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Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc

Summary: Lionel insists Blut have an escort in his trip to Frostmaw's Temple of Judgment. Talks threaten to break down between the men as a result of their rigid stances on the matter, but eventually they make their way upon wyverns to one of the oldest and most sacred structures in the land. There, as Lionel and his soldier companion Thrace watch in wait, Blut risks his life to bring forth a vision of Kahran's next attack.

Frostmaw Tavern

Lionel has agreed to meet Blut at the tavern and that is precisely what he’ll do. Nevermind the lack of sleep since his arrival back in Frostmaw, nevermind the visible cuts and bruises marking his eyebrow and his cheekbone and his jawline, nevermind the misery roaring through him over the fate of Síocháin and all its retainers while he was away. Nevermind that. He has a job to do and for the good of the realm he will do it -- even if that job makes him queasy. What does he really know about Blut? A distant memory of a man who showed up to great contempt at the Mage’s Guild over a year hence; a man who offered his services but whom Lionel rarely saw thereafter. Of course, that entire rescue operation went pear-shaped. It wasn’t through the Mage’s Guild that Lionel assisted in bringing home the dragon Raiez’s kidnapees, either; whatever ideas Blut might have had for aiding the victims, Lionel would never know. Still, there’s something about the man which invites unease. But he must cling to his convictions, however morally grey they are: even if Blut should prove a negative force, he’s an ally against something truly sinister. And if Blut should prove too dark, if he should cross some nebulous ethical line… “Hold the book out,” Lionel orders Thrace. The woman adjusts her short-cropped blonde hair and spins on her heels to face the tavern door, retrieving Xhil’s Journal from her pocket. Holstered to her back is a magnificent sword. For Lionel’s part, he’s brought Hellfire. The tavern is a low din of patrons this early into the afternoon, which is just as well. “Blut will be here shortly. Be ready.”

Blut walked into the tavern as he got the message. Blut had been takeing his time reading through his father journal with countless spells and rituals in order to help him learn about his powers. About the secrets lost beyond time finally able to translate them he has finally been able to read them. Actually applying them is completly different. Blut had to sacrafice his mana no longer able to cast spells has been a burden to him. It was no secret this will not be without sacrafice. Blut entered the tavern spying Lionel at the table walking over to him to take a seat. "I assume you have what I asked for." Blut asked inspecting the man.

Lionel studies the man briefly. Thrace stands on guard, eyes kept forward to the door Blut only just entered through. “Some of it, yes.” Lionel doesn’t break his gaze as he reaches his left arm toward his soldierly companion; the woman doesn’t break hers, either, as she hands him the journal. “Xhil, right? Always wondered how one even pronounces such a name. Might be I’ll find occasion to ask one day, but I didn’t fetch this myself. Blut, this is Thrace. Thrace, Blut.” Thrace offers their ally a terse nod. “The sword’s still being investigated. I hear-tell it isn’t in Josleen’s hands, after all. But I have boots on the ground down there. An answer will arise soon enough.” Lionel shoves off from his seat and sighs. “And that’s why you’re here. In Frostmaw. Because I’ve made the necessary arrangements to have you let into that temple of yours, but I’m going in there, too.” He whistles to Thrace. “Three’s company, too. We’re ready when you are.”

Blut inspected the man takeing the book from the man but not takeing his eyes off lionel. He noticed the fatuge in the man the bruises he's covered in. "Thats too bad then I'll leave the search in your hands." Thrace correct a pleasure to meet you." Blut walked over to the inn keeper "1 bed" Blut asked as he dropped a gold piece onto the bar. "Come on Thrace we have a temple to visit." Blut mentioned "I supposed this is going to be a duo expidition " Blut mentioned softly.

Lionel picks up the gold piece before Drargon can do so, twirling it through his fingertips a few times for good measure before handing it to the stout old barkeep himself. “Keep it warm for me, eh?” He swivels about to face Blut, then holds the door open for Blut and Thrace amicably. “Trio, more like. It’s a long way out, so let’s hop to it.” It’s relatively warm outside for mid-autumn, with only a cool breeze instead of the blistering chilly gusts Frostmaw is known to possess. Thrace follows along between the two men, keeping a watchful glance on them both. “Ser, I think he meant to have you stay behind.” Her voice carries through the calm air. “Aye, I think he did, didn’t you, Blut? But I’m not staying. Regulation’s clear on this, especially when it concerns a fellow who may have already done some damage in the area. I’m willing to work with you, Blut, and I’m thankful the feeling’s mutual, but I need to see what you’re doing.”

