1964-06-30 - Boreal's Tear
Summary: With Kelda's staff shattered and critical pieces of it lost at the time of her death, it's up to Thor and the Quartermaster of Asgard's royal Armory to outfit the warrior-mage.
Related: To Valhalla!
Theme Song: None
thor kelda 

With Kelda feeling more on her feet, Thor escorts the Lady Stormrider to the royal Armory. When a warrior dies with no family, their gear is secured by Asgard's warriors and stored by the Quartermaster— a positively ancient old Asgardian woman with grey hair (rare as ice cream, in Asgard) and many booming stories about a youthful /Odin/.

Showing her all due deference, Thor follows her into the armory, and once they're inside, he gestures at the many rows upon rows of arms, weapons, equipment, and trinkets.

"We should start by finding your staff, if 'tis here at all," he tells her. "Can you describe it to the spriteling?" he says, gesturing at a hovering blue light that flickers nearby, helpfully. "It will direct us to the proper location."

The trip alongside the Prince to the Armory allows Kelda a moment to consider options. There's a never-dying speck of hope in her heart that her original staff, aptly named 'Mellakaldr', survived after her death, but…that may be one caged bird that will sing on, never released from its gilded bars. The Quartermaster is given a nod held for a respectable number of seconds before she enters the room.

Indeed, the collection is extensive! She blinks, surprised at it — and then realizes that the time has passed for such a collection to be acquired. Thank goodness for the spriteling.

"It is a staff of spruce, smooth of haft. It is decoratively carved in the stylings of the Bronze Age Midgardians. A glaive, to be honest, more than staff," she admits with a little smile. "Its blade is of enchanted glacial ice and at the insert rests a blue garnet, spherical in shape."

The spriteling listens attentively, and bobs once. "I shall lead you there, Lord Thor, Lady Stormrider," the little blue speck offers— and then the world around them shimmers and goes watery, just outside of arms reach. It resolidifies moments later into what looks like another level of the armory.

"We are now on the twelfth level. Please follow me," it requests in a silvery, androgynous voice— and goes zipping along, leading them around several corners. If there's a filing system, it escapes both of them— gear is piled up hapgazardly, with no rhyme or reason. But the little sprite leads them to a bundle of equipment that should look quite familiar to Kelda— fur and leathers, armor plates, and a staff.

"I am sorry, Lady Stormrider, but when your effects were stored with us, the armorer was unable to repair your glaive. The garnet and blade were both missing. However, if there were any other items associated with your glaive when it was turned in, they are most likely here."

The warrior-mage kneels down in her robe and shoulder-hood and the silky skirt, slit at the sides in case of need for action, puddles about her. It's a graceful collapse and the sigh that escapes her breaks at the end. The staff, yes — she reaches out and brushes fingers along it.

"It is dead, my liege." Kelda speaks softly, as if to raise her voice would be to shatter the stillness of the Armory air. "Without the blade and the gemstone, I cannot utilize it to its full abilities. It cannot act as anchor for my casting. I am all the weaker for it." Everything else, the light armor and the plating, it's old. And she knows this too. The look she gives Thor is grieved from where she kneels. "I would have new armor in order to protect you, my liege. This cannot withstand the blows of much."

A hand appears in front of Kelda— offering her the clasp of a wrist as she mourns.

"Then we shall gird you anew, my friend, until your armor matches your resolve," Thor tells the woman.

"But 'tis not a task for me to do. We must see the Quartermaster again. She knows better than any what can be found in here."

The sprite leads them back to the Quartermaster, and the telling of the tale takes little time. She gives Kelda a narrow-eyed gaze of contemplation.

"Yes, yes. Normally I'm fitting scrap plate to boisterous young warriors who think they've earned their first long dagger. My Lord Thor was one of the last few full fittings I did," she says, clucking her tongue.

"Come along, Kelda Stormrider, and let us see what we can see."

They are brought into an antechamber which looks more of a dressing room, and the Quartermaster starts examining Kelda like a mother seeking a child's fever. She looks under eyelids, checks her palms, and even pinches one thigh unexpectedly. "Hemmph! Goodness, girl, I thought warriors of Valhalla ate well. You're skinny as a drumstick," she snorts. Though she moves with a shuffle, there's something in the old woman's posture that suggests she can shift when she needs to.

"A halberd, then," she declares. "We start with the weapons. SPRITE!" she yells, suddenly.

"Fetch me long arms! Halberds first, or anything like it," she orders the little buzzing light. Six of them zip off in hurried obedience!

Lady Stormrider seems to compose herself even as she takes the Prince's hand and he helps her to her feet again. She nods and a tendril of pale-flaxen hair slips from the dual braids she wears behind her shoulder to hang at her cheek.

"Yes, my liege. I shall defer to her knowledge." Thus, the warrior-mage finds herself under the scrutiny of the iron-haired Quartermaster.

The pinch at her thigh, beneath the skirting of the robe, gives her cause to utter a faint sound of surprise and glare with surprising force at the older woman. Any statement of recrimination and self-defense are lost beneath the commands given to the sentient werelights at her beck and whim.

