The Setting Sun
We awoke the next morning at dawn’s first light. Having learned about Akor’s plans to use The Murder to bring about the end of days we knew we had to find Morgul. And as we prepared to depart from Pendos’ mountain lair we asked if he knew his whereabouts.
“DO I KNOW WHERE ONE PERSON IN THIS VAST LAND IS LOCATED?” Laughed the great dragon. “I AM THE GOD-DRAGON OF WISDOM! I KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW.” He shifted around his massive room to face us better. “HE MAY BE BACK IN SKRAYHORN, YOU’LL HAVE TO HURRY TO CATCH HIM THOUGH.” He said as he lowered his head down towards us. “HE APPEARS TO BE PREPARING FOR A JOURNEY OF SOME SORT.
The dragon then lead us out on to his sunning perch and closed his eyes. Then the mountain began to creak and crack as the rock started to change. Slowly a smooth level path formed in front of us. “THIS PATHWAY WILL TAKE YOU OUT THE MOUNTAINS.” Said Pendos as he returned inside. The five of us looked upon each other with amazement, awestruck by the pure power Pendos had just demonstrated. “WHILE YOU LOOK FOR MORGUL YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT MORGAN, THE YOUNGEST HIER TO THE UTESLER NAME, IS ALSO IN SKRAYHORN DOING REPAIRS. YOU SHOULD SEEK HIM OUT AS WELL. HE COULD HELP YOU CONTACT MY BROTHER JURGUN.”
The walk down the pathway that Pendos created had us out of the mountains in a quarter of the time it took us to reach his lair. It was slightly after midday when we arrived at the base of the mountain. The heat was unexpectedly hot compared to where we had originally entered the tall peaks of Pendos’ mountain range. The ground was mostly sand and there was little to no vegetation. A great dessert lay before us. We then headed north along the mountain range for it was the fastest way back to the Utesler’s whalebone bridge.
After a few hours of trudging through the sand, the ground started to become more firm and the dessert started to show signs of changing back into the plains that covered most of the island nation of Sovereign. We were traveling at a pace much faster than we normally did for we had to make it back to skrayhorn before Morgul left. No one said much of anything as we went. All of us were to busy thinking of what Pendos had told us. The Swordsmen knew his name now, Balfore the lost whaler king. Alessisa a leader of an assassins guild. We were slowly finding out who we were and why we were brought back.
We had to find a way to stop Akor from bringing the End of Days.
“What is that over there?” Tahn yelled pointing at the side of the mountain.
“What is what?” said Balfore. “Are your dwarf eyes playing tricks on you?”
“Very funny human, but now there was something on those rocks over there.” Tahn said as he pointed in the direction of the supposed object in question.
“Is that it?” Haeys asked pointing at 2 large scorpions moving out behind some of the rocks near the base of the mountain.
“Yeah that would be it” Tahn said as dropped into a combat stance.
The scorpions moved closer as they bared their pincers at us to appear more threatening. which side would make the first move? I dropped my lance into attack position and bolted towards the beast as Alessisa filled the air with her music and song.
One of the Scorpions held it’s self above Tahn by standing between two of the large rocks that littered the ground that made up our battlefield. he punched at it’s exposed underside. His fist splitting the hard carapace. Haeys moved up to assist him as Balfore charged at another Larger scorpion that moved out of it’s hiding in order to protect the smaller pair that were already engaged in battle with us.
Then I saw my chance to strike at one of the scorpions and I spurred Aroinix into a gallop. The steady rhythm of his hooves on the earth fit perfectly into Alessisa’s battle song. My lance struck true with the beginning of a new measure. The scorpion tail shook angrily as its blood seeped out of it’s broken shell. Weakened from the blow it reached out with its pincers to deal a counter strike, but Arionix danced out of the way. I then pulled my lance out of the beast and stabbed it once more. With that, the life of the Scorpion faded away.
The others were holding their own against the scorpions. Tahn had dispatched the one he was dealing with and Haeys was working with Alssesia and Balfore to take out the larger one. Before I could turn to charge the larger scorpion the effort of the others combined took the huge beast down.
