2019-06-01 - Destroyer of Underworlds


Fenris goes looking for Astryd and confronts Tammuz

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jun 1 03:48:04 2019
Location: Sumerian Underworld

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Fenris is not nearly as skilled as his Raven at walking the ways of the underworld, but he does have ways to get down there. Or rather, he knows Ways to get down there. The ones leading to relatively safe places in the underworld are few and far between but if he's going to find Astryd anywhere, it's there.

Or Tammuz. If anyone knows where his Raven is and why she hasn't come back, it's him.

The Sumerian underworld is a wreck. Deserted by its pantheon long ago, given over to encroaching realities, to formless horrors of the night, to a decay and entropy that goes even beyond death. Fenris walks these roads in his wolf form, stalking quietly along the paths. Even he dare not stray too far from them in this place. Not without a good scent. There are worse things than mad, murdered gods down here.

He's coming up on what he thinks should be the garden, though the lights are either dimmed or have been but out. Perhaps the garden was destroyed by the fire. Perhaps it moved. But the scents are starting to get familiar.

"Astryd?" The Old Wolf hisses into the darkness.

"Astryd, are you there?"

Astryd had warned them about straying from the paths. Even Fenris. The Underworld might be declined but deserted it is not. There are malevolent spirits that inhabit them.

When Fenris approaches the garden, he can see the remnants of the shimmering garden, the gazebo - or what's left of it - sits as a dark shadow in the distance. The trees though are burned and charred and the smell … well, that's wood smoke.

As Fenris hisses, he can make a form that's hunched over. Kneeling. Is that his Raven? It might be.

"Astryd?" He hisses again, coming into the clearing. It's dark enough that he's having trouble seeing. The darkness of the underworld isn't just in the lack of light. There's a magical aura that permeates the entire place and dims the senses even of the supernaturally acute. Consequently, other than scent Fenris has no clue what's on the other side of the clearing as he approaches the hunched over figure. Normally scent would be enough, but right now all he can smell is… yes. Smoke.

"Astryd?" The old wolf gets close enough to prod. Something is wrong, his instincts are telling him it is. But he's worried about his Raven and that always pushes him to be a bit… incautious.

The form shifts but doesn't answer. Out of the shadows behind it comes a towering figure - much taller than Fenris' Raven. "God Wolf." The figure booms. "Did you misplace something when you invaded my domain and took something that did not belong to you?"

The accent is middle eastern, deep and gravelly. A long dark beard covering his chin.


"Fenris…" That's Astryd. Her tone trying to convey the urgency of the situation. Tammuz's foot nudges her.

"Do not speak, Raven. This is between the God-Wolf and I now."

Fenris turns, four feet shuffling and glares at the earth god. "Tammuz. I retrieved something long ago misplaced yes. Or well, if you wish to be technical about it, two mortal thieves took it whilst I was busy being attacked by trees."

Fenris didn't touch the damn thing, you see. Technicality is the soul of law.

"And while I thank you for 'looking after' my Raven I've come to retrieve her too. There's no reason this has to involve any… unpleasantries."

The God Wolf has placed his rear quarters near Astryd, shielding her from the larger deity. Well, temporarily larger.

"Fenris." The earth god snorts derisively, watching the wolf as he positions himself. "Your Raven, hmmm. Not Odins?" Tammuz has to have heard the rumours. Surely.

"You took something of value to me." He rumbles and tsks. "Sorry, you aided others to something of value to me. Why should I not keep something of value to you?" He reaches down to tilt Astryd's face up, there's soot stains on her cheeks, her hair in disarray. "She would make a lovely addition to my court, don't you think?"

He's prodding the God Wolf.

"My Raven, yes. And that's a good question. Excellent question." Fenris says watching Astryd get 'handled' by the earth god. He can tell there was a struggle and she lost. He has no doubt that Tammuz will carry through on his threat to keep Astryd here in retaliation if he's allowed to. The god never quite got over being murdered by his wife so… there's that.

It makes a fellow a bit unpredictable.

"You might not want to keep something of value to me because I might bite both your hands off. You might also not want to keep something of value to me because I am I have a long memory and nothing of time to think of ways to make the simple act of existing supremely miserable."

