It’s story time! I hope some people are actually enjoying this. But even if no one actually is I enjoyed writing it. So that counts right?
Anyway here is the finale of my story with part five!
Sacae’s eyes went wide as she watched from across the square as Aiden’s body fell lifelessly to the ground. She then felt a rough pull on her shoulder as she was pushed back by Liara who charged forward to distract an incoming Paladin. Shaking her head Sacae tried clearing her head, she couldn’t get shocked now or she would meet the same fate as Aiden. But all of these events were new and upsetting to her, she who had spent most of her life sheltered, away from dark events such as these, and now it seemed everything she had been sheltered from was now happening all at once.
Standing up Sacae faced the line of Paladins that bared down on her and Liara as they were pushed towards the wall of one of the buildings walling in the square.
“This isn’t looking good for us…” Liara said her breathing heavy as she readied her sword.
Sacae stepped in front of Liara her eyes determined. “Liara try to rest if you can. I will do what I can.”
Liara looked incredulously at Sacae but anything she was about to say was ignored as Sacae rapped the steel-tipped bottom of her staff on the cobblestones and a glowing rune shone brightly at her feet.
“Gaia ma Avol le Palli!” Sacae cast her words out and for a moment nothing happened but the next moment the cobblestones cracked and the earth erupted upwards taking the form of hunchbacked humanoid like creatures.
“Golems…” Liara said clearly shocked as four of the ten feet tall creatures made a half circle wall in front of her and Sacae.
The Paladins took a step backwards clearly not expecting the reinforcements either and that step backwards proved to be fatal for them as the Golems charged the Paladins flailing their large fists at them bashing their armor and crushing them under foot. Even when the Paladins that survived the initial charge attacked the creatures their swords merely glanced off their stone hides or got stuck in the clay and muck that made up the rest of their skins.
With the help of the Golems they pushed back the Paladins in their section of the square. Nearby soldiers sank to their knees or quickly lied down panting and breathing heavily. Medics quickly made rounds through the soldiers diagnosing those from mortal wounds or who could be bandaged up. Liara sank to her knees as well next to Sacae and chuckled lightly.
“Didn’t think I would have the chance to rest like this…” Liara said with a tinge of sarcasm in her voice.
Sacae forced a smile on her face but it quickly dropped again as she heard a crash across the square and as she whipped her head to the noise she saw one of her golems collapse into a heap of earth and mud. On the other side of the golem Vathar stood over the pile of earth with his cold eyes locked onto Sacae. She could hear behind her the soldiers beginning to lose hope and Liara clicked her tongue next to her as she struggled to her feet.
Turning to Liara all Sacae could do was stay silent as a single tear rolled down Liara’s cheek. She knew why that tear was there. Their situation was becoming more and more hopeless as it carried on. The Paladins were quickly reorganizing and were gaining superiority here in the square, especially with Vathar here, Darian and most of the soldiers could not even be seen anywhere, Mathias, Alistra, and Catherine had not been seen since the Paladin’s initial charge, and friends and allies were dying left and right.
Vathar was walking slowly across the square, his sword dragging slowly along the stones making a scraping sound, the look of pure hatred made his eyes burn even further. He stopped about halfway across the square as his stare bored holes into Sacae. Suddenly a devilish laughter erupted from his lips as he almost bowled over.
“Hah! I didn’t expect that child of a Grand Duke actually had competent allies!” Vathar’s voice even seethed with hate as he yelled across the square, “But… no matter how many allies he has it will make no difference.”
He lifted his sword pointing it at Sacae, “You… mage… shall be my first target before I slaughter those pathetic mongrels behind you.”
Vathar took one step forward but then a horn erupted from the far end of the square from where they all were. Whipping his head around the hatred on his face showing ten times more he stared as a host of soldiers and cavalry pounded into the square catching the organizing Paladins off guard and quickly pushing their way into superiority over the area. Leading a group from the main body of soldiers and cavalry was Darian, with him Alistra and Cathering accompanied by a host of soldiers, came over to where Vathar and his remaining Paladins who had escaped the charge were now in one corner of the square.
