As soon as Hex and Eryno cleared the alley shortcut they had taken, the armoured woman turned on Bliks, raising her morningstar into a defensive position, “You come to parley and yet you also come with bound crusaders? Explain yourself, witch.”
“First, while there are those who call me a witch, that I am not.” Bliks said, then sent over the link, ‘Hang on, we’ve got a bit of a misunderstanding I need to clear up.’ Hex looked at the two women in street, nodded and brought their group to a stop.
“And now you speak without words! Demons are well known for their telepathy.”
The mild winds around Bliks stirred the dust in the street, reflecting her frustration. “It is not telepathy, it is a kind of Androffan technology, a boon we gained from the ruins of the crashed vessels that cover Numeria. This is but one gift we hope to share to help combat the demonic hordes.” Most of that was true, except that the boon had come from a malfunctioning repair drone in the town of Torch. The drone itself had come from the local ruins and in trying to ‘repair’ the companions who it saw as improperly equipped crewmen, infected them with a nanite virus that built their first cybernetics.
“Come now, you are a Paladin of Iomedae are you not? Will you not look upon our auras to see if we carry the taint of evil?” Bliks concluded as calmingly as she could.
The armoured woman took a few steps back, lowered her arms to her sides, and then stared intensely at first Bliks then Hex and the rest of the group. “I do not sense evil, but we know that auras can be concealed, you will have to be tested.”
“Certainly, certainly! We only ask to be given a fair hearing, not be judged by those who would burn a suspect as soon as greet them.” Kenabres had long had a reputation for being the centre of widespread witch hunts, peaking in the third Mendevian Crusade, led by the city’s now leader, Prelate Hulrun Shappok, an Inquisitor with the ashes of many on his conscience.
The armoured woman nodded and removed her helm. As Bliks had suspected from her tone, she was indeed a half-orc, her green skin, pointed ears, and small tusks protruding up from her lips, all tell tale signs of her heritage. Her hair was black and cut short, a simple military cut, and below that, her yellow eyes held Bliks firmly. ‘A ploy’, Bliks thought ‘How often have you shocked someone by revealing your face?’ Neither Hex nor Eryno showed any shock, the former from his general impermeable nature as an android, the latter because of the heavy powered armour’s visor blocking all expressions he might have made.
“On the soul of my wife, Anevia Tirabade, and the holy Inheritor, I will ensure you get your fair hearing, wizard.” The paladin paused, then clipped the morningstar into her belt. Without hesitation she extended her hand in greeting, “I’m sorry, Bliksemani is it? I am Irabeth Tirabade, captain of the Eagle Watch. Welcome to Defender’s Heart.”
As they approached the stout building, Bliks drew up the floating disk supporting the still unconscious dwarf, and nodded at the guards manning the small towers on each of the four quadrants of the building. The wide windows on the second floor were open, with more guards at almost every other one. A slot was open in the double doors, with a pair of eyes watching their approach, disappearing with the thud of a heavy bar being slid out of position. While Irabeth had put away her weapon, the door opened to a small foyer with three crusaders, their longswords drawn, their shields at the ready. These three wore different tabards, one clearly a member of the Eagle Watch, another wearing the white and gold of the crusade, while the third wore heraldry unfamiliar to Bliks; many tried to found a legacy in battle against the demons. Ahead of them, instead of the usual set of doors that would lead into an inn, were a pair of arrow slits, and glancing upwards Bliks noted the uncovered murder holes in the ceiling. They made a sharp turn through another set of doors and into a wide common area.
The smell of people in cramped quarters wafted through the air as soon as the door opened, and there were bedrolls and cots covering most of the floor. Tables had been pushed against the wall and served as impromptu bunk beds, while the benches had been moved elsewhere. Only a few weary faces turned to observe the new arrivals, as most seemed to be engrossed in their own conversations, games, and distractions. The group was shepherded to a room directly opposite the doors they had just come through, off the larger room, but clearly some kind of guard room, with barred windows and an iron banded wooden door.
“These two,” speaking to the Eagle Watch guard in the foyer Irabeth pointed at the two bound Ash Raven mercenaries being directed by Hex, “take them to the holding cells. I’m not sure if they’re demons, but their auras are foul.”
Bliks paused at the threshold of the guard room, and asked “Could something be done for this dwarf? We ministered as best we could, but cultists had done something to her before they decided she was to be sacrificed.”
