The Book of Soltana: Emerald – 37

Underrealm

Neon

He flew along in disguise. He flapped his massive betafly wings as he searched for his child. It wouldn’t be difficult, he knew where all of his children were at any given time. Ruth wasn’t the first. He did like the scenery of the Underrealm. The red and violet lights of the glowshrooms. The green of the hives and their bright lights. He was tempted to stay a while, he had some free time. His followers would sit and wait until the sand took them.

Sometimes they were a little too dedicated.

It mattered not, they made for useful grunts.

He lazily flapped along, seeing the sights and following the mental beacon to his child. There he spotted an interesting thing that drew his attention away.

The child would wait for a moment.

He landed on an oversized Stalagmite, the top had been buffed off for other flying creatures to land. He ponderously skittered to the edge, seeing the confrontation below.

Several trows, some humans garbed in black armor with rifles and what felt like an angel in disguise were gathering. There were others that looked to be prisoners. He listened in.

“Rejoice at the knowledge and grace of our God.”

“Those who would wish to join the one true god Lucifer must prove their devotion.”

The trows all muttered at that, the prisoner’s shifted. They looked to be some goblins, a hogboon, and a faerie.

“Take up your arms, execute those that rebel,” The one in disguise spoke with authority and finality.

In other words a complete bore.

One of the trows tentatively walked to the group of the black-clad armored soldiers. Neon could see them now.

They were garbed in padded vested armor with light armor plating. Possibly plated and padded Dugrum silk with beryllite interweaved. Their faces were masked with black beryllite armor plating resembling a lion roaring.

These fellows are not mere soldiers. Must be elites of some sort. Honor guard…

He scanned the one clad in a black billowing robe.

Definitely an angel, no mistake.

The Trow grabbed a rifle from the stack and inspected it. He walked to the prisoners.

And what’s this? A crime’s a foot? I better intervene and mess everything up!

Subtle or blatant?

He thought for only a second.

Blatant.

He swooped down, changing forms, crashing down in the midst of them, wearing his emerald green victorian suit. He stood at ten feet tall with disquietingly long limbs and a cueball head made of aged and pitted porcelain. He broadened his wicked smile as the group stood stunned at the null presence in front of them.

“Who are you?” The figure demanded.

“Just a meddler.”

“Jade Ray.”

As he spoke, a green ray of energy fire from his hands, reducing a shrieking black-clad soldier to atoms. The soul mote drifted serenely to ground.

The soldiers calmly opened fire despite one of their own being instantly destroyed, the rounds punching through his clothing and flesh. He refused to heal the wounds, giving them the idea they were winning. He needed to be sporting.

The angel disrobed himself, revealing his true form.

 

“Aegis: Magic.”

Energy surrounded all beings in the area, including the prisoners.

“Lock and Key.”

Neon felt his magic sealed upon the command. The key drifted inside his mind and fled. He would need to concentrate to find the key deep inside his subconscious.

He put up a good show.

He dropped to his knees, coughing up green blood. His head shattered in half, spilling green matter.

“Ceasefire,” The angel ordered.

It moved in close, standing at seven feet tall. What should have been flesh was iron plating and vermillion cloth. His head was a floating Mobius strip, devoid of any humanoid features. He had wings of bladed feathers, appearing as rows of knives. His left hand was missing.

Neon gagged and vomited up green blood, pounding the grass in agony.

“Who are you,” The angel demanded.

“One of the Fae…” Neon replied with a gasp.

“Didn’t expect anti-magic…” He added, coughing up green blood.

“Do you mind telling me who did me in?”

The angel put on a posture of victory.

“Me? I am the Angel Cardiel.”

“Angel of War.”

“Angel of the Sword.”

“Angel of Magic.

“Angel of Null.”

“An angel of null. Pffft figures,” Neon replied, coughing up more blood.

“Be joyous in knowing that you were destroyed by a servant of the almighty Lucifer.”

The angel lifted his hand, and a feather of it’s wing tore out and shot to his hand. It was a bladed sword. An executioner’s sword.

“There is just one last thing…” Neon murmured.

The angel didn’t care and swung down to it’s neck.

Neon caught the blade in between index finger and thumb.

“I don’t do just magic.”

He glared at the soldiers, and they lifted on invisible strings. Then with a cacophonous shriek, they were all compressed into bloody cubes.

The angel dropped the sword and pulled back with a speed and grace telling of it’s heritage.

Neon’s damaged flesh reknit itself at the speed it took for light to strike the iris.

“You’re no Fae!”

Hold Demon.”

 

Golden chains of light sprouted from the ground, wrapping themselves around Neon. They held him in place.

Only because putting on a good show was important.

A green circle appeared above the angel, filled with a small slice of light green pie.

“You should hurry. Don’t want to run down the clock!” He mocked.

The angel flashed it’s wings, sending a storm of blades to him. They crashed against an invisible shield.

“Fire of Purity.”

“Energy Volley.”

“Antecedent.”

The angel spoke with the voices of three others, casting all spells simultaneously.

A stream of white fire billowed around Neon, burning into him. He was punctured by javelins of violet energy. The green pie above the angel’s head ticked up, almost complete.

