The Boundless Empire

the love of a Mother

As Divara realizes that by no means Laertes is going to help her, she emits a terrible war cry that petrifies most of the bystanders and throws both of her silver sickles to the heart of the Elf.
Krell jumps steadily to Hyda’s body and starts to lick her bleeding wounds: his minor healing powers are enough to stabilize the harmed girl.
Laertes even if bleeding is not moved by the Barbarian Growl. First he casts his evil eye on her and then calls upon the darkest powers of elven witchcraft. As Divara tries to charge him she is esnared by black thorns that grow and bind her in what seems a living altar of plants.
Laertes orders sharply to Etna “Finish her”.
When the young Half Orc approaches the amazing orc warrior and watches into her deep sapphire eyes she can only whisper “how could you that to your daughter” and when she stabs the heart of Divara she thinks back to her mother, what she did to her, selling her to the demon market and the Queens’ dark designs and so she pushes the blade through the drangonskin coat, through the orc breasts, deep, violent, merciless to the mother’s heart. The blood of Divara covers Etna completely.
And then it is the turn of the Old Winter Archdruid.
Gently Laertes calls again the ancestral powers over death and life. In a shape of a bird death passes through the Archdruid. His Dragon mask falls on the earth, rolling just to Laertes’s feet and as soon as his crippled body touches the ground a soft coat of moss and light green sprouts covers him.
Krell whispers to the trembling Hyda “look, your mother is dead, your father is dead, you are not a child anymore” and the young girl faints away.
Laertes takes the Dragon Mask and reclaims its powers. When he exits the dome he is ready to meet the scared, scattered people of the Underworld as their new Archdruid.
The other druids approach him slowly, with mistrust. The commoners are simply too scared and confused (and probably still under the influence of Divara’s warcry) to understand what is going on.
Not everybody is ready to accept the new ARchdruid and arguments and complaints start everywhere. Some of the druids are angry, some sad. Only one of them, Deucalion, wearing the Mask of the Fox welcome Laertes as the harbinger of Springtime.
Krell gives Hyda to the cares of Pasha and begins to nurture his own plan. The new Archdruid who has being tainted by so many deaths must be redeemed with the power of life and love. For sure Mersia, the Purring Lady, can help.
Also Laertes understands how fragile is his own new ruleship. He speaks to the people and gives them 2 choices: accept him as new ruler and follow him in the war against the enemies of the Forest and of the Old ways or leave as free men for good.
And to show his own right to rule them he calls Etna (who is tremendously shocked), spills her blood on the earth and performs the Ritual of Thorns.
The fiery blood of the Orc nurtures the old anger of the trees. Their roots suck from the girl the atavic rage of her kine. What should stay fixed, now moves.
First an Earthquake, then the Growing. The roots are crawling like thousands of snakes under the dirt, and then up to the verdant sky of the city which shakes like an awakening animal.
And the dome of the ARchdruid itself awakes… those ancient dragon’s bones are slowly covered by tendrils, and ivy and thorns and leaves which are filling the holes, the gaps, building a new structure of wood where flesh were supposed to be.
Majestic, breath taking a Green Dragon of Ivory and Plants spreads her mossy wings over the new Archdruid and starts to fly, destroying everything as she searches for the sunlight.
People run screaming in panic.
Laertes calls them next to him.
Krell who is performing Mersia’s Ritual urges Pasha to keep the children safe and to run to the new Archdruid
Etna stays close to the Elf as all the old city crumbles killing everyone around: anytime a living beings dies, then blood sucking thorns sprout from the roots and from the branches, with no respect for the biological species, or the botanical structure. Such is the power of the Ritual of Thorns: ancient rage turns the Forest into a gigantic non-sentient murder.
Laertes casts a spell of defense and with the help of the mask he is evntually able to protect the people around him
As the dragon reaches the root-sky and destroys it, everything collapses down.
But
the Sun finally enters the underground.
And a soft rain of snowflakes shining like prisms or crystal cherry blossom gently falls down.
The people who sorround the Archdruid cannot believe their own eyes as they see real light for the first time in their life. The blue of the winter sky.The fresh touch of a breeze.
Slowly the earth under them moves, and they ascend on the top of a magic hill covered with snowy flowers.

In the meanwhile Krell realizes that his prayers have been heard: Mersia was eager to be freed and so She takes the body of Hyda as Avatar. To complete the Ritual they embrace themselves savagely and make love. And as Hyda loses her virginity becoming the new incarnation of the goddess Krell changes his shape into a feral half-lynx man. A big tree sprouts from the Earth taking the boy and the Goddess up to sky.

In this way Etna find them, disbelieving her own eyes. She cannot recognize neither her shy friend Hyda, nor Krell. “What have you done to her, what have you done…” Hyda licks the sweat from the skin and jumps away laughing with wild joy and Krell tries to reach Laertes on the top of the new hill

The new Archdruid manages to contact the Dragon. Selara is her name. An old, undead dragon, buried by the elves in their own city, now brought back to life by the Ritual of Thorns. Ready to punish the Enemy of Kelbhorill.

With her wood and bones talon Selara takes Laertes and then Etna and Krell up to the sky.

They flies over the forest who is moving like a killing machine. They experience the many way Plants with sharpened thorns can kill a man. Can destroy a camp. Or a fortress. But already from the far east a black cloud of smoke rises.

And in the meanwhile both the Undead Dragon and the Elf changes. As the Elf touches the Dragon new scaly skin appears. And Laertes himself doesn’t look anymore as the reptilian skinny wretched creature he used to be: in the wind his hair flows clean and red, and his eyes are shining like flaming emeralds as leaves and flowers crown him, growing around the dragon mask

Selara hunts for the enemies of the forest. Reaches their camp, kills them all.

To utter disgust of the trio they realize soon that knights and clerics and dwarven mercenaries have been changed by the demon Raphiel into Undead, filled with black, flesh devouring flies.

But there is no sign of him

Laertes tries to make a link with Karkaroff and feels him, some miles west. Raphiel is fleeing taking with him his only chance to bargain for its life. the crow.
When they reach him and his minion they see how they stop and start to cry desperately. Such is the sight of a flying Dragon.
Raphiel – in the shape of a bald Inquisitor – menaces to kill Karkaroff.

But Etna does what he never expected: she is no more the poor orcish slut who takes delight in magical colored lights. She phases herself and Karkaroff away with her dimensional door.

Laertes dismiss the Dragon, he wants to face the demon one by one.

