Wounded is a season 4 thread written on February 24, 2015.
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The Warden: The trees were silent today; there was no wind hissing through the forest, stirring snow from the branches as there usually was. Occasionally a bird sang a few notes off in the distance, but other than that, the white-frosted trees remained absolutely still and silent.
The ice-packed ground was marred with a trail of blood splatters, dripping and smearing their way to a massive tree with a hollow indentation cracked into the side. Once upon a time it had been green and full of life, but it was now dead and hollow. It rather befitted her emotions, Nalaagura thought dryly. She was hunched within her hideaway, keeping a hand pressed to her wounds and tensing as pain flashed in waves through her muscle tissue. There was a concoction within demon bodies to keep the dead blood from coagulating, but unfortunately it also let wounds bleed dangerously long. She closed her eyes and, porcelain clicking, laid back against the wood, heart throbbing as much as her wounds for her mortal, the only mortal she’d bothered to grow fond of. Her dark-eyes.
I wasn’t around to protect him this time…
Hel: Within an instant and without forewarning, the Warden’s wounds closed up with a snap, a black mist swirled around her, and a young bluish colored woman appeared in front of her. She grinned, blinking her pitch black eyes. “Well hey generational offspring,” Hel said. “Don’t worry about that paper cut, I kissed it for you.”
The Warden: The Warden growled and shot to her feet, balling her fists. “You.” She stiffly stalked past the deity, feet crunching in the snow. “I do not wish to speak to you.”
Hel: “I’m sorry for blowing you up earlier!” Hel called to her as she walked. “I just just feeling a bit pissy. But could you come back please? I’d like to sort some stuff out with you…you know, since there is a high chance I’ll be killing members of our family in glorious combat and all.”
The Warden: Nalaagura stopped and tipped her head slightly to face back over her shoulder. “I’m really not interested,” she said haughtily.
Hel: “Really? I own your precious rebellion and your not interested? Oh, ha, that’s a laugh,” Hel scoffed. “FYI girl, I saved that skinny rebel ass you care about so much, now come on, lets have a nice heart to hear lady chat."
The Warden: Clenching her fists, the demon tilted her head up to the sky, working her jaw beneath her blank white mask of a face."What is there to talk about?” she said finally, in as cold of a voice as she could make it. “Obviously I can do nothing about my—the rebellion’s souls. I see no reason for us to have a ‘heart-to-heart.’ ”
Hel: “My goodness you are as closed minded as those mortals,” Hel crooned. “I’m almost tempted to defend honor, but what’s the fun in that? It’s actually kind of fun watching pissy humans and demons yell at him and curse me all while I am giving them exactly what they want and need.” she shrugged. “What can I say, it’s entertaining…although I am thinking some nice swift wrath will be fitting at some point in time…but not for a while. Now…grandchild…come here.”
The Warden: Nala whirled around and stood in front of Hel, glaring at her straight in the eye. “What?” she said irritably. Her hair swirled around her shoulders as her temper escalated. “What do you want? Why are you here?”
Hel: “I want you to help me,” Hel said. “You, and your whole family. You’re demons, you can make deals, send people to hel, all that jazz. People are going to die Nala child. Everybody those rebels ever loved are going to do die, and I need all hands on deck.” She held out a hand. “Tell me, if you could relive a day, and save somebody, would you take the opportunity to do it?”
The Warden: The Warden stared down at Hel’s proffered hand. “Of course,” she murmured, seeming to be entranced by the shape, “but it’s impossible…” She looked up slowly. “And I cannot speak for my family, I know my mother does not find favor with you.”
Hel: “I can chew yo momma up and spit her back out in the shape of a grasshopper…literally. I’ll talk with them, but for now, I’d prefer if I had you on my side. You know the rebels best,” Hel said.
The Warden: Her face remained expressionless but her eyes slitted in confusion. “Let’s pretend I decided to comply with you,” she said musingly after a pause. “What would you need me to do?”
Hel: “Help Akkey and her father,” Hel said. “They will, at best, get thousands of souls for me….But I want millions.” Hel, tapped her chin. “Let me show you something.”
Without warning the two of them sunk into the ground. The Warden felt herself get surrounded by water. Upon looking around, she was sinking into a dark abyss. Floating ahead of her, was the form of a massive underwater creature. She could not make out its details, but it was clear that a human was quite literally, only the size of an ant compared to it. The Warden could breath, it felt weird, but she could do it. “This is my home,” a voice said, circling around the entire area. “I stopped using that stupid river and shoreline a long time ago, pappy never had any sense of interior design…what do you think?"
The Warden: Warden gasped in surprise, craning her neck upwards to look at the huge figure. "It’s…impressive,” she managed to get out, eyes darting around the area. She’d never been underwater as anything other than a fish or a frog before. Then she looked around for Hel, frowning.
“What are…Akkey…and her father doing?”
Hel:“They are getting me souls. Sucking people into this place so that I own them,” Hel explained. The massive form began sinking lower, the suction taking Nala with it. “Odin sends a Judge, I send an Agent. We need to operate through people.”
They came to a stop, and all around them where floating bodies, vertical in the water, a single think chain securing their left ankle, keeping them suspended. There were millions of them…billions. Oddly enough, they didn’t look dead, they looked asleep. “This is my storage. All those damned to hel are brought here, placed in a status, and left. Most of them are cowards, others just people who got sick, or villagers who never saw the battlefield.” the massive head turned towards Nala. “It’s Valhalla that holds the bravest warriors…and the worlds most vile criminals. Those who live by the sword die by the sword granddaughter. Valhalla may be a great place where you live in a glorious, sunny field, and massive banquet table…but that’s the place that people like Orskaf go…do you understand?"
The Warden: "I believe I do, yes.” She glanced around at the many souls chained around her, thinking hard. Nala still wasn’t sure about romping through the mortal realm, acting as Hel’s right-hand demon. “And…how would one collect these souls? I only possess, I do not transport.”
Hel: “Oh it’s easy,” Hel said. “You possess the monarch or ruler. Convince him to align with me, and I can gulp them all up. Do it gently if you can though, try reason, then force.” the form in the distance turned away slightly. “Better that then getting slaughtered with no hope or protection. Now don’t worry Nala, you won’t have to work over time, I am having all my children and grandchildren do this, so just do what you can.” She thought for a minute. “And just so you know…these people, they are not in pain. They are just sleeping…they’ve always been.”
The Warden: The Warden ran a hand down her upper arm, looking at the ground and thinking hard. “I don’t know if I can do it again,” she said quietly. “What if I end up…developing feelings towards them again, what if…” She lapsed into silent thought.
Hel: “I understand…” Hel said. “Well then Nala…I leave how you choose to help the rebels up to you. Just do yourself a favor and don’t try to take on an entire army of Valhallan soldiers again.”
The Warden: Nala shuddered. “I won’t. I can promise you that much.” She paused again. "Two last things…how do I let you know of my decision? And…how is Stonegit? Is he all right? Do you know?”
Hel: “Let me know simply by saying so, or doing whatever you decide to do. I’m all ears…as for the dented guppy. He is…recovering, I believe he will be well. He is alive, and now uninjured. In fact, he is even doing a good bit better now getting along with his lordship.” Hel replied.
The Warden: “Good,” Nalaagura exhaled. “That is good.” She tilted her head up, eyes finally glowing with warmth rather than flame. “Thank you.” The straight answer seemed to shift something inside of her; something solidified in her gaze and she tucked her hands behind her, taking in a deep breath of black ocean water.
“Actually, I’m ready to make my decision now. I will…I will accept your offer.”
Hel: “Flipping fantastic,” Hel said. “Good luck…"
And with that, the giant beast in the distance shot up towards the surface, Nala getting pulled with her. When the Warden blinked her eyes open, she was back in the forest, soaking wet, alone, but no longer in pain.