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Chapter VII: Revelations

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri moved protectively near Dina in case more than harsh language was thrown her way. Above all, he kept calm. "Well, you won't know the facts if you continue to speak over them, that's for certain," he told anyone who would listen. In the meantime, he used his huge armored body to intervene between Dina and anyone who came too close. "Do you think closed minds and open mouths will pull us all out from under the yoke of the Sorceress? Or will wiser heads prevail?"
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
Date: October 11th (Saturday), year 3321
Location: Tyr's Retreat, Darkvale Mountains
Weather: A clear and cold Autumn day.

Around 18:00 h
The Great Hall, Tyr's Retreat



The man with whom Maggie had been trying to reason with, a tall, finely dressed nobleman from the north, was just in the process of explaining to her why such a thing couldn't be proven when he was suddenly interrupted by a loud, crushing sound. The same sound that interrupted Auri while he was trying to give Dina some relief and temper the hotheaded remarks that had been coming her way.

Within a second, the entire great hall was dead quiet. One by one, people's eyes converged on the source of the disturbance, coming to realize that a certain dwarf had leapt out of the crowd (sans battle cry) and struck the floor with his greataxe. Long, twisting cracks in the tiled stone spread out from the point of impact.

"I am a Runemaster of Knalga," he said. "'Twere my people who toiled to set these stones that you lot be usin' now to quarrel upon - spittin' in the face of friend and ally alike, while our enemies grow stronger! I won't be havin' it."

Silence continued for a few more moments until Knight-Commander Natalis spoke again: "There will be no quarrel. This girl has laid a claim on the throne of Asgard before all of us as witnesses, and before us, here and now, her claim will be proven true or false - in the same way that such claims have always been resolved, since time immemorial."

"But how? The Amulet is lost to us!" someone shouted from the back.

This time it didn't turn into a heated discussion. All eyes remained on Natalis, who unexpectedly turned his back on the crowd and approached the throne to pick up the small wooden box that had sat there all this time. With the flat, unremarkable-looking container securely held in both hands, he faced the rest of the room once again and declared loudly: "The Amulet of Kings is not lost! It was recovered from Alicante, even as the city burned and demons poured through the palace gates!"

With that, Natalis opened the box and took out the Amulet - a round piece of jewelry just big enough not to quite fit into the palm of an adult human, like a large, thick coin; except it was made of some black metal, as dark as obsidian, aside from the silver lining and the silver chain that it was attached to. The glint of firelight betrayed some symbol or pattern across the medallion's dark surface, but what exactly it was could not be discerned from afar.

For the moment, Natalis said nothing else.

Behind him, Violet looked relaxed and curious, much like Dina who eyed the amulet up close with silent wonder. Wonder was written on the faces of most, mixed with awe, for even though few in that room were likely to have ever laid eyes upon the Amulet of Kings, everyone knew what it was by reputation: An ancient relic that's been in the possession of House Tenárus from before Men came to Asgard, predating any of the official royal symbols such as the Gryphon Crown. It was said that the Amulet could tell who was of the royal bloodline and who was not, though none of the Chosen could say how exactly it did that. Until today, it was thought to have been lost when the Sorceress seized the capital.

Apparently, that wasn't the case.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
"Dina Ailsa," Natalis called out, facing her with the amulet still dangling off its chain in his hand. With the other he produced a long, ornamental dagger, likely to everyone's surprise.

"Your claim is made, but only your blood can answer the challenge it poses." He offered both to the girl, the dagger and the amulet. At the same time, he paid some heed to Maggie. "May we have your assistance as well?"

Dina stood motionless, her eyes glued to the two items before her.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


This "little surprise" suited Auri just fine! If Dina's blood passed this test, it would put things right once and for all! The wizardly drakkar especially took note of the items and the ritual itself - blood magic was a study he had never been enthusiastic about in his 350 years of life, but right now, what could be better?

Auri craned his reptilian neck and watched with great interest.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



Maggie couldn't resist the briefest of "I told you so" looks at the man she'd been talking to, but only the briefest one, as more important matters called her forth. Smoothing her robes, she joined Natalis and Dina up at the front. "Of course," she replied. "I am honored to serve the Resistance and all the people of Asgard in whatever way I can."
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
Knight-Commander Natalis gave a short nod to Maggie and then faced Dina again. "It needn't be a large cut. Only a small amount of blood is required. If you'd prefer someone else to do it..."