Winded from the battle we rested until we were ready to head out again. we didn’t have time to make camp, there was no time to waste with Morgul leaving Skrayhorn at any moment.
“We can rest once we cross the bridge” Balfore decided. we all agreed. there was more than enough time. The Sun was only beginning to fall from its zenith.
It was a few hours before the bridge was in sight. Once again the setting sun painted the horizon with an alarming amount of reds, oranges, and purples. I scanned the landscape, taking in all the beauty that I could. A rare occurrence since I’ve come back to life.
Taking in my surroundings I noticed that there was something missing. There was an eerie calmness. and once we got close enough to the bridge we could see that there were three men walking towards the bridge from the other side. The next thing I noticed was they were very well armed. Covered in full mail armor of a regal design. Two of them were Orcs, they were wielded three curved blades. Weapons of the bushidoistic culture their people had adopted. With them was also a Human who bared the markings of his God proudly across his armored chest.
We met in the middle of the bridge.
The Orc in the middle stepped forward and greeted us in a most pleasant manner. “Hello there travelers, we are men of the state sent on the task of finding a woman with tattoos that may be on this road.” I dropped my lance into an attack position. I looked at Alessisa, who was covering her face and hair to avoid detection. “Have any of you seen a woman wandering these parts?” The Orc questioned. Balfore, Haeys, and Tahn stepped closer to the men.
“We have not seen anyone other than you on our travels.” stated Balfore. The Orc on the right of the three pushed the hilt of his katana with his thumb, exposing the blade of his weapon. Tahn and Haeys and took a step back in reaction to the Orcs unspoken threat. Balfore however confidently stood his ground. “You have no power over us. We have nothing further to discuss.”
“I am here with the authority of the Queen’s law.” calmly said the head Orc.
“HA!” I interjected. “This country has no law!”
At my statement the Human with them managed to get ahold of Alessisa. he tore her shirt open from the collar exposing enough skin to make her tattoos visible. “Captain, it’s her.” the man said.
“Take her into custody.” The Captain said with grim authority.
“She’s not going anywhere with you.” I said as I reared Arionix.
“Lethal force is authorized to any and all opposition.” said the Orcish Captain as he drew his katana and wakizashi. “I will give no quarter, by orders of the Queen.”
Haeys grabbed the guy who was restraining Alessisa by his wrist and with a quick surge of a spell the man’s forearm burst into a pulpy mass. the man Screamed in agony allowing Alessisa to escape his grapple. Tahn then lunged at the second Orc landing a solid open palm strike to his chest. Unbalanced by the blow he failed to land a return blow with his katana. Balfore the Swordsmen landing a mortal wound on the Human cleric that haeys crippled mere seconds sooner.
Leaving the Captain to me.
As I charged him an arrow nearly struck Arionix, but since he was a celestial horse, his pure speed allowed him to move out of the path of the arrow.
I focused all my might and inner light into my lance and with the guidance of divine Judgment, I ran the Orc through the side slightly above his waist. Pulling the lance from his side I gave him one final offer. “ You will leave us to our travels and we will let you live.”
Then it all happened so quickly…
The Human that had been nearly disemboweled by Balfore had managed to crawl to his captain’s side. “Take them down Captain.” he said placing his hand on the Orc’s leg. The Orc Screamed as his muscles bulged. the Human fell limp and the Orc slashed once across the surface of my breastplate. The blade was so sharp that it cut the metal like butter. A spray of warmth left my body covering the Captain in a crimson shower.
“Cinredi! NO!” Arionix said as he reared.
“Floating, I fell like I’m floating. Everything is moving so slow. I’ve lost so much….blood.” I thought as I fell from Arionix. “It’s getting rather dark, the sun must be going down.”
“CINREDI!” yelled the swordsmen and he started to run towards me.
I was already off the bridge by then. All I saw was the red and purple clouds that held the last bit of the sun’s light.
The water was much too cold as it began to fill my armor. The shock caused me to inhale rapidly, filling my lungs with water. “I’m floating again” the bridge began to fade away as I sunk deeper into the river.
“I’m going to die” never crossed my mind. I had failed was the only thing I could think of. I let them all down.
Then There was nothing.