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"Trial by Fire" is a Season 5 thread written on April 27, 2015.

Summary Edit

Full Text Edit

Part 1 Edit

Hrinthe Fishgiver: The path opened up to a great valley, filled with scorched rock and pools of water.  Where there might have once been trees and gently formed nests were now snapped twigs of black, all burnt and slashed in a clear attack.  The remnants of smashed eggs, encircled by the bones of defending dragons, were interspersed amongst the blackened skeletons of humans, turning to dust amongst the air.  The feel of burning oil was on the breeze, the last remnant of the massacre that had occurred.

Dragons lined the path that led up to a large circular plateau.  They watched with keen eyes, all judging the group of travelers come to meet with their god.

A Nightmare, a very deep blood red with golden eyes, flew down to greet them.

I am Soulspeaker Riergethn.  The Father awaits,he spoke to them. You will meet him at the Table.  Soulspeaker Vrithlamnn,he nodded to Hrinthe,He will want words with you first.

The young nadder bowed deeply in response. Understood.

Good.  Approach the Table.

Greg Ericson: Greg walked to the table and bent down on his knees. He didn’t see the dragon god but Greg felt as if he was being watched so he knew he was there. “Before we begin I wish to apologize to you sir.” Greg said, his head bowed. “I am sorry that the humans killed your people. It was not right and I wish that there was some way to undo it.”

Grey Bergman: Grey watched as Greg knelt to the floor and apologized to the Father of the Dragons for what had happened to his nest. She looked back up and noticed that the God was nowhere to be found. This was it. She was going to do whatever it took to get Shadow back safe and sound. She took a deep breath.

“Migardsormr!” the Lady called out. “It is I, Lady Grey of the United Revolutionaries! I’ve come with my comrades from the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion to speak with you about the dragons. Please, come out! I can assure you that we mean no harm!”

Nalaagura Ep'ha: The Warden stood back respectfully and watched, but did not bow. She was on a higher tier than the mortals and she wished to keep it as such. She winced a bit as the rebels spoke before the god did, but what happened happened. Perhaps it would be good that they were being so forward. Maybe.

Satine Sadow: Satine hangs in the shadows, holding her staff in a relaxed position behind her. Her eyes darted back and forth wildly, trying to fight the blurred monochome in her vision. It was time to see the dragon… it sent a chill up her spine.

Midgardsormr: The ground shook.  All the dragons present bowed.

A massive head appeared over the mountaintop, gazing down at the table from above.  He nearly blocked out the sun with his girth.  The great wyrm had appeared.

You are the humanshe rumbled.  His voice boomed, ringing in the ears and minds of all present.  You are the Warden’s Champions.  You are come to the shrine.  You are come to the altar, the Table.

His tail lashed once.

You see what it is that humans have done.  At this sacred place.  It is a sin.  And so you have come to make right this sin.  And to remake a broken oath.

But first… Vrithlamnn.  Approach.

Hrinthe fluttered forward, tiny compared to most of the other dragons, and absolutely nothing in the face of the great dragon god.  She bowed deeply, silent.

You are Soulspeaker.  You have gone against the Song.  You have disobeyed me.  You have failed me.  What have you to say?

Hrinthe quivered in her place, not looking up.

… nothing, Father.  I can say nothing.  But that innocents should not be harmed.  

Midgardsormr snorted.  A huge cloud of smoke brushed down like fog, hitting the table and dissipating on impact.

So you speak.  

A song rung.  Two nightmares suddenly pounced from the sides, landing on Hrinthe and forcing her to the ground.  

One of them raked his claws over her wing in a spiral.

Then Midgardsormr breathed.  White holy flame rushed over the entire table, bathing all the dragons in it.  For a moment, everything flashed, too bright for anyone to see.  Then it died away nearly as quickly as it came, a few embers twinkling in the air.

You have been marked.  You will remember.  We will remember.  Do not disobey again.

The two nightmares retreated, leaving Hrinthe on the ground.  She slowly stood once again, folding her wings gingerly and bowing once more.

… understood, Father.  I am grateful for your mercy.

And mercy it is, he snorted once more.  Then his gaze finally shifted, and he looked to the party.

Humans.  Champions of the Warden.  You hail from the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion.  Make your mission known.  Let your ambitions be clear.  Submit your offering of apology.  All of you.

Grey Bergman: The Lady took a deep breath as she looked up at the dragon god. She wanted nothing more than to just find Shadow and lead the rebels out of here as soon as possible. However, she knew that this was the only way to keep everyone safe. As the leader, it was her job to step forward first.

“Migardsormr, as the Lady of the United Revolutionaries and King Haddock’s second-in-command, I deeply apologize for the actions of the humans who had destroyed your shrine. To make up for it, perhaps, I can tell you that we managed to intercept the humans who were responsible for the destruction. Maybe, it will give you some closure.”

Midgardsormr: The dragon god’s eyes visibly widened.  Then he once again gazed down, a great puff of smoke blowing down the mountainside.

Proceed.

Grey Bergman: Grey nodded. “It was a group of Thor’s soldiers,” she began. “We ran into them on our way here two days ago when they tried to attack Hrinthe. The leader, Lieutenant Bray was foolish enough to tell us that he and his men were responsible and that Thor himself ordered them to destroy this shrine. We fought them to protect Hrinthe, and we were able to defeat them.”

Satine Sadow: Satine continues to watch, her body shaking a little. Dragons… dragons… was… was he here among them? Did he even feel remorse? Her body jerked violently as she remembered falling, remembered screaming.

She couldn’t breathe… everything was going black… the dragon… the dragon was here… she could feel it…

Seasick: Seasick became increasingly nervous in the presence of the dragon God. All she really wanted was to get Furious back and return home. Stepping up beside Grey, Seasick spoke up,

“What Grey says is true. The rebels of the Grounded Dungeon have always had peaceful relationships with dragons, and even through this fighting, we have not harmed a single dragon. We consider them to be friends and family, and the dragons feel the same toward us. Please, all we want is our best friends back.”

Warren: Close behind Grey, quiet and protective, Warren stood. “We are truly sorry that it has come to this. Many, if not all of our group understand some of the pain of undeserving brutality and death at the hands of another. This is why we have rebelled and escaped the Grounded Dungeon, to right the wrongs committed against ourselves and our loved ones, or in an effort to prevent them from happening to others. We do not want more bloodshed.”

Ingrid Rehan: There was no escaping Midgardsormr’s power. Although Ingrid had mentally withdrawn deep into herself, the dragon god’s energy still flared in dazzling white that would have hurt her eyes if the light hadn’t been just a manifestation of what she could sense. With the mountain-sized white cloud looming over her, Ingrid felt like an insignificant speck that could be wiped away any moment.

Nevertheless, she spoke. She didn’t have a dragon of her own and wasn’t sure if her words could be worth much, but she could at least try to add to her friends’ pleas.

“Many of us have been friends with dragons for years; we love and care about them as much as we can love anyone from our own race. With the bonds we have formed, we would never hurt them. Please don’t take that away from us.”

Midgardsormr: The dragon god’s gaze washed over them.  Hrinthe had stepped back to join the humans as they spoke.  Midgardsormr knew that not all of the party had spoken, but more than one seemed frazzled and not of clear mind.  He could sense the lifelight that burned within all of them.

Bonds, you say.  Bonds of friendship.  Yes.  You are of mankind, separate from others.  Rebels of your kind.  Mankind has oft not been unified in judgment.  It weakens you.  But perhaps, now it is your savior.

A Trial has been set forth.  A Trial once unified dragon and man.  Very long ago.  A boy and a Fury.  You will repeat it to reform the pact.  The Trial will act as your penance.

Step forward to the center of the Table.  Those Champions who will undergo the Trial.  Choose.

Satine Sadow: She didn’t know what she was doing… her body was shaking, her breathing heavy and ineffective… Everything was black… he was there… she could feel it.

She didn’t know what she was doing, and yet… she could feel herself moving forward… her foot lifting, landing… 

She had stepped forward. Not turning back, apparently.

Grey Bergman: Grey glared at the madwoman stepping up onto the landing. Nevertheless, she took a deep breath and stepped forward. She needed to do this…for Shadow. She looked around trying to spot the Night Fury amongst the dragons staring at them. Unfortunately, there was no sign of her best friend anywhere.

