Slowly I regained consciousness and realised that I was shackled and hanging from chains attached to the roof. Similar chains held my legs straight towards the floor. I opened my eyes, still heavy from the spell, and saw Camil, Aeran, and Grzegorz in a similar condition next to me. I hoped that Branden had escaped. The room we had been carried was lit by a small torch on the wall. I breathed deeply and inspected the room: It was a damp dungeon, probably somewhere under the cathedral, and on the walls were small cages and a torture rack. In front of us I saw figures standing in the low light. My vision was still hazy, and I had trouble making out the their identities. I blinked my eyes to clear my vision and saw the grinning face of the cripple merchant Findley. Next to him I saw the Master, Ramsey, Belenus mac Torr and two bandits.
‘’They are awake,’’ said Findley and rubbed his cane with anticipation.
‘’Yes, there are a few answers that I require from you, and it is up to you how painful this will get,’’ the Master calmly said.
I looked around and saw that all the wounds my friends had taken had been healed. A quick glance at my own body told that I had also been healed. Fresh for torture, I thought and closed my eyes for a moment. I realised that I could cast some of my spells even though I was held like this, but quickly realised that it would not help us much.
‘’You,’’ the Master said and pointed his finger at Aeran and continued: ‘’Who are you and what are you doing with this group?’’
Aeran gave the robed villain a defying look and refused to answer.
‘’Very well, we’ll have it your way,’’ Master said and waved his hand to the two bandits behind him. The bandits immediately approached Aeran and removed the chains from the floor and roof only to attach them to the torture rack. They were going to stretch him.
‘’Pull the wheel,’’ the Master said and the bandits obeyed. Aeran’s body was straightened as the rack began to draw his limbs.
‘’Who are you and what are you doing with this group?’’ the Master repeated his question, but Aeran merely spat at the other bandit operating the rack.
’’He’s just a mercenary who used to be the body guard of Brianag magh Cairenn. Lady Brianag offered his services to us as a reward for saving his life in Clydewell,‘’ I shouted at the robed man.
’’Ah, I see,‘’ the Master said and thought for a moment. ’’How old are you?’’ he suddenly asked Aeran.
Despite the great pain he was suffering, Aeran remained silent.
‘’This would be so much easier if you would co-operate. Now, answer the question,’’ the Master said and ordered the bandits to tighten the rack. I heard Aeran‘s left shoulder dislocate with a nauseating pop. From the look on his face I saw that he was close to passing out. I cursed to myself the fact that I didn’t know Aeran’s age. He was too stubborn to surrender to this psychopath.
‘’How old are you?’’ the robed man said and leaned towards Aeran who just shook his head as an answer.
‘’Pull the wheel!’’ the Master stood up and shouted. The bandits pulled the levers on the wheels and Aeran’s right shoulder dislocated. I tried to close my eyes, but the sound of ripping tendons lingered in my ears. I opened my eyes and sighed with relief as I saw that Aeran had passed out.
‘’Heal him,’’ Belenus mac Torr said to the bandits who immediately began to untie Aeran from the rack. They relocated his shoulders and poured healing potions on his limbs. I knew that those potions merely hastened the natural healing process so fast that the tendons grew back in seconds. For the pain the potions did nothing. Aeran’s arms would ache for weeks if he would survive out of this alive.
‘’I will interrogate him next. Untie his left arm and take the pliers,’’ the Master said to the bandits and pointed at me.
‘’Now, tell me where does your archer friend bunk at the moment? And please, don’t lie. I already know the right answer,‘’ Master said and walked towards me. The other bandit began to open the shackle on my left arm.
’’He’s bunking in the Bleeding Wolf Inn,‘’ I said and told him the name of the tavern we were staying.
’’Wrong answer,‘’ he said to me and I saw the other bandit, holding a pair of large diagonal pliers, appear behind the Master. The bandit who had untied my arm took my ring finger into his hand and showed it to the man holding the cutting tool.
