[OOC: Sorry, inappropriate title; my mind is just in an odd place right now, thinking about the implications of this post]
Shadow was puzzling over the fact that the red bastion still sat, essentially unharmed, in front of him. His puzzling was interrupted by an excruciating pain that tore through his chest. Suddenly he was losing consciousness, but not in the normal fashion. Still awake and aware, he could sense an increasing loss of control on his mind, as if he were watching himself fall asleep. And there was a voice...
Ley Druid's Heart beat heavily and sweat erupted from his pores. He had control again, not sure how, but he did. There was an odd feeling in his mind and a sense of deja-vu, but he dismissed it as Shadow's presence.
Must hurry; don't know how much time I have. Where am I? he thought. He saw the red bastion and recognized it, and he noticed the sword in his hands. Then Ley had an idea of what Shadow had been trying to do, and shuddered.
Ley reached out toward the stones with his mind, all except Fatestop, which he feared to touch. Can't destroy them. Just like Shadow couldn't destroy the bastion. Wonder if they're made of the same thing. No. Must not get sidetracked. Where am I...Loebar. Kaat'n is not too far away.
And Ley reached out again to the stones and released his mind and reached his thoughts out, searching for Kaat'n. To the army at Kaat'n he would -- hopefully at least -- still appear to be their commander. Something unnoticed followed the thought.
Ley felt the place he sought, descended there, and reformed around the thought.
"Master. You have returned." A short, scrawny being cloaked in black addressed Ley Druid. He was standing in the high tower of Kaat'n.
Yes, indeed. How are things moving along?
"Oh, quite the same master. It's been weeks now, and still no sign of resistance. Raiding parties are attacking those towns that haven't been wiped out by the fever."
Excellent. However, I'm no longer concerned with the pathetic military forces of this land so much as what I've found on my journey to Loebar. Bring everyone to the edge of the village ruins, there should be ample space there. I'll address them from here.
The cloaked thing paused, and Ley thought he heard it hiss. Though he could not see the servant's face, he could have sworn it was looking at him oddly, but then it nodded, "Yes master," and left the room.
From the tower window, Ley could clearly see the army of darkness gathering at the edge of the town. Just another minute and they'll all be close enough. He turned the red stone around and around in his right hand. One quick break in the rock, and...they'll be gone. No more army. No more threat. Ley's cheek twitched, and he felt like his heart was about to tear through his chest.
They were close enough now. The army (about 50% that weren't out on raids, etc.) crowded uncomfortably together, awaiting words from the master who never spoke. Odd, but they didn't question...him. They were milling so close together that they were almost falling across the precipace themselves. Packed.
Ley reached out to the red stone and drew forth a steady stream of mana. Power poured into his body and he prepared to end this war. Ecstacy. That's what this power was. Painful ecstasy. Painful. Painful. And something else. NO.
Ley felt the loss of control before it happened, and though his body was beyond him now, he still thought in the few moments between. No no no. Not this. Better Shadow than this. No. This must be how he lost control. No. It can't be. No. It's gone. I rejected the presence. No. It can't be back, it was destroyed, it, it, it...
A bolt of green energy sizzled through the tower and drew some stares from the men, minotaur, and other assorted minions who were watching. They hadn't been able to see any people through the window -- too far away -- but they saw the flash of light.
A few tendrils of smoke bowed to the body with the three minds, knowing more than ever the presence of the one in control. Every molecule in the room felt it, they knew it's touch, and had thought it gone. No longer could it control them, but that did not make it less dangerous.
The cloaked thing came rushing up the steps so fast that it was knocked over by its "master" as he descended. Protests and questions were ignored. Cries of shock and disbelief were not heard. All who it passed were silenced soon enough. Heads turned slightly at a vision, a hallucination perhaps, of a green and black mass pulsing from within their master's chest. They weren't sure whether or not they were seeing that, but the feeling it radiated was unmistakable. It knew only hate, and hate it would deliver.