IV: Wasteland Soldier | Final

Iaurdagnire's picture

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

What he became.

In another world torn from time and any semblance of reality, the Fortress' freedom is absolute. He was always ready to suffer, ready to burn and turn that weakness into his strength and never letting it go. To struggle and to fight for an eternity; is that not the dream of every warrior? To never give in, and be the legend talked about for generations to come; to be the very symbol of strength and fight and live forever in their hearts as the one who fought, and continues to toil for his own happiness in a world now lost to him. A world taken.

And he hunted the thieves.

But it isn't about his freedom anymore. As their battle raged, he had in fact never felt freer. The beauty and life of the forest and what it had done for him had all been forgotten; only his war remained. They were pure energies colliding... endless and unforgiving. The Wolf spilled fire to engulf and incinerate, but the object of his onslaught always rose above the flames white-hot in a thunderous rage to tear him in two. The beast would sometimes play an old hand, harnessing the ferocity of oceans in order to chase and to drown, but all it achieved was a sharper edge to the once soft and gentle giant. Iaurdagnire is a black polished stone at the bottom of the deepest sea.

Gone. But dead? No.


I will become what I deserve.

Molten claws drag at his back, and though there was no pain the Wolf did leave his mark on the stag as he did before. His body and face became riddled with celestial scorch marks; stains of tremulous light cracking on his skin and hair like rust every time he moved. But the Wolf was not without his fair share of ink-blots, evident in how Iaurdagnire's mighty antlers dripped those same shimmering ruby-reds and golds.

Those antlers - when they could - stabbed through the illusory form of Spring and pinned him to the floor beneath, the points delving deep into the rock until they almost splintered. But little did he know that each plunge into the rock mirrored its damage to the world above. The crack the Wolf had created to tease before had grown larger, and others had appeared throughout the forest gradually day by day small enough that none may notice, but large enough in number to perhaps cause the most observant to question. The Wolf knew this, and his falls seemed to grow more purposeful as the days, weeks, months went by to let the servant do the unraveling for him. Met with no objection - just mad eyes and a scarred soul.

Their ability to speak had been lost by now, but their eerie howls and roars still echoed on still nights. Perhaps it was the not knowing that kept Iaudagnire as a ghost to his friends... His name grew dust, and the crevasse on Dandelion Hill closed bit by bit to bury him.

Was he even real?

That question was being asked by one who should know, but he didn't anymore. To begin with, he thought the Wolf had done him a favour in the end in bringing him closer. But something had changed in Iaurdagnire, and he knew that the freedom he sought didn't exist in the form he wanted. It isn't in the Lord of Death's nature to pity, or indeed look upon one of his patrons with any emotional understanding. However, he - like his Red and Gold counterparts - were not without their own set of laws and boundaries.
"I see why you allowed him to kill you, Summer. It is a shame it didn't go as smoothly as you wished." Velocity spoke to a faint figure of an Irish Elk standing beside him, wearing the skull he had pieced back together in order to secure him in his realm of the dead.
"Yes... But every step he has taken has been to bring himself to you, even though the reason might already be forgotten." Summer had become Velocity's shadow, never to be parted from him unless Dag could pull through and do what the God's asked of him on that dreadful night where he sacrificed the mortal body he had worked an eternity for. It all seemed so long ago. So futile.

"You have your Spring sibling to account for this failure."
Ribbons of black smoke spun from Velocity's chest reaching out like hands across the plain the two titans fought on. Acrid and heavy, just the smell parted the brawling beasts and pushed them away from each other. The hazy streaks were maddening, and it wasn't just Dag that buckled under the now sudden lack of sensory stimulation. Tines felt light as if they were crumbling, and his shoulders trembled without the sting of daggers to his spine. The Wolf's jaw chattered in trying to snap at what was familiar, too, stumbling in trying to stay still in not having an object to lunge and cling on to.



