Episode 73 - Epilogue Report in Golarion | World Anvil

Episode 73 - Epilogue

General Summary

  • The Guardians returned to Iadara and celebrated their victory.
  • Reh, Rooker, and Godric teleported aboard the Mighty Maiden to thank Captain Joseph Lorune and his crew for helping them in the past. They were given sacks of gold, which the Captain gladly accepted.
  • Queen Telandia summoned the Heroes of Kyonin and rewarded them with powerful magic items, coin, and an offer. With the loss of the Winter Council, the queen wished to replace the services they provided with people she could trust. And who better than the Heroes of Kyonin? Reh, Rooker, and Kuuro agreed to aid the queen.




  A dozen drow soldiers stopped in their tracks as they watched the Throne of Tharzduun flash, the runes pulse and glow, the flames surrounding the giant pyramid erupt in a blinding light... then blackness. The flames disappeared. The runes went dark. "Do we enter?" asked one of the drow soldiers. Their leader, a drow named Rinnyl, said nothing but broke into a run. His men quickly followed after him. Together they ran through the immense front doors that had been wide open, but now appeared to be closing slowly. Rinnyl and his men were already well down the hallway within the pyramoid by the time the doors closed behind them, forever.   The drow cautiously entered the temple room and surveying the dead bodies scattered around them. Rinnyl had only been in the room once before, but it was enough to know that the large Master Glyph that had not only lit the room but the entire temple, was out. Lasdolon was gone. The soldiers and priestesses were dead. "They stopped the ritual," Rinnyl announced and waved his hand out in front of him. "Look for survivors."   The others spread out, but Rinnyl slowly walked straight ahead. They were all dead, the priestesses, the soldiers, and he knew it. However, this was a powerful temple. There must be something of value here. Where was Lasdolon? He had that magical eye that seemed to hold a great deal of power. Rinnyl wondered if he would be willing to put out his own eye if it meant wielding that kind of power. He sneered. Might not be a bad idea to loot the body.   Feet scuffled to his left. Rinnyl turned. "Did you find someone?" he asked.   Three of his men shuffled forward but said nothing. "Well, speak up!"   One of the soldiers lifted his head. His voice sounded muddied. "We should not be here," he said. "This is not a place for us." All three of their heads exploded, their bodies fell to the ground.   Rinnyl drew his blade. He was surrounded by his soldiers, all who had drawn their blades as well. "Tekka-Lee" they muttered. "Tekka-Tekka-Lee, Lee!"   Rinnyl lunged, catching one in the neck with his longsword. Two more moved in, one took Rinnyl in the shoulder, the other in the leg. Rinnyl swung, slashing another attacker. His blade moved expertly, but while he was skilled, they were many. They never reacted when they were struck. They just kept chanting "Tekka-Tekka-Lee, Lee! Tekka-Tekka-Lee, Lee!" Eventually, that sound was broken only by the wet shrieks of Rinnyl being cut to shreds.   Orrn ignored the noise. He floated toward the blackened stain on the floor. Without touching it, he could still feel the sensation emanating off of it. The residual feeling of Lasdolon dying, filled with anger and fear, then being torn apart. Orrn felt an odd sensation... satisfaction? He raised his hand and two items lifted out of the debris. He recognized the hilt of the Claw of Tharzduun, blackened and twisted as it was. The scorched orb was cracked and filled with ash.   They'd done it. They'd used the Claw to destroy the Eye of the Abyss. Just as he had hoped.   Orrn's tentacles twitched. He turned and watched his thrall as they continued to hack away at the red pile of meat. "Stop," he thought. "Clean up the bodies. Burn them to ash, then burn yourselves. You do not belong here."   "Tekka-Tekka-Lee, Lee" they echoed.   The Chant of Tharzduun, ironically, would be the last thing they would hear as they killed each other. The air around Orrn seemed to fold around him, and he vanished.  


