Death's Kneel: Revenge and Sorrow on Nastrond

Recorded: May 3, 2014
Characters: Dorna (NPC), Fafnir (NPC), Loki, Odin
Location: Nastrond / Asgard Palace
Summary: Odin and Loki head to Nastrond to deal with Fafnir. Loki brings the last ingredient to the healers.

The cavernous realm looks just as it was left centuries ago: Dark and lifeless, with only the occasional sound of shifting rock to break the silence. The ruins look more worn down and the marks of Thor and Loki's recent battle with the realm's only occupant are still cast into the earth. That occupant is quite good at being unseen, however, making the realm seem that much more void of life.

Loki is dressed for battle, wearing his plated armor and helmet. He has his ornate daggers sheathed at his sides, and lifts one hand to conjure light enough that they can see so they don't walk into a trap or plummet off an edge. "It smells just as poorly as it did the last time we were here." Loki sneers, lifting the back of one hand to wipe his red rimmed eyes. He has pushed his sorrow back for the moment and converted it to pure rage, ready to tear Fafnir apart with his bare hands if necessary.

Dressed in full battle armor, Odin arrives in the brief flash of blinding light that is the bifrost; Gungnir in his hand and a grim expression on his face. He glances briefly aside to Loki, looking over the desolate realm under the light created. "I have no patience for these games." He growls under his breath. "Fafnir, show yourself!" He bellows out.

"Borson…." The deep-throated growl echoes from all directions, transitioning into a chuckle of mirth. "Have you enjoyed my gift, All-Father? You blessed me with the merciless death of my people. I thought it only fitting to do the same." The ground rumbles beneath the Asgardians' feet and large cracks threaten to swallow any careless footing.

"You've failed, Fafnir. As usual you did a half-assed job and we are here to see that you are put down for good this time. Enjoy your gloating now, for it will be your last opportunity. Asgard stands, and we have found the cure." He pulls a dagger with his other hand, holding it point facing backward, summoning more magic to make the light brighter.

"You will pay for what you've done, that you have my promise." Odin growls, remaining standing at Loki's side for the moment. His eye sweeps the cavernous area before them, giving him one last chance: "Show yourself, or shall you remain in the shadows like the coward you are?"

The echoing chuckle becomes even crueler after Loki's deceptive words. "I would be troubled, if I did not have eyes and ears in your realm, little sorcerer. Those eyes and ears even witnessed to me the death of your beloved Queen." Fafnir erupts from the ground in front of the Asgardians, sending the rocks beneath their feet in all directions and threatening to bury them in the wake of his unearthing. The gargantuan drake bends his head low to the rubble and speaks with a vicious smile. "I hope she suffered…"

Loki reaches out to grab at Odin, and if he gets a hand on him, would teleport them to a safe place, then shouts "You may think you have the upper hand, you filthy beast, but I will take great pleasure in watching YOU suffer!"

Loki does manage to teleport them away to safety. Odin gives the sorcerer Prince a small nod in acceptance of the assistance, but his blue orb is heavy upon Fafnir. His own rage is boiling, and the All-father outright snarls as he aims Gungnir at Fafnir and lets loose a harsh torrent of his power. Odin-Smite on steroids. He's pissed.

The force of Odin's blast sends a shockwave echoing through Nastrond's cavernous region and pushes Fafnir through the rock and ruin farther than a football field away. But as the blast continues, the dragon gets a foothold to stop himself from moving. He holds up one of his thick arms to shield his eyes from the light and guard against the concussive force. "Foolish Asgardian," Fafnir bellows. "I have sustained myself on powers you cannot BEGIN to comprehend! My skin is as Uru. You will not end me so swiftly!" His maw parts and sends a cone of intensely hot flames in their direction.

Loki is about to spew some more hatred when Fafnir sends fire toward them, and immediately conjures a magic shield around them, throwing his hands out. The heat is enough that he can feel it through the shield, but just grimaces and holds it as long as necessary. "Your skin is not Uru. Your end may not come swiftly, but it WILL come at the hand of Odin and Loki! Now shut up and let us end this now!"

