Torshael and Tayne's Story: The First Mission
Written in Collaboration with Myrror
Rather unsurprisingly, little Haiiro was the first up, which meant Torshael soon followed, still yawning, because Tayne was in no mood to be roused to keep him company so early. They'd figured out the food-preparation device the night before, but it still took a few minutes to remember how it worked, when it was so early the sun wasn't even up yet, then another couple to decide on an appropriate breakfast menu. As Haiiro wanted to try nearly everything, they settled on a rather patchwork sort of meal, but there would certainly be enough for all three of them.
Torshael took Haiiro and enough of breakfast for the two of them out onto the balcony that overlooked the canyon, intending to show him his first sunrise. To his bemusement, however, when light started filtering away the morning mists, it was not from the horizon. Rather, it came from directly overhead, as if the sun had never set, and now wasn't going to rise, but simply fade into existence at its apex. Haiiro, with no experience with sunrises, actually thought that rather fascinating, but Torshael just found it a little disturbing.
They stayed there, anyway, until the "sun", if that's truly what it was, was nearly at full brightness, slowly working their way through breakfast and waiting for Tayne to show his muzzle to join them. Before the Heat supernal managed that, though, Haiiro spotted Myrror approaching in the distance. Thanks to the foal's excellent eyesight, Torshael had enough time to take the dishes inside before the silver dragoness landed.
"Dark arrived late last night," she began without preamble, "and should still be resting, but I thought you should know. She'll be up soon enough, though, I'm sure."
"Maybe by then Tayne'll be up, too," Haiiro replied cheerfully before Torshael could say anything.
"Guess he needed his sleep," Myrror chuckled, "Is everything to your liking, while I'm here?"
"Very much," Torshael answered, flicking his wings more neatly closed over his back. "Though I confess, many things seem strange here."
"This isn't your normal world," Myrror said as she shifted down into a human form, "But what seems strange to you?"
"He thought it was really weird that the sun didn't come up," Haiiro offered, still looking up at her, no matter that she was much smaller now.
Myrror looked upwards, "Ohhh... it's stuck. I'll have to get Dark to look into that for this area. At least the brightening still works, I see."
" ... Would it not? Work, I mean?" Torshael asked, baffled. "It's the sun, isn't it?" Or wasn't it?
"It's not real," Myrror explained. "This place is too far away from any star to receive light from, but I like the feel of an actual sun. I wouldn't say it's an illusion, but...."
Torshael squinted up at the "false" sun incredulously, and Haiiro giggled at him. "Huh."
"What's this about illusions and suns?" a sleepy voice said from inside. A rumple-maned Tayne came padding out, blinking in the sunlight.
"The sun's not real!" Haiiro summarized, still taking a not-quite-annoying amusement in his bond's surprise.
"You go up high enough, and you'll hit the Barrier. Not literally, of course," Myrror said. "You'd be able to see what the 'sky' really looks like out here. Perhaps after you talk to Dark, if you have time."
"Could we?" Haiiro asked hopefully.
"If there's time," Torshael promised. "Where should we go to find Dark?" he asked Myrror.
Myrror pointed out the tallest peak in the distance, "That's Shadowpeak, Dark's home. She's not the only one that live there, her family and others, and her pets."
"When do you expect she'll be awake?" Torshael asked.
"Soon enough," Myrror said, "I can't just portal us like I did yesterday; I, myself, could teleport, but not with others. We'll need to fly there. She should be up by the time we reach it; it's a relatively short flight."
Torshael glanced back at his brother, and Tayne gave himself a vigorous shake, apparently blinking himself the rest of the way awake. "Do I have bed-mane, or am I presentable?" he asked, and Torshael smothered a laugh. Tayne answered with a glare, and a paw with claws extended run over his thick mane once, in a somewhat futile attempted at combing it into place.
"You're fine," Myrror chuckled.
