Thursday, August 09, 2012

[Raeslyn's Story] Chapter 1.5: A Dim Dark Eye

   As I suspected, I was right. As soon as I had recovered my bearings and had gotten a quick meal by one of the many camp fires, I was summoned by Cyril again for a brief meeting.
     "Our troops can handle the lesser undead and abominations, Raeslyn. What we need from you, if you are up to the task, is to find a way to disable those necromancers! If we can get control of their catapults and assault their army from behind, it would put a significant dent in Aedraxis's army. Can you do this for us?" Even though he asked it as a question, I knew I couldn't just say no and walk away. I don't imagine that would be acceptable to a man like Cyril. So I nodded firmly, steeling my resolve. That battlefield was chaos. I quietly slipped out through the gate again. The sentries, having recognized me by now and used to my frequent comings and goings, just gazed after me with somewhat reserved eyes. Ya, I'd doubt my potential too if I were them. I shook off the gloomy thoughts as I actually left the safety of Valor Hold, knowing I'd need my mind to stay sharp and focused on the task at hand. I paused next to some type of artillery machine and scanned the battlefield, looking for an easy way to do this. There were sharpened stakes set up at random in certain parts of the field, where the enemy had used them for defense, before the death rift had ruined everything. Beyond that, pretty far afield, I could just make out the big, bloated bodies of Ettins. Horrible creatures those. Much like giants I would think. Thick witted and thick skulled, Ettins were a nightmare to fight. I remember hearing horror stories of Ettin attacks from the College. It took teams of 5 strong heroes or more to take down even one Ettin, let alone multiple creatures on a battlefield. I had no chance by myself, I knew that right off.

What I needed was some way to sneak by them undiscovered, and somehow get control of a few of their catapults. Back behind the cannon fodder and regular foot soldiers that Aedraxis employed, I knew he had necromancers, sorcerers, and other dread legions at his command, and I also knew that if I could get my hands on a catapult, I could do some lasting damage to any of the above enemy. I bit my lip self consciously as I watched, looking for a good opening to dash across the field. Aha, there! A skeletal rogue had just turned to dash after some random Mathosian soldier, and there was a brief gap in their defenses, where I could slip behind their lines without anyone noticing. Aedraxis's army wasn't all that intelligent, on the whole, and it seemed pretty simple to sneak past them.

     Now that I had a plan, I secured my belongings more firmly to my person and took a breath. Now or never. I took off from the shelter of the artillery set, sprinting across the grassy field. A light breeze at my back seemed to encourage haste and I blindly ran, not daring to look right or left in fear of inciting notice just by thinking about it. Quickly I slipped behind one of the wooden palisades set up by the enemy and took in gulping breaths of air. It's been a while since I've had to actually do something as demanding of oxygen as running. I'm more a slow and thoughtful creeper kind of gal, after all. Oh how I miss the leafy entanglements of the forest. Large, thickly woven trees, brush and vines, mossy logs to hide behind! This wide open and flat field makes me feel naked. I can feel myself reflexively shrinking down, trying to make less of a target. I even drew my ears closer to my head. Than I grinned, thinking of how someone might perceive me; a skinny elfling with shell pink hair crouched in the shadow of a row of sharpened stakes, breathing heavily and glancing around wildly. I must look like a loon.

     I narrowed my eyes as I noticed that one skeletal sorcerer was going to be in the way of my getting to the nearest catapult. Rats. Now what to do? I could try to find a way around him, or target a different weapon. But this catapult was very close, and was sparsely guarded. It was my best chance. I just needed to overcome that caster before he alerted others. And I needed to be stealthy about it so he didn't have the chance to get off any deadly spells. I'd rather not have to deal with being struck by magical attacks twice in one hour. I shuddered at the memory of that mage's frost attacks up on the Spire.What to do, what to do. I decided to chance the sorcerer, and leapt up before I could second guess myself. Quick as lightning, I had my daggers in my hand and was plane shifting up behind the sorcerer. He turned and even on his half rotten, skeletal features I could read plain shock. I grinned and couldn't help a smart mouth comment. "Evenin' there sir! Fancy seein' you here!" I said cheerily in my best dwarven impression. I brought my daggers up to block the swing of his staff and clucked my tongue as if reprimanding him. The skeletal sorcerer grunted in anger and threw the staff down. Foolish move that. A caster is nothing but a pile of rags without some kind of defense. Unless he has magical defense....rats...

