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Book Three Pt 2 - The Reckoning

Written by - Tempyst Page 26 Book 3

"PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGS! PIIIGS EVVVVVERYWHERE! AAAAAAHHHG!!!! HOOOGS!!"

Kaya, Dorve and everyone else turned towards the man who was stumbling about and heading for door. He stumbled into Kaya and she pushed him away, her hood falling once more. Damn thing, it surely wasn't made for ears like mine. She pulled it back up and heard Dorve chuckle, the first bit of merriment she heard from the dwarf since they met.

"Imma gonna get me some more ale, you try not to loose that hood again." Dorve stood and walked towards the bar. Kaya sighed and just sat there, waiting for the others. As Dorve walekd to the bar, she felt a grimy hand clutch her bottom. She stopped, eyes narrowed, then turned around to the body whose hand was still clutching her rear.

"Hey der shortstuff, yer ..." the man's eyes grew large as she saw the angry, bearded face of the dwarf. "ACK!" He let go of her rear, "A beard!! Imma not that drunk!" The men at the table with him laughed. Dorve smiled, but did not laugh.

"I kin handle you grabbing me, but no one. NO ONE makes fun of mah beard!!" With a speed most did expect, Dorve grabbed the man by his collar, pulled him down and smashed his face into the table. The man sat back up, his eyes rolling in the back of his head, then falling forward unconscious. "Now, do any of the rest of ya have anything to say about me?" The other men at the table put up their hands and then went back to drinking, just hoping that the little dwarf would go away.

Satisfied she had gotten her point across, Dorve continued tothe bar, got her ale and came back to the table with Kaya, a broad smile across her face. "That felt good, I almost hope it happens again."

Written by - Vylia

"The dwarf is right Ariel, do not heed the man's words or gestures. Many men find their courage and their sense robbed after drinking enough," Vylia paused a moment as her own eyes glazed over for a moment, looking as if she wanted to cry herself at some distant memory, then they returned to normal as she turned her gaze and a smile at the girl, "I promise you, while I am near you need not fear any such fate, and any man who tries such a thing will find himself short a limb when he finally wakes."

"Try not to use those tricks too much Arc, you'll scare the locals into thinking you're a demon worshipper if they find out it's you causing it," she paused, thinking, "Why pigs?"

Written by - Archeantus

"Try not to use those tricks too much Arc, you'll scare the locals into thinking you're a demon worshipper if they find out it's you causing it...Why pigs?" Vylia asked inquisitively.

Archeantus turned at the sound of her voice and whispered with a smile, "When he was in his teens, he liked to tease the hogs while they were eating. He fell into the trough once, and has been deathly afraid of pigs ever since..."

He then turned his sighless gaze, as if in mid thought, toward the young woman, seeming to sense her trembling frame. She was now joined by Pharsalus, who sat near her. Reaching out, he gently placed his old hand on hers. Leaning in slightly, he whispered in her ear, "He'll never touch another again with dark intentions without seeing a large pig..."

Written by - Aethelwulf

"Alaric," Ardwen whispered sharply, "while I appreciate your steadfast dedication in delivering the Priest of Battle's blade, the letter is . . . not necessary. I think it best if the letter is disposed of and we move on to more pressing matters, agreed?"

The somber look in the elven warrior's eyes gave Alaric pause. He was often taken aback at the depth of sorrow that this blooded warrior seemed to carry about him. He wore darkness as others would wear a cloak.

"As you wish friend." Alaric spoke as Ardwen made to turn away. "Tis not my intent to cause harm here. Perhaps you should tend to it then. " Alaric handed the letter to Ardwen, and then rested his hand lightly on the warriors arm.

"The burdens of the world are heavy enough lad." Nodding towards Turin. his voice dropped to a whisper as he spoke to Ardwen. "The blessings that do come to us, are often not at all what we expect."

Written by - Turin Wallace

Turin watched the exchange between Ardwen and Alaric, all the while keeping an eye on the letter. Once it was safely back into Ardwen's hands, he says,

"It's your business, Ardwen. I would not pry into your affairs against your will. Now, let's sit down and see what we can come up with regards Ariana. Seems they are going to make a spectacle of her, seeing that the heralds have been screaming about a special event in the courtyard this eve."

As the group got busy chatting, enjoying what food and drink they could, a commotion broke out inside the inn.

"PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGS! PIIIGS EVVVVVERYWHERE! AAAAAAHHHG!!!! HOOOGS!!"

The man went screaming and flailing past everyone and out into the streets. Turin glanced at the man, then glanced back to the table, but something caught his eye. A rather slim, cloaked man in the corner seemed to be...smiling. In the dim light, it was hard to see, but it certainly seemed a smile.

Turning back to the table as Dorve removed herself for some ale, and her subsequent adventure to the bar, he still felt like something smacked of the familiar with the event. He couldn't place it, but he felt like the smiling figure was someone he knew. Plus, with the way things were headed, how many more from ancient Aerynth were roving around this world?

Figuring discretion was the better part of valor in this case, he removes his cloak and yells to Dorve,

"Dear lady Dorve, could I trouble you for a bottle of red wine since you have already made the bar?"

Most of the taverns patrons paid him no mind, but by showing himself, he hoped that those who knew him would see and recognize him. Then, perhaps, they would have more hands to help the Abbess.

Written by - Archeantus

Archeantus’ head suddenly shifted as a voice rang out amid the din of the tavern. It was a voice he’d heard many times, a voice that he’d grown to recognize as a father figure when he had none. It was a voice that had mended shaking knees on the fields of Paundrill, a voice he’d heard lend bravery when none knew it was there. He knew who had spoken.

It was Turin.

"Dear lady Dorve, could I trouble you for a bottle of red wine since you have already made the bar?"

Distinctly Turin.

“Pharsalus. Do you see him?” The old warlock anxiously asked his friend, cursing his blindness. “He must be accompanied by the others.”

Pharsalus didn’t hear him. He had actually dozed off!

Archeantus then perceived Vylia’s keen hearing had detected the familiar voice.

“It’s him, isn’t it Vylia? It's Turin, at long last.”

Reaching in faith, before he heard her confirmation, he pulled forth the medallion from the recesses of his tattered grey shirt, the same medallion that Boradamir the smith had made for him so long ago. It's golden hue dulled, it still shone in the soft candlelight of the tavern. He held it up in his hand, left it dangling upon the old chain, three rings intercected, a triskellion, the bastion of faith he knew Turin would recognize and recognize well.

Written by - Turin Wallace

Turin's eyes watched the room, a few patrons left after looking at him, most likely to get away from the inevitable trouble that was going to come soon. It was then a faint shimmer caught his eye, looking to where the cloaked figure was he spied an old triskellion!

Still unsure of just who it is, he moves through the inn, only stopping once he gets near the cloaked figure who still clutches the holy symbol. In a firm, yet gentle voice, Turin says,

"Good friend, with that cloak about your body and head, I cannot tell who you are. A friend no doubt, however, as you hold the symbol of the All-Father in your hands. The same symbol I wear upon my chest. Come, reveal yourself, so that I may know you by name."

Turin then waits, with an eager spirit, to find out who this person is.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya chatted and listened to those she now found herself allied with. I could learn much from these two, I hope we have time for me to do so. She began to feel more at ease, more at home, like it was before Tahlon had taken over her father's, captured her and sent her away to this foreign land. In time, I shall return and set things right in my homeland, this I swear.

"Dear lady Dorve, could I trouble you for a bottle of red wine since you have already made the bar?"

Kaya looked at Dorve, expecting to see the usual grim look upon her face, but instead was surprised with seeing a bit of a blush. She smiled, glad to see that the dwarf had some other emotion besides seriousness. Wine, that does sound good. "Dorve, could you bring a second glass please?" This time the scowl returned, but the dwarf returned with her ale, a bottle of red wine and two glasses. Kaya looked to Turin. "I hope you don't mind sharing some with me. It has been a long time since I have tasted wine." She tasted the smooth, red liquid, closed her deep purple eyes and savored. The taste brought her back to home once more, before everything had gone terribly wrong. She let out a soft sigh, a look of sadness washing over her face for a moment. Then she sat up and shook off her self pity.

"Indeed, this Beridane does have something planned, but I think it may be more than what it seems. He used me, to try and kill Ithramir, by placing that demon inside of me. SOmeone so important, her sacrifice could be used to unleash something else, another demon perhaps. We must stop this, ave your friend, but we must also prevent whatever else he may have planned." But Turin was not there, he had gotten up and wandered to another part of the room. Still, she hoped he had heard her words.