“Of course. Crocris!” Irabeth barked, then directed two nearby Eagle Watch guards in padded armour to lift the dwarf off the energy disk. Out of the crowd pushed a harried half elf, a wreath of ash leaves barely clinging to his forehead.
Straightening his patched vest, the elf said, “How can this humble servant of Immonhiel serve … again?”
The half orc gently rested her hands on his shoulders, “I know we have asked much of you, friend, but if we ever hope to retake your charge in Truestone Park, we need to help all those who may in turn help us. Come, what can you do for this woman?”
Looking at where her hands rested, then back at Irabeth, Crocris slumped his shoulders and turned, stooping to where the guards had laid the dwarven craftswoman. “Looks like she was suffering from some fever, but its broken, and she just needs rest.” He opened one of the dwarf’s eyelids, “I’d say she’s having some quite terrible dreams right now, but they’re dreams, not nightmares. A faint distinction, but it is preferable.”
Irabeth smiled and nodded, then gestured for the Torch Bearers to continue into the guard room. The first chamber was small, with two seats in front of barred windows, one facing into the common room and the other into another larger room. “It serves as both a mustering space for the guards and an impromptu screening room.” The half orc explained.
As they entered the larger room the first thing that caught their attention was a small creature resting on a platform in the corner. It was curled up under a blanket, but seemed to have both wings and a trunk poking out of the folds of cloth. Irabeth whistled, then called out “Varken! Wake up you cute little thing.”
“NO! Is cold.” A whiny voice floated up from the creature, who then seemed to try to bury itself deeper into the blankets.
“That’s what you always say, and the inn hasn’t been even cool for days now.”
Irabeth looked at Bliks, whispering “Have you ever had to deal with a sin seeker before?” She then rolled her eyes, glaring in the direction of the little creature, “Of course you could hear us. Now come out and I’ll see if I can get you a warm blanket.”
“That’s how you like them, isn’t it?” Irabeth shook her head this time, trying to express her disbelief without words.
With a happy squeal, the creature used its trunk to pull the blanket over its back, then awkwardly held it in place while it flew over to the table, to settle down, wrapping the blanket around itself again. In that short period, Bliks could see the strange creature, a mixture of pig, elephant, and bat.
“What is that thing?” Eryno grumbled. The half orc staggered back, catching herself on the edge of the table.
“Did your golem just speak?”
Hex looked at Irabeth, “That is Eryno, my spymaster.” Eryno didn’t even nod, just leaned, exhausted, into the wall.
“That’s a suit of armour?”
“Another one of the Androffan relics we recovered.” Bliks explained, slapping Eryno on the shoulder, “Put a commoner in it and they could wrestle a Cambion and that’s the least of its abilities.” She then took a seat facing back towards the door and the barred window, where she expected their interrogator to sit. “And Eryno, that’s a sin seeker; I’ve only heard of them before. Can you feel that light pawing at your mind? It’s trying to ensure that you can’t lie, conceal anything on your person, or even escape from restraints.”
“All good!” The creature squeaked.
“That’s debatable” Eryno groaned and then bit his tongue when Hex waved him off.
Irabeth smiled, “Still a start. I can only sense evil auras, but Varken can sense all sorts of different auras. Still, you could be concealing your aura with magic.”
Again the creature squeaked, “No disorder!”
“More positive information. Now if you may,” Irabeth pulled a small vial from her belt pouch, pouring its contents into a cup, “Please drink.”
Hex looked at Bliks, who immediately cast a short spell.
“What, pray tell, was that?” The paladin asked, her eyes narrowing.
“You can’t honestly expect the Black Sovereign of Numeria to drink just anything presented to him, can you?” Bliks replied flatly. “As your inquisitor can attest,” she pointed past Irabeth to the figure observing the activity from behind the barred window, “That was a Detect Poison spell, nothing more.”
Turning her attention to the tall but gaunt man, Irabeth matched Bliks’ tone and said “Hierarch Hawkblade, I had not yet sent for you.”
Clearing his throat, he threaded his fingers together, leaning towards the bars, “Sent for or not, here I am. Please continue.”
“This is my inquiry, not yours!”
“For now. Rightfully even the Order of Heralds would give them to me.” He replied, hiding his lips behind his fingers, “Barring me would, perhaps, hinder your position with the Watch.” At that, the paladin gritted her teeth. Then the inquisitor sat up a touch, a thin smile on his lips, “Besides, I am here for your protection, if they are not what they seem.”
Turning her back to the window Irabeth bit off, “I … appreciate your attendance, Hierarch. Was the wizard truthful about the spell?”
