Chapter 264 The Queen of Rhyvor
“That I am not.” Elana said and smiled. Terok knocked on the door frame at that moment, his two meter robot shining light into the room.
“Could’ve said you had lights. I’ve looked at the machine. It’s draining the man inside of both life and mana. Just doesn’t seem like he really has a choice in it.”
Ilea sat back, “What do you mean?”
Terok tapped a finger on the marble door frame, “It’s a trick to allow for better energy efficiency. The enchantments or in this case the undead take from him what they need, otherwise he would distribute mana among them. At least if what I know about enchantments can be applied to necromancy. No idea why he would do such a thing. With mana crystals, sure but as a person?”
“To get more soldiers. Can he still control them?” Ilea asked.
“I mean necromancers can send commands out but he doesn’t exactly see what’s happening out there. At least I don’t think so, never heard of a skill like that. It would have to be a basic command to keep them going on their own. Undead still retain some of their experience, their knowledge and capabilities.” Terok explained.
Elana spoke up, “Guard Tremor against its enemies.” She looked at Ilea, “That was the command given. Apparently it was too general to keep me out of it. Or the Kingsguard simply forgot about me.”
Terok chuckled, “Lassie they’re dungeon monsters. Powered by your late husband or not they’re not going to give you a pass.”
Elana stared at him, a little mist whirling around her, “Dwarf, when you speak of dungoen monsters… are you simply insulting me or is there actual reason in your wording?” Ilea was prepared to intervene should it become necessary.
“Ever heard of Taleen dungeons?” Terok asked, leaning in on the woman. Not getting a reaction he continued, “They’re a dwarven lot… made a lot of machines that initially had a purpose… now their cities remain as dungeons, the dwarves long gone or fucked into other races. Maybe an ancestor or two of mine were part of them too, who knows. Point is, the machines are still there… running and they attack whatever comes into their ruins, dwarf or not.”
“You’re suggesting they’re not under his control anymore at all?” Elana asked in turn.
Terok shrugged, “As I said, necromancy isn’t my field. Who knows, maybe he just doesn’t like you.” Ilea’s senses heightened before she intercepted Elana’s hand, the mist again cutting into the wall.
Sitting back, she stared at the two of them, Terok having teleported to the side to avoid the blow, “Okay look you two. Elana as much as I enjoy talking to you, if you kill him I will return the favor. Terok, this is the last time I protect you for a retarded comment on your part.”
The dwarf laughed, “Never asked for your protection lassie. I stand by what I say. I don’t trust her. I trust that the necromancer won’t be a major pain in our asses but I don’t trust her, as a woman, queen or whatever she calls herself.” His stare was focused on Elana who returned the favor.
Ilea stood up and walked out of the room, “Why the fuck did I even come north if it’s just gonna be the same bullshit over and over and over. Elana or whatever your name might be come and show me how to wake him up. Let’s just get this over with so I can go back to fighting and the dwarf has someone else to talk to.”
Terok shook his head but didn’t interfere, Elana quickly got up and followed Ilea out, grinning at the dwarf. “If he’s evil I suggest you leave Terok.” Ilea warned but he just shrugged and followed them out.
“Not everyday you see something like a thousand year old dude waking up. Plus I said I don’t trust her, haven’t made up my mind about him yet.” He grumbled, folding his arms. “If he can open the other rooms it’ll be worth it anyway. Not like I can go back empty handed.”
Ilea didn’t react, watching the woman as she moved some levers and unplugged one of the tubes. “I think he just needs to be at higher health, then a push of mana will do the trick. At least that’s my theory, you’re the healer, you’ll be able to tell probably.” Elana explained as the glass cover opened up, steam rising as it moved downwards. The thing stopped after it opened half way, Elana grabbing it and pulling. Terok chuckled from the side before Ilea lent a hand, careful not to break the glass.
A bit of wiggling and it went down the rest of the way, the liquid inside seeping into containers below. The necromancer was lifted up slowly, his arms and legs connected with tubes to the dome like machine. No curse or anything had been released yet. Ilea sighed and extended a limb of ash, checking his vitals through her Hunter Recovery, arms poised and ash at the ready for any surprises. She kept an ear towards the exit.
The man was fine, no injury that she could notice. He had several scars and his health was low. It neither went up nor down, “Why is is health so low? It’s not draining.”
Elana touched the man’s chest. Ilea focused on the area where she touched but couldn’t find her do anything. She suspected Terok would tell her if his magic sight detected anything. “It is draining, just incredibly slowly. I think he added it in case his knights would all fall and his mana ran dry.”
“Giving his life for the kingdom.” Ilea stated. Terok snorted and Elana shook her head.
“He’s always had a dramatic flair.” The queen said a little subdued, taking her hand back.
Ilea healed the man, supposed king of Rhyvor. It took her a couple minutes to get him back to a reasonable level of health. After reaching half of his maximum, she started pushing healing mana towards his mind in intervals of ten seconds. At first he didn’t react but after another minute he jerked his head to the side. Elana gasped from the side and Terok took a step back. The next pulse made his eyes shoot open.
Ilea was sure Elana had told the truth by now, his eyes green and as intense as they were depicted on the painting in the room they had talked in. The man coughed before he looked around, “Hahahaha, you’ve freed me! Now you are doomed!” Terok teleported back but Ilea just looked at Elana who rolled her eyes.
“I mean it is a little funny.” Ilea said but the queen just shook her head. She still had a smile on her face but the tears rolling down her cheeks suggested it wasn’t because of his joke. Ilea was about ninety percent sure it had been a joke. He looked at Elana with a grin before he turned to Ilea.
“Finally, a strong woman with a sense of humor.” He tried getting out of the machine but found himself unable to move up. His muscles didn’t seem to have degraded as a normal human’s would have but the man was above level two fifty at least, Ilea had no idea how such a body would react to thousands of years of not moving.
He grunted, “I don’t suppose we won the war.” He said in a tired voice, glancing down towards the gray beard. Emotion flashed in his eyes as he looked at Elana, “My dear… how long have you been looking over me?”
She just shook her head again, “It doesn’t matter. You’re back now.”
“Be honest, the beard doesn’t suit me, does it?” The question was directed at Ilea.
She made a wave motion with her hand, Terok walking back to the group, “Maybe if you trim it a little. Definitely have the necromancer dread look you were going for.”
“I suppose I’ll have to destroy the world then for the sake of the joke.”
“You’re stuck.” Ilea said, “But sure, if you feel like trying?” Ashen limbs moved up, forming sharp and dense edges as they hovered towards him.
His grin turned into a smile before he laughed, “Where did you find her Elana? Ash creator and a different route than Kahn took. You’re a melee fighter aren’t you?” Ilea didn’t reply, “Willing to help my beloved wife. You’re young and reckless, I like that. To think she could get an adventurer to help her out.”
A piece of rock slammed into his face, “Dear, you’re embarrassing me.”
Blood slowly rolled down his cheek, Elana with a perfect smile on her face that didn’t reach her eyes, “Tremor is a dungeon then… I have lost control. The knights are above my level.”
Good to know, if he’s not lying. Ilea thought.
Terok was the one to speak, “You built this machine not knowing this could happen?”
The necromancer looked at him and checked out the machine, “Interesting design. I’d like to see you fight in that, is that… Steelhammer…wait you’re wearing that too. Nevermind that, no I knew this could happen. It was a small chance, one in a thousand or even less according to my ass, where I pulled those numbers from. Dying was much higher, or succeeding, or all the knights destroyed.”
Another rock slammed into his face, “Bloody fucking idiot. You could have at least gotten a healer in here.”
“Don’t look at me like that, you were never supposed to be in here.” He said, much quieter.
Elana’s hand shook a little as she spoke, “And leave you to die? How dare you ask that of me.”
He looked away, not answering before she continued, “It was the one thing Maro… the one thing I wouldn’t… couldn’t do.”
Terok chose the most opportune moment to speak up. Ilea couldn’t help but smirk at the fabulous timing, “Mr. King, we came here to wake you but your wife didn’t have anything to offer. Do you perhaps have any valuables that could pay for this job?”
“She would’ve had you quartered and burned for that dwarf. Seems like Rhyvor has really fallen. Any survivors?” King Invalar asked.
“We don’t know… I couldn’t leave Maro, the kingsguard attacked me. I told you not to use marble in the bloody groundwork.”
“Only way I felt safe from you my dear.” He replied, “Treasury and armory still have some stuff in them, I doubt Reyker ran off with anything. I could open them for you but not from here. There were keys though… I think Gadrian had at least one of them.”
Terok sighed, “How do we get you out of there then?”
Maro laughed, “You’d have to kill all the knights… every single one of them.”
“Planned to do that anyway…,” Ilea shrugged, “… though it’ll take a while, the kingsguard are triple marks.”
“Triple marks? You mean they’re above level five hundred… what the fuck happened here?” He shook his head, “Well I suppose we’ll find out at some point.”
“Where do you think this Gadrian could be? Or his corpse?” Terok asked, getting a hard stare from Elana.
Maro looked at him and then though about it for a moment, “Probably Lisburg, it’s a city east from here, no idea how much of it remains or if he stayed there. He had his house there, mansion really. If the war ever reached him I’d assume he waited for them with a glass of wine in hand, a rose in his hair.” He laughed after answering. “How much time has passed, do you know?” He added, looking at Ilea.
