Rhiallis: Irredeemable, pt. 1

      Today’s snippet, titled “Irredeemable, pt. 1”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s Pathfinder Campaign.
      Note: This was “Chapter Thirty-Three” of Rhiallis’ adventures and I had to break it into two blogs because it was just too lengthy (in my opinion) for one. Read on!
      Be forewarned, there may be mature themes and naughty language below.
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      “I imagine we shall have to hunt her down and slay her as well.”
      Celeste’s words echoed through Rhiallis’ mind long after the conversation ended. The group made way through the ruined halls of the Citadel, exploring and searching. They passed piles of corpses, their deformed tiefling heads stacked in a gruesome pyramid; blood and ichor and a tar-like substance that smelled foul as feces but had a slimy sheen that she could not quite figure out.
      “They are evil to the bone. Like the tieflings. Born of it – their very marrow.”
      Rhiallis frowned.
      The teachings of her Order dictated that redemption was possible for any who wished to turn to the light. Yet, some beings are pure evil, unadulterated and irredeemable. Are they not? Surely there are some exceptions to every rule. Rhiallis knew that Iomedae herself had once redeemed the graveknight known as the Black Prince, by convincing him to fall upon his sword, an act that allowed his soul entry into Aroden’s Halls in the afterlife. Perhaps he had not become particularly good, but he had made the turn in his final moments and his eternity was altered.
      She had known several tieflings who worshipped and served Iomedae, as well as Sarenrae and Erastil and Abadar. Is it really such a stretch for Celeste, to imagine that a succubus could… Fall is the wrong word for it. Rise? Ascend? Redeem herself? Would Graves agree with her, or with me?
      “With me,” she whispered.
      “What’s that?” Aimsley peeked her head over Rhiallis’ shoulder. The slight elven wizardess had already become a ubiquitous figure in Rhiallis’ world, her eager ear frequently just a step or two away with a wry quip, a probing question, a wise observation. Like Mytra before her, and Kumiko before that, Aimsley had been a newcomer to the party. Rhiallis supposed she had selfishly seized upon that uncertainty and feeling of alienness, small as it was, as a balm to her own insecurities.
      “Nothing, sorry. Just thinking aloud.”
      “You think too much, Rhiallis.”
      She smiled and nodded sheepishly.
      “Quiet – there’s another door here.” Celeste’s voice was gruff and rasped against the desecrated walls.
      The door creaked loud enough to stir the dead. Inside, the walls were lined with maps. Beautifully illuminated, but painfully out-of-date, they were depictions of Mendev and Sarkoris before the Worldwound appeared, with notes about various breeches and influxes marked. It was a wealth of strategic information, with scribblings about force sizes and expected resistance.
      “It is all highly organized.”
      “…for a bunch of demons.”
      “They don’t often work together this way.”
      “But this time…”
      “They’re really making a strong go of it. End game. Final strike.” Celeste sounded so much like Graves in that instance that Rhiallis’ heart ached a bit.
      “There’s another door here,”Mira said. “Let’s take these maps back for Irabeth and the Queen and then get a move on.”
      In the next room, they found a nest. A bunk against one wall; one bed slept in, the top piled with clothing and junk. A dual altar had been constructed. Paraphernalia for two faiths aligned the makeshift platform. The locusts of Deskari and the stone arch over a flame that represented Droskar. Rhiallis had to think for a moment to place Droskar in the pantheon. He was known as The Dark Smith or Master of the Dark Furnace. She frowned. That was a little too appropriate for Joran, who had spoken at surprising length about the evil forge he worked for his brother and their allies. A twisted smithy designed to corrupt weapons and armor of holy attributes and sacred blessings, despoiling them with profane intent. It broke her heart to know how many treasured swords and shields had been fed to the foul flames, emerging unclean. Wicked.
Joran may feel some genuine regret over his work, time would tell, but the damage had been done and Rhiallis wondered if there was any amongst them who could work the forge in reverse.
      “Niro, can I have that axe of yours?”
      Niro unslung the adamantite axe he had picked up in the armory and passed it to Celeste. With a grunt, she motioned everyone to step back and swung the weapon at the altar. Smashing the stacked stones and boards to unrecognizable pieces, Celeste worked until she was breathless. Then, without a word, she passed the axe back to Niro and headed toward the next room.
