2014-04-27 Spraval Crispa: Fungus of Muspelheim

Recorded: April 27, 2014
Characters: Beta Ray Bill, Loki
Location: Muspelheim - Lava River
Summary: Loki and Bill make a trip to Muspelheim for the third ingredient.

The third ingredient has been described as a fungus that rarely grows on the back of a giant turtle. The turtle in question is one of many creatures native to the flowing rivers of lava on Muspelheim. Despite its obviously deadly climate, the planet has its own ecosystem of adapted creatures that resemble ones which can be found in other, less treacherous realms.

As soon as Muspelheim was mentioned, it was decided that this was no place for a Matron Healer; therefore, Loki has been given a satchel that contains enchanted tools for collecting the fungus. The rivers of Muspelheim flow as eternally as they blaze, and so far nothing that remotely resembles a turtle has breached its surface. Fire serpents occasionally reveal themselves to feast on the flying creatures that dare to swoop over the liquid death. The air and climate is as stifling as if one decided to sleep in an oven.

Loki appears wearing his mid-level armor so he is offered a bit more protection, but it is stifling to the Jotun. He arrives with the satchel over his shoulder, immediately taking a deep breath and coughing against the acidic air. "Ugh. Let's just hurry up and get out of here. I understand you would probably love nothing more than to run around and kill everything, Bill, but we have a task at hand. So please…we will come kill things at a later time."

Bill looks a bit grimmer than normal, "You have no idea, Loki… this place, it feels of the stink of those that destroyed my home." He growls under his breath, then exhales once, "But you are correct, we need to get this done and leave. Justice shall wait another time." Still, his grip is pretty tight on Stormbreaker, as it looks like it takes most of his self-control not to just crank the Thunder God-hood to 11 here.

The burning riverbank is almost as hot as the river itself, but at least it makes a good vantage to see the passing elemental fauna. In the distance, a rumble precedes a turtle's head slowly but briefly lifting above the lava's surface. Its tough hide is as black as burning landscape and if not for the glowing patterns along its beak, it might be mistaken for a random piece of floating lava rock. The turtle draws a short breath before submerging again. It appears to be swimming upstream, moving in Loki and Bill's direction.

Loki reaches out to pat Bill on the shoulder, indicating he understands the desire to slaughter everything here. "I have an idea, Bill." He says, "But…I will not last long here, so we must make haste." Putting his forearm to his perspiration covered brow, he points. "Down there…that turtle. That is our target."

Bill nods, "I see it, the heat here does not bother me as it does you." Indeed, perhaps it's his Korbinite heritage or even just the modifications to make him his race's Champion, but he doesn't appear fazed by the heat at all… in fact he seems even more energized and alert. "Getting it out of the lava could be a little tricky."

As it continues to swim, the turtle surfaces again, this time exposing its hardened shell like an island weaving through the fiery river. The turtle itself appears to be quite peaceful, humming noises similar to whale song as it forges the river with ease. While it drifts contentedly along, its noises have attracted movement on the opposing river bank. There's a pack of creatures skittering along the river on short, scaly legs attached to lengthy, black and red bodies. The belly-draggers move with a healthy speed and communicate with each other in clicks and hisses. Manes of mystic fire ignite along their backsides to illustrate their excitement at the hunt. The roaming turtle is unaware of predators, for its slow gaze has settled on a burning tree that's further upstream.

"That is because I am a frost giant…" Loki pants, starting to make his way toward the river. "As you would have difficulty in the frozen wasteland of Jotunheim, I…oh forget it." Loki wipes his brow again and carefully steps along. "It doesn't appear hostile. We should be able to coax it out of the lava. I really wish Thor would have come instead of me."

Bill hmmms, "Well, let's see.. looks like it has some company. I can take out the pack if you wish to try and lure it out?" His eyes narrow a little as he studies the pack animals stalking the turtle.

The pack of fire lizards has already assessed the turtle's progress. Time to act. One by one they dive into the river and tread the lava with the same grace otters display in water. The first two make it to the hard shell and scout eagerly for its vulnerabilities. This causes the turtle's song to change into a symphony of curious tones, but it continues to forge its way towards that delicious-looking tree that wears flames as leaves.

