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5/4 A Hero's Welcome

JWaldman May 11th, 2019 22 Never
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  1. Calico approaches Artaghh, flying to the height of his arm. Calico would reach out, grabbing onto a selection of hair and flesh.
  2.  
  3. "Come on! We have to bury you."
  4.  
  5. Calico had created a grave for Artaghh, seeing as he had gone on some dragon hunting trip. Calico wasn't about to waste it.
  6. (Ser Calico Artaghh)
  7. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  8.  
  9.  Artaghh says, "Hmm..."
  10.  Artaghh asks, "Bury me huh?"
  11.  Artaghh asks, "Bu' I didn' die?"
  12.  Artaghh exclaims, "Chaaca did!"
  13.  Ser Artaghh's collection of hair and flesh was gripped firmly by the fae squire, though he did seem a bit confused.
  14. (Artaghh)
  15. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  16.  
  17.  Ser Calico Artaghh exclaims, "That's okay. Follow me!"
  18.  Ser Calico Artaghh says, "I forgot where the grave is."
  19.  Artaghh exclaims, "Oh!"
  20.  Artaghh exclaims, "Tha's alrigh', we can dig a new one if we need to!"
  21.  Artaghh asks, "Fer....me was it?"
  22.  Ser Calico Artaghh exclaims, "It might be here... yes!"
  23.  Artaghh says, "I follow ye' lead Cal/."
  24.  Artaghh says, "This is a nice spot."
  25.  Ser Calico Artaghh says, "It is."
  26.  Artaghh asks, "Should we say some words fer'ta fallen?"
  27.  Ser Calico Artaghh says, "Urmm. You first! I have a flower to give."
  28.  Artaghh says, "Sure."
  29.  Ser Artaghh would mournfully bow his head to the grave, crossing his burn scarred, heavily bandaged arm over the black plate of his Nyeshk cuirass with a quiet, sorrowful whistle, a haunting thing that echoed through the gusting, frozen winds of the mountaintops beside Dawn. It was a sad day, and they'd lost a good knight....right.
  30.  
  31. "Here lies Ser Artaghh, Knight o'ta Green Hill, Slayer'a Energy's Firstborn an'ta Swuisarme King, Mithril Paladin, Commander o' Dawn. He died'a old age a' the ripe year o' one hundred an' sixty six, unmarried an' wit' a bastard Oscuri child. May he fin' res' in death tha' he did'nae in life."
  32.  
  33. The knight would solemnly bow, they'd lost a good man.
  34. (Artaghh)
  35. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  36.  
  37. Calico closed his eyes, sparkles slowly beginning to drip. Not tears, but literal sparkles. Calico's gotten much more sparkly over the time that Artaghh was away.
  38. "Ser Arthgagh.. I guess he was pretty old. Maybe like. REALLY old. I'm kind of old too. Not as old as him, I think. I dug this grave for him because of some dragon. I even cut out a gravestone! hey-- hey look!" He'd point to the gravestone carved for Artaghh. it mentioned something along the line sof 'Here lies Artaghh', and mentioned some of his deeds.
  39.  
  40. "He was pretty nice to me, but I want pudding, and he doesn't have pudding." Taking a flower out from the inventory rift people were capable of, Calico threw a flower at the deep grave somewhere in the distance.
  41.  
  42. "I'm sad now."
  43.  
  44.  
  45. (Ser Calico Artaghh)
  46. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  47.  
  48. Ser Artaghh would nod steadily, patting good Calico upon the shoulder lightly with his ring finger in a comforting gesture as he sighed. Puffing away lightly at his corn cob pipe, the commander would a cloud of minty smoke into the distant, frigids gusts of the mountaintop. Gone in the wind, just like all other worldly issues this high up.
  49.  
  50. "Don' worry Cal, we'll ge' ye' some puddin' soon.....once ye' finish yer trainin'. For now, remember Ser Artaghh as he lived, an' old bald man tha' had a ton'a injuries! Here, les' head back'ta Dawn, ye' can fly abou' an' do whimsical fairy things an'...."
  51.  
  52. Ser Artaghh appeared to finally that he wasn't dead, was firmly alive, and that this was a grave dug for him. "Cal....I'm nae dead. I only said I was goin'ta probably die...though our scoutdid die...."
