Episode 11: Leaping Forward
Lumos, though worried about Laurel and Thistle, spent time discussing his initial discoveries about the artifacts and the warriors of chaos with the council of Rallion. In return for his disclosure of events and his renown as a sage, he was granted access to the Book of Cythia. The book itself was heavily guarded. It was moved around as dictated by an ancient agreement between the worlds. Each of the worlds was required to take the book and keep it for an unspecified amount of time.
While Laurel toiled at the hidden island where the Emerald of Winds was held, Lumos studied the book. In its pages it was revealed that Cythia was not only its own particular dimension, it was also the name of a being. Cythia, the being, was destroyed in ancient times by a desperate alliance between the worlds. During that time Entralia was on the edge of calamity. The chaotic energies controlled by Cythia destroyed all semblance of balance and the magic school was nearly extinguished. If not for the intervention of another being and several rulers of the worlds, Entralia would have been lost. In turn, Cythia’s power was split. She had managed to conjure immortality for herself, so the last recourse was to use the artifacts to seal away bits of her power. The dimension itself gained her name, but before that it was a world of its own, representing the most concentrated form of chaos. It was fitting to seal away a being that had enriched herself with such energies. The book also explained that she served another, a god named Danathos. The latter was vanquished many decades ago. Making the necessary connections was easy. Gerthran must be a follower of Cythia. He declared his followers warriors of chaos and decided to spread that particular influence, but to what end? And how do the artifacts tie in? A realization quickly formed in Lumos’ mind. The energy being released was that of Cythia herself. Gerthran was planning to free her.
Time had gone by in an instant for Lumos. Laurel soon arrived carrying the Emerald of Winds. She explained her ordeals. Lumos lamented her injury from the lightning bolt that scarred her arm, but she brushed it off as nothing she couldn’t handle.
Lumos – “Seeing the gryphons must have been quite the spectacle.”
Thistle – “They’re nothing special, wisps on the other hand.”
Laurel – “Oh come on Thistle, you know they were impressive.”
Thistle – “Alright, alright, they were. Rhova was truly a master of flight.”
Laurel – “Yes, had it not been for him I might’ve perished.”
Lumos – “Well, I am glad he saved you. Now, we must talk with the council to check for any other artifacts.”
Laurel – “There should be at least one more, according to the mural I found at the island.”
Ralvan arrived from a meeting he had with other council members.
Ralvan – “We are aware of your need to acquire the artifacts we possess. There is only one we can spare for you. It is hidden in a chamber beneath the Ancient Archives on Utoas.”
Lumos – “An artifact there? It would have been helpful to acquire it earlier.”
Ralvan – “Perhaps, but we needed to make sure you wouldn’t misuse it. Laurel, acquiring the Emerald of Winds is no easy feat, but also gaining the friendship of the gryphons? That is even more impressive. We entrust you with the artifact in Utoas. There is another one we have here in the council chamber that will be guarded at all costs.”
Laurel – “Those warriors of chaos will get what’s coming to them. In the meantime we can tilt the balance in our favor.”
Thistle – “Well said Laurel, you’re becoming quite the warrior.”
Lumos – “That reminds me, we must continue combat training with the ringblade.”
Laurel – “All in due time.”
While Laurel and Lumos discussed other things, a guard entered the room and spoke to Ralvan.
Ralvan – “You must hurry to Utoas. It is under attack!”
Laurel – “What? How? Isn’t the portal protected?”
Ralvan – “The guard reports that the city’s flight mechanism was disabled. It is currently descending. Someone from that group you mentioned must have done this.”
Lumos – “Goodness, then hurry we will! Thistle, hurry back and help the people there.”
Thistle – “Alright, some action! Consider those agents of chaos toast!”
Lumos – “Laurel, go ahead of me and find the artifact. Gerthran’s forces cannot reach it first.”
Laurel – “Got it.”
Lumos was aware that his age would not enable him to engage in combat for long, but he could strategize a plan to reinforce Laurel and Thistle later on. Along with Ralvan they planned to get a guard contingency ready in case the world portal was breached. The agents of chaos would no doubt search for the artifact in the Rallion council chambers.
With the power of the Emerald of Winds Laurel was quick to fly off to Rihaltan. Thistle had already gone through the world portal, which was still active. Laurel told the guards to close the portal behind her to stall the invaders temporarily. Once on the other side people were frantically running around looking to hide from the bombardment of fire spells being shot from the ground. In the city itself warriors had spread around attacking both the guards and people. Thistle was casting walls of fire to split up the warriors and protect the citizens. Meanwhile Laurel rushed to the Ancient Archives. Upon her arrival she encountered Ravaan fighting some of the warriors. With her help they defeated the warriors. She explained to Ravaan that the council had ordered her to retrieve the artifact hidden in the archives.
While Laurel ran through the archives along with Ravaan, Thistle was moving around the city searching for people to help out. Her magic was strong. A burst of fire to knock a few of the warriors against each other. Fiery embers to heat metals, making heavy armor unbearable. The tide of the battle was turning. In the heat of battle Thistle came across the leader of the assault, a priestess they had encountered before.
Mikayla – “You! I’ve seen you before, you’re with that girl.”
