, geeky man with a wife far to hot for him. "A-are you alright?"

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Morgan stared at the man, failing to hide how shaken she was. “Ah’m sorry,” she said, releasing his hands to rub her temples. “The Fates saw fit ta grant me another vision – not about ye,” she added quickly as alarm crossed his face. “Sometimes, they do that – Ah just get a bit o’ something in me mind’s eyes.”

Janet, who had been looking a little interested, rolled her eyes at her statement. “Whatever,” she sighed.

Brad was a little more gullible, or maybe he wanted to believe. He leaned forward and said, “What did you see?”

Morgan was silent. Once, long ago, she’d freely told her dark prophecies, foretelling the death of millions. Once the bloody truce with the Titans had been secured against her own proclamations of disaster, she’d found herself unwilling to share. “Nothin’ ye’d believe,” Morgan said and reclaimed his soft, clammy hands. Nae a warrior’s hands, she thought with disgust. “Ah see… for ye… somet’ing new. Where ye considering buyin’ a house? Perhaps a new car or some jewelry?”

Janet perked up, her eyes widening as she looked to Brad. “Well,” he started, “I was looking at getting a pool table…” Morgan flicked her eyes over his wife; the guy was no dummy and quickly said, “And a few things I don’t want to go into detail about. Why? Should I not?”

He looked hopeful that Morgan would gave him an easy out, but the once-goddess refused. “Nae, ye should merely look closely at ye choices. Donnae go for the obvious choice. Look around fer a bit.”

On and on she spun the lies, telling him what he mostly wanted to hear. It was all very generic and general but he seemed pleased with the answers. Janet declined to be read and marched out in a huff as Brad gave Morgan another five dollars as a tip. When she took it, he retained his grip, asking, “That vision. What did you see?”

Morgan sighed. “Ye won’t believe me,” she warned him.

“Maybe not,” he said, “but it happened during my reading, and I paid for that reading. What did you see?”

It had been millennia since she had spoken prophetically. On a whim, she decided to do so and Brad saw a flash of something dark and terrible as their eyes locked. Her ancient eyes were filled with a horrible knowing, something not seen since the Morrigan’s voice had been silenced so long ago. “Ah saw Four Horsemen on steeds o’ iron,” she told him, hearing the faintest echo of power in her voice. “Ah saw them ridin’ and they come ridin’ for all o’ us.” She pulled the five out of his hands. “Believe me o’ donnae,” she told him, “but listen ta this – do ye living now, while ye can.”

Brad stared at her, his expression caught between horror and disbelief. He’d wanted to believe, but he also wanted that belief to be pretty, not the end of everything. The Morrigan held his gaze as she watched him try to balance his wants with reality and she sensed that he had always been able to combine the two in the past. He turned and left before she saw which side won.

The moment passed with his leaving and she was just a fat, tired, ancient woman again. Sighing, Morgan turned to her bird. “Wha’ did ye see?” she asked, watching her sole companion.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Casually the corvid hopped from a series of nik-naks and trinkets all along the upper reaches of the rooms shelves that were filled all manner of exotic books and occult memorabilia. It cawed loudly once, as if calling for Morgan's attention.

It pecked and cawed... tapping loudly upon a post card sent to her by a woman whose fortune she read long ago. The woman had no idea that all the false prophetess did was tell the woman exactly what she needed to hear, not give her a real fortune, but she saw it necessary to send a postcard from home when she got back there. Morgan appreciated the card, but never really looked at it much after pinning it to a cork board where she placed 'customer feedback'.

The loud rumble of engines tore through the city streets. Glass rattled and the various loose items shook at their places on tables, shelves and even the jingling of the door chime began to echo. Her raven cawed loudly in a vain attempt to hold the rumbling at bay with threatening squawks. One by one they past her store front in the order of their foretold arrival. Conquest, War, Famine and finally Death all rolled past her store front s brazen as they pleased upon their evil, fire spewing 'steeds'. Time seemed to slow for a moment as the last Horseman, Death, rode past. From under his hood she could makes out half his face underneath it. He looked at her and grinned like he knew who she was and there was nothing she could do to stop what horrors would soon be coming to this World.