The silver dragoness led the way, flying them high, but not high enough to completely obscure the strange land below. Torshael had flown over a lot of landscapes in their own realm, and he'd never seen one as varied as this, jumping from jungle to tundra to dusty hills to meadows-- and back again. It was like flying over a massive, patch-worked quilt. ::It's not really supposed to look like that, no,:: he answered his bond's wordless sense of curiosity. ::Usually it takes a lot longer to go from type to type.::
The flight was, however, over quickly, and then they were circling the highest part of the peak. They spiraled down along the steep sides, the mountain widening out as they did, until after two full revolutions a particularly massive, craggy hole in the mountainside finally revealed itself. Myrror landed first, and the supernals followed suit: the entryway was quite large enough for all three of them, and probably would have had room for Tayne in his larger form, as well, if he'd deigned to wear it. Haiiro, looking a little overwhelmed by the immensity of it, kept close to Torshael's paws as they stepped inside. Torshael's faint glow, now much more obvious, was the brightest source of light within for a long moment, and it shed light on-- nothing. The cave appeared to be empty.
"This is the foyer," Myrror explained, "Dark doesn't like to be disturbed at times. Once she knows we're here...."
Her voice trailed off as the walls gave a little shimmer, much like how Torshael remembered their own set of rooms had before settling into its current configuration, revealing not solid walls, but openings to tunnels and other rooms. This time he suspected it was the release of an illusion, rather than an actual change.
"Isn't it a bit early, Myr?" a voice asked from the murk, accompanied by footsteps in a darker corner of the main cave-- the foyer, as Myrror had called it. Torshael glanced at Myrror in mild surprise, half-expecting her to have moved: the voice sounded remarkably like hers. And, as the speaker came into the light, he looked between the two again, mildly confused, for she looked remarkably like Myrror, as well, right down to the strange eyes. The only difference was that the newcomer's clothing was black, while Myrror's was silver.
The Myrror-look-alike blinked several times at Torshael, blank and possibly dazzled in the light, but then her eyes turned to Tayne, and the blankness turned into delight and a squeal of: "KITTY!"
Between one blink and the next, Tayne found himself with the stranger clinging to his neck, face buried in his fur. He sat heavily, obviously startled, but managed to restrain his nearly-automatic swipe to free himself to a mere twitch. Torshael and Haiiro stared for a moment, just as startled, while Myrror chuckled, "This is Dark. I did mention that she liked cats, yes?"
"Oh," Torshael blinked, then broke into a slow grin, catching her amusement. "Oh yes. Teres mentioned it, too, actually." ::You should have expected it, brother! Teres even warned you!::
::She's a grown woman!:: Tayne exclaimed silently, leaning ever-so-slightly away from her. ::A grown woman just pounced me like a little girl!::
Dark finally let go, a big grin on her face, "Eheh, sorry about that. Sometimes I can't control myself," she said, "What can I do for you?"
"It's all right," Tayne said, still looking a bit pole-axed, and he gave himself another shake.
::How's it feel to be the one who gets the attention?:: Torshael asked teasingly.
::I don't know,:: Tayne countered, ::how does it feel to be the one ignored?:: Still, he answered her, "We're looking into that bunch of infernals who came through this realm from ours. The two who stayed behind told us you handled sending them out."
"Ah, yes, the infernals," Dark said, looking at them both this time. "Didn't think much of it, really, we've had groups of different species, dragons included. They seemed okay... I could sense the evil in most of them, but they were behaving themselves. Mostly. I found realms that would take them in, and sent them off. The first two that came here stayed hidden the whole time, they explained why afterwards." Dark paused, "I do have a list, but it's a bit disorganized, and there's one or two who's realms suddenly closed off afterwards." She muttered something under her breath, which Haiiro, large ears twitching, caught and shared: "To which I'm grateful."
"No matter how organized or disorganized, if we could see it that would be helpful," Torshael answered hopefully, putting aside wondering what realm would be so horrible that she would be glad they closed themselves off for another time. "We have simply been instructed to find as many as we can, and we need a few places to start."
"Of course, of course," Dark said, turning around, "If you could follow me, I'll lead you to my office... I should be able to find the list there."
