Red Sword, White Magic, Dark Wolf

Summary:
August 14, 2014: For his 21st Birthday, Alexander needs to make a special trip to get his birthday present.

Mount Olympus, Greece

<Location Description>


Characters

NPCs

  • Sulla
  • Spartoi

Mood Music:


It was amongst the debris of a building, the burning embers of arcane flame, and acidic blood of fallen demons that Alexander came to a decision. It was a decision that he was loathe to reach, but ultimately something had to be done. The demons were coming at longer and longer intervals, but the longer their delay the more powerful was their attack. The next one would be several months down the line but what sort of an attack it would be could be anyone's guess.
So it was then and there that he pulled out his cellphone and keyed in the number of Illyana that she gave him. It was just a text message and all it said, 'I need a sit down. Soon if possible.' and then it left the time and place up to her. A similar message was sent to Fenris once he gained a time and place from Illyana, to coordinate where they could all three of them meet.
So it was at the duly designated day that Alexander waited. Near to where they were to meet, backpack slung over his shoulder and his hands in his pockets as he slouches not too terribly far off.
~
The where would be a little deli in Greenwich that Illyana's spent a fair amount of time at while she was going to NYU. It still being summer, the place isn't so crowded and being a bit later in the evening it's past the dinner rush. Illyana appears in an alley not too far away where she's not likely to get attention teleporting in and heads inside without looking for Alexander outside. She told him she'd meet him inside. That's where the yummy tea is.

Illyana's dressed exceptionally casually today, sneakers and loose, worn jeans. Her NYU T-shirt has a Xavier's hoodie on over it. No jewelry to speak of. She orders tea and some soup and then finds a nice quiet table towards the back.
~
Fenris is subtle enough to teleport in to the meeting out of sight. Not that it helps. His predatory aura, always at least a little present, announces him long before anyone can see him. He's, as usual, rather nicely dressed in button up shirt with the cuffs rolled back and a sports coat over his shoulder. The rod at his side looks out of place and the necklace is… a bit odd. But he's never without them.

He enters the cafe, scans the room and locates Illyana, then strides on over toward her. "Ah, greetings Illyana Rasputina. Has our mutual friend showed yet?"
~
The arrival of Illyana and Fenris is enough to spur Alexander into motion. He tosses aside the small bottle of water he had been husbanding and then walks across the steet to that deli, pulling open the door and announcing his arrival with the faint jangle of the bell. It doesn't take too long for each party to spot the other and with a nod given to them, Alex makes his way towards them.
"Thanks for coming," He says to each of them, gesturing with one hand for Fenris and Illyana to take a seat before him if he likes, then Alexander helps himself to a chair at the nearby table.
He waits for each of them to get situated if they so choose, with drinks near at hand and him seated comfortably. He looks across the way, "I require assistance." He says this levelly, perhaps the admitting of such is enough of a burden to him that he throws it out there first and foremost to weather the impact of it before pressing on.
~
Illyana gives Fenris a shake of her head, adding some milk and sugar to her black tea. "Maybe he wants to make sure I didn't send him into a mob of excited fans." She notes dryly. He has had some fame recently.

Soon enough the God of Fear joins them and Illyana's cool blue eyes slide his way and she nods. Once they're all seated, not so much with the hellos in this group, she sips as she listens those likely begrudgingly given words. She looks over to Fenris. "He probably should have phrased it 'I would like your assistance'. Something that doesn't put him in the needful role, hmm?" Interestingly, she's not mocking him. Not in her usual manner. Phobos is a god now and much like demons… there's usually a certain way one is supposed to go about that.
~
"Perhaps," Fenris notes in his rather rumbling voice. "But he's young and, if I do not mistake the story, relatively new to this. Give him a century or two."

The god-wolf eyes the God of Fear. "Your request sounded at least mildly urgent. May I ask what in particular this is about?" He's aware of the demon situation and been letting the godling handle it. Primarily because he's been busy handling a lot of other, unconnected demon situations. Really, this is starting to get out of hand, so anything that can be done to reduce those is welcome.
~
The young blonde man opens his hand to the side, as if indicating them both but more perhaps indicating the general situation of the world. He lifts his voice, "When I was younger I had a blade that allowed me to face creatures of nefarious origin and defeat them. It would be useful to aid in this current situation. However, I cannot reacquire it alone. It's been secured in an area where several obstacles will have to be overcome."
He pauses to look between them, the rhythm of his language and the precision of its word choice seems almost like a military briefing. "Ms. Rasputin could aid in our reaching the location, as well as assist in dealing with some of the magical issues that are sure to arise." His eyes shift over to Fenris, "Mr. Wolfson will be able to face the guardians that I cannot address when conflict ensues. The final steps only I can accomplish, and once done there will be no reward for you. I will not be able to give you even kind words of thanks. I can only tell you that it will aid in the removal of this threat, and perhaps others in the future."
~
Illyana's brows go up at that bit of news. "No thanks?" A bit of a smirk plays around her lips. "Well then I'm out." But her tone is sarcastic. "Not even pizza? C'mon… pizza." She seems terribly flippant about it all, but her blue eyes are steady. She gives the young god a short nod. "You want my help, it's yours. " For one, because he helped her against the Nightcrawler that showed up. But more, because he called back his words without her having to make a case over it.
~
Fenris folds his arms and leans back at the table. "Greeks." He snorts, as if that says all there is to say about the matter. Silly Olympians and their complicated codes of… everything. It's the one thing he liked about Asguard. The people there were uncomplicated. They were jackasses, but they were uncomplicated.

