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[Fic] Reunion and a new Scion is born[NC] [Fini]


Courier

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April 1st, 2009, Right after Horus' Visitation.

Trying to embrase his brother, Nick walked entirely through him and crashed into the wall. Half stunned, he dropped his gun and Moe vanished.

Horus said almost gently, "He's only back from the underworld as a spirit. You need to be touching the gun in order to see him. He's here as your guide, listen to him."

And then Horus vanished. Nick wasn't sure if he'd teleported or something. While Nick had been reaching for his gun he'd looked away and Horus hadn't been there when he'd looked back. It didn't matter, his brother was here. Sort of. Nick picked up his gun and stood up. Moe reappeared.

The two brothers looked each other up and down. It'd only been a week since they'd seen each other, but then they'd both been alive.

Finally Nick said, "You look good. Your, ah, you're not showing any injuries. You could be alive."

Nick reached out to touch him and then stopped, it wouldn't work but it would spoil the illusion. This was bittersweet. He'd been morning his brother for days and now he was back, except that he wasn't.

Moe said, "You look good too. We could be twins."

Nick replied, "No, I guess Horus did something to you? Last few months you've been the better looking twin. You'll have to explain how that works."

Moe said with a twinkle in his eye, "How it works? Look in a mirror."

Nick walked over to a full length mirror and looked at himself. The man staring back wouldn't have looked out of place on a cat walk, or in a porn movie. He looked back at his brother and realized he was right. The man in the mirror now matched the 'more attractive twin'.

Nick said, "Very nice. It's part of the package then? I'm not touching any of the other gear." Nick put his gun down and while Moe faded, the man in the mirror didn't change.

Nick picked up his gun again and walked back. He asked, "So what else can we do? I mean, can I do? I feel STRONG, the world seems... I don't know, more clear now too."

Moe replied, "We'll have to explore that. Horus said we're going to get different gifts. Identical twins doesn't mean we channel the gift the same way. Try doing a push up."

Nick went down and did a push up, then a one handed push up, then said, "That was still too easy. We'll have to try something harder. But OK, I'm really strong. What else can I do?"

Moe replied, "One of the more useful things you can do is identify other Scions by sight. You'll get a phantom smell whenever you see any other Scion and it will match their origin. That's now part of the basic Scion package."

Nick asked, "What's a Scion?"

Moe said, "It's an offspring of the Gods. Son or Daughter. I'm not sure what happens to grandchildren."

Nick thought about that for a moment and the implications seemed obvious enough that he had to ask, "We know both our parents. Are you saying Mom fooled around?"

Moe replied, "Actually No, she didn't, and No, we don't. Mom is sterile. 21 years ago they decided to go really old school and adopted the offspring of some distant relative. I say 'old school' because we were supposed to be Dad's kids. You know, like Sara in the bible, although it wasn't on the hand-maid. Turns out she had a boyfriend and that would be Horus. Officially there was no adoption, mom disappeared for a year and we were born in Egypt."

Nick digested this for a moment and thought about asking whether or not they'd made her sleep with Dad or whether they were talking about a prostitute.

After a moment he decided he didn't want to know. They were adopted, that was a truth he could live with.

Trying to find something else to talk about, Nick asked, "So what do the other groups smell like?"

Moe replied, "I don't know. I never had a chance to try it out for myself."

Nick said, "We're that rare? You never met another... Scion?"

Moe replied, "No, I did. But the 'Scent the Divine' Knack wasn't part of the basic package when I got killed. That was a recent addition. It's actually a big reason on why I got killed, I didn't know the person I was dealing with was a super-natural."

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Nick said, "Yeah, about that, I want to know exactly how you died and who killed you. Someone has to pay for that."

Moe responded, "Not right yet they don't. I'm not giving you a set of golf clubs, sending you against Tiger Woods, and letting you bet your life on the outcome. First you need to figure out what you can do."

Nick said, "Tiger Woods? He's that far up the food chain?"

