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"Blood and Porcelain" is a Season 4 thread written on April 5, 2015. It takes place right after "Frying Pan or Fire."

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Warren: Warren was a little surprised by Grey’s rage, but she didn’t dwell on it. She couldn’t. She cut her way to a tent opening, peering in to find it empty of any but corpses. Grey was behind her, ferociously attacking the porcelain dolls as if enacting flaming vengeance. Blood still ran down her arms and she quickly wiped each her palms, worried that it would cause the swords to slip from her hands. More screams caught her attention and she ran to them, slicing a mannequin from its place on the back of a rebel and trying to ignore the trail of red as man scurried away.Have to save them, she thought, and a small portion of her mind was startled. She remembered Akkey thrashing and mumbling on the bed-save them, get them out- remembered her saving countless rebels from Walpugisnaght’s tempest. She set her jaw. Alright, Chief. Time to follow your example.

Grey Bergman: Grey shouted as she fought more mannequins watching them all go down. “Keep going!” she shouted to Warren. “We got to save them!” 

Warren: Too many people couldn’t move, couldnt’ get away. They were relying on stalling the things enough for the injured to get away, but those who were unable to were completely vulnerable. Warren lept upon one of the creatures before it could reach a cot, stabbing it repeatedly in the neck until it slumped. “This isn’t fast enough!” she cried. “We cant do this ourselves without a plan!”

Akkey Black: Two mannequins suddenly appeared behind them, teeth glinting in the sunlight as they craved for the rebels’ deaths. They jumped, ready to tear out their throats, when seemingly out of nowhere a tendril shot through them, impaling them together, then exploding into a torrent of water. It filled the dolls inside and out, washing off their seals and rendering them useless.

Akkey ran up to them, breathless, blood still soaking her shirt from the abdomen, although considerably slower, “You guys alright?” She glanced around them, panicked soldiers and wounded rebels running, getting killed.  It’s the same thing… I could open portals again, but it’s useless. The dolls just find them again.

A child cried in pain as one of Frigga’s soldiers stomped on him, crushing his ribs and lungs. In that moment, his life flickered out like candlelight. She clenched her fists, feeling absolutely frustrated, terrified, exhausted.Useless.

Warren: “Fine,” Warren panted, “I’m… I’m fine….” She stared in mind-numbing horror at the child’s corpse. “We c- …we can’t do anything… there are too many….” Water dripped onto her foot from where it dripped from Akkey’s attack, and she stared at the nix. “You can- you can wash it off? What if we draw them to the lake? All at once? The wounded won’t stand a chance if we fight them like this.”

Grey Bergman: “That actually might work,” Grey said as she fought another mannequin. “Let’s do it! But I’m going to need a little…” Suddenly a Night Fury screeched above the tent. Grey quickly looked up and saw…. “SHADOW! Down here, girl!”

The Night Fury swooped down down toward Akkey, Warren, and Grey. Grey quickly hopped on Shadow’s back. “I’ll get all the mannequins in one place away from this tent. Akkey, as soon as they’re altogether, I need you to open up a portal from under them to send them to the lake.” She gritted her teeth. “Let’s get rid of these monsters once and for all!”

Akkey Black: Her eyes widened, “That… yes. Got it.” She nodded and quickly followed the Night Fury, smashing a doll in and destroying its seal. With her other hand she did the same trick she used to save Warren and Grey on three mannequins stabbing an old man. She rushed on, finding firm footing and a clear view, and breathed in deeply. This was going to be a massive one. Just like the old days.

Grey Bergman: Without waiting for anything, Grey pulled Warren onto Shadow with her, and with that, they took off into the air. Grey took a deep breath and shouted, “HEY PORCELAIN FREAKS!!! UP HERE!! PICK ON SOMEONE OF YOUR SIZE!”

Shadow roared as if to affirm Grey’s taunts. Although, Grey seemed to miss the small concerned look Shadow gave her rider. “Go girl!” she said turning Shadow toward where Akkey will be waiting. “COME ON SHADOW! We got to get rid of them!”

Warren: “T-they won’t follow us,” Warren said, fighting nausea as they soared above horrible gore. “The wounded are too easy to pick off and we’re out of range. We need more than taunts. I have to think… think of something….”