“Come on, girl,” she thought to herself as she stepped up. “Please…come back to me…”

Seasick: Eyes darting between Satine and Grey, Seasick was unsure of what was unfolding. By undergoing a Trial, she would be reunited with Furious, but what exactly was this Trial?

Seasick also stepped forward, following Grey, but looked up to where she assumed the dragon god was and asked, “What exactly do you want us to do? Is there some sort of catch?”

Part 2 Edit

Midgardsormr: There is no ‘catch’.  Dragons are not as loving of tricks.

Midgardsormr breathed, and a wall of flame suddenly burst upwards, forming a large circle that trapped the three within.  The flames were hot and burned high, disabling any from escaping without severe burns.

Then he sung once more.

Three dragons appeared from the giant flock, each familiar, each with their eyes slit in obedience to the dragon god.  Then they flew towards the wall of flame, landing within the circle.

Each faced their rider, with green gas building in the back of their throats, and embers dripping from their teeth.

The Trial is begun.

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser landed softly, his head tilted as he peered at the enemy through the red haze. Girl-Enemy… Friend? Simple? No. Something was wrong. This.. looked like the same girl… but… shaking… breathing… ragged. His old partner was terribly wrong somehow. A fragment. The odd girl made mad. Did… he do that? The guilt was sudden, overwhelming.

Satine recoiled at the sight of the dragon, not breathing. She… she had been right… he was here. Her staff clanged to the ground as she lost control of her hands. She could hear screaming… her screaming… but it was distant, out of the past… 

She felt like she was falling, and water began to pour from her eyes. Oh gods… the betrayal, the agonizing pain was made new. Oh please… please no… She sucks in a breath of air, falling to her knees.

Grey Bergman: Grey stared in absolute fear and horror at the Night Fury standing in front of her. The Lady had a quick flashback to when Shadow first turned to look at her with those slitted eyes on the battlefield ready to kill her, but then she remembered that Shadow was clearly able to fight the urge to submit to the God’s demand. She could get through to Shadow. She just knew that she could.

Grey took a deep breath and outstretched her hand to Shadow taking a step forward. “Shadow…?” she asked carefully being mindful of the plasma blast building inside her mouth. “Hey…it’s me, girl. It’s me, girl. It’s alright. I’m here. Please come back to me.”

The Night Fury paused in building the plasma blast in her mouth. That voice…That human female voice…a gentle warm voice that sounded so familiar. All she could see was a red blob and that voice sounded so far away. But a part of her recognized it. Could it be…?

“Grey…?” Shadow crooned. “Is that you?” This couldn’t be right. It had to be a trick. The Father ordered other dragons to kill Grey. Wasn’t Grey…dead? 

Seasick: This was a mistake. Seasick thought, as she, Grey, and Satine all stood with their backs to each other, facing their dragons. All three dragons were under the control of the dragonsong, and it didn’t look like there was anything the rebels could do. Unless… 

Seasick slowly stepped towards Furious, who was stalking towards her. She thought of when they first met, and how terrifying he was, but it was nothing compared to how he looked now. Eyes slit, teeth bared, claws extended, Furious truly displayed his feral side. 

Furious,” Seasick spoke to him in Dragonese. “it’s me, Seasick.

Furious didn’t even acknowledge her words and continued towards her.

Furious please stop. I need you.” Seasick continued on. “You’re my best friend, please, come back to me.”

For a split second, Furious stopped and tilted his head. He heard Seasick and it was clear that he was fighting against the song. He shook his head and continued towards the viking.

Furious listen to me,” Seasick stepped forward and held out her hand, “I am not your enemy. We are friends. Dragons and humans, we are friends.

Furious stopped again. This time, he spoke to her.

It’s not true. Not true, the viking rebel lies.” He growled at her.

No, no it is true. Remember all the adventures we went on? Remember Furious, try and remember…” Seasick replied.

Quickly turning towards Satine and Grey, Seasick told them a plan. “Talk to your dragons! Try and get their focus off of the dragon song!”

Midgardsormr: The song echoed, rumbling throughout the valley.  It thrummed in the throats of the watching dragons, and Midgardsormr observed those within the circle of flame with odd curiosity.

The fire walls of the circle continued to burn.  Slowly, they began to reach inward, the fire creeping gradually towards the center of the circle, decreasing the space within.  It was only a matter of time before the entire area within the circle was alit with a blazing inferno.

Fiendal Hrothgar Hookless: Fiendal made his form appear in front of midgardsormr. You need to stop this, they are all going to die! Have you no sense? He looked at the god with pleading eyes, please, at least let the dragons know something! We cant be without them! He looked at the god-of-dragons and say him not even noticing his presenceLISTEN TO ME! Fiendal bellowed, making sure his voice echoed.  IF YOU KILL THEM YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN US!

Midgardsormr: Midgardsormr glanced at the soul, snorting in disdain.

I do not aim to kill them, he spoke to only the soul before him.  This is their trial.  It is also a penance.  If they do not pass, only then will they die.  Success means survival.  Failure means death.  A fair trade.  Now watch, mortal soul, and stay your tongue.  Else the Soul Flame be stripped from you.

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser looked at the shattered husk kneeling on the ground, the guilt causing the massive stormcutter to shake incessantly as the wave of emotion battled against the Dragonsong. Girl… Girl was… Leaking?

Satine sniffled and snatched her staff before the flames could claim it. Her eyes met the eyes of the dragon, and a small degree of color began to saturate her sight. Something about being near him… It was calming her. She edged forward on all fours, trying not to be threatening.

For the both of them, it was reminiscent of their first meeting, when she approached him after killing his captors. Her body was hunched over, and she made small, defenseless sounds. Her odd eyes were cautious, the black one hidden behind her hair. She reached a trembling hand out to him with every step, still not actually speaking.

Grey Bergman: “Please, Shadow,” Grey said pleadingly to the dragon, “it’s okay. I think I know what happened back on the battlefield. You weren’t acting on your own free will. Midgardsormr is controlling you. He made you turn on me and leave.”

As Grey edged closer to the Night Fury, the voice sounded like it was getting closer. Now, it was starting to become clear to Shadow. The figure was still blurry, but if it was who she thought it was… Thankfully, as Grey got closer, Shadow quickly swallowed back her plasma blast and shook her head wildly trying to shut out the song, but it was too powerful.

Grey smiled to herself seeing the Night Fury trying to fight the thrall, but her heart broke when she saw how hard it was. She had to keep trying. “I’ve known you for 11 years, Shadow,” she said. “I know you like a book. You would never…ever hurt me.” As she said that, her hand finally touched the Night Fury’s nose. 

Suddenly, it was almost as if a face emerged from the red fog allowing Shadow to see familiar brown eyes. “GREY!” she said. “It is you! You’re alive!” 

“Please, Shadow,” the Lady said as tears came to her eyes staring right into Shadow’s slitted ones. “You’re my best friend, girl. No, you’re more than that. You’re my sister, Shadow.”

The black dragon felt the song overpower her again. 

“NO! NO!” she crooned as she closed her eyes and shook her head again. “No, Father! Stop! Please! Grey’s my best friend…my sister! LET ME GO!”

Seasick: The ring of fire was dangerously close to them now, as were their dragons. Satine and Grey were making progress with their dragons, which gave Seasick hope that she would reach Furious as well.

Furious, it’s okay. I’m here,” Seasick spoke once again to Furious, her hand extended towards him. “You’d never hurt me, Furious.

Furious was now right in front of Seasick, and lowered his head so that he made eye contact with her. “Dragons and humans… as friends?” He asked her, shaking his head.

Yes, Furious. We are friends.” Seasick manage to choke out. “You said you’d protect me. Remember? Please, come back to me…” 

Slowly, Seasick placed her hand on Furious’ nose. Furious blinked numerous times, and slowly leaned into her hand.

Satine Sadow: “Nay, sure, Not in Hel,/In Odin’s bosom./The lad I knew well/In Odin’s bosom” The song. The song the girl used to sing to calm him when he was in pain. The voice was cracked and hoarse, but it was her. The red began to flash in and out from his vision as the song cut through. He could see her approaching him, looking almost the exact same as she did when they first met. Swallowing the flames in the back of his throat, Storm Chaser tried to shake free of the Dragonsong, inching nearer to Satine. His head was bowed slightly, his eyes never leaving hers.

“A finer end made;/The turning of tides./Ne’er to see day,/At turning of tides.” Satine gasped softly as the dragon began to move near her, encouraging her to sing more. The trembling in her hands slowed as she ran a hand along one of the iron talons attached to the broken stubs of his real ones. She had made them for him after they had saved each other.

