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Chapter VII: Revelations

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


When they received the vials from Master Horn, Carn gave a thank you before adding, “These will be put to good use, especially when we encounter the dragon. Also, thank you for taking care of Aron.” Carn shook Horn’s hand before giving their farewells and leaving.

---

As they walked into town, Carn could see the rest of the group waiting for them. Carn continued in silence until Auri began chittering like an excited child. Carn, who thought he couldn’t be more surprised at Auri, was very surprised at Auri’s unexpected disposition, so much so that Carn took a small step away from Auri. Then, with little warning, Auri became a ball of scales that rolled alongside Maggie and Carn.

“Did you know he could do this?” Carn whispered to Maggie as they walked, stealing a few glances at the rolling ball of scales. “I don’t know much about my kind, but I don’t think they can do that.” Carn listened to her response, still quite baffled that ball, erm, Auri was rolling right beside them.

When they reached the group (Violet seemed surprisingly unphased by Auri), Violet mentioned the wait. At that, Carn felt a little bit guilty for taking some time with snacks and tea. Though, when asked about Aron, Carn shed his embarrassment and spoke in his usual tone.

“Aron is fine,” Carn replied, “but he left a few hours ago with dragon hunters, most likely to continue searching for the gate.” As he spoke that statement, Carn’s tail seemingly sunk deeper and deeper into the snow. “If at all possible, I’d like to leave as soon as possible to find Aron’s group.”
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Though Dina behind her laughed at Auri's display of acrobatics, Violet and Asher could not be counted on to do the same. The elf rolled her eyes, but whether it was toward the act itself or the increased attention from the villagers that it got them could not be certain.

"He left?" Violet asked in disbelief. "I thought he'd still be in recovery, from what you reported." The look she wore made it clear that she was expecting more explanation than that. Strangely, she did not seem surprised about the dragonhunters part.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


Carn replied in an unamused tone, “That’s what I thought, but the hunters had a priest to heal him, and apparently, that's when he made his decision to tag along.” Now being no longer bound by worry, Carn regained his capacity to be annoyed, as evident from his less than happy countenance. Not one of his finest decisions... an inner voice echoed.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



The healer began to rummage through his satchel, murmuring quietly to himself, and eventually produced several vials that he presented to the Chosen. "Here, I've grabbed these before we left. Fire resistance and healing; you'd best take them. Having a priestess with you is better than having potions, of course, but it can only help. Even if you don't have any more run-ins with the dragon, there are plenty of other dangers in the Frostbacks to worry about. Be careful out there," he told them as they bid their farewells.
"Thank you, Master Renhart," Maggie told him with clear sincerity. "There is only one of me, after all. And if, Maker forbid, we get separated, or I tire myself out too far, these will come in very handy. Thank you very much, indeed. Maker's blessing upon you, and on Haven."

“Did you know he could do this?” Carn whispered to Maggie as they walked, stealing a few glances at the rolling ball of scales. “I don’t know much about my kind, but I don’t think they can do that.” Carn listened to her response, still quite baffled that ball, erm, Auri was rolling right beside them.
Maggie giggled and nodded. "Isn't it funny? I like how he's not too proud to try to bring a smile to a child's face." While she wasn't exactly aiming that statement at anyone in particular, she wasn't speaking so softly that Violet (and any others who disapproved) could not hear her. Her laughter faded, but her smile remained, if only slightly, as they talked about Aron.

"The party he left with is called the Silverhawks, or Silver-something," Maggie told those who hadn't gone to the healer's house. "Master Renhart, the village healer, said that they had a plan for tracking the dragon down, and that they didn't look like amateurs. We may run into them, since we aren't that far behind them, and the path up the mountains leads past the place where the dragon attacked Carn's friends, which I suppose is their starting point? So we're probably headed the same way, at least for now."
 



Asher had no words on the Drakkar's amazing ability to attract attention. He thought that them being giant lizards was bad enough already, but Auri's performance just now showed how lacking his imagination was.

