In the near distance, you see the town of Varruck, a low wooden wall surrounding the tone proper, with multiple little farms dotting the landscape all around. You pass by many, and children peer at you through shutters and doors, slamming them closed when they caught you looking. It was an odd feeling, but seeing other people made you feel fantastic. At least they won’t try to rape you, or if they did, you could defend yourself pretty well against that sort of thing.
As you basked in it, you notice Blake and Hala exchanging looks. You cook your head and listen.
“Shouldn’t there be… More monsters around?”
“It has been years since I visited, but yes, there were others who lived out in the farms, and around this time they should be active…”
You turn back, looking puzzled. How odd, but whatever, maybe they just moved or something. Surely.
It isn’t long before you reach the town proper, and the sun’s rays played overhead, allowing you to approach just as a poorly equipped watchman was opening the gates. He froze upon seeing you, and looked over your party, his eyes lingering on Hala, before being drawn to Blake as the hero began to speak.
“Good sir, we are travelers from Feldergrod, and we have spent much time traveling through the night. Might we enter that we may take lodging in your fair town?”
The man licked his lips and began to say something before coughing into his hand, “Yes! Yes of course, we just.,. Haven’t see much of your kind in awhile. Feldergrod you said? That means you came from the forest?”
He peered at you and then shook his head. “Place is pretty dangerous these days, the damned beasts out there…” He looks at Hala and chokes up, “the uh, monsters, have been quite agressive recently. Please, come in, the inn is the two story building down the ways.” He points and Blake nods, looking to you and then to Hala, who is staring openly at the man, her eyes narrowed.
Things felt… WRONG, for a town supposedly ruled by an evil monster overlord and yiu could tell that your companions felt it too. But you were all so damn tired from the evening, and hitting the inn sounds like a fantastic idea right about now, despite the fact that the town had slowly started to awaken from it’s slumber.
You were tired, you were hungry, and you still didn’t like the looks of this place. As Blake chatted with the guard, you lean over to Hala and ask, “Wasn’t this place supposed to have monsters in it?”
Hala’s spine stiffens and she looks at you, taking a moment to think before speaking in a low voice, “There… Are some here, I can smell them, but not nearly as many as there were before. I imagine with the midnight walkers in the forest that monsters would likely move away, but not like this…”
She bites her lip and thinks. “Perhaps the witch is real.”
At that you take in a sharp breath and look about, opening your magical senses. You sense… Well, nothing. Okay, perhaps not NOTHING, you get tugged towards a spot on the far side of town and towards a large, stone building in the center of town, but generally speaking, not a damn thing. Hell, you even look over the guard, and perform a <fast scan> and the man’s humours are fine.
Just…fine. Which wasn’t fine at all, and you shivered to think what this meant. This witch probably was real, and she probably was controlling the wights. What you really confirmed to your dismay, was that the town was being spared, as in, humans were not being attacked. Which meant this was a malicious act to, dare you think it, REMOVE MONSTERS.
You shudder and whisper to Hala, “Stay close to Blake for now, it’s probably, not safe for you here.”
She frowns and then nods, walking up to Blake. You watch her go and then grit your teeth. Sure, you promised to drop her off as soon as you got to the town, but you could probably wait a day to recover before doing so. Otherwise you had a bad feeling something would happen to her.
As she reached Blake, the watchman choked up again and Blake nodded towards her before thanking the man and leading your party into the town. It was a small place, Perhaps maybe a couple hundred lived there, but it had some charm to it with it’s wooden houses and shops, interspersed here and there with larger, stone structures that wound around hard packed dirt roads. There was no real order to the place, and you suspected that it grew up over the ages accommodating monsters and humans and various times, buildings changing to fit the needs of the occupants there. As you walk down the road, you start to see people setting up shops, baking bread, and otherwise preparing for the day. You are sort of surprised to see a few very stubborn looking monsters every now and then, their eyes wary of the people around them, but they didn’t seem overly dangerous, as if they knew the consequences of any actions they might take.
Blake explains that there’s really only one inn in the town, but that it can accommodate your horses and any monsters.
“Are you certain it’s a wise idea to stay there? This place seems… Like we may not want to trust anyone. Perhaps a better location is more suitable, somewhere we may not draw as much attention.”
Blake sweeps his arms wide and townsfolk follow the gesture with obvious glances. Ah, right. Travelers with horses and a wolfgirl, you quite clearly cannot evade any notice at all. Well fuck, okay, inn it is you guessed.
You manage to stable your horses and get checked in with an overweight, very sweaty man who seems rather bemused to see travelers. His fees in that regard were pretty high, but when he saw Blake’s sigil of office, he started blustering and quickly lowered the price for a great Hero of the Order. How odd that a place like this would even remember the Order, let alone praise it. Oh well, Yay, Blake finally pays off!
Which was good too, because you managed to score an excellent room on the second story, with good vantage points to see the whole town through shuttered windows, although it only had two beds, but they were fairly large. Perks of knowing a Hero apparently. After stabling your horses, you practically collapse onto one of the beds, face first, and you inhale the sweet scent of washed linen. Mmm. Washed.
You hear a creaking noise and see Hala bouncing on the bed you’re on, while Blake sits in a chair next to the window, looking out at the town with a pensive look.
Hala has the stupidest grin on her face as she plays on the mattress, and her breasts bounce up and down in a a manner that for some reason catches your attention. You shake it off quickly and roll over onto the floor, then the other bed in a strange and writhing motion that is best described as “shut up, magic.” You must be delirious or something.
Blake watches you out of the corner of his eye and then sighs.
“We better get what rest we can now, we aren’t going to do any good tired as we are. We’ll restock our supplies later, maybe look into the routes toward the capital, if the wights have that patrolled… Hrm.”
“Murmph….that sounds nice…” You mumble, your eyes feeling heavy. You briefly consider moving furniture around but man, Blake could do that, the muscle head.
“We’ll need some more food, some water, fodder for the horses….” His voice starts to come in and out as you begin to drift off. “Repairs on gear, oh and Hala, you need new clothing.”
You start to mumble, “She’s not coming with us,” but it comes out as a groan, and next thing you know, all is black.
You wake up as someone shakes you violently and your eyes flutter open, taking in bright sunlight. You raise your hand to shield your face, and Hala’s face appears before yours, startling you awake.
“Wake up Wizard! We’re going uhm… Oh, Shopping!”
You narrow your eyes, mainly against the sunlight, but also in a “the fuck are you talking about” gesture. You struggle to rise, and Hala falls back away from you, rolling on her feet in a bundle of energy. Apparently she likes new things or something, because she didn’t seem put off in the least by your situation.
Oh right, the situation, huh. Ugh, okay okay. You rub the rest of your sleep nap from you eyes and look around the room. Blake has taken his armor off and was busy polishing it/ cataloging dents with grunts. Apparently he had found time to patch up his little wound as well, and looked none the worse for wear. He also seemed to have locked the door and jammed his sword beneath the handle, probably when you went to sleep. What a class act!
You searched your mental link for Bubs and found him passed out in a pile of Blake’s bags. At your mental prodding, he stretched out and looked in at you, still dazed as you were. Poor little guy, he deserved his Bubby snacks when you were out.
Ah, right, out. With a groan, you stretch and Blake nods to you. “Welcome back to the world of the living, Wizard. Ready to provision up?”
“I’m ready to get out of this town of that’s what you mean.”
Blake looks outside and sighs. “Might not be the best move considering the time of day, but let’s see how quickly we can gather our things.” He rises and places his armor together before slinging it over his shoulder and nodding again to you and Hala.
“Alright, let’s get going. Stay on your toes, I don’t like this place as much as the Wizard, but from what I could see outside, things seem fairly normal.”
You shrug and Hala nods her head with determination. You signal to Bubs and he crawls into your pocket, where you place a Heated Bread Pouch that he goes at with glee. Seriously, you have no idea where he puts it all. Actually, you do, but it’s best not to think about it, even as a copromancer. And with that thought in your head, your party heads downstairs and outside.
To say that you gather attention is.. An understatement. While the morning people gave sidelong glances, in the bright afternoon, everyone openly stared. Hell, even the few monsters you saw open stared, partially at you, but mainly at Hala, and she bared her teeth at more than one bright eyed Kitsune. Your first stop was a smithy, where a broad shouldered man worked alongside a powerful looking red oni, hammering out sheets of metal.
“Armor eh? Can’t say I’ve worked on any of that in a long time, eh…”
The Ono quietly walked over and inspected all of Blake’s armor and grunted. “Is not so bad, just needs hammering into place again. Well used, like kettle.”
The blacksmith nodded and smiled, “Oh Bertha, what would I do without you?”
Her expression became grim and she shook her head, going back to work. The blacksmith looked a little distressed before looking back at your party. “It’s… Not really her fault, when Chakrandas was deposed she became…” He started waving his hand and then stopped, seeming to catch something, and then he coughed.
“Ah, well nevermind, not something to worry travelers about. Haven’t seem your kind in awhile you know! Hope now that things are a little more hospitable to human folk, we might see more!” Bertha grunts in the background and sparks fly up from her hammer.
With a timeframe of a few hours, you continue walking thought the town, looking around with [Magic Sight] and <fast scan>. Still, you got nothing. Even the monsters in town looked pretty clean to you, no traces of the wight blight in them. In fact, all you could really see was that some of the people in town gave the monsters a wide berth, and some actively steered clear of them, or even antagonized the creatures. Yet they didn’t fight back, even though one werecat looked like she was about to flip her shit when a young boy yanked on her tail. She got under control and just walked off, muttering curses under her breath.
You traded glances with Blake and Hala, but said nothing as you arrived at your next destination, a series of food stalls. Here and there people were buying up food for the evening meals, and even some monsters stalked about, gathering up items, despite the glares of some of the townsfolk. The first stall you approached for travel provisions had a lean, angular looking man behind the stall, and shook his head when your party approached.
“I ain’t never seen your face before, but if you have one of THEM with you, then I’m afraid we can’t do business.”
“Now see here…” Began Blake, as he put an arm in front of Hala, who’s hair began to bristle up.
The man holds up his hands and smirks. “Hey now, don’t want to make a fuss, or else the ol’ witch will do what she did to Chakrandas eh? Now be a good mutt, and scram.”
Hala was about to deck his ass, but Blake dragged her away, and you followed, staring down the smug looking bastard. He just raised and eyebrow and waved you along. So you pulled a simple effort of will and dragged some dog feces into his stall without him noticing until it was too late. Everyone immediately vacated from his stall and he looked around, horrified as the smell permeated around. It was your turn to look smug, although you didn’t let anyone see it. Teehee.
Still, Blake put you and Hala in a corner and asked you to stay there while he went off shopping. Such is the price of racism apparently. As you stood there, Hala put her arms behind her back and leaned against a wall.
“I didn’t know too many humans before you and Blake, so I didn’t really know what to expect but…” She sighs. “Everyone here seems to hate us.”
“Mhm” you say as you look around the area. For some reason you feel a magical presence nearby, but where was it? Bubs was in a food coma, but even still he didn’t seem to be able to feel much more in the way of danger than you…
“It seems that staying here might not be a good idea… It seems safe but… I wonder…”
“Yeah huh…” Over… To the right? You look in that direction and don’t see much through the stalls and the people, although monsters seem to move out of the street quickly while humans seemed to get chatty. What was coming?…
“Well, maybe… I could just stay with you two? I think that would be very… Nice.”
“Sure, sure…” Oh, it’s coming closer…
You turn to Hala, “Wait, what?”
And then the sounds of the crowd seem to grow silent and you hear a jovial voice declare, “What ho! Travelers? Goodness me, it has been quite some time!”
You turn back to see a tall, well built gentleman in a very rich suit, twirling a massive mustache and smiling ear to ear. Next to him stood rather short, demure looking lady in a long dress of pure white silk, holding a parasol to shield her face. You could tell from the small amount of exposed skin that she was incredibly pale, and when she raised the parasol to glance at you, your heart skipped a beat for she was that beautiful.
And that magical. Power radiated from her like heat from a fire, and you were staggered that no one else seemed to notice at all just who this person was. You flounder for words for a moment, and the man laughs with gusto,
“Oh ho! Has my wife’s beauty caught you off guard fair traveler? I’m afraid I’m rather attached to her though!”
“Uhm, I uh… Yeah…”
He smiles and claps your shoulder, and you grunt a little, still taken off balance. Hala comes on close behind you, and the man smiles at her.
“Oh, do not be afraid little wolf, it is all in jest. I’m afraid I haven’t seen the likes of your pack in awhile either.”
Hala gritted her teeth and squeezed your other shoulder rather hard, and you grunted in pain. Before shaking them both off. The man stepped back and smirked and the woman showed a faint smile before masking it again.
“Ah, but where are my manners! I do apologize, I just get so worked up! I am Mayor Devore, and this is my beautiful wife, Samantha.”
She bows her head to you and you flop around like a fish before shakily bowing as well. Fuck fuck fuck.”Uhh err, a pleasure.”
Mayor Devore breaks out into laughter and claps your shoulder again. “Oh no need to be so nervous my boy! Tell me, what brings you to our fair town?”
“Just err… Passing through on the way to the capital.”
“Truly! I heard tell you came through the forest with a Hero of the Order of the Heroic Brotherhood, is that true?”
