The vault door opened with a heavy click and a resounding echo as the cold air from inside rushed out into the comparatively warmer hallway of the large Sidhe under the Waypoint. The last little bit of snow that had been clinging to the feathers in Ace’s hair blew off with the gust and a chunk that went sliding down the back of her hoodie made the Trickster shiver uncomfortably
No light source existed inside the vault itself and while Ace had figured out a way to gain herself dark vision her company was less fortunate. Bard had been walking a couple of paces behind his companion the whole way and seemed entirely absorbed in some sort of prolonged thought. So for the white ravens benefit Ace picked up the torch in the wall sconce next to the door as they went in.
A similar sounding click and hollow boom followed as the door shut itself behind them. It always did that. Even if the Trickster tried to prop it open, which she totally had, the door would reject whatever means there was of holding it open and shut. It didn’t lock or anything, just shut itself. Bard jumped up and squawked in annoyance at the entryway and muttered to himself while Ace went to the egg.
Upon buying an obviously fae egg for 14 million dollars and then safely getting it back to the Waypoint , Whisperwind and Ace had discerned that the egg was from Falias so they hadn’t worried about wrapping it up. Currently it sat atop a nest of animals skins and old woven blankets the Trickster had found stored in a barrel sitting in the corner.
After setting the torch in a wall sconce Ace sat down and picked up the gryphon’s egg, gently placing it in her lap. There was a comfortable weight to it though she couldn’t help but grimace as a finger ran over the rune etched into the shell. The sigh she exhaled frosted in the air in front of her and Ace closed her eyes as she continued to slowly pet the egg in a reassuring manner.
“To this day I still wonder if I hatched from an egg.” She mumbled to the unborn fae after a long silence. Bard made a noise and rolled his eyes as he walked up to where his partner was sitting.
“What? You act like its all obvious but you never talk about it. Whenever I ask you just stay silent.” There was more than a hint of bitterness in her tone and she found herself curling around the egg defensively. The Falias raven looked at her with his dark eyes and ruffled his feathers in an uncomfortable fashion.
“I don’t know what happened when I was born and why you won’t talk about it.” Ace said in a very quiet voice that caused the other raven to raise his hackles up even more. “But whatever it is I’m not going to let it happen to whatever fae hatches out of this egg. If I had paid more attention to my father and Dagon then maybe I would have a bit more of a clue as to what’s going on here and why my immediate family is smuggling fucking Grpyhon’s eggs onto Earth. But I didn’t, and you know, I had kind of hoped you’d open up a bit and help me out. I know you were told just to watch out for me and let me make my own mistakes but dammit Bard there are innocent lives on the line here. Can’t you give me anything.” as the Trickster went on her words lost their edge of anger and dulled into something much more like desperation.
Her Grandfather’s grimalkin just looked at her, slowly lowering his feathers back into a non threatening pose as Ace’s voice started to crack. Bard seemed abnormally still for a just a few heart beats afterwards. Enough for the other to notice that something might be wrong.
“Bard. . .” Ace said in an apologetic tone, “C’mon buddy I’m sorry.”
The white raven slowly walked over and dipped his head down to bump it gently against Ace’s side. A sad smile crossed her face as Ace smoothed down the rest of Bard’s ruffled feathers. He was shaking a little bit and she knew it couldn’t possibly be from the temperature.
“You okay dude?” There was concern in the Tricksters voice.
“Can’t help.” the grimalkin croaked out in choppy English. “Can’t explain.” he bumped his head against her side again to elicit another scratch on the head. “Sorry.”
“I know. . .” Ace’s voice was barely above and whisper. This was always the wall they hit every time the subject came up and while the Trickster had many theories on the reason for Bards silence none of them could really be proven one way or another.
“Well. . .” She said looking down at the egg. “Whatever happens, I’ll make sure you find a good place to grow up. I never really wanted kids with how my life always seemed to be going but now that you’re around I can see what all the excitement for a new baby is about. Certainly helps explain some of Blake’s overly motherly behavior. I hope that you get to meet them. They would take good care of you. But I think Whisper is right that you need to be with your real parents if you can.”
Feeling Bard’s eyes on her Ace looked up from ranting at the egg to see a confused look on the other bird’s face.
“It can’t hear you.” Bard said flatly in one of his rare full sentences. The Trickster simply laughed in response
“I know, and to be honest it makes the whole thing quite therapeutic. I know there’s something alive in here but it can’t really hear me. So I can tell it all my deepest darkest secrets with absolutely no consequences!” She gave Bard an enthusiastic and exaggerated wink and thumbs up. Bard looked simply unimpressed as usual.
“Oh C’mon. What could go wrong?”
Bard’s empty look turned into a glare and she heard him mutter curses under his breath.
“Wooah there excuse you. My parents were totally married when I was born so you can’t call me at least one of those things. " She shot back.
The two of them bickered for another minute before falling silent again. Bard had taken it upon himself to find a suitable napping place as it seemed that Ace was content to blab at her surrogate child for an unknown period of time. He fell asleep somewhere around a story involving Tex and Balthazar’s child.
When Bard awoke again there was no way to tell how much time had passed, the torch on the wall was still burning albeit dimmer than before. The grimalkin looked over to see his charge lying on her side the Gryphon’s egg nestled in near her stomach. He could see her lips moving but as ravens, even the mythical kind, don’t have stellar hearing Bard had to walk much closer before he could hear what Ace was saying. Or singing rather.
As the other game into view Ace quickly stopped the lullaby she had been singing. Ravens weren’t terribly expressive creatures by nature but even so Ace could tell that Bard was concerned.
“What?” She asked defensively.
“Where did you learn that song?” He asked.
“I heard Tex sing it to his kid when she was born. He said his mother taught it to him, she was a Mordant too. There’s not really a lot of songs in our language and I thoug-”
Bard interrupted her suddenly and sharply stated, “I don’t care what you were thinking. It doesn’t need to hear that. You need to stop being so careless with the words you were given.”
A an old but familiar pang of pain shot through the Trickster’s chest. If anything she felt just like a child again that was being scolded for a foolish mistake made in an attempt to make things better. Bard was by no means in charge of her and his opinion only really matter because of their relationship but still the words stung, because they were true. And dammit if the truth didn’t always seem to hurt the most, how cliche.
Ace waited for a couple of minutes to see if Bard was going to explain his point but apparently that knowledge was also restricted. Frustrated and tired from venting her lifes sorrows to an unborn Gryphon, Ace pulled herself up from the floor and returned the egg to it’s resting place.
As the door of the vault closed heavily behind them Ace let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. Her eyes met with Bard’s and the grimalkin gave her a questioning look.
“I just wanted to know what it feels like to help care for an egg. It seems like that’s something my mom would have taught me but you know. . .” She said in an attempt at an explanation, “I guess maybe I’m just not cut out for it. I don’t wanna be it’s mom or anything, but like a big sister or an aunt or something would be cool.”
Bard shrugged, "I find it interesting that you seem so desperate for family here on Earth when it was something you had easy access to in Tir Na Nog. "
Ace winced at that and rubbed the back of her neck in a thoughtful motion. "All I ever wanted was to be excepted by my family. My father, my grandfather, my uncle, The Lady herself, I just wanted to be someone they could be proud of. But I was always at a disadvantage because I inherited my mother’s line of the shadow. It always pissed me off that I never quite understood why having the Mordant name made them treat me like they did. Even my grandfather. . "
“Leave it.” Bard sounded weary
“Yeah. . .” Ace said, turning around and pulling up the hood of her jacket. “Let’s go to Mr. Ed’s. Damn horse makes the best moscow mules.”