Takra's eyes turned bloodshot and her blood rose anger seethed through her like waves crashing against a cliffside. Adrenaline took over her and she started chanting 'Revenge, revenge, revenge.' At first it was under her breath but slowly her voice raised and the chanting was louder. A sudden rock of understanding hit her hard, it wasn't the humans that ravaged her family and town, it was the whole race she HATED! Humans each and every one.
"Ill tell you exactly what darkness is, darkness is without light. Without light, a seed will not grow, nor a bee come to find a flower. But then those who hunt come out at night to pray on the weak. Those cowards who cover themselfs in the darkness as they cannot stand up in the light. Light and dark, life and death. Look at you. That is not who i am. I am lantaris, the priest. I will never fall into death, despair and darkness. Choose whichever path you will, but i will always stand in the light." At this point lantaris went for his daggers, reddying himself if a fight followed, waiting for the others to react
Crystal's face suddenly contorted in a flurry of emotions. Realization appeared to dawn, then sorrow, anger, despair.
She flung her hands into the air, screeching her pain to the world. The world and nations that had abandoned her to rot when she had done no wrong. Those who accused her of killing the one thing in this miserable, cold, unfeeling world that cared for her.
Those who chained her for the one thing she would never do.
"The League." She breathed, nothing mattering anymore but an end to the torture. Her vision had disappeared...there was only Chambers...but he wasn't Chambers. He was Davule...perfect, kind Davule. How she had missed him...and there he stood, a hand outstretched. In the hand was the necklace He gave her, the silver, icy necklace that was as warm as his own skin. The necklace that was taken away from her...
"Its truth. The darkness where all that is lost remains...where all that is lost can be found once more..."
Crystal suddenly smiled. Hope that was torn from her...is it back? It was beautiful, to feel its touch. She felt strong once more, her limbs warmed, her trembling stopped. He is the giver, the benefactor of the hope. She is, or can give her, Davule back. She will be with him...
To the eyes of all the others in the square, her eyes grew blank and distant as she reached out a hand to Chambers, not even appearing to hear any other words that were said.
"And here I was thinking we'd all got our differences sorted out in the 'Salon'." Rege' mutters, plucking a quarrel from his quiver and beginning the laborious process of reloading his crossbow.
"It would appear not," Al'Ral also reaches for another arrow, his eyes darting between the three of you. "Alright, Chambers, what do you want?"
"Me?" The Sevaraii's dry voice craclkes through the air again, an undercurrent of humour detectable in his parlance. "I am merely trying to help you adjust. What seems like the glowing righteous light that Lantaris is so eager to stand in, the light of Celia, is in truth a black whorl of darkness, blinding you to the evil it truly is.
Oh, of course, here in Coast you were able to take an objective view of things, so detatched from the destruction, the devestation that the Celian Empire wrought upon its own people." The undead point accusing fingers at Lantaris.
"Yet you, who claim to stand on the 'light', to stand for the good and righteousness you so covet are facing the wrong way. Were you blind to Crystal's sorrow, to Takra, your friend's, loss. I ask you this, Lantaris Narath, does the League Entire slay entire peoples to satisfy a hollow dogma, does the League Entire invade foreign lands, barren of all resources, such as Sulthein the home of Al'Ral, or Arkos, the fortress of the lauded order of Inquisitors, simply to eradicate peoples such as the Myanmade? Do we chain thousands to yokes, let them perish simply to fuel a war machine built to capture more workers to satiate its hunger? Is this the light you stand in, Lantaris Narath?"
Lantaris laughed "Your pathetic magic has no effect on me. do not attempt to fight me, for you will only lose. What are you without magic? Helpless. You are but a coward who hides behind magic. I will never abandon what i believe. You are welcome to believe what you will, but you loose any respect when you need to use magic to put yourself in the right! Stay, friends, do not be fooled by his trickery!" With this he began forward (assuming he managed to get to his daggers) daggers/hands raised for combat, but still not getting to close until somthing happened.
The undead cock their heads but do not move before you hear, to your surprise, the whispers of a laugh.
"I am amused, Lantaris Narath, that your knowledge of the Occult extends as far as your damnation of its practitioners. I cannot simply walk into the mind of another, we must have some basic bond in common, with Takra it was our hatred of Celia and with Crystal it was..."
Chambers pauses, and you are surprised to feel some emotion enter his dry voice. "History..."
"Which is all lovley, but you have failed to answer my question." Al'Ral glares at the undead, drawing back his bow. "Now unless you want me to put this through your undead mouthpieces I suggest you answer."
A pause. Then.
"All six Kings of Coast are meeting in the palace. Verkoth wanted to assassinate them, I stalled him, realising that your lands' Monarchs were far more valuable alive, as allies."
"Think about it, what chance would Celia have, with Coast and the League Entire united against it, why it would barley gain a foothold upon the northern beaches of Orsal. Thousands of lives would be saved, Myanmade and Vekth who had fled from the Empire would be able to sleep freely once more. Hundreds of innocents would not be forced into slavery in the Greenjade mines that the Empire maintains. However, for such a treaty to work, I require support. The three of you, entering the palace to warn the guards of Verkoth's plan to assassinate the Kings and then explaining that the Sevaraii aided you in unveiling the plot. We could have peace!"
