Sky-Home, Part 1

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir is patrolling the Campus, AR glasses on, full Campus Safety mode, these monsters had him worried and if any showed up here he needed to be ready to help.
<@Nemi> Andrey, a nervous thing, hurries from the Andromeda Hall doors toward Gungnir, past a few patrolling WARD agents keeping a wary eye on the campus. He holds a hand up. "Hey- hey, Gun!"

<BobaFettuccine> Gun stops and turns around nodding at Andrey. His usual smile doesn't touch his face, however. "Hello Andrey. It is not safe outside." He points to a scorched patch of grass over across the courtyard. "They have already begun showing up on the campus."

<@Nemi> ".. yeah. Yeah. I heard. It's uh- I was looking for you. Um. Dad- I mean, Ilmarinen- he's okay with um, us coming to visit. Both of us, I mean."

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods and pulls off his AR glasses, he wouldn't be on duty in the sky-home after all. "When do we leave?" He asks, he'd offered his help whenever Andrey needed and he'd meant it.

<@Nemi> "Uh.. It's in uh, me and Pandora's place right now. I mean uh, the boat. She's, uh, hiding out right now so.. c'mon." Andrey, a bit nervous to be out despite the providence of armed guards everywhere, reaches to take Gungnir's hand to hurry on toward Andromeda Hall's front steps.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir allows himself to be led along by the hand. Keeping a watchful eye out, ready to intercept any danger if it were to head their way.

<@Nemi> Fortunately, they don't encounter any. Andrey leads the way on through the front doors, past a careful mindful guards at a fresh new security station just inside, and up to the room he shares with Pandora. And upon opening the door.. Gungnir may not have expected the sight beyond, but there in place of one wall of the living room is an open space, a sort of golden waterfall leading to a pool where a great copper-ribbed boat rests serenely. Mists cast rainbow colours about the base of the waterpool, and everything has a strange gauzy, gossamer look, almost dreamlike. "Sooo.. We get on the boat, basically."

<BobaFettuccine> "Alright." Gun nods and takes a step out onto the boat, wobbling a little, unused to the rocking motion that boats make.

<@Nemi> It rocks gently as Gungnir steps aboard. It's strange; he can step directly from the carpeted floor of the dorm room living area, and with a little hop, pass over the liquid gold and aboard the broad-bottomed vessel. Andrey climbs aboard a moment later, hopping nimbly from the flooring to the edge of the boat, and then on down into the body. Andrey murmurs something, then sings something softly in his native language. The boat slowly swivels in the gold and floats toward the goldfall. ".. sooo, um. Just as a little word. Ilmarinen.. honestly seems like he means well. I don't think he /means/ anything, uh, malicious about anything."

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods and sighs. "I will do my best not to seem hostile. I apologize if I do. Things have been rather… Stressful for me recently."

<@Nemi> ".. yeah, I get you.. well- here we go." The boat pivots as it reaches the goldfall, though it seems to adjust gravity as it does, because Andrey and Gungnir remain standing with ease on the boat even as it begins floating up the goldfall and through pastel mists and clouds. Soon they're ascending through fields of blue skies and silver, or amber, clouds. Far ahead is what looks like some sort of great dark disc, with mists and trails of water streaming forth from the edges.

<BobaFettuccine> Even in his current, tense state Gungnir wonders at the beauty surrounding him. It relaxes him in a way, and he actually cracks a smile. "This Ilmarinen has a beautiful home." He says quietly.

<@Nemi> "You haven't even, uh, seen it yet.." And indeed, the boat continues its ascent- and as it rides the sky-river upward and reaches the edge of the disc, it pivots abruptly again, leaving them riding the boat down a stream running through a beautiful forested area. The ground is rocky and many of the woods are birch or pine. It's verdant here, as if in early springtime, though patches of rocky earth or great boulders inscribed with glittering pictograms can be seen. Jutting above them all are towering mountains and intricately-carved monoliths of metal and stone wreathed in crisp white mists. The sky is a bright blue, yet ribbons of colour like the auroras dance over the horizon and kiss the mountains. Andrey has a vague, fond smile on his face.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods and just kind of stares in awe at his surroundings, his smile slowly growing wider.