Moe sighed and said, "Actually no, he, IT is not. Your gifts look a lot more forceful than mine. Gun, badge, sword? I think you're up to it, but not tonight brother. I'm not letting you go and get yourself stupidly killed."

Nick said slowly, "...OK..." *Not like I have a choice here anyway.* "...so let's talk about the tools."

Moe nodded approvingly and said, "Right. The gun you know about it. It's a real gun and fires real bullets, just like normal. Spiritually it's also a gateway into the Life and Death Purviews. Sorry, I meant to say the 'Health' and Death Purviews."

Nick asked, "What's a Purview? And what does Life and Death mean here?"

Moe said, "A Purview is a... Boon..." Moe paused at Nick's look of confusion and tried again. "A Purview is a power set over a concept or force. For example Death gives you the ability to speak to the dead and influence them, even destroy them, but at the moment your skill set only covers talking. And by the way this isn't a ranked thing. You don't need to learn how to summon Ghosts before you learn how to destroy them, but summoning takes a lot less power and is a lot easier to learn."

Nick nodded.

Moe continued, "Life, or Health as it's formally known, gives you influence on making people healthier or unhealthier. At the higher levels you can create or destroy plagues, that sort of thing. Go to the window and look outside at someone and you should be able to see if they're healthy or unhealthy."

Nick went to the window and after a moment said, "I see someone, but I don't see anything different about them. There's someone else, still nothing. Do I have to do something special"?

Moe replied, "No, the lowest level Health ability is supposed to be automatic and not require activation. It's an always on sort of thing. And if you can hear me then the relic is obviously active. You have to 'use' a relic to gain access to Purviews, but for a gun that thankfully doesn't mean actively shooting people."

Moe paused then shrugged and said, "OK Horus said you'd need a lot of guidance. We could spend a week or two trying to figure out what you can do, OR we can just check. Dad gave me a special one shot gadget that will imprint your soul and character on to this sheet of parchment. All I have to do is lay it on you and it will imprint."

Nick replied, "So you're going to print my character out onto a sheet?"

Moe said, "Exactly."

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Nick lay down and Moe carefully set up the paper so it was touching him correctly. Then there was a series of clicking and whirling sounds. Nick tried to see what was going on but from his position could only make out that dots were forming. Eventually Moe made a pleased sound and picked up the character print out. Nick got up and tried to read over his shoulder but couldn't make it out.

Moe said, "You can't read this yourself. It's forbidden, you're supposed to find out through trial, error, and being informed by the higher authorities which means I can guide you though."

"Now lets see... Pantheon: Pesedjet. Patron: Horus. No shocks there."

Nick asked, "What's Pesedjet?"

Moe responded, "That's us. Dad anyway. Egypt's gods. Thankfully they're the best informed of all the gods so I have great information, even access to the Books."

Nick thought, *Now there's a leading statement. I'm not sure if that's my brother being my brother and wanting to lecture or if he literally CAN'T volunteer some kinds of information. Whatever, I'll do the obvious and...* Nick asked, "What 'Books'?"

Moe said, "Reality itself is governed by certain rules. Most of them you already know, the laws of physics, etc. However the laws of magic are similar. There are RULES. They don't have to make sense, they just are. Learn about them, collect enough information about them, put them all into books, and you have the five rule books that govern how this reality works. Call them the rule books of Scion."

Moe continued, "The first one mostly deals with the basics, and that includes heroes like you, brother. Among other things they tell me how to read this sheet about your character."

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Moe stared at the scroll intently.

After a moment Nick asked, "So what does my character sheet say?"

Moe said, "I'm still going over the background."

Moe looked up at Nick and said in a half outraged voice, "You were a virgin until you were 17? You told me 15!"

Nick said, "Ah... yeah. There's a story there... when you and... hey, isn't that a little off topic?" *And hopefully will always be off topic* "About this 'Life' thing?"

Moe looked at a different part of the scroll and said, "Yeah. You don't have it. The Relic lets you do it so you could learn, but nine of your ten points went into Epic-Attributes and the tenth is letting you see me."

