Siobhan is.. still where she was, in the little boat, watching. In this, there's not really a great deal she can do to help, unfortunatetly.
Wulf remains asleep on the neck of the sea-serpent. Luckily, she's a good horrific monster of the deep, at least to him and does not go all Kelpie on his big blue bum.
The Nixie queen is on her lily pad by Siobhan and Ithunn. She listened to Siobhan's translation of Ithunn's words, and then she says, "The Breaking - something happened. We know not what, but whatever it was, the water dropped, and there was a large shaking, so that the Everlasting Petal, that which we are sworn to protect, nearly was toppled over. It was a very frightening time, but then the shaking stopped, and the water came back. So too did the crustaceans."
The Fair Wind is sitting pretty, so the fact that Merrisol looks fresh off a shipwreck is due to his own strange life choices. He hauls himself onto the rail, then sets his feet to the deck and leans there to recover while the others aboard are concentrating on the fantastical transmutation of iceberg to glassberg. He gives a nod over to Amethyst, relieved to see she made it back. "Have the boats been recalled yet?" he inquires. "We can trade notes and see where things stand."
Amy shakes her head. "Not yet. But we should do that." A mischievous grin comes from the petite Mandrake. "Excuse me, and cover your ears." Fair warning, before she calls out, voice sounding like she's got a megaphone, though she's got no such thing. "Wulf, Ailith, can you return to the ship please? Ithunn, Siobhan, will you return too?"
Siobhan nods to the Nixie queen, and translates what she says for everyone, sending the words in whispers to those it who's ears the wind can reach. Including unconscious ears, provided they're above water. She glances back to the ship and nods. "Thank you for talking to us," she says to the Nixie queen. "Do you want to come to the ship with me to speak to the others?" Whatever the answer, the boat heads back for the ship. Once the ship is reached, Siobhan transfers from boat to ship.
Ruby concentrates on the image in her mind and the substance before her. With Maggie, a concerted effort to gel and mesh their perspectives upon the mass. The effort required to not stop at half measures is great, as is trying to find a sympatico. Which means there's time for an assembly before Ruby can remember how to breathe on her own.
Wulf startles awake with the booming voice, though it's a small measure of consciousness he aquires, enough to have Omrsvagr swimming to the ship and helping with nose-pushes to get him back on deck. He crawls over the railing and collapses with a roll onto his back, spreadeagled with one foot still on the rail of the ship, up in the air. His eyes aren't shut though, just unfocused with exhaustion.
Crouched before his equipment bag to rummage up some spare clothes, Merrisol inclines his head to the whispering breeze. "Well. That spawns more questions than answers," he grumbles, then jumps in place as the giant thuds to the deck. By the time the team has reassembled, the Rebman at least is presentable and looking interested in hearing about everyone's accomplishments.
Ailith nods at the relayed request, and hops off the glassberg to swim back to the boats. "I gather the work is not yet complete?"
Ruby and Maggie continue their thing, glassifying the iceberg. It's stable enough that no ice magic is needed now, giving both Wulf and Ailith a break. Much needed, no doubt.
The little Nixie queen is more than a little startled by Siobhan's request, but she decides to go with her, curiously. A small squad of her guards also come, spears in hand. Once they are brought up to the big ship deck, they are somewhat startled by the very size of it all, staring around at everything with quiet owlish bewilderment.
Amy waits for everyone to gather together on the deck, which also gives Merrisol a chance to get decent. Which is good, because he's far less distracting that way. Once there's a bit, Amy settles on the deck, rubbing her belly absently, and she says, "Right then, let's get together and figure out what is going on, shall we? I know that there's a great big lilybud up on the other side of this wall, and it seems there's something alive inside it."
Yes well, doesn't it just? Siobhan is no more filled in than anybody else on that. She makes her way over toward those gathered, carrying the little Nixie Queen on one upturned palm. She's quiet as she listens, for now, though she whispers quietly translations to the queen.
The four guards follow Siobhan anxiously, watching their queen with determined protectiveness.