Written by - Archeantus

The voice had come, he was now standing over them. The old warlock stood, basking in the moment he longed for. Reaching for his hood, he pulled it from his face, revealing an aged visage, far different from his youthful demeanor Turin would have remembered. Blindfolded, his long grey hair pulled back, his garb tatterned and warn, he finally spoke,

“You speak the truth old friend, you always have, I am a Son of Ancora, faithful of the All-Father, defender of the Abbess. My image may be far different, but I am the one you knew as Archeantus Alyander. I am here the same reason you are, we have been called here to save her.”

Archeantus could hardly contain his glowing smile, but he added for good measure in a solemn whisper “...For the All Father and Saint Lorne...”

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen clutched the letter tightly and nodded slowly in appreciation. He listened to Alaric speak, and Ardwen too turned his gaze to Turin. A thought crossed his mind, “No, whatever the gods intend in this, it is not to bless me.”

Turin then spoke in turn, "It's your business, Ardwen. I would not pry into your affairs against your will. Now, let's sit down and see what we can come up with regards Ariana. Seems they are going to make a spectacle of her, seeing that the heralds have been screaming about a special event in the courtyard this eve."

Ardwen’s eyes widened in shock and he unconsciously had his mouth open in a little “o” of bewilderment. Ardwen’s tone was dangerously low and heated when he spoke, “A spectacle? These humans wouldn’t dare!” Ardwen clenched his left hand into a tight fist, but it felt hollow. It yearned for a blade.

Then something even more unexpected occurred. Turin shouted for wine (red, of course) and removed his cloak, bearing his Crusader garb for all to see. Ardwen finally noted the person Turin had his eyes on. It was a man standing across the inn, his features obscured by a cloak and hood. Ardwen watched with mild amusement as the man held forth a Triskellion and Turin went to meet him.

Ardwen turned his attention away, the man was not a threat to Turin, and Ardwen had seen enough reminders of his forsaken legacy in the Hands. He sighed and sat very still, seeming not even to breathe. But he heard Kaya’s words, “"Indeed, this Beridane does have something planned, but I think it may be more than what it seems. He used me, to try and kill Ithramir, by placing that demon inside of me. Someone so important, her sacrifice could be used to unleash something else, another demon perhaps. We must stop this, ave your friend, but we must also prevent whatever else he may have planned."

That got a reaction out of the warrior. He closed his eyes slowly and then opened them again. Ardwen’s face was caught in a frown; his eyes stared intense hatred. He did not look ready to merely kill: he looked ready to kill his foe’s families, then his friends, and then flay the flesh from his enemies until they stopped forming useless words on their bloody lips. “This Beridane,” Ardwen began, and his voice was winter, “is keen on dealing with demons. I will show him and his people that there are some things more terrible than the ones you can pull from hell.” Ardwen looked over at Turin, the question on his face plain to see, “Why had the killing not started?”

Written by - Vylia

Archeantus could hardly contain his glowing smile, but he added for good measure in a solemn whisper “...For the All Father and Saint Lorne...”

Vylia echoed his words before adding a few of her own, "For Ariana, and the Hands of Providence."

"Indeed my old friend, there are a great many of us coming to her aid. It is always a pleasure to see you returning in your role as the All-Father's champion. Perhaps this time you will have a plan that I won't argue with... too much," Vylia says the last with a grin, remembering well all the old fights she used to have regarding their tactics.

Written by - Teran

Sabbatine's eyes were so full of hope and innocence Teran regretted he could not satisfy her desires.

"I'm sorry Sabbatine." he shook his head sadly.

"I'm so cold." she whined softly, taking one of his hands in hers to emphasize "See?!?"

"I'm sorry." he repeated "There are many men in this city perhaps one of them would be better suited to satisfy this specific need?"

If Sabbatine heard him she didn't show it. She was seemingly dazed, now gripping Teran's hand with both of hers as though she were trying to leech every bit of precious warmth. He folded his hands around hers and stared into her pale face. Her eyes glowed ever so slightly green and she wore a tiny smile on her face as she stared at thier enfolded hands. Teran could see love in her eyes, at least her version of love and he could see color returning to her hands and slowly inching up her arms. The look of pure bliss on her face chilled Teran but he could not look away. He felt pangs of regret when he saw how much she suffered and he found himself wondering why Huxel allowed her most trusted servant to suffer as she did.

