Once Lost Now Found
Roleplaying Log: Once Lost Now Found
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dazzler and Dani are lost to the shadows and Angel finds them.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 23, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 24 Aug 2019 15:26
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Darkness stretches outward for as far as the eye can seen. From the blackness comes a cacophony of sound.

Screams of fright, battlecries, and what was that? Why yes, even the brays of (rainbow) goats and (winged) horses.

All of it denotes some kind of battle within the Demon Bear's long shadow.

There's very little to see from any advantage point, high or low, until the snow begins to fall.

The delicate crystalline flakes fall downward and as they touch upon the ground a cityscape begins to form within the white and gray swirl of weather.

First comes the frozen streets, then crumbled buildings, and finally a bleak sky. That sky feathers upward its fingers reaching for the heavens and while it doesn't necessarily reach the top of the blackness, it tries.

Snow already blankets the streets, buildings and sidewalks and while one might expect pristine white coverage, what can be seen shows something that's been severely trodden upon.

It's a circle of destruction and within its epicenter is one Danielle Moonstar.

She stands there, her gaze unfocused, her expression lost, until with a violent jerk the woman's attention returns and she stumbles forward upon that crushed snow.

———

Angel has been wandering the astral wastes for a length of time he cannot quantify, and never could quantify. Time moves strangely here, when it moves at all.

He has marked the passage of time here in the only way one can, in the astral realm: in events. He found Neena Thurman, lost in her torments; he found Alison Blaire, lost in her own too.

Alison is still with him now, whatever unspecified time later. They both wanted two things very strongly — to stay in close proximity to each other, and to find Danielle Moonstar — and the astral plane obeyed, for the time being. The longer they stay, however, the more the poison of the Demon Bear weighs down on them. Warren's wings shouldn't tire here if he doesn't want them to — and yet, after a while, they did.

Such it is that when the snow begins to fall, a ruined cityscape sketching itself into being between the drifting flakes of white, the pair of figures that place themselves upon the stage arrive there by a slow, pedestrian walk. Warren's white wings, back down to a weary two, drape loosely at his back.

A dimmed sword, dull and fire-pitted, hangs from his right hand. A broken chain winds tightly about his left hand, circling his wrist and twining his forearm, tethering him fast to the woman by his side. He won't chance losing her to the enticement of the shadows again.

The tired aspect of the Angel only revives, in part, at the faraway sight of Dani Moonstar at the center of the shadow's destruction. "She's there," he says to his companion, his pace picking up, his head lifting. His wings open slightly as he sets course like a shot arrow. "Up ahead."

———

The nightmare still waits at the wings of Alison Blaire's fractured soul.

In many ways, it has never left her; she did not completely reject its hold over her. Instead, it merely sundered under the new hold of something immeasurably more powerful — namely, Warren Worthington's will, and his refusal to lose her to the darkness.

There is no more of that apocalyptic concert, or the screams of that monstrous audience what begged the Dazzler to burn them — kill them — over and over again, and finally, herself to join their vicious cycle of suffering, and she has awakened free and cognizant of that prior thrall —

— but it still pulls at her.

Every so often, in the astral tangle, hypergogic glimpses itch the corners of her eyes: the burned faces of fans, the disapproving, patronizing face of Roman Nekobah, or even her father, Carter Blaire, as disappointed in his daughter here as he is in the world of flesh and blood. And every so often, the links of her chain rattle tight, Alison lingering at the end of its length, staring at something only she can see, before Warren can nudge her back to the astral here and now.

Her emotional weakness is a bleeding wound for the nightmare, and ever so easily it can feed back on her — ever so easily it would drag her back to take her soul once and for all. Warren's hand on the chain keeps her constant.

As for the rest, Alison repeats her own private mantra: this isn't real, and this isn't about her — they aren't alone, and there is one more who needs to be found.

As the aspected Angel shows his spiritual fatigue, the Dazzler at his side still wears her battery — her ripped showman costume, tattered at the hems from light burns, and her blue make-up left smeared.

Slowly, out of nothingness, snow falls. Alison looks up, then forward, focusing her eyes on the astral image of — Dani.

"I see her," she says, as if half-beliving it to be some sort of trap, or not certain of herself in this twisted place. Her field flares up — she hears things, and her will allows that logic enough to bring forward her ability — in a hopeful beacon of white light. "Dani! Dani, we're here!"

———

The malevolence in the air is all consuming.

It tugs at those links around Warren's wrist and arm, looking for any slack they may have.

