The Gate House
The Silver Blades cross the debris-filled streets to the temple, a magnificent building made of marble with blue crystal points. Eight Spires are stretching a hundred feet apart, each representing one of the individual Soul Stones.
The outer wall of the temple was built to house those who maintained the structure. Unfortunately, cracks formed on the outer wall, and complete sections had collapsed during the quake. Defenders now took up fortifying positions along the breaches. A single tower acted as a gatehouse and providing the majestic engine that provided the city with a protective shield.
Most of the Volothian attackers were still trying to recover from the earthquake. The army was in complete disarray. Nevertheless, some small groups took a few struggling swings as Shaitar and the Silver Blades made their way to the gate. These serpentine men are dispatched with a quick sword stroke or are burned by Opals flaming wand.
Jerilith stood atop of the battlements and looked down at the approaching heroes. The gates to the tower open, one of the defenders in bloody plated metal said, “We have been expecting you! This way!”
Jerilith leaped from the upper battlements. Before landing, his fall slowed to land gently before Shaitar. “Are you ready?”
Shaitar answered, “Yes.”
Jerilith nodded and rushed over to Katalina. Quickly lifting her other arm across his.“Little Kattie, my dear, what have you done to yourself?”
A wide grin formed, and weakly, she said, “You know just the usual, finding new ways to get into trouble.”
Maverick released his grip to allow Jerilith to help, “Ran into her mother, the reunion did not go smoothly.”
Jerilith waved with his other arm, “Clear the way! Move!” the progression walked deeper into the open trampled gardens now overfilled with the remaining refugees.
The Silver Blades approached the massive twenty-foot tall black metal door depicting the eight Soul Stones sigils.
Jerilith stopped when he reached the door, “Katalina, only you can open the door. The Council is waiting for you,” Jerilith turned to Shaitar, “You and your Silver Blades.”
Katalina placed her hand on the door. Her eyes light up. A glowing path, formed in the maze-like pattern of sigils and runes. The route grew red as the sigils raced from her handprint to the finishing point. Moments later, a loud thud and the sound of a great weight moved as the door opened. In the sky above the temple, Katalina’s symbol appeared. The Circled Hand blazed brightly across the darkening sky.
Maverick stepped forward. Jerilith reached his hand back and grabbed his shoulder. “No, sorry you can’t go. You are not Blooded.”
Maverick asked, “What are you saying?”
Jerelith sternly worded, “You are not Blooded. Only Gods and those who have grace can enter the temple.”
Katalina staggered turning to face Jerilith, “He’s my mate. He’s part of me. So if he can’t go, then I won’t either.”
Jerilith placed his hand on her shoulder, “I am sorry, my child, but those are the rules. He will die, and his soul will be lost forever. You are a god. You will live for eternity without your soulmate. What do you think will happen to you. He will live as long as you live. Your bond will see to that. But, if you don’t go in, then Voloth will kill or enslave everyone in this world. A world of the scale is what awaits all of us if he succeeds!”
Maverick turned to Katalina, silently projected his thoughts to her, “Horns, go in. I will be alright. You must do this, and this is what we came here to do. Put a stop to the Spire.”
Returning the projection, “I don’t want to lose you.”
Maverick, sensing her fear, “Don’t be afraid, you’re not losing me. I am not going anywhere.”
Maverick motioned to Shaitar. Shaitar quickly moved over to him, sliding her arm under his to support her weight. “I got you.”
Jerilith looked back at the gate tower as the loud clamoring of shouts raised the alarm. “He’s coming! Voloth he’s coming!“. The ground shakes and the fortification collapses to the ground.
“Quickly now, we are out of time! Go, go now!” Pointing into open the temple doorway.
The Temple of Ascension
The round chamber rose high. A center-raised stage is surrounded by eight huge impressive figures, each a human-like statue. These are the primary fundamental creators of Thanonal. Each statue depicts icons of their purpose, Law, Chaos, Life, Death, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth.
Shaitar aided the wounded goddess to the center stage. A blue crystal window let the very little sunlight dim into the chamber.
“What are we suppose to do now?” weakly asked Katalina.
Landis said, “Call the Council.”
Pausing for a moment, “I Katalina, daughter of Balthazar and Chizzit, request the Council of Eight.”
Above the statues, a series of popping sounds as the eight Soul Stones appeared. Each glowing in a different color, matching their respective position. Bands of sigils orbited each soul stone, displaying their affiliation with their domains of influence.
Finally, Mi-like descended from his statue to come down floating over the newly arrived pensioners. “Katalina, you made it. You are nowhere. You may speak for the Blooded. What do you want?”