After being stunned for a moment, Asher followed up on what the priestess said;

"Silverthorns. There was another group of dragon hunters at the pub, waiting for some of their other members. Maybe they could be heading the same way as the Silverthorns."
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Violet listened intently to what Carn and Maggie had to say, nodding and shaking her head at times. Overall, the elf did not look too pleased.

"This is getting more complicated by the minute," she complained while covertly checking that their conversation was not being overheard. "How typical of Aron to do something so reckless. Instead of waiting, off he goes trying to complete the mission on his own."

"But he's not alone," Dina spoke up. "If he's with a party of dragonhunters, he should be safe."

"Perhaps, but we're not here to hunt for the dragon - and neither is Aron. He's just using them to get closer to the reported location of the gateway. He must be planning to ditch them as some point, and then he'll be on his own. If only we'd have gotten here sooner... And honestly, I don't like the idea of there being multiple dragonhunting parties in area, getting in our way. There might even be enemy agents among them. Or sympathizers. We can't be too careful."

"So we go after Aron? Or focus on finding the gateway?"

Violet glanced at Dina, then Carn and the others. "I suggest we try to catch up with the Silverthorns. Aron needs to know that he's not alone - and for the time being, those two objectives coincide anyway. I hope you're all ready for this."

*** *** ***

Around 12:00 h
Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



It took the Chosen about an hour of climbing ever steeper terrain to finally reach the location of the dragon attack, per Carn's confirmation. Yet by Frostback standards, the path thus far had been easy. It continued at a steady incline further north, alongside a cliff that dropped off to the left, but Carn was able to recognize the part where he was thrown off and out of the fight. It was undoubtedly the place, his instincts told him. The company slowed to a halt, with some of them looking expectantly at Carn.

At least the wind had died down some, and parts of the overcast sky were breaking up, shedding some actual sunlight onto the snowy mountain.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


Aside from the lack of snowfall, the hike upwards was just as miserable and steep as Carn remembered it to be. Strong as he was, climbing upwards was an activity ill-suited for one who grew up in a humble homestead. He just hoped that the more treacherous paths would be unneeded. When the path began to flatten out, it was unsurprising that a little joy fluttered into his heart. However, that small happiness quickly drained from him, the sudden absence grinding his pace to a halt.

A small moment of silence lingered until Carn muttered, “Here. This is where we were attacked." He took a few paces to the left. “And that’s the cliff I fell off of.” The feeling was inexplicable, as if there was a small flame burning in an expansive nothingness. It was cold despite the warmth of that flame, like someone boiling water in the dead of winter. If anything, seeing this place only steeled his resolve. Though, that was enough lingering for Carn. He could only stay in this place for so long, and besides, he had more important priorities.

“Excuse me stopping,” Carn apologized to everyone, “We can continue the search.”
 



The hike was draining, and the air felt even colder than it was in the village. Asher was glad he got himself warmer clothes, though he felt the added weight with every step he took. Carrying heavy gold whilst climbing some of the endless city steps could not compare to being weighted down by several layers of clothes and every step being hindered by the snow.

After climbing for what seemed to be a very long time, they stopped. Asher took this moment to look around and admire the view, though that didn't last very long.

I miss the city's leveled streets and polished steps...


In the white mountains, Asher doubted his ability to remain unseen or fight. His best option would be to utilize the Shadow realm as much as possible, and use range weapons only. Getting up close would risk him falling down the mountain.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



Maggie was already missing Master Renhart's cheerful fire and hospitable refreshments. She hoped it didn't show. It was a little embarrassing for a priestess who had chosen to spend her adult life on the road, not snugly assigned to a particular temple. But, she reminded herself, most of Asgard wasn't this cold, so of course she'd had no chance to get used to it before now. She would just have to bear it, for the sake of the others and of her duty. For some people, "duty" was a cold thing, a thing you owed and had to pay. Not for Maggie. For her, duty was joyous, a way to give back to the Maker and to the creation he'd given them all. Not the distant repayment of a business deal, but the warm exchange of favors between friends. And she truly believed that her duty lay here, with the Chosen, climbing this steep, frozen mountain in search of a portal that threatened everyone in Asgard, and maybe eventually the rest of the world too. It wasn't that Maggie thought she was someone particularly special or important, because she didn't. It was that here was a job that desperately needed trustworthy people, and she was in the right place to step up, and so she had.

