Chapter 6 - The Bloody Path

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The Bloody Path
Moonless Age chapter
Postcard Chapter 6 - The Bloody Path.png
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In the wake of Faen's departure, Chapter 6 chronicles Ariel's attempt at coping with her inability to see her best friend.


Summary

Ariel is horrified by her casual murder of Maya.[1]

A Visit from Yafein

In the wake of Faen's self-imposed exile, Ariel slipped into a depression. As an increasingly drunken Liriel made half-heartened and cruelly teasing efforts to rouse her, Ariel remained despondent and somewhat bitter. Soon, however, one of the Fallen Legion guarding Ariel arrivesd at her door. She informed Ariel that a young Sullisin boy had arrived with a slave. Unwilling to forgive Yafein, she demanded that he come to her if he insisted on visiting, internally wishing he would just go away. By the time Yafein arrived with Maya, Ariel had ruminated on Yafein's repeated abandonment of her, her resentment growing to the point of barely-contained fury.

Their reunion took an immediate turn for the worse, as an upset Yafein demanded Ariel apologize for her earlier words decrying him as weak and useless. With Ariel unwilling to do so, and reaffirming her low opinion of him, Yafein began using sorcery on Ariel in an attempt to prove his strength. As Ariel easily escaped his snare with her shapeshifting, a horrified Yafein called her a monster. His words echoing that of Syphile, an already distraught Ariel snapped, accepting that she was a monster, but insisting he was even worse.

Sensing the danger, Maya interposed herself between Ariel and Yafein as Ariel unleashed a blast of mana. The blast hit Maya full in the chest at point-blank range, tearing open her chest and mortally wounding her. As a panicked Yafein scrambled away, Ariel furiously threatened to kill him as well if he did not leave. Responding to the commotion and seeing the carnage, Ant'alya immediately took Yafein away as Ariel ordered her to get rid of him. Traumatized by how easily she had once more killed, Ariel could only watch as Maya plaintively gasped her last breaths.

Trip to the Black Dragon

Though Ariel was initially too shaken to care by her killing mere moments ago, Liriel cheerfully informed her that she had received an invitation to watch a gladiatorial bout at the Black Dragon, with Rikshakar as one of the participants. Ariel payed it little mind, finding her way to Vaelia and falling asleep in her arms.[2] Waking the next day and desiring to be any place but her room, Ariel elected to attend the match, accompanied by Myo'na and Jiv'kyn. On the way, Ariel questioned her guardians of their reasons for serving the clan, somewhat ashamed of the fact that, by protecting her, they had been reassigned from their normal duties. The pair encouraged Ariel not to worry, insisting that the duty was an honour in its own way.


Laele'aell destroys even demons that bar her path.[3]

Having arrived and watched the conclusion of the match, where Rikshakar slew an adult dragon, Myo'na took note of Ariel's unusually luxurious reception, as well as a tension among the staff following Rikshakar's victory. At Myo'na's suggestion, the trio move to leave. On the stairs to the main hall, they encounter Rikshakar as he is subdued by three orcish guards under the command of Jergio. Rikshakar calls out to Ariel, informing her that he had been ordered to lose the match, but had refused to obey. Reminding her of his prior aid and promising to serve her in any way she wished, he called for their aid. Hesitating for only a moment, Ariel ordered her protectors to do so. Though able to force the attackers back for a time, many more came to reinforce the faltering guards, with Lady Irena herself arriving to deal with the disturbance.

Angered by the deaths of her servants, Irena informed them that they would take the place of the gladiators they had killed, amused as a mana blast launched by Ariel was casually deflected by one of her Xuile'solen servants. Though Jiv'kyn chastises Ariel for her short-sighted and reckless command, Myo'na reassures her that the Tavern was owned by an enemy and would have had to been dealt with eventually. She further lectured Ariel that a leader must not apologize for errors in judgement, but overcome the results.

After 15 years of slavery, Minka reclaims his freedom.[4]

Massacre at the Black Dragon

Before the battle could continue, it was conclusively interrupted by the arrival of Laele'aell. Having slaughtered the fleeing customers on her way in, Laele cut her way through Irena's forces with merciless ease.[5] Though Irena had fled, Laele'aell relentlessly pursued her into the gladiatorial pits below, with Ariel and her companions following the carnage. In a bid to halt or kill her pursuer, Irena had released many gladiators and beasts; they were dispatched as well, with only those who remained in their cells be spared. Ariel watched in fascination and horror as Laele cut down even demons summoned to kill her, devouring their essences before her very eyes. The sight forces Ariel to question if this was to be her fate, were she to continue following the path Quain'tana had set for her.