Moe checked a different part and continued, "Your bonus points don't let you do it either. Hey, you didn't increase your Legend rating?! A two? Good grief that's weak."

Nick said, "Wait a moment, Bonus Points? Ten Points? Legend rating? What are you talking about?"

Moe sighed and said, "Keep in mind that you're listening to the results of tens of thousands of years of observation and research by the Gods. They've seen tens of thousands of Scions grow and evolve, some of them all the way into gods. But most of this happened before the invention of the Printing press. Originally there were records on this in the mortal realm but they were burned in the Library of Alexandria."

Moe said, "A Legend rating is..., well in part it measures how famious you are, but it's really a measurement of your effect on reality itself.The higher the rating, the more pull on reality you have, and the more pull on you it has. This rating is a cap on your magical powers. The higher the rating itself is, the more power you potentially have access to. Most mortals have a Legend rating of zero. A few have a one. You have a two, that's as low as a Scion can get. Horus has a 10, that's 'god' level. I had a four." Moe looks very smug at that last statement.

Nonplussed, Nick said, "Wait, how did you get a four while I only have a two? We're twins!"

Moe said, "Which of us was school President? Valedictorian? Which of us has met the Presidents of both the United States and Egypt? Who was interviewed on national TV on his views of the Presidential election? Do you want me to go on?"

Nick said, "And all that makes you a four?"

Moe replied, "Well, that and paying fourteen bonus points."

Nick said, "Explain that. What's a 'bonus' point and why did you have more?"

Moe replied, "Bonus points, and Boon points, again are the result of thousands of years of observation. Most out of the box Scions have the same amount of 'Stuff', even if they manifest it in different ways. Life might not be fair, but when it comes to Ichor there's a metaphysical balance. A conservation of energy if you will. So I didn't get 'more', I just spent them differently."

Nick replied, "I don't remember spending any points at all or making any choices. Did Horus do this?"

Moe replied, "Actually no, or at least, I don't think so. Remember I said reality pulls on you? This is a good time to talk about Fate and Fate creatures."

Nick nodded. This should be good.

Moe continued, "There are other levels of reality, and other influences on reality, and I'm not talking about the Gods. Fate is very subtle and works even on them. Some schools of thought hold that Fate is not a single entity, that there are multiple Fate 'creatures' or 'players' of various levels of influence, and they're all moving us around like pieces on a chess board.

Nick said, "These players control us? I don't like the sounds of that."

Moe replied, "Control is a harsh word, I think we're only talking about a meta-physical stand point. It's one of those things we can't notice directly, any more than the characters in a book can judge who is reading it. But anyway, in theory these creatures are the ones who spend these points. Or the entire idea could be totally messed up, it's pretty out there."

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This was rapidly becoming a talk about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Nick waved his hand in frustration and said, "OK, back to reality such as it is. What can I do, and what do I need to work on?"

Moe replied, "You can see dead people and talk to them. You can't actually hurt them, but for the most part they can't hurt you either."

"You can jump pretty far, and survive any fall without injury. That last thing is a boon, i.e. a power, but not only does the boon say you can jump but so does the knack."

Nick asked, "What's a knack?"

Moe said, "I was coming to that. A knack is a special ability associated with one of your Epic-Attributes. A normal attribute is some thing that all mortals have. It's a measurement of strength, intelligence, appearance, or whatever. It's something they walk around with that's not a skill."

"Your player invested heavily in these, you have them all. It's possible that there's a mortal Olympic weight lifter who is stronger than you, but it's not likely."

Nick thought about that for a moment and said, "So you're saying I'm smarter than Einstein?"

Moe replied, "No, Einstein was one of us. Many of the big names historically were and pretty much all of the ones who got famous for talent. But you're smarter than anyone you're likely to meet who isn't also a Scion. Similarly you're not as Charismatic as Hitler for the same reason."

Nick stared for a moment, "Hitler was one of us? That's how he made it all happen?"

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Deeply embarrassed Moe said, "All means all and power can be misused. But, let's get back to guiding. A Knack is something you can do with an Epic-Attribute that's not connected to a Relic. And as your Epic-Attributes increase you'll get more Knacks."

