• Published 16th Apr 2012
  • 3,691 Views, 114 Comments

Long Way Gone - DiscordsAdvocate

A story loosely based on Outland, crossovered with MLP: FIM.

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Chapter 4

Several grammar errors were successfully ninja'd away by frieD195

It didn’t take long for the doctors to patch up Darius’s wounds. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna instructed the doctors on how to heal a Newman. They knew their physiology. A few adjustments to the healing spells and a few additives to the healing potion; and he would make a full recovery next morning.

Thankfully, Nurse Redheart kept Darius updated on Dash’s situation. Unfortunately, Dash needed more work. Dash’s ribs were cracked, though it looked like they had just recovered from being broken. Darius explained his healing magic was responsible. But there was some minor organ damage that had to be fixed. Some potions made by somepony named Zecora will take care of that. And of course, her wing was hurt from her fall, but nothing serious. Two days rest for Rainbow Dash.

That evening, Darius couldn’t sleep. He sat on his bed but wouldn’t lie down. There was too much on his mind. His thoughts were interrupted when the two Alicorns entered his room.

They brought in tea. A nurse brought in his dinner and left them to speak. Both ponies sat across from him and used half his bed as a table, seeing as he was sitting cross-legged.

“We are glad Dash will recover. We saw her earlier but she was asleep.” Celestia informed. “Here Darius, you haven’t lived until you have had Pearl Grey tea.” Celestia served Darius a cup.

He sipped and prodded his food with the spork.

“Your mind is troubled.” Luna could tell.

He just nodded.

“Understandable. But before we decide what must be done next, Darius, I would like you to tell me how your people have fared since the Ley Lines destabilized, what happened during your fight with the Wyrm, and what are the extent of your powers?” Princess Celestia calmly asked. “And forgive me, but do you mind speaking in our tongue to do it? It’s good that continue to practice it.”

With that encouragement, the Newman chanted an abbreviated version of his people’s history sense the two left. Tribes, then small provinces, and now a united council. Then he told of his battle with the Wyrm. This wasn’t a pleasant story, but it was crucial for Luna and Celestia to assess how strong Entropy had become. Then came Darius’s description of his powers.

An Avatar can learn the magical talents of other Newmen, though to a limited extent. He could never be a master of any save his or her original calling, which for Darius was metalworking. Yet Darius excelled in skill alone in their arts of parkour and fighting. He had to. But the real power of an Avatar was they could briefly combine the powers of Light and Dark to achieve great feats; called ‘Joining’, which was exhausting to maintain. So far Darius learned only one Joining spell that made him incredibly fast and strong for as long as his vitality can hold it. It was his only asset against the Wyrm. He was told Avatars can learn other Joinings but he didn’t have time to explore this.

“Incredible! For the past two thousand years your people have been holding the Wyrm at bay?!?” She asked amazed.

“I suspect these Avatars are like creation’s immune response as a result of its meddling.” Celestia postulated. “If I recall, your people fought with us to suppress the Wyrm. Now without us, your people evolved to handle It yourselves.”

Except he didn’t handle it. “I’m sorry I was the first to fail.” He sighed.

Luna put a front hoof on his hand. “Do not despair. If you failed, the Ley Line would be gone, and so would we.”

“However, we have done some thinking on this and have decided a new course of action should be taken in dealing with Entropy.” The princess of the sun smiled.

Darius looked forward to hearing this. Certainly the Goddesses could handle anything.

“It’s time to end this cycle of fighting between us and Entropy.” Luna added.

“Yes sister. And Darius, we are going to teach you a new joining to aid you in this. And the Elements of Harmony will help you learn it.” Celestia softly smiled.

“I don’t understand.” He replied. “What are these elements and is it possible for me to learn the magic of pony-kind?”

Celestia finished her cup and explained. “I believe it’s very possible.” She let that settle in before continuing. “As for the elements, you met them when you first came here. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity, Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy each embody an Element of Harmony. The magic of friendship.” She smiled.

Now he was at a loss. “Will this magic be enough to destroy the Wyrm for good?”

Princess Luna thought a moment before answering. “It will make a difference, we assure you. It defeated Discord and changed me when I was Nightmare Moon.” Darius stared at Luna very confused. She explained. “Yes, even a goddess can make mistakes. I once betrayed my sister and my fellow ponies.” She looked down guiltily. “I was banished to the moon for a thousand years for refusing to set the moon and antagonizing my people. Even after I served my sentence, I learned nothing but to grudge them. Then the six elements came and reformed me.”

