The Group Confronts Kenhain
Phillip regards the enormous figure of Kenhain. He can feel the straining spirit beneath the too-tight skin of the brutish warrior, and that, more than any of his self-aggrandising words, is what draws his attention. Certainly, the giant is an imposing monster; but if Kenhain thinks that he is a master of bragging, he needs to spend more time at the Great Feasting Hall.
He can practically feel the yearning of the spirit within the monster; the beast bound by blood and rite to empower this hateful being. It is yoked, forced to serve as little more than muscle to this violent barbarian. It wants nothing more than to recall the old ways; the altars and reverence which, if he is to be believed, this behemoth has broken.
As Kenhain steps forward with murder in his eyes, Phillip closes his own, and brings his staff down against the floor. The entire room reverberates with the impact, and he marshals his power to protect himself from this abomination.
There is a blinding flash and the sound of rolling thunder as Kenhain’s spear strikes against Phillip’s shielding energies. The ground beneath his feet cracks, and Phillip’s eyebrow twitches, but the power remains as strong and unyielding as his determination to see the restrained force freed. He may not be able to fix this entire world, but perhaps he CAN free this one tormented spirit…
“Tell him your deeds, there is a powerful spirit of nature trap under its skin, I am going to free it, I will need Ricky’s help as well, I am going to use your deeds and power to pull it into a ritual to free it.”
There is, in Phillip’s voice, a certainty that he has not felt since he arrived in this strange and misbegotten land. He is a man who prides himself on understanding; that is the central tenant of the Colleges and the Institute both, is it not? What one understands, one can control. He does not understand this land. But he understands the pain and the suffering. He understands the sacrifice and the death. He understands the powers which Archibald seeks to bind. And he understands the spirit lurking beneath the skin of this foul mockery of a Guardian.
Brought back into the moment by Phillip’s declaration, Silvana and Thaddius rush backwards and drag Ricky from his impromptu organisation. By the time they return to the chamber, the whole space is filled with the crash and crack of powerful energies. Spiderweb imperfections are spread across the barrier of Phillip’s power, and a line of blood dribbles from Phillip’s nose. The effort was, immense.
It is said that one needs to maintain a perfectly balanced and emotionless state to harness the powers of the astral. It is also said that the Gillieabad yearn for the emotions of their children; to experience the love and joy and passion of the world that they created. In the blending of these two powers, Phillip had to choose the exact moment to switch from the masterful control of Astral forces, wrested briefly from the grasp of that immense mind, to blend with and lend force to his experience.
He speaks of the Codex Wars. He speaks of adventures with ancient heroes. He speaks of standing in defence of the world against those forces that would rip it asunder. He speaks of the love he held for that world. He speaks of his sadness at being wrenched from it; the torment he feels at his current state. He speaks of all these things, and as he speaks the blows against his power grew faltering.
Silvana steps forward then, and she speaks of her lost land; of a people she no longer knew, of a nation that will be reforged by the efforts of herself and a wider, deeper community; a broken land brought together and restored by the acceptance and love of their adopted home. And as she speaks, Kenhain recoils.
But the Father of Murder will not be turned aside so easily.
“YOU COWER BEHIND YOUR SHIELDS!” He roars, “Hide, cowards! Hide! You cannot face me in true combat!”
And that spear, soaked in the blood of entire nations, finally shatters the shield. Phillip sinks to his knees. Shards of power fragment and glitter in the air; Kenhain’s lips pull back into a sneer at the weakness of these so-called heroes who would dare to stand against him.
Again, the spear swings around in a scything arc. Phillip is too weak to dodge; the weight of the ritual is too heavy on his shoulders. But he does not need to, because his brother in arms is with him.
Thaddius steps forward and raises one mailed fist to crash against the side of the sweeping spear. The blade bites deep, and that only helps to swell the righteous fury within his chest. He feels the pain of it; the burning sizzle of his flesh as the power within that spear seeks to poison his spirit and bring him low.
The bones in his arm crack and break, the pain is incredible.
He does not bow.
Instead, he speaks of the work that he has done. The duty that he has served. He speaks of his brother, the Lost Angel of the Desert, of the lives that he has saved, of the souls that he has redeemed, for he has taken on many burdens and guided many souls back to the path of righteousness when they had grown lost.
And he raised his other fist.
The bolt of faith struck Kenhain full in the chest and flung the giant the full breadth of the chamber, spear wrenched from Thaddius’ arm in a gout of blood. He roared as he rose, the muscles beneath his skin bulging in strange and unnatural fashion. At last, he seemed to understand the purpose of this ritual – and that there was one man left to speak.
Ricky is not like the rest; he is not a great and powerful figure, he is a simple Priest. Humble. Sensible. Driven by a desire to do what good he can, to ease suffering wherever he can find it. There is a faint smile on his lips as he steps between Phillip; the power of the ritual surging around him. The Lord of Spirits was wavering, blood streaking his face from the rent in his forehead, but still, on he came, his every footstep shaking dust from the chamber as he roared his defiance.
Ricky glances briefly at the sword in his grasp, and then sighs, and discards it to clatter against the floor.
“My name is Ricky Rollins.” He says, so softly that only Phillip – and the spirits – can hear it over the catastrophic noise of Kenhain’s fury. “I fought in the Shadow War. I served my King, and my God, and you’re gonna remember his name, because he is Naed—”
Thaddius unleashed bolt after bolt of searing light into the onrushing force, teeth gritted against the pain. As he made it within a single stride, Silvana stepped forwards and slashed with cold precision at the Guardian’s legs with her short sword– his rage would not be abated, however, and she was flung to the side by a glancing blow from legs the size of trees.
And then the spear punched through Ricky’s chest, and he coughed, once. Jerking, the man still smiled his private, gentle smile.
“—God of Martyrs. And He sets you free.”
The light in Ricky’s eyes is already fading as the ritual reaches its completion, and the spirit within Kenhain tears bloodily free from its bondage. An explosion of gore; gibbets of flesh and bone and blood briefly obscure the rising figure within its midst. The immense shape of a beautiful, golden eagle spread its wings from within the mirk, and then was gone.
Two words made themselves known in Phillip’s mind as the freed spirit faded from view:
And a sense of great gratitude rests upon your shoulders.
You are all beaten up! Ricky lays dead! You each suffer 1 Fate Wound
However, you also feel an immense connection to the Wyld for the actions you have undertaken here. You each gain the Gratitude of Haswi Gek which may be used as described below.
Gratitude of Haswi Gek
+2 fate points generated daily to the pool.
May be expended to add 20 fate points to the pool once ever.
|Head Backwards||Movement||2+1 per person|
|Head Onwards||Movement||2+1 per person|