He beams. “Excellent! Truly, I have heard that the forest is quite a dangerous place for humans and monsters as of late, and it is such a shame too. I know our fair city had less than a stellar reputation before Chakrandas was deposed, and I was elected into office, but I feel that our fair tone is finally coming to be peaceful once again. Who knows, maybe we’ll see more travelers, and the order come to establish a presence here in the future, hmm? Ah, but enjoy your stay, and please be careful at night, things can become quite dangerous I hear!”
He smirks and winks and you before offering his arm to Lady Samantha, who bows to you, and they turn to walk away. You notice that she turns her head to regard you as she fades into the crowd, and you shiver uncontrollably. Oh yes, there was a witch in town, and she was the Mayor’s wife. You did not want any of that, no sireeee-bob.
Hala squeezed your shoulder and you kind of shook her off as you took in a deep breath, then gave her a look. “Right, uhm, what were you saying before?”
Before Hala can speak, Blake arrives, carrying a large bag of supplies. “Seems I missed quite the commotion.”
“Tell me about it.” You mutter under your breath, and Hala rolls her shoulders and sighs.
“Well, let’s get back to it then, oh, and I got the carrots and cheese. I really don’t see why you need more though.”
“Bubs is a very good rat!”
Blake stares at you, then just… Points at another stall where an assortment of clothes is laid out, with a lazy looking Werecat poking at some string. She tenses up when you approach, but her eyes lock onto Hala and a grin splits her mouth. “Well well! A customer! Oh, and I have the cutest outfit in mind for you!”
In the blink of an eye, the werecat grabs Hala, drags her behind the stall, and a furious sound of cat and dog scrabbling is heard, leaving you and Blake alone, wondering what the fuck is going on.
“So Hala wants to stay with us I think.”
“Oh and I think I know who is controlling the wights.”
Blake rounds on you and opens his mouth to ask who, but then looks around, and straightens up, giving you a “we will talk later” look. You’re okay with that for now. Bubs was okay with that too, and you fed him another Bubby snack as you waited.
And you waited. Geez! Women! Monster women! Ugh! Clothes!
What seemed a practical eternity later, the stall flaps rustled, and Hala emerged from the back, blushing furiously in an outfit that, while much more intact than what she had before, was just as loose. It consisted of two, long white leggings that stretched up and connected to a pair of very short black pantelets which tastefully went with the tube of black cloth that covered her breasts. To top it off, she wore a green scarf which hung around her neck loosely. She dragged a foot across the earth as she bit her lip, looking towards both of you for approval while the werecat gave a thumbs up behind her and made some pelvic thrusting motions.
Hala squirms nervously, her eyes flicking back and forth between the two of you and the ground. Blake’s mouth is open a little and he fish mouths trying to form appropriate words while the werecat behind Hala seems proud as all get out,the cheeky bitch.
You, on the other hand, feel the corner of your mouth start to twitch and you shakily raise a hand to try and cover your mouth in time, but too late! You can’t help it and a stray burst if laughter pops from your lips, and once you pop, you just can’t stop.
You don’t even really know why you bust out into laughter, but maybe it’s because of the absurdity of what she’s wearing. Sure, it’s appealing or something, but COME ON. You’re on a gods damned adventure through wight infested lands with monsters who would kill her in a heartbeat just to rape yourself, and she wears this? It’s barely any less revealing than her previous outfit!
Everyone looks at you, horrified, but you can’t stop the laughter. Hala’s face becomes incredibly red and she hides her face with her paws while the werecat runs up to comfort the obviously shaking Hala. Blake just gives you a “the fuck dude?” Look of pure confused outrage, but shit that just makes it worse.
Hell, even passers by are looking at you like you’re insane in the membrane or something. After maybe two minutes of this, Blake finally get sick of your shit and shakes you violently to get you to calm down. It succeeds, sort of.
“Wizard! What the hell is wrong with you!” Blake demands, gripping your shoulders.
“I…pfffff, I just, I mean, come on! It’s so… Aha… It’s so unprotective and shows off… Hehehe, it’s… It’s barely better than what she was wearing before!”
The werecat seems incredibly pissed at this, but She goes back to soothing the now even more shaken Hala while Blake leans in close and whispers furiously, “Damnit wizard, I know you can’t have sex or whatever, but when a Gods damned woman of any kind asks how she looks, you at least smile and nod, you got that?”
You smile and nod.
Blake narrows his eyes, then turns back to Hala. “Hala, please forgive our companion here, he was merely thinking of your safety first. What you are wearing is incredibly lovely.”
Hala parts one of her fingers and looks at Blake with one eye as she sniffs, “Really?”
“Yes, truly. The wizard just… Was concerned that it would not be adequate protection for you, right Wizard?”
You smile and nod. Gods you’re a cheeky bastard.
The werecat glares daggers at you and then sighs, thinking for a moment. “Ugh, protection, as if she even needs it. Bluh, wolves, wolves…” She goes into the back for a moment and starts to dig around for something while Blake pulls Hala into a hug and strokes her hair.
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
You look around, blinking in surprise. Huh? Who said that?
“Probably not smart.”
Well, there was no one around, and you went to scan again when the voice spoke again and it clicked.
“Can I have that other snack now, you promised.”
You realize now that you’re mentally communicating with Bubs. Woooooah. You fumble for a moment and then think, “Uh hey, Bubs.”
“Hello Wizard. Snack now?”
“Y..yeah sure just… Wait when could you form thoughts into words.”
“I don’t know, just now I suppose. But really, could you?”
You pull a heated bread pouch from your [pocket dimension] and place it into your other pocket, where Bubs is, and a furious tearing motion jostles your pocket as he goes to town on the thing.
“These are so good, they might as well be magical!”
“Coming from the talking rat.”
“Kind of your fault big guy.”
“Of course.” You think to yourself for a moment.
“What do you think about the situation here in town?”
“I don’t know, I’m just a fucking rat. You figure it out.”
“Uh. Oh…okay. Then what do you think about Selene?”
“Scary cat lady? Makes my skin crawl, don’t like her one bit, I’d stay away from her if you could.”
“How are you able to sense all this danger anyway?”
“Come on man, I’m a rat. Danger is my middle name. If I had one. Can I have one?”
“Uh sure, later I guess.”
Bubs goes silent again, but you can feel a sort of contentment emanating from him as he devours the treat in your pocket. Well that was a very surreal experience, and by the time you’ve shaken yourself back to reality, you notice that Hala is wearing something totally different now. It was a suit made of a leather jerkin which was snug, but managed to cover her entire torso, leaving her arms mostly bare past the shoulders. She was wearing what looked like a divided skirt also, with overlays of leather straps, studded in places to give an extra degree of protection. She looked up at you again for approval, her eyes looking a little flat.
Well this was honestly utterly ridiculous on her, but you learned your lesson and you didn’t have to look at midriff anymore, so fuck it, you smile and nod. The werecat looks pretty annoyed, but she takes Blake’s money anyway (which you felt was utterly outrageous for what you got, and you notice that he pays for the other outfit as well. The bastard.
Well, fine, you went shopping for wolf waifu, which left you now… Actually where did that leave you now? It’s going to be abit before Blake’s armor is ready, and you have all your provisions in hand, so… Huh, well you can look around town you guess, to which you and your party do.
Hala seems mildly uncomfortable in the leather suit, and she itches at it every so often, mumbling to herself about not needing no stinking protection, but you smile inside. Awww yes, it’s quite the boner killer indeed.
You go through the rest of the markets, and don’t really see much of interest. Mainly it’s food stalls, a few vendors of lumber, wool, finished products, etc, but honestly it’s all very common, very boring stuff. Hell, you even ask if there was some kind of magic shop in town, and the person behind the booth looks at you like you’re some kind of gods damned retard. Well fine then! You’ll make your own magical items! With hookers and blackjack! Actually you’ll have neither, that would be silly.
But on that train of thought, you do pursue about and find what is generally thought of as an antique seller in some forlorn little building on the other side of town, such as it is. On the way there, you had passed by the Mayor’s house and your spine shivered as you felt the power of magical energies in it. Yeah, yeah that’s a bad place where bad things happened, although you cannot be certain whether they were recent or not. In general, the place just felt wrong. Bubs seemed to note something about someone watching you as you went past, but he was also in another food coma. Cute little guy.
Anyway, back to antiques, you find junk and more junk. Obviously this person doesn’t need money because no one seems to want to buy this stuff, but you look around anyway. You notice Hala fiddling with some kind of rusty sword before Blake takes it from her, shaking his head. Honestly, you could probably make something out of any of the stuff here, but it would generally be worthless and that was too much time and effort to bother, when you had other things to do. You briefly considered trying to make another knife and stuffed that thought away. You didn’t have the time for that, especially if you were going to leave soon, and you didn’t really want to scree around with that kind of magic in the heart of the wight ringleader’s power. Best to just not do that at the moment.
As you begin to despair that you won’t find anything, Hala tugs on a carpet, causing a pile of junk to fall all over her. Oddly enough, the shopkeeper just looks amused but doesn’t even go to try and help her. What a dick! It’s okay though, she pops up a moment later, and a pile of trash falls off her. Well, you would say trash, but something DOES catch your eye, and you snatch up a little brass compass. You were actually rather interested in seeing this here, because such things were actually fairly rare in normal condition, and you waved it towards the shopkeeper who just shrugged and asked for like, five coppers or something. You stare at your gold coin and Blake rolls his eyes and pays the damn trivial sum before dragging Hala out of the mess. What a ride, but hey, there’s plenty of things you can do with this thing, and it’s totally useful as a normal compass!
Well, except it was broken. Poo.
Around this time, the sky was starting to darken, and you navigated back or the blacksmith who had Blake’s armor all nice and ready. The ONI merely grunted when Blake gave her his thanks, although you think she might have been blushing a little. Hard to tell, what with her skin being red already, but all said and done, She did a really, really good job hammering out those dents.
Pockets lighter, and with a grumbly in your tumbly, you head back to the inn to discuss your next course of action. As you entire the inn, the sweating innkeeper’s eyes grow wide and he blusters about for a moment before pulling out a letter in one hand, and a towel to wipe his forehead in the other.
“The mayor’s aide came and dropped this by for you earlier. Oh my when the mayor’s aide comes it’s surely a good thing indeed! It seems the mayor has taken interest in your, ho ho!”
Blake casually opened the envelope and the two of you looked over the flowing calligraphy on the paper, which read:
“Dear Hero and party, you are cordially invited to dine at the Mayoral estate this evening. Your presence is requested and there is much interest in your travels and future. A full course meal will be served for you and your two guests, please arrive by 7pm.
-Lady Samantha Devore”
You had a feeling this wasn’t a good thing at all.
You all glance around between each other. Okay, so you knew this was probably the most blatant trap ever set, but Hala and Blake did not. To Blake’s credit, he seemed rather concerned to receive the invitation, and Hala, well, she couldn’t read, so she kind of stood there confused.
“Eh? Does that have something on it?” Hala asks, her curiosity getting the better of her.
Blake looks up and nods, “Indeed, it appears that we are invited to dine with the Mayor and his wife at seven.”
The innkeeper starts sweating even more profusely and he blabbers, “Dinner with the mayor? Oh my that’s quite the honor, quite the honor indeed! Oh but seven? Good heavens, that’s in only an hour!”
“Oh,” You began, “Blake, Hala, if you would come upstairs with me so we can prepare for the evening.” And with that you quickly head upstairs, leaving Blake and Hala to follow behind you in bewilderment.
Crap crap crap crap, you think to yourself as you move to the room, and you mutter under your breath, “This is not good.”
“I don’t think you should go, that place seemed kind of spooky” Bubs thought, a little jittery.
“We might not have much of a choice” you thought back.
“Humans and your… Things… I’ll think of a word, just you wait.”
You don’t give him a response and you enter your room and sit down on one of the beds, thinking. Hala and Blake enter a moment later and both stand, looking at you.
“Well?” Blake asks’ crossing his arms.
You take a deep breath, “Remember when I told you that I knew who was controlling the wights? Well I’m fairly certain it’s Mrs. Devore. Looking back on it, with a name like that, it’s fairly obvious.”
“I don’t see how her name has anything to do with this, but are you certain?”
“Positively. She oozes with a malign magic, and their estate is just riddled with it.” You shrug, “seems fairly obvious to me.”
Hala’s tail bristles as her ears perk up. “That bitch! If what you say is true, then I’ll kill her!”
Blake puts a hand on her shoulder and shakes his head. “Calm down Hala, nothing will be accomplished by flying into a rage.” She seems to calm down a little, but mutters under her breath some fairly inventive curse words. Blake looks back to you, “What should we do then?”
You raise your arms up and then drop them. “We have dinner I guess? After this, skipping town may not be the best option on the world, not like you’d let us go after hearing this.” You sigh and lean back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Guess we’ll see what’s what when we get there.”
Blake nodded his head, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Very well then, we shall take it by ear.” He sniffs himself and balances. “Perhaps a little freshening up is in store. I’m certain the innkeeper can draw up a bath.”
He looks at Hala and shakes his head. “Perhaps you might be interested in one as well?”
Hala, covered in mud, blood, scrapes, bruises, and all other variety of madness of the years blinked. “Bath?”
Blake smirked and rubbed her head. “It’s a basin of water with which you may wash the dirt and clean yourself. With warm water, it’s very soothing.”
“I’ve jumped in the river before is it anything like that?”
“Sort of! But not quite.” Blake rubs the back of his head and sighs. “There’s no helping it, I suppose I’ll have to wash you then.”
