Chapter 18:

The liar and the pretender

Beren finally sat down, and wondered about what happened. Suddenly, all the tides seemed to turn against the others, but, strangely, it seemed to turn to his side. While staring at the books on the shelf, he asked himself how could he take advantage of the situation, but soon he realized that Snik-Poh just wanted to use him as much as he could, since Beren was a Pagan and, moreover, unworthy of respect of some sort. More than that, the fact of Snik-Poh possessing more power than himself was not something to ignore, and Beren would never assume to be under his leadership. So, he made his decision, and there was no turning back. In a couple hours after he had left, Snik-Poh reappeared, walking inside of the room.

“So, have you decided? Will you help me? Or do you prefer to perish in the prison, or in the middle of the war?

“War? What is it?” - asked Beren, curious about his speeching.

“Ah, don´t you know? I thought you were a powerful mage... well, maybe your powers don´t apply to fortune or quiromancy. I will tell you, but answer my question first.” - He said, in a acid tone.

“Of course I will... I cannot refuse some offer like this, since I am a ambitious mage who seeks for power. I will help you as much as I can” - Said Beren

“Ahh… very well. You are wise, after all. I wouldn´t expect another answer from you. Very well, I will tell you.” - By saying that, he walked outside of the room, and stepped in the big pentagram on the ground. Beren followed him, and did the same. Then, Snik-poh continued. - “The war is my plan. I have been planning this through the years, but only recently I could carry on, because I was expecting the right moment… and this moment arrived.”

“Why?” - asked Beren.

“ You do not know many things about our world or legends, but I´ll tell you. Many, many years ago, my ancestor, Sargon-Poh, sealed the three lesser gods known as Tymira, Dolores and Felicitar. These ones were gods of fear, grief and joy, respectively. He did it to strenght the other gods, who were more powerful and, thus, acquire more influence, respect and power. So, he did a pact with Odion, Apathas and Amoras, but, since nowadays these gods do not have the same power, I intend to use a special artifact to drain the power of the lesser gods first and, with this power in my hands, I intend to drain the power of the remaining gods. So, I will be the most powerful being in this world, and I will finally achieve my dream. I intend to leave this world at once, and travel to a more profitable land, to change it into my domains. And you can be my assistant, if you like.” - Snik-Poh stated.

Beren was very astonished. Snik-Poh was more ambitious than himself, and his thirst for power was breaking all the limits. But he controlled his emotions and asked, in a low tone. - “Very well, but, and about this artifact? How do you intend to use it to drain the power of the gods?”

“Well, this is very simple. Do you know anything about the Zealan Ceremonial Shield?”

“Yes, I know, a little.”

“Well, that´s it. But this shield is a little bit different. In fact, I need two shields, but I have only one. The other is splitted in two parts. One of them is in the Ethereal Realm, which access was sealed long time ago, and the other is lost in the depths of Vengeance Bay. I arranged this war just to create a distraction, so no one would ever follow me or question me about anything. I´ll work in the shadows while they kill each other” - then Snik-Poh laughed loudly, and Beren laughed also, impressed with the foolishness of the mage.

“Well, I must say that it´s a good plan” - Said Beren. So, what are we going to do now?

“You are not going to do anything, but I will. Stay here a little longer, I will be right back” - And then Snik-Poh vanished, after having cast a spell.

“Oh, yes, I am going to do something, lunatic… you will not put your hands in such marvelous power. I will achieve it first…” - And then Beren faded also, using his Flash Spell, which worked fairly well. Beren thought that, if Snik-Poh trusted him a little bit, he would remove the magic barriers around his sanctuary to save his own power, and so he did. Fool. Beren appeared near the entrance of a green building, inside the city. The night was dark, and he took advantage of it, walking silently through the shadows, hoping to hear something inside the building.

Meanwhile, Snik-Poh joined Pothos in a meeting. Pothos never trusted him, but he couldn´t ignore his constant advices, once there were troops moving onto the city´s direction since three days ago. His scouts had revealed the enemy´s position, and he was aware of that. But he knew that Snik-Poh was a double-edge agent, and decided to take advantage of his informations, trusting in the power of his soldiers and mages. Both of them were talking.

“So, Snik-Poh, are you telling me that Lord Traust is going to attack me with full army? Don´t be ridiculous. He would never expose himself like this. And, moreover, what are you gaining with this? War spoils?” - Laughed Pothos, making a joke.