  Fascinated with the potential of working with - and on - a device of such ancient construction, the elves, and monks of Minas Amer offered to assist Reh in creating her very own pyramoid on the condition that she would be willing to share some of her knowledge with them. The starstone diamond core that was at the center of Chakos’ pyramoid was still intact, as was all the knowledge housed within.   Reh was able to create her own pyramoid, developing the planescape within. Over the weeks and months, she was able to create the world within the way she wanted. The entrance and exit were through the pyramoid. Time passed normally, one day being one day.   Chakos’ library was intact, as was Chakos. His spirit was bound to the starburst diamond, which also bound him to the pyramoid. He lived within the pyramoid, but could not control the world as he was used to. This took some adjustment on his part. He was always pleased when “the girl” came to visit. When she brought scrolls, tomes, and books to add to the library he thanked her (in his own way).   When Phaeriel was resurrected, she thanked everyone for their assistance. And while she appreciated Reh’s offer to stay in the pyramoid, Phaeriel felt drawn to find more rare items. It was in her blood, so to speak. She promised to visit, and any interesting book or scroll that she found would be brought to Reh for the pyramoid.   The biggest surprise was Naebler. He left Minas Amer with Alduin the Azlanti. To show his appreciation for Naebler helping him adapt to the new world, he invited Naebler to join him on his travels. He also offered to train Naebler with the blade. He’d fought enough members of the sa’har order that he was familiar with the style. Naebler used a Sending stone to send brief messages to Reh, keeping her updated on their adventures. Most recently they had made their way to Riddleport and were hoping to book passage on a ship. Alduin hadn’t told him where they were going but Naebler suspected Alduin wanted to go back to the islands where the continent of Azlant used to be. Naebler promised he'd stay in touch, and he did.  

Telith and Godric

  Telith returned to the family farm. His parents were thrilled to see him, and also a little in awe when they saw the divine power he now possessed. They, along with the church, were floored at his generosity when he donated a small fortune to each. But even with his family and his church now secure, Telith felt that there was still worked to do. He prayed for guidance, and his prayers were answered one evening when Sherihnin (SHARE-eh-nin)- Deva, angel of Iomedae came to visit him. She had been the one to show him the vision of the Temple of Tharzduun, and she came to him with another vision. Sherihnin held her hands out in front of her and presented Telith with a large, golden, heart-shaped shield. In the center of the heart was a circular hole. Telith took the shield, and as he slid his arm within the straps the circular opening filled with radiant light. “Iomedae requests your aid, Telith.”   Sir Godric stood on the cliff overlooking the ocean. The Guardians of Golarion had saved Kyonin, and by stopping Tharzduun they had saved much, much more. But for Godric, it had come at a cost – Shen, Sakali, Alyuin, Valarius, Buck, Proteus, Ella. He drew Heartseeker from the scabbard and knelt, pressing the tip of the blade into the soil. He rested his forehead against the hilt and began to pray.   “Your friends are in a better place,” said a voice from behind him. Heartseeker glowed brightly. Godric spun around and saw Telith standing behind the wing of a beautiful angel. Sherihnin smiled. “You have done a great service, but unfortunately the battles are not yet done. You wield – you are – the sword of Iomedae, and she has need of her blade." She nodded to Telith. "As well as her shield. The Demon Lord Dugoroth recently escaped from the abyssal fissure and struck down several outposts in the Worldwound. His actions have emboldened the nearby legion of demons. The defenders could use some support. Are you up for the task?”   Heartseeker glow grew into a blinding light. Beyond that light, Godric and Telith could see an army of demons charging a crumbling wall of a battered fortification. "I am the first into battle," said Godric.   "And I am the last to leave it," continued Telith.   And with that, the three stepped into the light.  