She looked up and smiled, seeing the sun's rays breaking their way through the clouds. Yes, Maker, she thought, in a simple, private prayer. I know it will get harder from here, but I promise I will carry on, for you and for all that we love.

The sunlight warmed her cheeks as she watched Carn point out the landmarks of the dragon's attack. "All right," she nodded when he was done. "Let's see if we can find Aron and the Silverthorns, then."
 

Dannigan

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

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri felt good. His tummy filled with snacks and Master Renhart's tea, he kept a sharp lookout for the ingredients the human required, picking and storing them if he came upon them.

"Agreed!" Auri replied to Maggie's statement. Auri was ready to see what the future held.
 

Andei

New Member
Ingvar Sindram
- Seeker of the Maker -​


The instinctive sharpening of his senses at the first sign of the disturbance quickly switched to being fully on guard as the elks came round the corner. It didn’t require much deductive skills to pick up on the sense of panic in their ragged breath and thundering hooves. Sure enough, the cause made themselves known moments later, and Ingvar found himself reaching for his bow with a grim but practised swiftness as he eyed up the approaching pack of wolves. He wasn't an archer by any means, but he was counting this as a hunt so... all was fair. This kind of hunt was the best kind of hunt.

Rising to his feet and taking quick, calm steps towards the incoming beasts, he drew two arrows from his quiver, nocking one while holding the other between his spare fingers. He took a measured breath in as he drew the string tight, giving himself as much time as he could afford to maximise his accuracy - being more familiar with fighting hand-to-hand (or hand-to-paw in this occasion?) than his bow, he needed to get them as close as possible before he let loose.

Whether the slight tension in the corner of his upper lip was in anticipation of the hunt or a touch of amusement at the irony of their incoming prey (really, they were wolves, for goodness' sake), the dwarf put it out of mind with two deliberate exhalations as he released the two arrows in quick succession at the wolf that led the charge. No sooner had these arrows flown towards their mark than he quickly stowed his bow away and with a clank of his gauntlets and a shift of his feet into a lower, more stable stance, Ingvar prepared himself to hunt at close range.

The best kind of hunt.

___________________________

INGVAR moves to P15, then uses ranged attack on Wolf 3 before taking a Fighting Stance.
 

Rekai Leon

New Member
Faron Firestorm

- The Fiery Brawler -


“Let’s get this show on the road! I will cover the left wing!” Faron shouted, before swiftly sprinting to L11. He then used Ignite to imbue his gauntlets and greaves with the power of fire. If one looked at him from a distance, they might think that his hands and feet were burning. The Drakkar tried to make the fire not too bright so that he would not accidentally block the archers’ aim. He then took the Defensive Stance.
 
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Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Cloudy, bright, and cold, with occasional gusts of colder wind.


  • Around 11:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    Owing to the fact that there hadn't been significant snowfall that day, the Chosen were able to find tracks that seemed to confirm the passing of the dragonhunter company. A dozen men or so, laden with supplies. Violet pointed out as much, moving this way and that as she surveyed the terrain. "Not a trace of the dragon attack," she added, "But I wouldn't expect there to be any after a week. At least we know that Aron and the dragonhunters passed this way. Let's hope their tracks remain as easy to follow."

    The elf urged everyone to keep moving. A little later, when the Chosen were once again steadily making their way uphill along the well-trodden tracks left by the men they were tracking, she approached Auri and Maggie. "You two seem to be in unusually good spirits," she remarked. "Especially you, Ambassador. I couldn't help but notice that. That and, well... The fact that you've decided to join us on this mission. It was a little... unexpected, if you don't mind me saying."

    Behind them, Dina had intentionally trailed behind to put herself next to Carn. "You don't like me very much, do you?" she said, as blunt as a hammer yet not in any unpleasant way. Her face, visible underneath her hood when she turned to look at the drakkar, reflected a neutral expression.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


As they walked, Carn turned an eye at Dina and then back, continuing to walk in silence. He didn’t know what to make of her. On one hand, Carn didn’t like that she kept the rot in her arm, or the amulet for another matter, but on the other hand, he noticed that she didn’t draw the ire of others. Rather, she seemed to be on good terms with everyone else and wasn’t hostile towards Carn. With ambivalence being his only thought of Dina, Carn resolved the question with one phrase.