Darian wheeled his horse a few yards away from Vathar and his Paladins the look on his face full of smug confidence. He looked down on the Paladin even as he sneered up at him. A smile broke the bearded duke’s face as he finally talked to Vathar, “All right Vathar. It is time to give up. You and your traitorous Paladins are finished.”
Vathar sneered at Darian, “To what? Die by your hand child?” He spat on the ground, “No Darian. We are not finished.”
He pointed his sword to Darian before raising it high in the air. The air froze and frost began flowing from the sword, slicking up the cobblestone street and sticking to the steel armor of his Paladins and the nearby soldiers. His eyes glowed with their eerie light as he cackled loudly over the roar of the blizzard that was emanating from his sword.
“Gh! Someone stop him!” Darian roared over the sound just before his horse bucked him off onto his back as it ran full speed away.
Vathar grinned devilishly, “You’re soul is mine Darian!”
He swung his blade full force into the ground, the earth cracking under the blow, as a column of ice and air erupted in a straight line from the impact towards Darian. Just as it seemed to impact Darian the attack split off in two directions in a V shape. Vathar stood clicking his tongue as he stared through the debris and standing there in front of Darian was Sacae.
“Mage… You have crossed many lines today. I will assure you cross no more.” Vathar’s eyes glared with pure hate as he strode towards Sacae.
Under a silent order it seemed the remaining Paladins also charged the group of soldiers that had formed up around Darian and the others. Even though a battle erupted around them Sacae stared only at Vathar as he slowly crossed the remaining yards to her. He roared as he charged towards her his blade held high.
His first strike thudded dully into the cobblestones as she dodged out of the way but unlike her Vathar was a seasoned fighter and his first attack was followed up by a series of following attacks that she barely was able to dodge or shield herself from with magic. One of his attacks broke through her magic barrier pushing her back some feet away. She slammed her staff into the ground to steady herself as Vathar charged her again.
“Lestre em Vol!” The crystal imbedded into the top of her staff erupted with a bright light as a shockwave pulsed out from her and her staff faltering Vathar’s charge and knocking down nearby soldiers and Paladins alike.
She spun her staff around holding it in both hands, “Gaia ol Invad.” The wood of her staff morphed and warped the color changing from its dull oak brown to an off white hew.
The next moment Vathar who had regained his footing was upon her and struck viciously with a downward strike that she parried with her staff. The impact giving a metallic clang and clearly catching Vathar off guard. Her staff which was simply wood before now gave off a metallic shine clearly having changed into metal.
Sacae grinned, “Raij en Ele.”
The crystal on her staff sparked as sparks of lightning erupted from it travelling down her staff and across the connection of her staff and Vathar’s sword shocking the Paladin as he roared in pain. She danced backwards away from Vathar before spinning her staff in her hands again and striking Vathar soundly in the chest. Another glow from her staff as it contacted with Vathar set off another shockwave that sent him flying across the square.
Vathar cursed and spat as he stood back up he glared with undying hate towards Sacae, “I will kill you, you mage bitch.” He charged again but stopped shortly after starting his charge parrying a sword strike but at the other end of the sword was nothing but air. The sword floated in the air as if someone was holding it but there was no one there. Vathar whipped his head towards Sacae to notice various other weapons rising from the ground and encircling him.
Vathar clicked his tongue as he parried another attack. His eyes glowed and runes that were on his sword glowed with the same eerie blue glow. When he slashed the air with his sword a large blade of ice formed in the air and cut across the square. The blade of ice cut through blade, armor, soldier, and Paladin alike as it sought out its target. Sacae barely had the time to erect her magical barrier to survive the attack even though the blade cut through her barrier after moments it was long enough to halt it until it disappeared.