But (the master rolls a natural 20…Raphiel gets the first action and – as he is not stupid – teleport himself away) ….leaving 3 lesser demons to kill his enemy.
The battle proofs to be intense and dangerous untill Etna comes back with the crow and casts her new spell: mold the stone. Eventually she burns the demons with some fireballs.

And this is the way the poor Karkaroff (deprived of one eye, one wing and one talon) goes back to the embrace of his soul mate, the new Archdruid of Kelbhorill, Laertes.

The History is not recording all the insults the crow said to him an his friends because they were so slow to save him…but of course what can a bird expect from creatures that need magic to fly… a bird can do that easily like shit….bipedal terrestrian…you cannot trust them…never…

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a kingdom with no sun

sioupor41.jpgTime flows strangely underground. As the sky is made of roots and the light comes just from magical lamps (of greenish and purple hue) it is really difficult to understand which part of the day it is.
But here, in the archdruid’s kingdom everything is determined by rituals.There is no day, there is no night, just moments of prayer and devotion that give to the people a peculiare sense of time.
So….if the trio has time untill dawn to make its own decision… first question is: when is the dawn?
As they discuss the opportunity to perform the ritual of thorns, they are interrupted by giggling and laughing: little heads are popping from the windows of the infirmary. Etna looks for beards. But they are not drunken dwarven. Instead a group of children of different ages, all dressed in old dusty elfic robes, jewellled with the remnants of the treasure of old time swarms in.
They got a baby-sitter of course- A roly poly woman wearing the mask of a cat. Her name’s Pasha and she is all excuses for the invasion of the curious children. But, you know (she says) you are the first strangers they see in their lives and they want to know everything about the sun, the sky and – of course – the sex of Elves.
Among them Etna notice a tall, ugly girl, with prominent canines and greysh skin. She is really shy and intentionally lurks in the shadows.
Pasha introduces her as the daughter of Divara, the chief of the guardsmen.
And her father is the Archdruid, as all the children are his sons and daughters.
Before leaving them Pasha invites them all to the “Caressing of the Roots” a ritual that the druids are about to perform. Krell is really interested in following her, mostly because of the mask she is wearing. He knows that Mersia, the cat goddess that he worships, is the protector of children. Pasha must be for sure Mersia’s druidess. And maybe she knows something about Kallanthe as well.
But before they could leave Laertes stops them. He calls upon his power over sleep and dreams and forces both Krell and Etna into a magical slumber. Then he undresses them and carves into their chest a mysterious scar.
AS they suddenly wake up Krell and Etna realize that something is wrong (mainly because their skin is still aching) but the Elf reassures them. If they want they can leave now, but they must be back before dawn, as they are going to speak altogether with the archdruid.
Krell runs to the amphitheater where the Caressing of the Roots is performed.
In this peculiare ritual the archdruid invites everybody to make a dreamy journey into their own past and take care and lull the child that is in them, the child that has been abused, or harmed and is still screaming somewhere inside,
Druids with wooden animal masks are walking around with heavy scented incense. And as the archdruid starts his chants all the people in the audiotorium fall slowly asleep,
Instead of finding himself in his own parents’ house Krell is taken under a ruby tent, full of pillows and golden lamps. A strange lady lies among them. She is dark skinned, with enormous emerald green eyes, Long claws. Six perfectly shaped breasts. She wears nothing apart glittering baroque jewells. And she has the smile that only a cat, or perhaps a Goddess can have. She is with no doubt Mersia, Lady of the Purring People, Mistress of the Soft Walkers, Queen of those who see in the dark.
She looks amused. She plays with Krell genitalia, but when he calls upon her feral aspect she changes completely attitude. She is nervous…
“Legends of the druids say that many many centuries ago Brona, the God of Wisdom, fancied Mersia, Goddess of Sensuality. She asked him presents. Lot of presents. And that’s the reason crows and magpies are reknowed thieves: they are still looking for shining little stuff to fulfill Mersia’s spoiled requests. Eventually she never gave her heart to the Crow God but tried to eat him instead. From that moment there was no peace between the Feathered Ones and the Cat people”

“I want the Elf” she says “it is unfair. Brona got a elf -worshipper and I don’t. I want it. And you, my little Krell, are going to help me, arent’ you?”

As Krell tries to ask something about Kalanthe she becomes even more nervous “Kalanthe abandoned you because you were useless, my dear. But maybe I can help him to grow. So that next time your beautiful lover will not dismiss you anymore”

Seduced by the words of the Purring Goddess Krell promises to help her.

In the Meanwhile Etna reached the Amphitheater. All the people who are living under the forests are sleeping now and also the Archdruid seems unconscious. A heap of silk and jewells around a fat woman suggests her where to look. She finds Krell, asleep, but she is looking for somebody else: the half-orc child, the daughter of Divara and the Archdruid. Hyda

When she finds her, they walk to a fountain as Hyda needs fresh water to refresh her thoughts.And then they start to chat as old friends. How impressive is to realize how a girl can survive alone, without seeing a boy without seeing the sun, waiting like a seed for a springtime that is not coming…. Etna is moved by the story of Hyda. She is an innocent version of herself. She even knows magic! Hyda asks Etna to bring her outside, she wants to see the sky, the sun, the boys. But the only way is to perform the ritula of thorns: so all the enemies of the archdruid will be defeated and the people who live with no sun can come out.
Hyda reveals that in order to perform the ritual the Elf should speak the ancient elfic words and the orc should give her blood (full of pristine anger) to the roots of the forest.

All alone in the infirmary Laertes has finally time to think about all his losses and all the burdens he must bear for the creatures that are around him. Inspired by the surgeons instruments he takes the decision to complete something that started months ago, the first night he met Etna, the half-orc with who has been changing his life.He takes a lancet and cut his penis away. Now he feels eventually clean.

When Etna and Krell come back to the infirmary they both notice that the Elf is really pale and distressed. Krell is really excited about his dreams and Etna urges Laertes to perform the ritual of thorns. Krell lights up some incense sticks and call the blessing of Mersia. And as Krell and ETna seems to fall into a wet-dream Laertes is taken into the Cat Goddes queendom where she tries to deal with him. She offers him a way to soothe the pain of his familiar and the key to complete the fusion between him and bird. She reminds him that she was the first goddess to grant his followers the power of Enosis.
But the Elf resists the temptation.
Divara breaks the spell entering the infirmary: she demands her answer.
Laertes tells her that he is going to perform the ritual of thorns, but when the Orc leaved the place he confess to his fellows his real plans: he is going to accomplish all the requests, he will kill the archdruid and he will perform the ritual of thorns.The two leaders of this sorrowful gloomy kingdom must die to get all their people free. But first he needs to have the army of the archdruid at his side.

When their reach the Archdruid they find him almost drunk. He is sitting on his bones throne, under the skeleton of a gigantic dragon, wearing his holy mask (a dragon as well). A sickle is waiting at his side.
Laertes asks him about his army and he is shocked to realize that there are just 14 men and women able to fight among the archdruid’s people.
“I am the Winter King, I must die to let springtime free. I have been keeping my people far too long under the earth, but when you, Ancient One, entered my underworld I understood that my time is gone. I must die, to let the wheel of time go further”
Sadly Laertes understands that there is an ancient cruel wisdom in the Archdruid’s words, and unfortunately he cannot help him in his fight against Raphiel (and his ruler, Velvena).
So he rise up his arms, calling upon the power of life and death, ready to kill The archdruid.

In that very moment Divara enters the Throne Dome, and as she realizes that Laertes is going to kill her lover, she slays Hyda, her daughter, and cast her bleeding body on the floor

“Now you must call the Thorns, Her blood is already given.”

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Frosted lovers' kiss

The elfic songs are notoriously obscure and twisted, each elfic word could be used for at least 3 different meanings, and most of them are lost even for elves…. as the words long forgotten resound in the valley the trio tries do find a solution to their enigma: are pine trees simply trees? and who are the lovers the song is about?
After roaming for a while looking for pine trees in the huge forest, they notice the cliff of a mountain which is exactly shaped like pines. And Laertes suddenly remembers that Elves used to watch the sunset on that snowy peaks and used to say “look how the cheeks of the Earth get rosy as the Sun kisses them goodbye”. The long shadow of the mountain leads them on a white plateau of snow. The song speaks about birches then, but it is clear that no birch can survive such a cold climate. Etna suggests that maybe they should look for something white that could be mistaken for birches and Krell remembers a place where tall white stones emerge from the Earth. Excited Laertes runs fast, and so the wild boy. The Elf is light footed and the wild boy agile. Only Etna finds totally exhausting running in the snow. Cold, so cold and so dark the forest all around. Her friends are so far away and she really feels the urge to rest. Rest a bit.
Something glittering catches her attention. Sparkles of blue and silver in the pitch black among the trees. And a voice, familiar even if not clear, calls her. “Mother? Are you my mother, I am so tired and cold, I want to rest”. the voice is affirmative. and a shape vaguely appears in the thin air. Frosty flakes fly around catching the moon light. They reverberate in the darkness and design a form. A welcoming mother. Who lulls Etna away from her path.
No one of her friends notice that.
Etna follows her mother in the forest. She is not sure about what she is seeing. How can possibly her mother being there? and what if it was Marconius, the pious holy Marconius? The hands of her mother seems suddenly thinner, older, and her voice get older…But what if it was instead Pythar? the voice becomes suddenly coarse and harsh and the shape becomes tiny and bulky. It is not her warm tender mother, neither the holy Marconius but the half dwarf who has been taking care of her since she was nine, raping her almost every night and taking her to work to the Brothel. and once again the obscene touch of the dwarf is betweeen her legs and she can smell the racind foul mouth of her pimp. Taking her down, into the cold cold snow.
It is only then that Krell realizes that Etna is not there anymore. He calls for her with no answer. Laertes seems too excited to step back, so the wild boy run faster looking for Etna’s tracks. And when finally he finds her, she is covered by a thick lay of ice. Shivering, murmuring. “Pythar”.
When Krell touches her the reaction of the girl is scary: she starts to burn.
And her eyes open up. Red like embers.
the snow melts away
Krell calls her name
But when she speaks she seems lost in a very distant dream. Or nightmare.
Krell feels that there is something lurking around an calls the protection of his goddess.
Laertes appears in the clearing and feels something magickal as well
But it is too late: trying to stop her raper Etna erupts in pure destructive magic.
And her fireball almost kills her friends.
With his magic Laertes eventually reaches her mind and take her back to reality.
Krell is in a corner licking his bruises. The snow is gone. And so the dangerous glittering spirit that lurks in it.
Krell seems to know it very well and urges his friends to go away asap.
They run to the white standing stone and Laertes realizes that they are elven made: not stones, but remnanst of a beautiful palace sunken in the earth.
They eventually find the entrance and discover a burial room inside. Apparently the elfic road finishes there, under the grave.
A gallery opens inside. Made of tiny shiny crystals. Laertes conjures a firebird to enlight the road, and Etna follows his example producing soft colored balls of light. They dance around, playing with the prisms. Krell head is dizzy
But it is not the right time to be confused because the road is now filled with traps.
This is the time when you miss a rogue in your party (says a voice in the elf’s head).
Triggering the trap cause the corridor on their back to collapse. So they can just go further, But when they reach the opening at the end of the crystal road there is no welcome commitee but a druidess wearing a wooden mask of a fox attacking them with poisonous darts.
“we are friends, we come in peace”
Apparently she believes them.
They enter a geode: a gigantic room filled with purple crystal of amethyst. The woman (Nesta) asks them to wait there: No visitor was expected, especially from the back door. The archdruid has been hiding himself under the forest to escape his many enemies and he has taken his loyal followers with him. Nesta says that maybe in some months he will have time to receive them, now they just need to rest and eat.
But when she comes back she is not alone.
Fourtenn men in armor enter the geode, led by a dominating creature: tall, with exquisite feline features, chiseled into ebony dark skin. A Orc lady. With eyes like sapphire and a dragon scale vest. “My name’s Divara” she says “And I am chef of security here. This road used to be closed to keep our enemies outside, but now you opened it, and what a surprise you came in with an ancient one, the archdruic want s to see you. NOW”.
Her voice doesn’t admit reply or denial.
Etna and Krell are taken into the hospital
Laertes is escorted to the Archdruid throne.
They all realize that they are walking under the roots of Kelbhorill. Above them a living sky of wiry snake-like roots and all around ruins of a beautiful, ancient city. A city that no human made. But elves.
In the purple light of magical flames they see women and men working around. Farming mushrooms, reparing collapsed buildings, praying. Some of them wear the mask of an animal. Made of wood, in a very primitive style.

Lertes is taken inside what he thinks to be an ivory dome. But then he understands it is just the carcass of a dead dragon. Sitting on his bone throne, cloaked in old saffron vests, his face covered with a dragon mask… the archdruid is waiting for him.

And what he is telling him it’s breath taking. He took his people down in the earth, like seeds waiting for springtime. He has no will to fight back his enemies, but he realizes that as they are looking for him they will spread only violence, despair and death. The tortures of Karkaroff are just a part of them. So he offers himself. “CUt my head, and take it your enemies Ancient ONe. You will have something to bargain for your black friend. and they will stop to hunt for my people. They will believe to have won and they will let everybody in peace. Cut my head. You came here for this purpose. I feel it. at dawn. The sickle will be ready. at dawn”

Laertes goes back to the infirmary to inform his fellows of this unexpected dialogue: they are all amazed, but even more when Divara comes out form the shadows. She is really angry.
“You are not going to kill him. There is another way. Fighting back. We must stop hiding under the roots, We must call the power of the forest. It can defend itself. When you came in I thought it was a miracle: you are an elf, and she is an orc witch. You know the forgotten words, she has the burning blood in her veins: together you can perform the Ritual of Thorns and free us from our enemies”

I give you time untill dawn to decide what to do….

Krell murmurs “poor Etna it will cost for sure your life”

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The Elfic Roads

Leaving the little village in the middle of snowy nowhere seemed such a relief. Those scrubby woodcutters and their greasy wives were not like the refined, sybaritic company you can find in the Hexagon of Ysar. But they traded well. Or at least they insisted to cover Etna with tons of furs after her “husband” healed their cold feets and rotting teeth.
So the trio ventured in the snow. The smelly boy first, then the furball (i.e.Etna) and last the Elf, who revealed another discomforting capability: he can walk on the surface of the snow as it were a polished marble floor.
Snow – as Etna realized – can be beautiful the first 2 hours. After 2 days you hate it.
But when you turn back to the village you just left and you can see a menacing cloud of dark smoke coming from it you easily understand that you can only go further.
In the ears the recommendations of the wiseman of the woods are still resounding: “Go and search for the Archdruid, he is well hidden in Khelborill, but if you follow the Elfic Roads, you will find him”.
“Elfic roads” murmured Laertes…they must be something I should know, because they resonate in my mind, but I can’t remember…it was sooo long ago
The days and the nights seem always the same when you are out there, in the wild snow -coated plains.
Sometimes in the deepest and darkest hour of the night they could hear a distant cry, like a big animal wounded to death, that desperately growls
Eventually they approached a woodcutters’ settlement, few huts…and no sign of life.
No welcoming smoke from the fireplaces, no sounds of children or wives at work.
In the middle of the settlement there was a heap of moving black feathers: crows that are feasting (!) on the corpses of frozen dead.
Women, kids.
There is no man corpse. As no axe or hatchet around in the village.
Karkaroff – the familiar of Laertes – suggested him devouring the eye of a corpse to recollect his last memories The Elf refusedso the familiar did it for him,
And Laertes experienced the vision of a horde of dwarves and paladins of the Inquistion who slained with no efforts neither mercy the woodcutter’s wives and their children… blessing them immediately after so they will not turn into undead.
The trio realized that somehow they were taken in trap: the village has been burned down as they left it, and someone is making carnage just in front of them. Karkaroff was sent further in exploration.
That night they are still awakened by the animal’s cry. Thet follow the moaning (it is easy as all of them possess night vision: in the night the smelly boy eyes turn into amber catlike pupils). And they find a pityful old stag, arrowed to death. In his antlers, even if gory, devotional ribbons and tiny silver bells are still recognizable. But the majestic beast is nothing more than a mass of black frozen blood.
As he dies, Death itself comes and take him. And with him all the natural life around.
“Look” murmurs Laertes “look how a Totem Animal dies”.
But Death attracts death.Suddenly from the trees a group of walking undead approach the clearing: they are the woodcutters killed by the church. Armed and unblessed. They try to reach the dead carcass and devour it.
The Smelly boy quickly jump to a tree taking the elf with him.
ETna casts on herself her new spell of flying and levitates away (she will be remember like a gigantic bumblebee).
The smelly boy attacks one of the zombie. Laertes blesses him with the gift of growing.4
Disgusted by the scene Etna flies over the carcass and teleport it away.
Then the Elf casts his dark fury like a curse on the undead: the shades of the wood become alive and ensnare the foul creatures. Burning them with tons of fireball is an easy job for the young orc.
So they can properly mourn over the carcass of the stag.
But suddenly Laertes breaks into shrieks: somebody is torturing him. From afar. Somebody is keeping his familiar and slowly killing him and a voice “he will be here soon; I promise you. And he will tell us the secrets of the elfic roads”.

The elf has some glimpses of the interior of a tent where some people of the church is torturing Karkaroff. And he starts to run and run. For hours. It is so difficult for Etna and the smelly boy to keep pace. The elf warns them to stay back. But that is not his own quest Etna remarks, they are there together.
And the Inquisitors with their dwarven throatcutters are many.

Any time they stop to rest, Laertes is tormented with painful vision from his poor soulmate: one eye has been carved out, the feathers of the wings cut away. And that malevolent voice…the voice of Raphiel!

They ran for days until the reached the camp. Just one day ahead. But what’s the plan then?
Direct attack seems suicidal. A deal? But with what,,, Laertes still has no idea how an Elfic road shoud look like.
Anyway they needed to rest before facing the Demon and his new fellows.
Laertes took the chance to give Etna some spellcasting lessons.
The smelly boy took the chance to sneak away and perform a little ritual, that Calanthe, his lover and mentor taught him in case of misfortune: offer three white furred minks to Mercia and she will bless you with unnatural luck.
When He came back to the camp, Etna and Laertes recognized that there is something new on him and try to investigate.
And it is only then that Etna realized that no one ever asked him his name. He went just as the smelly boy who saved them many times.
“My name’s Krell” said him.
“And you got some ancient powers on you…” replied the Elf “Would you mind if I look into them”
And for the first time Etna could see what the Elf did her many times, how he cast his slumber charm, how he rides his victims, how he feeds on his dreams.

There was a time when Calanthe and Krell were togethere, intimately together, enjoying the pleasures of their hot skin both in human and in animal shape. This mysterious Calanthe, hald man half wild cat, seemed to know so many things about the wild and the totem spirits and the elves….elfic roads included

“elves do not draw their maps. They sing them. They compose a song that can tell you the exact way to reach one of their kingdom. They are beautiful ancient songs that describe a world that there is no more. Most of them are almost useless now, as the Cataclysm changed the surface of the Earth itself. But here in the ancient forests, theis songs can still trace a way. That’s an elfic road, my young boy…now why don’t you get down on your knees again??”