“I don’t know,” Carn replied without a change in pace. Only with time is one’s character revealed, so Carn reserved himself to observe the Queen’s character. He took another glance at Dina, this time shifting his head slightly towards her. She was beautiful, no doubt. At that thought, he quickly snapped his head back forward. He still couldn’t trust her, or at least, not the rot in her arm nor the spark in her chest. However, despite his mistrust, his pace hadn’t changed in the slightest and continued to match Dina’s. She was still interesting.
 

Dannigan

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

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri noticed Dina approach Carn, apparently for a conversation she wanted to be kept between them. For this reason, Auri distanced himself a bit as Violet spoke. If there was two things being an ambassador for ages on end had taught him it was that actions were often louder than words, and being aware of one's surroundings was of irreplaceable benefit to many a situation.

His dragon-headed walking cane in hand, Auri kept the pace with a leisurely stroll given his tall stride. He replied to Violet, "It is liberating to be out of the office and into an actual adventure! Here I am less another ambassador of the Drakkar and more of my chosen vocation - a wizard. I am nearing the end of my lifetime as Drakkar go - it is a good time to appreciate and add to Asgard what I can! Surely elves must follow some similar compulsions when they reach my relative age?"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



Maggie wasn't sure exactly why her own mood was so positive just now, and could only shrug in response to Violet's question. "I like being outdoors again," she offered. "Even with how cold it is, I'd rather be walking under the open sky. I don't have anything against cities, I just like being under the sunlight, and you get more of it when you aren't surrounded by buildings." She smiled. "Plus, it's good to be with friends. I know we're on serious business, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it along the way, whenever we're able. Finding joy in the little things helps us get through times when there aren't big things. And after all, life is meant to be lived, not just survived."
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Dina seemingly couldn't help but chuckle at Carn's answer and reaction. "Hm. I see," she replied while keeping pace with him, trying to sound a little more serious but still smiling. "Do you at least not dislike me, then? I certainly don't dislike you."

Oblivious to what was going on between Dina and Carn, Violet continued her conversation with Maggie and Auri.
I am nearing the end of my lifetime as Drakkar go - it is a good time to appreciate and add to Asgard what I can! Surely elves must follow some similar compulsions when they reach my relative age?"
"I suppose we do," the elf mused. "Though we're likely to be hit by such compulsions at any point throughout our lives. I knew you had magical talent, but not that you considered it your vocation. Well. In that case, joining the Chosen does make sense. We're all going to have plenty of opportunity to practice our talents where we're going. Assuming we live long enough." She added that last bit as more of an afterthought, and did not sound truly worried.

"You speak as one who has lived for much longer than you have," she told Maggie. "Travel will do that to you. But you haven't traveled the north, have you?"

The terrain began to rise even steeper ahead of them; the treeline on the right more scattered. When the slope they were climbing finally evened out, they were treated with a massive peak ahead of them, wholly encased in snow and ice. It seemed like they could walk like this for days and not see an end. For each hill they climbed, another took its place, and behind each mountain peak seemed to lie another, slightly taller one. At the least the path would get easier for a while now, and the sun still shone here and there through the heavy steel clouds.
 

Rekai Leon

New Member
Faron Firestorm

- The Fiery Brawler -


Faron thought that he could ignite his greaves in time, but the wolves were way faster than anticipated. He then startled for a brief moment with his eyes opened a little wider when seeing the unusual appearances of the wolves. “Hmph... What the hell are these things?” He thought, “I have never seen one like this before. How could they be? What kind of magic are they enchanted with? Is those fur poisonous? Do these eyes give them extra vision?” There were so many questions in his mind, but he did not have time to answer all of them. The only thing he was sure of was that the battle was not gonna end as quickly as he had thought.

