Soul Forged

by

B.A. Tucker

Episode 02, Chapter 12 - Epilogue: Krait

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The Ruins of Yorck, Ilsylvania. Day 04.

Krait had been jabbed with a pointed object every thirty seconds since his capture last night. It stopped hurting him after the first few hours, but it continued to make him angry. He tried to lash out at his captors several times, but it never amounted to much as his bindings were tied tight.

Someone pulled the bag from over his head and he saw Wisteria Leothalis and another woman looking at him. Behind them, he also recognized Sinnamon Roll, Weaver, and the rest of his party as well as several other people he only half remembered from the other day.

They set a man next to him and when they pulled the mask off his face, he recognized Baron, who gave Krait a nod.

The woman beside Wisteria spoke. “For the crimes of murder and destruction against those you were sworn to protect—”

“I swore to protect nobody! This world took my Kayla from me!” Krait protested. He tried to break free of the knights holding him, but they seemed to tap into some deeper well of strength as they forced him still again.

“—you will be sentenced to time in this dungeon until such a day as you can be turned over to the people of the world you came from, in agreement with the Guardians and myself, the Queen of the Seelie, Sorah Rittel,” the woman finished without acknowledging Krait’s outburst.

Two of the Knights of Yorck each opened a massive door behind Krait and he saw a shimmering black curtain of light. A third guard picked Krait up and threw him through the portal and he hit the ground with a thud. A moment later, Baron landed beside him with a grunt.

Krait turned around to see the doors had closed behind them, though the shimmering blackness was still there. In front of them was a long hallway that looked identical to the one they had just left.

Baron managed to get himself to his feet and called out to Krait. “Come here. There’s enough slack in the bindings around my hands that I think I can undo yours.”

Krait shuffled over to the Summoner and after a few minutes, he had his hands free. Krait took a moment to stretch then returned the favor to Baron.

Freed from their restraints, he reached into his bag of holding and took out his Caer Fragment. He raised it up to activate it and received a glowing red message:

 

Error: You cannot use your Caer Fragment from inside this Instanced Dungeon without entering a safe zone first. If you teleport out of this dungeon using your Caer Fragment, all progress will be lost.

 

Krait dismissed the prompt and ran back towards the door he had been thrown through. The second he touched it, everything around him froze and he received another prompt:

 

Error: You do not have permission to leave this Instanced Dungeon through this portal. Find a safe zone or another portal in order to leave this Instanced Dungeon.



Krait dismissed the message and turned back to Baron. “I got a prompt that says we can’t leave this way.”

“Not like I’d want to go that way with those damn Knights of Yorck on the other side of that door. They’d throw us back through in a heartbeat. Looks like there’s no way but forward.”

The two tried every door, finding only empty rooms until they got to the massive arched doorway at the end of the hall. It led to a stairwell very similar to the one Krait remembered being dragged down before being tossed into this dungeon. He walked up the stairs and opened the door at the top.

It led directly to the main lobby of Yorck’s guildhall, but it was not the same building he had been in minutes ago. Where it had been noisy with dozens of random conversations from hundreds, it was now absent of any living beings. Chairs and tables lay overturned and broken and the building that had once been a hub of activity now looked like it had been abandoned for decades, if not centuries. The Caer Fragment in the main lobby wasn’t the purple monolith with a slow, pulsing beat, but was black as night that left him feeling uneasy by being near it. Krait pushed the feelings aside and walked up to the pillar. He tried to see if he could access it, but it didn’t respond to his will.

He punched the Caer Fragment and grunted with frustration then turned to face the main entrance. Two massive holes had been blown through the doorway, leading out into the open city. The sky was a static overcast, the clouds unnaturally frozen in place and the city looked to be in a state of perpetual twilight. Yorck and all of the Guardian Cities in the northeast had always looked to be in various states of disrepair, but this version of Yorck was even worse. Entire blocks of buildings that had been standing before were now collapsed and those still standing looked to be on the brink of coming down themselves.

Baron summoned a pair of horses for himself and Krait and the two rode through the dark, empty streets towards the city’s gates with only Baron’s fire elemental providing them any real light to see by. There was an eerie silence over the entire city, Krait didn’t even hear or feel the wind blowing. One other thing he noticed was that the buildings that were still standing didn’t have portals covering their doors. He could see into any of the ones he looked at and he only saw more empty ruins.

The gates at the edge of the city were the same black portal as the doorway the two had come through and again they refused to allow them passage. Krait thought about scaling the walls and he took a rock and launched it over the wall. It touched the barrier and exploded with a flash of light and a sound like a booming clap of thunder that reverberated throughout the city.

“So much for that idea,” Krait muttered under his breath.

“Quiet, I think I heard something,” Baron said, his ears twitching.

Krait began to hear it, too. A low scratching and shuffling sound filled the air causing both men to freeze in place. Krait turned around and saw dozens upon dozens of figures moving towards them. They poured out of the previously empty buildings the two men had passed. They flooded the streets, the dozens becoming hundreds and the hundreds becoming thousands from as far away as Krait could see.

All of the figures had pale grey skin and empty white eyes. Purple crystal fragments stuck out of their bodies and they moaned as they shambled towards Krait and Baron. Their shambling and stumbling turned into running as the closest few saw what had made the noise that had disturbed them.

Baron began casting a summoning spell almost immediately and Krait found himself thinking only of Kayla as he pulled his swords from his belt the moment the first of the figures got close enough that he could see their character information.

 

Name: Goblin

Race: Unseelie Elf, Female (Caer-Tortured)

Class: Caer-Spawn, level 115

Disposition: Suffering

Health Points: 33,115/33,115

Mana Points: 0/54,220

Stamina Points: 24,817/24,817

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A note from B.A. Tucker

5.08.2021 - Chapter revisions.

This has been Episode 02: Roleplay.

Want to learn more about the world of Gaea? Soul Forged: Sidequests is a growing collection of short stories. Sidequest 01 tells the story of the adoption of steam-powered airships across North Amren.


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B.A. Tucker

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Bio: Author - Soul Forged

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