<@Nemi> ".. yeah, it's.. really nice here." The air is crisp, like a pleasant spring evening, and the pale sun above is slowly dipping toward the aurora-wreathed mountains in the distance. Birds chirp and animals can be heard in the brush. It's all very sedate. As the boat continues its languid journey, a distant sound of metal on metal, rhythmic and almost musical can be heard, and soon enough wisps of smoke can be seen fluttering upward from a distant chimney.

<BobaFettuccine> "This is almost as beautiful as Asgard." He says with a grin, turning around in a full circle to take it all in.

<@Nemi> There certainly is that rustic charm to it. Any divinity only really seems to exhibit itself in the strange monoliths and the general glow suffusing everything. Finally, their destination comes into sight; it's a pleasant, sizeable structure resembling a stacked-log cabin of aged wood but braced with ribs of gleaming copper and silver, the roof shining gold in lengthwise shingles under the slowly-setting sun. Outside, under a lean-to of sorts, a tall and aged man with wavy blonde hair and a majestic curly beard works at a stacked-stone forge. Despite his clear late middle age, he has a powerful build, a sort of power that belies his nature. He is clad in a leather apron with golden fittings, a headband, and trousers tucked into fur-lined wrap boots. The man lifts his head as the boat comes into sight, and he speaks words that Gungnir doesn't know and yet understands. "Ah! Aikki! You came back to me! And you have brought Brokkr's masterwork!" He beams, a sort of hopeful smile on his face. It's a look rather remniscent of Andrey's. The boat itself slowly comes up to a short dock that just juts out into the water, supported by pillars of bronze still shining from the water.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir, does a little hop from the boat to the dock, using his control of air currents to steady himself as he does. He walks towards Ilmarinen and "May the sky find you well." he says in the traditional, and formal, Asgardian greeting, which consists of a slight bowing of the head followed by an offer to clasp forearms along with those words.

<@Nemi> Andrey climbs out of the boat with much less fanciness, almost tripping on the wood before righting himself with a little pane of metal underfoot, produced from nowhere. He remains just behind and to the right of Gungnir as Ilmarinen clasps Gungnir's forearm. The forger-god must have mellowed out a bit, because he seems surprisingly approachable. "Ilmori, or Armo, or Sotijalko, forger of sky and ground, master of the winds, and so on and so on. If you believe what people say about me." A sort of twinkle, like a star in the copper sky above, sets in his eye. "The sky find you well in turn, Gungnir, spear of Odin! I'm glad my little Aikki saw to take you along!"

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods, and smiles at the god. It's hard not to in the face of how friendly he is. "As am I, this realm is truly beautiful." He says as he takes a step back and glances around them.

<@Nemi> The beauty of the place partly comes from how /alive/ it is. But, if the myths are true, then it's no wonder. As Gungnir looks around him, he'll see stars starting to wink into life, shining in the heavens above through aurorial ribbons that dance now across the sky. He'll also see Andrey bemused at the simple dress of green and gold that he's apparently been abruptly clad in from the jeans-and-jacket he had beforehand. "It's a luxury for an old man, true. It's good to have visitors," says Ilmarinen, and he walks over to put a hand on Andrey's shoulder, to steer them off the dock and toward the house proper. Andrey kind of just stares down at his feet the entire time, inasmuch as he can see them past his bust. Ilmarinen continues, "I don't see many guests anymore. The old heroes and a few of your shamans, now and then, but the sky's a quieter place since the Bureau killed so many, hm, gods. I suppose I got by just being a hero myself." A wan chuckle.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir walks along with them, frowning at how obviously uncomfortable Andrey was made by suddenly being in a dress. He listens politely though and after he finishes speaking Gun says, tone carefully polite. "I believe that Andrey was more comfortable in his own clothes." he only puts slight emphasis on the word his, but the emphasis is there.