  53. (Artaghh)
  54. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  55.  Calico hung his head down low, slowly shaking it. Artaghh was really dead.. He simply couldn't believe it. That was probably because it wasn't true at all. Calico still didn't know much about Dawn and its zombies, so he thought that anyone gone would be gone for good!
  56.  
  57. "Whimsical fairy thi-"
  58.  
  59. The fairy blinked as Artaghh revealed the truth, his mouth lightly dropping in shock. Artaghh wasn't dead! Hooray, hooray! The day is saved.
  60.  
  61. "Woah! I knew it, I knew it! You're not dead. B..but shouldn't we do a funeral for your scout? Death isn't very nice..."
  62. (Ser Calico Artaghh)
  63. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  64.  
  65. Ser Artaghh would nod, removing the scout report he'd received from the young legionnaire forester before their untimely death by frost troll with a nod, glancing over the writing with its clean script and carefuly precise details before balling it up steadily, igniting it with a bit of energy fire, and flicking it forth into the open grave with a somber nod.
  66.  
  67. "Aye, it's only righ'. Sides, we cannae waste such a nice spo' fer a grave as this, migh' as well ensure tha' poor lad is properly memorialized wit' wha' remains'a his body. Well, the none'a it tha' remains. Thinkin' abou' it, he might'a jus' deserted from fear. Bu' tha's basically dead anyway, so we'll funeralize'm all the same!"
  68.  
  69. The knight would somberly cross his arm over his cuirass once more, preparing to deliver the eulogy.
  70.  
  71. "Here lies Legion Scout Leon, competent forester an' frontiersman'a our fold. He lead us dutifully'ta the peak'o the mountain where Kerafyrm the ancient's arena awaited, an' fell'ta a sassy frost troll tha' go' kazooed'ta death. He served admirably, an' will nae be forgotten, Azrael rest his soul."
  72. (Artaghh)
  73. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  74.  
  75.  Artaghh says, "Alrigh', we can leave. He's memorialized."
  76.  Artaghh says, "I'll leave ye'ta mourn, his death must'a affected ye' deeply."
  77. -A few minutes later
  78.  
  79.  Ser Artaghh would pace into Crafthold with a wide, missing toothed grin, one that looked more lively than the knight had seemed in a long, long time. He appeared....happy, a strange state after all the struggles he'd gone through in recent times, and with the war on the horizon with certainty. It appeared that Ser Artaghh's nose had also been violently smashed in and shattered by heavy metal, the cartilage still disfigured as idle drops of blood fell from the knight's nostrils.
  80.  
  81. He'd take a cozy seat beside Ohtli with a nod.
  82. "Hey Ohtli!"
  83. (Artaghh)
  84. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  85.  
  86.  The Drakan roosts in the middle of the square, more or less at peace. Until Artaghh shuffles in. At first she affords him a casual nod, then does a double-take to see his bashed in nose.
  87.  
  88. "Spirits above and below, what happened to your face?"
  89. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  90. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  91.  
  92.  Ser Artaghh would bark out in laughter at Ohtli's response to his condition, reminding himself with certainty that he should probably reset the cartilage later. It wasn't the most pleasant of injuries, if perhaps the least severe one of all that had been acquired upon the hunt. He would scratch his chin thoughtlessly before beginning.
  93.  
  94. "An energy magi drakan gladiator wit' my mastery levels smashed me fuckin' nose in is wha'! Bahahahahahaahah! It was crazy, we seven were facin' off agains' hordes'a vicious swordsmen, Iron Roland was matchin' blades an' fists wit' me, an' all'a the sudden this mo'erfucker hits me so hard in the nose tha' tornados appeared aroun' me! It was crazy!"
  95. (Artaghh)
  96. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  97.  Ohtli blinks a few times. It's at least good to see Artaghh in high spirits.
  98.  
  99. "Ah...Well. I don't think I've seen you this well in an age. Must have been good for you. Dawn's tournament is going well then?"
  100. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  101. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  102.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl asks, "Wait...seven? What are they doing in that tournament?"
  103.  Ser Artaghh would blink. Or was it a wink? He only had one eye, it would always be hard to tell. Shaking his head steadily, he'd gaze off into the distance as he recollected the long night upon the icy cliffs in its entirety, conjuring the memories of the blood soaked sands of Energy's Firstborn with a wistful smile.
