Burn me.”

The cold was rough here, this far north. It was raining, the cold mixing to make the perfect slurry mess that made any inch of open skin sting. It wasn’t dense though. It was enough to soften their lines, but not enough to hide the view.
It was wet. It frosted both fur and armor, making it colder.

She wished she chose a better day to be foolish.

The guardian’s head perks up from being buried from her furs and looks toward the hired charr sitting with his skyscale that pawed roughly at the snow.  Reverus, his name was Reverus. She didn’t know much of him, but she was given a good word about him.

She gives another small tap to her side armor in a show of her presence as she dismounts Obon to meet up with him. She looked tired here, still so very tired. But she hid those stormy eyes well here, keeping distance to just appear normal.
It’s a low chuckle at first, followed by having to push down the things around the neck just to speak.

“What, not used to the cold?”

She can hear the charr’s chuff, his unsettled grumbling as he comes forward to join her on that ridge, scanning across land and Charrs below.
Barely dusk and the land was starting to get lively. More Dominion were starting their patrols and Svanir were coming into view. Creatures were coming from their dens to feast on the rabbits and birds scattered. The place was coming alive here, but in the distance the roar of fighting was growing and fading like the wind itself.

A crunch brings her back to the ridge and she turns in her saddle to watch as another skyscale settles down, bringing a new face to her. Soon she’s able to focus and simple grunts a response. Their third man, a necromancer. No, not one of their normal ones, which may have been a better idea, but one offered by Ambrosine and Tove. His name was Niklas, and he was Priory. All drenched in red, and alert as his creature.

There’s a huff. She was a magnet for Priory she figured.

“No,” Reverus lets a low growl out shortly after Nik’s arrival, soon bringing her back from the thought.
“I can handle that. It’s…rrrr,” he growls low as he finds the word, but soon is pointing out over the same land as Gal looked over, primarily pointing over the pulsing fluids that pushed from the earth and moved its way across the same broken land, towards the fortress and the massive piping that reached higher than some spires of ice.
“The auras….’r maybe I’m getting double vision.”

“No, no it’s- Just difficult to watch.”
Even Gal must rub her eyes and look down, soon hiding her face into the fur again for a moment.

The Ash was right, it was hard to watch. That pulsing glow, the hum it produced: Put that with what the Ley put out and made its way down but up…It was a strain to so many senses.

Not to mention the tug it made to her head. An internal tug, one that made her bury her face even deeper for that moment.

“Even I’m not trying to look.” Niklas was trying his best to stay with them, keep an eye over the wastes, but even he was struggling. Soon he’s rubbing his eyes and all three must turn away to just speak.

“Well, further we head in, the harsher it is. We must be careful.”

“Great. So, what do we got? I’m countin’ scattered abs,” Reverus speaks up again, having to shift in his own saddle but able to balance just enough to point out those still wandering and scouting. Their auras were growing brighter, harsher. Even with human eyes they were bright on the snow.
The guardian only huffs and tries to bury her face again, with hand on the side and squeezing against the armor to put pressure on her side, on the wounds. The eyes flutter close for a breathe, letting Reverus explain what he saw, talk more. All the while she drifts for a moment.

Between this pain and her head, she was distant. Agitated. No, yes, but more than that..

Why was she doing this again, testing limits. Testing her strength.
Yes, she was a fighter. Yes, this was what she joined for. But to be here, pushing her body again, hiding away in snow and ice but barely there…Why.
Why was she running again. Why was she this stupid again. Why_

“Ley doesn’t seem to bother them.”

A pause settles, but Gal finally exhales and tries to focus on their work.
“Well, blame the magic of this dragon. So much Ley and then…that magic. Get that infused in some way, you meld with it. It becomes you, and you become it….But I am no expert, so I am mainly talking out of my ass.”

“Interesting,” Niklas mutters as he comes closer to see what they were discussing. The daggers sing softly as he adjusts enough to pull out an old journal, soon flipping to bare pages and filling them with drawings and notes, ones that could be crucial down the line.

“Yeah, well. It’s been rough, and sadly I’m not exact on why this stuff is so crucial…To be fair, our information is still spotty, even with Kessler and all out in the fields. Dominion is not letting up on their secrets just yet.”
She lets go of her side, keeping that hidden from her new allies, and rubs her face to clear that lingering ice. As Reverus lets out a low noise that sounded like a frustrated cat, Gal continues with a softer tone, a forced tone.