After changing to Fighting Stance, the Drakkar decided to utilize his blazing gauntlets and attempted to directly punch at the nose of Wolf 2 with strong momentum, because that part was covered with the least amount of fur, which he feared to be poisonous.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


When Dina asked the question, Carn felt a bit of unease at the Queen’s interest. Though he felt like clamming up, his prior experience with siblings told him that ignoring a child’s question led to undesirable consequences. Reluctant, Carn gave a sigh and gave his reply.

“I don’t trust you,” Carn replied in a stern yet calm tone, “Especially not with that thing in your arm.” The powers of the taint were powerful, no doubt, but it had too many risks and unknowns attached to it. Disaster would ensue were it to go out of control, especially during battle. Carn told Dina as much, saying, “It may have been steadied by the Sorceress, but who knows when it’ll go wild again.” Carn paused when another argument manifested itself, “And when you Chosen pressure the Sorceress, I’m pretty sure she’ll be undoing that blessing at the worst hour, and what would you do then when that happens?” Carn turned his head to look pointedly at Dina.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Cloudy, bright, and cold, with occasional gusts of colder wind.


  • Around 11:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    "I doubt it will come to that," Dina answered as they went on. "The way I understand it, it is not a blessing waiting to be undone. Oh of course," she quickly added, "Why would you believe Ilhirel if you don't believe me? Why do I believe her? Because whatever she is, she is no liar. I've come to learn that much about her. And I hope you'll come to learn enough about me to trust me, as my friends do. This journey of ours will not go well otherwise." she offered a smile in way of encouragement.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Owing to the constant shifting and back-and-forth fighting between the two wolves and the hunters facing them, Faron's Fireball spell ended up hitting the other wolf (Wolf 4) - not the one he'd been aiming for, but achieving the desired effect nonetheless. The Fireball connected perfectly, hitting center of mass, knocking the beast down, and setting it on fire. Gorski, who had just ran up to that very same wolf and already readied his axe to swing, stood suddenly frozen in motion. He hadn't noticed Faron's approach nor his casting, and there was a somewhat vexed look on his face when he turned his head towards the drakkar for a second, until he proceeded to smite the beast down for good.

Beyond, the other hunters managed to fell another wolf between two of them, and Varys could be seen repositioning through the campsite with his bow aimed, looking for an opportunity to fire. Only four wolves remained, and things looked like they would be resolved quickly now.
 

Rekai Leon

New Member
Faron Firestorm

- The Fiery Brawler -


Faron was a little bit regretful when realizing that he had just stolen Gorski’s spotlight, but he knew it was not the time for him to beat himself up. He was also worried about the two hunters he had just left, wondering if they really meant it when they said that they had got that. That’s why the Drakkar tried to keep Wolf 1 in the range of his projectiles. He decided to move to M20, then threw another Fireball at Wolf 6, mainly because he wanted to leave Wolf 5 for Gorski.
 
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ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


When the idea of “trust” collided with the name “Ilhirel,” Carn was no less confused, so much so that wording an argument was difficult. Dina’s retort felt as if it was defending the Sorceress, a feeling that did not sit well with Carn. What happened between the Sorceress and Dina was not entirely clear to Carn, but regardless, trust in the Sorceress was a danger to the Resistance, and friendliness an insult to the sacrifices of its individuals. Those feelings of betrayal formed themselves through these words.

“You seem to put a lot of trust in that damned Sorceress,” Carn sneered, the angry image of his companions forming in his mind. He was about to mention a certain rose when a different image caught his tongue. Carn drastically picked up his pace and walked past the front, placing a hand on his chest where a hole could be.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Cloudy, bright, and cold, with occasional gusts of colder wind.


  • Around 11:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    If Dina had a reply, she didn't get a chance to give it before Carn stormed off ahead, all the way past Violet, Maggie, and Auri. The elf looked at him go in surprise, then looked back at Dina who stayed where she was. If anything, she was actually slowing down. "Something's amiss between those two," Violet said to Maggie and Auri, interrupting the conversation they'd been having.

    Behind, Dina spoke to Asher now that he caught up to her. "What about you? Do you trust your queen?" she asked with a mocking grin.
 

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