“He fumbled, smiled, played/There was but one way/His nose was as sharp as a blade/Babbling of fields far away…” She tapped the staff on the ground gently, the noise in time with her singing. Her free hand traveled tentatively up his wing, then stopped at his neck. She looked into his eyes, as if seeking permission to touch his jaw.

Grey Bergman: “You’re my sister, Shadow,” Grey said whispered to the Night Fury staring deep into Shadow’s eyes. She blinked allowing Grey to see her familiar dilated black eyes only shrink back into slits as the song overpowered her. “My sister…” Grey added. 

“You hear that, Father?” Shadow said again pulling away from Grey and shaking her head widely trying to block out the song. “Grey said so herself! She calls me her sister just as I call her mine. We are sisters, always have been, and always will be, and there is nothing you can do about it! I will NEVER let you or anyone else come….between us….AGAIN!” 

Her mind began to clear as the song soon faded away from her mind. Shadow then opened her eyes showing Grey the dilated black eyes she had come to know for 11 years and gave her a toothless smile.

“Guess who, Grey?” she crooned as her sight cleared allowing her to finally see her best friend…her sister. 

“ATTA GIRL!” Grey shouted at the top of her lungs as a smile splashed onto her face. “ATTA GIRL! THAT’S IT!”

“GREY!” Shadow crooned jumping up and down eagerly and nuzzling Grey’s cheek. “I’m here! I’m here!”

“I’m here, girl! I’m here!” Grey shouted hugging Shadow close. “And I’m never letting you go again!”

“Same here, sis!”

 “Oh good girl, Shadow…good girl…”

Fiendal Hrothgar Hookless: Fiendal smirked as he saw his friends with their dragons, looks like were doing well, “o’mighty god”. He looked over at midgardsormr so from what i understand, they win and you release all the dragons?

Seasick: When Furious opened his eyes, the feral look was gone.

Seasick,” He growled, as he nudged her lightly. “I’m sorry for frightening you.

Ah we can apologize to each other later, but right now we should focus on getting out of this circle of fire!” Seasick replied. She quickly turned back to Satine and Grey, and noticed that they had managed to reach out to their dragons as well.

“What’s our next move?” Seasick asked.

Satine Sadow: (lost response)

Part 3 Edit

Midgardsormr: A bond… a close bond… to break through and overcome all…

Midgardsormr clacked his teeth in approval.  He seemed amused and interested, at the least.

But how strong is this bond? 

He roared.

A blue spirit dragon, a barely corporeal form of Midgardsormr - smaller, but still massive - coiled into existence, landing at the edge of the table.  His eyes glinted as he gazed imperiously at those within the circle.

Show me.  Show me the strength of your bonds.

The spirit form of Midgardsormr roared and breathed.

Blue fire erupted forth, downwards, to land within and to engulf all within the circle.  All humans within would be incinerated by the god’s fire.

There would be no escape.

Grey Bergman: Shadow and Grey stared wide-eyed as the blue spirit dragon fired blue fire down toward them. Furious, Seasick, Satine, and Storm Chaser. They were going to die if they didn’t act soon.

“Come on, Shadow!” she said as she tried to hop onto her sister’s back. “We got to get out of here!”

However, before Grey could even get onto her back, Shadow quickly used her body to push her rider to the ground. Then before Grey could stand up and react, the Night Fury quickly jumped on top of her covering Grey with her whole body as they waited for the fire blast to go away.

Satine Sadow: Satine looks at the flames emotionlessly, unhooking her staff from Storm Chaser’s spines. She crouches on the ground, making a soft sound of urgency. Storm chaser immediately wraps his wings around the girl, hiding his head under them as well. He watches her intently as she shuts her eyes, one of her hands on his crest.

Seasick: Their happy reunion was cut short, as Midgardsormr began an attack on the 3 rebels and their dragons. As the flames came screaming towards them, Seasick’s first thought was to run, however there was nowhere to run to.

Without hesitating, Furious grabbed Seasick within his claws and shielded her from the flames. Terrified at their situation, Seasick prayed that Satine and Grey and their dragons were safe.

Midgardsormr: The blue fire came down, exploding upon the stone surface.  The three dragons protected their riders, with the fire hitting each dragon and rolling off of their fireproof hides.

Then the blue fire died away, leaving the ground scorched, the dragons mostly unharmed, and their riders untouched.

Good.  Good.

Then it begins.

The blue spirit dragon roared once more. 

The circle of fire vanished, but another one rose up along the perimeter of the entire table.  A magical barrier, shining a slight iridescent gold, surrounded the entire table like a dome.  Now all who had come to see Midgardsormr were trapped amidst the barrier and the fire… together with Midgardsormr’s spirit form.

The spirit dragon breathed out more fire, more flame, white hot sigils that carved themselves into the rock and left burning embers in their wake, fiery forms of dragon souls made from the bones of his slain lieutenants, rings of bright scarlet that formed and exploded outwards, one by one.  Blue fire would cover one entire section of the arena, then flip and combust on the other.

Your bonds are strong.  Now show me.  Show me what it is that your partnership enables.  Show me your strength together.  All of you.

This is your final test.

The Trial of Fire.

Begin.

And the spirit form of the dragon roared, charging forward with the fire-wrapped souls of his lieutenants, to make battle with those who had come to plead with him.

Nalaagura Ep'ha: The Warden immediately brandished her swords and started to flood the rebels’ minds one by one to lend them strength, first taking over Greg and boosting his already-existing fire magic. Fire with fire, little one! As she seeped into a few of the others, she charged forward at the point of the rebels and shoved with all her strength at one of the bigger charging undead souls out of the way with her blades, throwing him off-balance and to the side. The rebels would have to do the best they could with the less powerful souls; they were corporeal enough to fight.

Gods, everyone let me in; use your heads! Call your dragons to aid you! 

She had a bigger fish to fry. Her scarlet eyes settled on the god and she began to advance towards him as the fire raged around her. Her determined power shivered through as many rebels as she could reach. Nala only hoped that would be enough.

Greg Ericson: Greg grinned as he received a vision of the future for some inexplicable reason. There were no visuals, there was nothing but sound, and what a glorious sound it was. ‘A fitting tune for a battle.’ Greg thought, and so, using the illusion magic he had, he projected the sound of AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” throughout the arena. Greg just smirked as he yelled,“Charge!” as he charged the nearest dragon.

Grey Bergman: “Hey, that’s my line!” Grey shouted at Greg as he charged. She scoffed as she hopped onto Shadow’s back…where she belonged. “You ready, girl?”

Shadow crooned in response and growled on the fire dragons.

Grey unsheathed her sword. “This is it, guys!” she said. “CHARGE!” With that, Shadow ran toward the dragons with Grey on her back.

Satine Sadow: Satine hooked back onto Storm Chaser, hissing at the threat. The dragon responded in kind, spewing fire and sweeping his spiked tail. Satine kicked out with her free hand and her fists, occasionally sliding off the dragon’s wings to slice through the enemy, then darting back up.

The duo was practically dancing with each other as they fought together, with her cartwheeling over his tail when it came her way, and him moving his head when he saw her staff coming.

But Satine was not wearing anything outside of her prison clothes, and despite her best efforts, she was soon covered in a myriad of painful lacerations and second degree burns.

Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid let the Warden in the moment the demon’s influence reached her. She needed all the help she could get.

She had a new problem, though: There was simply too much magic in the area for her to concentrate. The barrier, the fire, the Warden, the dragon souls and the dragon god himself created a wild web of constantly shifting energy that Ingrid could barely see through. The sheer amount of power was overwhelming, all-encompassing.

Ingrid’s injuries accumulated, although she managed to avoid debilitating ones by putting all her strength into defence while she desperately tried to clear her vision.Too many colours… Too many forms… Must focus. Shut it out. But she couldn’t. It would work with normal magic, but with anything this powerful, she could sense and see it whether she wanted to or not.

Wait…

Struck by a sudden idea, Ingrid stopped trying to push the colours away and instead dove right into them, grasping at the threads of energy and trying to find as many details as possible.

That was when the world cleared.

She sensed everything at once. The colours took predominance in her vision, but they were now easier to understand and navigate through; their movements even seemed to have slowed down. And Ingrid noticed something she had never known before.