’’I assume this is important to you,‘’ Master pointed out and the bandits placed the cutting tool to the base the finger. It was the finger where I had tattooed the first letter of Irdana when we had betrothed. I understood what that sick wizard was planning.
’’Tell me where you were staying,‘’ the wizard calmly said. I knew that he wanted me to tell him that Branden had gone to Ross magh Connacht and the place where the Crown’s Secret Service was, but technically I was telling the truth when I told him that it was Bleeding Wolf we were staying.
‘’We were staying at the Bleeding Wolf Inn. If you want me to answer some other question, form your question otherwise you imbecile,’’ I taunted the wizard, but he didn’t seem react to my insult.
‘’I guess we’ll have to cut it off then,‘’ Master said and nodded at the bandit holding the cutting tool.
’’He’s probably gone to Ross magh Connacht and the Crown’s Secret Service! We were there yesterday!‘’ Camil shouted as he saw that the bandits were about to cut my finger off. ’’That’s the answer you want, right?‘’ Camil shouted.
’’Yes, that is the right answer,‘’ the wizard said and glanced at Camil. The bandits held the cutters and looked at the Master for orders.
’’Well, since we got so far already, cut it off,‘’ the wizard said and I gasped as I realised that that sadistic bastard had no intentions to make this easy for us. I screamed in pain as the cutters sunk into my finger and the bandit holding it began to twist it. The cutters were rough and not very sharp so it took a while for the bandit to remove the finger. Finally the finger dropped to the floor and Belenus approached to pour a healing potion on my hand. I bit my teeth together as the hand ached terribly. Raising my gaze to the wizard I slowly said to him: ’’You… you had better kill me now.‘’
’’When time comes,‘’ he answered calmly. The torture room’s door opened and a robed figure emerged from the darkness: “Master, the ritual is ready to begin” ‘’Findley, you may continue the interrogation,’’ the wizard said and left the room with Belenus.
‘’I have waited for this moment so long,’’ Findley said shaking with excitement. “The Master’s plan is at last coming to fruition. What a relief, keeping quiet about it has been almost too much”. Camil saw an opening for getting more information – maybe he’s not as dumb as he usually seems to be: “What plan is that? Why kill the thane and the lector if they were in the same bed as you?”
Findley flashed a wide smile: “They were fools who wanted greater rights for the northern provinces and thought the Master would give it to the them. The lector came in handy to drive the masses into the brink of uprising while the thane’s job was to cause arguments among the other thanes so they would be trapped in the city. The idiots were thought the thanes would be kidnapped so that the king would have no other choice but to negotiate with the northerners. Apparently the Master has other agendas. Your father was used to infiltrate the temples, luring him was easy because of his lust for power. The thieves guild brought in the assassins while I only had to make sure the city’s idiot thane drove through the new law regarding taxation of the lower clans, thus making the city ready to tear itself apart. I’m sure the other thanes within the city are dead as we speak.”
The merchant smiled at Camil. ‘’As for you, do you have any idea how hard it was for a crippled child to grow up all alone?’’
‘’No, I wouldn’t have a clue. What’s it to me?‘’ Camil answered the limping merchant who began to move closer to him.
’’You don’t remember me?‘’ Findley said and poked Camil with his cane. ’’You crippled me when we were kids. That’s why you were sent to those pesky priest south.‘’
’’You should not have bullied me. You even had friends with you, I was all alone,‘’ Camil said to the bitter merchant.
’’You fool!‘’ the merchant said and hit Camil with his cane and continued: ’’It doesn’t matter! It was you who caused the broken bones and the years of pain. After you had been sent away your accursed clan destroyed my family to keep the incident from the public eye. My parents were sent to die in the tar pits and my siblings starved to death in the winter. But I survived in the lowest possible occupation of curing leather… years of toil in the stench of pigshit! It took me a long time to gain the status I now have. With pure willpower I have massed a formidable wealth and power and for so long have I dreamed of getting revenge on your cursed clan! It has been a pleasure to see your family sink to its current state.‘’
’’What do you mean?‘’ Camil said and seemed a bit confused.
