Genesis/Metamorphosis

Faerie tales from beyond the veil to the streets of RhyDin

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Bailey Raptis
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Genesis/Metamorphosis

Post by Bailey Raptis » Tue May 14, 2019 11:54 pm

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
(John 1:1)

"Well, God said something but didn't mean it
Everyone's life ends but no one ever completes it
Dry or wet ice, they both melt and you're equally cheated"
(Modest Mouse, "Dark Center of the Universe")

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Bailey Raptis
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Re: Genesis/Metamorphosis

Post by Bailey Raptis » Wed May 15, 2019 1:48 pm

May 14, 2019
Hugo's Tacos


The warmth of spring had come to RhyDin, bringing with it a breeze that kept pushing Jewell’s glamoured hair into her face as she tried to eat a taco. Bailey had stressed the need for discretion, so Jewell was sporting blonde locks—wiping her hands off on a napkin and twisting it all up into a messy bun—as she sat at Hugo’s and waited for the Archmage. The place was bustling, as promised, with packs of teenagers recently set free from their educational prison. The Empress paid them little mind, devouring a pork and pineapple taco and washing it down with a Badsider as she waited for Bailey to arrive.

Bailey’s late arrival probably wouldn’t have shocked his friends and colleagues in the fashion industry, who, even three years after his firing from L.D. 50, still viewed him as the enfant terrible of RhyDin’s haute couture. What would have surprised them was his ordinary outfit: plain blue jeans, black combat boots, a faded green crewneck t-shirt, and burgundy leather gloves. He hadn’t even bothered with makeup, save for a neutral lip gloss that likely went unnoticed by most passers-by on the streets. Unless they were magically inclined, they would also miss the way his glamour flickered, cut in and out and provided true glimpses of his mien.

Even in a crowd, even with hair dyed (or glamoured) blonde, Bailey easily spotted Jewell. He wanted to believe it was his keen vision that picked her out among the teenagers taking advantage of Taco Tuesday at Hugo’s, but he’d be lying to himself. The Empress had a magnetic pull -- that damned glamour -- and so he found himself taking a seat at her table with butterflies in his stomach. “Good afternoon, Jewell. Sorry I am late.”

She likely didn’t make it any better when she smiled at him, all coral lipgloss and genuine friendliness and always that touch of magic tucked away in the corner. “Hey! No problem. Just don’t hold it against me that I started without you. It smelled so good, I couldn’t wait.” Jewell politely just picked at the second taco on her tray now though, tearing off a piece of tortilla and popping it in her mouth as she asked curiously, “Isn’t it a little warm for gloves?” For her part, she was in a breezy summer dress and sandals. It was never too early in the year to start showing skin.

“Allergies.” The waitress stepped up to the table right when Bailey seemed ready to explain further. Instead, he placed an order with her for battered fish tacos and a water. Even when she drifted well out of earshot, Bailey lowered his voice and leaned across the table as he continued his thought for Jewell. Something there -- her recent kindness, or the tug of magic -- drew the admission out of him much faster than he anticipated. “Cold iron.” Two simple words that held heavy weight for the two. A weakness for the Fae, and the material with which Bailey’s sword and knife were forged. A sword and knife he had fought with for years with no apparent side effects. As if realizing their conversation’s quick turn to serious matters, Bailey backpedaled with a forced smile. “Do not worry about starting to eat early -- it does smell quite good.”

Her smile faltered a little at the explanation, and she couldn’t help the way her right hand drifted up over the spot just beneath her ribs where Kal had stabbed her. “Nothing quite like that cold burn.” Questions cropped up in her mind rapidly--namely just how Bailey could suddenly be so sensitive to iron--but she left them unasked for now as she washed away the momentary bitter taste in her mouth with a swig of Badsider. “So what’s up?” Since he had said she needn’t worry about starting to eat, she moved in on the second taco (fried avocado), ready to listen.