But the erection of her barrier had distracted her concentration from her spell that held the weapons so when she looked up she was hardly surprised to see Vathar bearing down on her with a wild look in his eyes. His sword rose high into the air about to crash down upon her and there was no way she could avoid the attack as it came crashing down.
As the sword was coming down though Vathar let out a howl of pain, arching backwards and raising his leg up, glaring towards his leg. Sacae followed his glare to see a bloody Aiden let go of a curved dagger that stuck out of a gap between Vathar’s armor as he collapsed back to the ground, a light and forced grin on his face as his life finally left him.
Vathar rose his sword high above him again and prepared to hit the elf when a large body came crashing into him making the sword fly from his hand and skid a few feet away. Vathar tussled with the man punching and biting as he tried to gain control of the situation. Sacae returned to her senses to see it was Garrett who was fighting with Vathar now. A moment later Vathar pushed Garrett off of him and grabbed his blade as he pushed himself up off the ground.
“I’m just as tired of you boy as I am of that damn mage.” Vathar was breathing heavily as he grabbed his sword with both hands.
Garrett though stood there with no sword until Darian pushed his way to the large man and pushed his sword into Garrett’s hand nodding. Garrett nodded back before taking the sword up with both hands and charged Vathar. Sacae just looked on surprised really that just a few moments ago she was fighting that man herself. But even though it seemed Vathar was on his last leg he cackled maniacally as he thrust his sword into the stone street.
A pulse soared through the air and ground seeming to cover at least the entire square.
Another pulse was felt by everyone just as the bodies of the dead began to stir across the square.
A heaving sigh was heard as the dead shambled from across the square. Their glowing blue eyes boring fear into the hearts of the living around them. Enemies, Allies, unfortunate citizens, any and all that were in the square and had died now rose to fight again. All of them faithful servants of the madman in the center of the square. Vathar took his sword and attacked with renewed vigor at the nearby Garrett while the undead began attacking the shocked soldiers.
Sacae began to attack with spell and staff at all the nearby undead and was surprised to see how weak they were. That was when she felt the light touch of a hand on her shoulder and she whipped around with her staff at the ready but standing before her was Alistra, with Catherine a few steps behind her.
“I need your help mage.” Alistra sternly commanded of Sacae who could do nothing more than dumbly nod as Alistra led her away.
Mathias deftly slashed through two Paladins as they entangled themselves with the nearby soldiers. They both fell limply to the ground as the soldiers cheered and moved on to clear out anymore Paladins and undead in the district. He was in the Cathedral district, he had led some soldiers this way when the fighting erupted to clear out any Paladins there. They were about to return when all of a sudden everyone they had killed earlier had risen again. His senses told him they had finished clearing out the district but of course the soldiers would never just believe his word so he let them fan out in groups to do a thorough search.
While the soldiers turned over every stone and broke into the buildings of the district Mathias walked up to the remains of the Cathedral itself. At this point the fire had mostly used up all of the burnable material and had snuffed itself out except for in a few spots here and there. He noticed though how even the very stone of the Cathedral had seemed to melt against the fire and his eyes narrowed. His ears perked up at a faint sound and he whipped around with his sword held in front of him.
Standing before him was a woman wearing a revealing black robe with gold accents, the parts revealed by the robe showing a see through mesh, and a golden circlet adorned her jet black hair. Her violet eyes gleamed as a very small smile cracked across her face.
“My… my… we do have good hearing now don’t we?” the woman said pressing a finger lightly to her chin.
Mathias stared at the woman before replying, “Who are you?”
“Me? Oh don’t worry about me now. I am no one in particular after all.” She said cloyingly as she grinned at Mathias.
Leveling his sword Mathias asked again, “Who are you?!”
The woman stared at the sword with an annoyed look, much like one would look at fly, “Oh please. Enough with that.”
