Way of the Wicked
45 - King Markadian V
Chapter 44: King Markadian V
Tylus managed to contact the thieves’ guild while we wandered around the magnificent city to see the sites and hear the tales. The people of Cheliax were clearing beginning to lose faith in Aroden as a whole and seemed almost ready to embrace the new rule although they still pinned their hopes on King Markadian and his army.
Raiju used his invisibility and gaseous forms to wander around the Adarium and learn its layout. He discovered an underground chamber although the fire creature guarding it prevented him from exploring further. We determined this was the most likely spot for the portal
Information from the thieves’ guild largely confirmed what we suspected and after some deliberation we decided to wait until the very night Chargammon was going to attack and simply fly over and make our way as quickly as possible to the region were the portal resided.
The place was largely deserted, as Raiju told us, because everyone was off at the campaign. We encountered a small guard in the main entrance but they proved no match for our evil power.
After that we followed the directions of Raiju and quickly found the entrance to the underground chamber. There Dunn rushed forward directly at the fiery woman inside and suffered terrible burns that he carried for the rest of his days. We managed to arrive in time to help him and dispatch the woman although she sank into the lava leaving nothing behind.
It took some serious squeezing but we managed to get Jeritheon down with us and into the chamber beyond where we found the portal as expected. We then took up positions and waited for the great black to arrive.
Chargammon announced his presence with a mighty attack and not long after King Markadian emerged from the portal along with several others including my old friend Milus Sarani. The battle was difficult and Zikomo met his end to an axe blade but we managed to kill the king and end once and forever the reign of the Arodonites over Cheliax. Or so I thought.
It did not occur to me that Princess Bellinda and her protectors stood even a ghost of a chance at surviving the assault of mighty Chargammon. We looted the corpses and headed upstairs to view the carnage.
Much to my shock we found a great crowd gathered around the corpse of the black dragon and by eavesdropping learned the entire story. In a coincidence that is hard to imagine; that very night Sir Richard arrived back in Westcrown from his successful quest to find a cure to the Tears of Aklys. He was staying upstairs in the tower and immediately rushed to the aid of the Princess. He proved unable to stop the assault and it was the Princess herself with terrible words of destruction who slew the Black. It seems we struck off the head of Cheliax only to find that the real power was his daughter.
With Sir Richard and Bellinda now in control of Cheliax and presumably the army of The Fireaxe destroyed at Kintargo we did the only thing we could do, flee. Jeratheon, released from his servitude by the death of father flew off and Irfan al-Janbiya having completed his contract to kill the king also bid us farewell.
While on the road we were once again approached by Dessiter and his message was far more urgent. He claimed that Cardinal Thrune had abandoned us, that he wanted another upon the Throne of Cheliax, that he planned to betray us. Dessiter insisted we come with him to meet his master, one Nabarus.
We agreed to do so and the terrible devil made it clear that if we wished to remove ourselves from our obligations to Cardinal Thrune he would be our new master. He also made it plain that our goal was not just the safety of Cheliax but the utter ruination and destruction of the Holy Order of Aroden and all its devotees. I balked at such a murderous plan for all I had done, or at least so I told myself, was for Cheliax. Tylus was not so inclined and agreed with the great devil.
At that the devil defrocked Cardinal Thrune and made Tylus the High Priest of Asmodeus in Cheliax thus voiding the fine wording of our contract.
With this Dessiter explained that Cardinal Thrune was not a man at all. He told us the story of our former master. How he loved a woman named Bronwyn and how this woman married his brother and died in the childbirth that issued forth his nephew, Sir Richard. Much became clear to me at these revelations. Our plan was to kill Thrune before he could manage the ascension of his nephew to the throne of Cheliax.
Dessiter explained that Thrune was not a man but a Lich and that killing him would only be temporary unless we first destroyed his Phylactory. Dessiter kindly gave us a map to the location of the device and also directions on how to find Thrune in his secret hideout. Dessiter warned us that Thrune would be aware we no longer wore our headbands and would send his servants to find out why.
We had changed masters but perhaps not for the better.
While Tylus reveled in his new power and plotted revenge against those who wronged him I could not help but feel a sense of foreboding. The only good news was that in the absence of King Markadian the leading general of Cheliax, apparently corrupted by Thrune, led the armies against the Fireaxe’s strongest fortifications. The Fireaxe was victorious! Dessiter told us the great hero even now marched towards Westcrown. That victory was imminent. All that stood between we and rule of Cheliax was Thrune. Dessiter was not aware of the power of Bellinda at that time although he came to know it all too well.