"I'll build you a bigger fire." Teran murmured trying to cheer her up.

Sabbatine's eyes flicked up to his face for a moment before she gripped his hands even more tightly. "That won't work. I don't know why but it just doesn't work." she whimpered.

"What does work?"

"Well... I always feel warm after eating." she grinned wildly "Ummm... also after being near someone and especially when we lay in b-"

"That's enough." Teran snapped a bit too harshly, he definately didn't like where she was going with that.

Sabbatine jumped at his sudden change in tone jerking her hands out of his. He could see a profound expression of regret plastered on her face as she meekly reached out and grabbed his hands again. He noticed her hands were not nearly as cold as they had been and had even even appeared to be alive.

"I'm sorry." Teran murmured "Some of the things you do are best left unspoken around me." he smiled and he stood up and walked around the table still holding her hands.

He gently picked her up peering straight into her green eyes. She was stunningly beautiful when she wanted to be if only she took better care of herself. He could understand how she was never short on lovers who she might lure into the darkness and consume once they had their fun with her and she had her fun with them. Up close her elfin features were far more obvious, he could see royal blood lines in her features and he found himself wondering which royal family had lost this maiden. The only thing that marred her beauty were her ears jagged and scarred as they were.

He laid her on his mat and gently wrapped her in his blankets. He awkwardly laid with her that night keeping her close allowing her cold body to sap the warmth from his. He slept soundly and he knew she would not move for fear of ending the warmth should he shift in his sleep. When he woke up that morning he forgot the time and place and he hugged the now naked body Sabbatine next to him out of reflex.

"Angel" he whispered blissfully gently caressing his lover as he nuzzled up to the back of her head breathing deeply.

Roses. He smelled roses, he always remembered his Angel smelling like roses. Her hair was so soft... Teran's heart froze when he saw her ears and memories of his present circumstances returned to him and he sat upright on his mat so quickly he spooked Sabbatine who also sat up without the slightest concern for modesty.

"I'm sorry." Teran said in guarded tones but his face was turning red with humiliation.

Sabbatine sat there with her mouth open dumbly... she had no response to what she heard, her mind reeled at the new information Teran had just accidentally revealed to her. Part of her was happy to find out something more about her friend but she knew if her dead flesh were capable of blushing she would be red on his behalf.

"Who is Angel?" she chirped gently as she moved closer to Teran wanting to be near his warmth once more.

Teran cocked his head as he watched her move closer to him but at the last moment he moved away and got off of the mat and retreated to the table they had sat at the previous night. Sabbatine was sad but she sank into the spot he had been laying in and wrapped herself in his covers, trying to keep the warmth from fleeing her body.

"You are very pretty." Teran said gently trying to change the subject.

Sabbatine giggled but she wouldn't be so easily deflected. "Do I look like Angel?"

"Yes you do." he admitted.

"Who is she?"

"She... was... my wife." he seemed to be hesistant to speak of her in the past tense "She is dead."

Teran blinked suddenly returning to the present. He glanced around wondering how long he had been distracted and was relieved that it had only been for a second or less.

"Their weapons are poisoned." he warned in a soft voice even as he worked to cleanse it from his own body "It is subtle guard yourself against distraction."

He could not tell if he was blushing from his brief distraction, he hoped not and he cursed his weakness. Perhaps he had grown soft in the time he had spent with Mavigan teaching her. He knew that was not the case and chided himself for making excuses and blaming others for his own mistakes. It would not happen again.

He deftly picked up the blade that had dropped near his right hand and managed to untangle his legs and was on his feet a second later. He surveyed the situation, and saw that five guards remained standing. One was already disarmed and of the four remaining he saw that one was an elf, two were humans, and the fourth was an orc. The humans were both attempting to flank Mavigan and the elf was standing in a supporting position eyeing him nervously. The orc was advancing on Keeryn brandishing a large two handed axe.

With speed that mocked even elfin reflexes Teran passed between the two humans and gutted the elf as he viciously kicked her legs out from under her. She felt wounds open up on her belly and neck and she felt her body hit the ground. Tears erupted from her eyes as pain wracked her body. Peripherally she saw both of the humans fall with bleeding chest wounds dead before they hit the ground. She struggled for breath that would not come and died a moment later. The orc whirled around sensing the disturbance behind him and stared with wide eyed terror at Teran and his three slaughtered allies. He swung his large sword our of reflex but Teran avoided the attack and had pierced the orc's heart before he could reposition his weapon or even defend himself. The Assassin turned in time to see Mavigan and Keeryn finish off the final guard.