The magic was unevenly distributed throughout whatever bodies they occupied. A seemingly random part of the dragon souls would hold concentrated power while other places were dimmer than average. In theory, these would be the weak points.

Ingrid put her belief in that. She needed another advantage, and she didn’t want to keep wasting the Warden’s energy. It was time for her to attack.

Greg Ericson: As was common for Greg during battle he took on couple dragons at once. He was he slashed at many of them, landing a blow here and there with his sword bathed in - with Nala’s help - blue flame. Of course he was so focused on his opponents  that he didn’t even notice the dragon creeping up behind him.

Satine Sadow: Satine was less than twenty yards away from Greg, and she was losing the fight. She was in enough pain that she could barely grip her staff, but she continued to fight, even after her staff snapped in two.

Then she saw the dragon creeping up on the boy.

She could see it preparing a deadly fireball, and she knew he wouldn’t hear her. The Pillars of Hel may have been her targets, but at this moment, they were her allies–and Satine never killed allies. She dropped the halls of her staff and looked at Storm Chaser, gesturing to the creeping dragon.

Satine took off, running as fast as her bloodied feet would allow. The gas was pouring out of the dragon’s mouth silently, so the boy hadn’t turned around. Oh gods… With a final thrust forward, Satine pushed Greg out of the way as both Storm Chaser and the dragon fired.

She wasn’t fast enough.

That was all she could think as she felt the heat of the flame across her left side. An inhuman scream of pain escaped her lips as she and Greg fell to the ground. Not fast enough…. Not fast enough… The world went black slowly, her body still twitching in shock despite unconsciousness.

Storm Chaser’s blast was enough to distract the dragon, and draw it into battle. The scream sent a chill through his scales–it was the same scream he heard when he had thrown her off. His eyes narrowed, and he lunged at the dragon, sinking his teeth into its neck.

Hrinthe Fishgiver: Hrinthe had always been aware that she might be included in this trial.  Now she knew it for fact, as she flew back and forth, her wing still aching from where it had been marked, dodging flame and spikes and shots of lightning that ignited the ground where they struck.

She jumped forward to where Greg and Satine had fallen, dragging them both out of the immediate line of fire.  She screeched out, staring at the spirit form of the Father.  She had seen it many times.  This was the first time she had faced it in battle.

She saw Storm Chaser biting into the neck of one dragon soul, its body still a wraith of flame.  It roared and spat out rings of fire around it that burst upwards one by one.  Hrinthe had to use her own body to shield the more fragile humans from the flame.

The blue spirit dragon form of Midgardsormr continued its assault.  Blue flame that covered the entire field, forcing everyone to run, forcing dragons to shield the humans, and still, what was it that humans could do to impress upon the Father their strength of spirit, heart, and bond with the dragons…?

Greg Ericson: Greg rolled Satine off his back and onto her side.  He was starting to freak out as he examined the burns on her back. “Hunter get the Hel over here, NOW!” He yelled to the doctor. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you fixed up in no time, just don’t die on me.” Greg was unsure why he wanted Satine to live. Maybe it was just his nature again, maybe it was because she had just saved his life, or maybe it was a combination of the two, either way he didn’t want her to die.

Grey Bergman: In the midst of fighting, Grey and Shadow noticed that Greg was about to be attacked by a dragon and…was pushed down by the madwoman. The Lady gasped, and she and the Night Fury ran over to the scene ready to attack the woman in case she hurt Grey’s unofficial adoptive baby brother.

“GREG! Greg, are you okay?” she shouted as they ran over to the boy and the madwoman. 

Greg Ericson: “I’m fine,” Greg said as he blasted an approaching dragon, deterring it from moving any closer. “She however is not.” He said gesturing to Satine. “She needs medical attention. I need you to go get that damned doctor and get him over here now!” He said, frustrated that hunter hadn’t come yet. 

Grey Bergman: Grey nodded and searched among the chaos for any signs of the doctor. “Hunter!” she called out. 

“What is it, Grey?” the doctor said as he ran over to the Lady. 

“Take care of this woman,” she said glaring at Satine’s unconscious form. “She was injured saving Greg. She needs immediate medical attention.”

“Of course,” he said. He quickly picked up Satine and carried her away from the chaos at the edge of the battlefield.

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser tossed the dragon away, frantically searching for the girl.Not again… Not again…

There. She was being dragged away. He narrowed his eyes, covering the distance in a matter of seconds. As he landed, Hunter went flying.

No one is touching her… I have to keep her safe…

He made a tent with his wings, looking down at her. Satine’s left side was covered in third degree burns, ending just below the jawline. Her body was twitching as her nerve endings went into overload.

Nothing can happen to her… I won’t let it… I have to keep her safe.

He bared his fangs at Hunter, making it clear that the man was not to touch his partner. No, not his partner–his soul-mate. He failed her once already. That was enough.

Grey Bergman: “Hunter!” Grey said as she and Shadow ran over to him and the dragon. Grey knelt down next to the doctor helping him to sit up. “Are you okay?”

“Uhhh…y-yeah…yeah, I’m fine,” he said staring at the Storm Cutter in front of them. 

Thankfully, Shadow jumped in between them growling at Storm Chaser.

“Shadow, be careful, girl!” Grey said ready to rush in and help as her Night Fury and Satine’s Storm Cutter faced off. 

“Are you crazy?!”Shadow roared. “That human was trying to help your rider! You could’ve killed both of them!”

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser roared back furiously, causing the unconscious Satine to jerk.

“NO. NO MEN. THE LAST TIME MEN DRAGGED HER AWAY, I COULD HEAR HER SCREAMING FROM THE CLOUDS. NO MEN. SHE IS MINE. I COULDN’T PROTECT HER FROM THEM, BUT I CAN FROM HIM.”

He arched his back, letting a fire build in the back of his throat. The little Night Fury needed to back off.

Grey Bergman: Shadow still tried to keep her guard up but calmed down to reach the Storm Cutter. “I know you’re scared,” she crooned, “but trust me. This human, Hunter, helped my rider many times. He is trustworthy. I promise he will not hurt her. If he doesn’t help her, she could die. Do you want that?”

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser growls, swinging his tail back and forth. “He cannot hurt my Satine… I need her… she needs me… I can’t let him hurt her. It’s my fault she was hurt this time… I have to keep her safe. She’s… she’s the only one who rides the white-fire with me…”

He looks down at her again, his green eyes full of hurt. He coos at her softly, watching her twitch and whimper in pain. There was blood leaking from her eye now… and… he could see something white through the her burned skin. he reached over with the opposite wing, gently touching her face with one of the talons she had made him. 

“I… I need her…”

Grey Bergman: Shadow crooned sadly at the Storm Cutter as Grey and Hunter continued to watch.

“What are they doing?” Hunter asked.

“I think Shadow is trying to reason with the woman’s dragon,” she said. 

“He won’t,” she said. “I promise. I told you…he’s helped my sister, Grey many times. Hunter helps the humans. Grey told me herself that’s what humans do. They’re called doctors. It’s their job. Her mother even works like a doctor. I know how you feel about your Satine. It’s how I feel about my Grey. We promised each other ever since we were young that we would always be together, but…we dragons have to accept that sometimes…we can’t help our humans. There are times when only humans can. Please…let Hunter help your Satine, and then the two of you can soar into the white-fire again.”

Satine Sadow: Storm Chaser doesn’t answer right away, still staring at his partner. He pulls his talon away, not wanting to damage her further. He coos at her softly, trying to calm her down. “He fumbled, smiled, played… I knew there was but one way… His nose was as sharp as a blade… Babbling of green fields away…” To the humans listening, it was extremely similar to the song Satine had sung at the beginning of the trial.

But Satine’s body continued to spasm, and Storm Chaser finally relented, moving his wings away from her. “Help her… please…”

Grey Bergman: Shadow smiled at Storm Chaser and crooning happily. The Night Fury then turned to Hunter and Grey pointing her head to the dragon and Satine. Hunter and Grey looked at each other and then back at the dragons. Grey smiled at the doctor as she helped him to stand up.

“I think he’s letting you help her,” she said. 

Hunter nodded and slowly walked toward the dragon and Satine picking her up. He then continued to carry her with the Storm Cutter right behind her.

Grey quickly hugged Shadow and gave her a kiss. “Good girl,” she said. “Now, come on. We have a battle to finish.” Shadow then let Grey hop on her back and jumped back into the fight. 