With Loki playing defense, it frees Odin up to focus more on offense. He frowns as the heat washes over them, steeling himself against it while Loki holds it at bay. As soon as the flames subside, he fires another harsh torrent of power at the drake. This time, however, he is carefully studying Fafnir for weaknesses. Trying not to let his rage completely blind him.

After bathing the duo in fire, Fafnir drops down on all fours and rushes towards them with a monstrous gallop. He aims to trample them into the ruined earth while he passes by. During passover, one might notice that while the keeled scales of his backside seem unyielding in their armored defense, the scales along his belly are more flexible during his movements.

Loki sends a quick telepathic message to Odin, and teleports himself and Odin away, leaving an illusion there for Fafnir to trample. He sends a flash of light toward Fafnir's face, to momentarily blind him.

More flexible generally means softer. Once they are out of harms way, Odin gives Loki a single nod. While the illusion is there, hopefully distracting Fafnir, Odin aims to take advantage of the moment. He transports himself under Fafnir once he slows, placing himself to try and shove Gungnir's speared tip into that softer underbelly.

The sudden light causes Fafnir to roar in anguish and he stops his rampage to rub at his eyes. "RRAAAH! Cowardly Asgardians," the dragon rumbles as he stumbles around. "You think you will save your people by coming here?" His tail lashes the air and claws scratch at the ground. "My realm is dead, and yours will be as well, for the cure you seek is as lost to the ages as my kingdom!"

The belly of the beast takes effort to breach, but Gungnir soon finds a place between his scales to make its mark. Fafnir bellows another roar and rears back, stumbling on two legs and grasping at the weapon with his clawed hands. His stunned backpedaling is driving him towards a deep chasm that empties into a darkness greater than that of any other within Nastrond.

Loki transports himself to the head of the beast, drawing his dagger and intending to plunge it into one of Fafnir's eyes. "Prepare to die, vile creature." Loki growls, bringing his dagger down as he backpedals. Loki can teleport at least so that will hopefully keep him from going over the edge with him.

"You will join your realm in death!" Odin growls, Gungnir remaining shoved in Fafnir, but Odin does not follow it. The All-Father stands, and watches, trusting Loki to be able to take care of himself as he watches Fafnir backpeddle. Hopefully to his death.

"CURSE YOU, BORSON," the great drake bellows as he stumbles off the edge of the cliff. His hands swing wildly, grasping at the edge for purchase, and one hand swings upward in time to deflect Loki's aim at his eye. But without a solid hold on the ground, Fafnir drops like a boulder into the black pit. A belch of fire rises into the atmosphere after his departure.

In the aftermath of the brief struggle, the destruction of the surrounding environment has yielded a fortuitous find: Several tubers have been unearthed that resemble the etching on the scroll Dorna gave to Loki. Death's Kneel grows in abundance in the dead landscape despite the inhospitable conditions.

Loki appears and drops to the ground with a clatter, having reappeared a few yards too high. With a scrape of metal on stone, he pushes himself up, looking at the tubers that rise from the ground. Picking one up, he holds it in his hand and looks at it, eyes welling up silently. Taking it, he picks up a few more, careful to uproot them whole so at least one could be planted. For several long moments, he just sits there with his potatoes, unable to speak lest his voice crack and betray him.

For a long moment, Odin is quiet. He holds out his hand, summoning Gungnir back to him, though there is little pleasure in Fafnir's defeat. Frigga is still gone even if she is avenged. With the silence hanging heavy as Loki gathers the herb, he finally turns, "Take them to the Healer. Get the cure out before we lose more."

Loki gathers what he can, leaving a few in case they need to return. He nods and holds them in the folds of his cape, shuffling back toward the spot near where they arrived. "I will. Summon Heimdall so that we may leave this terrible place."

"I will be along." Odin isn't returning immediately. He wants to make sure Fafnir is really dead. Not to mention the man needs a quiet moment to grieve… what better place than this desolate, terrible land? He lifts Gungnir to summon the Bifrost for Loki, the All-Father remaining behind for now.