During their moment of respite he studied the map he had liberated from the hidden room and began heading back to the room Sabbatine and Jasmine were guarding signaling that Mavigan should follow him.

****

Sabbatine hissed with delight that the strange human-friend-of-Teran had saved one of the victims for her. The acolyte had turned to gape at the incineration of his fellow foolishly allowing Sabbatine out of his line of sight. The undead construct tackled him with enough force to break bones. He cried out as he felt her tearing his flesh with her fingernails as she tried to claw through his robe. Her teeth shredded his flesh as she feasted and once he stopped crying out and struggling pitifully a thought crossed her mind.

She dragged the corpse back to the room she had left Jasmine in and left it in front of her watching Jasmine expectantly.

"I killed it for you!" Sabbatine chattered "You should eat, you might need the energy later on!!"

Sabbatine was quite a sight to behold. Blood stained her mouth and neck and her entire chest was soaked in it as well as the tips of her hair giving her a particularly unique look. Her face was flushed with color and she seemed to be experiencing quite a bit of pleasure basking in the warmth and she was in an especially good mood grinning wildly at Jasmine peering expectantly hoping the woman would appreciate her thoughtfulness. Sabbatine had never looked more alive to Jasmine than she did right now.

Written by - Wilhelm

Wilhelm's tracking sense showed no further enemies in their area, so he ordered his three squads to tidy up. After all wounds had been healed and weapons cleaned, the dark cultist bodies were dragged into and stacked inside empty side rooms.

Each mage then picked up an empty container from one of the rooms and set it in the middle of their corridor. After dripping some of the spilled blood into the container they chanted a similarity calling spell. A reddish-brown mist arose from the floors and walls and from their clothes and was sucked into the containers, until all of the spilled blood and fluids were in the container and the corridor and their clothing was clean. The containers were also placed into the rooms.

The three squads then took cover and renewed their energies with watered wine and travel bread. Wilhelm's tracking sense noticed the return of Teran's party and he passed the word for silence.

Written by - Turin Wallace

Turin saw the man pull his hood back to reveal his face, then he spoke to him,

“You speak the truth old friend, you always have, I am a Son of Ancora, faithful of the All-Father, defender of the Abbess. My image may be far different, but I am the one you knew as Archeantus Alyander. I am here the same reason you are, we have been called here to save her.”

He recognized the voice, his face though worn, still showed that the man was indeed Archeantus. Wasting not the moment, he takes Archeantus and gives him a hug, saying,

"The last I saw of you, young master Archeantus, was when my house outside the city of Ancora fell into disrepair with my absence. We talked by the sea, you were full of the vibrance of youth, your studies consuming you. It has been far too long, and I see that you are not so young as you were then, but then aren't we all a little older?"

Chuckling as he released his grip on Archeantus, he continued,

"Aye, we are here for a purpose. It seems neither history, nor the will of the gods, was fit to let our Order slip quietly into the mists of time. Our immediate purpose is to rescue our Abbess, but then, I feel that we have a much more important task ahead of us. An evil more sinister in nature than Beridane can summon has awoken in this world, I can feel it, however impalpable it seems to others."

Pausing a moment, he notices Vylia and smiles, saying,

"Well, don't change on account of me! Even the best of plans should be questioned, and it has been far too long since I had someone argue in-depth with me on tactics."

Gently he reaches down and takes of hold of her shoulder, smiling. For if she was standing, she would have been taken hold of and embraced as well. Looking to the table, he spies a dwarf of old and a young child with them. Walking over to Pharslus, he places his hand of the dwarfs shoulder and says,

"Pharsalus, master dwarf, it has been far too long since I have seen you as well! Someone of your skill and fortitude has been sorely lacking in this vast new world. We will need the skills of all if we are to be of service to our beloved Ariana."

Pausing, he addresses the young girl,

"Young lady, I fear I do not know your name, but you travel with the most upright and true companions that I know. My name is Turin and I am pleased to meet you."