"So, is this the part where I say, you have my sword?" Apparently the god-wolf has a sense of humor. "Yes, I'll help. It will be nice to not have to worry about some would be hell lord using you as a mobile summoning point."
~
Gaining his feet, Alexander nods to each of them both, careful in some ways that it is a nod of acknowledgement alone. His jaw tenses for a moment, but he then says simply. "Very well, Ms. Rasputin. You have been to Mount Olympus? We need to go to the base of the mountain, the Northern slope. Facing Katerini." As he says this perhaps for a moment she might have thought he meant the actual Mount Olympus that was the home of the Gods. But he means the one in Greece, that tourists at times wander up and down hiking as they please.
~
"Well. I haven't." Illyana admits. She hasn't had need to! "But, I've been to Greece, and from there I can pick it up pretty quick. As Alexander rises she smirks at him. "Oh. You mean now." That seems to tickle her a bit. She rises as well and looks over at Fenris and affects an accent. "And my axe?" She actually does have an axe. She doesn't always use it. "But we should go outside. I like it here. I don't want to freak out the staff."
~
Fenris rises and makes an 'after you' motion. His sword is… present. Ish. It's a necklace, but hey, it counts. He can't teleport at distance with anywhere near Illyana's precision. And he really doesn't mind. It's not like the demons there are going to hassle him. Not the smart ones, anyway. So, shortcut through Limbo it is.

"My schedule is clear. And if by my life or someone elses death I can help you. I will." More LOTR quotes. Fenris liked that story. Except the wolves are bad guys. So sad.
~
A few bills are left on the table as if they had eaten there, Alexander paying the appreciation needed to be given to a wayhouse at a crossroads, or at least what passes for one in this day and age. He steps back and then towards the door, shouldering it open and holding it for them once they emerge outside.
A glance is taken up one way then the other. The less populated path is chosen and he starts to move down the way towards the parking lot for the local shops nearby. It's not necessarily out of entire view, someone driving by will probably see, but it's not something casual walkers will notice and if they do hopefully it'll be fast enough that it won't register as more than it is.
Once he's there, Alexander turns to them both and gives another nod. "Once we reach the north face, we will have to travel. The distance varies, and depends in part on how focused we are on the task. We are to seek the Areopagus. It is not there. Yet we will seek it. Do you understand?"
~
Illyana lets Alexander lead the way until they get to that quieter locale. She's not a fanatic about going unseen, but she does try for a low profile. Her hands raise and a disk of light opens beneath their feet and in a moment they're elsewhere.

Illyana's citadel is one of those holdovers from Belasco's time, with thin towers that claw at the sky and made of dark, soot-stained rock. She takes them to the room with her scrying crystal, a large, mostly empty room, circular with walls that are almost entirely windows. Except there's no glass. Far, far below lies the shifting landscape of Limbo. Verdant green near the citadel, but twisted wasteland beyond.

In the center of the room is something out of Dark Crystal, the red crystal slowly spinning. Stepping up to it, Illyana waves a hand, and the facets begin to fill with images. Greece she knows, so she starts there and then starts to move her field of vision faster than the eagle flies. The landscape rolls by, her gaze flicking back and forth.

In the other facets are different views. Mostly of people she knows. Those she likes to keep track of. Some view the present. Others, the past.

"We seek the thing that is not there?" She says, sparing a glance with arched brow at the godling.
~
The Old Wolf is familiar with the compulsion of magical things to break rules. It's like an addiction for them, he swears. "We seek a thing that is not there, or a place that does not exist, or a person whom cannot be found. It's often so with magic. Though I imagine you know."

Fenris honestly thinks so. He's had a couple millennia to study magic on Midgard, but surely a Queen of Limbo has access to a lot of knowledge.

"As with much magic, it is intent that counts. Because we seek to find it, we will." He pauses. "Eventually."
~
In the eerie surroundings of Limbo, Alexander takes no time to consider the shift in reality, nor the fantastic surroundings. He must maintain his focus, and so he shall. He moves to stand beside Illyana as she begins to manipulate the image in that red crystal, swirling those images around and shifting the landscape. His brow furrows as he focuses and then when the image slides over a solemn copse of trees at the base of the mountain, he tells her, "There. Stop there. I believe that will work."
It may take a moment or two to focus fully in on the location and when it comes into view it's a handful of trees on a forlorn rise that seems like a place that is almost a duplication of Mount Olympus only in smaller scale. His brow furrows and then before they make the teleport he tells them, "As we grow closer there will be a palpable agitation, a desire for conflict, anger. Keep it aimed forward, placed upon our objective. Always upon that which is before us. It will grow as we advance. We cannot let it hinder us."
~
Illyana reaches a hand downwards, fingers curling inwards and then pulls up at seemingly nothing at all. But in a ripple, her clothing shifts and white spills out as she robes herself in the tunic and hooded cloak with bright red brooch that serves as her costume when she needs one. It even has a mask. She glances at the other two with a smirk. "Anyone else need a change of clothes before we go?"