Hala seemed a little excited by this new experience and she practically bounced up and down as Blake took her downstairs, leaving you blissfully alone with Bubs. Seriously, did Blake have to look so… Happy about the prospect? You bet they were probably going to do something lewd. Not like he was an actual paladin or anything, but gods damn man.
“Why are you so worked up about this anyway?” Bubs thinks, crawling out from your pocket to sit on your chest.
“Because I….” Wait, why were you worked up? You literally didn’t give a shit about either of your companions, right? And you certainly didn’t care about Selene and her “love” and
Awww fuck, it was that gods damned heart to heart and the kiss. You knew something felt weird with your magic after that happened. Shit, you let your guard down, and this is what happened. You’d have to mediate or something to clear this little impediment, gods damn it. Women!
“Uh huh, that’s what I thought.” Bubs thought again, before jumping down and rummaging in the sack of provisions, eating some cheese. You didn’t feel like stopping him.
“You know, for a familiar, you’re pretty cheeky.”
He merely wiggles his tail from inside the bag and you groan. Ugh, a bath sounds great too, but you needed the time to prepare for this. However, you couldn’t really just go looking like shit in a handbasket, so you dig out your [The Essential Wizard’s Beard Care Kit] and rejoice in the glory of fantastically trimmed beard. After a week, it was glorious to feel so… Wizardly again.
Blake and Hala weren’t back yet, the lewd fucks, and you gave yourself time to think. Alright, so you were going into the lair of a witch, who wanted to have dinner with you. Either the food was poisoned, or she’d just have you executed by a wight army, or maybe she’d try to capture and torment you. Either way, there were a few things you needed to do.
Thing one: magical detection at all times. You bet she knew you were some kind of practitioner also, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be on the look out for her magical tricks. You resolved to continually <fast scan> and [magic sight] everything.
Thing two: surveillance of the house. You looked to Bubs, who seemed none too pleased by the prospect, but he relented anyway. Good, this meant you’d have an early warning system for anything trying to sneak up on you.
Thing three: offensive power. You doubt that they’ll just let Blake bring his sword inside, but Hala is a weapon in her own right, and you’re a gods damned wizard so you’re okay. You could smuggle Blake’s weapons in with your [Sack of holding +1] but she might be too clever for that, and you really needed your hero to be armed with something.
You eye the wight bane dagger again and thing it over. Oh, that sounds good.
“Awww come on Bubs. I just want to tie a magical knife made from the legs of a dead monster!”
“Do you hear yourself think?”
“Sometimes, now get over here.”
You manage to catch the little rat fairly easily, the jerk, and tie the knife and some string onto him. Oh oh oh, you’re super smart, mhm.
“If you’re so smart, why can’t you channel magic through me yet?”
Seriously, you liked it better when he didn’t sass you, but he had a point. “Can I?”
“Well, I don’t know, I didn’t read the book, but I know your thoughts.”
You think it over and point Bubs towards a candle, bringing up your will and somehow, slipping it into a conduit through your mental link, and Bub’s eyes glow bright red before a small amount of fire flows from them and lights the candle.
You both stare at the flame, then each other.
>Your bond with Bubs improves!
>You’ve learned: <Channel lesser magic>
>As long as you have a connection to your familiar, you may channel early tier magic, such as [Fireball], [Ice], [Copromancy] though them.
“My eyes feel burning.” Bubs thinks, blinking
“That means it’s working.” You think putting the rat down. He scratches at the blade for a moment before running in a circle and then hiding under a bed.
You shake your head, then feel something rattle in your pocket, and take out the compass. Hrm, the compass… You had such plans for this thing, but should you make something now? It might be a little… Less than useful later if you do, but perhaps you could rig up something of value.
Blake and Hala still weren’t back yet, and you figure this wouldn’t take long, so you pop off the glass and take out the dial. Then, you reach into your bag and pull out the wight hand. The magical energies on it were almost spent, so soon you’d have just a severed female hand in your bag, but for now it would serve it’s purpose. You strip down digit three and remove the third metacarpal bone (You assume, you’re not a doctor or anything) and you drill a tiny hole into it before placing it onto the center part of the compass.
It just sits there. Which is fine, it wasn’t attuned of anything anyway, so here you go. Closing your eyes, you envision what you’d like this to do, and you pour in your will. The compass needed to pick up on similar energies to the wight bone, which was a rather simple spell, but a bitch of an enchantment. Thankfully, the vessel was very in tune with what you needed, and the process was much smoother.
With a push it effort, you feel the power snap together and you open your eyes to find the bone pointing towards the Mayoral estate. You move the compass around and test it, and sure enough, it points that direction. You snapped the glass back onto the front and admired your work.
>[Malign compass] created!
As you put the device away, the door opened to admit Blake and Hala, washed and clothed in their armor. They both were smiling and had a redness to their cheeks, which you can’t help but feel was blushing. They both sort of looked at each other funny and you coughed into your hand, loudly.
“Have fun you too?”
Hala bounced towards you, her dark hair glistening with moisture. “It was so good! Blake washed my tail and I’ve never seen it look like this!” She waved the tail in front of you, and yes, it was quite fluffy. She blushed obviously and looked away, “and in return, I washed his..”
Blake coughed into his fist. “Back, she washed my back. Very nice of her.”
“I’ll bet.” Thought Bubs.
“Yes well then, I trust you’re prepared to leave? I doubt we have much time left.”
Blake’s expression turned serious and he nodded. “Of course. I doubt I’ll be allowed to carry in my blade however, so I suppose we’ll have to be prepared in other ways should there be an assault.”
You pick up Bubs, and he squeaks at Blake, knife still attached. Blake’s eye twitches. “Very well then. Anything else you thought of?”
You shrug, standing up. “Just keep aware of your surroundings, and if I say anything, you follow it without hesitation, got it?”
Blake and Hala both nod in affirmation, and you gather your things to head to the estate.
You’ve passed by the place before, but it was still really creepy. It didn’t just feel creepy, it looked it too. Over the years it must have been repurposed for humans and monsters, especially this Chakrandas, and it bore signs of remodeling which made it look imposing and disturbing, which was perhaps the point. You look down at your compass, and sure enough, it points to the house. Fucking stellar, but at least it was working. It did point to a specific part of the house however, so maybe there was something of interest there.
The three of you stood in front of the house, where a man in a butler’s outfit bowed to you. “Ah, the Hero and party, we have been expecting you. If you would come this way.” He opens the doors for you, and leads you into a large sitting room, which was made of some kind of hardwood paneling, and decorated with portraits of former mayors and buildings. You noticed that there were none of monsters however…
“Ah, excuse me sirs, but I’m afraid I’ll have to take your weapons and baggage, if you’d be so kind,”
You and Blake inwardly curse, but hand over your staff and his sword, along with your [Sack of holding+1]. You left the [pocket dimension]. It was way too valuable to bring here. The butler nods and tells you to wait a moment.
When he leaves you check your connection to Bubs and find that his earlier infiltration was successful, the rat sneaking about, but finding nothing out of the ordinary. He didn’t like the feel of the place at all, but he kept looking around.
The three of you sat down on a large couch, Hala in the middle, and you waited, Hala growing agitated for some reason, rubbing at the leather armor. You kind of feel bad for earlier, and you hand sort of twitches, but you gently place it on her head and then rub it, causing her to shiver and look at you.
“It uh, it’s going to be fine.” You really didn’t need to be getting any closer to her, but at least you could be nice. “And…I’m sorry about earlier. I just think that uhm, you’ll be better protected with this armor is all.”
Her eyes grow wide and she’s about to say something, when the door opens and the butler informs you that it’s time. You all nod your heads and head with him through a long corridor, and then through a set of massive double doors. As he opens the door, you see before you a long table that could fit maybe ten people, and at the end sits the mayor, his smile from ear to ear.
“Oh it is such a pleasure to see you here! Oh I am glad that you came for the summons, I was just dying to speak with all of you again, and boy I am glad I am not disappointed.”
He turns to Samantha who is sitting next to him and waves a hand. “Please say hello my beautiful wife, oh you must excuse her earlier, she has been a might sick for some time and the sun does so get to her, and please pleas, say hello.”
Samantha regards you impassively, her alabaster skin nearly the same color as the white tablecloth, and for a moment you see something flicker in those eyes, which you could now tell were a deep green. Then, she does something unexpected. She smiles very gently towards all of you and bows her head.
“A Hero, sorcerer, and a wolf girl, my what a party indeed. Please be welcome in our home, the food should be served shortly.”
All of you just… Stare. This bubbly little beauty of a woman was a witch?
Huh. Go figure.
Fireballs sound nice right about now. Yeah, just burn the whole place down to the ground, that should work right? Leave no traces, destroy the magical energy here, yeah yeah things sound not bad, not bad.
Sadly, you do not burn the place to the ground, instead you merely look bewildered and fumble around for words while Blake bows politely, quickly taking the initiative.
“Thank you for your gracious invitation my lady, my lord, it is a pleasure to be in your presence.”
He looks back and forth between the two of you and jerks his head slightly and Hala and yourself quickly perform sloppy bows. You can tell Blake is mentally sighing, but whatever, you weren’t some courtly gentleman hero thing.
You were a wizard. Bam.
Samantha looks at the sight with a look of bewilderment of her own, and then she breaks out into giggling laughter, covering her mouth with the sleeve of her dress. The mayor merely twiddles his mustache, his smile still beaming.
“Manners oh manners a plenty! My that’s rare these days, yes it is. But please, please take a seat, take a seat.”
He waves his hand and the butler appears behind you, holding a chair for Hala, then yourself, and finally Blake. Before you sit down however, you open your [Magic Sight] and note that magic permeates everything. It doesn’t seem hostile, but it does seem like a strange mishmash of different malign energies, saturating everything around here. Some obviously was Samantha’s doing, the rest was from multiple other individuals. Oddly enough, the butler seemed fine, and so did the Mayor, with only a subtle trace of her touch upon them. Samantha though… Well, Samantha…. She just oozes with magic energies, and she has a twinkle in her eyes, that tells you she is smiling at you behind her sleeve. Well, shit, looks like she knows what you’re doing.
You take your seat graciously and avert your gaze Samantha, shutting out your sight. You look to your companions, and Blake is seated regally, smiling at the two hosts, while Hala fidgets in the seat, trying her best not to either play with the cutlery, or jump Samantha, you can’t really tell.
“Bubs? How’s it going?” You think towards your familiar.
“Nothing yet big guy, but I feel like I’m onto something here.”
“Stay by the dining room in case we need you.”
You shake your head and come back midway into a conversation, catching the Samantha saying, “Dear me, must have been troublesome.”
Everyone looks at you and Blake coughs, waving a hand to the Devores. “As I was explaining to the good lady, we are on our way to the capital through Varruck, due to an unfortunate incident in Feldengrod.”
She smiles, “Indeed. Truly, you must have faced quite the hardships coming through the forest. The monsters have been quite troublesome recently, although I cannot fathom why.”
Hala growls, “Perhaps because of the damn midnight walkers slaughtering us out there.”
Samantha’s eyes grow wide. “Dear me, whatever do you mean? I had heard there were some strange noises from the forest recently, but what on earth is a midnight walker? Some form of monster?”
Hala growls again, and Blake puts a raises his hand, giving her a sidelong glance. “You must forgive her, she has been quite distressed since we found her on our travels. Her entire pack was slaughtered by these midnight walkers, or Wights as I’m sure they’re known.”
Samantha puts a finger to her chin and looks a little puzzled. “Wights? I’m not certain I’ve heard of such a thing, but oh you poor dear, I am so sorry to hear such a thing occurring on our lands.”
“Your lands?!” Hala says, her teeth flashing.
“Now now, no need to be like that, you see we just meant the surrounding areas of Varruck of course of course.” The mayor says, holding up a hand. “Every since ol’ Chakrandas was driven out, we’ve been looking to expand back to take the borders you see, open things up, get PEOPLE back here.” He twirls his mustache, “which is why we’ve asked you here my boy, we’d like to bring the Order back into town after so many years, make things right again.”
Blake becomes very quiet for a moment, looking down at his plate before responding. “And what of the monsters who live here and in the forest? What do you intend to do to keep them safe?”
Samantha shrugs, “Well, certainly we would discourage anyone from going into the forest if there are such brutes out there, but until they attack humans, I’m afraid there is not much for it. If monsters wish to leave because of it, it is sadly not our concern.”
Blake folds his a hands and rests his head upon them before taking in a deep breath. You can tell that he’s obviously just as furious as Hala, knowing what he does about the situation, and here the smooth bitch was, asking him to bring in a group of monster hunters to… To secure this place from monsters. Shit, that’s what it was about. She was using the wights to clear monsters out from the forest, causing those in town to leave in fear or desperation. And with the supposed ill will of Chakrandas still with most of the people in the town, it fomented so very, very well.
The real question you guessed, was why? If she was already in such a position of power? Why did she even need to attack the monsters outside of town? You scrunch your brow in thought, but as soon as you do, a bell rings and the Mayor stands, spreading his arms.
“Ah ha! The food is prepared, let us break from his business, and dine!”
The butler came in soon after with a tray of food, which he loaded onto the table. You saw multiple forms of mutton, poultry, breads, wines, cheeses, and vegetables, a rather rich spread, and your mouth just watered at the thought of digging in. Before you took some though, you performed a <fast scan> and it was blissfully free of any taint. You nodded to Blake and Hala, and they both partook of the foods as well as you, Blake cutting his food delicately and eating with perfect manners, while Hala stared at her fork before the Butler came by, tied a napkin around her throat, and she went to town, shoveling it down. Such a refined lady she was.
