Episode 7: Wandering Glaciers
A cold breeze swept through the throne room. Laurel, Lumos, Thistle and Gelis had arrived. Lumos spoke to one of the guards and they allowed them to approach the king.
Lumos – “King Hector the 4th, it is an honor to be here.”
King Hector – “Well met. I believe you had visited Ixis before, but never came to Ixnar for a visit.”
Lumos – “Ah yes, back then I had a different focus.”
King Hector – “I am glad to have you here now great sage. I received communication not long ago from Lord Lindrel of the Entralian Council, I believe he is the father of this lovely young lady?”
Laurel – “Yes sir, I am Laurel and this is Thistle and Gelis.”
King Hector – “Traveling with sentients no less. Your father mentioned you’re looking for artifacts?”
Laurel – “We are. There is a group of people who are also after the same. Their goals possibly far more sinister, yet we haven’t been able to uncover why they are doing this.”
King Hector – “Your father’s report also mentioned this. I can tell you of three unique artifacts hidden on Ixis. Two of them are far out of reach, and the third is sealed in one of the castle vaults.”
Lumos – “Will you part with it?”
King Hector – “I cannot. The artifact is a royal heirloom. It must not leave Ixis. At the very least I can bring it to you so you may study its properties.”
Lumos – “That will suffice, my king. It will allow me to investigate the energies that the other artifacts seemed to be holding back.”
King Hector – “Good, I will ask the guards to double their patrols in case those agents of chaos decide to show up. As for you, Lady Laurel, there are rumors of a wandering tribe of sentients that are said to be protectors of one of the artifacts. Perhaps you can find a way to contact them.”
Laurel – “Alright, I’ll set out and search the coast.”
Lumos – “I will remain here until you return.”
King Hector – “Be careful if you end up venturing out to sea. It can be treacherous.”
Laurel – “I’ll keep it in mind.”
Gelis – “I can help guide you as well.”
Laurel – “Hey Thistle, you could stay here with Lumos if you want.”
Thistle – “Nah, I’d get bored in a second just staring at Lumos. I’ll accompany you.”
Laurel, Gelis and Thistle left the throne room. King Hector summoned the artifact to be brought up to the throne room. With the artifact there Lumos began his observations immediately and took note of his findings. This artifact was a helmet. It looked ordinary, if somewhat dated. Most likely a design from ancient times that has withstood the test of time. He surmised that since the helmet had kept its pristine appearance it must hold some hidden power. As for any sealed energy there was none he could detect.
Sitting at one of the few coasts Laurel pondered her next steps. While she waited Gelis had left to gather some information on his own. Thistle decided to follow Gelis, hiding around corners and behind barrels. Gelis met with a number of people, and though Thistle couldn’t make out what they spoke of it seemed that they had agreed to meet again. She flew as fast as she could back to Laurel.
Laurel – “Where were you? I was a bit worried.”
Thistle – “Just floating around, nothing dangerous.”
Laurel – “Dangerous? Thistle, what did you do?”
Thistle – “Nothing, noth…”
Gelis – “It seems we are ready”
Laurel rose and turned to face the land. As she did, she noticed a group of warriors had gathered.
Gelis – “You have items that belong to us.”
Thistle – “I knew it! You weren’t gathering information for us, you were gathering them!”
Laurel – “Don’t tell me, you’re one of those agents of chaos.”
Gelis – “Yes, and hear this, Lord Gerthran wants those artifacts back.”
Laurel – “Oh, nice to have a name attached to your little movement. Sadly for you or Gerthran these artifacts stay with me.”
Laurel prepared her ringblade while Thistle gathered what energy she could to cast spells. Before anyone could make a move, a large wave appeared and engulfed Laurel. The swirling water formed a pocket of air around Laurel and Thistle. A rain of ice spears fell towards the warriors driving them back. The spears were followed by a cloud of mist that blinded them and pushed Gelis away. A small ice platform carried Laurel towards the sea still surrounded by the swirling water.
After a few minutes of traveling on the ice platform the swirling water settled and opened the air pocket. Laurel found herself in the middle of the ocean. In the distance she could make out the large glacier that holds Ixnar. Two other glaciers could be seen in the opposite direction.
Laurel – “Well, what do we do now?”
Thistle – “Uhh, Laurel? There’s something in the water.”
Laurel looked down into the depths. A large figure was slowly rising. To their surprise it was a whale, common to the Frigis Isles. This one was very particular though. Not only was this whale larger than those on the islands, it was also a Sentient. Slowly and carefully it surfaced beside the ice platform.
Thistle – “Aren’t you a big one.”
Umari – “Greetings, I am Umari. I am the leader of the frost whale tribe of Ixis. We sensed your presence when you entered our world.”
