Component 13: Rush
“Angon, please, wait up!” Lavina cried, as she tried her best to keep up with her friend, the Forge.
But Angon couldn’t wait—he could not slow down. That voice in his mind had told him that the Gavin was in trouble. Despite their differences, the Forge knew he couldn’t let anything happen to that Elf. It would devastate small, delicate Lavina. Angon couldn’t have that.
“I must not stop!” Angon shouted back, hoping the girl could hear him.
He bounded across the hills, in the direction of the Gavin had travelled. Why the Elf believed going off on his own was a good idea? Even Angon, with his little knowledge of the world, knew it was too dangerous to travel alone.
Angon found that out first hand just then. The hill disappeared from beneath his feet, and he stepped out into the air. Spinning with the reflexes of a wildcat, the Forge grabbed the cliffside with one hand, digging in his iron fingers, and grabbing a long, hanging root with the other.
“Angon, where did you—” Lavina began to shout, but then ran out into the air above Angon’s head.
Seeing this, Angon knew his choice must be made. If he let go, he could fall to his doom, but if he didn’t, Lavina surely would fall to hers.
“I’ve got you!” Angon cried, releasing the cliff, and trusting in the root to hold them aloft.
His huge hand wrapped around Lavina’s ankle, just as she tumbled through the air. A screech escaped the girl’s lips and Angon hung on tight. She swung around, and slammed into the cliff wall, drawing a grunt of pain.
“Lavina!” Angon cried, “Are you hurt?”
At first Lavina said nothing and the Forge began to panic. He couldn’t see beneath him, so he knew of one way to check her status. He shook her, bit too hard.
“Waahaa!” Lavina screeched, “S-s-stop i-i-it!”
Angon, stopped the violent shaking and held her still.
“You’re alive.” Angon said.
“Y-yes.” Lavina answered, “But not for long if we don’t do something.”
While the Forge had a tight grasp on her, no one had a tight grasp on the Forge. He knew he would have to rectify the situation soon, or they would both fall the hundreds and hundreds of feet below—if they survived the fall, they would be crushed against the cliff face by the humongous crashing waves.
Angon looked up, and he saw no way to climb. His hands were both occupied, and to his horror, the root was beginning to pull away from the cliff.
A large rock, the size of a compass stone, fell away from the cliff.
“Ow!” Lavina squealed.
But Angon couldn’t answer. He could only stare with his glowing eye orbs. The root came loose and they fell a foot. Both the Forge and the Half-Elf yelped.
“Do something strong man!” Lavina yelped.
“You’re the one with the magic!” Angon shouted back.
Neither magic, nor strength would save them from their predicament. For, the root was giving way, and Lavina knew of no levitation or flight spells.
“I’m s-sorry.” Angon whispered, just as he saw the root’s threading snap away from the base.
And they fell.
The pair both screamed as they plummeted downwards. The water came rushing up, grasping to meet them. It almost seemed as if the deity of the sea wanted to devour them whole. Angon wanted to close his eyes, but he couldn’t help but stare at their coming destruction. Lavina, however, had no qualms about closing hers.
A sudden explosion of force hit Angon square in the chest, and with a great ‘oomph’, everything went black. But he was still falling—no, rolling, and tumbling through the dark.
The Forge could only hear his companions scream as they went. They rocketed down a tunnel, bouncing into a wall, and then the next, and the next and next and next. To Angon, the fall seemed as if it were never going to end—as if they had fallen into a different dimension where this would be their eternal fate.
Everything was bright again, but the force of the blow, nearly knocked Angon’s gears loose. The Forge found himself to be on lying on his back, and something beneath him struggled and moved about with muffled cries. If he had been more coherent, he would have known that Lavina was pinned under his heavy build.
Angon’s eyes lazily looked around the room. There was ice everywhere—the floors, ceiling, and walls. From across the room there was a tunnel, which seemed to lead up at a steep angle. Was that the tunnel from where he had fallen?
“Can you get off of me you damn metal trash bin?” A familiar voice yelled in his ear.
For not only was Lavina pinned beneath him, and she had given up and passed out, but Gavin was beneath the both of them.
Angon didn’t understand what the ground meant. Why was it complaining?
The Forge’s head lolled around.
“All you get off!” A gruff voice shouted in the Origin tongue.
For even further beneath, past Lavina, and past Gavin, was the unfortunate Orc, Budge. But for the moment none of them were going anywhere—for Angon weighed not too different from a fallen Great Blue Tree, and no mere mortals were going to lift that.
