"The Inner Light" from Star Trek: The Next Generation by Peter Pringle on Theremin


Stiles meets Myrtle Snow, a mysterious, eccentric, and strikingly fabulous witch, who offers to teach him the secrets of magic.





August 7, 2015
Beacon Hills Public Library

It's been a hectic day. The night before, a possibly psychotic werewolf blew into town with a threatening attitude and put all of Stiles' friends on edge. Then he visited Derek, and... that was predictably frustrating, even if carried a few shreds of hope that Stiles wouldn't have expected. It's something, anyway. Of course... then he went home, finally, to sleep... and found a vampire's head in his bed. That was upsetting to levels Stiles had never even contemplated before. So he's started doing research, fired off a dozen emails to anyone he could think of who might be informed on these matters, and generally done all he can to try to find some answers.

It hasn't gone too well.

So now, he sits in one of the library's study areas, working on his own laptop with a large stack of rather old books around him, and staring dolefully into the depths of his empty paper coffee cup. As he sets the cup down and pushes it away, he reaches up with his free hand to pinch and rub the bridge of his nose, working his jaw to ease tension of having it clenched so much during the day. He pauses, then, and gets a thoughtful look. Digging in his bag, he pulls out his prescription bottle of Adderall, giving it a shake--plenty of pills still left in there--while visibly considering taking a few when, per doctor's orders, he really shouldn't. His brain could use the kick-start.

It's not that she's a difficult figure to notice, but it's more that one moment she's not really standing out, and the next moment she is. The woman is positively screaming for notice, but she moves as stylishly and with as much elegance as the refined clothes she wears would indicate. She walks with grace, and lightly, and the neat black heels she wears don't click on the floor, muted by the low carpets and careful steps. "Bon matin, young man. Forgive my interruption of your thoughts, but I believe we may have something to converse about. May I impose?" She motions to one of the study rooms, with the handy door and all. Not that there are many people at the library currently.

Stiles freezes as he's spoken to, and then on sheer reflex he shoves the bottle of pills into his bag before turning to blink in surprise at the approaching woman. He opens his mouth to respond, but quite against his intent a yawn escapes instead, and he reaches up to clap a hand over his mouth, his ears turning red with embarrassment. After taking a moment to sit up straighter and compose himself--because something about this woman just makes him feel that, really, one ought to sit up straight and be composed--he coughs mildly to clear his throat, squints at her a bit, and says, "Er, um. Excuse me, but--sorry, what?" One hand finds its way up to his forehead, where he rubs the heel of it against his temple--until he realizes he's doing it and drops his hand again. Finally, he manages to rally and answer her question, gesturing (and not even really sure why) to one of the empty chairs at the table. "Uh. Sure... feel free. Public library and all, right?"

She smiles, a very small but warm smile. There's almost a motherly sort of vibe from her, or perhaps maiden aunt. She walks in elegance, and she does it in a way absolutely unlike anyone else in Beacon Hills. Probably unlike anyone in LA either, for that matter, or anywhere else. "Forgive my manners. I am Myrtle Snow." Her voice is controlled, so soft and gentle, and the words flow like a summer brook in the woods, coming so easily for her. Unlike some others Stiles might know. "May we, to one of the rooms? What I have to say to you is not for every ear." Whatever it is, she doesn't have the kind of way about her that would seem to indicate it's something bad...maybe something special in a not-bad way.

Blinking a few times, Stiles tries to think of a reason to decline... but frankly can't think of one. So, gathering up his bag and laptop, he says, "Uh... sure. I guess I was done with those books anyway, in case they re-shelve them or something." He stands, sliding the bag over one shoulder, and looks quizzically to Myrtle, apparently expecting her to lead the way. After all, she's the one who instigated the encounter. She's also one of the more unique people he's ever met, at a glance anyway, and he finds himself quite at a loss for what to say to her. He even forgets to introduce himself in return.

