The trouble with Death
Kamim was a little surprised to be called to his duties in the middle of the night. Nefalus may never sleep, but with the lack of natural light even Devas spent the night with more subdued tasks. With his only two reincartions Kamim was rather new to the mortal world. He was lucky to be chosen as a writer of the Thraxinium, a honorable task for a beeing as young as him.
On his way to the High Chamber of the Thraxinium he ran into Constable Akinar, Leader of the Civil Guard of Nefalus. Kamim bowed “Greetings Constable. May I ask what urgent matter makes a convent of the Thraxinium on this short notice necessary?”, his three voices chiming the musical deva tongue.
The Constable let out the angelic auqivalent of a grunt. ‘It seems that the mercenaries of Aglarond where had more to it than met the eye. One of them, a beeing called Seph, killed 22 people including eight Civil guards.’ Kamim nodded “May there return be swift.” He paused, “But even with the severity of the charges, isn’t this a matter that should be addressed by the Magistrate?”
The Constables eyes changed its color, one of the signs that another live was coming fourth. With a changed voice he answered, “This beeing transformed into a demon of the outer hells, a beeing that alone would have been enough to destroy most of the lower city with ease. And than there is the matter of his sword…”. With this words the Constable opened the door to the High Chamber.
In the middle of the great hall a six foot long great sword was floating silently, its tip pointing to the ceiling. To Kamim surprise four high mages of the Arcane Order surrounded the sword in four feet distance, sourrounding the sword with a magical barrier. Kamim never heard of an artifact that made these security measures necessary. He looked to the Constable but he was allready taking his place on the higher rows of the chamber.
Kamim was somehow intrigued by the sword. It seemed to be made of a black, light absorbing metal. Red pulsating veins crossed the surface in intricate patterns. It was like the pattern were rearranging itself, interchanging lines and pattern here and there.
Kamim needed to shake himself out of his fascination. He noticed that most of the members of the Thraxinium had allready entered, so he hurried to his desk, at the floor level of the chamber. Bejam, the speaker of The Seven, started the convent by activating the chamber hall seals. No one other than The Seven knew the keywords of the ritual that controlled the ritual, but once activated, nothing in the mortal world would be able to enter or leave the chamber without special consent of The Seven.
With a experienced look, Kamim assessed the particants of this convent. Five members of the Tharaxinium were present, two of the Seven still recuperating from their failed assault on Exarch of Tiamat. Then there was the Constable, the four mages, 14 Guards of the High Chamber and the members of the mercenary band called The Cadrè. Amyria, the Simbarch of Algarond, that brought them here was also present.
Bejams layered and echoing voice chimed through the hall. “Bring fourth the accused”. Kamim was again surprised to see a portal opening in the chamber. A battle mage and two guards entered the chamber through the portal. It seemed, that the accused had been held in a pocket plane, a measure that was not used often.
Then the accused stepped through the portal. Kamim inhaled … the human towered over the guards, wearing the determination of a warrior lord. He was only waring a bloody loincloth, his body covered in blood and grime. But under the dirt, Kamim could saw massive muscles flexing and bulging with every move and dispite all the blood he seemed to be completly uninjured, even scarless. A strange tatoo of tribal symbols, possibly Fey, covered his chest, upper arms and back.
After the trailing guard of a another battle mage and two guards passed the portal, it faded out of existince. ‘Seph of The Cadré, you are accused of murdering 22 people and conspiring with demons. The Thraxinium will decide your fate. Do you want to add anything to the charges laid against you?’
The human looked around the chamber. <<like>> Kamim thought. But then he met the gaze of him and realized that it was more like a predator assessing the strength of its prey. Kamim averted his eyes.
The voice of the human sounded crude and hard compared to the voices of a deva, but it expressed only one thing: Confidence. “Yes, I have something to add. You could call it a story, but you should listen, if you’re interested in the further existance of your pretty little island.”
The members of the Thraxinium exchanged angered looks and Kamim saw the Tiefling of The Cadré mouth something like “Just shut up”.
“The Thraxinium is not taking your threats lightly, accused.” Bejam replied in a total calm voice. “You may have helped us with the Exarch of Tiamat, but that does not mean you can threaten us in any way. This is the High Chamber of the Thraxinium, nothing can be a threat to us here.”.
The human smirked: ’I’m not talking about me … I’m not even talking about Savage’ pointing to the sword “Even if he developed quite the taste for your many-in-one souls.” Kamim felt the evilness just oozing out of the human and feared that his words could have merit.
The accused continued: ’I’m talking about a threat that is even greater than all your small quarrels you have faced so far. You think that Orkus is your problem? That Thay is your problem? You think that these foes could destroy you and this island?’ Sephs eyes challenged the room.
‘You have not witnessed what we are facing. Orkus, Netheril, Thay these are all just side effects of what is really happening. They are just knowing more than you and want to secure as much power as possible.’
