Chapter 306 King Invalar of Rhyvor
Ilea was sitting next to a downed knight, sunlight already filtering through from above. So that doesn’t work. She summoned the second attempt at storing her ash lances from her necklace but found it again as an assortment of loose ash. The form was right for a split second but she had to take over again immediately to reform and harden it again. At least it was possible now to store her created ash but if it lost its properties it wouldn’t be a big help. The mana she used to store and summon it was about the same as simply creating new ash.
The elves appeared nearby, Goldie landing next to her a moment later. “We believe the town is cleared human. The part the light touches.”
She nodded in turn, “Good. Collect the bodies and bring them to the field in front of the cathedral. I’m sure the king will want them there too.”
Seviir nodded and vanished, as did the other elves. Terok walked over, looking over his shoulder, “No argument or sass. I guess he was more impressed with your changes that I had assumed. Healer.” He joked but she could tell the dwarf wasn’t exactly at ease around her.
“Relax mate. I’m the same person.” Ilea said, forming an ashen sphere in her hand.
He shrugged, “From what I’ve seen, and those were only brief glimpses of carnage, no you’re not. I still feel good about my two hundred evolution but now I’m looking forward to the next one.” Terok laughed, “You want to check if Maro is out yet? Maybe we’re still missing a couple but I doubt it. Been pretty thorough.”
Ilea nodded, spreading her wings. Terok ascended next to her, speeding up in silence. The two covered the distance over the dead city towards the palace in the span of a couple minutes. Landing in the courtyard, Terok stopped for a second as he looked around. “That fire thing you have now. I’m not sure what Hera thinks but he looked at you with something I couldn’t interpret.”
Ilea snorted, “I can think of several things that probably went through his head.” Walking through the opened wall, the dwarf followed quickly after her.
“How was it? Fighting the Kingsguard?”
Ilea looked over, “Well they have magic abilities that make them different to fight than the normal variants. As long as you can take their blows, they’re manageable. Taking them on without getting hit though, I don’t think I could do that for a long while. One variant even had time magic.”
“Time magic? Fucking necromancers. Good thing we dissuaded Hera and Seviir.”
Ilea nodded, the elves had likely wanted to face off against the stronger knights. “You could have suggested the undead knights in the dark section too. They’re a little easier to deal with.” She said, smiling to herself at the thought of losing her head. Easier than the kingsguard at least. Maybe with four people to distract and fight them they could even take one of the undead down. Ilea doubted they could handle one of the Kingsguard however, with what little she had seen of them fighting in the alley.
They had improved, that much was true but compared to the boost she had gotten it was negligible. If her level of power was needed against the undead rose knights and the kingsguard, then perhaps they needed to work a little longer. “That was your territory. Neither wanted to offend you I suppose.” Terok said and chuckled when they reached the throne room.
She smirked when she saw the robed man sitting casually in the big throne. His attire looked heavy, different sections of silver steel interwoven with the dark red fabric as well as dozens of intricate designs depicting mostly roses. Steel boots as well as gauntlets, the latter with sections for each part of his fingers. The helmet didn’t show his eyes, two rounded silver steel pieces separated by a vertical line going through where his nose would be. The steel reached around, other than the two pieces placed where his face was hidden below the only thing distinct about it were the silver antlers reaching up from each side.
Coupled with the two pieces on his face, there were four protrusions going up and over the full plate helmet. All of it screamed wealth as well as countless hours invested by a capable craftsman or woman. Wholly unpractical. Ilea noted, not in the mood to justify her own horns. Enemy weapons get entangled. Plus it’s intimidating. She still did.
The man clasped his hands together and got up, not moving a muscle but floating. Ilea was impressed by the magical wings she saw in her sphere, none of it visible to her eyes. “Welcome. To Tremor, subjects. I, the Red Necromancer King of old will be the doom you unleashed on this world. Cower before me.” Maro was being an idiot, spreading his arms as well as some kind of intimidating aura in the hall. Terok actually took a step back but Ilea just rolled her eyes.
“Welcome back, king. I can see you already found some gear to pay us for all that work.” She said, her armor of ash forming around her before she walked towards him. “Or do you intend to pay with your body?” Ashen limbs as well as lances formed behind and above her as she started heating up from the inside.
Maro’s helmet vanished before he clapped, a big grin on his face, “I’m kidding dear friends. No need to beat up an old man.” Jumping down from the plateau where the thrones were located, he met Ilea and hugged her. “Thank you.” He said in a much more sincere tone before he moved on to Terok, hugging his huge steel machine. “Thank you.”
“Now as to the gear. I’ve had my storage ring on me when I activated the whole thing of course. Not that I could have activated anything with my mana constantly drawn. There are some things I can give you of course.”
Terok looked at Ilea, “Why not open the armory then as well as the treasury?”
Maro smiled apologetically, “About that. Well let’s just say that I might have focused a little too much on the unbreakable part of those enchantments.”
The dwarf sighed, throwing his arms to the sky, “You fucking idiot.”
“Hey at least it held.” Maro countered.
Ilea didn’t really get it, “You can’t open it? Even though you made the enchantments yourself?”
“Precisely. The keys can open it. Or we just spend a couple weeks down there trying to crack it. We do have an idea where one key might be at least.” He smiled brightly before Ilea just started laughing. Terok shook his head but joined in a moment later. “See… the real treasure are the friends…”
One of Ilea’s lances smashed into the ground next to him, burying itself in the marble with a loud crash, “Empty that fucking ring.” She said, still smiling, “Terok, we’re going on a trip after we’re done here.”
Maro nodded, things appearing in quick succession around him. Some swords, armor, three more of his robes and helmets, wine in bottles entirely too expensive to consider anything else but treasure. A bunch of creates with books and documents in them. Food as well as maps, weird looking magical devices as well as skulls, furs and ingots. Why even have a treasury when the guy has it all in his ring.
Ilea walked past all the invaluable objects and grabbed some of the plates with food on them. Her ash brought them towards her hands before her armor receded and she started eating. Terok in the meantime carefully looked through the things, mostly interested in the ingots of course. “No gold on you?” Ilea asked and Maro pointed at a pouch on his belt.
“Couple gold if you want it. Enough to survive a couple weeks or months wherever I might find myself, that is if the worth of it hasn’t changed too much in the past thousands of years. Never cared to carry too much of it. I’m glad you found the food to your liking at least.” He said with sincerity, bowing lightly. “To think my hospitality has declined so much that guests have to face hundreds of dangerous rogue undead just to meet me. These halls have fallen for sure.”
“Well you’re out now.” Ilea said, finishing her first plate and moving on to the next one. It looked like chicken or duck in some kind of honey sauce, definitely nice looking and prepared with care. Dude was a king, probably had an entire army of cooks. Ilea mused, looking through some of the books and documents. Most of it she found was related to Rhyvor, lists of adventurers and citizens, plans and laws as well as reforms and maps of the cities, farmland, dungeons and monsters. She wasn’t sure if he kept anything back. If he knew her at all, he had nothing to hide, except if he was some kind of sadist torturer and lied to her through it all. Unlikely at this point but Ilea still watched her back, around both of them.
“Exactly. Terok, take whatever you want and can carry. I can store it for you if you don’t have an item for that. There should be some rings and necklaces in the treasury but well… not until we open it up.”
“Why not give him your ring?” Ilea suggested with a mouth full of duck. Delicious.
“That’s a good idea actually. Here, push your mana inside and check if I’m keeping anything from you two. I ask to keep the ring itself as well as my armors for now. Terok will get his storage item in time and it considerably enhances my survivability.” Maro said, holding out his hand to Ilea who promptly pushed her mana inside and checked it.
The only thing he had kept there were some letters that she summoned and skimmed through, putting them back in as he watched her with a serious expression and hard eyes. She nodded and stored them again in his ring, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. You have all the right to be suspicious. I might have hidden more things down below or anywhere really. Plenty of time. I hope you can believe me that this is all I own at the moment.” He opened his arms wide. Ilea noted that his beard was looking better than before, as well as his gray hair. The man definitely didn’t look a couple thousand years old. His face might have intimidated her a couple years ago but now he was just another man. The smile that spread a moment later took away all the hardness that was present before.
“Fine with me. She did most of the work anyway.” Terok said, pointing at Ilea. “Would you think it sad if I tried to pay you back with stuff I get from him?” He asked, looking at Ilea while pointing at Maro.
Ilea chuckled, nearly choking on her food, “It’s fine. Pay back your debts in Hallowfort first. I won’t send assassins after you. I’d love a couple more storage items though as well as some good light armor if there is anything.”
“Depends on how much was actually left behind. Can’t imagine anybody raiding the chambers but you never know with people.” Maro said and sighed. “Did you… collect the bodies?” He asked, a sad note in his voice.
“No assassins but you coming after me is quite a bit more scary…,” Terok grumbled to himself.
Ilea nodded to Maro, putting the rest of the dishes into her own necklace. In turn, she blinked to the center of the hall and laid out the corpses and their armor, lastly placing down the body of his son. Moment of truth.
Maro walked over, leaving his things behind as Terok continued looking through it all, “Thank you.” He said and knelt down next to the last knight in the line, touching the young man’s face carefully. Ilea stood close by with arms crossed in front of her.
“I’m sorry.” The words were quiet, not meant for her. One by one he looked at the corpses before they vanished into his ring.
Ilea cleared her throat when he was done and looked up at the murals on the ceiling Ilea noticed for the first time. “Are you going to reanimate them again?”
Maro turned, a smile on his face and none of the sadness present Ilea had seen through her sphere just moments prior, “No. I will collect wood and burn them. Before we leave if that is agreeable to you.”
“I have some left. Did the same with the knights I killed previously. The elves are collecting the remaining bodies and will bring them to the small field near the upper most cathedral.” Ilea explained.
“Ha!” Terok exclaimed, moving an ingot around in his hands, “Marvelous.”
Both Maro and Ilea looked at him before the king nodded towards her, “I am forever in your debt Ilea. I know you had your reasons and would like to keep it that way but know that you did this old king a service he shall never forget. I won’t speak of this again, other than to annoy you of course.” The king said before he actually went to one knee and bowed his head.
Ilea stepped towards him and grabbed his shoulder, hard enough to grab on and move him up, “You know the consequences of annoying me.” She was smiling of course and Maro started laughing as he was made to stand up.
“Pretty strong for a healer! Ah we will have that bout. As soon as I have some corpses again that don’t remind me of old friends that died thousands of years ago.” Maro said, clapping her back and nearly making her stumble.
Speaking of strength. Guess I’m not the only one with boosts. “Any plans for Tremor? The Soul Rippers still roam the lower regions.”
“Did you face them? Now that you were downgraded to a healer?”
Ilea didn’t react to the comment, “No. I don’t feel like it at the moment.”
“They still creep you out? Well I don’t blame you. Read enough reports on them.” Maro replied.
Ilea didn’t deny his statement. “I’m sure Elana has plans already. For now I honestly want to get the fuck out of here. Ah to be free to speak however the fuck I want to. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck the court, fuck the nobles, fuck the king.” Maro was outright bursting with joy it seemed.
The guy surely swings in mood quickly. Ilea noted but couldn’t help but be affected by him. Damn hidden charisma stat.
“I’d take most of the metals if you two don’t object. The rest I would sell but you decide on that.” Terok said as they came back.
“You can keep it in your ring Maro.” Ilea said. “I don’t really care for anything here. We can talk about whatever is remaining in the treasury later.”
The king nodded, “Thank you.” He bowed again and vanished when Ilea tried hitting him.
“So very aggressive. That could have killed a lesser man.” He said, dusting off his robe as he appeared in a twirl.
“I’m not gonna say it.” Ilea said and retracted her fist.
Ilea handed Maro the fire sphere she had gotten in Hallowfort before stepping back to join the three elves and Terok. Looking towards the cathedral, she saw Elfie leaning in one of the window frames, crossed arms and an unreadable expression on his face.
“Warriors of Rhyvor. You have served your duty, a hundred fold. May you all rest in peace.” Maro spoke, activating the rune to set the massive pyre on fire.
“Humans and their weird traditions.” Seviir commented, wincing when Ilea turned towards him with a stare.
Maro stepped back as the fire spread, looking up to the sunlight shining into the cave before he lifted his arm. Ilea immediately turned when she felt the mana coming from him. A beam of purple energy shot up and evaporated shortly after before hitting the ceiling. She actually saw Neiphato shiver next to her, the sight of the rather mundane looking spell enough to garner such a reaction. What was that about? Of course the spell had seemed powerful, a purity in her sphere she hadn’t seen before but it was a simple beam after all.
Heranuur just grinned. Terok lifted his hand too and shot out a metal spike that exploded in shrapnel when it reached a certain height. Ilea formed tendrils of ash she sent upwards before they dispersed in a thin mist sent over the city. These rituals are that old? Ilea smiled, seeing Maro stand a couple steps away from the pyre, the flames brushing over his robes and face. Men and their misplaced pride. Ilea shook her head, seeing the tears that formed and evaporated instantly thanks to the heat.
They stood there until only ash remained, surprisingly even the elves including Elfie in his window. Ilea stepped up to the king afterwards, “I can make the ash disappear too if you wish.”
He turned to her, tears still on his face as he nodded. Guess I was wrong about him. Lifting her arm to emphasize, the ash started rising, twirling upwards before she made it vanish. The king looked up, a smile tugging on his mouth. When it was all done, the elves moved past and walked to the cathedral. Maro sighed hard before his helmet reappeared. Ilea put a hand on his shoulder before walking towards the cathedral too.