Demon Continent Alsace in the Year 291 after the Shattering of the Empire
The next day, they set out early to get out of the city to take advantage of as much daylight as they could.
Within a few hundred meters of leaving the city, he could sense a change in the Arcane Energy around him. Where in the city it seemed to have been colored by the individual users and had lost intensity, outside the city it was a lot clearer. While the Arcane Energy here was also colored, it did not become a brown mass of unsightly Arcane Energy, similar to color mixed with too much paint. He could only guess that it was because all demons lived with a core.
Unfortunately, he could not see how big the city of Vanadium was and how many inhabitants it had. But if he remembered correctly, Vanadium was the last city of the old demon empire. In which up to this day a ruler of the old ruling dynasty still ruled. To this day, his legacy is that he was the rightful ruler of all the demons. Although over the centuries more and more princes and rebels have broken away from them. That was all he knew from his old life about the demons and their current state construct.
However, with each additional meter they traveled and left civilization, one thing became clear to him.The reports or tales, if you wanted to be accurate, about the Demon Continent were true.The reports or tales, if you wanted to be accurate, about the Demon Continent were true. The reports or tales, if you wanted to be accurate, about the Demon Continent were true. It was a land that had more Arcane Energy than the continent of Arsacid on which the Empire of Cailan was located.
One thing both continents and societies seemed to have in common, however, was that the roads were mostly just a trail through a forest or field, which were nothing more than the rutted tracks of columns of carts. The little bit of green that grew on them was trampled flat by those walking or dug up again by the wagons.
Thus the journey was not a pleasant thing for him, also the other babies seemed to find little pleasure in the strains of the journey. So the four demons who took care of them had their hands full. To his horror, neither Sia nor Sappho was among the four Demons. They were the parents of two of the children, who tried to soothe the crying little infants with everything they could. They were all used to being carried around, but not yet to driving a cart, so most found it uncomfortable. Of course, as soon as one of the infants was asleep, they hit a pothole and the whole thing started all over again. It was maddening; if he could have, he would have covered his ears. But someone had come up with the idea of wrapping them all up in a blanket so that they wouldn't hurt themselves. This was however still everything more bearable, the constant infant language which was used to talk to him, he felt as substantially worse. So the initial days passed until the babies got used to the new environment and slept more again.
They were all called together in the evening, it seemed to be about what she had discussed with Sia during the day. Panos and Naima stood on some boxes to give themselves a rise so that everyone could see them.
They were both fiery red and also about the same size. Whereas Panos had one black horn, the other consisted only of a stump now, with the break-off edge slowly smoothed by time. His wife Naima had no horns, but additional arms, with which she was not alone, but there were not many at the "Hand Alsac". Both were also more similar to the creator deities as well by their tails, which had a fiery tassel at the end.
After both had made sure that everyone was present and also some of the officers of the family had moved through the camp to see that everyone was there, they began.
"I am very pleased with our work today. Which should allow us to leave town at daybreak tomorrow." Approving murmurs spread, but before this could go any further, Panos raised a hand and all fell into silence.
"Many will have seen, or heard from others, that we have received an order from the city. One that does not require us to change our rod, but could lead to far more danger than normal. - " Here he paused to appreciate the reaction of all present. She knew him and his wife well and could guess how they would behave in which situation. This behavior of caution worried her - "We will take a priest of Meinoume with us."
No sooner had he spoken the name of the hated god than loud opposition broke out. Panos and Naima both tried to calm down, but they could not overcome the indignation of the whole crowd.
What were they thinking? They had to know how the message would be received. A priest of the traitor, of the God, who dared to lay a hand on what is not his. She had to restrain herself so as not to attack them, even verbally, like all the others. Here and there, however, some of the others were already rushing towards the two and getting them off the crates.
Her hands clenched into fists, she tried to wait to see what they had to say. Others had reacted similarly to her and were in the process of catching those who were rushing forward, so that the two leaders could explain themselves.
After silence had returned and some more cursing and violent spitting on the ground, the two were finally able to attempt an explanation.
"After all, we can understand you, and I don't think we need to explain to you what the situation is in the realm right now." Isolated shouts of confirmation, here and there a nod of the head.
"All of you and I know about the ancient ways of our people and the stories surrounding Meinoume. However, the people outside our family no longer know about them. Only the old ones and the priests of the gods know about it as well, but in the broad mass of the population it has fallen into oblivion. Why the gods let it come so far, I can only speculate. Nevertheless, we have received this order from an envoy of the King and are to protect this priest on his way to Dikili Tash." More shouts of protest were heard before they too fell silent.
That had been three days ago, and since then they had been on their way to Dikili Tash. In their wake, the priest of Meinoume. Which leads to some tension within the group. Fortunately for everyone, he mostly stayed in his own wagon and rarely came out. Mostly only when there was a delay and he wanted to know when it would go on. Otherwise he was low maintenance, they had gotten other escort jobs with more difficult people.