The back room is normally kept tidy and busy with experiments and otherwise, though a number of her experiments have fallen to being left to fail with her not being able to properly tend them. All focus has been on the cure for the ailment against the Asgardian people. A cauldron boils on the fire, offering that harsh stench of the distilling cure in the process of making, awaiting that final ingredient.

The back room is connected to Eir's personal chambers by way of a large door. The door has been left open with the Royal Healer bedridden to allow Dorna or other healers to come and go and speak with her easier. She's too weak to manage telepathic communication and can't leave her bed. She is pale, to the point of barely being able to move, her voice light and weak. A cold sweat on her brow as she tries to fight against the sickness to remain conscious while she speaks with Dorna.

Loki arrived in the Observatory, carrying the tubers in the folds of his cape. He nods to Heimdall, then disappears as he walks, reappearing in the healing room and immediately walking to the back room, setting them down gently. "I have brought the final ingredient." He says flatly, not removing his eyes from the table. "If you need nothing else, I will take my leave now."

The Matron Healer leans in to hear Eir better without forcing the ailing goddess to strain her voice. She's as protected as she can get under the circumstances with her face wearing a cloth mask and arms covered in gloves up to her elbows. The matron turns at the sound of Loki's approach and quickly moves to take the Death's Kneel from him. "Prince Loki, you are truly a hero this day," she says with a sigh of relief, then leans in to whisper to him. "Eir is frightfully ill, my prince, but she is still with us." Her words are meant to encourage the sorcerer to stay and speak to the Royal Healer while he has the opportunity.

Eir has already given detailed instructions on how to finish the cure and how to administer it to the population. The inoculations will take time, but sooner the better. Eir's pale blue eyes open as she hears Loki, looking to him. "Is it over?" She murmurs, her voice strained to be heard.

Dorna heads to the cauldron and its adjacent table, already prepared to work the Death's Kneel into the boiling serum. She purposefully turns her back to Eir and Loki to give them a modicum of privacy.

Loki isn't sure if he can handle Eir right now, but nods. "Yes, it is over, Eir. You may rest now." He can be quite a good actor when he wants to be. "It will be over soon and you will be well, as will the rest of those that fell ill. You and your healers will have saved the realm."

"Good." Eir closes her eyes, that final reassurance allowing her to relax. That cold sweat remains, but her breathing slows. Now that she's not fighting so heartily to hang on for the cure, the weakness of her body is taking over. She looks for all appearances to be asleep, taking pale, shallow breaths, slipping into a dark sleep; a coma.

Dorna glances over her shoulder briefly, then sets down her utensils and rushes in to check on Eir. She's silent but procedural, checking the Royal Healer's vital signs to make sure she's still alive.

"What? No! I didn't say that so you could—" Loki runs a hand through his hair and rushes out into the back room. "Hurry with the cure, something has happened to Eir. If she dies…" He fights to maintain his composure. He wouldn't be able to handle it if she died, too. When Dorna comes in, he just sort of hovers around, biting his thumbnail.

Eir's still alive, though barely. Her vitals are low as if her body has entered a sort of partial stasis. There, but unresponsive. Mentally, its nothing but darkness. The telepathic link between her and Loki is cold and alone.

Dorna looks up at Loki, her brow furrowed in sympathy. "Take heart, my prince. Eir has gone into a deep sleep but she is still with us." She gestures to the doorway. "The cure will take time to complete, but I promise she will be among the first to receive a dose." She adjusts Eir's bedding to make sure her body remains comfortable, then returns to the alchemy station to continue her duties. With the Royal Healer now in a coma, there is no time to waste. The Matron will work through the night if she has to for this cure to be completed.

"Then there is nothing else I can do. I must see if Odin has returned from Nastrond. He has left the throne without a ruler. If you need my assistance, summon me." He looks upon Eir with a sigh, rubbing his forehead wearily.

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