Myrtle leads the way with a happy little dip of her head acknowledging, agreeing, and once they're inside, she closes the door quietly, making sure the latch catches. She continues into the room itself, motioning to one of the seats at the table and taking another herself. Folding her hands on the table, she waist until Stiles is settled before speaking. "As you may have concluded, in your thoughts to now, I am unlike most you will know. Naturellement, you can tell by the evidence of your eyes. But!" Holding up a hand, then returning it to rest atop the other one, she continues. "I refer not to my sense of refinement, but instead the gift of magic. A gift that has been, shall we say, less than kind to kith and kin? I detect a druidic tinge in what we could call the soul, l'esprit, the seat of the spirit, you have been touched, my dear boy! And it seems some further enchantment. The darker powers, I believe?"

Stiles sits where directed, letting his bag slide from his shoulder and down to the floor. Unsure of all this, he seems almost poised to flee, his butt barely on the edge of the seat, his feet poised on their toes. He rests his elbows on the table, loosely lacing his fingers together to avoid drumming them on the surface. He gives Myrtle his attention... and then his jaw slowly drops as she begins to breezily discuss magic, souls, and and enchantments. It takes him a moment to recover himself, but then he shakes it off, blinking a few times, and says lamely, "Uh... well. Yeah. You, um... believe correctly." His brow furrows as his mind engages, seizing on the problem of her, the uncertainties and questions her mere presence represents. And then he manages, "Miz, uh... Snow. I don't mean to be rude, but... how the hell did you find me, and how the hell do you know anything about me?" He stops just short of name-dropping his father as the sheriff, but some part of him--as if prompted by the mere aura of her--decides that would be tres gauche.

Myrtle's smile widens, not offended apparently by the strong words chosen and the surprise. She'd accounted for that, seen it many times in her life, and it doesn't surprise her. In fact, it's less than she had expected. "Witchcraft, mon petit. And the only impoliteness you're guilty of is a lack of introduction which, in the circumstances, is understandable." She nods once, sitting back in the chair but keeping her hands on the table. It's always been important to keep the hands where they can be seen, she feels. Gives people less fears of someone poking a poppet or secretly brandishing a dagger. "An apt choice of words, however, given the...distinctive label you wear. To draw a metaphor, yet again."

Stiles finds himself rubbing Lance's ring before he even realizes he's doing it, and he flushes again. Covering his moment of awkwardness with a small cough. he says, "Oh. Right. I'm Stiles--Stiles Stilinski. I, uh... I live around here." Strange, how he feels the need to justify his presence, somehow. Finding his gaze drawn to her hands, then her glasses, he finally manages something resembling polite eye contact. "Okay, um. So... you're a witch," he says in the tone of someone making sure of a fact, not a skeptic. After all, druids are a thing. Why not witches? "...and you came here to find me... because of... this?" He holds up his ring. "Because I've had..." he pauses to lick his lips nervously. "Unusual contact with... supernatural creatures?"

"Very unusual, certainement." Every syllable out of her mouth is so...playfully elegant, must be the closest term to describe it. It comes easily for her, and for anyone else it might sound ludicrous, but somehow it manages to combine into the distinctive presence of one Myrtle Snow. "In this case, you will forgive me for saying that you seem the most approachable of the available options. Most worthy of note, to my mind. I can't be certain if magic has blessed you with its great gift, but you already have dealt with such power unimaginable to most of, shall we say, the herd." She motions to the large window, to indicate the general populace outside this small room. The air conditioning kicks on, and it's a little loud but settles into a softer ambient noise.

Stiles is fast transitioning from unsure and wary to really damned curious. He reaches to pull the chair closer to the table, scooting up and sitting forward, now, not out of a readiness to flee but an intensive eagerness to hear more. "Okay, okay, sure. Let's say I believe you. You've definitely got my attention. Uh... what exactly did you want to talk to me about?" He does offer a crooked little smile, shrugging some, and says, "But magic? I mean, I helped with this ritual, and I've thrown around a little mountain ash... but nah. My Hogwarts letter never came."

