After Armageddon: 4) Hunting The Jester

Read Part 3 of After Armageddon: Burning Towns, Achieving Dreams

 

The Duke was Dead

Cadmar had thought his long journey was finally complete. He had travelled across Aeturnum to find Achilles. Had convinced the fallen paladin that he owed Cadmar a debt since Achilles had technically stolen the mansion in which he lived from his uncle, the duke Maliance. He had travelled even further by ship to the frozen shores of Iota. And there had had plotted with people of ill repute to slay his dishonorable family member.

The duke was dead.

But the Jester had betrayed them all. The undead jadori he’d sent with the group had turned on them at the last moment. Furthermore, it seemed the Jester was intent on invading the mainland of Aeturnum, himself. The duke must only have been another pawn.

It was shameful to the paladin. Cadmar had thought his uncle’s actions were insane, building an army to attack Morgana, the place of their descent. But to know that he was doing so in service to the Jester. Well, it made Cadmar think more about why Achilles had chosen to become a fallen paladin.

 

The Journey to Eboncrest

But the Jester had to be killed. The invasion could not come to pass. Especially with the Maliance family named tied to it. So, they left to hunt the Jester, who had already traveled to the mainland.

The journey to Eboncrest, re-crossing the icy sea, was noisier than it should have been. Klanhorn and Soliel had left. Hong had gone full werewolf and ran off somewhere in the frozen wastes. The rest of the group they had briefly met in Belladonna had all gone their own ways. So of the original “heroes” travelling to Iota, only Achilles and Cadmar remained.

But just before leaving the port town of Belladonna, Achilles and Cadmar had inadvertently freed a group of slaves from the mainland. Crimson the trinati pyromancer, Armageddon the trinati oracle, and Andiel the loveable dark elf had all sworn their loyalty after Achilles had killed the human guarding them over a minor racial dispute. Achilles, it turned out, did not agree with the practice of slavery where fellow dark elfs were concerned.

Armageddon and Crimson didn’t talk much, but Andiel made up for them. And he made the trip considerably more amusing with tales of adventure and battle. The undead viewed death with an ironic flair.

Cadmar and Achilles stepped foot on Eboncrest soil intent on finishing their mission. The paladin wanted the Jester dead to protect Morgana and bring honor to his family name. The fallen paladin wanted the Jester dead because he had taken Achilles’ home, the duke’s old manse, as his new base of operations. Andiel revealed himself to be an assassin by trade, and loved death in general, so he was in.

 

Achilles’ Mansion

They arrived at the foot of the hill upon which Achille’s mansion stood at the last moment before sunset, when fragments of brightness scatter across a dark landscape. Four chaos beasts walked the perimeter. The Jester could be seen through the study window, drinking bourbon and sitting before a roaring fire.

Achilles’ bourbon, sitting space, and roaring fire…

Cadmar proposed rushing in, which Andiel also favored. But the old lava core Achilles had stashed in his study, and the pyromancer Crimson gave him an idea. This had become personal, and no death but the most extravagant would do. They’d use the same tactic on the Jester had worked so well on the duke.

If only the incoming inferno didn’t have to harm the precious mansion Achilles had justifiably taken and called his own for so many years… But, prices had to be paid where vendettas were concerned.

The explosion melted the manse into a firestorm of passion and ruined evenings where drinking and reading in the formerly peaceful study could no longer exist.