The thumb tack fell to the floor with a few taps as it bounced. The raven cawed loudly after they passed and snapped Morgan out of her enrapture. She glanced at the post card that had fallen from the cork board and glided down to her feet... there in a picture of Los Angeles store fronts and businesses she noticed something she'd never seen before: one of the building had a sign in the window "4 Horseman, L.A. Chapter" is what it read.

The raven squawked again, fluttering it's wings. What did I see indeed! she would have heard if the voices of ravens could still be heard by her.

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Morgan groaned. She'd had a quiet, peaceful life here in New Orleans, and now it was being interrupted by Fate. But Fate had done little for her of late so she wasn't inclined to go dancing to its tune.

But even as she defiantly thought this, she knew that she'd go. She'd go because even if this life was quiet and peaceful, she hated it a lot. She was a goddess of war - or had been. There was nothing god-like about her now.

With a sigh, she considered what she should do and trying to decide what she would do. 'Should' involved the inconvenience of a trip to LA. 'Should' was a pain in her ass which included hoping that her old car kept rolling forward across half a country.

Morgan looked at her postcard again. The Four Horsemen were loose; Fate wanted her in LA. "Fuck Fate," she muttered, even as she went into her living space to pack.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Morrigan's drive to Los Angeles was a long one, about 27 hours of driving, not including stopping for rest, food, and more rest along the way (and a pack of Skittles). Sure enough though once she arrived, she arrived in the precise location she was destined to.

A man in a black leathers checked his watch and tapped a steel-toed boot to the pavement. Long straight black hair concealed some of his features, but most of the pedestrians were already avoiding him to begin with. He was a greasy looking sort, oily black hair and silver chains all about his heavy leather jacket and pants.

A car pulled up to the curb where he stood, right outside a hotel and across from a place simply called "The Bar". From the car a woman got out and the man stood in shock for just a moment. The Morrigan had certainly packed on a few extra pounds over the... centuries. Was this even the right woman? The fabled Goddess of War and Prophecy? It couldn't be. You've got to be kidding me... unfucking believable. But, right on time, 1:22pm on the dot. Circe, you're a cunt, but I love you.

The woman approached the hotel, stepping up on the curb when she noticed the black clad man approaching her. He opened up simply with. "You're right on time. Welcome to Los Angeles, Mother."

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Morgan got out of her car and stretched. The long drive had been hell on her, the road an unkind medium over which to travel. She stared at the hotel, thinking of nothing but the waiting bed. Yes, she was here to solve a mystery, but she'd just driven across several states and she just wanted to take-

"You're right on time. Welcome to Los Angeles, Mother."

Morgan turned and stared at the young man who'd approached her. "Young man, mah money is all in traheler's checks, so I donne recommend tryin' ta steal 'em," she flat-out told him, choosing the direct route for dealing with the homeless man. "An' I tain't your momma, so ye can peddle dat shite elsewhere."

Warily, she watched him, unwilling to turn her back on him for even a moment. He could be dangerous, and while she wasn't worried for her safety, she didn't want to deal with the crazy. She was tired.

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  • 1 month later...

The man smiled and sighed. “I ain’t peddlin’ anyting ma.” His accent suddenly slipped into perfect Irish. “It’s me, Corbin.” He held up his hand and showed her his ring, a ring that she’d only given to one man, a one of a kind treasure. A silver band in the image of a raven’s head, it’s beak extending down to the knuckle. Its eyes were set with rubies and the detail work was impossible for any mortal tool to ever duplicate.

She had made herself, for her son.