     The sorcerer wasted no time in throwing his hands out and muttering a spell under his breath. I kicked him in the ribs to distract him and drive him backward. Thank the Vigil that seemed to work. The sorcerer's concentration broke and his spell fell apart before it was cast. His burning red eyes seemed to glare daggers back at me and I shrugged. Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. It's either me or him, and I'm so picking me. With the sorcerer on the ground, it was easy to pull out one of the explosive charges I kept in my pack and toss it at him. I walked away without glancing down, not wanting to see. There was a small concussive boom behind me, and I resisted the urge to turn and check. I did not want to see the results of those highly effective but brutal devices.

     I cautiously approached the catapults, keeping low and warily watching for any enemies. I didn't want to be the victim of a surprise attack feet from my goal. That just sounds embarrassing and if I was immortal, I didn't want that to be my first deathly experience. Apart from the lone sorcerer, there didn't seem to be a soul in sight. Ha, soul, get it? Yeah, it was kind of sad. I hopped up on top of the spring arm of the catapult and glanced over the weapon. Conveniently, it was already loaded and ready to fire. I just needed to readjust the firing distance and position and I should have Ettin soup. Hopping back to the ground, I looked for a mechanism for changing the height and trajectory of the machine. Aha, there it is. A wheel on the side, turned to adjust the throwing strength and length. I grasped it, noticing that it was wound pretty tightly. Thank the Vigil for the extra strength and power given to me upon Ascension or I might not have been able to turn it properly. Have you ever tried winding something up or tightening it when it was already full of tension? Not fun.

     It took about fifteen minutes of constant adjustment, eyeing the distance, and lining up the target, before I was satisfied that the catapult would do the maximum amount of damage it could to Aedraxis's troops. I grinned a rather predatory grin as I pulled the lever. With a groan of protest, the arm was released, flinging the missile into the air. Truthfully I hadn't really paid much attention to what exactly I was shooting off. Hopefully it wasn't just a bag full of rocks or something brainless. Who knows what those undead actually considered missiles. There was a whine as the object soared through the air, before it landed precisely where I had aimed, into the center of necromancers and Ettin in the middle of the field. Yes! I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face and the thrill of success that ran through me as the missile landed and seemed to explode into a violet light. When the light faded, all I saw was bodies. That's one way to get rid of the enemy. Eagerly, I looked around for some more mischief to cause. Aha, there was another catapult over on the left of the field, where the mountain soared up into the Spire. I made a beeline for that catapult, feeling more confident now.

      I took the rogue's daggers, to look over later. I don't know what I'd do though if I recognized the blades. I'd rather not think about it now. Another problem was that the next catapult was partly damaged, and it's load had slid off the sling. Now what? I tried reaching down to pick it up, but whatever the missile was made of was very heavy. Too heavy for just one person to lift. And I didn't want to try picking it apart. Who knows how volatile the stuff is? I'd rather not blow myself up.

     So I had to leave that catapult behind and venture in search of another one. I was garnering more interest from the undead flock of soldiers as well. More and more seemed to notice that was I not one of them and I was behind the lines. Avoiding the undead was becoming quite tricksy. Thankfully the next catapult I came across was intact, and loaded. Again I adjusted the trajectory and height, and shifted the direction it was facing. There was a similar group of necromancers huddled around one of the giant Ettin by a dead tree some distance off, and I aimed the catapult at them. Might as well, they were as good a target as any and I really didn't like the way they seemed to be in the middle of a complex casting. In my experience, any caster was bad news unless proven otherwise. And sometimes not even than.

     My arms ached something fierce by the time I had trudged halfway back across the field. I stopped to lean against a shelled out cottage and heard a soft whinny nearby. A horse? Here? And still alive? No way. I stood up straighter and carefully crept around the side of the cottage, following the sounds of shuffling hooves and the occasional whinny. The horse sounded agitated and afraid from it's calls, and I wasn't sure what I'd find. When I rounded the last corner and caught sight of the horse, I gasped.
   I did run into a few more minor problems along the way though. One was an undead rogue that proved to know most of the same tricks I did. It was rather disturbing and I kept thinking to myself as I fought him, what if this is my mentor, turned into an undead zombie by Aedraxis's foul magic? More than once I hesitated when I could have ended it. But than I reminded myself that the life as one of Aedraxis's dread minions is no life at all and my master would never want that, even if this was he. So I ended it quickly, wincing as the light went out of the creature's eyes. How silly of me, that it should hurt to see that. At one point in time, we could have been brethren, comrades in arms. Friends even. Different choices lead to different destinies.
     The poor thing was covered in tendrils of death magic. Death magic leaked out of its nostrils, and had a stranglehold on its hooves. Its eyes were nearly red with madness, and it kept tossing its head fearfully. I knew it was a hopeless cause. I knew it wasn't worth the chance. But my heart went out to that poor creature. I love animals. And I hate to see them suffer. If there was a small chance, however slim, I was going to save that horse. I glanced around, looking for any possible undead nearby. There had to be some. Everywhere else was infested to the eyeballs with undead, I'm sure it wasn't any different here. The horse stomped it's front hoof and snorted, drawing my eyes back. Inexplicably, it seemed to sense me, and turned to look toward the shadowy corner I was hiding in. I gazed into those death touched eyes, and I just knew she was mine.

     Don't ask me how, but I knew this horse and I, we had a destiny. She quieted immediately upon spotting my form, and seemed to just gaze at me, eyes pleading for rescue. Without thinking about it, I slowly stood and stepped out of the shadows. And that's when the warrior attacked. A half rotted fiend with rusted armor came hurtling out of some hidden doorway, cutlass raised high. I quickly ducked under the sword, coming up beside the equine. I placed a calming hand on her withers and had to recoil hastily as I felt the death magic try to worm its way into my flesh. Disgusting. How dare they do such a thing to one of Tavril's followers! All creatures were sacred to her.

     The undead swung again at me and I quickly dodged to the side, bringing the creature further away from the horse. I didn't want her injured on top of being afflicted with death magic. Pulling a tiny, slim dagger, I quickly held it in two fingers and flung it at the warrior. It embedded itself comically in a groove near the neck, wobbling there like an obscene piece of jewelry. The warrior roared at me in anger and charged. I ducked my head and grabbed my attacker's wrists, locking them together and twisting them sideways. Predictably the creature dropped the cutlass and it hit the ground with a muffled thump. I kicked at the kneecap, hoping to cripple the fiend, but it didn't seem to have much effect. Duh, Rae, it's dead. No pain receptors there, girl! Letting go of one wrist, I unsheathed a dagger and stuck it in the warrior's eye in one fluid motion, before it had a chance to retaliate. The undead backed up, staggering slightly. I released the other wrist as well lest I was pulled off balance, and watched warily, wondering if I'd need to defend myself further. Thankfully the fiend slumped to the ground, miasma leaking out from the cracks in the armor. Eww.

     The horse snorted again, bringing my attention back to her. She was a fine mare, if a bit malnourished. If I could cure her of the death spells and affliction, she would make a fine battle steed. I whispered soft elven words to her as I drew near again, speaking the old tongue taught to us by Tavril herself. The horse perked her ears forward and followed my movement as I drew near. Despite all that she had undoubtedly endured, the mare was not overly skittish in my presence. I patted her a few times, and slipped some rawhide ropes from my pack. I quickly fashioned a simple loose halter and gently slipped it around the mare's head. I waited a few minutes to let her get used to the feel of it, constantly glancing around and feeling the press of time on my back. I really needed to get back to Valor Hold and report my success. But I also couldn't just leave the horse behind. I pictured what Cyril Kalmer would say when I rode into camp on the mare, and chuckled. As long as those fool sentries don't shoot me down first, thinking I was the enemy.

