Climbing the stairs littered with broken blades would have been a slow painful exercise for most people, but Callindra practically flew up them without even thinking about it. Brightfang shone in her hand and the Mithril chain that connected him to her right wrist cuff whipped behind her in the wake of her passage. The slumbering God-Construct standing in the pool of molten lava to her right shifted his massive shoulders. Even so minor a movement caused his wings to fan heat that should have blistered her skin, but the motes of burning stone that crackled from around the demon became harmless puffs of ash before they reached her.
Her brothers were slowly making their way up the stairs behind her, but she was more intent on finding the source of the release of Weave she had sensed from above. The chamber at the top was mostly open, a massive forge dominated the room and a glistening white obelisk whose girth eclipsed any tree she had seen except for The Grandfather Tree thrust through the floor on the right-hand side.
What captured Callindra’s attention was the man stepping through a glimmering silver portal. Even if she hadn’t recognized Shojin’s face the blood red and black armor of Inquisitor would have frightened and angered her at the same time. She had given him the limp he now walked with and he had made her and Glarian fugitives, hunted across the ten continents.
“You’re still alive?” His eyes widened in surprise even as the portal he had just walked through closed.
“God’s balls.” Callindra gripped Brightfang’s hilt hard enough to make her hand ache, feeling the wire wrapping bite into her hand. This was going to be trouble in a big way. If the Inquisition was here everyone’s life was in danger. Something had been off about Shojin though, maybe that broken leg she’d given him was causing more trouble than she had dared to hope it would.
“What’s up sister?” Cronos was the first of her brothers to reach the top of the stairs. His usual attention to detail was once again making it tough to keep her secrets.
“Just saw a face that I thought I’d left behind me.” Cronos didn’t look convinced, but she didn’t care and didn’t elaborate.
Her other two brothers reached the room and they began to look around. Vilhylm was of course drawn to the forge where he examined some of the tools. Cronos was looking at the massive white pillar and Tryst was standing to one side, keeping a watchful eye on Magera. Callindra just stood with her back to a solid wall and tried to look everywhere at once. Who knew when they would return?
A powerful burst of Weave from the pillar grabbed Callindra’s attention. Cronos’s hand seemed to have been sucked into it. “What the hell are you doing?” She sprinted across the room and slammed into him as hard as she could. He didn’t budge and cried out in pain at the strain on his shoulder and elbow.
“Gods and Demons that hurts!” Cronos was still trying to pull himself out but instead his arm jerked forward another few inches.
Tryst was approaching the obelisk, unlimbering his massive hammer. He slammed it into the wall just above Cronos’s arm with thundering force, sending spider web cracks all over the surface. Pieces of ice and snow showered down around them but her brother’s arm was still stuck fast and gradually dragging him closer as it was pulled inside.
Callindra ran to the forge and grabbed a blazing hot sword blank from the fire, pausing to marvel at the perfect balance it had despite obviously being a work in progress. Cronos yelling in pain as Vilhylm tried to pull his arm out brought her back to the reality of the situation. She ran back to her brother’s side and plunged the red hot brand into the pillar. Other than a hiss of sublimating ice her attempt to free him was completely ineffective.
“I can’t believe I ruined this blade.” Callindra tossed it regretfully over the edge to clatter with the other shattered, discarded blades on the floor.
“We have bigger problems don’t you think?” Cronos was now up to his shoulder into the sheer wall of ice. He incanted a spell, gesturing with his left hand and unleashed a wave of flame on the wall. Water poured off in sheets but his arm still didn’t show any signs of coming free. “This thing is pulling me in! Someone get me OUT!”
”Pain pain pain. Thorns and brambles, thorns and brambles. Piercing roots and threading vines. Pain.” Callindra heard a voice in her head, almost as though someone was Wind whispering to her but somehow closer, more intimate.
Vilhylm had been staring intently at the wall for several seconds. “I see a field of blowing snow. A blizzard, driven by gale force winds.” He put on the mask he had made from Jorda’s gift and tendrils of vine grew from his fingers. They found tiny cracks in the surface and grew into them, expanding the cracks until the top of the pillar broke free, tumbling down into the lava below with a titanic crash and a huge hiss of steam.
The chain that had been looped over it swung loosely from the collar of the giant demon. It didn’t seem to notice or awaken from its slumber, but Callindra kept a nervous eye on it anyway.
“Thanks Vil.” Cronos said, rolling his shoulder and grimacing in pain.
A small whirl of snow started forming on the base of the obelisk and in minutes a new gleaming spire of ice had formed as though it had never been destroyed in the first place.
“What are you all doing here? Who are you?” A voice rang out behind them, gruff and low.