<@Nemi> "Andrey?" Ilmarinen seems bemused a moment. "Ah- little Ailikki keeps insisting on that.. I really don't understand what's wrong, where she got that fancy from. She loved that dress since she was a girl and even asked I find a weaver to add on to it as she grew up." He sighs and peers at Andrey for a moment, before his attention again returns to Gungnir. He really is impressive, Ilmarinen is; he towers above them both, but not threateningly. They're approaching the simple wooden panel doors to the log-house itself, framed by panes of bronze. At closer look the doors seem delicately inscribed in faint metallic patterns with pictures of figures, structures, and creatures. "And then four months ago, she leaves, wanting to visit the world, and comes back remembering nothing.." The doors open to reveal a comfortable, spacious interior. It too is rustic; wooden logs, framing of bronze, rugs on the floor and a huge blazing hearth. The walls are covered in hangings, with intricate geometric patterns or embroidered scenes from hunts, boat journeys, and similar. It's warm and pleasant in here, well-lit. Andrey stops a few steps in and very slowly settles into a nearby rocking chair, still not looking at anyone, while Ilmarinen just sighs sadly, genuinely hurt and seemingly frustrated, before turning to the hearth, where he sets a copper pot on over the crackling fires. Curtained-off areas hide what must be bedding areas, perhaps.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir remains standing next to the chair that Andrey sits in. He maintains a neutral posture and tone, not wanting to give off any kind of an aggressive vibe. "Does it matter what /was/?" He asks, "Because I believe that what matters is what /is/. And right now, he is uncomfortable. You must be able to see that?"

<@Nemi> ".. Yes. Yes, I know. Ailikki, your things are in your room, as usual." With Ilmarinen having said that, Andrey scurries off, ducking past one of the heavy blue curtains. Ilmarinen watches him go, a great sadness behind his eyes. "I don't understand what happened. She still has that spark I gave her so long ago, and yet she refuses to.. Can you possibly know what it feels like to have a child whom you have loved and cared for, suddenly disappear and then deny you after you hunt for ages to try to find her?" The bronze frames weep for him. "To insist she is not the girl you forged of your own spark?"

<BobaFettuccine> Gun shakes his head and sits down in the chair that Andrey had just vacated, remaining silent for a moment as he deliberately collects his thoughts and decides on what to say. "The moment that you gave him the ability to choose for himself. When you created life. You accepted that it could change. This is what Odin said to Brokkr as he sent me to Midgard. Perhaps, Andrey would accept you more as a parent, if you accepted him for what he is." He looks directly into Ilmarinen's eyes. "Just because he has forgotten, does not mean that he cannot grow to love you once more."

<@Nemi> Ilmarinen hesitates, his mustache curling almost on its own to match his frown. The flames of the hearth crackle behind him, catching him in a backlighting that casts his skin in tones of bronze and brass. ".. you don't understand. To Ailikki it is as if she /never/ knew me. I don't- how can I just accept that my daughter is /gone/, and some human is in her place? I cannot. I /will/ not." But he weighs Gungnir's words further, and after a moment brings a hand up, through his beard, and to his head. ".. perhaps Louhi has felled me once again, as she always does, by taking what was most dear to me.."

<BobaFettuccine> "I do not know who this Louhi is." Gun says, "And she might have dealt a blow to you, yes, perhaps even by taking the memories of your child. But what you do not seem willing to accept is that trying to force Andrey to fit your memories and your vision of the way things are, is causing him tremendous confusion, and greatly upsetting him. That will only end in tears for both of you, and could cause him to reject you entirely." Gun leans forward slightly, "He asked me here to talk to you on his behalf because he did not feel that you respected him enough to listen, and believed that you might respect me more. I do not know much of familial love, but that does not seem positive to me."

<@Nemi> Ilmarinen steps away from the copper pot even as it begins to whistle, to ease himself into a rocking chair covered with a sheepskin. He puts a hand over his face, and lets out a sound that is, perhaps, a racking sob. The god-hero and sky-forger takes a moment to gather himself. ".. if Loviatar has taken from my Ailikki, perhaps by dousing her in the river of Tuonela, should we not owe her to find what was taken? Through Pohjola, beneath the roots of the world-tree.. I cannot make the journey, anymore, for I am an old man. But perhaps you could? We could- at least let Ailikki be whole again, and perhaps.. I would accept whatever she wills, even if it be to call her Andrey."

<BobaFettuccine> "I will take him to this river beneath Yggdrasil, I would very much like to see my home once more. But you must ask Andrey to go yourself, for I will not do anything against his wishes." Gun stands slowly.

