2.19 - Sharing
Leona was led through the portal in her family’s living room and she felt a weird chill run through her body as she went. When she stepped through, she found herself in a large wood and earth room. It had a rustic and ‘native’ ambiance. Besides that it was wonderfully homey, warm, and felt safe.
The lodge was roughly around fifty feet wide and in the center a small fire was burning away cheerfully. Looking up, she saw it was similar to the gazebo they were in when Mistral plumbed her mind and soul. “This is my Spiritual Sanctum,” Mistral said, “I don’t often have visitors, but I wanted to share this with you.” She looked into Aurora’s eyes. “You have a great burden, but I have seen your strength and I believe in it.” She let go of her hand and spun in place. In that moment, her costume changed to a puffy vest over a long sweater and leggings with boots. Her platinum-blonde hair changed to a black tone, more in line with her American-Native features.
“This is my real form. My civilian, outfit,” she said with a smile, brushing her dark hair back over her shoulder. “I felt it was only fair to share this with you since I barged into your home. You can call me Denise, but my full name is Denise Hastings,” she introduced herself formally and yet warm. “I trust you won’t tell anyone, right?”
“Right!” Leona smiled happily, flattered. “I’m so honored, Mistral… Denise!” She looked at her with awe and pleasure just over her having shared so much of herself with her.
“I’m so happy you take me so seriously, Mistral. I was so worried. I thought I couldn’t let anyone know that my body is really young. I thought no one would take me seriously if they knew. I never dreamed of being seen as a peer. I knew I had so much further to go, and I’m so happy.” She smiled brightly.
Denise moved to sit on the dirt floor and then hesitated. “I’m used to sitting on the ground,” she said, “but if you’d rather relax for a moment, we can go to my apartment instead. Don’t worry too much about your age. There are a few others who would worry about that, but I can see your strength, and I think your youth can help us overall. Superhero-wise, I mean. Just don’t make it a habit to tell anyone you’re so young,” she said in a conspiratorial tone, winking.
“I’ll change back when I feel up to a flight. Right now we’re in Canada, as you’ve likely surmised, so we have a bit of a trip ahead of us when we’re ready for it. But I would also like to take you to the Society of Sentinels’ headquarters to help you get started, if that’s alright. You don’t have to join if you don’t want to, but I’d like to at least get you a communicator with them, so if you have a secure way of talking with people, and I want to introduce you to Anygmah, the Spirit of Secrets, since I assume you want to keep your identity secret, right?”
“Yes!” Leona beamed at Denise. “As much as possible, but I trust you, Mistral.” She hesitantly took her hands and grinned. “I’d love to join and really become one of your peers. It’s a dream come true. I want to be a paragon of justice and truth.” She blushed, thinking about Sarah’s predicament. She wasn’t getting justice, nor truth. But could she tell Mistral about her case and would she take her seriously? She didn’t think so. It was too early to ask for favors, when she was already doing her a great service as a friend and peer.
“So you already know all about me, don’t you? My name is Leona Ramses I wouldn’t tell anyone else this except for my closest friends.” It wasn’t time to tell Sarah this secret yet. She was under the control of the camp. The less she knew the better for now. “I’m a young t-transgender girl. My mom a sister are really my aunt and cousin who adopted me and loved me… more than my father did. My real form is…” Leona stopped, chewing her lip. “But this power, it makes me the girl I always wanted to be. That is a small selfish reasons for wanting to continue to be Aurora. I’m certainly not perfect.” Leona fidgeted, expecting her to condemn her, but she was her hero, so how could she?
Denise smiled and took Leona’s hands and squeezed them. “It’s brave of you to admit that,” she said. “Thank you for trusting me.” She let go of one of her hands and lifted Aurora’s chin to look into her eyes with warm compassion. “You continue to prove your bravery. May I call you Leona?”
“Yes!!!” Leona exclaimed happily. She looked into Mistral’s eyes. “I’d like that very much, Mistral… Denise.” She looked at her with a shy blush, She relaxed a bit but was still overflowing with happiness. “I’d change back too, but I know you saw me, and at least this way I’m decent. I can change my clothes to look like anything I want.” Leona grinned and shifted her clothes into a white dress skirt with strappy shoulders and a white bow on the chest. The skirt was ruffled, had ribbons across it and reached down just past crotch-level. Her hair to a lively lustrous blonde. “I don’t know if I can change much else besides this. Things that touch my skin. I think I can do makeup and things like that too with work and an eye for detail.”
“Well done!” Mistral nodded and smiled with a little clap. “I’m sure with practice you could stretch that skill further. For now, though, you should stay in costume, unless that’s more relaxing for you,” she said. “I think we’ll go to the Spirit of Secrets next, but there’s not going to be anyplace I plan to go tonight that will be more appropriate for that than your costume.”
