Karl idly stepped closer to the jagged hole in the floor where once an elegant lattice-work of iron and glass had stood. Looking down, he said simply “I can’t see the bottom, it just fades into blackness. Unless she can fly…”
Aengus, more attuned to the feel of the place, had suddenly realized that the creepers and vines at the edge of the room were not moving in the breeze – but moving against it. He called out, attracting the attention of the rest of the companions as the leaves and roots gathered, twisting together, and rising in the shape of a female form. Flowers and leaves clothed her as her body rose up.
Smiling, the figure spoke in a pleasant voice. “Once, Enteritus was a favourite of mine, it must be said. But now, after his actions, I must confess that all of you are. I am glad that so many of you have answered the call. Please will you help save this great realm?
Aengus replied, saying “Will you tell us your name before we agree to your request?”
“In the world of The Herald,” began the strange being, gesturing toward Iben the barbarian of Kindraed, “I am known as Mistress Night and Day. In my homeland, I am known only as Hel.” Flowing forwards, branches rustling together, the figure moved into the light cast by Sigurd’s magic. “The Swordlands and Aelfheim are conjoined, and what befalls one will affect the other. Ragnarok is to come, and the surface world will not survive. However, Aelfheim, the Feywild, can be saved if the connection is broken.”
Thunder spoke up. “You say that Ragnarok is unavoidable, and that the world will be destroyed. I was created to avert that, and to be a Protector for Humanity.”
Hel spoke in reply, “The legends I am sure have not escaped you. There are many. Some tell of Giants, some tell of Primordials, and, as you travel further, you will no doubt hear tell of some fury greater still, but each legend tells of the complete and absolute destruction of all that this land ever shall be. There is no future here, there is only what is. There is only Ragnarok. No power of my world or of the Gods in the heavens can change this. While the world of the Swordlands is doomed, my homeland can be saved. You, Aengus, and your companions must bring about the Disjunction between the World and Fey-world.
“Many hundreds of years ago the human kings of the Crown Wars fought each other to claim a great prize. In their blind desire for mutual destruction they summoned three of the most powerful beings of my world. The First Three brought with them a new meaning to suffering and slaughter, and each king in turn paid the price for their foolishness.”
Thunder spoke, “I have seen the walls of Glorium, the tomb of the kings of the Swordlands. There the walls tell of a single battle that lasted for seven generations of men, ending only when the Witch, the Wolf, and the Dragon were summoned and set themselves upon the armies of mankind.”
“This was the beginning of the conjunction. Continued Hel, “The three callings were no mere conjurations. Beings of such power require greater magic than most can wield, and with the callings were drawn lines of power that remain, binding our two worlds to a single fate. Much like the Leylines that bind the Feywild, these lines flow between our lands and form the conjunction. They are bound with three great seals, and if these 3 seals are severed then the conjunction will be undone.
“But know this. The lines of power that link the two worlds are not Leylines. They are Bloodlines, lines of lineage that have drawn our worlds from their natural states, and their seals are not sigils but the sons and daughters of the first three. You must sever these lines such that not one drop of tainted blood remains unspilled. Seek the lines of the First Three, Angrbode, Fenryr, and Nidhog, and end them.
In killing Kindrbode, seed of the witch Angrbode, you have broken the first of the seals, but you must now kill the Wolf and the Dragon if you wish to continue. Should you succeed in this quest, I will grant you a boon in return.”
“A boon…” ventured Karl
“A great prize indeed awaits you, perhaps the only thing worth having. Journey to Mickelgarth and Hammingjen,” replied Hel. “There you will find Aengus’ father. He has also agreed to help me and will be of great assistance. I hold the soul of his wife in my care, and he realized that above all things he wished for her return to him. It is strange, the actions of those that are descended from me – often, when I think I understand them, they surprise me. Including you, Aengus.”
Startled, the half-Drow replied “I am descended from you? So my abilities, my powers, they are sourced directly in you?”
“That is correct,” she said. “The lineage of the Infanti lives on through you. But now there are other Drow approaching, seeking to kill those that have killed. I leave you now to make your exit.” The mass of vines, branches, leaves and flowers sank back into the floor, disappearing back to the edges of the rooms. Karl cocked his head and listened for a second, before drily noting that there appeared to be several Drow attempting to break down the doors.
Iben recollected the room full of Lizards, and with undue haste the companions made their way there and mounted the beasts. Leaving behind a Blade Barrier from Thunder and a cloud of alchemical spores from Aengus to distract and delay the Drow following them, the companions made their way out of the wall exit and up the side of the city, seeking to return to the surface lands.