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Prose Equus 15: Divine Arms.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 02:14:53 PM

  1. =Prose Equus 15=
  2.  
  3. >The halls of Asgard royal palace welcome those from all corners of the Nine Realms on their business to see the All-Mother. King Aspen of the Deer of Alfhiem was present not two days ago and the emissary of the Ever Burning Queen was seen all the way form Muspleheim. The Fog Lords of Niffleheim had been reported among the halls, but they were an ephemeral and transitory sort.
  4. >One whom was not welcome in the Golden Realm it seems was No-Name, Lord of Drunks and King of the Functioning Alcoholics. At least not with these blasted golden halls being so bright.
  5. >You wordlessly groan as you make your way through the halls to the front of the palace, leaving breakfast behind before you threaten to vomit on the table.
  6. >The revelries for Princess Mjolna’s return were…more than you were used to and you were still feeling the effects a couple days later.
  7. “Did that rock troll have two heads or…?”
  8. >Your hazy ponderings turn to stabbing white pain in your head the minute you reach the outdoors and a crack of thunder spikes through your skull.
  9. >Hands to your ears, you nearly drop to the floor and lean against a wall as the thunder pushes every conscious thought out of your head.
  10. “God…d-dammit…” you mutter.
  11. >Your vision spins and the world inverts on its axis as someone lands on the ground next to you.
  12. >”Anon? Anonymous, are you okay?!” they call.
  13. >This was no time for your reputation, so you keep it simple.
  14. “Hangover…thunder…head…”
  15. >”Oh crap!” she says. You see her reaching for something on her belt out of the corner of your eye before something cold and silver is placed to your lips.
  16. >”Drink this!”
  17. >You feel a burning liquid force its way down your throat before the world goes black.
  18.  
  19. >The blackness blurs away at the edges of your vision as you slowly return to consciousness, finding Princess Mjolna standing over your head looking down on you. Concern plays in her eyes.
  20. >”Anon, are you alive?”
  21. >You cough. Your throat seemed dryer than the Badlands suddenly and your blood was on fire, but your mind was clear and focused.
  22. “What was in that.” You gasp out.
  23. >Mjolna rolls her eyes and grimaces. “It’s…better if you don’t know, but it should have cleared your hangover!”
  24. >You cough a few more times and sit up on your way back to the living. You feel your blood pounding and your eyes bugging out a bit, but your mind registers everything it did not before. The blue of the sky, the soft clouds sliding by overhead, the golden light coming off the palace walls that no longer hurt to look at.
  25. “…It seems it has.” You say.
  26. >”And you are most welcome for that!” the princess jovially answers.
  27. >Your heart begins to calm as you push yourself to your feet.
  28. “So, is that it?”
  29. >You nod to the mallet on Mjolna’s belt.
  30. >”Mm?” she wonders, as if barely noticing it was there. “Oh, right…yeah, this is it.” The old birthright.
  31. >You’d seen the Mjolnir up close, but not in the possession of its master. Just by how she spoke, it seemed that the two were extensions of one another. Mjolna noticed Mjolnir like you would notice you had an arm.
  32.  
  33. “Looked bigger on the ground.”
  34. >Mjolna playfully hits your shoulder, amazingly not dislocating it.
  35. “You didn’t have it when we returned here, what changed? And what are you wearing?”
  36. >Mjolna rubs her foreleg a bit. “Mother…found it and returned it.”
  37. >That wasn’t sinister at all.
  38. >”And I’m wearing a royal raiment you tool! A princess of Asgard has to look the part.”
  39. “Ah. I just thought Loki was vain and liked to look important.”
  40. >”I mean yes, but…”
  41. >You and Mjolna share a laugh. You liked this feeling, she was easy to get along with in a different way from Baldur.
  42. >”So, what’s on your agenda for today, Anon?”
  43. “I hadn’t given it much thought considering I couldn’t think.”
