🙡 Chapter 5.2 🙣
And at the same time as a certain tentacle monster was just climbing out of his shell, High Mage Var walked through the Fields of Eternal Glory with a sour mood.
Part of it was that he was woken up in the middle of the night and ordered to come here immediately by the head of his order, and as of yesterday, his ex-wife—and she assured him it was because he was the only flying-kin among the high-mages, not because he got to keep their mansion.
Part of it was realising that he no longer can just fly 100 miles without stopping for rest multiple times, something that came by easily just a few years ago.
Part of it was the surroundings, an obvious magical carnage.
But most of his bad mood was due to, as usual, people. Especially, higher ranking nobles, like the fancy dressed arachne in front of him.
“Var, the Black-lightning.. I remember hearing a minstrel song about you swooping down, or raven black feathered, to win a battle and slay hundred men. What a honor to meet you here“
A perfectly fine greeting! If not for those obvious peeks, at the multiple patches of graying feathers, or the smirk on her face.
“... and who might you be?”
“Oh, how rude of me” she hid her face with a notebook, but he could swear she was still smirking. “Zerl of house Wacht. I’m afraid my father, the Duke, is busy with duties related to the current matter, so I was sent to accompany you, honourable guest!”
Lower half of a beautiful white furred spider, ape-kin upper half, with white shoulder-length curly hair, a dress of finest silk, and complete confidence that no one will lift a finger against her. That’s exactly what he needed today, working for a spoiled future Dutchess.
“It’s my pleasure to meet you. As you surely know, this is a matter of great urgency, so if you could please take me to the place of the incident?”
“But of course—I’m sure you are eager to come back to your wife back in the capital after all.”—she said, showing an innocent smile, and he could swear he felt his patience and diplomacy skills growing, with every second spent talking to this girl.
Every time Var gained a new title, he promised himself, he will no longer take sh*t from anyone. And yet, with every title came more responsibilities, and with them more work for people of even higher status.
Either satisfied, or bored of his lack of reaction (he wasn’t sure, as spider-kin facial expressions are often difficult to discern to members of other races, unless they chose to do it on purpose) she finally started talking about the event that had the whole capital in uproar.
“At midnight, as adepts were performing their duties, an explosion occurred at the center of the Fields, just next to the tomb of the saint. We believe a powerful entity from outside has sent something through. After that, a wave of flames swept through the fields, killing all but a few veteran mages, who managed to erect a barrier in time—though even they did not emerge unscathed from the flames. Our healers are still attending them right now, we can go meet them later if you wish. As for the eternal watchers… we are still not sure of the number, but hundreds of them immediately evaporated, and another few hundreds perished while blocking the interference”
She pointed towards the soot-covered area surrounding them with one pair of her arms, no sign of original pristine white or purified holy stone, while keeping a notebook she was reading from with another.
“... has anything like that happened before?” he asked,
“Not since the last victory against the gods.”
“Soon after, my father assembled a team of paladins, and went together with them to investigate, while ordering the local garrison to stop anyone … or anything from leaving or coming closer. Not that there was much left to investigate. Everything, but the great saint turning to dust. Though even him… well, you will see.”
They reached the center of the fields, the spot of the last battle between mortals and gods, holy site for all kin… the last time he visited this place it was full of people. Now you could only hear their steps.
“We have to assume that the barriers have been compromised. Gods summoned another of their lackeys. Another Hero to “save the world” I presume.” She said, authoritatively—as a future Duchess of Wacht, she was an expert in otherworldly threats after all.
And yet, Var couldn’t help but have a bad feeling about all of this.
They finally reached the spot where the First Saint. A man that sacrificed himself, like many that followed him, and entombed himself while at the peak of his might, to guard the world from otherworldly intrusions. Even though hundreds of years have passed, his watch continued… until today.
A bed of holy stone, now black and emanating hellish heat. The visage of calm ape-kin, before looking like a sleeping, good natured man… now twisted in agony and horror. His eyes wide open, with empty holes on their back, as if something came from within the skull and crawled out.
But what his well levelled intuition and investigation skills told him to pay attention to was a weird pattern etched on the burned husk of the saint… a pattern that he didn’t recognise. A pattern of tentacle suckers.