Deadrick had watched the suns rise. Lying on his bed, fully clothed, he had gazed at the sky as the moon descended, at the flaming behemoths took the sky for themselves.
He picked up his gun, which sat on a wooden table beside his bed. He held it above his face, running his finger across the smooth wood.
He sighed, then turned his head to the door as three knocks cut through the quiet room. He placed the gun carefully back down again, grabbed his hat and strode over to the door.
He opened it, and standing in front of him was Danyel, fully armoured.
“Are you ready?” He asked.
Deadrick took a breath, then placed his hat on his head. He flicked it into a comfortable position.
“Hell yes,” He replied.
“The Syndicate have warped the sky above Nefern Dale- no aircraft can fly through the violent magic storms,” The Halara explained. He stood in front of Deadrick, Danyel, Nerui, Bruad and several high-ranking Elven officials. Naluitha was not there, nobody had dared to ask about him. They were back in the throne room of the Sulei Mesirrai, “And even the most powerful teleportation spells will only take you to the very border,”
“We will have to start from the border?” Nerui asked in disbelief.
“The mountains that surround it are impossible to traverse!” Danyel cried.
The Halara held up a hand, fairly effectively silencing Danyel.
“There is a secure, safe route between the mountains- the Syndicate’s… escape route if you will,” The Halara explained, “We can send you to it, you should be able to safely cross into the Dale within a day,”
“You would save so many lives if you would help us,” He said, causing the Halara to look away.
“But I would condemn so many more if I did,” Was his reply. He turned back just as an Elf in a long violet cloak strode into the room, “Ah, Deadrick, this is Sumerai Dellessain, the High Mage of Ulissryn,”
The Mage bowed his head, as Deadrick gave him only the slightest nod.
“Magi Dellessain will summon the Portal which you will be using to make your way to the border. It is one way only,”
Teleportation magic was a difficult Discipline to master, only the greatest Mages could create Portals, and only a miniscule number could create a Portal strong enough to Teleport four people halfway across the world.
“We’ll be sure to post any limbs that get lost during the transfer to you!” Dellessain chuckled to himself, then went quiet as he saw the humorless faces in front of him, “Yes… sorry. Anyway, I will need the Mana reserves that reside within the Plateau to create the transfer, this is where I shall create the Portal, do you understand?”
There came a few murmurs.
“The situation in Ulissryn is… heated, to say the least. The citizens are split down the middle- do not expect a warm welcome from everybody once we reach the Plateau. Guards, if you will lead the way,”
A small handful of Elven guards, wearing the elite armour of Ulissryn- full, thick rolled steel armour, tinted green with the Ulissrynian coat of arms emblazoned in the chest plate, by the large doorway saluted and moved to open the door. The Halara strode through it, followed closely by the officials and finally Deadrick, Nerui, Bruad, Danyel and the Magi Dellessain.
As they walked through the winding, streets towards the Plateau, watchful eyes followed them. Some Elves scowled, while others gave them respectful nods and cheers of good luck.
They came to a stop at the bottom of the marble staircase that lead up to the Plateau. The Halara gestured for Magi Dellessain to ascend, and he did, followed by two of the entourage of guards. When he had disappeared from view, the Halara turned to the crowd.
“My citizens,” He began, his voice inexplicably amplified, reverberating throughout the crowd. Some of the Elves in the crowd retorted with doubtful remarks, but the Halara continued, “I know that many of you are against assisting these travelers- but it seems that none of you have considered the consequences of a victory for the denizens of darkness.
“While they may have turned their backs on us, other sons and daughters of the Dragons, your brethren still reside on the mainland. Would you have them perish? And while I wish not to linger on this, please tell me how long you expect the trees that grow on our borders to protect you. The Dragons were the greatest and most powerful beings to ever walk this realm- the magic they left us is as great as them, but it is old, so very old- how much longer can it remain? A thousand years- ten thousand?
