Your questing hand along the passage walls reveals ridges and troughs in irregular patterns. You open your primary eyes and are rewarded by a dim radiance glowing from the walls, painting scenes of gods and temples, prophets and tides. Your heat eyes dispel any comfort the images might provide. There is light, but no heat.\n\nAmblebrand drools a sizzling trail behind. The passage slopes [[upwards]].
A red mess yawns where you should have found his belly. Every sweep of your claw reveals gnawed viscera and frozen fluids. Your gorge rises and you taste blood and bile. The tidal pull of the unchained moons rips through your guts in a wave of nausea. Your stomach disgorges and you stain the snow beside the fallen warrior.\n\nYou regret the loss of heat. There is nothing else of use here. You must [[leave|exit]].
Amblebrand drinks deep. Soon you will. The moon throbs and pulses with your blade, with the poison in your mind, with the pressure in your gut.\n\nHer eyes stare into yours, in shock or in deadened certainty. You trace a claw along her eye-ridge as she gasps wetly. Ichor and essence jet from her chest with every breath. Her eyes wink out, one by one. Delicately, you slide Amblebrand from her chest.\n\n[[You embrace her warmth.]]
The moons carve strobing eclipses across the pale vault of the sky. Your head throbs. You are sticky.\n\nYou are inside the cold remains of a priestess of the Egg Moon Goddess. You lie before a massive statue of the deity she worshipped. You no longer recall how you came to be here. You vomit. You regret the loss of heat.\n\nIt is bitterly cold. You must find heat, or [[perish]].
You blink your eyes to build a composite image of her. Her scales are a pearlescent white, matching her robes. Such coloring is rare. The ruffled silk softly rises with her faint breath. Sickly red light leaks from the moon through the glass.\n\nHer scales radiate a bright red heat. She lies, a deep pink, suspended over a pale blue reflection amidst a purple sparkling sea before a monolith of fecundity.\n\nAnother tidal throb scythes through you and you see your own shuddering reflection. Scales a deep blue crusted with rusty spatters. Your own heat a dull red and cooling. Dented barding covering your flanks, leaving exposed your paler underbelly. Mail chipped and rent. Trailed by a smoking, pitted line from the black droplets of Amblebrand.\n\nIt kneads your withered knuckles and palm pleadingly, it moans. You must have her heat.\n\n[[Wake her.]]\n[[Take her.]]
The scent of blood grows stronger as you brush the snow from the form. There, entombed in the deeper red snow, lies the body of a warrior. His snow-encrusted features are frozen in a grim mockery of peace, slack but unyielding, serene but for the ruinous stroke that has torn out the eyes on the right flank of his head. His crest above the wound is stiffened in cold death, but delicately splayed.\n\nSuspicion gnaws at you. Your hand brushes further down to clear more snow. You cannot help but notice the snow you clear tints pink as your claws [[sift it away|uncover it 2]].
THE END\n\nSnowfall by [[oh no "dangheim" problems|http://ohnoproblems.tumblr.com/]]\n\ninspirations:\n[[porpentine|http://porpentine.tumblr.com/]]\n[[j chastain|http://mufoundation.org]]\n[[xax|http://eccentric-nucleus.tumblr.com/]]\nfimbulvetr + ragnarök\ndemon's souls\ndominions 3\ntolkein\nlovecraft\ncrystal castles\negg\nhot ass alien lizards\n\nthanks for playing :]
The sky sheds a veil of burning grey-white sprites, ephemeral clumps that leech precious heat from your scales just to melt into mockeries of the healing rains that fell long ago. The days lurch and shudder, the very land groans.\n\n[[You are alone.]]
You shed your armor. You must have her heat.\n\nYou lower yourself over her. Your breath steams across her face. You prop yourself above her by your arms and forelegs.\n\nYou ease your hindlegs through the wound, and settle into her blessed wet warmth. The wound gapes in invitation. Your egg pouch clenches and shudders against hers.\n\nHer breath is shallow now, irregular. Her eyes are dark. You grasp the wound with your forelegs and stretch it apart. You settle within her abdomen, ensconced in precious warmth.\n\n[[She takes a labored breath.]]
She says: //there is warmth here. follow//\n\nShe slides to her feet and grasps your hand. She leads you past the idol of her goddess. There is a passage deeper into the temple. In the still and cold air, your breaths puff brief clouds of saffron that wither to blue, then black.\n\nShe says: //i was in prayer//\n\nYou rumble assent.\n\nShe says: //it is here//\n\nShe opens a door set in the wall of the corridor. [[You enter.]]