“But, maybe we can find something here. I don’t know. I wanted to get out, try to help. Seeing as I’ve been so…Worthless. It’s time to try and bring something back to the table. Course, it requires help.”

Finally, she gives a motion to them. Here laid a tiny group, a trio who were to help with getting something back to the guild, whether be those sketches or the layout of the land, or maybe…Just maybe….They could find the Obsidian Star. Maybe find other survivors. The week had barely turned up much, but they were still searching. Not just for them, but for those in the guild. For the need of closure.

It’s a fair feeling. 


“We can find something, I’m sure.” Niklas brings his head up again and flashes a smile as if to give some comfort here. His hands are still going though, still writing.

“Hard to tell how built-in this place is,” Reverus takes over. His head pivots and he stares to the sky, over the ice and glacial walls. “ Ice makes good camo when it’s all lump’d up….Ideas on approach for intel to take back?”

“No…But that’s what we need to check. About all we have is that front door. The ice is like spires, too high to go over or fly down into. Then we have our issue of the ground…”

Niklas is up again, this time kicking his skyscale up to the others and tucking his journal away to keep it safe. “Well, I could send my minions up. Though, they are not my specialty_”

Reverus instantly holds up a large paw to silence Nik, then soon points to Gal directly. His ears are twitching in various directions, but soon they settle in her direction. His eyes focus, and soon her eyes are locked with his.
“Can ya bring your voice down, register wise. You said something about a door.”

Gal was even stopped in her tracks, her mouth open and a hand up as if to respond to Niklas, but obviously Reverus was now the main track of thought. She has to shake her hand and say, “keep your minions away for now. But yes, front door.”


“It’s an ice door. Heavy, thick. We may not make it to it just yet, but its out way.”

Reverus chuckles and leans back to put his chin up in confidence. He may be Ash, but he was not shy in a skill, and one that rest on his back with fire burning around that metal that was twisted into such a weapon.
“They call me Hammer for a reason. It’ll take a few whacks, but-”

“I told you, may not make it. With the amount of Svanir here too and their weapons, it may just kill us right away. If we could get something, it would be fantastic. Anything. But at this point, if I can do anything for the rest.”

“You know, in Ash we tend to go the more unexpected route. Maybe a vent is near, something.”

Gal huffs, the eyebrows furrowing. “ Maybe. We can check on the other side. Can’t deny that you Ash are some of the craftiest ones around…Nik.”
Niklas was in mid adjustment again when she speaks, but he pauses as if ready for the next order. Gal simply eyes him over in that quick pause and nods back to Reverus. “What do you think about this. Want to go front door or try to find a way.”

His brow furrows slightly in thought only to bring a faint smile come across his face again. “I think I’m too new to this field work to have very many opinions, if any.”


Gal does scowl in the Charr’s direction but soon leans back into her saddle and rubs at the skin still visible. “Course. Remind me to scold Ambrosine if I see her. Putting you in danger when I asked for help. You haven’t even been this far North.”

“I wish you luck with that,” Niklas chuckles, falling back again and letting those soft eyes scan across the horizon, taking in the view of faint fires and pillars of smoke that stretch high now. “I’ve never had luck with it, nor has anyone else, that I know of.”

Her eyes roll, but before another word is spilled, Reverus interrupts.
“I’m not crafty, and sure not part of that part of Ash. So it’s up to you mic–fine people.”

As Nik lets a small chuckle escape, Gal smirks then turns back out to their area. The wind was still high, the ice and rain stinging more of her skin. Light was fading more, and by now those last beams of light were hitting the walls of the other side of the valley. Soon, it became obvious why she hung so close to the west wall, hiding under the edges and cliffs.

Dark. Not pitch, but dark enough that they could move without issue.
It was enough.

She still sighs. “We need to head out. The more we wait, the later it gets and the colder it will become. We need this…Let’s find it.”

“Gathering information, huh. That, I can do,” Niklas replies with some enthusiasm and pulls his collar up higher before he pushes off the edge and starts to fly out. Reverus watches and lets out a low growled hum before he gives a nod for Gal and follows the necromancer.

Obon chirps hesitantly beneath her for a moment as she watches the skyscales get their footing in the air as she mounts up. Gal moves slowly in pulling up her hood now, rubbing at her griffon’s neck to sooth the unsettled thing.
He could sense her nerves too, she knew that. He was attached to her in that sense.

The snow crunched as he leaped, and soon he’s gliding out with his rider clinging to him, soon followed by the others. 

Maybe that’s where it all went wrong. Confidence.




Author MaddAce
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