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Blog 230: Campaign Novelization

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Here it is. The big final battle. It's got my second favorite title, ahaha. There are parts of the chapter more inspired by Megamind than this movie, but I just couldn't think of a good way to get that into the title, ahaha.

There are some references to characters who appeared back at the very beginning, so if any recap is needed, all the previous chapters are on Wattpad (https://my.w.tt/oBS8JVs98L), and FF and AO3 as Council of Thieves.
BUT it's probably not necessary.

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Chapter 41: Face/Off

With Paralictor Chard leading the way, Mathal, Amaya, Tarvi, Gorvio, Chammady, and Eccaridian slipped through the quiet streets and alleys in the darkness waning before the dawn. The weaving cobblestone pathways opened up to a plaza as large as any manor grounds. A ninety-foot-tall bronze statue of Aroden, dead god of Westcrown, broke the city skyline from its center. A twenty-foot-wide ring of still water circled the statue’s feet. Stone benches sat at the eight points of a compass along the outer ring of the reflecting pool. A long grove of towering oaks stretched out from behind the statue to the street across from City Hall at the far end.

“If this place is supposed to help us reflect on how short we are, I think they managed it,” muttered Gorvio.

Paralictor Chard soundlessly shushed him. The six skirted the edge of the plaza as the breaking dawn bathed the dead god in soft gray light. The sun bloomed up from the tiled rooftops and over the statue’s shoulders to form a gentle halo behind its head. The six pressed themselves flat into the nearest shadowed alcoves at the sound of falling, crashing water.

Two rivers of tears ran from the unseeing eyes of bronze. Red and gold flickered from their corners. The six watched, frozen, as two trails of fire followed the tears down the statue and set the reflecting pool alight in a blazing inferno at the dead god’s feet.

A glass-rattling siren blared throughout the plaza and all of Westcrown. Citizens of all ages poked their heads out from the windows and ran into the streets. The rich and their slaves who lived near City Hall did the same, running into the plaza and some past the six themselves.

“What do we do?” asked Eccaridian.

Before anyone could answer, three humanoid shapes floated out from the head of the dead god. Mathal had never seen the pale, gold-suited noble of Taldan heritage at their center. The woman on their right, a chalky-skinned Chelaxian with short, steel gray hair, and the woman on their left, a tall, fallow-skinned Kellid in six-inch stilettos, she recognized with a curse. Tarvi and Amaya cursed with her.

“Westcrown!” called out the noble between Janiven and Ghontas, their voice amplified by magic to fill the plaza and boom over the siren. “Behold your new lord-mayor! Vassindio Drovenge! Here to take Westcrown into a new age of wealth and prosperity for all!”

“We should go,” said Mathal.

“Wait!” said Tarvi. “We can’t just run. If they’ve rigged the statue, they’ve probably rigged the whole plaza with whatever.”

Amaya snapped her fingers.

“Hellknight. You and me are both taking point so I can watch for magi--”

The shadows of their alcoves deepened, definitely by magic. A liquid black shadow in the sky above stretched from corner to corner over the plaza. From the way that Vassindio had completely stopped his triumphal entry speech, the shadow wasn’t part of the plan.

As the six crept forward along the walls, two humanoid shapes floated up from the grove of oaks. Mathal had never seen the pale, silver-suited noble of Taldan heritage, but she recognized the deathly pale elf in crimson at the noble’s side.

“Drovenge!” the silver-suited noble called out, their voice similarly amplified. “Come down there before you make an even bigger fool of yourself. What conquerer lays claim to an entire city...without an army?”

A thick white fog rolled out from between the trees to fill the plaza. The six shrank back into the darkened, shadowed alcoves. The mist rolled up from the ground and into the air. Small clouds tore off from the mass fog and gathered in separate spheres, hundreds upon hundreds of them. The first fog sphere poofed into a black-suited vampire. The next followed suit. The next. The next.

“How about change of plan,” said Mathal, voice hushed. “We cut through.”

