Part 3 of 5 in The Stone Uncast

“The Wizard was overall unaffected by the Terminus. In fact, he began by benefiting from it. But he made one single error. The Wizard thought that by removing Hamster, he removed Hamster’s influence from the world. But he did not count on two people. The Fool, and the Tool.” - The Book of Terminus 15:9

 

Elysium did not sleep at all that night. He kept glancing at the Decrypted, but that got old fast. So, he passed time by polishing his equipment. Everything became as new and shiny as when it was first forged, except for the symbol of Paradiso. No matter how hard he polished, it remained a faded shadow of its former self. He supposed that had something to do with his no longer having a Side.

In the morning, as promised, he explained his story to Trinity. She nodded after he finished.

“Well, that explains a lot. How you got to be in that desolate place. The sorry state that you are in. Your lack of companions. It all makes sense now.”

“So,” he asked, “how did you come to be here? You said you’d explain.”

“Very well,” she replied. “It began in my Side, Nebuchadnezzar, when we fell to Gobwin Knob…”

 

******************************

 

She woke up. She remembered the walls falling to Gobwin Knob. She remembered Ghost and Seraph fighting with her against a relentless horde. She remembered croaking. And now she woke up to do the will of the Titans

The first order of business was to raze the city, placing a token force of Agents to keep other sides from claiming it. That was the easiest part.

After that was joining the Agents and other forces to the pre-existing Decrypted host. That was a bit more difficult, as all of the commanders had differing ideas of what was the most effective way of dispersing (or not) the newly acquired troops.

And so, after deciding that it would be best to keep the troops in the formations they knw, with the commanders they served under, the Gobwin Knob forces set out. On their way to their ultimate destination, which was still a mystery to Trinity, they were to meet up with the armies of New Jetstone and Pyroclasm.

 

New Jetstone, led by the King Ansom. An infantry heavy force, based out of Spacerock. Ansom himself had decided to lead this contingent, so Trinity knew it must be important.

Pyroclasm, led by Overlady Lazarus. A force that heavily favoured Dwagons. Especially Red Dwagons. She personally led every attack, and only Fate and a hefty dose of Dirtamancy prevented her from croaking several times over. Good thing she had popped a Dirtamancer first time she tried to pop a Warlord…

After thirty eight turns of marching, they finally reached the other columns. Of course, Mistress Wanda had simply taken a Dwagon relay to the front lines. No point in marching a lot, when you could simply have a Decrypted Dwagon relay system. Fast and free. And simple due to New Jetstone and Pyroclasm being able to pop Decrypted. No one really knew what broke in the system to allow that to happen, but it was accepted as…unnatural.

By the middle of the fortieth Turn, they had reached their destination. A supposedly unassailable location. Truly, never before tested.

Charlescomm.

But they were going to sorely test its defenses.

Huge stacks of Dwagons circled above full hexes of Decrypted. And Trinity knew that the ace in the hole was approaching from another direction. After this day, all three known Arkentools would belong to Gobwin Knob. Then the reshaping of the Erf could begin.

As the order came to attack, she braced herself for a response from Charlescomm. But nothing happened. Of course not, she berated herself, he would be far too thinly spread. Other armies could only handle so many troops. But not the army of the Titans.

So they marched towards the walls. Dwagons flew overhead, battling the Archons that sought to eliminate their air superiority. Enormous Shockmancy devices on the walls began bombarding the air stacks, soon cutting them down to half their numbers. But it was not enough. Enough Purple Dwagons got through to blow holes in the walls, and enough Yellow Dwagons were there to silence the Shockmancy weapons.

The first thing that she noticed when entering the city, was that there were many, many Golems. Everywhere. And they could not be Decrypted.

Soon, it was a standstill. The golems were too strong to be taken down easily, and the Decrypted were too numerous, and were skilled enough to not just stand there and be dusted. It was all coming down to the air battle.

Against any other foe, the Archons might have held the advantage. But their limited magic paled in comparison to the terror that was arrayed against them. The Knights in Stanley’s Service.

“Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise. Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day…” The voice drifted over the din of the fighting, strengthening the resolve of the Gobwin Knob forces.

Stanley the Tool. The greatest fighter that Gobwin Knob had, along with his knights, was forcing his way through the Archons towards the tower that held the Arkendish. There, guarding the ‘Dish itself, were Archons that had much more elaborate Signamancy. They began to whittle away at the Knights, while the ground battle raged below them.