     The mare took it quite calmly, being ridden by a stranger. Thankfully I had a small blanket in my pack as well, because I really wanted something between me and the filthy death magic infesting the poor horse. She took off at a ground eating pace, and I leaned down across her neck. I didn't even think about it, but I fisted her mane in my hands and tried willing my cleansing Ascended magic into the horse through my fingers. I couldn't tell if it was working or not, but it seemed that the further we went across the field, the lighter her steps became. Her coat stayed black as night though. But perhaps that's what color she was, a black horse.

     I kept a firm grip on the mane the entire journey, and kept willing my healing light into her. At the entrance to valor Hold I gently tugged on the reins to slow her down to a walk and she responded instantly almost before I even made the motion. Amazing! I knew she would be an amazing animal. I was right pleased with my find as I rode into Valor Hold and stopped in front of Cyril. By the gods he's tall. Have I mentioned that yet?
     Cyril raised a large bushy eyebrow at my mode of transportation, but thankfully didn't say anything derogatory. When I gave my justification for rescuing her, and said that I think she'd make a fine battle steed, Cyril nodded agreement and watched as a soldier led the horse to a stable, promising to have an animal trainer take a look at her.

     "One horse is a small weapon in this war. But than, so is one sword. But wielded by an Ascended like yourself, our enemies will shriek in agony as they are trampled underfoot like twigs." Said the ever enigmatic Cyril. I snickered. Cyril graced me with a bland look. What, I couldn't help it? He's always so full of some kind of cryptic message.

     "Go take a bit of a rest, Raeslyn, you've earned it. At dawn, we'll strike at Aedraxis himself." Now that wiped the smile off my face real quick. I nodded wordlessly and walked away, feeling a bit shaken. I know we had to confront him at some point, but it just seemed to soon! What if  I wasn't ready? Was I ready? I don't know?! I'm scared, truth be told. I don't want to die. I couldn't sleep, but I did have a tasty meal of biscuits and some kind of venison stew. I spent the night with my newfound steed, the mare I'd rescued. The pet trainer had looked her over, given her some medicine, and had been astonished at her quick recovery from the touch of death. I'd like to think I had a hand in that, actually.
     Whatever the case, she was almost completely healed, and was in better spirits now. She even tried stealing my biscuit, the sneaky thing. Regretfully, dawn came all too soon.

 "At last we come to the end. This is what the Vigil brought us back from death for! With their guidance and power, and our might and determination, the Tyrant's hordes will fall away from us like rain against steel. Ride to the Eye of Regulos, and slay the King. Shatter his body with the Hammer of the Vigil and sever Regulos's grip on this land. If King Aedraxis wants oblivion, we will give it to him!"
      I listened to Cyril Kalmer's impassioned speech with the other various soldiers and Ascended Guardians gathered in front of him. I'm not one to get all stirred up over grandiose talks and claims but I have to admit that I felt...something as Cyril talked. I don't know what it was, or how to explain it, but I felt a tingling in my chest, right below my breastbone. My eyes also felt kinda prickly. It's just one of those moments, where many people are all highly involved, and willing to do what it takes to see a task through to the end, no matter their own personal views.

     When Cyril had finished his little speech, he beckoned me over for a private talk. I hesitated. If it was something he wanted to ask me specifically, I was probably not going to like it. Whenever there'd been a danger to the forest, the elven council had often chosen me to scout ahead, or infiltrate the group responsible, because of my small stature and convincing acts. Although, now that I think about it, that also made me the prime suspect whenever something went wrong, was stolen, or had been endangered. To be fair, only half the mischief at the college was my fault. Honest.