      A lush chamber, this one. Whomever stayed here was a person of great means. There were books, a collection of liquors, plush pillows and quilts. Beyond that, another room. Spectacularly maintained, spotlessly clean; this was bedroom for someone quite important. Staunton, Rhiallis decided, or Korandah. There were two locked caskets, both of significant size, and a sparring dummy in the corner that had seen quite a lot of use.
      “I got this,” Mira said, kneeling by the first one and pulling her picks out.
      After a moment or two of intense scrutiny and twisting of long, thin tools, Mira blew her bangs off her forehead and sat back on her heels. “Damn, this is a quality lock. But I can get it.”
      “What about that key?”
      Eight sets of eyes fell upon Aimsley and Rhiallis was proud that the elven woman did not blush or diminish under their gazes.
      “The skeleton key we found,”she continued. “What if they work on those locks?”
      Someone produced the key and Mira slipped it into the lock like a hand into a glove.
      “Finally,” Niro said, plunging a hand into one chest. “Loot!”
      Rhiallis could not even begin to count the raw coin and gem in the first – though there was a significant amount of platinum and gold, rather than primarily silver or copper. A large, perfectly round pearl radiated magic and Isadora pocketed that, promising to make good use of it. There were also a multitude of garnets – exquisite hunks of blood red stone, faceted so that they drank the light but deep in the core, seemed to spit it back like fireworks.
      The second held other trinkets to please the party. Scrolls containing arcane spells Aimsley did not yet know, potions, a pair of lovely vases, a statue of a dwarf poised for battle, a small coffer of solid silver, a magic rod that would detect the presence of valuable metal and minerals, another that could enlarge the affected area of arcane spells, and a pair of wands as well.
      “Oh man! This is great!” Mar cackled, his voice teetering on the edge of hysteria and not for the first time, Rhiallis wished Graves were still here to deal with him. “Look at this fucking thing! We should smite it!”
      “Give that there,”Celeste growled. “What have you found there?”
      Mar tried to shield his finds upon the desk with his body, suddenly defensive. “What?I found it! This is mine. I deserve a share, you know.”
      “Of course you do,” Rhiallis said, “But we have to see what is here before we start doling out things.”
      “That’s bullshit. Isadora just took that pearl and maybe I wanted it. Maybe I wanted that axe Niro got. Or some arrows Korael took. Finders keepers, right? I found them – these things are mine.”
      “Gods above, why did we have to bring him?” Someone muttered under their breath. Rhiallis had to agree.
      “I’m going to take this big honking book and read it!” He whirled and began hacking at the lock with his belt dagger.
      “You can read it – but Mar! Stop that. It could be trapped or magical or- Just let us- Mar! Let us check it first!” Rhiallis had to force herself not to slap him. She resented his presence anyway and his insistence that she and Celeste were not as good paladins as Graves had been. Now, this sudden onset of avarice was the last straw and she struggled to soften her sharp tongue. “Here, take this magic rod. It is valuable and will serve as your first share. Now, you must let us open it first, Mar, you can read it with us.”
      At last he relented long enough to let Mira ascertain if it was booby-trapped, then Celeste opened it and over her shoulder, several of the party began to skim the pages. My life, My legacy, so titled, the book could be nothing less than the personal memoir of Staunton Vayne. Each page hurt her eyes and her soul, as it detailed seventy-five years of horrific acts and despicable deeds. There was an extensive list of holy weapons and armor – including the Sword of Valor and Irabeth’s blade – and notes about what had happened to each. Many had been sacrificed on Joran’s forge. Others were still missing or hidden away – though the location was not given.
      “What that name there?”
      She pointed, passing over the passage about the Nyhardian ((spelling?)) Crystals and how the Knights of the Ivory Sanctum had experimented with elixirs distilled from the very essence of those powerful crystals, in favor of one that mentioned a powerful spectre named Eustoyariax. The shadow had come in the form of…
      …of a crusader…
      …long dead…
      …named… Maranse.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “King Jagiello Statue Central” by (Mulligand) from SXC.hu; edited by me

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