<@Nemi> "It is.. Another route. It is like your Yggdrasil, but you turn another way, to travel through Pohjola, land of the witch-queen Louhi and her wicked kin. And under the roots of the world-tree, the desert on to Tuonela. It will be a long journey. I can help, if you.." Ilmarinen takes a breath. And he nods. ".. of course. As.. Andrey wishes." He lifts his head, and after a moment runs his hand through his beard. His hands are calloused, dark from heat, but do not mar his beard. "Andrey. Come out. I wish to ask you something." And after a few moments, a vaguely sullen-looking Andrey, changed back into Earthly civvies, peers out from the curtain. ".. Andrey. I fear you lost much of yourself in Tuonela, for I can't think of anywhere else it could be hidden, for any living who enter are cursed. But your friend Gungnir is different- he is the spear of Odin, and so is not subject to the same law.. Would you have him search, for whatever you lost?" Andrey's expression softens as he listens, and after a few moments, he looks to Gungnir. ".. yeah. I uh. Just- go do it. If it'll uh, help him-" A headbob to Ilmarinen. ".. uh, get okay with things, I guess. Or help me. Or something."

<BobaFettuccine> Gun's eyes seems to search Andrey's face for a moment before he nods. He then turns towards Ilmarinen and closes his right fist, bringing it up to thump against his chest where his heart would be if he had one. He then bows his head and says, "I accept this quest on Andrey's behalf. I will return with what was stolen."

<@Nemi> "Good.. Good. Thank you for this, Gungnir," Ilmarinen says, voice lacking some of the earlier strength. A tired old man, now. "I don't know the form that it will take, but- find one of the Tuonenpiika, the ferry-women over the river Tuoni. She'll.. I have a feeling she'll know the way." He rests his elbows on the table and clasps his hands together. ".. I can take you to the edge of Pohjola, but the journey from there is up to you. It will be perilous- the witch-queen's servants don't care for intruders, and the guardians of Tuonela are unfriendly at best. But I have no doubt that Odin's favored will succeed. And when you see him again, I'd like you to tell him that I'm doing well." The sky-forger cracks a wan grin- an expression that is so very Andrey!- and then nods, as if to help bolster his own resolve. Andrey, meanwhile, walks over and, after a hesitation, leans in to give Gungnir a hug. ".. yeah," he murmurs, in Gungnir's ear. ".. hope this'll uh, get the old guy off my back. Or at least get something figured out."
".. Climb into the boat outside when you're ready, Gungnir," Ilmarinen says, a little more sureness returning to his voice. "And I'll see it take you where you need to be."

<BobaFettuccine> Gun hugs Andrey back and murmurs in return, "At least he is using your name now." He pulls away before turning back to the old god, "May I ask a favor, should I succeed?" He asks "I… would like to see Asgard again, would you be able to see me transported there for a visit? And perhaps Andrey as well?"

<@Nemi> "Ah- of course. Of course. I can do that much." Ilmarinen smiles again, surer yet. Hopeful. It's such an Andrey look- it's strange. Once Gungnir breaks the hug, Andrey half-smiles and backs off. "I'll, uh, be here for a while. Time kinda works different here so we won't be uh, away too long, and I uh, I'm kinda tired anyway. So.. Good luck. I know you'll uh, make it."

<BobaFettuccine> Andrey smiles at the both of them, he's actually really happy with this new developement, he needed something reckless and probably dangerous to get his mind off of certain things and this fit the bill absolutely perfectly. He then turns and walks out the door to go get on the boat.

<@Nemi> Ilmarinen doesn't follow him, though Andrey does, waving from the door as Gungnir makes his way back to the idyllic outdoor and on to the boat across the bronze-ribbed dock. Some curious birds chatter at him from the posts nearby, though as if sensing his mission, none join him on the boat. It sets off on its own after he's aboard; Andrey continues to wave even as the current takes Gungnir out of sight. It's hard to tell how far the trip is going, because it feels like hours or possibly just minutes have passed before Gungnir is riding the boat down a waterfall.. And emerging in a pool atop a low hill. He's found himself docked at the edge of some vast tundra. The sky is black and studded with those familiar stars, but nothing about this place feels familiar; it's not Niflheim, to be sure, as there are still some signs of life here and there amidst the hills and jutting stone mountains. Far in the distance towers a vast tree, at its base a massive array of winding roots. At this distance it is almost just a vast shadow shrouded in cold mists. The wind bites here, and carries with it the promise of disease and misery, though Gungnir's skysteel body cares little for the whispers. The tree seems to be, if not Yggdrasil, of the same concept; it is so great as to lose its canopy in the sky.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir mentally and physically prepares himself for the mission ahead. Changing into his metal form, and turning his right hand into a spearhead. He then steps off of the boat, alert, and ready for any trouble as he walks towards that great tree, trusting that he will find his way.