  44. >”Well-“ Mjolna starts, as the hammer on her hip flies up next to her head on an invisible string.” -how about you come take a look at what I can do with the proper tools? You saw me use my hooves, are you ready to see me when I’m REALLY showing off?”
  45. >You put your hands on your hips and puff your chest a bit.
  46. “I think I’d like to see you try and impress me, young lady.”
  47. >Fire flashes in Mjolna’s eyes. “Great! Come on, I know the perfect spot to-“
  48. >”No.” calls the voice of supreme authority.
  49.  
  50. >Mjolna rolls her eyes and groans heavily, turning to face the Queen of Asgard that had appeared behind you both. “Here come the fun police, right on time.”
  51. >The Queen remains stoic. “That I allow you to speak to me in such a manner should be evidence of my limitless mercy.” As a punctuation point to that sentence, Mjolna’s hammer flies from her to Sleipnir and sits.
  52. >”Hey!” the daughter cries.
  53. >”Hush.” The mother responds with an added glare. The moments pause she buys is used to explain further. “You will accompany to the Vault where I will use the Twilight Anvil to alter the enchantment upon thine hammer to ensure the…MISTAKE that resulted in you so carelessly losing it never occurs again.”
  54. >Mjolna scrapes her hoof on the ground. ”Don’t just take my hammer and do magic to it without asking!”
  55. >”I could take YOU down to the anvil and rectify the flaws in you, if you wish.”
  56. >The pause of the Queen’s threat silently sizzles between the two until Sleipnir turns and walks back inside the palace. “Come, the both of you.”
  57. “Why do you need me?”
  58. >She doesn’t answer you, Mjolna does.
  59. >”Let’s just get this over with. It’s best not to fight her when she’s like this unless you want to be turned into a house plant.”
  60. “Has that happened?”
  61. >”It has, and I was the one who had to water Baldur twice a day.”
  62.  
  63.  
  64. >The Queen leads the two of you through the palace to the throne room and a three-cornered marking on the floor. She orders the room sealed before having you stand on it so you knew it was serious to some degree.
  65. >A light not entirely unlike the Bifrost emanates up from the marking once Sleipnir stands upon it and you have the sensation of falling forever through a field of infinite refractions of yourself, though you know your legs have not moved.
  66. >The spiral into the infinite stretches before you and warps your vision before depositing you at the top of a staircase from a triangular portal at your back.
  67. >You shake your head and snort.
  68. “I think I may still be hungover…”
  69. >Mjolna laughs next to you. “Yeah! It’s like that your first time. You should see Pitios.”
  70. >”Do not wish for any to see the Prison of Angles, Mjolna.”
  71. “Where are we?”
  72. >”See for yourself!” the princess says, extending her leg.
  73. >You look down the stairs into the room you now occupied to see it stretch out before you. A simple path lead deeper into the room from the stairwell with stone dais’ placed periodically along the sides. Above each dais rests a single weapon of immaculate design and beauty stretching out along the entire path.
  74. “Where…are we?”
  75. >Mjolna hops down the stairs while Sleipnir continues her trek, you continue your stunned examination of the room.
  76. >Your eyes drink in the sights; Neighponese style longswords and glittering maces. Towering shields and scepters that spark with magic even now.
  77. “This is amazing!”
  78. >Mjolna offers a giggle back to you. “Mother, if you don’t tell him, he’s just going to keep gushing.”
  79. >The All-Mother stops and looks back to you. “You are in my vault, where the royal Armiger rests. Each of these arms from the first to the last has brought peace and order to the Nine Realms through the destruction of our enemies. This is where the Gods keep our tools of war.”
  80.  
  81. >You point to a shuriken the size of your own massive torso that seemed to be made of silver wings and polished moonlight.
  82. “What’s that one?”
  83. >The Queen answers after pausing in her path, she glances over to you. “Ishtar. Once an angel ran across all creation from me and hid behind the sun, I had to pull it down to retrieve her and I made them both into that.”