  It was well after midnight, but Juartos Morilla was very much a night owl. Normally he would work in his office, but when it came time to go over important contracts he preferred to work in his den. Late-night meant fewer distractions. This particular contract was from a Cheliaxian nobleman and dealing with Cheliax meant going over their infernal contracts with a fine-toothed comb.   Juartos didn't bother looking up from his contract when he heard the door open. "Out," he said. "Whatever this is can wait."   "No," Kwava said as he closed the door and entered the room. "I am afraid this cannot wait."   Juartos looked up from the document. "You are a very foolish man for coming in here," he said, eyes quickly darting around the room. "Why have you bothered me and signed your own death warrant?"   Kwava wiped the blood from his twin kukris on his thighs, the sheathed the weapons. "You mistreated a friend of mine."   Juartos leaned back in his chair and studied the dark-skinned elf in front of him. "That’s the nature of my business," he said. "As I'm sure you're well aware."   "Slavery is not the business of the Guild of Wonders," Kwava pointed out. "Murder is. Slavery seems to be more of a personal pet project of yours, and that ends today."   Juartos' eyes narrowed. “Do you know where you are, elf?”   Kwava said, “I do. And the fact that we are here should be a matter of great concern to you.”   “We?” Juartos cast a quick glance at the door behind Kwava.   “Myself and my friend," said Kwava. "She is right behind you.”   There was nothing behind him but wall. Juartos was no fool. He always sat in a defensible corner, near no windows or doors. No one got the jump on him. “Very funny,” he said.   The steel tip of an arrowhead pressed against the back of Juartos' head. “Ha. Ha.” A woman's voice.   Juartos raised his hands off the desk and stretched them out in front of him. Kwava seemed amused at the gesture. “I am going to step outside and stack up the bodies we left out there. I will leave their disposal up to you. But I think the two of you have a great deal to discuss, so I will leave you to it.”   Juartos felt the steel bite into the skin at the base of his skull, pushing his head forward. “Get up.”   Slowly Juartos got to his feet and stepped out from behind the desk. He felt the pressure come off the back of his head and watched as the cloaked figure stepped out in front of him. It had been quite some time, but Juartos recognized her immediately. “Kuuro… it’s been a while.”   Kuuro's features were cold. She stared at him down the shaft of her drawn steel arrow, bow held steady. “You kept me caged like an animal. Then you hunted me like an animal. Why? And if you say its because I'm an animal I'm going to unload a dozen arrows into your face before your dead body hits the floor.”   “Because I saw that you had potential. You could have gone on to accomplish great things."   “I already have. I know how powerful the Guild of Wonders is, and how powerful you are. But I know the guild has rules about killing children. You're the contract guy. You know that. And I know what you have going on down in the basement."   "You're bluffing."   Kuuro placed a red silk scarf on the desk in front of him. Embroidered on the scarf was the holy symbol of Calistria. "You're sick."   "Impossible."   "I've slain dragons, demons, and demigods. Getting past a few locks and arcane wards isn't that much of a stretch for me."   "What do you want..."   "You're done with the slave trading. Today. Now."   "You want me to free my slaves?"   "I've already freed them. I'm not asking you to stop. I'm telling you that you are done. Stick to contract murder." Kuuro stepped into the shadows. "I'll be watching you."   Juartos snatched up his lantern and shone it into the darkness. The shadows vanished, as had Kuuro. He held the lantern up and searched the room. He was alone. "That bit-"   An arrow seemed to materialize in his shoulder, showering him in blood. He screamed and dropped the lantern. Two more arrows hissed through the air - one pinning his foot to the floor, and the second struck the wick of the lantern. Darkness swallowed the room as the lantern clattered to the floor. Juartos bit down on the pain, giving his tearing eyes a moment to adjust.   An arrow tip pressed against his forehead. "I'll be watching you," Kuuro repeated in a whisper. "But you'll never see me coming."   A moment later Juratos was blinded as the door to his study was thrown open. Light bathed him from the hallway while four men rushed into the room. "Sir!" one of them shouted. "We've been..."   His voice trailed off and the four guards stood frozen, staring at the bloody Juartos and the multiple arrows sticking out of him. "Gods..." whispered another and they immediately rushed to his aid. Their training took over, proving deft in not only the placing of arrows in a body but the removal of time as well. Two of them extracted the arrows while the third retrieved his chair. Together they lowered him into it while the fourth rushed from the room to collect the manor's healer.   "Report," Juartos said through gritted teeth.   "The slaves are gone," he was told. "But none of the locks or wards were disrupted."   Juartos half-listened while the man went on. He looked around the room, watching for any movement in the shadows. He knew he wouldn't see anything. "You'll never see me coming," Kuuro's words echoed in his mind, and he knew she was right.   Beyond the manor's hedged wall that surrounded the property, Kwava and Fjord waited. Kuuro appeared before then and shouldered her bow. The manor was a buzz of activity, lights filling every window and loud voices barked orders. Kwava smiled. "I take it things went well?" he asked.   Kuuro pulled her hood over her head. "Time to go," she told Fjord. "Tomorrow I'd like to check up on the other Guardians. Are you free?" The orc smiled, nodded, and the trio vanished to join the freed slaves in Crying Leaf.  