Samantha did not look amused as she watched Hala over her wine glass. For your part, you didn’t really care what Hala did, because dear gods, this roast was amazing. Was that rosemary? Wow, and the potatoes just… And that bread! Gods you were so happy that it wasn’t poisoned, because next to your heated bread pouches, this was heavenly.
As you chewed on a piece of roast, you waved your fork towards Samantha. “Sho, how did you knowsh I was a uh… Schorceror anyway?”
Samantha’s lip twitches, and she takes a sip of her wine. “I figured by your clothing and staff. I was not wrong I take it?”
You finish the bite, while Blake looks at your, horrified, and you spear more food. “Indeed you were not. But are sorcerers common in Varruck?”
“Not especially, no.”
“Interesting.” You put the bite into your mouth and chew, staring her in the eyes “What about this witch then?”
The mayor chuckles, “Oh not that story again, now then good sir, I can assure you that there was in no way any magical hijinks which involved the downfall of Chakrandas, you see?”
Samantha daintily raised a hand and the mayor became quiet. She looks you dead in the eyes and replied. “He is correct. There is no witch in Varruck. Chakrandas was driven out by a very motivated individual, of whom we shall never know her name.”
Uh uh. Suuuuuure. “I see. Tell me though, this house must have been hers, beforehand, and it is quite lovely. Perhaps we could have a tour after we dine?”
“Ah, I am afraid we cannot, but thank you for your compliments on our home.” She dodges the subject nimbly quickly looks back to Blake and begins to ask him about the Order and how the capital was, what kind of people might come back to Varruck. Obviously that seemed to unnerve her for some reason. What exactly didn’t she want you to see here? Seems kind of stupid to do if you invite someone into your house to not have them want to see it…
You sat there and chewed on your food, thinking to yourself. She knew that you knew, but she didn’t seem overly concerned about the fact. Either she was planning something, or she didn’t find you a threat, but regardless, it seemed like you could just… Walk away. Hell, you didn’t even have to lift a finger and you could survive the night without any issues. Sure, Blake and Hala might not like it, but they said they’d follow your orders, right? There was also the option of burning everything down to the ground too as a nice backup.
As you ponder this fact, you feel a nervous squeaking in your mind and the thought appears,
“Hey…hey big guy, I think I found something here. I think there’s some kind of passage in this study here. Not certain yet how to open it, but it feels… Ugh, it feels awful down there.”
And there it was, the other option. Whatever she used to control the wights must be down there, and perhaps other malign artifacts. If you had the proper excuse, you could explore that as well, but would your companions be okay without you?
The sun has already dipped below the horizon and night was beginning to take hold as you ran through your options.
Samantha is paying you absolutely no attention at the moment, which suited you perfectly fine and gave you a chance to zone out and speak with Bubs. You made certain that Hala was fine- and she was, just piling food into her mouth. Once a starving wolfgirl, always a starving wolfgirl you guess.
“Bubs, tell me what you’re seeing.”
“Uhm. Books? And chairs? Oh a desk. Desks are spooky, right?”
You mentally roll your eyes. Right, he’s a rat. Just some kind of super intelligent, magically attuned rat, but a rat. Let’s try a new tactic.
“Bubs, I’m going to need you to be perfectly still for a moment.”
“Are you going to make my eyes burn again?”
“Maybe!” And with that, you force your will and SEE.
You feel a strange motion, as if being pulled into a great vortex and suddenly you can see the world through strange eyes. Everything was a little off shade, and it made your head hurt for a moment, trying to figure things out, but wow, that chair was massive, wasn’t it?
Wait… Massive… Chair? You look around, only able to use your eyes, and see bookshelves, paintings, and a desk and you realize that the spell worked. You can see through Bubs’s eyes, and on top of that, you can use your [Mage Sight].
“Oowwwwww, this is really weird Big Guy!” Thinks Bubs, and you rock back, the power of his thoughts magnified in his head. Shit, that kind of hurt!
“S…stay calm Bubs, just… Just try not to think, and look around a slowly.”
“Whatever you say.”
You felt that last thought was vaguely malicious, but he scanned anyway. Okay, you saw some books of standard fare, a desk with some boring papers, some… Chairs. And a pulsing beacon of malign magic behind a bookcase. Well shit, guess there was something there. You notice there’s a small trail of magic leading to another book on the shelf, and you guessed it was the trigger. The spine read, “Open Saysame: A Guide to Doors and Door-like Objects.” Because, why wouldn’t it?
With a release of your will, you drop the power, and are flung back to your body, in which you start up, cause a mild clatter of plates, and you look around dazed.
Everyone was staring at you, mixed expressions of confusion, pity, and amusement, and you cough into your hand. “Uh, choked on uhm.” You drank some water instead of continuing to speak.
Everyone sort of… Ignores you again and goes back to speaking. For Blake’s part, he was admirably dancing around her subject, while she kept trying to move him into position. It was like lingual chess, and the Mayor merely sat there, twirling his mustache as if he was some kind of silent arbiter.
Well then, there really was nothing for it, you’d have to get to Bubs and see what’s past that dark portal one way or another. You look at your magical compass covertly, just to confirm, and sure enough, it’s pointing towards where you can feel Bubs. Spooky scary things could also mean spooky scary treasures too, but more than that, you felt that while she might just let you go, you can’t allow her to keep doing this. Or to be more precise, you have a feeling that it would bite you in the ass not to stop her wights since you still kind of had to leave town.
“Alright,” you think to Bubs, “Looks like we’ll have to explore this place, see what’s behind all of this.”
“You uh, you okay Bubs?”
“Head just hurts a little, and I can smell shit in my brain, which is really weird and means you should bathe more.”
“Just stay hidden, who knows what’s lurking here.”
“I do, and it’s nothing around here, but fine, you’re the big ol magical boss.”
And with that, Bubs went to go hide somewhere. Probably, you think so. Maybe. Regardless, you needed to find an excuse to tour the escape, but how would you get out of this shit and into that shit?
Shit, of course. It seemed to be your prerogative.
You look down at your plate and take a deep breath before shoveling it in like a gods damned madman. Everyone sort of looks at you funny again, even Hala, and you chew very slowly before taking a big swallow, then putting a hand to your stomach and exclaiming, “EXCUSE ME, I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET.”
You could feel Blake’s cringe like some kind of psychic force upon you, while the mayor and Samantha oozed a mix of incredulity and hostility. Hala was just doing her best not to break out laughing, and mildly succeeding. The mayor and Samantha look at each other, then she rolls her eyes and claps before you can take more than two steps.
The butler appears a moment later, and bows to you. “I shall lead the way for you sir.”
You kind of feel caught off balance by his sudden presence, but you just… Deal with it. You hate that you’d have to do something about him, but what are you going to do? You had to find the place with Bubs, so… Off you go. Before you leave through a set of doors, you look back towards Blake, and wink. Either he got the message or he thinks you’re flirting with him.
Nah, he obviously got the message, right? Right.
As you walk with the butler, he doesn’t say a word, which you find kind of eerie, but it fit the environment of dark hardwood and emotionless portraits of people. You can vaguely see that some portraits seemed to have been covered in or altered in some ways, leaving only a man and covering the other person, or the like. You flick past one covering as you walk and see that a happy looking Kitsune was next to the unknown man in the portrait.
“Please do not touch the paintings sir.” Said the butler, not even looking at you.
“Oh! Ah, uhm, s..sorry.” You scratch your head, now feeling really awkward. “Uh, so you serve the mayor huh?”
“What about before him? This uh, Chakrandas?”
“I cannot fail the mayor. Any mayor. Ever.”
You get real quiet at that. This guy apparently served even Chakrandas beforehand, and he didn’t even seem to give a shit. That… Is dedication. Ah, but a shame that you would force him to give one. You quickly <fast scan> the man and then give him some [indigestion].
The butler keeps walking for a moment before he staggers, and holds onto the wall. You didn’t make it overly strong, but you needed it to work fast and be long acting. He began to breathe a little heavily and you put a hand on his shoulder. “Good sir, are you quite alright?”
“M…my stomach is….”
“Dear heavens!” You say, trying not to sound sarcastic. “You need to use the toilet far more than I! Please sir, go, go! I shall wait for you!”
The butler seems to hesitate, a look of pure agony crossing his face that you aren’t certain is fully from your spell. He then looks to a room down the hall, gulps, and quickly runs to it, flinging the door open, then slamming it closed. You start to hear moans followed by sounds you’d rather not describe, so you take the opportunity to skedaddle and never look back. He should be preoccupied for… A while.
It isn’t long with a combination of your compass and Bub’s link that you find the study, and Bub’s quickly pops out of hiding to sit on the desk in front of you. You take the knife from him and he crawls onto your shoulder, sniffing. You pat him on the head, then look at the bookcase, finding the right book. You try to pull it from it’s shelf, and it tugs back after a moment, then the whole,bookcase seems to push in, and slide off into a side compartment, revealing a set of stairs.
Just like in the Hungry boys stories. Ah, to be young again. Of course, they had to deal with masked villains, you had to deal with dangerous and malign magics. Only marginally different you guessed. You look at Bubs and nod, then draw your compass and descend the stairs.
Thankfully the place was lit by some glowing rocks, which were fairly magical in origin, as you could tell because you sure as hell didn’t turn off your sight. The walls were your standard stone dungeon fare, and you could see multiple side rooms, probably used for storing while or other provisions in the past, but now they are filled with troves of cloth covered items. You look at your compass and see that it points further down the hall, but stop in a room anyway and lift up a cloth, scattering dust everywhere.
What you see is generations worth of paintings, antiques, furniture, all clearly depicting monsters or made for their use. These pictures are almost exclusively of them, and they seem fairly happy posing for the artists who did so. Apparently this town used to truly coexist with monsters year and years ago, but the current Mayor did not want anyone to remember that. Frankly, you’re surprised they didn’t just burn the stuff, but perhaps there was a reason for it that you couldn’t quite fathom. You flip past a very large portrait of a cruel looking lamia and stare for a moment, but find no name on it.
“Big guy, let’s just get what we need and go, okay?”
“Yeah yeah..” You say to Bubs, and start back down the hallway, checking the compass. It veers you off a little down a right turn, and you wonder how long this complex was, when you hear a loud, ear splitting scream. You stoop to cover your ears, and stare around in panic, but find nothing. It was a totally different scream from that of a wight, but it still chilled you to the bone. Thankfully you didn’t pop a boner with this one though, that would be embarrassing.
You listen carefully again, but hear nothing of much value and slowly creep forward, keeping your sight open, as well as Bub’s senses. He’s basically on track with your compass, which is swinging wildly, back and forth now. It practically tries to fly off the mounting in front of it.
“This looks like the place.” You think to Bubs and he just flies into your pocket, not saying a damn thing. You take in a deep breath and slowly open the door, inside is a large, darkly lit room, and it takes you a moment to adjust and see what’s in there. It appears to be some kind of magical laboratory, with tables and shelves lining the walls, filled with buckets and jars of all sorts of ingredients of all shapes and sizes, many of them appearing to be organs. The smell was fairly abominable and even you had to hold your breath as you looked around, the entire area saturated in magical energies that made you sick to your stomach. Your compass flares to a corner, and notice a chest in the corner of the room. When you move to investigate you hear a sliding sound and the rattling of chains.
You stop and slowly turn around, casting a small fire spell above your fingertip. What you see not 20 feet away was the chained form of a naked lamia with pale blue skin covered in multiple scars and ritual tattoos, her purple scales dry and crusted, covered in blood, excrement, and all sorts of other filth. Her hair was silver white and it clung in clumps to her scalp, giving her a ratty and horrifying experience as she stared at you with one large, red eye. And it was filled with malice and pain in such quantities that you could scarcely imagine it.
You take two quick steps back and press you back against the wall, realizing what you’re seeing here. It’s the same lamia from the painting, just so abused and filthy that you couldn’t tell who it was at first. Your heart started beating quickly as you noticed the blood all around her little corner, stained so heavily that it was permanently red, and the multiple torn and slashed portraits of monsters, especially of her, strewn all around her, in such quantities that it was absurd. She started panting heavily at the sight of you and started to strain at her bonds, but they glowed faintly blue and she screamed again before sliding back, and whimpering. It’s around that time Bubs screams in your head. Crap.
“My goodness, It is rude to touch things that aren’t yours.”
You whirl around back to the doorway to see Samantha standing there, her long white legs pressed behind her as she blocked the doorway. She looked directly at you and shook her head before sighing and striding right past to the Lamia, and slapping the miserable creature, who recoils back, hissing venomously while Samantha merely giggles and lifts the Lamia’s chin, her eyes glowing a faint blue.
“I swear, Chakrandas, you never learn do you? You will never be better than me. Now be a good girl and scream.”
Chakrandas complies, coiling as far away as she can into the corner as Samantha breathes in deeply, savoring the sound.
“Oh it’s ambrosia is it not? Gods does it make me feel young again! Ah, oh sorcerer, you didn’t truly think your little charade was convincing enough to grant you passage in my domain, did you? A pity, I did so want to let you live, but you had to insist on your little tour.”
She shrugs, “And I suppose after I dispose of you I’ll have to go back for your little mongrel and the Hero too. Even mores the pity, for he was what would truly free this town from its monstrous taint of so many years.”