But the day is cold. The moons hide their appalling forms behind smothering cloudbanks of snow. Your breath steams in the air. You regret the loss of heat. You fan your crest to waft any fresh scents into your scent-passage. Your blade, [[Amblebrand]], trembles on your arm.\n\nYou must find heat, or perish. You are in a [[clearing]].
The air is warm, sizzling, savory. The Hierodule glances up at you from the brazier and rumbles happily. She shifts a pan above the coals, then transfers its contents to two plates.\n\nOne she presents to you. There is are two strips of auruch loin, a fried wedge of bloodfruit, and 3 eggs.\n\nShe says: //these are of mine. i give them to you//\n\nShe grabs her own plate, similarly laden.\n\nShe says: //it is hoped there is no offense i have taken of yours in return//\n\nYou rumble happily. The meal is delicious.\n\nAmblebrand may kill you another day. Today you have found heat.\n\n\n\n\n\n[[---]]
How you came here you can no longer recall. The moons were screaming and blood clogged your senses. The blood is gone, the moons retreat. You remain.\n\nCliffs ring you, wrought with scabrous veins of hematite. Something lies under the snow before you. It smells of old blood, muted by the treacherous cold. Of course, so do you. Old blood, weariness, poison.\n\nIt would be easy to give in. But you must spur yourself to action.\n\nThe object is buried, but you could [[uncover it]]. The cliffs ring you, but there must be [[a way out]].\n\nThe snow falls. It would be easy to give in.
You topple down the stairs.\n\nAmblebrand skids violently across the reliefs.\n\nYour blade arm crumples inwards.\n\nThere is [[pain]].
Your passage in the howling, crackling red air is marked by your scrabbling claws, your sizzling blade, your clashing mail. The Hierodule wakes, turns, gasps.\n\n[[She is transfixed.]]
In the cliffs to the right, you see a hole. You approach. Stone has been carved around the hole in the likenesses of the Five, the [[lunar gods]]. Nothing suggests the interior of passage will be any warmer than the clearing, but at least the snow will stay off.\n\nYou enter the [[hole]].
Soundlessly, at a touch, the doors glide open. The massive chamber ahead is imperceptibly warmer than the exposed entrance.\n\nThe circular expanse glows with a lurid red effulgence. The floor perfectly mirrors the open sky above. A canopy of flawless glass protects the chamber from the freezing sky. Traced in glowing silver are the old paths of the lunar orbits, now woefully incorrect. Idols of the Five ring the room. Opposite you stands a monolithic depiction of the Egg Moon Goddess, imperious crest splayed erotically.\n\nBefore it, whether in supplication or in death, is a [[huddled form]].
Her breath plays across your face. It smells of spices, yours of blood. A trail of your ooze is painted along her axis. Her underbelly's scales, you notice, are a faint pink.\n\nYou open your jaws and reciprocate her loving gesture, tracing your teeth meant for ripping into flesh softly along her alabaster muzzle.\n\nYou clasp her with everything. Forelegs, hindlegs, arms, and tails entwine in a steaming embrace. Something slick wraps itself around your ovipositor. She moans and rumbles, her tongue playing across your crest.\n\nYou arc your abdomen forward. She has clasped your engorged ovipositor with her own. [[The egg-pressure builds.]]
You lift Amblebrand. It drools and vibrates and its black fluids pock the stone. Her gaze flicks to it, then back to your eyes.\n\nShe says: //leave the doom to the cold//\n\nShe sheds her silks, casts them aside. She weaves her way around the brazier to you.\n\nShe says: //tonight is for [[heat]]//
Two voices in harmony fill the chamber. Egg after egg slide out your shaft in bursts of slick and salty ooze. Her own slithering bulges against yours give proof to her own climax. Juices spatter against your groin, leathery eggs slither down its soft scales.\n\nYou gasp and shudder against her. She sinks into you and you sink into the cushion. Her chest rises and shivers. Her crest fans languidly.\n\nThe air is thick and warm.\n\n\n\n\n---\n\n\n\n\n\n[[You are not alone.|waken not alone]]
Her tail thrashes weakly. You twine your own around hers to still it. Nestled between her hindlegs, you find your prize. You slit her pouch open delicately, and you grasp her eggs inside. She hisses and burbles. You widen the slit with your claws, and eggs spill from the cut. Your own egg pouch spasms and flushes.\n\nYou lower your maw to the spill and greedily lap up the slurry of eggs, zygotic ooze, and blood. Eggs burst in your mouth, precious motes of warmth and nutrients. It is not enough.\n\n[[You must have her heat.|take heat]]
The red moon ascends as you cross the threshold of this temple. Your clicking footfalls echo on the patterned tiles. A terrible pressure builds in your skull and pulses through your blade arm.\n\nAhead are an ornate set of [[doors]].