  104.  
  105. "The tournament's today actually, a wee bi' too battered'ta compete in it me'self. No, Ohtli, we competed in an entirely differen' sort'a melee. Upon the bloody sands an' ancient runes'a the arena o' Energy's Firstborn atop the northern peaks above'ta clouds. We had'ta…..it was the only way'ta ge' the favored o' Kerafyrm to.....wake him. "
  106. (Artaghh)
  107. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  108. The Drakan tilts her head and scratches her scalp. Those talons are good for it.
  109.  
  110. "I can't say I'd heard of it. The favored of Kerafyrm? Waking him?"
  111. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  112. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  113.  
  114.  Ser Artaghh would nod sagely, taking this brief lapse in the conversation to stick a firm finger up his nose. Was he being impolite and picking it at a time such as this. For shame! But no, it seemed the peasant knight was even more foolish, for with a grit of his teeth and a firm twist, the commander would reset his nose with an audible snap and crack as blood began to freshly flow down his face. Well, at least it was straighter now.
  115.  
  116. "Aye....Kerafyrm the dreamer, master'o elements...."living god"...ugh, big mouth on'm. An energy dragon tha' must'a been o'er a thousan' years old. He manifested all'a my powers an' more....he had them ghostly flames a'yours tha' burn yer spirit too. Chaaca go' real fucked up, Jessi too. Sirocco's near mad, go' branded by an exorcist gladiator, so his mastery o'er the occult's been disrupted. Apparently an ancient, ethereal dragon required......sacrifices'ta shift'm fully in'ta the livin' realm.....or'ta shift us in'ta his dream..."
  117. (Artaghh)
  118. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  119.  
  120.  Artaghh definitely has her attention now. As if he didn't already. She leans in closer, hands on her knees, and her focus narrows to a razor's edge.
  121.  
  122. "He required...sacrifices?"
  123.  
  124. She asks hesitantly.
  125.  
  126. "What reason were you summoning him for?-- And what sort of sacrifices?..."
  127.  
  128. Already she has the feeling she's not going to like this answer.
  129. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  130. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  131.  
  132.  Sir floats over beside Ohtli, he liked the air around her and didn't know what else to do in The Hold as he lazed about idly.
  133. (Sir Airgenald Spudnicus Ixis)
  134. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  135. Ser Artaghh would nod somberly, gritting his teeth as he recalled the poor elder of wind that had been so amiable and energetic in their support of the seven companions performance. It had been a truly wondrous melee, the shouting of the crowds and the theater of the singing blades still ringing in the knight's ears as he thought back fondly to the distant peaks of the north. It had been dangerous, mortally so, and yet the commander of Dawn's legion hadn't felt so alive in years.
  136.  
  137. "Aye....we summoned'm to kill him Ohtli, I won' lie'ta ye'. I though' we coul' try wha' ye suggested ye' know, speak wit'm an' maybe come'ta some terms? Bu' this dragon....they weren' a good person...an' tha's comin' from me. It was ancient, lazy, an' gluttonous fer souls....seemed'ta barely be able'ta manifest its physical form wit'ou' a bit'a motivation...an' by motivation I mean blood an' energy spilled upon the runes tha' lined'ta arena. Tried'ta trick one'a us to be its mortal avatar, fake ou' sacrifice tha'd of guaranteed lost one'a our number."
  138.  
  139. The knight's eyes would light up as he recalled the wondrous crescendo of the final battle....when they'd been fully shifted into Kerafyrm's waking dream and seen the world as he saw it..."The beas' ruthlessly slaughtered the remainin' elder worshipper'ta finish the job, sort'a looked like a giant spirit fer'a while. We me' blades an' spells wit' it, tried'ta wear it down, bu' tha' jus' woke the dreamer even further. Finally, he fel' challenged enoug'ta conjured the full might'a tha' runic circle tha' covered the colloseum's floor...an' drew us in'ta the dream..."
  140. (Artaghh)
  141. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  142.  The warm spring air that surrounds the Drakan suddenly, and abruptly, vanishes. Gone. Shut off behind an iron door to carefully match her outward face of carefully composed iron.
  143.  