Blut shook his head swingign his his head towards lionel "no your staying. Your in no position to make a trip to the temple." Blut demanded walking away signaling the companion to follow him.

Lionel | Well, this is awkward. Thrace is a Frostmawian through and through, human or no, and she’s followed Lionel’s command for over a year. She’s certainly not going to follow Blut’s appeals, even if Lionel -does- look a bit worse for wear just now. She stops suddenly, her boots kicking up dirty snow in her wake, and pauses in silence to await further orders. “That’s -nice- of you, Blut, but I’m -fine.- Really.” Lionel’s tone is delicate, like a rose petal set to burst into flame at any further delay. “My wounds are healing up just fine, and for the love of light, I’ve certainly been through far worse and lived to do battle hours later. But if my health is of such concern to you, then here, let’s ride.” He waves down a wyvern handler, who clears his throat and rushes up from the stables. “Yes, suh?” Lionel gestures broadly to his companions. “What say you we arrive there in style, Blut? Don’t make this difficult.”

Blut sighed "fine if its mounted rideing fine. But your companions rideing I'm not haveing you colapse in the cold. Your too important to this battle to lose." Blut shook his head in defeat he knew these types of people the people who will not listen to reason to kind who would risk their hide in a heart beat. "You can come but your not fighting." Blut warned.

Through Pale Sky

Lionel tilts his head sideways in a mild display of real amusement. “One step at a time, my friend.” He hops up on a blue-scaled wyvern, which snaps its snout toward him in affirmation. Thrace takes the reins of a mount as well, and, presuming that Blut either does the same or finds some other way to fly, the three of them are off into the crisp sky at once. Through the air they soar, taking in sights of thatched huts and old, high walls until the City of War is behind them and a white expanse of snow and rocky crags is all that remains. Periodically, they pass some ancient tower, a long-forgotten fortification from bygone eras. The towers are broken, splintered, cracked like eggs, but nonetheless they seem regal and unyielding even to time. They soon pass Lake Frysta, frozen over for near-on two months now but glistening as the low sun casts its light upon it. They pass the icy forest where Síocháin had been, too, but now the zone is like a crater of nothingness deep within the treeline where stone boulders and shattered emeralds are joined by two watchtowers which had collapsed upon themselves. “That’s the enemy we’re fighting against,” Lionel yells through the wind at Blut and Thrace. “An enemy that can strike from the shadows, slay without mercy, and retreat without respite.” He shakes his head and steels himself. In time, the three reach the temple, where the final nails are being hammered into wooden planks in the construction of a fresh bridge between slopes. Numerous Frostmawian infantry nod honorably to the wyverns and their riders from their place watching over the workers. Several among the soldiers and workers alike are bandaged-up and hobble, sure signs of another battle having been fought here very recently. Lionel and Thrace set their aerial steeds down beside the mysterious temple’s gargantuan entry chamber. “My lord,” one of the infantrymen addresses Lionel immediately. “Be on guard. Each of you. We were besieged by a band of ice drakes and barbarians. There were Frost Giants among their ranks.”

The Temple of Judgment

Blut muttered under his breath I need one of those as he got off the wyvern raiseing his eyebrow when frost giants were mentioned. He stepped forward takeing a page out his pocket. "Did they have a symbol like this on their armour shamans perhaps?" Blut asked showing a symbol of a tree twisting inward upon itself. Blut waited for the soldier to identify if these giants were seen in battle. "Alright we got here but how are we getting past the ice devils." Blut asked rubbing his arm in memory of what happened on his first trip here.

Lionel | The soldier blinks, peers at Lionel who nods for him to answer the question accordingly, and then swallows his throat with a nod to Blut. “Aye, I believe they did. We didn’t have much time for an up-close, so-to-speak; our archers are the reason we held firm. But I’d say that they did at that.” Lionel bites his lip and slowly exhales. “I’ll get reinforcements out here by day’s end. As you were, soldier.” The man salutes and heads back to his peers in overseeing the workers. “Good call, Blut. Let’s focus on what we came here for, though. The ice devils will be tricky, but thankfully our escort’s no ordinary sword-hand.” Thrace permits herself a slight smirk as she lifts her right hand and builds a small ball of flame above her palm, then snuffs it out. “She’s a mage, and a damned good one at that.” Thrace grins. “I’m no Esche, ser, but thank you.” Lionel ascends a few of the big stone steps toward the red steel door where Blut’s research -- and wicked ice devils -- await. “Here’s Plan A: I swing that door open and Thrace lights a ‘torch’ to break through the shadows. If you’ve got a Plan B, I’m all ears.”