“But…you’re a goddess. You’re omnipotent. Infallible. You couldn’t have…” He became apprehensive. To hear this story was difficult to accept. It challenged everything he believed about them.

“Darius,” She replied sympathetically, “never did Luna nor I ever say that we were perfect. Those concepts were no doubt invented by your people after a long time. Even I make mistakes.” Celestia sighed. “Do you understand? We maybe powerful but we are not without faults.”

Darius didn’t reply to that. He decided to change the subject before contemplating that any further. “So, the magic of friendship can help. How do I learn it?”

The two princesses smiled. “Stay in Ponyville and protect it. Help out the six in any way you can. You owe them a debt of gratitude, so I am sure you will have an opportunity to spend time with each of them.” Celestia instructed.

“You will learn each element from them.” Luna added. “You may already have learned one, in fact. What would Rainbow Dash’s element be?”

Darius thought on that for a moment: She refused to leave even when she was in danger. She is courageous. Was it courage? No. It’s about friendship. And one can be bold but disloyal. Wait, that is it! Loyalty! “Her element is loyalty!” He voiced the thought.

“Your insight serves you well.” Celestia nodded in approval and poured another cup. “And your food is getting cold.”

Darius began eating his supper. “But what Joining will result from it?” He asked.

“We’ll get to that at another time.” Luna replied.

“And what of the other golems?” He asked.

“Well, there are two less for us to worry about.” Said the voice of Applejack and the other ponies (save Rainbow Dash) as they entered his room. They bowed respectively to the princesses. “How’re you doin’ Darius? I heard you and Dash got into a ruckus with those statues.”

Seeing his friends here was uplifting. “I’ll heal. Have you seen Dash?” He asked.

Fluttershy piped up. “Oh, Dash is resting. She was barely conscious when she spoke to us. The healing potion made her very tired.”

“The poor mare even tried to get out of bed. Such a stubborn pony. She abhors hospitals.” said Rarity. “But she was trying to get up to check on you, darling.” The pearly furred pony said with a foxy grin.

Darius didn’t know why she was making that face, so he didn’t pay heed to it.

“Can you tell us what these stone creatures are?” Twilight asked the Newman. “I have heard of magic that can bring inanimate objects to life, but these moved and acted very violent.”

“They are Golems: statues brought to life by powerful magic. Well, they aren’t living, but they can be made to function as if they were. The Wyrm sent them here to dispose of me.” Darius frowned.

Pinkie Pie jumped up and down on his bed at the center as the Alicorns withdrew the tea set. Darius saved his food. All attention on the pink one! “Yeah but you should have seen what Twilight and Applejack did to the two in Ponyville.” The manic pony choreographed as she described the events. “First AJ was like you get ‘Outta mah orchards!’, and then it was like thud thud thud, I’m a biiiiig mean statue! And AJ stood in front of it, then it swung this big club, then AJ dodged under his legs, and bucked it so hard it fell to PIECES! And Twilight saw another chasing after Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetiebell! Well it wasn’t really chasing. They just didn’t get out of its path. So Twilight and Rarity lifted it high into the air with their magic but it kept flailing and flailing. So Princess Luna told them to drop it on a nearby boulder, and they did, and then CRASH and CRUMBLE! It was so cool!” Pinkie Pie landed and sat on the bed huffing. (applause)

Darius couldn’t help but give a smile. This pink pony could spin a tale pretty good. “Very good chanting.” He complimented her, who just huffed and smiled appreciatively and hopped off the bed. “I’m glad to know you ponies can take care of yourselves. I feared the worst if they came for you.”

“Well, Ah’d rather not do that again.” AJ said. “Don’t get me wrong, Ah’ll stand up to any bully. But darn if it isn’t mah nature to be benevolent.”

“Agreed.” Rarity concurred. “I certainly hope we won’t have to deal with any more brutes after those.” She flicked her beautiful mane. “Fluttershy spent hours comforting my sister and her friends.”

Fluttershy frowned. “They were really shaken by that experience.”

“Well, I think Darius has been kept awake long enough. He needs his rest.” Celestia said.