’’Your mother was the first to die. I savoured in her suffering and prolonged it as long as I could. A tiny amount of poison was enough to cause tremendous suffering without killing her. Eventually, of course, she died when she became too weak to fight the poison.‘’
’’You bas-‘’ Camil was about to curse the merchant as he realised what he had done, but his curse was cut short by one the bandits hitting him on his back.
’’Now, let us begin by crippling your legs just the way you did to me.‘’ Findley said and ordered the bandits to grab Camil’s leg and begin to twist it.
‘’No, stop!’’ I shouted, ‘’This can’t give you the pleasure you seek. You want to face Camil by yourself. What would it prove if yet again you just used other people to help you. This is personal. If these men break Camil‘s legs it will just prove that you can’t get anything done by yourself. You’re just a cripple!‘’
’’What! How dare you. I have managed to gain my status all by myself. Willpower!‘’ the merchant seemed a bit startled by my accusations so I decided to continue.
’’Yeah, just like you needed Master’s help to capture us. Face it, you haven’t even caught us by your own deeds!‘’
’’I just have a business deal with Geshtar! We both gain from this alliance. It is all well-earned!‘’ Findley shouted. I picked out the name he had said: Geshtar. So that was the wizard’s name. Findley was obviously so infuriated that the name had accidentally slipped from him.
‘’Well then, show us all how you earn your own revenge. Fight fair.’’ I tried to convince the merchant to let Camil loose.
‘’You want a fair fight… Alright. The paladin can fight with Ramsey. Fists only.’’
I looked at the gigantic man who was standing behind Findley. There was no expression on his face, but he stared at Camil with a murdering glare. I wondered whether Camil had any chance against the bandit leader.
‘’You may begin,’’ Findley said and smiled with a triumphant smile.
Ramsey merely stood still and waited for Camil to throw the first punch. The paladin closed in and swinged his fist towards Ramsey‘s face. Camil’s fist was caught it the huge left hand of the bandit leader. As the bandit leader squeezed Camil‘s right fist, he landed three pulverizing punches in the you paladin’s face. Camil staggered backwards, his legs almost failing him but the bandit closed in again and floored him with one final blow that would have been enough to drop an ox.
Findley howled with laughter as Camil lay in a pool of his own blood, his face turned into a pulp. “f you want this to stop you only have to ask politely” the merchant taunted. Whether Camil refused to cave in or was too badly hurt to be able to speak, no answer came. Findley gave Ramsey a signal and the bandit landed the heel of his heavy boot on Camil’s hand with a sickening crunch. “How does it feel to be small and helpless?” asked Findley. The bastard was glowing with joy.
Well, that’s it then, I thought. Now they’ll beat us to death or continue to torture us. I looked at my mangled hand and remembered how much it hurt. I closed my eyes and prepared for whatever they would do next. I heard the sound of an opening door and opened my eyes. A suspicious looking character had entered the room and whispered something to Findley.
‘’Ah… Club the prisoners unconscious and put them in their cages. We shall continue our discussion on a later date’’ the merchant said and the bandits obeyed. I saw the crippled merchant leave the room with Ramsey just before I was hit in the head with a large club.
We woke up in the same room. We were locked inside individual cages set up against the walls of the room we had been tortured. I quickly noticed that I had been tied up really tight so that I could not cast any spells. I looked around and saw that Grzegorz was similarly tied up. Camil and Aeran weren’t tied. Although cured with potions we were in a bad shape. My hand was aching horribly as was Camil‘s who apparently had also lost a tooth to the bandit’s strikes. Aeran’s arms were at their places but I could tell he hurt badly every time he moved.
Camil tried to stretch out his hand and grab the torture rack. He was obviously thinking that he could use it to bend the bars in the cage. Unfortunately, his arms couldn’t reach the rack and it seemed like our only chance of escape was just a few inches too far.
Suddenly the ground around us began to shake. A minor earthquake, I thought, but as the quake was followed by another more stronger one, I began to wonder whether this was natural at all. Two other quake shook the room and small rocks fell of the ceilings and the roof. I was just about to get nervous of the fact that we might get buried alive here when the wall cracked open just next to Grzegorz’s cage. I saw the hole lead to another room.