"Thank you very much, ma'am," Torshael told Dark, falling in behind her readily. He was ready to shift to a smaller body if the corridor she led them to happened to be too small for him, as he was, but the hallway was large enough and then some. Haiiro trotted easily beside him, hooves chiming like miniature bells on the stone floor, while Tayne brought up the rear, if Dark would let him, still not quite sure what to think of being pounced.
They stopped at a door, which, unfortunately, was human-sized. Torshael, after a split second of indecision, went with his human form rather than simply changing his size. Having hands might be helpful. Suitably changed, he followed her inside, and was immediately impressed by the many things in it, so much that it appeared rather cluttered. There were technological wonders, computers and various things attached to them, and magical devices, scattered on the desk and tables, and there was paper everywhere. The very air felt magical.
Dark fell to sifting through the papers, muttering to herself. "Ooo, Bipedra again. I'll have to let Turguin know, see if he's interested," Dark said at one sheet, then dropped it in favor of another. "Valentine Frenzy? Oh, Elefa wanted to go to that, be good for her to stretch her wings. No, that's my leagus list. Infernal, infernal, where are those infernal infernals?"
Haiiro, who had never heard "infernal" used as an adjective, giggled.
"You must be very busy," Torshael commented, looking around again while she searched.
"I can be," Dark said, "When one's immortal, you find things to keep you occupied. Gets dreadfully boring otherwise." She picked up a piece of paper, "Aha, here we go! Not a complete list, and not by name mostly, but it does tell what land they're from."
Dark handed Torshael the list, which was handwritten, and while it gave a name or two, most of it was written as "Black and Red Infernal, went to Kynn." Or, slightly more amusing, "Green Infernal, went to Aven-whatever. I think." There was also one that was scribbled out so as to be incomprehensible, with "Lousy Bastard >.< " written next to it. With the emoticon and everything. Torshael squinted at that one, trying to make it out.
"May I ask-- why is this one crossed out?"
Dark looked over, then glanced at the paper. A frown crossed here face, and she asked, "You hear of any half-infernals?"
"Yes, actually," Torshael blinked. "That's why we came here, in fact; we heard this is where they were from."
"Indeed," Dark said, still frowning, and poking at the scribbled out name, "That's the father."
"Oh." Another blink, and then the name and the situation fell into place. "Ooooh, you're that Dark!"
Dark winced a bit, nodding, "Yes, I'm that Dark. Can we talk about something else? Like, any other infernal?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry," Torshael hurried to say, but he had another topic ready, anyway. "I actually had hoped you might have some insight into-- the ones who live here."
"Dulrthir and Thelagb," Dark said, "Dul's off travelling, but Thel's around, if you'd want to meet him."
Momentarily confused, as those weren't the names Torshael remembered, he began, "Are those--"
"The hybrids," Tayne supplied, sitting just inside the door, with Haiiro leaning against his forepaws. "Teres mentioned Thela-- Thel--" Tayne gave up trying to fit the strange syllables to his feline tongue. "Whatever his name was. Remember?"
"He should be around. Watch out for Horrid, he's playful," Dark said, "Wicked's rather nice, and you might have met Darkess already." Dark moved out of the office and back down the hall, leaving the rest to trail after her, baffled by the strange names: horrid was playful, but wicked was nice? Torshael wasn't at all sure how to move the conversation where he'd intended his question to go, because she was continuing: "Ontainde's out, as usual, him and Chance are off fighting evil somewhere. And beware the Chibis...."
"Chibis?" Tayne repeated blankly. "What's a chibi?"
The question didn't get an answer, except another cry of "KITTY!" This time in stereo.
Before anyone could do more than stop in their tracks, before they could even look around, Tayne was once again pounced, though this time it was by two people. One looked like Dark in every way, except size: she was half her height, and actually looked more childlike like her height suggested. The other was a bipedal silver dragon, the same height as the other, wearing nothing but a black trench-coat, though she didn't seem like she needed anything else. Both were giggling and snuggling on Tayne, who looked once again as if someone had just smacked him on the back of the head with a wooden plank. Torshael put his hand over his mouth to hold back a laugh. Haiiro didn't bother, giggling openly at the sight.