  144. She rises. She faces the knight, and steel enters her voice. The single word she speaks is given a razor's edge.
  145.  
  146. "Why?"
  147.  
  148. Did she hear his explanation? Did she care for his excuses? So far...it doesn't look like it.
  149. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  150. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  151. Ser Artaghh would stare down the Drakan with firm, unyielding ground, his one eye matching the iron pair of Ohtli's own as he bowed his head. "Cause tha' thing was a monster, an' its a knight's job'ta slay monsters Ohtli. It pretended'ta be a god, lead honest, honorable warriors on in their quests to become dragons before ruthlessly consumin' their gathered energy to maintain its own ancient malaise. It was as much a vampire as any ye' hate, an' I have no regrets doin' wha' had'ta be done."
  152.  
  153. The commander would cross his arms over the Nyeshk plate of his cuirass with a steady nod, his one eye never leaving Ohtli's as he looked directly at her. He wouldn't lie to her. "When he drews us in'ta the dream, I saw a world on fire. Dragon wings blacked ou' the sky, burnin' the lands'o man black. There is when Kerafyrm's form was entirely physical, an' there is where it tried'ta feast on us an' ours. Like they'd planned'ta since we entered the arena, under the guise'a seekin' worthy contenders. We were food from the star', an I didn' plan'ta ge' ate."
  154.  
  155. Ser Artaghh would point a finger firmly at Ohtli. "Ye' migh' be a drakan, bu' if ye' defend tha' monster's actions jus' cause they're a dragon, yer no be'er than me on'ta topic'a Dawn."
  156. (Artaghh)
  157. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  158.  
  159. The Drakan's anger is seemingly curbed. She pushes away the accusatory finger that's aimed at her and it resurges. On any other day it would've been refreshing. But today? Today she's had enough.
  160.  
  161. "That might be so. Perhaps it was a monster up on that hill, Artaghh, but you serve one too. And all the things he's done, all the things he plans, are you doing anything to end THAT monster?
  162.  
  163. "No. You're feeding it. You follow a man that brings ill spirits into this world at his fancy, that raises the undead, and twists their minds to be loyal to him. That makes rifts in the sky that make ALL the world suffer."
  164.  
  165. She takes her talon and jabs it towards the little snowflake token, if it still dangles from the warrior's neck.
  166.  
  167. "If it's a knights job to slay monsters, then why don't you do your actual job. You don't get to lament your oath to serve that creature and then hide behind your so-called 'JOB'!"
  168.  
  169. Oh, oh she's getting worked into a froth now. The ground starts to shake and her feathers ruffle, wings flaring open. As she speaks, as she goes on her tirade, she snarls and shows the tips of her teeth.
  170. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  171. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  172.  Albrecht glances over his shoulder at the explosion behind him, choosing to not bother asking what's going on; it'd only lead to another explosion most likely.
  173. (Albrecht Jaegar)
  174. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  175. Ser Artaghh would stare at Ohtli for a time, his one eye hardened obsidian as his mouth formed a firm line across his face. He heard out all she had to say on the topic, listened intently and did not interrupt her. Yet, anger never came to the commander of Dawn's face as she lambasted him, no, nothing of the sort.
  176.  
  177. The new life and energy that had added such a skip to the downcast knight's step was banished, lines of stress returning to his brow as his mouth slowly formed into a frown. It seemed as if Ohtli had done what an ancient energy dragon at the apex of its power could not with all the potency and ethereal heat of the ghost flames.
  178.  
  179. She had taken the life out of him.
  180.  
  181. Downcast, the knight would lower his head and pace out of town back towards Dawn without another word, walking away from one of the few people that had provided him comfort in his trying times with just a bit less peasant whimsy than usual. His feet were firmly grounded, he did not possess the lightness this day to fly.
  182. (Artaghh)
  183.  
  184. ...Shortly after the tournament of Dawn
  185.  
  186.  
  187. Artaghh says, "Ye' aren' a day o'er twenty five Lady Nyphadora, nonsense."
  188. Nyphadora says, "If you do well in tomorrow's war, I will discuss the revival of your mother with Arthur! And perhaps even your father's armour with Lady Cho."
  189.  
  190.  The Drakanite drops to the ground, feet digging into the ground as he comes to a full stand. The Rowan would glance between the parties there, and then his eyes narrowed.