The young girl hides herself partially behind Pharsalus, and Turin recognizes some great wrong was committed to this girl and her family. Trust must be earned and not given blindly, in time, he hopes she will trust in her new family. For now, other tasks must be tended to.

"Good friends, I ask you to come join us at the table over here. Ardwen is also with us, and a few others who are risking all to save Ariana. We are planning to see how we can..."

Before he can even finish his sentence, an armed guard of around twenty enter the Inn, while more are seen outside. The captain looks at everyone, spies Turin, points, then says,

"That one over there, kill him!"

Turin raises his eye, grabs a chair as the guards swarm, and says.

"Well, looks like we get the fighting started early!

Written by - Archeantus

Sabbatine appeared back into the room, bloody and excited, dragging a mutilated corpse she’d slain. She continued to pull the dripping body directly toward Jasmine, who watched with a quiet disgusted interest. Jasmine noticed, quickly, the trail of blood Sabbatine had left bringing the corpse to her. Her mind, as if it had been asleep for months suddenly awakened, churning, calculating, evaluating everything about her as she gazed upon her undead counterpart, face dripping with blood. Details flooded into her mind, outcomes, and decisions flowed.

"I killed it for you!" Sabbatine chattered "You should eat, you might need the energy later on!!"

It was then she felt the first pains of hunger. Hunger for life, intermingled with an almost insatiable yearning to eat what was offered to her. She eyed the fleshy remains with one eye that hungered, another that sought to look away. Ultimately it had the opposite effect upon her. Her first instinct was to escape, to survive, to live. But she knew, and readily admitted she would not deny the offer again. Slowly, she was accepting her fate.

Mocking the thirst that had awoken within her, she feigned interest, and tore off a piece of flesh with her dagger, adding a hungered smile for good measure. In a deft motion, she brought the morsel quickly toward her mouth, and appeared to eat, but the morsel instead rested in her other hand behind her back. The act was merely for the benefit of the undead creature she had strangely come to admire. She didn’t want to offend her. There was something far more to the undead woman than Jasmine supposed, something she had slowly come to know after a long period of quiet observation.

It was at that moment Teran and the others stepped back into the room, a map in Teran’s hand, mingled with blood.

*****

There was a sudden movement, and he felt the strong embrace from his long time friend.

"The last I saw of you, young master Archeantus, was when my house outside the city of Ancora fell into disrepair with my absence. We talked by the sea, you were full of the vibrance of youth, your studies consuming you. It has been far too long, and I see that you are not so young as you were then, but then aren't we all a little older?"

Archeantus nodded, recalling those times long ago.

“True Turin, I have aged more than even I’d like to remember. Blind, but as sharp as I’ve ever been.” He said with a full smile. The old warlock hadn’t been this happy in a long time.

He then listened to Turin remake his acquaintances with those he knew from Aerynth. It was a moment he couldn’t have dreamt better.

Archeantus smiled faded suddenly, not hearing Turin speak to youthful Ariel, his head focused on the faded wood door of the old Tavern.

"Good friends, I ask you to come join us at the table over here. Ardwen is also with us, and a few others who are risking all to save Ariana. We are planning to see how we can..." Turin added…

The breath of warning was on the old warlock’s lips just as the tavern door flew open. A flood of armored city guards poured into the sudden cramped tavern, leaving its guests in a fluster of confusion and surprise. A few quickly stepped out of the way approvingly, snidely eyeing the religious symbol etched into Turin’s breastplate. Others sat with quiet interest…

“Angelus…” Archeantus called out within his mind, but received no reply. Furrowing his brow for a brief moment in wonder for his pet’s silence, he quickly refocused his attention back to the unfolding scene. He would have to do without his long time companion for the time being.

It was only moments when the steady finger of the captain of the guard pointed directly at the Priest of Battle, granting his death sentence.

“No…” Archeantus whispered through gritted teeth, upon hearing the stern command, realizing the sudden gravity of the situation. He would not loose those he had waited eons for, the moment he’d found them again. Nor would he yield. It was imperative they remain unhindered, or Ariana was lost.

His eyes flared golden, summoning his dormant powers, his body hardened.

As the guards launched their attack, Archeantus unleashed his mind. A wave of mental energy flowed outward, passing through the onrushing guards. They suddenly slowed their pace, as if they had found themselves in knee deep in a swamp. The warlock had only bought them a few moments of time, perhaps enough for Ardwen and the others to make their move…

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