|Ability||Bloodbound Spell: Friendly minions summoned this turn gain +1/+1.|
Bloodbound Spell Kinetic Surge: Friendly minions summoned this turn gain +1/+1.
- Kinetic Surge procs on any allied minion summoned that turn, not just ones played from hand. This includes minions summoned from spells (like Gravity Well) and effects (like Mini-Jax).
v. 1.63.0 - Added: "Bloodborn Spell: Give each minion in your hand +1/+1".
v. 1.82 - Bloodborn Spell changed to “Friendly minions summoned this turn gain +1/+1”.
Pt 1: A New Face
Aperion about to bloom— 23,402 — Month of Eerewhon
Kara trudged through the drifts, a high-altitude shortcut through the Winter Sleep Mountains. Crystal Wisps glittered in the sun, floating lazily. It was a route only the most experienced or foolhardy pathfinders would attempt. Kara was neither, she simply felt the mountain, knew the way, the ancient enchantments in her weapons Wintersleep and Polaris seeping into her reflexes and muscles.
It would be another half day’s hard hiking to reach Khonen’s Retreat, the most remote Vanar settlement, and the closest to the entropic slopes of Halcyar.
She saw something. There — at the fringe of a small copse of wind-blasted trees, branches depressed with the weight of near perma-winter. But standing tall nonetheless — like the remnants of the Vanar must Kara thought.
A lost fur-trapper, or some careless, adventurous fool. Kara guessed as she got closer, eyes straining through the dense snow-wind and mist. No single Vanar must stand alone, lost, anymore.
As Kara approached, the figure made to flee, but turned clumsily and fell. Kara shouted out, “Do not worry — I am Kara, called The Winterblade, descendent of Eurielle. I will guide you back.”
There was no reply. Kara covered the last few feet steadily, arm outstretched in a placating manner. The figure resolved into a slender woman, with terribly pale skin, and a long ponytail of hair so red it looked like a billowing flame. She was almost naked, save for some furs that looked suspiciously fresh draped around her shoulders. She crouched, pitifully, staring at Kara like a wild animal with a baleful glare that Kara thought had a wolfish, or perhaps hawkish, aspect.
And then she pounced. Kara would have laughed at the absurdity of the confrontation if she wasn’t so shocked. The figure was lithe, muscles wiry, but despite the ferocity of her manner she was ungainly. Kara batted her away like a distasteful thought.
It wasn’t how Kara usually made friends.
After a combination of brute force and gentle cajoling, Kara got the woman to accept some food, a few more furs, and to follow her to the settlement.
Once there, Kara found the woman some proper clothes, managed to extract a few grunts of appreciation, and introduced her to mead, which elicited a few more. She asked around the town, but no-one had any knowledge of who the fey looking girl was.
Kara led the defense of the settlement against marauding Wolfravens, took charge of the hunting forays, and the girl accompanied her. She was aloof but ferocious. Kara often had to stop the girl from following prey into the wilderness, usually by knocking the sense back into her.
Many folk were dubious about the strange young woman, but Kara enjoyed having a companion that didn’t ask or talk much, and embodied some of the wildness and purity so many of the Vanar had seemed to forget.
The woman seemed content living day to day, hunting, ranging. Kara suspected there was more to her. Her sword, Winterblade, warmed when the girl was near. Under the guise of teaching the girl proper swordplay, she confirmed it. She was surely some kind of Bloodborn. Could such a great potential Lieutenant for Kara’s new order of Vanar really have fallen into her lap so fortuitously?
So Kara kept her to hand. Soon, the time came to leave the settlement. She put the girl to a little test.
“Stay here girl, and help them hunt, and defend themselves. You’ll be left alone, but looked after.”
The girl stared back at her, deadpan.
“Or, come with me. And seek answers. I alone know the way.”
At this, the girl’s nostrils flared and her eyes narrowed fiercely.
“Winterblade is the key to finding Aperion. It is not a journey to be embarked upon lightly, but it is one I know how to trace.”
“Fey-born” the girl said. “I’ve heard you call me this. To others. It will be my name. Take me to answers.”
Kara grinned. “Ok Faie. Try to keep up.”
Pt 2: Recruitment Drive
23,402 — Month of Sienar, Day 20
Each cycle, when the brilliantine auroras above the Wintersleep stretched their incandescent tendrils east past Deladriss Peak, Kara began her recruitment drive. Each year her counts of true born Vanar faded. True Vanar, warriors willing to uphold the old ways, the belief — however tenuous — in Aperion the God Tree. The need to protect it against those who would so casually abuse its vast power.
The Vanar settlements of the Whyte Mountains and The Teeth were neither numerous, or populous. The Vanar in general were a waning race, as the disillusioned or decrepit made the still-treacherous journey down into the warmth of Celandine, or beyond.
Still she strove.
They called her mad, only mostly behind her back. They cursed Glasseye, the artefact handed down to her from Eurielle that Kara promised would reveal the path to Aperion when the Vanar were at their direst need.