She walks past you, her eyes never leaving yours, and she opens the chest to take out a large, silver urn. She takes a deep breath and you can feel power pour between the two and suddenly Samantha’s maniacal expression is gone, replaced by cold impassiveness, the very air around her feeling cold and violent, her already beautiful features even more exaggerated as she studies you critically.
“Ah, well then. Any last words before I kill you and your monster loving friends?”
You lick your lips. Well this was a pickle, stuck in a dank room with a psychotic witch and tortured lamia, on the verge of your own death. Well, at least she wasn’t going to rape you. More than likely anyway, she seemed pretty intent on killing you. Which meant you had to get the drop on her somehow.
You took in a deep breath and concentrated your power ever so slowly and delicately behind her. The offal and waste around Chakrandas began to flow and congeal into two little stakes, which you began to slowly ice over while looking Samantha in the eyes.
“Well… Uhm… I guess I do have two words to say…” You breath in dramatically, finishing the working behind her.
“EAT SHIT!” And you fired the darts of frozen feces straight through her back.
Samantha staggered every so slightly at the impact, her eyes locked onto yours as the shitsicles impaled her back. You didn’t have the best aim in the world, but when she turned back to look over her shoulder, you could see that you had hit her almost midline, albeit deviated a little right laterally, almost certainly penetrating some internal organ, or if it didn’t, it had to hurt like a bitch.
Samantha just stared impassively at the missiles, then back to you. She didn’t so much as whimper, let alone acknowledge the attack, which was pretty fucking bad for you. Okay, new plan, same as the old plan. You throw a [fireball] at her. As far as plans go, it’s often overlooked due to it’s simplicity, but goshes if it isn’t satisfying.
She casually removes a hand from the chalice, and a shield of pure ice appears, stopping your attack cold. Get it? Cold? Ice? Ahhhh, you get it. But no of time for jokes, this is serious, and you start to sweat a little, despite the now sub-arctic temperatures in the room.
Okay! Wow, your options were pretty limited here now, Infact what you really needed was time to figure things out, or at least for someone to come save your ass.
Samantha, had she the ability to show emotions on that cold face, probably would have looked amused if she could as she lowered her shield slowly. By that time however, you had already created a [fire bomb] and set the timer, throwing it forward while a small, furry shape darted away from your pocket.
Samantha watched the projectile fly, and it went right over her shoulder and bounced against a wall before rolling on the ground in front of Chakrandas, who stared at it in mute fury and terror.
That was all the time you needed to construct your [circle of shit] from the filth around the room. You snap the lock in place as Samantha casually picks up the bomb, turns it over in her hands, and then looks at you, before snuffing it out with contemptuous ease. She goes still as she watches your defensive circle and then opens her mouth to speak.
“You are much more skilled than most sorcerers should be.”
“But such a paltry defense shall not keep you alive for long. What do you hope to accomplish with such a thing?”
“It seemed a good idea at the time.”
“Clearly.” She stalks over, staying about five feet away as she inspects the barrier.
Well, you’re trapped, she’s looking for a way to bust you. Had she come a little closer, you could probably have dropped the barrier and slashed her with your knife, but you know that the distance is too great now and throwing that knife would be way too risky a gambit. Better buy some more time/ distractions for the moment.
“So, why are you on some kind of uh, genocide?” Nice, nice, smooth.
“Because monsters deserve to die. They are a blight upon this world, and nothing but savage beasts who need to be put down or taught obedience, such as this one.” She doesn’t point or anything, but it’s clear she means Chakrandas.
“What did she do to you that warranted this?”
“This creature was a tyrant who forced men to copulate with her and her subordinates, drove out or kidnapped traders and travelers, and transformed women into monsters to better serve her. Those of us who were spared her immediate attentions were kept under careful watch and guard like sheep, working under her rule. I had power, I stuck her down, now I will make certain that no others do the same ever again.”
Give a girl a silver chalice that sucks away her emotions and grants her power and she’ll spill her life story apparently. Huh, silver chalice that takes emotions…. That’s weird, haven’t you heard of something like that? A phy… Phyl… Flycatcher? Hum. She still seemed focused on her task however. Ugh.
“The…the wights, they are your doing as well?”
“Clearly. I had exhumed my sisters who had been slaughtered over the years and gave them new form and purpose. Every monster they kill or poison is one less in this world. Eventually I will slay the monster lady as well.”
Wait, that didn’t click right. “But the wights are a form of monster…”
The chalice seems to pulse for a second and Samantha’s eyes flash hotly as she replies. “They are NOT monsters.” And as quickly as it came, it was gone. Interesting. Very interesting.
“Of course, of course. But you must have learned how to summon the energy to animate them from somewhere.”
“The wretch in the corner. Her blood makes for ample reagents to empower my sisters and myself. Though I loathe to let her live, I still have need of her.”
For emphasis, she whirls one finger, and a razor of ice cuts the wretched lamia, and a trickle of blood flows onto it, before flying back to Samantha, who places it in the chalice, and breathes deeply.
For fucks sake, she empowers herself through monster blood? The fucking wights have a locus via monster blood? This bitch wasn’t just hypocritically crazy, she had to be a fucking monster herself at this point. Some kind of crazy magically strong monster with deft control over ice and death, and had strong ties with a magical artifact, a phylactery.
Fuck, if you had a chorus of people screaming in your head, driving your every action, you must have not been paying attention, because they obviously would have been screaming one word.
“Lich! Back away from the Wizard, or I shall merit judgement upon your husband!”
Both you and Samantha turn to the entrance to see Blake and Hala, the latter holding the bound form of the mayor, his eyes staring intently at Samantha with a sort of feverish light. Blake had managed to find some kind of archaic sword and shield from the house somewhere, and he held it at the ready, his unarmored form standing as if he had everything under control.
Samantha merely turned back to you and whispered a word, and your barrier shattered into aether, before replying to Blake, her eyes locked onto your yours as you hurriedly step backwards.
“I know not what a Lich is, but I thank you for sparing me the trouble of hunting you down later. I do not appreciate your kidnapping of my dead husband however, but I shall see that he serves his purpose in the end.” As she speaks ice begins to form at the ground beneath her, jagged pillars that raise her as the air temperature drops below freezing.
“But I believe I have spent enough time bandying words with you. I shall end your existences now.” And with that, the pillars of ice shattered into spears, and hurled straight at you and your companions.
Many things happened very quickly. First, you hit the deck like a drunken sailor in the middle of a typhoon. Next, you channeled your will into a wave a fire, throwing up a corona of flame that melted the ice coming at you, and drenching you in water and bits of hail. Finally, as all this occurred, you forced a fireball through Bub’s who mentally screamed at the force of your blow. Sorry little guy, but it was necessary.
The ice spears hurtling towards the rest of your crew were not effected nearly as much as the ones around you, likely due to your unfortunate state and because it seems that channeling through Bubs diminishes the power. The more you know, the more you know…
But no time for that, the ice was melted some, and Blake was able to shield Hala and himself with his shield, blunting the blow and staggering him, but otherwise no damage beyond a light spray of ice and water.
You look up quickly to see Samatha striding towards you, and you flips backwards, scuttling away to gain ground. You throw a [fireball] at Samantha as a sort of snap shot, and she merely moves her head to the side, your wild fire barely warming her cold flesh as she methodically padded towards you.
You try to slash at her with your dagger, but she bats your arm aside and picks you up like some kind of puppy and throws you into the wall like…some kind of…puppy. You bounce off the wall and hit the ground hard, the wind being forced from your chest, and you wheeze in pain, your thoughts all in jumbles as you try to pick yourself back up.
Uh oh, there were two Samantha’s now, and she… No, wait, that’s just your head. Things go into focus soon and you see her sending a spear of ice towards Blake without even looking at him as she stepped towards you again, the man deflecting the blow with his shield before continuing his charge. Hala had ditched the mayor and was bounding up on the other side of the room from Blake, preparing a charge when a sheet of ice appeared before her, and she slammed into it face first, scattering multiple jars and vials of things all over the lab as she rebounded.
Your mind was finally, focused again, and you noticed Samantha was much closer, a spear of ice held firmly in her hand. You didn’t have time to admire the craftsmanship, but goshes it looked pointy. In response, you shove your hand up and force a spray of liquified feces towards Samantha in some kind of disgusting fecal wave. She doesn’t even bother to try and stop it, and she becomes drenched in the waste of her captive, who is laughing manically at the whole charade, pulling at her bonds, despite the massive agony they must be causing her. She literally foamed at the mouth as she screamed obscenities and things that didn’t even sound like words to you.
Samantha didn’t break stride, despite being drenched, and she readied her spear to impale you, when Blake charged in, shield ahead of him for a bash that would throw her off course and allow him time to strike at her, while you noticed Hala leaping through the air in a mighty pounce.
So, goshes, but apparently being a Lich is codeword for undead badass, because Samantha delicately moved 32 degrees exactly, slammed her spear into the corner of Blake’s shield, which forced him off balance, and then delicately kicked him, sending him tumbling towards Chakrandas. In the same motion, she sweeps the back of the spear, and thrusts the butt into Hala’s chest, then gracefully forces the wolfgirl into an arc that sends her flying into the chest, knocking both over into a heap.
Well shit, that was bad. You thought for sure that your little show would give Blake an opening, but goshes, what a bitch. You throw another [fireball] and a [Lightning bolt] at her, both of which she deftly parries. You scream at her while you channel your powers “You’re a Lich, you crazy bitch! You turned yourself into a monster girl! You are LITERALLY no different from Chakandras right now!”
At that though, she stops and stares at you, her eyes growing wide, the glowing violently. Some color and expression began to return to her face and she snarled. “I am NOT a MONSTER!”
“What the fuck do you think a Lich is you psychopath? You and your people got kicked around by that fucking tyrant over in the corner, so you kicked her ass, and then what? You decided that, in order to make up for all her inJUSTICE, you’d just go and raise an army of undead, fueled by fucking MONSTER BLOOD and decide, maybe I should have some of that myself? I don’t know very much about how people become monsters, but I’m going to go off on a limb and say that it’s due to some kind of dark energy or something. Perhaps in something like, I dunno? Monster blood?”
The whole time you’ve been speaking, Samantha’s rage had grown exponentially. Her nostrils were flaring, her eyes huge and filled with a deep animosity as she gritted her teeth and forced out. “I…am nothing… Like that beast.” She pointed over her shoulder at Chakrandas who was facing away from you in her corner, hunched over and making quick motions of her body, as if she was working something.
“I am a HUMAN and I FIGHT FOR HUMANITY!”
You cough some and see some spittle on your hand. At least it wasn’t blood.
“Sure you do. That’s why you’re a pale, undead raising, phylactery bearing, ice chucking bitch of a Lich who’s trying to rule through fear and genocide.”
You point a shaky finger at her. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re gunning to be the next Monster Lady.”
With that, Samantha howled in rage and drew back her spear to throw at your heart, her eyes wild, her body tense and rigid. In her rage, she didn’t notice a lithe, furry mass which smashed into her from the side, throwing her to the ground, before dashing past.
Samantha quickly rose, glaring daggers at what it her which turned out to be Hala, who was grinning like a madwoman as she raised something up in her hands. It was the silver chalice, and she waved it in front of the Lich who seemed to deflate a little in her magical power. Samantha’s eyes became panicked and she reached out towards Hala, who danced backwards and cackled.
“Not so high and mighty without this, are you, you stupid Bitch?” Hala taunted, looking smug as all get out.
You noticed the shape behind her too late, and you tried to scream, “Hala! Look out!” But you were too late. Hala jerked, and seemed for spasm for a second, and then she slowly turned around before gasping and falling to the ground, the chalice tumbling from her hands as a flow of scarlet blood flowed from her back.
The mayor bent down and wiped his knife on Hala’s fur before reverently picking up the chalice and stepping over Hala’s recumbent form to hand it back to Samantha, who took it back like it was some kind of family heirloom.
“I say my dear, you can’t go letting the dogs play with such important things like this.”
“Oh my husband, I shall be more careful in the future.” With that, she gave him a deep, passionate kiss, to which he reciprocated, open mouth, and you felt like some kind of voyeur or something, watching the event. Before you could even so much as throw a [Lightning Bolt] it was over and Samantha cooed in ecstasy, taking in a deep breath before looking back to you, her eyes becoming flat again.
“Do you know what separates man from monster? Love, dear sorcerer. Such creatures could never understand a concept as love.”
The mayor enthusiastically, and you were at that point, utterly convinced that the man was genuine, not enthralled, not coerced, not undead, but utterly in love with the Lich.
The irony was not lost on you as they both came towards you, knife and ice spear at the ready. Guess this was how it ended, killed in some kind of underground lab while your friends bled out on the ground around you. Actually, wait, where was Blake anyway? You saw him get thrown towards Chakrandas and…
Oh by the gods.
You hear the sounds of a man screaming in pained ecstasy, and then a deep, throaty laughter filled the chamber. Everyone turned to look at the corner, to see Chakrandas wiping a white liquid from her chin, before licking it off her hand with a long, delicate tongue. She practically oozed malice as she chuckled, and with two swift motions, she broke her fetters from the wall, their magical runes winking out.
You watched in mute horror as Chakrandas cracked her neck, the sound like a tree snapping, and she took in a deep breath, her eyes fluttering in ecstasy. Her tattoos seemed to glow before your eyes and her skin turned a few shades more blue, and you could literally feel the magic oozing from her. While it didn’t quite eclipse that of the Lich, it was still daunting.
Blake obviously had the magic juice or something because this was like a full 180 for the crazy snake lady. How much worse could it have been had Hala not washed his uh… Back?
