Dark Questions To Answers

Joseph looked up at the night sky. "Clouds are gathering, a storm is brewing. We might wanna prepare for it."

"Not again," Reise said with a sigh. "That's two storms in a row. I thought the weather would improve once we got out of the Dalen Alps."

"The oncoming storm is not a natural one," Orla warned them, an unsettled look on her face. Jeke noticed and looked to the sky.

Reise took out a gnomish pocket watch. "Well, I don't quite think it's the end times yet," he commented lightheartedly, taking her hand and squeezing it to reassure her and stuffing the watch away.

Joseph looked at Orla for a moment, his eyes flashing into a glowing blue and he spoke in a strange voice, not his own. However the voice wasn't that of Draken either, rather of something older. "I think it's adorable that all of you have your theories and ideas about this end, and they aren't close. An age is ending, but not the end of just one race, or any for that matter. It is an age of a new beginning."

At the sound of the voice, Orla's throat tightened and a rush of fear made her go numb. Sunder stood, hand on his sword’s hilt. Jeke also sprang to his feet, hand reaching behind him to the hilt of Helios.

Joseph shook his head, his eyes changing back to normal, "Okay, personally I don't like having people in my head, I don't need another one, I already have two!"

"Yeah, you were weird enough already," Reise muttered, and then made a face. "Ugh, what is that?"

A blue mist was pouring out of Joseph's mouth and it changed into a humanoid form with the same blue glowing eyes, "Is this better mortal?" the powerful voice said mocking.

Joseph looked at the mist creature, "May I ask who you are?"

The being gave a chuckle as Jeke slid his bastard sword free. "Allow me to show you." It swirled its 'hands' in a circle and formed into a blue colored symbol of a crown with two swords behind it, sealed by a blue ring. Joseph didn't understand that the symbol was the Symbol of the King in Blue or the Blue King.

Orla's jaw fell open and her eyes went as wide as they possibly could. She well recognised the mighty being appearing before them, having seen overgrown statues, ancient petroglyphs, cave paintings, and ruined temples to him many times over the course of her life. It was said he ruled a realm in the Nine Hells and manifested periodically over the millenia, ravaging the lands of Aeran with wars and cataclysms in attempts to bring it under his dark dominion.

Jeke also stared with intent, knowing the Cult of the Abyss were always trying to summon something through. The Weapons Master had previously dealt with the cult before the death of his master and knew some of them were dangerous while others a nuisance. Still, whether a cult somewhere had done this to Joseph or not to summon something from the Abyss, he did not know. He was wary nevertheless.

"Draken?" Sunder said questioningly.

Orla's whole body trembled as dread overcame her. "Nay, 'tis not Draken— 'tis the great demon lord, Soularous!"

Joseph glared at the demon, "If you think any of us are just going to bow down before you, you lost your mind. You might as well go back--"

The demon turned his attention to Joseph, "Oh, but I'm already in the Abyss. If I was really here, you would have known. Now before all of you start your pretentious babbling about holy and unholy, I would like to start off by apologizing to you Joseph Lithwick. I'm sorry that I used your body to arrive here, but it was the only opening I had."

Joseph looked at everyone confused, "Did the scary blue thing just apologize, I thought demons were supposed to be more, you know, rude? Especially demon lords."

"Usually," Jeke said with caution, hand still over his shoulder upon the hilt.

Soularous began to chuckle, not evil laughing that you expected from a demon Lord named The King in Blue, more as a cheerful chuckle of an amused grandfather.

Despite her fear, Orla found herself intrigued, but wary; demons had a well-founded reputation for being sly, artful, and very cunning creatures, and the one they faced now was a demon of the first rank. Finally, she spoke. "If I may ask, Lord Soularous. For what reason do you use this man as a vessel of communication? What is it you wish to say to us?"

The blue mist turned his attention to Orla, "To be honest, I saw an opening, I took it. I originally thought it was one of my followers trying to contact me, however once I realized I couldn't actually put part of my presence into the vessel I found out that it was a mix of elven and something like my power."

Joseph sighed,"Well that's great to know."

Soularous pointed over to a small cave, "I want you to go there so I may tell you the truth of the past and figure out what is happening during this age." He began drifting towards the cave, "Don't worry, It's just one of my hidden temples..."

“Pass,” Sunder said, taking his hand off his sword and grabbing his bag. “I’ve been away for too long.” He gave Jeke a goodbye nod and walked away into the night, belt lantern lit. Just like that.

Jeke did not question it, for Sunder was always a mysterious individual. Whatever his quest was, it apparently did not coincide with what was happening.

Reise watched the man leaving. “He’s got the right idea. Care to depart, Ms Carling?” he said, tilting his head towards the man. “I’m sure he’d escort us back to the road.”

Orla nodded mutely in agreement, clutching Reise's arm, and off they went to catch the armored man before he got too far away.

Jeke gave a farewell to the two, calling out, "Osilon lays further south. I hope to see you in good health one day!" Then he turned to Joseph. "Well, it seems knowledge is to be had. You do not need to worry if you wish to see it. But know that everything has a cost. I will stay with you in your time of need."

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