How Are You, Really?
Roleplaying Log: How Are You, Really?
IC Details

As Raven and Merlin make up for lost time, the former slowly opens up to the idea she can have an actual family member who isn't bearing down on her.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 25, 2020
IC Location: Central Park, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 26 Apr 2020 05:31
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [*\# None]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The old wizard gazed out at the wonderful weather the city was having early on in the day. Merlin couldn't help but smile softly. It would be a good day for a walk through nature. As he gathered himself up, he thought to himself that perhaps he should contact the young woman who he met at the very park in which he intends to walk; the young woman who is also family, as it turns out.

After contacting Raven and agreeing on a time and place, Merlin makes his way to the park when the time is right, opening up a portal and appearing in Central Park the instant he walks through. He casually walks to a bench close to their meeting place and sits down, watching the area closely.

Agreeing to meet up with someone is an occasional, if not rare, occurrence - when it considers relatives, it's more of the latter due to the complications behind such familial ties in Raven's case. However, recent circumstances allowed her to reconsider those complicated and tangled threads; upon having met the old wizard, she's been treading with some caution.

And considering who they're both related to, it's understandable.

Yet she hasn't turned away. For all the talking the voice in the back of her head has been doing, she's been willfully ignoring it, taking on the chance to meet with Merlin once more when they did speak to each other last. With Central Park being large and not always uber-populated in certain areas, it made traveling via portal a little more convenient; the less eyes there are to see a dark circle floating with no nearby projectors to write it off as special effects means there's no one to report that strange things are afoot.

Worn boots step out of said portal with little flair, wearing black-on-black-on black since that's been the color majority of her wardrobe. Smoothing out her skirt, she walks, crossing the open area so that she can join Merlin where he sits, waiting. "Enjoying the day so far?"

Family can be a strange and uncertain thing, of this, at least, Merlin is all too aware. Perhaps it's why there's been a little distance between meetings? Certainly it can't have been easy to discover that there's another half-demon person out there, but that you're related to them and that they're your nephew. Your much, much older nephew. The whole demon family thing is hard enough! But Merlin isn't like that side of the family. Perhaps he hopes to prove it.

He flashes Raven a smile. "So far, I cannot complain." He takes a deep breath in and looks about. "The weather is cooperative, creatures of the earth or crittering, and I'm here to witness it!"

He turns to look at Raven. "How are you today?"

That also throws things through a loop, having a nephew that's way older than you are. Then again, it's not too foreign a concept. Except with magic and demons in the mix, it just convolutes everything and Raven's still trying to wrap her head around it.

A smaller smile is returned as she sits down next to Merlin on the bench. "I'm okay." She then offers a shrug. "More or less the same. Oh - and before I forget…" Pulling her messenger bag onto her lap, she lifts the flap to remove two paper bags full of fast food and two water bottles. "I didn't know what to get you, but there's a few things in there. Chicken strips, salad, a burger and fries." The least one can do, really. Feeding your nephew.

Adjusting his staff, which he leaned against the side of the bench, Merlin turns it about and moves it a few inches. "There we are. Safe from falling for a little while longer." He murmurs. He tilts his head and glances inside the bag. "Food! How wonderful! I do quite enjoy food. You're much too kind, Raven. Thank you, nonetheless, for the consideration."

He contemplates the choices, his brow furrowed. "Do you have a favourite among all the food? Feel free to have your favourites, and I'll have the others." Leaning back, he asks, "How have you been with…everything? I realize that us being related is a lot to take into consideration."

"You're welcome. And go ahead, I'm all right," Raven begins to say, only to pause as she glances at the bags again. "…Well. Perhaps I can take the salad." Small, compact plastic container full of lettuce and other diced-vegetables aren't a first choice for many, but she doesn't feel that hungry. She lets her features slip back into a neutral mask, taking her time opening each packet into the mostly composed salad, making sure to close the lid tight so that the subsequent shaking of the container's contents doesn't go flying everywhere.

I realize that us being related is a lot to take into consideration.