"She would make a lovely addition to your court… but she's not staying."

Definitely a struggle that Astryd lost. She had drawn the garden, the trees and Tammuz away from the party. Giving them time to retreat. Fenris knows that Astryd wouldn't have done that unless she thought she had a way out. That she didn't means that something went wrong.

Very wrong.

"Very lovely. I'd have to tame her of course." Tammuz needles the God Wolf. He laughs loudly, the sound breaking the silence of the garden "Both my hands. You'd like to try wouldn't you?"

"And you would have an awful lot of time to imagine what I will be doing with her, won't you? And how you failed to retrieve her…"

Astryd snorts softly, from her place on the ground with God Wolf near by. "You can't keep me Tammuz. Others have tried and yet I found my way to my Wolfs side."

"And yet. Fate intervened to have you on your knees here."

"I took a hand from a better god than you when I was barely two hundred. Would you like to see all the inventive ways I've discovered to relieve troublesome beings of their limbs since then?" Fenris says baring his teeth. Astryd is potent, and stubborn. But given enough time here he has no doubt that Tammuz could carry through on his threat.

"Oh I'd have plenty of time. Perhaps I'd go find your wife. Ishtar. You remember her don't you? The two of you were quite in love. She's always had kind of a thing for me. Would you like to imagine all the ways I'm enjoying myself plotting with her to bring about your even further fall?"

Fenris steps slightly away from Astryd.

"I could teach her all manner of wonderful things about twisting and bending fate. Imagine what she could do… to you… with what I could teach her. And imagine how she'd enjoy learning it? You'd hate that wouldn't you? Her enjoying something like that?"

They'd warned the others not to mention Tammuz' wife. Fenris now pushes that button. A lot.

"Fenris has many inventive ways of injuring his foes." Astryd answers. Her voice is hoarse like she's been yelling, or something.

Tammuz growls and curls his fingers in Astryds hair, causing her to wince a little. She's still defiant though and looks to the old God. "And trust me, Ishtar would love her time with my Lord. His methods of teaching are … creative."

Pressing the buttons indeed. Astryd also deliberately called Fenris her Lord.

Tammuz growls and wrenches the blondes hair, pulling her to the ground.

"Leave Ishtar out of it…."

Fenris bites. Tammuz' hand is extended. He doesn't bite hard enough to relieve the god of his hand, but easily hard enough to puncture and make the the earth god bleed. He also retches the arm away. That's going to tear the skin and muscle something awful if he doesn't let go of Astry'd hair.

Once he's let go and set himself squarely between the god and the Valkyrie he glares and plays out some of his power, letting himself grow larger.

"Threatening to take your hands off wasn't an idle threat, Tammuz. Try me again. Go on…"

Tammuz actually yells as Fenris bites. The bite does tear skin, Tammuz's fingers reflexively tighten in Astryds hair before releasing. "How dare you."

Astryd sprawls as Fenris takes up position in front of her. Tammuz plays out his own power, the earth beneath the Wolfs feet starting to shake. "You are in my domain, now, Fenris. Don't try me …" A bolt of lightning strikes the ground near Astryd, singeing the God Wolfs coat.

"Raven, I shall name you Pia, come to me…"

Fenris begins to grow. His coat darkens. His eyes glow red. "Stay where you are, Astryd…" He snarls.

He looks at Tammuz, his gaze unblinking. Umoving. He takes a step forward, now at close to his full height. His coat smokes from where the lightning struck him, but he just bares his fangs.

"For behold, I am become Death, destroyer of worlds." The Old Wolf growls as he takes another thudding step forward. "You will never name my Raven. You will never again touch my Raven. And if you try to take her now from me I will drown the underworlds in fire and blood, starting with yours."

"And future generations of ghosts will wail that it would have been better for Ishtar to obliterate you once and for all than that you should have suffered what I/ will do to you…"

"Your Raven?" Lightning crashes around Tammuz, setting the gods hair and beard crackling. He looks wild and angry. "Do not mention Ishtar." He says fiercely. A sword appears in his hand and he takes a step towards Fenris. "Go ahead. Finish what you started." Lightning strikes at the God Wolf on those words.

