Log:Truth and Boundaries, Michigan
The night is filled with people moving about in confusion. Many a roustie are checking things over. Meanwhile a black cat slinks through the shadows. Golden eyes gleaming as it scents the air. Looking for a particular person among the chaos. One who, you know, tends to like it. At least if Leona knows tricksters, and she's dealt with Set, he likely will be here watching the show.
The muse is still more than a little disoriented from the sudden change of venue. The difference in the stars is subtle, but it is enough to affect her on a profound level: her grace flags, and she seems marginally out of joint, as though her balance is simply off-kilter by a degree. Like she might walk in an immense circle if she tried a long enough straight line. It's likely why she hangs on to Loki the Cat, letting him steer their collective ship as she meanders slowly along the transplanted path to the games, through fresh, untrodden grass. She's still wearing her robe and travel clothes, barely a step above what she likely sleeps in, having been ready to sleep through the trek.
Low-Key is the impossible cat. He is a he, and very calico, wearing a lovely little burnished orange bow-tie with white polka-dots. He is a very handsome bastard indeed. With one blue and one grey eye peering out at the chaos as everyone starts to fix themselves. He seems...accepting of the current way he's being carried, especially because it just takes a little tail thwack against Urania's lovely cheek to make her turn this way or that way to get a better sight at the utter entropy that their camp has devolved into. Of course he'll perk a little at the sight of a slinky black cat with golden eyes. Insert the tom-cat version of wolf-whistling, singing the song of his people in greeting.
Other than a mild case of the spins, Holden took the change with pleasure. He laid in the grass until his Children and family were all accounted for. Now, Edie is taking Holden through the grounds, more or less to prove that it's the same as usual...but with grass! And cool air! And it's not dry! He's not even wearing his googles on his person. What is different about Holden is how light he seems. He and Edie are laughing at something /he/ has said. "..and that's why I like the red hair for town!"
Leona stops from sniffing at the corner of a game table. One the trickster possibly frequents. Turning about she gives it a marking spray before turning those golden eyes to the whistle. That long tail, fluffy as her scruff is, slashes the air. With a sniff she comes to stand right in front of Urania and her driver. "I've been looking for you," She says in a rumbling, impossible, voice. Eyes on Low-Key likely means she is speaking to him, rather than the Muse.
Urania? Oblivious, save for the occasional tail-flick. She doesn't overtly recognize it as steering, but then, she's dizzy. Her coordinates changed. Her stars changed. All of her points of reference are ajar. The result is, she seems tipsy, on the whole, and she scritches the cat draped over her shoulder absently all the while, oblivious to his antics until the yowl gives her pause. "What?" Pause. "I am not getting you cotton candy like this. I'm not. Not again. I don't care how upside-down the ground is. You got it everywhere the last time, and you didn't even have fur then."
She is, like most, having a completely different conversation with the cat than Loki the Cat is actually trying to have. It's Holden's good cheer that snaps her head around, causing her cheek to collide with his perched form, filling her nose with fluff. But then, there is another cat. A black cat. A lucky cat. And woe betide the superstitious soul that doesn't mark the words of a talking lucky cat.
Low-Key is only a little brought down by the fact that Leona already seems to be seeking him. There's a press of his paws into Urania's front to bring his upper torso in a lift so he can look upon the black cat with both differently colored eyes. His head tilts to the side some in curiosity and he blinks once, and then twice. "I see," comes the perfectly charming croon of the tom with a hint of purr. Turning into Urania's cheek he headbunts her rather squarely before his head tilts to the side and slides under her jaw with a little hufflepurr meant to soothe her angst over cotton candy. It's also a way to get her to stop walking long enough for him to leap down. Landing on all fours, he tail-flicks once and then sits rather regally, "Is it a threat talk? I'm afraid I've already filled my punch card for threats of hanging, drowning, stabbing, punching, clawing, shooting, and being turned into jerky."
"Cats are talking. Should we leave?" Edie says to Holden. He laughs. "No. Well...which cats?" He pauses a beat. "Doesn't matter. Let's stay."