"No," Dina replied, looking up. Standing close to her, in the light, Maggie could now see what she could not earlier in the forest - that her once purely blue eyes were indeed tinged with a dark purple. It recalled to her the night they met in Dunn, when the girl had become briefly possessed by the spirit the necromancer had brought with him. When it made her use the dark power inside her and bring it out to slaughter the monsters from the river in a terrifying display - how her eyes flashed purple then. Like the scar on her arm that was now covered up. While that was a temporary effect, Maggie could see plainly that Dina's eyes were different now compared to the last time she'd seen her before Alicante, suggesting certain things...

"I'll do it myself," she decided, and took the items out of Natalis' hands. It was at this time that Maggie could see the Tenárus amulet up close and discern the pattern on it. Though it was the darkest metal Maggie had ever seen, rising just above the medallion's surface was the clear depiction of a black sun - if not for the color, it could have passed for a variation of the Creationist sigil.

There was a slight concern to the Knight-Commander's face, but also clear approval. "Here," he directed her, touching the back of his hand near the thumb. "It will hurt less that way and still bleed enough for the task. There's no need for a cut across the palm."

Gripping the amulet by its silver chain in the fist of the hand that she was about to cut, Dina carefully brought the knife to it with the other one. To bystanders, it would have seemed as if the metal barely touched her skin, and yet the cut followed swiftly in its wake, with no indication of effort or pain on the girl's part. She looked captivated, if anything, and barely noticed when Natalis reached to take back the weapon. By then, blood was starting to trickle from the wound, sliding in elegant red lines down the side of her hand. With her other hand free of the knife, she took the black medallion and positioned it so it would catch the dripping blood.

The first drop landed with an inaudible splash, followed by another. And another. It happened quickly, though there wasn't a lot of it. Just enough to paint the face of the amulet red.

That was when it happened.

A flash of gold emanated from the medallion; its center to be precise. When Dina saw this, she let it slip from her uninjured hand so that it hung suspended by the length of the silver chain from her closed fist. Within seconds, it looked as if the medallion was ablaze with some golden fire, spreading outwards from the middle. It shone through the red of the blood, forming a golden sun against the black surface. Silence fell upon the great hall of Tyr's Retreat like a spell.

Knight-Commander Natalis was the first to break it. "This is all the proof we need. Hail, Dina Tenárus, rightful heir to the throne of Asgard!" And he knelt down on one knee, his head bowed.

Others followed, some slower than others, though the delay was likely due to shock rather than hesitance. Those that had argued the loudest before now seemed to have bowed their heads the most as the Amulet of Kings shone bright through the bloody fist of the girl before them.
 


After being guided, Asher stood in the crowd, a bit unnerved by the amount of people. He only half-followed what was going on, actively wary of any movements and noise behind him. After a while , a sudden light ahead of him drew his attention - The Amulet of Kings.

Asher forgot about the crowds in that instant, focused only on the amulet: the way it looks, the approximate weight, the storage case, the sounds the chain made...

He may not be able to steal it at the moment, but it would happen some day, and he wanted to be ready.

He automatically followed suit when everyone knelt in an attempt to blend in and discard any attention. If anyone here knew what was going through his head at this point, Meric would be the least of his worries.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



Maggie knelt beside Knight-Commander Natalis, smiling a little at Dina's vindication. Yet only a little, for the purple light in Dina's eyes disturbed her. Whatever was wrong with the scar on her arm, it was clearly spreading, and that didn't seem to be a good thing. She hoped there would be time soon to talk about that with Dina, with or without anyone else. It wouldn't do anyone good, least of all Dina, if they crowned her queen and then the corruption made her no better than the sorceress in the end.

She also wondered what she'd been called up front for. Probably it was just to heal Dina's cut once all had accepted her blood's proof? Certainly the priestess could and would do that, but not just yet, not until Dina or Natalis called on her. The solemnity of the moment seemed to demand its full time in the spotlight, and Maggie didn't want to take any of that away.
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri grinned from ear to ear. He just knew Dina had it in her!

Auri knelt deeply and with a heartfelt respect and relief not only for the true ruler of Asgard but for whatever fates had helped this moment to come to pass. This very moment might start the undoing of the Sorceress's reign over the realms. It was certainly a treasured moment in history to be a part of.

The old wizard remained quiet. He was also that the Chosen were present, especially Maggie. For the round drakkar had not missed the magic in Dina's form as the ritual took place. Perhaps Dina was a kind of sorceress all her own. But then again, what did a 350-year-old cookie-loving wizard like Auri know? He chuckled inside and just remained glad to be in this moment.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
"So that's it," Dina concluded, her gaze still locked at the shining, golden-bloody amulet. She seemed aloof, even as Knight-Commander Natalis offered to take back the relic from her.

