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Aug 18, 2019 2:42 AM
Veron Chandler and Harry Dresden
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Apparently there's a dragon in the area, and it's been terrorizing some townsfolk. Joy of endless joys. While technically it's not Veron's problem, realistically there's no one else nearby that can handle an adult white dragon, so.... it's kind of his problem. He's not going to abandon people to get eaten by a dragon.

So this is why he's stomping through the mountains, looking for a dragon. Vaguely, he remembers the last time he did this. Last time, he'd been terrified, shivering down to his boots and desperately trying to talk the dragon out of eating him, praying to Tymora and to whichever god dealt with preventing horrible awful freezing dragon breath. Lathander, maybe. Or maybe it was a series of them. He doesn't quite recall. It was a while ago. This time, he's... maybe a bit peckish? And annoyed. A bit annoyed.

He finds the dragon. He introduces himself. He politely asks the dragon to knock off its shit. This goes predictably. The resulting fight is not the most harrowing one Veron's ever had, but he does end up carefully picking frigid dragon teeth out of a bloodied arm, so he's got that going for him. That's nice, except in all of the ways it's not nice.

"Why did you think that was a smart move?" he asks, not sure if he's asking himself or the dragon's corpse. Maybe he could flip a coin for it.

Right, well. No use letting a spare dragon's hoard go to waste. Some of it will go to the various people the dragon menaced, to help fix things. Some of it will go to the adventurer that the dragon menaced, to help outfit him with Even Nicer Things. He begins ransacking accordingly.

He's checking for traps, but maybe he's slipping, because something twists in the air and he has just long enough to swear before he's somewhere else entirely.

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It's still pretty Goddamn cold. Maybe not as cold as dragon breath, though.

Also, he is no longer in a position to talk to himself, because there are people here. Five adults - two unusually tall women, two unusually tall men, one stupidly tall man with a sturdy quarterstaff. Five children, most of whom seem very alarmed by the state of his arm. The adults are more alarmed by him abruptly existing. A large stick is leveled in his direction.

"Who in the Hell are you?" asks the stupidly tall man with the stick.

The marginally shorter man, now standing protectively in front of a six-year-old, sighs heavily. "Harry. Language."

"Michael. Timing."

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"Ah, He—" he identifies that there are children, and decides to use a different word "—ai. Hi. Veron Chandler, professional lost person. Sorry, there was a. Thing. I apologize for interrupting your thing."

His bloodied arm's a bit gnawed on, and bits of frost still cover his armor, but he looks harmless enough. Except for the weapons. Like the two magic swords on his belt, the throwing knives in various places, and the small bandoleer of potions on his hip. Except for that.

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"Swords are a professional tool for lost people, then?"

Michael clears his throat. Harry rolls his eyes. "Alright, yes, that's fair, swords are sometimes needful."

The younger of the two tall women squeaks loudly. Everyone present turns sharply. She points at one of the swords. "I- I do not like that sword. Bad sword. Really bad sword."

Harry turns back to the stranger. "Molly seems to think you have a bad sword. Are bad swords also needful?"

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Veron winces. Thanks, Ex-Enserric, you do such wonderful things for him. He politely holds his hands away from the sword.

"When fighting bad people? Yeah, sometimes. Not casually, but sometimes. I can put it away?"

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"That'd be appreciated. Molly, can-"

Suddenly, it gets very dark. There's a smell of brimstone, which Veron may find somewhat nostalgic, or possibly not.

"Charity, get the kids inside," Harry growls.

The older woman begins to shepherd her children towards a nearby storm cellar with military efficiency. She doesn't get very far before a trio of goat-men show up. They leap over the fence in an obvious display of superhuman strength. Harry turns to react, drawing another stick from his coat and hurling a lance of flame at the rightmost target.

That one screams in pain. The others charge towards the kids.

This might be a problem.

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Or maybe not. Shadowstep. The world fades to grey, and all the world pauses around him.

His first instinct is to get the kids to safety, but considering the number of children, and how their parents are mid-grab to get them out of danger, what's really needed is something to slow the goat-men down. Veron can be that something.

Guy-with-stick seems to be a magic user of some kind, which means that Veron should not get in his way. Veron can do that. To outside viewers, there's a flicker of shadow where Veron used to be, then suddenly two goat-men have new piercings from throwing daggers that come out of apparently thin-air, and a third now has a gaping flesh wound that's half frozen over. Veron himself is nowhere to be seen.

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The goat-men stagger. The already crispy goat-man topples into a snowdrift, bleating miserably.

Harry blinks, then blasts the two that have not already been blasted. One, the one with the frozen wound, takes the brunt of the attack; the other dances out of the way of most of it, then continues charging towards Molly, who has one child under each arm.

As the monster approaches, she vanishes and leaps in an unknown direction. The beast's momentum carries it into a snowdrift; it turns and tries to work out where the girl went, but she's significantly too invisible for that. It bleats in frustration.

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And then it is stabbed. It is stabbed is what it is. Quickly, neatly, and fatally, by an invisible force. The resulting corpse is half frozen over.

Anything else close enough to menace fleeing civilians? Because Veron can introduce them to what is known as a 'bad time.'

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The first appears to be too crispy for that sort of thing. The second is also crispy, but still standing, and still potentially a threat.

