Fragiel opened his eyes and was disturbed when he saw nothing. He kept himself from crying out. Instead, he focused on simply opening and closing his eyes every few seconds. Not long afterwards, he was rewarded for his patience when his vision started coming back to him. The last thing he remembered was the brightest flash he had ever seen.
When he was finally able to see clearly again, the first thing he noticed was that none of the hybrids were still in the chamber with him. Looking around, he didn’t see anyone at all. For a moment, he began to wonder why he was alone in the room now. That’s when he heard someone coughing. Fragiel grabbed his mace, not knowing who he might find, and ran towards the sound.
Kerven laid in between a table and the wall. Judging from the chunk of stone missing, it looked like he was thrown into the wall with a lot of force. Fragiel helped the dwarf to his feet. Even with the assistance, Kerven was standing unsteadily. Reaching down into his boot, the dwarf pulled forth a metal flask. He took a long drink of the liquid inside. A coughing fit followed his pull and he shook his head clear.
“That’s better,” the dwarf proclaimed.
“What is that stuff,” Fragiel asked.
“You’re better off not knowing.”
Pointing to the crater in the wall, the former priest questioned, “How did you survive that?”
A look of amazement crossed Kerven’s face as he first saw the mark his body made on the stone. “I don’t know,” he answered honestly.
Any further conversation was cut short by an incredibly loud and pain-filled shout. Fragiel readied his mace and turned towards the scream while Kerven retrieved his daggers, which had fallen out of his hands when he hit the wall. The shout slowly turned into sobs. As the duo approached the source, they saw that it was Parshal, who was sitting behind one of the staircases that led to an exit.
In his hands, he held the Sceptre of Chaos, which was now broken into two pieces. The head of Accura’s holy relic had snapped off.
Fragiel’s foot hit a stone, sending it skittering across the floor. Accura’s new High Priest looked up, seeing his two enemies before him. His sobs ended abruptly, replaced by uncontrollable rage. The head of the sceptre fell to the floor as Parshal jumped up and swung the remaining portion of it at Fragiel’s head. The former High Priest raised his mace up and easily blocked the attack.
When the two objects touched, however, Parshal whispered something. The handle of the sceptre erupted into flames, burning Fragiel’s hand. As the pain registered in his head, he inadvertently dropped his weapon and cursed. Despite her battle with the other gods, Accura was still bestowing spells to Parshal. Fragiel had hoped that it would be an easier fight than this.
That’s when he noticed that Kerven had put his blades away. The dwarf was just standing there, looking at the High Priest. When Parshal turned to look at him, all Kerven did was point at the man’s feet. Confused, Parshal turned his gaze to where the dwarf had indicated. He raised his head a moment later, his expression silently asking what had happened.
A pool of blood had formed on the floor behind the man. Apparently, his attention on trying to use the sceptre, he had not noticed that Kerven had stabbed him with his daggers. The reality of his situation hitting him all at once, Parshal fell to his knees. “Save me, my goddess,” he prayed.
As soon as Parshal’s lips began to move, Fragiel jumped towards him, shouting a warning to Kerven that the High Priest was casting a spell. Without a weapon, all the man could do was tackle his opponent. Instead, he hit nothing but air. Parshal was gone. “What just happened,” the dwarf demanded.
“Accura saved him,” Fragiel grumbled. “And how did you stab him? I didn’t even see you move.”
“I stabbed him before the explosion,” Kerven answered, looking around. “Now what?”
“Now, we get out of this foul place.”
The duo began climbing the stairs to the exit, only to find the doorway blocked by the most beautiful woman that either of them had ever seen. Fragiel knew that no mortal could be possessed of such beauty, so he dropped to his knees, knowing he was in the presence of a goddess. Kerven, not knowing what else to do, followed the man’s lead.
“Arise,” the goddess commanded. “It is I who am in your debt. Without the two of you, Accura might have succeeded in her plans for conquest.”
“Who are you, my lady,” Kerven dared to ask.
“I am Valoria, goddess of nature, good dwarf.”
“I don’t want to question your ways,” Fragiel started, “but shouldn’t you be off fighting Accura right now?”
“The other gods and I decided that one of us should stay here to ensure that Accura’s plans were disrupted.”
“That big boom,” Kerven questioned. “That was you?”
“Yes. I imbued your blades with my blessing. When you got them close enough to her sceptre, the two magics reacted to each other, causing the explosion.”
“So, those beasts are gone?”
“Unfortunately, those monstrosities that she created were not destroyed. Accura’s chaos magic scattered them all over the world.”
“Can’t you, and the other gods, just kill the damned things?”
“As much as it would please me to do so; no, we cannot. We have rules in place in the pantheon. One of them is that we cannot destroy a creation of one of our fellow gods.”
Fragiel cut in with a question. “What is going to happen now?”
“As we speak, my brothers and sisters are brokering a peace with Accura.”
“You aren’t going to punish her? After what she just did?”
“While Accura’s actions may have bent a few of our rules, she did not actually break any of them. She has permanently altered the world with what she did. To be fair, each of the other gods are allowed to make their own changes. I know that some may make theirs to specifically counteract Accura. Others will make their changes to expand their power.”
“And what will you do, my lady? Do you have a plan?”
“Indeed, I do. I will need your help, however.”
Kerven and Fragiel looked at each other, looked back at the goddess, and in unison asked, “Our help?”
“Yes,” Valoria answered with a smile. “I have something very special planned for the two of you.”