Vaelith - In pursue of the fading Sun.
Laurykat last edited by Laurykat
Character Name: Vaelith Silverfall
Account Name: Laurykat
Act 1 - Abandon all Hope
Rode as fast as she could across the pass bringing her loyal mare, Rahve, to a vigorous gallop in hopes of reaching the city in time. The call had been as urgent as cyptic, quite too short and foreshadowing from her good friend, recently enacted as counselor for the city of Waterdeep, the Wizard Ralia Laiderlis.
"Vaelith, we need you at the King's Row. Now. Demons."
Now she knew that Sending spells were limited and could not be excessively wordy, but those precise words echoed in her head as she hurried north across The Moonlit Wanderer tavern, now a mere few miles away from the city gates. And as she made the turn past the shrine to Sune, just south of the watchtower, she could just see the city's gates in the distance. Yet she spotted no sieging army. She allowed herself to take a positive outlook. "There are no demons on siege," she thought. "perhaps they are making preparations". Relieving a bit of stress from Rahve, she brought her down to a brisk canter, the city gates now within a mile, as there were still no signs of danger that she could tell.
One thing, however, got her attention. The gates, the walls were quiet, but in a rather ominous way. There were no guards posted, no soldiers on the ramparts, no citizens or carriages coming in and out, no activity whatsoever, as the gates were shut tight. As she approached further, one peculiar sound began to become more and more obvious - it was the distant clang of the temple's bells, echoing. She tensed up, and hurried Rahve towards the gates as all too quickly, the elf Elenia, great friend of Vaelith and veteran scout, stepped out of the shadows close to the Gatehouse.
"Vaelith! The city is under attack!"
Vaelith slipped through the half-open gates, enquiring Elenia as they hurried through what seemed to be a ghost city.
"Who is attacking? What happened?"
"They appeared out of nowhere. Ralia believes there is a portal nearby, somewhere inside the city, but we haven't found the source yet, and we are barely having a break between wave and wave. They just keep swarming from within, the whole city is in chaos." - replied the scout as a raspy roar, followed by an unnatural howl pierced the relative silence in the distance
"And the Order?" inquired Vaelith.*
"They are on it... they are all doing what they can. But the force is overwhelming, and after each wave, a stronger one comes. It feels hopeless, if we can't close the portal it's a matter of time before they break through."
"Why aren't people being evacuated?" - Vaelith inquired next, as they were getting progressively closer to the town square and the signs were becoming more and more apparent. Crashed windows, torn doors, barricaded buildings with all kinds of furniture and nailed planks. A characterstic scent became more and more prominent too, as did the presence of both blood, and goops of thick, black ichor.
"Evacuated to where? There was no time to prepare anything, we are all stuck in here."
Elenia pointed up ahead, at the end of the alley they were traversing - "The Knights are holding the square for as long as they can, buying time for the citizens that are still managing to trickle past the demons and into the temple. The Wards should protect anyone inside, at least for a time. When we lose control over the town square, anyone out here will rather be dead than caught by demons. I know I would rather go to my Lady than spend eternity writhing in torment."
Vaelith frowned, heavily disturbed by the thought - "Do we have anyone looking for the source, or the portal, or whatever it is?"
"Yes, Ralia and Lenus are scrying their asses off, and I have a few scouts looking through every building, dark corner and sewer entrance. I have lost three of mine already." - she shook her head as a deep, gnawing pain came over her. "They are great scouts, but these demons are strong and brutal in direct combat. We are running out of manpower and options."
"I will join the Knights in the defence, then. May Lathander be your beacon and your guide, Elenia. Have hope, we will prevail." - Vaelith squeezed Elenia's shoulder firmly, in a gesture of trust.
"And may the Lady of Dreams watch you, Vaelith."