Astryd rises to her feet, hair and eyes wild as well. "Come to me Warriors." she says lowly and Fenris feels it. The spirits that start to respond to her call. The ones that she directs in Tammuz's direction.

Fenris feels the dead respond to Astryd. In most corners of the underworld she can call them. The ones she has delivered to their final rest. There are few things more intimate to a mortal than the being that shepherds your soul to it's destination. How could they not answer.

He's not looking though. He's not watching. He just lunges to take the man at the chest and knock him down. His teeth are bared, snapping. Biting. Seeking the arms, the throat. Any piece of god-flesh he can to rip and tear.

Astryd is indeed a strange Valkyrie and Tammuz's eyes widen before going even more wild. As Fenris lunges, the sword swings and hits the big wolf. It will hurt him - just how badly is the question.

The wolfs fangs tear at the Earth Gods arms, drawing blood. Tammuz struggles, drawing more lightning to strike at the wolfs back just before the wolfs fangs close over his throat.

About the struggling pair, Sumerian warriors swell about them, their ghostly fingers plucking at the Earth Gods hair and clothes.

Fenris could probably end this … now.

Fenris yelps and bleeds. The sword has opened up a gash in his side. Fortunately there's precious lettle more chance to use it. Now he's in close. A knife would be better. There's no room to swing a sword when a wolf is trying to tear your throat out.

He presses his jaws tighter. Closer. Enough to just draw blood. And then he stops. "Yield." He growls.

Or he tries to growl anyway. With his mouth full it comes out more like 'Ylllfd.' These are the old ways. The beings that humans have worshiped in the past as gods are incredibly potent beings. The rules of conduct they drew up among themselves, written and unwritten, are all there to ensure that fights don't get too out of hand. That they don't drive one another to extinction in endless feuds and wars. That there is a chance for mercy and surrender with honor for beings amongst whom honor and ego are everything.

Yield. Yield and be spared. Or fight and feel his jaws one more time.

The lightning abates as Tammuz is beset by the God Wolf and the spirits. The sword clatters to the ground as the Earth God goes very still. "I yield … " it's begrudging but he's not fighting anymore.

The spirits press closer, Astryd not trying to control them or breaking her silence as Fenris fights.

"I yield … You can keep the Raven. The one that you stole. She's no more yours than she is mine." Tammuz couldn't resist the last jab.

Fenris slowly released his jaws. He's bleeding now. His fur is scorched and matted. Tammuz is bleeding too from several places and hurt worse. Fighting the God Wolf is a dangerous game and there are not many beings on Fenris' level who could carry it out alone. Still, this is dangerous. He's using most of his legend to bring this much power to bear, and doing that makes him… that much closer to the monster he is supposed to be.

"Raven, are you with me?" Fenris doesn't look back. He can't. Not yet. She'll see. He knows when she does, it breaks her heart. To see the madness of what he is supposed to become in his eyes.

As Fenris releases Tammuz, the spirits push closer, keeping the god down for the moment. Not that he stays there long, trying to crawl off as the God-Wolf struggles with he is.

"I am here, Fenris…" Astryds voice is hoarse and low. He can feel her hand on his shoulder. "Look at me … You are injured and I would see to your wound." It might break her heart, he's right about that, but as usual when this happens, she doesn't shy from it. "Let me see you …"

Fenris watches Tammuz crawl off for a long moment and then turns to face Astryd. She's right there. He shrinks down until he's more her size. His side his bleeding and the blood drips down his matted fur and onto the dark ground. His eyes are wide and wild with a madness and the fires of the end of the world. She can almost see the Allfather's snapped spear reflected in his eyes.

In these moments he is closest to the monster he convinced her that he didn't have to be. Closest to being the World Ender.

"Astryd…" He says, his own voice low and rough. Words fail him and he simply puts his head down and pushes it against her, leaning his weight on his Raven.

Astryd doesn't move as Fenris turns, just watches him, grey eyes cold and stormy herself. Her face is streaked with soot and dirt, hair wild and tangled. Her hair pin is gone - which means her sword and shield are missing as well. "You're here. You're with me …" she says quietly when she can see his eyes and the madness that exists within the depths.

The wound is concerning but it's not mortal and they'll be able to get assistance for that soon. It has to hurt though.

"This was your choice, Fenris. To pull on your power. That makes this different."

