Roderyck, Hekkeran and Imina stared into the swirling purple portal which was in front of them.
"Was it right to just leave her there?" Imina asked as she looked over towards their leader. They pitied and cared for her, they were concerned with the fact that the girl was in so much debt. Now, she was being held hostage and will be unable to make payments to save her little sisters.
The only reason they knew abot her deby though however was this job made it come up in conversation earlier than it would have should this have never happened. So like she would have been excluded from the decision making from the Tomb Scouting Job which would be brought up several months from now.
Hekkeran placed his fingers spaced out across his forehead as he dipped his head down in thought. "She told us herself that it would be useless to fight him, and all those villagers." He looked over towards Roderyck, then towards Imina. "And how in the heck are we going to find this Death Cult?"
The Three of them were standing directly outside the Royal Capital of the Baharuth Empire.
Roderyck was standing there amongst his friends, and as they had turned to talk to one another, he remained staring into the colorful abyss.
"He told us she will be in his care..." Imina said before he swiftly turned his head to look at her.
"He said she was at his mercy," Roderyck retorted as he placed his hands on his head. "I might just bring the Fists of God to my face for leaving her there!"
"Woah!" Hekkeran put his hands up to calm the man down. "It's going to be fine! We just have to hunt down a Death Cult that may or maynot have hundreds if not thousands of followers and undead...Minions...." He let out a light sigh as he lulled his head back hopelessly as he stared up into the night sky. "I need a drink..."
The Worker group known as Foresight, minus one member, made their way to the front entrance of the Capital as the portal faded out. Passing through they were about to get on their way to the Singing Apple Inn.
"Wait!" An unknown wail came out from behind them after they had taken several strides from the gate. So as they turned to see who might be paging them down, they could only raise a brow.
It was none other than Fluder Paradyne, a teacher at the Imperial Magic Academy and the father figure of the current Emperor of the Baharuth Empire.
"My eyes aren't betraying me, are they?" His eyes centered on the magic user.
"What happened!? Why are you back already, where is Arche Furt!?" Were the questions he barraged them with as he was panting, trying to keep his breath as he waddled on over to them after having run from the royal palace the moment they arrived.
Imina's mouth opened slightly when he had called their teammate out by name. Though it couldn't be too much of a surprise since she was indeed a former student who left the Academy come the purge of corrupt or impractical Nobles in the Empire.
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"What do you mean what happened?"
"You were aware of what we were doing?"
For a few moments they let their minds get to work before noting something that Jack had once asked Arche, whether or not they had been using surveillance magic to watch him.
"You were watching us... Watching him. That's what triggered him. It's your fault that Arche was captured!" Roderyck exclaimed aloud before looking to his team and then towards the powerful mage.
"My fau... She was captured?"
"Yes. The moment they looked at one another, she puked and became fully exposed."
Fluder frowned hearing that she puked, but his expression was just a ploy a facade to hide his excitement. He had been watching the Carne Village for a while now, so when he finally focused it on the man who stood out the most, he lost connection; all sight.
"And? What happened after she was captured?" The frown was hard to maintain, the excitement in his eyes was shining through any kind of ruse to appear bad about what had happened.
"..." They stared at him with disgruntled looks before sighing.
"He ordered us to tell the Count that he'll be visiting the Empire sometime in the coming Months. And that if we want her back, we have to hunt down and eliminate the Death Cult known as Zurrernorn." Hekkeran reported with a have wit to punch this man down, but knew that he would definitely be struck down by the Law for hitting an Imperial Official. "Then he opened some sort of portal which dropped us off here."
"Portal... Is it still here?!"
"No, it faded out once we were far enough from it. Either that or he closed it from his side."
"How... How did it bring it about?"
"The spell was 「Gate」from what I heard him utter," Imina stated as she scratched beneath her chin.
"That..." He began to think to himself what level of magic that could possibly be. His highest possible tier was fifth. That was as far as he could go without external sources of power such as powerful magic relics similar to how Khajiit needed aid in casting a seventh tier spell. "She puked after seeing his tier. It must have been overwhelming..."
The old man looked to the sky for a moment. He believed he could use this to increase his abilities, he could become this persons disciple! He'd do anything to break the bottleneck that existed...
"Was he human?"
"Definitely not a regular one," Roderyck shook his head, "His eyes had a strange glow to them."
"Like a Lich, but it was blue, not red. But at the same time, he looked entirely human other than that. It was too real to be any form of illusion." Hekkeran picked as his group was known to combat the undead over in the Plains that the Empire and Kingdom fight annually within.
"Like a Lich..." In his mind he crossed a regular human being over with that of a Skeletal Mage. Perhaps it was a Lich that managed to preserve itself? That didn't sound quite right, a Lich was necrotic presence. Could it be that his exterior form was fake, nonorganic? Or was he another magical legendary entity?
"Why didn't he just kill you the moment he noticed your presence?"
"Heh.. We had the same question, we asked before going through the portal."
"He said he'd only kill us if we tried to kill him. And followed with 'Do or do not, there is no try...' In this strange voice. It was like he was quoting someone." Imina had her arms crossed over her chest. She could only wonder what Jack was possibly doing to the poor girl as he had accidentally groped her while holding onto her.