The news of that conflict thins that smirk out, but she nods. Keeping her temper happens to be one of the more difficult things in her life. Another twist of her wrist and another disk opens, setting them back down on Earth. Thousands of miles away from where they were.
~
"Something warm would not go amiss. I had not planned to go hiking today and I don't normally break out my fur coat unless there's trouble."

Fenris too has a temper issue, although not on the scale of Illyana's. At least… not until he actually gets mad. Then there are problems. Big ones.

"So you're saying if I feel the urge to take a swing at you, it might not be me feeling it. That's a very handy line, I shall remember that." His eyes dance. Difficult as this may be, and it will be, it's nice to have an issue that doesn't involve swinging at demons until even his arms tire.
~
For the first time, Alexander betrays some hint of emotion, some touch of investment as his eyes shift to Fenris and he gives a small lift of one cheek muscle and inclination of an eyebrow, it's not a smile. It's more of a thing that is seen when one tries to commiserate with another.
Then suddenly they are there at the base of Olympus and for being the supposed Home of the Gods… it is beautiful, but it is not so high as one may have expected. Yet perhaps it is the symbolism of what it stands for, the fact that it has been worshiped in the past and held such investment in the energies of men and women of ages past.
Whatever the case may be, it looms before them as they now stand amongst those few forlorn trees. Alexander turns and shakes his head towards Illyana, "I'll make do." Yet as he says this he undoes the zip of his backpack, withdrawing a fairly utilitarian double-edged knife in its sheath and placing it upon his belt. He reslings that backpack once it is closed and secured…
And already there is that faint irritation at the corner of one's thoughts. That slight feeling one might get when one stands in line at the DMV, just vague irritation.
Yet Alexander's voice cuts through it as he murmurs quietly, "There, towards that ridgeline." He gestures with a nod and starts forward. Not heading up the mountain… but somewhat downards and towards a ravine. "There is no need to rush at this point. Our path should reveal itself."
~
With a coat conjured for Fenris, heavy, shaggy fur that would look right at home on a Viking, they set out. Apparently Illyana feels that her cloak will be enough.

when Alex starts to walk, Illyana's left frowning as she looks up… and then down the slope… and then back up. Lips part, to snipe why are they going down when she catches herself. Lips purse together and she tromps after Alexander with stomps of her boots. "I've always hated that part." She grumbles. That part of magic that sort of requires you to just jump and trust in something to catch you. Because too often for her, it didn't.
~
"It's is rather tiresome." Fenris could just site to site teleport, but since the place he's going hasn't been created yet, it wouldn't do anything. This kind of magic is about the journey and the hardship and the effort made to recover the item. It's as if the item is alive and only recognies bearers as worthy who have put in the time.

It's also very Greek. Ay. Greeks.

He can already feel the anger. And he recognizes it, he thinks. "Your Father's work?"
~
As he walks downwards into the beginnings of the ravine, Alexander speaks over his shoulder while he follows the small foot trail before them. It's a tiny thing, barely six inches across, a miniature ditch amongst the greenery, perhaps where a rivulet would during the first few weeks of the thaw. On either side of them small trees grow larger while they walk, mostly pines of a sort standing tall.
"Yes," Alexander answers Fenris easily enough, "Where we go is known as the Areopagus. Ares' rock." A faintly sour look touches his features for a moment. "It was where criminals were cast from once judged guilty and broken upon the stones far below." Of course he doesn't mention that the physical Areopagus is hundreds of miles from here near Athens.
Looking to Illyana he tells her quietly, "If you can be of any aid in dealing with the enchantments placed upon us as we go, that would be helpful. I only know of the first one. There may be more."
For a time they continue to walk, the ridgelines on either side of them growing father and father apart as they walk downwards. High above Olympus seems to be growing taller, more distant as they walk along this low road. To Fenris, "There will be guardians in our path that I cannot strike. If they offer challenge then their defeat will be in your hands."
~
Illyana picks her way after Alexander, letting Fenris bring up the rear. Gotta protect the mage, y'know. "Is it an actual Enchantment? I figured it was an aura on the area. Not something so easily broken. It depends on how they do it really. I can break most Enchantments, but if we're essentially soaking in it? I'd need to find the source of the spell." Her arms rise on either side to help her keep her balance as she makes her way down the narrow track. It looks like she's doing it as much for the lulz as any actual balance-enhancement. The little bit of silly helps to take the edge off of the grr. "Couldn't just kill them nice and quick, huh? Had to terrify them those last few moments."
~
"Very well. For ease of communication, simply let me know if we encounter someone I should not strike down." The hair on the back of Fenris' neck is standing up. "Oh, and on the off chance that I lose control, turn into a giant wolf and the world goes dark… whichever one of you still has their wits about them should run. Preferably to another plane of existence." Fenris is unlikely to destroy the world. He'd yank himself out of the crazed mindset eventually. Local catastrophe still totally a possibility though.

Any enchantments will indeed, probably be on Illyana. She has confided in him in the past though, that her power is limited…

The Old Wolf takes his rod and holds it for a few moments. Those with arcane senses can feel him pouring power into it. His power is rather middling for a detiy. But there's still quite a fair bit of it and he doesn't exhaust easily.