Loki nods, "Do it," as he runs forward, disappearing in mid run from one side of the lava river to reappear on the other, overstepping himself and sliding on the hot ground. Dropping down to his knees, he looks up at the acrid sky, squinting his eyes as sweat drips into them. "I knew there was a reason I never come here." He sighs to himself, getting up and casting an illusion of another turtle, mimicking the song in an attempt to keep its attention off Bill and the predators.

Bill decides to be a distraction for the predators, and doesn't disappoint as he conjures the lightning, even here in this place of fire and death. Sending the bolts towards the predators stalking the turtle, he's hoping to either frighten them off or give them a new threat to focus on.

The fire lizards crawl along the carapace with their sights on the shoulder skin. They never see the lightning bolt coming. Both creatures wail and writhe as they tumble off the turtle and into the flowing lava. Four more leap up in their place and look around with that same rapid curiosity and are soon joined by another pair, making an even six that spread out and make their way towards the turtle's soft folds of flesh.

The terrapin makes a low rumbling noise as it suddenly picks up speed. The presence of another of its kind means competition for food, and it intends to reach the burning tree before the other turtle that has seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

Getting the terrapin out of the lava was the goal, which will allow Bill to take out the predators and allow Loki to get to the herbs without either of them being incinerated. Loki isn't doing so well in the heat, though, and his illusion fizzles out. "Bill, if you would be a dear and please hurry…"

Bill twirls Stormbreaker and flies towards the giant lava turtle, lightning leading the way as he seeks to fry the predators still attacking the beast. Once he lands on the outside of the shell, he looks back at Loki, "Are you sure you'll be alright here?"

The turtle's carapace is like hot rock with glowing seams surrounding its hard scutes. The thickness of the shell is clearly helpful, as the lightning harms only the lizard-like predators that are crawling around on its back. Two of the six are sent writhing into the river and the other four turn on Bill with hissing anger. One lashes its tail in his direction and sends a cone of fire off its backside, meant to burn and punch like a cannon of wind. The remaining three rush to flank Bill and dive at him from opposing sides.

The turtle finally reaches the bank of the river and drags itself up the molten rock. Its neck stretches towards the flame tree and it looks content to chew on the burning branches. It stabilizes itself with its flippers, flicking hot lava in the air while humming to itself. Nevermind the predatory battle raging on the back of its thick hide. The glowing fungus is hard to see but it rests in the bright seams of its carapace and resembles carpets of glowing moss.

Loki has to smile blearily at the happy turtle and makes his way toward it. He sees Bill in a bit of trouble and halts, throwing a magic blast at the one lashing its tail. "Bill, be careful. Fly up now!"

Bill grins and times his leap just right, conjuring not lightning now but a mighty wind, letting the sirocco blast across the shell of the turtle. The turtle probably won't even notice, but the lizard predators should probably go for a bit of a flight!

Looks like the pack will go hungry tonight. Not only do the three lizards crash into each other when Bill moves, but all four are sent flying by the massive gust of wind left in his wake. The one that lashed at him tried its best to hold on with its claws but Loki's magical strike knocks it off balance and sends it flying along with the others.

The terrapin sings to itself while it eats and only offers Bill and Loki a casual glance. Enough of its shell is exposed for the fungus to be harvested but the creature is still as hot as the lava it recently breached.

Loki hops up onto the back of the creature, pulling the satchel from his shoulder. The heat from the shell is a bit much for him and he falls to sit on the shell, then gets to his feet and drops back down to his knees, his sweat-soaked hair hanging over his shoulders. "Bill, I…I nee…" hopefully Bill can figure out how to use the tools, because Loki slumps over, the leather of his armor hissing against the heat of the shell.

Bill blinks, "Loki!" He crouches down by the fallen Prince, then sees… well, it isn't that complicated. Scraping fungus into heat-proof jar, seal it, and check. With that, he pockets the jar, then puts Loki over his shoulder as he gets ready to leave, "I think it's time we departed this place."

Time indeed, for as the terrapin clamps down on the tree's trunk, it successfully uproots its meal and begins to drag it backwards into the river. The creature slowly submerges and sings a song of contentment to itself, or perhaps a few notes of thanks to the stranger that kept it from being hunted.

Bill launches into the air, holding Loki over his shoulder as he shouts out for Heimdall. Landing onto the rocky shoreline, the Rainbow Bridge manifests with a concussive roar, whisking Bill and Loki back to Asgard with another of the ingredients.

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