"Right now, hmmm, you'll know when someone lies to you, you're good at dodging things, and you can with effort make yourself heal. Heightened sense of smell. Center of attention. You're an Instant Investigator, and you Learn fast."

"And you're going to need to learn fast because you're an idiot. How in gods name does a Scion have an Occult rating of zero? And your Piety rating is barely measurable!"

Moe looked up from the scroll and stared at his brother, "Zero? Let me guess, you were memorizing baseball scores? It never occurred to you that having some religious knowledge might be useful?"

Nick shrugged and said, "Not really. Baseball was important, I was going to go Pro. As a family we decided to not pray 5 times a day, and nothing bad seemed to happen. I decided that some of the rules weren't applicable any more and did the bare minimum. I don't drink, that rule made sense. I don't eat pork. Sometimes I fast and I figured I'd make a pilgrimage some day, but... well... it just never seemed important."

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Moe looked back at the sheet and commented, "Well, we'll have to work on that. At least you have an Academics rating. Of course you were forced to have that since you speak Arabic as well as English."

Nick felt the conversation was getting off track again and he didn't feel like finding out what an "Academics" rating was. Instead he commented, "I'm passable in Spanish too. But let's talk about power. I'm Mega-Strong. Did that book have any other comments about Mega-Strength?"

Moe replied, "No, you do not have Mega-Strength. You are not a Nova. Mega-Strength only exists on a different level of reality all together. You have Epic-Strength."

Nick decided he didn't want to know about other levels of reality and tried again, "OK, what did it say about Epic-Strength? How strong am I, how much stronger were you, and how much stronger is that thing that killed you?"

Moe looked a little uncomfortable and said, "Well, there are charts for this thing and if memory serves you can lift something like 1,150 pounds. That's 50 short of the mortal maximum by the way." In a transparent attempt to stall he added, "You know it's interesting that they don't have one chart for this. There's two and they're in different parts of the book, pages 126 and 181..."

Nick interrupted saying, "Moe, were you that much stronger than me with your twice as powerful Legend?"

Moe looked even more uncomfortable and said, "Well, I wasn't exactly 'stronger'. See you have Epic-Strength but I didn't."

Nick said, "Wait, I'm stronger? What happened to the more powerful part? What did all that extra Legend let you actually do?"

Moe said, "Lots of things. I had access to a much higher level of power than you do."

Finally seeing where this was going Nick said, "Access. Potential. What you mean is that it did nothing for you. It's a maximum, but that has nothing to do with how much money is actually in your wallet, right?"

Moe said, "Well... yeah."

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Nick felt a lot better at this news. Maybe dealing with his brother's killer would be easier than that Tiger Woods comment had indicated.

Nick said, "Moving on, I see a badge, boots, and... what is that? No, we'll do that last. What does the badge do?"

Moe said, "The badge makes you an ally with the police."

Nick replied, "... You have to be kidding me. My old badge did that. What, does it make it easier or something?"

Moe said, "Basically. You have police followers. I think Horus decided they were going to find out anyway so you might as well have official sanction to recruit cops."

Nick replied, "Recruit?"

Moe said, "You magically have ten followers, but I'm not sure how the rules on that work. That might be an average or it might just mean that the local police will tend to send in a crew."

Nick replied, "My sheet says I have ten police followers?"

Moe said, "Yes. That badge also gives you access to Justice and Heku."

Nick said, "And those are...?"

Moe said, "Power sets that you don't have yet. Skip for now?"

Nick said, "Big time. And the boots?"

Moe said, "The boots grant access to Sky and Psychopomp. Psychopomp I seriously like, it was my big power and one of the reasons I can come back now. It's a spiritual direction or map finder and it helps you move from place to place."

Nick said, "And let me guess, I don't have it now?"

Moe replied, "Pretty much. Sky is actually useful for you though, you have that one." Nick perked up at this. Moe continued, "You can fall any height without getting hurt, kind of a feather fall, and you can double your jump."