Through the fog, Dag could see the eyes and razor teeth that once snapped at his ankles and more recently, barked and attacked his friends. The sight of those creatures was enough to give him a moment of clarity to remember where he was, though not why he was there. He watched as they rounded the stupefied Wolf, and as they came closer the blackness shrouded them completely. Dag shouted something, not a word but a sound to release his anguish. Distress. Wanting to destroy that wolf. His wolf; his demon... It had come to mean everything to him, and suddenly it had been taken away. It couldn't happen. That was his. That fight was his, no-one elses, and so he made an attempt to jump forward through the smoke so he could have it again, that sense of freedom even though it pained him. Velocity had anticipated this move of desperation, and so set the boundary between them ablaze.

Dag fell to the floor. He could no nothing but watch the wall of fire stretch far into the dark heavens and wonder if this is how death would welcome him.

There was nothing left of him anymore.

Dark whispers coax the fallen stag from his comatose state of mind. Iaurdagnire was standing, walking even, though he could not feel or hear the sound of his hooves walking across the black ground. There was no smell, no sound, and as much as he blinked and shook his head, there still was a space so empty there was nothing to see... He was blind to everything; it had all been taken away, save the voice of consciousness in his head.

Residual rage still buzzed at the back of his skull, and his eyes bulged with a thirst to shred and beat an opponent that was no longer there. He kept walking as there was nothing else he could do - too exhausted to run and his mind too electric to think. Dag could feel his body tingle as moisture began to cool, and after what seemed no time at all the raging bull started to calm.

... Then, light washed over the blackness like water. Looking down gave the stag a strange sense of vertigo; he could see his hooves now, but no shadow. Just numbing, endless white. The same whispers creep around him once more, and in the distance what looked to be a still, ominous vulture soared high in the non-existent sky. It moved toward him like storm clouds riding a gale.

As it came closer, wings turned sharp and limbs trickled from a swelling body almost to the ground. It were as if the surrounding white was merely smoke concealing everything from view, for a figure stepped out and loomed over the trespasser.

... Only in such light could the Lord show him his true divinity.

"Still cannot speak... Did the wolf run off with your tongue? Hmn-hn-hn."
Velocity relished the sight of the Great Fortress of the Forest fall to his knees in front of him, though resented Spring's meddling that ultimately delivered him damaged goods. However, as Velocity himself said before - he did not have control over how seeds planted themselves in his garden, and Iaurdagnire had become the very weed that symbolized him.
"This is why Summer gave his life - for you. For you to seek me, and fulfill some kind of destiny, I suppose."
The word made Dag's upper lip curl in a weak snarl.
"Oh yes! That's right isn't it, you never wanted any of that. No belief in purpose or higher callings... any sense of duty to higher power. For one regarded so highly in that little forest, you are an insolent little cretin."
The stag attempted a roar and scrabbled to stand. The wolf didn't matter now, whatever it was insulting him would do to drag his tines through... but he fell back, legs kicking as if he were falling.
"My dear boy, it is not me you want. You have an audience with me to negotiate Summer's release! And I suppose that would somehow involve the Red and Gold granting you your freedom? Who knows what nonsense they might have fed you to believe."
The struggling stopped. Summer... The Gods... Freedom. Freedom. Dag found the strength to sit up and look into the billowing smoke-filled sockets of the Lord of Death. Things were starting to piece themselves back together in his mind - he knew he had to be here, but why? Did it actually matter anymore? He watched Velocity examine him as if he could see more than what was in front of him, and he stared back. The more he stared, the more he seemed to... feel at home. There was no other way of describing it.
Like he was always meant to be here.

Velocity was amused by Dag's gaze; his subjects often looked this way before he lead them into his kingdom. Death was only the end to those who chose to see it as an end; those who believed it was not the end of life but the beginning of another lacked this look, and simply greeted him like an old friend. Little did the pair of them know that what Dag felt wasn't any kind of acceptance, or willingness to go along with anything Velocity would bid him. It was as if his outcome was already assured by simply - and literally - staring death in the face, and remembering the words of other Gods a long time ago.