Bejam looked at the accused quizically: “Why should we believe your stories, your threats of hidden knowledge. The Thraxinium watches the world and there is war going on. Nothing more, nothing less”.
Seph chuckled: “And isn’t true that you loose more and more mirros each day? Isn’t it true, that something saw you a great enough threat to not only send extremly powerful agents, but even add one of the most powerful and evil artifacts in the mix, just to destroy you? Don’t you see, that it was you knowledge, your spionage that made you threat? Because you could have seen through the ruse.”
He paused and emphasized his point “Something is attacking the planes and even the gods have their hands full dealing with it”.
Kamim knew that the accused had lost all hope of getting out of this chamber alive. He was clearly insanse, claiming that something could challenge the power of the gods. Kamim saw the some members of The Cadré shake their head in utter disbelief of the stupidness of their comrade.
But the human did not seem to notice the change in the room. “Perhaps you would like to know the story of Savage and my part in it?” “Humor us”, Bejam replied coldly.
The human nodded: ‘After the Battle of Hammerfast I decided to visit to the Feywild to meet an old friend. The way there was rather deadly since something nearly suceeded in blocking the portal to work, frying me in the process. Luckily, I’m not easily killed, so I reached my destination in one part or another.’
“I won’t bore you with the details of my year in the Feywild, but it is sufficient to say, that this plane is lucky off in contrast to what is happening there. Long story short: Savage was created aeons ago, even gods are not really sure, when and how. But they know exactly why: Savage was created a weapon of justice and the good, a weapon builded for one purpose: Killing gods.”
Kamim stared at the sword. This sword should be god slayer? One of the rare things on the planes actually powerful enough to harm a god? The symbols created by the veins on the sword reminded Kamim of something, but he could not put his finger on it.
Bejam looked sternly at the accused: “So you are saying this sword is power of good and specifically designed to kill dark gods? And we should take any words of you for granted?”
Seph replied calm as if this was just a walk in the park: “I don’t think you will just believe me, but since you have taken all these precautions, I know, that you sensed the power of Savage.” “But wasn’t it this sword that turned you into a demon, killing people just out of pure bloodlust?” Bejam challenged.
The human laughed: “Turning me into a demon? You only witnessed one of the souls Savage absorbed. It was just one of the many nightmares it removed from the planes. And yes, it is pure bloodlust that drives Savage, but it was not allways like this. In the early days of its existing, Savage was a power of pure good, only taking the souls of the wicked, removing them from all cycles of rebirth, recreation or whatever way of the cheating death they might use. And it was exactly this way of accomplishing its goal that led to its current form.”
“At some point in time Savage was used to killed a god. An evil beeing, full of hatred of the living, constantly striving to destroy and kill. At this point, the current Savage was born. The pure evilness of god was more than the sword could handle, it changed, it molded itself into a weapon of destruction and pure power.”
The accused made a step forward, completly ignoring the battle stance of his captors. “And you willingly used this power to get rid of your little problem. You knew that my price would be the soul of the Exarch and you eagerly accepted. And now you see that there is a price for power and since your problem is gone, you can take the highroad again, judging from the high banners of morale and good, distancing yourself from the ugly tools you used.”
Kamim sensed a shift in the room. <<are>> he wondered. Kamim looked at the sword again, watching the patterns shift and form on surface. He felt one of his former lives emerging, courious and eager, perhaps a scholar or mage. Suddenly it hit him: The sword was trying different arcane patterns to overcome its prison.
Kamim was just inhaling in order to shout out a warning when he saw the symbols match a powerful antimagic pattern. There was just a small dumb sound when the magic shield collapsed. Kamim experienced the next moments as if it were minutes.
The surface of the sowrd started to change, wailing and screaming faces, distorted grimaces started to swirl over the black metal. The handguards of the sword became tentacles, splitting and shooting forward, impaling the the four mages instantly.
The sword started to whirl upwards, ripping the attached body of the mages into pieces in the process. Time seemed to start again. Kamim only remebered that powerful magic spells hit the sword and that he was thrown behind his desk. The air seemed to crackle with raw power and there was this high pitched scream of a thousand combined souls raging.
When Kamim got up again, he saw that the all guards had been brutally slaughtered. The higher ranks of the chamber were protected by a powerful forcefield, likely that the members of the Thraxinium activated unknown safeguards.
Kamim knew that this would be his end. The sword was swirling around, its tentacles leaving deep scars in the stone floor and walls. Kamim saw the human beeing hit by several hits of the tentacles, hits that instantly killed guards and split stone. But the human stood his ground, his wounds closing fast.
With a fast leap the human jumped up to the swirling sword and got hold of its hilt. Just in that instance the sword became just a sword again and with the landing thump of the human an eerie silence took hold of the room.
Still kneeling and breathing heavily, Seph spoke to the ground: “Bejam, if you want this power to be contained, if you wish all the dark souls prisoned in this sword to be contained, if you wish me to wield the full power of rage and destruction against the beeing that even threatens the existance of our gods, if you wish all this, let me and my companions go.”