Chapter 45 - A Giant's Shadow
- 1 Summary
- 2 Ys
- 3 Quain'tana's past
- 4 Parley with the Vel'sharen
- 5 Diva'ratrika's legacy
- 6 Jaal'darya sidestory
- 7 Characters
Morning after the fires
Ariel and Faen are together in their room. With the sounds Ariel was making, it sounded to Die'tra that the two were engaged in sexual activity, of which she was proud of, before Die'tra learned Faen was only combing Ariel’s hair. Downstairs, Tur'geis expresses his desire to not go after the airship. Ash'arion and Nuru'lara guessed correctly that Ariel tried hard to convince Tur'geis to go after the airship. Chiri'nide tries to use the oven before Kau points out to her that it doesn’t use any tech, just a simple fire, which prompts Chiri to use her sorcery. which alarms Ash, annoys Zan'nah and gains the curiosity of Tur'geis. The end result of Chiri’s attempt to cook amuses Die’tra, Tur’geis and Ash’arion while appalling Zan'nah, Nuru'lara and Kau. Chiri, almost in tears, states that she tried to make something nice for Shan'naal since he doesn’t get to eat meat often. Kau offers to help salvage the meal to which Nuru'lara comments that women likes a male that can cook. Ariel and Faen arrive with Ariel thinking there’s a good meal and Faen thinking there’s bad meal, prompting Nuru to declare Sarghress-born have no taste. Chiri then runs out crying, surprising Ariel and Faen. Ariel asks Tur'geis if he changed his mind about chasing after the airship to which he answers no. This prompts Ariel and Faen to leave the house with Ariel declaring she’ll go after it herself. Kaito and Riz'riia hear the confrontation and think nothing of it. Kaito lets Riz keep his cloak and the two engage in morning banter before kissing. Outside, Shan'naal is practising his archery before he notices Chiri going into the stables. Shan follows her and notices she doesn’t have shoes. He promptly improvises and uses some nearby cloth as makeshift shoes for her. Chiri asks Shan if he is only her blade and Shan answers Chiri is more important to him than that. Chiri then hugs him for a moment before getting interrupted by Syrak and Olarae, who are wondering where the Sarghress house is. After getting the directions, Olarae, Die'tra and Tur'geis remember the times they spent together while Ash'arion asks Syrak what brings him here. He answers that he was assigned to do a tour of the Western Rim and Ys is just the first stop. Syrak then expresses that it’s a shame that this is the only time he can come to Ys. Olarae asks if she can rejoin the Raiders for the chance to go after the airship if it’s ok with Tur'geis. An exasperated Tur'geis answers no and that they are staying in Ys until further orders. This surprises Olarae and Syrak who ask if he heard the news which in turn surprises Tur'geis.
Eviction of Sarghress out of Ys
After hearing the news, Nuru'lara and Tur'geis confront the council. Ys council member Kane'ohe tells the Sarghress to stand down or leave Ys. Nuru asks for clarification and Kane clarifies that the Sarghress members stationed there are to renounce their clan to join the commoner population of Ys. Tur'geis says no and Kane replies that they are then to leave the colony. Nuru'lara protests that just the previous day, Kane gave the go ahead to assist with the Hermionne issue to which Kane says that that was then and this is now. Tur'geis says the Hermionnes will return to burn everything and Nuru states that Ys needs them but Kane’ohe declares that the Sarghress presence is a greater threat to the welfare of Ys then the goblin hordes. Nuru states that the Sarghress have respected the neutrality of Ys thus far and asks if it is truly wise to banish them to which Kane states Ys has shown the same courtesy in turn. Kane offers to reward the individuals who helped the previous day and chose to become members of the colony by allowing them to stay in the Sarghress house and providing them and their families with financial support for a year. Tur'geis replies by showing of the part of his hair that was dyed red and declares that it was red with the blood of those who underestimate the Sarghress and threatens Kane. Kane simply replies by asking if they knew the new beginning of drowkind. When Nuru replies no, she tells them to “fuck off” and return to the cavern they conquered. Nuru'lara and Tur'geis then leave to the Sarghress house and tell the others what happened.
At the grass plains
Ariel expresses her belief that Tur'geis knows that going after the airship is the right thing to do and that he must be burning with desire to see what’s inside the ship and loot it but won’t because he wants Ariel to stay at Ys. She expresses her exasperation with how people want to keep her safe yet at the same time live up to Quain’s legacy. Faen disputes that theory and believes that the reason Tur'geis refuses to go after the airship is that he’s worried about what would happen to Die'tra because he cares for her the way Ariel cares for Faen. Ariel then comments that Faen’s empathy scares her sometimes and she now understands why Quain'tana dreads meeting Ash'waren sometimes. Ariel then notices that she and Faen are a lot like Quain and Ash, just less scary, which Faen also notices. Ariel sees the Sea Of Mist and states that it brings back memories of the time she went to the surface to rescue Faen. She also wonders how she could find the airship in the mists and begins to wonder whether she put her foot in her mouth. Sarnel and Shala suddenly makes themselves known. Sarnel states that the airship lowered altitude early on to enter the mist in the South East. Sarnel states that it wouldn’t make sense to lose visibility early on so the further destinations are unlikely destinations for the airship, leaving Felde as the only possibility. Sarnel recalls the invitation Ariel received for the Felde peace conference and doesn’t think it’s a coincidence.
