Chapter 52 - Choices

Cut Scene

The party traveled through the mithal at Alec’s direction. He is attuned to this place in a way that no outsider could ever be, but it is still a confusing and arduous journey through the chaos. Eventually they find themselves on an expanse of volcanic ash, with a wide, stout volcano in the distance. They decide it is best to rest here and make the last leg of the journey on fresh legs.

Scene 1 - Mirror Images

The “night’s” watches go without incidence, save for Alisaar. After hearing movement outside the camp, Alisaar moved to the edge of the firelight, and was approached by another dragonborn. The figure was similar to Alisaar in stature and manner, but his scales were similar to those Arthus saw in his vision of Alisaar as the emissary of Vorel. The two dragonborn spoke briefly, but it only added to Alisaar’s uncertainty about his own destiny. As he approached the stranger he noticed a faint golden aura surrounding him. Arthus laughed in his sleep and rolled over, and Alisaar’s eyes were drawn to the golden glow from the rogue’s rucksack. Alisaar narrowed his eyes and turned back to the “other” dragonborn. The bejeweled doppleganger sprang up and landed atop his own Aurax and launched into the sky and was gone.

Alisaar returned to the fireside when his watch was over and stared blankly into the flames for hours until William awoke.

Scene 2 - Call of Duty

Alisaar sat with an unusual urge to speak to his friends about his coming choices. For weeks he had found himself wrestling with a crisis of faith with no clear answer as to where his duty lay. It was an uncomfortable position, one that he had never been in before, and it was beginning to wear on him.

Arthus slept soundly, dreaming vivid dreams of swarming dragons and mighty battles, but somewhere in his reverie he would catch bits of the conversation between William and Alisaar, interjecting his unconscious wisdom as necessary.

The discussion was unusually candid for both Alisaar and William, each talking about the relationships with their deities and how they are meant to lead their respective followers. Alisaar wondered aloud what the right path was for all Dragonborn and how one would go about questioning the will of the gods. The will of Bahamut was clear and seemed just were it not for Trogos. For Alisaar Trogos' sacrifice would be enough to redeem any and all who would deny the call of Tiamat, but that line of thinking may well send all Dragonborn down the path to war against their own. There had to be a better way and Alisaar grunted in self disgust for not being able to see it.

In the end it was clear that Alisaar was enlightened, but ultimately still frustrated. He sat in front of the fire gripping the Instrumentality in one hand and studying the nth metal scroll. Ocassionally his eyes caught a glimpse of the cold gemstone that was now a part of him. Beneath the crystal clear scale he could see the brilliant silver-blue hide of Aurax. He needed to speak with his bonded brother. They would be exiting the Mithal soon and he would have no more time to delay. As much as Alisaar valued William's council, the time for action was drawing close and what he planned would have as much an impact on Aurax as himself so it was only right to seek his input as well.

The rest of the party began to stir and Alisaar paced around the camp eager to exit this place. In truth his blood was boiling and he longed for the chance to vent his frustrations. Little did he know that the cosmos would soon oblige him.

Scene 3 - Titan of the Planes

The party came upon the lake of lava and could barely make out any details of what was waiting beyond. Smoke and steam rose from the fiery lake, and the intense glow was blinding to most of them.

A petrifying feeling began to creep up Arthus’ spine, but he steeled himself quick enough to arm himself and leap back as the volcanic ash and rock exploded into the air. What rose out of the volcano was enormous, easily the size of Aurax, and perhaps even more terrifying to behold.

Arthus’ mind shifted to a glossy black image and he was instantly aware that this was the fabled Titan of the Planes. This creature was a ravager of worlds and was all but indestructible, and more than that, it was here for Fizbin. He should not have known this, but Arthus was certain that not only was the Titan here specifically to stop Fizbin from ever reaching the other two phylacteries, but that nothing short of a wish was responsible. Arthus had heard legends of such magic, most of which were packaged as children’s stories, but being around powerful wizards as often as he was, he knew the tales of warning for tempting fate with such requests.

Nevertheless, if Sirilius was behind this, he would certainly have the power and audacity to bend reality to his whim.

Arthus snapped out of it just in time to roll out of the way of a gargantuan claw that sailed within inches of his head. With that close call Arthus was on its flank, and it was far more concerned with Alisaar and William as they each waded into combat without fear.

The battle was furious and desperate almost from the first blow. Alisaar swung with a practiced fury that slashed into the Titan’s carapace with fantastic power. William invoked the might of Pelor, as much to bolster his strength of arms as to protect the lives of his friends. They were a sight to behold as each of the friends was an exceptional combatant in their own way, but this was no ordinary foe.

Ancient steel crashed into the Titan, and for every strike that drew blood, two were turned away harmlessly. Even Fizbin’s mightiest evocations were turned aside by the creature’s hide.

The Titan was a formidable match indeed, as the party soon found themselves on the defensive. For all of Arthus’ cunning and speed, even he tasted the awesome strength of the Titan’s wrath. As the creature turned its attention on him, Arthus found he had no choice but to withdraw and hope it would forget about him. The beating he took was simply too much.

As victory seemed to be slipping away, Alisaar concentrated his attack on a deep gash in the Titan’s forearm. Many of the wounds they had inflicted had healed themselves within moments, but a few still showed, and Alisaar worked that to his advantage. He bided his time, drawing the Titan’s attention, and as the massive claw drove down at him, Alisaar whipped the halberd in an uppercut as he leapt to meet the claw in midair. The Titan shrieked and recoiled as its arm severed just above the wrist and it lost its balance.

William drew upon the righteous might of the heavens and as the sun’s radiance beamed from his blade he drove it deep into the Titan’s underbelly and into its vitals.

The creature gurgled and blood poured from its grievous wounds as it sank out of sight into the lava. Arthus cautioned that they should hurry, unless they wanted to deal with the creature again. He knew that it was merely a matter of time before the Titan recovered its strength and looked to even the score.

Cut Scene

They carried on across the lava by various means, and suddenly they were standing in sight of the two phylacteries.

The “Child” was a wispy translucent spirit of sorts, but the other phylactery was by far the more disturbing. As he caught sight of the wretched thing, Alisaar let out a high pitched screaming roar. He spun his blade to the ready with his sharp teeth bared in utter disgust. The sight of the flesh golem composed of the remains of Sirilius’ dragonborn companion was something so perverse he could scarcely believe it was real. Whomever caused this once mighty warrior to be cursed to continue like this would pay dearly. Alisaar swore this silent oath and prepared to grant his kinsman peace at long last.

A tense moment passed as time stood still for all but Fizbin. He approached the two beings and all was still and silent.

With no warning, Fizbin collapsed, and the party rushed to his aid, but as they approached he stood back up and confirmed that he was alright. The others stood dumbfounded as the face looking back at them was not Fizbin’s, but Surilius’!


Chapter 51 - Awakenings

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last edited by CaptainMonstrousCaptainMonstrous

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