“My Sheeva.” Buster whispered, staring through that thin, yet impassable sheet of ice.
He slammed his pudgy Dwarven hand on the wall, hoping it would crack. But no living being on the face of Anhsook could break through such a divine barrier. However, what did that mean for the fate of Sheeva? She was sitting on the throne, bleeding—dying.
“Sheeva, me goddess!” Buster cried, slamming his fists over and over again.
Tears poured down his dirty cheeks, smudging long lines.
On the throne, the slender, clotheless Dwarven figure sat. Blood came from her midsection, and stabbed into her gut was a dagger with a hilt covered in Onyxes.
“What can I do, me Sheeva?” Buster whispered.
The Belltower Dwarf fell to his knees, and held both of his hands together, lowering his head. He needed to pray—he needed to let Sheeva know he was there for her.
“Sheeva…” Buster whispered through choking gasps, “It is I, your most loyal servant, Buster Ironheart of Citadel Belltower. I am your high priest.
I kneel here in your service. I am before your barrier. I wish to help you in any way possible—for I see you now, on your throne, wounded. Let me help you—lend me power to help you…. Please.”
Buster opened his eyes, and lifted his head to stare at Sheeva. The Goddess didn’t react. Was the loyal Dwarf too late? Had the Orcs delayed him so that he was unable to save his deity’s life? But something happened then—Sheeva’s head tilted up, and her eyes fluttered open. And what a sight they were. The eyes were a blue instead of white, and the iris glowed bright—showing a powerful magic within.
“Oh me, Sheeva!” Buster cried.
The goddess stared at her loyal Dwarf. And that Dwarf didn’t know what to think. She said nothing, she did nothing—she only stared.
“Sheeva?” he asked, staring long and hard, tears still pouring forth.
Again, the Goddess did not respond. She merely stared.
“Please, say something will ye?” Buster pleaded, sincerity pulsating from his every syllable.
“Buster… Ironheart.” The words came after Sheeva had opened her mouth.
An icy blue breath sifted away from her lush, frozen lips.
“Aye.” Buster said, “Tis I. Buster. I’m here to save you.”
“Ye cannot save me.” Sheeva said, freezing Buster’s heart and allowing it to shatter into a million shards.
“But who better than I?” he whispered, “With me power, I can heal ye.”
Sheeva waved her hand, and the thin wall cracked, and broke away, raining down before Buster.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Buster dove forward, and fell to his knees, rebounding back, and scrambling up the stairs of the throne.
“Me Goddess!” Buster shouted as Sheeva slumped forward and fell from her throne.
He slid, and Sheeva landed in his arms, and stared up into his own blue eyes.
For a long moment of silence, the pair stared at one another—this was only broken by a sharp pain causing Sheeva to gasp.
Buster’s eyes popped wide, and he reached for the dagger, to pull it out, but her hand snapped out and grasped his.
“Do not.” She said, the coldness of death in her voice.
“Then what can I do?” Buster asked, desperate, “I’ll use me spells—”
“You are sweet.” Sheeva said, taking her hand and pressing the softness of her palm to the roughness of Buster’s cheek.
“I don’t understand, me Sheeva.” He whispered.
“Your spells come from me own magic.” She said, “And me magic is gone.”
“It cannot be.” He said.
“But it is…” she responded, a great sadness in her quivering heart.
“What can I do…?” he said, his own tears falling onto her face, and freezing instantly.
She stared at Buster for a long moment, staring into his eyes, searching for a way to tell him the bitter truth.
Finally, she decided she had no choice.
“Buster, my dear Buster, there is nothing you can do.” She said.
And the sound of Buster’s soul crushing could almost be heard between the two.
She had found him. The beautiful Orcess had found the annoying twit of Dwarf. And how useful, Gonzeelda thought, he had somehow managed to bring down the barrier Sheeva had put up to protect herself.
As Gonzeelda hid behind the stalagmite, she began to wonder why that was. Why would a goddess allow a simple mortal to come to her? Did the pathetic, dying Sheeva really believe she could be saved? No, surely she knew her own demise was imminent—The Blood Tomb had made sure of that.
Gonzeelda knew the Blood Tomb had been in the caverns of Sheeva—and she only knew because she had seen their symbol carved into the very stalagmite she hid behind. This was their way showing they came—leaving their record.
Did it disturb Gonzeelda that The Blood Tomb were on the rise again? She had once stepped on their toes after all. But it was no matter—Torchwood would protect her. Oh yes, he would protect her and allow her to become his bride—and then, yes only then, would she have the rightful power she deserved.