Thistle – “And what if I am?”
Mikayla – “Then that just confirms my suspicions that there is an artifact to be had here. Warriors, go to the world portal and bring back whatever you find in Rallion. I will take care of this rowdy little wisp.”
Thistle – “Rowdy? You don’t know the half of it. Bring it on then!”
Mikayla was swift to cast spears of ice against Thistle. The wisp nimbly dodged the attack and responded with her own fiery spell. Their battle was a test of spell knowledge and endurance. Icy stalagmites shot up from the floor in a row towards Thistle, she in turn fired blazing rings cutting the stalagmites. The fight continued for a time, neither gaining any ground against the other. In the background guards could be heard yelling at some of the warriors who had made off with an artifact. Mikayla, considering her mission a success, sounded the retreat.
Thistle – “Running again eh? Coward!”
Mikayla – “Little wisp, you have much to learn. You were clearly hindering us from our main goal so I merely held you here.”
Thistle – “What?!”
Mikayla – “Pah! Tell your friend we have a score to settle. Agents of chaos, retreat!”
A thick mist quickly enveloped the city, which was still descending. In a short moment the warriors plaguing Utoas were no longer there. Thistle was worried they might have hurt Laurel so she hurried to the Ancient Archives. When she arrived Laurel was at the entrance with Ravaan.
Laurel – “Thistle! Are you alright?”
Thistle – “I was about to ask you the same, didn’t the warriors come through here?”
Laurel – “No, but some of them passed into Rallion. When they returned they had something with them.”
Ravaan – “It was most likely the other hidden artifact. That doesn’t matter anymore, we need to restore the lifting mechanism or the city will crumble when it finishes its descent.”
Laurel – “Right! You mentioned there’s a device in the northern part of the city?”
Ravaan – “Yes, and one in the eastern part near here. Both need to be reactivated using wind magic.”
Laurel – “You take care of this one, I’ll run to the northern device.”
Ravaan – “Hurry, we don’t have much time.”
Thistle noticed Laurel was wearing a set of unique boots. The Emerald of Winds, which was orbiting Laurel, moved onto the boots and changed their appearance. For Laurel they became much lighter and she could feel the wind moving in her favor. Now she could run at great speed to reach her target. When she reached the device a thunderbolt spell caused it to activate once again. Everyone felt as the city’s descent stopped. Slowly the city ascended to its previous position. Laurel returned to the archives.
Thistle – “Let me guess, those are bound to you now.”
Laurel – “Yep. They are called the Boots of Scillion.”
Thistle – “Your speed was unbelievable! Almost like a lightning bolt yourself.”
Laurel – “Maybe not as fast as a bolt, but pretty fast nonetheless.”
Ravaan – “Great work Laurel! The city is climbing back into the clouds.”
Thistle – “I wonder how the old man is doing.”
Laurel – “Goodness! Let’s go check on Lumos!”
When Laurel arrived at the world portal it was already active. Some of the guards from the other side passed through to assess the situation on Utoas. Behind the guards was Lumos.
Laurel – “Are you alright?”
Lumos – “Yes, a bruise here and there, but nothing that couldn’t be healed.”
Thistle – “The same lady priestess from Ixis was the one that attacked. They said they acquired the artifact.”
Lumos – “Did they now?”
Laurel – “You sound too happy about it, what happened?”
Lumos – “We used a decoy. It took us some time to prepare, but with you two battling them here we knew our plan would work. We placed the decoy on some altar in Rihaltan. The warriors didn’t have much knowledge of what they were looking for, so they took the first thing that they saw.”
Thistle – “Clever and a bit devious too. I’m glad that priest lady didn’t get what she wanted.”
Laurel – “And I got what we were looking for. The Boots of Scillion.”
Lumos – “Scillion you say? Then this was created by the alliance of Rallion and Grentis.”
Laurel – “The world of earth magic is next right?”
Lumos – “Correct. The path to that world portal is rather dangerous. You must tread with care. The region called Scillion is a vast desert and at its center is the ruins of a city with the same name. Inside that city is the world portal to Grentis.”
Thistle – “Let’s get going then!”
Lumos – “Not so fast Thistle. I must tell you something Laurel. I cannot continue along your path.
Laurel – “Why? What’s wrong?”
Lumos – “To be completely honest, I am exhausted, but I wish to continue to help.”
Thistle – “What will you do?”
Lumos – “I will accompany you to the edge of the desert, from there you should be good to go.”
Laurel – “And after that?”
Lumos – “After that I will return to the Entralian Council. I must report my findings and tell them of the severity of this situation. Cythia must not be restored.”
Laurel – “I’ll miss you at Grentis. You still owe me a few more battling lessons too.”
Lumos – “Don’t worry, we still have some time for me to teach you, at least until we reach the desert.”
Leaving Laurel and Thistle to travel on their own was difficult for Lumos, but it was necessary. Meeting with the Entralian Council was imperative. They needed to forge a plan to stop Gerthran.
A good night’s rest in Utoas and the group would be ready to set off once again. At night the windy roads within the city calmed. Only the footsteps of the guards occasionally broke the silence. In a few days Laurel and Thistle would have to brave the desert region of Scillion.