The quiet of Bliks’ room in Defender’s Heart was interrupted by the end of Aravshinial’s cry as the blinded elf, the hobbled human Avenia, the mongrelman Lann, the overweight Horgus, their comatose dwarven prisoner, and Bliks materialized in the spare spaces. Even then the Teleport shifted a few of their positions, with the dwarf arriving on the bed and Avenia standing on the centrally placed armchair.
Horgus Gwerm was the first to speak. “Defender’s Heart?” he said with obvious contempt, “you couldn’t have picked a more … reputable establishment?”
“Why don’t you,” Anevia started, her voice rising in both tone and volume, but she caught Bliks’ glance and bit her lip in frustration.
Bowing her head slightly Bliks said, “Lord Gwerm, I’m sure that Master Otai will be delighted to have your patronage in the finest room he can muster.”
Horgus barely concealed his look of surprise before nodding thoughtfully, “of course he will. I’m glad that someone knows the proper method of address. I swear, the past few days it’s been Horgus this and Horgus that. Horribly familiar.” He then turned his head towards the door and began shouting, “usher! USHER!”
One of the many grey clad halfling servants swung into the room on the opening door, coming to a halt when she was confronted by the over packed space. Looking quickly from one face to another, she focused in on Horgus, the scowl matching that of many a guest whose expectations could never be properly met. “Yes mi’lord? How may I be of service?”
“Be prompt, I should not have to call, and show me to your best room, I’m sure Master Otai has set one aside for me.”
“But mi’lord, we’re all full up and …”
“Excuses? No wonder this place attracts the crowd it does.”
“If you’d but give me a moment mi’lord …”
“Yes yes,” Horgus replied dismissively then, as he stalked out of the room, he turned to Bliks and added, “I expect that you’ll be returning me to my estate promptly tomorrow? Good.” Not waiting for a reply he turned into the hall continuing, “what do you have in lamb? Fresh, not smoked mind.”
Once his booming voice had faded in with the rest of the murmur of the inn, Anevia turned on Bliks, “why wouldn’t you let me give him what for? He’s been like that for days, and now, his freedom secured, he somehow manages to take it up a notch!”
Bliks rubbed her forehead, “I have to deal with nobles like him or more often those who aspire to nobility, on a regular basis. Best I’ve found is to give them a brief amount of attention and then adopt a tin ear. They’ve been acknowledged, which satiates them for quite some time.”
“I can’t believe you did it,” Aravshinial said, changing the topic away from their former companion, “six. Six people! I’ve never tried more than three. Do you use the Bloodstone particulars or is it some incantation that Ornelos wrote? I must see your spellbook to compare notes. I’d truly appreciate …” he trailed off then continued in a more sober tone, “if what you said is true and this city has lost its luminaries, then there aren’t any left who can cast Regeneration. Years … years …”
Taking the elf’s quivering hand, Bliks brought his hand up to her face. “Find my eyes,” she said. Wordlessly he passed his fingers across her features, finding her closed eyelids. “Feel my eyes.” He jerked his hand away from her face in shock before she gently brought it back. “It’s alright.”
“You have a glass eye? How is that …”
“Try the other one.”
“Both of your eyes are glass?”
“I had heard of Numerian artefacts, but … eyes? What happened to you?”
“I don’t remember. What I’ve been able to deduce is the Red Mantis assassin that tried to kill me started by hitting me with something that would blind me, some tailored acid to slip through even direct contact. Melted my eyes and scoured my head of hair. So, if Regeneration is not available, there are alternatives. If you wish. I know several talented surgeons in Numeria who could do the procedure.”
“I will …”
Aravnshinial’s response was interrupted by a shout of joy from the doorway. In its frame stood the seemingly always armoured Irabeth, her arms wide. Into those arms Anevia limped and they tenderly kissed. Then, over her wife’s shoulder, the half orc looked at Bliks saying, “thank you. We … I … had grown worried when you didn’t shortly return.” She then spied Lann and looked back at Bliks, questioningly.
Without hesitation Lann said, “greetings fellow crusader! I am Lann of Neathholm. I am told my chieftain, Sull, has chosen to share our purity in fighting the demons once again. As for myself, you uplanders would say that I am a ‘pitling’ or ‘tunnel person’ …”
“No … no,” Irabeth replied, shaking her head, “you are the Descendants of the First. We were taught that there had been survivors of a purge of demonic taint who retreated underground … a misguided purge … but all had thought they could not have survived, let alone sired children.”