"Yes," he confirmed. "There can be no mistake. The amulet reacts thus only with Tenárus blood. It is an ancient keepsake of your house, brought to Asgard on the exodus from the Unknown*. There are precious few such treasures remaining, but none of them capable of such a feat."

Seeing the folk slowly start to rise back to their feet, Natalis once again carefully reached for the amulet, but Dina didn't seem to have heard him. Her eyes were still glued to the sight of the pendant dangling from the chain in her fist. To those immediately next to her, like Natalis and Maggie, and perhaps even to the keen observers in the first rows, her purple eyes seemed to give off a glow of their own, matched against the bloodied gold of the pendant. Her hand and her body were motionless, as if she were trying hard to concentrate.

Finally, the girl relaxed, letting out a breath of air that she herself might not have realized she had been holding. She looked at Natalis, but instead of giving him the amulet, she brought it closer to her chest and into her hand. "Didn't you just say that it belongs to me? Am I not supposed to keep it, then?"

The question took the knight-commander by surprise, it seemed, if only momentarily. "Of course, Your Majesty. It is yours - it's just that, traditionally, the amulet was -"

"Then you won't mind if I keep it," Dina interrupted him before he could finish. "For now."

"Of course not," Natalis bowed his head a little, and the whole exchange seemed off somehow, but it was quickly over.

Then Bann Teagan stepped in, smiling politely. "Maggie? Perhaps you could kindly see to Her Majesty's wound, since you're here?"

After all, Dina was still bleeding - all over the radiant Tenárus amulet and the stone floor under her feet. She responded to this by nodding at the priestess and transferring the amulet to her other hand.


The Unknown is simply one of the terms for the original homeland of the race of Man. Very little knowledge about it still survives today, but it is believed that mankind's arrival to Asgard was preceded by some kind of disaster that struck their first kingdom, forcing the survivors on a westward journey until they reached the shores of Asura.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



Maggie wasn't sure she liked Dina's insistence on keeping the amulet. Maybe she just wanted to study it; maybe she really did feel it was her responsibility. That glowing in her eyes, however -- that disturbed the priestess, for reasons she couldn't explain. She decided to ask Natalis later what was usually done with it after someone's lineage had been proven. For the moment, though, her services had been called on, and it was time to do her part. "Of course," she said with a smile, and stepped closer to take Dina's bleeding hand between her own and heal the knife's cut. Calling upon the grace given her by the Maker, she cast her Heal miracle upon the injury.
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


That Dina wanted to keep the amulet threw Auri. Why would she want such a thing? The only reason he could see was if someone else showed and claimed they had Tenárus blood then the means would be in her hands. As for her eyes glowing inhumanly purple, well, Auri had never been a true expert when it came to humans; he did not know what to think of it Who could say?

Auri's main worry was who in this predominantly-human crowd would follow their now-proven liege and who would not?
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
Maggie's Miracle modestly lit up her surroundings, effectively undoing the harm that had been done to Dina's hand. She could feel the fleeting warmth that always came with it, and so could the newly proclaimed queen. She paid her an appreciative smile, then looked to Natalis. "What happens now?"

"We continue with the war council. With Your Majesty's permission," Natalis answered, readily, except for the last part which sounded like he'd had to remind himself to include it. Given Dina's sudden and unexpected ascension, it would likely be a change for everyone to get used to. "To those who remain loyal to house Tenárus, you are already queen - but until we can reclaim the throne and get the rest of the kingdom to fall in line, I'm afraid you will be seen as one in exile."

"Then let us continue," she replied, taking the stone seat indicated to her by Bann Teagan. As she sat down, she slipped the Tenárus amulet around her neck, where it continued to shine.

Natalis cleared his throat. "For the second part of this meeting we will have two guests joining us! Some of you might have heard the rumors already. They are true." As if on cue, murmur swept across the room. "I will ask you all to maintain your composure. Send the signal! And make way!" he ordered, and one of the knights stationed by the door quickly slipped outside. The other threw the reinforced double doors wide open, letting in what little sunlight yet remained.

Outside, a priest wearing ceremonial robes performed a Miracle that Maggie recognized without fail, because she knew it as well: Piercing Light. Typically, this was a renowned tool of self-defense against creatures of the dark, but what was unusual about this particular casting was that it was directed upwards. A beam of focused light defiantly surged up, somewhat in view of those standing near the middle pathway of the great hall; short-lived but intense, and then it was gone. Moments later, the air shifted and a portal begun to form right outside the keep, swirling in golden hues, large and imposing. It could be heard inside, a sound difficult to describe; a burning fire and steel grinding against steel at the same time.