The spidery fingers of the elf leaves the skull of the feverish Krell as he woke up.

“Thank you boy for your precious memory. I am not a thief. So I will give you some of mine memory in exchange”

And Krell experienced the vision of a great breath taking hall where creatures of ancient terrifying beauty are sitting on their thrones…not peacefully because their words are words of distress, and doubt, and hope and hate. The ancient halls of the kings and queens under the hills…

“Now we are fair, my boy, I took something from you, you got something from me. Last question human: can you sing?”

And in the greyish lights of the morning Krell sang with the forgotten words of the world that there is no more. Worlds of trees and shadows. Elfic lyrics that design an elfic road throught Khelborill.

Hopefully the road that will lead them to the Archdruid before Raphiel stab the little heart of Karkaroff
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of snow and fire

white and cold, what is this…. maybe this is the first thing Etna, the half-orc, thought as she woke up alone on the top a low hill…completely coated with snow.
snow, something that a girl from the south has never seen in all her life.
On the top of the hill a lonely tree stands, and spread all around thousands of black feathers, as hundreds of crows have been fighting together.
A movement in the snow reveals that she is not alone: Laertis emerges from the snow, keeping his freezing crow by his heart.
No one of them seem to remember how they happened to be there and start to search for Hull…. only Karkaroff, the crow, remembers and speaks about a devasting fallng from the sky, a fight in the highness, where Laertis and Raphiel did something terrible.
Etna starts to find herself a way through the snow and blasts some fireballs, untill they reach the boundary of a great dark green forest. The heart of Laertis bumps in a bittersweet feeling of remembrace. But none of them still have the idea of where they might be. Maybe Lethea?
Raphiel promised them to take to the Queen…
They adventure themselves between the majestic trees, unaware that Etna’s magic has been noticed not so far away…
A hunting pack of Winter Worgs and Ettins suddenly attack them. Laertis realizes that he is exhausted and has no many spells to cast, Etna watches the fur of the horse-like wolf, all covered with ice.
Then something jumps down from the trees. Not something, but somebody: a rather smelly boy covered with wild fur who catches Etna in his arms and fastly climbs a tree.
Laertis casts his last spells against the Worgs
The furry boy attacks from the sky with his blade, like the fang of hunting wild cat.
Etna blasts another fireball and learns how these creatures from the cold hate and fear fire: the heads of the Ettin are turned into ashes.
But when they seems to win another Ettin hunter jumps in the clearing hitting Laertis from the back, so badly that the Elf is reduced uncounscious, and his blood turns all the snow black.
Etna casts her last fireballs and then the smelly boy manages to bring the body of Laertis away
They escape in the forest toward a great tree, there, up in the branches the smelly boy has built up his nest.
Then he runs away looking for a wise man that can help the dying elf.
As Laertis is comatose he experiences another contact with the elf-woman he spoke with in Ysar: she claims to have been searching for him for days and to have find him only there on the line between life and death, death and dreams. She prays him to never come back to Ysar: the prince has a new protege, a killer. The prince asked her to teach him how to kill elves and as she refused she has been caged with the killer together. The killer must annihilate her in order to get out. She has been caged with a scorpion.
As the wise man climbs the tree and sees the body of the Elf he is moved to tears: he has never seen a real elf in all his long life. The presence of the Elf itself is a proof that all the ancient myths are not unreal. He cannot do a lot for him but tells the smelly boy to bring him to the druids of the forest.
Then they all go to have rest: the wise man is still looking after Laertis occasionaly chewing roots and putting them on the bruises. The smelly boy gives his bed to Etna and sleeps next to her, purring in the sleeping
As the dawn rises up on the forest they realize not be alone anymore: dozens of birds, owl, swans, crows, hawks are watching them from the branches. And even a white ape! wild, amber like eyes are on them from everywhere. Then the ape jump on the nest and takes Laertis away- All of them can hear Karkaroff speaking clearing in their minds “The forest feels him, the forest his taking care”.
The dying body of the elf is taken to a clearing where a mystic flame burns. Any kind of wild animal is there.Then from the deepest green a majestic stag appears: his antlers are like a crown decorated with little bells. The stag cures the elf’s body with his holy touch.
The wiseman and the smelly boy are enraptured by the scene and decide tha the druids must meet the elf at any cost.
But before adventuring in the cold mountains they need to find food, clothes, weapons: they move to the biggest village of the valley.
As they don’t have money Etna asks about whores….how much are they paid, where do they work….the smelly boy is left speechless….there are no whores in the village and actually Etna is the fourth girl there. as if the other threee (woodmen’s daughters, used to cut trees since the childhood) can be called “girls”
as Etna and Laertis see the village (4 houses and 1 Inn) they understand how miserable his their fate.
Etna enters the Inn and all the eyes are on her: the woodsmen are undressing her with their eyes as she moves lavishly as a consummated diva to the bar and asks ale for herself.
Excited the men start to move all around her. She smiles as she usually does, unaware of the effect that she can have on this lonely men.
Luckily Laertis comes out with one of his “scene”: he and his “wife” are herbalists and they are there to go and speak with the druids…
so the people stop to molest Etna and start to molest him to have any kind of cures.
Eventually they discover that they are not in Lethea, but in the north west, on the cold side of the great forest of Kelbhorill. The Queen is far away….and so Ysar and his web-like deals… and so Hull their fellow thief…. and Raphiel as well….did he really disappear with all their past?1525549_666446900042322_216262577_n.jpg