  The fog was unusually heavy in Korvosa's early morning hours. The sun had just begun to rise, slowly burning the mist away as Evalia Paragon (half-elf) prepared her morning tea. She'd always been an early riser, and starting it with a cup of her Lavender stardust tea always got the day started on the right foot. It put her in a calm state of mind, ready to handle anything that came her way.   Her kettle of water just began to whistle when Evalia heard a gentle rapping sound on the front door. It sounded like a child knocking. "Just a minute," she called out and quickly grabbed a towel. She lifted the kettle off the stove and set it down on the nearby counter, tossed the towel onto a nearby hook, and hurried to the door. "I'll be right there!"   Evalia peeked between the curtains and looked out the window. The fog was still struggling to stay despite the rising sun. It was as if a bright cloud hand settled over the city. She craned her neck to the side, trying to see who it was at her front door. She saw no one. The knocking had stopped. Curiosity gave way to concern. What if it had been a small child knocking on her door? One from the marketplace who wandered away from their mother and got lost in the fog?   Quickly she opened the door. There was no one standing there, adult or child. No one on the front step, or the walkway leading to her front door. Had she been hearing things? She was just about to close the door when Evalia happened to look down. There was a package there, a bundle wrapped in a fine velvet cloth, tied with ribbon. A note was tucked into the ribbon. Evalia picked up the bundle and pulled out the note. She looked around once more, staring into the fog before turning and closing the door behind her.   Back inside, she set the bundle down on the table. The parchment was a brilliant white, and in an elegant script was her name written across it. She pulled the note from the ribbon and began to read.   "Evalia Paragon, this will sound strange but I write this note on behalf of your son Valarius. While he is unable to write this note to you personally, know that he has done great things. You will most likely hear no tale of this, but your son helped to save Golarion from a terrible end. Know that he thinks of you always, and loves you with his entire being. You will forever be in his heart. Keep this with you, and he will always be close."   There may have been more words, but Evalia couldn't read them through her tears. The note was unsigned, but she recognized Valarius' penmanship when she saw her name across the front of the note. Later, she would think of the falling star that exploded in the sky and knew the truth of what it was.   But now... now she carefully set the note down and gently pulled the ribbon aside. She moved the cloth and saw the glint of steel. With a trembling hand, she slipped her fingers around the leather grip and lifted the chakram off the table. She could not explain it, but holding the chakram felt as natural to her as it felt to cradle Valarius when he was firstborn. The edge of the chakram began to glow a faint blue, and her tears began again. Her son was home.   Across the street, Jobu's wings flapped and he landed on Rooker's shoulder. "I tink that went well," he said. Rooker smiled, and together they turned and walked into the fog, disappearing along with the mist.  


  The Mighty Maiden crashed through the waves. On the foredeck, Captain Joseph Lorune frowned. "I don't like it," he said.   First Mate Serena and Second mate Ungur stood beside the Captain. "Don't like what, Captain?" Serena asked.   The Captain pointed at the bow of the ship. A tall man, hands on hips, chestnut hair blowing in the breeze, stared out over the ocean. "Him. What do you make of him?"   Serena nodded in approval. "He's a fine specimen if that's what you mean."   Captain Lorune gave her a side-eye stare. "And I'm, what, chopped liver?"   Ungur never took his eyes off the man at the front of the ship. "Compared to him? Yes, yes you are." He turned sheepishly to the Captain. "Sorry, sir."   The Captain snorted and whipped his head to the side, his blonde locks cascading over his shoulders. "Whatever. Do you think he's really Azlanti?"   Serena shrugged. "Well he's got Azlanti blood, that's for sure. Unless he got one of those eyes dye-jobs that some of those Cheliax nobles used to get."   "As long as his coin is real," said the Captain.   