Wikton’s Thoughts – Under Tuluk – Winter 59AD

Forward, must keep going… forward…

Wikton’s thoughts drove him on in the dim light, his labored, almost gasping breath ringing in his ears in the otherwise deafening silence. His body cried out for rest, he and the rest of his party had trudged through another 12 hours of walking today, and he knew there were many more days like this to come until they could escape this hellhole, but they dare not stop; their food and water supplies were already dwindling. The Goddess could, miraculously, provide them some degree of sustenance each day even here, but it was not enough. The air was so thick, and he had become so used to it after so long, that he thought he would feel like he had been reborn if he ever were able to breathe freely again.

The landscape was unchanging, although no less strange than when he’d first seen it – rows of structures made of perfectly worked smooth stone on his right, and the rock wall on his left stretching up well past where their light sources could reach, leaving only blackness beyond. He knew what would come next: structures in a random pattern built of piles of rocks, and even more days of endlessly marching past them. Every now and then, he thought he spied what could be one of those rock creatures they’d seen earlier, but they mostly left the party alone, and so his thoughts drifted back to the image that was still blazened on his mind…

An Elemental. Such a strange creature, and yet obviously intelligent… and powerful. Not someone you want to cross, and we almost did by bringing the Illum there, and because he’d changed so much by being around us when we had to use violence… “Killum”, I call him now… not sure the Goddess approved either, but as I told them, we’d meant no harm…

The Goddess.  At the thought he remembered how she had shockingly appeared as well… After having gone through a space of blinding light to find the Elemental, the strange spherical mix of vegetable and mineral, and then seeing the  artifact they were seeking revealed after so long, only to then be confronted with the goddess Artura appearing right before him was… overwhelming.

Well, *I* saw the Goddess, Grel saw Tangadorin. And the artifact weapon looked different to each of us too. Where Grel so a sword, I saw a hammer forged from the finest damn masterwork smithing ever… and Beth saw a dagger…

Wikton glanced ahead at the woman ahead nimbly stepping over a rock, a black dagger at her belt. He didn’t know what strange twist of fate had led the professional thief to reach out and grab it, a weapon forged of elemental power…

I wonder if she realizes the cost? She follows no deity that I know of. Would she have heard the same warning that Artura gave to me? In addition to drawing the enemy’s attention, these weapons can only truly be used against the Dark Ones if the wielders are willing to go on a journey to become deities themselves, and Goddess only knows what that means for us. Other than our deaths, of course, that much seems certain.

Wikton strained to take a deep breath and firm his resolve. He glanced down at his upturned hand, the scar shaped as a perfect circle seared into the palm. 

Yes, the pact was made, and it will be fulfilled. We will save the Illum from those creatures per our bargain with the Elemental, then we’ll free the prisoners, restore Artura’s temple, find those other weapons and do whatever it takes to use them against the Dark Ones. Anything can be accomplished if one has the will to keep swinging the hammer.

Forward.

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