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Last one standing

Exhausted by the night Hull and Etna fell asleep.
Laertis seeks solace in the dark embrace of Brona, god of secrets.
And the waves of sea slowly take the boat far away. Not to the docks of the Low City anyway, but to the insidious shores of the Kraken Island.
Etna only recognizes the fearful shape of the Iron Mountain where the Prince imprisons, tortures and kills his enemies, mostly spell-casters.
The lesser criminals are amputated, their mouth is sewn, their familiar stripped away and then they are left on the beaches to perish.
The demon criminals are skinned and their skins become the flags of the Fortress
But the real enemies of the Prince are taken to the Judge of The Kraken Island, the demoness Baenefea, the pale lady.
The trio is surrounded by revolting frog-like demons, who patrol the shore of the Kraken Island.
Etna manages to burn some of them with her magic fire (even if she seems to prefer her magic light spell… Laertis “Blow them….I mean…with fire” and Etna cast a fountain of rainbow light on the demons)
Eventually the orc-girl is victim of the sleep-inducing spit of the frogs. Laertis and Hull are taken into a huge web-like net. All of them is taken into the prison.
Hull pretend to be faintes
Laertis watches the demons crushing the heads of the other prisoners in anguish
But when Etna wakes up she claims her right to see the Judge herself. She calls upon the power of her blood.
Etna and Laertis are then taken into the third gate of the Kraken island
Hull tries to escape, but in vain. The walls are too high and new flying demon creatures are coming from the sky.
Inside the third gate Laertis and Etna are confronted by the skeletal Baenefea: she asks Etna to walk on a magic stone that proofs the truth of any speaker. Etna claims to be Baenefea’s master and when her blood touches the stone the Judge shrieks. And immediately condemn the girl to death!!!
Laertis and Etna seems overwhelmed by the joined forces of the Judge and her frog servants. But Etna has a secret card to play: she call her own demon-slave “Ulutiu”. And she comes. Ulutiu embraces Etna in her chains and try to escape, claiming that she can save only Etna and all her friends must die. Etna disagrees and cast powerful fireball in the court.
The battle is then chaotic and bloody. Baenefea nearly slay Etna in two, Laertis calls upon all his hexes, Hull hits with his whip.
Baenefea skin is burnt and she reveals her real skeleton-like seeming: in the rib-cage a white heart is pumping magic into the bones.
Etna turns invisible and flees.
Laertis charges Ulutiu with magic
Hull sneaks in and manages to stab the white heart with his bony dagger. in this way the demoness cannot cast any spells. So, she plays her own card and awake “Raphiel”.
Etna sees in terrore the henchman-stone waking up and turning into a gigantic stone golem.
She escapes but the drop of blood that she leaves reveal her position. Hull reaches her and manages to open the gate. The last one is anyway too difficult to open. But Etna can cast some more fireballs and then Hull can kick the gate down.
ON the shore they have an awful surprise indeed: they are sorrounded by the Kraken island guardsmen. And once again they run.
Meanwhile Laertis and Ulutiu stop Baenefea and the Elf steals her white magic heart.
Then they fly to Etna.
Raphiel the golem is still looking for her and the girl want to face him alone.
She stands in front of the golem and touches him with the palm of her hand covered with her blood.
The stone cracks down revealing the beautiful demon inside.
Etna seems to recognize him, and the Hull gives her the scarlett flower of remembrance.
So she collects her memory back: after killing her mother, the queen gave her to Raphiel to be educated, but soon after that they were struck by a magical attack: Raphiel has been kidnapped (and then turned into a stone) and Etna was saved by Nezarina the flower seller.
Now Raphiel asks her if she is ready to fulfill her destiny: she must follow him and go to Lethea where the Queen can teach her magic and give her the power to kill the Prince.
Laertis is terrified.
He put his finger on Etna’s forehead and gives her the vision of his past as a puppet at the court of the Queen and then as victim of her experiments.
But before Etna can give her answer Raphiel wraps both of them into his angelic wings and flies away. Leaving Hull alone on the Kraken Island beach.
The young thief seeks refuge in the rocks. The night is coming down and he has no boat to leave the island. Moreover everybody must be looking for him.
Exactly….everybody…
“Tonite I lost a daughter but I may have found a son” it’s just a whisper in his mind.
“I have been watching you all this time. You almost killed my Apprentice. You hit deadly from the shadows. You are a real scorpion, my dear. Would you like to become the Prince’ scourge? Would you like to kill all my enemies?”
Hull is surprised by the voice. But he has been trained to speak with nobles and princes since his childhood. So he asks “And what shall I have if I say yes?”
“I will free you from the beast within, I will give you time to leave as human at my side”
Hull agrees
“Done. I will wait you at my tower. you will find a boat on the shore and none of my servants will harm you. I will train you, I will make you even deadlier, so when the Queen will strike back, when my daughter will claim my throne, you will be ready to hit them, from the shadows”
and we will see who will be the last one standing…demon_stairs.jpg

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Burn Burn Burn

Epidemics and plagues are not a good reason to stop having fun: the huge brothel called Hexagon is open as usual, and the square in front of it has been turned into a market where charlatans, herborists, healer, wizards (or wizards-wannabes) are selling ointments and amulets againts death and sickness.
Hull lingers between the stands looking for something interesting and is driven to the flower seller Nezarina, who sells him a red flower for remembrance and promise him a good deal from the Sphinx Market (even if the Low City has been quaranteened she got many contacts with the black.-market operators).
As Etna approaches her the flower seller is awfully distressed and Etna clearly sees that she is more than a merchant… a little demon-familiar in the shape of a blue lizard with a baby face is hidden between the huge breasts of the woman and it reveals that Etna has been cursed.
Hull looks then for more information about the churchmen in a tent, where some believers of the new church are taking care of the sick ones:but they are desperate as no cleric is with them: the prohibition to build a Church on Ysar makes things really worse, no one knows where to find a healer of the Weeping Knights and Marconius is disappeared. Three days before he claimed to go to the Floating Church asking for medicines and never came back.
(in the meanwhile Laertis disguised as a crow is attacked by the kids with stones…and they even manage to get him!!)
suddenly a scream from the streets: the kid that Nezarina sent to the bridge is running back “The guards of the Prince are attacking the Low City”
And when Laertis and Etna look in the sky they realize that the guardsmen are not coming alone: a swarm of lesser demon, with leathery wings and beaks and claws is flying on the roof…searching….
Etna is shocked: they are coming for her. Again.
And the only thing she can to is curling under a bed….waiting that this long nightmare ends.
Laertis and Hull watch the young girl and understand that even if she is the daughter of the Prince, even if she managed to control the demons, she is still a child.
Hull urges her to leave the Hexagon and helps her to escape from a window. Laertis takes the shape of a crow and fly over them. They reach the harbor and steal a boat.
The mission is to reach the Floating City and Marconius. He seems the only one who can heal the plague and the curse who affect the spell-casters
When they dock Hull moves stealthy around and manages to trick a worker…he discovers that Marconius has been arrested by the Inquisition and will be sent soon to Spina to be burned in front of the Red Pontifex.
Hull is fast: Laertis should use his glamour to sneak into the Prison Ship and let him in. Then he will make a distraction to let them escape with the old cleric. So the Elf change his appeareance into an august inquisitor and Etna turns into a drunken hag.
The Inquisitor enters the Prison Ship and search for Marconius.
Hull follows them in the shadow and when they find the cell where the cleric is caged, he swiftly steals the keys
But what a surprise when they learn that not only Marconius has not been arrested: he asked to be burned to cleanse his sins. He is the poisoner who introduced the Plague in the Low City. Death seemed to him a better solution than a life of prostitution, hunger, humiliations…
When they manage to reach their boat the old man beg them to kill him.
The trio ask him if he could remove the curse on them, but he doubts of his own faith.
Etna has tender words for him and he asks her to pray the Goddess together. Maybe she will show her mercy for a poor half-orc and a desperate old man.
And the mysterious power of something above comes over the boat. Etna is healed and rejuvenated.
But when Laertis asks for the same treatment Marconius gives him 2 conditions: first he must swear to protect Etna, second he must kill him after the blessing.
So, as soon the cleric heals him, the Elf calls upon his power: a bird of fire appears between his finger and then hit the cleric burning him to peace….