     "Raeslyn, I ask a special task from you." I knew it! I crossed my arms to let show how unimpressed I was by this. I'd gotten over my misty feelings from a minute ago real fast. "The Vigil asks of you the task of destroying the pillars holding the death rift up at the Eye of Regulos. Our troops will be too busy fighting Aedraxis's undead army, and holding the monstrous legions of the Endless Court at bay. We ask that you go on ahead and disable the Rift and even out our playing field." He placed his hand on my shoulder and I gave a resigned nod. Hey, someone had to do it right? And of all the Ascended present, I was the only one who wasn't some kind of military commander who was needed for the fight against Aedraxis's army.
      " Okay. But I'm taking Naesa." I stated, inspecting each of my daggers to make sure they were all combat ready. I should probably pick up a few more before I leave on this hare brained venture too. You can never have enough daggers in my opinion. Such wonderfully simple but effective little tools, are daggers. Perfect little devices. I smirked.

     "Naesa?" Cyril asked doubtfully, brow furrowed. Mathosians looked so dull when they frowned like that. They could at least try to look intelligent. Gods. I spun a thin dagger idly between my fingers as I casually responded, "Oh, my new horse. You know, the one I rescued?"

     Cyril blinked at me, than pursed his lips and scowled. "Very well, you earned the right to ride the beast I suppose. After all, you did rescue it."

     I expertly flicked my dagger back into it's sheath and wrinkled my nose, crossing my arms. "Her name is Naesa. She is not an it." I said, calmly but forcefully. I do not approve of people just calling a creature "it" just because they were creatures. Hello, they have genders too! A little respect goes a long way among the wilds of Telara. If you don't learn to respect the creatures of nature, you won't live long in the forests of the world. I turned and walked away, leaving Cyril to stare after me with exasperation, muttering something about elves.

     I commandeered a few more daggers for my cause from a helpful weapon maker, found a nice-fitting saddle for Naesa, and was ready to go within the hour. The sun was just breaking over the mountain range, coloring the field in its golden radiance. I couldn't help but feel my spirits lifting by the sight. So beautiful, is Telara. By Tavril's blessing, this land is ours to protect, and I will do my duty to the Vigil, as I had sworn long ago. I only hope that after today is done, I will be free to seek my own path. I wish to find my family again and persuade them of the evils of House Aelfwar, as well as find my mentor and see if he is indeed safe. If he is dead than I shall give him a proper elven funeral and go into mourning. But, I don't even want to entertain that thought until there is irrefutable proof.

     Clucking lightly to Naesa, I set out of the gates of Valor Hold for possibly the last time. I stopped not long past the protective walls of the camp and shaded my eyes, gazing back the way I'd come. I looked up, past the camp, past Bloodmurk Grove, even past Ardenburgh. In the far distance, up on its lonely hill, I could just make out the large stone edifice that was the Sanctuary of Rebirth, where I had begun this mad journey upon reawakening. It feels surreal, in a way. As if I was having a dream. A daydream, like I so often have...had, at the college. I'd slip away from my classes and escape to the woodland, where the song of the trees would lull me into a half sleep and I would dream of all manner of far off adventures. And now look at me. The biggest adventure of my young life and I want nothing more to do with it. Ironic.

     With Cyril's troops engaging the undead on the field, it wasn't that hard to slip past the enemy and make my way for what Cyril described as the Eye of Regulos. It was a pass in the mountains, barely noticeable among the other grays and browns of the mountain. Just beyond the indent that meant a way through the mountains, I could see a giant mass of tentacles and violet miasma that could only be the effects of the Death Rift. Disgusting abomination. As I neared the pass, I slowed Naesa's pace with dismay. Oh great. The whole pass was blocked off by a veritable army of undead. Ascended or no, there was no way I was getting past that mass of bodies. They'd swarm me. Now what was I supposed to do? Wait here for Cyril and the others to catch up to me? That didn't seem like a sensible option. Besides, they were counting on me to bring that rift down. I had to go forward. But how do I get past those guards?

     As I was thinking over possible solutions, a slow golden mist coalesced to the left of my position. Surprisingly, Naesa held fast and didn't so much as paw the ground in reaction. Out of the light appeared another Messenger of the Vigil. Crucia's fangs, did those things stalk me or something? How do they keep finding me? I'm awed to be so esteemed by the Vigil, but I'm really starting to get a little annoyed. Maybe next time they could just write me a letter? I nudged Naesa forward and moved over to where the Messenger hovered above the ground, long wingspan effortlessly keeping her/him? It? above the ground.

     The voice, always multi-faceted like a cave echo, formed in my mind like always. "No evil can stand against the might of the Ascended. Step into the light and let the power of the gods course through your body."

     The Messenger turned gracefully and gestured to the wall of sentries, who were now all focused on little old me. A beam of golden light appeared a couple of feet in front of the seething mass of undead. Far too close to the mass to effectively get out alive. I eyed the beam of light a moment, than gave the Messenger a doubtful look. Seriously? I have faith in the gods and all, but come on. This was asking just a bit much, don't you think? The Messenger just stared at me serenely, the same irritating look it always wore gracing its features. I glared. Great, just great. If I was mauled by those zombies over there, I was going to rant and rave to the Vigil for an eon when I got to the Soulstream.

     I took a deep breath and gave one last, resentful glance to the Vigil's Messenger. The white wings swept the creature aloft, and than it was gone in a burst of extra golden light. Show off. I focused back on the undead fiends in front of me. I glanced down at Naesa. She craned her long neck and glanced back at me, than tossed her mane and shook her head. "Ya, I totally agree with you Naesa. This is crazy." I said to the horse's actions, than grinned. I clucked my tongue and set Naesa forward at a slow trot. Here goes nothing. The closer I got to the wall of undead, the more tense I became, until I felt like anything would set me off. Finally, after what seemed forever, Naesa's nose touched the ring of gold light. Nothing happened. Hesitantly, I stepped all the way into the light. The moment the light hit my body, I felt my whole vision light up like  a Fae Yule tree. Blinding white iridescence produced spots in my vision and no matter the amount of blinking, I couldn't clear my sight.

     When the light was reduced enough that my poor retinas were able to process what they were staring wide eyed at, I was amazed. Instead of the mass of bloodthirsty creatures out for my blood that I expected to see, there was nothing but a pile of charred bone, all layered outward from my position as if I'd been ground zero for some type of mass destruction weapon. Wow. Color me impressed. If only I had that kind of arsenal at my disposal all the time. I glanced down, noticing that my hands were still glowing brightly. And even more shocking, My back sported two large golden wings that extended well past my shoulders. Even as I gawked, the wings of light slowly faded into nothing, leaving me feeling bereft. It was only than that I realized that I really had been blessed by the Vigil. They did actually care about their people. My faith and love swelled, and I felt proud to be one of these newly established Guardians. I am a Guardian. I am Ascended. And I will protect Telara from the forces of Regulos the Destroyer and his ilk.

     Once the afterglow had faded, reality set in and I sobered fairly quickly. The pass I had cleared was a nightmare. Literally. The ground and canyon sides were crawling with spikes and odd plant-like tentacles that pushed up from the earth like macabre cherry blossoms. The air was thick and heavy with death magic, and a low, black fog hung over the ground, dissipating with a hiss whenever it touched Naesa's hooves. Lovely. The clearing beyond the pass was choked in vines and deadly tentacles, and I could see undead patrolling the area. I glanced downward at my mount. This was no place for a horse. She had loyally gotten me this far, and ahead of time as well, but I could not ask her to fight for me here. She'd already had her fair share of battles against the darkness. So I dismounted and slapped Naesa on the rump, sending her back down the pass the way I'd come. With luck she'd find her way back to Valor Hold and I could retrieve her after I was done here.

     The sky was black as night, despite just early morning, and was shot through with streaks of violet lightening. In the middle of the clearing was some strange looking contraption made of a silvery blue metal. The device was twice as tall as I was and studded with tiny blue dots. The tell-tale glow of magitech. Those cursed Defiant must have had a hand in this. Just what were they thinking when they built this? Did they know what they were doing? What Aedraxis had planned? Gods, I hope not. I'd like to think that anyone, no matter how corrupted, would never agree to such a high price as this for power.
     That device must be what is keeping the Rift open and keeping Telara in contact with the other dimensions. If I can disable the machine somehow, the Rift should collapse and Telara should drift out of alignment with the planes and back into its own proper dimension. Ha, if only it was as simple as it sounds!

     Just getting to the device was proving to be more of a challenge than it should. The undead seemed to sense what I was there for, and they all swarmed me as I was making my way toward one of the pillars that arose on either side of the device. Fighting two of the creatures at once was less of a challenge than it would have been days ago. My skill in combat, as well as my Ascended power, had been steadily growing as I worked on them, and I am proud to say I held my own quite well against the creatures. Of course, keeping my attention divided between the two was a challenge all in itself. The other souls inside me sent me encouraging strength and skill as well and I was able to use a few tricks to down the zombies.

     I systematically dispatched all the undead I could find, not wanting them to ambush me while I was concentrating on dismantling the device. I cursed as an undead managed to slice open my arm. Where the hell were Cyril and Shyla? He said they would be right behind me, and I could really use some back up right about now.
     When the last undead fell (as well as two Defiant mages who had apparently been sitting and keeping the pillars intact as near as I can tell), I was able to actually get a good look at the device and it's accompanying machinery. A raised dais was touched on two sides by tall, oblong pillars, the tops of which had some bizarre lightning rods. Or at least, that's what they most closely resembled; something I'd seen a few times at the college by the few eccentric professors who studied astrology, weather, and other random subjects. Orbs had been placed at the base of the pillars, orbs that resembled what I'd seen the specters carrying in Ardenburgh.

     I studied the entire piece of technology silently. The pillars seemed to be the key. They held the actual power source to the device. What if I used the Hammer of the Vigil on those orbs? They would break, thus disrupting the power cycle and shutting off the network of sourcestone siphoning, and causing the main device to malfunction. If the power flow was disrupted, there was a high probability that the magitech would fail, as it relied quite heavily on the sourcestone generators that were powered by the orbs. Woah, did I really just think all that? In the back of my mind I caught the hint of an exotic giggle. Ah, that explains it. My Bahmi companion strikes again. Her suggestion seemed the most sound, despite my feeling that she might have a conflict of interest here and I had no other viable ideas anyway. I could feel time ticking away and I really needed to shut this rift down as quickly as possible, as I had a feeling something bad was coming.

     I hefted the Hammer, which I'd kept tied to Naesa's side until I'd arrived here and than had stashed by the pass when I'd let her free. It was a good sized weapon, with a thick handle and a large, solid head. The weapon was covered from top to bottom in holy runes, the language of the gods, and the runes lit up with a blue-white glow as I lifted the hammer above my head. That had to be a good sign right? I took a deep breath, than swung the hammer down with all might, sending it crashing against the orbs on one pillar. At the last moment I shut my eyes on instinct and turned my head, expecting some kind of reaction.

     There was another explosion of light behind my eyelids as well as a sudden gust of wind that
nearly knocked my back when it swept outward from the orbs. I dropped the hammer, finding it suddenly very heavy, and turned to gaze upward at the massive tentacle-infested rift that had been floating overhead like a fat tick.

     To my dismay, it seemed that if anything, the Rift had swelled, grown larger. To prove my point, it began pulsing and suddenly disgorged two large dragon spawn, which immediately set their sights upon my small and innocent form. Of course....

     I'd have been in some serious trouble if Cyril, Borrin and Lady Shyla hadn't conveniently shown up just than. I almost demanded to know what took them so long, but I was just grateful for their assistance. While the others held off the dragon spawn, I picked up the Hammer and went around to the other pillar. Still one cluster of orbs to knock out. Hope this works. This time when I hit the orbs, there was an even more dramatic reaction. The pressure knocked me back, than seemed to suck back inward. The sky became darker and the Rift seemed to flicker ominously. Thankfully, it did shrink a bit though. That should be a good sign, right? I grinned triumphantly.

     And that's when Aedraxis appeared.

No comments:

Post a Comment