Leona blinks slowly at Low-Key and her tail waves slowly behind her. For now she seems calm. "How about having your tail bit off?" She says dryly and with the quirk of her brow-whiskers. "You make a handsome feline, Loki...but there -are- some boundaries that I would appreciate you respect if you're to...keep it up," She lets out a bit of a sigh. It almost sounds like she is reluctant in being amenable. But that might be because she's had time to consider. As Eddie and Holden come up she turns her head towards them. Briefly she is distracted and goes to headbump Holden's feet. Waiting for him to stop walking first. "Good evening, Holden...assistant," She turns back to the calico expectantly now, having greeted his nephew.
He's just really cuddly like this, she can't help herself! Urania mumbles the mumble of someone who seems to have forgotten, for the moment, that the contented furball perched on her chest and shoulder is actually Loki. It's the headbutt; it's magic unto itself. "Yes, yes, I'll let you down," she mumbles into his fur before she leans to give him a better angle to jump down. Her standing straight again could still use some work, as she has to counterbalance for the change in weight now, as well. That's all that kept her from the circles. "Hello, Holden!" she greets with a fair measure of cheer; it's that or confusion, and seeing him in high spirits for once suggests the former. It's true, as well; she's glad to see him in a fine mood. "I find that any time cats are talking, it's worth listening." Still teetering, she fwumphs backward to rest her rump on a stretch of fence, planting herself in place, arms crossed lightly over her chest to see how this all plays out.
Low-Key glances over at his nephew and keeper for a moment, those alternate eyes taking in this world and the other for a long moment before he prrts and yawn-meows a greeting at Holdr and Edie. Of course he'll sit up a lil straighter for being called handsome, he knows it, but you can keep telling him all you want. With Urania down on the ground it's a perfect time for him to twist around and quite easily step up into her lap with a low rumbly-purr before he's tilting his head into her chest and rub-rubbing until she takes up the task of petting him. Of course his eyes find Leona again rather quickly, he isn't attempting to invite her wrath...just yet. "Boundaries?" he asks rather to the point, if a bit skeptical. Ever tried to box a trickster into something?
"Hello! Lovely location we're having, yeah?" He says so, so brightly. He says to Edie, "The cats are usually Egyptians. They can be so fussy." And then, Loki speaks and Holden does something he hasn't done since the Time Before.
"Hello, Uncle! Leona should know better than to box you in." Holden laughs. It's surreal.
"Simple really. If you're going to be playing your...games in -my- form then you must remember to do it with style. And give -me- proper respect like all my other children," Leona says with all the regal bearing of the Queen of Cats. Black whiskers go forward in a feline smile before turning to look up at Holden again. The black cat gives a sniff and those golden eyes narrow. "Hardly a box. Every cat has their territory and demands respect within it. And...I am -not- fussy!"
Urania, dutiful person-shaped slave, indeed pets the cat like it's a deeply ingrained subroutine running in her brain she can't prevent. Even if she looks like a teenager, she is an old lady. She has three or more cats at any given time. She knows her role. Even a deity can't escape it. There's a lap full of mussed silk, and cats are chatting in front of her. Just a Tuesday, at the carnival. The grass is new, a fact she seems to keep re-discovering every two minutes. "It really is beautiful here," she agrees with Holden, though she looks uneasily between him and the calico for a moment more, before falling silent. No interrupting the lucky black cat.
Low-Key blinks oh so slowly up at Holdr as he seems cheery(?) towards himself for a moment. Must be an effect of the teleportation, yes that's it. Clearly. Confusion doesn't last terribly long before he simply rolls with it and purrs, "Greetings, Holden," he manages with confidence. Of course there's a bit of disdain from him as well, "We're not fussy," he insists. Recieving due pets and scritches distracts him only momentarily before he chrrps a little bit and perks up again, remembering the discussion. "My step-mother was quite clear about the same, my dear, there is everything and nothing at all to worry about," he assures before finally leaping from Urania's lap to saunter a bit closer to Leona, sniffing curiously if somehow with a hint of reverence.
"See! Fussy. Because I called them fussy." Holden says and Edie giggles. She has one /hell/ of a crush on Holden. But that is common among the Children. "Also, this is why I prefer dogs. Cats have moods. Like women." He smirks and Edie blushes.
