TKoT 1-3: Dunkir

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16: Fools of the Spire

No Exit


Katalina rose into the air above the ship, her flaming wings gently flapping, providing her with a lazy hover.

A dozen of Natasha’s warriors bolted for the primary hanger door. Their fleeing forms darted to the safety of the fog-filled outdoors. Torac’s head pushed through the gray haze at the entrance, his mouth arcing with electricity. He released a small electrical discharge, releasing a thunderous boom, forcing them back into the hanger.

“The exits are sealed. Until this conflict between House Shaitar and House Shithen is finished, no one leaves.” Katalina’s voice boomed across the hanger.

“Arcana: Still Body!” Natasha sent her spell at Shaitar, her eyes glowing green as she pulsed her grace. The spell fizzled before the effect could be completed. She glanced around, then she saw the big-chested woman, her eyes aglow, showing her grace.

“That’s right, go ahead keep casting. I will keep countering.” Opal grinned, enjoying the look of shock on Natasha’s face.

Nolland and the Bear

“Brother, keep Shaitar busy. They have another Blooded, and she’s a caster. I will deal with her.” Natasha pointed at the leader of the rebels, the blue-coated warrior standing on the main deck.

“Charge!” Richard moved quickly and steadily, albeit from the safety behind his warriors. The volothian warriors headed to the rear cargo ramp militarily, keeping in small groups of four.

The first quad of warriors faced a big black grizzly bear and a stocky black-bearded dwarf wielding a war hammer and shield.

The volothian warriors lowered their spears and raised their shields. Charging up the ramp, Nolland flashed his grace, empowering his weapon and armor. The hammer glowed with an earthy orange radiance, striking into the first warrior, knocking him back with great force into the soldier behind him. The sound of ribs breaking and the warrior’s armor collapsing into the form of Nolland’s hammer set the quad behind them in a panic.

Grizz jumped into the next group, who had lost their shield wall with the two front-row fighters’ loss. Grizz tore with claw and teeth a single opponent. His howls of rage sent more chills to the hardened veterans of the house Shithen.

The remaining warrior of the first quad shoved his spear deep into the bear’s side. Grizz turned his bloody paws toward the infuriating warrior. The warrior pulled back, raising his shield as the bear grabbed hold and pulled the arm down and clamped down on his neck with his great teeth filled maul. Dropping the spear, he pulled a dagger and quickly stabbed the bear over and over in desperation.

Both the bear and the warrior fell over, bleeding out in their death blows.

“Noooo!” Nolland charged forward, standing over his fallen furry companion. “Reeva, bear down!”

Time-lapse


Landis waved his mechanical clock geared staff over the enemy warriors. He looked forward to testing out his Temporal Slowing spell. “Arcana, Slow Time.” A small, nearly transparent hourglass appeared over the head of twenty of the volothian warriors. He did try to slow both Natasha and Richard, but as expected, the spell to have minimal effect. The two used their own grace to break the effect almost as quickly as the magic affected them.

Natasha looked up and started to realize that she was fighting not just one Blooded, but the whole crew. She could see the eyes of Shaitar’s crew lights up as they pulsed their own grace to empower their weapons and bodies. They sweep down off the deck at inhuman speeds, cutting her men down, the wizard’s time spell was not even needed. Her superior numbers meant nothing, her power was all for naught.

Pulsing her grace, she tried to cast another of her defensive spells. The spell was canceled by the large-chested blue-robed caster who watched for her every spell. She shrugged off another of the Time wizard’s time-slowing spells. Already half of her warriors had fallen, they were meant to keep the ship’s crew busy while she and her brother dealt with Shaitar.

Shaitar hopped off the deck of the Chimera, a fall that might have caused him injury to his legs earlier. He could strengthen his body with grace to prevent the damage taken from the fall. He walked steadily over to Natasha, passed the time frozen guards around her. His eyes pulsing his grace, his sword becoming charged with crackling white energy. “This ends here and now. Fool.”

Natasha was not without skill in the staff. His sword came down, she had also readied her dragon clawed staff. A fire broke out around the two striking weapons, sparks and embers exploded as the two combatants slashed and blocked each other. Natasha staff touched Shaitar’s arm when he failed to block, pain exploded as the muscle and flesh vaporized and turned to ash, only leaving the bone exposed.

Natasha felt her victory was assured now, Shaitar staggered back but held a firm grip on his sword with his good arm. “You can not best me! I am Natasha of House Shithen! I am of noble blood! The blood of the gods runs through my veins!” She renewed her strikes, harder and faster.

Shaitar felt a warming sensation flowing through his wounded limb, the muscle and tendons regrew. Shaitar did not need to see what was going on, he knew that Reeva had created the healing spell. She could now heal at a ranged distance and in combat.

Natasha growled as Shaitar’s newly repaired arm gripped his sword with both hands again. Shaitar renewed his strikes, blow after blow. Natasha blocked, parried, and slowly fell back. She had been pushed away from the ship, closer and closer to the wall of the hanger. Her grace reserves were running out, she did not have the power to maintain the defense of Shaitar’s attacks.