The links closer to Alison likewise rattle, as it tries to pull the Songstress away from the Angel.

While they may not be successful the shadows whispers to both -

Let go your burdens and join us.

Those whispers aren't heard by Dani. Instead her focus is now upon herself.

Blood drips from her hands, arms, her SHIELD uniform and finally from the lower half of her face and onto her neck. The coppery tang fills her nose and lays heavy upon her tongue and it's enough that Dani staggers again. This time to the side of the road where she dry heaves. It lasts moments, minutes, seconds, a heartbeat and only when it stops does Moonstar unthinkingly bring a blooded hand toward her mouth. Almost she wipes more blood upon her face, but a second before she jerks her hand away.

There's a mantra in her own head, an echo of Dazzler's, as Dani mutters 'this isn't real'. It's not. It's not.

That chant continues and just when it's about to falter Dazzler's light flares to life.

A bright beacon against the darkness and it pulls Moonstar's eyes over to it. For a few seconds she can only stare dumbly until something like hope is felt, "I'm -" She says, "- here!"

"I'm here!" And in that moment the cityscape around the trio starts to dim, the streets fade and the snow melt; the astral plane tries to obey the three that push against the shadow's lies.

And were this not the Demon Bear their combined effort might have defeated it in that instance, but it is.

A rumble of thunder echoes across the plane and with that sound the shadows increase. They become sharp jagged things for Angel and Dazzler and for Dani they become something more.

A nearly invisible shadow reaches out to the Cheyenne and with a gentleness that belies the rage of the Bear, it turns Dani's head away from her friends. It causes her to focus upon something off to the side, a hand that sticks halfway out of the snow.

A familiar hand. It belongs - belonged - to Domino.

"No." Whispers the Cheyenne, her soft denial ragged in the quiet of the street.

Nearby a tendril of darkness uncurls from the shadows and languidly it latches onto Dani, around an ankle. A second tendril likewise unfurls and carefully wends its way over to the woman and wraps around the other.

———

The nightmare still pulls at Alison. But Warren pulls harder. Its clutch at her mind finds itself countered by his stronger, more insistent hold, and that grasp he maintains on her finds a physical manifestation in his grip on the lingering shape of that broken chain.

The nightmare still manacles her throat, and every so often it pulls to try to lure her back into the darkness… but Warren keeps watchful hold of it, and when she starts to stray, he takes the slack out of the tether.

It is a wearying effort, maintaining his own sense of self here — in defiance of all those dark whispers — and shepherding Alison's too. By the time they start to see the distant shapes of that shattered cityscape, the tips of his primaries nearly drag the astral floor.

Dani's distant call, however, seems to revitalize him a little bit. Alison's light, flaring by his side, seems to encourage him further, helping him regain some of his own flagging brilliance. Yet their efforts find a sudden strong counter as the Bear's malevolent attention turns their way, and the shadows start to twist towards them.

They twist towards Dani too. Even from this great distance, Warren can see them start to twine about Dani's ankles.

"It's taking her. Come on," he urges, pulling Alison close and up into his arms. His white wings spread, his fanned feathers straining to gain him some height in the uncooperative dead air, but after so many flights with Warren, Alison can tell — he's struggling. "It's the worst flying conditions here," he complains, "just dark, and still — and cold — "

He manages to gain some airspeed eventually. But as he does, thunder sounds overhead. The sound lifts his eyes, but not quickly enough to notice the jagged fork of shadows that shoots towards them, lightning-like, until it is already en route.

It splits the air directly in front of them. Warren brakes so hard that he stalls out, and falls clean out of the sky in a way he hasn't in over a decade. He drops into a lingering drift of blown snow, the spectral whiteness of it obscuring him from sight.

Alison's dropped too as a consequence of this, nearby. Hopefully her chain is still anchored to him…

———

It's something enough to pull Alison — just enough — from the mouth of her own darkness. The urge draws up from the source of her nature — something far stronger than all her many weaknesses and her myriad doubts — and it's that same maternal protectiveness she turned for years on her employees. The same something she wished a mother had always been there and given to her, she turned on others in fussy, overindulgent, fierce spades.

Seeing that shadow move around Danielle Moonstar brings back the memory of Alison's light. She has been struggling to find it here, outside of that nightmare concert — used only to hurt people — but she finds it now.