When the freezing clouds do not obscure the moons, it brings no solace. The wheeling orbs sear hideous tracks across your eyes and sow a roiling horror in your bowels.\n\nStill, better to face a paralyzing cosmic nightmare than death in the [[cold]].
His chest is cruelly pierced. Splintered ribs hold slick globs of black ichor in troughs of exposed marrow. Snow and scales and splintered mail clog the wound. You have no interest in exploring its depths. With mechanical dread you clear the snow further down the body. Amblebrand purrs.\n\nThe body ends [[unexpectedly|uncover it 3]].
You exit the shell of the temple. Across the moon-hounded plateau, you see a distant hole in a cliff.\n\nEach step whisks heat from your body. The wind whips cruelly against your underbelly, where cold fluids have not quite congealed.\n\nThe hole looms. You step inside, to the head of the stairs. Amblebrand vibrates through your withered limb.\n\nThe moons scream. The world lurches with you. You fling out your [[arms]].
Yes, fire. It has been been so long since you have felt the sweet kiss of flame. Warmth seeps into your scales. Relief soaks into your throbbing head from the aromatic smoke. Your mail and barding are stifling. You remove them and cast them aside.\n\nShe says: //you are beautiful//\n\nYou meet her gaze. She tilts her head to study you first with one bank of eyes, then the other. They are inquisitive, gentle, unafraid.\n\nYou say: //[[a doom is on me]]//
Already it is warmer. The room is small and ringed with saddle-grooved benches and cushions. There is a brazier in the center. The Hierodule busies herself with the dormant coals.\n\nShe says: //blood is on you//\n\nYou glance back to her. Her tongue darts tentatively from her mouth, and her crest fans invitingly.\n\nYou say: //the moons//\n\nYou say: //the red moon//\n\nYou do not know what else to say.\n\nShe rumbles soothingly. She says: //i have felt their pull//\n\nFrom an alcove, she produces a bit of dried herb. She drops it in the [[fire]].
She traces a claw softly around your eye-ridges. Her tongue darts out, questingly, teasing the delicate scales that ring your maw. You catch it with your own and press her close.\n\nShe pulls her head back, teasingly, before she opens her own jaws and engulfs your muzzle. Softly, lovingly, she scrapes its length with her teeth. You shiver.\n\nShe places a hand on your chest and pushes with a gentle but unyielding [[insistence]].
Your claw plays down her shuddering form, tearing the stained silk away. The scales of her underbelly have the faintest pink hue. At the apex of the softer scales, you press your foreclaw, the sharpest of its fellows. A simple application of pressure, a bursting flex of muscle, and you enter her.\n\nScales and tendons part reverently before the path of your claw. You press your mandibles to the slit and drink. A bubbling moan escapes her.\n\n[[You have nearly reached her groin.]]
You approach across a bleeding pool of stars and sparks and hateful orbs.\n\nAmblebrand rattles your arm painfully. Your head throbs.\n\nYou know the figure's garb.\n\nShe is an [[Egg Hierodule]].
The Five, as once was told, are eternal sentinels set to watch the world and its chosen people. The Red Moon Goddess governs the fields of war and oath-breaking. The Green Moon God governs agriculture and sickness. The Egg Moon Goddess governs fertility and fealty. The Black Moon Goddess governs death and embalming. The Wayfaring Moon God governs secrets, and legend associates his coming with portentious shifts in all things.\n\nOf course, in the Age of Flesh, as is told, great beasts brought the chosen people to the moons, where no gods were found. The Five fell from favor.\n\nThen, of course, the Wayfaring Moon never returned, and the Green Moon shattered, and the world fell into a chilling slumber.\n\nIt is a rare thing to find a place consecrated to the Five. The hole [[yawns|exit]].
The crimson glow of the red moon fades and a white glow suffuses the chamber. You look up. The egg moon has eclipsed the red moon.\n\nYou lower yourself to your haunches and underbelly. You shiver as the sensitive scales touch the cold floor. You reach out and gently shake the Hierodule. She stirs. Eyes wink open and focus.\n\nShe says: //you came//\n\nYou rumble assent.\n\nShe says: //you are cold//\n\nYou say: //[[i have wandered long]]//
The herbs fill your scent-passage and weave a wondrous fire into your joints. The Hierodule strokes your inner hindlegs and you gasp. Her heat, her touch, her tongue tease out your innermost.\n\nGleaming and shuddering in her gaze, your ovipositor extends. Already you can feel the desperate pressure of eggs jostling in your egg pouch.\n\nShe tastes it and rumbles in pleasure. Grasping your thighs, she slithers her body up your entire length, squeezing your ovipositor between [[your warming bodies]].
