"I don't procrastinate," Nathaniel told Major with more than a little defensiveness in his tone. The thestral snorted a clear indictment of Nate's proclamation. "I simply don't rush into situations," the God of Darkness countered from the opposite end of Major's stable. "However, were I to have postponed this particular endeavor..." he started to explain then locked eyes with the winged-horse. "I don't have to explain myself to you," he shot at Major, who responded with another snort but this time paired it was a head shake. The conflicted god grabbed the thestral's reigns and led him from the stable out into the night air. "There wouldn't be anything wrong if you were nervous..." he added then looked back toward the horse. Major's eyes, pale white with a dim glow in the darkness, were oddly expressive and said everything but anxious. "I won't judge you..." Nate offered but was stopped when Major defiantly planted his four feet into the dirt. "Right," he smirked because he'd offended the creation of night. "My apologies, but nothing is going to be-" Nate paused when the sound of footsteps and loose fitted, jingling armor came near.
Brayden appeared, the squire visibly winded from his jog. "Dad, everyone's ready," the boy told his father - whose full God of Darkness armor was impressive then to the rarely impressed teenage.
Nate nodded toward his son, then snatched the boy up with his arm and pulled his son into a completely mandatory hug. Both arms around Brayden's shoulders, Nate's face disappeared into his son's mop of unruly hair. "No matter what happens, you're going to be okay," the words were directed toward his son but they were meant for Nathaniel. "But if this goes south, I need you to be mountain lion mean, boy," Caltrops instructed his only son with another fierce squeeze. The predator was a rarity in Iowa, but that hadn't prevented Nathaniel from having to deal with one when Brayden was younger. The solitary big cat, who liked to stalk its prey and quickly snap its neck from behind had quickly become a symbol for the Zales men. "You hear me, boy? Mountain lion mean."
"Yeah, dad," Brayden answered, his arms instinctively wrapped around his father's waist. The uncharacteristic show of emotion left the young man a bit shook. Horns had clearly understood the danger, but nobody had yet to verbalize it - let alone his father. Go south? What could go wrong? His dad was a god now and wasn't Thor going to be there? "I hear you."
Nathaniel released his son, several moments after Brayden would have normally pushed him away. "Listen to Eva while I'm gone," he added out of reflex and turned quickly to hide the tears trapped within his eyes. Nathaniel lifted his leg into the stirrup which hung down from Major's saddle, then mounted the thestral.
"Hey, dad," Brayden said from the ground below his father's point of view. "I love you."
The normally grim Nathaniel smiled, honestly without sarcasm, and turned toward his son. Rather than gloat over his son's sudden utterance of the very uncool statement, Nate nodded. "I love you too," he responded and took another long look at Brayden. The God of Darkness pulled at Major's reigns and turned away from the palace.
"Hey dad!" Brayden yelled after his father, before his horse's wings sent the pair airborne. "Try not to suck!"
"Thanks!" Nate called back and shook his head in mild disbelief... though the boy wasn't wrong. He pulled back and Major's first few flaps propelled them into the darkened sky. "The second star to the right and straight on 'til morning..." he jokingly told his steed while they flew high above the Asgardian forest. Once above the darkest patch, Major's steady ascent became a sudden nosedive. The God of Darkness and his skelly pegasus rocketed toward the trees below only to dissipate into shadow on impact.
Nathaniel and Major's forms appeared within the deeps of Helheim, in the outskirts of one of the realm's many villages. Nate's eyes raised and the crumbling castle loomed in the distance. He pulled the leather straps that connected him with Major and wrapped the slack around his wrist. The god of darkness unsheathed one of his sickles, spurred his steed forward, then struck the side of every house he passed. Nathaniel crisscrossed the small town until he'd caused enough ruckus to force a gathering in the center of town. They landed near the group of confused souls and he allowed Major the briefest of struts. "Citizens of Helheim, the God of Darkness has arrived to libertate your realm! Every warrior who wished they'd died in battle or soul ready to retake your land, take up arms and march to the fortress!" He looked upon the crowd, who seemed equal parts startled and unimpressed. "Once I've rallied your neighbors, we will retake Helheim from the demons who've made it theirs!" They stirred, but Nathaniel didn't feel the enthusiasm he'd expected. "Our Allfather, Thor Odinson - the God of Thunder has sworn his allegiance to us, but he only fights for those who fight for themselves!" Nate explained then acted unsurprised when lightning struck the ground behind him.
"Thor?" several people murmured. "Thor's the Allfather?" A few more. "With Thor behind us, we can't lose!" A particularly loud woman yelled from the back.
"Ready your blades, fasten your armor, and march to your destiny!" Nate told the now cheering people. He galloped away quickly, towards the next town, and quickly lowered his mask to hide the annoyance on his face. The sensation passed quickly, thankfully, because every town responded equally as well to the Thor name-drop... After countless speeches and what felt like hours of flying, Nathaniel landed in a clearing near the castle. He dismounted just in time to see the first group of Helheim freedom fighters appearing from the south. More and more joined and Nate met with the leaders from each town. The plan was simple, take the stronghold and do as the Gods or Midgardians told you to do.
Caltrops pulled a bottle of oil from Major's saddle and poured a large circle onto the ground. He snatched a torch and dropped it onto the dirt. The oil ignited and formed a circle of greenish flame. "This will guide our allies," he told the souls within earshot. After a moment, Nathaniel heard stirring from a distance. Bright orange flames erupted from around the castle and the inhuman cries of pale riders were audible from their position. "Don't let anything destroy the circle," he commanded, then returned to Major's saddle. "I'll hold them off." His thestral's hooves left the grayish dirt and both of Nate's sickles made an appearance. "To rush into the secret house of death..." Nathaniel quoted Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra to himself with Eva's love to steady his arms.