Land In Revolt Interludes XIV
Though seasonably warm outside, it was cold within the Temple of Light this morning. Kneeling by the altar, Patriarch Ruger knew the reason. But he did not care, for it did not matter. Soon he would hold office over such things as the elements, the Essence be damned. All in due time. He continued his prayers to Light, enjoying the brief solitude. Try as he may, moments like these were so fleeting these days.
And the moment was gone.
“Yes, my child,” Ruger replied without any note of annoyance. “What news do you bring?”
“My sincere apologies, Excellency,” the young Cleric continued. “I thought you should know the most recent… developments.”
“Please, go ahead,” requested Ruger. “And speak freely. Do not fear in doing so.”
“The Quorum have confined themselves to the Dome of Heavens as expected. The headed there immediately after the orders for House Arrest were issued. The Templars have surrounded the building but there is no obvious point of entry. The arcanists’ defenses are formidable. The operation is further hindered by their supporters who dog our men as often as possible. On a positive note, the Faithful of the city rally behind us and, in turn, do their part to hamper the upstarts.”
Ruger smirked, “While I appreciate their efforts, I do not wish to see innocent worshipers put their lives at risk. The arcanists’ magics are dangerous. They have no concern for the lives of their fellow citizens. I do. We need to put an end to this as soon as possible. Any word from our contact?”
“Yes, your Excellency,” the young Cleric replied with a nod. “She acknowledged she is ready to assist us when we give word.”
Ruger took a moment to consider the information. Then he spoke. “Give the word, then. Tell Senator Elias we move at midday.”
The Cleric nodded once more and exited the nave. Ruger was alone with the altar once more. The peace was welcome but more necessary than before. Ruger needed the stillness to prepare his ritual. At midday, he had a miracle to perform.
* * *
The wind was picking up. Captain Ironreef estimated it should cut the intercept time significantly. All the better. This was going to be short, sweet and merciless. These Purist bastards needed to be taught a lesson once and for all. Civilized Majerians gave them wide quarter. No one stopped them from embracing their antiquated, backwards lives. No one bothered them on their barbaric island. Yet time and again, they periodically enact acts of aggression against the very people who gave them leave to live as they wanted.
No more, thought Ironreef. This time, Essencia would blast them back to the stone ages for which they yearned. This time, the entire might of the Navy would fall upon them. The lesson would be learned. Captain Sarah Ironreef would be the one to administer it.
Incursions across the Channel of Isolation had been steadily increasing for months. While the frequency was out of sorts with the Purists, the violations were nothing new. Things changed when they started taking prisoners. They changed for the worse when they started murdering them on their decks in broad daylight. The killings were brutal, ritualistic. It was a new low for the barbarians. The time had come to answer blood with blood.
It was then, while Ironreef was lost in thought, the wind suddenly just stopped. And with it, the entirety of the mighty Essencian Navy. The Captain turned to survey her crew. All of them shared the same confused look. Ironreef’s stomach began to churn. She realized something terrible was happening a split second before she smelled the sulfur in the air.
They had been played for fools. The whole fleet was lying dead in the water. Every. Single. Ship. Ironreef extended her spyglass and looked towards the horizon. There she saw their doom drawing closer. Enough ships to match them; probably half again more on top of that. Dancing and leaping about their masts were horrors of all shapes and sizes.
Hell was coming for them. All they could do was wait.