Serafina Anduril and Sani Nodin spent many hours in Kuskarosa formulating their plan for Fey’oth. Marine would scout the city. Torvin would set a meeting with Shykelith. They would try to determine the best way into the cave from there.
In a couple of days, Reikasha was ready with Leopa’s Tear and they set sail. The journey was an anxious two and a half weeks. Torvin navigated the ship around the city and up a river, giving them an opportunity to use a back entrance to the city.
While walking through the forested foothills, they discovered that they were being watched. Sani pursued one of the men. He captured the wild Drekar and returned to the party to discover Serafina had spoken to one and knew their leader. These were the Twisted Men led by Goruug. They were granted an audience.
On the way to his camp, the heroes noticed there were many small encampments, leaving no footprints and keeping a small profile. Thousands were nearby.
Goruug had had a vision of opportunity. He knew to there would be chaos in the spring in Fey’oth but not how or why. Seeing Serafina again answered his questions. Serafina asked if he and the Twisted Men would act as a distraction in the city while they snuck into Kalloruth’s cave to kill her. Goruug would help if they allowed him to keep Fey’oth as a home for him and his people. Serafina was apprehensive about this, not wanting innocent people to die or for two cultures to clash.
Sani saw an opportunity. He proposed giving Goruug and his people a new home that was theirs alone to live in, thrive in, and protect. He talked about a wondrous garden full of life far away from enemies. Goruug was intrigued and agreed. A new home sounded better than the struggle to take an old one.
The deal was set and details were discussed. Goruug’s army would cause a disturbance at the rear gate when they saw the signal, a cave-in at Kalloruth’s lair. Only a half dozen of his men would need to be snuck in to open the gate for the rest. As they left Goruug’s camp, Serafina looked at Sani and said, “hey look, we have another army,” with a smile on her face.
Torvin snuck the band of six (Serafina, Sani, Reikasha, Marine, Arianna, and Adlei) into Fey’oth by hiding them in a cart and bribing guards. He put them up in his friend’s barn and left to contact Shykelith. Marine scouted all night. Adlei was anxious, nervous, and ready to go. He had to be talked down before he did something brash.
Torvin returned the next morning, confirming he could sneak more men into the gate. He seemed concerned, however. Serafina assured him that the Twisted Men were not going to remain in the city and he and his “friend” would be as far away from tragedy as possible. They would be sailing the ship around to the port. They also paid Torvin a great amount for all of the smuggling (and a little extra in case things went sideways). There was a meet set with Laradyth later that night.
The remainder of the day was spent agonizing over the meeting with Laradyth. It was worrisome that they could not meet with Shykelith. Was it a trap? Would their cover be blown? Should they split up and try to find proof in documents?
It was agreed that they would stay together and play it by ear, ready for a trap. That evening the tavern had one barkeep who served them and left. The place was locked and empty, with the exception of one figure, Laradyth. He was already drunk by the time they arrived.
Serafina demanded to know what happened. Laradyth explained that Akelecth found out that Elrathia King had been withholding information from both Kalloruth and Aristos Dar’Vol. The order was given to kill the humans and assemble an army to ready for war. Zheiserayth made a deal with a demon in Aesteryl, Caborus the “demon lord” to attack. Shykelith opposed this and even fought her siblings over it. She was detained and brought home to be punished. This was three months ago and he had not seen her since.
It seemed as if there was a tear in the bond between the FimmDrekar and Serafina saw an opportunity. They discussed their plan with Laradyth, asking if any of the others would help, considering what was being done to their sister. He said they would stop the humans at any cost. They settled on a lesser plan. Laradyth would help them into the mountain in exchange for their help releasing Shykelith. From there, they would all go their separate ways. If they ran into each other again, then they might be enemies.
They made their way into the mountain and down the tunnels toward the dungeon. Four mages and a torturer worked on Shykelith all hours of the day. In a matter of seconds, the four mages were dead and a weak Shykelith, barely able to stand, was dismembering the torturer one limb at a time.
Shykelith asked where the others were. Serafina told her that they had not come. Both friends apologized to each other for the trouble they were in and hugged. Then Laradyth helped his sister away and the others moved on.
They snuck into position. Marine in the back with Naiora watching over her, ready to stop any guards from entering. Adlei sneaking to the front to cave in the window and signal Goruug. Reikasha and the Tear of Leopa, ready to cast a spell to weaken Kalloruth. Arianna, Sani, and Serafina, ready to face death once more and attack the drake head-on.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye. The sound of the collapse woke Kalloruth, who immediately locked on to Reikasha. Sani used vines to tie Arianna to Kalloruth’s back, where she remained for minutes, hacking away. Serafina channeled ether-fire through her necklace at Kalloruth time and time again, distracting her from attacking Reikasha. When Reikasha or Adlei were in danger, Sani would swoop in and stab at Kalloruth or carry them off just before a giant claw hit. Marine and Naiora were kept busy at the back doors as Adlei had momentarily forgotten to block two of them. Every ball of ether that burned the monster came with an insult to her ego.