The scout parted ways into a side alley as Vaelith was received at the city square with the most horrifying of screeches. A winged, vulture-like fiend descended upon a group of knights, its powerful beak ploughing at the defenders at the steps of the temple of the Ancients, where they were making their stand. As the creature fell and dissolved into a pool of black ichor, there was some momentary calm. Far from celebration and fanfare, Vaelith could see the look of anguish and exhaustion in the defenders. They knew more were on the way, and the bodies of the fallen already littered the steps to the temple in a grotesque scene of blood, ichor and general chaos. Amongst the still standing, ever as a beacon of hope, Lisa Dawnbrook, High Priestess of Lathander, beckoned Vaelith. - "I'm so glad to see you made it, sister! Join us, we need your able hands and your sharp mind. With you by our side, we may still make it through the day!"
The unbound optimism of Lisa wasn't met by Taeron, Advisor of the settlement and High Priest of Tyr - "Still your excitement, Dawnbringer. I feel them. More are on the way. Many more. And there is a greater one amongst them."
As if those were were an imminent omen, a towering creature could be spotted even as it trampled through the nearby alleys behind a line of houses around the temple square. As it reached the end of the alley to face the square that led to the temple, the creature could be fully seen. A creature of pure hatred, shadow and flame, holding a flamewreathed blade in one of its clawed hands, and a fiery whip in the other, leathery, abyssal wings extended as it pointed towards the Temple with an abyssal command. A myriad of smaller, but still terrifying on its own toad-like demons charged forward from behind it, led by another quite large demon, this one provided with four arms, two ending with giant, crab-like pincers, two looking like more humanoid-like arms. Above them, the skies were swarmed by a number of the vulture-like creatures alike the one Vaelith spotted upon arriving at the city square, descending upon the defenders.
Vaelith took a position in the line of defence as Jonah Till, Paladin of Torm, and Leader of the Order called the retreat. "We cannot take this fight. Retreat into the Temple! The Wards will buy us some time to plan our next move." - The command was immediately acknowledged by all, as the armoured warriors formed a moving wall in front of the more vulnerable defenders and began to back off into the temple.
In doing that, Vaelith caught a glimpse past the first line of charging demons. In the back, down the alley she had come she noticed the large, whip-wielding demon sniffing something in the building nearby. The senses of this demon were indeed greater than those of any of the others around it. Greater possibly than the masterful sneaking skills of even a scout veteran like Elenia, as with horror in her eyes, Vaelith saw how the demon barged into the building, nearly tearing it down, to emerge a moment after with its filthy claws wrapped around her elven friend, Elenia, lifting her effortlessly in guttural, hateful laughter.
"Fall back! Quickly, close the gates!" Commanded Sir Jonah. The line of defenders was closing in an arc around the gates as they attempted to repel the first few demons that reached them, now a mere few feet from the Temple Wards.
Vaelith felt anger and desperation, as Elenia's words echoed in her head - "When we lose control over the town square, anyone out here will rather be dead than caught by demons. I know I would rather go to my Lady than spend eternity writhing in torment." - She could not let this sit, she could not fathom the horrible destiny of her dear friend. She fought it, even as Sir Jonah, her leader in the Order, commanded her to retreat into the temple still.
But she could not. Even fearing as she did that she may be joining Elenia in dooming her very soul, she plunged forth, striking at one of the toad-like demons, and as it bent forwards both in flinching and attempting to apprehend Vaelith, she backstepped and used the opportunity to vault over it, running past the demon frontline. The demons, chaotic and fickle as ever, seemed to either ignore or forget the fact that Vaelith got past them as they kept pushing against the Temple defenders, possibly considering Vaelith already doomed to die anyway. Vaelith then heard the Dawnbringer's voice calling from behind - "Vaelith! You can do it! Whatever happens, don't let go of the Light! Lathander strike your foes down with righteous fury!"
Vaelith noticed her blade began to gleam with holy light, empowered by the priestess' fervent prayer. Encouraged, the Knight called Rahve to her side, materialising out of thin air in full gallop, in a flash of celestial light. With a swift gesture that she seemed trained and calculated, she hopped atop the charging mare and rode forth into the half-demolished building, straight into the large demon's flank as it goaded and laughed at Elenia. The elven scout struggled, tangled in the creature's flaming whip that continued to sear her flesh and drain her lifeforce.
The demonic creature's laughter soon turned to a roar of anger as Vaelith's unexpected assault hit home. A powerful, extremely accurate strike right under its right wing seemed to have penetrated the demon's thick hide, the holy blade sunk down to the hilt as a dark, sickening ichor oozed from the wound.
"Another parasite." - The creature of shadow and flame discarded Elenia like a used ragdoll, and turned to Vaelith in anger to grab her instead, but Vaelith managed to manoeuvre Rahve around this attempt to land another strike upon its extended hand. Unfortunately for Vaelith, the demon, while large and having a brutal aspect, was also extremely intelligent and quickly identified Rahve as being an issue, as the mare offered Rahve far too much comfort, manoeuvrability and protection for its liking, and swiftly brought its flame wreathed sword down upon the celestial mare with hatred, delivering a mortal wound in a single strike. With resignation and anguish, Vaelith saw her companion limp for a moment and vanish, in a mixed feeling. She knew her loyal companion would be safe back in the celestial plane in a short time. She also knew the pain that Rahve felt was terrible, and very much real, even if just for a moment.
But now, her concerns needed to focus on what she had in front of her, as she had lost a great asset in facing this terrible foe. Her friend, Elenia, laid unconscious at the very least in a way that was hard to tell if she was even alive at this point. But not all was lost, if she could recover the body even dead, there was hope for her friend still. The large demon was in her way and was very keen on causing pain and suffering to Vaelith in retaliation for the wound that she delivered to it. As the knight attempted to find a way past to make a desperate attempt to grab her and lose the demon through the city's alleys, the dark creature cracked its fiery whip and this time hit home, wrapping it around Vaelith's torso. Even through the armour, Vaelith felt the searing pain, burning. She tried as hard as she could, but the grip was firm, unbending.
The demon's booming voice spoke to her with cruel rejoice - "Your soul is mine, mortal. I shall enjoy it with pause, I will corrupt it and use it in every way that suits me. Suffer. Despair. Fear. I shall feed on all of it. This, you shall provide for me, every second of eternity. And it begins now." - The demon turned towards Elenia, still inert on the ground, as it lifted its large blade just to, while looking directly at Vaelith, bring it down through the elven scout's chest, punching through front to back. Vaelith's eyes widened in horror. If there was any hope for her friend to still be alive, that hope died in that very moment. But that was not the worst part. She could see how Elenia's soul was being sucked out of her body, funnelled into the demon's blade. She could feel the struggle, the anguish, the pain, all capitalised by the overwhelming sensation of being powerless, helpless to do anything about it.
The demon purposedly let this feeling sink in Vaelith. He watched her, savoured it, delighted it. For a moment, Vaelith regained control over her feelings. The high priestess' voice sounding in her head, she looked down at her blade, still gleaming with holy light from the priestess' prayer. With determination, she clenched her fist around the hilt, lashing out at the demon with a furious scream.
But this foe was greater than all that Vaelith had faced before. The creature snorted as it easily avoided the dangerous edge of Vaelith's blade, still holding the Knight in its fiery whip's grip. - "How precious. Defiant to the end. How delightful. And to think that this is only the beginning."
With those words, the demon drove its fiery blade, drenched in fresh blood from Elenia, through Vaelith's own abdomen.
Vaelith felt no pain at first, even as she noticed the tug of the hot blade as it passed through her body, eventually protruding through her back. But then the sharp, debilitating pain overcame her. She felt faint as she looked down to the body of her dear friend. Then she looked aside, she could barely spot the temple steps through the ruined building. Its gates laid firmly shut, the demons banged at the holy wards, pointlessly for now it looked like, as the safety of its sacred halls seemed so close, yet so far. No help was coming to retrieve her or her dear friend's body.
Seconds trickled down slowly, an eternity each as she looked up, in desperate prayer. One last light, one last hope in the speech of angels. "Lathander prithee help me. Prithee saveth Elenia. Taketh mine own eternal service, mine own life, mine own soul. Doth not leaveth us to this fate."
There was no answer. As her celestial aura died out not in a blaze of glory, not in a burst of righteous fury, but with a muffled whimper; Vaelith's consciousness faded.