Leona stays where she sits as Loki approaches her and those whiskers come forward again pleased. "That is good to hear. As long as such things are clear and you understand that if you...get caught in trouble in this form you'll be subject to -my- courtly judgement as well as whatever else?" There is even a pleased little rumble in her voice that could be a low-key purr. Holden's comment only gets a rude tail slash that probably only the other feline understands.
The muse certainly knows her role, and lets the handsome calico go once he's received the designated number of pettings. To do anything else would be inappropriate, particularly in present company. "He really is charming as a cat, isn't he?" she asks, oddly hopeful. She did, however, hear the remarks made earlier when Cedric made it back to camp, and while she doesn't know the fullness of their history here, she can feel the difference keenly. The muse is normally fussy herself, but everything is skewed to the left. She's still reeling from the shift in location; her stars are all wrong, and her connection to them becomes all the more evident with how disjointed everything about her suddenly seems to be.
Low-Key gives a similar tail-flick as Leona at his nephew's insistence on fussy. His furry chest can be seen to rise and fall in something that might be akin to a sigh. There are already plans of putting a cat brain in a dog body just to fuck with his nephew. It's when she starts speaking of her courtly judgment and 'whatever else' that he sniffs once. The tail-slash is rather obvious and he chuffs lowly. "Darling, I only ever get caught when I want to," which, if Holden was thinking clearly, would be a bombshell. "I will at least make sure you have a say in whatever court decides to drag me along, will that suit?" he wonders.
The look on Edie's face means /she's/ thinking clearly. She holds her god a little tighter. "You guys know I'm kidding, right? Dia has a kitten she thinks she's hiding from me. I do love cats and even trickster cats." Smile. Beam.
Leona's tail returns to slow weaving behind her as she considers a few heart beats. Then her pointed black head nods once. "Yes, that will do," She says with a little trill at the end of her words. A pleased sound. With business done she again returns her attention to Holden. "You are...in an odd mood. Pleasant...but odd," Her tail tip twitches in that way cats do when suspicious or curious.
There is an odd look when even the lucky black cat notices the shift in Holden's temperament, and the muse flicks a glance to each of them in turn. "I hope," Urania says quietly, glancing to the lucky cat -- maybe wishing on her, even -- "it keeps." It won't. She has to know that. But she can hope. "So much hinges on us all working together. Helping each other through this." It's a lucid thought, even if her words slur by a fraction. "So much means... moving forward. Not looking back."
Low-Key will stalk closer now, his soundless feet padding through the grass with that supernatural grace of felines. When he reaches Leona, he'll sniff once and then rub his cheek against hers now that they have a feline accord. That touch turns only slightly flirtatious as the rest of him winds by and his tail tip tickles at her nose on his way closer to Holden. Eventually he sits down in front of the man and meows rather bluntly. "What has happened to him recently?" he asks of Holdr's keeper more than the god himself. The calico is squinting as Urania talks of working together and he nods. "Yes, well, live for millenia and I suppose you have little else to do but remember greivances. Too many of them don't understand oblivion."
Edie doesn't want to say. Her expression is torn and pained but Holden takes over. "I'm been feeling...I mean, it was dangerous and I was scared but in the middle of all of the stuff in town, with the radio? I completely forgot how I went blind. Which startled me a little and I said something. Nils said it was uh, illness. So..." He shrugs a little but this moment of clarity crosses his expression. "Wait. That...doesn't make sense. My Children...it's all about forgiveness but how--" Edie yanks Holden's arm and says, "You are thinking too much! Just trust Nils, okay?"
Leona swipes her rough feline tongue alone Low-Key's rough in turn as he rubs along on his way past. A little wrinkle of her nose at that tickle, but her feline smile doesn't fade. She turns around to follow curiously after him and sit and stare at Holden as well. At least her own eyes are golden and -mostly- normal for a cat.. "Well, I do agree working together is the best course of action...I do not think I have heard you address your Uncle directly before, either." She glances at Urania and Edie for verification of her obsercation. "So if this is that, and forgiveness, then well done. I suppose love is having a better effect than I had hoped."