Part 4 Edit

Hunter Lindholm: How are ya not shitting yourself right now, kid.

Hunter could feel the mocking grin, and he groaned, “Who says I’m not.” He glanced behind him, finally dropping the calm, easygoing act that he needed to keep up as a doctor and shook with nerves. The dragon was dangerously close. He had escaped unscathed thanks to Eir when he was thrown, and almost burned to a crisp, but gods it didn’t mean he was any less scared.

Dragons. He still can’t get used to them. He didn’t even know why he volunteered to go… but Akkey had one. She couldn’t get Maru back herself.

He had kept silent from the moment they arrived. He knew that if he spoke, he’d say the wrong thing and would ruin everything. Eir had kept on teasing him about it, but when the blue flames rose she immediately ceased. The Warden tried to extend her consciousness to him but Eir adamantly blocked her off, insisting that “she could take care of this stupid kid herself”, causing the demon to retreat, somewhat miffed. Well, at least she kept true to her word.

He grit his teeth and went to an isolated part of the area, setting the woman down carefully and working on her wounds at an excruciatatingly slow pace. He still had defensive barriers to keep up around the others. His attention was divided.

Why are ya even doing this, she almost killed your sister in law. Eir hardened the skin on his back as a few flames got through the stormcutter protecting them. She took care of all defenses as Hunter healed the burns.

He shrugged, “I’m a doctor. I help people. Same reason why I’m giving you a vessel to live in.”

She rolled her eyes mentally, remaining silent for the rest of the time. If there was one thing she learned about this kid, it was that he was stubborn. Anyway, he had his job, she had hers. Protect this human body. That’s all.That’s what she kept telling herself.

Fiendal Hrothgar Hookless: you cant just do that! He yelled, and looked at the god. *****! He then growled to himself and zipped down to where the dragon spirits were HEY! He yells at the dragonsFIGHT ME, NOT THEM! He yelled at the spirits and then pointed at midgardsormr You too *****! then silently said Goddess Hel, if you can hear me, will you lend me some power?

Satine Sadow: Satine began to stir on the ground, her whimpers of distress quickly evolving into screams. Her back was on fire. Her left arm and leg were–no, the entire left side of her body was on fire. Someone was stabbing her eye.

Satine continued to scream and struggle for air, her body shaking, trying to move the burned parts from anything touching them. Her right hand shook violently as she tried to grab her earring, desperate for the powder inside. It was useless against burns, but it would heal her eye.

Storm Chaser lay down next to the girl, his massive head mere inches from her face. He crooned at her softly, trying to calm her, to comfort her. He was beginning to regret letting the Night Fury talk him into this–it didn’t look like this “doctor” was doing anything. He let out a low growl of warning, glaring at the man for a second, before returning his partner.

Hrinthe Fishgiver: The spirit dragons continued to gallop and fly, spitting fire, ice, and lightning as they went.  The ground was slowly catching fire, bit by bit, covered in a swath of green flame.

Hrinthe looked up to the Father and screamed.

What is it that you want us to do?!

The physical head gazed down through the barrier.  The spirit form of Midgardsormr floated in the air, imperial, faint lines like a red ribbon stretching from it to the spirit dragons.

The dragons have shown their part.  Their part of the bond.  The humans.  It is their part.  It is mankind’s test, his voice boomed out, heard by all. Show me.  Show me its strength.  I give of my breath, my lifefire, to bring my faithful’s flame to this world.  Vishapa.  Chiranmu.  Slain by men the day of the attack.

These are the spirits here.  They are here with me today at my request.

The two spirit dragons roared in unison.  There was kinship.  Loyalty.  Reverence.  Honor.  They came for the sake of the trial.  They fought for the sake of the Father.

What can you do?  What can mankind do?  What can rebels of mankind do?

The entire floor of the stone altar turned a blazing blue.  Flickers of blue fire swirled, ready to explode upwards at any moment.

Nalaagura Ep'ha: The floor hissed and sparked but the demon pressed on, eyes narrowed, using avoidance and defense more than attack as she weaved her way through the dragon spirits. An enormous Gronckle charged her like a ram and she tossed herself forward on her knees, bowing her head and tucking her swords in as its bulky weight ran over her. The heated ground sizzled against her muscle tissues and she gasped in pain, stumbling upright and fixing her gaze on Midgardsormr again. He will burn.

Greg Ericson: Greg kept slashing at the dragon souls. But it all felt…Wrong. Evey cut, every bruise, every pain he caused, even if they were already dead, just felt wrong to him. So he lowered his sword. “This isn’t right.” He said to himself. He closed his eyes and called out to Nala in his mind. “Nala, release me please. I-I can’t do it anymore. I don’t even think we should be doing it anymore. I mean, we’re friends to the dragons, we shouldn’t be fighting like this.” At that moment he made his decision. He used his illusion magic to make all the rebels hear his voice. “Rebels, we should not be doing this. We should not be fighting the dragons. They are our friends, and we do not hurt our friends. I ask of you… No, I /beg/ of you, please lay down your weapons so that we may find another solution.”

Grey Bergman: Grey and Shadow stopped and stared at Greg and then at each other. Both the girl and the dragon quickly realized that he was right. They were here to prove to Middy that humans and dragons could be friends, and fighting these dragons wasn’t going to do anything except more damage. No, this was something to be dealt with peacefully.

“He’s right!” Grey shouted to the rest of the rebels. “Everyone stop fighting! We need to find another way to resolve this!”

Hunter Lindholm: She was giving him a hard time.

She struggled and screamed, and Hunter couldn’t hold her down completely without the dragon blowing hot air in his face and breaking his concentration. Beads of sweat rolled down the side of his face. His throat was dry. Ignore it. Just ignore the dragon.

Slowly the burns began to scar; that was his priority. They needed to close before it managed to infect, so he worked from the outer layer inwards. Eir had significantly boosted his healing abilities even further on top of what Hel had given him, but it would still be immensely painful underneath, “Hang in there, little lady,” he mumbled.

Hunter. Eir tugged at his mind while keeping his body well protected.

“What?” he muttered distractedly. He saw Satine grabbing for her earring for some reason. What does that do?

Listen.

“For what?”

Your Lady person. She said to stop fighting.

“What?” he looked up, horrified. He saw a few rebels dropping their weapons immediately, some staring at Grey confused, and others completely ignoring her. He stretched the barriers thin, and they strained under the weight of the dragons’ attacks, “If you stop fighting then all of you are going to get injured! I can’t hold these up too long for too many!” he shouted.

Satine Sadow: (lost response)

Part 5 Edit

Nalaagura Ep'ha: She looked around, drawn by the boy’s shout, but the grim anger creeping through her limbs didn’t allow her to turn around. Nalaagura stiffly turned around, clenching her swords tighter.

Keep everyone safe, she called back to the rebels. I will deal with him myself. I am the only one who can.

Grey Bergman: "Nala, let Shadow and me help you!” Grey said as she readied her sword again. “Between the three of us, we should be able to stand up to him!”

Greg Ericson: Greg saw that Nala was not going to back down so he called out to her. “Nalaagura don’t you dare do it.” He said as he approached her quickly. “This is not the way. We are here to make peace, and what we’ve is start violence. This isn’t right and you know it isn’t. There’s another solution here, we just need to find it. But not with further violence.”

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Stiffening at her full name, she looked over her shoulder, and back at the dragon.He’s going to hurt you,she said in a strangled voice.He’s…he’ll…

Her eyes shut tightly and her right foot seemed to slide backwards of its own will, as though Greg was an anchor her essence was tied to, his voice a magnet to which she was drawn. Her left followed, and then her shoulders turned, and she began to sprint towards them, sheathing her swords in her ribcage.We had better not die because of this; I hope you have a plan!

Grey Bergman: “We need to resolve this peacefully,” Grey said. “I think what Greg is trying to say is that in order to pass this test, we can’t fight the dragons when we just proved that we can be friends with them. We have to find another way.”

Hunter Lindholm: Still a small piece of his magic hooked onto Satine and healing her, he stood, absolutely confused, “Why are you all just standing there?!” He flinched when the fire grew hotter. The rebels had gathered and he thankfully shrunk the perimeter of their defenses, “We’re going to get cooked here if those dragons don’t stop. If you don’t fight… What, are we just gonna wait it out? I can’t keep the barrier up like this!”