Grey Bergman: “Warren, come on,” she said turning to Warren not really paying attention to the fact that the line on her neck was sort of visible. “You got to stay with me! Please I need you!”

You’re going to die alone.

“Don’t leave me, please.”

Warren: Warren blinked, dazed. She’d stopped paying attention for a moment, giving into the numbness of her mind.Maybe she was in shock.  “I… sorry. Sorry.” Grey seemed so afraid for some reason. Had Warren done that? She was becoming exhausted and her thoughts were giving out, but at least her wounds weren’t that serious. “I’m not going anywhere. Not leaving. I promise.”

Grey Bergman: “Good,” she said. “I…I don’t know what I would do if I was alone. I’m holding you to that.” She took a deep breath. The reassurance from Warren helped. “Now let’s do something about these freaks!” She had an idea. “Maybe I can have Shadow pick some of them up and drop them into a portal?”

Warren: Warren gave another slow blink, vision clearing as she stared into Grey’s eyes. She focused. “Okay.” A moment passed and she pursed her lips at the question. “I’m willing to try just about anything.”

Grey Bergman: “Let’s try it!” Grey said directing Shadow back towards them. With that they swooped down back toward the mannequins. As soon as Shadow was close enough to a few of them, she picked them up in her claws off the ground. They flew back to where Akkey waited.

Akkey Black: It wasn’t working.

Akkey scanned the battlefield from her vantage point, eyes following the Night Fury as it picked up a few dolls and flew towards her. It was obvious that Grey and Warren were trying to coax Frigga’s army near the portal that she was opening, but they weren’t following. More people were dying by the second.

She glanced around her, watching the mannequins fall from the dragon’s claw and into the growing portal. She bit her lip, drawing a bit of blood. The thought that crossed her mind at that moment made her stomach drop from nervousness, but she had no choice.

I have to do it again.

Akkey pulled up a frozen barrier around her quickly; she knew from past experiences that she would definitely needed it. It clipped a rogue doll under the chin, and she distractedly shot out a spike, piercing it where the seal would be. It fell to the ground, motionless.

A deep breathe and a roll of her shoulders, and her eyes flew open with intense concentration. One hand kept the original portal open for Warren and Grey, while the other stretched smaller ones right where she could see enemies, sending them to the lake, hoping that there would be enough current to wash the seals off. She strained at the effort, feeling very lightheaded as the ice in her stomach slowly melted and mixed blood and water, but she persevered. She grinned weakly to herself, amused at the situation.Get them out, quickly. What a switch.

Grey Bergman: “That’s about three,” Grey said as she watched the dolls fall into Akkey’s portal, “and….a lot more to go. Come on, Shadow. We got to keep going.” With that, she turned the Night Fury around and went back towards the camp. When they got there, Grey could only gasp at the sight below them. The dolls didn’t follow them. They only continued to attack the injured. She glowered. “We need to get rid of these things! Come on! Shadow, use your wings! We can push them toward the portals!”

With that the Night Fury spread out her wings and dragged the porcelain dolls away from the defenseless and picked some up with her claws bringing them toward the portals.

Akkey Black: Grey’s attempts to herd the dolls were slowly working, a little at a time, crawling over the muddy soil recklessly to follow. Akkey grunted as they fell in, still trying to keep the bigger portal open. One, two, three, four… she kept dropping dolls into the lake individually, one after the other, feeling their long, mangly limbs stretching at the magic.

She jumped when a dull thumping came. She peered through the hazy ice and saw five dolls hitting the solid walls that protected her, clawing and gurgling as they tried to get to her. She grit her teeth and hoped fervently that it would hold.

Akkey turned her attention back to the battles in front of her, and immediately saw mannequins, numbers no fewer than twenty, slowly surrounding a group of teenage rebels.They’re too scattered for a portal, I don’t have time.She screamed at the top of her lungs, uncaring that it scratched her throat, “Grey! Warren! Save Snotlout and the others!”

Grey Bergman: Grey looked down and saw that Akkey was right. A few more dolls were attacking a group of rebel teens. She recognized one of them as Snotlout, and she glared at the dolls. She patted Shadow directing her toward them. “Got it covered, Akkey!” she said as they swooped down.

“Snotlout!” she shouted as she flew closer. “GET DOWN!”

