TKoT 1-5: Ascension

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06: The Guantlet

Voloth vs., Lug the Follower

Lug the Follower, a statue a hundred feet high, constructed from stone and black metal. Stepping through the city, crushing the already crumbling buildings and anyone in his way. “Voloth, you have attacked Durith. Leave now! Will banish you.” Each mighty step shakes the ground sending waves of dirt, debris in all directions.

Lug raised his shield and pointed his spear at the floating battle fortress the Visage. The massive spear glows and crackles with divine energies, the ray dispensing from the tip strikes the floating fortress, causing a huge section above the right eye to crack and explode, raining debris down to the ground below.

A tiny green glowing figure appears, only standing double the height of the standard human. Voloth races through the fire-filled ruins of the city’s second tier. He quickly leaps over the rubble to avoid other obstacles in his way. He promptly stepped past and ignored any of the city defenders, who stayed and tried to fight. Unfortunately, their sword strikes could not break his toughened, scaly skin.

Lug lowered his spear again, and another beam shoots across the city, obliterating where Voloth was, leaving a deep crack disappearing into the darkness. The ground collapsed around the hole, trying desperately to fill itself in. Both Dunkir defenders and Volothian attackers to close to the sliding earth, fall to their doom. Lug bellowed in a deep, deep voice, “Voloth, you have no authority here. Leave.”

Voloth’s green glowing body, now only a few hundred feet from the colossus, leaped into the air, springing towards the giant. Lug maneuvered his shield to block the god. The spear Voloth carried strikes the shield squarely in the center, all eight sigils of the Council light up, blazing like the sun. Cracks spread out from Voloth’s spear point, leaving a Voloth sized hole in the stone shield. He pushes through the hole and continues to run up Lug’s arm.

Lug now drops his spear in an attempt to grab the god. He is much too slow. His stony hand crashes onto his upper arm, just missing Voloth.

Voloth, now on Lug’s shoulder, thrust his spear deep into the head of Lug. The stone and metal explode inward, causing massive internal damage. The force explodes on another side of the colossus’s head; the structure not properly supported breaks off and falls to the ground. The flaming head leaves a plume of fire and smoke. Exploding when the head hits the ground, sending waves of concussion through the city.

Lug staggered forward, wildly reaching his free hand outward as if trying to catch something to brace himself. But, unfortunately, nothing is as tall as he is. The colossus staggers forward and crashes to the ground. Voloth slides to the colossus’s back, riding the giant down to the earth. Lug the Follower falls. On impact, his stony body breaks apart, separating the arms and legs. Leaving the giant’s remains as a broken mountain scattered across the burning city.

Voloth raises his staff, his green eyes flicker to life, glowing brightly, showing his divine power. “I am Voloth! King of the Gods! Lug has fallen, I rule!” Voloth concentrates, the area begins to grow darker, and the ground starts to shake. Thanonal’s moon, Selia, slowly moves to block the sun when an eclipse has started. Voloth laughs, stretching out his arms, “This world is mine!”

The Silver Blades

Shaitar pulsed his grace into his shield causing the metal to expand. The building they were maneuvering through collapsed on them during the quake. Opal could not react quick enough to place her force bubble around the group. Shaitar steadies himself as the ground rumbles, the earthquake stops. Many more of the taller buildings collapse, burying both defenders and attackers alike. Shaitar eyes brightly glowed as he held his shield above him. He grunts and pulses his strength, changing the angle of debris to slide off to the shield. Shaitar noticed the moon had moved into a position to start a solar eclipse.

Landis peered up, “I got a bad feeling about this.”

Rolland surveyed the surrounded devastation. “Lug the Follower has fallen!” He pointed at the smoke rising from the distant second tier of the city.

Maverick helped Katalina up. She winched in pain and continued to lean heavily on him. Her wounds had opened again, a small amount of blood seeped through the bandages, “We are almost there.”

Grizz growled, sensing death all around him. He could hear the cries of those still trapped under the rubble.

Arima watched, “Reapers are busy today, you can’t see them, but they are here in enormous numbers. Harvesting the souls of all who have fallen.” She watched the spectral spectacle as the undead servants of Leucoatic, the God of Death, collected the souls of the unwilling to return to the underworld. The reapers placed chains around the little blue balls of life. Each reaper gathered several souls, and then the reaper faded into the Shadowed Veil.

Shaitar lowered his shield and stopped pulsing his power. He could see the Temple of Ascension in the distance. The piles of fiery rubble made getting there that much more difficult. Two dozen feet away, several glowing-eyed Blooded pushed the debris off themselves. Pointing to the Blooded he shouts, “Landis! Slow them!”

Landis quickly turned to cast his spell, which fizzed by another glowing-eyed Blooded.

“Not so fast.” A giant scaly Volothian soldier, his staff glowing with his infused power. “A Canandance scum, here?”

The Volothian Blooded readied themselves, some twirling their weapons while others kept their eyes trained to wait for signs of grace used. The Silver Blades spread out themselves, taking up defensive postures and their eyes glowing as well, all waiting to see who would take the first move.

Katalina weakly said, “Shaitar, Lug the Follower has fallen. Do you know what that means?”

A broad scaly man who seemed to be in charge of the other group, “I have excellent hearing.” Grinning widely, “My father has destroyed Lug, the Follower! We are one step closer to his vision of a world of scales!”

Shaitar grinned, “Yes, that means the gods are no longer bound to their word while in the city. They can continue to be cowards.”