‘’Mmhmmh!’’ I tried to mumble through the bandage that was tied around my mouth.
Grzegorz began to crawl towards the edge of his cage. The hole was partially inside his cage, but it looked quite small for a man to squeeze through, especially when the man was tied up like Grzegorz was. Nonetheless, Grzegorz began to push through the holes trying to bend the bars even more to enlarge the gap in the wall. It took him quite a while to squeeze through, but eventually he managed to pop out of the cell into the other room. It was too tight for him to return to us the same way he came.
I tried to see what he was doing, but he soon vanished into the crack. We waited while more earthquakes shook the ground. Small rocks fell on the floor and the air was full of dust. It didn’t take long for Grzegorz to find a way back into our room. It seemed like he had found a spear that he had used to cut himself loose. Also, he showed a large key ring to us and opened our cages.
‘’Where did you get those keys?’’ I asked the necromancer as he began to untie me.
‘’From a bandit guard, dead one,’’ He answered.
I tried to find my finger from the floor, but apparently someone had taken it. We left the room and saw a dead bandit lying on the floor. A large stone had fallen on his head killing him. So far the earthquakes had helped us twice. I wondered when they would begin to cause trouble.
The room led to a hallway and there we found a storage room with our equipment stashed in there. We cursed as we realised that our weapons, armours and the spell book Grzegorz had stolen from Ronald were missing. However, we found another storage room that had some weapons and few armors. It looked like someone had used to room as an office. Many books filled with logistics and lists of shipments were littered on the floor. On one wall was a large map of Aenoria. Curiously someone had marked eight places of the map – one of them being Clydewell. All but one of them had been crossed over. Unsure of it’s meaning we still decided to take the map along us. Maybe it would help to uncover the motives of our capturers. We equipped ourselves with whatever meagre weaponry we could find and returned to the room just outside the torture chamber. There was a closed door that obviously led out of the prison parts of the dungeon but it was barred from the other side. We had no choice but to wait until someone would open it from the other side.
After a while another earthquake shook the place, this time violently. Sounds of rumbling stones could be heard from the other side of the barred door. Suddenly we heard steps from the other side of the door and we hid behind the corridors. We waited and heard the door open. Readying ourselves to attack anyone who might come at us we listened to the footsteps coming towards us. Just as we were about to assault the intruder, we saw that it was Branden. He was covered in rock dust, but seemed otherwise okay.
‘’Branden! You found us. Where’s the way out?‘’ I asked the ranger.
’’I’m afraid the way out just collapsed behind me,‘’ Branden said.
’’Okay, was there anywhere else we could go from where you came. This way is a dead-end,‘’ I said and showed the prison quarters to him.
’’There might be another way,‘’ he simply said and we began to walk to the way he had came.
’’What has happened during the time we’ve been captured, Branden?‘’ I asked the ranger.
’’It’s a too long story. I went to Ross and helped him save one of the visiting thanes. The city is in turmoil and Ross is currently storming the cathedral. I’’ll explain everything else later. Oh… Ronald is back. Ross hired him to help.’’
The sudden reappearance of the cocky wizard we had beaten in the fairy forest troubled me. We had left him to the mercy of the feys, but apparently he had managed to escape and was now working for Ross magh Connacht.
We ventured into a room with a stairway up and another door leading forward. The stairway had collapsed completely and it was the way Branden had entered the dungeon. The door leading forward looked sinister. It had similar gargoyle ornaments that the cathedral had on its walls. It’s lock had been sealed but apparently the earthquake had broken it, leaving the door partly open. This didn’t look good: we were hurt, tired and under armed. Nevertheless, it was the only way we could go so we continued forward.