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the battle of the Acropolis

Leaving the Green Temple ends up to be a hard task. The whole top of the Acropolis is covered by a thick white mould. The air, unnaturally still, is filled with white fluffly pollen. And white fungi are growing everywhere, moving slowly their sapless tendrils, crawling towards the very entrance of the Temple, towards the feet of the trio.
HIgh in the sky a gigantic net of mushroom-tendrils cage Ulutiu the chain-demon. Apparently she did not escape quick enough and she pleas once again Etna for freedom.
To the eye of the Elf this white growing appears obviously not-natural, but when he scrys the Acropolis with his mystic eye he realize that all the white stuff is a huge demon.
As Etna realizes that too, she proofs to be quite confident of her heritage. She steps further, cuts one of her arms with her holy dagger and as her blood drops on the demon she commands him. “Let her free”.
The power of the blood is great. Ulutiu vanishes in the air and the white demon seems to reatreat.
But Karkaroff up in the sky shrieks an alarm: People is coming.
Some of them are just commoners who has been attracted by the strange phenomenon.
But some are coming with bad intentions.
From one side of the Acropolis a group of commoners start to chant a holy song. They have a teardrop amulet on their neck and blades in their hands. They are looking for their fellow cleric Dae, and “the girl who cannot be killed by the plague”.
ON the other side the white demon goes back to his Master: the First Apprentice of the Warlock Prince who is coming to the top of the Acropolis with a small army.
Etna turns invisible and seeks refuge in the Temple.
Laertis turns into a black bird and flies away
Hull manages to mix into the citizens, but after a while he runs back to the temple.
ON the top of the Acropolis the battle between the Weeping Knights and the First Apprentice seems not fair at all: even if skilled into tactics and stealth the clerics are quickly killed by the dreadful Cloudkill spell that the wizard casts 2 times.
In the meanwhile some of the clerics manage to enter the Temple.
Hull calls upon the power of the leather band that he bought on the Sphinx Market and becomes invisible himself (even if the power can be used just once per moon it is useful indeed as he can act without becoming visibile again).
Inside the cave he has a tricky idea, confiding on the fear of the clerics he imitates the voice of the ghost of Dae, he tells them where to find his corpse and gives them instructions to leave the Temple asap and look for the girl in the Low City. His performance is so convincing that even Etna (who is listening) believes firmly that Dae is back and he is protecting her.
Outside Laertis is the witness of the carnage. He sees the clerics leaving the Acropolis (tricked by Hull) but also the Apprentice who is moving with his guardsmen among the corpses of the Weeping Knights.
When The Apprentice enters the Temple, Etna is unfortunately just turned visible.
But before the ugly wizard even tries to speak with her, something violently hits him from the shadows, and more and more.
The Guardsmen tries to save him, his demon becomes a defensive cocoon around him.
But the Scorpion’s tail hit again
And then is the turn of Etna, who manages to use her power and cast some powerful fireballs on ther enemy.
But the cocoon suddenly exudes a thick yellow cloud of poisonous vapors. Hull and Etna can only give their last “coup” and then escape: the cloud makes them dreadfully sick, almost dead.
Laertis flies in, somehow manages to survive the cloud and reach Etna in the dephts of the Temple
Hull (always invisible) did not choose to escape inside, but outside. He runs away untill he fell on his knees and puke all the sickness away. After all the blood he spilled with his whip he feels angry, excited and nauseated at the same time.
Around him the Acropolis looks like a battle field. The sick corpses of the clerics and slayed corpses of the guardsmen are everywhere. The sun slowly sets down…
and in that very grey hour of the twilight a figure stealthy moves on the hill. the man clearly knows his way and enter the Temple. Hull follows him,
Laertis and Etna are surprised when Shabrit, the red Parrot finds them in the inner room of the temple. He is totally upset with them because they came back to the low city, because the Warlock Prince almost found them…but he cannot do much more. The invisible whip of Hull catches him and breaks his neck.
At this point Hull turns visible again at tries to sever the head of the bard.
Laertis has no words left. NOt only the humans kill their own kind with no regret, but show no respect for the dead. When you are dead you count no more. You are nothing. He whispers a curse against Hull and then ask his fellows to leave.
Hull robs the corpse of Shabrit, takes away his jewels, his money and gives his lavish red scarf to Etna.
Then Laertis calls upon the power of the holy nature, to cover with flowers all the dead of the Acropolis. And then he understand how much tainted his the thing that sleeps under the hill. Even if he tries his best no flower sprites, but only crippled thorns.
The thorns cover the top of the Acropolis and wrap themselves around the dead body.
A huge shadow falls down on the Elf, and as nobody in the world seems to understand his angst and solitude he finds once again solace in the wings of Brona, forgotten Crow God of mysteries and secrets.
Then the trio run away.
They will meet soon at the Hexagon. Or so they promise each otherbrona.jpg