There is no resistance as Warren pulls her into his arms; however, the inertia and rush of flight feels so off from Alison's memory. No matter how urgently he flies, it feels like a forever to converge on the attacked, alone Dani —

She can feel Warren struggling to gain air, taking the shock of each wingstroke through the bone and muscle of his body. "It's not fast enough!" Alison still exclaims, terrified. "I hate this place! Everything about it makes no sense!"

They are close enough, only close enough, to see Dani's head — turn away. Turn away from them. Alison's blood goes cold.

And then that shadow —

"Warren, hold me still," comes Alison's plea, as her will whites out her eyes with her burning light. She pulls on her field, drawing it in and holstering it within her hand, which she outstretches, one pointed finger aimed at those tendrils of shadow reaching for Dani. "I'm eyeballing it. Don't —"

Thunder roars. Black lightning forks down on them, and Warren falls.

Alison's pinpoint light projection lasers erratically off as she shrieks, expecting many things but not this, not falling, not with Warren —

She hits the ground, and hard, her brutal pragmatism and uncompromising logic making her feel blinding pain at contact, gasping against the breath kicked out of her lungs. She's not sure if she's broken something — bones aren't real here, Alison, don't believe it — and she tries to push herself up.

Her chain grinds, suspiciously more slack now than she'd like it. "Warren?" Alison begs, voice brittle. "Dani? Where are you?!" Don't leave her alone in here. Don't leave her alone here again —

———

The heavens crack wide open and unleash their anger upon Warren and Alison.

It causes Alison's laser to misfire and for both to fall.

That slash of bright light and then the addition of both of them falling within the snowy cityscape pulls at Danielle Moonstar. It picks at her attention and pushes the shadows away from her for a moment. Her brown eyes refocus upon the here and now and for a moment, Moonstar's head turns in their direction.

Warren.

Alison.

Her brow crinkles and a hand fists at her side, and with that movement psychic energy begins to coalesce around it.

Perhaps a bow or a spear might have formed, given enough time, but the shadows will not be thwarted. Not by Dani, not by Warren nor Alison.

A third tendril cracks out from the ground, right next to Dani, and wraps itself securely around her wrist. Her hand continues to shine with that magenta energy for a few seconds more before it sputters and dies out.

Her gaze loses that awareness and her eyes turn glassy and dull. Then like a puppet the shadows tug at Dani and the Cheyenne walks stiff-legged away from Alison and Warren. The shadows pull Dani toward another body wrapped in shining Eldritch Armor.

"Yana." Whispers Dani and with a soft thump, Moonstar drops to her knees near her friend.

The darkness howls with triumph and now their malevolence turns back to Dazzler and Angel. They see the opening Angel's disastrous fall has brought to them and they greedily grab for it.

The ground next to Alison Blaire explodes and a bubbling oil slick of blackness surges towards that slack chain. It reaches for those links, to bind the Songstress back to their will.

To bring that fear and pain of hers front and center.

The snow pile that currently holds Warren likewise finds itself surrounded. Specifically shadowed jay birds. As they form one by one each calls out in a loud squawking sing-song jeer.

'Bad bird! Terrible bird!'

‘Can’t fly bird!'

'Dead dead bird.'

———

The snow pile does not respond, at first, to any of the things happening around it.

But the person under the snow pile certainly hears everything that goes on.

Alison's terror, the taunts of the shadow-jays, the soft sound of Dani walking away under some demonic thrall… he hears everything. And he likes precisely none of it.

In fact, it all makes him extremely angry.

Ali calls his name out, in perhaps the most frightened tone of voice he has ever heard from her, and that needy fear hits down into perhaps the most fundamental building block of Warren's personality: the valiant urge to fly to the defense of others. That it is Alison crying for him makes the response twice as urgent; that it is Alison crying for him, in the context of them already being here because Dani needs saving, triples the urgency.

Bad bird! Terrible bird! Can't fly!
Can't fly!
can't fly

No one tells Warren Worthington he can't fly.

The snow erupts in an unsheathing of vast white wings. It flies in all directions in a frozen shower, shaken off spreading pinions that span — who knows, in a place like this? Some unthinkable breadth. A white bird of prey manifests from the dissipating snow, in a reflexive reflection of his absolute outrage and fury, his opening wings smashing outwards towards the taunting shadow-jays. What shadows aren't flattened outright by that, the bird turns his hooked beak on, intent on ripping them apart.