The four little ponies went “awe” in united disappointment of having to leave so soon. But each bid their good nights before they left. Celestia and Luna were the last to step out.

“Princesses?” Darius beckoned before they left.

Luna and Celestia looked back to him.

“Two questions. Could you request the healers allow me to visit Dash?” He asked.

The two looked at each other, smiled, then nodded to him. “And your second question?” Luna asked.

He hesitated in asking, but he had to know. “Will I ever be able to go home after all this?”

Their smiles became sympathetic. Luna bade Celestia to go ahead of her. She was the ‘Goddess’ of Dark. Addressing and explaining ill omens and bad news to his people was her domain long ago. “You remember why we told you we are not infallible?” She said in a caring tone. “Neither I or my sister can guarantee you will return to Rift. There was once a time when the Ley Lines were safe to cross. But you remember what the Wyrm did to it?”

“Tried to eat it.” He said, feeling his heart sink.

She nodded. “It nearly finished its first bite that time. Now the Ley Line energies are destructive. It would take another thousand years for the lines to fully heal and be safe to cross.” She sighed seeing him shake his head in disbelief. “Darius, the lines are greater than me and Celestia. Even we have our limits. I am sorry but I we do not have the power to-“

Darius raised his voice in an outburst of desperation. “But the Wyrm could send things across the line! It sent me! You’re a goddess! Why can’t you help me if it can-!” He stopped himself, shock as to what he was seeing. Tears. “Oh Princess please forgive-“ He was literally shaking he couldn’t believe he popped off to her like that.

Luna never felt so much sympathy for a single being before. She put a front hoof around his shoulder and drew him into a hug. She felt Darius froze in place for a moment, before he relaxed into it. She could hear him try to hold back his sobs. She felt the moisture of his tears mat her fur. “I wish I could undo all of this for you.” She said softly. “My sister does too. I won’t promise this will get easier,” She withdrew to look at him. “But you have friends here. You can make a life here. You will never be alone.”

Clearing his tears, he whispered, “Apenda chur nano fo fale.” (I’m sorry I bewailed to you).

Luna smiled like an understanding mother. “Don’t apologize. There was no harm done. This is hard on you. So don’t hesitate to make your feelings known.” She kissed him on the forehead. “Especially to your friends.” She finished and left his room.

The Newman watched her leave and took a deep breath. He needed a moment of reflection. He is in a land he may never return from. The Wyrm is alive. His friend got hurt. His goddesses were not all-powerful as their legends spoke of. His family…he wished at the very least his grandfather was here. He’d know what to tell him. He stared out the window seeing his friends and the princesses leave and chatting. He looked up then at the night sky sorrowfully. His family no doubt missed him. This was too much to bear.

After a moment he propped himself on the windowsill. He took a deep breath and began to sing a chanting to help himself cope. It was a chant in the old tongue that his mother taught him if he ever despaired. He recalled her telling him about it when he was a boy.

(Click here to access the song on soundcloud. See description for explanation and copyright acknowledgments)

Sing away your sorrow, my son. Give your woe to the sky so you may carry on. Your heart can only carry so much weight before it could bear no more. But the sky is great and everlasting, and it will always hear your voice. It can bear all the sadness of the world. Let it take some of that weight from you so you may walk without a heavy heart.

In Dash’s room, the resting pegasus awoke thirsty. She weakly sipped water from her bedside straw and then overheard it. That voice was next to her room. It was Darius. She could tell. His voice was beautiful. But how could anyone sing so sadly? She had heard and sung many happy tunes in her life, but never one expressing sorrow. She didn’t have the strength to get up. She wanted to go to him and comfort him, but she couldn’t. She closed her eyes and tried laying her head down and fall asleep as her tears fell to her pillow. She hated being helpless, especially with a friend in need. A moment after the singing stopped she heard her door open.

“Okay, you can sit by her bedside, but don’t wake her. She needs her rest.” Nurse Redheart whispered as she led Darius in.

Dash made a sigh of relief, but didn’t move, nor open her eyes. Her door shut and Darius pulled up a chair and sat next to her bedside. He was staring at the floor. She wiped the tears off and turned in her bed carefully till she was on her good side, facing him. She couldn’t see his face, only his dark hair. She whispered to him. “Big guy?”

Darius looked up to see Dash partly awake. “Did I wake you?”