“I’ve got your back,” said Gorvio.

Amaya and Tarvi nodded at each other. They’d take the back and sides. Chard would stay with Chammady and Eccaridian.

A group of vampires turned their stares from Drovenge and his bodyguards to Drovenge’s kids and their bodyguards. The Sivanshin and the silver-suited noble turned. So did Drovenge, Ghontas, and Janiven. Mathal, Amaya, and Tarvi waved sheepishly.

“You didn’t bring your army, you brought your children. Excellent parenting.”

Drovenge cursed.

“Eirtein, a favor, if you would.”

“I’m listening.”

They all were.

“Send some of your army in their direction, would you?”

Chammady’s palms pounded Mathal’s back.

“Go!”

“My pleasure.”

Mathal hexed herself. The vampires vanished. Amaya snapped her fingers.

“I don’t think so.”

Mathal could see them. All six of them could. She grinned and sprang at the incoming vampires. Her nails ripped through their flesh like paper, witchlocks slamming another into the stones of the plaza. They kept coming.

Four vampires immediately replaced their fallen brethren. They grabbed her arms and yanked her into the air.

A deafening storm of blue-green lightning thundered out from behind her. Hundreds of short range bolts lanced out in an instant striking down every vampire in a thirty-foot radius. They sizzled and dropped, smoking like burnt bacon.

Mathal tumbled down to the ground, rolling up to the balls of her feet. She ran through the circle of smoking vampires. A new wall of snarling, fanged faces flew down to meet her.

She couldn’t hear her own roar but she felt the breath like flame in her throat. She launched herself at the center of the wall, ripping, tearing, and slamming a red hole through the black suits. As she burst through the back of the wall in a shower of flesh and blood, one wing of fire and one wing of ice exploded out from either side of her. The wall came tumbling down.

On the other side stood Director Janiven, leather-wrapped fists raised in a ready stance. She shook her head at Mathal, glowering, and said something none of them could hear. Mathal pointed at her ear.

“Ah.”

The last word was the only word Mathal recognized. Janiven blurred. Janiven’s fists moved so fast that Mathal could only track them by where they broke her bones.

Mathal screamed and sweat, but her hexed body wouldn’t let her drop. She sprang at Janiven, healing as she struck back.

Janiven’s bracers deflected her claws in a spray of sparks. She shifted out of the way of the witchlocks with half a step. It was just enough room for her to spring into a second bone-breaking barrage.

Her fists knocked the blood and spit out of Mathal, but they also knocked in a sliver of sense. She was a healing punching bag and Janiven could punch forever. She couldn’t win this fight. At the last punch, Mathal dropped flat to the ground.

A single bolt of blue-green lightning as broad as a waving banner slammed into Janiven’s chest. She screamed. It exploded out from her back, spreading to the nearest vampire. Janiven’s leathers smoked, but she stayed on her feet. She charged at Gorvio.

A stream of fire knocked her off target. And into a flurry of razor-sharp shards of ice.

Janiven dropped to her hands and knees. Dark red pooled under her, spreading to Mathal in seconds. Their eyes met, Mathal’s wide and Janiven’s wincing in huffed pain. The corner of Janiven’s mouth curved upward. Something twinged in Mathal’s chest.

Two helping hands tore Mathal’s eyes off Janiven. She clasped palms and Gorvio and Chard pulled her up to her feet. They couldn’t stop. They were halfway home.

Mathal grit her teeth and charged back into the fray, leaving Janiven to the vampires. She roared into the hoard of black suits. The longer she cut them down, the more screams she could hear over her ringing ears. One, she recognized. Tarvi.

Mathal ripped her nails out from vampire throats, head jerking over her shoulder. Sivanshin’s rapier poked out from Gorvio’s back. Gorvio grabbed at the metal, but Sivanshin only shoved it further into his body. Gorvio’s eyes rolled to the back of his head. Sivanshin flung his body off the end of his rapier, and it hit the ground like a wet suit.