Ungur pulled out a large bronze coin. “Oh, it’s real. I’m no expert, but if this is a forgery it’s better than any I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a few.”   Across the deck, Naebler ducked a loop of masting rope and spun, stabbing his rapier into a nearby barrel. He was breathing heavy, sweating profusely, but enjoyed his successful maneuver. He looked over to see if Alduin had seen it. The Azlanti's focus maintained rock-solid, looking out into the ocean. Naebler walked up beside him. "Looks like water," he said. "Are we close?"   Alduin looked down at the gnome. “We are. That is, this was the spot a very long time ago.” He turned around and shouted to the crew. “Drop anchor! We have arrived!”   Captain Lorune leaned on the railing up on the foredeck. “Excuse me, I’m the Captain! I’ll say when to-“   The sails quickly lowered and the crew dropped anchor.   The Captain, Serena, and Ungur descended the stairs. Bosun Nirman, followed by the construct Piko, came up from below deck. Alduin began stripping off his clothes. The Captain stormed over to Naebler. "What is he doing?"   Naebler sheathed his rapier. "I believe the term is 'getting nekked'."   Alduin pulled off his boots and stepped out of his pants. "Confirmed naked Captain," Selena said with a crisp salute.   Captain Joseph gave a disgusted look and took his hat off, using it to block Alduin's nudity. "What is going on here! I demand to -"   Alduin walked by him and knelt down before Naebler. "Watch my things, yes?" His eyes darted to Ungur momentarily. "I think that one looks to make away with them."   "Never happen," Naebler said with a confident grin. His hand rested on the pommel of his rapier. "Not anymore."   "Not anymore," Alduin repeated and stood up. He looked around the deck. "I need something heavy," he said. He saw the group quickly approaching him and picked up the end of a length of rope. "Tie off the other end," he told Naebler.   Captain Lorune stepped around Naebler. "All right, now I demand to know -"   Alduin walked by him and approached Piko. "Are you equipped for aquatic propulsion?"   "I am not," Piko said.   "Unfortunate," Alduin said before kicking his legs out from under him and shoving him over the side of the ship. As the construct fell, Alduin exhaled and grabbed PIko's shoulder. Together they fell into the sea.   Serena and Nirman rushed to the side. "Piko!" they shouted. Naebler quickly found the other end of the long coil of rope and tied it to one of the masts. The rope was long, but was quickly disappearing into the depths of the ocean.   The Captain threw his hands in the air, exasperated. He stomped up to Naebler and reached out to grab the gnome. Naebler turned and Lorune quickly withdrew his hand "I-I... this is my ship! I demand to know what is going on here! What is the Azlanti doing?"   Naebler stared into the black depths of the sea. "Taking your robot for a swim," he said.   Riding on PIko's back, Alduin quickly descended into the darkness. Sixty feet, eighty feet, one hundred and fifty feet. PIko's eyes glowed, beams of light scanning the water beneath them. They both saw the ground at the last moment. Piko's arms churned in a futile effort to slow himself. Alduin kicked away from his anchor, landing on his feet while Piko crashed in a cloud of silt and mud.   Alduin watched light emerge from the plume of dirt floating in the sea. Piko charged at him, arms outstretched. Alduin held his hand out in front of him and extended the end of the rope to Piko. The construct stopped and looked at the rope. Alduin pointed at Piko, then at the rope, and then mimed a climbing motion with hands going end over end.   PIko cautiously took the rope, looked at it, then looked back at Alduin. The Azlanti gave him a thumbs up and began swimming away into the darkness. Pike began pulling on the rope, dragging more slack into the sea before finally feeling it go taut. He began his slow ascent to the surface.   The salty ocean burned Alduin's eyes but he ignored the discomfort. He let it pass while his eyes adjusted to the dark. This had to be the place. But where was the entrance? Had time taken that away from him as well?   No, not time. Coral. A reef, hundreds of feet thick, had grown over the fissure. It was sharp, hard, and dense. Alduin closed his eyes, centered himself, and got to work.   