The door lead to another staircase that rose up several feets and continued as a corridor. It came to a large room with one huge doorway on each wall. In the gloom we could see a strange sight: a robe was floating by itself as if it was worn by an invisible man. As t turned to us two glowing red orbs could be seen where it’s eyes should have been. A chilling voice rang through the room: “Thieves! Robbers! You have come for my sanctuary but you will never leave here alive!” After this the shape disappeared and metal portcullis came down in the northern and eastern doors, blocking them off. Apparently the western one had malfunctioned because of old age. It looked like there were only one way to go.
The corridor led us into a room with an old laboratory. It had obviously been a study of some old Ellysian wizard. There were potions and Ether Shards on the tables and a bookshelf on the other side of the room. We stepped in to salvage anything we could make use of. I studied the potions on the table and noticed that they had labels that indicated that one of them was a strength potion and the other were healing potions. Grzegorz quickly grabbed the scrolls on the table and began to study the bookshelves. Most of the books had been eaten away by time but he managed to find a tome about the history of Ellysia. Aeran and Branden stood near the doorway and tried to secure our backs.
‘’Yes, Branden?’’ Aeran suddenly said as he felt a hand land on his shoulder. Branden was standing just behind the mercenary.
‘’What?’’ Branden said and wondered what the mercenary was talking.
’’You’re holding your hand on my shoul-‘’ Aeran turned around and realised that it was not Branden’s hand on his shoulder, but a severed hand that seemed to move.
Just as Aeran threw the ghoulish hand from his shoulder, dozens of crawling hands began to emerge from their hiding places. Hands that jumped from the bookshelf landed on Grzegorz head and began to strangle him. We began to smash the hands as more flowed at us. I saw Grzegorz throw one the hand away and cast a spell on it. The hand suddenly began to obey the necromancer’s orders and attacked another hand. They are undead, I realised and began to draw divine power around me. I blasted several waves of positive energy to harm the hands and eventually they all withered away.
I turned around the room and reassured that they were all dead. Camil shook of few dead hands that were still hanging from his clothes and said: ’’There’s one more!’’
I saw a hand crawl towards Grzegorz and climb onto his shoulder. It didn’t seem to harm the wizard.
‘’A new pet,’’ Grzegorz hissed and smiled to us happily. I shrugged my head and turned to face the others.
‘’We better move forward.’’
I noticed four levers on one of the walls. These had to operate the portcullis that blocked the other doorways. He decided to leave them alone for now and see what was in the second room from the laboratory. It was a small room with an eerie decoration: several skeletons were hanging from the ceiling by their feet. On a positive note we found a pile of old but serviceable equipment: better weapons and even a plate mail. I noticed a small steel ring among the loot. Strange place for decorations I thought and saw if it had any magic in it. I was right – it was enchanted. Naturally we took it with us – magic items were as valuable as they were rare.
Coming back to the laboratory we pulled the switches and returned to the room with the gated doors and saw them lifted. The door that had led right was open. We ventured into the open doorway.
This corridor led us into a room with a pedestal holding a mage’s staff. The room had strange symbols on the floor and several rings on the floor around the room. Before any of us entered the room we stopped to think whether we wanted to enter the room. It was obviously trapped.
‘’Those are summoning symbols on the floor,’’ Grzegorz said.
‘’Great, so if we enter the room who knows what will appear to kill us. I don’t think we’ll want to risk that,‘’ I said.
’’But I want that staff!‘’ Grzegorz said with a strange glee on his eyes.
’’I don’t know. It might be too dangerous,‘’ I tried to reason with the mage.
’’I’m sure we’ll handle whatever comes out of those rings,‘’ Camil said.
’’I will go alone if you won’t help me,‘’ Grzegorz hissed at me.
’’What do you think Branden? Aeran?‘’ I asked them both. Branden merely shrugged.
’’I guess we could try the room,‘’ Aeran answered.
’’Alright, but lets do it like this,‘’ I said and explained my plan: ’’We’ll form a line to the room with the levers. Grzegorz can go get his staff and as soon as he runs back to the room with the gates, Camil, Aeran and Branden will shout a message to me and I will close the gate behind Grzegorz. That way we can hold whatever comes out of the room behind the bars.’’