As you try to stagger up, Samantha shoves the mayor behind her, and forms a shield of ice, right before a plume of, well the best way to describe it is “dark energy,” hit the ice, causing a wave of purple light to flash across the translucent shield.
“Eheheheheehe hahahahhaahaha! Little sorceress, or perhaps I should say, Lich? My, what a wonderful little monster you have become. Did you enjoy my blood? Because I enjoyed watching your change.” Chakrandas cackled as she summoned forth more dark light.
“Ah, but there is plenty of time for you to wallow in your hypocrisy as I tear you slowly limb from limb and eat your organs while your husband is raped beyond his wildest dreams.” She let her long tongue hang out as she licked her lips. “Oh the things I’ve waited to do to him.”
“You beast!” Shouted Samantha as she formed spears of ice in the air. “This time, I will break you so thoroughly that you will never even dream of escaping again!”
With a flick of her wrist, the spears shot forward, but Chakrandas was ready, and destroyed each one with a shattering blast of dark energy. Samantha took a step backwards, forming another spear while Chakrandas slithered forwards, her hands glowing purple, the air around her cloying with malice. When the two met, Chakrandas let loose a rain of blows, screaming, “HORA, HORA, HORA, HORA,”while Samantha did her best to parry the blinding quick blows. You were fairly certain that Chakrandas was adding an extra letter or something to that, but you weren’t sure why.
Anyway, now was the time to quickly get the fuck out of dodge you think, but Hala was bleeding out and Blake was over in the corner, lying motionless with his dick out. Fucker. But… Damnit, you just couldn’t leave them, even the furry little bitch who wanted to jump your junk. Damn you being a nice wizard.
“Bubs?” You thought, searching for him with your mind.
“Big guy, what say we skedaddle the fuck out of here and never look back?” Bubs was obviously scared as hell, and he was huddling under some jars or something on one of the workstations in the lab.
“Look, just go check on Blake, we need to grab him to get the fuck out of here.”
“You sure? Because the door is open right over there.”
“Gods damnit, three Bubby snacks.”
You could feel Bubs begin to move cautiously as flicks of ice and dark power were scattered about, breaking jars and other items, their spilling everywhere. With that taken care of, you do your best to scurry over to Hala, who was lying on her side, pool of blood spilling out around her.
Her breathing was shallow and she looked pale. You weren’t a physician, but that looked pretty bad. Thankfully there was only one stab wound, but it was low down, probably one of her kidneys or something to drop her that quickly. Her armor didn’t do too much to stop it, but you felt that without it there, it could have been much, much worse. You press part of your robes onto the wound to slow the bleeding as you perform a <fast scan>. Her humors were not terribly out of balance, but you could feel that she was fluctuating, and obviously painful. You needed to close that wound quickly and deal with the consequences of whatever else came after later.
A bolt of dark energy flies past your head and duck down in reflex as it shatters beaker of some fluid near you. Damnit all to the hells. You quickly put your hands close to the wound and concentrate your will in the finest area possible under the circumstances and try a quick [fireball].
Yeah, you really weren’t that good at this, and Hala spasmed in pain as searing heat tore into her wound and caused the area around it to scorch and burn, and you quickly applied a sheet of ice as soon as you could. Ahhhhhhh. Hala flipped and twisted around in your care and she screamed bloody murder before collapsing to the ground, breathing heavily, before falling unconscious again.
“Awww, now that ain’t right. When a dog’s had her use, you put her down, don’t you know anything boy?”
You whirl around to find a boot coming to your face. To your credit, you thought strongly about dodging it before it connected with your face. Despite your best efforts, you just didn’t quite manage it, and you sprawled out along the floor, shaking your head as you gasped in pain.
“See, now ain’t much I can do for my little miss in that titanic battle over there you see, but I can do this.”
He brandishes his dagger and runs towards you with his knife. This time, you do more than think about dodging, and you roll out of the way, avoiding the slice, and manage to scrabble to your feet as he came in for another strike. You did your best to parry with your [wightbane] but come on, you weren’t a knife fighter, but the mayor apparently was. The slash took you across the cheek and you felt a stab of hot pain well up, followed by the oozing sensation of blood. You wipe some of it off, staring at it. So very… Red.
“Oh oh ho! So you do bleed my boy!”
He comes in for another slash at your face and you skirt to the side again, the blow slicing right under your chin, but narrowly missing your throat. As you stagger backwards you feel to make certain you were whole and find that for some reason part of your beard felt…
“My oh my, what a long white beard you have for one of your age my boy.” Dais mayor Devore as he held up part of your lustrous beard. “But I think a sorcerer looks better clean shaven, don’t you?” And he let the hair scatter to the ground.
Gods. Damn it. That was it, the last fucking straw. You have taken these people’s shit all fucking day, calling you a god damn sorcerer, cutting your beard, no. No, that’s it. You’re done.
You stare down the mayor as your hair drifts down, pulled by gravity’s insane little force. He staggers back for a moment, and then chuckles.
“You think that’s going to stop me from killing you? Oh boy, you got another things coming.”
“No…” You start to shake your head violently as you raise your hand towards him.
“No, no no, YOU WILL DIE!” And you fire a rapid chain of [Lightning Bolts].
The mayor never stood a chance. He twisted and screamed as electricity wracked his body and you could swear that you saw his skeleton as his skin blackened and burned under the raw power of your electricity. He staggered back, a horrific corpse on legs, and toppled to the ground, knife clattering to the floor.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” screamed Samantha as she watched the mayor die, and she turned to move towards him, her emotions fully in control. Which is why she failed to see Chakrandas throwing a massive blow at her, purple energy hitting Samantha in the chest with such force that she flew into the stone wall, shattering through it and colliding into a pile of antiques, throwing up a cloud of dust and debris.
Chakrandas began to cackle madly, wrapping her arms around her body as she spasmed in her insanity.
“Oh yesssss, yessss yessss yesssssssssss! It feels so good! Oh your pain, your agony! It is beautiful!” She turns to you and licks her lips, panting.
“Very well done my sorcerer, very well done indeed. Ehehe, yes, yes, I think you deserve a reward for such an act.” She slid forward as she said this, tittering in laughter every few moments, her naked breasts swaying captivatingly as she coiled up to you. You merely grit your teeth and closed your eyes as she slowly slithered around you.
“Tell me what you desire, and I can make it a reality. In my new order I will need men like you, and with your talent, I could make you one of my…” She leaned in close to whisper, “personal concubines.”
You take a deep breath, your teeth clenched as she drags a hand slowly over your body, her fingers toying around your waist. “What do you intend to do in this new order?”
“Last time I thought small, ruling this little peasant territory. But now I think I’ll just rule the world, and you at my side. Anything you wish, gold, jewels, other women.. Oh the things I will do to you….”
You exhale slowly and open your eyes, focusing intently on the face right before you. Yeah, these things sounded great, but at what cost? A slave to be used for sex everyday to power her new little empire? Someone who gives away everything they love and hold dear just to have a fuck? That’s not what you wanted, it was never what you wanted. You had feelings, you had emotions, true, and they could cloud your judgement, make you feel things that might lead you astray, but in this moment of perfect clarity, you knew one thing.
You wanted to be a fucking wizard.
>Your wizard power level has increased to 85%
>You have resisted extreme temptation, reaffirmed your belief in your own wizardhood, and shaken your doubts.
“I said no. Oh, and I’m not a petty sorcerer.” You build up your will, the power nearly palpable in the air.
“I’m a Gods Damned Wizard.”
You unleash your full fury upon the lamia, first by slamming your fist into the air and beginning the [irate front song] which forced Chakrandas back, confusion on her face. She didn’t notice then when you concentrated your will and brought force a pillar of [Ice] that burst out from you, throwing her backwards a good 15 feet, causing her to land on the ground in a heap.
Oh but you weren’t done there. Sheathing the [Wightbane] you perform a <fast scan> and then haphazardly throw in a [miasma]. It doesn’t really slow her down overly much, but it does have an effect to make her cough some, which allowed you time to raise a flow of shit from her corner and utterly drench her in the slop.
By this point she’s managed to stand alright, and she screams in confusion as you keep throwing the magic at her. With one hand, you toss a [Fireball] the heat of it turning even your skin through your robes warm and it catches her, causing her hair to go alight, and forcing her to scream in pure agony as her own feces and flesh caught fire and fed upon themselves.
With your other hand, you throw out a [Lightning bolt] of such intensity, the electricity was almost white for a moment, and while the explosion didn’t occur, she did go perfectly rigid and she did lock her jaw as the power ran through her, magnified by the pure heat rushing off her. She slithered forward, reaching toward you as she burned, but she veered off course, spasming, and collapsed to the ground mid slither, causing her to slide across the dirtied floor, glass cutting into her body as she twitched and burned.
You panted heavily at the devastation around you and with a mighty roar, you slammed the ground, screaming out your rage, frustration, and resolve. It was over, the the two monsters were dead and you, your friends, and your familiar, were alive. Take that, fate.
You slump to your knees and sigh, the adrenaline and power leaving your body, and you felt incredibly tired. Taking a nap sounded awesome right about now, and your eyes start to flutter closed when you hear a sharp voice in your head,
“Big guy, look out!”
You turn behind you and see Chakrandas, her smoldering body, burned almost beyond recognition above you, one good eye blazing in hatred as she held up an arm, glowing in pure purple light.
Huh, well shit.
As she screams to slam her fist into you, you just bow your head, closing your eyes Well, you did your best. Hey, maybe this blow will kill you, and you won’t have to suffer being raped. That would be nice. A shame you couldn’t say goodbye to Selene, but maybe that was for the best. Ah, whatever.
And nothing happens. You open one eye very slowly and see a hand just inches from your face. You blink in surprise and see Chakrandas staring down with that one eye, at a large, gaping wound in her chest from which a sword now protruded.
“Skronk?” Was all Chakrandas could say before the blade slid out of her chest, and in one, clean motion, her head was severed from her neck. It tumbled to the ground, and her body collapsed near you, spasming for a second before becoming still.
You just stared as Blake wiped off the blade and nodded towards you. No words were needed, and he helps pick you up from the ground. You nod your head towards Hala and Blake heads over, looking at her wounds.
“I think she’ll live.” He says after a moment, sighing in relief.
“Might be some kind of… Health potion or something here. I dunno.” You say, very, very wearily. You move to find somewhere to sit, to just… Take it all in, when you hear a noise from the hole in the wall, causing Blake and yourself to come to tired attention.
You listen for a moment and… It sounds like crying? Slowly, you both creep forwards towards the wall, and on the other side, you spy the form of Samantha, lying broken in a pile of antique chairs, which were also broken. She was crying miserably, her limbs cracked and splayed in every which direction and it was obvious that had she not been a monster, she would have been dead ages ago, but as it was, she was no threat. She was just a broken woman, with everything taken away from her again.
You look down at your side at the [Wightbane] and see that it is still magically attuned, and you look you Blake who sighs, shaking his head.
“Do what you think is just Wizard.”
You look back to Samantha, gritting your teeth as you put a hand on the knife.
You sigh and draw the knife, slowly walking toward the broken Lich. She barely seems to notice you as she cries, unable to move except in twitches and spasms, and she coughs up blood as you kneel down next to her. She moves her eyes to the side, and you see that she’s looking at the silver chalice, which had been thrown out of her hands when she was thrown.
It was somehow still in one piece, the runes upon it glowing in and out of intensity, as if it’s power was trying to cling to life. You see her expression grow desperate as you approach, and you crouch down onto your haunches, staring at her.
“N…no. P…please.” She mewls pitifully. “I…I can…grah… I can give you anything just… Oh gods he’s dead..” She starts to mumble incoherently, and you sigh, rubbing your head.
Samantha freezes up, staring at you with wide, tear filled eyes, a look of pure horror on her face as she whispered, “I don’t… I never meant to.”
“Yes, you did. There’s no hope for you now, this is your last chance, so why?”
Tears stream from her face as she wailed, “I didn’t want this! I never wanted to become a…a…”
“Monster.” You finished for her.
She chokes up and then squeezes her eyes closed. “Yes…yes I see it now. But I wanted to punish her so badly that I… Grah, nrgh, I just would do anything, and and…” She starts to laugh as she sobbed, “I raised an army of the dead. Dear gods, I turned our ancestors into monsters as well. Hahaha, oh what have I done?”
She looks to you, eyes pleading. “Please, let me go, let me change what I’ve done, please, please, I won’t do it ever again, just let me go, let me go, please?”
You look up and take a deep breath before saying, “You know I can’t.”
Samantha began to weep furiously again, and it broke your heart to hear her pitiful protests. But you have to do it, for the sake of everyone in this town and everything she’s ever done, this was JUSTICE. You take a deep breath and gulp, then steady the blade in your shaking hands. She stares up at you, pleading. “Don’t…”
And then you plunge the [wightbane] into her heart.
Samantha’s back spasms and her mouth opens in a soundless scream, her eyes fluttering open wide as tendrils of blackness shoot through her veins, her eyes turn into black orbs which melt as the rest of her body, into a pile of disgusting filth, destroying her utterly in mere moments.
You don’t know how long you sat there, hand clenched on the knife before You finally realized Blake was shaking you, saying, “Wizard, wizard! It’s over.”
You blink and look at him slowly, then back to the knife before slowly withdrawing it, your knuckles white from holding it so hard. Gently, Blake took the knife from you, one finger at a time, and you staggered over to the wall, steadying yourself as your emotions roiled around in your head.