Katalina and Shaitar had gone over before this meeting several suggestions on what to ask for. When dealing with the Council as a whole, it is best to be straightforward. Katalina pulled free from Shaitar to stand firm before the council. “The Gods of the Spire are out of control. They wish to impose a world of fear and intolerance. We need a weapon to put an end to the pain and suffering they cause the mortals. I have seen what has transpired through the many people I have had contact with.”
Chuckling the black soul stone, Malice fluttered above his statue, “A weapon? Yes. Something that can kill, murder, and maim.”
A brief humph, came from the opposite side of the room, the miniature six-inch sun. Amber, the Soul Stone of Life, said, “Not only a weapon but something that can bring hope to all.”
A child’s voice filled the room, Joshua chimed in. “Change is what is needed, not just a weapon.”
Mi-like hovered over Katalina, addressing the gathered group, “The Council of Eight has heard your plea for help. We have created a proposal, though help does not come without a cost.” Mi-like paused, creating more tension in the air. “The truth, we have been preparing you, since your birth. We allowed you to have a normal life in this world but slowly changing your bodies over the years. You all care about others in some way, form, or fashion. You have experienced the oppression of the Spire.”
Amber descended from above her statue, “Life. The without remorse is the Spire. They have no care for guiding the people, only maintaining the souls we create. Under their guidance, the world is on the brink of ruin, as they don’t need us.”
Malice moved to a lower point as well, “Final Death is coming to Thanonal, with the Spire still in control the world will die. Without Life, I can not create death.”
Joshua’s flashed as he spoke, “Voloth will abandon this world after converting all to his vision of the scale. The change is even too much for me to allow. We have repeatedly warned him to change his ways.”
Mi-like hovered, “We want you to serve the sentient beings of this world, guide them in both physical and spiritual matters. Their well-being, both living and dead, is important. The body, not just the soul that inhabits the vessel.”
Amber continued, “Without Life, there is no Death, One Life is not enough. Motivations are needed to remind you of the importance of the body. Those who follow you will provide you with power. The more who willingly follow you, the more power you will have.”
Malice’s hollow voice echoed throughout the chamber, “If you fail to keep your followers alive and well, then you will starve. The power provided will also be your Life.”
Joshua gleefully whipped about the room, coming to a stop near Shaitar, “No, to ensure you can keep doing your duties as a god, you will be able to recreate your body or share your consciousness with others. You will have an Avatar or multiple avatars. These Hands will be your direct connection to the world.”
Mi-like state, “A physical loss of your Hand will be an inconvenience to you.”
An arching flare danced acrosses the Soul Stone of Life, “It is time to choose.”
Mi-like drifted down to Katalina, “Young goddess, as you promised in my hall in Dunkir, it is now time as the last daughter of the Spire, will you serve the Council of Eight?”
Katalina nodded, “Yes, what I have heard, I understand. I will serve the Council in this plan. This is the purpose I have been chosen for and trained for.”
Mi-like lifted upwards, “As for the rest? Time to choose, Voloth and the Spire or your chance to prove you are better than Voloth?”
Shaitar planted his hand over his heart, “I Shaitar agree to serve the Council of Eight.”
The sentient repeated among the remaining Silver Blades present.
Mi-like moved to his position above the raised stage, the other soul’s stone fell into place. Then, all in unison, speaking in a harmonic tone, “Let us begin. These men and women pledge their lives to stop spire, and now they will be given a chance through you. Remember the sacrifice today. All those who died today are your charges.”
The Souls stones began to circle faster and faster around the stage, the room becoming brighter and brighter. The stones moved to the center of the stage and fused together becoming one very bright orb. Blue translucent spheres of light poured in from the blue crystal panel above to feed the growing ball of energy on the center stage.
Katalina and the rest gathered in the chamber slumped to the ground, and their lifeless bodies slowly lifted into the air. Orbs of light flow from their eyes and mouths to the center stage. The gathered souls become one big mass of energy, forming a billowing cloud of multiple colors. Lightning arched and bolted out of the cloud, striking the floating bodies.
The temple doors began to vibrate on the outside, one powerful swing after another. The majestic metal doors bent first then broke apart. Voloth stood at the entrance, “I will not allow your interference anymore. I am Voloth, King of the Gods. I don’t bow before you anymore!”
Voloth sunk the spear deep into the tiled marble floor, a rumble came across followed by a massive quake. The eclipse was now complete, cracks sent streaking to each of the eight statues, opening up gaping holes beneath. The statues topple to the groundbreaking as they fall, the hole swallowing up the falling statues. The roof cracks, pulsing waves of force extend from the growing storm cloud in the center of the room.
The damaged temple explodes, in a fiery discharge, the explosion sends a wave of fire and death across the rubbled ruins of the city. The flaming chunks of debris rain from the sky, the pieces of stone, metal crashing into the advancing army, caught outside the blast area.