  191.  
  192. "Why the fuck are we killing dragons now?"
  193.  
  194. The demand is short, simple, and sweet.
  195. (Niklaus Rowan)
  196. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  197.  
  198. Artaghh says, "Ooof."
  199.  Artaghh says, "Tha' spread quick."
  200.  Freya Vishkar says, "People are just allowed to keep taunting and degrading me. "
  201.  Artaghh exclaims, "So uh.....it was fun? Oh! An' we brought it back so we coul' resurrect it, an' ride it!"
  202.  Niklaus Rowan says, "It spreads quick when people casually--..."
  203.  Nyphadora says, "Mm, stop letting the words hurt you then. Wear it like armour."
  204.  Niklaus Rowan says, "..."
  205.  Artaghh exclaims, "An' it had a spire shard!"
  206.  Nyphadora says, "You performed the most loyal act Dawn has seen in a long time, young Freya."
  207.  Niklaus stares at Artaghh, wide eyed and a bit wild.
  208. (Niklaus Rowan)
  209. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  210.  
  211.  Freya Vishkar says, "I see the dead eyes of my mother every time I sleep."
  212.  Freya Vishkar says, "It fucking haunts me."
  213.  Artaghh says, "Okay before ye' beat me up wit' a staff."
  214.  Freya Vishkar says, "And people like Quincy get a free pass from Dawn to walk all over me."
  215.  Artaghh says, "Sors wanted the revivy stuff."
  216.  Artaghh exclaims, "I jus' wanted the adventure!"
  217.  Nyphadora exclaims, "Do not take it as an insult!"
  218.  Nyphadora says, "You did what had to be done, in that moment. In that situation."
  219.  Nyphadora says, "Now you must do what you /can/ to have your wishes fulfilled."
  220.  Nyphadora exclaims, "There is no point in listening to degrading words, ever. Trust me, I know!"
  221.  Artaghh says, "An' this is the angry yelling part, I fear."
  222.  Ser Artaghh bowed his head, prepared.
  223. (Artaghh)
  224. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  225.  
  226. Ali Wibble asks, "Yelling part?"
  227.  Freya Vishkar says, "It's all so tiresome. That I have to work, and work, while everyone above me distrusts me."
  228.  Nyphadora exclaims, "Mm, I don't!"
  229.  Kobuk stares, wow it looks like they're having a good time.
  230. (Kobuk)
  231. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  232.  
  233.  Every step of the way, this was treated casually when it very clearly meant a good deal to the Rowan. It meant more than just 'I'm going out to hunt', it meant more than just 'it's a test of our mettle'.
  234.  
  235. "You're all hopeless. You're going to kill what is likely millennia old dragon, something that's been driven from Agartha? You people really think this is acceptable? I came back with a dragon's blessing, her good fortune, and you all can't think outside of your fucking pea brains to try to level with a creature like that?" His demands are momentarily quiet, surprisingly enough.
  236.  
  237. It didn't seem like it'd stay that way for long by the way that his faded, gray wings extended outwards, shuddering against the air there.
  238.  
  239. "I heard it sacrificed people and that it was an asshole, blatantly to my face. Did you all forget that we're all driven by pride? That Dawn is built off of sacrifice to Azrael?"
  240.  
  241. Is this all something that passed their minds?
  242.  
  243. "Who's resurrecting him, Artaghh?
  244.  
  245. And why do you all strive to make what Skadi said about Agarthans true? Even when dragons are driven from this land, you all strive to make them stay away. Far, far away."
  246.  
  247. Dawn wouldn't be the place that he would allow his dragon to grow.
  248.  
  249. ...It was a decision that he had now come to. There was no way that he could let his child grow to see the disrespect that had been afforded by Dawn and it's leadership.
  250. (Niklaus Rowan)
  251. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  252.  
  253.  Nyphadora would love to stick around for this too, but unfortunately it is getting late! Have fun guys!
  254. (Nyphadora)
  255. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  256.  