But this did not change the general mood that prevailed in the camp. In the shadows there was talk of murder, different groups formed. All with different opinions, from murder to torture to sacrifices to the gods to make them benevolent again for their crime of protecting a priest of Meinoume.
She had a very bad feeling.
With an alert look she looked at her surroundings, as much as the presence of the priest worried her, one could not be distracted in the wilderness of Alsace. Distraction could mean the death of oneself and others. She had to hope that the others would remember this one rule.
They were one of the more powerful families of Cikarti that traveled Alsace, but the monsters and animals that lived on Alsace were just as powerful as most demons. Which meant that they were usually always weaker than a monster or animal. Where they could only help themselves with their greater number, but if they lost too many they would have to regroup or join another family.
An idea that pleased the fewest, since a new family always meant that one had to fight for his place in it. It was more difficult for the leaders of families, there could not be too many, otherwise the family became weak.
So far they had been lucky though, they had not encountered any monsters or animals. Nor had they found any traces of monsters or animals, at least none that could be a danger. She could only hope that it would stay that way and that the gods would not punish them for their deeds. The only traces found by one of her scouts were traces of other people. A group that was about the same size as her own. The disturbing thing was that this group was wandering around a few hundred meters away from the streets. There were also different opinions about this. In her personal opinion, someone who wandered so far from the path could not have anything good in mind.
But it could not be undead, for that the traces were too precise, also no lost body parts were found. Even if that was still Sia's most popular theory. She personally did not believe in undead. Personally, she had to think of bandits or deserters. Only such had to keep away from the road, not that they still run into a part of the arms, which is transferred to the front or is on the way back.
But it didn't matter, at least for the moment, because nothing had happened as of yet and the tracks seemed to be a few days old. Which suggested that this one had passed through here some time ago. Also, the tracks could still break off or change direction. Also, the scouts should warn them early enough, should the behavior of the other group change. With these thoughts, she made another scan of the surrounding area, which was still just a forest. With ferns as tall as a man, bushes and the occasional fruit bush that protruded into the road. A few birds sang praises for the day.
The rest of the day continued to be uneventful, just like the days before. Only in contrast to the other days. Came the priest towards the evening more and more often out of his wagons. What made everyone nervous and it was obvious that he knew it, that he had this effect.
Her bad feeling got worse and worse as the sun approached the horizon. She became more and more frightened and thought she saw enemies in the shadows that were getting longer, which in the very next moment were no longer there.
The others reacted similarly to her, at least it could be seen in their behavior. They were also as restless as she was and frightened by every shadow. It seemed to get worse and worse and darker and darker, although sunset was still some time away.
She only noticed that the birds had fallen silent when she could hear the crying of one of the children very softly in the distance. With this sound she became wide awake again, she as well as all the people around her shook their heads or blinked their eyes to dispel the tiredness. Which had crept into her limbs.
The whole column of wagons had come to a halt, with an evil foreboding she turned to the priest's wagon. In which no priest was to be seen, the door of the carriage was open. This did not mean yet that the priest had something to do with the children. However, it gave her a growing feeling of dread.
What if he had come to the children unnoticed by everyone else and had marked them all at once. Without checking the wagon further to see if the priest was really not in it, she ran to the wagon with the children without wasting any more time. Around her, more and more people were awakening from their sleep-like states and looking around in confusion.
"Please, nothing must have happened to the children." She repeated over and over in her head to encourage herself.
"By the three sisters and the supreme gods Lilith and Asmodus. I pray that nothing has happened to these children." She sand a push prayer to the gods. Only one wagon separated her from her destination, she could already see the entrance to the children's wagon covered by tarpaulins. It was the only wagon painted with bright colors, so that the children could enjoy the play of colors created by the sun. However, at that moment it seemed to her that the colors were hiding a bad joke or were a bad joke themselves. A cruel bad joke by the gods.
Already she jumped with a few steps up the small stairs and through the entrance into the wagon. Before she could really register what she saw, she had already collapsed over the small body of Cali and pulled her to her. The priest lay like a felled tree in the middle of the wagon, face down. A pool of blood was slowly forming under him, which was about to soak the children's simple wooden toys with blood. Next to him lay a shattered pendant, its remains scattered around a chain the priest had wrapped around his wrist. A pointed object protruded from his back; he seemed to have stabbed himself with it.
One by one, the parents and caretakers of the other children came into the wagon. They set about calming the children and removing the priest's body from the wagon. All the time she held Cali in their arms and cradled her. Not that the latter needed it, since she was fast asleep, but she needed it now.
She looked around the wagon again, it seemed that the wagon had gone through a pothole and the priest had lost his balance. He had fallen on his own tools and stabbed himself with them. At the same time, his amulet, which had been playing such evil tricks on everyone, had broken. There seemed to be no one who had not been affected by it.
"You seem to have missed the whole thing." She shook her head at the fact that where all the other children were screaming at the top of their lungs, Little Cali was just sleeping peacefully.