Blake picked up the chalice and turned it over in his hands. “Phylactery. We’ll have to destroy this to put her down for good.”
You felt sick to your stomach. “Just do it.” You choke out and Blake nods, setting the chalice to the ground. You hear a sickening crunch behind you and you turn to see Blake having smashed the object into itself, and proceding to tear it apart otherwise. The runes glowed fiercely for a moment, then winked out, and did not return. In that instant, it felt as if a great blast of fresh air washed over you, and you staggered back, blinking. It felt like… Like all the malice and pain you had felt before was just… Gone?
With shaky hands you pull out the compass and it doesn’t really point at anything at all, the finger bone just drifting lazily in the device. You chuckle. Well shit, it finally was over you guessed, if the source of power for the wights was gone, then they’d probably just become corpses again. True, they’d be human corpses in the middle of a forest of monsters, but you had the feeling that was nothing new for that particular place.
You sigh as Bubs crawls up your robes and paws at your face.
“You gunna be okay Big Guy?”
“Yeah.. Just… Just give me a minute.”
“Sure.” He scurries into your pocket after that, giving you time to rest and think things over.
Dimly, you heard Blake picking up Hala and he called to you, “Wizard, we should be off before the Butler raises trouble about this. I do not envy her traveling in her condition, but we can’t stay here.”
“Ah, but to the do contrary, I think you can.”
You both look up at the entrance to the lab and see the Butler, holding a rather large crossbow in his arms, pointed directly at Blake.
“You will stay where you are until I hear further word from the mayor.”
You sigh and point to Devore’s corpse. “He’s right over there if you want to ask him anything.”
The man’s eyes grew wide and he lowers the crossbow. “Dear gods no, I’ve failed another one… But… But I can’t fail the mayor! I can’t! Not again! What will I do, oh what will I do…”
Blake grits his teeth and fishes out the sigil of the Order from under his armor. “You want a mayor to serve? Fine, by the authority of the Order of the Heroic Brotherhood, I enact authority 66, the right of a Hero to temporarily be given command in an emergency situation where there is a power vacuum.”
The butler stared, mouth agape as she stuttered. “B…but no one’s used that authority in 486 years!”
“Indeed, but I was not aware that the authorities were voided?”
The man dropped the crossbow to the ground. “No, no of course not! My lord, how shall I serve you?”
Blake sighed and shrugged Hala. “First things first, help me get her to a bed and get her some medical care.”
“Of course, of course!” He hurries over and stops midway, staring at Chakrandas’s corpse.
“Is that the former…?”
“Less talking, more helping.”
He quickly jumped up and helped carry the unconscious wolf girl away, leaving you alone in the basement with your rat and three corpses. You felt bone fucking tired and the thought of a pint of ale and a good nights sleep sounded amazing, but was there anything you needed to do now? Surely it could wait until morning when you were more focused and on top of your game, but hey,
You rub at your eyes, then take in a deep breath and push yourself off the wall. Alright, you can rest later, let’s see what we have in this damn lab so we can forget about it later. You scan around your immediate area, seeing again what was left of Sam’s corpse and many, many antique chairs. Well, a fair amount of antique chairs and a multitude of splinters anyway. Beyond that, not much of value.
Your wizardly bones a-creaking, you crawl out from the hole in the wall to survey the lab proper. Yeah, it was a dingy place before, but holy hell, it was a straight up battlefield now. Various fluids covered the floor in its entirety and the corpses of the mayor and Chaika, which you felt was an okay name to use at this time, fuck everything, were being slowly coated in blood, feces, and a host of other, foul smelling things. Good thing wizards can’t smell well. Or maybe you were too tired to smell, whatever, you aren’t your real dad.
Pushing aside a strange mental dialogue, you start this methodically. First thing’s first, the chest. It was empty. That was easy. Second thing’s second, Chaika’s corner, which was covered in filth and paintings of herself. Also useless. Okay, great, you’re doing good here. Now the rest of the lab…
It was set up with a long row of shelves and cabinets along the outside, with a chest high counter space, covered in the jars and specimens you noticed before. In the center of the room ran some long tables, which were all knocked over, scorched, frozen, etc etc. It was an unholy mess, but what were you going to do, clean it up? You are a wizard! Not some kind of… Magical… Janitor.
Okay, you were just delaying things now, so you set off to first scan the jars for anything of value, and also come up short. You really didn’t need a human heart at the moment, you had one and you broke it already, and the multiple other organs and fluids seemed rather mundane at best even when they were in containers. Next thing was to start going through drawers. Mainly you found standard implements of lab work, some random materials that might have had alchemical uses, but generally you didnt know what they were and didn’t care to find out, and a few notepads, which might have been quite useful.
Scanning the notes, you see some of the thought process of Samantha as she tried to create the wights, which began very hasty and insane, but abruptly became incredible cold and logical at one point. Have to give her props, she did this by the books, very thorough. It was honestly quite useless now, as it used Chaika’s blood as a focal point, and with her dead, it was mainly useless, but you took the notes anyway, even the ones from before she became a Lich.
>[Samantha’s Lab notes] obtained
>Insert Resident Evil music.
With that done, you start looking at the cabinets and find some big money stuff. There’s some books around there, a few on basic alchemical theory, easy stuff, one on the philosophy of the undead, which looked barely used, and a bloodstained, obviously used often book titled, “Field Medicine Magic.”
You take the book from the cabinet and turn it over in your hands, opening it up. Half the pages were covered in smeared blood, as if Samantha had quickly needed to pick it up and flip to pages during her studies, and you can easily find the pages she went to frequently, because the pages were almost illegible with smears. Looks like keeping Chaika alive was difficult at times apparently. You take interest at a page labeled, “Laceration litanies” and scan a few spells there used to treat close wounds. Might see about helping Hala later with this or something.
>”Field Medicine Magic” obtained!
>Some of this blood is obviously only days old.
For now, you casually open a cabinet to the left of the one you’re currently looking at and see row after row of vials filled with white liquid. Oh good, the apparent non-monster had a stockpile of semen, how charming. You notice at the bottom though that there’s a book lying next to some red potions, and you pick it up, scanning the title. It said, “Potions, brews, and elixirs.” Hell that sounds amazing, let’s totally start… Waiiiiiiit. You open the book and look at a recipe.
Semen as the base.
Next page, also semen as the base, and the next one, and the next one. Fucking monsters and their semen based magic. You notice a tab in the book and open it up to see a picture and description of a health potion, and realize that’s what you have stockpiled here. There’s three sitting there and you sigh, scooping them up, shivering as you realize one still feels kind of warm. You leave the book where it is for now. If you really have a change of heart, fine, but seriously, it’s kind of sticky. Ugh.
>Three [Health potions] obtained!
>They’re high in protein!
You put all your ill gotten gains on the counter and keep searching, but find nothing else of value. If Chaika had anything down here, Samantha had destroyed it or did something else with it, and you were way too tired to hunting it down. You considered grabbing the other books here, but were way too tired. You could do it later if you really felt like it, and so you scooped up the books and potions, put some in your pockets and made to trudge away when you heard a mental, “That all Big Guy?”
“I think so, can’t say I saw much else.”
“Yeah, guess not.” He pauses for a moment. “That’s some real shit went on down there, huh?”
“Tell me about it.”
“Yeah… You know, despite being in mortal peril all the time, I just…” Bubs pauses, trying to mentally gather his words. “Just wanted to say thanks for making me more than a filth chewing rodent.”
You pause and look down in your pocket, and you sort of… Choke up. You lick your lips and look up, taking a deep breath, trying to keep everything in check as you mentally croak, “Yeah… Yeah me too little guy.” You smile as you continue, “You do still eat filth though.”
“I’m only rat. Unless you could make me some kind of dire rat, I’ve always sort of wanted to terrorize dogs.”
“We’ll see little guy, we’ll see.”
With that, you trudge back upstairs, scanning the other rooms briefly. There were no magical signatures that you saw in the rooms, just paintings and… Chairs. Seriously, why so many chairs? It… You know what, it wasn’t important. You just make it back upstairs, and see the Butler walk by the study, pausing as he catches you.
“Ah, master sorcerer…”
“Yes, yes of course. Master Wizard, by the acting mayor’s request, I have begun transfer of your possessions to the manor house from the inn as well as taken the liberty to prepare a room for you this evening. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
You close your eyes and sigh. Gods, a room in a manor house had to have an amazing bed. Ugghhhh, but first you needed to check up on Blake and Hala you guessed. Damn you nice wizard. Who just killed two people. You… You were probably going to have difficulty sleeping now, huh.
“Show me where Bla… The acting mayor is with Hala.”
He bows deeply and you follow him to a large staircase which brings up to a set of double doors, obviously the master bedroom. He bows to you and nod your head when you think of something.
“Do you think you can bring me a pint of some ale?”
“Of course, of course, I have just the brew.”
“Great… Ah, and sorry for the indigestion earlier.”
He blinks at you, then closes his eyes in a pained gesture. “Perhaps it had to be done… For her sake…” He whispers before perking up and bowing again, dashing off a little too quickly. Eh, good man, just had some strange convictions you guessed.
You slowly open the door and see a large, well furnished bedroom, with multiple hand carved wooden dressers, chests, and other items, all centered around a large, four posted bed. Hala was under the covers, her eyes closed, while Blake sat on a very fancy upholstered chair, one of 7 in the room (seriously, who needs that many chairs?) holding her hand. He looks up and nods when you enter and holds a finger to his lips, asking you to be silent. You nod wearily and shuffle towards him, looking at the sleeping wolfgirl.
She was obviously naked under the sheets, her armor held off in the corner, and she squirmed restlessly as Blake held her hand. Despite being a monster who killed and ate other monsters on a forest of doom, in this position she looked almost like the young woman she was, vulnerable and delicate, and you really did wonder how much different they truly were from us. Visions of fire and corpses filled your head and you pressed a hand to your temple, massaging the pain. Yeah, looks like getting rest was going to be more difficult than you thought.
Blake whispered to you, “Find anything?”
You nod, “Yeah, a few books of interest, and some more health potions”, you say as you pull one out. “Should help her recover well. I can do some scans later, see how she’s feeling.”
Blake nods gratefully as he considers the potion, then takes the stopper off and and pours the viscous, ugh, potion into her mouth. Hala seems to stir immediately and she looks far more relaxed to you, her face no longer wracked in pain. A moment later her eyes flutter open and she looks up at the two of you.
“Did we get them?”
You can help but smile as Blake squeezes her hand. “Yeah, we got them.”
Hala smirks and lays her head back, her paw tightening on Blake’s hand. “Serves the bitch right. At least my pack can rest easy now.”
“Of course. Now then, time to get some sleep, your body needs it despite the potion our wizard found.” Says Blake as he stands up, but Hala holds fast to his hand, giving Blake puppy dog eyes.
“Would you…mind staying with me?”
Blake blinks and flushes a little before nodding at her slowly. “Of course.”
She smiles back at him and you just… Just walk away. You’re too tired to even sigh, and you leave the two beaming at each other, closing the door quietly behind you. Gods damnit, and you felt like there was a tender moment there and became… Romantic or something. Just. Come on.
You look around wearily and see some other rooms down the hall and trudge towards them, and find that the closest one had a small, but freshly made bed and a table with a tall mug of frothy liquid. You practically slump into one of the five, seriously, there were five, chairs and smell the liquid. Pure, amber bliss, and you take a swig, the rich hoppy flavors coursing through you. Gods damn that Butler knew what you wanted better than you did.
Out of the corner of your eye you see something and notice that it’s your [sack of holding +1] and you dump your new items into it before savoring the rest of your ale. As the laps drop flows down your gullet, you shrug out of your robes with massive effort, and then fall into the bed, who’s softness was on par with anything you’ve ever felt. Despite the tide of emotions and memories now starting to vy for control of your mind, your eyes drift closed, and you had a thought that something was missing from this picture.
>You gained level 6!
Ah, there it was. Then blackness took you.
“Master Wizard?” You hear and you slowly open your eyes to a sunlit room, blearily looking about to see the butler standing at the foot of your bed. “I apologize for waking you, but your companions wished to speak with you at your earliest convenience. The acting mayor seems as if he wished to journey forth soon after implementing a new political structure.”
Good for Blake, what a go-getter. As for you however, you shift under the covers and consider if you should just go back to bed. Mmm. Soft.
While you really just wanted to go back to sleep, there was still shit to do and if Blake was going to upset the entire political structure of the town, you better be there to make certain he doesn’t get like, egg’d. Or shot.
Or shot with eggs.
Regardless, you nod to the butler and yawn, “I’ll be there soon, just… Let me freshen up abit.”
He bows, “Very good sir, the acting mayor and mistress Hala are in the dinning hall.”
Stretch and pull back the covers as he leaves and you set about putting your kit back together. You could feel Bubs stirring from his place under the covers on the other side from where you slept, and it was amusing to watch the little lump scurry to the edge and pop a small rat nose out before scurrying out.
“Morning Big guy, where’s my snacks?”
“You’ll get them when our stuff is delivered.”
“Bah.” He mentally sends before skittering down the bed and up your leg, then into your pocket. He pokes his head out sniffs and you give him pats before slapping your cheeks and heading downstairs.
You reflect upon how different this place feels as you descend the staircase. Maybe it was because Samantha was dead-er, or maybe it was because you just weren’t in mortal peril, but the overwhelming sense of darkness was just… Gone. Sure, you could still feel the years of malice and pain sunk into the very foundation, but overall, it was quieter, calm, soothing, as if a great beast could once again rest.