Shockmancy crackled through the skies on both sides.

“You got mud on yo face, you big disgrace, kicking your can all over the place… ”

Neither battle was making much headway. But that was when the trap was sprung.

All though the time since Jetstone had fallen, Jack Snipe had been collecting casters from the Short Pier. No more than once every two or three turns. Not enough to arouse suspicion, but enough to build up an army of casters. All Decrypted. All which were just unleashed on the Tower of Charlescomm. The defenseless tower of Charlescomm.

“WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU!”

All of this was designed to leave Charlie with no options. But no plan survives contact with the enemy. And a cornered beast is the most dangerous kind. And so it happened. Just as the tower was falling, destroyed by the combined magical forces of eighty casters, and the Tool was reaching for his next conquest, Charlie had his revenge.

A wave of Thinkamantic force burst out from the ‘Dish. It hit most of the combatants with no ill effects. But to Mistress Wanda, and Stanley the Tool, it changed something. It Detuned them.

“WE WILL WE WILL –“

The tower fell, and with that, the remaining Archons and Golems depopped, no longer having an Overlord. The city of Charlescomm did not turn to Gobwin Knobs side, however. There were hostile units in the battlespace.

With the Deattunement of the Arkenpliers, the Decrypted were no longer beholden to their former master. Trinity felt a weight, which she only noticed by its absence, lift from her mind. She could tell that the other Severed felt the same way. Including the Dwagons.

As old rivalries flared, and conflicts began anew, Trinity did the only thing she could do. She ran. Looking back at the melee, she noticed Ghost, Cypher, and Seraph following her.

They ran for Turns, luckily not requiring any upkeep. They followed the senses that told them when another Decrypted was near, hoping to meet up with more survivors. But alas, following that trail only led to the Wastelands, where the once living rose up again in a mockery of life. For eternity.

She, and the rest of them, vowed to end the suffering of these souls. They were uniquely suited for the task, being able to track them unerringly, as well as requiring no upkeep. And, perhaps most importantly, they possessed weapons that were designed in their pre-Decrypted days to easily take down Uncroaked.

And so passed her days, until Elysium entered her life. And that is where her tale started.

“So,” she asked, “did you find it quenched your disbanded curiosity?”

“Somewhat.” Replied Elysium. “But I have other questions too, now. Like what happened to Gobwin Knob? Where are the other Decrypted now? And what is happening to the world?”

Trinity sighed. “All good questions, I can’t fault you for those. But before we do that, I’ve got some questions of my own to be answered.”

Before he could ask what she wanted, she called out. “Come out of the boulders, you guys. You aren’t hiding from anyone clomping around like that.”

One voice, male, said “Disband it, I knew we should have been more cautious.”

Another, female, replied “We’ve gotten too used to nobody being able to see us. We got sloppy.”

The two voices drifted into the clearing, accompanied by two figures. They were unfamiliar to Trinity, but apparently Elysium recognized them.

“Avalon? Valhalla? But you croaked in the Tower explosion…”

“Yes, we did,” replied the female figure. “And so did you.”

Part 3 of 5 in The Stone Uncast

Comments

    • LTD

      Oooh. Nice. Battle for Charlescomm. (I want more references to Nolokbos, through...)

      • Lerianis

        Hope this is an 'alternate non-canon story'.

        The whole "Arkendish detuning of Stanley and Wanda!" is great, ripped straight from one of the canon updates. It's a little surprising that CHARLIE was the one to 'go nuclear' but... eh.

        • kagato23

          Lerianis, it talks about an Overlady Lazarus, so it's safe to say this is an alternate timeline by design, yes, considering she apparently was not dusted in the battle for Spacerock.

          • Lerianis

            Ah, thanks for that headsup, kagato23. I missed that Overlady Lazarus was Sylvia because I had forgotten her last name.

            • Dark Shadow

              Yes, It is an alternate Timeline. For one part, I was trying to figure out what would have happened at Spacerock had Parson been sent home via the scroll. Wanda wouldn't have been in the MK when the portal closed. Hence she would have been in command. So (possibly), the  city wouldn't have been set on fire. At the very least, Jack wouldn't have felled the tower. Maybe?

              • youngstormlord

                Very nice, I love it. But you missed such a good chance for pun... "WE WILL, WE WILL CROAK YOU!" :D