The towering avian shape turns on Ali a moment later, reaching to snare her chain in his beak and drag her away from the shadows. «Don't be afraid.» Warren's voice is — more like an emanation when he's in this frame of mind, a warp of the astral matter around them to print soothing words straight from soul to soul. Does he even realize what he looks like? Does it really matter what one 'looks like,' here? «I'm here with you. Now come on — they're taking Dani.»

———

"Warren?" Alison calls again, though her voice snags on the second syllable of his name. Panic pulls its sound down and down, like a sinking body in a river, dragged by an undertow to a whisper. "I — can't find you."

And it is true. The moment her chain goes slack, the nightmare world around her goes dark, opaque with breathing, churning shadowstuff. Trying to look through it, trusting her eyes too much in an astral realm, Alison sidesteps forward in one nebulous direction. She still whispers, not breathless, but because she's so afraid They can hear: "I don't — I don't know where you are."

Not him, not Dani — not anything but that amorphous black. It feels like the first moments she was pulled in, unsure what direction she was falling, before her memory lost tack of time and space, and the voices guilted her to sing herself away forever. She's terrified one wrong step will return her, and with the break of spotlights, she'll be right back there on that stage —

Sound slithers at her periphery, and she turns with a clatter of her chain, trying again to tell herself that — "It's not real. It's not real, Ali. It's not real, it's not real, it's —"

Something stops her breathless. The darkness opens, and she sees a shock of ruddy golden hair. For an instant, Alison thinks she's staring into a mirror — though she knows it isn't that. The image is too forebodingly familiar, crystallized from one of her earliest memories —

She stares helplessly into the ichor, feeling her heart beating up into her teeth. She asks it, hopeful, heartbroken, "Mom?"

The image — whose face she cannot yet see — turns slightly, but seems to wait. Seems to reach, inviting Alison closer. She steps, as the black around her thaws into eely things, reaching for her unchecked chain, an anglerfish lure to drag her soul back down—

When, instead, the lancing light off a great bird burns the shadow away. An instant later, Alison's last, fateful step cuts short, bridled when something powerful takes her chain and drags her back. She holds for a moment, rigor mortis-inert, back on the brink of the thrall — then yields, turning, and waking back up to the striking sight of a legendary bird, her fetter in its beak, spreading white feathers all above and around her smaller form.

With Warren's voice. Alison's disbelief gentles into relief and awe. "Warren. You're — "

No time. Dani. Taking Dani.

Waking up out of the reverie, and pulled physically by the chain links back to herself, Alison answers with a fevered nod. She pauses, and then seems to reach through astral space, taking place on Warren's large, feathered back. "Dive," she pleads him. "And be loud. I'll light us up."

Her hands tighten on his feathers. «And thank you,» comes from her soul.

———

The Shadow Jays dies one by one and their squawks of death echo across the astral plane, as they succumb to the wings and beak of the Great Bird.

Blackened feathers, gristle and bone fall to the ground, as the shadows find themselves dispatched so neatly. The darkness that created them gathers those remnants upward, but for now ignores the Great Bird within their midst.

There are easier targets. Easier pain for them to pull upon.

Alison Blaire.

Danielle Moonstar.

With each word from Alison Blaire the shadows encircle her, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. To drag her back into her own personal hell. To pull her soul from her body and add her power and sense of self to its own.

Only, before that last would-be tragic step could be taken, her momentum is stopped. Her soul is saved by Warren Worthington.

The darkness rears about and sharpens itself into razor-thin shivs as it focus upon the Angel again. Except it no longer finds a man standing there. It instead finds the shape of the Great Bird and shock ripples throughout the darkness.

Beneath that surprise comes another emotion as well; fear. It fills the area with a sharp acrid tang and for a moment, the Demon Bear is fettered into inaction by its own terror.

The vista of her dead friends fades away before Dani's eyes. The shadows wrapped around her limbs weaken which allows some semblance of herself to come back. That awareness allows the Cheyenne woman to push off the ground, to regain her feet. Her gaze comes around and then up, which brings the very surprising sight of Alison Blaire riding upon the back of the Great Bird into her visual field. Moonstar's shock is just as great as the Bear's and a word comes unbidden to her lips.

""Nonoma'e."

With that naming the Demon Bear snaps out of its stupor and the ropes of shadow around Dani's ankles and wrists darken, tighten. Additional tendrils of blackness rise up from the ground and lance sharply at the unprotected woman’s body.

One wraps around her throat and another stabs and pierces through her chest. It causes Moonstar to spasm in pain and while her mouth opens in a scream no sound comes forth.