She could no longer empower the staff to prevent Shaitar from sundering her weapon. The blade cut down through the wooden staff as a hot knife cuts butter. Shaitar’s sword cut through her shoulder and down at an offset angle. Natasha had not reinforced herself to resist the blow. She let out one last blood-curdling scream as she fell to the ground in two bloody pieces.

Richard’s Fall


Richard followed his men closely until they were useless against the bear and the dwarf. He darts past them, working on his way to the deck to confront Shaitar. With his speed, he quickly ran up the stairs from the cargo bay to the deck only to see Shaitar hop off the top of the ship down to the hanger floor. He moved to follow when he was blocked by Rolland.

Rolland’s eyes light up, “Ha, going somewhere?”

“Out of my way, pleb!”

Rolland blocked Richard’s first broad swings with ease. Richard’s swordplay was basic at best.

“You have not gotten out much, have you?” Rolland jabbed Richard’s belt. The blade cut through the leather-tanned hide belt, dropping the extra weapons tide to him to the floor.

“I am Blooded! I am Noble! I am your ruler! Obey me and submit!” Richard continued to scream.

Opal stood at the upper deck; Natasha had given upcasting and now was on full defense from Shaitar’s relentless attacks. “Arcana: Rust.” Flooding her grace into her spell. She wanted to make sure that the spell worked against Richard.

Richard’s focus was entirely centered on Rolland, he did not counter the spell as the magic weaved around him and infused into his arms and armor.

Rolland just grinned as he quickly struck at Richards’s upper arm; the metal had turned red with rust. The sword pierced easily enough through the flaking metal plates.

Richard, quickly looked at his arm, where Rolland had nicked him. Blood came oozing out of the now open wound. Horrified he could see his protection falling apart as the metal turned to rust and flaked away. He blocked a swing from Rolland’s sword, he could also see his own blade becoming brittle with the rusty contagion.

Rolland stabbed Richard into his upper thigh.

Richard was quick to stop the bleeding from the wound with his grace, but he could not properly heal until after the fight. Rolland’s blows pushed Richard closer and closer to the rails of the ship.

“When was the last time you actually had to fight for your life? This must be highly frustrating for you. You don’t often get bested by the people you hurt. Noble means that you don’t do what you want, it means you rule. To those who you rule, you are to ensure a measure of safety.” Rolland strikes again, this time his sword slices through the rust-red armor into Richards left side.

Richard hears his sister’s final scream, He took only a moment to see his sister up against the hanger’s inner wall. Her body sliced in half crossways, he knew he had only moments left. “Not going to happen!” He dropped his rust-ridden sword, pulsed his grace into his speed, and headed to the fog-filled primary hanger doors. Richard’s most useful for his powers was running. He could run faster than his brothers or sister.

Quickly he ran the obstacle course across the dead, passing his bodyguard with his extra weapons. He did pull an extra sword out of his walking arsenal as he heads into the fog-filled exit.

He breached the fog wall only to see the flaming sabuci flying down to him.

Richard screamed in terror, “You are not my god! You are not a god of the Spire you can’t command me.”

Katalina landed in front of him, and she quickly reached out with her hand; his eyes widened. He tried to defend his mind, but Katalina could push more grace than he could. “The conflict is not over. Back. You agreed to the terms, and now you will be punished. Torac!”

Richard turned back and walked into the fog, he was wide-eyed and afraid. She had mentioned that dragon, the one who ate his hands and feet. He could now see the shape of the silver-blue dragon as the form became clearer. The dragon opened his wide mouth and Richard stared directly into the dragon’s toothy maul. The electricity arced as the teeth closed in on his head. Katalina had locked him out of his remaining grace, he was powerless to do anything except to accept his own cowardly fate. He was going to be devoured by the dragon! Richard made one last muffled scream as the dragon tore his head off.

Sunset


The fog lifted around the hanger with the death of Richard, the last of the House Shithen who had an issue with House Shaitar. Katalina felt her grace fade back to the lower levels, she was back to being as normal as the rest of the blooded here. Katalina walked back into the hanger, her barbed tail twitching left and right. Only one of the warriors that were part of the group brought by Natasha still stood, and he dropped to his knees in front of the goddess. Katalina stopped before him, placed her hand down on his shoulder. “Alextionia Verikola, when asked tell what you saw today, tell the truth about the events and the house you served. You are alive to be my witness of the events as they played out. House Shithen is foolish, greedy, and corrupt.” She then continued past him.

Alextionia kept his head down as the new goddess passed him.

“Opal, burn this body till there is nothing left. I don’t want this piece of Shithen to be resurrected.” Shaitar barked up to Opal on the upper deck.

Opal came down quickly, standing before the bloodstained corpse of Natasha. “With pleasure.” She cast her arcane spell, “Arcana: Inferno.” Once again, infusing the spell with her grace, the body burst into flames. The blood boiled and then evaporated in the red burning flames. Natasha’s bones cracked from the heat; shortly even then, those turned into white powdery ash. A small but gentle breeze lifted the ash into the air scattering the remains to the sky.

“Crew, we are leaving now. I don’t want to have to explain this to the authorities any more than I have to. We are ready to go. Anybody got hurt?”

Reeva, “Only Grizz, I got him stabilized, though.”

Moments later, the thrusters on the Chimera blasted below the ship. The dust and debris left from the fight rolled around. The Chimera rose into the sky, heading west.

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