"Here." The god-wolf offers the rod turned arcane capacitor to the woman in front of him.
~
Speaking more perhaps to keep himself focused and on task, Alexander tells Illyana, "It is said that when the Romans came to Greece they saw the terror it instilled in the prisoners to know their bones would fall and collect amongst the bodies of the other criminals at the base of the rock and that their spirits would walk the earth without rest, that they were so impressed with it as a punishment and a way to maintain civil order… that when they returned to Rome they chose to do something similar with the Tarpeian Rock."
But then a distant caw of an eagle is heard, almost as if on cue at the mention of the Romans. His gait suffers a hitch as he looks to the side, but then affixes his gaze once more ahead of them. Then as if remembering what Illyana and Fenris had said he replies, "It is a time like this that I wish I had studied magic to some degree. My father did not care to indulge me in such a wish."
That having been said the trail begins to wend its way around groups of trees. No longer the casual and long curve, but a wandering one as those ridelines on either side of them rise high enough that they can no longer see the distant countryside. The only thing visible is the sun above and the lonely mountain of Olympus.
One more winding curve… two more…
And then before them is a large one hundred foot high mass of bleached white rock that seems as if it was torn from the depths of a mountain and placed square in their path. It looks old, older than the hillock it rests upon and the path leads along the way around its side into the shadowed path hidden from the height of the sun.
~
"Mmm. Sometimes I forget about man's obsession with the afterlife." Illyana muses. As a child in Sibera, her parents were aethists. Growing up in Limbo with immortal demons… well, yeah. She's sure of death, but after that? Her money is on oblivion if she makes it there normally.

The white-glad mutant sorceress gives a little hop, keeping her attention on the path. She does still briefly at the sound of that cry, but then keeps on, keeping the rock in her mind by mulling over the story. Imagining the wide spread of bones that would accumulate….

As they reach that white, white rock she pauses so she can look up. And up. "It's a big rock. I can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big." Yeah, it's unlikely that anyone else will get it, but it's like a terminal illness with her.
~
"Easy there Buffy." Fenris does try to keep up with the times. Joss Whedon, though… oh dear. Yes. The man is a muse. And a demon. Both.

"So is this a guardian? I can get rid of this, but when you said 'guardians you could not strike' I pictured something a little more Gilgamesh and a little less… Morgan Freeman Documentary."

He plucks the necklace off his neck and pours his will into it. Abruptly, he is rather ostentatiously armed with a glittering Moonsilver sword. "Shall I remove this, then?"
~
A shake of his head is given as Alexander looks at Fenris, perhaps amused for a moment that the man was willing to smash the huge mass of rock into rubble if possible. But then Alex shakes his head and says quietly, "We must go down into it, the doorway should be…"
He starts to step further along the path, frowning to himself as he moves… And really, who does that little bastard think he is? Ordering people around when he hasn't done anything of remark with his life. So he had a god for a father. Big deal. Just another hopped up little pseudo noble lording it over everyone. And did you hear how he talks? He doesn't respect anyone, unless they have starshine and moonbeams shoved up their ass and call themselves divine.
"Here," He says finally as they follow the path around the side, into the shadows away from the sunlight… and amongst the many… many many skeletons that lie shattered here upon the rocks, the stones, the dead trees. As quickly as that they are no longer in the summertime in Greece. The area is still dark, though the sky is no longer a gentle blue, and the many skeletons all lie shattered and crushed about them with almost audible sounds of scream that would seem to come from the split jaws of those skulls.
There, amongst the skeletons and in the base of the rock is a set of pillars and a stone archway that leads into the rock itself, to a spiral staircase that leads downwards.
~
Illyana glances over her shoulder at Fenris, smirk curving her lips. "Ah, a worthy opponent for the mighty Fenris! A rock." She nods seriously, having turned her attention back forward. "Sounds about your speed." Dumb as. Illyana idly twirls the rod that Fenris had given her. She can feel the pulse of magic in it. Of Fenris in it. Which is new for her. She's not used to having someone give her power.

That shortening of tempers keeps pricking at them. Clothes feel like they're ill-fitting, seeming to be too hot one moment and letting in the fingers of cold the next. Roots jut up from the earth and seem to grab feet to make people stumble. Illyana pushes her cloak back and the wind catches it, flapping it up and back and smacking Fenris in the face. And now they've started to walk amidst the bones.

It starts with a rattle. And then a scrape. And then a skeleton starts to push itself up to its feet as they approach that opening. Except… it's not a skeleton. That would be if it belonged to one person. This, this is obviously an amalgam of one man's femur, another's ulna, yet another's skull. The miss-matched patchwork of bones rises up. And another. And another. The wind gusts, blowing hard and seems to scream through the fissures of the rock.
~
Having been around for as long as he has means Fenris ordinarily knows when he's being enspelled. That sad thing is while that does ordinarily offer some defense it doesn't mean the spell is any less there. The cloak slaps in Fenris face and he has to bite back a growl and a harsh word. He knows his foul temper is unnatural but he can feel his patience eroding even as they walk. His blade feels restless in his hand and for the moment it's all he can do to start idly twirling it. If he started… he's not sure he'd stop.