<@Nemi> As he walks, he finds similarities to Midgard; of what is now Norway and Sweden, in the rocks and mountains. Winds howl and bite and pelt him with snow but offer no true challenge; indeed, it is after about two days of walking that he finally notices a fluttering form high in the sky above, which soon reveals itself to be a strange and monstrous eagle-like creature, its back loaded with a half-dozen malformed and wild-eyed warriors dressed in patterned clothes and bronze armour. The warriors of Pohjola leap from the creature's back, spears and swords in-hand. Their leader, a black-maned brute with a tall curling helmet, points his spear at Gungnir. "What fool trespasses in Pohjola?"

<BobaFettuccine> Gun's control of the air causes very little wind to actually reach him as the massive birds wings cause great gusts to fly around. He also uses the air to make his voice boom much louder than it normally would, as though he had a loudspeaker. "I am Gungnir, the sky-forged. Son of Brokkr, spear of Odin, and warrior of Asgard." He says, a fierce pride in his voice. Here, he is in his element.

<@Nemi> Several of the warriors back away in fear, and the eagle-creature itself lets out a cry and lights off, abandoning its riders to the snows below. "Hnh," says the leader of the group. "We will sing to your demise, then! Send his soul to Tuonetar!" The men regain their courage, and then charge, weapons singing in the howling winds!

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir lets out a booming laugh, the sound vaguely reminiscent of war drums as he looses a blast of tightly focused air at one of them before charging to meet the warriors, his eyes turning a brightly burnished shade of copper and the runes swirling across every inch of his body faintly glowing.

<@Nemi> Gungnir's laughter shakes their resolve, for even here in their homeland, these wretched men are but miserable slaves of Loviatar, wracked by the nine diseases she birthed. The air blast sends several tumbling- and only sways the battle in Gungnir's favour. It lasts only moments, for mortal steel, even bewitched, cannot truly stand against the work of Brokkr. Crimson spatter stains the snow amidst the strewn bodies of the deformed warriors. A distant cry of rage is heard, howling through the crags.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir grins, wide, expression slightly manic, true battle. Something he had not experienced since he had been made into more than a spear. /This/ was what he was meant to do, what he was /made/ for. He turns towards the cry of rage and starts loping in that direction. If what was stolen is here, he has a feeling that it is in this direction.

<@Nemi> It seems to come from, of all things, the vast tree in the distance. And while more flying patrols harry his way, none land to challenge Gungnir. As he approaches, he realizes that this world-tree is truly far from Yggdrasil; it gains a sheen, a glint of silver and gold in the cold northern sun, and it is shattered in the far reaches above to spill stars into the sky like salt broken from a shaker. Something about it reminds him of Ilmarinen- such wonder, such beauty, such potential, broken. As he approaches the roots of the great tree, a vast host of warriors stride forth to meet him, hundreds in all. Though deformed and twisted, they surge with bewitched power, and a mix of confidence and abject desperation and terror. One man speaks for them, a hulking figure, shirtless and covered in tattoos and paint. "The wind of Pohjola speaks your intent! You will go no further, warrior of Asgard!"

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir just laughs loudly, using the currents of the air to carry the booming sound to the ears of the entire army. Finally. A /challenge/. He points to the apparent leader with his spear hand and says, calmly "You die first."

<@Nemi> Some are shaken. But whatever fear drives them onward is greater than even that; and so, with a roar, they charge as one, hurling themselves upon him with the frenzied fury of those who know a far worse fate awaits them for failure. But for all their twisted strength and numbers, they cannot stand against Gungnir, and the song of their massacre would be scorned by the winds. And so the sky weeps for their demise, a frigid rain falling from the blackened sky. The sons of Pohjola, bled and scattered across red-stained tundra in the shadow of the broken world-pillar. And beneath the tangled roots that gleam with veins of silver, a yawning hole awaits, rimmed by flecks of black sand. One maw of Tuonela.