"Celia...it's madness is known to all. It calls for blood, for genocide. It calls to purify the lands by exterminating races, where in truth the lands will only truly be purified by the destruction of Celia. The League has proved to be allies of our Kings by saving their lives. It is time for us to be proves allies for them."
Crystal's voice was unusually high, but spoke loudly and steadily, her eyes seeing into some higher meaning as she did so.
Takra stood there staring into nothing her eyes were glazed over, she didn't blink and tears were openly streaming down her face. Slowly the tears stopped and a smile creeped onto her face she saw her family, her friends and her village there was a friend next to her and it took time to realise who the stranger was... Crystal why was she here this is not where she belongs. Anger flared onto Takras face, this was her place not Crystals. Takra snapped out of it, she was stunned. She was back in the square Verkoths corpse lying still, a reminder of the vision she just saw the village in her mind was full of death, not of life. Her eyes kept lookong at the corpse of Verkoth and she realised it was not man she hated it was the Celians, they were the enemy.
"Very well," Al'Ral lowers his bow, glaring at the undead. "Dismiss your servitors and free my friends' minds and we will play it your way."
"Of course," The undead bow, dropping half way through as their animus fades. "I only require your compliance, now hurry along, we wouldn't want to keep the good Kings waiting."
As the presence fades, so too does the connection between your and Chamber's mind. With this comes the realisation, Chambers wasn't using Mind Control, he was using a Mind Link, both your minds and his were joined together for those moments...with this comes the realisation that the choices you made were your own...
"Well, I'm glad that's over with, mutters Rege' uncocking his crossbow. "Now, who's up for a spot of high treason."
"Are you sure this is a good idea Redge? This seems exedingly dangerous, and I dont see all so much reason to trust the undead, especialy since we were just attacked by a few. However, If you believe this is right, i will follow you."
Takra took in a deep breath, the air was smooth against the line of her mouth, and she felt refreshed. Once the Mind link had worn off she had a flash of all the different thoughts that had entered her mind since the link had started some were enlightening, others horrifying. A'Ral spoke, and Takra barely acknowledged, what he was saying, her thoughts were broken as one of the undead started to speak, but quickly she returned to her thoughts, dismissing the fact that seemingly dead souls just spoke, but hey could today get any stranger?
Rege spoke next, again Takra struggled to break free of her own thoughts to return to reality, but one word of Rege's sentence broke the spell of her own mind, Treason! Takra had never really understood the word treason for up until now there was no-one in her world that she could commit treason towards, However now she found herself making the choice. Takra had never been impulsive, but her hiding and cowardice shown in her village had changed that now she was ready for any risk, no matter the odds.
“Count me in, for I am Takra Elmheart and the world should fear me.”
Crystal's eyes lay upon the cobbled ground beneath her feet. Her gaze was empty, even when she lifted her head to look at the other's expressions. She appeared in a state that she had not let anybody see for some time. Sadness.
"Calm yourself, Takra." Crystal warned, though her heart was not in her words, "If...there is peace between the League and Coast, then Celia will not be able to stand. And Coast may have a chance of survival."
Crystal turned, walking a few paces to lay her forehead against a brick wall surrounding the courtyard. Her mind, just as her heart, ached, less from the mind link, but more - rather - from the memories it brought back.
"Perhaps...this is for the best, if it means as little death as possible for Coast's citizens." Crystal considered adding out loud the likelihood of being arrested where they stand before they even begin to put what had happened forward, but stopped herself. She shook her hands, small flakes of ice that had gathered being dispersed in the motions.
For Coast, for the League or for the destruction of Celia...Crystal would die before she went back to one of Coast's dungeons.
"Off we go then." Al'Ral murmurs, quieter than usual, falling into step with Lantaris as you set off, his longbow still strung and arrow resting lightly in place, balanced on a slender finger. Bending in, the archer mutters to you.
"What did Chambers say that made Takra and Crystal so convinced...I've seen victims of Mind Control before and neither of the two displayed any similar symptoms..."
Meanwhile, behind the two, Rege strides, facing the cobbles, clearly put off by the turn of events. Occasionally, he mutters something that Takra understands to be an estranged (and incomprohensable) dialect of elfin.
"Perhaps they were tricked, shown some form of vision, even. I have little experence in these matters i am afriad." Muttered Lantaris back. "I have to say it is not a good omen to be sure. We shall have to be extreamly cautious."
You pass the remaining minuts of the short journey in silence, Chambers' ultimatum still echoing through your minds.
Ahead looms the bulk of the palace, it's superbly manned defences bristling with guards and rust-red stone walls adorned with the banners of Coast's Kings. You have little time to admire the view, however as two soldiers at the end of the road beckon you over, the higher-ranked of the two (a corporal) scowling.
"This area is off limits, I don't know what you're playing at but unless you want to spend some quality time in the Barrack Cells clear off."