Bailey adjusted his gloves, eyes drifting momentarily toward the tacos. His gaze remained there even while he made his inquiry. “I have a question for you, Jewell. How were you created?” Color touched his cheeks slightly as he followed up, “I mean, I know all about the, , the singers and the stingers…”

Her eyes widened and it took quick work with a napkin to prevent the bite of taco she had just taken from falling out of her mouth as she coughed and laughed. “Singers and stingers?” she gasped out, trying not to choke and quickly taking another sip of Badsider. “I think that’s uh… the birds and the bees? Though I never understood that because I’m pretty sure they can’t uh… well,” she made a crass gesture. “But as far as I know, I was created the singer and stinger way.” She grinned just a little at him.

“Yes, that.” His cheeks reddened further as she corrected his misplaced metaphor and kept discussing it, complete with a demonstration. “I suppose all that is logical, as opposed to vampires, some lycanthropes…” Bailey drifted off, his thoughts darting in two separate directions. “I thought maybe it was something more mythic, more...like a god.” He became quiet as he looked up at her. “Like you were always just there. Maybe the other Others are - have you heard of anyone becoming Fae through means other than birth?”

Tap tap tap. Her pointer finger nail beat out a rhythm on the side of her Badsider bottle as she thought over that. “I think…” Jewell huffed out a sigh and slouched in her seat a bit. This was taxing her brain and there was a memory, fleeting on the edge of her mind and then gone the second she reached for it, of Elsewhere. “I think Mallory could have become Fae… or at least fae-like if she had chosen that path. But I also think we are not all created or born the same. I exist elsewhere from here, if that makes sense.” She stared off at something over his shoulder. “I exist in the spirit planes as well. The astral planes. I can walk those with this body, though it is different. And when… if I die,” she looked back at him again, her smile a little sad, “it is a different death than my mortal friends. I will live on in the Deep Dreaming or maybe even somewhere else. There is a part of me that will carry on beyond this place and time. That is eternal.”

Again, the waitress returned just as Bailey was about to speak. He thanked her and took a few quick bites from his fish tacos as Jewell discussed Fae mortality. After politely wiping some loose cabbage from his mouth, he nodded and spoke up. “Last fall, after that underground rave, I...traveled to the Hedge. And I met someone there, who claimed that he killed a Fae and became One himself. He claimed that I could do the same -- asked me if I would do so.”

Jewell arched a brow and there was the hint of a smile on her lips, “I thought you said you weren’t going to kill me…” She let the joke linger between them a moment before asking more seriously, “Do you believe him?” She didn’t ask the more important question yet: Do you want to believe him?

And why?
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Bailey Raptis
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Re: Genesis/Metamorphosis

Post by Bailey Raptis » Wed May 15, 2019 2:11 pm

“I told him that, even if I wanted to kill you -- which I do not, truly -- that I have sworn an oath of loyalty to you.” Bailey sipped his water, nibbled some more of his tacos, and went on. “In the words of my friend Per, I think he’s full of shit. Max and I watched this movie once -- Max is my roommate -- where half of it is just men in kilts talking about killing each other to gain each others’ powers. I think B-BO1 huffed too much of his spray paint and watched that movie too many times and got it confused with reality. But that might be a crimson fish --” Bailey’s head tilted from side to side, and he chuckled to himself before continuing, “ -- red herring. I have no proof that he killed a Kindly One, just his word and the fact that he knew of Their weakness, which, let us be honest, is not precisely the multiverse’s best kept secret. But (and we can certainly discuss what level of threat he poses to you later) my selfish worry is that something is happening to me.”

“Because you killed a sídhe?” she asked with casual curiosity, trying to pick up what was left of her taco before giving in and grabbing a fork out of the holder to try and scoop the scattered remains of it with that instead.

“No, and that is God’s honest truth. I can speculate -- that it has something to do with me using magic -- but I have no solid evidence of that. Despite our detente, I am still something of a persona non grata with the Stolen Ones, and Lyeorn never went over anything like this with me.” Bailey looked slightly annoyed as he wiped his gloved hands clean with a paper napkin.

Her brow furrowed as she shoveled a bit of remaining avocado taco into her mouth and thought that over. “That is… strange. But perhaps maybe not. In a way, you may be channeling the energy, power, magic -- whatever you want to call it -- of the NeverNever right through you. I imagine that would change a person, no? How could it not. It is meant to be used by us, but we do not really use magic. We are magic. So for someone who isn’t…” Jewell trailed off, but the gist of what she was getting at was hopefully obvious.

He crumpled the napkin up into a ball, picking up the pace some with the tacos in front of him. At the right moment, he chimed back in. “The more I use magic, the more I use glamour, the more I become magic and glamour.”

“Exactly.” Jewell pushed the tray towards the center of the table. She had done an impressive job of getting most of the crumbs. “I’ve never seen it happen, but I also haven’t had many dealings with Stolen Ones outside of Faerie. It makes sense though. And if you have developed allergies…” she nodded to his hands before shaking her head, “kind of crazy.”

“So the obvious solution,” he ended up repeating it twice, after his first attempt was muffled by a mouthful of taco. “The obvious solution is to stop using magic, and to stop wielding a weapon made of cold iron.”

The devil was in her grin, “Or kill a faerie.”

He matched that grin, after a swig of water. “Or someone who thinks he is one. I confess, I had...a lot of other things on my plate, that I could not really pursue that…” The word slipped away from him, and he looked to Jewell for help filling in the blank.

“Opportunity?”

“Yes, I suppose it is, in a sense.” Bailey scratched at his nose as he thought about it. “But now...with the court off of my back, I can...figure out why someone is so hell-bent on killing the Fae, and in me becoming one.”

“People always want to kill the Fae,” she shrugged. “The second part is strange. Unless they know it’s not going to work.”

Bailey’s fingers massaged his scalp as he remembered the night he met B-BO1. “Most Taken want nothing to do with the Gentry. We move heaven and earth to stay beneath Their notice. Very few of us ever interact with Faerie willingly, let alone work against Them, so if you were looking to get a Stolen One to behave in that way, you had better offer a damn good incentive. I think B-BO1 believes that I want to become Fae -- that is his carrot.”

“Become a Fae to work against the Fae? Seems silly.” Jewell lifted her Badsider and finished it off. “Do you even want to? Become Fae, I mean.”

“Not if you want to replace them,” Bailey said, before picking up his last taco to devour it quickly. It gave him time to contemplate her question. When he finally answered it, he couldn’t quite look her in the eye -- his eyes focused on the teens filtering out after having their fill of tacos, replaced by young college students taking advantage of Hugo’s happy hour. His answer was a dodge, and he knew it. “What I want is to be left alone, but I fear I never will be. Sandman may have brokered a truce, but Glesni and those who support her -- those who believe I am firmly in Arcadia’s pocket -- will come for me soon enough. Or B-BO1. Or the Snake. Or the Sculptor. I do not know what choice I have, or if I even have one.”

Jewell understood the desire to be left alone. She understood it so keenly that her heart constricted hearing Bailey utter those words and his fears, so it was with fellow feeling that she gave him her cockiest grin, “If you’re gonna be Fae you gotta think Fae. Just do what I do -- put yourself in a position so you’re pretty much invincible and burn those mother fuckers down one by one as they come for you.”

The comment brought out one of Bailey’s sharper smiles, all teeth and eyes that glowed briefly with the burst of emotion across the table. “I suppose...that is what I am aiming to do.”

Before he could elaborate any further, the waitress came back to gather their empty plates. “Would you like dessert, or just the check?” she asked the pair. Bailey looked across the table at Jewell, turned to the server briefly, and looked back to Jewell.

“It is up to her. Would you like to hear the latest Benson Boulevard gossip? If so, I will have a Badsider. If not, then a check will be fine.”

“Make that two Badsiders and some churros.” She confided to Bailey, “I never say no to gossip!”

With an elbow rested on the table, the Archmage leaned over with a conspiratorial grin on his face. “Well, the word on the Boulevard is that…”

((Written with Jewell's player, with many thanks!))
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