“No. I have other objectives, which are none of your concern. Well, you have my advice. They are about to arrive in seven hours by now. I think it´s better for you to position your trolls.” - Snik-Poh stood up - “The meeting is finished. I must go” - A troll scout arrived at the room, seeming to be in a hurry - “Lord Pothos, Lord Pothos, they are approaching!” - Pothos gave a insight look to Snik-Poh - “So, you´re not lying, mage. Very well, here is your cash.” - He threw a bag of leather, with some valuables inside - “Move away, now. Get lost.” - Snik-Poh disappeared after hearing these words. Pothos stood up too, moved away to outside and started to position his soldiers, since the battle would occur soon.

After that, Snik-Poh arrived at the main building, where Lord Traust stood. He had sent some of his troops to recoinassance, but he wasn´t intending to attack in first place. He wanted to talk, instead. But Snik-Poh appeared, and, with sweet words, started a conversation with him. - “Lord Traust, I have bad news for us all. I have been watching the trolls for hours, and my spies have brought some information for us”. Lord Traust , then, asked Snik-Poh about this information. - “Well, you can start. What is this information about?”. Snik-Poh nodded, then continued the speeching. - “The trolls are mobilizing many soldiers, in order to crush our peaceful force. They do not intend to spare any of them, and, at this very moment, they are ready to “defend” their base against the “danger” that we represent. You have to do something soon, since we´re going to lose too many men if we act without a retaliation.” Lord Traust´s face turn to pale. He was impressed, like he was caught off guard or something like that, and he could not allow such thing. “I must lead my men to the battle. I have to send as much soldiers as I can, but I will come back once, to decide what to do with the prisoner. Take care of him for me, sage”. So, he stood up and walked to the exit of the room, in order to mobilize his men, and not even paid attention to a small Snik-Poh´s laugh, that echo´ed through the room. “Hahaha… I am not a guard… I am a wizard, you fool…”

Darion heard the laugh, as he woke up and saw Snik-Poh faint, and a mist took place into the room. Devon and Cyrrus, still invisible, did not find any obstacles to enter the fortress. At the moment they entered, they saw Lord Traust walking out of the building, at top speed. He shout some ininteligible commands to the guards, that left their posts and followed him, leaving the way clear to Devon and Cyrrus. In silence, they walked in for some time, searching for the place where Darion was imprisoned. Soon they found Darion, as the mist disappeared. With whispers, Cyrrus called Darion.

- “Darion, we´re here! We are going to take you out in no time!”

Darion could hardly believe in your luck. - “Cyrrus, are you here? But I cannot see you! Please, set me free, I cannot withstand this anymore…”

Devon replied in whispers - “Shhh… silence. We´ll help you to get out of here. There is much to search for, and few time to do it. Look, where are the keys?”

Darion spoke again, in whispers this time - “Devon, my Lord! By the Titans, you are alive too. The keys are in Lord Traust´s possession, and the bars of this cell are heavy and hard. I don´t know if we can break it apart.”

Cyrrus thought for a moment and, then, had a great idea. He picked up his Aerial Servant Foci and concentrated in Darion, invoking the power of the spell with all his faith. - “Please Darion, don´t move. I hope it works…”

Darion did not move, and the effect was successful, althought it cancelled the Fade from Sight spell, and they reappeared. At this very moment, when Darion was set free, by the use of Aerial Servant to bring him out, Lord Traust came back. Alone. But when he spotted the three, he screamed again, something ininteligible to them, and some guards appeared. Darion grabbed his sword, Devon grabbed his knife and Cyrrus was shocked, the fear being expressed in his eyes. The combat seemed to be unavoidable, but something happened. In a flash, Beren appeared in front of all of them, and, in no time, he invoked two daemons to handle with the guards and Lord Traust. Then, he screamed. - “All of you don´t stay like this. After my mark, escape!” - The daemons advanced through the guards, who died a painful death. Lord Traust was skillful, but he had a hard time to handle with the daemons, allowing the group to escape. But even before Devon thank Beren for the help, Beren had disappeared again, in a flash. They ran away from the building, taking advantage of the chaos that had been installed in the city. More and more guards approached the building to help Lord Traust, and eventually defeated the daemons. Lord Traust got a big scratch on his shoulder, but nothing serious to worry about. Meanwhile, Devon, Darion and Cyrrus ran through the city, and escaped from Traustumbrae through the north gate.

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