The Chronicles of Callera - Whyte Tyger
"The stories of your mother are greatly exaggerated."
Callera blinked, bringing her out of a daze, as she listened to what Charisena had to say. The sight of the legendary Amazon queen was humbling, to say the least.
"I had heard of her dispatching of Iranae and DiStephano both, but never knew she was possessed by such a beast. However, the Tribe of Vrin-Latti went with a whimper, not the bang you'd been told of. Mostly when it became apparent that your mother was not the same woman she used to be, a lot of the Maidens came to me or Latona for guidance. Only a select few followed Erim Lera to the bitter end. I would rather cut out my tongue than tell you what befell them."
Hearing the oath, Scheherazade looked up from where she was being tended to by Luibhmac, Charisena's companion, and looked between the two Amazons. Sensing that the presence of non-Amazons' was not welcome for this tale, the sorceress struggled to her feet, and let herself be lead off by Luibhmac.
"What happened to my people?" Callera asked, not sure she wished to hear the answer.
"You are not the last of the Vrin-Latti. A select few still exist in this plane... as Netherspawn. Nightshadow's to be specific."
Feeling a great sense of vertigo, Callera needed to grit her teeth and dig her fingernails into her palm to maintain her posture. Nightshadow's were the vilest of enemies to an Amazon. Succubae were their greatest enemies, so the child of a Succubus was something that didn't even deserve to be mentioned. Some tribes were so pained by their existence that they refused to even acknowledge the hybrids existed at all. And now the remnants of her people had somehow undergone that transformation.
"How could such a thing come to pass? Humans can not become so tainted-" As these words left Callera's mouth, she regretted them. Her mother had become possessed of the demonbitch Andariel, and though by separate means, Everett Call by Diablo. Surely it wouldn't be impossible for a group of bloodthirsty women to be so enchanted.
"It was not completely her doing though. It appears that someone lead the Vrin-Latti after your mother. Someone foreign. Erim Lera may have been a proxy for Andariel's magics, but someone cemented it. And now this someone follows us."
Charisena and Luibhmac had followed Erim's trail to the Monastery of the Sisters of the Sightless Eye, but upon hearing of her death at her daughter's hands, they received the advice of a local to meet Callera at the Tomb of Tal Rasha. And here they now were.
"I believe if we are to be successful in stopping Diablo from freeing his sibling, we should be leaving soon " Luibhmac had snuck back so quietly that Callera had not even noticed his presence. She was slipping.
"Agreed. Herein is the Tomb of Tal Rasha, the great Horadric Mage. Surely Call used his resources to find the place where Baal was imprisoned and so we need to make haste." The Amazon queen was gathering her equipment while around her Luibhmac and Scheherazade did the same. Callera did not move.
"Callera, should we not hurry? If Diablo finds Baal-" the sorceress began.
"I do not care about Diablo or Baal or any of that." Callera's voice was pushed through clenched teeth, and Scheherazade could see the girl's knuckles were white. "How long will the beings of the Outer Realms use us like this? Look what good it did my mother to slay Diablo when last he arose? Should I now so willingly go to that same fate?"
"Child, I fought alongside your mother against that beast when he rose in Tristram, and I too have shouldered numerous nightmares about that time, and the years following his arrival. And do you see what I do now, at the mention of his return? I go forth to stop him. Again. Just as your mother would have done should I have been possessed by Andariel."
Callera froze in shock. How did the Bhagwalli queen know of that? Did that mean she knew that Callera too was predisposed to being host to demonic infestation.
"I am sorry about Erim's fate, she was a fine warrior and like a kinswoman to me, but she did what any True Amazon would do, what you must do-"
Callera spat. "I am no Amazon. I may have been born amidst the Tribelands, but I might as well have been from Khejistan. Do not mistake me for my mother. I will do what I must do, no matter the risks." With that the younger Amazon grabbed her equipment and headed further into the Tomb.
Behind her, lost upon the wind was Charisena's reply, "Just as your mother would have done girl "
Callera was tired. She felt like she'd been fighting the forces of Evil for all of her life. Which she very nearly seemed to have done. It was taking her longer to recover from each blow the skeleton's dealt her, and her shield moved a little less deftly each time. How long before one of their chipped blades got through her defenses? How long before she would lie dying on the floor of this forgotten Tomb, adding her body to the growing number of dead within it.
How much would she welcome that?
Charisena, despite her veritable age, had not slowed one step since entering the catacombs of this place. Her companion Luibhmac, though being much Callera's senior also moved with the deftness of youth, and Scheherazade nearly bounded off the walls. If she were to just die, it would be a lot simpler on them to complete this quest. And then Callera could rest.
A mummy loomed before Callera. Charisena and Luibhmac were caught between a newly raised contingent of zombies and skeletons. Scheherazade was unable to be seen underneath the mass of rotted death approaching her. Only the occasional flicker of lightning from within the mass proved that she still fought as valiantly as ever. The mummies bladed arm raised for the kill. Callera looked into the beasts eyes, wondering what death would be like
"Callera, look out!" one of them screamed. The arm descended. The mummy screamed in soundless misery as Azurewrath tore the beast into several chunks. She would be happy to die, when she met something worthy of killing her.
Callera returned to the battle at hand and quickly slaughtered the undead surrounding the sorceress while Charisena and Luibhmac finished their own battle.
Charisena looked to Callera disapprovingly, "That was close girl "
"It really wasn't "
They continued on
A great dais stood before the quartet. Within it's center was a raised orifice, just big enough to allow the shaft of a staff to stand erect in it. Light from an unknown source lit the dais, and the staff brilliantly. A gaping maw awaited behind the dais, invitingly. Luibhmac approached the staff cautiously.
"This is the Staff of Kings. The shaft is made of a Horadric Staff. We had several stored back at the Monastery, but they were all stolen right before Call left. I guess now we know why."
Callera tensed. "There is something down there." She gestured towards the maw.
Charisena readied her great blade. "I suspect we're about to find several things down there."
< BACK || To Be Continued...