Chapter Fifteen

Flat justitia ruat coelum

The Hammerhead ripped through the sky like a stone hewn blade. The landscape flicked by imperceptively fast. The low groan of the Zeitspringer tech, hummed below deck. Commander Delgen grinned at the sensation. A dwarf in the sky…his ancestors would be horrified, but Shardhammer was different. He reveled in pushing the limits of nature and tradition. Delgen was still a dwarf, tempering faith and justice like a smith, planting hope and resolve like a cleric and above all he was a miner, he tunneled through stone and time to find great treasures and adventure…if that was not the path of a true paragon of Moradin then he did not know what was.

“Were we supposed to close and lock that gate?” Leomourn asked. They all shrugged and agreed to go back if they could.

The Hammerhead descended swiftly, smoothly, they were close to the Hidden wood. Delgen pulled the ship to a stop and they descended to the ground. Delgen moored the Hammerhead with a flick of a large switch on his K.E.Y. A large anchor in the shape of an anvil fell to the ground, the ship floated in the air under the cover of trees.

“Now to find the Order of the Storm, or the Temple of Reflection.” Amarella said taking point. They walked deep into the forest the sounds of animals and nature filling the empty anxious silence with calming resonance.

“What did you say?” Amarella asked looking back.

“Nobody said anything.” Leomourn said.

“I heard someone call my name.” Amarella trailed off. They continued through the dark wood. Periodically the barbarian would perk up and look around in confusion but did not ever mention anything out loud. Soon they came upon a derelict structure in the middle of a copse.

“Whoa!” Leomourn coughed running forward into a kneeling position with a fist up, demanding silence. He pointed to a dark shape underneath the temple. It was a dragon.

“It’s okay…that is Sarconis’ physical body. Remember, he is in stasis.” Amarella said.

They spread out and into the Temple. A simple stone temple with a stone roof held fast by great stone pillars, some had fallen victim to time others seemed to sport the wounds of battle. In the center was a stone altar, upon it was a great silver cuirass. The armour shone with a divine eminence that lit the whole copse in a low silver glow. The long curved teeth of Sarconis were inches away from the armour, his great maul frozen in an attack of ferocious intent. The poison of this horror still glisten on the long fangs of this undead monster. The flesh of this dragon was gray and black with necrosis, falling away from the bone revealing the shriveled organs and dead tissue of the creature. His eyes were open in an eternal glare, deep enveloping and eigengrau in colour.

“Godspeed now. Before he senses the purgatorium. If he devours anymore souls, he could break the stasis prematurely. This is a sensitive matter.” A voice called out, startling the whole group.

“Hurry now, the spice is ready…it is peaking. Quickly come lay down here, have you got the feathers?” A dreamstrider said as he lead them to a small circle of bedrolls and pillows all with a smoking lamp next to them, being tended to by other Dreamstriders.

They all reclined supine and were made comfortable. The Mistings gathered their weapons and gear and made sure they were ready for the battle that was to come after the stride. They were given long pipes, that were held over oil lamps. The substance was heated to vaporization.

“Take long deep breaths, let the Stride take you.” Slowly reality began to fade, first at the corners of their vision, then the ground seemed to fall away and the whole scene just fell apart around them. They were falling deeply but were soon caught and held fast by the enveloping perverted embrace of a dark lover. When they opened their eyes they were lying on the bedrolls in the Hidden wood but as if their were a lens of distortion that obscured their view. They leaped to their feet grabbing at their weapons, pulling up a dreamworld version of each one as the shade of the material weapon stayed on the forest floor in a faded phantom of itself.

They looked upon the grey form of Sarconis. There was movement. First his eyes moved, then his head writhed slowly. He looked up into the now night sky. Glowing coloured shapes filled the sky and floated impassively. Sarconis stretched his head into the sky and climbed into the night-sky his wings and talons seemed more to rip and tear as a form of propulsion then actual flight, this monster was one of pure pain and evil. An aberration surely worthy of the title of Exarch of Tiamat.

Chapter Fifteen

The Flame of Time gabrielegandrake