Dash weakly shook her head. “You’re looking better than how I am doing.” She jived.

Darius lightly smiled. “Heard you’ve been stubborn to the healers.”

“I can’t help it.” She gave a pained giggle. “I heard you saved my life. That is twice I owe you.”

“You saved mine too, evening the odds.” He replied.

Dash frowned. “As if.” She disagreed. “It was still standing before it slammed me.” She hesitated and told him. “I lied to you about not crashing. That time you caught me? I’m sorry I fibbed.”

Darius looked at her concerned. “Don’t be upset about it. It’s more important you’re alright. I’m not hurt now so-”

Dash interrupted. “But you are hurting.” Her tears returned. “I heard you sing it for Celestia’s sake. What happened? I have to know.” She sniffed.

“Dash, you’re hurt. You are more important now. You needn’t think about my problems.” He tried to assure her.

“Don’t tell me not to think about you!” She replied angrily. “I am loyal to all my friends. Now tell me what is wrong.”

Darius frowned but wouldn’t deny his friend. He sighed. “I don’t think I’m ever returning home. Even the Princesses cannot send me back.” He sadly confessed. “I may never see my family again...or my people.” That was pretty much what grieved him the most. He went back to looking at the floor, and then he felt a hoof softly touch his chin so he would look at her again.

Dash shifted closer to him and weakly put a front hoof around his neck and one under his arm trying to bring him into a hug.

The Newman got the idea and very carefully joined her in a hug. He minded where his hands were, avoiding her wings and where they met her back and especially her injury. He felt her nuzzle into his neck. He never met anyone who could show so much caring for a friend like this. For a pony that maintained such a tough exterior, she had a big heart. And he admitted it. He needed some comfort from her.

She sobbed. “I’m sorry Darius. I wish there was something more we could do.” The pegasus tightened her hug.

They stayed in that hug for a while until she stopped sobbing. Darius helped her lay back down and looked into her crimson eyes. “You have helped me, more than you realized.” He smiled. “Being here for me even while you’re hurt. I’m very grateful you are my friend, Dash.” He gave a front hoof a soft squeeze.

Dash sniffed and softly smiled. “You should sleep. You need your rest.”

He smirked. “Says the pony giving the healers a hard time.” They both shared a soft chuckled. “I will if you promise to cooperate with them.”

Dash lay down and gave a tired groan. “’Kay, fine. But you have to stick around so I don’t get bored.” She closed her eyes. Just as sleep instantly took her, she could have sworn she heard him whisper, “I promise. I won’t leave your side.” But she was asleep before she could confirm hearing it.

Darius sat by her bedside for a while and looked at the stars through her window for a moment before borrowing the neighboring bed. That night, he managed to sleep easy.

Meanwhile, near the Southern Ley Line…

It was evening when Manden finally at the temple ruins where the Ley Line was. He took his son’s necklace and fastened it around his neck. Gripping his spear tightly, he made his way carefully through the ruins, following the vile trail. There he reached where the vulture had landed, or crashed-landed more likely as it was spayed out dead on the ground.

The smith looked around until he saw through the opened doors of the biggest temple. Two large green lights…no…EYES, glaring at him from inside. THE WYRM! It growled thunderously, making his bones vibrate.


Manden stood stalwart and held his spear ready to throw, his machete in his other hand. “Aquedor emb fama melare, ugre ge arpeni?!” (Where is my son, beast of ruin!?) He shouted at the Wyrm.

Its eyes glowed brighter as its pitch black form was outlined by the green aura.


He was alive! Manden’s thought was interrupted as the draconic beast roared and lunged at him from within the temple. “DARIUUUUUS!” He battle-cried his son’s name and chucked his spear towards its open wound!

Back in Ponyville Hospital…

The next morning, Dash awoke with Nurse Redheart giving Darius…a lecture?

Darius put his hands up in surrender as the nurse chewed him out. “Mr. Darius! I am no expert in Newmen culture, but when I said you could visit Dash, I did NOT say you could sleep in her room overnight! Next time, you return straight to your bed! Those are hospital rules!” She lunged at him with those last two words to the point where the man fell off the bed and hit the floor.

“Oof!. Y-yes Ms. Redheart.” Darius meekly replied, quite shaken.

