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Prose Equus 6: Fist of Justice.

Mandroid Nov 8th, 2018 97 Never
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  1. =Prose Equus 6=
  2.  
  3. >The Asgardians call it Ulfirborg, “Wolf Keep” in their oldest tongue. From the tales told by the two guards escorting you along the path there, it has had more names than there are stars in the sky and has always stood strong at Asgard’s northernmost broader at the apex of its great wall. By some accounts, it was the first piece of the wall actually built, and all other fortifications sprung from it and encircled the city.
  4. “Who carved the giant wolf head?”
  5. >You point to the large lupine carving atop the massive spire fortress casting a shadow down on you even from this far away. You could tell what it is even if it was facing away form you, and you could just see its furious eyes pointing out to the wilderness beyond.
  6. >”Carved in commemoration of Lord Tyr’s bravery in sealing the Dread Wolf.” Says one of your escorts
  7. >You nod and stroke your chin as you walk
  8. “Tyr…I’ve heard the name spoken often since I arrived here.”
  9. >The other guard speaks up. “He Lord High-General of Asgard’s standing army, Defender of the Wall, Grand Judge of Asgard, and God of War and Justice.”
  10. >You glance back at her.
  11. “I thought Lady Sleipnir was the God of War?”
  12. >She did say that over breakfast once.
  13. >The two guards look to each other, clearly not expecting that question. They wordlessly communicate and look back to you. “There can be two…”
  14. “Of course…Well, regardless.”
  15. >You roll your shoulder to get the kinks out.
  16. “The poison of the Chimera is out of my veins, I’m sure I can have whatever words another war god wants to have with me after that little outing.”
  17. >The two guards laugh to each other as they lead you through the main gates.
  18. >That does not fill you with confidence.
  19.  
  20. >The first thing you hear as you enter the fortress is the sound of someone being thrown to the ground in a heap, a sound you’d recognize anywhere.
  21. >”Pick up your mace, try again.” Says a raspy voice filled with authority as it echoes against the stone walls.
  22. >The warriors inside the fortress all crowd around a sunken fighting pit in the center of the room, illuminated by sunlight from the sky above that glistens off the golden trim of their black armor.
  23. >Their eyes turn to see the oddity entering the building and offers you enough clearance to push through and investigate the ring.
  24. >What you presume to be Lord Tyr has nicer armor than just about everyone else in the room. It’s polished and layered, and his mane is messy but kept as trim as possible in what you could recognize as a self-done cut, probably away from the fortress. He circles around a younger looking warrior on the ground nursing a bloody mouth with an uneven gait, thrown off by the silver cap over his right forehoof.
  25. >”Let’s go, boy.”
  26. >The warrior pats around for a silver mace some few feet away from him while he stammers an apology. “A-apologies, lord. That last hit has me seeing stars.”
  27. >Tyr’s unicorn horn glows a cobalt blue as he helps the colt to his feet. “The wilds won’t wait for you to collect your senses, pup. You must learn to cultivate a combat trance to shake off those dizzying blows faster.”
  28. “Ah, is there any practice more pure than brutalizing neophytes?”
  29.  
  30. >Every eye turns to you for interjecting, something you noticed was common in Asgard.
  31. >Tyr glances up and locks eyes with you with a small snort through his nostrils. “And you’re the one the Queen brought out from Valhalla then? You attacked my nephew.”
  32. >You leap over the side of the pit arena and land in a crouch next to the initiate.
  33. “Honest mistake.”
  34. >A cursory glance at the boy is all you need to see.
  35. “This one looks done, need a new partner?”
  36. >”I-I can still-“ he starts.
  37. >”Stay down.” Says Tyr. “Go take a breather.”
  38. >You give the warrior some room to get to his hooves and wrap your hand around his fallen mace.
  39. “Can I borrow this?”
  40. >”It’s…not mine.”
  41. “Ah, so I can use it then. Marvelous.”
  42.  
  43. >You rise and rest the mace on your shoulder
  44. “I’m told that you’re to “take care” of me, Lord Tyr.”
  45. >He nods once and begins to walk to your right, you instinctively begin to circle left while keeping him in your sight.
  46. >”Aye.” He starts. “As Lord-Commander of all Asgard’s warriors, it falls to me to judge those who break rank in any way.” He pauses in his step, putting pressure on that silver cap over his hoof. “Such as those who nearly get themselves discovered by the mortals of Midgard to go kill a Chimera.”