Merrisol listens, nodding along with the initial findings. His gaze falls to take note of the little people hurrying in Siobhan's path, and after a short moment's thought, he hunkers down, to a half-knelt posture in an attempt to reduce the median height of those assembled and thereby Nixie Neckstrain Syndrome. "It seems clear the closed blossom is this Everlasting Petal these folk are protecting," he states. "But whatever's locked away inside is none too pleased about the situation. There emanated so much rage it bounced you out of the sky," he notes to Amy.
Ruby abandons Maggie temporarily to come listen to the gathering of minds.
Ailith tilts her head. "The flower seems to be this shadow's representation of Yggdrasil?" she muses. "Which always has a darkness gnawing at its roots."
Wulf waves one large hand vaguely over the side of the boat, toward the glassifying iceberg. "Wulf seal crack in obelisk, stop crabs coming through for now, from crab world." He slurs a bit in fatigue, eyes lazily closing from time to time. "Is on floor of water. Ice cover now." -- he gives up and tries in kitezhka, his vocabulary better -- "~It has a big split in the bottom of it that they come from, pouring out. Black like the stone that marks where the bubble-beetle fell and became~"
Amy nods to Merrisol, since she is in agreement with that. She gives Wulf a blink though at what he says. "Wait, there's a black cracked obelisk like the one back - at the first node?" she asks, as that's the connection that is made in her head, from what he says. "But - Okay, then maybe this /isn't/ a shadow block after all." She is already sitting, and not too tall, so hopefully the little people won't mind too much. "Oh, we have guests. Good day and welcome," she says, distracted by the company. Hey, she might recognize the queen, but it's unlikely that the Nixie queen will recognize Amy.
The little frogrider queen gets a ride, and manages to look dignified rather than terrified. Somehow. She listens as Siobhan translates, frowning a bit at some of the things she hears, but doesn't quite understand. And once near enough to the others, she asks Siobhan to put her down, settling where she can stand and see most everyone. Her guards come up to stand with her, much relief visible on their faces and stances. "My mother's mother's mother's father's father's mother's father's mother's father - going back through many fathers and mothers has passed down to us the tale," she says, "of the Everlasting Petal and how it came to be. They were the first Big Ones we saw, though there have been many travelling past since then, without knowing of our presence. The Big Ones created the Everlasting Petal, and the Path Through to Beyond. The Big Ones use that path, but not us. We stay here to guard the Everlasting Petal, keeping it peaceful, and in return, our lives are ours, free to do as we choose, with the plants to sustain us. I do not know why you Big Ones do not know this story, but we thank you, for the help you are giving."
Siobhan translates all that is said by the people to the Nixies, settling down to sit cross legged facing Amy. She lowers her hand so the Nixie queen can step to the deck. The Nixie queen's words are translated normally, as everyone is here now and can hear.
Merri stays silent to listen to the insightful or expository remarks, moving his gaze from one face to the next. The report of the black obelisk as a recurring point from the previous node is of course news to him, and seems to help some things click a bit. "What did you all do with the first obelisk you found?" he wonders aside to the portion of the team who established that node. To the Queen, he restates, with Siobhan's help, "What is needed to pacify the Petal? It is anything but peaceful right now."
"~Nothing,~" replies Wulf, shuffling his shoulders against the deck, but otherwise remaining in his flop. Aaah, comfy wood. "~It was just there, when we slew the creature. It became the stone, black as night, marking where it fell by the great spear of the Storm prince.~" He replies this in slightly less of a mumble in his native tongue, then promptly... dozes off again.
Ruby squints and peers at the tiny monarch. Lips curling at how diminutive it is. The size relations totally bonkers to her. Ruby plays a partial game of duck-duck-goose, leaning over to one of Merri's ears to mumble something about permanently making something peaceful permanently. And then changes tack. "Aye...When that last toime big'uns used tha Path, Aye? Left hhhand not knowin what tha right foot be doo'n 'ere."