Myrtle eases into this new mood, looking altogether more comfortable herself. "You have enough experience in these sorts of affairs to understand what I'm telling you. Magic is a gift...a skill...but not the be-all or end-all, instead it's a rapturous engagement in this world." As she speaks the emphatic words, she lifts her hands and gestures broadly, like the room could become an enchanted glade full of unicorns by simply mentioning it. "I could, in exchange for...a little information, perhaps your gracious tour of these Beacon Hills...I have been known to impart some knowledge to attentive students such as yourself. You're wise to want it." She motions with her slim fingers. "I believe you have, if not the inborn witchery, at least the inclination and, more importantly, the mind to comprehend it. You..." Trailing off, she tilts her head slightly back, looking down her nose at Stiles, but not out of arrogance; instead it's more appraising. "Most interesting. Fascinating, positively." Then her head is tilted forward again. "You do know the power of that ring, yes?"

Stiles ends up with a screwed tight sort of facial expression, lips pursed and canted to one side, brow furrowed. He nods along slowly with Myrtle's words, clearly interested at the least. Then she asks her question, and his eyes fall to Lance's ring, his expression softening. "This? It's supposed to be a symbol that tells demons not to mess with me." He gives her a calculating side-eye, his mind weighing and measuring his options... and then he risks it. "Because I'm spoken for by the one whose symbol is on it. But, like... it's not a 'sold my soul' thing. He just..." He trails off, exhaling sharply through his lips, and goes for broke. "So, my boyfriend's a demon. There's that."

"Ah! Oh my." Myrtle raises her hand to her mouth demurely, like this discussion has just started to become truly sensational and possibly outrageous. But the twinkling in her eyes is unmistakable, and she leans closer to Stiles, lowering her voice only slightly, but noticeably. "That, petit chou, is quite rare. Quite rare. Demons are demanding lovers, but certainly there's a distinctive quality to you...I've seen very few, very few who manage. If I may ask -- what is your secret?" Now it's like a conversation at a slumber party. Except supernatural.

Stiles looks half flattered, half scandalized, and half just confused. (Too many halves. That's the problem.) He reaches up to scratch the side of his head, baffled. "I... honestly have no idea. For most of my life, I could barely even get anyone to talk to me. Then Lance came along, and..." He shrugs. "Anyway, if there's a secret, it's secret to me, too. But... Lance wasn't involved with... the ritual." He peers at her searchingly. "I'm guessing that's what brought you here, right? The 'beacon'? We did this ritual... reawoken an old druidic place of power called the Nemeton. It's apparently like a... well, a beacon... too all kinds of supernatural stuff." He frowns again, thoughtful, and shifts gears. "So... you're asking... if I want to try to learn magic?"

Myrtle clicks her tongue, looking thoughtfully upward and nodding softly. "The Nemeton...yes, that does ring certain bells. The power! The glory. The blood sacrifices, yes. Terribly, terribly hard to control. And of course, difficult in this day and age to get the virgins you need. I see at least you understood the ritual well enough to hold onto life. Very nasty business when you don't take the precautions." It's like she's just talking shop, it's so casual. But she's listening, and that's important. "Mais oui, my boy! The witches I grew up around were mostly girls, but that was another time, another place. Unisex is very now. You have the inclination to magic, you have the patronage. The rest should come easily to you."

Stiles is clearly having some trouble with how casually Myrtle breezes past all this, and he ends up with his mouth hanging open again. Finally, when she says that "the rest" should come easily, he breaks into a sputter. "Come easily? La--uh. Miz Snow, I'm completely lost. Last night some psycho-wolf showed up in town warning us about vampires. And not the fragile stake-through-a-heart-kind I've had the displeasure of meeting, apparently, but like, super killing machine vampires. And after contacting everyone I could think of and reading every book, website, and scanned resource I could sneak into, all I know is that this guy claims to be hundreds of years old, claims to be from a family that dates back to mythical times, and that apparently there's a thing about super-vampires. As for magic, I can't even figure out how to sleep right anymore without Lance's demon-thing helping." He's not trying to rant at her. He's just exasperated. As he finishes speaking, he drops his head forward, reaching up with both hands to begin rubbing the back of his neck. "Man," he says more quietly. "I remember when my biggest concern was making the lacrosse team."