"People think there's a grand and glorious tomorrow and the cycle will just all begin anew," Urania explains to the calico cat in all seriousness, like this is completely normal. "I don't think most of us understand yet that this time, it's different." Her eyes sink closed. "Even I wanted to believe that it was perhaps just a dream, but the woman? The one that moved the carnival to where we are now?"
The muse sighs heavily as her eyes sink closed. "She was in the dream. She told me. She said that once, she had a son, and he was raised to shoulder a terrible burden. That he wasn't given a choice, and that it was important that we do."
"I want to see us all survive." A single eye opens, and she peers at the others, human and feline-shaped alike. "It means choosing the road ahead, not the past. If we could still live there? It would be different."
"But we can't," she murmurs, with no small amount of loss in her voice. "Not any more."
Low-Key is nothing if not pragmatic, there is something to be said for his refusal to pull the wool over the eyes when it doesn't suit his purposes. In fact when he's being honorable and telling the truth, most people just assume lies - represents a very narrow view of the world! His tail flick-flicks in concern as Leona comes to join him in staring up at Holdr. "I regret to inform you that you did it to yourself, my boy. A fool-hardy and rather youthful moment of self-pity, but none-the-less..." he pauses a moment and continues, "You witnessed me do something you've never forgiven me for despite the lessons it taught you and your siblings. But I won't have you parade around in a lie of someone else's making," because that's his job. Thus he understands the Queen of Cats when she makes such demands. Urania earns a glance over his shoulder and he prrts softly, "Yes my dear, we need to look to the future, I have ideas." Oh that malevolent smile...
Edie does something unexpected. She slaps a cat. A few times. Like a flurry of angry swats. "Why! He was happy! Look at him, you asshole! He's so miserable!" Meanwhile, Holden stands still, his eyes darting back and forth as he thinks. He /knows/ it's true but... "I really don't remember doing that." He pauses and sighs. "Sounds like something I'd do. Grand gesture." Beat. "And I found the scars around my eyes so--Edie? What are you doing?"
Leona continues to stare at Urania thoughtfully. "I will see that everyone has the chance to forge their roads. I know what path to take for myself, and it is one that has always been. Others..." A subtle side-glance at Holden, "Do not have such clear cut roads." She lets out a feline sigh before returning to peer first at Loki and then Holden and then Edie. Merely curious as to how all this will play out. She licks a paw and begins to groom behind one ear. "Please, miss, do desist before claws sever your ability to delivery such assault. The truth is not easy, but we cannot let our enemy deceive us," Her voice is lazy as she grooms.
That single open eye closes. The muse does not want to watch what's coming next. It won't be pretty; that much she knows for certain. Beyond that? She's flying blind. Not a typical state for Urania, but the God of Hold My Beer has a way of being entirely unpredictable. He throws off more than different stars could ever hope to manage.
"I don't know if that was honorable, or devastatingly stupid," she murmurs, brows rising, eyes still decidedly closed. "Maybe both." Superstitious to the last, she crosses her fingers.
And yet, it goes better than expected. Enough so that in spite of the cat-slapping, which she rouses herself just enough to somewhat prevent by offering a cage of extended arms for the big tom to shelter under should he choose, she opens her eyes and looks to Holden with a spark of earnest hope in her eyes.
Low-Key mrowls rather piteously after the first smack and then promptly high-tails it - literally - back behind Leona so that the fierce follower has to go around another cat to smack him any more, only to retreat back to Urania's waiting arms. There's a hiss at Edie and his tail flick-flicks annoyedly. "Happiness based on a pretty lie is misery and ruin held back by a wall of reeds!" he catterwalls at Edie before looking at Hodr and nodding, "Not remembering is fine, but knowing the truth is key. You are family, always have been, and if it took your memory taking a fart to have my nephew back, then so be it - but I won't pretend you were happy with me. But perhaps between your wedding gifts and this you can at least start to forgive me, and we can survive into the new world together."
Edie rushes back to Holden's side. He holds her close and strokes her hair. "What did you do to make me harm myself so?" Edie has this one, whispering it in his ear. They don't speak of Baldr weakness aloud. Holden looks absolutely horrified. "Uncle, why would you poison Baldr? Did you know I would shoulder the blame because I handed it to him?" Wounded. That's Holden right now. Wounded all over again. "Why? Beloved and Beautiful Baldr..."