Nick said, "Falling is... nice I guess. You already said something about doubling my jump."

Moe replied, "No, that was from strength. With this the wind is always at your back and it's doubled again. Be careful about using it thought, right now your legend power pool is pretty small. That's a measure of how often you can bend reality."

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Nick's attention was suddenly razor sharp. He said carefully, "Tell me about this 'bending reality'."

Moe nodded and replied, "This leads into and explains several other topics too. Bending Reality is science talk. Basically when you twist the present you can change the future, specifically your own future. The old word for it is 'Fate'. Fate is really really subtle, but it's out there and it's as real as gravity. We can twist it to our benefit, but there can be side effects. At our level the side effects are mostly minor, rare, and temporary."

Moe added, "They're not all bad either. At the god level... the effects aren't that minor. Fate is the main reason why the gods aren't public any more. The Aesir, that's Odin and his gang, twisted reality so much they're Fated to die killing each other. They're trying to avoid that and the other gods are trying to avoid ending up like them."

Nick looked surprised at the mention of 'Odin' so Moe said, "And yeah, Odin is real. With magic mostly gone the Church tried to make things white or black. The reality is more like the real world. Multiple factions, multiple goals, multiple personalities, and with real power and seriously important goals and damn little law, it's complicated and messy. This is why all the gods use Scions to do their stuff. Think of the USA and USSR's nuclear stand off. They're just too powerful to be effective."

Moe said, "Something I should mention is that just by being a Scion, you're Fated to live an interesting life. Let's say you go into a candy store. If someone, anyone, was planning on robbing that candy store, they're going to pick the time you're there. Seriously Weird Luck, and all the time."

Moe paused to see how Nick was taking this and Nick silently digested it for a few moments. To Nick's surprise it was easy to see the ramifications. Nick said, "Fate... you mean destiny. So if there's some bozo destined to kill me, if I move out of town, he'll move too by coincidence. If someone accidentally fires a bullet a mile away it's going to land on me?"

Moe said, "That's the general idea, but 'kill' is pretty hard for a mortal and a insanely extreme result for a Scion. I'm not sure we can get results like that. There's basically two levels to this. First is this weird luck, and by the way it's mostly in our favor. Fate likes us."

Moe leaned forward and stressed, "Seriously watch out if 6 Scions all accidentally decide to visit the same music store at the same time though. If that happens you need to worry about why Fate thinks it's a good idea. That's not to say you can be stupid if you don't see 5 cousins. Wear your vest like you're going to get into a gun fight, odds are you will."

Moe continued, "As for the second level, that's called Fate Binding and it basically does what it says. Other people, mortals mostly, are bound to have an influence on you. Some good, some bad. We'll worry about this more when your Legend store rises to three."

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Nick nodded and said, "OK, Rome was not build in a day. So tell me about that stick. Sword. Whatever it is."

Moe said, "Like the gun it's a copy of your mundane police issue."

Nick interrupted saying, "So if I have to hand in my gear, I hand back the unmagical stuff. Got it. But why do I see an after image of a sword?"

Moe answered, "Horus told me that it's got the spirit of the sword I used in it."

Nick asked, "You used a sword?"

Moe replied, "I didn't say I was really good at it. You're the semi-Pro baseball nut. Any way, normal people are going to see it as a police stick. I'm not sure if it's Death Sight or just being a Legendary creature that allows you to see it's spirit."

Moe added, "And that brings us to my final mission, the one that got me killed. The blade isn't quenched yet. If you put some of this creature's blood on it, you'll open a spirit door to war. There's rules on how to find the creature and how to treat it and all that, but we can go over that later."

Nick said, "Those books on reality and legend, they have monster listings?" Moe nodded. Nick said, "Good. What do they say about that bear thing that killed you."

Moe said, "Nothing. It must be home brew."

Nick said, "What do you mean, 'Nothing'? If my character sheet tells you every time I've wiped my ass, then they have to tell you about the other side too."

Moe said, "Well... they're not so much 'rules' of magic. It's more like 'guidelines'."

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