Lann smiled his reptilian nubby gum smile, his elven eyes shining, “we honour our ancestors, those who fought in the Last Crusade, who Benorus accepted into his embrace.”
Irabeth’s eyes widened, “Benorus … the Angel of Lightless Chambers? One of the Empyreal Lords?”
“I had not thought the Glimmer in the Dark would be known here in the upland! How is it …”
Bliks interrupted the two, “Friends, I am sure you have much to share and discuss, but I am tried. It has been a long day and I need rest if I am to be of any use on the morrow.” She shook her head as if that would help clear her thoughts, “and so, may I have my room again? This dwarf may be of some interest to you … I believe he’s a diabolist on the run from the Crusade. Would you take him with you?”
“Of course, Bliksemani. As I remain indebted for your aid with Crel, I will bear this villain away.”
Anevia pulled away from her wife and said, “Irabeth, dear, I need to help Aravnshinial. I have been his eyes since the Kite fell.”
“I’m sure we can find someone else to guide me now that …” the elf began, but stopped when he felt Anevia at his side again, holding his elbow securely. “I wouldn’t want to ruin your reunion.”
“We all are here to aid one another, friend Aravnshinial,” Irabeth soothed. “But I agree, my wife is perhaps … too short … for your stature.”
The brown haired woman gave the half orc a mock gasp, “Why I … my height has never been a issue before, beloved. Your tusks, on the other hand …”
Bliks rested her head on her chest and again rubbed her forehead. Seeing her discomfort, Irabeth gave her wife a knowing nod who quieted. “We’ll leave you to your rest, Bliks. May you sleep well … as you suspect, there is much yet that Kenabres has to ask of us.”
After the others left, Bliks laid down on the bed, too tired to even change out of her adventuring gear. Staring up at the ceiling she sent to Hex, ‘I’m back, no need to come hunting for me in the morning.’
‘Acknowledged,’ was his only response she perceived before she drifted off to sleep.
Barely a moment after she closed them, Bliks’ eyes reopened and she sat up. She looked around the room quickly then stood, her back straight, her face free from its previous appearance of fatigue. Stretching her arms behind her, she started and the paused to feel her shoulder blades. Her brow furrowed and she brought a hand to her face, giving herself a sudden slap which made her eyes widen.
Walking over to the desk, she sat down and opened one of its drawers, looked inside, and then closed it. Looking around the room again, she went to her satchel and opened it, finding a silver mirror sitting on top. Smiling she took the mirror and inspected herself in it. Tilting it this way and that, she got a good look at her face, opened her mouth, looked up her nose, bared her teeth, and then brought the mirror up to her forehead to get a better angle on her metallic hair which she ran a hand through. Putting down the mirror she then stretched her arms out in front of her, turning them over to look at her palms, and then craning her neck to look at her shoulders. Rolling up her sleeves, she felt and looked at the muscles and bones in her arms. Then she picked a piece of stray thread off of one shoulder and stood on one leg as she kicked the other out in front of her. Nimbly she turned her foot this way and that, hiking up her robes to look at the pants underneath. Repeating this for her other leg, she nodded and took the pack back to the bed, reaching in and pulling items out one by one.
Soon the bed was littered with wands, books, camping supplies, trail rations, Androffan energy weapons, charged and discharged silverdisk batteries, potions, spare clothes, small jars both empty and filled with strange liquids, bags of coins or gems, and all matter of curios and samples she had collected over the years of travel. Finally upturning the bag, she set it aside and looked at the assembled mess of gear. Delicately she walked her fingers over the cover of her spellbook then flipped idly through its pages before treating her other texts with as much interest.
She then gave herself a hug and giggled, spinning in place.
Only then did she turn her gaze towards the window, the look of happiness draining from her face. She stood on the bed, stretching her toes as far as possible, straining towards the wounded sky. Suddenly she jerked back, lithely stepping off the bed and pressing herself against the wall furthest from the window. A small humanoid figure in grey had hopped down and was walking down that sloped section of the roof, their back to Bliks’ room. With a slight quiver, she stalked back to her bed and returned all of the items to her pack, its extra dimensional space accommodating the mass of gear.
She then held her hands out in front of her, palms down, and took a deep breath. Smiling again, she tried the handle on the door then stepped into the hallway.
