Lysara hummed a cheerful tune as they rode, strumming along on her lyre.
“You seem unusually happy,” Axra noted. “Even for you.”
“I am!” Lysara declared. “Bon and I have never been closer and now we’re going on an adventure together.”
“Is that so?” Twila asked, looking over at Bonnie.
“Well, a lot happened,” Bonnie muttered, quickly looking away. “But I suppose it is true.”
“Guess that leaves Velvet as the odd one out,” Axra stated.
“Don’t feel down,” Lysara said. “I’m sure you can find a girlfriend… or boyfriend. Which are you into, anyway?”
“Romance is a hassle,” Velvet said. “Too much work to bother with.”
“How am I not surprised by that reaction?” Axra asked.
They shared a good laugh, blissfully unaware of events that were unfolding far away.
“We’ve found it,” Jayko reported. “They’ve got an organised system of sentries and a barracks. It won’t take them long to move once we strike.”
“And it doesn’t look like they’ve summoned Typhon yet,” Lexine noted.
“I can sense the magic from the ritual,” Moira stated. “They’ve definitely begun. We should hurry.”
“Should we sneak in?” Shin asked. “Put a stop to the ritual?”
“No need,” Lennard said. “It’ll be faster if we just run through them.”
“That’s my style,” Axel said.
“Jayko and I will sneak in while the rest of you create a commotion,” Reira said. “We stand the best chance of getting to the ritual site without being seen and it should be faster than fighting our way through a bunch of them.”
“Agreed,” Isaac said. “If they do complete the summoning return to us as fast as you can.” He turned to the others. “Let’s make some noise!”
They rode forward, soldiers from the Underground and Nervius riding side by side. The initial sentries were no match for them and the alarm quickly sounded.
Reira and Jayko quickly dismounted, Jayko brought out a wand and teleported the two inside their fort. They were very nearly caught by a sentry, but Reira managed to wipe their images from her mind. She nodded to Jayko, who promptly pulled out a second wand, turning the two of them invisible with two quick waves. The two hurried deeper in.
A fireball blasted several enemy soldiers who were circling around Shin.
“Thanks, Dad,” Shin said. Blocking a strike and thrusting his blade through an enemy.
“Anytime,” Isaac said. “You, Lulu and Lexine seem to be drawing the bulk of their ire.”
Shin scanned the field. Lulu had a circle of corpses built up around him and was cutting through more units.
Lexine had a shimmering field around her that was bouncing arrows away while she fought through waves of opponents.
“Well, we are the only half bloods here,” Shin said. A wall of flame erupted around him, incinerating several enemies he hadn’t seen as well as those he had been fighting.
“Be more careful,” Moira said. “You need to watch yourself and pay less heed to your comrades, unless they’re close by.”
“Yes, Ma’am!” Shin declared.
Jayko followed Reira down a hallway, which wasn’t easy with the invisibility spell. The two hugged the wall, occasionally stopping to allow someone to pass them.
There are more soldiers inside than anticipated. Jayko thought.
Indeed. He heard Reira’s voice in his head. They’re under orders to guard the ritual, fighting only when someone gets close enough.
It must be close to complete then. Otherwise there would be no point. Jayko thought.
They don’t know how long it’ll be. Reira’s voice told him. They have been told it’ll be over soon. Come on, it’s this way! His mind gave him a clear image of which way they were going.
They quickly arrived in what seemed to be an empty hallway.
Secret room? Jayko wondered. Of course, it’s kind of obvious when you have a hallway that seems to lead to nothing.
True enough. Reira’s voice agreed. They really should have put some kind of room back here to better camouflage it. She walked over to the wall and pushed two bricks in. The wall slid open, revealing a small area with a staircase leading down. Not that it would have helped against me, of course.
Naturally. Jayko thought.
The two hurried down, entering into a dank corridor filled with empty cells, dimly lit by torches.
It was, and recently. Reira’s voice told him. They need sacrifices, remember?
Jayko studied the number of cells, tried to imagine how many they’d crammed into them. “We’ll avenge them!” He put his hand over his mouth, he had spoken without thinking.
“We will,” Reira agreed. “No need to worry too much, there’s no one close enough to hear you, at least for the moment.”
They continued onward, passing more cells as they went. Jayko caught a glimpse of a small stuffed toy left in one. He tried not to look at them after that.
They finally arrived at a large open chambre. A massive flame was building in the centre. A dwarf, elf and human were standing watch over three chained people. The first of them, they tossed into the fire. The human began chanting some words.
Jayko drew his katana and Reira strapped on her bagh nakh.
The dwarf turned, seemingly looking right at them. She brought out a staff and shouted “dispel.” Jayko and Reira stood, stripped of their invisibility.
“We have rats,” she stated.
“We’ll deal with them,” the elf said, drawing a sword. “John, you better finish that spell.”
He rushed directly for Jayko.
“Fireball!” the dwarf yelled. Reira avoided it easily.
“You started dodging before I finished casting,” the dwarf noted. “How?”
“That’s a secret,” Reira said.
She saw a lightning spell aimed right at her chest, she waited until the other woman pointed and shouted “light…” before moving out of the way.
John tossed another prisoner to the flame. He hurried with the rites, just one more to go.
Jayko noticed it too. “Forgive me,” he muttered. He tossed a kunai, hitting the final prisoner in the back of the head.
“No!” the dwarf yelled. “We just needed one more sacrifice…” She was cut short by Reira’s bagh nakh cutting her open.
John finished the rites for the one he’d thrown in. “Richard, come here, now!”
“I understand!” Richard broke away from Jayko and leapt into the flame. John began the final rites.
Jayko hurled several kunai at John, but a protective field bounced them away from the man.
“Damn!” Jayko yelled.
The flame shifted colour to a bright white. “Oh great Typhon,” John intoned. “I beseech thee, come once more to our realm and rid this world of all half bloods!”
The flames burst in a blinding display, both Reira and Jayko shielded their eyes. When they opened them again a pile of ashes was sitting where John had been. The flames were gone and in their place stood an eight foot tall humanoid with pointed ears, wings and a lower half composed of tentacles.
When he spoke the walls shook. “So it has been ordered, so Typhon must do. Let the contract be completed.”