We formed a line just like I had planned and prepared to send Grzegorz to the room. I waited in the room with the gate control levers as the necromancer stepped into the room with the staff. There was two corridors and the gate room between us, but still I could hear the wizards curse echo through the dungeon. I heard the sound of running and a strange baritone howl. Just as soon as I heard these noises I heard Aeran shout: ‘’Close the gate!’’
I pulled the lever controlling the gate that led to the staff room and heard a loud clang as the gate closed. Immediately I began to run to the gate room to see what had happened. As I entered the room, I saw all my friends already in position to meet anything that would come through the gate. The gate had closed just as I had planned and soon I could see five or six hellish creatures approach the gate. These creatures looked like they were made of melted fat. Their shape was that of a humanoid, but with sinister and twisted features. They wobbled towards the gate and we could see that one of them looked a bit different. Without the greasy appearance of the other demons, it looked like a monster from dark nightmares. It stopped at the gate, exhaled deeply and blew a large cloud of toxic gas towards us. My vision was temporarily blocked, but I managed to avoid the cloud. From the coughing sounds I heard, I could tell that some of my friends had inhaled the gas.
As the gas quickly dispersed, we saw that the gate could not hold to the greasy demons. They simply melded through the bars. It slowed them down a bit, which allowed us to concentrate on the first two creatures that came through the gate. Unsure if our weapons could cause any damage to their soft bodies, we charged at them. With sword and hammer we hacked the creatures and eventually we noticed that they could be defeated. Grzegorz concentrated on his fire spells and they seemed to cause serious damage to the oily things.
One by one they passed through the gate, faster than we could hack them down. The putrid demon that had blown the gas cloud stayed behind the bars as it seemed that it could not get through them that easily. As if to protest this, the creature blew another cloud that sickened the ones who inhaled the cloud. Luckily it was not fatal and we managed to beat the greasy monsters. As its companions fell down, the putrid monster fled back to the staff room. We quickly opened the gate, followed the creature and killed it.
I saw Grzegorz holding the new staff in his hands and I could feel that it was indeed magical. It was an impressive thing: a bronze head of a dragon glistened on it’s top. I chuckled as I saw the childish joy on his face. The mage got a new toy. He must be overjoyed now with his new pet and staff.
We continued through the gate that led forward. It seemed like much of the dungeon had caved in in the earthquake. We came to a large room, it’s only feature a strange cage standing on four foot in the middle of it. We decided discretion was at the moment the better part of valour and carefully avoided the thing. After another corridor we came to what looked like a crypt: heavy stone coffins lay in the dark room. As we stepped forth movement began in the darkness: several fully armoured skeletons launched at us! It was a taxing battle but with the combined arcane abilities of Grzegorz and myself the undead were destroyed. Many of us were bleeding badly and I had used just about all the white magic I could muster. But still we pressed on.
The last room we came to finally brought a sorely missed sight: a spiral staircase that led upwards. In front of the stairs was a huge statue, presumably that of Egornael the Ellysian demigod. The dark shape we had earlier seen hovered above it, it’s piercing gaze fixed upon us. It lowered itself down to the statue and seemed to disappear within it. Then to our horror the statue started to move! It rose to it’s full height and lunged at us, it’s stony fist pummelling everyone in it’s path. Our weapons did little against it, bouncing of the stone form without leaving as much as a scratch. A desperate battle filled the room and our situation seemed hopeless. Then in one final attempt Aeran lunged at the statue avoiding it’s fists and with all his might grabbed the constructs leg. Putting all his remaining strength into one movement the mercenary managed to topple the statue which went down in a huge crash. We poured on it bashing away with all our might as the thing tried to get back on it’s feet. Finally a blow struck true and the statue’s leg was cleaved right off. The construct crashed down once again, this time shattering into hundreds of pieces. A scream of rage echoed through the room for a moment. After that all was quiet. We started climbing the stairs with s renewed purpose.
We would soon get out of this old dungeon. My hand ached terribly and the idea of getting revenge burned inside me. The staircase ended into a stone wall that had a lever on its side. As we turned the lever, the stone wall opened and we stepped into a study room somewhere in the cathedral. We wasted little time to investigate the room and left through the one wooden door it had.