To distract himself, a bit, he looks over the bone field with a frown, concentrates on the scent of the place and the crunch-crunch-crunch of the footsteps in front of him. Alex's scent flows back to him and with it a wafting of his power. Fear. Who does the godling think he is? Fenris could show him true fea- Wait. No. Damn it to Hel.
~
As the god of fear it is so tempting, it would be so easy to just reach out and take it away, the consternation, the annoyance, the anxiety, the fear. But no, to do that would be to break the rules, to go against the tenets set before him. So he swallows a scowl, bites down a grimace and keeps walking until they get to that stairway. He looks in turn to Fenris, Illyana… and now the rising skeletons.
His brow furrows as he looks around, then at Illyana. His voice lifts asking her, "Is this your doing?" The words come out perhaps a touch angry.
But no, those skeletons rise to stand silent witness to those living beings now walking past them. They are a curious mishmash of misplaced limbs, some with extra arms or legs, some curling over with crooked spines looking like hodge podge scorpions or mismatched centipedes all composed from bones.
Yet for now they do not attack, they watch. Which is perhaps enough for now.
Turning back, Alexander grimaces and starts walking down those steps, into the cavern that is so narrow and almost claustrophobic as they descend… only for it to widen into a cave structure that is entirely too large for the space they are supposedly occupying.
~
They only rise to stand silent sentinel, skulls turning as the trio passes. Arms rise to the sound of bones clattering together like some macabre windchime, as if reaching to those that pass for… something.

Steps grow slower. Heavier. Harder. They've been walking for a while now. Damn that little punk for dragging them out with no warning when it was already well into the evening. Maybe just a rest… A liedown here. For just a moment.

Illyana shakes her head, an arm waving through the air as if there were a bug bothering her. "No. Why would I raise crappy skeletons? Besides, I can't use Black magic here, and necromancy's pretty damned dark." While she's got Fenris' power to bolster her own, her repertoire of white magic is much, much smaller. Her steps stumble a bit, one hand coming out to steady herself… and one of the skeletons fingerbones touches her arm. Her eyes start to drift close. Her knees start to give out.
~
The skeletons. Now that's a bit more what the Old Wolf had been expecting though… these don't seem to be guardians either. For a moment, another Tolkien Reference flashes to his mind. The way is shut. It was made by the dead. And the dead keep it.

Fenris does not have claustrophobia. He has cleisiophobia. It's totally different. So long as no one tries to imprison him in the narrow cavern…

"The descent…" Fen doesn't like caves all the same. They do tend to remind him of his prison. He look skyward angrily, as if he could almost see the Lord of Olympus. "Must all your stories do this? Never before have I wished you would hire a Joss Whedon to write you a new epic." Likely, never before has anyone wished that.

And that's when Fenris sees Illyana stumble before him. The huge blade in his hand flashes out in a precise ark downward, right through the arm while he grabs at Illyana under the shoulder and attempts to haul her back and upright. This time he doesn't bother to suppress the angry snarl, though it's not directed at his companions. His pack instinct has awoken and given his short temper a target.
~
"Pithy, albeit gifted dialogue does not enhance an epic, it cripples it." Alexander comments as they move downwards, that smarmy little bastard always seems to have something to say about everything, probably thinks he's so damned clever. Somebody really should tell him to shut the hell up.
The cave structure opens further until the stairs end to a sweeping entryway. Two marble statues of wolves stand tall and proud, one with a wolf's pup at rest by its leg, as they offer silent greeting to those that enter within. The cavern cuts through a large underground hall, bubbling pits of magma burble upon either side of the room, lending an impenetrable boundary as well as a palpable heat to the great wide room. So wide is it that one could almost imagine a collosseum being smaller in width and length.
The other end of the hall is enshrouded in shadow, perhaps several more caves are hidden just beyond one's vision. But then rising from the dirt in the center of the room are a trio of shapes gaining their feet.
Those shapes rise, and continue to rise, until they gain their full height, fifteen feet at the shoulder and standing upon four legs. They are creatures of onyx and basalt with long wispy manes of earthen tendrils, looking like the mountain and stone shaped into the forms of several great war horses armored in hunks of metal that have never seen the stroke of a blacksmith's hammer.
They rise up on their hind legs and offer a shriek of challenge as lava trickles down from their open and fanged mouths, the great mythical horses affix angry red eyes upon the trio and then Alex's voice is heard. "Behold the Spartoi. Brothers mine."
~
Fenris' blade cleaves through the mishmash of bone, sending the bones flying as he hauls the blonde backwards, her form limp in his grasp. The skeleton makes no sign that it was injured, just turning that eyeless skull towards the wolf-in-sheeps'-clothing. In those empty sockets is darkness, darkness that tries to draw you deeper…

Illyana manages to get her legs back under her, shaking off the creeping lethargy that comes with the skeleton's touch. The remnants of those that have ended their journey here, laid down and died. Gritting her teeth she lashes out with her Soulsword, the blazing length cutting through that half-mangled skeleton and instead of loosing an arm, the whole thing comes apart. Like the ripples after a stone is tossed into a pond, the other skeletons start to drop, crumbling back into heaps of bone as Illyana Unworks the spell woven through them all.