  257.  Ser Artaghh would hear out all of Niklaus' concerns with full attention, nodding steadily as he crossed his arms behind his back, puffing away at his corn cob pipe as he recalled the earlier conversation he'd had with Ohtli on the topic. It had not been a pleasant one. "Considerin' the dragon in question was a lazy, gluttonous excuse fer'a energy master, succourin' like a leech upon the bloody, runed sands tha' were its nappin' ground. We DID kill Kerafyrm, aye, we survived the trials'a those who sought'a become dragons. I won' lie Nik, wit' Sors along I didn' expec' things'ta end peacefully, bu' I sure as hel tried!"
  258.  
  259. The commander would cross his burn scarred, bandaged arms over the black plate of his cuirass, sighing lightly as he recalled the night in question. "It was sappin' off sacrifices, aye, tha' alone'd nae damn it. Bu' it asked fer one'a us to sacrifice ourselves fer an audience, then killed its own loyal worshipper in place when I asked wha'd happen if we didn' volunteer. Tha' arena....it wasn' wha' Nerafyrm's worshippers believed, they though' they'd learn'ta become dragons under his watchful ward, bu' they were jus'.....food...blood an' energy'ta sate his dream."
  260.  
  261. Ser Artaghh would shudder at that, recalling what had come when the ethereal dragon had revealed the true purpose of the runes....the living dream where dragons ruled the world. "It was usin'm souls'ta give it good dreams, ta' fuel its realm where dragons still ruled the sky. It was a beautiful, dreadfully sad illusion, a world untamed long 'fore the death'a man....bu' tha' foul nostalgia drove Nerafyrm mad.....there was no reasonin' wit'm. I would'a tried if I could Nik, on my solemn oath as a knight. We defended ourselves, did'nae draw firs' blood. Followed their trials wit'ou' error."
  262.  
  263.  
  264.  
  265. (Artaghh)
  266. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  267.  
  268.  They were fools to seek something out like this. To go forward, to try and hunt some semblance of glory that Dawn would never have committing atrocities like this. It didn't matter to Niklaus what a creature that was far, far away did. They weren't here to make moves like Huangzhou, and that? That was one such move that seemed to burn at his very soul as he listened to the words addressed to him.
  269.  
  270. The trials, followed. The dragon, slain when they entered it's domain.
  271.  
  272. "And why do we care what something so far displaced from Agartha is doing? On the horizon of war, why do we throw ourselves against dragons? What glory will you all attain off of this that I haven't already offered to help Dawn with?"
  273.  
  274. Then, he draws in a sharp breath.
  275.  
  276. "You all could've stayed away.
  277. You didn't have to go.
  278. But you still did.
  279. Like a point to prove, you drove it through a creature's vitality and life."
  280.  
  281. And Niklaus was looking none-the-better for wear, his features shifting to reveal the blood that ran through his veins, the gray scaling that congregated along his skin further and eyes with slits that only narrowed further.
  282.  
  283. "I'm going to ask this. One more time."
  284.  
  285.  
  286. "Who the fuck is resurrecting the dragon, Artaghh?"
  287.  
  288. His patience was running dreadfully thin.
  289. (Niklaus Rowan)
  290. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  291.  
  292.  Ser Artaghh would raise his hands before him placatingly, bowing his head respectfully to the young Rowan as he allowed them to speak there mind fully before nodding sorrowfully. "I understand yer woes, dragons are importan'ta yer people, an' wha' we did is nae somethin' ye' can simply forgive. I won' ask ye'ta approve'a wha' I did, bu' I dunnae regre' it. It is my JOB as a knight to slay monsters, an' tha' is wha' Nerafyrm became. They were mad, plain an' simple. I think perhaps....the same truths ye' spoke'ta me abou' his kind bein' gone from the world did it so, bu' such is wha' he became."
  293.  
  294. The knight would nod grimly to himself, shaking his head as he returned his stalwart gaze to the young Rowan with an understanding expression. "A beast as glorious as Nerafyrm must'a been once upon a time, their mind ha' become'a ruin. Wha' we did was nae more than'a mercy killin'. An'ta ensure energy magi tha' pursued the rumors we did will nae meet needless fates fer the dragon's madness."
  295.  
  296. Finally, Artaghh would return to the question Niklaus was most intent on having answered, and one the legion commander would no longer delay. "Sors'd be the one'ta do it, the body's in his possession. Tha' particular business is one I go' nae'ta do wit', so those moral qualms ye'll need'ta sor' ou' wit'm. Bu' for wha' I can, I do apologize young Nik."