She swiped her hand through the air as if swatting a bug and Mathias’ sword flew from his hand clanging against the stone street. Mathias’ eyes went wide as he stared at the woman as she chuckled.
The woman smiled lightly before turning her head towards the rest of the city, “Oh dear… it looks like my pawn is about to lose…” she turned back to Mathias, “Know this, White Wolf, great things are afoot and while you may not be the centerpiece of these events. You will always be close to them. But you are essential… so try not to die my dear.”
She grinned lightly as a miasmic black cloud poured out of the stones around her enveloping her and the next second the cloud began to dissipate and she was nowhere to be seen. Mathias was silent as he quietly picked his sword back up and sheathed it. He turned to the city just a bright white light began emanating from towards the main square. Mathias took one last look at the burned out Cathedral behind him as he ran full speed towards the glowing light.
Sacae was standing in front of a makeshift stage that had been quickly put together out of crates and wooden planks that were found by the soldiers when they were able to regroup. She stood there with the nearby soldiers and golems she had just created in a semi-circle around the stage as the back of the stage hit the wall. Turning around she looked at the single person who stood on the stage, Alistra.
“Will this really work?” Sacae questioned Alistra.
Alistra looked down at Sacae, “I hope so…”
With that Alistra stood in the exact center of the stage and began singing. Her voice was beautiful and carried across the square with ease with the help of Sacae’s magic. As she sang her body emanated a calming warm light that lit up the early dawn morning and spread from her across the soldiers that guarded her. As the light hit the undead their silent pain could be seen on their faces as they crumpled into dust and as the light hit Vathar he sneered and roared at the few remaining Paladins who were not undead to charge her and kill her as he barely parried another attack from Garrett.
But the remaining Paladins were too few and the defense around Alistra was too strong as they were promptly eliminated before even making it half way across the area towards her. Even over Alistra’s song Sacae could hear Vathar’s cursing now that most of the fighting had ceased except for the fight against Vathar and Garrett. Garrett’s armor seemed to absorb the light that Alistra emanated and it glowed with intensity as he fought Vathar.
A deft strike from Garrett caused Vathar to fall to his knees his blade skidding across the stones a few feet away from him. Before he could regain his composure a sword held him down pressing against his neck. He looked up with a sneer as Garrett stood above him, the sword pressing harder against his neck. He saw the golden clad Darian step over in sight.
“It’s over Vathar.” Darian said sternly, his arm wrapped up in bandages.
Vathar sneered just as Mathias ran up to area, “It is never… over Darian.”
Darian sighed, “Garrett.”
Vathar felt the man in front of him tense up at the mention of his name though his eyes never left him.
“As Grand Duke of Alddar I give you permission to kill this bastard.” Darian commanded sternly.
Garrett looked to Alistra who nodded, he returned the nod as he raised his sword up high. As the sword came crashing down though a shower of sparks flowed from an impact with a weapon and Garrett jumped backwards holding his sword defensively. Standing over Vathar stood a black robed man wielding a wicked looking scythe. Spinning the scythe in his hand he turned to Darian and the other onlookers.
“I shall not allow you to kill this one. He is coming with me.” The man’s voice echoed hollowly.
“Who the hell are you?” Darian stared incredulously at the man.
But the man chose not to reply instead he rapped the bottom of his scythe three times on the ground and suddenly a violent windstorm started. Above them a miasmic black cloud swirled violently blackening the sky. As if tearing its way through the very sky a large black dragon clawed its way through the miasmic swirling cloud and landed with an earthshattering impact in the square.
The dragon was large, filling up most of the square by itself, pushing most of the soldiers to their breaking point as they fled the square. Its tail sliced easily through the nearby buildings as it lowered itself to peer directly at those around it. The huge red eye of the dragon blinked with a hatred similar to what everyone had seen from Vathar all day.
“A… dragon…” Sacae barely breathed her words. She was as shocked as those who remained around her, which was not much more than a handful of soldiers, her golems, Alistra and Liara.