"By the bloody Abyss." She snarls, before raising her other arm, the one that holds the rod given to her by Fenris. Words trip off of her tongue, silver fire spilling from the rod and down her arm, swirling about her like streamers. Then, with a jolt, they shoot towards Alex and Fenris, curling around the pair of them for a moment before fading away entirely and leaving only the lingering glitter of sparkles that curl up their arms from wrist to shoulder. "There. That should buy us some breathing room." The unreasoning anger that's been building starts to receede and the trio moves deeper.

As they make their way through the lava and the great beasts rise up, Illyana looks over to Alex. "I see you stole all the pretty in your family."
~
There's an instant where it looks like Fenris might buckle and go under himself, and he seriously, seriously considers unleashing the Destroyer Wolf upon this place. Then it's gone, shattered by Illyana's Soulsword cleaving through the spell that holds that damned field of bones together.

The god-wolf doesn't bother asking if Illyana is okay. He can see the ebb and flow of power about her, as he can Alexander. These kinds of journeys always take a toll. It's their nature. He does shake himself as the spell surrounding the cavern with unnatural rage is shattered. He'd been on the verge of needing to lash out at something. Now it seems as though a weight he did not realize present has been lifted off him. Down he proceeds to find… more obstacles.

"Tell me this isn't a reunion." Fenris growls softly eying the things rising up before them. "Because I didn't bring a casserole."
~
With glowing red eyes, Alexander glowers at Magik and tells her sharply, "It is different for we gods." And as if that explained it all, how he could have molten lava horses for brothers, he steps forwards forming the advanced tip of the triangle between the three of them. A few more steps carry him towards the creatures.
When Alexander draws near the great equine dragon lava creatures roar and whinny, rising up on their hind legs and then /slamming/ them down heavily enough that the entire immense cavern seems to shake. Dust and debris falls from the distant roof, even as those large creatures set their hooves to the gallop as they start to chage straight at the trio of them.
Alexander's blade remains at his hip, though his hand hovers there as he battles his instinct. Then he looks to Fenris sharply and says simply. "This challenge is yours." As if that explained all the rest in turn.
~
Illyana grins back at Alexander, a teeth-bearing, feral thing. "Especially when Daddy's Greek." Her undergrad is in Religion., which encompasses a lot more than the Christian faiths. Zeus may be the most well known for his animalistic tendencies, but that doesn't mean he was alone.

Perhaps not the best comment given who, or some may say 'what' the other member of their trio is.

Illyana glances to Fenris as Alexander marks this as his to deal with. Though it goes against her nature, she keeps her hands with rod and sword down at her sides, clenched in white-knuckled fists.
~
Fenris snorts. "As you say, then." He advances past Illyana, his form distorting as he moves step by step until it is not 'Jeremiah Wolfson' with them in the cave anymore, but the Fernis Wolf: eyes like coals, fur black as night and predatory malice as the void is cold. "Think supportive thoughts. I'll handle the rest." He murmurs to the other two as he clears them and breaks into a run. Giant and made of Lava they may be, but horses they are by form and function. He knows how they will fight. It's the only way they can.

The first one rears up on it's hind legs to bring a fiery stomp down upon the Old Wolf. It never lands. Fenris shoulder checks its rear legs right out from under it and leaps right for the second. The divine equine bares fangs and sinks them into Fenris' leg as he latches onto the front of it and kicks with his hindlegs. Claws cut through the molten exterior of the horse and spill it's fiery essence onto the floor. It collapses as the other two close from opposite directions.
~
Snapping to the side, Alexander tells Illyana quickly. "While he has their attention," And with that said he breaks into a run of his own, his stride nowhere near the speed of the Fenris Wolf, but his course takes him around and to the side of the roiling conflict while creatures of myth and shadow assault each other. He plants a hand and leaps over a boulder, then rolls to the side as a stalactite crashes down from high above and plants in the ground then explodes sending shrapnel hurtling around the cave. His course seems to lead him past the creatures, and towards the distant shadows at the other end of the cavern.
Raging at the death of their brother, one of the Spartoi rises up again, slashing out with viciously edged hooves that spark and send embers flickering through the air even as smoke wends from its form to obscure the conflict. Yet it's the other one that leaps backwards into the air, landing with a clatter of stone upon stone, then bends its head forwards as a great gout of lava and flame bursts forth from its mouth, spattering the ground and trying to bathe the other creature of legend in fiery death.
~
Illyana isn't used to having to run during a fight, but teleporting while on a Quest isn't really an option. Even combat distances. They're in a sort of bubble of reality, and skipping over to Limbo would likely mean not making it back. She may not have the experience with mythological Quests, but she's used to the twists and turns of Magic.

The blonde runs after Alex, fit for being only human but he is beyond that and so the gap between them widens. As the surroundings respond to his presence, throwing out deadly chips of rock she uses her cloak to fend some off but others leave shallow, bloody gashes behind. The pain doesn't stop her, though it saps her speed a bit. Breath coming hard, she makes it to the shadows and drops to a knee before turning to look back.
~
Fire. Fenris disapproves of fire. You'd think the Apocalypse Wolf would be more used to it, but he's frankly never liked being burned even if he can recover. And here that's a little less than certain. Fenris ducks under a hoof strike and claws at the second Spartoi's flank, trying to work around it and hamstring it. Misjudging the opening a bit he lunges once more and gets two hooves to the ribs for his troubles, sending him flying across the cavern with a canine yelp, right into the path of the lava.