  84. “The SUN?”
  85. >Sleipnir shrugs. “I put it back.”
  86. “Amazing…”
  87. >”The history of Midgard and our own is deeply intertwined, even if you are not wholly aware of it. The Argus you hunted, at the mountains you mortals call Celestial Ridge?”
  88. >You nod.
  89. “The ridge Canterlot is built on.”
  90. >Sleipnir nods to a towering war maul, blackened with use and adorned with metal fists as ornamentation on all sides. “In life, the colossus Asura rampaged across the lands, leaving mountains where he set his feet. That was one of the last before he was done away with.”
  91. >You picture the Celestial Ridge and imagine the size of such a creature.
  92. “How?”
  93. >”Banished.” She says. “To an infernal realm where he was beset by demons for ten thousand years. When I returned to that place, I found him slain and his burning blood ignited the land. I stripped him of his golden flesh and forged it into a weapon in the fires he made.”
  94. >You glance over the collection of weapons, each seemingly once something that shaped the world you grew in and now serving as the final monument to those titanic creatures.”
  95. “What about that one?”
  96. >You point to a greatsword taller than you were with jagged metal teeth running down one side like a chainsaw.
  97. >Again, Sleipnir answers. “Ragnar. A raging beast of a warrior from long ago ages past. He slew so many that the mortals believed him to be either divine or demonic. I grafted his teeth onto the blade after I fell him, they move when swung, the result of his anger I believe.”
  98. >That was LITERALLY the coolest thing you’ve ever heard.
  99.  
  100. >You point to every other you can as you pass. The Neighponese sword, the towering shield, a dual sided blade.
  101. “Those?!”
  102. >”Yamato, Arahabaki, Ardhanarishvara.” She replies.
  103. >You lack the words to formulate how you’re feeling.
  104. “Gesundheit.”
  105. >Sleipnir meets eyes with you and lets out a single mirthful snort.
  106. >”Did you just make her laugh?!” Mjolna exclaims with her jaw dropping.
  107. “You don’t understand, Princess.”
  108. >”Yes, I don’t.”
  109. “You’ve used one weapon all your life, I’ve studied everything I can in mine! Seeing so many finely crafted pieces of storied arms here is…exhilarating.”
  110. >Mjolna stifles a giggle. “You sound like Tyr.”
  111. >”That would require your brother to enjoy things in his life, dear.”
  112. >Angels must be getting their wings because a joke was the last thing you ever expect to hear from the Queen, but Mjolna laughs all the same. All-Mother watches her daughter chuckle even though minutes ago she was quite literally threatening to pound her into a new shape with her own hammer.
  113. >You feel the closeness between the two, despite their conflicts, at least as close as the Queen could be.
  114. >”No-name’s enthusiasm for his craft is…appreciated. I relied upon it enough to drag you back here.”
  115. >”Only because you were too lazy to get me yourself.”
  116. >”I deigned to reserve my strength for retrieving your hammer, fool girl.”
  117. >That insult doesn’t catch as the three of you continue to walk past a large intricate crossbow.
  118. “How about that one.”
  119. >Sleipnir pauses and lets a small smile tug at her mouth. “Temperance.”
  120. “What’s its story?”
  121. >”None.” She says to your surprise, turning back down the path. “It was a gift, from my oldest friend…”
  122.  
  123. >As you reach what you presume is the center of the grand vault the three of you were in, you behold an anvil sculpted from the blackest moonlight upon a raised platform.
  124. >”Come, Mjolna. We shall reshape the enchantment upon the Uru and you may continue with your duties.”
  125. >”This won’t mess up my form, will it?”
  126. >”Not if you are as practiced as you should be.” You hear Sleipnir say as your foot catches something.
  127. >You glance down at what you tapped into. The tip of your foot rests on something solid, yet is clearly past the edge of the path you walk over the abyss at your feet.
  128. “…What?”