The next moment though the dragon rose and began to fly again. In its claw Vathar held on as the dragon took flight and flew straight into the seething vortex above. As it passed the vortex it closed behind it and the wind calmed down. In the center of the square where the dragon once stood, and before it Vathar and the robed man, stood now only the robed man with his scythe. He turned to Darian nodding lightly as a similar miasmic black cloud rose from the ground enveloping him. When the cloud dissipated nothing remained.
All that remained afterwards was an awkward stunned silence as everyone registered what actually happened. Eventually orders were being given to begin cleaning up the destruction and getting the citizens inside the city after a thorough search to clear out any possible remaining resistance in the city. Sacae was not sure how or when but through some process of talking with Liara and Mathias and then orders from Darian she ended up back in the rooms from before that she had shared with Liara in the palace.
She was exhausted, which wasn’t entirely insane to think about given the fact the sun’s position told her it was late morning now and the last time she rested was lunch the previous day. But her adrenaline still pumped and kept her up even though her mind and body protested for sleep. She had seen so many things in the short time since she left Malorn most of which she would have never experienced had she stayed there in the city.
Slowly but surely Sacae started succumbing to sleep. Though before falling asleep she noticed others drift in and out of the rooms. Liara and Alistra had come by and talked about how Garrett would become the new divine commander of the Paladins and rebuild the Order as it once was. While Darian came by and talked about certain statistics such as estimates of death counts and damage costs. Mathias even came by shortly to discuss the dragon and the even in general which perked her up for a moment but not enough to keep her from falling asleep completely.
When Sacae woke up again she could see early morning light peeking its way through the window near the bed she lay on. Looking out the window she could see the city was already in stages of repair and clean up. She scratched the back of her head as she walked towards the common room that connected all of Liara’s rooms. In the center of the room sitting at a table Mathias and Liara were quietly having breakfast together.
“Well look who woke up.” Mathias chuckled lightly as Sacae entered the room.
“I can’t believe I slept for nearly a full day…” Sacae yawned loudly as Liara beckoned her to the table.
“Oh?” Liara playfully chided, “You were out for nearly three days.”
Sacae was glad she had not started drinking the clear water she was offered as she started coughing in surprise, “Th…three days?!”
Liara nodded as she chuckled, “Three days.”
The rest of that morning was spent detailing everything she had apparently missed. Garrett had accepted Alistra’s offer to reform the Paladin Order even though because of the events of the last few weeks he was now the only Paladin. As such for the last three days he had been doing ceremony after ceremony preparing to take his position and start recruiting for the Order itself. Meanwhile cleaning up of the city had gone by exceedingly fast with bodies having been taken out of the city and buried or burned and repairs followed quickly after.
“And… I guess the last bit is Aiden is on his way home.” Mathias finished the report.
“Aiden?” Sacae questioned with a tinge of shock, “But I thought he…”
“Died. Yes.” Mathias said somberly, “I was able to gather his body and using a certain magic I know preserved the body. I plan to take the body to Gairdin.”
Sacae blinked taking in all the news. She turned to Liara and asked, “So when do you two plan to leave?”
Liara waved her hand in front of her face as she shook her head, “Oh I won’t be going. I hate riding boats for one thing and I have plenty of things to do here after all.”
Mathias finished off his breakfast and turned to Sacae, “You are welcome to come though Sacae. Going from what you said before you never have seen anything but Malorn and what you have seen the last few weeks. Guess that would mean you are slightly curious at seeing your ancestral home.”
It was true Sacae was a half elf so half of her heritage came from Gairdin so she couldn’t say she wasn’t interested. But in the back of her mind she wondered if it would cause a problem with the Wizard Council back in Malorn, especially since they probably would want a report of everything that transpired once word and rumor reached them. She quickly pushed that thought out of her mind though as she smiled lightly back at Mathias.
“Certainly. I would love to come along Mathias.”