The curious myth of Le Caldero de Spellflux
“The Grinning Kolobok has escaped.” The guard relaying this unfortunate news braced himself. The prison room’s solitary open window swung lightly in the breeze. The bread’s escape route, no doubt.
“This is the fifth time. No limit to your incompetence, is there?” Bela did not hide her exasperation. The Witch Queen considered her options for a moment and conjured up a communicator. “Initiate the Academy Recruitment spell. The cadets’ target is Kolobok, dead or alive.”
“Roger Roger.” The Recursionist set the plan in motion and created a copy for later use. All ready now, she thought, for some well placed Marching Orders, and a couple other key spells.
Three Einherjar Thanes stood around an ancient artifact, awaiting instructions. The Spellflux Cauldron generated great interest among the Dreni, but for the undead and the Norden, it was more of a bargaining chip.
“Magni will be pleased, brother,” one said. Magnus Thorsson, fondly known as Magni, was their hero - the one who controlled the power of Thunderclap. He wanted to make sure he continued as a Thane by appeasing Magnus, instead of being subject to the whims of Reconstruct.
“Brother, we can trade this vessel for Raid the Tombs instead. What use is this to Magni, anyway?” The second was a practical Thane, both in life and in undeath. The cauldron continued to bubble and gave off a rancid stench which would have driven mortal beings to despair and disgust, but the Thanes remained unaffected.
“We should exchange this infernal pot with a little Born Again sister.” Undead must stick together to ensure their survival, the third posited. His theories about social equality had gotten him killed once, and at this rate, his second coming would meet the same ignominious fate.
Their Brainstorm continued. Looking at their utter inability to achieve anything of note through the rest of that day, it was later hypothesized that they had been Led Astray.
Bragi Runesinger, having started his last song of the night for the live-streamed concert, stopped in a most abrupt fashion mid-way through a splendid rendition. Still as stone. Disappointed viewers started leaving as the silence grew, unaware that his thousand-yard-like stare was being reciprocated by a Night Hag from behind the camera. Until help arrived, or the Hag relented, Bragi would remain stunned.
Not far away from the concert site, a trio of cadets continued their search for the diminutive round ball of dough.
“Sending three of us for this simple task seems a bit Overkill, no?” The first was confident.
“I hope we don’t have to split the reward.” This cadet was known for her sweet tooth.
“I can’t wait!” The last joined in.
The moment these words escaped her mouth coincided with a sudden chill in the surrounding air. They stood in a line, immobilised by some unknown force. One of them let out a blood-curdling cry.
“What happened?” Her companion asked. Then she looked ahead and saw the terrifying sight of an Ensnaring Serpent returning her glare. It was coiled and ready to attack.
The Recursionist was observing this little situation develop from the secret camera on one of the cadet’s uniforms. She cycled through her spells - Detained, Deported - and eventually prepared the Traitorous Murmur spell, knowing well the condition that needed to be satisfied to cast it. This was the best use of recruits - and this snake was definitely an upgrade.
The Mothmara moved further, blissfully unaware of his surroundings. After helping the Kolobok escape imprisonment, a huge source of magic radiating from around a building nearby had attracted him. The mist grew thicker as he approached, and just as he got ready to suck in some vitalising nectar, a booming voice startled and shook him.
“This power is not yours to partake of, measly insect.”
Mothmara turned to face the speaker and recognised the Wendish drake’s commanding appearance. Sablewing Zira did not take kindly to such interference.
“S-sorry, Your Majest-. Wait, i-is it right to say Your Majesty? How does one refer to a King of Dragons... You are a King, aren’t you? Or a Queen?!” Mothmara continued to dig the hole deeper.
“Silence, insolent being. I chose this spot to grow stronger in peace, away from even the Turn of Seasons. Your intrusion is unwelcome. Leave with haste, or...” Zira left the threat unsaid, but lingering in the air all the same.
“I-I’m leaving right away!” Mothmara took a few steps back, then paused. “So, for next time - if there is a next time - is it king or quee-“
As all the above disparate elements got together for an explosive event, the air rang with the familiar deep, high ranged sound of the Allfather’s Horn.
This signalled an end to the current conflict. The Horn, to those who could hear it, was an invitation to fight in the otherworld, at the behest of ‘dreamers’. It must be accepted. Magnus and Bela appeared in holograms across the sky.
“We are all - somehow - part of the same army chosen to fight and uphold the dreamer’s honour.” Magnus demanded the full attention of his listeners. “They have concocted a devious strategy indeed - notes here say things about ‘early blockers, removal spells, reusing spells, stunning enemies for time, and finally attacking in powerful combos’.”
“There will be a temporary truce,” Bela said, “and we will resume our hostilities upon return. Get ready.”
The Horn sounded again - something that would never happen in the otherworld anymore.
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