"I take it they like cats, as well?" Torshael chuckled to Dark.
"Indeed, they do take after me in that aspect," Dark said, looking amused. Finally the two let go of Tayne, still giggling like the little girls they looked like. Now that he was no longer startled by their presence, Tayne responded by growling playfully and butting the nearest, the human-looking one, in the middle with his muzzle.
"Chibi Dark, or Chi," Dark nodded to the one that looked like her. "And Chibi Shadow, or Sha," Dark said of the silver dragon-child. The warning about "chibis" now made sense. Tayne gave her a nuzzle in the belly, as well.
"Dark, what about Ahraosa? Is she around?" Torshael asked, trying to get back to the topic he'd tried to ask about moments before.
Dark stopped, an eyebrow raised, "What about her? Didn't you already talk to her?"
Thinking fast-- since he'd already thought of that, anyway-- he explained, "Well, I... rather upset her yesterday. I didn't mean to. I thought, if she were up and around, I should... apologize, before we leave."
"And besides," Tayne added with a narrow-eyed look at him, "he can't figure out what to think about a white infernal. Who is so obviously not evil it's disturbing."
"Don't know anything about white being special, smaller perhaps," Dark said, "There are a couple others listed on that paper, but they're white-reds. Ahra's the smallest I'd seen, and from what I could gather, she wasn't ever entirely evil." She paused, "I can only guess that when she was hit with a purity wave, it purified her of what evil she did have...."
"White is special where we come from," Tayne said dryly, still watching him. "So he seems to think it ought to be with our opposite element, as well."
"Besides, I've just never heard of Purity actually cleansing an infernal," Torshael said doggedly, still perplexed by it, and trying to ignore Tayne's watchful look. "I've destroyed them with it before, myself, but never cleansed them."
"Oh, I'm sure it's the same thing," Dark said with a shrug, "Just that with most infernals, once cleansed, there's nothing left. Hence, destroyed." Dark shrugged, "As for apologizing to her... she's rather afraid of supernals as a whole. Going back right away might just scare her again."
"I just thought it might help, a little," Torshael muttered, looking down and feeling foolish, now.
"Just leave the poor thing be, brother," Tayne suggested. "We've got places to go, now, anyway."
"And, from what I heard, it's the Pitch Blacks that are the rarest of the infernals," Dark said, "I've never seen one, though, I heard they're huge, though."
"That's true," Torshael admitted with a little shiver that sent his feathers to fluffing. They'd never met a pure black infernal, and he, at least, hoped they never did. "I've heard stories about blacks. Our father had to go against one, once."
"Almost didn't come out alive," Tayne finished grimly.
"The fact he did is impressive in itself, though I'm only going by what I heard," Dark said, "If you want, I can ask her things, while you continue your investigation, and then we can meet later?"
It wasn't quite the same as actually talking with her, but it was better than nothing. He might not be able to try and prove to her that supernals weren't inherently bullies, but at least he might be able to get some information for those who fought them regularly. "If she would agree, that would be a good idea."
"I'll do it as soon as I get a spare moment," Dark said, "Which shouldn't be too long, if nothing else comes up. I have a place to build for Kiklopi, but as she's going to be standing at the Destiny, she's staying at my room in Star City at the time. Did you want to speak with Thel any?"
"Thank you, but that won't be necessary," Torshael shook his head gently. "I think we're only supposed to be concerned with those who came directly from the realm of the High One, not those who were born here."
Dark nodded, "If there is anything else I can do?"
"I don't think so. You've done a lot all ready. Thank you."
The three of them took their leave, Tayne with another round of hugs from the cat-lovers, to ponder their options in their currently free room, and later, hopefully, to find some images for teleporting. They had quite a task ahead of them, and it was about time they got down to it.