The inn was quiet. Her first few steps were tentative, riding on the balls of her feet, then she strode confidently down the hall running her fingers of one hand along the wood of the doors and walls. As she passed each door, she turned her head to read the number, and then paused when she turned the corner. Her attention was drawn to the door with a pair of mugs cut into it. Opening that, she stepped into the stairwell and first looking down and pausing to listen, she instead took the stairs up another flight and onto the roof.
Bliks looked up at the distorted sky and shook her head. Instead of points of light, there were lines and smears as if there was a great sheet of distorted glass between the ground and the real sky. Every few moments a line would waver or twist, sometimes rotating in place, sometimes vanishing altogether. The eastern horizon, however, was clear and sharp, as if the distorted glass only extended so far and no further, and seeing that she smiled. On the darkened horizon the stars marched out in a line only to blossom in a pinkish cloud on the firmament.
Wordlessly she started to dance. She looked to the east and bowed her head, rhythmically swaying, crossing her hands across her body and then intertwining them above her head. Her fingers flicked out as she brought her arms down until they rested on her flanks, only drag them back up again. Her breath fogged the air around her, dashed away as she danced. She spun in place, keeping her eyes fixed on the points of light in the sky, whipping her head around at the last second as she became like a top, whirling towards the stone crenelations at the edge of the roof. When she finally bumped into them, she came to a sudden halt, punctuating the moment with a glittering laugh.
“We thought you were tired, wizard.”
Bliks’ eyes looked up through her metallic bangs towards the voice. A pair of figures stood at the door to the stairs, hand in hand. “I was. I am. I just needed some fresh air,” she said after a pause.
Avenia was slightly behind the taller Irabeth, her shoulder pressed up against the back of her wife’s pauldron. The smaller woman looked up at her sterner spouse and said, “under Kenabres isn’t a comfortable place to be, beloved. The air is thick and damp, dusty too.”
The half orc looked at her human wife, squeezing her hand, “I am just thinking about tomorrow.”
“Why not let tomorrow rest? Besides, we interrupted Bliksemani’s wonderful dance.”
“I should go,” Bliks said, starting towards the pair and the door behind them.
“Please stay, if you are able,” Irabeth replied apologetically, “my wife is right, as she often is in these matters, we … I interrupted you, I’m sorry.”
Bliks stopped mid step and smiled. Anevia returned the expression and asked, “does your dance have a name? Some significance?”
“It’s something a friend taught me … she called it ‘The Steps of Fate’. I’m glad you liked it.”
As Bliks spoke, Irabeth and Anevia walked together to the battlements, their hands unclasping as they hugged each other, facing east. Their breath mingled in the air as the three stood quietly, watching the sliver of uncorrupted sky. Irabeth broke the silence, “do you think we’ll ever win? Seal the Worldwound that is. Iomedae says we must root out evil wherever it may lie, but are we any different from Gorum, constantly seeking evil to test ourselves against as his faithful seek never ending battle?”
“Gorum is blind to both the past and the future, love. They don’t even celebrate great victories from years ago, looking only to the battlefield. The Inheritor honours the past and rewards those who prepare for the future.”
“Always one to remind me of my own faith’s tenants, dear. But thank you. What do you think Bliks? Perhaps another perspective could break our marital deadlock.”
Bliks gave the pair a sidelong glance and then said, “the Abyss is eternal and without true borders. Old or older than the Maelstrom, perhaps as unfathomably vast. But the Worldwound is new. Fresh. Limited. If the expanse of the Abyss can only make this much intrusion into Golarion, I believe it is not destined to consume it.”
“But will we win?”
“We may not have to. Countless realms have risen and fallen in the Abyss. The Worldwound might consume or … transform itself.”
Anevia turned, resting her head on Irabeth’s shoulder, “What do you mean … transform?”
“It changes every day. Always dark, always painful. But what if it destroyed its own destruction? Or what if, as the Abyss seeps into Golarion, Golarion seeped into the Worldwound?”
Kissing her wife’s forehead, Irabeth replied, “you certainly have an interesting point of view. Do many in Numeria think as such?”
Bliks laughed joyfully, “I doubt it!” She then stifled her laugh and added, “now I really should be going.”
“With our blessing,” Avenia said, “and thank you again for reuniting us. I had thought that shrine would serve as my tomb … but Iomedae guided you, and thus us back together.”