  297.  
  298.  
  299.  
  300. (Artaghh)
  301. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  302.  
  303.  Mercy killing.
  304.  
  305. As if Dawn had any mercy.
  306.  
  307. They were grasping at straws trying to explain this to him. They just wanted the fight, that's all he could see. A short breath leaves him, laden with mist that would freeze and fall like snow. When had he grown so... cold?
  308.  
  309. Hm.
  310.  
  311. "You're not sorry."
  312.  
  313. There's but one harrowing moment that lingers between the statements that sweep through.
  314.  
  315. "But you all will be." It comes out as a snarl, fangs barred for any and all to have to witness. For one, brief moment the world around them felt sickly and corrupt, like the area would begin to collapse in on itself. Perhaps it was because they mentioned they wanted to literally ride dragons, or that it was fun to play it like it was sport--…
  316.  
  317. "Tell me one thing:
  318.  
  319. Do you take pride in being a Dragonslayer, Artaghh?
  320.  
  321. Is that something you hold NEAR and dear to your heart?"
  322. (Niklaus Rowan)
  323. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  324.  
  325. Ser Artaghh would simply shake his head, retaining the placating rise of his hands forth as he sighed lightly. "Ye' misunderstand. I'm nae sorry tha' I had'ta slay the dragon Nik, I'm sorry tha' it caused ye' unhappiness. Tha' is nae my desire, regardless'a wha' ye' may think. We pursued the location'a a spire shard knowin' who or wha'ever held it wouldn' want'a give it up, an' found an insane energy dragon livin' in a pocket realm an' leechin' off'a a bunch'a gladiators. Blood was shed, an' Dawn's stronger for it now. Sors has a shard, an' wit' it the power to help us in this war. "
  326.  
  327. The knight would accept Niklaus' obvious threat without any challenge, no, not even a dismissal. It was valid, truly. "There's neither glory nae infamyin in it, I jus' am a dragonslayer aye?"
  328.  
  329. (Artaghh)
  330. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  331.  
  332. Artaghh says, "Oh hey Lady Cho."
  333.  Cho seems somewhat curious but...Not curious enough to stand by and be nosy.
  334. (Cho Grauhimmel)
  335. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  336.  
  337. Cho Grauhimmel says, "Hello, Artaghh.."
  338.  "No."
  339.  
  340. It's stated in the coldest manner possible as he brings a hand up, fingers resting against the hilt of the axe at his back. "...Dawn isn't stronger for this." The metal of his fingers flex as all of his leylines fire up with magical potency.
  341.  
  342. "And if I ever hear a single tale of you boasting, of you stating you feel pride in what you and your merry gaggle of idiots have done to my kin, I will cut you down to size."
  343.  
  344. He should've now. He should've pursued all of their heads one right after another. He shouldn't have stopped until he was drenched in the blood of Dawn's upper echelon.
  345.  
  346. Yet there was something that drummed idly in the back of his head-- a soft voice, Taiga's voice.
  347.  
  348. "Do you understand? You and every single last person that went on that expedition. It is nothing to boast about."
  349.  
  350. It was a stain and a testament to Dawn's constant and resounding mistakes.
  351. (Niklaus Rowan)
  352. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  353.  Artaghh says, "Okay, well, I ge' wha' ye' mean. Bu' Dawn is stronger for this."
  354.  Artaghh exclaims, "We go' a spire shard. An' its real shiny!"
  355.  Niklaus Rowan says, "Fuck your spire shard."
  356.  Vedran Ivanovich says, "Enough. Cease this.."
  357.  Artaghh says, "I understand Nik, ye' are angry. Fer ye' sake, I shall nae speak'a the event aroun' ye', if it brings ye' peace'a mind."
  358.  Vedran Ivanovich says, "So I can yell at Artaghh fer' bein' a fucking dumbass."
  359.  Artaghh says, "Says the vampire who also slayed the dragon."
  360.  Vedran Ivanovich says, "... "
  361.  Vedran Ivanovich says, "I meant 'bout Freya's promotion."
  362.  Artaghh asks, "Oh tha'? Wha' abou' it?"
  363.  Niklaus looks toward the back of Vedran's head. He can probably feel holes boring into the back of it by now.
  364. (Niklaus Rowan)
  365. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  366.  