Neon made sure the shriek in pain. Another Fire of Purity struck him, burning his suit and flesh black.

The green pie completed, and the magic ceased. The angel didn’t miss a beat at feeling it’s magic sealed off and flew in, striking with new bladed weapons. It’s arms and wings were weapons, crashing into Neon with great force, enough to push him back and tear the golden chains. The invisible shield shattered, forcing Neon to defend himself, parrying the blades with his hands.

Blades of all sort cut into his scorched and riddled body. The angel pressed with a large attack, cracking the mossy stone ground and knocking Neon back into the air as a tumbling rag doll. His limbs flopped and crumpled upon impact.

He rose, getting to his feet. The angel held back, cautious of counterattack.

“So do you know what that circle was?”

“That was me usurping your magic. It takes time to figure out how your very being constructs it. The more you cast, the more I understand and can hijack it. I can even twist it.”

“Like so.”

He reached inside his head, pulling an abstract key and lock. He unlocked it with a flourish, unsealing his magic. The angel would have looked surprised as he crouched down to attack.

“Hold Angel.”

Emerald chains sprouted from the ground, chaining the angel in place.

“No! How?” The angel gasped at the constricting chains.

“Oops! Looks like someone turned of Aegis!”

“Corruption of Fire.”

Emerald fire shot from his hands, billowing around the angel, scorching the cloth and heating his ironhide.

The angel bellowed in pain at it’s own attack was redirected.

“Magic Volley.”

The angel shrieked as it’s metal was punched through by emerald spears of magic.

The angel fell to his knees, the chains weighing it down.

Neon casually strode in close, his form refreshing back to normal.

“I can’t heal…” The angel murmured.

“Oh, that was me. Can’t heal from my injuries caused by me.”

“Ever.”

“But that’s alright, you won’t need to worry about your wounds.”

Neon said as he planted his huge multi-jointed hands around the angels Mobius strip head.

He twisted and crushed it with a shrieking metal crunch. The angel limply fell over with a thud, the chains vanishing. With a ray of jade, the body was atomized to a white soul mote, larger than the golden ones sprouting from the fallen compressed bloody cubes.

He raised his hand, absorbing the motes into himself.

He turned back to the Trows, seeing them on the ground, frozen in fear.

“Now, who wants to dedicate themselves to a real god?”

The Trows bowed down in fealty.

“I’ll just take that as a contract agreement for your souls. Do your best!” Neon exhorted.

Or extorted.

He went to the prisoners, starting with the Fae.

She was beautiful with violet skin, long hair, and a petite face. The solid black eyes were otherworldly, terrifying and gorgeous.

“Worship me. We have great perks.”

“Go to hell demon.”

“Boring!”

With a large grin he pointed at her. Her eyes went wide in understanding.

Neon replied with a ray of jade, reducing the wailing fae to instant atoms. Her shriek echoed along the silent Underrealm.

He stood, letting the moment hang.

He collected the violet mote and walked down the line to the Hogboon.

“Worship me and I won’t destroy you. Plus, it’s more fun.”

The hogboon fell to his face, tears in his eyes in shock at seeing his friend destroyed.

“My friend! My friend…”

“Cheer up, young hogboon! If you please me I’ll make sure to revive her.”

He walked to the Goblins, and they had all fallen forward on their faces.

‘Well, I’ll take that as a sign of a contract sealed for your souls.”

“Arise my new followers and know that by following me, you’ll most likely meet certain destruction as expendable helpers- pay could be better- but you’ll have a hell of a time all the way down!”

Neon had long ago figured out different methods for contracts. Safer methods. His word was his paper, his intent was his ink.

Their suffering submission was their signature.

An emerald portal opened, revealing the desert above with the small trade sloop. A robed figure stepped through.

“My god Neon, do you have more followers?”

“Yes, get them clothed and fed. Take the arms. Clean up the area. No one has been here for an eon.”

Neon said, speaking firmly.

“Yes, my god,” the robed one bowed. More followers streamed through the portal, collecting the survivors, cleaning up the area, and retrieving gear.

The main robed one closed his eyes, breathing in.

“I sense no presence, divine or demonic. There has been nobody here.”

“Good, well done my faithful servant!”

Neon had made sure to find and train up many of his followers as Sniffers, capable of sensing different signatures. Especially after scrubbing a scene.

The followers, old and new left. With a final snap, the emerald portal closed.

“Now to find my child.”

A thought occurred to him. All of the show boating and acting brought about an issue, a tiny detail that was left out.

“Oh, I forgot to question the angel.”

Neon felt slightly embarrassed that he got so caught up in the fight. An interrogation would have diluted his powerful entrance.

“Whoever this god Lucifer is, it’s able to employ angels. That’s a new one.”

“Need to speak to the others about this.”

He moved on, following the trail of his child, pondering this supposed new god. The pantheon was bare as it was, another might be warranted. It was possible it was not a god at all, but a powerful divine being. Imitators were everywhere.

He would discover who they were. Either as a new ally, or as an unwanted burden.

The situation had suddenly become fascinating.

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