After Armageddon: 5) Very Insincere Forgiveness

Read Part 4 of After Armageddon: Hunting the Jester

The Loss Of A Mansion

Tears had come to Achilles’ eyes while he purposefully engulfed his beloved mansion in flames. His fine rugs. The literal mountain of alcohol (though it did aid in the fire’s size). The antique furniture. His plush bed and linens. The armory. The kitchens. The mansion… All gone in one swift, fiery explosion.

While Achilles mourned the loss of his vast wealth, tears falling from heavy eyes, a shadow raised itself midst the flame. Slight jingles could be heard. Then blue eyes opened. Slowly, the form emerged from the burning mass. Achilles, Cadmar, Andiel, Crimson, and Armageddon stood morbidly still, as if awaiting their own execution.

The shadow became a man wearing Jester’s garb. Bells from his hat jingled with less joy than before, one melted entirely, another missing. Most of his clothing, hat, and shoes were black with soot. Only his snow-blue eyes and part of his face remained untouched.

The group turned and ran, while the man fell to his knees and screamed with the pain of visceral burns.

 

Hideout In Calciphern

Andiel had a few contacts in Calciphern, the city near the mansion. He brought everyone to a hideout and guaranteed safety. He passed out a few drinks to everyone and began regaling the group with stories of his assassin escapades. Every time he had escaped to this very spot. No one had ever found him.

Then the Jester walked in. Still covered in soot and glaring with hatred.

Normally, Achilles at least would have drawn his sword. But this time he sat deeply in Andiel’s mold-covered cushioned seat. He drank a deep drink of Andiel’s cheap wine. He looked around at his crestfallen comrades. Nodded slightly at Andiel, who had never looked so surprised. And announced their immediate surrender to the angry demi-god.

“You took me by surprise, I’ll give you that. You’re not worthless, as most mortals, I can see.” The Jester slowly walked into the hideout, closing the cracked wooden door. It creaked loudly. “I have an offer for you.”

“Does it involve you sending undead jadori with us?” Achilles took another deep gulp. “Those were unpleasant.” He drained the rest of the chipped glass, his eyebrows forming together.

“No tricks this time.” The Jester stood in the room’s center, putting his arm around Andiel. “I have a job for you, since you’ve proven yourselves. No jadori. You go into some underground dungeons for me. Get me a golden coin buried within.” He gripped Andiel’s hair, pulling his head back, and spoke softly into his ear. “And I forgive you for setting off that explosion and trying to kill me. Sound fair?”

Andiel’s head was released suddenly, and he held onto the back of his head while stepping away.

“Do we have a choice?”

“Yes. Despite you burning me, I forgive you for what happened. It was wrong of me to trick you in Iota.”

“…Really?”

“No. Not really, Achilles. Get the fuck out of here.”

 

Lair Of The Lich

The Requiem Labyrinths were two towers above ground. Within each was a chamber that led underground. Deep within was the golden coin the Jester had requested. And the group’s apparently only chance to ever be rid of him. They began their descent into the old lich’s lair, a deep sense of despair settling over them.