Session Twenty-Three - Serethal
The cellar was cool, dark, and had no windows. It was late at night, and picking the lock was a simple enough matter. Solana re-locked it behind her, to keep anyone from intruding, and cleared a space off a low workbench set against one wall. After a quick search to make sure she was alone in the room (with vague impressions of impatience and irritation coming from the sword at her side), she slid Serethal out of its scabbard and placed it on the bench. The ancient sword glowed gently, filling the cellar with a cool but comforting light.
“All right, Serethal. I’m pretty sure I heard you yell out when we first came down there. But since then, I’ve only been getting feelings and emotions from you. Can you actually talk? Or has the Rakshasa got your tongue?”
It was the day after the group had gotten their ‘invitation’ to running the Academy’s gauntlet, and the first time that Solana had managed to get some time alone.
“Has the Rakshasa? I do not understand…” the voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. It sounded like several voices, men and women of various ages speaking together in a multitude of accents both familiar and completely unknown. The runes etched along the blade glowed faintly, pulsing with each word.
“Never mind,” Solana said. “Dumb joke. So you can talk?”
“Yes,” the sword continued. The blue glow steadied, filling the basement with a cool light. “I did not wish to draw undue attention to myself in the cavern. And I wished to spend some time studying your friends before revealing the true extent of my capabilities.”
“Associates,” Solana corrected the sword automatically. “And unless you can turn yourself into a gun or a spiked shield you’re going to be stuck with me.”
“That is just as well,” the blade replied, sounding slightly disappointed. “In any event, I think we have much to discuss.”
“Let me start by filling you in on what’s been going on in the thousand or three years…”
. . .
Solana spoke for some time, giving a rough outline of what she knew of the legends about Kazvon and the changing of the Queen from a young trophy wife to a possessed tyrant. The strangeness involving Trinia, Zellara, and a Harrow deck that had power far beyond the ink and paper of which it was made. The Shoanti legend of the warriors who slew Kazavon, and the eons since then, when history had passed into rumor, myth, and legend. There was a long pause after she finished.
“That is a shame. I remember Mandravius well…” the sword said, disappointed.
“Well, it happens. Even if he was an elf, it was a long damn time ago. And even they are mortal.”
“Yes, but soon I shall rekindle my power once more, and follow your lead. Together we shall defeat the Queen, and seal the pieces of Kazavon once more,” the sword spoke with confidence, and the blue light became tinted white at the edges, burning with an intensity and confidence that Solana didn’t quite feel.
“That’s the plan…” Solana said. “Oh. Um. Assuming we both get through this, uh… Alive, no offense, is there some church or temple or something you want me to take you to afterwards?”
“If you do not wish to continue the fight against Zon-Kuthon after this, then find one that you approve of who will pick up that fight.”
“All right. We can worry about that when we get there,” Solana said, making a mental note to figure out what churches in particular warred against Zon-Kuthon. After all this was done, she didn’t intend to spend more than a few minutes looking for the Next Fated True Champion Wielder of Serethal and Endless Attacker of Zon-Kuthon’s Minions.
“He has been defeated before. It will be done again,” the sword continued.
“Yes, well. There’s a subtle but important distinction between ‘defeated’ and ‘killed’…
“Kazavon cannot be killed. His will is strong, and he refuses to die. But when his pieces are separated, they only have but a small shard of his true, full power. Kept apart and in safety, they will remain dormant. As they should be.” The sword’s voice lowered, as though it were saddened at the thought that short-lived mortals couldn’t be bothered to do something as simple as keep such destructive artifacts safely hidden away for millennia at a time.
“Well, I hope you have some thoughts on what to do with the fangs one we get a hold of them…” Solana rubbed her chin in thought. “Maybe Lumen could bury them in the backyard of her demiplane. I’ve heard it’s a terrible place.”
“I do not recommend that,” the sword said quickly, and with more than a bit of force. “But getting the fangs away from the Queen is as good as killing her. It would be an excellent start. And perhaps research has grown since my time above in this world. There may indeed be ways to destroy them now.
“Just know that if Laori Vaus is anywhere near you when you strike at the Queen, she will need to be dealt with quickly. In the end, all Zon-Kuthon worshippers are evil at their core, and will do anything to help their own.”
“I have a feeling that she’s not going to be there for the final confrontation,” she said with a grim smile, moving to the bench and picking up the sword. The shadows danced in the blade’s blue light. “Call it a hunch.”
“A good hunch, indeed.”
“I don’t suppose…” Solana started, then stopped.
“You can… Change into different kinds of weapons, right?”
“Yes. Is my form unsuitable for you?”
“No, this is good. I was just wondering… I don’t suppose you could turn yourself into a rifle, could you? Because I’ve got these nifty goggles here, and I can make myself vanish into thin air. I was thinking that if you turned into a gun, then we could…”
Solana trailed off as the sword’s blue-white glow became frost-cold, and an aura of menace filled the basement. Prickly feelings rattled through her brain, as though impatient fingers were drumming on her skull. Her hand began to tingle as though it had fallen asleep, a million tiny resentful pinpricks digging into her flesh as though she had shoved her hand into a bag of stinging nettles.
“Yeah, okay,” she said hurriedly. She slid the sword back into its scabbard and jerked her hand away from the hilt, shaking it to try and get rid of the tingling feeling. “Sorry. Never mind. Forget I asked.”