Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Paladin-Part 21

Working through Torquil, the renegade elder called "Sybil" bore through the mind of the Champion of Kogone known as "Dezikon". Her will drilled through his meager shield of ego and delusion, swiftly seizing his mind from him and taking it up as if it were her own. Possessing his body, Sybil paralyzed Dezikon and silenced his voice; still as death and so quiet as to seem so, it seemed as if the young scout flayed Dezikon with his mind and slew him. To outside observers, this seemed to be simple murder.

Dezikon, at that moment, fervently wished that were so- and not be trapped with some incorporeal madwoman in his mind. Yet he was, and Sybil showed no mercy whatsoever to the youth. Relentlessly she scoured his memories, dregged up painful pasts and forced him to fully repeat the excruciating experiences that conditioned him into becoming who and what he is now. Silently screaming, Dezikon's pain quickly and completely destroyed his resistance.

"What do you want of me?" he thought.

Coldly, clearly and concisely came Sybil's summary: "Dezikon, you must do what your powers demand of you--what the cult fears from you--and destroy Kogone!"

Dezikon did not respond, but Sybil sensed what he thought.

"Yes, you, by unleashing the golden light invested in you. That divine power slays the infernal wherever they meet, and you possess such power that your master fears you turning upon him. Why else does he dispatch you to slay his demonic minions?"

The youth, reluctantly, saw the truth. Slayer of errant demons, healer of warriors, blessing warbands, fearless leader of armies and so much more. Healing and protecting the cult's warriors and other members, but rarely dispatched to fight in his own right- what did Kogone and the others fear?

Just then, a dark and foul presence spread itself into Dezikon's mind, and Sybil met this enemy mind-to-mind, will-to-will and knew that this was one the cult's Grand Hierophant himself- the one that spoke for Kogone when that worthy was not present.

"MINE!" he thought, assault Sybil in a fury-fueled flaying attack upon Sybil. Thrown on the defense, Sybil deflected each lash of the psychic scourge until she felt his fury ebb- and then she thrust forth her own attack. With a puissance no infernalist could ever match, Sybil's psychic spear-like slam sliced through the Hierophant's ego-based defenses and struck something substantial.

"No." Sybil thought, still cold, "This youth's bondage I now sunder, his will I restore and his purpose I return. Too long did you slave him to your master's will by your abuse and lies."

Just then, Dezikon remembered. He remembered everything- everything! His ire stoked, his long-suppressed rage arosed, Dezikon turned upon his tormentor. In a brilliant golden flash Dezikon focused his will and cut down the Hierophant, and now shattered the Hierophant fled from Dezikon's mind.

Unfazed, Sybil turned her attention to the youth and thought "Now do you see?"

"Yes." Dezikon thought, "What more must I do?"

"Learn." Sybil thought, and she flooded Dezikon's mind with lore and lessons long overdue. A seeming lifetime later, Sybil withdrew from his mind and Dezikon regained control of himself. Standing, he turned to Torquil.

"She told you what to expect, yes?"

Torquil nodded.

"Then let it be done."

Torquil produced a small, fragile thing from the folds of his clothes. He shattered it against the ground with a flash and a puff of smoke.

"The others are now informed." Torquil said, and he turned to his subordinate, "Run for the others; they will need assistance. We have it from here."

The subordinate departed without a word, leaving only the scout and the spiritual warrior, who--knowing what needs to be done--turned back towards Silvertop Mountain and went to their grim work.

Distantly, Thomas perceived just beyond sight a pop of arcane power. The mage turned to James and smiled. James nodded, turned to a man below and signaled the alarm; the makeshift drums sounded the alert and the men readied themselves at the now-finished palisades. The warriors of the White Tower stood ready, knowing that all they need do now is hold the line.

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