Greg Ericson: Greg stood there trying to think of alternative,but all he was coming up with was a lot of hot air. “I-I don’t have a plan. We-we can’t fight them, it’s not right. But they aren’t going to negotiate.” He slumped down and pulled one knee to his chest. “I don’t know. I-I guess… This is it.” 

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Nala backed into the midst of the rebels, drawing as close as she could to each of their minds.There has to be some way…Her hands clinked nervously at her sides, flexing in and out, rubbing the porcelain tips together. Without her swords to hold, she felt defenseless. She was on the verge of melding with Greg’s mind again, just for comfort. As long as…we have each other…

Grey Bergman: Grey stared at the demon and her adoptive baby brother and then at the other rebels and Satine and the dragons. Greg was right that fighting these dragons wasn’t right, but…to give up…after she promised Haddock that they would be back. How could they just give up…after coming so far? No, there was a way. There had to be a way. She looked at Midgardsormr and then down at Shadow.

“Greg, Nala,” she said, “gather all the rebels and get into Hunter’s barrier. Shadow and I will take care of this.” 

Before they could even stop her, Shadow bounded past the dragon lieutenants and over to the spirit form of the God of the Dragons.

Warren: “Grey, no!” They were gone. Warren looked around helplessly, ears falling parallel to the ground as the Pookan searched for anything to spark a plan. “We can’t just leave them! I won’t let her face that thing alone!” She chewed her lip. “If we won’t fight we might as well throw down our weapons and surrender. Show them we refuse to fight our friends and they could stop the attack. I don’t know what else to do….” She looked to Nala beseechingly. Surely the demon would have something? Anything?

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Grey! NO!

Nala could only watch in horror as the small Night Fury went up against the swirling form of Midgardsormr. The heat rising from the ground was almost unbearable now; she held her arms out and backed up farther within the barrier as the dragons paced hungrily outside of their bubble, closer, closer. 

Grey, get back here! she cried.

Hrinthe Fishgiver: Hrinthe cried out as Grey and Shadow flew towards the Father.  Do you mean to attack him head on?  It is bold!  But it is reckless!  You cannot - 

She tried to rush out of the barrier after them, but went through the blue flame in the process.  She recoiled and cried out as it brushed passed her, and she vaulted backwards back into the barrier, screaming.

This wasn’t just blue fire.  It was blue soul fire.  It was dangerous to dragons… horrifyingly so, with the power to roast flesh off their bones and destroy them entirely.  Humans would still burn, of course, but to dragons…

Get back to the barrier!!  This fire will kill you!  BOTH OF YOU!!

The spirit form of Midgardsormr flapped his wings, and the blue fire became a rising torrential storm to signal the start.  The flame was nearly at its peak.  It would soon explode outwards and claim all above it.

Grey Bergman: “Dagger, don’t you see?” Grey asked as they flew closer to Midgardsormr. “This needs to be resolved peacefully. We need to just talk to him and change his–” Did Dagger just say…? “Wait what do you mean the fire will kill us? Shadow’s skin can protect us? Dragons are fireproof.”

Hrinthe Fishgiver: No!  This is blue soul fire!!  It is holy and of the Father!  It burns dragons!  It rends dragonflesh to ashes!  It turns dragon bones to dust!  It will kill you both!!  YOU MUST GET BACK TO THE BARRIER!!  BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!

Grey Bergman: Shadow looked at Dagger shocked and then up at Grey giving her an unsure look. Grey looked down on her sadly as she thought about what Dagger just said and looked up at Midgardsormr. She took a deep breath.

“We’ll deal with that when that part comes, girls,” she said. “This is something we need to do.” 

Shadow nodded and crooned in confidence. I’m with you, sis…till the very end.”

Hrinthe Fishgiver: Hrinthe was screaming something noncoherent at this point, roaring and shrieking in every draconic manner she knew.  They had to come back, they had to, because no dragon should ever be subject to this horror, and that the Father was using it against them…

Midgardsormr looked down upon the pair that had flown out of safety.  You come to speak or slay? he asked, his words biting.  The spirit dragon’s form was dripping with bursts of flame.  Fire was the trial.  Fire shall be your answer.  

Grey Bergman: Grey took a deep breath as she and Shadow stared up at Middy as she gripped harder onto Shadow’s saddle. The Night Fury gave Grey an encouraging croon before giving the Father a stern look warning him to listen to her sister. Grey gave Shadow a smile and looked back up at Midgardsormr.

“We’ve come to make peace,” Grey said. “The reason why we came here was to show you that humans and dragons can be friends. Fighting them and you is not going to solve that. This madness needs to end.”

Midgardsormr: Midgardsormr snorted.

Dragons… humans… you have shown me of dragonkind’s worth.  Dragons believe.  Dragons hold loyalty in high regard.  Dragons will go to great lengths for their loved ones.  

There is a bond between human and dragon.  But I do not see human equivalence.  A trial by fire.  By combat.  Through fighting.  Conflict.  This allows me to see.  To see true spirit.  To see true bonds.  This is not about the battle against us who test you.  This is about you.

You are not doing well.

The two spirit dragons reared up, spinning around each other, ready to attack.

Part 6 Edit

Greg Ericson: Suddenly Greg surged forward and up towards Grey and Middy, his body now engulfed in flame, only this time he was in control. He kicked one dragon into the other sending it off course. “Hey you big old basterd!” he yelled. “You want to talk about bonds? Alright let’s talk! Do you see her?” He asked pointing to Grey. “She is my sister! We aren’t related by blood or anything, but we’ve formed a bond akin to that of family! And her down there!” He pointed at Nala now. “The least likely person I would ever have become friends with, and she has formed the same bond! And Warren! We’re of two different species and I love her! Everyone of these people here are important to me, and I love every single one of them! So don’t you dare question our bond!” 

Nalaagura Ep'ha: The Warden’s eyes widened and she tried to tug him back with her mind, even though every fiber of her being agreed with what he was saying. The god had no right to judge how strong their bond was and put them through a pointless trial to try and kill them.Come back…he’ll kill you…let me fight him instead…

Grey Bergman: Grey and Shadow both looked up at the two spirit dragons circling around them…clearly ready to attack them. The Lady then looked at Midgardsormr with a shocked look…silently pleading that he would see that she wanted to make peace. Unfortunately, that wasn’t coming. Both the Lady and the Night Fury looked at each other and then back at the dragons. It was two spirit dragons…against one Night Fury and a mortal human… Plus…the fire down below them on the altar…Dagger said it could kill both of them… There was no chance…no chance at all…unless…

“Come on, Shadow! Quick!” Grey suddenly shouted. “We got to get back to the barrier! It’s the only way to survive!”

With that Shadow turned them around and flew back toward the barrier where the other rebels waited for them. Both girl and dragon could see that the barrier was opened for them, or…at least they thought it was. Grey quickly realized something. That hole…in the barrier…it wasn’t big enough…for both of them. There was only room for one. Even if Grey bent down low enough, it still wouldn’t work… Both she and Shadow would never get through, and there certainly wasn’t enough time for them to take turns. This was it…one of them wasn’t going to survive… Grey looked down at the Night Fury. She would never do that to Shadow when she loved her sister too much. How could she live the rest of her life without her beloved Night Fury…? No..it was clear to the Lady…that there was only one thing to do.

“At least we got to fly together…one last time,” she thought to herself.

Thankfully Shadow didn’t seem to notice as she kept flying still trying to make it to the barrier. Grey took a deep breath and looked behind her. The two dragons were still gaining on them. An idea came to her. She quickly took her feet out of the stir-ups hoping that Shadow didn’t notice. 

“SHADOW! FASTER, GIRL! FASTER!” Grey shouted. “WE’RE ALMOST THERE! JUST KEEP FLYING! WHATEVER YOU DO KEEP FLYING!”

Shadow crooned as she kept going. The barrier was just within reach. They were almost there.

“COME ON, SHADOW! FASTER!” Grey shouted again. “THEY’RE GAINING! WE’RE ALMOST THERE! YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP FLYING!” As she said that…Grey jumped off Shadow. 

By the time, Shadow noticed that Grey wasn’t on her back anymore it was too late. She flew into the barrier, and the hole closed behind her. Grey was a few feet away on the floor engulfed in blue flames.

Thankfully, the fall wasn’t too bad as Grey was able to get her bearings together. She looked up and saw the dragons coming for her. She gasped and stood up. She ran to the barrier. Maybe there was still a chance. Shadow was safe now…so…maybe there was a chance to save herself.