"The Seasons cannot function without each other. Remove Summer, and the rest will follow. They will fail in their purpose and die, and without them the forest we created is lost."

Velocity has taken him. They were right. Spring failed...

In forgetting to exist, he will realize himself. Nothing else is capable of doing so.

At length, Velocity spoke again, the echo of his ghostly voice reverberating in his skull more noticeable as his form shrank to a more comfortable size.

"It is time to let you in on a little secret, Iaurdagnire. This freedom you seek... Your freedom is already so absolute that your very existence can only be known and never touched; every creature is its own universe, and you exemplify this. You never fear what will become of you, and you depend on no-one. Such is the life of one to endlessly endure and suffer in keeping its place. A place in which there was no before or after - only here, only now - a void between stars that has no qualms to being snuffed out by the very supernova that may have allowed it to exist.

And for all this, there is only emptiness. To exist, you must be needed. To be seen and understood. Alive, because others make it so. Now, even in a years absence, the lives you left behind still believe in your return - still believe you to exist, even when you don't. You are an equilibrium of verifiable life, and unintelligible infinity.

You are Equilibrium, and take part in the circle of life just as the Seasons do. Eternal existence, for a greater good."

Velocity was not interrupted; Dag sat there like a tree in the wind and listened, barely able to digest the words spoken to him by a God to whom he could no longer deny his respect. The game they were playing was over. It was part of his life - to deny death. Refuse it. But now, as Dag contemplated his place, death seemed more of a welcome reward.

An unnaturally long silenced passed between them. For what seemed like minutes in reality could have been days, or whatever would constitute as an eternity between two creatures sat side by side without speaking a word. Those desperate for a purpose would struggle a lifetime to achieve it, and never really know if they did. Those with purpose thrust upon them rarely had the meaning of their existence read out to them, like a page torn from a book that was never meant to be read. It is in this silence that Dag truly felt old as time itself.

Dead and buried long ago, under that hill in a land far away in his dreams.

"You can speak now."
"... So it seems."
Iaurdagnire had suffered the hell Spring had created, and come out the other side to treat Death as a friend. The two could just have easily be sitting on a grassy hillock, looking out into the distance and enjoying each others company as friends would.
"I am not ready to die in exchange for Summer - and the Wolf's - release. The Red and Gold gave me their word they would see I had my freedom... and if I am truly the Equilibrium you say I am, then it is already my destiny to walk away from here."
The sound of Velocity's hateful grumbles were like the sharp crackles of burning wood as he shifted.
"Spring and Summer now belong to me, and I am the God of Death. It is foolish to think I will settle for any less than your life in exchange - such a deal overrules the Red and Gold. Ah... Perhaps they have encouraged you too much... Do you know what will happen when you are given your freedom?"
Velocity stood and began to part the white space by just walking forward. A glow of blue and yellow hues bounced and folded into each other slowly, building something. Curious, Dag finally stood up and took a few shaky steps towards the first pleasant flecks of colour he couldn't even recall seeing before, his mind having been so consumed with the colour of his enemy.
"Without you chasing your demons," Velocity began, "this creature would never have been freed from hers. Whether you like it or not, you are the equilibrium of the world that she - and many others - fought for. She maintained your purpose under her own guardianship, fulfilling her own."
Dag looked to the lights still intertwining, creating a vision of a beautiful doe crowned with exquisite feathers. Her stern jade eyes looked right through him.
"... Can she see me?"
"No, only you can see her. You must look at her closely, Iaurdagnire. For free from her purpose, this doe now has nothing. Without a war to fight, one cannot feel or know of peace; without something to strive for or against, existence is meaningless. Without purpose, something to keep you moving, there is no-"
"- meaning to life. She is lost... I-I can see it in her eyes. She looks so..."
Velocity positively purred with pleasure upon hearing Dag come to this observation, thriving on the forlorn and pitying tone of which he spoke. The Lord's skull seemed to curl into a maniacal smile as he walked behind him; Dag was teetering on a cliff edge, ready to fall.
Or be pushed.

