We have been walking for a few hours, our discussion going on in a circle, unlike our travels.
We discuss what I am planning. The ritual that I’m trying to put together to bring forth Pyrico if possible. Or send us hurling to get him out if I’m off. I hope I’m not off on the sigils and words needed.
The circles must be perfect. The sigils, runes, and words perfect. The intent perfect. The offerings shall be as close to perfect as possible.
I hope that Pheraya has salt. Or that there’s salt in the bag of holding that I took. Salt is great for the outer ring to keep out unwanted things. Otherwise it’ll be a lot of charcoal.
But yes, I began talking about how to raise energy to the men. I might as well be talking about advanced interplanar travel, portals and jetstreams to a bunch of first year acolytes. I am having a hard time trying to form my thoughts into words they would understand.
Christoph and Jern were taking turns pulling Pheraya as she’s still unconscious. And I was thinking of the rituals my maternal grandfather’s family performed.
Parts of that lines’ secrets are hard for me to crack open, but I can recall a ritual of summoning to battle an enemy force that my grandfather had partook in; the summoning was the Revscra, Death Unicorn, more than less, an ancient and weak god of the past, reduced to demi status, but still powerful enough to kill mere mortals. I’m hoping to modify the ritual enough to gain Pyrico’s audience. Can we last long enough?
How can I get them to figure out how to raise energy? The dwarf has an intriguing battle technique. I need to get him to focus on how to incorporate it into the ritual. His race is strongly linked to the earth and her secrets. In this world and mother’s. In ritual he may be best to work the grounding ring, the ring of summoning purpose.
I begin to talk to Jern about this while thinking of Christoph’s link to Nameless and desire to not gain unwanted attention. He may be perfect to channel that desire into how the ritual uses the energies gathered. I do like him challenging me. But I wish I had all the answers.
Jern surprised me by his statement of trusting in my leading them along this path. I will have to honour this trust and ensure the ritual is flawless.
I’m in the middle convincing Christoph the importance of the crazy scheme and changing the balance when suddenly it darkens. I feel a shift and quickly shift my vision to magical sight and we’re in the middle of it. And it’s dark magic. This is bad. Very bad. There’s no direct path out as it descends. We are going to be trapped!
I scan the area, after informing the others that we’re in the middle of this. I’ve released my scimitar and raised my shield, then I see the unicorn outline in the mist. That chill from the shadow plane runs up my spine.
I’m an idiot! Close to 3 decades ago Mother told this bastard to go to Hell in this VERY forest! He and his were battling Pyrico and his for this forest. Damn my boldness for talking so freely!
On the one hand what I’m planning must be on the right track to have him manifest. On the other, he’s here to destroy us. But he didn’t come right on top of us, perhaps we are screened? But by who?
I do some quick thinking about who to send off and who to keep with me at the same time.
I charged Christoph with my sister and to run in a direction opposite to Kastral’s approach as swiftly and quietly as possible.
He is between us and Pyrico’s pyre. I must be on the right track!
I tell the dwarf to make noise. He’s in heavy stone armour. Should be easy.
And the black bastard changed his direction. I pull the dwarf to get him running with me, away from Christoph. I handed Jern a potion of bull’s strength, just in case. I meanwhile call to Merlai and the Wanderer for help, either to hide us or give us speed. Nameless too. I ask for help too. Really any of the gods that would be able to help.
He’s chasing us, no doubt enjoying this play with non followers. Then he disappears. Is he after my sister?
No. He steps out before Jern and I. I am powerless against him. I am not yet at my full potential, Mother had more magic open to her than I do when she challenged him. He is what is killing this realm. And I don’t have my tools yet to do damage to him. But yet I step ahead of Jern. He can hit harder than I. Perhaps my time in the pits will aid me avoiding getting hit. Yeah… Right.
But then I smell ozone. I yell a warning to Jern and dive behind a tree as a bolt lands where we had stood. Had the Lord of Lightning come?
No. It’s Warmonger! ’Let’s do this!’ He shouts out rather, gleefully?
Is this why he didn’t smite me? That I would be bait that would bring him fun? I’ll take that with a strong thank you to him for saving us.
And we’re running again. Must find a way for the dwarf to travel faster. Poor bugger has short legs. I send Asra to find Christoph and get him to join with us as we move to avoid the divine battle. The out pouring of magic and noise is very heady, and I took flight to avoid it. I keep Jern heading in the right direction when suddenly Christoph and my sister arrive. Pheraya is not only awake but flying! I hug her tight then help her fly swiftly. She is so weak.
We keep going and then Asra falls before me, giving me some sort of ring from Christoph. Turns out it’s a gate ring. It has potential applications. We continue to walk, Christoph and Pheraya are unable to keep up the run. By the time night approaches, I’m ready to lay down and rest, but the battle is still raging, according to Jern. Trust a dwarf to feel the vibrations.
We keep going til the normal sight fails. Which means that the human form of Christoph is blind. My sister with her elven eyes, still stumbles, more weak than blind.
We find a safe looking place to rest. I let Jern and Pheraya go to sleep and then proceed to teach Christoph the basics of what he’s writing. He simply falls down afterwards to sleep. Poor man. I may have to reteach him what I just taught.
Next was Jern. I was tired but I kept focus and taught him the first line of what he’s to write. Pheraya is softly snoring when I finally call it a night and wish Jern a quiet watch.
I settled down to revery. I need to look at the spell circles. First I see what my grandmother used, she’s a follower of the Earth titan, as was her father. I look several generations of shamanic summonings til I finally find a follower of Stath. He’s not Pyrico, but Mom once called to him.
What have I turned my back on?
A prosperous kingdom. A husband who is more diplomatic than I. But who doesn’t love me. But Christoph was still anchored to logical thinking, and his concern for my well being was tender. I miss having someone being sweet to me. Nice strong arms… But I digress.
A great relationship was coming with the nearby dwarven kingdom lead by King Jern. I’m pretty sure I know his wife from something, but what?
Wait! She brought us to the Vrynmer!
Oddly Pheraya was the court magician. She, a practitioner of the mind arts, like father, being an archmage. Perhaps in a different life it would have come true. But Rajine had apparently trained her. And Baelok was there, but he was different. He smiled!
How powerful is the caster who did this?
Tricked me into believing I was a queen. That all is well and grand. But why did the first boar strike me as odd? What caused Jern to start rambling about the mist forest? What exactly struck me to start lifting the veil from my eyes?
The dancing started it.
But that thrice damned brand on my neck. It was gone but then it came back.
And Jern and Christoph saw it. And both began demanding answers.
When did it happen? 9 years ago.
Who did it? Jern accused Christoph. Christoph asked me who did it in a way that scared me.
How can I tell them? The rough hands. The smell of sulphur. The burning brand had failed. The laughter as the needle is punched into my neck.
I think that is what forced me to realise that the beauty isn’t real.
Pheraya grew quiet. Christoph brought up that we might be in danger.
What had forced us here? What’s eating us? Or packing us away? Jern also grew very agitated. Where’s my scimitar’s tattoo?! Why didn’t it come back like the brand? It too was done against my will!
Don’t let panic take hold.
We have to wake up. We must wake up!