Bliks nodded and smiled at this, then hastily went down the stairs and back to her room. There she stood with her back pressed against the door and her hand on her chest. She winced when she looked at the bed so instead turned to the desk, sat and retrieved a sheaf of straw paper and quill. After writing a short note she opened her pack and retrieved a small pouch that was on top. Opening it, she sighed, and sorted through the spell components, separating out a chunk of beeswax and a vial of powdered ruby. Warming the wax against her chest, she saturated one side with the dust and then spread the result onto her lips. These she pressed against the paper just below her writing, and then set everything away, save for the note, which she left centered on the desk.
Then she disrobed, leaving her clothing in a sinuous trail between the desk and the bed until she was naked under the covers. Again she hugged herself tightly and then closed her eyes.
A low buzzing in her head woke Bliks. The cybernetic implant that serviced her bloodstream’s healing nanites and provided her with an encrypted commset also had a simple timer function that she had set to wake her if it detected she was not conscious by a certain time in the morning. Normally it didn’t have anything to do, as she was usually up by that hour, but today felt different. For the first time in years, not only did she feel groggy, but her muscles felt sore. Not the soreness of hard work or injury but of an uncomfortable bed.
Mentally she cancelled the alarm and rubbed her forehead. Years ago she had taught herself to subconsciously float off whatever surface she ended up sleeping on; innkeepers often sold their beds as being as light as a cloud, but she knew exactly what that felt like. But this morning she woke with heavy indentations in her feather and straw bed. And with a shock, she realized she was naked under the linen sheets.
Holding the sheets in place, being mindful of the open blinds on her window, she sat up and surveyed the room with concern. Her pack wasn’t where she had left it. Her clothing from the day before was strewn across the floor. ‘What happened last night?’, she thought to herself, wracking her memory, ‘Okay, so I was talking with Lann, Anevia, Aravnshinial, and Irabeth. Then they left. I laid down on the bed and … just now I woke up. Okay, let’s match that against observation. I must have stripped down after they left but before I laid down … and been too tired to stay elevated while I slept.’ Nodding at that current assessment, she tugged the sheets from the bed and started retrieving her clothing.
That’s when she noticed the note on her desk. She shook her head again, again trying to recall the specific series of events before she drifted off to sleep, ‘I don’t remember stripping, but obviously I did … I don’t remember moving my pack, but obviously I did … and I wrote a note too?’
Roughly pulling on her garments but leaving them loose, she sat at her desk and picked up the note.
To my kindred spirit,
Thank you. Please do not be alarmed dearest friend, I neither meant nor did you any harm. I have longingly dreamed of such a chance, to have a moment outside this accursed Worldwound, and in her wisdom, Desna tendered that onto me, through you. Again she showed me the shape of hope, and what a beautiful shape it is. May her blessing be with you, always.
Below the writing were the faint markings in ruby dust of a pair of lips.
The handwriting wasn’t familiar, but Bliks noted its smooth regularity, with the words ‘thank you’, ‘dreamed’, and ‘always’ pressed heavily into the paper, the swirls and additions around them turning them into pieces of art onto themselves. It didn’t appear to have been written in haste and had an almost languid feel to it.
As she read the note again, she brought her hand up to her face and felt something tacky on her lips. Bringing a fingertip up to them, she scraped some of the wax off, marvelling at the glittering ruby dust. Presuming the outcome, she kissed the note beside where the previous markings were, and saw the same pair, less the line she had scraped off. A quick Prestidigitation removed the impromptu lipstick.
Bliks wracked her mind, ‘possession? Mind Jar? Either way I would have remembered something. Wouldn’t I? If I were asleep, would that wake me? Surely it must. Then why do I have no memory of those events? Modify Memory perhaps? But that’d cover such a short period of time. And it’d mean at least two casters were involved. Five minutes … enough time to write a note and disrobe, but surely …’
‘Hey Bliks, are you coming?’ Eryno’s message cut through her thoughts.
For a moment she considered her response and then sent, ‘What’s going on? I just woke up.’
‘That half orc paladin’s setup a meeting in one of the common rooms. Looks like everybody who’s somebody around here’s been invited.’
‘Okay, I’ll be right down.’
‘I’ll save you a seat!’ the half elf sent, his lethargy from yesterday’s battle gone to be replaced with his unbounded cheerfulness.
