Chapter 80: A Guardian Never Repents
From the Journal of Oberon
I wish I didn’t have to kill him. Nekolaj was my brother; a horrific, evil man, but my brother nonetheless. He and I went through the same journey all those millenia ago, pursued the same goals, learned the same lessons from our great Father. Nox corrupted that young man’s heart beyond repair, and he paid the ultimate price – a life laced with darkness and despair, one that was nearly as old as time itself. Maybe he really did die all that time ago at the Urn of Annihilation, and what I vanquished was but a fleeting remnant of his soul. One thing’s for sure, that didn’t lessen the regret I felt as I vaporized him with the radiant light of my mace. I was left thinking of what could have been for him, a life of honor and service, a key member of the Regulators. Let it not be forgotten that Nox’s evil eviscerates more than landscapes and buildings.
Alas, there was little time for recollection. Vinsanthius was surely in grave danger, having ran off to pursue Behemoth just minutes earlier. Before we took off, Simon noticed a small chest tucked away in the corner of the room. Uruhua, of course, was the first to speed across the room to get a closer look at what was inside. Luckily enough for her, the amulet that was nestled snugly inside seemed to suit her the best, so with haste, she threw the chain around her neck, stuffed the ornate amulet into her armor, and led the charge through the tunnel, in pursuit of our dear brother.
What we saw on the other end of the tunnel, unfortunately, was not our dear brother at all. We stood at the entrance to a massive atrium, bigger than any I’ve ever seen in the realm of man. In the center of the room sat a huge square platform, 30 feet high, with giant steps leading up to it on all four sides. Upon this platform sat two more urn guardians we had previously vanquished – the elder dragons Sikarania and Avontador.
Luckily for us, they didn’t seem to notice our entrance. I’m not exactly sure what kind of dull chatter they were caught up in, I was too caught up in my own stealth, but it allowed us to sneak up and take an advanced position on the dragons. Despite my two left feet, I was able to dodge the dragons’ view by shimmying alongside the edge of the stairs, keeping myself completely out of eyesight.
Once we were all in position, I struck, attempting to bind the dragons in a spell that would make them nearly useless in combat. Although I didn’t perform the prayer perfectly, I was still able to hamper Avontador’s firepower while we focused on Sikarenia. After being struck with my holy incantation, the dragons recoiled in pain.
“The time is now, destroy them!” yelled Sikarenia, his thunderous voice reverberated around the atrium and shook its very foundation. Avontador turned his wretched head straight at me and exclaimed,
“It’s no use fighting, foolish Demigods, for either in victory or defeat, you will be trapped here for eternity!”
For all his talk, Sikarania sure seemed to melt quickly under the pressures of combat. We were able to beat him to the point of bleeding quite early into the fight, but he seemed to find a second wind after that point, fiercely tearing into my brothers and sisters with his devastating claws and teeth. Luckily for them, I was able to sit back and take care of them from a distance while the dragons were distracted.
After a bloody struggle, Anatolius was able to deal one grand blast of flame, vanquishing Sikarenia and decomposing his soul into an amorphous mist, only to be captured in his soul vial. With one dragon down, we could all now surround Avontador and finish this fight quickly so we could go in after Vinsanthius.
Unfortunately, it didn’t prove to be so easy. Avontador let out a blast of white hot energy that managed to blind nearly all of us. Without our vision, Avontador was able to throw us around the Atrium, inflicting a great deal of damage on my brothers and sisters before we were able to regain our footing. However, thanks to our tactical ability, we were able to take out the beast without taking too much colateral damage. Anatolius vanquished the second dragon much like the first, roasting him in a bath of necrotic flame and capturing his eternal soul in the vial.
It was surely time for a rest, but we couldn’t afford much; only enough to catch our breath. One second could be the difference between saving our brother Vinsanthius from certain doom, or watching him die at the same hands that took the life of Random. We could only pray that he was not already lost.