Laurel – “My presence, could it be the ringblade again? Zethia mentioned that my ringblade could be special.”
Umari – “Ah, you know of the Brensur dragon tribe, good.”
Thistle – “Was it you who brought us here?”
Umari – “Yes, we knew you would be pursued. Many of us sentients are interlinked, we can tell our hearts. We knew that sprite was up to no good.”
Thistle – “I need to hone my own heart, I didn’t notice that his intentions were not good from the beginning.”
Umari – “Not all can tell, but surely you can gain this skill easily.”
Thistle – “I’ll try my best. Thank you for protecting us.”
Umari – “There is something you must do. Those who were about to attack you are after artifacts hidden away in those two glaciers that you can see in the distance. Beneath the waters they are linked together. The larger one holds a temple but it can only be accessed through the connected glacier.”
Laurel – “It seems our own artifact search is going to be fruitful. Do you know what the items actually are?”
Umari – “We only know of one. A ring that looks much like the one you wear.”
Laurel – “Then we’ve found the counterpart. This is the Ring of Flames, an artifact from Brensur.”
Umari – “I see, those rings are meant to be worn together. It calls to you even now and compels me to aid you. I will move the platform to the glacier. From there you can dig down into its heart and collect the ring.”
The ice platform moved at great speed towards the smaller of the two glaciers. Once Laurel was on it she used her magic to feel the energy emanating from the ring. She started carving a tunnel through the ice using the power of the Ring of Flames. Inside the glacier were a number of chambers that she could see through the ice. At the center of each was a dimly lit crystal which allowed Laurel to properly align the tunnels she was creating. Little by little she made her way down. The further down, the darker it got. Laurel had to be careful not to bore into the outer wall of the glacier or water would start pouring through. At the very center of the glacier was, once again, a pedestal. Just above it, the ring floated. Water flowed from beneath the pedestal up to a small opening where it flowed outward in four different directions. When Laurel picked up the ring the water stopped flowing. The glacier rumbled and started cracking. Magical energies swirled around Laurel. The artifact bound itself to one of her fingers on the opposing hand which had the Ring of Fire. She could feel as the magical tether that she had formed in her mind with water magic had strengthened tenfold. Her spells could now command the waters with ease, she would need this to escape the collapsing glacier.
Outside of the glacier Thistle watched as parts of that gigantic ice formation began to crumble. Pieces fell into the ocean causing waves. Umari kept watch as well. She swam around the glaciers and spoke to Thistle about Laurel’s progress. The second larger glacier had a temple built inside. There was an entrance directly connected to a chamber on the small glacier Laurel was trying to escape from. With her newly acquired mastery of water magic she moved the ice and froze the water when necessary. She could temporarily stop the water flowing into the chambers by freezing the cracks. At times she built steps to reach the higher chambers. Time was running out. The magic that held this glacier together had all but dissipated. It was now or never. Laurel caused a powerful water spout to push her upward. A combination of water and fire magic. One to create a tunnel to the chamber that connects to the temple entry, the other to push herself through. Once she made it to the temple entrance she saw as the glacier completely broke apart. She also realized this part was still beneath the sea, yet water did not flow into it.
Laurel continued into the temple. A few hundred steps into it and she found herself at a dead end. There was a large brazier at the center of the chamber. Beneath it the words “A light to liven the shadows” were written. Using the magic from the Ring of Flames she ignited the brazier. It ignited for a short time, but then the flames faded. This was not the answer to this puzzle. So she continued to walk around the chamber looking for other clues. On the wall just in front of the brazier was another set of words, they read “A balance of two will create the right amount of light”. By balancing the right amount of both water and fire magic Laurel was able to create an odd blue flame. This kind of fire was unlike anything she had seen before. Instead of it giving off warmth it radiated cold. She placed this cold flame on the brazier and to her surprise it remained lit. The wall that was right in front cracked through the middle and opened to the sides.
The next room was a large and tall chamber. There were many floating rectangular masses of water. Along the way up, there were more braziers to ignite. The water formed a path. Laurel would have to swim up and jump between the strange watery blocks. Slowly but surely she made her way upward, lighting braziers as she moved. A few instances where she almost fell down, but was clever enough to use the water to catch herself. The final pool of water seemed endless. Laurel was already tired from all the swimming and jumping. In order to push herself to the surface she used magic drawn from the Ring of Frost, the one she acquired earlier, to create a current that would carry her upward. This provided a bit of relief. Once at the surface she noticed an icicle at the center of the chamber. A circlet with a slot at the front was being held on this icicle. Without much thought Laurel froze the water in the large pool and used her ringblade to cut the icicle. The icicle proceeded to fall and bury itself on the ice. Laurel walked up to it and cut another part, just beneath the circlet and melted the ice holding the artifact.