Hrinthe Fishgiver: The flames on the floor turned bright white.  

It is exploding!  Lady Grey no - 

The blue soul fire exploded.

The entire arena and everything above was engulfed in the flame, as everything in its reach was whirling torrents of burning rage.  Only those within the barrier were safe from its direct reach, but even from within it, they could feel the sheer heat of the blast.

Everything outside of it was swallowed by bright white fire.

Grey Bergman: Grey was a few feet away…just a few feet away from her friends…her comrades…her makeshift family…her dragon, Shadow. She could’ve sworn she heard Hrinthe screaming about something exploding, but…before she could interpret it…it was too late.

White flashed around her, and everything went black.

Greg Ericson: Greg saw Grey fall off Shadow and land in the fire. “Grey!” He yelled as he reached out his hand, as if that would somehow save her. But it was too late. Seconds later the fire exploded with a force too powerful for even him. He strained against it trying to stay conscious but all he managed to do was cry out in agony before the inky blackness enveloped him.

Midgardsormr: The fire took some time to die away.  The scorching heat and winds still swirled about the arena, ashes floating along the air.  But finally, the smoke and white flame cleared enough for the destruction to become visible.

The entire arena floor was scorched black.

The spirit forms of the dragons, both the lieutenants and Midgardsormr, sat upon the floor, watching, observing.  They did not attack, nor did they make any movements suggesting so.  Their gaze however was on two crumpled figures that rested on the scorched floor.

Two human figures.

Two human figures, roasted and burnt black, their features completely unrecognizable, flame and smoke still wafting off of their bodies as they lay in silence.

Seasick: Everyone within the barrier shielded their eyes from the blinded light. When it died down, the destruction was clearly visible.

Furious held onto Seasick, however she broke free once she saw the two scorched figures on the ground.

“GREY! GREG!” Seasick screamed out in horror.  

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Absolute, earth-shattering, mind-piercing agony.  

All sensation vanished for Nalaagura as her gaze fixed on the one thing she held most dear to her. A raging mental explosion shot outward from her mind, shards splitting through anyone who happened to be standing near her; the wave of power was so intense that everyone staggered backwards as she fell to her knees, then hunched over, pressing her fists to the ground, her forehead brushing the stone. Where red and violet had previously colored her essence, there was only black, darker and deeper than midnight itself. All the while, she screamed. She wailed. The sound pitched past ordinary hearing and merely became a ringing in the ears.

Nala shakily rose to her feet and sprinted towards their bodies, falling in between them and covering her lower face with her hands, gently touching Grey’s arm, and then turning and lifting Greg’s head into her lap, bowing over him. N-n-no, she choked, tears running over her mask, black hair swirling like a stormcloud as she pressed her mouthless face to his still-hot flesh, shoulders quivering. Come b-back…come back…

Shadow: Shadow did not dare to make a sound as she slowly followed the Warden out of the barrier. This…this couldn’t be real. Grey…her sister…she was okay. She’s not…no she’s going to be okay. She couldn’t be… Sadly, amongst the smell of burnt flesh, she picked up Grey’s scent. From where the Warden sat…she could see her sister…dead. Shadow sadly crooned as she lied down next to Grey. However…she suddenly perked when she heard a certain God of the Dragons approach them from above.

The Night Fury growled at Midgardsomr. “You…you..” she said. “You did this! You’re the reason my sister’s dead! We tried to make peace, and you didn’t listen!”

Hrinthe Fishgiver: Hrinthe nudged Greg’s burnt hand, a mourning wail escaping her.  They are gone… they are gone…

She looked up.  She could see the spirits, barely visible to her, newly pulled from their bodies.  They were there.  They were not yet aware, but they were there.

Father… why…

Midgardsormr’s spirit form vanished.  The overlying barrier that trapped everyone on the arena faded, and the flames that lined the edge died away.  The battle was over.

The two spirit dragons remained.  Their fiery forms burned green and orange, and both of them bowed to the two figures on the ground.

The rider of the Fury.  The boy of illusion and flame.  Both were strong of heart.  Both performed sacrifices.  Life for death.  A fair exchange.

The head of Midgardsormr, still watching from over the mountaintop, turned to them.

The boy was pushed aside.  He was to be saved.  A kind soul, a fiery one.  That, I witnessed.  Between humans, you are strong.

To save a dragon, the girl jumped off.  Sacrificed herself to the flame.  They are two.  Like a boy and a Fury so long ago.  

So it is done.  So it has been shown.  Strength of human hearts.  I will concede.

You have passed.

Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid was on her knees, face utterly blank. The afterimages of the two bursts of energy, white and red, continued flickering in her eyes. Senseless thoughts, thrown into disarray by scarlet shards that came from the Warden, whirled through her mind. White and red. White and red. Completely immersed in the intertwining hues, she took longer to recover than the others.

But everything slowly settled. Ingrid came to herself as Midgardsormr spoke; in a flash, she realised what had happened.

No.

Seasick: Much like the rest of the rebels and dragons, Seasick was in shock. It wasn’t long before Seasick began to cry over both Grey and Greg, two rebels that she had became friends with during their time in the rebellion. Slowly, Seasick began to formulate thoughts and managed to find words to speak.

“This… this did not need to happen. Why did you do this?” She asked aloud. “It was clear that they were trying to create peace, yet you let this happen? Why?!?”

Part 7 Edit

Midgardsormr: Words are empty.  Deeds give meaning.  Actions speak louder.  Thus was the Trial given.

Do you see it, Vrithlamnn?  Do you see it, my Soulspeaker?

Hrinthe looked up.  She saw again, the spirits of Grey and Greg, newly formed outside of their burnt, destroyed bodies…

… but there was a tether.

The same tether that tied the two spirit dragons to Midgardsormr.  The spirits of the two rebels were still bound to their bodies.

Which means…!!

Midgardsormr opened his mouth.

The Trial was fire.  By fire, it was given.  Through fire, sacrifice was seen.  Through fire, life burns anew.

White holy flame streamed downward, engulfing everyone.  But this flame was cool, refreshing, brushing past like gentle feathers that embraced everyone it touched.

It healed.  It healed burns, knitted flesh, bound bones, binding all together and releasing with new energy.  

Breathe of my lifefire, Rebels of Mankind.  You who passed the trial.  

The pact is remade.

Greg and Grey’s bodies were covered in a swath of white holy flame, entirely blocked from view.  For a moment, the flame was gentle, then it flashed as feathery tongues of fire fluttered back forth, healing, the life force of Midgardsormr himself restoring both.  Then with one final swirl, the flame vanished, leaving Grey and Greg’s bodies completely healed as though they had never stepped foot into the arena.

Then with a final breath, Midgardsormr’s power shoved the spirits along the tether line, and back into their bodies.

Grey and Greg’s bodies glowed for one brief moment.

And then both of them breathed.

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Nalaagura jumped backwards as the bodies began to heal and she watched, chest heaving, as both of their chests rose simultaneously, and they coughed and stirred, eyelids flickering. Back and forth, back and forth between the two who were dead. She couldn’t believe it.

…Greg? Grey?! 

She clasped his hand, and then hers, bringing them to sit upright, gazing at them with a new hope rekindled in her eyes. With a laugh of joy, she hugged them both close to her chest, touching their minds gently and then wrapping them fiercely in a mental hug, melding with them and meshing their identities so that for a second, the three felt like one. She turned to look over her shoulder at the other rebels, pulling them into the astral hug as well. They’re alive! They’re alive!

Grey Bergman: Lady Grey wasn’t sure what happened. All she could remember was that flash of white and then everything went black. Then she remembered feeling like she was being lifted up and thrown back down to the ground. Now here she was…waking up as if from a good night’s sleep and being hugged by Nala. She could feel all the rebels staring at her. All she could concentrate on Nala hugging them and claiming that they were alive. They? Wait, she remembered seeing Greg before the white. He was right next to her being hugged as well.

She pulled away slightly and looked up at Nala. “Nala, what’s wrong?” she asked. “What…what happened?”

Nalaagura Ep'ha: Nothing, nothing’s wrong, little night rider.She pressed her face to Grey’s as though to kiss her forehead. Everything is all right now.Nala touched Greg’s nose with hers and exhaled shakily, closing her eyes. I almost lost you.

We should…get back, before anything else happens.

Hunter Lindholm: Hunter dropped his hands to his side helplessly, ceasing all magic. Even Eir had gone silent in his head, only uttering a soft /Damn/ once.