Charity, having stowed a child in the toolshed, charges out wielding a large steel hammer. The hammer strikes the second goat-man in the head, eliciting a very unpleasant sound and a burst of green flame.

The second goat-man is no longer standing, nor potentially a threat.

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Well, that's that, then.

Veron ends his invisibility and looks judgmentally at the corpses. He has a third sword in his hand, droplets of blood frozen to its surface. He feels moderately like a crazy sword collector, but, well. It felt impolite to use either the soul eating sword or the one that makes acid here, so. Here he is, with Yet Another Sword. ... Damn, now he has to get the blood off of it. That's always a bitch.

"So I'm getting the impression you're as great at making friends as I am."

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Harry gives him an appraising look, then puts the fire stick back in his coat. Molly returns to visibility; Michael shepherds children into the house; Charity sticks her warhammer haft-first into the ground, leaving the blood and miscellanea to burn off while she drags the corpses behind a snowdrift to melt into ectoplasm.

"I'm not actually sure why those gentlemen were trying to murder me," Harry says ruefully. "So, yes. Thanks for the assist."

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"No problem. In retrospect I maybe should have tried to capture one alive to ask questions of. But they didn't seem... super talkative, and they were threatening kids, so. Seemed pretty obvious which side I was on." He eyes the burning warhammer. "That's not, I dunno, cursed evil fire or anything, right?"

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"Nah, the fire just sort of happens. Steel plus faerie blood. It'll burn off."

"And I didn't leave any alive either," Charity notes curtly. "You're in fine company."

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"Cool, just checking," says Veron. This is not how faerie blood works where he comes from, but he's not home, so this makes about as much sense as anything else.

Instead of going through the trouble of painstakingly chipping frozen blood off of his sword, he casually holds the blade over the fire. The blood ice will probably melt, and his sword will be so much easier to clean. This would be a terrible idea with an ordinary weapon, but he got this sword in Cania. It would take a lot more than some magic fire to fuck up the metal of this sword.

"Nobody's hurt?" he confirms. He's pretty sure nobody's hurt, but it's always safe to check.

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The ice: does not melt. The fire, which should probably be giving off palpable heat from here, instead just makes his hand feel kind of tingly.

Charity raises her eyebrows. "The one time someone actually wants something set on fire. Wizard, your talent for arson is being tragically ignored."

Harry looks up from the dead goatman he had been inspecting. "Oh. Uh, faerie fire doesn't really- it's not hot, it's just fire. I can get that for you. I do fire good."

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"Fire that isn't hot. Okay. I've seen weirder things," he snorts. Then obligingly offers the sword to Harry, hilt first. It seems rude to point the sharp end at him. "Thanks, I'd appreciate it. It's a pain to clean."

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Harry takes the sword. Holding it away from himself, he mutters "lento fuego" and sends a lazy stream of fire over the blade. Newly liquid blood drips down into the snow; soon enough, the only ice on the blade is, well, the ice that makes up the blade.

"Cool sword," Harry notes, offering it back (also hilt-first). Then he winces. "Pun not intended."

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Now that the blade isn't crusted with frozen gore, it's possible to see the lovely ice it's made of. The sword would look ordinary and almost unimpressive, except for that. Pale blue and faintly translucent, it's possible to pick out smaller swirls of twisted light within the blade, like veins on a leaf. Or, more accurately, like ripples in ice.

"Poor thing's already named for a pun, another won't hurt anything," says Veron, smiling back. "Thanks."

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"What's the pun?" Harry asks. "I need to know if it's worthy."

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"Its name in Infernal is Aceleka, which translates to Frostbite. I don't know what makes a pun worthy. Is it worthy?"

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Harry makes a face. "Barely even a pun. I feel cheated."

Charity reclaims her warhammer, now clean of unpleasantness and smelling faintly of ozone. "Not to drag anyone back onto the topic at hand, but do we have any idea why those things were attacking my children?"

"Um." Harry looks deeply uncomfortable. "It might be... related to our actions at Arctis Tor."

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Yep, definitely as great at making friends as he is. Is this what his life looks like on the outside? People nodding seriously and bringing up fantastic past events without any kind of context for the casual layman? This might be what his life looks like from the outside.

"Would you like some kind of help?"

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Harry is abruptly reminded that there are people who do not know every detail of the violence he is contractually obligated to commit on a daily basis!

"Oh, we - kind of led an assault on the stronghold of the Queen of the Winter Faeries, a few months ago," he explains. "Armed with steel weapons, which is, um, kind of a personal insult to her and every other faerie in the world."

"It was to save my daughter," Charity says gravely. "I would do much, much worse."

"And... I don't really know how you can help, at least not yet, but I'm not turning down somebody that good with a sword. Things in my life need stabbing with distressing regularity."

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Veron nods at Charity. Yep. That sounds like a reasonable and proportional response to someone kidnapping and menacing a daughter. It's kind of a pity he wasn't here to help with that, because he would have.

"Then I will be happy to make myself available as a stabbing consultant."

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Harry nods decisively. "Then, with no objections, I will be going back to my place to figure out what in the Hell those things were. Charity, Michael should probably carry his sword for the foreseeable future."

"Teach your grandmother to suck eggs," she agrees.

"Probably deserved that. So, uh, Veron, right? Do you want to come with me or stay with the Carpenters?"

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