Athos: The Return

Session LXXXI (i): We’ll Fight Together Part I: True Radiance

Session 81 (1): We’ll Fight Together Part I: True Radiance

An excerpt from the theorem and jargon filled journal of Simon Bloom

We took a rest, we had to. The First Dungeon had turned into a rehashing of all our biggest bads. Neckolaj, Sikarenia and Avantador, Behemoth was sure to be next, and we definitely fought that spider queen once before in the Church of Athos Dominus. I just hope Big Stormy isn’t waiting for us in the next chamber.

Oberon was near out of ‘heals’ and Anatolius’ flames were starting to lose their radiant blue hue. The only thing left had to be Behemoth and Nox, the only two fights we had every run away from. Pure carnage and ultimate despair deserve a short rest I believe.

Even though Behemoth was our next stop, I couldn’t stop thinking about the battle after. How would our battle with Nox go? How much stronger had we become since he beat us last? The time for secrets was over, I couldn’t hide my experiments and research from the party anymore; not when they could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

“Everyone, I have something to discuss before we go any further. I believe our chances against Nox are still way too small, but I may have a solution. Well not a solution, but a theory…a countermeasure…”

“What is it Simon?” Uruhua said.

I pulled out one of my research journals. The tattered cover held the symbol of Spirit Fuel on it and the pages inside a wreck of theorems and arcane jargon. I passed it to Anatolius for the party to look through. “I have been experimenting with Spirit Fuel to create an Urn of my own.” I said

“You WHAT!?” Anatolius yelled. I thought Oberon would have been the first to berate me, but I could tell from his twitches that I would get a talking to soon. “Why would you even try something this risky, Simon? These are powers we barely understand.” Anatolius said

“I can think of several good reasons, but none of them matter now. I stopped that research about the time I tried channeling Spirit Fuel into my Architect’s Staff. But now I believe I can take my findings and use them for a new purpose. I want to create Anti-Spirit Fuel. Some force that we can turn on Nox, maybe even suck the Spirit Fuel right out of him! I have some ideas but I need this time to try them out. If we go against Nox with what we have now, there’s no way we’ll win, but with an ace in the hole we might have a chance.” I could tell by the stares I was getting that no one thought my ramblings were possible.

My book got passed to everyone and I continued my impromptu theorizing. My thought process involved creating a symbol in reverse of the symbol of Spirit Fuel. I had come to the conclusion that the symbol could be linked very simply to our experiences; Each arrow pointing out symbolized a different Urn spreading out across the realms. The circles represented the Three Guardian Dragons, Golagoraraxx, Sikarenia, and Avantador protecting The Urn of Creation, The Urn of Vision, and The Urn of Frailty respectively, while also symbolizing the separate realms that they came from The Labyrinth, The Realm of the Green Mists, and The Underdark…also respectively. I theorized that each Urn had an opposite which would point in the opposing direction. The Urn of Power opposes the Urn of Frailty, The Urn of Annihilation opposes The Urn of Creation, and The Urn Deception opposes The Urn of Vision. With the seventh and last Urn at the center of the symbol and at the center of all the realms.

“Of course we have all discussed these points before, but I believe that these rules govern our ability to create an Anti-Spirit Fuel symbol. But the most important piece of evidence I have gathered are our powered up weapons. Why would simply scratching the symbol of Spirit Fuel all over our weapons cause them to connect to it like they have? The symbol itself must contain real power.” I surmised.

“Simon that’s brilliant!” Said Uruhua. I’m glad I could convince someone. “But I have no idea where to start with creating a reverse symbol.” We spent a short time discussing this. Theorizing ways to create new guardians, trying to discern a way to fake the other realms, discussing if either were necessary to the process. It was Anatolius who figured that out though.

“Why do we have to do any of that? If we’re all in the same realm why can’t all of us enact both the urns and our own guardians? You see how the original lines are all disconnected, let’s just connect them all and reverse the arrows. Like this.” Anatolius said as he scribble a simplistic design into my notebook.

“Pssh, Anatolius, if it were that simple I would have solved it al..rea..dy…” I trailed off as I saw the symbol that he had drawn. He was right, the power of Spirit Fuel was so dissonant just like the symbol, his simpler design might do the trick! I ripped the book out of his hands and scribbled a more finalized product. “This is it. You did it Anatolius!”

Anatolius smiled, his flames had brightened in this rest. “We did it, Simon. All of us, together.” It’s funny, Nox said he chose me to oppose him in intellect, to show that I couldn’t outsmart him. And he would have been right, but I’m not the only one he chose to face. Maybe Anatolius couldn’t overpower him, maybe Vondall couldn’t defend against him. Alone none of us could defeat Nox, but Nox isn’t facing us alone. He’s facing us together, and where one of us might fall, we can all help them back up. Nox can beat me, but he’ll never beat all of us together!

“So what do you think will happen once we use this symbol?” Uruhua asked me.

“I have absolutely no idea, but I’m about 90% sure it’ll be something positive!…80%…I’m sure it will be seemingly positive!” I said with confidence the whole way through. No doubt was in my voice, that’s for sure. The party didn’t share in my denial. “It doesn’t matter now anyway. We’ll need to meet up with Vinsanthius, Vondall, and Valenae before we can even attempt this.”

Rested and ready to move forward we ran after Vinsanthius and Behemoth. I hoped that he hadn’t tried to take on Behemoth by himself, but if that was the case he would have been killed already and we all would have fallen unconscious like we have anytime a Spirit Fueled Demigod died. Thankfully my worries were put to rest as we saw Vinsanthius alone with a couple of beaten up slimes. He was holding his own against a boss I’m sure was meant to take all of us down. It had been so long since I had seen Vinsanthius fight that I forgot why he was called The Shimmering Blade.

Together we wiped out the slimes and Vinsanthius told what happened. “I followed behemoth in that child form all the way here only to find a gigantic Gelatinous Cube waiting for us. We had both been able to run past the last room before the dungeon could create an enemy, but this monster had been ready. It attacked Behemoth first and in desperation his right arm grew into that of a gigantic beast, easily twice the size of the Behemoth I once knew. I’ll consider it luck that the child form still had control since he ran into the next room out of fear before he could fully transform.”

“Leaving you to clean up this gelatinous mess right! HAHAHA” I laughed and Vinsanthius cracked a smile.

“You know what, I needed that Simon I feel like I haven’t heard a good joke since I left Titans Hold, so I’ll take a really bad one.” Vinsanthius said.

“Don’t you encourage him! Besides we have something important to discuss with you.” Oberon said. We brought up our plans to create an Anti-Spirit Fuel symbol and that we needed his help. After some quips about my dangerous choice to create my own Urns he agreed to help. We went and grabbed Vondall and Valenae a few rooms back and discussed the final arrangements together. We all needed a nice long rest and now that we were together there was no rush. We slept and prepared for tomorrow which would surely be a long day. I put the finishing touches on our ace in the hole before slumping onto the solid floor for sleep.

When we all awoke I prepared the Anti-Spirit Fuel symbol on the large chamber floor. We designated who would stand in which spot, it was important to emulate the forces of the urns and how they opposed each other.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that Oberon is the Urn of Creation and opposite him Anatolius as the Urn of Annihilation.” I started off.

“The Urn of Power should be Uruhua’s. There’s no doubt about that.” Chimed in Anatolius.

“There’s still Deception and Vision. Simon sorry to say, but you’ve got to be Deception.” Said Uruhua

I laughed “No need to be sorry, I was named The Labyrinth wasn’t I. Tricks and false turns are my game. Then that just leaves The Urn of Vision who has to be…”

“It’s Vinsanthius. Vinsanthius has been the leader of the demigods and sees through our family for who we are better than any of us. It’s him.” Interrupted Valenae.

“Are you sure Valenae? That means you won’t be in the circle and I’ve been lead astray before. I’ve hardly been the demigod with the best decisions as of late.” Vinsanthius said, but Valenae just smiled and pushed him into the circle.

We all faced our opposing forces and channeled our Spirit Fuel power into the center of the symbol. At first nothing happened, then a surge of light broke through the energy we had collectively released. In the center of the circle now floated a bright and gigantic ball of light. Like the sun it shone down on us, it burned at my Spirit Fuel. The room had lost all darkness, colors had lost all effect. This bright orb was the essence of all light and goodness that Athos had built into our realm. Like a diamond among cole, this light was flawless. It was True Radiance! This was it, this True Radiance could do significant damage to anyone with Spirit Fuel, but that included us and now I’m not quite sure what to do with this giant floating orb that none of us can get too close to. Oh well this is what tests are for I thought, but then Oberon moved closer.

“Oberon wait, doesn’t it burn?” asked Uruhua

“No, it’s warm. I can feel it’s power flowing into me. I…I believe I can contain it.” Oberon said as he lifted up one of his holy symbols. We could hear him whisper a quick prayer. As we saw him mouth the final words “Athos be praised” the light flowed into his holy symbol as if Athos himself had willed it. Shadow wormed it’s way back into the chamber as the marvelous light was absorbed into Oberon’s own radiant glow. While his holy symbol contained the True Radiance we could all tell it was much stronger than it was before. The symbol of Anti-Spirit Fuel we had created was burned into the face of the holy symbol as if to say, “this vessel will hold me for now, but not for long.”

This was it, we were ready to face Nox. We had at least one ace up our sleeves, we had our exit strategy with LP, and most importantly we had each other. First though, we had one more big bad to face, and Behemoth was not going to go down easily.

To be continued…

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