Legends of Cobalt

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Read Legends of Cobalt from the beginning: 

http://dreamforgeproductions.com/2019/03/21/desperate-times/

Knight of the Sapphire Flame

We sat in the Gild Hall’s common room with half a dozen strangers. A handful of candles flickered around the ransacked room. Fayaad slunk into a dark corner behind the bar and the twin sea elves leaned against the front of the bar. The strangers followed their movements, hands on their weapons.

“Thank you, friends, for coming here.” Serephina descended the stairs. “You all know our city is in danger and we’ve been powerless to help it.”

“Why are we here Serephina?” A broad-shouldered man in a simple tunic and farmer’s hat demanded. 

“We’ve run out of time. Alone, we haven’t been able to change anything, now we need your help.”

A dwarf, who’s beard clinked when he spoke, slammed his fist on a table. “Git on wit’ it or imma go ‘ome, drink meself t’ bed an ‘ope I don’ wake up tomorrow.”

Serephina waved her hand at us. “These people claim they can help solve our biggest problem.”

“What’s the ‘but’?” A gnome woman in worn, stained leathers scratched the head of a giant wolfhound beside her. “There’s always a but with these kinds of things.”

“We need more manpower. They need a distraction to break into Spinel castle.”

Katsu emerged from the kitchen in full plate armour. He clutched an ornate helmet under one arm and a spear tipped with a sword blade in the other. 

The farmer crossed his arms. “How are we going to do that?”

Aramil flipped a dagger in the air and caught it by the hilt. “An all-out assault on the Iron Cloister.” A wide grin split his face.

The strangers laughed.

“Ye brought us ‘ere to ask us t’ fight an army wit’,” the dwarf paused to count everyone in the room. “Eleven of us?” He slapped his table and spread his arms wide. “Throw in some pipes an’ we’ve got a rebellion. Death ‘as got t’ be better than this sack o’ shit.”

“Ten. Not eleven.” Katsu walked around the bar and bowed low. The various metal pieces of his armour tinked together. “Master, with your permission, I will go to the castle with the others. I feel my talents will be better utilised there and give us the greatest chance of victory.”

Serephina looked back to us and nodded.

“Thank you, master.” 

“More for me.” The dwarf twisted the handle of his great axe. “When are we startin’?”

“We will travel in the parade of phantasms.” Serephina replied, “Until then, you are all welcome to our armoury.”

“Thees ees a bad idea.” Fayaad stepped out of his hiding spot. “We shouldn’t allow these people een our sanctuary.”

“It is my decision,” Serephina chastised. “These are our allies, and we will offer them what we can.”

“I steell do not like eet.”

***

“Are you ready?” Katsu held the door a crack. The eerie glow of the parade of phantasms illuminated the common room.

“Do we still get a choice?” Bucephalus tossed his empty flask away. “Let’s get this suicide over with.”

Katsu pulled the door open the rest of the way. “Remember to stick close together. Follow the flow of the spectres, don’t fight against it.”

Phebes locked her arm in Bucephalus’s. “Come on Ceph, I think we’ll be okay.” 

The two of them vanished into the river of ghosts. Wyanet followed me to the door. She stopped at the threshold, the tip of her spear hovered below Katsu’s throat.

“I do not trust you.” Wyanet moved her spear closer. “If you get in our way, I will kill you.”

Katsu nodded as far as Wyanet’s spear would allow.

Wyanet and I waded into the shifting mass of wraiths together. The ghosts moved around us, driven by an unseen current. The ghosts pushed the five of us together and drove us toward the castle gates. We forced our way out of the ghost river and hid in the shadow of a curtain wall.

“We need to wait for the distraction,” Wyanet whispered.”

Bucephalus whispered back, “How long will that take?”

“It should start soon, they left before us.” Katsu glazed at the wall above us. “Percy and I should scout ahead while we wait.” He cupped his hands and put his back to the wall. “I’ll give you a boost.”

I put my foot in Katsu’s hands and he lifted me halfway up the wall. My fingers latched onto the tide smoothed rocks of the wall face. I took my time scaling the rest of the way across the sallow grips and breathed a sigh of relief as I hauled myself over the crenelations. I rolled across the catwalk and crouched behind a low wooden wall. Nothing moved in the courtyard below and no torches flickered. Katsu clanged onto the catwalk behind me and pressed against the wall beside me.

“Where are all the guards?” I ducked back below the cover of the wall. “I can’t see anyone.”

“I can’t see anyone on the walls either. It shouldn’t be this easy.”

North of us, a deep horn sounded the attack. An alarm bell screamed its metallic warning and green beacon fires burned against the clouded night sky.

I pulled a rope from my bag and tossed one end over the crenelations. “We’ll take the wins while we can.”

We helped the others scale the wall.

“Where to next?” Bucephalus wound up the rope and handed it back to me.

A single plume of blue fire flared at the far end of the courtyard opposite us. The blue fire marched into the centre of the yard. All the braziers and torches in the yard and along the wall ignited with the blue flames. The five of us pressed as close to the wooden wall as we could. The first blue flame flowed from the crown of a great helm seven and a half feet off the ground. A full set plate armour supported the great helm. Two points of roiling blue flame burned deep within the eye holes of the helm.

“This is bad.” Katsu tried to crawl away from the edge of the wall. “They shouldn’t be here.”

Wyanet grabbed Katsu and pulled him back. “Who is that?”

“I know you’re out there,” A voice called. The voice sounded hollow and distant. “The Mistress and I know your plan. If you want to get to her, you must go through me. Come out now, and I will make your deaths quick. If you beg for my mercy, I might even resurrect you to fight in my army.”

“What colour I could make out on Katsu’s face drained. “That’s Ironhelm. We can’t beat them. If they’re here, then we’ve already lost.”

Wyanet grabbed my shoulders and pressed her forehead to mine. “Go finish what we came here to do.” She let go of me and repeated the process with Phebes. “I will hold them here as long as I can.” Wyanet collected her spear and shield. “I love you both. Go free these people.” Wyanet stood up.

Phebes reached for an arrow. “No, we can fight them together.”

Wyanet smiled a sad smile. “Not this time, Phebes.” Wyanet jumped off the wall into the courtyard.

The story will continue, December 3rd,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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