Book II - Chapter 74

Chapter 74

 

[Eveth]

 

“What the fuck is going on? Where is it going?” Alem shouted.

“I have no fucking idea, just follow it! The whole cavern is collapsing!” Eveth shouted back, heartbeat slamming in her ribs.

There had been no time. She’d already lost her gear, her staff, everything but what she was wearing. Alem and Dren were no different, hauling after her at top speed as they raced through the ever-presently manifesting tunnel.

Ahead of them, the Basilisk sheared the earth apart with reckless abandon. Earth magic raging, spiraling without any semblance of control.

“How is it so fast? Isn’t magic like this impossible?” Dren gasped. “I thought this wasn’t possible!”

“I told you: shut up and run!” Eveth yelled, increasing her pace.

Behind them, the unstable tunnel was already falling in on itself, magic and structure completely unstable. If they didn’t keep up, there was a very good chance of dying in a cave in- and yet, still, the snake didn’t hesitate.

For an instant, it ripped through what might have been a side tunnel. In shock, what seemed to be several Tar Spiders skittered in fear, before the walls closed up, and the Basilisk continued.

“What in all the Light.” Eveth cursed, as she passed those by, trying not to think about the horrors lurking just a fraction of an inch beyond the stone. “What in all the fucking Light.”

Suddenly, the tunnel ripped open once again: this time in more familiar terrain.

In a state of shock and surprise, Tuth stared at them, dagger in hand. Beside him, the three mercenaries jaws gaped, as they eyed the massive hole in the wall- and the Basilisk.

“What the bloody-fuck is that?” The largest one asked, as the swirling dust settled. “Is that a Basilisk?”

For a brief second, Eveth felt they had reached a calm. All of them staring at one another, confusion and exhaustion all buried in disbelief.

“Ssss.”

Then, in the ceiling overhead, a hole began to form.

“Get back!” Alem tried to warn her, but Eveth moved too slowly.

All at once, the floor lifted up, rapidly. Eveth was slammed to meet it, as she was brought along for the ride.

It seemed the snake had decided to both lift the ground, and part the ceiling, simultaneously.

“Hang on, Eveth! We’ll-“ Alem’s voice cut off, as the ever-forming tunnel closed in.

They were already gone from earshot.

“What is wrong with you!” Eveth hollered, desperately grappling for purchase as the stone swelled, and the ground continued to rise. “What are you doing?”

The Basilisk didn’t answer, ceiling continuing to part.

“I’m serious! What the fuck is wrong with you-“

Around the snake, faith magic suddenly burst like an over-pressurized bubble.

“IMRA.”

The reply slammed Eveth, hard enough to knock her back over. Which, was just as well, because right after, the ground opened up to night sky, and threw them airborne.

“Shit!” Eveth flailed about the empty air, trying to focus some sort of magic to cushion her fall. She’d just managed to pull up the crudest approximation of a [Buffer] spell, before landing in a tumble. Stopping on once she hit a particularly pronounced pile of sand.

Vision spinning, she tried to stand up as the dust settled.

Why was everything wet?

Was that blood? Her blood? Was she bleeding?

Eveth turned about, stepping back in a panic upon the realization that the previously thought pile of sand, was a body.

“Oh, Gods!” Eveth shouted, tripping over another, then another still- before catching her balance. “What the… Who the…” In front of her, the Basilisk was glowing white. Faith magics burning brightly, trying to… heal… She trailed off, eye widening. “Oh no.”

“Eveth?” Behind her, a familiar voice greeted. “I’ll be… I didn’t expect to find you here.”

“Oh Gods.” Eveth coughed, turning around. “Varar? Is that you?”

“In the flesh.” Dusting himself off, the Guildmaster stood up, heavy frown on his face. “I don’t suppose Alem is somewhere, nearby?”

“What did you do?”

“What of Dren, or Val?” He asked, pleasant smile on his face.

“What did you do, Varar?”

“Me?” The smile faded. “Nothing.”

“Do you have any idea-“

“I’d much appreciate if you didn’t make a scene.” Varar replied, glancing at the bodies. He looked back to her. Behind him, as the dust settled, others were coming into view. “For your own sake, Eveth.”

“You sold us out.” Eveth stated, voice taut. “It’s really true, isn’t it?”

“I did what I had to do.” Varar’s eyes narrowed. “But you already figured that out, didn’t you? I mean, you’re here, of all places.”

“No…” Eveth felt another waved of healing magic surge behind her. “No… no…”

“Well… yes?” Varar answered, tilting his head ever so slightly. “Why didn’t you leave, Eveth? Alem, I could understand: but why did you stay? Why meddle?”

“Varar, do you even understand?” Eveth choked on the question, as another pulse of mana hit her back. “Do you even know what you’ve done?”

“What I had to do, Eveth.” Varar frowned. “If we had time, I could sit down and explain it to you, but we don’t.” He paused, considering. “With your history, of all the people in the world…” He shook his head. “You should have left, Eveth.”

“Oh, you fool.” Eveth shook her head. Behind her, she felt the magic pulse.

There was a sense of finality to it. Desperate beyond measure, the mana was hot enough to burn her skin.

“Hmm…” Varar shook his head, drawing his sword with a casual flick. “Forgive me. I was going to give you time to make peace, but I’d rather not continue to be belittled.” Around him, several men were picking themselves up off the ground. Many looked about with confusion, before settling their eyes on Eveth. “Any last words you’d like to be remembered by, Eveth?”

“You shouldn’t have killed her.”

“Who? That woman with the spear?” Varar stopped, eyes wide. “You knew that monster? Gods and Light above: Mages keep strange company.”

“Of all the things you could have done…” Eveth trailed off, as she shook her head.

“More than a friend, I suppose? She seemed all too happy for the chance to kill us.” Varar stated, frown returning. “Seemed only fair.”

“You’re a damn fool.” Eveth muttered. “Don’t even have the sense to realize it.”

“So, you’ve said. I’ll be sure to engrave those words for you, somewhere. Knowing what you’re capable of, though, I can’t let you leave.” Varar replied, raising his sword as he stepped forward. “I’d say it’s been a pleasure, Eveth, but truly, it hasn’t.”

“Oh Light: you’re worried about me?” Laughing, Eveth held her head in her hands. “Varar, you don’t even get it, do you?”

“Get what, exactly?” Varar asked, sword raised. Along the metal, mana hummed. “That you’re about to die, babbling just like the fool you claim me to be?”

“No.” Eveth sighed. “No, Varar: you just signed off with red ink on your own bounty.”

“Oh?” Varar asked. “How’s that, exactly?”

“You pissed off a God.”