"We were also dissuaded by Arche from trying... Saying we couldn't do it."
"That makes sense..." Fluder looked over the three Workers before caressing his beard. "I will assist in your quest to eliminate the Death Cult, getting her point of view and learn what she finds out in captivity might help us understand more about the moving Citadel."
Though it appeared he was going to help them, he was solely driven by the thirst for knowledge. He was more like a Lich than anything else present in the Kingdom. It was depressing for sure.
"Report to the Count of your findings, I'm going to report to the Emperor."
On her knees in front of four headstones, Arche couldn't help but stare at the back of the tall figure which stood between her and these graves of people unknown to her.
Her shins were tied together, while her hands were tied to her ankles. She couldn't stand up with the aid of magic. In which she could cast, but there was no way she could get away from him. Even if he was momentarily distracted, how was she supposed to even get anywhere near the front gates?
Her eyes traveled away from him as she looked to the southern entrance of the Village. There wasn't any City close enough to this village that she'd be able to escape to based on her own endurance and stamina alone. Her eyes slowly moved back to him as she hear a click sound.
She blinked several times as she watched him lay a cute little pebble on one of the headstones and blinked a few times. Her eyes traced the words on the headstone, noting the name.
Just what was he doing? He went to the next one and placed another pebble down and then to the next. Each of these tombstones had a jeweled short sword imprint upon them. Except for the last one which he put a palm sized stone onto.
This last one read, "Eve Graham." It was a very mundane name compared to the ones she was used to, but at the same time it was kind of cute. Though she was also quick to notice that the words under her name were in a different language; using completely different characters.
Swallowing slightly, she curled her toes in her boots as she shifted her legs beneath her. "What... What are you doing?"
"Paying my respects," his head turned to the side slightly as his eyes gave this light blue ambient glow. It was like watching small flames in his eyes with smoke the color of the ocean blue.
She blinked a few times before narrowing her eyes on the pebbles. A custom of some sort maybe?
"I was never into my parent's religions," Jack made a tch sound with his tongue before resting his chin against his sternum eying this last headstone.
"Religions?" She raised her brow when he spoke of religions in plural. Did that mean his parents had different religions? That sounded like it would have a lot of conflict of tradition and add some.
Jack nodded slightly and turned to her, "They believed in the same God, just worshipped them differently. I didn't understand why, still can't." He walked over and placed a hand on her head, to push it back slightly, his hands running through her bags, revealing her forehead to him.
"Tell me, does your Gods answer you?" He'd ask her as she stared up at him, feeling his intense gaze. While the stars behind him turned him into a dark silhouette, his eyes were like stars themselves in a patch of pitch black abyss.
"No," a single word mewled out from her lips. It was the truth in a way. She has prayed to her Four Great Gods on numerous of occasions for the end of her parents petty attempt to hang onto a long lost lifestyle.
"Hm.. Must be because they're dead." From his studies he had found that the Great Gods which are worshipped across the continent, mainly by the human nations, were powerful players like the Eight Kings of Greed, the Black Knight and the Leader of the Thirteen Heroes, along with his Companion.
Her upper lip stuck to her lower lip slightly as her jaw relaxed a bit, she stared forward hearing his words. "Dead?" She echoed the word, repeating it as if it fit. "What are you?"
"An Arch Ma--"
"That's a profession," she said matter-a-factly before hesitantly turning her head away from him.
He smiled calmly down at her, she knew he could cast well over the fifth tier. So how could he possibly be human? He wasn't a normal person, that was for sure. "Here's a riddle for you... Thy failed to live, but also thy have failed to die. Shalt thyneself perish and turn be dust, thy shalt arise the adjacent day with all that thy should have lost. What am I, doesth thou know?" He tried to sound a bit medievally and fanciful, all in fun.
"If you die, you come back?" Arche continued to shift uncomfortably due to the way she was bound. She felt like she was being toyed with. She bit down on her lower lip, though the rest of her face was devoid of much expression. She was using her mind to search for the answer in his own words.
From her knowledge it sounded like a Phoenix in a sense, but a Phoenix is reborn from its own ashes, not revived with all of its possessions.
"H-hint please?" She looked up at him again, with her head turned away, from the corner of her eye.
"I am commonly mistaken for my evil counterparts."
Evil Counterparts? She stared at him still as she was trying to think of all that he was speaking of. Was he a demon? No, Angels and Demons don't get mixed up from what she could recall. What exactly had opposites that interacted in such a fashion?
"I am immortal."
Blinking a few times hearing him say this, she kept her gaze on him as she turned her head to take in the full view of his face. An Immortal Human? She's heard of them from magical texts, though they usually look older unless they were born that way. Or if they were like the Great Gods.
"Are you an Immortal Human?"
"Nope. That'd be too easy. Try again later." Almost like a suitcase, he stepped behind her and picked her up by the binds which held her wrists to her ankles and made his way back towards the house.
Groaning slightly as she swayed back and forth, she watched as the ground moved below her as if she were flying in this strange and very uncomfortable position. Her eyes fluttered about, but she couldn't locate the woman who showed concern for her earlier when she was first being manhandled. Sighing, her eyes rested on the house they were about to enter.
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