During a meeting, Sarnel declares that the timing of the invitation and their banishment from Ys was no coincidence. He states that it was too convenient to see the Sarghress off after the appearance of the airship. Nuru'lara agrees that the council’s decision was too abrupt as during the entire time she was the Sarghress representative to Ys, there was nothing to hint towards banishment. Tur'geis states that despite that, he’s reporting back to Chel. Die'tra decides to follow Tur'geis. Faen states that she will follow Ariel and Sarnel. Kau states that the food at Ys is delicious before Shala interrupts him and states they will both go after the airship. Olarae expresses disappointment that they aren’t going to hunt the airship together but decides to go with Tur'geis if that means re-entering the Sarghress ranks. Zan'nah declares that this is the shortest raid ever and decides to also go back to Chel. Ash'arion is happy with the opportunity to escape Chel’s problems but also thinks Felde is just as good. Syrak has made the decision to accept the offer of renouncing the Sarghress and staying in Ys and asks the others to forgive him. Riz'riia then arrives and tells Tur'geis that she’s taking leave to pursue the airship.
Tur'geis reveals to Ariel that Quill'yate gave them this assignment to keep her out of trouble which she suspected all along. He then tells Riz'riia that she’s in charge of the group heading to Ys but she denies the position and tells Tur'geis to go report what happened and leave the rest to them. As Tur'geis, Die'tra, Olarae and Zan'nah head back to Chel, Die'tra tries to lift Tur'geis' spirits by stating that Faen is with them. As Ariel, Faen, Sarnel, Kau, Shala, Shan'naal, Chiri'nide, Riz'riia and Nuru'lara leave for Felde, Ariel asks Chiri'nide if it’s ok for Chiri and Shan to take this detour. Chiri responds that she won’t abandon her friends and Shan says that the meeting with the Vanirs is not for another moon and they want to be useful in the meantime. Syrak then suddenly appears and says he changed his mind and is going with them to Felde.
As the Sarghress and their associates leave Ys, the battles in Chel continue. Quain'tana and Koil'dorath kill a Sharen dragon rider and the dragon as Koil notes the street urchins have gotten bold in looting the Sharen corpse before the dragon is even done dying, right in front of them no less. Quain replies that they’ve learned not to fear the Sarghress and states that it speaks of the change the Sarghress brings as she remembers her own days as a street urchin.
When Quain was a street rat, as she was stealing food to survive, a Sharen dragon knight killed one of her companions in the theft. Her other companion had already fled. Quain'tana is left alone facing the Sharen and flees in terror. The Sharen dragon rider caught up to her however and manages to injure her, causing her to black out in pain.
When Quain'tana came to, she tried to find shelter as she recovers from her injuries, narrowly escaping a slaver by falling into a pit. Hungry, she kills a tiktikki to feed on it’s blood for strengh. As her injuries heal, she encounters other homeless street urchins, all saying the same thing, that the Vals are undefeatable, making Quain angrier and angrier.
Quain'tana tracks down the Sharen who injured her, recognizing his dragon outside a tea house. She disguises herself as a servant and brings tea to him. Quain'tana then tries to kill him but he fends her off with earth sorcery and throws manabolt at her but it turns out Quain has the ability to dissipate mana, which not even she knew. Quain'tana them uses a cloak hanger as an improvised weapon and skewers the Sharen with it. She also grabs the knife the Sharen pulled out and stabs him with it. After the death, Quain declares the Vals can be killed as the dead Sharen shows what would become the future Sarghress symbol.
Back in the present, Koil was confused by Quain’s statement and Quain explained she was just lost in memories. She then comments on the state of the Sharen, besieged by the commoners they despised, their fortress a prison, the pretense of birthright granting them dominion proven wrong several times and that they stand alone. Quain then declares that the mighty can be made to fall. Koil brings up that rebuilding will be hard and also states that pillaging the Sharen supplies could help with that. Quain longs to end it all with Sarv defeated, Zala missing and Quain declaring she will kill Snad if she returns to the schools. Quain then takes down the Sharess statue, declaring there is no goddess and that the children of Chel can do anything without their oppressors.
It is then that a Sul courier brings a message from Ash'waren. The courier states that Ash would like to meet with Quain. Quain leaves things in Koil’s hands and goes to meet with Ash at the Sarghress fort. Ash asks Quain to end it all which annoys Quain because she was going to do it anyway but Ash states that other matters have come up that needs their attention. They have lost contact with nearly every colony and plantation save for Machike. Ash also brings up the Kyorl issue and Quain is shocked to learn Shimi'lande is dead. Ash also states that the Nals have closed up, the Illhar'dros are returning to strike at them and there’s a report suggesting the Jaals may have made a weapon for the enemy. This is all in addition to the fact that her own clan is full of traitors. Ash states that Quain could kill every enemy but she still can’t kill starvation. She suggests they offer parley so the war may end, and Quain agrees. Ash has decided to stay with the Sarghress since her people are full of traitors.
Koil gives the Sharen the terms and Phani'lath states the given time is not enough for a proper consideration of the terms while Sun'ya states the Sarghress will lose many of their soldiers if they attack to which Koil counters the Sarghress can afford that while the Sharen can’t. Saph'ala sees they are terms of surrender and refuses to accept them. Saph'ala wonders why her mother and their allies aren’t moving. Sun'ya brings the message that Zala’s orders are to stay put and hold, which puts them in a panic until Sabbror calms them down and declares he will give Zala the time she needs by discussing with the Sarghress as a stalling tactic.
Sabbror arrives to see Quain. He reminisces of the past and Quain brings up past grievances. Quain wonders if Sabbror is challenging her but he answers no when he sees a corpse. He wants to challenge those who orchestrated the loss of his side through their sabotage and betrayal, he wants revenge. Sabbror states that if Quain holds her attacks, he will lead her to Zala so they can speak.
Sarv'swati and Nir'naya
Sarv'swati and Nir'naya sees Sabbror leading Quain to Zala. Sarv thinks Zala will surrender and thinks it’s all over. Nirnaya disputes that and tries to encourage Sarv to kill Quain. Sarv refuses and believes the Sharen’s downfall would not have happened if she, Zala and Snad remained loyal to Diva.
Tebryn and a fellow Sarghress search through the Council Dome. They are shocked that the Sharens have disrespected their own ancestor Sharess. As they approach the throneroom, Tebryn doubts her companion's suggestion that Diva somehow survived all this time. In the throneroom, they find Diva’ratrika’s corpse with a book at her feet.
Meanwhile, at Mimaneid, a very much alive Diva thinks that all the world needs now is the right guide to make sure Snad doesn’t destroy it. She witnesses the Kavahini clan sending their warriors flying to Felde as she reminisces on how proud she is of Sillice for not once faltering in her cause. She expresses regret that she can't join them.
Right after Ariel drops Wafay of with Suu’be and long before the Sarghress complete their conquest of Chel, the allegations of Nidraa’chall activity within the Jaal’darya are about to be investigated.
Suu’be points out the absurdity of sending troops away from where the Sarghress needs them based on a seemingly improbable story about a clan that should have already been wiped out while Wafay tries to obtain her help by stating she can pay for it. Suu'be explains that it’s the only reason why she even bothered to hear Wafay out. Suu'be tells Wafay to wait while she tries to find troops to spare.
Several days have passed and Wafay is still waiting. A servant comes and Wafay asks where is Sata to which the servant responds the golem is ok. Suddenly, three other Sarghress clan members arrive to harass Wafay but two other members of the Sarghress comes to her rescue and sent the three on their way. One of the two turns out to be named Erelice and Wafay asks if they are here for her to which Erelice confirms yes.
Meeting the squad
Erelice and the other Sarghress takes Wafay out to meet the squad, where she is reunited with Sata. Erelice introduces herself as the squad leader, and then introduces Wafay to the rest of the squad. The other Sarghress she has already met is Filf'rae who is the second in command, Vayas'arn, Brizdra and Sabryne. Vayas'arn is impressed with Wafay’s golem. Wafay asks if this is the entire squad and Brizdra states that Suu'be wouldn’t waste troops before Erelice interrupts her and tactfully states that with the war effort, the Sarghress can’t afford to send more troops on this mission. However, Erelice proceeded to state that Suu'be handpicked the squad members for this mission and that they are all specialists. Sabryne in particular is one of the elite Fallen Legion. The group then leaves to start the investigation.
Towards the Jaal'darya fortress
On the way to Wafay’s home, Wafay asks how the squad’s skills can stop her mother. Erelice responds that they are equipped to deal with a range of scenarios. She does however ask Wafay what the squad might face. Filf'rae and Vayas'arn encourage Wafay as she tries to recall what might be important and states that her mother has been spending all her time experimenting on a flower. She explains that the flower latches on a victim and after a while, the victim shrivels up and die. Erelice asks if it’s a mana draining plant to which Wafay is unsure. Brizdra asks for what proof Wafay has that her mother’s experiments are linked to the Nidraa'chal. Wafay answers that she has been looking through her mother’s encoded notes. She also states that a woman who may also be a Nidraa'chall visits her mother often but because she wears a hood and hides her face, she isn’t sure who the visitor is. As the group talk, it turns out they were being spied on. These spies make themselves known.
