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Saturday, March 13, 2010 Rise and Fall of the Paladins - Part 3

Cristophe is still fighting the Succubus Queen. The she-devil is a bit astonished at how much Chris has improved since their last fight, with the complete Arsenal of Light and powerful new moves he packed. She pulls away from the fight and looks around. Almost all harpies and winged demons were killed, and some angels and griffin riders are now surrounding the she-devil.

The situation is bad, so she decides to turn away and flee for her life. She heads east, breaking through enemy ranks with her spiraling attack Irresistible Desire, flying away in full speed, shrieking retreat. On seeing their leader fleeing, the surviving harpies and winged demons flee as well.

Chris wants to pursue her, but he is overcome with fatigue from his fighting Archdevil Arachus, and his griffin Acavela is a bit wounded and can’t fly too fast. So, he decides not to pursue her. He can’t call Avariel too. The Archangel is probably chasing Arachus to the doorsteps of Kraal’Thragon.

Now the air units can fully concentrate on the undead forces. The constant bombarding and skewering are enough to make the intelligent undead like banshees and demons scatter and flee, leaving the mindless ones to perish.

Plus now about ten thousand Arcadian reinforcements arrive, overrunning the undead from all sides. In only two hours, not a single undead is left alive.

We won, says Chris in his mind. I can’t believe it at first, but we have defended this city. It’s all Vadis’ will, and whatever the result, I thank him with all my heart.

He rides downwards and lands on top of a high building. As he sees his comrades looking at him, he raises his sword. The crowd cheers thunderously, echoing to the entire city of Myrcalia, except maybe, the palace.

Back in the palace, Chris is most surprised. No one is cheering in there; no one is happy. He wonders, why? He sees Dejan Pavlovic on the entrance and asks, ‘Dejan, what’s wrong?’

The halfling replies, ‘Haven’t you heard? It’s your brother, Alexis. Robert Chandler murdered him.’

A sudden thunder for Chris.
‘That’s what the soldiers said. But I’m not sure...’

Chris grabs and pulls Dejan’s shirt to him, shouting, ‘Don’t play games with me! Tell me, did my brother die? HUH!?’

‘I only heard it from the soldiers! He was murdered on his bed when he was lying there, heavily wounded! I’m going to his room now, but I don’t know the way!’

‘NO! It’s all rubbish! Utter rubbish! My teacher, my closest friend would never do that! My brother is so strong; he wouldn’t be killed that easily!’

‘That’s what I’m going to find out too! Calm yourself, Prince Cristophe! Let’s go to your brother’s room to make sure of things!’

Without answering, still distraught, Cristophe rushes to the royal chambers. He keeps on running and running, ignoring all protocols, manners and his charisma as a Paladin Prince who won the Battle of Myrcalia just now. He only thinks of one thing: My brother is alive. It’s only a rumor, and I’ll prove that with my own eyes. Robert has told me that he wouldn’t have revenge on my brother. I’ll prove that too!

He runs and runs along the royal chambers corridor, bumps into a knight and rushes into his brother’s room. Several Paladins are already in there: Adler, Eidos, Carolyn, Iris and Andreas, all crestfallen. Father Bernides is there too, on the bed, crying loudly like he has lost a son.

Seeing such things, Chris’ heart beats as hard like popping out from his chest. Blood on the floor, blood on the bed, and there he sees – his brother, the Red Prince Alexis Deveraux.

Pale. Bleeding. Cold. Soulless. Dead.

‘Alexis! Brother! No, brother... NOOOO!!!!’

He has lost his mother, and now his brother. Tears flood on his face.

‘Don’t leave me! Father Bernides! You can fix him, right? GO! FIX HIM NOW!’

No. Even the powerful healers Bernides and Andreas cannot resurrect the dead. He just shakes his head, leaving Chris in dismay. Chris kneels and grabs the dried blood on the sheet. His face changes from sorrow to wrath. He looks upwards, shouting at the top of his voice.

‘ROBERT CHANDLER! You traitor! Pay for my brother’s soul! I’ll get you for this, I swear! I’ll hunt you down to the bowels of the world even after my death, and I’ll never rest until I have my revenge – WHATEVER-THE-PRICE!’

The battle was won, but the Paladins were lost
Killed and separated, falling on their rise
No jubilation today, only sorrow
The devil is lost, but is jubilant
What a day, what a day

End of Chapter Fourteen
End of Book Two: Masks of the Soul
Completion Date: May 5, 2008


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