  129. >Enough time around Twilight has made you at least somewhat aware of invisible paths, so you mentally calculate the trajectory of the unseen stone to where it would logically rest.
  130. >At the edge, before the abyss, you see the shape of an outlined mass. Your foot moves forward to get closer and hopefully see what the shape is.
  131. >The darkness of the vault slowly recedes as you make your way closer, making out the edges of a guard and the sharp point of a blade in a sheathe.
  132. >You feel almost hungover again as you move towards the hidden sword, as if it drew you towards it like the fresh air drew your unconscious mind for the promise of freedom from your vice-grip of a headache.
  133. >Just when you begin to make out some details, a great white coat steps in front of you and an ornate eyepatch meets your gaze.
  134. >”STOP.” Commands Sleipnir.
  135.  
  136. >You stumble back.
  137. “Your Highness-!”
  138. >She steps forward, clearly upset. “Do you do this to all whose guests you are, No-name? Wander through their homes unpermitted to examine their private affairs?”
  139. “I didn’t-“
  140. >”YOU WILL NOT. LOOK. AT THAT. BLADE. Is that understood?”
  141. “I was drawn to-“
  142. >Fury sparks behind the All-Mother’s eye. ”Undraw thyself, warrior! The blade that sits upon that pedastle is never to be wielded again, by anyone. If you are “drawn” to it then perhaps Pitios is where you truly do belong-“
  143. >”Childre, CHILDREN!”
  144. >Mjolna flanks you and pushes herself between you and her Mother, standing on her hind legs and keeping you both separated from each other with her forelegs. She looks to the Queen. Mother. He does not know what you’re talking about, nor the source of your anger. Perhaps, if you inform him, he will understand.”
  145. >Sleipnir glares at her daughter and shifts her withering gaze to you, then snorts. A deafening silence fills the still air save for your own thundering heart. “You will hear this once and that will be the end of it.”
  146. >You nod.
  147. “Yes.”
  148.  
  149. >Queen Sleipnir takes a long, deep breath. “It is called Mistletain. It is locked away due to the danger it poses.”
  150. “What danger is that?”
  151. >“If ever unsheathed, it will bring about the end of the world.” She says matter-of-factly.
  152. “…How?”
  153. >”Anon-“ Mjolna starts.
  154. >”Because I once used it to end the world.” Sleipnir says. She continues speaking after that bombshell silenced you. “Magic is…a curious thing if enough believe in a thing, the thing will become what they believe.”
  155. >Sleipnir nods to the black blade. “This one grew beyond control. The old world was ended by its blade, now it hungers for the flesh of the new.”
  156. >Sleipnir ushers the two of you back to the central platform, the darkness overtaking Mistletain again.
  157. “It’s hard to believe I’m standing among things so mighty…”
  158. >Each of these arms made Mjolnir look like a simple mallet.
  159. >”Power requires sacrifice, No-name. If one cannot offer it…it will be taken.”
  160. >You chew over the Queen’s words in your mind. To grow stronger, you had to sacrifice effort to work. To grow wiser, you sacrificed time to learn. In sacrificing your own life to save Equestria, you had been given a way to transcend the mortal coil and return mightier than ever before.
  161. “Yes, I understand…” you say.
  162. >”Good.”
  163. >Queen Sleipnir climbs the platform to her anvil. “Because that is where you will next go.”
  164. “Your Highness?”
  165. >A star erupts within the anvil as Sleipnir looks down at you. “This vault is filled, but not full. Over countless millennia, relics with a place here have been lost to the realms beyond, Midgard among them. By your actions have we begun policing the mortals, and so we must retrieve these artifacts before they may cause harm.
  166. >You think of the troublemakers and villains you’ve dealt with or seen over the years getting even one of the items in this room and the effects that could have on the home and ponies you love.
  167. >Heart fortified and Mjolna beside you wearing the same expression, you look up to the All-Mother.
  168. “Where do I start?”
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