"Pardon, my lady, but a halberd? I am used to the lighter of the long arms. I need one hand to cast at all times," and one delicately-fingered palm is outheld to accent as well as perhaps supplicate the Quartermaster.

"Bah!" the old Quartermaster snorts, slapping the hand away. "Then you should have taken up the dagger, or needlepoint!" she tells Stormrider. "A glaive you had, and I'm not of a mind to teach you to take up the subtle art of fencing. Keep a hand free to weave your magics, but when the time comes, you grip that weapon and put your back into it!" she says, swinging both hands at an imaginary enemy, and with great proficiency.

Thor covers his smile as the Quartermaster scolds Kelda. "One doens't fell a tree with a hatchet or strike one-handed with an axe!"

Two full racks of weapons are brought out, but the definition of 'halberd' is clearly a loose one. At least one of the weapons lookes more like a thorn-edged shillelagh, and one is made of crystal so breathtakingly fine that it must surely be ceremonial. "Pike— no, not a footman," the woman mutters, tracing her fingers along hafts more than looking. "Guisarme, no, the hooks, no, no—"

She stops and pulls a weapon from the rack and brandishes it at Kelda. It's a shorter spear, perhaps five feet long, but the blade itself is eighteen inches in length, a sharp triangle length with equally honed crossblades for extra rigidity.

"Fa'lasi's Partisan," the Quartermaster cackles. "Made for the runt of an ancient litter of the royalty of Muspelheim. Fa'lasi was short and sly, and his heated grip grew into this blade." She shifts her hands and flames— burning, hot flames— wrap around the spearhead, then vanish.

She tosses the weapon's haft at Kelda. "See how that balance strikes you, Stormrider! Fine enough to fling ice at your foes— better still to hold fire and frost in the left and right of your palms."

Kelda blinks at the old Asgardian, and despite the age alloting her respect, the warrior-mage mutters to herself, "You'd think I was but a gosling, for how you speak. Mind you, I was sent to Valhalla, not some land of the addlepated. I know how to wield a polearm." Of course, her quiet words are ignored. With restrained interest, she watches the collections of weaponry emerge. None hold an icicle's kiss to her Mellakaldr and inside, she still grieves for the shattering of the weapon. There are few things held closer to a mage's heart than their focus-staff.

The spear Partisan — Lady Stormrider catches it with the muscle memory of long use in the family of polearms. Immediately, she frowns and licks at her lips. "I am…uncertain, my lady. The element does not call to my magics. It is foreign to me. I am to be defending the Prince; I would have a weapon that creates symmetry in battle instead of opposition, balanced in mirroring though it may be. I do not wish to commit excess thought and risk an enemy breaching his guard. No offense, your highness," she adds, glancing to Thor and dropping her chin in a little nod. "I presume you grew to a warrior of great reknown."

What a wicked little twinkle in those glacial-blues.

"I taught Odin a thing or two," the Quartermaster tells Kelda. "And I'm not impressed with your little vacation to Valhalla, child! I'll go there when I'm READY, not because some goon gets lucky with an arrow in the thick of battle!"

She snatches back the spear, glowering and mumbling about a lack of appreciation among the youth of today.

The partisan is flung back at the racks and caught by the little glimmerings, put back carefully, and the old woman shuffles around to handle more of the weapons.

She turns and gives Kelda a speculative, sly look, and pulls down a weapon from the rack.

And what a weapon! Six feet tall from butt to speartip, and an axe only by the strictest sense of the word— the blades are arranged to resemble more a snowflake than a weapon, branching and branching again into two halves of a septagon.

"I have synergy for you then, child, if you're feeling -unable- to hold opposition in your heart and will. This is Boreal's Star," she says. The blade and stave are made of the same metal, a shifting cobalt and white in tone, and a single gemstone precisely the color of a storm-tossed sea sits in the middle. "The lineage of this weapon is ancient, and goes far beyond Asgard's walls. 'twas carried by a magess for some decades, until she dedicated herself to her studies anew."

"Water is yours to command— the oceans themselves will respond to your call. Make streams laugh, rivers rage. Open the heavens to flood the earth, if you like." She passes the butt of the ranseur to Kelda.

The Lady Stormrider, possessed of great mind and self-control, does not retort to the grumpy old Quartermaster. She keeps her tart comments behind her teeth whereas another Shield-Maiden may have smarted off and gained a swat for it. Oh, but the terrible things she thinks. It's not a lie if it feels like the air about her has dropped a handful of degrees.

Still, she can't hide the perk of her interest when the ranseur is brought out for show. She takes the weapon carefully in her hands, her eyes roaming up and down its length. Deftly, she feels for its balance points, tests its weight, and even gives it an experimental spin. Oh, it flows in her grip; it doesn't carry the sense of a sister, but rather a kissing cousin, still friendly enough to call as such.

"I doubt that I can bring it to its full potential, my lady, but this…this will stand in stead of my staff until I can locate its missing heart and edge." With the polearm in one hand, she adopts a stance of extreme comfort in its thin shadow. This, above all else, should betray her knowledge of its utilization. "Ah, yes. It will do," and she gives the weapon a fond look, reserved as it is. "I can feel the harmonies attempted within it. I will make you sing," the warrior-mage promises the ranseur, as if speaking to a sentient being. She brings her attention back to the Quartermaster and the eldest Prince, inclining her head to the first and then the latter. "My lady, my liege. I feel all the better for it thus far. My thanks."