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everything comes back

As they leave the underground temple, they discover that all the plateau over the acropolis is covered by a thick, snow-like, mould. Mould – Flakes like gigantic pollen-flakes are floating in the air. A majestic cage of mould and mushroom-tendrils cage Ulutiu, the demon who tried to escape the temple.
To the eyes of the Elf and the young sorceress all the whitness look like a living magical creature.
Ulutiu begs for freedom
And then Etna steps forward. She cuts her arm with the holy dagger, and as her blood touches the demon-mould she can command it.
She give freedom to the demon for the second time, but she is not ready for what is coming.
the demon-mould caught the attention of many commoners (children, people of the low cities). But when the Elf takes his raven form and flies over the acropolis he can spot two groups of people in arms who are coming on the top of the hill with menacing intentions.
From one side the Guardsmen of the Prince, lead by his First Apprentice. On the other side a group of commoner with the holy amulets of the Weeping Knights and blades covered with the holy blood of the Red Pontifex.
The two groups start to fight on the acropolis giving Etna and Hull the chance to hide back in the Temple.
The Weeping Knights are the first to reach the entrance because they knew its location.
Hull uses his magickal armlet and becomes invisible. Then he tricks the Kinights and pretend to be the ghost of Dae. He warns them to find Dae’s corpse and give it a proper funeral but also to go and search for “the girl who cannot be killed by the plague” in the low city. His interpretation of the ghost is sooooo amazing that also Etna believes in it.
Unfortunately the First Apprentice manages to reach the Temple too. Using his powerful Cloudkill spell he kills most of the clerics.He tries to speak with Etna, but from the shadows the Scorpion strikes.
The acid whip of Hull is quick and lethal. It almost kills the Apprentice, if it were not for the Guardsmen and his Fungus-Demon who protect him.
Etna casts some powerful Fireballs and Hull hits again and again with his merciless sting.
The defensive cloudkill of the Apprentice make them escape anyway…
The Guardsmen are dead. The Apprentice disapperead. The Fungus Demon looks like a calcified structure with no life.
Etna and Laeris finds a refuge in the innermost rooms of the Temple.
Hull escapes outside. He is sick because of the Cloudkill but still excited because of the fight. He is the only one to spot a grey figure approaching the temple.
Even if he is not dressing his usual flashy clothes he recognizez Shabrit.
The bard looks for Etna. He seems really worried.
But before he can speak the Scorpion hits. With his whip Hull breaks the neck of the bard leaving both Etna and Laertis speechless
Then he starts to cut his head
Laertis is disgusted. But that’ s how humans think. As you are dead you are worthless.
The Elf watches Hull severing the head of the bard, cutting his nipples and navel to steal his jewells. And he casts a curse on the Thief. Misfortune….
Laertis cannot leave all the dead to their miserable doom. He calls upon all his power to give them a proper funeral.
As the elf channels the power of the ancient gods both Etna and Hull experience a vision: a huge black feathery shadow engulf Laertis. The God of Secrets, Brona the Crow, his next to his last pupil.
But he cannot do really much…the acropolis is tainted and instead of flowers, only black thorns grow from the earth grabbing the corpses of the many dead

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Blood rules

Whoever sleeps in the Green Temple is not only magically rejuvenated but also experiences powerful dreams…
…Etna is taken back in her lost, forgotten childhood memories, in a lovely summer night of 10 years ago, when her mother tried to sell her to 2 weird guests: a lady with a jewelled arm and a demon called “Raphiel”. The lady was not really pleased to discover that she was half orc, but was nevertheless interested into her fertility and her “gift”. To proof it, she tricked the 4 years old Etna to set her own mother on fire…Etna wakes up screaming. and her screams wake also her fellows.
She doesn’t want to speak about what she saw in her dreams, but eventually she confesses that she killed her mother with her magic. She is “a monster”.
Anyway as her magical gift seems somehow connected to the Temple and its secrets, the trio decides to explore it further hoping to solve the mystery of her past and her blood.
With a fireball Etna destroys a wooden door which was misteriously closed.
Unfortunately as the trio enter the passage no one realizes that they are walking on a magical curse: from a mummified severed head a swarm of black flies fly over them, and then suddenly disappears. Laertis tries to decypher the signs on the floor and discover that the curse affects just the spell-casters, and devours their spells as they try to use it turning them into fat magical maggots. The magical trap looks newer than the temple itself, and apparently destined to somebody who was closed in the passage, not outside.
With their lights they go further revealing a majestic little shrine decorated with lavish frescoes. But they are so old and frail that disappear in shining dust as they touch them. Etna walks into a cascade of colors and gold dust…
In one of the corridor they discover an golden idol of Zaurine, in her Horse Maid shape, with thousands of golden coins as offering. In another room, also dedicated to the Goddess of the Crops, they find a pile of skeletons, each of them decorated with ancient, gold and amber jewels from the Boundless Empire. They must have been nobles or clerics who committed a ritual suicide in the room. Etna remembers that the Lady in her dream used to wear the same kind of ancient jewels.
But there is a third room that really freaks them out: the door is covered with a BAN spell which forbids any demon to pass through. Curiously the door opens softly at the finger touch of Etna.
Inside they find a damp, putrid, smelly cell. In the shadows a voice claims for freedom and piety.
A naked pale woman? how is it possible?
As Etna approaches her, she notices chains moving on the floor like tentacles. Hull is alarmed and then the woman, who is actually a demon, attacks.
Moved by her will the chains dance around the three, building a web of rusty iron, spikes and razors, and then a storm of blades fell down, cutting, and bruising, leaving deep injuries that bleed profusely. The demon, a creature with many eyes and completely black teeth, is delighted. She has been waiting for nourishment for so long.
But when the demon tastes the blood of Etna everything changes
Hull manages to intimidate her, and she becomes really submissive. She mistakes Etna for her Master and beg for freedom. In exchange she gives them the promise not to attack them anymore and she reveals her true name to Etna. She is Ulutiu, and was one of the first demon slave of the Warlock Prince of Ysar. The Warlock Prince himself caged her in the temple, choosing the company of much more powerful demons like Achmaldech and Raphiel.
Etna frees her taking away a magick dagger which was stabbed into the demon’s back.
Then she faints because of the bloodloss and the shocking truth which is slowly becoming clear in her mind.
Hull pleas Laertis to heal her, and the elf (abusing of Hull magic – ignorance) uses his natural connection with dreams to enter Etna’s own dreamworld instead.
He is taken back in that summer night of 10 years ago, when a mysterious Lady and Raphiel the demon slave manipulated the young Etna into killing her mother. He watches Etna fighting against her dreadfulfate, trying to kill the Lady instead of her mother and he can hear the voice, the voice that he fears more than anything “….when you will be old enough, to be fertile I will send you my agents and they will bring you to me, in Lethea”.
Etna’s past is now much more clear: the gift of magic was not in ther mother lineage, but in her father’s. She is the daughter of a orc whore from the Low City and the Warlock Prince himself. But how it could have been possible is still a mystery, and which are the roles of Raphiel, the slave of the Prince, and Hagria Velvena, the Thousand Eyes Queen, who seems to move in the shadows of Ysar?
Determined to find out more the three go on the search of Raphiel, but when they reach the outskirts of the temple they got an awful surprise: all the acropolis is now covered with a white, snow like, mould…hr2_a.jpg

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