His voice was raw and sore; he had been screaming endlessly at the rebels to fight, to defend themselves, to not /die/ because he couldn’t keep up defenses for any longer, then… /that/ happened. He stalked forward, towards where the three were huddled on the ground.

“You… idiots.” he breathed quietly. Eir flinched inside his head, /Hah. Whoops. They’re in trouble./

He repeated himself, “You big… selfish… /idiots/!” His voice rose, it scratched at his throat but he didn’t care. It was like Akkey all over again, except worse. He was there to witness it, “I said to stay in the gods damn barrier! To stay in the… ugh! Not run /towards/ the danger! What the actual–? I can’t comprehend why you rebels actively seek death like this! I can’t keep up! Stupid!”

He crouched down, his face dark with an odd mixture fury and relief, a complete turn from his normal, relaxed self. Hunter didn’t even care about the dragons at that point, he was just so /angry/. Magic surged from his fingertips as he inspected their bodies, to calm his own mind and assure that they were alright, “I’m no miracle worker.” he mumbled furiously to himself, “I can’t bring you back to life! The last time I tried I almost got screwed with a psychotic goddess! Honestly! I said stay in the barrier and what did you do, stepped /out/ of it like a couple of bumbleheads ignoring everyone else watching and feeling helpless as both of you fell and… saved us.” He trailed off, sitting back on his haunches, satisfied that they were fine. He stared at them, then back towards all the rebels.

“You’re all alive and safe. Thank gods…”

Seasick: Seasick leaned on Furious for support as she continued to cry over her fallen friends, however after another blinding light, something happened.

Both Grey and Greg sat up. They were alive.

All around, the rebels were in shock. They began to cheer as the Warden greeted the two, and it wasn’t long before others ran up to them and hugged them. 

When there was a moment, Seasick ran up to Grey and Greg and hugged both of them tightly. 

“I’m so glad you’re both safe. You had us all so worried! Don’t ever do that again, do you hear me!??!” Seasick managed to choke out.

Greg Ericson: “What?” Greg said as he cupped his ear. “What did you say?” He laughed and smiled. “I’m kidding, I promise I won’t do something like that again,right sister dear?” He asked Grey.

Grey Bergman: “Right,” she said hugging Seasick and Greg tightly. She wasn’t sure what to thnk or feel at the moment, but one thing was for sure she would always do whatever it took to keep her family and friends safe. Although, it was nice to be brought back from the dead. “I’m sorry, Seasick.” 

Her eyes shot open when she heard a certain Night Fury crooning next to her. She looked, and sure enough it was Shadow. The Lady smiled and held out her arm while refusing to let go of Seasick. “Shadow,” she said hugging the dragon’s head. “It’s okay, girl. It’s okay. Nala’s right. Everything’s okay now. I’m here. I’m here.”

Warren: It was… they were alright. They were fine, after watching the two people who mattered most to her burnt to death, here she was, seeing them smiling and talking andbreathing. She threw herself forward onto the one who was closest to her, which happened to be Grey, and wrapped her arms around her sister, heaving with relieved sobs. 

Midgardsormr: Midgardsormr’s head nodded once.  The two spirit dragons bowed, their forms flying up into the air and twirling around each other in a display of red and green flames.

So it is done.  So I see now.  A folly of mine, to which dragons and humans suffered.  It is Ragnarok.  It is war.  A pact was broken.  A trial was given.  A pact was remade.  So it was, so long ago.  So it is done again.

You have told me the god under whom the human army marched.  There will be words.  There will be fire.  

For you, rebels of mankind, you have triumphed.  Soulspeaker Vrithlamnn.

Hrinthe jolted and looked up.  Y-yes, Father?

You were marked.  It was as a punishment.  Let it be also as an honor.  It is unique.  You were the Soulspeaker that rebelled.  Rebels of mankind.  Rebel of dragons.  Rebels of a… Grounded Dungeon…?

Midgardsormr snorted, as though chuckling with amusement.

Let another Soulspeaker join you.  As an ambassador.  Soulspeaker Grrathiemn.  You will be ambasaddor between Rebels now.

A male timberjack, proud and majestic, flew from one of the nearby perches to land before the group.  He bowed to them all.

I am honored, he spoke to them.  I will join you.

Greg Ericson: After Middy had spoken Greg stood to speak to the God. “Firstly, I wish to apologize for speaking to you so callously, it was wrong and I’m sorry. Secondly I’d like to thank you, for giving me and my sister new life, as well as restoring the pact. But now I must ask. Now that we have proven ourselves. Will our dragons be released now?”

Grey Bergman: Grey smiled as she hugged Warren rocking back and forth reassuring her that she was okay and alive. When the Timberjack approached them, Grey smiled and gave her unofficial adoptive sister a kiss on the top of her head.

“Warren? Warren, look a Timberjack,” she said to the half-Pooka. 

Warren: Warren raised her head from Grey’s sister’s shoulder to give the elder a look of utmost incredulity. “What?” She just died and came back to life, now didn’t seem like the greatest time for dragonwatching. Still…. Possibly to humor her sister, she straightened up, still hugging Grey, and craned around to follow the other’s gaze. It was a timberjack, bowing to the rebels, warm brown wings folded regally at its sides. She inclined her head, returning the bow as much she could without detaching herself from Grey. “It’s beautiful.” 

Fiendal Hrothgar Hookless: Fiendal lets out a small laugh and a head shake. after all that. He thought to himself, and he started walking away, not expecting anyone to notice. I’ll see you all back at camp. He thought again. 

Part 8 Edit

Warren: With a small puff of smoke from his nostrils, Grrathiemn raised his head and regarded the rebels. He turned toward Grey. Fury’s rider? You have done well. You are always so reckless?

Warren looked up at the dragon, smiling a little. “Usually she is.”

Grey Bergman: “Hey, I’m not–” she stopped once she remembered what happened not too long ago, “Okay, I am. But it’s only because I care about my loved ones.” Shadow came up from behind and nuzzled her cheek. “Well,” she stood up and looked up at Middy, “as the Lady of the United Revolutionaries, I thank you, Midgardsormr, for saving Greg and me and for seeing that we truly care about the dragons. I can assure you that this pact will be cherished for generations to come.” She then turned to Nala, Greg, Warren, and the others. 

“I’m proud of all of you. You all have been very brave and dedicated these past two days,” she said as the leader. “I couldn’t thank you enough for that, but for now, I think it’s time to return to the Dungeon. We will do as Hel and Haddock said and remain there for the rest of Ragnorak.”

Warren: As they turned, Warren caught sight of- “Greg!” Without thinking, she was running to him, dodging people and dragons until she was close enough to tackle hug him, nearly sending him to the ground. Her arms went around the back of his neck and she buried her face in his shoulder. “You’re /okay/,” she said in complete awe.

Greg Ericson: Greg smiled and held Warren close. “Of course I’m okay.” He whispered. “You think a little fire’s gonna keep me from you psssh. It’d take more than that to kill me. You can’t get rid of me that easily.” He smirked, which then faded into a soft smile as he cupped her face, lifting it so he could look into her brilliant hazel green eyes. He leaned in and kissed her. “I love you.” He said as he pulled back.

Warren: Warren grinned. “Thank you.” She brushed his messy hair away from his forehead and then pulled him down by his collar into a kiss.

Midgardsormr: So it is done.  So you are free.  So my song will end.  The pact has been remade.  Dragonkind and mankind shall live in peace once more.

Midgardsormr’s gaze brushed over all of them one more time.  

It is Ragnarok.  I understand there is danger to mortals.  By my blessing, dragons will accompany you to your home.  You will reach safety.

  A rush of dragonwings echoed on the wind.  A resounding cry sang out as a draconian chorus repeated the god’s words.  

May you, Rebels of the Grounded Dungeon, always keep peace within you.  Let your lives be happy.  Let this world of Midgard provide you with love.  When comes the time for a world to end, smile and know you have lived.  Live well.  Live uncommon lives.  Live gloriously.

The two spirit dragons sang as they twirled in display above them.  Their fires exploded into glittering light as the tethers faded, the two dragon souls once again vanishing from the living world.

Midgardsormr bowed his head once more, watching over the top of the mountain.  He blew out one last stream of the pure holy fire, warm as life, a final blessing.

Then he vanished from the mountainside, the earth quaking in his departure.  The sky was clear once more.

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