"No warrior is complete without a weapon," Thor agrees, speaking up. "'tis not for us to shy from battle, even with our fists— but the proper blade makes the difference between a hero and a martyr."

"Aye, I'll have no martyr ghosts come to me," the Quartermaster remarks. "I'll die with a clean conscience, and knowing that none fell wishing their arms had served them better!"

The remaining time is spent equipping Kelda with armor to replace her stylishly dated gear. A chain split skirt and girdle for her belly and thighs. Sturdy, padded steel cuisses to be worn strapped to Kelda's bare skin. Skeletonized greaves, worn over boots. A mistmatched pair of vambraces, one for each forearm, and then a breastplate of fur and uru-steel that guards from collar to navel and flares pauldrons to protect her shoulders and upper arms.

Finally, a helmet— long wings that guard from brow to behind her crown, and slender mandibular guards which protect her jaw but leave her ears exposed.

"A bit light," the Quartermasters says, finally, looking unconvinced. "But serviceable enough for a light clash of blades."

Within the confines of her new armor, Kelda shifts about. She never released her hold upon the Star, not once during fitting, and it falls upon her to test the assemblage of the Quartermaster's choosing.

"I daresay it will take some time for me to get used to its weight, but I do not fear. Boreal's Star grants me the distance I need to evade the weaponry required to pierce it at close quarters. I may also add my own touches, enchant it further to prevent injury. I am of no use bleeding heavily on the field of battle." The fur about her breastplate is purely white, ermine in dreaming, and she touches it. Her small smile is truthful. "I am content, my lady and liege, as much as I can be given the circumstances."

"Bah! No lady of yours am I," the old woman wheezes— but she looks more than pleased by Kelda's quiet approval. "I am Angufra, amd I am your Quartermaster. Bend knee to young Thor, if it pleases you— I take honor in seeing you return from battle with sore muscles instead of piled upon a shield!"

"Now, both of you— get gone! I have work to do yet," the Quartermaster says, shooing Thor and Kelda along in that way the elderly alone can manage— not quite pushing them, but somehow still propelling both out of the armory.

The door *thunks* shut behind them, and Thor flashes a grin at Kelda.

"'tis good to see you girded and armed, Lady Stormrider. The appearance of war suits you better than pale unreadiness."

Indeed, summarily shuffled out and without giving Kelda another opportunity to properly thank the elderly Quartermaster for her time. She looks to the Prince from considering the closed doors of the Armory and it takes her a moment, but she does smile back, that enigmatic curve that manages to convey nothing more than formality. Not brittle, but fleeting, the touch of snowmelt in bright sun.

"I agree, your highness. I am at heart, I think, more at home in uru-metal and with my hand about a haft than anyplace else. Still, I should not galavant about in full readiness when there is no war to be had — and I have my fingerprints to place upon the armor. It is good, yes, but it needs…something more."

Even as she stands there, the Lady Stormrider places her free hand against the opposite vambrace. The uru-metal doesn't warp, but instead gains a faintly auroral sheen, as if the entire surface has the breath of thinnest ice. A craquelure even appears, organic fracturing like it is shattered but holds. "Hmm…perhaps as such. All an illusion, of course," she adds, meeting Thor's eyes again. "I would not warp the wend of the metal itself with cold. That is asking for it to shatter upon impact. I will do the rest within my rooms unless I am needed otherwise?"

"Aye, and a visit to the sparring grounds is most advised," Thor tells Kelda, nodding. "Make what marks you must upon your armament— 'tis yours now, and you will show it the treatment it deserves. But, test your skills against the blades and magics of our fellow warriors to ensure your armor does not fail you at an inopportune time," he says.

Thor offers Kelda a clasp of the wrist, grinning at the woman. "I'll see you soon, yet; the meadery, tonight, aye? We'll hoist flagons with our friends and celebrate battles past, and those not yet waged!" he offers. With that, Thor nods his head— after all, royalty doesn't excuse themselves— and moves to take his leave from Kelda.

The warrior-mage readily clasps his wrist, returning the shake with a firmness that belies her build.

"I intend to see you both at the meadery and at the sparring grounds, your highness. While I may not be able to match you in drink and celebration…" And she waits until he's turned his back, allowing herself another small smile, "I may yet match you in battle. Humor your Shield-Maiden and promise me a bout? I promise to not harm a hair upon your head. Her highness the Queen would think badly of me if I did. I suspect…your father may laugh if you presented yourself missing a length from it."

Thor pauses on his withdrawal, considering, then flashes a boyish grin at Stormrider. "A bout? Aye, but only on the condition you not hold back!" he tells her. "I care not what my mother might say about some bruises and wounds, but my /pride/ will be pricked most greivously if my own warriors fear to injure me upon a friendly field— not to mention my reputation amongst my enemies!"

Laughing, Thor waves and withdraws down the hallway, his boots thumping with each long step.

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