Below, near the bottom of the pits, Irena continued opening cells in desperation. Unwittingly, she came upon the cell of Minka, who took the opportunity given to him to reclaim his freedom. Coldly, he informed Irena that, after 15 years of enduring his slavery, it was her turn to play her game.

Aftermath of the Carnage

Much later, having escorted Ariel to safety, Myo'na and Jiv'kyn reported the incident to their commander at the Fallen Legion headquarters. Jiv'kyn expressed extreme concern about Laele'aeel's continued presence in the field, given her monstrous strength and deep instability. Feeling another loss of control could threaten Ariel's life, Jiv'kyn asked to instead have a third legionnaire assigned to Ariel, a suggestion Mablevi reluctantly agreed with and promised to bring to Quain'tana's attention. Laele'aell would remain in their headquarters, awaiting a day when such an extreme measure was once more needed.

Meanwhile, at the Black Dragon, Minka had claimed ownership of the tavern. As he watched as Irena faced a dragon in the pits she had many times forced him to battle within, he was visited by an old friend and another former Dutan'vir, Sker'ligr. The pair reunited with joy, shocked at the news of the other's survival. They discussed their fates following the Nidraa'chal War, with Minka attributing his survival to pure hatred for Irena, watching below intently as Irena was finally caught in the teeth of the dragon hunting her. As Sker informed him of the scattered survivors of their former clan, the pair promised to unite them alongside the Sarghress, intent on avenging themselves upon the Nidraa'chal and Sharen alike.[6]

Characters

Main Characters

Portrait Ariel Val'Sarghress arc1.png
Ariel is a young girl that is coping with the sudden departure of her best friend, Faen Val'Sullisin'rune.
Portrait Jiv'kyn Sarghress.png
Jiv'kyn is a member of the Fallen Legion that is charged with protecting Ariel when she leaves the fortress.
Portrait Laele'aell Val'Sarghress.png
Laele is Ariel's older sister. She lost her mind to a demon years ago, and she now follows only simple orders and impulses.
Portrait Myo'na Sarghress.png
Myo'na is a member of the Fallen Legion that is charged with protecting Ariel when she leaves the fortress.



Black Dragon

Portrait Jergio.png
Jergio is one of Lady Irena's guards at the Black Dragon Tavern.
Portrait Lady Irena.png
Lady Irena is the smug manager of the Black Dragon Tavern.
Portrait Minka Sann'ligr Val'Dutan'vir.png
Minka is a survivor of the Nidraa'chal war that has been imprisoned and forced to fight as a gladiator by Lady Irena for 15 years.
Portrait Rikshakar.png
Rikshakar is a gladiator in the Black Dragon's arena. He helped Ariel kill Mir'kiin, and he now expects her to help him in return.



Ariel's Memories

Portrait Khal'harror Val'Beldrobbaen arc1.png
A cruel classmate of Ariel's, Khal is recalled by Ariel when she is reminded of Yafein's betrayals.
Portrait Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress.png
A cruel classmate of Ariel's, Mir'kiin is recalled by Ariel when she is reminded of Yafein's betrayals.
Portrait Nau'kheol Vel'Sharen arc1.png
A cruel classmate of Ariel's, Nau'kheol is recalled by Ariel when she is reminded of Yafein's betrayals.
Portrait Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune arc1.png
Faen is Ariel's best friend. Ariel remembers her when she is reminded of Yafein's betrayals.
Portrait Syphile Val'Sarghress.png
Syphile is the bitter noble that raised Ariel. Her constant insults and abuse still ring in Ariel's ears to this day.



Other Characters

Portrait Ant'alya Sarghress.png
A Fallen Legionnaire who informs Ariel of Yafein's arrival.
Portrait Liriel.png
Liriel is an eccentric slave that has decided Ariel is her master.
Portrait Mablevi Sarghress.png
Mablevi is the commander of the Fallen Legion.
Portrait Sker'ligr Mae'yukir Sarghress.png
Sker is an ex-Dutan'vir noble who escaped death by fleeing to the Val'Sarghress clan at the end of the Nidraa'chal war.
Portrait Maya.png
Maya is a light elf slave that Faen purchased and Yafein has kept.
Portrait Vaelia Arc I.png
Vaelia is an emberi slave that Ariel purchased and freed. She is dedicated to protecting and caring for Ariel in ways her drow family never would.
Portrait Yafein Val'Sullisin'rune arc1.png
A classmate of Ariel's from Orthorbbae, Yafein is a coward who more than once has abandoned Ariel when she needed him the most.





This article reflects events up to chapter 6.

Sources:

  1. Chapter 6, page 11
  2. Chapter 6, page 13
  3. Chapter 6, page 25
  4. Chapter 6, page 26
  5. Chapter 6, page 11
  6. Chapter 6, page 30