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Pursuit, finale

The Death of Black Mantle

The town hall in the upside-down of Grayson is watched by alert (but not too alert) guards and a pair of Zombie Fire Giants.  With a priority on confronting and ending Black Mantle, Illuvere and Simbar volunteer to hold off the zombies and the strange dark humanoids that guard the outside.

Once inside the Heralds are confronted by a small collection of cannon fodder creatures as well as the last of Black Mantle's high powered servants, an armor clad warrior and a Tiefilng wizard.  The fight was brutal, and several times only Aideen's newfound power of healing kept the group up and active.

In the end, Gareth struck down Black Mantle as she tried to flee, awakening a new power in the sword that struck her down.

But in the aftermath of the battle, Illuvere fell.  Simbar admits that they both expected this to be their last mission.  His intention is to return her to the Keep of the Ravens and join her on the far side of the gate…

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It is finished.

Black Mantle is dead, and as far as we can tell, we have done the correct things to ensure she stays that way.

But the victory did not come without a heavy price. Iluvere perished, and Simbar intends to follow her after he brings her home. We – I – lost them both.

I have been the leader of the Heralds since we were formed. But in truth, I was mostly a leader in name only, because we needed to have a single person elected to speak. We worked together on our decisions, and none of the Heralds looked to me for orders.

But with Her behind me, I feel… different. I have a confidence, now, that I will make the correct decision. I feel like a leader, and Iluvere looked at me like I was her leader.

When she volunteered that she and Simbar would cause a distraction, to allow us the space to get into the Town Hall and confront Black Mantle, I knew what the consequences would likely be.

I knew, and they knew, and I had to accept her offer. It was our best chance, and we – I – had to take it.

After it was done, Simbar gathered up Iluvere’s corpse and made to leave. I stopped him, spoke with him. I tried, painfully aware of my new position, to remember how a Priest should comfort her flock. I grasped at words, to try to express my sorrow, to try to offer them both my blessing, to honor their sacrifice.

He told me not to be sad.

But I know I will hold their names graven on my heart. I feel as though I failed them.

I knew what was going to happen, and I ordered them to their deaths. They were not unwilling, but they were commanded by my hand. Iluvere looked at me with respect and awe in her eyes, and I sent her to her death. I am responsible.

…I need to apologize to Bruce. For being so foolhardy with my life. If I had known, if I’d really thought about it even, I would have realized how it would affect him if I did not return alive. To force him to take up the heavy burden of being responsible for my death… I should have been more careful, all along.

Pursuit, finale
 

Black Mantle is dead, and yet I am not happy.

I am relieved. She was a blight on the world, and it’s a better place without her.

But Isabel is still dead. And I’m left to mourn the “what could have been”. I shouldn’t dwell on that, but I do. And I will continue to carry the weight of Isabel’s murder on my heart as strongly as if I held the knife myself.

Pursuit, finale
PatW

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