Leona seems to grow in size when Low-Key darts behind her. House cats are not typically that big...Of course the ruff shrinks as does the fluffy tail. There's a soft sort of glow about her briefly as she changes into an actual panther. Tail idley flicking about as she pauses her grooming to regard Edie and then Holden. It seems when the Trickster is in feline form she'll also defend him like one of her own. Ma'at in all things for her. A large paw is licked now and swiped over a longer muzzle. "Holden, this was a time long ago...though it may not seem it," There is a gentleness in her voice, a purr even, as she tries to help in soothing him. "Your memories, if I am understanding right, have been toyed with. Breathe," The great panther moves forward now to thrum deeply and press against the blind god. She has forgotten things in her own millenia, she understands the pain of remembering too.
She may not be able to read the Loki-cat terribly well, but the muse can certainly read a room. A single fingertip reaches around under the cat's chin to scritch lightly, ideally in a soothing fashion, as she says, "You are actually not the one he's having the hardest time forgiving, my dear," in a gentle voice; there's real empathy there, without a trace of condescension. "It's himself. He's angry with you, yes. But the one he needs to forgive first?" Urania looks up to Holden, still somehow hopeful. "Himself."
"Think about it. It's not like he couldn't have hurt you," she insists to the calico. "He hurt himself."
Low-Key catterwalls a little more, mostly a groan of sorts. Ma'at's protection comes in timely and he prrts his thanks at her, perhaps a proper thank you later. For now he's circling and settling into Urania's lap once more, keeping her anchored with his own thrumming purr. "Can you even imagine the Baldr who hadn't nearly died? The family who had never nearly lost their perfect son? /You/ without having witnessed a blatent atrocity?" he asks rather pointedly. "I am the black sheep, the fool, I accept your anger, it is just and right because I incited it purposefully. I did it to teach my family, to unite them as they needed to be. It is time to unite again, nephew, but this time with me against them." Urania's incite is always pointed and he hunches a little, different color eyes staring at Leona, Holden and Edie still. Quietly now.
Holden isn't a large god. He's built like the typical 'other brother'. Yet, he seems smaller still after these revelations. His arms cross, holding himself. Shoulders slump and eyes cast down, which is not his usual posture. Lesser god or no, he keeps his high bearing. Usually. This is not usual. "I don't remember it. I just...don't. I believe because..." Urania. He makes a vague motion in her direction. "I don't know why I did it. Why I was angry? Why I hurt myself...what was my reasoning? I know why I would blame myself. Just our way. I handed him the drink. I may as well have done the rest. And I know it makes no sense but if Baldr had died, I would have too. And...no, I wouldn't forgive myself for hurting my brother..." He sniffs and falls silent. Edie takes his arm. "Let's find your bride, hrm? She probably hunting but...come on, sir."
Holden nods but before Edie leads him away, he says, towards Urania. "The danger out there is real and unknown and...we are stronger together. That's all I can really say. Let's go, Edie."
Leona continues to give that deep and thruming purr. In this form it rumbles through her and into the blind man she leans against. For the moment she is quiet otherwise, letting the family work this out. Watching and listening. As Holden moves away she chuffs softly at him, "Your bride will ease some of the ache. Focus on the love you share." Then she turns to trot over to Urania and Loki again. "Oh...and your wolf-son decided to throw his weight around in our camp after welcomed at our fire. You...should speak to him before I do," Feline courtesy given with a flirt of that large tail. "I should check on the others..." She says as a few rousties go by, eyeing the odd grouping wearily.
The muse coaxes the calico further into her lap, still trying to retain the scraps of her optimism as she offers reassuring scritches. "Holden?" Urania's brows loft as she looks at him, and her words are genuine. "Your brother loves you. Dia loves you. We all love you; you are part of our family."
"We want happiness for you. Do you think for a moment your brother would want you to bear this for all time?" Her head shakes almost imperceptibly, as if to insist she knows he would not. "Love yourself as much as we love you, is all I ask you to try."
There's a gentler smile for the lucky black cat, and an empathetic look; she knows what it is to tend a discordant flock, it would seem. The job never ends.