The teens did as she commanded and went down allowing Shadow to scoop up the dolls with her wings and to bring them back to the portals. As soon as they all disappeared into the portals below, Grey gasped when she saw five of those things trying to get to Akkey.

“AKKEY!” she shouted as they flew down again. “STAY WHERE YOU ARE! WE’RE COMING!”

Akkey Black: She heaved a sigh of relief as the teens scurried to safety, picking up weapons along the way. She grinned up at the two flying towards her, “Don’t worry, I’m fine! Keep dropping the do—!”

There was a sudden burst of ice shards, and a mangled, bloodstained claw shot through, hitting Akkey squarely on her back. It wasn’t a particularly powerful punch, but it landed right where the wound was. It was enough for the half breed to buckle down to her knees, gasping in pain, sight swimming in tears. Portals disappeared as she dropped, her hands shaking in effort to keep herself up. 

Click, click, click. A doll poked its head through, smiling grotesquely. “Get away from me!” Her foot shot out, trying to kick it in the face, but she was a second too late as it dodged then sank its teeth into her boot, breaking leather and skin.

Grey Bergman: “AKKEY!” Grey shouted as Shadow swooped down to the ground. “Shadow, faster!” The Nogt Fury fired a plasma blast that blew four of the dolls away from Akkey. Before Shadow even landed, Grey jumped off and plowed into the one biting Akkey’s leg. Thankfully, she had enough strength to separate the two. However, that wasn’t enough as the doll suddenly turned on Grey and sank its teeth into her right arm.

Greg Ericson: “Get away from my sister you creep!” Greg yelled as he jumped off a nearby rock, bringing his sword down on the mannequin’s neck severing it. He then punted the head a fair distance away. “Man you go to the bathroom and you miss the craziest things.” He said as he pushed the body away with his foot and pulled up Grey.

Grey Bergman: Grey was in an absolute daze as Greg pulled her to her feet. She stared in absolute shock at the boy not even paying attention to her bleeding arm. Surely, she had to be dreaming. She must’ve been knocked out again, and Hunter was somehow giving her this dream to calm her in her sleep. “G-Greg?” she asked. 

Akkey Black: The fallen doll twitched on the ground once, slowly getting up and unnoticed by the two. It didn’t matter that it had lost its head, all it wanted was to kill, destroy, stab, tear, slice, blood, blood kill destroy— 

A sword sliced through it, splitting the hidden seal in the middle. Akkey grunted, leaning on her sword as her foot throbbed from the bite. “These things need to calm down…” she grit her teeth, melted ice from the wound in her abdomen dripping on the ground, mixed with blood. She flicked a finger, freezing it again. Now is not the time.

Suddenly she felt something grab her by the neck, pulling her away. She choked, recognizing the knocking and the jointed fingers. “Ugh…” it had a death grip on her, and she was angled wrong and couldn’t reach the seal. I’ll have to take you with me then. She took a deep breathe, then opened a portal beneath them, plunging both into the lake.

Greg Ericson: “Hey Grey.” Greg smiled, “How are things? What am I saying things are great, obviously. I mean Ragnarok’s here, you’re getting bit, everything’s in chaos. It’s like Snoggletog has come early!” He exclaimed sarcastically.

Grey Bergman: Grey could only put on a smirk at her brother. “You know, your sarcasm is going to get you in trouble one of these days,” she said simply completely forgetting that the line on her neck was completely visible for Greg.

Greg Ericson“Oh believe me sister, it already has.” Greg smirked. “Now then what are these things?” He asked as he batted away a mannequin that got too close for comfort.

Grey Bergman: “I’m not sure,” she said swatting one away from her with her sword. “They’re like dolls, but…creepier. Their weak spots are in the necks! Make sure you hit them there!”

Warren: Warren’s arms were on fire. A patchwork of bite marks and scratches stretched up from wrist to elbow and above and she felt like there wasn’t an inch of her that wasn’t bleeding or bruised. But the adrenaline thudding against her skull wouldn’t let her focus on the pain. Drive them into the portals, protect the wounded- that was funny, she doubted that anyone was not wounded by now- stay alive, watch after Grey… there were too many things to do. She hacked and slashed with her swords, twisting to face where Grey was speaking to someone– Her arms fell to her sides. “Greg?”

