Book 7, Chapter 63

Land Of The Gods

Looking at his reflection on the blade of his axe, Gangdor grinned with satisfaction before bounding out of the tent and jumping on his mount. He didn’t even pack anything and charged out immediately, although he stopped after a while and reined in the horse before circling twice. Calling over an elite shadowspear knight, he whispered a few instructions into the drone’s ear. The knight nodded and gathered a small squad, setting off westward at a gallop.

It was only when this team was out of sight that the brute scratched his head with excitement and a twinge of fear, cursing quietly before galloping across the red earth.

……

Thousands upon thousands of warriors in tattered cloaks were steadily marching through the barbarian plains, leaving behind a cloud of dust in their wake. Some of the soldiers were ambling forward with exhaustion, but anyone who assumed weakness would be making a fatal mistake. These men had already defeated several powerful barbarian tribes, completely wiping out quite a few.

Two men in robes were riding at the centre of the army, a strange combination of black and white. The man on the right was evidently old, his wrinkles so deep they seemed to be carved by a knife. On the left was a middle-aged mage, but his face was unnaturally green. They were Kellac and Zendrall. The combination of a priest and necromancer was quite unique, especially with both at level 17, but they made for a terrifying duo. Formed up around them were hundreds of level 10 humanoids from the broodmother, the drones of war having become a nightmare for the barbarians.

The pair didn’t talk much, but Zendrall’s expression suddenly changed one moment as he closed his eyes for a minute, “His Grace is gathering his followers, we must make haste and reach Bluewater within a month.”

The necromancer had already received a message from Richard before, asking him to take care of a spy who was to be publicly executed. He was to imprison the target’s soul so that others couldn’t take it away, but having found out that he and Kellac were almost at their next target Richard had allowed him the time to finish this task before returning. However, he was now summoned alongside the rest of his peers.

Kellac hesitated for a moment; the situation in Bluewater had clearly changed. They were only a thousand kilometres from the core of the barbarian plains, where the last of the Highland Wargods shrines hid the current pope. That shrine’s destruction would completely eliminate the Highland Wargod from Faelor, completing his vengeance once and for all. Without any faith, the deity would fall.

Kellac didn’t know if Richard had the ability to force his way into even an unstable divine kingdom, but he considered it a victory just to set up the Highland Wargod’s eventual demise. As a mortal, this was still incomparably glorious. And yet, the target was in their palms but they were to retreat; it was a difficult decision to make.

Still, the priest smiled wryly, “Alright, what about the army?”

“Let’s bring them to the Land of the Gods for now, we still have the entire month. We can rush back to the Oasis after the soldiers are settled in.”

Kellac nodded, “Agreed. Do you know why Lord Richard is summoning us all of a sudden?”

“Hmm… Perhaps a new war?”

“At this scale? To put the plains aside… The target might just be the Iron Triangle Empire or even a god.”

“Lady Flowsand already destroyed barbarian morale when she was still present; conquering the place is only a matter of time. They won’t recover for decades, we can leave for now.”

Kellac frowned and shook his head, “I’m afraid it isn’t that simple. The Wargod already rebuilt his church twice, and the priests we fight haven’t been dropping in levels. The rate at which his faith has been recovering is astonishing… I feel like there’s something hidden within the City of Beginnings that we need to learn of soon; I still feel a faint sense of fear even thinking of the depths of the plains.”

“Even you?” Zendrall looked at Kellac in surprise, “For a grand cleric to… Nevermind. His Grace has returned, and Faelor isn’t comparable to Norland; even if there are any threats hidden in there, he will find a way.”

Kellac visibly relaxed and nodded, starting on orders for the soldiers to encamp. However, Zendrall interrupted him once more, “His Grace wants me to return to Bluewater immediately, the astral chrysalis is on the way. I need to deal with a criminal.”

Kellac nodded, not asking to go with. Zendrall was bound to Richard by the soul, and with their level and the assistance of the network of cloned brains it wasn’t difficult for them to communicate both ways. He himself was more a follower of Flowsand instead.

The Land of the Gods that they were turning away from was an enormous new city in the barbarian plains, located where the Church of the Highland Wargod once was. This was the same place Richard had taken the Doomsday IMprint from, but now it was a sprawling city with a church of the Eternal Dragon at the centre. Of course, the altar here couldn’t compare to the ruins found naturally in other planes; without a powerful priest watching over the ceremony, a majority of any offering would be lost in transmission. Still, Flowsand had strengthened the place with her Book of Time when she was still around; it was at least stable.

The Land of the Gods also had shrines to the three goddesses now tied to Richard, all located in a ring around the central church. This was what gave it its name, and over the past years it had evolved into a tactical base for the Crimson Dukedom in the barbarian plains. It was a military city, with more religious officials and soldiers than commoners.

Even the goddesses themselves had been shocked when they learnt of the city’s construction. Although they were now staunch allies, they had started to fear this powerful deity who kept his real name a secret from them. Flowsand had originally told them that the giant dragon was only a servant to the true deity, but even his timeforce was so powerful that they would be shackled to him if they tried to use it. Just how powerful was the god backing this dragon? They were likely strong enough to head their own pantheon.

And yet, the name of the city alone made it clear that the dragon had little care for fame or glory; he was quite willing to share it all. Of course, this didn’t mean he would yield to them either. It was futile to even guess at who this was; the deity was such a powerful existence but still had no interest in faith at all. The two churches in Faelor didn’t even gather much piety, instead just functioning as markers for his existence.

If Richard knew about the goddesses' worries, he might have quoted what a grand mage in the Deepblue had once told him— the old dragon just liked to leave his claw marks everywhere he went.

When Io and Nyra had left with Flowsand for the Darkness, Kellac had ended up becoming the head priest of the Church. One could still present offerings here, but the rate of return was so low that it wasn’t worth the effort; Richard’s own followers just went to Faust for any ceremonies before returning. There hadn’t been a ceremony in Faelor in months.

This lack of divine grace had slowed the training of new clerics and priestesses, their advancement slow enough to just match the followers of the three goddesses now. Still, the city continued to develop rapidly as the Crimson Dukedom poured money into it, blooming into a population of more than ten thousand people with merchants and mercenaries always abound. There were many supply points and fortresses around, the various armies taking advantage of this place to mount their assaults deeper into the barbarian ancestral plains.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA