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VII. Homecoming

Blue_XIII Aug 9th, 2019 (edited) 80 Never
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  1. Something is off.. Something is incredibly off when the boat drops its anchor and remains tied to the pier.
  2.  
  3. Mertaisyl, as you get off of the boat and set foot onto Glacier's Birth - There is something wrong and off about the place as you arrive here. You turn your head back to the water where what you had assumed was frozen fog was rolling in.. Staring at it for the longest time, you can immediately ascertain it wasn't frozen fog.
  4.  
  5. It was more like energy wisps. Something was off. Energy is pooling from the waters and what seemed like Glacier's Birth as a whole. The entire spot was a radiating source and spot for energy to swell.
  6.  
  7. .. And where there's energy, there must be spirits.
  8.  
  9. Folke, as you set your eyes onto the landscape you find yourself navigating through sheets of ice and large hills that are being blasted and coated in razor hail. The blizzard does not slow you, it does not even stick to your scales as your eyes go through the land almost as if you've been here before.
  10.  
  11. That's because you have. You start to see faint images of three figures moving through the snow. One tall, white-haired man with a blade. One tall, brown-haired man with two massive blue wings. A smaller, purple haired man moving about with another blade. For a time you can almost certainly see what you know for sure is Taiga and Niklaus Rowan. What is Neo Invidia.
  12.  
  13. But you blink.. And they're gone. They seemed to be stopped at a fork in the road ahead.. Two paths. One left, one right.
  14.  
  15. Taiga turns to take the left, whilst Neo and Niklaus took the right.. Now things are starting to make even you feel weird.
  16.  
  17. Why were those images of Taiga, Niklaus and Neo so real..? It felt like you could reach out and touch them, but yet.. They are nowhere to be seen.
  18.  
  19. ________________________________________
  20.  
  21. ((The party continues forward, deciding to take the path Niklaus and Neo walked, much to Siegfried's disappointment. Then:))
  22.  
  23. Adrian takes the lead and Siegfried, Folk, Mertaisyl and Brynhild take the rear as they start to move through the rightmost path at the fork in the road. There is a moment where Adrian steps forward in his zeal to follow in Niklaus' footsteps, perhaps a little too closely, and that's when the mountain begins to shake and rumble.
  24.  
  25. The sheets of ice start to crack and move in response to some outwards force at the center of Glacier's Birth. The ominous and frightening noises of entire sheets of ice cracking can be heard at their sides as they were going deeper and deeper into a valley of ice from the right.
  26.  
  27. It's then when the avalanche starts. Byrnhild. You and your absolute hatred of the cold find yourself on edge. You notice this before anyone else does. A massive stream of ice starts to form above the group as it begins to hurdle down with full intent to swallow everyone at the bottom of the valley.
  28.  
  29. Spectral images occur across your vision of Niklaus being swallowed by this avalanche, being thrown down deeper into the valley and further to the pits of Glacier's Birth's deepest ravines - You see images of the purple man known only as Neo leaping from a ledge and catching Niklaus just before a lethal impact.
  30.  
  31. It's likely here where you start to piece together just why Niklaus had back problems. He'd slammed into the walls harder than ever. But here you are, using one or two of your various magics to stop an entire avalanche from crushing and destroying the party.
  32.  
  33. You can hold it for twenty seconds. That's how much juice you feel you have - The party has to run. They have to run to the other side of the valley now.
  34.  
  35. _______________________________
  36.  
  37. Brynhild had been on edge for the longest time--not just during the expedition. The dragon was reserved, and spoke less than she normally did. The dragon had only the necessary words to spare during these trying times of grief.
  38.  
  39. In truth, she was lost in her thoughts, but even in her thoughts she was aware of her situation. The cold kept her mind sharp--as much as she abhorred it.
  40.  
  41. Her sensitivity to it is why she noticed something amiss. Terribly amiss. It was as though a wave of it had crashed into her.
  42.  
  43. And it was more than figurative speech.
  44.  
  45. She turned around, and saw her father. Her eyes grew back with life. A kindling of herself lit inside them, and clued her in to what impended.
  46.  
  47. An avalanche to swallow them whole.
  48.  
  49. With her thunderous voice, she heralded her warning.
  50.  
  51. "Everyone start running!"
  52.  
  53. She took the avalanche by its horns, and retched a blazing wall of fire to meet its nemesis.
  54. (Brynhild)
  55.  
  56. _________________________________
  57.  
  58. Glimmers of a distant never. Visions of a far off present. Taiga, Niklaus, and...this mysterious other had walked these roads, and with the delving into such things he'd done as of late, he is slapped, wholesale, with a realization, somewhere between when they walk tranquilly, and when they are fleeing for their lives:
  59.  
  60. Those three men who'd once walked had indomitable spirits.
  61.  
  62. It's then that everything begins to crumble. Moments before disaster, the spirits spread, leaping into action, and it's only reflex honed by a lifetime of combat as a magical swordsman, narrowly avoiding being impaled, narrowly avoiding many gruesome fates that he'd narrowly survived that he is able to react at all to what's coming.
  63.  
  64. "MOVE!"
  65.  
  66. He bends at the knee, reacting with lightning reflexes, and from his body emanates a vivid light, a star in darkest night. Cupping his hands, that energy is molded, tempered, given purpose, given form, given shape, and then flung free, a meteoric burst of it catapulting toward the oncoming wintery tempest, rocking everything around him momentarily, it's sheer turbulence creating a vacuum around it.
  67.  
  68. And then he whips around, away from that blizzard, eyes scanning just that instant to see if any of them were going to need help, even as the snow was assuredly soon to descend upon him.
  69.  
  70. With otherworldly speed, the magi runs, a phantasmal trail of afterimages in his wake. His eyes pulsate blue, tapping into his soul's radiance to give him that little extra push.
  71.  
  72. Around him, the winds howl.
  73. (Siegfried)
  74.  
  75. ___________________________
  76.  
  77. ((The party is able to escape the Avalanche, narrowly, thanks to good fortune and quick thinking. This leads them to a dead end...but again, the spirits guide, and protect.))
  78.  
  79. Mertaisyl. You have an utterly difficult time fusing the air around you with the same cyan wisps from before, but eventually.. You do happen to go along with it. It's almost like a theater or a film that starts playing because right as you go to swing, Adrian, you are stopped by a voice.
  80.  
  81. .. A voice of a masculine drakanite, the same blue wings from before. "What the hell are we going to do, Neo?! We're separated and Taiga is up on the left path getting eaten, or frozen, or killed!!" Anger bubbles from Niklaus as he turns to the vampire.
  82.  
  83. ".. The only thing we can do now is go forward." Neo points a finger at what looks like an ultra-massive pillar of ice. One that is oddly.. Missing for the group. This pillar of ice seems to be clear, it seemed to be made of the perfect little ice shards scattered around the group's feet.
  84.  
  85. "Stand back, Niklaus. I'm going to shatter it with my bare hands-" Niklaus interjects, ".. You know you can use the arcane, right?"
  86.  
  87. … A mutual pause occurs between Neo and Niklaus as the vampire pulsed forward an obscene amount of crushing force on the pillar of ice. It explodes now, sending razor sharp shards all over and cutting into Neo's shoulders and face as he laughs through the pain.
  88.  
  89. The grandpa vampire is cackling over solving the next portion of the puzzle. The spirits are now staring down at a hole in the ground, right in the center of the area that our party now stands, and they leap through it. The spirits fade, the slideshow of explanation ends.
  90.  
  91. Where that hole was? Nothing but snow and more ice shards.
  92. (Narration)
  93.  
  94. Siegfried says, "...That guy sure had fun."
  95.  
  96. ((The party navigate various obstacles, trials, and tribulations that Niklaus, Taiga, and Neo did, years ago. Eventually, they come to the Spirit of Niklaus, standing alongside Skadi, the dragon himself.))
  97.  
  98. - - - - - -
  99. At the far end of the chamber? A massive, almost mountainous creature remains perched and staring longingly at the chamber door of which they've enterred. Fifty feet tall, two hundred feet long. Beautiful winds made of ice, a body clad in beautiful crystals of see through ice..
  100.  
  101. Skadi - In all of her glory. She smiles now, and turns down to what looks like a much smaller figure resting by her side. ".. I believe we have company, my former champion.
  102.  
  103. .. When the final chamber door creaks open, there is a burst and crackle of crisp and extremely frigid air that blasts the first person who opens it in the face. As a result, it would leave that person with an immediately numb face.. What they were about to enter was not just a simple chill. It was nothing like Glacier's surface. It was absolutely worse.
  104.  
  105. Like an absolute zero of all temperature before hand, this is what could only be described as.. Eons of chill and frost. Standing inside of this final chamber is utter torture for the party.
  106.  
  107. .. Excelt Folke and Adrian. Folke. You feel as if you are home. This place, this final chamber that is utterly frozen solid and decorated in beautiful, ornate stone is your place of birth. The frost and chill that hits your scales and body - It is familial. Familar. It is.. Of the same element that runs through your veins.
  108.  
  109. You are Skadi's child.
  110.  
  111. Adrian. The blade on your back. Perhaps even the linage you follow - You do not feel the terrible, horrific cold here either. Where the other members of your party almost feel themselves ready to shut off their bodies and fall to comatose just to preserve themselves.. You are immune. Skadi's Genesis, her spawned egg - That ties you far closer to this sacred, wonderful place almost as much as Folk.
  112.  
  113. Like a shield of belonging, you begin to slowly understand.. You do, in fact, belong here.
  114.  
  115. - - - - - -
  116. At the far end of the chamber? A massive, almost mountainous creature remains perched and staring longingly at the chamber door of which they've enterred. Fifty feet tall, two hundred feet long. Beautiful winds made of ice, a body clad in beautiful crystals of see through ice..
  117.  
  118. Skadi - In all of her glory. She smiles now, and turns down to what looks like a much smaller figure resting by her side. ".. I believe we have company, my former champion.
  119.  
  120. "Former?"
  121.  
  122. Oh, there's absolutely laughter that rings from the chest of the blue winged Drakanite. His wings extend outwards, but there's a certain translucent property to him, clearly indicating the man's status as a status brought to the living plains. "Even in death, I serve." Fitting for a Rowan to state such a thing.
  123.  
  124. Fitting for someone who believed in what was the glory of Dawn, once upon a time.
  125.  
  126. The mismatched gaze of the man moves onwards as he comes to a stand, one of his hands hovering over the scales of the towering Ancient.
  127.  
  128. "Some of you will freeze here, you know." He harbors a warm smile on his features, but it's likely due to the fact that in this, he's free. Free from the binds of the world at large, given the ability to roam along the lands of water, to be connected with all the things he wanted and more.
  129.  
  130. -- It is apparent that Niklaus Rowan would never move on from the Spiritual Realm. He'd found his peace.
  131.  
  132. "I'm proud that you all made it, though. It is not an easy journey to make here."
  133. (Niklaus Rowan)
  134.  
  135. Pure shock ripples through his abdomen and corrodes like poison, biting almost deeper than the unimaginable cold.
  136.  
  137. Niklaus?
  138.  
  139. His eyes widen only a fraction, such was the depths to which the extreme temperature tore at him. This was not where Siegfried belonged. He'd never belonged anywhere, really - his role wasn't to belong. It was to carve his own place with blood and sweat and insistence, demanding to be heard, demanding to belong.
  140.  
  141. Kind of like he was doing right now.
  142.  
  143. "Nik'..."
  144.  
  145. There are so many things he could ask, but didn't. So much that he thought to say, that he'd never said to the man in life, but that was beyond now. This image, no matter how spectacular, was not the original. It was his spirit, his will, at peace, but it was like a snapshot of the Niklaus that'd been...if his knowledge of spirits were any indicator.
  146.  
  147. If the rules even applied to a place like this.
  148.  
  149. "Now's the big event, huh?"
  150.  
  151. What awaited them at the throat of the mountain had to be here, didn't it?
  152. (Siegfried)
  153.  
  154. ---
  155.  
  156. He doesn't know how to feel.
  157.  
  158. His birth mother and his father, both standing before him. After he was certain that he would never see either of them again.
  159.  
  160. The titan had felt big on Agartha, but now? He tiny again in comparison to the Elder. Small in comparison to the freedom that Niklaus was experiencing and living. A few steps are taken into Skadi's chamber before he falls to a knee, sending a loud thud to echo around the area.
  161.  
  162. He was taking a knee - albeit involuntarily.
  163.  
  164. " Hello, Mother. "
  165.  
  166. And then the unthinkable happens. Several droplets of moisture form in the crevice of his eyes and then fall downwards, turning to solid, frozen ice before they even hit the ground.
  167.  
  168. " You left... but you've found peace. It would be selfish of me to ask anything else of you, Father. " And then he picks his head up to gaze upon the elder.
  169.  
  170. It was his first time actually seeing her, but what the Rowans said was true. He was definitely his mother's child.
  171.  
  172. And so he remains silent for a while, letting Adrian speak to the both of them. He was content with just being in their presence for the time being.
  173. (Folke)
  174.  
  175. _____________________________
  176.  
  177. It was Niklaus. But not in the flesh.
  178.  
  179. None of that deterred Brynhild from pressing forward and confronting the specter of her deceased father. The red dragon did not stop to consider if he was real--it mattered not to her.
  180.  
  181. Her emotions betided her stronger than anything physical ever could. Even the overpowering frost that her scales scarcely managed to ward off.
  182.  
  183. Icicles formed and melted on her flesh. An indicator that she was in deep danger. Adrian and Folke were spared from the brutal conditions.
  184.  
  185. Skadi was little more than an afterthought. The original plan was to give Niklaus his closure--prior to his lamentable departure from their mortal coil.
  186.  
  187. Brynhild shuddered violently in the cold, making her way to his spirit in labored steps. Her wings had frozen shut. Her endeavor to save the group from that avalanche had tolled reserves heavily.
  188.  
  189. "Why... why did you leave?" she said, fighting Skadi's aura. Despite her weakness,there was ire woven with sorrow in her voice. "You never gave us a parting word... you left... you left me alone."
  190. (Brynhild)
  191.  
  192. _________________________
  193.  
  194. Far too cold. It felt like it reached the creature’s very bones. With each motion a slight crackle, a wince with every step. Were it truly undead still, the feeling wouldn’t bother it so much- But as a living-undead of sorts, it felt itself slowing down. It felt the chill. It shivered, for the first time.
  195.  
  196. It kept close to Folke’s path. Following his footsteps, though keeping a short distance from his body. To be sure the radiant cold from him did not add to the ambient chill. Leathery wings huddled around itself, forming a tent of sorts. Keeping warm air in, and attempting to ward off the cold.
  197.  
  198. Smoke and cinders drifted. Each little ember winked out the moment it drifted too far. Flames struggled to form across its blackened scales. Like damp charcoal there was little they could do to remain.
  199.  
  200. As it huddled near the larger dragon- Hiding, almost, behind Folke- an idea struck. It pooled mana within its maw, against those branded runes. Pooling it within the stones there. Those which held sheer firepower, and the singular crimson gemstone that kept its spiritual buddy bound.
  201.  
  202. An offering to Ifrakain.
  203.  
  204. For a few moments, nothing. Little and less. Fires started dying out, as it focused more of its mana inwards. It started to shiver continuously, coiled in on itself. Mismatched eyes fell shut.
  205.  
  206. And from within firelight glimmered to life. A proper internal heat. Through the cracks between its scales a dull amber shone and flickered, barely visible. Across the membranes of its wings ethereal lines traced its circuitry.
  207.  
  208. It hurt. It burned. But the once-voidling’s shivering stopped at least. For all the pain it put itself through it warded off a portion of the cold. Enough to stand a little straighter. And that was more than enough for Mertaisyl.
  209.  
  210. The thing poked its head out to the side, its head tilted to peer up toward the massive elder dragon. It drew a small, crackling breath, as though its lungs were full of fire.
  211.  
  212. And it lifted its wings up. It puffed its chest out. It dipped its head, respectfully, when it came fully into view. And it lifted its head again. It did not speak, yet.
  213.  
  214. Adrian said they weren't just there for it.
  215.  
  216. But.. hopefully they could get to what it was here for soon..
  217.  
  218. It was already aching horribly.
  219. (Mertaisyl)
  220.  
  221. ____________________________________
  222.  
  223. Skadi does nothing as she laid there, a paw encircling Niklaus in a way as she held him close to hersef. He was right, however. He is her eternal champion. But would he be the only champion? She stares for a while at the group and her attention is immediately taken by a beautiful, adult dragon. Glistening eyes of diamond ice turn towards Folke in this moment and her own eyes seem to water.
