When Deadrick saw Gaelwynd disappear into the distance, he slumped down onto the side of the Windglider.
He’d failed- in the time that they’d been down in the canyon; Juhra had managed to infiltrate the entire Council. They were on their own- and he was unemployed.
“We failed,” He growled bitterly.
Nerui sat next to him, Bruad and Danyel kept their focus on keeping the Windglider in the air, but they knew it as well.
Nerui said nothing. Her face blank.
“Juhra has the Council under his control- there's nothing left we can do,”
“How is he managing to possess people so easily?” Danyel asked, turning the wheel in a random direction. He had no idea where they were going, the only instruction he had was get away from the city. He settled on South West and turned to Deadrick, “And why doesn’t he just possess you or me and be done with the whole matter?”
Deadrick narrowed his eyes. There were a few known demons that could enter the minds of people and possess them- and even then it required close range contact. Juhra was powerful; there was no doubt about that. But Danyel was making sense- why didn’t he just take control of the biggest threat to his plans?
Then it hit Deadrick like a ton of bricks- because he couldn’t.
Deadrick jumped up.
“He can’t!” He cried.
Nerui, Bruad and Danyel looked at him in shock.
“Think about it,” Deadrick continued, “Think about the people he has possessed- Kenn, Garren, Venerde…”
Nobody could see where he was going, but they listened to him nonetheless.
“Kenn. Years he was on that mountain- alone- he must have gone insane. Garren was a bandit, all he cared about was money… like Venerde- he was the Merchant Lord, money is what people like them breathe. They were both corrupt,”
Danyel smiled. It all suddenly made sense.
“He can only take weak minds,” Deadrick finished. The air on the deck changed- it lightened.
Nerui, Danyel and Deadrick all looked joyous. But Bruad still had something in the back of his mind.
“But… the guards- they were under his control as well,” He said.
“Yes, but only by secondary possession- a lot weaker than taking full possession of somebody. Juhra managed to get a foothold when he took control of Venerde, and then he made a few dozen foot soldiers of the Royal Guards. That’s not permanent as the demon itself doesn’t enter the mind… the taint just seeps from the main target,”
“That’s why you didn’t kill them. The guards,” Bruad said. Deadrick shot him a mean look- he didn’t want the secret that somewhere inside him, he still had a pinch of humanity inside him getting out.
The group exchanged cheerful glances.
“I hate to be the one to kill the mood- but most of the leaders of today are corrupt… we don’t know how much of a chokehold Juhra has on the other factions,” Danyel said. Once again, Deadrick wanted to murder him for poking a hole in his plan.
But alas, he was right. They couldn’t risk dropping into the middle of another faction- there was a chance that they might not make it out alive.
“There's nowhere we can go,” Danyel said, no hope left in his voice.
Now it was Nerui’s turn to speak up.
“Yes- there is,” She said, “Rillwyn- I don’t care how powerful Juhra is. There is no way his power would extend through the magical barrier around it,”
Deadrick’s eyes glinted. She was right, the Elven magical leader, the Halara, would at least allow them shelter from Juhra until they could plan a feasible attack.
“Nerui,” Deadrick said, “Take us to Rillwyn,”
Deadrick looked out across the horizon- suddenly, things didn’t look so bleak.
“You want to see the Halara?” Naluitha said, the old Elf raised his thick but perfect eyebrow.
They had wasted no time in getting to Rillwyn. They decided, not unanimously, to meet with Nerui’s clan first- they didn’t know what sort of reaction an obviously human Windglider would get if it were flown directly into the Elven capital.
Deadrick, Bruad and Danyel had strode directly into the camp, Nerui had decided to skulk on the outskirts.
“You expect the ruler of the Elves to simply give you an audience?” Naluitha said, a slight curl on his lips.
Deadrick nodded again.
“And may I ask why you are so sure that he will give you his time?”
Deadrick had though about his answer to that question on the journey over. And with an unstoppable air around him, he began.
“Because this world is days away from the brink of destruction- possibly even hours and the citizens of Kandrakah are unwitting and are going to burn- and I’m the only one who can stop this happening. But I can’t do it without help,”
Naluitha looked upon Deadrick- so much had changed in the arrogant human since the last time he had seen him. He wasn’t speaking out of status, or stubbornness- he was speaking for the people of Kandrakah. The mysterious man that had been running blindly into danger because he had nothing to care about- nobody to miss him, now had the fate of the whole world on his shoulders.
The Elf nodded, even if the Halara didn’t grant Deadrick an audience, Naluitha himself could still give something to the freedom fighter- and that was a Clanmaster’s voice in the Elven Elder’s Circle.
“If things are as bad as you say they are beyond the forest, then we must move quickly,” Naluitha said.