Amy is about to answer, but Wulf does so first, and that brings a smile to Amy's face. Her eyes flare purple briefly as she looks at the big man, making sure he is okay - if exhausted. "Yes, that. When the big bug died, it became the obelisk, somehow. And I think that is the marker of the node. Maybe. I wish Uncle Gerard was here to tell us for sure." She eyes Ruby with a bit of amusement, but worry at the same time. Especially when she has to try to translate Ruby speak to make sense of it.
The Nixie Queen waits of course for the translations, sidling a bit closer to Siobhan, as she listens to her. "To pacify the Everlasting Petal is our sworn duty - Before the Breaking it was something we had rituals for, but since the Breaking, they do not work."
Merrisol looks at the Jotun while he murmles and nods thoughtfully, apparently not noticeably impeded by the language switch, though Amy helps by putting it in plainer terms. He side-eyes Ruby as the dogged malevolence for all things Wee passes into his ear. After listening to the translated reply from the Nixie Queen, he nods again. "So, to be clear - the Path Through To Beyond closed up around the Everlasting Petal when the Petal was.. upset, by The Breaking? Or was that your people's doing, to protect the Petal from the Chomp-Chomps?"
He then gestures Ruby back down to mutter a thing back to her. One can just tell he's Pro-Wee. Some of his best friends are Wee.
Merrisol mutters to Ruby, "... cousin... have imprisoned... being... - all... create... node.... certain the... exhibits is... a more... accounting of the... than... peaceful state... to require."
The Nixie Queen looks to each speaker as they speak, but listens to the translations before she speaks. "The Path Through To Beyond closed up at the same time as the Breaking. We have seen no Big Ones since The Breaking, until you arrived," she explains.
Ailith asks, as if thinking something over, "What did the rituals entail? The rituals that no longer work?"
Wulf continues to softly catch flies with his open mouth. Fit, just exhausted! Occasionally a 'guuugh' of sound escapes the jotun, but it's quiet. He's a gentle snorer. Who knew? Well, now everyone, really.
Ruby frowns as she listens. There are some big words in there. She's knows Merri's lingo is often hard to parse and so she makes like a Baleen whale and filters in what she needs. "Then This Path be our roight 'o passage. It's made by family, aye? Gatekeeper wants more coin. Wants a raise. Or /needs/ tah be evicted an new one put in place. One tha be more...agreeable. Or we make this one more agreeable." She raises her hands up in the air, almost a 'don't get in a twist'. "This loike mutiny or maybe...when you sail away for long toime, mate be oopset by tha toime you get back, cause you delayed by...stuff. Dinner be cold. House needs new roof. Fence be broken. Garden overgrown. So...sweet talk an fake a sacrifice or hhhardship. Or divorce."
Amy sort of frowns at Ruby and Merrisol, whispering away over there. Wulf's gentle snoring gets a grin, and then Amy nods to Ailith, quietly. It's a neat question, it is. Other than that, Amy stays quiet now, listening to what the Nixie Queen has to say, and the questions asked by the others.
The Nixie Queen turns to watch Ailith, and then she says, "What - oh. Little things, that seemed strange. To feed the sunlight, by gifting with strands of hair. To gift the moonlight with water droplets. To gift the story with tales of daring frogriders and battles fought. To make the tree grow with gifts of blood and salt."
Merrisol looks briefly disenchanted when his understanding of the matter is corrected by the little monarch. "Then soothing the thing in the flower does not necessarily lead to the way becoming open," he points out. He sits back on his haunches and cranes his head and shoulders back to stare up at Ruby with his open mouth falling open a tad. "I... yes?" As far as he can tell, it sounded right. When the chattering from the Nixie is translated, he attends the translation in silence.
Ruby lowers her hands and clasps her hips. She raises an eyebrow on the blood portion of the translation. "Always comes down tah tha. Blood an bone. Sacrifice." She wrinkles her nose. "Taboo. But...maybe this ritual needs tah be a 'Big one' ritual. An we gots more scraps tah put on tha altar than these...wee things. Grown oop version. Serioos."
Wulf startles awake. "Ratatosk!" He blurts out of a sudden, propping himself on elbows. "Whuh." Staring, he frowns. "Gildencambi... You ... what was dream?"
