Rhiallis: Radiance’s Kiss

      Today’s snippet, titled “Radiance’s Kiss”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s Pathfinder Campaign.
      Be forewarned, there may be mature themes and naughty language below.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      Chaos reigned around her – blood and steel and magic swirling. Her vision went dark and there was a heartbeat of panic before they cleared and focused painfully on an object beyond the tiefling bitch. Scarlet, crumpled, discarded in the dank, dusty corner of this chamber – hope surged.
      The Sword of Valor? Could it be the real thing, this time?
      Rhiallis cast a glance at Aimsley. The elven woman’s eyes flickered forward, toward the altar in the eastern alcove. Nodding in unison, they made a tacit agreement to seize it.
      Suddenly, Mira broke off and barreled past her. With an inhuman squeal, the hin flung herself over the lip of the pit.
      There was no time to save her oldest remaining friend – everyone was in danger. Celeste had regained her feet, but she was caught between a babau demon and a shadow. Niro absorbed a blow from Sadie as he battled the wild-eyed woman whose name they had never caught. Korael was still trapped in a well of acid. Aimsley turned from the Sword to aid Mira.
      There’s no one but me, she thought, clenching Radiance’s hilt. Graves would not hestiate, Rhiallis – so neither can you!
      With hardly a thought for her own safety, Rhiallis put her head down and hurtled herself toward the alcove. The demon took a swipe at her as she passed, but she twirled, avoiding its claws. A shady creature lunged at her as well, and missed.
      Her hand clasped around the wrinkled fabric and a surge of energy ripped through her body. Rhiallis could not be sure if she only dreamt it, but the sensation of glorious power seemed to burst from her eyes, glowing from every pore, until her entire body was consumed by radiant light.
      “Oh-” she gasped, such a minor, underwhelming syllable to punctuate the moment.
      “Drop that,” something hissed at her.
      Rhiallis whirled, Radiance gleaming in her fist. She swung at the white-haired tiefling – one of her, for there were half-a-dozen of her floating in a circle. The golden sword connected solidly despite the hazy blur, but only dissipated one of the illusions. She’s not re-cast the force wall! A feral grin came across her face and she felt as ferocious as Viggo had looked in battle.
      “You’re mine,” she said in a low voice.
      The tiefling mage’s face was a mask but something in her eyes spoke of a sudden change in her attitude. The coppery taste of anticipated blood flooded Rhiallis’ mouth as she began to breathe heavily; that look, she recognized it.
      It was fear.
      The mage stepped away, casting another and Rhiallis gave pursuit. She swung again, slicing through another image. Each one a step closer to drawing the bitch’s blood, Rhiallis felt focused as she never had before been.
      Behind her, Celeste stood toe-to-toe with several enemies. Another fell to the demon-bane blade and her friend found herself confronted by a looming figure of shadowy confluence. Its eyes glowed an impossibly vivid blue.
      “If you want something done right, you gotta fucking do it yourself!”
      Eustoyriax had taken his own form at last. He was some seven feet tall; a swirling vortex of lunging shadowy maws, tattered bat-like wings, razored talons and rippling muscle.
      “Rhiallis!” Niro cried out, trying to draw her attention from her prey. “Here! Celeste!”
      Her comrade was horrifically wounded, fighting on despite the obvious agony. She had stood alone long enough, holding the line while the others struggled in battles of their own. Rhiallis cast one last glance at the tiefling, who had moved a few feet further away. No, Rhiallis. That is not your calling.
      The decision made, Rhiallis moved to the paladin’s side and channeled Iomedae’s grace with a touch. Healing energy coursed through her allies and she had to push down a fierce desire to scream in frustration as the tiefling bitch began to flee the room.
      Korael came bursting to the surface as the acid pit popped out of existence. Her relief was palpable. She hardly lost a second before retrieving her bow and letting fly a barrage of arrows. Eustoryiax was resistant to her arrows, but the screaming, frothing barbarian woman was not.
      Three beautifully placed shafts bloomed from her left eye socket and another enemy hit the floor.
      Rhiallis’ attention was drawn to the antechamber for a second as Mira’s scream echoed through the stone rooms. Aimsley? No!
      Fresh rage boiled up within her, cancelling out the worry for her friends in the other room. With Celeste at the shadow’s front, Rhiallis at its back – the two women rent him with enchanted blades.
      The floor was littered with gore and corpses. Niro trampled Staunton in his attempt to get better footing, Korael planted a boot on the babau’s skull for stability as she launched volley after volley at the last remaining enemy.
      With the scarlet banner still in her shield hand, Rhiallis realized she had exhausted her healing powers. Celeste… her heart cried out in frustration. Her comrade had suffered more wounds than should have been possible to survive. Somehow, even as she sank to one knee, Celeste would not give up. She was defiant to the last, parrying the demon’s black claws with Snowblood.
      A primal scream clawed its way up and out of her throat, born of rage and exhaustion and fear for the lives of those she valued most. Rhiallis swung her arm one last time. She knew the power behind the blow was not her own; the victory belonged to Radiance and some esoteric touch of grace bestowed by the banner.
      One last time, Radiance kissed Eustoyriax and the demon bellowed. The cry shook the very room for a heartbeat or two, then vanished to the abyss with whatever soul remained in such an evil creature.
      She clutched the banner to her chest, collapsing to her knees. Over… it’s over…
      “Drezen,” Celeste said, gravel in her throat. “Is liberated.”
      A smile alighted upon her lips. “It’s over.”
      Niro said something, prying Staunton’s glaive from his cold, dead hand. He chuckled and Korael just shook her head, amused. She could not quite parse the words; the bloodlust had not abated yet and her pulse pounded in her ears.
      In the other room, she heard Sadie’s voice.
      “Aimsley? Uh… Aims…ley? Oh no. Oh, Desna be good, that just ain’t right…”
      Rhiallis did not want to know. She wanted to rest, to breathe free air for a moment and relish the victory before the price was tallied. She could not bear to look upon another dead friend’s face. Not now. Not now that they had won the day.
      As she knelt there, amid the fallen, with blood dripping down the side of her face, Rhiallis could not help but overhear her friends’ voices in the antechamber.
      “She’s gone. This pit. It opened up and-” Mira gulped. “It chewed on her. I- There was nothing we could do. Sadie was too far and we. We almost killed that tiefling, I think. Maybe. I mean, we tried to fireball her. She escaped though.”
      “Rhiallis can-” Sadie began, then paused. “Or your priest friend. Athynacious, is it? She’s not really – gone gone. Is she?”
      There was a long silence and after a moment, Rhiallis felt the weight of their gazes upon her. She closed her eyes, praying for one last surge of strength to carry on.
      Then she stood up, lay the Sword of Valor over her arm, and headed toward her friends.
      The battle is won, a voice not her own echoed within her mind, but the war is far from over…
– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “King Jagiello Statue Central” by (Mulligand) from SXC.hu; edited by me

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