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.
“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”
“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…
The Boundless Empire
Last one standing
Exhausted by the night Hull and Etna fell asleep.