She continued, “While I recharge, though, let me tell you a little bit about Black Angel, okay?”
Leona nodded, shifting her clothes back to her costume. She sat down by her side and spoke again, “Actually I do kind of default to this form now. It takes concentration to hold the other forms. She looked into Mistral’s eyes and waited, sitting cross-legged. “Please tell me more.”
Denise smiled. “Okay, so you know most science fiction shows aliens as technologically advanced races who travel in ships and use high level and weird science, right? The alien race known as the Empyrean, however are mystically advanced. They explore and travel space through the use of their magic. They have become so ingrained with their magic that they absorb the mystic energies of stars and have learned to use it to varying degrees,” she explained.
“Now, I can’t tell you a lot about the biology or science behind it all, but the layman’s version is this; their wings - they all have feathered wings - collect and absorb starlight, so in space it’s the most efficient, but then from the nearest sun and then from the stars in general. Each feather contains a certain amount of power, and Empyreans who get old enough either get really large wings or multiples of wings. Now, they use this energy to live, so they don’t have to eat, drink, or breathe technically. But they can do so for the pleasure of it.”
“Now the bad thing is they discovered a source of dark power called the Oubliette Nebula, at least that’s how it translates, I’m told. No one really knows what the nature of it is, but my own personal theory is that it’s a fragment of some kind of Old One. Whatever its nature is, it has corrupted a significant portion of the Empyrean race. They enslaved their own people and are slowly attempting to sacrifice all their species to the Nebula.”
“Black Angel came to Earth to conquer it and use its energies for the Oubliette Nebula. She’d fought a number of heroes here on Earth, but always seemed to clash with me the most. We tricked her into turning her own devices on herself, Garou and I. It didn’t kill her, but you see… it pissed her off. How I managed to trick her is complicated, but we had a full-on conflict above the Rockies. In a desperate clutch, I tricked her again, once again offering what she wanted. Her remains still have her presence in them as you know, and it appears that what you had was some small portion that somehow escaped detection.”
Mistral held Leona’s hand and squeezed it. “That’s the history of Black Angel in a nutshell,” she said. Leona tilted her head, sensing there was more to it, but it was more than enough for now. Mistral finished by saying, “I hope that helps to answer some questions you might have had about the nature of your powers. You seem to have become a mystic hybrid of Human and Empyrean in this form.”
“How weird…” Leona tilted her head. “So if her race, more of her race shows up…. I’m a target probably huh?” She thought over that. “A hybrid? Maybe that means better? Can I do like they do and breathe in space? I tried breathing underwater, but I think I still needed to… it was easier when I used my shields to collect some air before I went under… but I was able to fly for a really long time underwater after that.”
“Well, I don’t really have the capability to test you on that.” Mistral smiled. “But I don’t think you’ll need to worry too much about other Empyreans coming here. If one is detected, however, we’ll let you know.” She winked.
“Okay, I’m just about ready to go… If you want to spend some time testing, we’ll talk to the Society about that, but for now, I’m going to bring us to Anygmah, okay?” she asked while getting up and offered a hand to Leona.
Aurora nodded. “I’ve never heard of Anygmah… is he a hero? Also, I never heard you needed to recharge your energies. I’m honored that you’d trust me with this too.”
“Well,” she said after they were both up, “second question first. Teleporting to my sanctum is actually pretty tiring from just about anywhere. I have a few laces linked to this one, but as far as secure places go, this is one of the best ones. No way to spy on me in here without serious magic behind it, and no way to sneak in or out without my knowing about it.”
She smiled and shifted, her hair went blonde again, and her costume reappeared. “As far as Anygmah goes, you necessarily wouldn’t know anything about him. He IS the spirit of secrets and is not a hero, after all, and is one of the cornerstones of secret identities in this information age.”
Mistral started gathering some things from pouches and gourds on the walls and started throwing them into the fire in the middle. “Anygmah was once targeted by a mystic organization called ‘the Yellow Grasp’ and was rescued by superheroes. Since then, he has pledged to guard their secrets above all others. There’s other things that go into secret IDs, but he guards them from mystic prying and his influence then extends as well into the normal somewhat.”
A portal appeared over the fire. “Anygmah doesn’t like visitors, but makes an exception for superheroes. Usually.” She winked. “Ready?”
Leona grinned at her and nodded, standing up straight. “I am…” She took a last wistful look around. “You have such an amazing place here… I hope one day I’ll be able to have an amazing place like this.” She smiled heartfully.
“Well, you’re welcome to come back,” she said, beckoning for Leona to follow her through.