It looks for a moment as if it might wash over him, but then he's up again and running ahead of the flow. Before him, the horse that kicked him sets to block his path. If he jumps, likely he'll catch hooves again and get flung back into the fire. If he tries to slide under or around the hell-hourse, those same hooves will come down onto him.

Fine. Through you it is. Fenris picks up speed, starting to outdistance the lava flow. Ahead the second spartoi looms. His ribs ache. He's probably cracked a couple of them but he pushes harder, and harder… then leaps, not over the horse but right at it as it rears. There's a tremendous cracking noise as stone shatters. Fenris' course carries him through the horse, taking the head and shoulders of it with him and leaving the rest to crumble like a statue amid a river of lava.
~
"You cannot help him, not now." Alexander is there standing beside Illyana as she kneels for that moment, trying to catch sight of the other god. He grasps her arm strongly, firmly and pulls her with him towards one of those three dark tunnels that wend behind them. With that said he tries to help her, to at least get her to break into a jog so as to rush down that hallway, his gait matching hers to perhaps make sure she is able to carry on.
It only takes them a few more moments to rush through that dark, then for it to open up before them into a great crystalline cavern that encroaches with color upon their senses. Sweeping rays of light cascade through their vision and assault them with no remorse. For a moment the beams of light seem to focus on each of them, then on Alexander.
A voice comes out from the shadows, oily and sweet as it lashes words in the direction of the intruders as if it were hurling daggers into the back of its nemesis. "Phobos. You gained courage to match your arrogance. Yet you come under numbered. Even now your champion dies."
At that moment, the last of the Spartoi seeks to put those words to deed as it /howls/ an almost lupine sound at the loss of its brethren. It seizes the last of its chances to charge towards the Apocalypse Wolf, seeking to crash, not to trample and ride past… but instead to sacrifice itself in a whine of rage to try and take Fenris bodily over the side of the rocky barrier and into the molten lava itself.
~
Illyana looks back to Alexander, blue eyes flashing with angry fire and mouth set into a thin line. She doesn't like to be told she can't do anything. But grimly, she understands. A short nod is given to the godling as she gets to her feet. The white of her costume is stained in red, ripped and torn in places but still she gets to her feet. Pain is an old, old friend.

With Phobos' help, she manages to settle into a jog at his side, at least until they get to that great cavern. A bloodied arm comes up to shield her eyes and a short, spoken word causes the sparkles about their arms to pulse, pushing a bubble outwards to try to deflect some of that radiance.
~
Fenris throws himself out of the way, just barely. The injury to his ribs slows him and even here he cannot safely draw upon the full power of his divinity for to do so would bring forth the Destroyer Wolf. The Spartoi comes at him again, striking to heard him back to the edge, give itself a chance to take the god-wolf down. The Old Wolf snarls and snaps and claws, each time the deadly hooves of his opponent coming a little closer. Then, throughout the cave, a rumbling voice begins to speak, seeming to come from everywhere at once.

Now this is the law of the jungle. As old and as true as the sky. The wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

Hooves land flat on Fenris shoulders. He buckles and cries out in pain, then marshals his strength and surges forward throwing the hell-horse back. It's on it's feet in an instant and bearing down on him. He's wounded and slow, burnt and unable to call upon his power lest it destroy his allies. It won't miss this time.

As the creeper that girldes the tree trunk the law runneth forward and back.

Fenris holds his ground near the edge of the chasm, head bowed, eyes shut, seeming to accept his fate.

For the strength of the pack is the wolf. And the strength of the wolf…

The last Spartoi is nearly on him when power begins to surge around him. Illyana and Alexander both feel a sudden outflow of power from them, not taken from their own reserves but somehow harvested from their connection to the god-wolf and the things they've endured together on this quest. Fenris' eyes glow bright red and he howls. The force of the sound, strengthned by a surge of magic, cracks the Spartoi's stone skin and halts it in it's tracks. The howl goes on, the sound eating away at the rearing, whinnying hell-horse until with a final blast, the thing is blown apart in a shower of stone shards.