  224.  
  225. She's staring at him for so long now, a smile creeps onto the eon old dragon's mouth. ".. My beautiful baby.. You return to me after so long." She raises up and approaches him, lowering herself down now so that their noses might touch for only a second. ".. Hello, son."
  226.  
  227. Skadi gazes down at Folke lovingly despite having never once seen him in her life. So long ago, she gave birth to an egg. An egg that glittered and glistened like no other. ".. When Niklaus came to my chambers and asked for the impossible, I tasked him with the impossible. A beautiful son of mine - Raised on torturous Agartha."
  228.  
  229. She closes her eyes momentarily and laughs. "Welcome home, son."
  230.  
  231. ________________________________________
  232.  
  233. "Sometimes, you're weak."
  234.  
  235. The words are murmured toward those that stand before him as his gaze trails around. "Those weaknesses can define you or they can eat you alive." Each person his gaze ticks around, but there's still that spectre of a smile held on his features as he settles his gaze upon Brynhild after a moment.
  236.  
  237. "For the dictation of being untouchable I tried to present, I was selfish. I lost my words, my way. I killed my father after watching my mother die, after feeling Taiga unravel from my very being. Should have, would have, could have-- all these things can be said, all these things can be lamented over, but what is done... is wholly done."
  238.  
  239. There's no sorry for collapsing beneath of the weight of a world that needed him the most, when he couldn't perform, when he couldn't do the things that he needed to do.
  240.  
  241. "You had all had limited time with me, I understand that. For the mortals and immortals here. I was leaving no matter what anyone said or did for me, whether it was through death or departure."
  242.  
  243. Now his eyes settle shut.
  244.  
  245. "But none of you are alone, you have one another. The fault in my stars was that I made my reliance all too heavy on the few when I should've had the many in mind.
  246.  
  247. I miss you all, dearly. Yet, I will not move from this realm to the next. There will be no rehash of my soul. I'll stay here, forever-- with Skadi, with Taiga, with Arthur, and Bei." He'd stay there forever, roaming the spiritual realm.
  248.  
  249. Now, his gaze levels on Adrian as he tilts his head to the side.
  250.  
  251. "Do you consider it a struggle? To prove yourself in battle?" His words echo as he lifts his right hand up, revealing the see-through mythril that constructed it. "The best thing I ever did was lose limb to her. The only being to have ever maimed me was my Queen."
  252.  
  253. So, to prove one's worth, hm?
  254.  
  255. "...What do you think, my lady?"
  256. (Niklaus Rowan)
  257.  
  258. ________________________
  259.  
  260.  
  261. Skadi says, ".. I think.. They have come for a reason."
  262. "So speak, all of you. Why have you come to the heart of Glacier's Birth?"
  263.  
  264. Folke rises back up after a boop to his nose, standing taller than ever.
  265.  
  266. " To become an envoy of frost. To command our element the way you do, Mother. "
  267. (Folke)
  268.  
  269. Siegfried stands in the back. Never fitting in. Never belonging. Obscured by Folke's body, dwarfed by the storm, out of his element.
  270.  
  271. And yet, his smile can never be extinguished.
  272.  
  273. "To understand."
  274. (Siegfried)
  275.  
  276. Taiga's Defiance [PENDANT]
  277. "A beautiful silver pendant that's always cold and frozen feeling. The amulet itself is shaped like a sharp sword and radiates faint wisps of energy. It is closely attuned with the spirit realm. If the user is bleeding, a spectral image of Taiga Rowan can be seen in the reflection of the silver."
  278.  
  279. __________________________
  280.  
  281. It waited. Long enough to let some of the others speak. Long enough that it felt the very edges of its own leathery wings singe. Burning up, if slowly. Mismatched eyes never wavered from the magnificent creature before them, though its head tilted to one side while the rest spoke.
  282.  
  283. But it didn't wait forever. It only had so much confidence.
  284.  
  285. There was no time to think anymore. It didn’t hesitate.
  286.  
  287. ”I am dying. My soul is.. being dragged away, far too quickly, by a star. Adrian said if anyone.. would know, how to fix a dragon.. it would be an elder dragon. I am here for aide. I need your help.”
  288. (Mertaisyl)
  289.  
  290. It was... Different.
  291.  
  292. In death, even Niklaus could point out his own faults. But maybe that's why he was here? Able to greet them and talk, to show up for this final moment... For their last goodbyes.
  293.  
  294. Ending one's life was simply an easy way to move on, but sometimes it hurt so bad that you didn't have a choice. And... Despite Niklaus decision to do so, Adrian's respect and admiration for the man had not been affected at all. He was the Dragon King... In life and in death.
  295.  
  296. But he remains tall, with his chest bold. The axe of Skadi raised, while ghost fire flutters around his form. The eyes of many spirits float above, peering out at the two obstacles that stood before him.
  297.  
  298. ''To lose... Limbs... Life. I am here to prove myself as a Dragon, I am here to show you that all those years weren't for nothing. For you Niklaus, my father. For you Skadi, the beautiful Dragon of Ice. I am prepared to prove that I am capableof wielding this axe, to prove that I am able to be seen as a Champion.
  299.  
  300. A champion for all Dragons that wish to grace me with their presence, but I also hope that I become a pillar for you all. As we gaze upon you with wide eyes and happiness, even fear... I want others to seem the same way, and really be that symbol for Dragons to come to Agartha to live safe... And happy.''
  301.  
  302. An icy breath flows out from his maw, as a grin sneaks up onto his face.
  303.  