"This is what awaits you if you ask for your freedom. Nothing."
In the same way he had conjured the feathered doe, Velocity was now flanked by the faint outline of a White Wolf and an Irish Elk - Spring and Summer.
"And so we come to the crux of our meeting. Do you truly wish for this freedom, Iaurdagnire, Fortress of the Forest - the Equilibrium of us all? To walk away only to become a mere shell of your former self just like this doe?"
There was a fizz of static in Dag's ear as Velocity slithered back to his side and pressed his cold, cracked skull against the side of his head.
"However... I don't believe you deserve such a disgrace of an end, to waste your days and waste yourself. Your true ferocity against Spring was that of a God of War... For your suffering, it is what you deserve to become. I have the power to make it so... what bonds you to the seasons and the Red and Gold will be broken, if you promise your last mortal life to me."

Dag's body started to tremble, never taking his eyes off the doe whom he felt he knew but could not remember a name. There was a time when Velocity's words would have been laughed at by the stag, ridiculed for their absurdity. But the forest was still a forgotten memory, and at the mention of war the only thing Dag could think about was the force of nature he became when facing the wolf in their battle. How the strength and eruption of inconsolable rage he felt was incomparable to anything he had experienced; anything he deemed real. The beating of his heart increased as the possibility of being such a creature again rocked him to his core, but what seemed to exhilarate him the most is that it was the only feeling he had of a kind of freedom. Wanting to destroy what was in his way without limitation... but what he saw in the does eyes was unknown. Sad... Forgotten.
He whispered, plucking her name out of nothing but a simple desire for her expression to change. It is the small conversations with ourselves inside our heads where real wars are fought, and it occurred to him that even wanting small things can sometimes save you in a moment of weakness.

I always thought destiny could be fought; controlled. But when I looked into her eyes, I remembered not the fighting nor the pain we had both endured on our separate plains of existence. It was everything else... I was fighting and expecting things to change beyond my own desire, when nothing will. Everything and everyone was already where I wanted them to be... whether that is the freedom I truly want, I'm still not sure. Velocity is right, without strife how do we know what the weightlessness of being free from it feels like?

But in this moment, I long for home. I don't remember... only green, and laughter. None of us walk a path to break from; we aren't anchored in body or in mind. Change is our constant, and we are just falling stones, colliding... I've collided with so many on my way here, so perhaps the freedom I want is to just... keep falling.

I am Winter's harms way in a blizzard.
I am Autumn's tormented sky.
I am Spring's disaster.
I am the one who outlasted the Summer Sun...

Slowly, Ravenflight's image faded to nothing as Dag turned to face Death once more.
"I am the one who defined their disasters in order to tear me from my own. It is Summer's mortal life that I came here to free, but you now hold his sibling spirit as well."
He looked at the expressionless ghost of Summer, his old friend. Suddenly he knew exactly what he must do.
"... It is not my life in the balance, but theirs. What will happen to their spirits once they are let go, and my bond to them broken. It is what will happen to them that will affect the world, not what will happen to me... If Equilibrium is my purpose, then it is my purpose to put opposing forces in place... You."
Velocity's black chest heaved with anger as his form began to rise and tower over the stag once more.

"... And you know that, don't you..."
Iaurdagnire's picture

Top image by Ravenflight.

Top image by Ravenflight.

Time to bring him back (:
Clare's picture

so much yes

so much yes
Munkel's picture

Yesss hehe.

Yesss hehe.


Apoidea's picture

And we'll welcome him

And we'll welcome him home.

Just... right.
Seed's picture

Woo! Yeah! And...I feel a

Woo! Yeah!

And...I feel a little sad for Dag, reading this. I feel like he needs a hug.
Reyy's picture

It's strange. I realized

It's strange.
I realized after reading this... I had forgotten his pictogram.
Kaoori's picture

been waitin'!

been waitin'!
Iaurdagnire's picture

Ravyn - That is both funny

Ravyn - That is both funny and interesting to me... (8

Thanks for the comments, guys (: keeps me motivated.
parrotsnpineapple's picture

Awwwww yeah. So glad you

Awwwww yeah.
So glad you could use the image too.