Several minutes later, Alduin breached the surface with a hoarse gasp. The air in the cavern was cool and fresh, just like he knew it would be. Even after all this time, the enchantments still seemed to be in place. He swam to the shore and pulled himself up on the smooth rock, then collapsed in exhaustion. The exertion from shredding his flesh against the sharpened stone-like coral while holding his breath had taken a toll on him. He pushed aside the frustration of not being at full strength. Spending several millennia in the abyss had extracted a terrible price, one that he continued to pay.   But he was Azlanti. He would endure. Just as soon as he caught his breath.   He heard the sound of metal scraping against the stone but did not move, even as the sound approached him. He lay on his stomach while being bathed in a new, dim light. "Hey," said a metallic voice. "You are naked."   "Your eyes still work," Alduin said as he stood up. "What about the rest of you?"   A metallic humanoid covered in dust. His eyes glowed, as did a triangular pyramid embedded in his chest. "I am well. It is good to see you again."   For a moment, Alduin felt a wave of emotion wash over him. Nostalgia. Connection to the past, and his life before his betrayal. "It is good to see you too Nigel."   The construct looked at Alduin's bloody fists. "You are injured."   "It is not important. What is the status of Sanctuary? Have there been any visitors since I left?"   "Just one."   Only one other person knew the location of Sanctuary. But since he had betrayed Alduin, it was possible he may have told others. He had to be sure. "Oromir?"   "Yes. It appeared that he gained access by use of one of your scrolls."   Alduin frowned, the anger of the betrayal still quite raw. Oromir had been mentally enslaved by the Faceless Ones, but that didn't lessen the sting. "What happened?"   "I killed him before he could react. I stripped him of his belongings and destroyed his remains. There have been no other intrusions since then."   "My armor?" It was more of a question rather than a statement.   "It is where you left it."   Alduin breathed a sigh of relief. "Very good," he said with a growing grin. "Very, very good."   He walked past the construct and moved deeper into the cave. Lights magically came to life, illuminating the cavern. It was filled with various items - treasure, weapons, everything a resistance might need. Alduin walked past all of it and came to a stop in front of a glass cabinet. Inside was a full suit of armor, finely crafted out of metal scrounged up from across Golarion and beyond. If he had been wearing that armor when the Faceless Ones made their move, things might have turned out differently. There might not have been an Earthfall. The Azlanti would rule the planet.   "He's dead," Captain Lorune said. "It's been an hour. Serena, let's raise the anchor and get out of here."   Naebler grabbed Serena by the wrist. "He's not dead," he said. "He won't be much longer."   She gave the Captain an annoyed look, then turned back to Naebler. "You sure?"   The ocean exploded, spraying water all over the deck like an erupting geyser. Piko raised his claw fists and several sailors drew weapons. A man wearing a full plate armor landed on the deck with a thud. He quickly pulled the faceplate off, revealing Alduin's face beneath. "I have returned," he announced.   "I had no doubt," Captain Lorune said with a grin.   Alduin shrugged off the wooden chest he had strapped to his back and approached the Captain, actually acknowledging him for the first time since setting foot on the Mighty Maiden. "I wish to hire you," Alduin said. "This is a fine ship."   "Hire... for a week? A month? What exactly were you thinking?"   "You will be my personal vessel. You will answer to me, and me alone. I will pay to upgrade the ship as necessary." Alduin handed the chest over to the Captain. "Consider this a down payment."   Lorune looked at the chest, then at Ungur. The second mate sighed and took the chest, surprised at the weight, and set it down. Alduin handed him a key. Ungur unlocked it and lifted the lid. His eyes grew wide. Captain Lorune's jaw dropped and he nodded weakly.   Naebler looked up at the Azlanti. "I take it everything went well?"   Alduin smiled down at him. "It did."   "So what now?"   "Naebler, what do you know of the Aeon Runestones?"   The gnome gave him a confused look. He said something, but Alduin didn't hear him. He was distracted by a sound behind his eyes, one that plagued him while he was in stasis for ten thousand years. "Tekka-Tekka-Lee, Lee" whispered the voice.    


