Chapter 23. Two players down

(This is it. The final chapter. Thanks for reading and sorry for all the rewrites. I didn’t really plan this story out, it just sort of happened.)

<<<Chapter 22       Game Night

The blowing wind carried Sorie’s screams. Heads swung her way and eyes went wide as green fire began to cover Sorie’s back.

Instinct drove Huebsch to catapult herself off her war stag; by the time she hit the ground the exorcist’s sword was ready to strike.

She looked back in time to see Sorie, Jessy, and her mount being covered in darkening fire.

“No.” Huebsch breathed as she saw with horror of what was about to happen.

Sorie’s screams mingled with Jessy’s and the stag’s. Instead of intense heat a deep and biting chill passed through their skin and into their veins. But it wasn’t just the cold, it was as if the fire used hope and warmth as a fuel source, devouring both resources to grow larger.

Sorie was gone before the priestess could summon a ball of water which fell futilely onto the black flames, her eyes were glazed over, her mind fractured. She was still alive but her mind and soul were burnt out.

The stag stood on its hind legs and gave a mighty bellow, the pair on its back slipping off.

Huebsch casted a healing spell over her mount while the others did their best to smother the black flames in water and their cloaks, making sure as to not touch the growing fire.

Nothing appeared to work until a thunderous clap split the air.

The stag’s head flew apart, it’s brains and pieces of its skull dancing in the air before they and Huebusch’s steed fell.

Huebsch turned her sword onto this new threat and saw her small group surrounded. Hundreds of soldiers bared down on her warriors, most of them carrying those odd thunder weapons and aiming them right at her and her team.

The solider up front, an elf with the whitest skin Huebsch had ever seen and eyes that were nearly all black, aimed his weapon at Sorie and Jessy, he spoke in broken Elvish, “Step. A. Yay. O kurn.”

The chief exorcist managed to make the gist of his words and she was also about to tell him where he could take his white arse when she felt the air rippled behind her. She turned again to see that both of the armoured winged creatures had stabbed their glowing swords into Sorie and Jessy’s backs.

Both of the lovers gave a deep sigh like they were going into a hot bath, then their faces relaxed as their torment finally ended.

The black fire screamed and hissed before it died down and vanished.

The winged creatures showed nothing behind their armoured helmets. No remorse, no grief; Huebsch envied them.

As they got up from smiting the parasitical fire, and though their helmets shielded much of their a faces, Huebsch did manage to catch a glimpse of their eyes.

Something indescribable rushed through her. It was as if her soul was being gently pulled out of her body and carried upwards at a great speed.

In the vastness of space she floated there, a small speak drifting among the stars. Through the passage of an instant or several eternities she witnessed stars being born and dying, she heard the music of the spheres and for an instant she understood it all.

“Don’t.” she heard someone faintly say as she was violently pulled back.

Forced back into the world of the elves, Huebsch dropped to her knees. She had touched realms that were denied to even the gods. She had seen worlds that were beyond her own, she had glimpsed into the eyes of eternity.

One of the strange humans put himself between Huebsch and the creatures and she found that she could understand them.

“Don’t.” he said firmly. “You were warned before.”

As one the creatures spoke. Their synchronized voices locked in harmony, the way they spoke it was almost like the strings of a harp were being manipulated. “She has touched something beyond. She is linked to a lesser higher being. He promised us asylum.”

The human tried to pick Hubsch onto her feet but it was to much for him, Wood Elves were damn heavy. “You’re burning her up.”

Something intruded into Huebsch’s mind, at first she thought that the creatures were bringing her back into the cosmos, but unlike the apathetic touch of these newcomers this held a touch of familiarity to it.

“Call my name, I wish to parley with these pseudo celestials.” The voice in the Huebsch’s mind said. As if sensing uncertainty in the exorcist, this voice said firmly, “That was an order solider.”

“I give you permission.” Huebsch called out.

Then things really did go to Hell.

***

The council gawked and stared at the armoured man who sat at their table. This time the assembly had been wise enough to not come in person. One bomb scare had been enough for them to come up with another solution.

Instead of coming themselves the rulers of Un Neill had sent trinkets and representatives. They watched the intruder through mirrors and creatures made of pure energy, they possessed their advisors like demons, they spoke through the skulls of vanquished foes. They used every measure not to be there and dare face the intruder on his terms.

“You’re saying that the Goddess Badb really showed up?” a dead parrot said.

The intruder, now wearing a stylish back and red leather armour swirled a glass of wine, “Um, yeah. I give her entrance a 7/10.” The spilled the contents of the glass onto his helmet, having neglected to take off his helmet or make an opening the wine spilled onto the floor. “Ah, that hit the spot.”

If it was possible for a skull to look sceptical the one representing the local assassin guild somehow pulled it off, “It was said that the sky opened up and a giant swarm of monstrous ravens came down. And that the Goddess herself walked among us. Was that not spectacular enough for you?”

The intruder shrugged, “I’ve seen better entrances. So, any questions?”

Not there in person the the wood elves were free to shout whatever they wanted at the son of a bitch who had a hand in making their lives more difficult. He had dropped thousands of refugees practically on their door step, and just the tip of their problems.

Arcade pointed to a mirror which held the image of Vanasher, “Yes. The new Head Mistress of the magic school.”

“Don’t you feel a shred of remorse? My student died because of your actions.” Vanasher said angrily.

“Excuse me? I didn’t tell Sorie or Jessy to go into the dome. The reason it got as bad as it did was because I was holding the door for those fuckwits. Twenty people died because of them. And they both died at the end so I can’t beat the shit out of them.”

“And what were you doing while they died?”

A she-elf wearing an decorative hat and a black dress held up her hands, “Now, I don’t give a toss about those two. How did you escape?”

“I buried myself.” Arcade shrugged, “The dome’s dematerilisation field only goes down a meter, so I put myself four meters under the city and just climbed out when it disappeared.”

The assembly of magical items and servants became silent as they heard Arcade’s escape plan.
“Then why didn’t you tell Sorie?” Vanasher cried out.

Sargent ? leaned on the table, unlike many of the representatives he had decided to come here in person. “Pardon me, Lady Vanasher but Sorie is dead some of us care about the living. What is the meaning behind you recruiting criminals?”

Arcade leaned back on his chair, “All simulations, all possible outcomes lead to one thing. You will be invaded and your culture absorbed into a human religion.” Shouts and cries rumbled through the hall, but Arcade held his hand to silence the noise.

“You can’t officially attack the humans because of two major reasons. One is that you don’t have the troops, the other is that you are all just plain stupid.”

A crow spat, “I told you all. I’ve told you it for centuries. The humans multiply like rabbits, kill them all.”

“Where is your proof?” A straw doll cried out in a small voice.

“I Have been across several parallel universes. Most of them not nice places. Ask most of the refugees and they will tell you the same story. Some time in the future you are going to have a very bad day.”

Within his armour the man who had walked through the fires of a corrupted sun smiled. Because his company was on elven land, his people’s fates were linked to the theirs. He had read all of Earth’s history books, he had witnessed several wars.

It all came down to one simple fact. The humans had to go.

Through his helmet Arcade watched as the trinkets became silent as the people behind them talk to their advisors.

He wondered if anyone had told Jessy or Sorie that they were going to have a baby, and that the baby was pure elf?

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