Two shapes emerged from the surface of the portal, moving side by side. They each had a pair of white wings folded behind their backs, and their skin seemed to give off a subdued glow on its own. Standing at easily twice the size of a normal human, thus overlooking even a drakkar, they were frightening and otherworldly. The only reason they could even walk through the doors of the great hall was because the dwarves who built Tyr's Retreat built it as if they were trying to compensate for their own short stature.

Angels. The mythical word resonated in whispers throughout the great hall as they entered. Some folk looked away, unable to behold them at first - others could do nothing but stare. Many dropped to their knees. But the two angels seemed to care nothing for the reactions of the crowd, and pressed on down the middle until they stood close to where Dina and the higher-ups were. One of them was male, dressed in elaborately decorated robes with no weapon to be seen, thus resembling a priest in some ways. His timeless face was familiar to the Chosen who'd been to the Temple of Hidden Knowledge, for it was the same angel that they'd spoken to via the mirror there.

"Lord Raziel." To the surprise of many, it was the northerner, A'kal, who first stepped forward, kneeling respectfully.

"Varden," the angel replied. "We meet again. But as I told you last time, you need not kneel to us. Or you, Commander," he said to Natalis, who had also fallen to his knees at some point. "Or any of you," the angel continued, turning around to face the people on both sides of the great hall. "You ought to save your worship for the Creator. We are merely His servants."

The other angel had the shape of a woman, and she was recognizable as well - for it was the same angel that delivered the Chosen and their allies from Alicante's skybridge the day before. Unlike Raziel, she was clad in some kind of fitted armour that left only certain parts of her skin exposed, and wielded the same long sword that she had before, only currently it was in its sheath. Her features were as striking as they were frightening, her face young and timeless at the same time. It seemed that her divine traits were a little toned down for this occasion; a little less glow and shine, making her seem more approachable and the details about her more discernible.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri had no passion for angels nor did he feel he owed them any more than they owed him. While their sudden presence was something of a welcome, it was also a reminder that drakkar were only one very small part of the gigantic universe - and these angels? They were far more human-looking than drakkar-looking. So if Auri did not bend knee among the capitulating, it was not out of lack of respect, but instead the holding on to a trueness inside of him that was never angelic nor human.

What caught Auri's attention most of all was the bit of magical jewelry now hanging around Dina's neck. What would Dina do now that her fate had changed so drastically? Auri found himself moving a bit closer toward Maggie. If there were one personage he was sure of, it was Maggie. She was as sure to be true and clear as a friend could ask for, and when undrakkar-like creatures from magical and strange pantheons descended into troubled scenes like these, it was good to have someone by your side who was true and clear.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



As with the first time, not so very long ago, that Maggie had seen an angel, her face and particularly her eyes lit with awe, wonder, and joy to behold these living representatives of the Creator she had served so devotedly all her life. "Fellow servants" they might be, but in Maggie's view, they were so much closer to the divine than she was, and bore that closeness so visibly. She didn't bow or kneel, but only because it didn't occur to her. She was too caught up in simply looking at them. She didn't think of this, but it was actually not unlike the first time she'd learned and performed a Miracle on her own, and felt the Creator's power flowing through her. Except now she could see it from the outside, and unlike last night, there was all the time she wanted to simply look.

Until Raziel told them all not to bow, and to save their worship for the one truly worthy of it. She didn't know why, but that made the priestess giggle, a laugh of pure joy without any trace of mocking or disrespect. "Oh! Forgive me, sir," she said, blushing with embarrassment at having done such a thing at such a solemn moment. "It's just, of course we shouldn't worship our fellows, but among us at least, there are those who are greater and lesser simply due to our greater and lesser abilities and responsibilities, and we who are lesser can offer our respect to those greater, can't we?"
 



Angels again, Thought Asher. To him they seemed more frightening than the Sorceress herself, but probably because his emotions towards her had a lot of time to settle. Unfamiliar and unreal, bearers of unknown powers. Then again, this unfamiliarity piqued his interest.

What would I see if I were to look at them through the Shadow realm?

Checking his surroundings, Asher saw that all the focus was on the gigantic beings in front of them. Unable to resist the urge, like a thief in a room full of valuables, he merged into the shadows to get a more in-depth glimpse of what he never saw before.

Hope the Angels won't mind.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
Auri's observation had been quite right; though they held the promise of the fierceness and ferocity of drakkar, moved and spoke with the grace of elves, and were possessed of decisively otherworldly features and aura, these angels did in the end most resemble humans, and not any other race. The implications of that would likely be the subject of many a discussion in the future.