The time taken to make and shake her salad also grants her time to think about Merlin's semi-loaded question. How has she been with everything? It's all too simple for the Daughter of Darkness to neatly pack any emotional reactions into an imaginary box and stow it somewhere where she can (never) revisit it at a later date. But it isn't fair to leave the man hanging, to leave him guessing if she is really okay with this being a real family tie or not.

Raven doesn't lift her gaze immediately, still contemplating the salad in her hands. "…Honestly? I'm not sure." The words are quiet. Careful. Trying to keep her thoughts in order isn't difficult, but it certainly forces her to double-check everything she's gathered so far. "There has been a lot to go over, and I've been running through it countless times." As she shakes her head, she gives him a sidelong glance. "How exactly are long-lost relatives supposed to react when their relations are revealed?"

When Raven takes out the salad, Merlin reaches in to take out the burger first. He eats, waiting patiently as Raven collects her thoughts. He can only imagine how things are for her. Compared to him, she's lived such a short amount of time. He's had decades, centuries really, to come to terms with how he feels about their family, whether for good or ill.

"To be fair, I'm not sure exactly how long-lost relatives are supposed to react in a situation such as ours." He purses his lips and keeps his brow furrowed, seemingly deep in thought. "It's completely understandable that you're not entirely certain. Were our situations reversed, I'm sure I'd feel much the same." He takes a bite out of his burger.

After a moment, he shrugs. "Ours is a confusing relationship. There are few who can understand what our lives have been like. So few, that perhaps we are the only ones. I cannot say for certain." He glances at Raven. "But family…whether our actual kin or family that we've chosen, can be important to have."

Truer words have never been spoken. Or perhaps they have, for confusing sums up most of those vague feelings she's felt in passing. With Merlin, however, she can tell he's accepted the fact this is how it all is; no confusion, no wavering in his constitution or in his commitment to the idea that they are kin.

Actual kin. And from what she can sense, Merlin is nothing like her father, or his own father, in any way.

Raven looks back down at her salad, slowly popping it back open so that the dressing stays where it's supposed to be. "I guess I can't make it any more obvious," she replies with a ghost of a laugh, her emotionless tone casting sardonic shadows in her words.

"I may have told you this already, but I initially came here to get away from my father. And anyone else who may be searching for me, for that matter." She picks up the plastic fork, gently stabbing at the salad for a moment. "And I didn't expect I'd run into someone so close so soon. But…you're right. It is nice to have someone there for you when you need them."

"Of this you can be certain," Merlin speaks with a certain gravitas, "I was not, and am not, in search of you. To be frank, I did not know of your presence until we met. However," he contemplates what Raven told him. "I can understand any and all trepidation that you might have to meeting me. You're attempting to run away and hide from your father, my grandfather. Then, you meet me, a person who shares your family. Even with my intentions pure, I can only imagine that it must have been somewhat jarring."

He finishes off the burger as he lets his words rest in the air for a moment. When he speaks again, his tone is back to being soft. "I'm still glad we met, however. It is good to know that others of our lineage are also of good character." He reaches into the bags and pulls out the fries. "Thank you for meeting with me today, Raven. I'm glad you showed."

"You were not," Raven agrees, the stillness in her voice somehow carrying within the ambiance of the park's greenery. "Your intentions are nothing like his. Still, I apologize if my wariness causes pain. I feel every time I drop my guard…"

She isn't even sure why she's opening up so suddenly, trailing off as she closes her heart off again. Because Merlin is family? Because he still hasn't shown any other facets of his personality that may or may not play into a scheme that can ultimately lead back to Trigon?

Ridiculous. You've reached a new level of paranoia, Raven.

"…You're fine," she adds after a time, taking a bite before continuing. "Our meeting was awkward, but…I don't regret it. And I figured there's nothing wrong with meeting up every once in a while." Violet eyes shift back over to the wizard. "So I should also be thanking you for at least being open about…all of this."