  47. >You pause yourself as well.
  48. “Save, actually. I saved them from that chimera, as I thought you gods up here in your golden palaces and Ulfirborgs were supposed to do.”
  49. >Tyr’s eyes narrow slightly. “Your heart is in the right place, No-name. But even we must have our limits. To open ourselves to them would be to open them to all the dangers that WE face.”
  50. “And meanwhile they still die to something that could have been stopped. Everyone loses.”
  51. >Tyr continues his circle, so do you. “You would have us intervene to prevent every death then?”
  52. “Hardly.”
  53. >You point your mace at him.
  54. “I saw danger and I did something about it, I’ll do it again the next time I see it. Guard’s don’t stop every death, we can’t. But we do try and stop every death we can.”
  55. >Tyr slowly nods. “Ah…a guard then. Show me something.”
  56. >You tilt your head a bit.
  57. >”Show me how well you’re trained.”
  58. >Tyr whistles as his horn glows and a brick from the wall flies at you.
  59.  
  60. >You don’t think, but feel your arm with the mace fly up to your face. The brick recoils off your weapon and flies back at the War God before two halves of it fall to either side of him
  61. >Tyr stands before you on three legs while holding his capped foreleg out. The cap itself is gone and now a wide runed blade is in its place. His gaze holds the same intensity it did before as he stares through you, his eyes hold the same luminescence as the other gods here you’ve met.
  62. >”Good.” He says, the metal of the blade shifting like clay on a potter’s spinner and reforming back into the silver cap that lets him set his foot down.
  63. “…That’s a neat trick.”
  64. >Tyr allows a single chuckle to come through his lips. “Uru is a fantastic metal.”
  65. >The war god looks you over again with a discerning eye. “You carry that weapon as if you were born with it. Who taught you to hold it?”
  66. >You turn your own gaze to the floor and sigh.
  67. “You wouldn’t know him.”
  68. >”Try me.”
  69. >Painful as the memories were, you recall your old master.
  70. “Geaus. He was Geaus, former captain of the Canterlot Royal Guard.”
  71. >You have never been the most social of clever man, but even you can detect the atmosphere in the room change when Tyr quickly turns his head away and half those watching gasp.
  72.  
  73. >You glance around to the observers and hold your arms out to your sides, trying to get someone to tell you what provoked such a reaction.
  74. “Wha-“
  75. >”Leave. You shouldn’t be here.” Tyr says.
  76. >You look over your shoulder and find the war god glaring at you. His snout is pointed downwards and his eyes foretell of either frustration or anger.
  77. >It gets under your skin.
  78. “Oh no.”
  79. >You turn around and face him fully, mace in hand.
  80. “At my age? With all I’ve done? You don’t EVER talk to me like that.”
  81. >Tyr slams his hoof onto the ground and shakes the foundation. “That was not a suggestion.”
  82. “I’m ignoring your suggestion.”
  83. >”You’ll do more harm than good here.”
  84. “Then I’ll be the only one doing something out of all the soldiers in this hall.”
  85. >Tyr’s eyes narrow even further.
  86. “The Queen brought me out of my afterlife for a reason, War God. I would see what that is, do something about it if you don’t like it.”
  87. >Tyr scrapes his metal hoof on the ground, signaling a charge. “By your request…”
  88. >Both you and he kick off at the same time as you rush one another.
  89.  
  90. >In the heat of battle, you were taught by your master to count time in the form of heartbeats. In your early days, your engagements could last up to fifty heartbeats. Later, your one-on-one battles were shaved down to thirty, then twenty as you got stronger. With your age and experience now, you could now reasonably end a fight in ten heartbeats if it was an even match.
  91. >It takes you approximately three beats of your heart to realize that you are outclassed here.
  92. >Tyr started by shifting his limb into a sword and swinging low at you, your attempt to block met the blade becoming fluid again and encasing the haft of your mace in an impervious metal. With a flick, Tyr send it clattering away. That was the first beat.
  93. >In the second heartbeat, you try to take a half step back and raise your arms to get a feel for the war diety’s form.
  94. >By the third heartbeat and accompanying metal hoof cap to the face, you realize that there is no form and that Tyr is moving in one constant motion. A strike to the face heralds a blow to the legs and a punch to the gut. Your world becomes an inescapable flurry of blows from which even falling over is no reprieve, as Tyr uppercuts you back to your feet when you begin to list.
