“It was at this time that the last noble warriors fighting against the scourge of Nox had made landfall on the shores of Thrashkar, under the ever darkened sky of the full and vile eclipse. The children of Athos had reached the doors of the profane citadel, and bid entry, knowing only of the 20 score and 4 sorcerers whom have taken vigil in the cursed erection. They would know not the challenge, the horror, nor the sheer darkness of the magic that would await them.”
Excerpt from “Heartbleeder”, Biography of Lenore Uruhua
From the sea, we could see the rough stonework of the acursed tower near the shore of Thrashkar. We had known only the most basics: more of Nox’s tainted Spirit magic, being manipulated by sorcerers; lots and lots of sorcerers. Our most reliable source told us a dozen dozen mages, harnessing Spirit Fuel to keep the sun hidden, and Athos’ light from all his worthy children. We rode the ship ashore and made our way in the perpetual twilight to the doors of the spire. We found our way inside, the subtle surges of power that we could barely feel in the air as we stalked our way towards the tower, we could now taste. My teeth rang with the sheer force of energy surrounding us. We scaled the stairs of solid marble carved into the walls of the tower, and rose to the first platform.
It was here we found the first 11 sorcerers, and where we obtained more grim news; that our deeds are not going unnoticed. Ten of them were conducting a ritual in a circle, a circle circumscribed on the ground by that occult symbol we have seen before. And in the center of this ritual was a sorcerer in obvious command of the floor. The dark figure, an aged man, threw back his hood, his eyes seeking out and knowing only Simon. “The Storm Who Walks!” He screeched. Somehow, the news of Simon’s schism from The Storm is now widely known, though none seem to doubt his power in his own right. We waged war against the followers of Nox, and all fell before our spear, sword, and spell. Thus, with one wave vanquished, we ascended to the second floor.
We rose to the second floor of the tower, and were unsurprised to find another wave of dark mages. A quick count revealed 20 lesser ritual mages again in circle around the profane symbol set in the floor, and a singular ritual leader dead center. It was a pitched battle we waged, and the situation looked dire for Simon near the end. He was struck, and wounded badly; I heard his roar of pain as sharp in the cold damp air of the tower as I felt his mind cloud with anguish. I turned towards him, as we all did, and watched electric fire blaze forth from his limbs and body, a sorcerous maelstrom of power that burned many of the remaining mages to cinders. With the majority now vanquished, we made quick work of the remainder, and took the stairs to the next platform.
Much as the first two floors, we found, again, more sorcerers. Once we crested the doorway, we bore witness to a new throng of dark mages carrying out their evil ritual. The sorcerer leading the incantation at the center called out to his compatriots upon our arrival, evidently having witnessed, or felt through arcane channels, more likely, that Simon Bloom was still a force of magic and to be dealt with last. As if they would have even the chance to wound him. 41 sorcerers now graced us with their tainted presence, and we pulled out all the stops to rain fury upon them. They fell without incident, each one fighting hard but in vain, until the last of them was slain. We took stock of our weapons, Oberon tended wounds, and went up the last flight to end this dark spell.
We wound our way up the staircase, taking pause to look out the embrasures on the way, to see with great pride the fading eclipse. The sun was still covered, and the clouds still obscured most of the sky, but here and there, more of the holy light of our Father shown down to his abandoned firmament. We took small satisfaction, let it warm our bodies and clear our minds, and strode confidently to the top floor.
It wasn’t until we reached the final floor did we feel the tower shake, as if the ground was quacking beneath us. A quick assessment by Simon revealed that the tower was likely intertwined with the magic holding the world in perpetual eclipse, thus, once we ended the ritual the tower would also fall. Armed with this knowledge, we opened the doors to face the last of the sorcerers; 71 of them awaited us.
It was a bloody, fierce battle. Anatolious smote many with quick spell and sword work, and we saw with object horror how the ritual leader of this floor would drain the life from his cohorts to fuel his own damaged body. At last, the common mages were struck down, and we watched with satisfaction as Anatolious ran his blade through the dark sorcerers neck. He faltered, and though he gushed dark blood with every breath and word, he swore out at us; “I can hold it! I can-” Gurgling words drowned by the soul fire that consumed his corpse before he fell. The tower, growing more and more unstable by the second began to fall away beneath our feet. Simon vanished into mist and drove through an arrow loop, Oberon quickly flying on his hazy heels. Anatolious ran headlong for the door, keen on making it to ground level before the buildings eminent collapse. I turned on my heels for the same embrasure that Oberon flew through, and I teleported myself outside, and graciously took a slow fairy flight to the ground. We landed a fair distance away, in time to watch Anatolious leap from the shattered door and roll clear of the crumbling tower. We rose, battered and bloody, but alive, and warming quickly in the open, uncovered sun. It was beautiful to behold the unbridled light of our sun, and we shared a moment of quiet peace.
We turned to face the rolling greenery of Thrashkar, and saw the growing, dark masses of two armies, both on straight courses, set to intersect at our feet.