An angry hiss came from the talkative serpentine man, “You call the god’s cowards! I am Necalli, son of Voloth! My father is no coward, and neither am I!” Then, pointing at the wounded sabuci, “Vershon, kill the wounded first!”

In a flash of light, one of the serpentine warriors pulsed his grace. His sword coming within inches of Katalina’s body, only to be stopped by Mavericks’ sword. Maverick moved with the speed of the Blooded. The warrior looked down to see Katalina’s eyes aglow, not Mavericks. “What?”

The brawl broke out. The grace combat had started. The warriors on both sides were unable to successfully manifest powers that changed the outside world. The opposing casters quickly countered spells from the Landis, Opal.

The land around the fighters started shifting and changing as reality tried to warp around them. The desires of the Blooded being created and denied caused the very stone around them to physically warp and change shape.

Maverick blocked, parried, and thrust with his new speed. The fight around him was moving at breathtaking speeds but perceived as usual to him and his opponent. He dodged left, then rolled right, blocking the strike quickly.

Landis made an observation, “Where’s everyone else?”

Shaitar slipped on the ground part that opened, twisted upwards, and then sunk back down. He shouts, “We should have the numbers to beat this rabble.”

Necalli laughed, “Ha, the Cathedral of Necalli! Nobody can get in, and nobody can get out until I die or end the magic. Only a god can enter or exit! But, unfortunately, there are no gods that are willing to help you!”

Shaitar shield rang hard when Necalli’s scimitar struck. “Pathetic demigod!”

Necalli pushed forward hard, forcing Shaitar back a step, “More than a match for any mere blooded!”

Shaitar blocked Necalli again and shoved his shield forward, pushing him back several feet. Necalli braced himself and readied for the next attack.

Katalina leaning against a twisted, broken pillar, “Is that all? I think I can better our odds!” She looked inward, something she remembered feeling with the chimera’s elemental air core. She pulsed her awareness, sensing creatures buried deep within the earth. Pulsing her grace, something the others would have tried to block had the effect been directed at them or even nearby.

Katalina said, “It’s done. Reinforcements are coming.” The boarders of Necalli’s Cathedral vibrated and responded to the call of Katalina’s power.

Necalli rolled his eyes quickly to the wounded infernal he felt the wave of grace that poured off of her moments ago, “What? Who are you?”

Shaitar swung quickly, only to have his sword parried by Necalli’s scimitar. Necalli counter thrust, which Shaitar blocked with his shield. However, the force of the mighty blow sent Shaitar back a few steps.

The ground shook with tremors, causing everyone to stop fighting for a moment to steady themselves. Necalli took this opportunity to take another swing at Shaitar. However, his attack was off-center and easily blocked.

Several immense stony hands reached up from out of the ground, the massive stone creatures with glowing yellow eyes pulled themselves out of the twisting surface. “I serve Katalina, Goddess of the Hidden Vale!” Earth Lords that live deep inside the earth answered Katalina’s summons.

Necalli stepped back shouting, “Earth Lords, no one can command them!”

Katalina held onto the stone pillar, “That is the son of Voloth. Those are his minions. I am sure his soul will feed you for a long time.”

Necalli’s eyes narrowed, “You think that these will stop me?”

Shaitar pushed his advance, forcing Necalli backward. “Fool of the Spire!”

An Earth Lord moved in, slower than the Blooded they were fighting, but the distraction now became evident as the caster who opposed Opal failed to move away from the Earth Lord who grabbed his leg from below.

The serpentine Blooded screamed, using his grace to counter the stone conversion effect, he could not stop Opal from casting her spell. Rays of fire streaked from her fingertips into his body, causing large portions of his clothes to catch fire. Again, he shrieked as his legs petrified. The smell of his flesh burning and a robust earthy odor mixed as his terror intensified.

The next caster failed shortly afterward. Landis had decided only to counter what his opponent would try and cast and thus did what most magicians don’t do is engage in hand-to-hand combat. Landis’s clockwork staff smashed into the sword-wielding wizard. Parry, thrust, block followed by a wide sweeping swing. Both pulsed their grace, only to enhance their bodies as each would stop effects that affect the outside world. Finally, the scaly magician backed straight into a three-sided force wall. Quickly looked around, there was no more room to dodge.

An Earth Lord soon grabbed and moved in front, and one went below. He screams in pain as his body is quickly petrified into a stone statue.

Katalina yells, “Shaitar, it’s time!”

Shaitars sword lights up with a bright yellow glowing light. Unable to cancel Shaitar’s grace, beads of sweat form across Necalli’s scaly head.

Shaitar thrusts forward one more time. This time, his sword cuts through Necalli’s weapon like hot butter, continuing until the blade cuts deep into Necall’s upper arm. Necalli staggers back, Shaitar’s next swing removes his head.

Necalli’s head starts laughing, “You can’t kill me!”

Shaitar clips his sword into his other hand, picking up the laughing bloody head, “Maybe, but I think he can.” Shaitar toss’s the head into the hand of a nearby Earth Lord. Necalli stops laughing as the detached head turns to stone.

With Necalli’s death, The Cathedral of Necalli collapses, the ground stops shifting and twisting.

Katalina waves her hand as Maverick comes back to support her, with his enemy defeated as well. “Hold on to me. We are almost there.” He points at the temple in the distance.

Katalina’s eyes pulsed red, “You are dismissed. Enjoy your feast.”

The Earthlords take the green glowing emerald hearts from the chests of their victims and retreat to the safety of the deep.

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