Blut shook his head as he looked around walking forward non shalantly. "There is no point if the decils haven't attacked the escort yet they never will. Sides we are practically at the temple. Any how these things appear out of thin air so there is no plan for these things. Just run once we get to the temple we should be safe. They stopped chaseing me once I got to the gates." Blut explained pulling his cloak closer to his body to increase the warmph of his body. "Once we get inside your free to leave to be fair the only reason I asked you to come with me is to help fend off those demons." Blut explained walking up to the temple doors and started to pull them open.

Lionel continues his ascent toward the still-distant red door. “With respect, we’ll be here as long as you are,” Thrace answers. “Which could be days for all we know, Thrace,” Lionel replies. “We just don’t know what you plan to do in there, Blut. Study, I imagine, but there’s a lot going on in that temple that I’m not privy to. Things that make the Frostmawian shamans shiver at the thought of letting in outsiders. Yet here we are, Thrace and I, two humans. And here you are, too. Another human, near as I can tell. We’re outsiders, all three, but at least Thrace and I are part of their government. There’s no way they let you in unattended. So let’s just get in there and…” The air stiffens nearby, and the hair on the back of Lionel’s neck rises. A bluish tinge takes over nearby, where three ice devils appear, chucking frozen spears from their spindly arms and then readying cold, pale spells to cast thereafter. “Seems my boys down by the bridge never got close enough to run into these bastards,” Lionel spits out, as he and Thrace begin to race up the remaining steps.

Blut chucked" well they are a bit late for that aren't they now come on run like your life depends on it cause it does." Blut explained as he started to sprint towards to temple door narrowly avoiding a spear and throwing smoke bombs on the ground masking their location. Lionel might have noticed it but Blut seemed to be quicker than a avarage human more so like a elf. Blut would continue to speak so that Lionel and his friend could follow him through the haze. He has no idea as to what kinds of idiots lose sense of direction on stairs but he wasn't risking it. Blut would grab one handle with both hands and start to pull and the doors until there was enough space for the to get inside. Once inside the temple of judgement they might notice ashes laying on the ground and pieces of torn cloak. If Lionel had a keen eye for detail the torn cloth would match the tears on Bluts cloak.

Lionel is fast, too -- speed’s sort of his thing. That and fire. In fact, the only thing keeping him from leaving red streaks of flame in his rush, a kind of Ishaarite magic that propels him all the faster, is the knowledge that the ice devils would be keen to his whereabouts if he gives them a fiery trail. Besides, Thrace is fit and formidable but she’s got nothing on Blut’s uncanny abilities or Lionel’s. Leaving her behind is not going to happen; he’s already lost four friends today, he won’t lose a fifth. They make good time to the temple door, their ears filled with the shrieks of death-dealing ice devils behind them. The smoke from Blut’s strange devices is periodically punctuated by thin blue beams of ice where the devils have thought to strike, but none of their strikes have proven successful. Lionel slams the door shut behind him once his party has arrived at its destination. He peers about, taking in the massive stone pillars jutting up to a ceiling that’s higher than nearly anything he has ever before seen. A hush seems to overwhelm the great hall, like the absence of sound permeating through flesh and bone to instill silence from all those who enter. Thrace comically compares it to a library with a particularly stern librarian, but Lionel isn’t the sort to laugh at jokes about suspicious places anymore. He kneels beside the pieces of Blut’s cloak and eyes him, but says nothing on the matter.

Blut walks over towards temple library with unnerving not even bothering to stop to look at the huge statue. Complely ignoreing the screams of the ice devils almost like Blut did all of this before. If Lionel decided to follow Blut he would find a table filled with open books and a ink quill and pot on it. Blut would sit at the table opening a book with a page holding a symbol that was half the picture in the open books. Blut would pick up the quill and continue to finish the symbol. "The library of light is on the right library of darkness is on the left. You might want to rest up a bit cause your going to be here for a few days. If Lionel left Blut to his devices he would be plastered to that table after collecting books from both the library of light and darkness. If Lionel or Thrace had nothing to eat or drink they may be in trouble cause Blut would be able to spend weeks at a time without eatting or drinking or sleeping for that matter.