Apeldille's picture

Aahahaha AT LAST EEEE Man,


Man, looked forward to this, will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Also, lovely writing.

Calinka's picture

Ohgod, brace yourself. Dag

Ohgod, brace yourself.

Dag is coming back.

Can't wait!! <3
wingeddeer's picture

This is so dynamic,i'm

This is so dynamic,i'm excited ;A;

Honeyfur's picture

Oh man, soo excited for this

Oh man, soo excited for this ;u;
thelittleraven's picture

Oh yeah, I'm excited.

Oh yeah, I'm excited.
Sighthoundlady's picture

Beautifully written and

Beautifully written and Ravenflight's art is lovely. Love the lighting. Poor Dag. He needs a vacation!
Pegasicorn's picture

\o/ Yes.

\o/ Yes.
silentlikethat's picture



SO happy, you have no idea. dksfhakdfhdkfjgkdaf.... HAPPYHAPPYJOYJOY

quadraptor's picture

Parking right here for this

Parking right here for this
Echosong's picture

(No subject)

Silverpaw15's picture

Ohh, gosh. =D I can't wait!

Ohh, gosh. =D
I can't wait!

/hurls a track at his hot

/hurls a track at his hot piece of ass
Apparanza's picture

Asldjksd ohmygoodness

Asldjksd ohmygoodness ♥ ;O;

By Leuvr

i wish i could properly

i wish i could properly explain how happy i am to have coming dag back.
Iaurdagnire's picture

le update. This is going to

le update.
This is going to be a long one it seems.

What are you doin.
Seed's picture

Oh dear, oh deer...Oh,

Oh dear, oh deer...Oh, Dag...
It's always gonna get worse before it gets better, huh?
parrotsnpineapple's picture

Oh nooooo. I wanted to see

Oh nooooo. I wanted to see Dag whoop springs ass. I know how he feels, that was his victory.
Love whats going on here. Cannot wait to see the rest. TOO LONG A WAIT I SAY.
Apeldille's picture

Oeeee intense, love how you

Oeeee intense, love how you did this update. The colours, mmm

Poor Dag. We'll be glad to have him home again ;_;

Apoidea's picture

;A; I want him home. I can't

;A; I want him home. I can't wait for more updates!!

Love the exaggerated pose of

Love the exaggerated pose of the wolf, and Dag's wild eye. Intense, can't wait for more.
Silverpaw15's picture

Oh wow. You are such a

Oh wow.
You are such a tease.
But this has been an incredible read so far, and I'm only anticipating something even more brilliant. ;D

Poor Dag, though. He needs a hug. Or multiple ones.
OkamiLugia's picture

@.@ Tracking.


Munkel's picture

I lovee it and can't wait

I lovee it and can't wait eitherr.

you always capture such large

you always capture such large intensity in such little words.
ive come to the point where i cant explain what im feeling when it comes to dag and his plot.

mainly love and adoration, i guess.
give us more, please. we're keeping dag's seat in the grass warm
Iaurdagnire's picture

I love reading all your

I love reading all your comments, ALL the warm fuzzies ♥ the last image is probably my favourite picture of Dag's face at the moment. His chunky face is fun to squidge into expressions.

Dina you're so sweet *hugs*, that's a good way to put it, "large intensity". It's been really hard to write because his fight and where he is that plays out in my head seems like it's bigger than I can really comprehend enough to put into words!

I've tried in this for Dag to be a personified feeling... How do I explain...
That strength you feel you have when you're so full of rage that you want the slight of your hand to obliterate a building, haha, or just wanting to be as destructive as you possibly can because that is the very height of release you feel you need. As if you're a little ball of dynamite capable of blowing the shit out of something. There's an illusion of strength and invincibility when you're pushed to your limit and I wanted to capture that and make it real... then take it away, because that's what happens. You get riled up, your willpower stronger than ever, yet it can be taken away so easily just by one person or by a slight change, and you're left exhausted and feeling hopeless. All of that stress and devotion to holding onto that destructive feeling, and you never got to push the button and watch everything blow up around you.