“Can it outlast the length of time the Darkness will reside on the Mainland? We have been secluded for so many years, do we consider ourselves invincible?”
Deadrick’s expression changed to something unrecognizable for a moment, but returned to a look of admiration for the Halara, who held the crowd in dead silence, with not one single Elf daring to speak over him.
“I have refused to put any lives in immediate danger- but I also refuse to be ignorant of the oncoming battle. I refuse to not give aid to anyone who is willing to throw down their lives for even a single chance of defeating the greatest evil our world has faced for a long time,”
He stopped talking and stood back. The crowd was silent for a moment, then slowly, small bouts of applause began to trickle into the air. Within moments, cheers and cries of admiration and respect filled Deadrick’s ears.
Danyel began to bow theatrically, before Nerui punched him hard on his shoulder, and he gasped in pain, clutching at where she had hit him.
Bruad scanned the crowd, his mouth lost between a look of shock and a small smile- Werewolves weren’t used to being admired.
The crowd continued to roar, as Magi Dellessain descended the stairs. He gestured to Deadrick, who took one more look at the crowd and followed him up to the Plateau followed by Nerui, Bruad, Danyel and the Halara.
They left the noise of the crowd behind as they reached the middle of the Plateau.
Dellessain had summoned the Portal, which distorted the air. A flaming doorway with licks of purple and flecks of green. Through it, a shimmering image of a dark, swirling sky and tall, sinister looking mountains was visible, like a picture submersed in water.
Wind blew from it, sending hair fluttering, causing Deadrick to place a hand on his hat, and forcing Dellessain to yell.
“You enter one at a time! You’ll need to run at it, keeping your arms tightly to your sides- do you understand?”
“And one more thing!” Dellessain continued, he reched into his robes and removed a small stone- a clear, slightly tinted rock that glimmered in the light of the suns, “This is a Selleia Tether- its unsafe leaving a Portal open in such a volatile location! It is connected to me; take it with you, and when you are safely through, throw it back through, it will pull the Portal closed behind it!”
Deadrick hadn’t known what to expect- he had deep down already known that there was no chance of the Halara allowing the Portal to be kept open, but the realisation that once they went through, there was no turning back.
He took the Tether and put it in his coat.
“Time to go,” He said, pushing his hat firmly down on his head. Nerui tied her hair back and passed it over her shoulder.
Bruad stood back from the Portal, and looked at Dellessain for a signal. Dellessain nodded, and with an unsure look at Deadrick, he ran at the Portal. There was a brief flash of light, and a lick of purple flame as Bruad passed through.
The Mage looked over the Portal, for a moment.
“He’s through, you need to move,” He said.
Danyel lined himself up with the Portal. The moment Dellessain nodded, he turned to Deadrick and saluted him. Deadrick looked slightly confused for a moment, before giving him a slight look of recognition. Danyel smiled grimly, before turning to the Portal and running at it, throwing his arm up to protect his eyes. There was another flash as he passed through.
“My turn,” Nerui said, a grin on her face.
Deadrick was surprised at her light heartedness, but he could see the emotion behind her eyes. It wasn’t fear, but uncertainty.
She turned to the Halara and Dellessain.
“Thank you,” She said politely- something Deadrick had not seen in her before.
She looked at the Portal, and then looked back at Deadrick.
“See you on the other side,” She said, winking, and blowing him a kiss. Deadrick blinked, missing her disappear into the Portal. All he saw was the flash and her hair flick wildly behind her- swallowed up by the shimmering magic.
The Halara walked up to Deadrick, and placed his hand on his back.
“I’ve promised my people that you can do this,” He said, looking into him, “Do not make me a liar,”
Deadrick gave him a nod, then looked at the Portal. For one single moment, he felt everything that was on him. If he failed, everyone would die.
But the answer to that was simple- he wouldn’t fail.
He smiled to himself, and ran forward- feeling the energy of the Portal envelop him, and he began to fall.