The Worldeater Saga, Part XV: Retribution

Upon the one-hundred-and-eighth day of the Creators’ Monomachy, the goddess known as Ethne summoned Rijetta Alhazrad to Her forge. It was there that the Firemaiden explained that She sought to sharpen the mortal warrior into a tool of Divine retribution, and that it would require that her impurities be cleansed by the transformative power of fire. Though Rijetta knew not what Mebrene meant, the Ogrish goddess cared little for her confusion. Soon, She snatched the mortal up by the scruff of her neck and cast her into the fiery core of the Rekindled’s workshop, plunging Rijetta headlong into incandescent doom.

It was there, amidst the peal of hammer meeting forge, that the hopeful Illuminai found rebirth. With her consciousness thrust into the very heart of Sol Eos, Rijetta sensed a distant, holy communion that intruded upon the silence of her searing agony. Like Jezriel and Dreugan before her, the Aspirant heard the call of the Angelic Triad and swore oaths of service to each of them. Promising to be the sword and shield of the Light upon a sage’s burning path, she felt her corporeal form reconstitute itself beneath the concussive force of a hammer and the searing rage of retributive fires.

At the apex of her Seraphic ascension, the Triad asked yet more of the former Adherent of desecrated virtue. In unison, they declared that Seelis’ murder must be avenged and called upon Rijetta to carry out the first steps of this fiery judgement. Overflowing with fervent might, the newly anointed warrior of the sun agreed without hesitation. Though Rijetta’s resolve burnt so bright that she would have challenged the Warlord on her own, the Triad informed her that the Djinn’s passion for vengeance raged just as hot. At the Triune’s holy behest, all of Paimri fio Oihia marshalled to assist her in this righteous endeavour, each and every guardian conscripted for a fiery crusade.

Five of her Seraphic compatriots immediately alighted at her side within the core of the burning sun, followed soon by a fervent legion ten-thousand Djinn strong. Together, this holy army marched forth to the Prime for the purposes of consecrated vengeance, its ranks soon bolstered by the raging Inferno Herself, hammer in hand. Mustered to such scale that the Holy Sanctuary of the Divine Fire that Protects was left bare of guardians, the entirety of Rahiela’s raging armies arrived before the Warlord’s fortress, their numbers brought to greater heights by the still-mourning Eschatonic Collective. Unified for the purpose of justice against the Argent Watch, the seething crusade broke down Bamathis’ gates and culled His conscripted legions without remorse. Though most of the Bellguard survived these bloody engagements, some of their number experienced passionate terminus, their fires burning too bright, too hot in a moment of incomparable zeal that spelled the end of their lifespan.

Unwilling to allow this attack to go without response, the Argent Watch swiftly filtered into the fortress via an alternate entryway and looked to the defence of its stoic walls. Some manned the ballistae at Nok and Ireti Whirran’s command, raining death down upon the gathered throng of wrathful crusaders. The Kobold tinkerer himself burst forth from the hatch in a blaze of glory with two phials of silvergrit clutched in his grubby mitts, though he was reduced to smoking cinders before he could so much as lay a hand upon Rahiela’s fervent warriors. As Paimri’s five native Seraphs took to the skies to rain cataclysmic fire down upon the fortress’ protective runes, the Warlord Himself took to the field in an attempt to ward off the enraged Inferno battering at His gates.

Then, fiery, bloody battle was truly joined.

Ethne hefted Her heavy hammer and thundered forward without a word, Her Ogrish silhouette poised for a brutal swing against Her murderous Brother. Too swift for still-recovering Strife, She barrelled into Him with a might mustered by righteous indignation, Her hammer crashing down upon His torso not a moment later. A loud, jarring crunch echoed throughout Sapience as Bamathis’ cuirass caved in beneath Mebrene’s mighty impact, Her wrath put upon full display as She summoned sheets of flame in the wake of Her physical assault.

Unrelenting as sweltering summer heat, Ethne pressed on with Her vigorous flurry of blows, showing Sapience as a whole that the Warlord still suffered wounds and deep exhaustion from His battle with the deceased Harlot. The Inferno summoned calescent walls of fire and sizzling sparks amidst Her passionate onslaught, Her fury bringing Her Immortal power to the fore without conscious thought. Scorched detritus arose in intermittent bursts around the two Divine duelists, reducing Their violent dance to mere humanoid impressions upon the towering flame.