Dash blushed a bit. He really did say that last evening. And he meant it! That was the coolest thing anyone had ever done for her. Then a thought entered her head and she got that devious grin of hers. This was too good to pass up. She made a fake yawn and stretched her hooves. Time for the punch line, heh. “Oh, good morning, big guy.” She spoke in a sultry voice, grinning sexily at him. “That was one awesome night last evening. You are quite a stallion.” She purred and winked. “Even with my side hurting, you were sooooo good to me.” She blew a mock kiss towards him.

Darius looked at Dash indignantly, his mouth dropped. He then felt really small as Nurse stood over him, her eyes filled with fire glaring down on him. “OUT!” The ground pony growled menacingly. In an instant he was tossed out of the room. Tuath, these ground ponies are strong!

Darius stood up and dusted himself off. “You devious mare.” He groaned. He then saw his doctor was waiting outside the room, taping a hoof annoyed. Sigh. After another lecture, then a thorough checkup and being given the bill of health, he ate breakfast then returned to wait outside Dash’s door.

A moment later Nurse Redheart came out with Darius waiting outside the door. “I’ve got my eye on you, Romeo.” She shot him a warning glare and left.

Darius said nothing but nodded submissively. Don’t argue with the healers, for they are tougher than iron, he thought to himself. He entered Dash’s room. The pegasus gave him a snickering look, then began to laugh hysterically.

He smirked. “Funny.” He sarcastically said and sat by her bedside.

Dash cleared the tears from her eyes. “Sorry big guy. But you should have seen the look on your face.” She giggled. “It’s okay; I told her I was joking.” She smiled softly. “But that was very cool of you guarding me.”

Darius smiled. “Can’t have Ponyville’s most awesome mare getting bored. Besides, if any more golems come back-”

“You’re going to lead them here to my room?” She smirked.

“Uh, wait, no I meant if they came for you.” Darius tried to save face.

Dash chuckled. “I’m kidding, silly!” She hoofed him on the arm. “Besides, I think I can take them better now. Next time I’ll protect you.” She winked.

They both shared a chuckle. That morning, between her physical therapy and checkups, they chatted about each other’s culture, home, sights to see, and sports. Dash likened the Newmen ball game (Parkour) to Hoofball. They both compared the similarities and differences. It was fun to talk about sportsmanship, honor between opponents, and competitiveness.

During and after lunch, her friends had taken turns visiting, with Pinkie Pie’s being the briefest visit for some reason. Then Twilight Sparkle gave Dash a surprise: the first of a new series of Daring Do! Apparently the author’s son began to carry on the series, much to the cyan pony’s delight. Dash practically squealed in excitement. She insisted that she and Darius take turns reading. A good chanting is always entertaining to pass the time, he agreed. Besides, it was amusing to see her get as giddy as a filly over this.

The second day Dash surprised the doctors with her speedy recovery as she managed to fly, move, and perform quite well outside. Never underestimate a pony determined to get out of traction! By noon, she was released. They met Fluttershy at the entrance, who said she was going to take them to Darius’s place.

“Thanks for taking care of Tank for me, Fluttershy.” Dash nudged the yellow pegasus in gratitude.

“Oh, it’s no problem.” Fluttershy smiled.

“Fluttershy,” Darius said as they made their way to his home. The Yellow pegasus looked up. “I was wondering if I could help in any way with your animal care tasks?”

“What do you mean, big guy? Don’t you have your own work?” Dash didn’t know why but she questioned that.

Fluttershy glanced at both Darius and Dash. A hint of realization hit her face and she replied. “Oh, it’s alright Darius. I can do the work myself.”

He cleared his throat. “Excuse me, let me explain. The princesses have asked me to learn the magic of friendship from each of you. You each embody an Element of Harmony, yes?” He asked.

The two pegasi nodded. “Yes, mine is kindness and Rainbow Dash’s is loyalty.” Fluttershy explained.

“Heck yeah.” She fluttered up proudly.

“Indeed. I learned yours the night of our adventure.” He smiled to Dash, whom blushed in response.

There was something there between them, it was very brief, but then they overheard Fluttershy giggle, who looked away innocently when they glanced at her. “Um, yeah, I could teach you the best I could. If that is alright.”

Darius nodded. “I suppose that will be a practical start.” He stretched. “Though I am not sure how this magic will take form.” He thought aloud.

