Staff of Reincarnation
As Leguna was still hung up on the mystery long ago, the war between the two empires didn't stop.
Under Alissanda's leadership, the Hockian force conquered Fort Kesta and won their empire the advantage. Within the short span of the coming month, the Hockian units attacked one stronghold after another near Fort Kesta and started to cast a net towards the imperial capital. Stok had completely lost the initiative they had on the war and the former hegemon of the continent had become a piece of meat feasted upon by the northern eagle.
Many northerners were confident they would win the war. The southerners were just as pessimistic. Many of them began their move northwards under the Hockians' watchful eye. All they wanted was a stable home and life away from war.
The Hockian troops had seen quite a number of southern refugees. Thanks to Alissanda's orders, they were forbidden from harming civilians.
As a result, most of the civilians of the empire that reigned across the continent for up to a millennium, except for the soldiers who were bound to the empire, knew that the symbol of the continent would forever change from the purple Rolan of Stok to Hocke's golden eagle.
However, the apparent advantage held by Hocke was merely a misleading tool. Regardless of what the commoners thought, the leaders of both empires had their own views on the war.
From the Hockian standpoint, Stok was already something they were destined to hold. However, consuming such a large empire would require a lot of time and come at a huge cost. While the current state of war seemed optimistic, they were far from being able to regain peace within this year like many civilians believed. If they truly wanted to end the war on the continent, Alissanda estimated that it would take at least three more years.
On the other side, the Stokian imperial family didn't think they were on the brink of loss. At the very least, Emperor Jilroan didn't think so, because he still had a final trump card he hadn't played yet.
Lately, Logg felt rather free. Jilroan and the others who knew of his existence were busy waging war and Logg had completed the final preparations lately.
He sipped a cup of hot coffee and wrapped up the last of his duties. It was time for him to finally enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Despite how badly the Stokian war effort seemed, Logg was still quite calm, being the final trump card they hadn't yet used. He muttered, "It's about time for him to arrive, right?"
He put down his cup and slowly walked out of the basement.
"Logg!" Jilroan roared angrily as he rushed through the passageway to the basement.
Logg put on his staple smile and made a magus's salute. "I am here, Your Imperial Majesty."
Jilroan, however, was far from patient. He grabbed Logg by the chest and shoved his nose as close to his face as possible. "For the sake of your plan, my empire had paid a huge price. Now… how are the preparations going?"
"Your Imperial Majesty, do you still doubt my loyalty?" Logg feigned an innocent expression as he pointed towards the basement. "During the past two nights, I finished the last of the preparations I promised you. Now, it is time for me to witness proof of my loyalty to you."
Logg led Jilroan down to the complicated formation room in the basement. The connections between the different components of the formation looked clear and intricate, but the starting point from which all those connections began was an empty stone ground.
"Your Imperial Majesty, the formation is complete. Now, all we lack is a core that can operate this terrifying formation. Naturally, that would be the owner of this formation."
Even though Logg tried to make it sound appealing, Jilroan still seemed quite worried.
Why are there so many runes that I can't comprehend? Jilroan thought. He was a high-order magus closing in on the myth realm. He could even understand many nonconventional magic formation systems, but of the purpose of those before him now, he wasn't aware.
"This formation carries the necessary runes for energy conversion required by the epic spell. Your Imperial Majesty, this is an unparalleled necromantic spell, and given that your understanding in the field is lacking…" He smiled as he subtly reminded Jilroan of his own superiority in that field of magic.
"But based on the circuit lines, activating the formation will come with a huge cost!" Jilroan complained.
"That is so, Your Imperial Majesty. Aren't you able to tell by now? All powerful spells, not just necromancy, comes with huge blowback."
"Then how can I deal with it?" he roared angrily. He had paid quite a huge price for this very day. It was the only hope he had to resist the darned northern bastards. Yet, now it seemed that his beacon of hope hadn't been as simple as he had once imagined.
"Your Imperial Majesty… This can help you." Logg stretched his hand out and a staff appeared in it.
"This is…" Jilroan inspected the staff skeptically. It looked rather unique. Its thin form branched out into two parts. The bottom part of the staff was made of some unknown kind of wood and the middle to top of the staff was made of a material as pale as human bone. On top of the staff is a miniaturized crystal skull. On the forehead of the skull, a gem radiating green light was embedded.
Logg didn't respond and merely waited for Jilroan to receive it.
The old emperor stared at it for half a minute. All of a sudden, information about this divine weapon flashed through his mind. "Is this the staff of reincarnation, Hela?!"
"That's right. This staff is indeed Hela."
"How could it be?!" He was utterly shocked. Hela was one of the most ancient and powerful divine items ever to be recorded in the world of magic.
It was said that its creator was a myth-realm necromancer. Back then, he had killed another myth-realm magus and used his skull as a base for the staff. The necromancer then killed a black dragon, ruined a tree of life of the elves and used the bones of the dragon and the core of the tree of life to make the body of the staff.
The necromancer wielded Hela for millennia and eventually managed to ignite the divine flare and gain a seat in the throne of deities. In the coming ages, the name of that necromancer was gradually forgotten by the common folk. However, people knew him under an even more sinister moniker that chilled them down to the core.
He was none other than the reaper, the personification of Hell.
His staff, Hela, eventually disappeared through the passing of time. As far as Logg knew, one ancient tome he read stated that the legendary staff appeared once more near three thousand years ago, but nothing else was recorded about that incident. The records describe the staff as a demonic item and its appearance was a sign that grand disaster would befall the world.
"You are free to test it out for yourself to see if it's the real article." Logg summoned his familiar -- a little black-and-white dog.
Jilroan hesitated before he received the staff. He pointed it at the dog and the green glow on the skull's gem grew brighter. It sapped the life force of the dog away and in three short seconds, the pup of three months old breathed its last breath.
"Your Imperial Majesty, try out the other side."
Jilroan turned the staff around. The crystal skull disappeared and the white bone parts formed the bottom of the staff. The wooden part on the other end began to sprout and at the center of the sprout was a green gem.
Jilroan pointed the sprout that symbolized life at the puppy. The gem glowed once more, but unlike before, the staff rejuvenated the puppy's life force. The dog, whose heart had stopped, now jumped about energetically and approached Logg to lick his shoes.
With that, Jilroan believed that he was indeed wielding the mythical staff Hela that could grant and take away life.Previous Chapter Next Chapter