“Of course. And may I ask, has the creature blanketed the room in a Zone of Truth yet?”
Upon hearing even the suggestion of action on its part, Varken chirped, “Zone set!” Bliks could feel an even greater force on her mind, much more direct than the mere cloying the sin seeker gave off naturally. She fought the urge to resist the spell, knowing both that if she resisted that alone would be suspicious, but also that if she relented she could only choose between silence and truth.
“No resistance!” Varken almost purred.
Eryno opened his visor, carefully rubbing his forehead with a powered armoured gauntlet, “Guy sure is upbeat.” He then stepped forward, picking up the cup, “Clear Bliks?”
“Yes. But I suspect they want us to each have some, so please don’t drink it all.”
“Whatever. Alright.”, Eryno shrugged, and then took a sip. “It’s water.” He looked at the paladin with a tired expression, “You kinda got my hopes up.”
“Holy water.” Irabeth corrected.
Eryno passed the cup to Bliks adding, “Don’t you guys have holy wine? Or better, holy ale?”
The half orc eyed the ranger as Bliks interjected, “I’m sure they’re looking into it.” And then she too took a sip before passing it to Hex, who drank without comment.
“Now Varken, please require them to confess.” Irabeth said, pointing first at Bliks, who could feel a compulsion pass through her, the urge to tell the truth pressing even further to the front of her mind than either of the previous two spells, “Are you now or have you ever been a cultist to a Demon Lord?”
Unbidden Bliks blurted out, “No!” The heavy weight of the compulsion passed, leaving a general pressure for truth telling, and she blinked repeatedly. ‘Confess,’ she thought to herself, ‘answer truthfully or be injured. They’re pulling out the stops.’
Turning to Eryno, the paladin repeated the question which he wearily replied “No.” Of the three of them Hex seemed least bothered by the experience, his response betraying no change in tone.
“Does that satisfy you, Inquisitor? They drank the water without harm and answered the question without resistance, so they can be neither demon nor cultist.”
“I will be satisfied. After you apply the Fingers of Iomedae.”
The paladin lowered her eyes and said, “Do not dare to try to direct me, Liotr. Only by the grace of the Watch is your throat not slit in the night by one of the faithful whose relatives were sent to Pharasma by the howls of your order. Long is the shadow cast by those pyres.”
“Heretics. Cultists. Demons. Every one. What is necessary is not to be regretted.”
“Perhaps”, Bliks interrupted the two quarrelling Iomedaens, “If you tell us what the Fingers are, we can ease your concerns of their use?”
Hierarch Liotr Hawkblade reached into a satchel at his side, pulling out a roll of cloth about the size of a scroll case, made a hushed prayer, then laid it on the counter below the bars on the window. Unrolling it, Bliks first considered it to be some kind of surgical kit, then remembered the Inquisitor’s position. From the mixture of tongs, knives, and clasps, he pulled a three headed scalpel. Mounted on a finely crafted wooden handle were equally set blades of silver, cold iron, and steel, all well honed.
As Irabeth was about to speak, Bliks again interrupted, “An interesting, if primitive design. May I suppose that their mode of operation is to press against the skin, and if the blades penetrate at different rates, you can see if the … subject … has a weakness to different kinds of metal?” The Inquisitor seemed offended and was about to speak when Bliks continued, “I say primitive because I would use needles, not blades, and measure the absolute resistance rather than something subjective like ‘is it cutting their skin’. I’m sure subjectivity has never been a problem with the Inquisition, has it Hierarch? I could imagine holding it at a slightly different angle, even the pure could be seen as having some defence against mere steel.”
“Even your suggestion is heretical!”
“Of course it is, which is my point.” Bliks replied, “You I could trust to test us properly, but not all are as skilled as you, and so a mistake, and thus heresy, could happen.”
Before the Inquisitor could come up with a reply, Hex had crossed the short distance between them, thrusting his bare arm through the bars. He looked Liotr in the eye and said, “Test me, Inquisitor,” then placed his palm on the tool kit laid out between them.
The Ulfen man returned the android’s blank gaze and then nodded, turning the Fingers of Iomedae in his hand until he felt the blades equally pressing against Hex’s skin. With careful pressure, he pulled the blades with increasing downward force, until three black lines ran along the gunslinger’s forearm. “My blood is not red.” Hex simply stated, then withdrew his arm. Rolling his sleeve back in place, the nanites had little work to do to seal the cuts in his flesh, leaving no hint of injury behind.