When her eyes lift upward again all that can be found is the taint of shadows.

A voice that is both Moonstar and not echoes across the plane, as she looks first at Warren. "Nonoma'e.", and then to Alison, "He'ohnemenestse."

"You will not take my Herald. She is mine and forever will be. She is the harbinger of your deaths!"

And with that last word uttered movement around Dani can be seen again. A half of dozen additional ribbons of darkness rise up to sink into her body, with each cord of power the woman's form changes.

The pelt of the grizzly materializes around her frame with the head of the bear obscuring her face and the body becoming her tattered cloak.

Snow now begins to fall.

———

He falls. He loses Alison. He loses sight of Dani. He can't see anything, and that in itself is a terrifying thing to someone who lives and dies by his vision the way Warren Worthington does… but he can still hear, though that just makes everything worse.

He can hear Alison calling for him, her voice soaked in fear, until suddenly he can't hear her anymore at all. The chain wrapped loosely around his wrist starts to unravel, and then to slitheringly pull away. She's being drawn away from him…

Here and now, finally, a sliver of the fears which saturate this place finally find the man whose arrogant sense of self has heretofore protected him from them. The cold darkness around him shifts and twists, and starts to build itself into certain shapes, certain images…

It's eight years ago, and he's watching a woman he loves immolate herself to escape having immolated a world, and there's nothing he can do.
It's five years ago, and he's watching the life leave his mother's eyes, because she was poisoned and he didn't notice — didn't stop it — just like he didn't stop it from happening to his father.
It's five years ago, and he's hovering a hundred feet over the lip of a cliff, staring down at his uncle's shattered body at its base with only the dimmest recollection of how he put it there. The mindless haze of rage is fading from his eyes, and he knows he should go down, but he doesn't know whether it would be to see whether he's still alive, or make certain he is dead…

I can't find you, whispers a voice from somewhere far away.
Bad bird! Terrible bird! chatter voices from much closer.

Warren rouses, as from sleep, and notices that he's angry. Bad at being a bird, is he?

The smothering snow blows away in an unveiling of vast white wings. The great bird rips the shadows apart, and turns on Alison immediately afterwards, reclaiming her chain to pull her bodily back out of the nightmares which circulate about her. She turns, and sees him, and she says —

"I'm what? I — " His feathers lift as she translates through astral space to pop up on his back, an unfamiliar sensation that seems to rouse him to his shape. No arms to carry her? No arms…? "…oh. Well, whatever. We have to get Dani! I can do loud."

«You're welcome,» comes his reply, as he opens his wings and lunges into the astral sky. He can feel the Bear's sudden fear at the avian image of him, and while he doesn't understand the reason — he will capitalize on it for all it's worth.

His motivation to do so grows especially keen when he sees those shadows run Dani through.

A shriek of fury escapes the great bird, and his wings carve the dead air as he sprints the remaining distance in a flurry of white feathers. The falling snow, deadly and malevolent, sears holes in his feathers on contact, and razor-sharp shadow starts to rain down from the vicious skies. Warren staggers in the air as the assault starts to burden his wide-winged form, and his concerns turn to Ali, exposed on his back.

«Give me your light,» he says to Ali, as he folds his wings and spins into a dive. He yanks on the chain tethering them together, pulling her forward to draw her into his closing beak — a guard against the hostile shadow raining on them both. «I'll deliver it.»

Their astral presences twine together. A feathered comet of streaming light plunges towards the spot where the Bear saturates Dani Moonstar in its darkness.

"She's not yours. She's ours."

———

Pulled from the precipice point of her nightmare — and that flash of a same-haired woman ripples and disappears back to shadow — Alison looks up, finding herself in a single, safe spot in the mantling wingspan of a great bird.

A great bird fletched of familiar white feathers, and staring down on her same, shining, familiar blue eyes —

The astral realm bridges that lapse in logic; here, it makes sense, and even inside that beat of disbelief — Alison knows. She knows the instant she sees him.

Warren, manifested as the angel. Warren, manifested as the bird of prey. Both sides of him, different and same in their shape and form. Both sides she loves.

It's the gravity she needs, helped with his powerful beak closing over the end of her chain, taking the weak spot of her wayward soul in hand, and linking her back to his side. Fuelled by urgency to go for Dani, and perhaps just desperate to touch him, Alison asserts her own will through astral space — and reorients on Warren's great back.