Amy considers for a moment, catching that look on Merrisol's face. "Well, it might, but - maybe it's not a problem with the rituals. What if it was something else that made the rituals work - like the obelisk? Didn't Wulf say that was cracked?"
The Nixie queen, not being asked any questions, doesn't say anything now, just watches the Big Ones quietly.
Ruby narrows her eyes. "If it can't be replaced...Then it'll need a patch job. Course, I assume tar an timber ain't gonna fix tha none." The amazon turns to regard the glassial object.
Ailith muses, "Is it only that I have not been there very much of late, or is it a bit odd that one might pacify a Kite spirit with *water*?"
Merrisol nods to Amy to confirm she heard right. "And the obelisk in the previous shadow had no such cracking?" he assumes.
Amy shrugs at Ailith. "I don't know," she says. "I might be the queen there, but I'm probably the least experienced with it. And I heard - water, hair and blood, all together." She frowns, not adding more, but looks over towards Ruby, curiously. "How strong is that glass you were putting in place? Will it do?"
Ruby winces. "It won't be permanent, an it won't be as strong as somethin Mei could sing oop. Not enough toime tah make it last. Not withoot stayin 'ere for longah than we prepared to."
Wulf rubs at his face, looking utterly bewildered for several minutes. "Ratatosk," he repeats, then frowns, trying to parse why he was dreaming subliminally about the things as were being spoken of. "You are needing a ratatosk. Once he ran the length of the world tree, keeping duty by it, by spreading the whispers from beneath to above and keeping the anger of the great eagle focused not on the tree, but on the wyrm that bit beneath."
Ailith nods. "Water, perhaps, for tears. I'm a bit surprised at the absence of bone in the request."
Merrisol shrugs with his eyebrows, unfamiliar with the legendary beast mentioned. "If repairing the crack is what's needed, perhaps you can use the wedge of ice turned glass inside to fashion a more permanent piece out of stone or iron, Ruby?" Which means pulling the whole damn berg up, but...
The Nixie queen stirs at something that is translated to her, and she says, "I do not know what it is that you speak of, but the vineswingers have vanished."
Ruby tongues along her gumline. She nods slowly to Merrisol. "Don't worry...I 'ave a feelin tha be tha least 'o our problems." She shifts her weight. "Be willin tah try an doo tha. More permanent piece when all tha oot there falls apart or re-scinds."
Wulf having said his piece, opens his mouth again, then closes it, looking a little crestfallen and a bit baffled both. With a sigh, he rubs at his face, then fishes into his wet pant pouches, undoing leather thongs soaked in seawater, to take out runestones. Rather abysmally out of sorts, because his brain isn't as fast as other people's, he shakes the bag and pours the runs onto the deck infront of himself, staring at them as they're marvellously unhelpful.
Amy blinks at Wulf, staring at him for a long moment. "We might need to ask Ithunn about that, unless you know, Ailith?" she asks, curiously. And she nods to the Nixie queen, one hand rubbing at her back now. "What's a vineswinger?"
Ailith blinks. "In this environment, likely as Wulf has said; their Ratatosk. But perhaps the Queen will elaborate." Switching languages, she asks the Queen directly: "Will you tell us of these vineswingers?"
Merrisol glances around as the discussion now hinges on two separate ideas, one practical, the other metaphorical. He suggests to Amy, "How about I take Ruby out to this obelisk to take some measurements for forging a patch job?" Gesturing to Ruby, he prepares to go back over the edge.
Ruby offers small grunt and moves over to the rail. Checking herself for what she may need if large critters come close and need perforating. "Nobody takes me nowhere. I /accompany/." OOooOOooo.
Amy nods to that, since it seems a good thought. "Sure, good idea, check it out and see if you can figure anything out?" She isn't going back in the water at the moment. She does look over at Ailith, and says, "What's a Ratatosk - I mean, what sort of being or critter?"
Wulf looks up to Amy. "Ratatosk was immortal squirrel." He explains. "Ate the seeds of the world tree and had knowledge for it. Shared branches with those that ate and tended... the deer Eikthyrnir, who grazed the leaves."