"No apologies are necessary. Had our roles been reversed? I would most certainly have been just as wary. You have earned the right to be wary, after all. I realize I also came off as a bit…unusual our first meeting. Sometimes I forget that magic and one's lineage are not common topics of conversation, especially in this modern age."

He chomps on a few fries happily as they continue to converse. "I have known many people in my many years, and I've experienced many things in that time. I have learned an important lesson in that time. 'Be open to the unusual, the unknown, and that which frightens you.' Sometimes you learn the most when open to those types of experiences."

At this, a faint smile plays upon Raven's features. "I could have assumed you were playing a role, too," she admits. "Weirdness in a city like this isn't at all uncommon, after all."

Between a few more bites, she lets Merlin's lesson sink in. Personal experience brought about the results of his own journey, its own truths and its own challenges. Hers hasn't been as long and as vast, but the challenges have been just as trying.

"…If only more people can be that way," she comments, neither sarcastic or sad in the way she delivers the thought.

"Oh, yes. Perhaps it would have been safer to assume I was playing a role. But what better a role to play than to play one's self? You know, I do often walk around this park and help out any little creature who needs my assistance. It's something I've spent my life doing in forests around the world." He explains. "Much like I did the day we met, as well!" Maybe it's his way of saying he likes to help.

"To each their own, of course. Everyone is on their own journey. Would it be wonderful if people could be more open to experiences? Perhaps, but such is life." Another lesson? Maybe just something that he's noticed in his many years of life. "Hopefully, however, this is something more people will learn as humans get older and older."

"Much like the Shakespeare actors who put on plays during the summer," Raven nods, but she does see his point. And she does remember him helping the little creatures the first time they crossed paths. "Helping others must be a passion for you, then. It's admirable."

Again, she nods in tandem to Merlin's free-flowing thoughts. To be open is an optimistic approach, maybe even idealistic if one is to keep to that mantra. But the realistic perspective in the matter is present and just as important, especially when they both know people in general are very complex in their natures. "Hopefully." The word is repeated, but its meaning is left vague. "I won't hold my breath, but it's not impossible."

"I'll not hold my breath either." Merlin gives Raven a little playful nudge of the elbow as he grins. There's a little twinkle in his eye. "Look at us, opening up to each other." He chuckles. "Opening up isn't the easiest of things to do, I know. But I feel like we've made progress, you and I. That's something to be proud of!"

After a moment of silence, he speaks up once again. "Forgive me if I've asked this before, but how do you keep busy? What do you do with your days? Do you go to school? Bag purchased supplies at a grocer? Something else entirely?"

The nudge sways the young woman as she downplays her amusement in Merlin's findings, playing with the remaining salad bits as the corner of her lips quirk. Apparently she's used to interactions like this and doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all. "…Yeah, I think we may be onto something."

A blink, and she tilts her head. "No, this is…new-ish territory. I don't think I've ever said anything about what I'm usually doing aside from having odd days off." Her posture straightens, but she's more relaxed than she was earlier. "I have a part-time job at a book shop, but I spend my time wandering. Visiting museums and small stores. Running errands when I need to." She shrugs. "It's not always exciting, but it passes the time when I'm not at home and reading."

"Oh, books! How lovely! Do you know the book Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss? It's such a silly little book!" Merlin giggles in almost youth-like glee. "But then, I suppose that could be said of most of the writings of the Seuss. They're all so silly, but I rather quite like them!" Perhaps an unusual statement by one such as Merlin. He lets out a slow breath. "There are quite a few books, though. I'm sure you spend lots of time reading!"

He absent-mindedly taps his chin as he thinks over an idea. "Which museums have you been to? If you like museums, there are a few I'm sure I could take you to that you'd likely enjoy!"

Well, yes, that throws Raven through a loop, but she feels like she should have expected that kind of response from the old wizard. "Y…yes, I've read that one," she replies, her brow furrowing slightly at his glee while saying nothing about it. "Dr. Seuss has many books and they're all in the children's section." She then cants her head, nodding shortly after a brief pause. "Reading seems to be a primary hobby of mine, yes…"

As for the second question, she thinks. "I believe I went to one of the art museums. There's also one about the history of New York…but I don't think I've been to the Museum of Natural History. Or the Met Cloisters." As she finishes eating, she glances his way. "I don't really mind. We can always research and choose."

