Lilith and the fairies returned and there was a great hubbub over the fact that Booty Shake was well. They celebrated in the trees and if I was not too mistaken, the celebration included some worshiping of the type Sister Agnes would most definitely approve of.
Lilith came and sat with Liz and I. She had recovered her pack and weapons along with, surprise, surprise, Liz’s armor. Lilith’s armor was still mostly shredded, but I convinced her to give it to me (a piece at a time) so I could use my divine powers to mend it. She was both embarrassed and thrilled. She’d taken quite the beating previously. Liz showed her the cord I wove, but didn’t bother to explain the importance of it, as apparently it had been a topic between them on multiple occasions. Silly me.
While I mended, Alfred chided me for abandoning him. He was hurt that I had thought to leave him behind when we had become friends and sworn brothers of the blade, as it were. I apologized and explained that I had been overcome with a spiritual geas and he nodded. Such things were not unknown to his people. He explained how he and Rufus had found one of the Ice Giant’s rear scouts and how they had offered the treasure in recompense for the perceived slights Alfred had caused. Of course, most of his people were filled with avarice, so it was an easy con. They took the treasure, including the lich’s phylactery and once they had gone beyond the edge of the planar rift, Rufus had cancelled the magic that had caused it to open in the first place. Rather simple for one with knowledge of such things, Alfred assured me. Much easier to close than to open. I was glad of that. The weather around here had not shifted completely, but I could tell the nights were growing warmer.
I completed repairing Lilith’s armor and we waited while she had donned the purple leathers. When she stepped back into the clearing, everyone cheered. She looked quite the rogue. Her weapons hung from her hips accenting the way her leather armor hugged all her curves. Liz smirked at me as I admired Lilith. I winked at her and she laughed, causing Lilith to look around confused.
Bob and Rufus weasel gnome joined us and we chatted amongst ourselves while Liz donned her own leathers. She also wore her armor snug to her form, which was intriguing in different aspects. I loved that lizard girl, with my heart and my soul, but unless something extraordinary occurred we would not be sharing in the worship rituals. There was just much difference in our physiology to accomplish the physical aspects, but the spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects; those were all in the mix. What a complicated life I have cobbled together.
When Liz was outfitted, she joined the council. I made introductions and went to check on poor, young Bÿglar. He had not woken and I had begun to worry about the level of damage I may have caused him. Rufus helped me with that. He had a bit of skill with understanding the mental capacity of those he examined. He had learned over the years to parse the difference between Johann and her cursed twin, Beatrice who shared a mind. He thought delving into Bÿglar’s addled pate should not prove too invasive. It’s not like he could read anyone’s mind or anything. He just sort of made a connection, like opening a door between two rooms.
We held hands, Rufus weasel gnome and myself, and both placed our free hand on the young hob’s head. While I applied a sort of soothing flow of the divine, Rufus delved in with words of power. I did not know what to expect, but when we landed, side by side int the underbrush near a dark forest clearing, I was a bit taken aback. There, in the clearing sat Bÿglar against the broken stump of a mighty spruce, wounded and frightened. Dead hobs lay all around him, as did the broken bodies of two dozen frogs. Noise from a stalking creature came from the deep shadows. He did not whimper, I will grant him that. He held a broken spear across his lap and he bled freely from several wounds. Sleep weighed heavily upon his brow, but his head would jerk up at the sounds that emanated from the wood.
“Do not lose hold of my hand,” Rufus said in a low voice. “If you do, we are lost here.”
Oh, great. Now he told me. I nodded and we stood. The creature that skulked in the shadows heard us move, and there was a great scurrying. The noise did not move toward us, however. Still, I drew my mace.
Bÿglar started when we entered the clearing, rising to his feet, his broken spear held before him. It was obvious he did not see us for who we were.
That’s when I noticed the glowing amulet upon his chest. It was indeed a blend of both Kithri’s and Semaunzilla’s token (may she excuse the juxtaposition).
I stepped forward, slinging my mace at my side and holding up one of my own holy symbols. It glowed brightly as I sent a pulse of divine through it and Bÿglar stepped back, shaking his head.
“Who trespasses upon my dying ground,” he growled. “What manner of demon are you to carry the talisman of Worldbreaker?”
Worldbreaker? The words were like a punch in the kidneys. I fell to one knee as a wave of black rolled across my vision. Rufus squeezed my hand and a bit of his power flowed into me, bolstering my flagging heart. I looked up at the hob and spoke.
“It is I, Bÿglar. Your captain.”
He shook his head in vehement denial. “Nay, that is not possible. He has fallen, the world is doomed.”
Rufus glanced at me and motioned for me to step forward again. He paced me as I did, drawing closer to the hob.
“No, Bÿglar, I yet live.”
Again he shook his head. “My captain, Gore Fist fell in the company of Worldbreaker. All is lost.”
And to punctuate his words a demon rose from the wood, apelike and covered in barbs. He charged toward Bÿglar who spun and held his broken spear out to accept the incoming charge. The talisman on his chest sputtered and the light began to wane.