Book 7, Chapter 137

Setup

Kralkalor was irritable, quick-tempered, and overbearing; he wasn’t well-liked within the Dragon Plane. Hundreds of dragons had gathered around the teleportation gate in a matter of days, acting purely as spectators.

A few of them were still excited and tried to participate ever so often, but their conceit was met with a crushing defeat. None of Richard’s followers was a legend yet, but a fair number of them were sky saints. They all had excellent equipment and vast experience; taking out a few dragons wasn’t all that difficult. It was only when Waterflower almost killed one in a single engagement that the rest learnt not to stick out for Kralkalor anymore.

The stalemate lasted nearly an entire month, and during this time Kralkalor learnt how powerful Richard was. Just he and his followers were frightening opponents that had the gold dragon wondering whether he would manage to conquer Faelor even if he entered it. Even with his temper, he had grown hesitant; charging into Faelor could mean life or death. The only reason he still entertained the idea was that he had already backed himself into a corner with his debts.

Many of the dragons watching realised this as well, and the fact only served to amuse them further. The details of Kralkalor’s deal with Bahamut had been leaked at some point, and everyone knew about it.

……

As the days dragged by like a year, Kralkalor welcomed a special day when Richard appeared a full three times. Having heard of the audience to his play, he had decided to take a look personally. Only able to stop and look for a short period every visit, he had to use the multiple visits to survey his surroundings. Of course, he didn’t forget to wipe out hundreds of draconians each time.

Once he had seen everything he needed to, Richard returned to his lab in Faelor to ponder over what he had seen. He had managed to count out more than 200 dragons just in that area, and even dragons weren’t all bored enough to just watch one of their own get humiliated repeatedly. There had to be thousands or even tens of thousands of dragons on the plane at minimum, and that was a very conservative estimate.

The Dragon Plane was far more powerful than he had expected. He had estimated that it was a single weyr ruling lesser races, but this was clearly untrue. This meant the plane was far more valuable, but it was also far more than he could handle at the moment. He would need a change of plans.

Shaking his head, he sent a message for his followers to gather at the church building the draconians had left behind. While the statues within had been demolished, the main hall and its entrance were still a dozen metres tall; Tiramisu could finally enter the meeting without shrinking himself.

Once the map of the vicinity of the portal was set up, Richard marked the ring of dragons he had seen with great detail before turning to his followers, “This plane is far stronger than expected, but thankfully they don’t seem to have any plans to attack together. Of course, we can still block them off at the bottleneck if they do, but I don’t think there will be a chance to build a base on the other end for years. Do any of you have any ideas to get it done?”

Everyone exchanged glances, but none of them spoke up. Richard waited for a few minutes as they thought, sighing with faint disappointment. His followers were all adept at killing, but few of them could even lead armies and none were the type to manage planes. Even Gangdor, who was left in charge of Faelor for long stretches of time, was only able to hold down the fort with the help of Olar and the broodmother. As he continued to acquire more planes, he needed talents like Salwyn and Raymond, as well as those like Rosie and Perrin. He hadn’t met any such people as of late, and even Raymond was a thorn he had to deal with eventually.

Given the current situation, there was little he could do. Sighing, he changed the map to one of the Pearl Necklace and updated it with the newest information with Gangdor. The Crimson Army already controlled everything outside of Neverwinter itself, and he was in the midst of a siege on the capital city as well.

Even on the verge of the Dukedom’s end, Zabal’s laughable children and siblings were fighting over the throne. They had summoned nobles to vow loyalty to them, but secret messengers had arrived at Gangdor’s tent to discuss the terms of surrender. They were all delusional enough to think they would just become vassals to what would become the Crimson Empire.

He had no plans to entertain such clowns. Gangdor had already been instructed to ignore all such attempts and continue his siege; the fates of the existing rulers were not for him to worry about. The Pearl Necklace contained Dragon Valley, and he couldn’t afford it being in the hands of an other; a stable planar passage was worth more than even the entire Iron Triangle Empire.

After some thought, he marked a twisting route eastward that headed to the ocean that passed through the Iron Triangle Empire and many other dukedoms, “Once we take over the Pearl Necklace, give the army three days of rest before continuing on this path to the ocean.”

He then circled a point on the route, “This is the location of Runai’s central church, and it will be our biggest target. Taking it down will destroy her foundations in the mortal world, dropping her to the strength of a lesser god or even dropping her immediately. That will be our primary goal for this battle.”

“The other gods will interfere if we don’t have a fitting excuse, my Lord,” Kellac cautioned him.

Richard shook his head, “This will be divine war against a false faith. Runai doesn’t have the power to control time. She can only warp its flow, but she proudly proclaims that she is the Goddess of Time. Is that not enough?”

Kellac’s eyes glowed at this question, “Then is the Eternal Dragon…”

If the Eternal Dragon chose to draw faith from Faelor, the entire pantheon would be shaken.

“No, the dragon doesn’t need faith like that. If he thought Faelor was useful, he would have formed a natural altar somewhere on the plane. It’s just an excuse,” Richard said with a shake of the head. He had asked Noelene about this already.

“In that case, Cerces will interfere at a minimum; the central church is close to our route. Neian isn’t too far away either.”

Richard smiled, “Just because I can’t kill those two yet, that doesn’t mean I can’t teach them not to meddle in my affairs. Let them try, a few demigods and avatars should be enough of a lesson. If they annoy us too much, it isn’t a bad idea to take over their churches too.”

A few of those born in Faelor looked uncomfortable with the topic, but Richard’s core followers remained perfectly calm. Even Norland’s gods were only equivalent to legends in their eyes, while those of Faelor weren’t even worthy of that respect.

As his followers started to leave, Richard connected to the broodmother and had her focus on creating a large batch of flying chrysalides. While they weren’t as large as the enormous wasps, they were a better balance of speed and capacity for transporting soldiers instead of supplies. The broodmother agreed to create a chrysalis every day for the next twenty; added to what he already had, that would give him over fifty to use at any given time. This mobility would be key to some future battles.

Fiddling with the Doomsday Imprint, he continued to stare at the map until he was the only one in the room. His blank expression eventually gave way to a frown, and as his strength was being drained by the Imprint that frown only grew worse.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA