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This is hard to put in words.
Spirits, so much has happened… Metaquests are nothing for light hearts, that much I can tell you.
But let’s do this from the start. One of the very important points on my long to-do list was to clean the old fertilizer plant. I owed it to Glitzy, the little earth spirits, myself…
And by ‘clean’ I mean really clean. Letting the astral space recover, heal spiritual wounds and all that. The Draco Foundation happily threw a dead president’s money at me for doing something good, so the hardware for the job wasn’t a problem.
The mechanical part went as well as expected, but there were two angry toxics who didn’t appreciate our efforts.
Sometimes… Well, sometimes, I think too simple. I was expecting trouble, sure, but when I started this, a dirty camping trip with my friends, some bonding and beating up evil spirits was kinda what I had in mind.
Instead, we had to literally kick ass and take names.
True names are a powerful thing. We found the home plane of Ytong and his big sister and Chris helped us getting there to either turn them, or end them. Well, the plan was to do a practice run on Ytong, mainly because he didn’t seem too far gone.
Pro tip: do a spellcheck when recovering a true name, ‘cause ours wasn’t Ytong’s but that of his older sibling, so we basically showed up on a Vespa to a monster truck race.
I’m tough to break. In body as well as in mind, but I have to give that fairy tale world we got thrown into a lot of credit for trying.
Couldn’t use my powers, had no real plan, and everything, cutesy as it was in appearance, was trying to kill us.
It’s kinda humbling and an enlightening perspective to walk the boots of, well, normal, non-magical, people, using your brain and what limited advantages you have. Guess that’s part of the experience-package when you’re on a metaquest.
We did good. Together and each in our own, might wanna call it unique, way.
Everyone pulled their weight and when one of us stumbled, the others picked them right up.
You’re probably waiting for me to spill the darker stuff. Gimme a few minutes, okay?
I need a drink.
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I wouldn’t really call myself an optimist. More like, confident or stoically positive and/or determined..
But at times it’s hard to convince my people that we aren’t going to die, or fail. ‘specially when Zach has another episode, not to mention Nebraska’s “let’s do shit!” attitude that would easily legitimate a redefinition of the phrase “blind actionism”.
Stan and Jet usually just need a little nudge in the right direction to roll with whatever we come up with.
But it’s tough work anyway.
I really wasn’t at my A-game on this one. I tried to keep it together but I’d lie if I said my head was clear. And with my powers stripped I was probably overly cautious and bent on survival.
So here’s a quick summary of the less horrifying shit that went down:
Nebraska almost got lost in the metaplanes when fairies tried to kidnap her. Also, her face almost got eaten by a giant frog mutant. Straight up cut that fucker’s head off.
I faced my worst childhood nightmare, we got strongarmed by a witch (more than once, but I’ll get to that later), got sliced and stabbed by metal bird feathers, I almost choked on a spoon, on purpose, killed myself twice, also on purpose and duked it out with a Cat 8 toxic. There was also this thing when I ate magical apples that let you see the past and future, for a price of course.
Not exactly business as usual, but something I can roll with.
No, the real pain started when I found Rook in one of the many layers of this metaplanar clusterfuck. Maybe she was just a figment of my imagination, or a trick by that other Crow to get me, but having my partner back only to lose her again… It’s like waking up from a vivid dream… This primal, desperate anger when you realize that whatever you had a few seconds ago…well, you never had it to begin with.
We made it, though. Well, obviously.
My people showed what they’re made of, when push came to shove. They cleansed the spirit’s lair and made her vulnerable by being the conduit for some kinda artifact. It drained them, but it also send them home, with some scars, but alive.
And I got to punch a toxic spirit out of existence after giving another one a shot at redemption.
But you know what they say… claiming your victories is just a clever way of forgetting your failures.
And that’s where the true pain continues…
Back on our plane, the first thing, after making sure my crew was okay, was to break it to my girl that for the apples we needed to turn Ytong, I had to play one night of spiritual callboy for Baba Yaga. You know, that witch.
Believe me when I say there are far worse ways to pay a powerful being like her. She even had the decency to shapeshift into a younger, far less creepy version of herself, so, yeah, it wasn’t horrible at all. Also, knowing Kiki’s tradition, I figured it wasn’t something that would strain what we have too much.
Fuck, was I wrong. It hit her hard. Way too hard for something like this.
I mean, I do ridiculously dangerous shit all the time, get stabbed and shot on a regular basis and generally live a life that’d make insurance agents pop an artery if they ever found out.
We patched things up, but the dents and cracks are there.
To add injury to…injury I guess… I got the bill from Baba Yaga for one of those apples I ate by accident. Yeah, just work with me here, okay?
I got cursed with aggressive and negatively charged psychometry or something, or frankly: I relived the really, really bad things peopled experienced simply by touching them.
As an empathic healer, I’m used to that kinda backlash, but Spirits, this was tough stuff. Don’t think I would’ve last a week like that.
So the next hook right into the guts for her was that we wouldn’t be able to even touch each other.
Lotta tears and screaming and despair.
I can relate, but that’s not how I roll.
Get up, dust yourself off, come up with something. There simply is no quit in people like us, as my Dad always said.
Didn’t want to leave everything behind or throw myself into a null-zone, so I used my Crow-nections to meet up with Baba Yaga, trying to soften up this tally a bit.
As the trainee of one of the best diplomats, – by which I mean con-artist – I’ve ever met, I know when I walk into a no-win situation. I was in for a full-force kick to the balls. All I could hope for was that I at least get a cup.
That actually worked. Now I owe seven services to her. She can call them in at any time.
Don’t worry, got some failsafes written into this contract. Can’t hurt my family in any way, won’t straight up murder people… stuff like that.
Isn’t the worst gig, though everybody who knows this seems pretty worried.
But… you know.. Get enough things breathing down your neck and you become kinda numb to those kinds of concerns.