It takes him by surprise. She weathers it calmly, meeting his eyes. Here, in the astral realm, Alison is off-balance. Ill-footed, emotionally compromised, and doubtful and fickle amidst so many stronger personalities, she looks — exhausted. Spent. Affected in every way.

And, yet, here and now, she manages a heartbeat's wryness at Warren's confusion. A man realizing he's a bird. She lays a hand down over his feathers, the touch grounding, approving. "It works," she says to that.

His great wings flare to their full spans, and it does work, as Warren propels them powerfully up into the astral sky. Alison tightens her hands on his feathers, hanging on, the void wind whipping through her yellowy hair.

The great roc's shriek splits the corpse-silence — noise spreading out into the shadow, and the Dazzler on his back lights up, combusting with a corona of blinding white light, fanning edges like licking fire as it emanates out from her skin. He moves fast, and she lights them like a falling star.

The Bear notices, and the Bear dislikes it. The nightmare turns on them in a living field of cutting blades, and it carves into Warren's body — it similarly attacks Alison in a death of a thousand cuts, and she grimaces, feeling like she's being razored by a sky of broken glass.

Still, she hangs on. Still, she burns, focusing forward her light to burn against the worst of the maelstrom —

Though it escalates, worse enough that Warren wavers in the air, and Alison fights to keep her handhold on his feathers, her grip hitching under the pain. She bleeds a hundred times into the air. A shiv carves a deep line up her cheekbone.

Warren furiously banks them into a raptor's death dive. In an instant of inertia, he wills her off his back, and by that briding chain, devours her. Alison doesn't resist.

«It's yours,» she answers.

He braids their souls, and the entirety of the towering roc detonates into living light — energy taken shape, form, self. It is a sort of warmth few have ever felt, her light — pulling around him, melting away any memory of the nightmare's chill. Alison curls spiritual arms around him, closes her eyes, and accepts.

White light barrels unrelentingly down where the shadows whip and catch Dani, branking her limb by limb, pulling her down to the Bear's inexorable fate. For a terrible moment, there is only that deplorable, cold nothing, a grave fate to resign herself to what has been dogging her entire life, what has broken her again and again to just give in

"Dani. Everything it took from you, you took back."

Until light spreads to try to burn it away, and within it, the astral shape of a reaching hand.

"It has no power over you."

———

With each tendril that attaches and affixes to Danielle Moonstar she loses bits and pieces of herself, of her soul as its sifted away.

A familiar feeling. A terrible feeling.

In those corners of her self that's still connected there's enough time for her to feel sadness. Loss. There's a finality that can be seen and mourned for, as the Bear greedily takes what it wants from her. What it had lost. There's an echo of heavy remorse before that emotion burns away.

It's replaced with anger and rage and the desire for revenge. Revenge against the Bird. Against the Songstress.

They will be the first to pay and then the world -

As such, the woman known as Danielle Moonstar tilts her head back and roars a heavy sound. With that sound of challenge Moonstar's body changes shape, it becomes stockier, heavier, and the cloak that surrounds her becomes whole. The Demon Bear has been reshaped, reborn, back to this world. It's muzzle crinkles back to show blighted ivory teeth and with another rumble it rises up upon two legs just as the conflagration that is Alison Blaire and Warren Worthington plunge down at the Bear.

Light crashes against darkness. Warmth against coldness. Day against night.

The scream of the bird and the light of the songstress echoes and shines against the bleakness found throughout.

That sound deafens the Bear's ears. The light blinds its eyes, but does it yet succumb? No.

It snaps at the melded pair. It slashes. The infection that is the Demon Bear tries to find a weakened point, a chink in their armor, but there is none.

Two halves have become a whole.

Completely.

The Demon Bear rages. It rages against the unfairness of it all. Its rage causes the first crack to appear within its hold upon Danielle Moonstar.

That's what allows the words of Warren to be heard, which pulls those hairline fractures further apart.

'She's not yours. She's ours.'

It exposes the softer underbelly of the Bear to the pair, so that when Alison speaks her words next it rips right into the Beast's belly and it tears it wide open.

'It has no power over you.'.

A deathblow dealt with a surety from the conviction within the meld of Warren and Alison.

The proffered hand finds itself suddenly grasped by one of Dani's own, while the form of the bear burns away. The cloak lasts for a second longer before it too blackens and turns to dust which reveals their lost friend.

"Warren. Alison."

And while no other words are spoken this plane of existence possibly offers insight to what's not said. What lies behind their names spoken so gratefully by Dani. So heavily.

… You found me …

… Thank you …

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