Episode 18: The Siege of Cyrith
The layout of the city allowed the Lightbringers to position a mage on many of their towers. Each mage would then channel light magic to produce shields that protected the city from external magical assaults. Except this shield had gaps. They had not prepared properly for an invasion on their own territory. Bryce had not anticipated that their forces would fall so quickly to our advance. Now, the only advantage they had was a battle in their own streets, where they could hide among the civilians. It was here we learned that the population of the city was few and far between, a vast contrast to what Lyre represents. Most of the people were scared refugees who had already prepared to leave the city. We had no quarrel with them and allowed safe passage to many who were heading towards the coast. A large group of the people were simply children whose family had been forcefully conscripted either by threat or overriding their will with mind control. Some of those families were able to reunite in our back line as many of the freed soldiers recognized their children. Truly this had been a terrible campaign.
Ilyana held the backline while Kaiden flanked from the west and Miriam took to the sky once more. I moved ahead through one of the main roads towards the structure known as the Grand Cathedral of Light. My group arrived at a large plaza where Lightbringers had established a strong resistance along with their commander. Bryce was there but he appeared hurt. He had not recovered from our previous encounter in Ilyana’s mind. Suddenly I heard a single soldier running in from behind me. I knew I had to prepare myself for a rush of spells to protect her. It was Ilyana, still deeply angered by Bryce’s intrusion. All her skill and might shined through. The enemy knights tried their best but could not repel the force of Ilyana’s attacks. I cast shields, curses and dark orbs to give her an extra boost. The church’s mages were no match. Finally we reached Bryce. “He’s mine”, said Ilyana, filled with determination. Such a duel was against my better judgement, but I believe Ilyana had the right. Bryce launched a power light ray. Ilyana rolled to the side and rushed at him. I caught the ray with a shadow wall and dispersed it. He then gathered light to his fists and used his very hands to fight Ilyana. Each time he hit her shield, sparks would fly. The spell amplified the strength of his blows. This fight had mesmerized everyone in the plaza. No one was fighting anymore. Time passed and they were at an apparent stalemate. Ilyana’s swings were brutal, swift and merciless. On the other hand Bryce was beginning to lose strength. His spell was fading and in one of her strikes Ilyana cut apart Bryce’s right arm. He fell to his knees, trembling, but he was not done. As he tried to stand up again Ilyana put her sword to his neck, “Surrender”. “You… pests… will be put… in your place!”, Bryce began to channel Ether into his own body, but before he could complete the spell his body gave in. His wounds were too great and his spirit had been broken from before. The energy dissipated and he fell to the side. Ilyana sheathed her sword, looked to me and said, “We’re done here, head for the Cathedral and face Cyran. I’m going to…”, she took a deep breath, then sighed, “…catch my breath”.
The Lightbringers on our path to the Cathedral were few. Those who stood against us quickly realized their mistake as they saw our numbers approach. Many cried for mercy and believed us to be ruthless killers. I began my ascent to the Cathedral entrance. There the leader of the church, Cyran, stood alone. “Welcome, this place will be where I will purge you from this land. You are this world’s impurity given human form. My god has decreed that you must be destroyed”, his deep voice was powerful. I ordered the soldiers to stand back and then replied, “You have a strange obsession against the powers of Flux magic and freedom. Is your deity as deluded as you? I know your story, Cyran. I can read the Ether better than you think. There is no deity, is there?”. “I will not answer to you! Face my wrath!”, his body swirled with magic and the Ether around the area flowed in an unnatural way. It was being guided deep into the Cathedral.
A circle of dark energy surrounded my arms and runes ran up and down them. This gave me a protective shield and a way to cast my spells with great haste. I would need all the advantages I could muster, for Cyran was known to be a great master of the Fixed Force. His spells focused on damaging the spirit more than the physical body. He, in turn began to cast his spells. Rays of light and pillars of energy blasted through the area. Not even the Cathedral itself would come out undamaged. I deflected some of his magic and he was able to redirect some of mine. The robes Gallian made served me well. Many of his attacks would simply bounce off the robes at the cost of some of my energy. Behind me Kaiden and Miriam arrived. They looked at the battle and followed us further into the Cathedral. Kaiden tried to look for an opening, but I warned them both to stay put. I desired them no harm, this was a very dangerous foe. Our battle took us deeper and deeper into the structure. We arrived at one of the largest halls. “Hold, dark mage. This here is our hall of worship, you would desecrate this holy place?”, Cyran looked tired but I knew he had much more fight in him. “I would tear this place apart because it would mean the end of your reign. You took people’s freedom through mind control. You deceived hundreds of others into believing a falsehood, using their desperation as a tool to bend their will. There is an evil to your light and I will snuff it out”, my words angered him as he charged once more. Blasts of light were destroying many parts of the hall. Walls of shadow blocked many rays which were then destroyed in turn by pillars of light. Then the next confrontation had us locked into powerful magical forces. An Ether storm began to form atop the building. Much like what happened when I encountered Bryce, our magic was equally matched. The opposing nature of light and dark magic made it even more obvious, neither would have the upper hand. “You two, I need your help, now!”, Kaiden ran up and cast numerous dark orbs that exploded near Cyran and Miriam used her shields to deflect his attack while the wave of shadows pierced through. He screamed in pain but he was unharmed. An armor of light shined over him. “I should have known you would use such vile tactics”, he said while looking down on us. Behind him a large wall fell off revealing a hidden room. Within this room a large silhouette could be seen, but we could not make out what it was.