The girl from the plains. Chapter 7
Night has fallen over the city of Endel. Luc and her two companions have spent the day hiding out and going over their plans for assault. As the bell tolls for sundown, and the crescent moon rises in the horizon, the three begin a dash through the empty alleys, avoiding contact as they make their way towards the Church of Principle. Once it is within view, they huddle against a wall. "Okay. They may have noticed the direction we’re going, so the front entrance is out of question.» Luc says as she glances over it. "Although we may be able to use the garden entrance, If we can scale the walls.»
Daf takes a step back and looks up, before he nods. "I’ve a better idea. We can scale the bell tower from the outside. I’ll walk in the front entrance, sneak my way up to the bell tower and drop a rope down.»
"I don’t like that idea. We should stick together now in case we need to fight.»
"That should not happen.» Insight responds calmly. "The nuns and monks of the priory are under vows of non-violence. And they are the caretakers of the church at night, aren’t they? Therefore, it stands to reason that even if they wanted, they could not stop you from entering the castle.»
Luc nods. "True, but the Church structure itself is also guarded by Powers and their Channelers. So it wouldn’t be defenceless.»
"Ah...» Daf smiles. "But here is the thing. Would they really deny a Power entrance to the church? You are after all a manifestation of the religious belief of everyone who works inside the church.»
"What if they’ve been warned against us and told to stop us?» Luc turns her face again to look at the church structure down the street. The massive stone structure towers against the city-wall, yet despite its size it looks inviting with its stained glass windows and the gentle lights shining within.
"Then they will not. You have a point young man.» Insight smiles down at the furrikin. "Passion and Charity are important aspects of the spirituality of the Powers after all.»
"Good, but it is not something I will rely upon. At risk of sounding like a cynic, relying on the kindness of a stranger is foolish.» Luc sighs and looks at the bell tower again. "Besides, remember that colleagues of your partner are the ones who live and work here. No. We’ll go with the original plan. We’ve spent too much time dawdling here. Let’s get in through the garden.»
Insight and Daf look at each other before they give a nod in agreement. Together, the three move through the darkness up to the Church. As they approach the wall surrounding the garden, Insight help the two scale the walls before they help her up to follow them. The gardens are empty, leaving them to gaze upon fields of salad, radishes, potatoes, turnips and other vegetables, as well as several fruit trees in full bloom. The three jump from tree to tree towards the building, hiding amongst the foliage to prevent any onlookers from spotting them until they reach the structure itself. They nimbly climb onto the roof and run along it to one of the open windows near the bell tower. Daf is the first to slip in, and as soon as he’s verified that the coast is clear, the two others slip in. The three run on light feet up to the top of the bell tower, where they can see the castle. The sight of her old home forces Luc to exhale a loud sigh and take a moment to reminiscence while Daf prepares the rope they’ll use to climb down. Luc is first, and in her impatience to see an end to this situation, she rushes onwards ahead of the others. Focused as she is on her target though, she isn’t completely lost to the world around her, and she manages to roll forward and avoid a blast of energy shot from the castle walls down towards her. She growls slightly as she glances up towards the source. Behind her, Daf and Insight are hastening to back her up, but the Sileni doesn’t wait for them. She charges ahead, dodging more blasts that bear down upon her until she’s close enough to get cover from the walls. Insight is not as nimble though, and a blast slams into her shoulder, making her fall down with a cry of pain, before she forces herself into the cover with Daf. “It seems… ah, we’ve been found.” She says dryly.
“Do you think it might’ve been a trap?” Daf muses. “Perhaps they…” He glances around. “Well, none of that now. I apologize in advance for this.” The furrikin pulls out his lyre and his fingers dance swiftly across the strings, producing a sound that makes the wall before them crumble and fall, revealing the hallways within. The three of them jump through the now broken wall and rush down the hallways. It doesn’t take long before they stumble upon guards, with spears ready to stop them. Daf swiftly conjures reflections around Luc, confounding the three guards long enough that Luc manages to rush in and break their weapons. Unable to defend themselves, they’re easily knocked to the ground by Insight and Luc, before Daf releases a blast of multi-coloured light to confuse their minds. They encounter several such smaller groups as they weave through the castle, each time subjugating their foes quickly before moving on. Finally, they reach their target, the conduit that leads up to the holy plane of the Exusiai. Where they also meet a familiar, yet not welcome, sight.
“Heh. So you’ve managed to get all the way here huh? We are impressed, aren’t we buddy?” The loboshigaru and aslaran pair before them smirks unpleasantly.
“You two? Shouldn’t you be busy begging and scraping for mercy from the ruler of Endel?” Luc responds coldly.
“Why should we? We got the most important parts that we were sent for. Your partner and the sword you stole. Already now, he’s on the Holy Plane to repurify the blade.” The ethermancer flashes a charming grin. “He asked us to wait here for you. And the two of you walked right into our trap. So give up… or not if you want to throw away your dignity. Either way, you’ll soon be ours.”
“Two of you?” Daf asks, but Luc cuts him off with a clench of her fist.
“I don’t get you. You consider me intelligent enough to pick up on your subtle implication that Insight is going to betray us, yet think me stupid enough that I’ll fall for such a ruse?”
The two seem taken aback, though they try to recover with a quick retort. “Powers are loyal to their channelers. Why should she have any loyalty to a common thief like you, over a long-time ally like me?”
“Because her strong morality allows her to choose to do the right thing, rather than the convenient thing.” Luc responds as she calmly walks towards the two. “Without a partner, you’re left with litanies only. Poor against anyone of strong conviction and utterly useless against a Power like Insight. And you.” Luc turns her gaze towards the Aslaran as he grips his staff. “You’ve been unable to set up a demesne haven’t you? Yeah. The ground around the conduit isn’t an easy place to set up a demesne. And without that, well, you’ve lost your main tool for a fight, haven’t you?” Luc eyes the two of them. “Step aside and let me reclaim my birthright as Luc Nehana. Heir to the throne!” Daf and Insight walk up to flank Luc’s wings as she gazes at the clearly torn magic-users. “Or try and fail to stop me. This is the real choice, and this choice, it is yours.”