The Orcess watched on. Buster was trying to remove the Dagger of the Xen from Sheeva’s gut. But the Xen Dagger would kill the one who tried to remove it from its victim before that victim’s death.
Gonzeelda giggled. How she wanted the Dwarf to pull that beautiful weapon out. Then she could retrieve the dagger herself, make sure Sheeva was dead, and claim the pieces of her ‘Beauty’ or ‘Soul Rupture’. Then it would be a short trip to Mt. Chrono. And those disgusting Liches would be none-the-wiser.
A loud sob came from the Dwarf and startled Gonzeelda. She nearly dropped the crossbow she held cradled in her arms. Should she put the bolt through Buster’s skull? Or wait a bit longer? She was never one to have patience after all.
Across the cavern, Sheeva nor Buster had any inkling they were being watched—and knew not a crossbow bolt was set and aimed to take down the heartbroken Belltower Dwarf.
“Oh me Sheeva.” Buster sobbed again.
But Sheeva wore a smile on her face. This struck Buster as odd. It seemed she was not saying all that was on her mind.
“Tell me.” He said, “There be something more. I can see it behind ye eyes.”
Sheeva gave a slight nod, and tried to summon up all the strength she could.
“You destroyed the Soul Rupture.” She said.
“Aye!” Buster said, “But how did you know?”
“I can feel its power nearby.” She said, “It is a weapon powerful enough to kill all gods—forged with the Philosopher’s Stone.”
“The what?” Buster asked, searching his memory—for some reason it sounded familiar. Yes, of course. It was one of the things implanted into his mind from when he briefly held the weapon.
“Ye know.” Sheeva said, confirming his thoughts, “The weapon alone was not enough to slay a pantheon. Thus, why the owner tried to transfer its power—that is to say, transmute the ultimate weapon.”
“I don’t know what ye be getting’ at.” Buster said, “Why would someone want to kill the whole pantheon. I know there are evil and good gods both.”
“Buster…” Sheeva said, cutting him off, “There is a war in the realms beyond. There are but few deities left. The good ones have scattered and hid—and to be honest, I feel them not any longer.”
“What are ye saying?” Buster raised his voice.
“The world grows dark.” Sheeva said, “With my death, the last goodly god is gone. And all shall be ruled by evil. It is a world I fought to prevent.”
“Ye can not leave. Ye have to fight.” Buster tried to give her strength.
“Nay.” Sheeva said, silencing Buster again. “The time has come for new gods to arise. New gods to save the worlds.”
“But such gods cannot be made.” He said.
“Tis not true!” Sheeva whispered, “That alchemist who forged Soul Rupture… he knew how to forge a god. To make a weapon capable of defeating a pantheon.”
The circular path of thought forced Buster’s eyes to widen. Was it really possible?
“But how—who put the dagger in ye? Who thought they could kill ye?”
“The Blood Tomb.” She said, beginning to lose strength, “They also know the secrets of how to unravel the celestias. But alas, I cannot say much more. Listen to my final words.”
Buster only could nod, although his heart was not wanting to hear any more.
Sheeva still smiled as she spoke.
“There is a way.” Sheeva said, “To set things right.”
“How?” Buster asked, “How is that even possible?”
“The creator of the Soul Rupture still lives.” Sheeva said, “And he alone has the knowledge to forge a god. He alone, knows how to repair that weapon. He alone knows the way to save you all.”
“Can he save you?” Buster asked.
Sheeva closed her eyes and said, “He… can set things right.”
With that, the goddess breathed her last divine breath, and fell limp in Buster’s arms.
For a moment, he did nothing. He just stared with a scrunched up face. Minutes ticked by as he tried to process the information she had just given him. And finally, a fuse within him reached its end—he snapped.
“Sheeva, no!” he screamed, shaking her body, “Ye cannot be gone yet! Ye need to tell me what to do! Where to find the alchemist! Ye need to tell me how… how… how…”
Buster could not finish his sentence, because he knew not what to say. All he knew, in the deepest part of his heart, if he could find the creator of Soul Rupture, that he could set things right—that he could bring Sheeva back to life, and save Anhsook Del Iris.
And of course, only a few feet behind him, stood Gonzeelda, looking down her crossbow at the Dwarf’s harry skull. She couldn’t let Buster take her ‘Beauty’ away, and most of all; she couldn’t have him meeting the homunculus from Triden’s Gate—the result of the GodForge Ritual.