The top of the tower is terrible. We all feel sick as we emerge through the door. Turning back momentarily from the horrible sight, we see Dalish, trapped inside a newly reformed prismatic wall. He didn’t move fast enough. But we don’t have time for that. The eye of Balor is before us and one of the mages turns towards us moaning, with his own eyes gouged out.
Turning to face the eye, people start picking off the mages when Nat says that they are protecting it while they try to contain it. I hear His voice in my head.
Submit Daughter, and destroy these mages.
So, I pick off one of the mages, too, but then I realize it was His will, not my own. I close my eyes and cover my ears. I hate it up here. The beating is so horribly loud.
The mages are all gone, when I look up again, and hear His voice.
Rebellious child… and He tells me to kill my friends. I try to cast thunderwave, because we are all still gathered up around Hank, but Gerhardt counterspells me. Then I shrug off his will again. I Really Hate it up here.
Gerhardt gets put to sleep after that. I manage to get a call lightning spell going. Maribeth gets turned to stone. Francis gets paralyzed. Shelly gets turned to stone.
His voice returns, ordering me again to attack my friends. So I call lightning down on the largest group together. He disintigrates Wan Kei. And Klyce manages to crack through the eye. I call lightning down on Klyce and Remy before I manage to shake His will again.
Now what? It doesn’t feel so awful up here anymore, but it looks like everything is about to explode. Gerhardt and I want to banish it to explode somewhere else. But others want to circle up and stop the explosion.
I start to pray to the Dawnmother for guidance, but His power draws me in again. It feels so good, not horrible like the machine. I walk forward and put my hand to it. The power fills me! Fills me to overflowing. And I can see beyond everything. I can see an infinity of power.
I wake up in my tent. Remy is just coming in to check on me. He explains that they did try to circle up, but there was too much power to contain. They did manage to contain the damage to a five mile radius, but only because Maribeth made a deal with some dark patron to save all of us.
I go see her, but she only cries. I don’t ask her any questions. I check on everyone else. Gerhard is studying his potions. Klyce and Dalish are working on magic. Remy, when not checking on me, is checking on everyone else, including our old troop Sergeant. It takes me a while to find Nat.
She’s off to the edge of camp, blindfolded and practicing with her daggers. She tells me what happened, too. And I try to explain what happened to me. I ask if I could share her tea, to try to see what I saw again. She agrees, and I ask what would happen if we brewed it with mana. Since that place was so full of it, maybe it would help me go back there. She thinks that’s a great idea, so we plan to do that soon. She also tells me that she can maybe talk to the gods now. And maybe even force them to answer, like a more powerful version of prayer, backed by her magic. We’re not sure if that’s a good thing, or if it will get her smited, but she’s going to try it out sometime.
I also visit the crater that used to be New Calay. (I guess it’s spelled New Calais, actually, but now that it’s gone, I don’t think it really matters.) It is Silent. So silent. Everything in the crater is dead. I fly down into it, after passing all the dead soldiers that were turned to stone and dust in the explosion. I sit for a while, in the silence. It is peaceful after all the noise and the beating. Restful.
We get a summons from Durance and report to his tent on day four after the explosion. The army has started moving again, having buried what dead it could, they’ve been packing up camp. The Lt is glad to see we are all coping alright. We lost 3,000 men in the explosion, and a port city for decades to come. Our report of the events has been relayed up the chain, and we all have new orders. The machines all exploded, taking out hundreds of men, and so production will be halted and more regular means of mana production will be resumed.
Dalish is ordered to head back to New Gnosis to work with Rictus. Natty to the Carribean to work with the Navy. Gerhardt to the Black Hills in the Dakotas. Klyce to the Mexican Territories. Remy is headed to California, and Maribeth to the Northwest Territories. I am to head to a research facility outside New Gnosis to help with magical… research. We’ll be shipping out in two days time.
Nonononononononono! We can’t! We can’t split up! I won’t! Please, can we go to Argentina now? I don’t want to be an experiment! Guys! What are we going to do??
I don’t say any of this until we leave his tent. Remy doesn’t want to split up either. As usual, Klyce is the voice of reason. We have to. We have to do this, serve our term, honorably. Or they will torture and kill our loved ones. Send them to the mines, execute them, draft them. Whatever. We have to do as we are told, until we can do something else.
We also have to stay in touch. We work better together. Everyone needs Sending in their spellbooks. We’ll have to get materials before we leave or that. Nat has to work on her mindpalace to strengthen the range. We each give her something of our own, or of our person, to take with her. Hoping that like scrying, it will strengthen our connection.
Klyce agrees, my assignment sounds the most dangerous for my person. He encourages me to reach out to Xin Yue and her brother’s group if I need immediate rescue. Dalish will be nearby, as well. I am still terrified, but I know that any one of them will come if I call.
Maribeth goes off to get scribing supplies. Remy and Klyce go talk to Triplehorn one last time. And Nat and I go off to drink some mana tea.
It is an interesting experience. Not as crazy as last time she pulled us all into that crazy mindpalace against our will. But it seems like a portion of that power is still inside me. Some untapped potential, just laying in wait. I know some spells I didn’t know before, that I didn’t want to know. But I also can feel some of that power already.
The last night before we go our separate ways. We all sit together. We eat one last meal. Drink one last toast. And promise to keep in touch, and to come if we are needed. I do not sleep well that night, and in the morning, it is time to go.