She shook her head and shrugged, “Thousand years, two or three maybe? I have no idea.” The man winced, avoiding to look at his wife.
“I told her not to come…,” He said to Ilea in a whisper.
“I can hear you Maro.” Elana said, “And I don’t regret my decision. I was asleep most of the time anyway. Good that you at least left the pods.”
“Not as good as this one. You look just as beautiful, a little bony perhaps for that dress.” He said.
“Most charming, really?” Ilea asked, raising an eyebrow at the woman.
She rolled her eyes, “He’s not the best under political stress. It’s been a couple hours since he thought his kingdom was going to be destroyed, his people slaughtered. Our son died a week ago in his mind.”
“How do you know I didn’t experience all this time?” Maro asked with a grin.
Elana chuckled and smiled at him, “If only I didn’t know you Maro.” There was more said in the looks they gave each other, more than Ilea could understand.
“There you go then. He’s awake. I’ll go back to the Descent later today. Terok can you work on cracking the other doors?” Ilea said, cracking her neck.
The dwarf looked at her and shook his head, “I’d rather we find that key. Lady can you show us on a map where this Lisburg was?”
“It’s queen, not lady. I’d be happy to show you. Though I don’t know how you wouldn’t know it, it’s only a couple hours travel by horse from here. Vineyards as far as the eye can see, even if Rhyvor isn’t anymore I doubt anybody would have burnt it down.” She explained with a smile.
Terok looked at Ilea and shrugged, “Lady queen, I’m not sure how long you’ve been down here or what exactly you’re talking about but we’re in the north. There are arcane storms raging outside that could tear that one a new hole.” He pointed at Ilea. The two looked at him with questioning glances, “She’s ridiculously tough.”
Ilea smiled, “I don’t think that’s what they’re confused about. This is considered no man’s land. Human expeditions shatter trying to get here. I nearly died a couple times already and he’s right, I’m pretty hard to kill. At least I’d like to think that. He’s part of a scavenger town hidden in the cracks of these lands, living off the ruins of old. If there ever was a vineyard here it was very long ago.”
“That’s impossible. Tremor is the only remarkable mountain for miles, there are no cracks in the land.” The queen spoke.
Maro didn’t seem as unbelieving, “Perhaps the changes in the dungeons were more widespread than expected. A monumental environmental shift. Perhaps a magical catastrophe or something very powerful meddling with nature.”
“Dragons.” Ilea suggested which made Maro laugh.
“Here? You’re crazy. Well maybe if the changes were that drastic. Even then, why would any one of them do such a thing? They didn’t care for our kingdoms for thousands of years.”
“It’s certainly a possibility. Perhaps they wanted to create more living space for themselves?” Elana said but the king shook his head.
“Why not do that earlier if they were capable of such magic. We don’t have anything. Even if there were evidence it’s probably gone for a thousand years.” Maro said, “Girl if you free me from this place I’ll reward you handsomely.” He winked at Ilea who just laughed.
He knew what he was doing, grinning like an idiot, “Charming. Guess I’ll throw myself at the kingsguard then.” Terok chuckled.
Elana walked away, going into one of the rooms while the king looked after her, “I’m sorry.” He said quietly, not directed at the two standing near him. “Dwarf! You seem like a mighty explorer. Would you be willing to get me some food and feed me, like a babe. You could also tell me more about the environment, the north as you call it and what the hell is going on in Elos.”
Terok stepped up, “King Maro, I’ll be glad to serve as your mercenary and caretaker.” Implying the king would need to pay.
He just smiled. “I will be rewarding you handsomely, as soon as I can move again.”
Ilea rolled her eyes and summoned a plate of food, handing it to Terok, “I don’t see why you trust him more than her. The doors can be opened just the same, he has nothing to offer you.” Ilea said, looking at the king who just grinned and then winked at her again, his gray beard and long hair making him look more than a little creepy. The only saving grace were his muscly body and the beautiful emerald eyes. Maybe he swooned Terok with a spell. His mistake.
Ilea rolled her eyes as the dwarf started feeding the king, “You figure out whatever this is. I’ll leave in a couple hours. Maro, enjoy the food.” She said and walked away.
“Open wide your highness.” She heard Terok say. Checking on Elana with her sphere revealed her sobbing quietly bundled up in a corner of the room. The expression on her face made Ilea smile. Finally after such a long time, she had her husband back. Whatever their relationship might be, it was all she had focused on for all those years. Ilea couldn’t imagine how she felt, leaving her be as she stepped through the noise canceling enchantments Terok had put up. Blinking a couple times brought her out of the palace without alerting any of the undead.
At least she hadn’t woken something old and dangerous, ready to rip them apart. A big part of her was disappointed there had been no fight but there was plenty here in the north willing to jump at her throat after all. Vineyards… fucking really?