In silence, as Eryno first removed his gauntlet and then the vambrace protecting his forearm, Bliks submitted herself to the Inquisitor’s unfeeling care, her arms shortly sporting three parallel lines of blood. As the powered armour’s elbow guard could not be removed without removing the entire shoulder piece, the bars blocked his arm from reaching as far as the others, which the Inquisitor grumbled at as he had to reach across the counter. With a flash the half elf snatched the wooden handled blade from the older man, withdrawing his hand to inspect the fork like knife.
“Have you ever had this used on you?” Eryno asked the Inquisitor, pointing the blade to make his point. Liotr snorted in derision, then loosened the synch at the wrist of his chainmail shirt so he could pull it back. His forearm now exposed, it was crisscrossed with fresh and scarred trios. “Alright then. Do me.”
“I apologize but am not sorry for that,” Irabeth said after Liotr had left, the delicate snicks and whirs of Eryno reassembling his armour otherwise filling the space, “As you seem to know, Kenabres has not been without demonic infiltration.”
Bliks rubbed the now healed patch of skin, nanites stitching her skin back together as they had with Hex, and stated “Their infiltration not just a matter of history.”
“What do you mean?”
“Eryno’s weakness was not a result of a clash with cultists in the streets, but from a well prepared trap. A trap set in a shrine to Baphomet, in the basement of a shop just to the north west.”
“There have been whispers of this. After the Order of Heralds curtailed the most extreme of the inquisition, there were those who claimed the demons had spies everywhere and remained among us for years. Only recently has any proof of their presence manifested. I personally managed to root out one of their more powerful members, the leader of a group called the Hammers of Heaven, Stauton Vhane. We all though he was a model crusader, but as far as I was able to discern, he’s been working for the demons for … decades. There’s even evidence he may have betrayed Drezen to its fall 75 years ago.”
The paladin self consciously tried to itch her shoulder but the layers of armour foiled her, so she continued, “They knighted me for that discovery. I’m still not sure why … he slipped through my fingers and is out there still, causing who knows how much more damage.” She paused again, gathering her thoughts, “They call themselves the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth, a reference to Baphomet’s lair I’m told. That they straddle the line between demon and mortality makes them one of the most dangerous elements we face.”
“Is there somewhere I can lie down?” Eryno cut in, the fatigue in his voice becoming increasingly noticeable.
“Yes, yes, of course.” Irabeth replied, “It might take a few minutes, but I’m sure Mr. Otai could find a few rooms for such distinguished guests.” She then nodded to the air and stepped out of the screening room.
“Blanket!” The creature under the pile of cloth on the table whined out to her back.
The paladin stopped and hung her head, shaking it slowly. “Of course little one, I hadn’t forgotten.”
Bliks whispered a short cantrip and laid her hand on the blanket covering the sin seeker, focusing on warming it until a cooing came from the creature’s snout. ‘We should consider a breeding program to support your agents, Eryno,’ she sent over the link.
Not wanting to contribute to the crowd in the common room, the Torch Bearers waited for Irabeth to return in the screening room. ‘This city is in need of support, and that paladin gave no indication she expected to be relieved by the Mendevian crusade anytime soon. Even those commoners seem to have bunked down for the long haul.’ Bliks continued, pulling what at first glance was a skymetal chest out of her satchel.
Setting the chest on the table, she pressed a button on the side, popping out a silverdisk to check its charge. As it still had several more uses, she slid it back in place. ‘Then activate the Iron March protocol.’ Hex replied. Undoing a series of clips, she flipped the lid back, seeing the contents had not changed; they hadn’t received anything since they had left Starfall. Next she wound up the little music box that laid inside and pulled a letter from a side pouch of her satchel, putting both back in the box. Once the clips were secured, she flipped the safety cover and pressed the activation button on the quantum box.
Over two hundred miles to the south, an aide in a secure room on the second floor of the Palace of Fallen Stars in Starfall, heard a tune coming from one of the boxes behind his workspace. He put down the report he had been drafting, and mirroring Bliks’ actions, opened the paired quantum box, silenced the music box, and withdrew the letter, its waxen seal showing the insignia of the Black Sovereign. Noting that the wax had been given a blue tint, it was within his security clearance to open, so he snapped it open, laying the document over his report. At the top of the page was a frequency he easily tuned his commset to, and then started reading.
“One one zero one zero zero one. One one one zero zero one zero. One one zero one one one one. One one zero one one one zero. One one zero one one zer one. One one zero zero zero zero one. One one one zero zero one zero. One one zero zero zero one one. One one zero one zero zero zero. Message repeats.”
