“How dare you come into my city and start spouting such… things!” The Halara yelled.
Naluitha watched him with unreadable eyes. They were in the ‘Sulei Mesirrai’, the Halara’s home- the Elven palace. The room itself was large, with high walls that went all the way round them.
The room could easily hold a few hundred people, but the only people in it were Deadrick, Nerui, Danyel, Bruad, the Halara, Naluitha and the Halara’s guard. The Halara’s voice echoed around them every time he spoke.
“Your problems are not ours human. You shouldn’t even be in this city,” The Halara said sharply.
“Your Majesty… if I may?” Deadrick said slowly and politely. The Halara said nothing, Deadrick took that as an allowance to speak, so did, “I apologize for my entry into Ulissryn- but this is possibly the last refuge we have,”
“This place is no refuge of yours, Human,” The Halara’s guard spat. The Halara put his hand up to stop him.
The Halara walked across the marble floor, and stopped a few feet away from Deadrick. Staring into him, his knowing, piercing eyes boring into the Inquisitor.
“I’m sorry, Deadrick, I can’t help you,” Was all he said. His face softened. Deadricks heart fell.
“Halara… please if I could just-” Deadrick began, but the Halara gave him no chance to speak.
“I have no desire for the Mainlanders to perish. But, I cannot risk my soldiers against the Unholy,” The Halara told him, “I cannot allow my own people to die, I’m sorry,”
Deadrick clenched his fists.
“But while I cannot help you in the battle itself, I can most certainly help you get there,”
Deadrick lifted his eyebrow.
“You didn’t think you could just fly directly into the Syndicate Citadel, did you?” The Halara said, “The conditions above the region itself are terrible, Ecrid cloaks the air, strong winds would take you from the sky, and even that’s only if you can get over the mountains that surround it,”
Deadrick was thankful, but the Halara still couldn’t help him in the attack itself- he was once again alone.
“Halara… please,” Deadrick tried again.
“Deadrick, I remember when you came here last. So headstrong, but stubborn, and ignorant,” The Halara told him, “I was young… just a young Prince,”
Naluitha narrowed his eyes. That wasn’t possible; the Halara had been in power for longer than any human should live. There was absolutely no way that they could have met when the Halara was just a Prince.
“You remember too, Deadrick,” The Halara continued, “We spoke. You had come on Council business. You hated every minute you were here, and you were so rude to the City officials. And when I think back to then I can see the difference. You are not that person anymore, you had no thought or calculation. Now I can see it in your eyes, you have something to strive for, people to save,”
Deadrick straightened his back up.
“You have changed, and from how Naluitha spoke of you, and the team you have behind you,” The Halara gestured to Bruad, Nerui and Danyel, who all looked a Deadrick, “I have no doubts that you will easily complete your mission,”
The Halara had finished speaking, but Deadrick didn’t say anything else. He was at a loss for words, so unlike him.
And yet, he knew that the Halara was doing what he thought was right. Protecting his citizens, and the encouragement that he had given Deadrick had filled him with something new, something that coursed through his veins, replacing the hopelessness and bleakness with something he hadn’t felt in a long time.
The Halara was right, with the help of Nerui, Bruad and Danyel, and the gun at his hip, he could defeat Juhra.
The Halara had bid them goodnight, and they had been led away to sleeping quarters of the Sulei Mesirrai.
Tomorrow was when they would make their move, after being chased and pursued by Juhra for so long, they were finally going to retaliate. But without the Halara’s forces, a fact that made Deadrick’s stomach churn. They were alone again.
Deadrick, Nerui, Danyel and Bruad went to their separate rooms, they all had clouds of dread inside them. Tomorrow, the Halara would use the Plateau to teleport them to the border of Nefern Dale.
Then they would have to make their way to the Syndicate Citadel by themselves, to face whatever evil lay at the top of it.
Deadrick shut his door behind him. The room was large, with a huge bed in the middle. Lamps burnt around the walls, fixed onto what seemed to be wood. But really, it was the bark of the tree that the Sulei Mesirrai was built on. The palace itself was constructed onto the tree, and snaked up above the rest of the city.
Deadrick ignored the room and pushed open the doors that led out onto the balcony. The room felt like it was trying to smother him- he had to get out.
Once on the balcony, he pulled himself onto the roof and then onto the tree itself.
This tree was what signified the Elves as a nation. When the Elves ancestors had used the Plateau to contact the Dragons, the magic had seeped into the soil below, causing this tree to erupt from the landscape.
It grew and grew, turning and twisting it’s colossal trunk. The Elves decided to construct their Palace on it, so corridors snaked through the trunk itself, and towers and buildings of marble and wood seemed to grow from it.
Deadrick walked across the tree. Due to his altitude, the air was fresh- almost like the air at his mountain home. It entered his nose, and into his head, clearing some of the doubt.
He looked out across the city. It burnt brightly in the night sky, so much life coursing through it.
It was then that he heard a sound from behind him. He turned to see Nerui, still wearing her leather armor.
“Can’t sleep either?” She asked.
“Something like that,” Deadrick replied.
He dropped to a sitting position, crossing his legs. Nerui did the same.
“The Halara was right, you know,” Nerui said, ignoring the fact that Deadrick obviously wanted to be alone.
Deadrick turned to her, narrowing his eyes.
“You have changed. Since the first time I saw you,” She said. Deadrick scoffed, disregarding her, “You have. You were arrogant, a loner. A week or so ago, you wouldn’t think twice about rushing into Nefern Dale, guns blazing. You were suicidal,”
Deadrick was finding it hard to ignore her now.
“But now you have something to fight for… and someone to fight with… you are a different person. You’re considering the ramifications of what happens if you fail. But the Halara was right there, too. You won’t fail… not if you fight the way you have to get here. You’ll always have me, Danyel and Bruad at your side every step of the way,”
She finally went silent. Deadrick just continued to stare.
“Thank you,” He eventually said.
A Gryphon flew low overhead, with no rider. It sent Deadrick’s hair into a frenzy, the dirt-melded strands whipping his face.
“I think something bad is going to happen… Something terrible,”
“No, because you’ll stop it,” Nerui said bluntly. Deadrick shook his head.
“Its something else. I think I know what it is, and it’s going to happen soon. I’m going to die,”