Myrtle listens, she accepts all of this outpouring of stress and confusion and dealing with things that are far beyond the typical human experience. It was something that, once upon a time, she herself had to confront, although fairly speaking, she was more conveniently born into that world and understood it from an early stage. When it's done, she rises and steps closer, and then she reaches out her gloved hands and gently sets them upon the boy's shoulders. "Have you tried valerian?" It's just about a whisper, and so careful and gently-presented.

Stiles gapes for several moments at this, but rather than fly into one of his signature rants, he asks in a small, strained voice, "Valerian? Like the steel from Game of Thrones?" Which is, of course, Valyrian, and not at all the same thing. He reaches up to rub a hand across his face and sighs, puzzled and frustrated... yet at the same time charmed by Myrtle in ways he'd never have guessed anyone might ever affect him.

Myrtle gives a gentle squeeze of those hands on the boy's shoulders. "Valerian," she corrects, though softly. "When applied to a tisane -- you might call herbal tea -- it relaxes and encourages peaceful dreams. I could imagine it combined with, let us say, lavender, perhaps something sweet like milk? You aren't lactose intolerant." It's sort of a question, but more of a statement, as if somehow she seems sure of this. "You do seem under the yoke of crushing stresses, crushing for one of your age, but they also present the most thrilling possibilities for you, you must know...!"

Now catching on--herbs, of course she was talking about herbs--Stiles gives a slow nod. "Do I... have to do it hot, or could I put it in, like, a smoothie?" he asks, clearly giving her suggestion serious thought. He'd like to solve his problems so he doesn't have to be possessed. It was wonderful of Lance to protect him, but... Stiles, somehow, was sure that he wanted to be, deep down, just Stiles, and not possessed by anyone. Even his boyfriend. Then, after a beat, he turns his head to look up at Myrtle. "So... if I wanted to learn from you... how would we do it? It's traditional for packs to have a druid or... something like that... as a kind of mystic advisor." He sits up a bit straighter. "If I could learn... magic stuff... then maybe I could do that for Scott." He doesn't actually explain who Scott is or what pack he means, but somehow he feels Myrtle will understand. Or maybe she already knows.

"Oh, a novel concept! I like that. Already thinking outside the proverbial frame." Myrtle lifts a hand and gives a little gesture of emphasis and approval. "It would likely do best with heat, not to boil but just under, and then cooled. Use a mesh strainer, I should think." With a pat to the other shoulder, she takes a step slightly more in front, rather than to the side, of Stiles. Her eyes seem to indicate her thinking about it all, but soon she answers again. "The gift of learning is the gift of being taught how to learn," she answers, clasping her hands before her. "I can put those resources in your hands. But you, like anyone else, will be responsible for the application of said knowledge. And you must know, surely you do, that there is a certain need for...discretion."

Chewing his lip a bit, Stiles asks, "So, it'd be more like... independent study?" He sighs a bit. "I always thought Harry Potter made magic sound way too much like school." He cracks a small smile, then, and says, "Well... if you wanna teach me... then, yeah. I'd love to learn. Anything I can do to help the pack... my friends." And then he grins, a real and warm grin. "Miz Snow, my best friend's a werewolf. I'm pretty good at keeping secrets." He pauses, thoughtful again. "Would I need to keep it a secret from him, too? I mean... supernatural stuff is basically what we deal with all the time, now."

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: Dude need your help. Going too fast With Ethan. Need something Safe

And then, Stiles' phone lights up with a text. Giving Myrtle an apologetic look, he picks it up to answer.

[Phone] Stiles texts: Ok dude. Relax. Maybe do a group thing?. (to Liam Dunbar)

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: Minigolf? Bowling? Soccer? Picinic? Museum? Three legged racing? ANYTHING!?! Pls.... dbl date?

[Phone] Stiles texts: Do U play pool?