“The cool stuff with our magic happens when we’re all together.” Dash overheard him and replied. “But why do the princesses want you to learn it?”

Darius hated to withhold information but he decided a cryptic answer would be best. “An Avatar can learn the magic of other Newmen. So the Princesses are interested if I can learn the magic of your kin.” It was one thing to share his troubles with Dash, but in no way will he have anypony, her especially, follow him to his second battle against the Wyrm. He knew well enough Dash would follow him into a dragon’s den if he let her. Thankfully, Dash seemed to have accepted that.

They arrived at his home, and much to Darius’s satisfaction, he could see the watermill and workshop was set up next to it. Incredible! In just two days these ponies can build stuff like this. He and his father had taken weeks to get their watermill set up. At the door was a pink banner over the door with black letters saying “Welcome Home Darius!” Below was a second with blue letters: “Welcome back Dashie!”

Darius opened the door and were suddenly welcomed by a crowd of ponies. The other four elements, three fillies, and few other guests.

“SURPRISE!” Said a chorus of ponies, with Pinkie Pie setting off confetti launchers. Darius looked terribly confused. What was this? He knew a party when he saw it but they could have told him about it.

Dash trotted in happily. “Thanks guys. Quit standing there, big guy! It’s a party after all!” She tapped him on the leg this time.

Fluttershy whispered to Darius. “Just go along with it. A surprise party is a very good gesture here.”

Darius smiled and nodded.

For that afternoon, they enjoyed the company. Darius took the opportunity to establish better rapport with the new faces he met: The Cakes, Ditzy, Lyra, Bon Bon, and others filtering in and out. Then he and Dash told their epic story of how they raced at the mountain range and faced down two golems before the Princesses came and aided them. Of course, she embellished it, but he didn’t mind. As things began to wind down, he let AJ and Rarity show him the workshop. It was well made and fully stocked. It even had books on ingots of metal he had never seen before. He resisted the urge to rearrange everything to his specifications. He didn’t want to insult their efforts.

“Speaking of which, sugarcube. Pinkie advertised your shop and got you some orders to start yah up.” AJ tipped her hat. “Ah for one could use a new axle if you can make it.”

“Piece of pie. I take it was Pinkie was the one who organized this party?” Darius asked.

“Cake, piece of cake, Darius.” She corrected him. “And yep, this was all Pinkie’s doing.” The ground pony smiled.

“It is certainly her finest talents.” Rarity added.

“Um, Mr. Darius?” An orange filly with pink hair tugged at his pant leg, with her two friends, a white unicorn and yellow ground pony with a big bow in her mane.

Darius knelt down. “Hello little ones.” He said. “So who do I have the pleasure of meeting?”

“We’re the Cutie-mark Crusaders. Ah’m Applebloom, Applejack’s sister. This here is Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo.” She introduced her friends.

Ah, those three fillies Rarity mentioned. “Crusaders? I don’t know what that is but it must be special.” He smiled. “So what can I do for you?”

“We made you something for your work, we hope it helps.” They presented him a smithing hammer.

He was wide eyed. The grip was pretty good, formed perfectly for his hand. Even after their ordeal two days ago, they took the time to make him a gift? “You little ones made all this by yourselves?” He took it and brandished it in his hand. “It’s perfect!” He smiled. “Crusaders, I’ll make you each something special in thanks for this gift.”

Their happiness was tangible as the trio jumped and high fived. “Cutie-mark Smithies! YAAAAAAAY!” They ran off back to the party.

“Adorable.” Darius chuckled and looked at the anvil. He struck the hammer on the anvil. The metal rang beautifully. It was a way he and other smiths blessed their workshops. I’ll make you proud, father, wherever you are, he thought to himself as he went back to the party.

On the Southern Ley Line…

The Wyrm’s green and dark dragonic form slowly snaked through the Ley Line. It moved with purpose. Though it could not cross the line...yet. It would require another storm to cross over, just as it used one to send its enemy away and to send the golems too. But it would not waste time waiting for one. It may as well get as close as possible.

On top of that, it had the perfect dressing for its wound. Protected from the destructive energies, a biped form was bound inside the Wyrm’s being, right in front of the beast’s heart. He remained unconscious inside it, unable to move. The beast couldn’t have planned this any better. It will meet the Goddesses and the Avatar on the field of battle. It cared not whether it would survive this final showdown. It will have its revenge.