Separation from Wafay
The spies turn out to Jaal'’darya golems. They demand Wafay back. Wafay protests but Erelice decides to let them take Wafay back, surprising Wafay and Brizdra. As Wafay leaves with the golems, Brizdra protests but Erelice states that the mission proceeds as before, giving Brizdra some relief.
Crossing the lake
The squad secures a couple of boats to cross the lake separating them from the Jaal'darya fortress. While crossing the lake, they are attacked by the Jaal’s golems. The squad fights back and successfully crosses the lake where they are greeted by the Jaal'darya clan members.
The Jaals ask the Sarghress squad to explain themselves. Erelice, who is surprised to see a male member of the Jaal'darya answers that Wafay invited them. Erelice explains that they have information that may be worthy of the Jaal Ill’'aress’ ears and would like to speak with the ambassador the Jaals have for the Sarghress, if not Asira herself. The Jaals decide to let them stay as they arrange an audience with Asira'malika.
Several hours later, the squad is still waiting for somebody to see them. Vayas'arn notes that they’re like prisoners since they can’t leave the room. Suddenly, Sabryne notices a small golem with a message attached. She whispers in Brizdra’s ears and Brizdra uses a spellsong to put everyone to sleep. She then helps her squadmates wake up. Brizdra tells Erelice that they have a lead and Sabryne has a map courtesy of Wafay. The squad then follow the map. They reach a room and Erelice tells Vayas'arn and Brizdra to stand guard while Filf'rae and Sabryne goes in with her. They are shocked by what they see. The flowers causing two bodies to rot inside out and a map apparently showing the flowers have been sent to various locations. A golem attacks them but the three defeat it. Unfortunately, the Jaals catch them.
Later, during a hearing with a council of Jaal representatives, the Jaal'darya demand that the squad explains their actions. Erelice explains Wafay’s concerns about a Nidraa'chal conspiracy within the clan and the squad has found that Femi has indeed created a flower similar to what Wafay describe. This troubles the Jaals who admit that while Femi has the right to develop such a weapon, they have had traitors before. They also state that Femi is in Felde and thusly can’t answer to the allegations. The Jaals state that if Femi doesn’t return, the Sarghress have their permission to go after Femi and bring her back, so long as they do so without harming her. They then allow the Sarghress to leave.
After the hearing
Asira saw the entire hearing without the Sarghress’ knowledge. A subordinate states it was as Asira suspected and the Sarghress won’t let it rest with Sillice among them and she wonders what is Asira’s next move. Asira answers “What do you think?”. Filf'rae and Brizdra asks Erelice why she didn’t mention the map or the encoded journal. She answers that the Jaals would figure it out anyway and they might never have let them leave. Vayas'arn is concerned that the Nidraa'chal are still around and worries there might be another war but Sabryne reassures her saying that they are already at war, the stakes simply got higher. The squad leaves Jaal territory and proceed to report back to Quain.
Quain'tana Val'Sarghress was the founder and former Ill'haress of the Val'Sarghress clan. She was a capable warrior and a figurehead for the common class.
Koil'dorath is of the commanders of the Sarghress Assault Legion and both friend and adoptive daughter to Quain'tana
Ariel is the young heir to the Val'Sarghress clan. She has a powerful and uncommon shapechanging high sorcery.
Sabrror is the preferred mate of Zala'ess Vel'Sharen. He is heavily tainted, and it is likely that he is the father of most of her children.
Shan is a templar who loyally serves warden Chirinide Val'Kyorl'solenurn.
Kau Val'Sharen is a son of Sil'lice Val'Sharen. He has an affinity for working with golems and is currently working for the Val'Sarghress clan.
Quill'yate is the commander of the Highland Raiders legion and the Dev'ess of House Yurun'hiir.
A veteran Highland Raider who assisted Ariel during her journey on the surface.
Tur'geis Am'saag is a Highland Raider and Am'saag mercenary.
Die'tra Am'saag is a Highland Raider and Am'saag mercenary.
Riz'riia is a Val'Sarghress Highland Raider.
Nuru'lara is a Sarghress representative to the colony of Ys.
Zan'nah is a member of the Sarghress Home Guard serving as a sealer and mana specialist.
Ash'arion is a Highland Raider with a fondness for minerals.
A retired Highland Raider who came out of retirement to rejoin the Sarghress ranks.
Kane'ohe is one of the council members of Ys, formerly of the Val'Nal'sarkoth clan.