He then tapped the side of the commset, playing back the recording, double checking its accuracy. Once he was satisfied, he took off the headset and pressed send and loop.
Several hundred feet to the north east, a green light illuminated on the side of an inactive Myrmidon robot. XAU-2-UN-67’s central eye cluster began to glow red as it brought the rest of its systems online. Nearby RNU-1-UN-893, a metallic beetle shaped Observer robot, received the Myrmidon’s query and fired up its boosters to help the combat robot go through its start up diagnostics. Once they completed the checklist, XAU-2-UN-67 signalled the elevator to clear the shaft for air launch. Transparent blast shields closed around the other floors of the elevator as the robot boosted itself into position. Confirming the exit door had irised open, XAU-2-UN-67 rocketed into the sky over Starfall, quickly vectoring north as its chipfinder started to hone in on the tracker chip attached to the Annihilator robot XAU-4-UN-7.
‘Estimates?’ Hex asked.
Bliks thought for a moment, fiddling with a strand of cybernetic hair, ‘Say one hour for the message to get to the Heilige Cohort, then another 34, give or take an hour, for them to make their way here. We should expect them well before sunrise two days from now.’
Just as she had finished packing away the quantum box, having received the verification notice from Hex’s aide, a grey suited halfling entered the screening room carrying a folded blanket at arms length in front of him. “Varken. VARKEN.” Hearing its name being called the sin seeker pulled the blanket back past its eyeless forehead, “Come on Varken, take this stinking, ratty, thing.”
“Bring!” The creature chirped excitedly, flying over to its perch, still holding onto its previous blanket with stubby paws. The halfling grunted something obscene in their coded mixture of Taldane and Varisian, then scurried over to drop the somewhat rank cloth on Varken. Snuffling into its new smells and warmth, the pig, bat, elephant mix curled itself up, adding the old blanket on top of the new.
“Now if you may, sires?” The halfling said graciously, indicating they should follow, “Master Otai would like to convey his apologies that he was only able to secure two rooms for your eminences; one for the gentlemen and one for the lady.”
“Show Eryno to his room, I do not require it.” Hex cut in.
The halfling stifled a surprised expression, then curtly bowed, “As you wish sire. Master Otai remains at your disposal if you have other requirements.”
While the interrogation had been short and it was only late in the afternoon, the smell of food and a queue of citizens had already formed in the common room once they entered. “With so many, meals have to be started earlier than custom. You may, of course, dine at the time and place of your choosing.” The halfling explained, leading them to a door that opened into a tight stairwell. Hex nodded to the others and headed out into the common room, stopping to talk to the first person he met, shaking their hand and asking their name.
Bliks followed Eryno up the stairs, glad of their stone construction as the half elf could easily smash through wooden ones had he tripped in his drained state. After passing three landings, one with a door to another floor, they were led out into a narrow corridor. “Master Otai’s predecessors chose to make the rooms as spacious as possible and had not anticipated guests of your stature.” The last comment he directed to Eryno who merely plodded along after the little fellow.
“Your room sire!” The halfling finally exclaimed as they rounded a corner, another grey clad halfling holding a door ajar. Eryno lumbered past the little fellow, finding the largest space in front of a roll up desk, and began methodically taking off the suit.
“He won’t need any assistance.” Bliks reassured the halflings, “It’s a lot simpler to take off than it looks.” The halfling at the door looked to her compatriot who merely smiled, so she closed the door on the unharnessing ranger.
With a flourish her halfling guide said “This way please!” and led Bliks to the end of the hall. “Your room has a westward facing window. I hope the lady does not object … there are those who find that sky … disturbing.”
The room was comfortable in proportion, with a desk near the door and the bed awkwardly positioned against the far curved wall. Looking up at the high ceiling shed noted a gradual slope away from the centre of the building, while the windows were set high on the curved section of wall, permitting a view of only the sky except if she were to float up to the rafters. No fireplace graced the room, but it was warm nonetheless, whether by the press of bodies downstairs or some central furnace, she didn’t care.
“It’s fine, thank you. You can tell the kitchen I’ll have my meal whenever it is convenient. Until then, I’d like not to be disturbed.” Bliks said after a quick survey. Before they closed the door she gave each of the Halflings a gold piece, which she insisted they take, “This horror will not last forever, and you will want gold when that time comes.”
She only had a few minutes to orient herself and lay out her equipment before there was a metallic knock on the door. Taking a moment to compose herself, she called out, “Yes?”