“You gave this to me, do you remember? For my victory at the Battle of Belach Lechta. I had less hair back then.” He pulled his hand through his straight black hair, uncovering his face. “They’ve sent me to help you.”

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  • 1 month later...

Morgan stared up at the tall boy and racked her memory. He seemed vaguely familiar, but she had at least as many enemies as friends. She knew many of their faces, too. Or she had known. The ages hadn’t been kind to her and not just physically. She’d living far longer than her now-mortal body was meant to exist and she’d forgotten more things than most people knew. As a goddess, recall wasn’t hard. As a mortal, recalling what she’d had for lunch three days ago – aside from knowing it was probably too much – was a struggle.

The ring was another matter. She had made this for one man. If this was the man, then her son did stand before her. If he’d killed Corbin and taken it from him… Morgan wasn’t sure she could beat him but she would try. Corbin had been a favorite of hers. If only she could remember Corbin’s face!

She had to make a decision even if her memory wouldn’t help her. “Very well,” she said softly, nodding once as she spoke to him in Irish. “Two questions for you. First, what do you want from me? And second, who is ‘they’?” In her blue eyes was a glimmer of fire; it warned the young man before her to not play her false.

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  • 4 weeks later...

"Fair questions to be sure." To help abate some of her mistrust he crossed his arms and leaned against her car, a gesture to show that he had all the time she was willing to give him. His accent slipped into flawless Gaelic. "Do ya remember Auric Broder? The immortal from Asgard? Well he's been searching for you and the other Fallen for nigh eight hundred years now. Its all gone to Hel up there, mother. The balance is upset, the Titans plot and scheme and my uncles and cousins do not a damn thing about it."

He brushed a strand of hair from his face. "The problem is, the Gods swore an oath and they can't break it. In the millenia since they grown weak and complacent and no one knows why. All they do is drink, and fuck, and wage war on the other Godrealms since they can't get their jollies killing Titan spawn anymore."

He stood and approached her and he looked at her with a gaze that nearly kindled within her bravery long lost to the ages. "Broder believes that the Fallen are the key to stopping whatever the Titan's have planned, not to mention what the other Gods themselves have planned. You swore no oath mother and you paid the ultimate price. Broder can help, he can shatter the bonds of the magic that binds your power... become The Morrigan once again." His fists were clenched with the passion behind his words. "When Broder told me, I set out to find you."

"As for your first question," He relaxed a bit, letting his inflamed passion subside. "All I want is for you to meet with Broder, over there at The Bar. Hear what he has to say. It'll be you and the other Fallen he's assembled, five in all. You, Thor, Hades, Sun Wukong, and, if you can believe it, Bast. Please, mother, if anything just do it for a son who's spent the last thousand years thinking you were dead. If you're not interested, I understand, no hard feelings, but please, at least hear the man out?"

With his arms folded again he looked across the street to The Bar. "'Fate only takes you so far, then it's up to you to make it happen.' You told me that once. So, let's go make something happen, eh?"

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Morgan stared at her boy for a long moment. Centuries of isolation and hiding had made her naturally mistrustful. But this was Corbin, her favorite son. He’d been a warrior even in the womb, kicking her from the moment his legs had grown. He’d always been such an obstinate boy. No wonder he was her favorite.

“Ye don’t need to beg for that, boy,” she grunted. “I’ll go into a bar. I’m likely to go if you don’t ask.”

Turning, she walked across the street, her hips swaying with each step – and not in an attractive sway. She drew little attention; even in the city of starlets, fat people were largely ignored when they weren’t being mocked. Head high, she marched into The Bar.

It was nice. She was thankful that she was nicely, if gaudily dressed. With the fortune-teller gag, most of her clothing ran a little to the garish. Blue eyes glanced over the room, looking for Broder.

She was nervous. She wanted this to be true but she knew that she also really wanted it to be true. That meant that people could use that to manipulate her. Morgan wanted to return to godhood and give the Titans the goddess-sized boot.

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