  304. ''But before I do that.'' He moves his weapon, pointing it towards Mertaiysl. ''I wrestled this one from the void myself, processed her through the lighthouse and gave her life. But she wishes for more, five years isn't enough to satisfy her. Does she deserve to live longer? Can we prolong her life?''
  305.  
  306. And then, it's directed at his uncle and Skadi. ''I'd like you to decide, to tell me if it's possible... To see if they deserve to live a long life as a Dragon. This is their trial, as much as it's mine.''
  307.  
  308. Folke only gets a smile from Adrian, he was pleased the Dragon of Ice had gotten to feel his mothers love. But deep down inside, he really hoped Folke had no intentions of staying here.
  309.  
  310. And Brynhild? He just hoped she had gotten a good answer, one that could satisfy her... And give her that motivation to move on, to push on.
  311. (Adrian Rowan)
  312.  
  313. Skadi's question, issued more as a command, resounded deeply within the red dragon, even though they heeded them little. The chilblained dragon craned her head up, fighting off the strangest sensation in her eyes.
  314.  
  315. "For answers..." she said.
  316.  
  317. Fighting Skadi's aura still, she moved inexorably towards Niklaus's spirit. If it hurt her, if it killed her, that was the price to be paid.
  318.  
  319. Her scales ceased melting the ice from them. They could equalize the temperature no longer.
  320.  
  321. She needed to be with Niklaus. She wanted to be with Niklaus.
  322.  
  323. Her head pushed against his body, seeking his embrace, the incorporeality of his figure notwithstanding. This was likely the last opportunity she would ever have with him.
  324.  
  325. Folke and Adrian were precious to her. But in that moment, no one else mattered but him.
  326.  
  327. "What am I supposed to do...?" she said, eking the words from her throat. It felt hoarse and tight. Red water pooled from her barely opening eyes. "You were my reason for staying... you were my home..."
  328.  
  329. Brynhild had not simply lost Niklaus. She had lost herself.
  330.  
  331. "I miss you..."
  332.  
  333. She wanted to say more. Brynhild was always one for words when they counted. This was different. This was pain. It was grief.
  334.  
  335. And finally, it was free.
  336. (Brynhild)
  337.  
  338. One by one. They would all be addressed. Skadi takes in a deep breath and tilts her head to the floor. Frost-flame is breathed from her nostrils, jetting out and covering the area in front of her in absolute sub-zero coatings of ice.
  339.  
  340. "To become an Envoy of Frost.. My dearest, beloved son.. Do you not know that which courses through your veins?" Skadi extends her wings out side by side, easily totaling some three-hundred feet as icy blizzards start to extend and flood the room from the simple motion of her getting ready to battle alone. "You are my son, Folke. To command chills and ice is our blessing as frostborn. It is our very right as beings here on Eternia. If you wish to truly become an Envoy, you are at that age."
  341.  
  342. She approaches him now, taking in a deep breath. "But you are overthinking a simple process. We command the frozen with but a thought, but a single pulse of our hearts. Think of it not as a technique or a journey, but as fitting into a new set of scales. Think of it as a right that is absolutely yours to inherit. Think of yourself.. As Winter Itself. There is no greater training than risking yourself, than being yourself at the core. Than being an ice born being perfected and raised to control all the frost in the world."
  343.  
  344. Her head lowers now and the leagues of frozen wind still continue to assault and assail those in her domain. In front of Siegfried and Adrian, two items would start to manifest in front of them. As if she had been saving them for some time. It was Niklaus' idea, in the very end. Two wisps of ice seem to manifest and spark in front of them. Two different objects.
  345.  
  346. A beautiful, bladed amulet-
  347. A precious, scaled ring-
  348.  
  349. "To understand? It is much easier than you think. Listen to Niklaus' words, accepting himself and his losses. Moving forward despite losing it all. I take it you are a man with a bumpy road we call life, young one." Skadi stares back at Siegfried for the longest time. ".. The only way to understand all that which is around you is to understand yourself.. But more importantly.. Forgive yourself and heal yourself. You cannot take more wounds if you have not patched the ones still bleeding from your body no matter how big or small."
  350.  
  351. It's at this point that flames start to gather all around Skadi. Little by little, frost-flame starts to build around her chest and wings. Her mouth and eyes. She was readying herself. She was preparing for battle.
  352.  
  353. ".. And you, undead dragon. I wish to weep for you, I truly do. I wish to lower my head and plead for your case, but I felt it the moment you stepped forth. You are recycled from a dear, beloved friend of mine. The late Kerafym deserved so much more than to be recycled into the spawn I currently see. You say that your soul is being dragged to a star, you ask for my help.. But I cannot bend souls nor do I wish to lock your soul to your body. In a way, I weep for what trials and challenges stand before you.
  354.  
  355. I weep because I do not see a foreseeable future in which you can happily flap your wings like any other dragon.. I weep because.. You are dead, little one." Skadi's eyes close for a time and her battle pose straightens and strengthens. She's on all fours now, body cloaking in what utterly seemed like lethal doses of permafrost.
  356.  
  357. "I do not decide if she deserves life - If she seeks to find a source to tether herself to? I can only remind you all that every Elder is tied to an elemental plane. We gather our strength from there, and in turn help stabilize it. When Kerafym died, his realm was sent into chaos and the elementals he watched over were sent into catastrophe. If you wish to prolong yourself, I recommend seeking his realm and attuning yourself to the purest thing that made him - Him. Joruheim. He was the servant to the Wardens. I recommend diving into the Spirit Realm."
  358.  
  359. As her fighting stance and power had been risen to the penultimate levels, the dragon took in a deep breath and prepared an ultimate and overwhelming attack to send right towards Adrian's path.
  360.  