She takes a step back when his head butts against her, then braces herself as she wraps her arms about his neck and strokes that dirty, matted fur. "You came for me … " She whispers as they stand there.

"I'll always come for you…" Fenris says quietly, not moving his head. The wound hurts. It throbs. It's going to leave a horrible patch of fur that probably has to be cut. And it'll scar. He shudders and lets out a whining sigh. It's not often that he shows that kind of… vulnerability.

"I… I know I'm not… I know it's different. But it doesn't FEEL different, Raven."

Another sigh, a deep breath.

"I wasn't going to let him have you. Did he… touch you?"

"You're injured, my heart …" Astryd says stroking the wolfs ears when he whines. The only witnesses to his vulnerability are the shades that linger and they soon withdraw into the gloom.

"I wasn't going to let him have me, Fenris. We were just … negotiating." It's cold the way she speaks. So different to the tone she just used when speaking with him. "He was threatening to …"

Her cheek rubs against his fur. She's affected by his aura but not like others can be. "He wouldn't have wanted to. I think I was convincing him of that… He threatened to make me his bound Raven."

They should be going soon. She can lead them out if he can't open a Way.

"So he mentioned." And tried to carry through with it after Fenris bit him, likely in a fit of pique. The Old Wolf lets out a chuffing sound and finally shrinks down again to look like a man. His arms wrap around the Valkyrie and he hugs her.

He's still bleeding, yes. Rather noteably. And his coat is torn.

"Well he won't now. I don't think he'll be forgetting that any time soon." Fenris may have made an enemy. But he's also proven that he can win that fight if he needs to. And the number of gods who want to see him really cut loose? Almost zero.

"Can you make it to an exit? Or do I need to open a way…" He's going to limp. This will not be quick either way. They'll have ample time to talk.

"And you wouldn't let him." There's the faintest of smiles as he becomes the dark haired man. "I don't think so either." Something tells her that others think twice about that.

"I can find us an entry, after I retrieve my sword and shield. And then we can find our way home. I think there's a warm bath in our future…"

"I would never let him." Fenris says softly. "I would never let anyone do that to you."

Fenris has let her go off on her own. Just as she has him. But they always come back to one another. The wolf and the raven, both rejected by Odin, both determined to buck fate.

"Where'd he put it?" The Old Wolf looks around. That shield and sword are special to her and they're linked quite closely to her magically speaking. It's not a good idea to leave them laying around.

"Maybe a hot tub?" They DO have a hot tub after all. One of the perks of being old and rich.

"I know. It's why I return to you again and again." Astryd would let Fenris do that to her not that they've spoken about it, ever. "You were foolish, my heart, coming in here. The Underworlds are dangerous, even to one such as yourself."

She looks around, near where she was kneeling when he came in. He can see the sword, broken, under the debris of a tree. The shield isn't far there.

"A hot tub sounds … divine … my heart. Just don't be in your wolf form. The filters don't cope with it."

"Then we clearly need a more expensive hot tub." This is a joke that Fenris sometimes makes. That money solves all problems. Or at least that you can get humans to solve most of them. Filters. Humans have that right? Just need a more powerful vacuum on it. Or an incinerator. Or something.

The mortals will work out the details. They're clever.

"Perhaps I was foolish. But I wasn't going to leave you down here. The humans say love makes fools of all. Perhaps they're right. But fool or not… I could not leave you. It would bite and gnaw at me if ever I tried."

"Or we need you not to get in it in your wolf form." Astryd is a little more practical than Fenris, but they have money. Maybe they can get something made for them.

"I'm glad you didn't my heart, but I will also find my way back to your side." It might have taken a century or two. "Come, Fenris. I have my sword and shield, though my sword needs to be replaced. Let me get us home…"

"Or I could do that but where's the fun? I know you like it when I shake myself dry." Fenris knows exactly the opposite in fact. He knows that she does NOT like it when he does that. Which is of course why he's teasing.

He might still try to do it. Sneaking into the tub in wolf form while she tries to watch is fun.

"Lead on Raven." He's leaning on her. And he cannot wait to be out of here. Already the memory of the name that Tammuz tried to give her is fading. But the anger? He's not likely to forget that any time soon.

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