"I can see why children would enjoy the books! I mean, green eggs and ham?" Merlin chuckles again. "My goodness. And the rhyming must help with speech and learning language! After all, language itself is a rather silly thing. I wonder if Dr. Seuss realized that language was a silly thing? Perhaps that's why he wrote with such silliness!"

"Hmm." He nods thoughtfully. "The Museum of Natural History? Perhaps you'd be interested in a visit there some day? The Met Cloisters would be interesting as well. I could probably tell you a think or two at these places that not even the curators know." With how old he is, there's a very good chance he's telling the truth.

"Really?" Sure, Raven says it like she's skeptical about Merlin's ability to know the sprawling history behind the items and artifacts found at the museums, but she's actually pretty curious. A breathy laugh escapes her; although it doesn't last long, she's still in good spirits.

And, as far as they've come in the time they've spent together, she knows she's in good company. "I'd like that."

"What's this, now? Doubt?" Merlin laughs as well. "Fine, have your doubts. But as someone who can claim to be older than the oldest tree in this park, I've some knowledge. This beard hides more than just my face, it hides knowledge! That's why my beard got so big and long…it's all knowledge!" He grins. Of course he's joking. He won't know about everything, but he's still curious to see his knowledge put to the test at American museums.

"Oh, excellent! Quite excellent! I'll try not to disappoint!" The twinkle in his eye has brightened, if that's even possible. "You know…I think the lords and ladies of Camelot would have really liked you. It's too bad they're left in the past, otherwise Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Purcival…the knights of the Round Table all would have liked you."

"A beard as long as time itself," she comments behind a hand that now covers her mouth. It only makes sense, doesn't it?

While Raven placed the now-empty container in one of the paper bags, she arched a brow. "Would they?" She asks, but she does wonder how it would have been to meet legendary personalities if they still were alive and walking the earth like Merlin is.

"As apt a description of my beard as I've ever heard. One that might be closer to the truth than you know." Merlin winks playfully. He gently runs a hand over his beard, a shimmer running down it as well, as if a light is reflected off it, chasing after his hand.

"Oh yes, they certainly would have. You're an intelligent young woman. You're cautious. Caution can be important. You know what you like, and you hold dear what's important to you. Those I spent my early life with? They would certainly enjoy your company."

She almost feels her face growing hot. Almost. Instead, it's a slight blush against pale skin, one that stays in control of her emotions at that very second. "You flatter me, sir," Raven replies with practiced nonchalance, brushing back her dark hair over a shoulder with a graceful sweep of her hand. "Although I'm sure I wouldn't have minded listening to the advice they would have on hand and the stories they could tell."

Another pause comes and goes. "But I can always ask you about that, Merlin," she adds softly. "You seem to have many stories to tell."

Silence falls again as she folds her hands together, staring at nothing in particular. Just full of thought. It seems like she would have stayed frozen for the longest time, but she eventually shifts in her seat. She then asks, "Is there anything else I can do for you, Merlin? Is there anything else you need?"

"'Sir'? No, no. There's no need to call me sir. Merlin shall suffice." Merlin tells her softly. "And I tell you the truth as I see it. In my, not so humble, opinion, truth is among the highest forms of flattery." He nods at her mention of their advice and stories. "There were many wise spoken words among them. And they had interesting tales to tell. Many told as we sat around campfires as we trod along the countryside."

He chuckles and nods again. "Oh, yes. Stories I have a-plenty. And advice to give. Any time you'd like either, I'm happy to dispense with them!"

Shaking his head, he gives Raven a little pat on the shoulder. "No, I'm fine for now. Thank you for the offer. The same goes for you." He responds. "Should there be anything I can do for you, or anything that you need, please do not hesitate to be in touch. In the meantime, I'm just happy for your company."

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