Mathal whipped out her wand with a growl. In the span of a single charge, a wing of fire and a wing of ice burst out at Sivanshin from either side. He cut through both in a flurry of whistling steel. Mathal’s pounding pulse drowned out all other sound. They couldn’t take him.

She dropped the wand and charged, clawing at his back. Sivanshin caught her nails on the edge of his sword.

“You. I’m going to enjoy--”

“Do it!” Mathal shouted over him.

“But--” said Tarvi.

Fire exploded into Sivanshin, catching Mathal in the blasting flames. The force slammed their burning bodies into the stones of the plaza.

“Sorry.”

Jagged spears of ice rained down from above. She threw her arms over her head and neck. The ice lanced as sharp as glass through flesh and vein. Mathal’s scream cut off in a bloody gurgle.

Her stitching sinew beat back the darkness at the edge of her sight. Sivanshin stood over her, one hand dusting shards of ice off his singed suit.

“I’m glad to see someone here means business.”

His rapier stabbed down through Mathal’s chest to tap the ground like the end of a cane. She choked and sputtered red. His other hand pointed in Tarvi’s direction, fingers curling to claws. Ice and fire flew overhead.

Without moving his sword, Sivanshin crouched down and grabbed Mathal by the hair. He lifted her to sitting, sliding Mathal up the bloody blade to see Amaya desperately fending off vampires and a dominated Tarvi. Chard could barely keep the vampires off Chammady and Eccaridian with Amaya’s flagging help.

“You made a valiant effort, I’ll give you that--more initiative than my son’s ever shown. But for what?”

He chuckled in her ear.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to kill you. I just want you to watch your friends kill each other first. Then watch your candidate, candidates(?) fall to my spawn. That much, I owe you.”

Without looking away from her fighting friends, Mathal tore at the throat over her shoulder. Her nails ripped red flesh into the air.

Sivanshin slammed the back of her head to the ground. Stone and skull cracked. Her vision blurred. Sivanshin’s wet cough faded as though into the distance. All the strength bled out from her limbs.

Mathal closed her eyes. Sivanshin was right. They had made a valiant effort. It’d gone down in ice and flames, sure, but they’d tried. Mathal had tried. She wondered if Janiven had felt the same peace when she’d died.

A whirring, roaring scream of wind jolted her eyes back open. Storm clouds hidden behind the liquid black shadow in the sky whirled down through the darkness. Lightning cracked and thundered in the funnel as storm spun into a thirty-foot-wide tornado.

Vampires fought to stay in the air as their suits pulled them toward the vortex. It sucked the wounded in first, vacuuming away their screams.

Blue-green lightning cracked over Mathal and slammed straight into Sivanshin. He roared and seized the hilt of his rapier. Mathal’s hands closed around the blade.

A second bolt, more deafening than the last, blasted Sivanshin between the eyes. The bone-shaking jolt travelled straight down the rapier into Mathal. She screamed, but she didn’t let go.

A third bolt. It was too much. The twitching, smoking Sivanshin yanked the rapier out her chest and up through her fingers, slicing them to the bone. From his hunched form, his eyes locked on Gorvio.

Deafened, Mathal didn’t hear the clank of armored boots on stone. Neither did Sivanshin.

The Hellknight’s sword swung clean through the Sivanshin’s neck. The vampire’s severed head and body crumbled to ash. The whipping winds whisked them away.

Gorvio ran to Mathal, wand in hand. He charged her until she could sit up. Her hexed body took care of the rest.

“Amaya!”

Gorvio helped Mathal to her feet. Amaya and Tarvi leaned on each other’s shoulders, no longer fighting but catching breath. Chard had returned to Chammady and Eccaridian, the twins bracing against the slackening winds.

The tornado no longer touched down on the plaza stones. The end of the swirling vortex shrank back toward the shadow above. Amaya and Tarvi both nodded at Mathal and Gorvio. They were ready.

The six ran and tore their way through the thinning crowd of vampires to City Hall.

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