Lionel has brought barely-adequate provisions, but luckily for him Thrace thought to fork over a few silver for field rations from the wyvern handler. He’ll eat well, no thanks to his own shortsightedness. He falls into a musty old chair and wonders if it’s been here for centuries. The whole temple feels unfathomably old. It reminds him of the grim dungeons his forces once traipsed during the Second Immortal War, a war which may have been reignited in Cenril one week ago. The thought does nothing to warm him, so he tries to picture the dungeon-like subterranean routes explored when the Warrior’s Guild went to battle against the insectoids earlier this year. It’s an odd thing, trying to ease one’s mind with comparisons to ravenous flesh-eating wasps and gargantuan spider-queens, and it doesn’t exactly work. “I’ve seen too damn much of everything unpleasant,” he mutters to Thrace, who’s standing behind him. “Ser,” she starts slowly, “I didn’t have a chance to express my sorrow about Síocháin. Tratt and the rest of them, the, uh, the dwarves, ser. I regret that I never found much occasion to interact with them, but, uh, I know they were good people, each and all.” Lionel scoffs, but his face is somber. “As were the guards, and all the rest that fell back there while I drank ignorantly at the…” He shuts his mouth, suddenly aware again that Blut’s with them. Thrace clears her throat and takes a step back, returning to watch duty. “Thank you, Thrace,” Lionel says after a momentary silence. His words echo through the hall.

Blut stood up from his seat stepping forward closeing the books leaveing ribbon in the books as place markers. Blut started walking into the temple of judgement "Do not follow me. This may risk your life if you attempt to watch this." Blut warned as he walked past them.

Lionel | Thrace snorts and steps forth again but Lionel, still seated, waves a hand behind him to cease her approach. He watches Blut considerably, with the same struggle to estimate the man’s intentions as back in the tavern, and by the shore in Cenril before that. “We’ll be right here,” Lionel speaks for the both of them. Frown lines appear on Thrace’s forehead, but she stays put.

Blut sits down placeing hour glasses filled with black sand placeing them in a way that anyone looking at the room from a birds eye view it would look like a giant hour glass with Blut in the center. Blut closed his eyes as he started to chant in a ancient language more than thousands of years old. The hour glasses would shake violently as Blut took out his holy dagger which should have shone in the light of the glowing sphere behind him. Blut placed the dagger to his eyes before speaking the ancient phrase which translated to I see not the lies that I have been born with not the lies that I was lead to belive I am he who reads the scripts of time truth is what I shall reveal. With the final word spoke he would slash right across his eyes his blood splattering against the floor. The hourglasses would shatter each one with a resounding crack as their sand would start feeding into Blut leading into unbearable pain causeing the man to let out a resounding scream into the temple. If the other two humans in the area could hear him and went to his aid they would see a light blue barrier at the entrance to the room. Anyone who attempted to enter the room would age rapidly in order of contact. First their armour would rust and turn to dust within 5 minutes. Flesh would age to dust within the same time depending on what entered the barrier first. .

Lionel stands upright and runs nearer to Blut’s position, but he holds his arm up to stop Thrace from barreling past him and into the blue barrier. “He needs immediate medical attention,” she protests, but he holds firm. “He probably does. But so will we if go in there. Whether or not we trust his intentions, I trust his warning. This place is bleak, Thrace. Do you take my meaning?” She locks her glare on him for several seconds before looking down at her boots in defeat. “Aye, ser.” Thrace kicks one foot up against the wall and perches, watching anxiously. Lionel flinches at Blut’s scream and decides a shout of his own is in order. “If you can hear us -- if you’re even still conscious -- let us know what to do.”

Blut's screams died down as Blut collapsed the barrier fell with him. But soon enough Blut got up his blood was black and soon turned to dust as he hobbled towards the pair. He took out his page with the logo of the frost giants "Watch over frostmaw mountain tops giants with this symbol on their armour." He held out the page to Thrace his eyes open so the pair could see his slashed eyes blood still pouring from the wound but turning to dust before it could hit the floor. However it seemed like the man could still see. "Lionel you have to warn the queen get anti mages to defend the city distribute wards across the city." He reached out to grab Thrace's shoulder " Kahran will attack again one week at dawn at Chartsend." Blut managed to say before his body gives up on him and he starts to collapse backward.

Lionel catches Blut mid-fall, his teeth grinding together and his breathing heavy. The man’s prophesied news is triggering a panic in him; it’s more than he could have asked for, and far more than he’d anticipated. It’s unlike anything he’s encountered before. The only thing buzzing through his brain just now -- apart from helping Blut -- is how to prepare both Frostmaw and Chartsend accordingly. “Thank you,” he whispers. Thrace is not idle. She’s launched herself from the wall she’d leaned against, and she’s fumbling through her pack for bandages and healing ointments and an assortment of appropriate poultices. She tends to Blut, if he’ll let her, limiting his blood loss and cleaning the cut before corruption can spread. “Let’s get out of here,” Lionel says. “There’s ample work to be done. For your services, I’ll see you rewarded richly.”