We stepped into a corridor that led us into the main hall of the cathedral. There was a huge fight going on in the hall and I could see that Ross was there fighting along his men against a group of bandits and rebelling clansmen. The very foundations around us trembled and large pieces of the ancient stone cathedral fell down killing both bandits and town guards.
We ran to meet Ross and I shouted at him asking of the situation going on. He explained that he and his men were gaining the upper hand. Just as he shouted back at me, Branden shook my shoulder and pointed towards a long staircase leading up to the highest balconies in the hall. There I could see Findley climbing up with few bandits at his side.
‘’Ross! We need to siege that balcony up there. The main conspirators are up there. We have to stop the ritual!’‘, I shouted and the raven haired commander took control of his men and ordered them to continue towards the stairs. We began to run up the stairs, trying to catch the limping merchant, but he was too far ahead of us. As we arrived to the top of the tower, that was actually just a stone plane standing on long pillars, we saw the Master standing on the other side of the plane, his arms risen up. Above the wizard were at least a dozen Mysterious Stone’s that began to piece together.
Next to the wizard I saw Belenus looking more nervous by the minute. On the edge of the plane stood Findley, holding Camil’s father just near the edge with a dagger on his throat. Between us and them stood a dozen bandits holding their weapons ready. Ross ordered his men to charge the bandits and we joined them in the assault.
As we battled, a large forcefield appeared around the Master and Belenus. The stone hovering above Geshtar began to glow and magical currents began to flow into it. Lightning bolts appearing from the sky, through the collapsed roof, hit the stone and the cathedral shook with another quake. I saw Camil break away from the combat and approach the cripple merchant holding his father near the edge.
As he approached, a large portal opened in front of the evil wizard. “It is done! Be buried among the dead, fools!” he shouted as he stepped towards the portal. The wizard stopped for a moment to look at Belenus. With a gesture of his hand the guild-master was lifted from his feet. With a terribly wail he was plunged into the air and flown out of the tower, meeting his end hundreds of feet below. The wizard smirked and stepped through the portal.
As Camil closed in towards Findley, the merchant tossed Owain towards the edge. Camil’s father fell down and grabbed one of the gargoyle statues that leaned of the balcony. The crooked merchant began to hurry towards the portal.
For a second I saw Camil fight with the decision whether to save his traitorous father or to catch the merchant who had killed his mother and lured his family into treason. Camil chose to save his father and I watched as Findley gave one last triumphant smile and disappeared through the portal just before it closed.
As the portal faded away the last of the few bandits surrendered as they realised that they had been abandoned. Yet could still feel the magical currents flowing into the tower. This time there was nothing to control it and it began to tear the tower. Everyone rushed down the stairs as the tower began to violently shake and then to collapse on itself. Luckily we managed to run out of the cathedral and avoid being crushed by the rubble. The cathedral was barely standing and we saw that the great tower that had once been one of the main sources of pride in Glenwathen, had collapsed and destroyed a great deal of the surrounding buildings.
The remaining forces of Ross magh Connacht began to withdraw. Many of the rioters’ leaders had been captured or killed but the city was still in total chaos. Owain was among the prisoned noble men who had taken part in the treason.
Ross magh Connacht allowed us to stay at the new base and mend ourselves and our gear. He suggested that we should wait for a week for the city to get more stable and then come to him. He said that some preparations and new plans should me made. He was still unsure what to make out of all of this. Tired and injured we returned to the Crown’s Secret Service’s base and rested.
We spent the next week mending our gear and wounds. I agreed to forge a new splint mail for Camil and spent most of my time at nearby a forge. The forge worked as a good hiding place for me as I felt deeply depressed. The aching of my hand reminded me of the memories I had tried to forget with this adventure. The missing ring finger haunted me and symbolized all I had lost, and the fact that my over optimistic plan had led us captured in the first place depressed me.
Alas, I did not really achieve anything with Camil’s armor as I spent my days gazing at the forge wall.