… is the pack.
~
The burning glowing stones and embers of the last Spartoi spread into the air, sent hurtling forth by the purity of Fenris' power and the intensity of that primal nature. The last ashen remnants of it bearing no semblance to its form in life. Yet even in death the children of Ares lash out at the Asgardian. Their rage knowing no bounds, their fury given voice in the ragged crackle of stone and the tremulous roar of the cavern. The entirety of that cavern shakes and twists, the floor spouting forth crimson geysers of magma that fire with such force that the ceiling is struck by the lava even as the rocks fall and scatter in shards and pieces from high above.
Yet down that tunnel, in the brilliant cavern, Illyana's magic takes hold upon the radiance and twists it, turns it into muted lamplight as opposed to the blazing spot befitting a stage. And with that light rendered fangless, it reveals the glowing crystalline cavern in a fair light, with a ghostly figure standing upon a dais before them. A dais that just so happens to hold a large diamond-shaped crystal upon a pedestal, the focal point of their efforts.
Yet the ghostly figure seems loathe to let them pass. "I am mistaken. He is not dead yet. Perhaps shortly." That figure seems to be composed of dust that was swirled into the shape of a man, leaving faint hints of granules that fall from his movements each time he gestures with a cultivated manner of rhetoric.
"Yet you are still without those required. I see the sorceress, I see the godling. Yet I see no sovereign, no mortal, nor no divinity… at least until he appears here at your side."
"You exceed your mandate, Sulla." Alexander's tone is sharp, words edged as he almost growls. "As you did in life, so you do in death. Seeking to manipulate the law to your own ends."
A short gesture towards Illyana, "Here is your sovereign, the Lady of Limbo who rules." Then he touches a hand to his chest, "And here is your mortal, so long as I refuse to give of myself fully to Olympus I stand before you filling both roles."
~
The rod in Illyana's hand pulses, her grip tight to keep the spell up. She has only what power that Fenris stored in it, and then it's down to her own life-force. She wants to look back, to see how Fenris fares. But therein lies ruin. So she holds her gaze forward, chin rising as Alex marks her as sovereign. This part? It's all on him. She does at least, forgo any pithy remark to such.
~
The cavern may not be collapsing but the point is academic when a certain amount of the roof has decided it would rather be the floor. Still aching from blows to ribs and shoulders, Fenris bolts to the far end of the cavern, then turns, running in a straight line for the chasm, heedless of the falling debris. In one long leap he spans the river of lava, though later he might say to trusted friends that he could fairly smell his fur char.

The sensation of waiting probably makes it seem longer than it actually is. But there's a shadow at the end of the cavern. Slowly the Old Wolf comes into view, limping ever so slightly as he shrinks himself down enough to fit comfortably in this place with his companions. Alexander gets a nod, as does Illyana. "Did I hear someone say that they did not see a divinity?" He growls, coal red eyes on Sulla. "Do I need to prove the point again?"
~
At the words from Alexander, the shade of Sulla laughs. It's a light trilling thing, almost like as if the young deity had made a fine joke about coffee or tea during a lovely lady's luncheon. But he shakes his head and tells the two beings there. "You accuse me of twisting the law to my own ends and here you stand with two instead of five. Amusing."
Yet that is the moment when through that long corridor of shadows the Apocalyptic Wolf appears. The old Roman Dictator frowns, annoyance flickering over that dusty swirl of features that passes for his face. He answers Fenris with something akin to respect, "No, Asgardian. You have held up your end of this bargain. I would argue against this young Olympian, however."
Just as Alexander steps forwards, Sulla holds up a hand as if to stay his protest. That old ghost is such a strong figure, so beautiful in his own decayed way, so regal. It is easy to see how this man could have represented Rome entirely in just his existence and manner. "But no. I stand guardian of your blade as bid by Mars."
Looking stern, the old statesman frowns. "You are of age. You have gained the aid required to reach this chamber. You have not forsworn yourself."
The old ghost's hand sweeps back towards the diamond-like crystal. A crystal that fades suddenly and reveals the old katana in its ornate sheathe. "Take up your blade, free me from my charge, and then when you are ready join me in Elysium."
At that the older ghost smirks, looking at Illyana and Fenris in turn. He shakes his head, "You should not humor him so. This will all go to his head."
And then as quickly as that, Sulla is gone.
~
Illyana doesn't lower the rod, or her spell, until Alexander takes up the blade. Demons like tricky surprises, and so she can't quite trust that there won't be a last minute trick here.

Fenris' appearance gets a long sigh from the sorceress. "Glad you made it old man. I was worried you were barbeque." She jokes, her tone carrying a forced lightness even as she looks at him with concern. Finally she looks back over to Phobos. "We good? Because Limbo's looking better and better here."
~
"I'd be disappointing a lot of people if I let myself go at a Greek barbeque," He chuckles with a slight wince. He's going to spend some time recovering from this.

Alexander himself gets a once over, and then Illyana whom he sees is bleeding. The great wolf shrinks again until he is once more 'Jeremiah Wolfson.' His sword is gone, back in it's familiar place is a simple silver necklace about his neck. He raises his hands which glow with green light. "Allow me?"
~
The few steps to recover the blade are taken and Alexander hefts it by its sheathe. For a moment he slides the blade partially free, revealing the crimson edge and giving a short nod to himself as if verifying the weapon. He turns back towards them and steps back, "It's over, let's depart."
For a moment he looks between the two of them as if wanting to say something, something on the tip of his tongue. But then he shakes his head and says simply, "When you're ready."
~
Illyana looks over at Alexander, and her eyes half-close with silent amusement. She can guess what's on the tip of his tongue. Those words that she herself is not given to speak very often. Her lips quirk a bit but she doesn't call him on it.

At Fenris' offer, Magik gives a slight nod. "Let's get out of here first." Priorities. She'll deal with the pain a bit longer.

Stepping closer together, a stepping disk appears at their feet limned in eldritch fire. It slowly slides upwards to take them away while Illyana looks between the two. "How do you guys feel about schwarma?"


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