“You are not a god.”
“I have seen real gods.”
“I have killed real gods.”
“You are nothing.”
Each blow was returned and Serafina’s bracer wore off. After a few hits and catching some dragon’s breath, Serafina was unprotected. She was being smashed repeatedly into the shards of glass beneath her. But she was successful in blinding Kalloruth by rage and distracting her from the others. Sani and Arianna were able to chip away at her.
One by one, Kalloruth’s limbs failed her and she gave way to ether fire. She let out a great death scream, a cracking was heard, she collapsed and there was quiet.
Part of the cave fell off the mountain. Everyone tried to jump to the safe side but Adlei slippped. Sani swung in on a vine and caught him. Reikasha used the Tear of Leopa to finish gathering Kalloruth’s power and they absconded to the bay. No one believed that they had all lived through the fight.
The city was on fire. There was fighting and rioting. The chaos that Goruug had foreseen had come to be. No one noticed them slip away to the docks. At least, that’s what they thought until dawn came and they saw three figures walking straight toward the shack they were hiding in.
Serafina and Sani walked outside to meet them face to face. Arianna remained inside to keep Adlei calm and Marine hidden. Zheiserayth, Garceroth, and Akelecth stood before them. Only Zheiserayth spoke. Serafina corrected him on all counts. It was Kalloruth and the Fimm Drekar that started this. There would be no war. If they pursued, then humans would fight back and win. Finally, they had one opportunity to walk away from this. As things got heated, Laradyth and Shykelith walked up behind their siblings. They had more words and threats. Zheiserayth was convinced to walk away.
Shykelith and Serafina said goodbye. Serafina tried to console her when she said they had no guiding star. She told Shykelith that it might be better for their people to be free of a tyrannous ruler and that they could find a better way. She thought the Fimm Drekar were able to rule fairly themselves.
The ship arrived. The Twisted Men retreated. The fires were put out and riots died down.
One Last Thing…
The ship returned to the river and dropped the heroes (or villains) off with Goruug, Torvin and his “friend” sailed safely away, ready to profit on the chaos. They stole some horses and traveled deep into the desert.
Once they thought they were isolated enough, Sani planted the Garden Heart. Serafina gave him some dirt that she had taken from the Lluaran forest near the Great Heart Tree. Within minutes a great, wild forest was thriving. A river ran through miles of trees.
Goruug saw this as a miracle. He thanked Sani for their new home and promised to honor this gift. Sani said that eventually some Lluaran would come to care for it as well and Goruug said they were welcome.
They saw the Gardener as they were leaving and he commended Sani for accomplishing his task.
Need a Lift?
Weeks later they were outside Fey’oth again. The city looked to be in recovery. Serafina had a secret meeting with Shykelith to check on everything. They would rebuild. There was some political struggle with the grand mayor (title?) but it would be resolved. The two friends expressed a wish that they would see each other again some day and under better circumstances. They hugged and Serafina left.
Months passed peacefully (unless you were Sani, who never got his sea legs). As they rounded the peninsula, Serafina looked at the bay that she hoped would some day be a human city. There was a man there. Building something. It was Belaric!
Without a thought, Serafina leaped off the ship and swam to shore. Belaric embraced her and told her that the council had approved the city, in his charge, and he came down early to start work on their new home.
Once back in Voltierra, Sani gave four horses to Seripathia to make amends for his mistake. He began making plans for his many new goals. Merchant Guild. East meets West Lluaran. Human-Lluaran cultural exchange. Overseeing the Garden.
High Lord Diedik and Atterick came to a mutual non-aggression. Anna and Azuldur found mutual respect (Anna had a new sword and Azuldur a new scar). Anna would be chief of the Daughters of Calidar in a year or two. Luke Cythson went on an adventure with Seripathia. Xerus was keeping a close eye on his brother, Risis, and had agreed to help Cadimus. Aristos Dar’Vol was in Aesteryl by himself. Bruinen was healing Chaemlin. Reikasha had safely dissolved the power that Kalloruth had stolen. Marine had awakened after the Kalloruth fight.
Serafina and Belaric married. They moved to Viettawyn to help settle and build the foundation for the city. Serafina was a major part of the political restructuring of both Voltierra and Viettawyn. Krolovik the Bound remained king and Belaric Stathera took the title of Grand Duke of Viettawyn.