Ambient light fails several spans inside the hole. You close your primary eyes and rely instead on the peripheral eyes who inhabit the heat spectrum.\n\nSwirls of blue against deeper blue shiver past you as the wind howls down the corridor.\n\n[[Deeper.]]
Upwards through dim light and whorls of crystalline blue. The exertion warms you, but it is a fleeting warmth, undone by every howl that shudders through the mountain.\n\nYou pass spectral reliefs as the unseen moons far above throb and skitter. The Black Moon Goddess carries the dead to the seats of judgement by her drawn cart. The Egg Moon Goddess plucks scales for deeds of love and faithfulness. The Red Moon Goddess plucks scales for deeds of necessity, strife, and disloyalty. The scales are weighed. The dead follow the weight of their scales to the lunar fields of the goddesses.\n\nThe stairs creak and shiver. The world moans. The reliefs falter and die.\n\nThere is a [[light]] ahead.
The enclosing rock groans in protest as a tidal reverberation heaves through you. The bas-reliefs flicker momentarily.\n\nAhead, you sense regular slabs curving upwards. You have reached a set of [[stairs]].
She takes a labored breath.\n\nYou trap it with your mouth.\n\n\n\n\n---\n\n\n\n\n[[You are alone.|taken alone]]
Your head. Your head throbs. You step out of the mountain and the uncaring sky looms above a plateau. The clouds smother the world below. The moons above plow through glittering green wreckage and the night is maddeningly aglow with burning, effervescent sparks that streak across the sky. The pull is sickening.\n\nThe plateau around you is a smooth and featureless grey save for straight ridges of black marble. In the distance, the ridges converge at a great temple. The work is staggering. Never again shall the world reach an equal glory.\n\nThe winds whip your cloak and Amblebrand buzzes. Cowed by the appalling sky, you approach the [[temple]].
You are pushed back onto a cushion. Your underbelly, with its soft blue scales, is exposed. You stretch your length out invitingly, forelegs and hindlegs tracing small circles in the pungent air.\n\nShe lowers herself to the apex of your underbelly and meets the soft scales with her tongue. You shiver. She trails it down your body.\n\n[[She has nearly reached your groin.]]
The calamitous graft-blade, Amblebrand, rests far too easily around your limb. A potent black excretion leaks from the guard and seeps down the chitinous blade constantly. The snow sizzles where it touches.\n\nOnly once have you seen Amblebrand without this perilous coating. When your matron fell, years ago, when you came upon her wreckage, steaming in the soft white snow among the field of slain, essence juddering from dozens of wounds but none as terrible as the mortal ruin wrought upon her underbelly. She was beyond words. Amblebrand deigned to cease its fatal flow as you worked it from her cooling arm by the secret ways she taught you. All the while her eyes were upon you, filled not with sadness but a deadened certainty, until one by one they went out. Then as the blade's tendrils reverently retracted from her limb, with a final keen and spurt of black ichor, she left.\n\nThe cursed blade of your brood, passed down through the blood since the Age of Flesh, was yours. This blade will kill you one day.\n\nBut today, you hope, will not be the day. Today you are [[cold]].
You must conserve your heat. A white, slow death falls silently around you and coats the ground. Digging would surely be fatal. You shake warmth into your limbs, stamping first your hindlegs, then your forelegs. A small shower of snow cascades from your mail and barding.\n\nAmblebrand hums and pulses around your claw. You scan the cliffs for signs of an [[exit]].
You squeeze each other desperately. Zygotic ooze leaks from your ovipositors, lubricating them as they writhe around each other, a pulsing, quivering caduceus.\n\nShe claws your back as a deep rumble builds within her, echoing your own. Your body strains against her grasp, hers against yours, but neither will yield. Her crest splays and retracts, bringing her the scent of herbs, juices, blood. Eggs press against the base of your ovipositor. Your pouch spasms and shudders.\n\n[[Your rumbles ascend.]]
The red moon's zenith. You are torn, you are stretched. Amblebrand howls. It knows the way.\n\nThe mirrored floor sizzles. Your blade, ensconcing your arm in a sure embrace, milks you, its cilia stroking through your scales, into the blood. Poison gushes from the blade. You are the blade and the blade is all of you.\n\nYou lift yourself, your tongue questing the air, tasting the fumes of melted stone. Your crest stretches and shudders, brings you the scent of her heat.\n\n[[You surge forward.]]
by oh no problems