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: No. Ethan prbly does. And he'd show me how, Hold me...

[Phone] Stiles texts: Cool off Pup. Thought U wanted 2 slow down?

Myrtle nods her head softly in response. "Something like that," she offers. "I fear I have much less time than I once had at my disposal. But this affair with the Nemeton is important, as are you." For emphasis, she holds up a hand and motions it with each of the last three words. "Secrets are best kept within a bond of trust. If you trust him, then so be it. But you may know the dangers...those who wait for us, who hunt us and do not have our best interests at heart. Those are the risks." Her hand goes to rest on the other, and then the phone lights up. She patiently waits, not looking put out or annoyed. This is a part of the modern world, of course.

Stiles shoots a few texts back and forth, then sets down his phone, looking sheepish. "Sorry. A friend of mine's kinda dealing with relationship stuff, and I told him he could talk to me about it if he wanted to." He rubs a hand across his face again. "Look, I... I really am interested in all this. I'm really tempted by your offer, but--I gotta know more about it. I need to understand what it means, how it works, what learning this stuff entails. So, like... if you can help me understand what I've gotta do, and what it'll cost me... all that. Then I think I'd really be curious to know more." He's wary. He obviously doesn't want to owe her anything, and he may not even fully believe her. But this is a possibility he can't ignore. If there's any chance Myrtle is on the level, Stiles knows he has to chance it.

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: I DO! You said Pool Um Um Tag? Scavenger hunt? Thriftshop?

[Phone] Stiles texts: What if we play pool but UR not on Ethan's team?

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: ... I'd be thinking about his stick! What about arcade? We could see who could get the most tickets with 20 bucks?

[Phone] Stiles texts: Okay. [[File:Emoji-{{{1}}}.png|25px]]

[Phone] Stiles texts: Where R U? We can meet up.

[Phone] Liam Dunbar texts: On Ethan's couch... Meet at school?

[Phone] Stiles texts: Ok. OMW soon.

The woman nods again, patiently in her demeanor, as if she'd waited through any number of things and this would be no different. "My card," she pronounces, producing just that: a card with her name, a number, and various terms on it that probably would make more sense to someone who knew what they mean. At least it's fairly a safe bet that those who don't know what they are will just assume she's some sort of new agey type of professional they're simply unfamiliar with. "I anticipate being in town for a time, but I they say, mobile. Tell me..." Leaning closer, as if to ask something truly secret or of devastating importance, she lowers her voice again just a tad. "Could you recommend a good hotel? A good day starts with the foundation of belles reves, and I believe it's about pumpkin time."

Stiles looks a bit surprised, and he accepts the card, looking over it with a hey, cool sort of face. People don't usually give him their card. He puts it in his pocket, nodding, and then his eyes widen when she leans in close... and he grins gamely at her question. "The Sunset," he answers readily enough. It's just a few blocks from here, off of Main Street. Hard to miss." He stands, then, and somewhat awkwardly offers Myrtle his hand. It's not a practiced gesture for him. "Well, Miz Snow, it's been... really informative." His eyebrows raise again. "And I'll definitely be in contact. If you can teach me anything useful at all... I figure I'll be pretty grateful."

Myrtle takes the hand and gives a sort's not really a curtsy so much as it is a movement politely acknowledging the introduction and approving of it. Her pleasant demeanor persists through it all, and she moves to the door, to open it and turn back, motioning for Stiles to join her in leaving the room. "It is of the utmost importance to me to help guide the younger generations in principled use of magic, of course! I shall enjoy the Sunset. I will be in touch, Stiles. Of that you have my promise."

Stiles shoulders his bag, stepping out the door when Myrtle indicates... and almost surprised at himself for how readily he's inclined to obey her without even questioning it. It must be that quasi-maternal vibe. That gets him every time. As they exit, he notes the time. The library'll be closing soon. "Well, uh, thanks again, Miz Snow. I hope to hear from you soon." And with a final polite nod, he turns and walks off. And damned if he's not making an effort to stand up straight and square his shoulders. She just seems to have that effect.

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