"Perhaps. And yet all life is said to be equal in the eyes of the Creator," came the angel's reply to Maggie. His voice was just as hard to describe as his physical appearance, but it could be called strong and present. Old more so than young, but unyielding. To Maggie, as a priestess, it seemed to resonate on a familiar level; like the feeling she'd get upon reading a Miracle. It was pleasant, if on the edge of frightening. But the angel was clearly making an effort not to seem too intimidating, towards Maggie or anyone else.

"You may freely call me by my name," he said. "I am Raziel, the Angel of Secrets. And this is Uriel, the Angel of Light," he looked towards the female angel beside him. "We have come to represent the Hellguard at this... war council of yours - as we have been invited by your Knight-Commander." Having said that, the angel turned directly to Natalis. "The invitation came from your mouth, yet I see now another seated on the throne behind you."

Natalis cleared his throat before answering: "It is the reason why I waited until now to summon you. I did not wish to waste your time with our matters of succession. Now I am honored to present to you Her Majesty, Dina Tenárus, the rightful queen of Asgard."

Raziel took a good, long look at the officially introduced Dina, and so did Uriel beside him. The angels then exchanged a quick but meaningful glance with each other.

"We have already met," Raziel said, still as a statue save for what appeared to be a gentle smile on his face. "Though she looked like merely a curious human girl back then, and not a queen. How appearances can be deceiving."

Uriel did not just smile but openly grinned as she spoke for the very first time. "Probably because she was covered in dust and dirt from traipsing about your temple. Who would have guessed that there was a queen underneath all that?" she remarked. It was incredibly odd watching an angel grin and jest like that, yet it suited her. Compared to Raziel, Uriel both looked, sounded, and, well - acted younger somehow.

In the meantime, most of these fine details were lost on Asher, who had watched the exchange from the Shadow Realm. But his eyes divulged things that perhaps no other mortal ever had...
There in the ever shifting, bleak landscape of the realm of shadows, home to nothing but restless spirits and countless secrets, Asher saw light for the very first time.

Light, as bright and burning as the Sun itself - or so it seemed at first, until his eyes, or rather his mind, adjusted to the shock. In truth it was not too much to bear, though none the less frightening and magnificent for it. The angels looked as if they were alight, and their light flowed and twisted along the invisible lines that blurred all the things in the Shadow Realm, so it appeared as if the light itself behaved like a wild fire. Normally, the faces of beings here were blurry and hard to make out, like a painting come alive, but the features of the angels were completely unrecognizable. They were simply vaguely humanoid shapes composed of bright, golden light that shone in all directions.

And there was something else.

Normally, the Shadow Realm was permanently illuminated by an odd, grey lighting without source or direction, with some areas even left mostly black. The empty space itself would constantly shift, causing changes in the shades of grey, but colors were mostly faded, muted. Yet somehow, the presence of the angels seemed to cause their surroundings to retain some of the appearance of the normal world. The great hall of Tyr's Retreat looked, well, more like it should - its colors significantly more vivid and its shapes and lines more stable; less prone to the distortion that otherwise permeated the spirit plane.

Surprisingly, the angels seemed not to respond to Asher's shadowmelding in any way. They didn't even look at him; or they didn't appear to, at least. Would he even notice if they did? They seemed to be still talking to knight-commander Natalis and Dina. Dina, around whose neck there was a fire, Asher suddenly noticed! The Tenárus amulet shone with a golden fire, as if it were a small piece of the angels themselves! And as for Dina herself... There was something about her, something not quite right.

But what it was exactly, Asher couldn't tell. Not yet, and not from this distance.

At least Tyr's Retreat seemed to be a safe corner of the Shadow Realm. Asher did not sense the presence of any malevolent beings, such as stray spirits. If anything, it felt safer, even warmer, being around the two angels. It was not unreasonable to assume that no evil spirits would dare to approach at all.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri mentally recorded the names of the angels and kept a close eye and ear on all of the people that he could. Moments like these were like magical potions in their little glass vials - potentially life-changing yet fragile in nature. Who might move against Dina even with angels present? The minds of humans could be odd things and who knew what fancies flew about in the minds of fanatics, some of whom might be here, for not all creatures present welcomed Dina to the throne of all Asgard. It was the least-expected possibility and thus one that the aged drakkar kept his senses aware for. He had not reached three and a half centuries of age by becoming complacent.

In the meantime, he had nothing to say so he held his tongue.
 

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