<BobaFettuccine> And so, the sky-forged warrior strides forward, blood dripping off of him in ruby droplets, the only tears that would be shed for those who fell this day. Onward our hero goes, into the depths and the challenges that await him there.

<@Nemi> The passage to Tuonela is long, like stepping off the edge of the world. It places him into a vast desert, the sky night-black and empty, with but a single star winking overhead to beckon Gungnir onward. White gravel crunches underfoot; here and there, individual bones, skulls. Shadowy shapes, shades of the dead, wander aimlessly on toward unknowable ends, or sit, hugging themselves in lonesome oblivion. It is dead silent but for the bones crunching softly under Gungnir's feet.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir marches on. Following that single, twinkling star focused ever forwards and towards his goal.

<@Nemi> He marches for weeks, in this cold dead place. Perhaps the curse upon it obviated the need for guardians, for there is no battle here, no blood to be shed. But wait- signs of something approaching life, here and there. Sprouting from the bone-gravel floor are black flowers, more and more as he proceeds ever onward. At last he comes to the banks of a river, the water pitch-black and featureless, reflecting only the infinite darkness above. Lining the riverbank, black stones crusted with blood-red lichen- and here and there, blood-red swans, floating serene in the dark water. There does not seem to be a further bank. This must be the river Tuoni that Ilmarinen warned him about- but where is the Tuonenpiika, the ferrywoman?

<BobaFettuccine> He looks around and then shouts a single word, strident voice shattering the silence. There is no need for him to manipulate the air here. His voice carries across the endless plain of water and echoes softly. "Tuonenpiika!"

<@Nemi> At his cry, a raft drifts into view from some distant curve of the river, a black-clad figure guiding it with a long staff from which dangles a lantern. As it closes, the figure is revealed to be a thin, pale-faced girl, her dark hair shrouded by a patterned scarf worn about her head. The raft drifts to the bank just beside Gungnir, and the girl looks him over, seemingly eternally unimpressed. "You wear a lot of blood for a shade. Yet you're not one of the cast-out living. That's interesting." She manages to sound bored and amused at the same time, somehow.

<BobaFettuccine> He ripples and changes back to his form that looks mostly human out of respect for the ferrywoman. He bows slightly, "I am neither of those things. I am a spear." He says with a smile.

<@Nemi> "That explains that. You want to get something done, you send a tool." The girl leans on her staff, its length disappearing into the blackness below. And she actually smirks. "You came a long way. What do you want?"

<BobaFettuccine> "I must travel to Tuonela, I would humbly ask you to ferry me there across the river." He says, head bowed respectfully.

<@Nemi> "Why?" The important question. That the girl still looks bored tells him much; that perhaps this Death-Maiden prefers things to be made explicit.

<BobaFettuccine> "I must help a good friend, the child of Ilmarinen, to retrieve something that was stolen from them. I will find it in Tuonela." He says by way of explanation.

<@Nemi> "Nothing can leave Tuonela anymore. But you're in luck." The girl cranes her head a moment, and gestures with her hand to something swimming in the water- a serpent, ordinarily-sized. "Kill that snake. It swallowed an egg with what you need inside. But don't try to swim. It's an easy way to forget what you came for."

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods and aims his spear arm at the snake before rapidly extending it up to its full 12 foot length in an attempt to pierce the snake through its head.

<@Nemi> The sudden attack is like a harpoon- the snake is punctured, thrashes about and then is still, dangling from the end of the spearhead. The girl looks amused. "Well, that was simple."

<BobaFettuccine> Gun is a simple kind of guy. He slowly retracts his arm so as not to dislodge the prize at the end of it and takes the snake in his other hand. "How do I retrieve the egg? Am I to cut the snake open?"

<@Nemi> "Sometimes it really is as simple as it sounds. Feed the egg to the child of Ilmarinen. It'll return whatever was lost." The Tuonenpiika glances at the back of her hand, shrugs. "And I suppose I can send you back. All rivers flow to Tuonela, after all."

<BobaFettuccine> He once more bows to the Ferrywoman and says, "I thank you for your assistance." with the snake firmly in hand, he steps onto her ferry to be transported back to Sky-home.