Gliding down the stairs, you notice that the paintings have been uncovered and some new ones from downstairs were once again hanging. Where the butler found time for this, you had no idea, but all thoughts about anything left your mind as you smelled the heavenly aroma of cooked meats and fresh bread, and you practically ran into the dining hall, eyes wide at the spread of breakfast foods in front of you. Did you mention that breakfast foods were you favorite? No? Well. They were.
As you slide into the room, Blake looks up at you, a piece of steak cut perfectly upon a fork while Hala was crouched up in a chair, a hunk of ham hanging out of her mouth. You notice she’s wearing some kind of shift or something, looted from Samantha’s wardrobe, however it was obviously too small for Hala, so it was rather snug on her frame.
“Heysh wishar! Morng!” She tries to say with a full mouth. She obviously was feeling much better after last night, and she practically seemed to glow to you as she chewed upon the meat with a happy expression. You did a <fast scan> and noted that there was no trace of her humours being displaced at all, which either meant that she was really good at healing, or that potion did wonders. Maybe if it wasn’t made of… Ugh, anyway, Blake and Hala could have as muuuuch as they wanted.
As you took a seat Blake nodded to you. “Good morning Wizard, I trust you slept well?”
“Like a stone.” You start to shovel food onto a plate, piling it high. “How about yourself?”
Blake coughed and you looked up to see him and Hala exchange little glances before looking away from each other, Hala blushing some while Blake stuttered a little. “F..fine. Made sure Hala recovered well.”
“Yush!” Hala said, still chewing, although she looked down, her face growing more red.
You look between the two and sigh, shaking your head. Well maybe she wouldn’t be after your junk anymore, which was great! And she could keep her head! Also okay you guessed.
As that thought passed your mind, you wondered why you hadn’t seen Selene last night. Your room had a window and no one but Bubs was there, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to at least leave you a little present. But there was nothing. Nada. Zilch. How odd…. You ponder this fact until you take the first bite of eggs and just melt. Gods, this butler was not paid enough because he was obviously a culinary genius as well as an immaculate server, seeing as there was no one else in the house. You briefly wondered if he was some kind of freakish superhuman, but that would be silly.
As you chewed in bliss, the butler raped upon the door and announced, “Mayor, your items and horses have been delivered. Is there aught else I can do for you?”
Blake wiped his mouth and put down this fork. “Ah, excellent. Yes, please summon the townsfolk in the square at noon, and please wear your finest clothing.”
The butler looked at him confused, and then bowed again. “Of course. It shall be done.”
He left after that, leaving you staring at Blake questioningly. He shrugged and went to pick up his items, looking them over. You notice he had he sword close at hand, but he also had that antique shield in the corner too. Interesting.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing too major. Just one last piece of business.” Blake said, picking up your items and handing them to you.
You take the [pocket dimension] gratefully and Bubs starts squirming in your pocket, making little laps around. You roll your eyes in good nature and pull out three heated bread pouches, and place them on a plate, then set it out for Bubs, who leaps out and tears into them hungrily. Such a good little guy.
“Seriously, where do you keep getting those?” Asks Hala, who has finished her current chunk of meat.
“It’s magic, I don’t have to explain shit.” You say, making sure all your items were accounted for. Yep all there, great.
“Uh huh.” Hala said, choosing another piece of ham and sniffing it before taking a big bite, and closing her eyes in delight as she started to worry at it.
“Sosh, whas upsh afta thish?”
Blake raised an eyebrow. “Manners, Hala. We talked about it.”
She lowers the piece from her mouth and pouts. “Hmmph. You humans and your ‘manners.'”
“Many monsters respect proper etiquette also.”
“Thash right.” You say, chewing openly.
Blake gives you a flat look and you smirk at him. “Yes… Well, as for that’s next, after this business is sorted out, we make for the capital. It’s maybe a five day trip via wagon.”
You groan. “Five days? Come on, that’s like, 8 rape attempts or something.”
Hala blinks at you and Blake sighs deeply. You look back and forth between them and shrug.
“Well, I’m just going off prior experience. Just want to get my glass in one piece, you hear?”
“Of course, as you’ve said before.” Blake says, looking a little skeptical. Jackass. “Once we arrive, we’ll set up with the order, get you your glass and see about getting you home in one piece.”
“Good!” You say, smiling.
“However! I believe you will wish to speak with the Commandant before we can requisition anything.”
You groan and lean forward on the table. “Great….”
The rest of breakfast was uneventful, and you were left with a few hours until everything was set up for the town meeting. Bubs was out cold, so anything you wanted to do with him was… Going to have to wait. As you browsed the main library, which was fairly boring and not useful, you remember something pretty important. Your beard! Ahhhh!
Sadly, you could not restore it’s full beauty, but with your kit, you managed to make some semblance of wizardly charm. Short cut was in vogue last you checked anyway. But now you remember something else very important.
You left the corpse of a very powerful magical being downstairs. One which you could probably use in enchantments. Riggghhht. You go to… Remedy that situation.
The secret doorway was never closed since last night, and you descend it once more, this time by the light of your staff, and you feel that ominous presence magnify again. There simply wasn’t enough time to dissipate everything from this place yet, and you shivered as you walked down the dank stone tunnels. You pause when you hear the noise, and you strain to listen, a little afraid of what you’d hear, but you blink in surprise when you realize it’s the butler, singing.
“In the meadow, in the stream
Where we all go to dream
We floated by in our heart
That the pain would never start
But we know loss is true
How I wish it was not you
But we know it must be
Time for you, time for me.”
You slowly enter the room and he stops singing, looking over his shoulder, some tears in his eyes. He’s obviously worked pretty hard on this while everyone else was sleeping, in addition to everything else he was doing, because half the lab looked downright orderly. He was mopping at this point, and you could see that in the corner were three large, wooden caskets.
The butler catches your gaze and smiles wearily. “Haven’t been able to get them upstairs on my own. Not as spry as I used to be.” He stretches and leans on the mop. “I always knew there were the tunnels here, of course, but it never knew that lady Devore had… Done this.” He shakes his head. “I had failed lady Chakrandas and lady Samantha. Perhaps both at the same time… And now, here they are. What a world.”
You are like, really out of your element here. “Uh… Yeah uhm. Look, uh, hey what is your name again?”
“Right, Frederick, I don’t mean to sound well… Harsh, but uhm, you do know that both of them were murderous, genocidal monsters, in both the literal and figurative sense.”
“Of course. I knew, but it was not my place to question. Maybe that was where I went wrong, but you must understand Wizard, sometimes you must accept the duties of your position. Perhaps in this case, it was not the best decision, but it was the one I made, for I swore my life to serve the mayor.” He shakes his head again. “Maybe I’ll do better the next time.”
“Uhm. Wow.” Yeeesh, look you just wanted to go grave robbing, but now you feel really, really bad. You can’t do this with him in the room, oh gosh.
“Can.. Can you stand outside for a moment?”
He looks at you curiously, and shrugs into a bow, before walking outside into another tunnel. When he’s gone, you quickly scurry to Chakrandas’s casket and open it up, to find a dead snake lady. You honestly didn’t know what you’d expected otherwise.
Her head was sown back onto her body and she looked almost peaceful there in her coffin, her pain finally ended. You take a deep breath and exhale slowly before moving to her and pausing. Ehhhhh he’ll figure this out if you snap a finger, but the tail… You look at it, and it looked ratty as ever. Surely she wouldn’t miss the end of it, right? Taking the [wightbane] you slice off the last vertebrate of her tail, which is admittedly huge, and shove the chunk of tail into your [sac of holding +1].
Looking over your shoulder, you close the coffin and strut out, tying to act as casually as you can. The butler looks at you curiously but doesn’t say anything as you skedaddle the fuck out of there. He’s such a nice guy, now you feel bad. But hey,
>You obtain [Lamia tail]
>you’ll just put it right next to this rotting human hand…
>You lose [rotting human hand]
>Good luck finding it in the sea of chairs.
Okay, now that that was over, you head back upstairs and do some studying of the lab notes from Samantha. It’s dark stuff, and you’re not certain you’d ever want to work this stuff, but you gain an interesting insight into human anatomy and how it reacts to magic. True, much of this writing spoke about the power of Chakrandas’s blood and how it formed a collateral matrix with the aetherical environment making a Sarkovian interlace, blah blah blah. Obviously it was the Lich talking at that point, and you sighed as you really understand the depths of her hatred and insanity.
As you leaned back in one of the study’s many, many chairs, The butler emerges, covered in blood and other secretions, and nods to you. “Wizard, I do believe it is time for the meeting. If you’ll excuse me, I must change.”
“How… Could you know that down there?”
He smiles and just walks away. Seriously, this guy was crazy good or something, wow. As you watch him leave, you stretch and go find Blake who is polishing his armor.
“Time to go I take it?” He says, finishing up his breastplate.
“Aye.” He nods at that and stands, putting on his gear.
“Let’s get this over with. Hala?”
You notice her in the corner, pouting as she messed with her leather armor. “Stupid.., itchy armor.”
Blake taps her on the head and you all leave together when the butler arrives, and reach the town square at high noon. There, just about every human in town and the outer farms is packed around, in their nicest clothes, while the monsters stand out in the periphery, if they are present at all. When they see your party walk up, a tide of hushed whispers goes through the crowd, until Blake holds up a hand for silence.
When everyone quiets down, he looks about, and projects his voice out, clearly heard even in the back.
“Mayor and Devore and his wife are dead.”
The crowd erupted into screams and yells of outrage and terror, when Blake held up his hand again and shouted for order. Obviously he wasn’t thinking this over too well, because that really isn’t what you start out with saying, and you sigh, walking up next to Blake and slamming your staff down, creating a column of fire that shoots into the air, silencing everyone. You step back and Blake coughs into his hand.
“Thank you. Now, I know you are obviously shocked to hear this news, but if was discovered that lady Samantha was not who she appeared to be. She was, I am afraid to say, a Lich. She had become a monster of pure hatred who had kept the former ruler of this town imprisoned, but alive, under the manor.”
At this, the monsters in the back began to yell furiously, and the people in front turned about to yell back, and you could feel tension in the air rising. You give Blake a “seriously man?” Look and fire off more fire, when Hala gives a deep, resonant howl that seems to drive even the monsters to silence.
“Hey, shut the fuck up. Turns out she was the bitch who sent the damn midnight walkers into the forest to kill us. But she’s gone now, so maybe you could stay quiet for a damn moment and let the man talk?”
Everyone stayed quiet at that and sighed before continuing. “Yes… That is true. As a hero of the Order of the heroic brotherhood, it was my duty to slay her.”
Well, you slew her, but whatever.
“And as a Hero, acting under the terms set upon all provinces under the Kingdom, it is my right to act as acting mayor in situations were order is clearly needed.” He takes a deep breath and seems to focus.
“This town has had much and more in the way of abuse over the years. From they tyrannical Chakrandas, to the Genocidal Lady Devore, human and monster have suffered. But I know this town used to be a place of harmony and trust between the peoples of the forest and the town, and I know that it can be again. You towards each other, do you truly hate one another?”
The people and monsters gave each other uneasy looks as Blake continued. “This will take time to heal, trust is something that cannot be mended overnight, but is living in fear of the night, or punishing others with nothing but pained memories as guidance truly what you wish to do? Look into your hearts, I know that all of you can once more live in harmony,”
Even the monsters seemed placated at this, and they shifted uneasily as the humans nearest them seemed abashed.
“To facilitate this process, I am using my authorization to elect a new mayor, one who has worked with both humans and monsters, and knows more about the laws of the land and it’s people than anyone.”
He waves a hand to Frederick, who walks up nervously.
“You all know Frederick, the mayor’s aide? Well, meet your new mayor.”
Frederick looked at Blake incredulously and he started to fumble at words when the crowd suddenly erupted in cheers. Even Blake looked stunned as people seemed elated at the news, and Frederick started to tear up a little, wiping his eyes.
“Thank you everyone, I promise, I will not fail you. Ever!”
Another round of cheers went up, drowning out all other noise.
A few hours later, you finish loading up the wagon, and step on board next to Hala who is admiring the covered canvas of the wagon, prodding it with her finger.
“Are you certain you cannot stay?” Asks Mayor Sal, as Blake finishes hitching up the horses.
“Afraid not, we have to make for the capital. Besides, I think things are in good hands.”
The new mayor smiles and nods his head. “Certainly. Though it was perhaps not on the best of terms, I am glad that you came here, and helped put everything at ease. Safe travels.”
Blake hops up on the driver’s seat and waves to the mayor as he slaps the reins, and Mr. Ed, who got his carrots, and Blake’s horse, who also got carrots, pulled forward. As your cart trundled down the grassland path, you looked back upon the town and wondered if everything would be alright. Eh, not your concern, you wouldn’t be back there anyway, so whatever.
You lean back in the wagon and and Bubs crawls out to sit on your chest as you ponder the late afternoon sky. Well you had plenty of time to do… Whatever honestly. Since you weren’t riding, you totally had free time. It was good feeling and you took a deep breath, hoping things could last like this the whole trip.
You feel Bubs shift in your lap. “Hey big guy, you know that she’s watching us, right?”
“The super strong, psychotic cat lady. I can feel her following us pretty closely. Guess we can expect a visit later, huh?”
Oh. Of course she was, and she wasn’t even trying to hide it. You had time now, but it was going to be a loooong night.