  Jutrios looked down at his notes for the fourth time. "No," he said and picked up the test tube. He swirled the pale yellow solution and held it up to the overhead lantern. "Not again, no no NO!" His frustration boiled over and he threw the vial across the laboratory. Jutrios slammed his palms down and slapped the papers off the desk. "Impossible! It should have worked!"   The alchemist straightened and tugged his beard as he began to pace. "Think think think," he muttered... and stopped. He slowly lowered his hand and stared at the vial he had thrown as it hovered, bobbing in midair. Was it supposed to do that? "It’s not supposed to do that."   "No that’s me."   Jutrios snapped out of his daze. It took him a few moments to recognize Hugo, who appeared much older than the last time Jutrios had seen him. Somehow Hugo was standing in his laboratory. He still wore the Hellfire gauntlet on his right hand but it looked different. He also wore another gauntlet on his left hand. Hugo pointed it at the floating vial, and runes on that gauntlet glowed with pale blue light. His brow was furrowed in concentration, but his face showed an odd expression of amusement. Hugo slowly lowered the gauntlet and gently set the vial down on the floor. "Cool," he said with a grin.   Words failed the senior alchemist for a long time. "Hugo?"   "Yeah." Hugo finally turned his attention from the glass tube on the floor to his uncle. He raised the Hellfire gauntlet, closed it into a fist, and pointed it at Jutrios. "I fixed it. It’s much more powerful than it was before. Started working on a second gauntlet too. I'm in the testing phase now."   Jutrios couldn’t take his eyes off the gauntlet he believed should have been his. That gauntlet, and that power. "Hugo, you said you fixed the gauntlet? How?"   Hugo opened his hand and showed his uncle the etched purple stone on the back of the Hellfire gauntlet. "Runestone magic. Really old stuff. It used to kidnap me. It took me places and I couldn’t control it. Most times they were good places. Some were bad though. Really bad. But I'm starting to understand the magic better. I can see the threads, like connections to other places. Other people. Some things I’m connected to but I don’t know why. Still kinda working the bugs out."   "Fascinating!" Jutrios words dripped with enthusiasm while he slowly palmed an alchemical bomb into his hand.   Hugo watched pulses of energy swirl around the runestone, ignoring his uncle completely. "I can hold one of the threads and let it pull me along, taking me where I want to go. But this one thread, I tug it and it just gets its attention."   Jutrios wasn't listening anymore. His mind was filled with calculations, where to throw the bomb to incinerate Hugo while doing minimal damage to the rest of the lab. He raised his hand but before he could release the explosive, four tentacles, each as thick as a full-grown tree, reached through dimensions and engulfed the alchemist. Jutrios barely managed a squeal as the tentacles squeezed him. Somewhere in that mass of flesh the bomb went off, but as the abyssal harvester pulled Jutrios into the abyss he could see his uncle's eyes were still wide with horror. Hugo knew what was waiting for his uncle on the other side. It was going to get worse before it got better for Jutrios, and it was never going to get better.   The air shimmered slightly after the tentacles had vanished, along with his uncle. Everything became still. Hugo felt dizzy for a moment as if a great weight had suddenly lifted from his shoulders. Was that relief? Freedom? Time would tell. Hugo looked down at his new gauntlet and marveled at the untapped potential it held. "I should test this thing out," he said as he reached for another metaphysical thread.   * * *   The encampment was buzzing with activity. Clerics tended to the dead and dying. Those who were still able to fight, patched themselves up as best they could, and picked up a weapon. The demons charged at their encampment again, and this time they might actually have a chance at overrunning them. Sherihnin stepped forward, her wings opening wide to silently announce that they had no intention of retreating. They would all stand, and with Iomedae's blessing, continue to stand after all the demons were dead. "Are you ready?" she asked. Two dozen warriors raised their blades as an answer.   Telith smiled and adjusted the glowing shield strapped to his forearm. The banner of Iomedae flew high above him, and he raised the keen blade of Wiseguy. "Oh I'm ready," he said confidently.   Sir Godric stood and watched the horde charging at him. Was this the moment? After everything he had survived, would this be his final moment? If it was Iomedae's will, so be it. But he would take down as many demons as he could down before that happened. Heartseeker burned with divine power and shone brighter as the demons closed in.   Godric felt pressure on either side of his nose. A hand suddenly materialized in front of his face, his nose pinched between the thumb and forefinger of a familiar gauntlet. Wild orange hair followed, and there he was. "What's up adventuring buddy?" Hugo said with a grin.   Godric looked over Hugo's shoulder. The alchemist turned and saw the approaching demons. Godric noticed Hugo was wearing strange gauntlets on both of his hands. Hugo closed them both into fists. Flames erupted from one gauntlet, silver light emanated from the other. Hugo opened his hands and slapped them together. He slowly pulled them apart, and a white fireball grew between his palms. "It's go time!" Hugo shouted and threw the celestial fireball across the battlefield.   The paladin of Iomedae couldn't help but smile ever so slightly. "Classic Hugo," Godric said and charged at the approaching demons.
Second Darkness
Telith Nordhof
Sir Godric
Rooker Shango
Report Date
03 Oct 2020