Tucking her wine shaded shirt into her yellow pants, she tightened her belt and then adjusted her violet robes. A brief examination with a hand mirror later, she was about to leave her room when she paused, snatched the note off the table where she had left it and tucked it into a pocket.
The activity in the common room two floors below Bliks’ room had not seemed to change from the previous day; there were some who were still sleeping, others speaking animatedly over hand held bowls of steaming food, while a few merely stared into an intermediate distance, expressions of rage, sadness, and apathy mixed throughout the space. One of the grey clad halflings rushed up to her side as she craned her neck around looking for Eryno or Hex.
“This way madam! Master Otai has arranged for the western common room for Mistress Irabeth’s purposes,” the smiling servant said, directing Bliks by the elbow.
Bliks nodded, asking “what’s this meeting about?”
“I can’t say madam, as I don’t know. Master Otai has been very particular that we respect our guest’s privacy in this matter.”
Looking down at the halfling she added, “because Master Otai would normally want to know everything that’s going on in his inn … so he could anticipate his guests’ needs?”
The halfling continued to lead Bliks along, but she could feel his hand tighten briefly, “yes, of course! We always try to anticipate our guests’ needs. We could hardly call ourselves a premiere establishment if we didn’t!”
Like the foyer to Defender’s Heart itself, the corridor between the two common rooms felt more like the space between portcullises of a gatehouse; arrowslits notched the walls and overhead were the distinct coffers of murder holes. More concerning to Bliks, however, was the singular guard at the far end. His armour was heavy, heavier still with the raised and sharpened edges, black with the plates and contours of an infernal flame. On a small table beside him rested his angular and horned helm, four openings for eyes of which its owner had only two. Instinctively she came to a halt, as his attention seemed distracted by a bundle of blankets beside his helm.
Sensing their presence, he looked up from playing with the sin seeker Varken, he flashed Bliks a smile that seemed incongruous with the garb of an Order of the Pyre Hellknight. His voice was strong, “chancellor Volgeling! I had hoped you would not miss this gathering,” he concluded by extending a clawed gauntlet.
“No disorder!” Varken chimed in, its eyeless face poking through the blankets. The Hellknight kept his hand extended while he patted the creature with his other. It cooed at his attention.
Hiding her trepidation, Bliks took his offered hand, feeling leather press against her palm as her hand was enveloped by metal, each knuckle sprouting a rigid blade. “Hellknight … ?”
“Archi Volso, Marilictor of the Order of the Pyre, at your service,” he replied with a curt bow, bringing Bliks’ hand to his lips, “and it is truly my pleasure; I have been following your Torch Bearer’s rise to power with admiration.”
Again resisting the urge to withdraw her hand in disgust, she instead smiled, “I wasn’t aware the Orders had interests in the politics of Numeria.”
With a series of sharp clicks Archi released Bliks’ hand, continuing to smile, “bringing order to a chaotic realm, why wouldn’t we be interested? Alas, few of my sister and brothers see your reforms favourably.” Before he could continue, the halfling escorting Bliks gave a forced cough. Nodding, he indicated the door behind him, “you’re cleared to enter, though I hope we can converse later,” and stepped aside.
Unlike the other common room, this one had been arranged with tables fanning out from the raised stage at the far side from where Bliks entered. Chairs lined each table, which themselves each had at least one map of the city. On the stage stood an aged mage she did not recognize, his receding hair solid silver, dressed simply in black with a button up shirt without collar. Scanning the room, she picked out Hex and Eryno seated near the front at a mostly empty table. Near them were Anevia and Irabeth Tirablade, who were conversing with the druid Crocris and the mongrelman Lann. Aravashinial sat with Horgus Gwerm, both having a halfling servant hovering nearby. When Marilictor Volso slipped into the room, he joined another Hellknight, who rubbed shoulders with members of the Eagle Watch.
Seating herself beside them, she sent to her companions, ‘I hope I haven’t missed anything.’
‘Some introductions,’ Hex replied, adding, ‘you slept in.’
‘Well she did party it up even AFTER running off,’ Eryno retorted, ‘why haven’t you ever told us you could dance like that? The half orc’s wife couldn’t stop talking about it.’
‘I guess I’m still full of surprises,’ Bliks sent after a moment’s consideration.
‘Indeed,’ Hex sent, nodding towards the stage, a clear sign for the companions to pay attention.
The old man on the stage rapped the floor with a walking cane, bringing silence to the room. “Good morning. Now that we’ve dispensed with introductions, I’d like to get to the point.”