<@Nemi> "Mmh." She pushes off, and they drift down the black, still river. Gungnir, sleepless though he may be, may find his eyelids grow heavy. All goes dark.. Until he finds himself awake again, at the dock just outside Ilmarinen's Sky-home. The girl is nowhere to be seen. The snake remains in his hand, dead, a curious lump in its midsection. It appears to be morning, by where the sun crests

<@Nemi> the mountain-line and sends scattering beams of light through the cool morning mists about the .. Valley. It's a valley here, this forested place, Gungnir may realize. A tongue of grey smoke wafts from the chimney of the log-and-bronze home itself. The forge remains glowing from its shelter nearby, fed by logs and the breath of the four winds, though it seems unattended.

<BobaFettuccine> He smiles as he realizes that he has, rather anti-climactically, finished his quest. And he had finished it successfully too! He walks up to the door and knocks politely.

<@Nemi> Anticlimactic, perhaps, but it certainly beats being bound up by a thousand nets woven by the son of Tuonetar. He truly was the right tool for the job. The door cracks open and Ilmarinen peers out- at seeing Gungnir, he brightens, and tugs the door open fully. Such a mundane action for such a legendary figure. "You're back!" He sounds simultaneously surprised and relieved. Behind him, Andrey (in his Sanctum hoodie), peers up from what looks like a wooden bowl of some kind of porridge with lingonberry jam. Tea steams beside him. ".. ohwow uh you made it did you, uh, find the thing?" Ilmarinen is actually wearing a shirt, though it is archaic and rustic in style, it is exceptional quality and looks pretty comfy and good on him.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir presents the dead snake, a proud smile on his face. "I did. There is an egg inside of this snake. The egg contains that which was taken." He says. Gun, is absolutely covered in dried blood as well, his hair more of a rusty brown color than blonde at this point, and his shirt was tattered to shreds. He steps into the home and goes to the end of the table that Andrey is not sitting at and he places the snake down there.

<@Nemi> ".. man. You uh, look like you went through a war," observes Andrey as Gungnir enters proper, amazed at the sight and vaguely afraid. Ilmarinen, however, doesn't comment on it- he produces a knife from somewhere, and promptly slices the snake open neatly and precisely. The hall is pleasant-smelling, with- oddly- the scent of coffee strong throughout the space. As Ilmarinen retrieves the strangely-clean silver egg from the snake's gullet, Andrey looks to Gun. "So uh.. what uh, do we do with the egg? And uh- there's coffee and uh, we got breakfast stuff too if you want some." Andrey MIGHT be in kind of a state of shock. Ilmarinen seems preoccupied by the egg.

<BobaFettuccine> "I did!" He says with a cheerful smile, "Well, I went through an army at least." At the mention of the egg he glances over to it. "Oh, I was told that you are supposed to eat it. And yes, I would appreciate some coffee. I find its taste rather bracing."

<@Nemi> "I.. wow. Uh.. wow. That's- crazy you'd uh, do that for me.. us.. thing." Andrey leans over to grab the copper pot and pours out a cup, before sliding it back to Gungnir. Ilmarinen, meanwhile, considers the egg a while longer, his mood going slowly more serious. Andrey seems to know what's coming, because he sets his utensils aside to take the egg in-hand. "So, uh.." "Whole," Ilmarinen nods. "Swallow it whole." Andrey contemplates it for a while. ".. well- I uh. You'll have to tell me the story, because that's uh, kind of .. man. A whole army.."

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir nods and sits down, draining the whole cup of coffee, heedless of it's temperature. After he has finished he smiles wide at Andrey, "It was glorious." Gun then recounts the tale for him, from start to finish. "Oh, that will make a good saga. Just wait until I tell Odin of it."

<@Nemi> "… yeah. Man. I wanna see Asgard. Stuff you were saying about it.." Andrey is just amazed by the whole story. And all the more apprehensive about the egg and its supposed contents. Ilmarinen, meanwhile, takes a seat at the head of the great wooden table, where he grabs a bowl of porridge for himself. He watches Andrey carefully, hopeful, eager (enough that his mustache ends have curled up, it seems), but not saying anything to push. Andrey glances one more time to the egg, tests its size, and then sighs. "Okay. Here goes." He leans back, opens wide, and tosses it down. The egg does not go down easily. He gags at first, coughs, slaps himself in the chest, then sits up to face the ceiling. That makes it go down easier- and he finally swallows it. A strange look falls across his face, some combination of puzzlement and queasiness. Ilmarinen watches, breath held.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir watches, breath not held because he doesn't breath, but he is ready to help in any way that he can should it be necessary.