Still she strove. For the ice-horns on her back grew and ached with a power and purpose she knew would reveal itself. Purpose she must be prepared for. Glasseye had started to whisper and cajole as she slept. Kara had never been a diligent student but the one teaching of Eurielle’s that the Hearth-Sisters had been the most insistent on beating into her thick skull was that to heed Aperion’s fickle call alone, or prematurely, meant death. And if Kara died, the Vanar would fall shortly after.
So she didn’t sleep. She travelled, with Faie.
“Tramping through this damn snow. What a waste. Pitiful. This trip. People. Never going to work. What’s the point?” Faie’s laboured breathing and footfall punctuated her thoughts. “I -”
“Should never have come? For if indeed that was on the tip of your sly, over-worked tongue, I would remind you that you were even more miserable in town.”
“I could fly these ranges quicker on my own. Carry your words swifter. Alone. More ground covered.”
“I’m sure you would curry favour most eloquently among the townships and settlements Faie.
“Yet you. Don’t even believe many will heed. Words. Strength.”
“I can but show them both.”
“Show them your long talon. Unsheathed. That speaks loudest.”
The pair came to the settlement, and much as in previous years, Kara was welcomed, but her counsel less so, and Faie — growling, brooding, sullen — the least of all.
“Let me be your page, Kara! I won’t slow you down, I promise!” Young boys and worryingly young seeming men pleaded. “Together we will chase glory!”
“Chase it to where, exactly?” Kara would respond.
“Won’t you stay Kara? We need your strength, your inspiration — we’ll provide everything you need-”
“I travel not to stop travelling” Kara would regretfully reply. “Your strength is as a community. Hone it without me. I ask only that you nominate your youngest, most promising warriors.”
And time and time again she would hear excuses: “We remember Eurielle, and we trust her blood is strong with you. But the Vanar are no longer united, so why should we send away our best and brightest?”
“Because the time will soon come where fractures become a schism, into which we may all be lost.” Kara would say. Increasingly, it was said under her breath as she turned away in frustration.
But now she had Faie. Faie, whose Bloodborn powers were beginning to manifest at last, proving Kara was not just a last gasp of legacy. New blood had come, and it must be heeded, if much more was to avoid being spilled.
Pt 3: A Parting
23,402 — Month of Ashwood — Day 12
As the final, most remote settlement slid out of memory, over the ridge and into sight, Faie pulled up.
“Kara. There. There?”
“No Faie, there are no more villages beyond the one in front of us.”
Faie’s preternatural eyesight had alighted on a the briefest of silhouettes against the sparse scrub and blasted trees on the slopes beyond.
“Wrong. Your feeble human eyes just haven’t seen beyond what your mind expects.”
“Then what do your peculiarly superior eyes discern? I will not be delayed by another of your barbaric little snowchaser hunts.”
“You are one who so much wants to visit these squalid ground-roosts.”
Kara turned back towards the very visible, definitely real frontier settlement at the plateau close above, and began walking. The maybe-village could wait until morning’s first light, giving her time to carry on or double back depending on the veracity of Faie’s claim and the state of things there.
“And…” Faie continued with a wry smile, “I hear screams.”
Kara’s gaze lingered on Skrymyr’s Endurance even as her body turned to march with urgency towards Faie’s promise.
Screams and smoke washed over Kara as swiftly as the darkness, turning what should have been a sparse but pleasant sunset arrival at Skrymyr’s into a frigid nightmare. A frostwolf prowling around the village’s outskirts — a low dirt and ice wall — picked up their scent and bounded towards them. Usually averse to humans, the wolf took a running lunge towards Kara, fangs borrowing the light and colour of the blood moon.
Without moving a step, she pivoted and slammed her gauntleted fist into the beast’s flank. The momentum carried it sideways, missing Kara completely, to land at Faie’s feet. The lithe young woman with the red hair looked askance but not without sympathy at the beast, then beseechingly at Kara.
“Something wrong with that wolf. They should be human-shy. The whites of her eyes are marbled strangely.” She said.
“Not anymore.” Kara replied, arching her crystal-blue sword down, through wolf and snow with equal non-resistance. Faie growled audibly.
In the gloom, the snow around the shaggy beast appeared to turn a steaming black.
“We go. If these huma-“ Kara interrupted her a fierce stare, “ — these Vanar cannot fend for themselves, they are surely not strong enough for your cause.”
“No. We shall intervene and save what we can. The Vanar are a barrier, we cannot permit any more links to fail.”
“I will stay here then. Out of your clumsy way. Free of your ugly barrier. ”
“Do what you will, Faie-born. Just remember, if you’re outside the barrier, you’re prey.”
Kara strode towards the heart of the chaos. What was going on here? Vanar settlements were constantly harried by various daring beasts, but they wouldn’t cause wanton destruction like this even if the defence did fail.
Dead Vanar, everywhere. Kara ran through the murk, shouting out for any survivors. A few desperate cries returned. She found a small huddle of Vanar back-to-back in a crude village plaza, desperately repelling a crush of crystal cloakers and frostwolves. Without hesitating to puzzle, Kara slashed her way through to the group. Her ice-horns amplified the moonlight and the remaining warriors were basked in her inspiring presence, surging back into the fight with a new vigour.
It bought Kara the time she needed. She concentrated all of her power into the diamond blade of Solstice and slammed it into the ground. A shockwave blasted over the remaining beasts and humans who collapsed alike. Breathing.
Kara staggered to one knee. When she rose, Winterblade in hand to finish off the beasts, Faie appeared at her side.
“Mercy on the beast-kin.”
Kara hesitated, but there was something in Faie’s eyes she hadn’t seen before.
“Strange.” Faie observed.
Kara looked around by the light of the moon and her still-glowing ice-horns. The air was dense with dust. No — not dust — it felt more like pollen.
“Aperion”. Kara gasped. “He’s blooming. And being this close to his power will drive the beasts mad.”
“Fine. But we take the surviving warriors with us to Aperion. They will be the witnesses we need to finally convince the rest of the Vanar. To create a true Vanar nation again.”
Pt 4: A Timely Visitation
23,402 — Month of Nagra — Day 6
Kara knocked back the tumbler of Frostfire — her third in as many minutes.
“Another, O far-child of Eurielle?”
“Make it two this time Gunnar. And if you give me anymore honorifics, one or both of them are going to end up on you.”
“That’s a deal Kara. Coming right up. Big girl like you feeling the cold tonight?”
“Something like that. No…there’s a feeling in my bones that I can’t shift, but I dare say this Frostfire isn’t likely to cure it.”
Kara spoke in hushed tones, and the collective creak of necks craning to catch her words or meaning was almost audible. Though folk had long learned to try and buy her a drink, or sit and make reverent small talk was like to result in something very definitely audible indeed.
After plenty more Frostfire had been extinguished, Kara finally felt some semblance of peace. In fact, her persistence had paid off, and she even felt light-headed. She rested her head on the bar, enjoying the bliss of letting her guard down for the briefest moment.
She felt the icy blast of the wind before she heard the door slam shut, but it seemed like a long time before the screams, screeching of chairs and tramping of feet
There was a figure at the door quite unlike anything she’d seen with her own eyes. In her mind’s eye yes, or in the tales of her Hearth-mothers. Even in the illustrated history books so rarely found this deep into the Halcyar range. Now, with her own eyes, she beheld a Magmar Aspect, massive in stature and exotically fierce of countenance. Kara stood slowly, a little woozy, and unhitched Solstice, hefting the pendulous, chained weapon slowly. She stepped away from the bar.
The Magmar — titanic forearms visible even underneath a dense draping of furs, took a matching step forward that caused the tavern’s tables to reverberate.
“You bloody Vanar and your bloody freezing Mountain, I had to trek arduously and interminably to finally and woefully reach this godforsaken speck on the teeth of the world — ”
Kara set her weight, ready to charge.
“ — and you’re not even going to courteously and hospitably offer me a bloody *drink*? By my damned horns and a Makantor’s arse I could do bloody murder to a steaming vessel of whatever undoubtedly ascetic brew you bloody paleskins claim passes — ”
“Who are you? Why have you come here, babbling and dressed so ridiculously?”
Instantly, the hulking figure appeared behind Kara, resting amiably on the stool she’d so recently vacated. She spun around, using the sudden momentum to bring Solstice in a brutal arc down — but the figure waved the blade away with his hand, as though swatting a gnat.
“I am the one known in your inelegant tongue as Vaath. And you can put that bloody thing down, I mean you no harm Vanar woman-thing, though I would love to trade fists on another occasion, that is, were we not so compelled…but I digress…”
Kara stood motionless as Vaath prattled on, cursing and gesticulating wildly when he struggled to wrap his almost serpentine tongue around one of her people’s more nuanced syllables. Was this really happening?
“…of course” Vaath seemed to bring his attention roughly back to Kara, “None of this is really happening. You don’t sleep much do you?”
“No. For good reason.”
“Yes well, fine, but it made this whole thing bloody difficult for me. Dreamweaving was never my forte.
“Just bloody be quiet for a while girl, this isn’t easy for me. You know Aperion has bloomed. And that people will come for it.”
“What did I tell you about bloody being quiet and letting your elder speak? The guilt and doubt in your mind is more transparent than Y’Kiri glass. Sacrifices will have to be made if you’re to rally the Vanar. For the Age of Glory to come to fruition — excuse the pun — people must be protected from Aperion just as much as Aperion is protected from people.
“So tell me this, mysterious Magmaari. How? When nothing I’ve tried for years has worked?”
At this, Vaath stood and gently (relative to his hulking mass) headbutted Kara.
“That’s a respectful greeting among my kind.” He said, as Kara lay face down on the floor. “Just remember that.”
Kara opened her eyes and felt strong hands — but not strong enough, or clawed- picking her up from the tavern floor.
“Kara? Not like you to lose your head. Not that I ever want to tell you what to do but — might be time you stopped trying to warm yourself up.”
Kara blinked, taking in the bustling tavern, all eyes on her.
“It starts here. The Vanar resurgence. It has to. And you will all be able to say you were the first to join me. And anyone doubtful will be the first to say Kara drank you under the snow!”
The cheers and foot-stamping went on long into the night.
Kara Winterblade MKII
Honored as the protector of the mythic Winterblade, which carries Songweaver Eurielle's secret.