Episode 11: The Encounter
An exhausting battle, a new piece of the transmutation spell and the endorsement of the trial council as masters of dark magic, Lidya, Peter and Lorenzo are now ready to step back into Entralia. A portal created by one of the council members awaits their entry. In the shimmering image of the other side they notice that soldiers have surrounded the area of their arrival. At the center of the pathway was none other than Damien himself. For the group he was just another soldier with highly decorated armor. He did indeed stand out from the rest, but whose real importance eluded them. Damien and his troops were unaware of what was happening on the other side, the portal was obscure to them. This provided Lidya and the others an advantage, they could try to surprise the soldiers and then escape. Before they could finish their plan, fireballs rained from the sky and exploded upon impact with the ground. The attack caught the soldiers by surprise. This was the perfect opportunity for Lidya, Peter and Lorenzo to leave the Nightmare Warp.
General Thana, was there beside Damien commanding the troops, while her master watched. Further in the backline Nathaniel and Morg stood guard.
Thana – “Maintain formation! You there! Join me in rooting out whoever is attacking!”
She left with five soldiers in tow to search for whoever was bombarding them. With the rest of the battalion in disarray Lidya, Peter and Lorenzo took this opportunity to make their move. As soon as they exited the portal it closed behind them. The few soldiers still on guard were quick to attack. Peter struck with his magic and pushed away many of the soldiers. Meanwhile, Lidya and Lorenzo easily cut down others, clearing a path towards Damien.
Lorenzo – “It appears you are their commander. Let us pass!”
Damien – “Ah, I see you are the strong survivors that I was informed about. It is a shame that your defiance will end here.”
Lidya – “And who might you be? Don’t think for a second I won’t strike you down! Let. Us. Pass!”
Nathaniel – “Such foolishness! It is a wonder how you’ve survived for so long.”
Morg – “You are clearly unaware to whom you speak.”
Lidya – “Yeah, another poor sap who doesn’t know when he’s outmatched.”
Nathaniel – “How dare you speak ill of your god! I will strike you down!”
Damien – “Silence Nathaniel! Take the other two, I will face this defiant little gnat. Maybe I can turn her to my side.”
Lidya – “Oh so you’re that deity that closed off the portals? I thought you’d be taller. Let’s do this.”
Morg and Nathaniel took a step back and ordered their troops to attack Peter and Lorenzo. Lidya’s friends were pushed back and a circle formed around Damien and her. A breeze swept the makeshift arena. Damien drew his sword, one hand behind his back. Lidya lunged forward and ran at Damien. The mighty warrior sidestepped the attack and swung his sword down behind her. She was prepared though and shifted one of her axes to block the attack. Strike after strike the soldiers were mesmerized by the dance that ensued. Each time Lidya approached she felt the winds shift, aiding her opponent’s move. It was a wind magic enchantment that could change the very course of the wind and grant a boost in swiftness. Despite the boon Damien placed on himself, Lidya was able to keep up. The battle evolved further when Lidya started combining spells with her attacks. At first some flames joined her dance and the heat certainly seared a bit of Damien’s armor. A quick shift and she used a dark orb that exploded near Damien’s chest. This left him vulnerable for long enough to allow Lidya to use all her strength in the next swing. Her ax struck Damien’s armor and embedded itself there. Damien was enraged, but he held another special enchantment on him. Just beneath the armor was a layer of stone. An earth enchantment that served as an additional layer of protection. Finally, Damien grew tired of the exchange and with a series of combined magic attacks blasted Lidya away. She landed near Lorenzo and Peter, who had been able to push back the soldiers temporarily.
Lorenzo – “Lidya! Are you alright?
Lidya – “Urgh… I… think I’ll live.”
Lidya struggled to get up, her energy drained from the magic and duel against Damien. Shortly after, Thana arrived with Marx in tow. She was dragging him on the ground and threw him at the others.
Thana – “Here, have your friend back. It seems you are all dying together.”
Marx – “Oof, that… didn’t go as planned.”
Lorenzo – “You did your best.”
Marx – “Sorry guys.”
Peter – “There’s too many of them, it won’t be easy to escape.”
Thana – “Escape? Pah! There is no escape from our lord Damien.”
Damien – “Our little duel was entertaining my dear lady, but it seems you have little choice. Join me or die.”
Lidya – “The name’s Lidya, dirt piece and I am not betraying Entralia!”
Thana – “You dare sully his name!”
Damien – “Hush Thana! It is amusing. I, who has ruled Cythia for decades, will soon rule Entralia. Your resistance is meaningless.”
Peter – “Cythia? There is no such world.”
Damien – “It is not a surprise that you do not know of it. The councils have kept the secret from you. Cythia is not a world itself, but a dimension, much like these. Its energies are unlike any I had seen before, but they strengthened my resolve.”
Lidya – “So what?! Nothing gives you the right to upend our lives!”
Damien – “I have every right! For my banishment! I will have my revenge against the councils! Now make your choice!”
Lidya – “I will not join you! Nor will they!”
Peter – “Even if you strike us down here, the council will not falter.”
Lorenzo – “You will be sent back to wherever you came from!”
Damien – “So be it. Dispose of them!”
The soldiers prepared their weapons and marched forward. Thana was at the lead, while Damien took a few steps back to watch his troops. In the midst of this a thick dark mist began to seep into the area. The sun was already setting in the distance, but this darkness was unnatural. Hidden in the mist a man appeared and whisked Lidya and her friends to safety. Now far from the soldiers, they stopped to speak. Their savior was the portal keeper for the trial of darkness, Ghelbor.
Ghelbor – “Goodness, Marx are you alright?”
Marx – “I’ll be fine, but you were a tad late.”
Ghelbor – “Apologies, a patrol pushed me further back than I intended. There was little I could do.”
Lidya – “You saved our butts though, thank you!”
Lorenzo – “What will happen now?”
Ghelbor – “I must return to the portal area. Even if there is a danger, I have to protect the trial entry.”
Peter – “Are you insane?! Those soldiers will tear you apart.”
Ghelbor – “It is my sworn duty.”
Marx – “Be careful.”
Ghelbor left without saying much else. His great dark magic would most likely help him remain safe, but his main plan was to seal off the portal to the Nightmare Warp.
Lorenzo – “Where are we anyway?”
Marx – “We should be close to Balancor. You should be able to take the Ribashkan there.”
Lidya – “Peter and I are the only ones equipped for it.”
Marx – “It’s fine, once that is done, you’ll have access to the transmutation spell.”
Back at the trial of darkness entry point, Ghelbor arrived in the cover of the night. He inscribed the area around the rune circle with additional runes and cast an enchantment to close it from anyone else’s access.
Damien – “What have we here?”
Ghelbor – “I know of you. You will not succeed in your endeavors.”
Damien – “Do you really believe a few runes will stop me? I have no interest in the other worlds yet. Entralia is the main course of this feast, the others are just filler. They will fall in due time.”
Ghelbor – “The others you fought, they are strong willed. I have faith they will find a way to defeat you.”
Damien – “You will pay for helping them.”
In blindingly swift motion Damien grabbed Ghelbor by the throat and lifted him.
Ghelbor – “You… won’t… win…”
Damien – “The war is over for you.”
Ghelbor’s last breath escaped him and Damien threw his body to the side.
Damien – “What a waste. My generals, we continue our march tomorrow morning!”