Like wanting to fly and experience something to completely overwhelm your senses, knowing your wings are clipped.

sorry for making you explain,

sorry for making you explain, though. i really was just struggling with myself, struggling to put into words what i feel about daggie and his whole, amazing story. but woah, yeah i know that feeling.

sometimes im put in a situation where i have time to think, and once in a while i will think about something that will fill me with such instant rage that my head actually starts to pound (the other day i was sitting in the car while my mom ran to get dinner, and i imagined some person driving into the back of the car and pushing it through the thick bushes infront of the car and into the road. our car was still on, and i felt myself get so angry that i wanted to jump into the drivers seat and throw it in reverse and push back as hard as hell, rofl. i could literally hear the wheels squealing and the plastics of the cars crunching and i could smell the smoke and feel the pressure. i did feel kinda tired afterwards, when i blinked and came back.). and yes, even though its just in my mind, knowing it wont ever happen or that it /is/ just in my mind makes me kinda..tired. drained, really.

thanks for the explanation and giving me something to reference off of. it gives me a much easier way to relate, comprehend and explain.

this is off topic, but because you are such a skilled writer and you write such in depth, i usually have to put alot of focus/focus just on your writing or reread it a couple times for me to completely comprehend it. dont take this wrong, its amazing because it has such detail and complexity and it just has that much more umpfh. maybe its because i am still a little younger and granted i do get distracted a bit easily...hah.

sorry for the wall, too. was kinda nice to explain everything not just to you but to myself <3
Iaurdagnire's picture

Oh no need to be sorry! I

Oh no need to be sorry! I didn't write it because I thought you needed it or anything, I just wrote it because I felt like it ;D

My writing is... well, I'm no writer and will never claim to be. I think Dag's stories are all one blob of exciting and ridiculous hyperbole that (I hope) is fun to read regardless of whether it makes sense as a story or not. XD I mean I've forgotten most of what has happened to Dag throughout the years, and even I go back and read things thinking "okay... what happened here? OH I get it. No... wait, did I mean it like that? Hm."
Seed's picture

That's about how I find it --

That's about how I find it -- it's fun, it's got some smash and bang, and if I don't entirely follow it clearly, it doesn't really matter. Like firework art. I like me some fireworks.
Kaoori's picture


I HAVE NO PATIENCE *shakes fist*
Iaurdagnire's picture

Before my dinner, something

Before my dinner, something to tide you over... (;
Sighthoundlady's picture

Oooooh, Velocity. Loving that

Oooooh, Velocity. Loving that image of him.
Mis's picture

Hot yes! Dag Dag Dag! Love

Hot yes! Dag Dag Dag! Love your writing, and of course dat Velocity. Damn he's a beast.
parrotsnpineapple's picture

Agree with everyone else

Agree with everyone else obviously. Dat velocity.


(Also not sure if its me or not. But the shading in his antlers looks like layers of a foggy mountain range and I think that is wicked cool)
brittneypanda's picture

My breath has been taken

My breath has been taken away. This is utterly beautiful, I don't even have words to describe this.

good lord, your writing

good lord, your writing ughhhhh

and velocity looks downright amazing. best portrayal of him so far.
guh. youre so good ILY

Reyy's picture



Last image of Velocity

Last image of Velocity spooked me.
Snowsauria's picture

Gah, look at that Velocity.

Gah, look at that Velocity. Awesome. Everything is awesome. ;;
Iaurdagnire's picture

ohsweetcheesus this part is

ohsweetcheesus this part is finally DONE.

It's confusing as hell but just go with it ;D;'''''''''
Apoidea's picture

You really know how to play

You really know how to play with emotions, Dag. >.<