The magical door closed, and Thaedron, even though death was raining down above him, rejoiced in the fact his prince would live.
Clear and purposefully, he brought himself up to full height, and held a fist towards his own destruction and the creature beyond it. Like this he would return himself to the Flame. In acceptance, he bowed his head, mouthing his last prayer while the sizzling stream of electricity that was going to end him and the ship along with it rippled towards him.
And that was the moment Thaedron would explain that the miracle happened. For at that precise instant, the colossus exploded in a sharp crack, sending bolts of white hot energy blasting outwards in serpentine arcs. With a great boom, thousands or more of it’s parts burst outward in all directions like a great bloody firework display of flesh and gore. Again, Thaedron could say that he had a view worthy of a teller’s imagination. This time, though he wasn’t alone. The poor Celns, those who had been starved and tortured in ways none could imagine by the entity known as the Host, were far too stunned to do anything but watch. What does one do whilst seeing a gigantic creature, the size of a castle, constructed of the parts of thousands of slaves, explode in midair just as it was about to rain death down upon you?
The concussive wave struck them next and it sent he and the others around him tumbling backwards like a barrel fallen off a carriage traveling uphill, and bent the ship over so that the masts, and all along with it, nearly emptied in the sea. Some of the Celns fell over board, but most held on, and the ship righted itself back, propelled upwards by it’s natural buoyancy. Thaedron stuck his arm in a netting matrix of rope used to secure boxes of ammunition, and pulled himself back to his feet.
There was then sobbing. Great and utter bewilderment capped with a great tearful crying that one would not normally associate with Celn seamanship! The type of sobbing that a grown man would later deny. It was the type of sobbing when hope had returned, after one knew it never would. The kind that accompanied a miracle. For his part, Thaedron’s eyes watered too, but he’d later leave that part out of his stories.
With nothing left in their bodies nor stomachs, and little but the smallest dash of this new hope in their chests, the survivors stood watching the ghastly pieces of the enemy fall into the sea.
Suddenly, a sailor pointed upwards, where the creature had been, and spoke the first clear words that Thaedron had heard for many days, “It is those who fly from dead monsters! In the sky!”
Another cried out, fear in his voice, “Are they some kind of birds?”
A small halfling with poor eyesight spoke excitedly, “I can’t explain! Is it rain?”
“No! It’s neither!” Shouted a third, “It’s a…it’s a…. lizard man!”
And it was! Flying through the air, was the most magnificent, green muscled speciment of the island’s lizard folk, his tail trailing behind him like a great long keel guiding his flight. The creature fell quickly through the air, downward towards the ship, carrying over each shoulder not one but two bodies. One was a creature, like a man, only with horns curling out from his head and a tail dangling between his armor plates. The other, was a figure in the Hosts’ simple robes. They were spiraling rapidly and now out of control in the descent.
A battle mage upon the decks lifted his arm and timed his hand along with the encumbered lizard man. Thaedron looked up to see the figure slow by the magic of the mage’s spell. Soon, the lizarman’s clawed feet rested on the deck just feet before him, and the strong beast laid each figure down where they were immediately attended to by other clerics aboard. Thaedron looked at the beast, and saw his beady eyes blinking, almost as if he were confused by what just happened. He had met this fellow before. He knew who he was, and Thaedron was now as much in awe of it, as he was of any other person he had ever met.
Thaedron, his voice chalked with emotion yelled for all to hear, “Once again they’ve done it. Able to leap from dead monsters in the air in a single bound! The Four have killed the Host! We’ve got a chance now to end this we have!”
Another called, “Why it’s Thrak the Mighty of Three Harbors! He’s done it! The four have killed the host they have! But they’ve done more than that! Look!” Thaedron stared out where several other sailors were pointing, yelling in excitement. There, out in the bay, those aboard the Host’s ships were not firing cannon, or at their positions. They were simply staring out into sea as if lost. Some were removing their robes as if they no longer wanted to wear the accursed garments. It was over. Indeed, whatever The Four had done, the Host’s grip on her subjects was gone.
Men cried and cheered, and took up song. A great throng of noise and dance erupted over the decks of the last remaining ships. Thaedron looked across to see Roscoe and Portia leading their sailors in song and he was fairly certain that the weapons now in their hands were no longer pointy ones but those which would hold ale! Taryn and Mesilla stood atop the nearest ship, embracing. Taryn removed his sword from his sheath and led a rebellious chant for Cellinor! Thaedron saw then another man, towards the back of the crowd there, and he too had a brilliant sword, but it was still sheathed. As the crowd whooped and hollered in front of them, they seemed not to notice this man and another woman there too also in an embrace.
The cleric turned his attention back to Thrak. “I don’t understand. How? How did you do it?”
Thrak shrugged as if the question were not something he should know how to answer anyway. His enormous forked tongue licked around his jaws, his little black eyes stared without a hint of his demeanor. “I gave her a bellyache.”
“You what?” Asked a fighter incredulously nearby. He whispered to another, who then whispered to another. Others in the crowd asked where Lady Iricah was, or the monk. But Thrak did not seem interested in any of these questions.
“Asssssk me later, human,” hissed Thrak. “My friendssssss need attention!” Thrak spoke with such authority that those nearest came to help immediately if they could. Thaedron called several clerics, who administered aid and began to locate wounds.
Thaedron came to kneel down by the figures on the deck. He directed both to be positioned on their backs. The first, a pale sickly figure, was clearly still alive. He was coughing a bit and he was immediately given a potion which seemed as though it made him gag and chok worsee. Another potion was administered and this eased his suffering and seemed to cure him of some of his ails. He coughed up much of the green liquid but some was kept down, and his eyes began to open slowly.
The other was still. Silent. Blood poured from many open wounds among his armor. Several of the clerics pushed their way to the front, and began to bind his wounds as best as they could. But the situation did not look promising to Thaedron who knew something terrible that had not been made known to all aboard yet.
“Human, ussssse your magics to bring him back to usssss. His death issss not hissss end. I know the magics your Flame can work. Do it now!” Thrak shoved his massive body near that of Frank, standing over Thaedron aggressively. His tail wagged behind him quickly, impatiently.
Thaedron had met Frank before, and recognized his armor, and some of his facial features. But seeing him here, with horns, and hooves and tail, and red skin struck him. The man is a Child of Ket! I’ve seen everything tonight I have! Whatever he was though, he is now gone.
He looked up slowly into the lizard man’s eyes. “I am sorry, Thrak. The flame no longer guides those back to the light in death. I cannot….I cannot bring him back..”
“You can!!!! You refuse to treat him for being half?” Thrak bellowed loudly. “He is more whole than any here!”
“No Master Thrak, no. It is not that. The flame no longer can…”
Thrak hissed instantly, and with enraged swiftness, he pulled out his axes, twirling them wildly. He growled, staring at each of those around him, daring any to oppose him. He spun around to all on the deck showing his blades, slicing the air around him. He pointed one backwards at Frank’s mangled body. “This Celn has given all for you!!!! This warrior deserves to come back to the light!!! You Celns talk of your Heroes. THERE IS YOUR HERO!!! I know you have the power to do it!!! By your livessssss, bring him back! Or I ssssoo swear your battle is not yet won!!!!”