  367.  Vedran Ivanovich says, "Is she gettin' it..? and I barely hit that dragon before it tossed me aside like trash."
  368.  Artaghh says, "Ye' gobshite, an' aye. I plan'ta grant'er it. Long as she dunnae do anythin' more fuckin' stupid."
  369.  Artaghh says, "As fer ye' Nik, I understand yer unhappiness. I'm nae a Drakan, bu' I know yer people's connection'ta the dragons."
  370.  Niklaus Rowan says, "Oh? Is she becoming Paladin? Great. Another irrational mind to the already fucked Legion."
  371. Loretta says, "Ser Artaghh, I know this is improper of me to ask, but..."
  372. Loretta asks, "... do you have any plans with that shard?"
  373. Artaghh says, "Sors has plans, I beleive."
  374. Artaghh says, "An' Nik..."
  375.  Loretta asks, "Does he have it?"
  376.  Artaghh asks, "Didn' yer dad raise an undead dragon?"
  377. Artaghh says, "Aye Loretta."
  378. Loretta says, "I'd like to study it, if possible."
  379. Loretta says, "I'll need to ask him then."
  380. Artaghh says, "Mhmm."
  381. Niklaus Rowan says, "If he did, I wouldn't fucking respect him for it, either."
  382. Artaghh says, "Oh, tha' sounds like a family issue then."
  383. Niklaus Rowan says, "Oh yeah, like Dawn has any shortage of those."
  384. Niklaus Rowan says, "Good thing I won't add to it."
  385. Artaghh says, "I ain' disagreein'."
  386. Niklaus Rowan says, "Farewell."
  387. Artaghh exclaims, "See ye' Nik!"
  388. Artaghh says, "Good talk."
  389. Artaghh exclaims, "Congratulations on gettin' married soon!"
  390.  
  391. ...
  392. Ser Artaghh leaned against the walls of the tower beside the tourney field long after everyone had left and the fanfare had died down, the idle cricketing of distant bug life in the spring the knight's only company as he puffed away solemnly at his corn cob pipe. It had been a....rough homecoming, he couldn't deny it. He'd returned expecting he'd get to share the glory of a legendary feat with those around him, revel in the cheers, and get to recount the tale over and over as fresh barrels of mead were cracked open in the feasting halls, smoking, gristly meats and pungent vegetables stewing a loud, raucusing hall in celebration of a dragon hunt.
  393.  
  394. Yet, beyond a few nods, some light acknowledgement, and a bit of fanboying from the youths of Dawn, the most discourse he'd had about his fanciful quests was having to defend his actions against both sides of the fence, with an old Drakan lady he cared dearly for and now hurt, and a young Drakan man who's blood was that of the king he'd sworn leal service to. The day after the dragon hunt was supposed to be one of the best of the knight's life, and yet he ended it feeling hollow, cold, as if just another day had passed in Dawn. A city of sleeping, apathetic ancients that turn their heads only to achieve a new napping position.
  395.  
  396. This was not like the stories.
  397.  
  398. Rifling through his black woolen cloak, Artaghh would remove a foot wide, glassy, shimmering sphere as dense with mana as it was heavy and ethereally cold to the touch. The left eye of Kerafyrm, the dragon whose slaying had been easier than having to defend himself for the action fruitlessly. Rolling the dragon's eye around in his palms as he coalesced a bit of his own, mystical energy around the sphere, distant echoes and sights of Kerafyrm's dreadfully nostalgic dream appeared before him, of the land that never was where dragons still ruled the sky. Yet, the beast had never faltered in its progress, in the fueling of its dream through sacrifice, never succumb to old age and wear.
  399.  
  400. Slaying it saved lives, even if it ended the life of an ancient. Energy that stagnated was no longer beautiful, no longer natural. A being of energy that ceases to flow, no longer maintains its motion, must be brought back into the cycle. No matter how angry Ohtli or Niklaus got, Ser Artaghh had done the right thing, and he would not lose sight of his goals. Perhaps it was as it should be, to manifest the ethereal energy was to take on the ghostly aspects of the spirit realm as your own. There was nothing quite more solemn than a sad ghost. As Artaghh looked across the empty field and began to pace steadily back home, he could say with certainty that he quite felt like one right now.
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