The now familiar voice of Irabeth replied, “May I come in? I have a request of you.”
“Of course.” Bliks replied, settling into an armchair as the paladin made her way into the room. “What’s the issue? Should I get the Black Sovereign?”
The half orc shook her head, choosing to sit on a tall stool near the door rather than the offered armchair opposite Bliks. “It is a personal request I bring to you, something only you can fulfill. It’s about … my wife.” The woman’s shoulders slumped as she continued, “What do you know of the attack on Kenabres?”
“I know that it was sudden, unexpected, destroyed the Kite, and seemingly the wardstone as well, alongside much of Old Kenabres. There also seems to have been some convergence at the cathedral, where all these terrible trenches meet; some result of corrupted Vemeraks.”
At the mention of the cathedral, Irabeth visibly flinched. “She was there, trying to resolve a dispute between a local money lender and a researcher from Blackwing … and I haven’t seen or heard from her since that morning. To my knowledge, the greatest arcanists and clerics of Kenabres fell when the demons attacked … I have only been able to rely on Hierarch Hawkblade and Crocris for any magical support. I hope you might be able to … give me some answers. If her soul has travelled to Pharasma’s courts or not.
“I am no augur, Irabeth, but I might be able to do more than just answer your question. Do you have anything of hers, a lock of hair, or something she wore?”
“Since the attack I haven’t been able to return to our home … but I do have a handkerchief she had left behind in her rush to her meeting … I had wanted to deliver it to her …” The half orc trailed off.
Bliks outwardly smiled, while wondering how long the paladin had kept this story to herself. “That’ll be fine. It’ll take me a few minute to prepare and then some time to cast the spell. If you have responsibilities, I can send for you when everything is in place.”
“Yes, of course. I’ll get it for you right away.”
Bliks settled into the armchair and pulled her spellbook from the old, magical satchel. Crossing her legs, she floated into the air, supporting the book with a Mage Hand, while studying the spell she would need. Without knocking, Irabeth entered her room, stopped at the sight of the levitating mage, then wordlessly retreated, leaving the handkerchief behind on the stool.
Casting a spell like this in the field took a lot more preparation and focus than it had when she had tried Scrying the minor officials in Kenabres from Starfall just a couple of days ago, but having a possession of the subject made the process much easier, in the end, than just having the visual report the hologram had provided. As she neared the end of the ritual, she called for the halfling attendant Irabeth had stationed in the hall, “Please tell Irabeth that I’m about ready.”
Knocking this time, the paladin entered the room as Bliks completed casting Scrying, her focus on the half orc’s wife, a short, brown haired woman, while clasping the handkerchief between her hands. The silver mirror before her glowed momentarily, and then shimmered. In its frame a figure took shape, but the lighting was dim, barely candlelight, so Bliks waved a hand at the lantern in her room and it snuffed out. The figure seemed to stir from a restless sleep as Bliks tried to look around their surroundings.
“I see someone … the owner of this handkerchief …”
“Yes, but she does not seem … well … there is something wrong with her leg … and there is another? … a man with bandages around his head, covering most of his face … they’re … in a church? … it’s so dim, I’m sorry, it’s hard to make out details … but rows of stone benches, like pews. Does any of this sound familiar?”
“I cannot say I know of such a place in Kenabres. And it is still light out, could they be underground?”
“That or windows are shuttered, the spell does not let me see more than their immediate surroundings. Still this should be enough.”
“By the Inheritor, thank you, that’s all I asked for!”
Bliks held up a hand, “That’s not what I meant by enough. You have your answers, but with one of my companions incapacitated until tomorrow and the other too important to risk, you yet have me, and I suspect I can be of some aid.”
‘Guys, I’m going to be going out for a bit.’ She sent over the link to Eryno and Hex, ‘If I’m not back by morning, please come get me … use the chipfinder in my pack, it’s set to my tracking chip’s frequency.’
‘Acknowledged.’ Hex sent back after a delay. Eryno did not respond.
“Now, if everything works out, I should be back in a few minutes. Teleport there, gather up any other survivors, and then Teleport back.” She smiled, “You’ll be with your wife soon. I’d bring you along, but I don’t know how many people will need a trip back and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind.”
Irabeth nodded, “May the blessings of Iomedae go with you, Bliksemani Volgeling. Please bring her back to me.”
“I will. And call me Bliks.” With that, the wizard closed her eyes and vanished from the room.
Several minutes passed. And then several more. The paladin had patience, but began to worry.