<@Nemi> Andrey's green eyes slide up to Gungnir, and there's no look of recognition behind them. And to Ilmarinen now. "Oh.. Papa! I just had the- strangest dream, a witch turned me to a snake but I'm- okay. What am I wearing?" Ilmarinen, tears in his eyes, hurries over to wrap Ailikki in his arms, and she returns the hug with similar (albeit a touch more disoriented) enthusiasm. "Oh- Aile, Aile, I thought I had lost you," Ilmarinen whispers, as floral shapes blossom out of the metal frames holding the walls, suddenly casting the room into a gleaming vision of beauty. And Gungnir realizes that the children of Tuoni can be so very cruel, whatever happens. No wonder the Tuonepiika made it so easy..

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir frowns. Oh. Another friend gone. He had done this. This was his fault. Why? Why did all those that he came to care for leave him? He stands, his eyes misting over a golden color and a single, liquid gold tear rolling down one cheek. He then walks out the door and thinks. His joy quickly crumbling to a deep depression. He sits heavily on the grass and falls onto his back, staring at the sky. "What have I done?" He murmurs quietly to himself under his breath.

<@Nemi> Alone for now, but not for long. The reunion of father and daughter isn't long- or perhaps it was broken for worry for Gungnir, because Aile appears to kneel at Gungnir's side, Ilmarinen not far behind her. ".. what is the matter, Gungnir, son of Brokkr? My father told me that you did so much to help me but you.. you seem.. upset?" She really doesn't know, does she?

<BobaFettuccine> Gun's face just looks… defeated. After all of that, he had gone where Ilmarinen had told him. Wait. Ilmarinen, had he known? For now he ignores Aile's question and looks to the god standing behind her, still lying on the ground, he asks in a dull monotone. "Did you know?"

<@Nemi> ".. Know what?" Ailikki swivels up to follow Gungnir's gaze, to meet her father's. And he averts his eyes, his own mood fading. ".. I- I did not. I thought that- that was just some product of the memories she had left, not that.."
".. not what, papa?" Ailikki, perhaps picking up from Gungnir's distress, begins to look upset as well.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir slowly, wearily stands and turns to face Ilmarinen. "I sometimes wonder if it would not be better to give up this form and return to being a thoughtless weapon." He says, words seemingly unconnected to the current situation. "At least I made someone happy today." This last part referring to the god.

<@Nemi> "I.." Ilmarinen stares for a while. Aile, meanwhile, is hopelessly confused. And once again, as ever seems his role in the great drama of the cosmos, the sky-forger crumbles. ".. I'll find some way to- I'll find your friend. I promise you that, by all I am and all I stand for." Aile, meanwhile, grumps. "Nobody tells me /anything/.." And she stomps off inside, a stranger with the face of one of Gungnir's best friends.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir's only close friend that he has left if he's being honest. The others had either disappeared, or betrayed him. Other than Elspeth, but she was his chosen family, so she did not count. "If there is anything that I can do, do not hesitate to ask me." He says, his face, just tired. "May I… May I rest here awhile? I do not sleep, and yet… I am so tired."

<@Nemi> "Yes. Yes- I've spare beds. I used to get many guests.. And, come next morrow, I can at least give you your route to Asgard. Or back to Earth, or.. Wherever you wish to go." Ilmarinen actually looks crushed. Perhaps how he felt when everything he made was possessed by evil spirits, or when the Sampo was destroyed, his wife denied him, and countless other disappointments and failures. He leans forward to offer a hand up, for what good it would do.

<BobaFettuccine> Gungnir takes the offered hand and nods. "I will decide that when I finish resting. For now…" His voice trails off and he shrugs.

<@Nemi> ".. your Andrey must be in Tuoni now," Ilmarinen says, gaze distant for a moment. And then he heads inside, leaving Gungnir to his sorrow and his resolve. The door remains open for Gungnir whenever he wishes it.

<BobaFettuccine> Gun decides that outside is a better place for him, let the god have his time with his daughter. He sits down heavily and lies back, looking at the sky.

<@Nemi> It's a beautiful day. The sky is blue, kissed with bands of pink and orange near the mountains. Perhaps things will be different soon. Perhaps there's a way.

But not now.


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