While holding the circlet, Laurel wondered about the small slot at the front. The temptation to wear this rather simple looking item was too much. When she did she would feel the powerful magic flowing into her. Even the energy of the two rings felt stronger. Ancient knowledge started teaching her about the circlet. This artifact was named the Circlet of Cold Flames. It was created in a rare alignment when Brensur and Ixis were allied against an unknown force. Its power resonated with the rings.
One more challenge awaited Laurel. An enormous ice block barred her way from the entrance. Also, behind it was a wall of water that would push her away and surely flood the chamber. It was time to test the capabilities of the circlet. Laurel had tried to remove the Ring of Flames once before, this time she was able to do it and place the ring on the slot in the circlet. The circlet itself transformed and created a sort of obsidian crown. She was now overflowing with fire mana. With this energy she could bore a hole in the ice block before her, and so she did. As soon as she was through, water started pouring into the chamber with great force. It was time to test the circlet with the Ring of Frost. She was able to switch the rings in an instant. Now the circlet changed into an ice crown. The boost in water mana allowed Laurel to manipulate the flow of water and use it to create a swirling bubble, much like the one Umari had used before. Laurel continued to combine powers to clear her way through the remainder of the temple. Her mastery of water and fire magic had increased far beyond what she might have anticipated.
At the upper part of the glacier was a large entrance to the temple. This entrance was sealed from the inside by an ice lock and two braziers that needed to be lit. Laurel dealt with these and looked on as the doorway opened. Just outside Thistle was battling Gelis who had caught up with them. Two ships were docked nearby, which meant that the soldiers of chaos were close as well.
Laurel – “Leave her alone!”
She screamed and let forth a powerful wave of fire that pushed away the sprite. Thistle quickly joined up with Laurel.
Thistle – “Glad you finally got out of there. I felt my energy fading fast.”
Laurel – “Where’s Umari?”
Thistle – “She was hurt during the attack and swam into the depths. A spear pierced her back.”
Laurel – “You! You’ll pay for hurting Umari!”
Gelis – “She is insignificant! And so are you!”
Gelis prepared to launch ice spears at Laurel. Meanwhile the soldiers gathered behind the sprite, weapons drawn. Laurel and Thistle were outnumbered but Laurel refused to give up.
Gelis – “Give me the artifacts and I promise I will spare you.”
Laurel – “No, you’ve already caused harm. I will stop you here and now!”
The ice spears flew forward as the soldiers behind Gelis charged at Laurel. Using the magic she had learned, and her newfound mastery, Laurel deflected the spears and flung powerful cold flames towards the soldiers. Their feet became frozen, stuck to the floor of the temple entryway. Gelis shielded himself from the flames, but couldn’t withstand the next attack. Laurel launched a beam of fiery energy at Gelis. He tried to use his magic shield but it broke away.
Thistle – “What now?”
Laurel – “I don’t know. I don’t want to kill them.”
Laurel’s hesitation was dangerous in such a situation, but instead of actually carrying out such a heavy penance she decided to use the ice to immobilize the soldiers further. As for Gelis he seemed to have become stunned.
Laurel – “We should go while we still have a chance.”
Thistle – “Oh! I have an idea, let’s burn their ships down, that way they’ll be stuck here.”
Laurel – “That is a great idea, I’ll lend you some mana. You take the left one, I’ll take the right one.”
The winds carried the smoke of the burning ships towards Ixnar. People there were surprised and many were scared because it could mean a potential invasion. Laurel found Umari again. She had resurfaced, but still had a spear stuck on her. Healing magic was available to every element, but Laurel chose to use healing water magic to remove the spear and seal the wound. Umari in return carried them back near the shores of Ixnar. This time Laurel created an ice platform for herself.
Umari – “You have grown greatly in such a short time.”
Laurel – “These artifacts have unlocked a potential I didn’t know existed within me. They feel more my own even when they are ancient.”
Umari – “Good, your familiarity with them will aid you in your adventure. Other Sentients in the other worlds may lend a hand, but be wary always. Not all of us are free from the chaotic influence.”
Laurel – “Wait, do you know more about all this?”
Umari – “No, but it feels like the problems surfacing now are bound by chaos.”
Laurel – “Alright, I’ll keep working hard to discover what’s going on. At least now we have a name to research, Gerthran.”
Thistle – “That was the person Gelis mentioned, right?”
Laurel – “Yeah. Now I wonder what Lumos uncovered. Thank you for all your help Umari.”
Umari – “You are welcome. Farewell!”
Thistle – “Bye Umari! Hey Laurel let’s get…”
Before Thistle could finish a beam of energy could be seen coming from the castle and heading in the direction of the world portal. Laurel and Thistle made their way to the castle as fast as they could.