‘Who is …’ Bliks began
‘Quednys Orlun, wizard, sage out of the Blackwing Library,’ Hex replied tersely.
“… the utmost authority on Abyssal artifacts. I believe that when the Storm King attacked the wardstone, he did so with a Nahyndrian crystal, which allowed him to breach the Forbiddance field and shatter the Kite. I say attacked the wardstone because we have reason to believe while it has again been damaged, perhaps irrevocably so, some remnant of it remains.” Quednys spoke like a lecturer despite the rough crowd and then nodded to Irabeth, who stood.
“The few scouts who have returned from Old Kenabres have reported that the servants of the Locust Host have barricaded themselves in the Gray Garrison. Quednys has convinced me that it is here that they have taken what remains of our wardstone.”
Her comment met with shouts of “We must reclaim it!” “These vile cultists must die!” “Blasphemy!” only interrupted again by Quednys’ cane rapping on the stage.
Irabeth continued, “further, runners from our crusader brethren to the north and south indicate that our people have again mobilized to face this renewed attack, gathering at the border, ready to push back those few demons strong enough to breach its glorious defence.”
The mage picked up from there, “I am no strategist, but it is my belief that this is the true attack. All we have seen, the horrors in our streets, the destruction of Kenabres, the murder of Teredelev, is not an end, but a necessary step in their plan.” He then paused, then added, “I believe they aim to corrupt the wardstones.”
“Just as a sacred cup can be corrupted with a drop of poison, I believe they will pour their malice into our damaged wardstone and, in doing so, not just turn off the field, but turn it against us. Such is the terrible power of the Nahyndrian crystals.”
“These crystals are not known to me,” Bliks added, standing from her table, “but one cultist admitted, before she died, that Areelu Vorlesh herself is coming to Kenabres. Khorramzadeh, the Storm King, is but a weapon compared to her. I shudder at what in Kenabres would interest the witch who helped birth the Worldwound.”
“Thank you, ah, Chancellor Volgeling?” Quednys replied. “That is ill news indeed. Demons had claimed there was ‘another’ coming but even under the most pressing persuasion would not say who.”
The paladin again took her turn, “as you can imagine, our warnings to withdraw the crusade from the border have been rebuffed. Some have already reported probing attacks by the horde and refuse to back down in the face of this renewed threat.”
“Thus,” Quednys said solemnly, “for the body to live, we must cut out the disease. To save the crusade, Mendev, to even save Golarion, we must do what our enemy’s began; destroy our wardstone.”
The room erupted in shouts of protest mingled with the offers of undying protection of the wardstone. Claims and counter claims of purity or power to restore what was damaged rung out as the crusaders sought to be heard or accepted over the din.
“Enough!” Irabeth shouted, her voice cutting across the room. Angry looks were thrown towards the half orc and even some hands went to their blades. At her side now stood Hierach Hawkblade, having slipped through the throng with ease.
“You do not like me,” the inquisitor began, “yes, I would say you hate me. But have I ever spoken an untruth? Were you not exonerated Lord Gwerm? Was there not some truth to Aravanshinal’s concerns? Have I not shown the corruption in our ranks?”
Murmurs spread through the crowd, acknowledgments of the inquisitor’s words. Yet still cold glances were cast at the unlikely pair.
“Iomedae answered my prayer for guidance. Only woe could come if Vorlesh laid a hand on our wardstone. Yes, we could hide it away. But could you stand where Hulrun fell? Or Eterrius? Or Nestrin? Or even mighty Terendelev? Is your heart so full of pride? We must stop the corruption here. Now.”
“Hate me if you like, but listen to Iomedae’s words. Only woe. We must not flinch. We must not falter. We must keep faith!”
“Then give me a dozen strong backs. We will get it done,” Marilictor Volso boomed from the back of the room. “We will storm the Gray Garrison, deprive Vorlesh of her prize. We Hellknights know what it is to do what is necessary.”
Irabeth nodded to the Hellknight and replied, “your arm will be needed in the fray, Archi, but such a large group would attract the attention of the demons and cultists who still roam the streets, and they might steal our wardstone away from the city, beyond our reach. We must instead strike out from here, attack their strongholds, draw their attention away the Gray Garrison.”
“Then and only then will a small group fight their way into their heart, destroying the wardstone. I see your companions are assembled, are you still willing Black Sovereign?”