Greg Ericson: Greg turned hearing his name being called. His face split into a wide grin seeing who had called out to him. “Good day, Milady. You are doing well I presume.”

Warren: “Doing well?”  Warren felled a doll with a savage crack of her sword, then wiped the blood from her face and flicked it from her hand onto the ground. Gregory Ericson, you had better thank all the gods you can think of that I am as fond of you as I am. You and I-” she hacked downward and a hard, headless torso thudded to the ground- “are going-” she stabbed the seal of another doll and it fell limply before reaching a badly-limping rebel- “to exchange words.” Each word was punctuated by a slash of her weapon.

Greg Ericson: Greg chuckled nervously as he joined her in fighting the mannequins. “Uh… sure. What words need to be exchanged?”

Warren: “I think we could start off with how you betrayed our patron deity by aligning yourself with a god who wants to destroy all of us; the same god that kidnapped and abandoned you and Grey and numerous others. And then I think we’ll transition into how the only reason I know about that at all is because Hel herself showed up and chewed you out for it. I think that’s a fine start don’t you?” She growled under her breath a little as she fought, feeling her anger start to dissipate as it always did when he was near. There was a pause as they fought and the bite and fire in the half breed’s voice had died down when she spoke again. “You didn’t tell me.”

Greg Ericson: Greg sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I didn’t want you to worry, and it’s not like I was doing it to destroy us all. I just wanted to keep us all safe. I thought I lost you guys at Perch Hall. I was so afraid of losing you again. Not that I’m saying it was right, I’m Just letting you know why.”

Warren: Warren’s prepared retort died in her throat. She scowled and slashed through another seal, shoulders tense. She hated thinking about the old fortress, about him finding the bloodstained wreckage of what had once been something like home. She paused. “Well I’d rather worry about a problem with you than find out about it once there’s nothing I can do.” She shot him an irritated look, then said in a tone that was more insecure than angry, “I could’ve helped.”

Greg Ericson: “If I had told you,” Greg said tearing through a mannequin, his blade ablaze. “you would have gone to Hel too. There is no way I was having you go through that. Who even knows what would have happened. Hel could have separated us, and I could have never seen you again. I wouldn’t have been able to survive that.”

Warren: “And this was better?” Her wounds were burning and raw, but now the center of her chest ached as well. “I would rather have hiked seven leagues to Hel myself than spend those days and weeks watching every doorway in case you made it home. I sat in the dark every night and wondered if you could ever come back.” She was too sick to be angry. Sick of bad things happening to good people, sick of gods and dolls and this stupid war. She halfheartedly slashed at a mannequin as it raked it’s claws over her side. “Don’t you get it? I might give you a hard time about it, but I’d do anything if it would help you.” She looked almost sorrowful, then avoided his gaze. “I can’t stand it when you need me and I’m not there.”

Greg Ericson: Greg felt his chest clench as he heard this. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t-didn’t realize I put you through that.” Greg managed to stutter out. “I guess I’m not that great of a boyfriend, huh?” He said as he pushed away a mannequin.

Warren: “Any man who heats up an entire lake because his girlfriend doesn’t like to be cold while she’s on a picnic is a pretty great boyfriend in my opinion,” Warren said with the tiniest of smiles. “Just stop trying to protect everyone by yourself all the time.“

Greg Ericson: Greg nodded but added, “Can I at least protect some of the people some of the time.” a smirk plastered on his face.

Warren: She gave him a sharp look, a badly-concealed grin tightening her mouth. “By yourself, mister smart-axe. That means quit leaving me in the dark and let me help you.”

Greg Ericson: Greg sighed. He knew Warren was right. He didn’t like her being in harms way, but he knew she was right. She could take care of herself and she would be a great help if he needed it in the future. “Okay, then. I promise from now on to include you in all of my dastardly schemes, henceforth.” He went back to fighting, not saying anything for a few moments before saying in a sing song voice. “I love youuuu.”

Warren: Warren nodded, satisfied. Her anger had seeped away, and while it relieved and even relaxed her the slightest bit, it also deprived her of the wrathful energy she’d been pouring into her attacks and defenses, forcing her to focus more. She fell into the rhythm of battle until his voice caught her attention again. She broke into a giggle and ducked her head, face flushed pink under a film of grime and blood. “Shut up,” she said, embarrassment and affection nullifying the words.

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