  95. >You get your hands up next to your head to block a strike that sends you to the floor instead of sending you to the wall in a heap. You prepare for the follow-up but get interrupted.
  96. >”Tyr.”
  97.  
  98. >Her voice cuts through the haze of pain you’re in like a knife through cloth. You glance out of the corner of your eye as God-Queen Sleipnir now stands where you once did, every other soldier in the fortress watching your bout now with their heads to the floor.
  99. >”Explain yourself.” She demands.
  100. >Tyr pants in the center of the ring, looking between Her and you. He gasps for air and manages to get a few syllables out.
  101. >”I-“ “He-“
  102. >”While I’m still young, son.” Sleipnir says.
  103. >No one dares laugh at Her remark, but you let a small chuckle out.
  104. >”Mother!” Tyr exclaims, collecting himself and bowing. “…He was trained-“
  105. >”Tyr.” She interrupts again. The war god looks up at her.
  106. >Sleipnir tilts her head barely an inch to the side. “Do you believe I would bring an outside to the Golden Realm were I unaware of such things?”
  107. >A long silence hangs in the air as Tyr lowers his head again. “No, Mother…”
  108. >”Then cease your tantrum and act your age, fool child.”
  109. >No sooner does Sleipnir finish speaking than a runner, a Pegasus, flies in through the door. “LORD-COMMANDER! I BRING NEW-EW-EW-EW-!”
  110. >It could be a trick of the angle, but you believe for a moment you see Sleipnir roll her single eye as the runner tries to stop himself in mid-air before the Queen. “Well?” She asks. “You have burst through here so quickly, speak your news if it is of such importance.”
  111. >He nods nervously. “A-aye, Your Grace!” before he looks to Tyr. “Milord! Heimdall claims something has escaped from the Underworld, an Argus!”
  112. >Tyr swears as the bowing warriors rise, murmuring to themselves of the dangers. You hear mention of “acid-spray” and “baleful tentacles” from down on the floor.
  113.  
  114. >”Settle, all of you!” Tyr shouts, silencing the room. His gaze drifts over all in assembly. “Where is it?”
  115. >”The mountains, just outside of a Midgard city known as “Stalliongrad”.” The runner reports.
  116. >Tyr slowly nods his head, looking solemn. “The Argus Panoptes was indeed sealed away in the Underworld back before the mortals were so widespread…but now it wanders near them, and our intervention would reveal us and our own horrors to them. It is not our place to stop this beast.”
  117. “What a load…”
  118. >You rub your jaw, feeling it and fearing it was dislocated, as you rise up and speak through the pain.
  119. “What coward lets a giant rampage through innocent lives because he’s too scared to be seen? Were I you, I’d be too scared of being seen NOW acting as you are than to be seen trying to save them!”
  120. >”YOU don’t know the Argus Panoptes.” Tyr retorts.
  121. “I know those damn mountains!”
  122. >You point two fingers at the war god and everyone else in the room.
  123. “No creature, not even this Helspawn you’re talking about, can travel those peaks and hills without getting lost, the area is damn near a maze. Send someone with even half of an idea which way is which and you can find it before it gets anywhere close to Stalliongrad.”
  124. >”And whom would you send, No-name?” Sleipnir asks for her son.
  125. >You hold up a trio of fingers to the Queen.
  126. “I’ll give you three guesses, but I wager you won’t even need one.”
  127. >”Indeed.” She replies, stone faced as ever and directing her gaze to Tyr. “The order is yours to consider, Lord-Commander.”
  128.  
  129. >Tyr looks at you from the corner of his eye. You still see the anger that prompted his earlier assault, but the fires of rage are smothered by the cool blue of the Lord of the Ulfirborg. “Summon a healer.” He commands to any who will listen.
  130. >”Stick him up so he can fight, have Heimdall find a place we can send him.”
  131. “I need a weapon.”
  132. >”We’ll find you one.”
  133. >Tyr keeps his back to you as he climbs the stairs out of the arena.
  134. >”No-name.”
  135. >You turn your gaze to Queen Sleipnir. “This is the third time I have had to save you since I brought you here. Continue this, and I will consider bringing you here a mistake. Do not make me do it again.”
  136. >You nod.
  137. “Aye.” Your grace.
  138. >No pressure.
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