  361. "My champions are decided on the impossible! The fruitless! Take the challenge and fight me - If you do not approach me with the intent to kill, you will never win. I will fight back with the same intent. Break all of your limitations and approach me as if I was Rygalis himself!
  362.  
  363. Your life is what you must risk to become my Champion, Adrian Rowan."
  364.  
  365. Escaping Light [DM] drops Niklaus' Love.
  366.  
  367. Escaping Light [DM] drops Taiga's Defiance.
  368.  
  369. You pick up Taiga's Defiance.
  370.  
  371. Adrian Rowan picks up Niklaus' Love.
  372.  
  373. A lean forward, and his hands come up. There's a certain warmth to his spirit, and he would lean, lips pressing against the younger Dragon's forehead to leave a lingering, odd sensation.
  374.  
  375. It's warm. Brynhild can feel warmth, an intention to tell her to keep pushing on.
  376.  
  377. "They need you, and I'm not leaving this place. Stand tall, my daughter. You're capable of bigger and brighter than I ever was, mmh?"
  378.  
  379. His feet move, and upwards into the air he'd go, hovering above the battlefield there.
  380.  
  381. Come at me with the intention to kill.
  382.  
  383. He knew it oh so well, and it was the best thing to know. The greatest honor he'd felt.
  384. (Niklaus Rowan)
  385.  
  386.  
  387.  
  388. It waited. Long enough to let some of the others speak. Long enough that it felt the very edges of its own leathery wings singe. Burning up, if slowly. Mismatched eyes never wavered from the magnificent creature before them, though its head tilted to one side while the rest spoke.
  389.  
  390. But it didn't wait forever. It only had so much confidence.
  391.  
  392. There was no time to think anymore. It didn’t hesitate.
  393.  
  394. ”I am dying. My soul is.. being dragged away, far too quickly, by a star. Adrian said if anyone.. would know, how to fix a dragon.. it would be an elder dragon. I am here for aide. I need your help.”
  395. (Mertaisyl)
  396.  
  397. It was... Different.
  398.  
  399. In death, even Niklaus could point out his own faults. But maybe that's why he was here? Able to greet them and talk, to show up for this final moment... For their last goodbyes.
  400.  
  401. Ending one's life was simply an easy way to move on, but sometimes it hurt so bad that you didn't have a choice. And... Despite Niklaus decision to do so, Adrian's respect and admiration for the man had not been affected at all. He was the Dragon King... In life and in death.
  402.  
  403. But he remains tall, with his chest bold. The axe of Skadi raised, while ghost fire flutters around his form. The eyes of many spirits float above, peering out at the two obstacles that stood before him.
  404.  
  405. ''To lose... Limbs... Life. I am here to prove myself as a Dragon, I am here to show you that all those years weren't for nothing. For you Niklaus, my father. For you Skadi, the beautiful Dragon of Ice. I am prepared to prove that I am capableof wielding this axe, to prove that I am able to be seen as a Champion.
  406.  
  407. A champion for all Dragons that wish to grace me with their presence, but I also hope that I become a pillar for you all. As we gaze upon you with wide eyes and happiness, even fear... I want others to seem the same way, and really be that symbol for Dragons to come to Agartha to live safe... And happy.''
  408.  
  409. An icy breath flows out from his maw, as a grin sneaks up onto his face.
  410.  
  411. ''But before I do that.'' He moves his weapon, pointing it towards Mertaiysl. ''I wrestled this one from the void myself, processed her through the lighthouse and gave her life. But she wishes for more, five years isn't enough to satisfy her. Does she deserve to live longer? Can we prolong her life?''
  412.  
  413. And then, it's directed at his uncle and Skadi. ''I'd like you to decide, to tell me if it's possible... To see if they deserve to live a long life as a Dragon. This is their trial, as much as it's mine.''
  414.  
  415. Folke only gets a smile from Adrian, he was pleased the Dragon of Ice had gotten to feel his mothers love. But deep down inside, he really hoped Folke had no intentions of staying here.
  416.  
  417. And Brynhild? He just hoped she had gotten a good answer, one that could satisfy her... And give her that motivation to move on, to push on.
  418. (Adrian Rowan)
  419.  
  420. Skadi's question, issued more as a command, resounded deeply within the red dragon, even though they heeded them little. The chilblained dragon craned her head up, fighting off the strangest sensation in her eyes.
  421.  
  422. "For answers..." she said.
  423.  
  424. Fighting Skadi's aura still, she moved inexorably towards Niklaus's spirit. If it hurt her, if it killed her, that was the price to be paid.
  425.  
  426. Her scales ceased melting the ice from them. They could equalize the temperature no longer.
  427.  
  428. She needed to be with Niklaus. She wanted to be with Niklaus.
  429.  
  430. Her head pushed against his body, seeking his embrace, the incorporeality of his figure notwithstanding. This was likely the last opportunity she would ever have with him.
  431.  
  432. Folke and Adrian were precious to her. But in that moment, no one else mattered but him.
  433.  
  434. "What am I supposed to do...?" she said, eking the words from her throat. It felt hoarse and tight. Red water pooled from her barely opening eyes. "You were my reason for staying... you were my home..."
  435.  
  436. Brynhild had not simply lost Niklaus. She had lost herself.
  437.  
  438. "I miss you..."
  439.  
  440. She wanted to say more. Brynhild was always one for words when they counted. This was different. This was pain. It was grief.
  441.  
  442. And finally, it was free.
  443. (Brynhild)
  444.  
  445. One by one. They would all be addressed. Skadi takes in a deep breath and tilts her head to the floor. Frost-flame is breathed from her nostrils, jetting out and covering the area in front of her in absolute sub-zero coatings of ice.
  446.  
  447. "To become an Envoy of Frost.. My dearest, beloved son.. Do you not know that which courses through your veins?" Skadi extends her wings out side by side, easily totaling some three-hundred feet as icy blizzards start to extend and flood the room from the simple motion of her getting ready to battle alone. "You are my son, Folke. To command chills and ice is our blessing as frostborn. It is our very right as beings here on Eternia. If you wish to truly become an Envoy, you are at that age."
  448.  
  449. She approaches him now, taking in a deep breath. "But you are overthinking a simple process. We command the frozen with but a thought, but a single pulse of our hearts. Think of it not as a technique or a journey, but as fitting into a new set of scales. Think of it as a right that is absolutely yours to inherit. Think of yourself.. As Winter Itself. There is no greater training than risking yourself, than being yourself at the core. Than being an ice born being perfected and raised to control all the frost in the world."
  450.  
  451. Her head lowers now and the leagues of frozen wind still continue to assault and assail those in her domain. In front of Siegfried and Adrian, two items would start to manifest in front of them. As if she had been saving them for some time. It was Niklaus' idea, in the very end. Two wisps of ice seem to manifest and spark in front of them. Two different objects.
  452.  
  453. A beautiful, bladed amulet-
  454. A precious, scaled ring-
  455.  
  456. "To understand? It is much easier than you think. Listen to Niklaus' words, accepting himself and his losses. Moving forward despite losing it all. I take it you are a man with a bumpy road we call life, young one." Skadi stares back at Siegfried for the longest time. ".. The only way to understand all that which is around you is to understand yourself.. But more importantly.. Forgive yourself and heal yourself. You cannot take more wounds if you have not patched the ones still bleeding from your body no matter how big or small."
  457.  
  458. It's at this point that flames start to gather all around Skadi. Little by little, frost-flame starts to build around her chest and wings. Her mouth and eyes. She was readying herself. She was preparing for battle.
  459.  
  460. ".. And you, undead dragon. I wish to weep for you, I truly do. I wish to lower my head and plead for your case, but I felt it the moment you stepped forth. You are recycled from a dear, beloved friend of mine. The late Kerafym deserved so much more than to be recycled into the spawn I currently see. You say that your soul is being dragged to a star, you ask for my help.. But I cannot bend souls nor do I wish to lock your soul to your body. In a way, I weep for what trials and challenges stand before you.
  461.  
  462. I weep because I do not see a foreseeable future in which you can happily flap your wings like any other dragon.. I weep because.. You are dead, little one." Skadi's eyes close for a time and her battle pose straightens and strengthens. She's on all fours now, body cloaking in what utterly seemed like lethal doses of permafrost.
  463.  
  464. "I do not decide if she deserves life - If she seeks to find a source to tether herself to? I can only remind you all that every Elder is tied to an elemental plane. We gather our strength from there, and in turn help stabilize it. When Kerafym died, his realm was sent into chaos and the elementals he watched over were sent into catastrophe. If you wish to prolong yourself, I recommend seeking his realm and attuning yourself to the purest thing that made him - Him. Joruheim. He was the servant to the Wardens. I recommend diving into the Spirit Realm."
  465.  
  466. As her fighting stance and power had been risen to the penultimate levels, the dragon took in a deep breath and prepared an ultimate and overwhelming attack to send right towards Adrian's path.
  467.  
  468. "My champions are decided on the impossible! The fruitless! Take the challenge and fight me - If you do not approach me with the intent to kill, you will never win. I will fight back with the same intent. Break all of your limitations and approach me as if I was Rygalis himself!
  469.  
  470. Your life is what you must risk to become my Champion, Adrian Rowan."
  471.  
  472. Escaping Light [DM] drops Niklaus' Love.
  473.  
  474. Escaping Light [DM] drops Taiga's Defiance.
  475.  
  476. You pick up Taiga's Defiance.
  477.  
  478. Adrian Rowan picks up Niklaus' Love.
  479.  
  480. A lean forward, and his hands come up. There's a certain warmth to his spirit, and he would lean, lips pressing against the younger Dragon's forehead to leave a lingering, odd sensation.
  481.  
  482. It's warm. Brynhild can feel warmth, an intention to tell her to keep pushing on.
  483.  
  484. "They need you, and I'm not leaving this place. Stand tall, my daughter. You're capable of bigger and brighter than I ever was, mmh?"
  485.  
  486. His feet move, and upwards into the air he'd go, hovering above the battlefield there.
  487.  
  488. Come at me with the intention to kill.
  489.  
  490. He knew it oh so well, and it was the best thing to know. The greatest honor he'd felt.
  491. (Niklaus Rowan)
  492.  
  493. ((The party dukes it out with Skadi. Narrow victory:))
  494.  
  495. KOs:
  496. - - - - -
  497. Adrian: 3
  498. Folke: 2
  499. Bynhilde: 3
  500. Siegfried: 3
  501. - - - - - -
  502. Roll a D6 and determine your injury! Feel free to RP your victory!!
  503.  
  504. Adrian: 12 Day Temp
  505. Siegfried: 12 Day Temp
  506. Byn: 4 Day Temp
  507. Folk: 4 Day Temp
  508. - - - - -
  509. No perms!
  510.  
  511.  
  512.  
  513. You have received an INJURY:
  514.  
  515. Name: "Frozen Legs"
  516.  
  517. Desc: Both of Siegfried's legs have been frozen over by insanely painful icicles. Stabbing into his legs and freezing over his veins, they have cracked and bled all over from his thigh to his ankle.
  518.  
  519. Inflictor: Escaping Light [DM]
  520.  
  521. Class: TEMPORARY
  522.  
  523. Duration: Long (12 days) (-20% VIT)
  524.  
  525.  
  526. The fight... Begins.
  527.  
  528. With all their questions answered, it was time to prove himself.
  529.  
  530. As much as Adrian was ready to face this task alone, it seems each one of them come to his side. Folke, Brynhild, Siegfried. Through the hardship, this was only going to mark for more.
  531.  
  532. The spirits of the Dragons befall his very being, as eyes peer from the very depths of his soul. Ice flutters against his hands, while flames dance about his boots. Skadi's Genesis raised high above his head, as silver flames of deathly cold erupt out around his body.
  533.  
  534. ''I am going to make you smile upon me... And any other Dragon that wishes to test me. And you'll heed my call, you'll feel joy when you are called to aid me. As I wield this axe with pride, I wield it with confidence.
  535.  
  536. As many say they will die for a cause, I will only live for it. I will live for the Dragons live for Agartha. Live for my family. I know my family all rest peacefully, and I am not going to let their decisions dictate my life.
  537.  
  538. And now, you will feel not just my strength. But my very spirit, bleed for you.''
  539.  
  540. Hydras form at his waist, moving like beasts that shake amongst the cold skies. Snow trapped within their waves, turned back into the water to increase its size. To smack against Skadi, clashing against the beast herself. And Adrian moves, not wasting time using just his magic.
  541.  
  542. Flames lift him up from the ground, as the axe spins around in his hand. Upon many hits and damage done to the Dragon, and the aid of those around him. An upwards swing smacks into her maw, digging the blade into her mouth. Blood spews out across the snow, using the momentum of his fall to tear it away from her mouth again.
  543.  
  544. Heavy breaths come next, while ghost fire erupts around his being. Spirits of Dragons aid his movement until those flames of ghostly tint slither across the ground. Like a waterfall of ghost fire, it rains down on the motherly Dragon until she's brought down to the ground.
  545.  
  546. And once he falls back, he watches.
  547.  
  548. Skadi told him to fight like he wanted to kill her, and he did... Only out of respect. If he held back at all, it would be nothing but disrespectful.
  549.  
  550. Slits turn down to his arm, ice forming over its flesh and causing it to stiffen. ''G- Gah...'' It was painful, a cold he even couldn't bear. If he didn't get it treated, he was confident he may even lose his arm. But no... He clenches his fist even as his arms frozen, eyes filled with determination flaring up towards the Dragon.
  551.  
  552. His body torn, armor ruined, cape shredded. Blood spills from his head, arms, and body. Dripping down onto the snow, down onto his body. Struggling to stand, and yet he rises tall.
  553.  
  554. With a grin spreading across his features, his cold tone echos out over the mountain.
  555.  
  556. ''How's that?''
  557. (Adrian Rowan)
  558.  
  559. "Perhaps you are unaware of what a Champion is, Adrian.." She grins ear to ear as frost-fire engulfs the world around them. Each of them are hit with a different dose of magic that burns yet freezes. A concoction that sticks to their body and solidies like ice yet burns like hellfire. It was her special creation, a beautiful birthright given to all the frostborne.
  560.  
  561. Even so, as Adrian so boldly proclaims she tilts her head and laughs. "You serve I.. Not the other way.. For if this were any different and I desired you truly dead.. Humans are but an easy smudge to wipe from Agartha. Do you think I live in solitude because I am weak?"
  562.  
  563. Skadi's wings extend out as Adrian delivers a blow to her maw, however - His arms are frozen over in the process. "I live because I desire escapism from cruelty worldwide. Do you believe in these creeds, Adrian? Do you believe that dragons have a right to live and not fight if they so choose?"
  564.  
  565. Wings expand from outwards as one final clash of power meets both parties and they're all sent hurdling away. "If the answer is yes-" A final orb of flame builds in her mouth - Stronger than any other. Larger than anything she'd used before.
  566.  
  567. It was like she was manifesting and creating a miniature, cyan sun inbetween her jaws. Adrian's answer meant the difference between life and death. An attack powerful enough to reduce him to atoms, not ash.
  568.  
  569. "Then you have the right to call yourself my Champion."
  570.  
  571. Adrian Rowan says, "That question is stupid, of course I think Dragons have a right to live without fighting if they choose."
  572.  
  573.  
  574. Adrian Rowan says, "You fail to understand... I want the ability to call upon those Dragons that will figth for that very right."
  575.  
  576. Skadi says, "No question is stupid - Only the answer that follows."
  577.  
  578. Adrian Rowan says, "So when they threaten that peace, threaten that right we hold. All deserve freedom, but many threaten to take it away. The Dragon Spirits heed my call, and those ready to give me strengvth and fight for that cause... I call upon them."
  579.  
  580. Adrian Rowan says, "For you. For Folke... For Brynhild."
  581.  
  582. Adrian Rowan says, "Can you get behind that? Skadi? You are a beautiful Dragon, and many wish to sully you. And I will stand... Here or in Agartha, to make sure no one is even given the chance."
  583.  
  584. Skadi says, "Take it upon yourself to further the life of dragons on Agartha and you have my word. Protect my beautiful son- Protect the daughter of Azikar. Continue to do the impossible like thousands have tried before.."
  585.  
  586. Skadi says, ".. And you have my support."
  587.  
  588. Adrian Rowan says, "Then consider it done, I don't even need to think about it. As long as you accept me amongst you, I will lead these ideals into the light... And the sun will shine brightly and grant us warmth. Until the moon rises to continue that feeling, even when it's cold... That feeling, is freedom."
  589.  
  590. Siegfried says, "Hell yeah, brother."
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