Soon, however, Ethne saw an opening. Heaving Her hammer on high, the Inferno reared back and slammed it into the side of Bamathis’ skull, a sickening crunch ringing through the air upon contact. This forceful strike sent Immortal Strife reeling into the dirt – and then multiple feet back, the earth upturned by the force of His tumbling passage. Intent upon striking while the iron was hot, the Firemaiden thrust one meaty hand forth as She strode toward Her fallen Brother. A searing jet of Immortal incandesence surged forth from Her calloused palm, wrathful pyromancy manifest by Her silent command. With a steady hand, She Who is Fire wove a brilliant, burning prison around Bamathis even as He began to climb to His feet, intent upon trapping Him for a fatal, final assault.

Rather than stand still for such a brutal blow, however, Bamathis charged through the blazing bars blocking Him in, choosing to suffer burning agony rather than a deadly hammerblow. Radiant wrath shredded at His Immortal form as He charged through the fiery obstruction, His wounds weeping lustrous ichor in the wake of His escape. With enough distance gained betwixt Him and His enraged Sister, the Son of Autumn carved a silvery gateway through reality’s fabric and stepped through, allowing Him safe retreat from His besieged keep.

In the wake of Her Brother’s flight, Ethne roared in immense frustration. Channeling Her anger into creative process, She summoned a forge of glimmering light and set to work with Her tools. Rubine effulgence swirled towards the epicenter of Ethne’s methodical, mighty hammerblows, its flickering collective soon adopting an elongated, concave shape. Each swing of Her mallet rang out across Sapience, and its contact with Her swiftly wrought work surface sent ripples of fiery light coursing along the dark surface of the Eschatonic tree.

Thoroughout Mebrene’s labour, the cosmic titan soughed along with each strike, uniting the enigmatic force of absolute Creation and the fervour of Divine industry. The bowl-like shape gained definition and hue, its insides accumulating countless motes of effulgent essence that sizzled alike to freshly freed magma. Satisfied with Her work, the Rekindled lifted the brilliant edifice from Her incandescent anvil and gently dismissed Her faithful forge after a single, stern nod. She set the basin upon thin air and traced one Ogrish finger along its circumference, Her contact setting it to an anticipatory quiver for the work to come.

Inviting mortals to join in the holy work of burning down Bamathis’ fortress, Ethne allowed each of the Eschatonic Collective to gather a glimmering blade of fiery retribution from its magmatic depths. Charging forth into the keep, the Eschaton’s supporters put its every inch to the torch in short order, the blood of Strife’s Legions doing naught to quench the raging fires in their passionate hearts.

When the keep reached a breaking point, the Rekindled summoned the Collective back to Her side and privately commanded Seraph Alhazrad to pass sentence upon Strife and His Legion. Calescent zeal spilled forth from Rijetta as she called for the ear of the Mhun, the Djinn, the people of Delve, and all who held passion in their hearts, all who knew the injustice of Bamathis’ bloody crimes. Utilising the authority invested in her by the Angelic Triad, she declared the Son of Autumn nothing but a murderer, a heinous criminal guilty of deicide. As judge, she declared a guilty verdict, His ruined fortress rendered as a symbol of promised execution. With that, the newly forged Seraph called for the mighty legions of Rahiela to combine their pyromancy and fervent faith and turn it upon the keep. In a catastrophic firestorm of righteous condemnation, the Djinn and Seraphs bathed Bamathis’ fortress in sacred flame, transfiguring it into a pile of rubble and ruined ash.

One final mourning knell resounded throughout Creation before the Rahielan natives marched into the fires of their crusade, conveying their collective masses back to their homeland. In short order, the Rekindled dispersed in kind, leaving mortals to savour their vengeance as dawn reached out to embrace the land.

As smoke spiralled into the sky in a vain attempt to blot out the Creators’ Monomachy, trouble stirred across the vast ocean…

Penned by my hand on Kinsday, the 10th of Lleian, in the year 511 MA.