Author’s note: IT RETURNS FROM THE DEAD
So I haven’t really played Runescape at all in the past eight months, and I’m still not into playing it obsessively again, which is why this has had no progress at all, but now I feel enthused about writing it’s come back to me as a form of writing practice. Which I can post up when I finish a chapter of this fanfiction.
getting experience in character development, that’s the goal
For previous instalments, search my Creative Writing tab, here’s the link to the one before this: Shield Of Arrav
“I can’t believe that king,” Eric muttered. “I know we’re so far below him but he sounded so bored!”
“As if returning the shield of his city’s protector was an everyday occurrence,” Ilona agreed. They were walking in the palace gardens, out towards the eastern side of the city. Aelan had bid them farewell outside the palace steps, saying that he and Veles were heading off on an interesting mission. He hoped to run into them again at some point.
Cassie was still in awe from meeting royalty so soon into her adventures and dismissed her companions’ cynical thoughts as she walked ahead.
“He was still a king though,” she called back. “That’s worth something. One of the most powerful men in Gielinor and he gave us a reward! Opportunities like that don’t come along very often. Plus we did some incredible things, we both had to kill some gang members to restore order and I’m telling you, I feel unusually pumped. I could probably slay a demon like this!”
“Pfft,” Ilona laughed nervously, a bit taken aback by Cassie’s casual acceptance of her killing of Jonny. Ilona had been sweating ever since about her role in the murder, which, though necessary to return the valuable shield to the castle, left her feeling pale when she thought about it.
“Excuse me miss, but did you mean that literally?” came a voice from the side of the street. Outside a small house was standing a grey-haired but handsome man. His beard was of medium length and his face looked fresh for his years, while he wore some light robes with a Saradominist star dominating them. “Because Saradomin’s fair city here is grievous danger from one being summoned.”
Cassie looked his way. “A demon?” she asked “Sure I could kill a demon.” She was fired up and didn’t really think about what she was saying.
The man’s eyes lit up. “Oh thank Saradomin! He has sent you to me to aid me in our darkest hour. My name is Gideon Bede, but we have so little time. A madman plans to unleash a demon upon our city. Follow me, all of you.“
Eric looked at Cassie, who looked back at him. They nodded and quickly followed the older man up the street, towards a grey stone church that dominated the skyline in the richer northern district of the city.
“First off, aren’t they really incredibly dangerous?” Ilona said, as she hurried after her companions. “I’ve heard that even the demons they call ‘lesser’ are three times the size of a man and have fists that burn to the touch.”
“Secondly,” she continued, sounding more and more exasperated, “there are no demons for leagues around here, and if one had, heaven forbid, come down from the Wilderness, Varrock has lookouts in place that would notify us of a huge monster bearing down on the city.”
She stopped as they headed into the church. “And finally, I know it may be blasphemous of me to say this, but had you considered that this may be a raving buffoon you’re following.”
Gideon turned at that. “Child,” he chided. “I am not exaggerating and your friends here are right to follow me. I have been following one of your kind, a wizard no less, from the large monastery in the shadow of Ice Mountain, to the west. He stole some dangerous tomes and assaulted some of my brothers. What he stole can be used to summon a demon via an accursed ritual and I have no doubt he means to do it in this city.”
His eyes were wild and though his posture made him appear confident at first, when you looked closer, he was clearly scared.
Ilona bristled. “My kind, my good monk, can at least keep our knowledge protected from vagabonds like this rogue.”
Cassie looked to interject. “Shall we take this slowly, it sounds like something very important and we need to understand. Gideon, could you start from the beginning?”
She led Eric and Ilona to a pew in the church and motioned for them to sit down. “Whenever you’re ready, Brother.”
Gideon calmed. In the light coming through the stained glass and with the Saradomin altar framed behind him, he changed and looked more serene than Father Aereck, as if he belonged teaching the word of Saradomin in this church.
“The book that Denath, that’s the wizard’s name, stole,” he began, is an ancient tome that has been used to summon a number of demons but here, in Varrock, the most powerful demon that it can summon goes by the name of Delrith. His history is violent and he came very close to destroying this city a century and a half ago, but he was stopped by one of the most powerful adventurers of the time.”
“Are we even able to fight him?” Eric asked. “We’re pretty much just novices. I’m sure the city guard would be able to handle it.”
“No,” Bede said, shaking his head. “There is but one way to defeat Delrith, for his hide is tough and impenetrable to normal weapons, so we must use a weapon blessed by Saradomin himself, of a material that demons fear because its sheen reminds them of Saradomin’s light, which they abhor! Silver. And below this church lies a sword called Silverlight that can defeat Delrith forever.”
“Silver’s pretty useless for making weapons,” Cassie said. “At least that’s what I heard when chatting to the Lumbridge blacksmiths. A sword would be too soft.”
Gideon looked irked and turned his lip upwards. “I was getting to that. There is another material involved in Silverlight’s construction that makes it as strong as any other sword, Saradomin’s blessing, which is the best weapon against the servants of Zamorak. As I’m sure you all well know from your religious instruction.”
The trio looked a little taken aback by the monk’s devotion. Cassie decided not to mention her lack of religious instruction. “So let’s go get it and see the demon off,” Ilona said, somewhat nervously as for the first time, she really began to imagine demons invading Varrock.
“It’s a little bit more complicated than that,” Gideon said. “The sword lies below this church, yes, but the spirit of Saradomin guards the sword and only those worthy enough to defeat Delrith may take it.”
“And I suppose all the greater adventurers were out of town or something,” Eric said sarcastically. “Like I said, we’re fairly new at this.”
“The spirits will test you,” Gideon said, pointing out a trap-door. “Now, you, the girl with the swords.”
“Cassie,” Cassie said.
“It makes no matter, I think you should try the tests first. Head down there to the crypt. Do not fear, for from what I know, the tests are not dangerous.”
Cassie swallowed some of her fear at that but she still remained wary as she approached the trap-door. It looked like it led to a church basement, maybe a wine pressing cellar or a food larder and she was surprised to see that the ladder continued downwards a long way. About three floors’ worth of steps downwards the tunnel she was in started to open up into a cavern, but still she could not see the bottom.
A few minutes later, however, she saw some light appear out of the darkness. She was relieved, as the realisation that she was rather high up had led to her fingers becoming sweaty.
Reaching the bottom she saw that as well as some dim braziers that illuminated coffins laid into the walls, the light emanated from a shining circle around a rock, within which lay a sword. Silverlight, she thought. The ladder ended and she stood up to examine the crypt.
The crypt branched out from the rock containing Silverlight into three corridors, not counting the space she came from, such that its layout would have resembled a cross. Or a four-pointed star.
“Who knew a church would have such an interesting storage room,” she said as she reached Silverlight’s rock. She moved to touch it but stopped when she heard a disembodied voice.
“You must pass the trials before taking Silverlight,” it called. Cassie looked around but she saw nothing in the gloom. “Head down each corridor and the spirits will test you.”
Cassie shrugged and headed down the eastern corridor, which opened up into another room with more coffins laid along the walls. There stood a ghost, see-through much like the restless ghost from Lumbridge. She felt in her pockets but remembered she had left her amulet of ghostspeak in the bank.
“You do not need a ghost translator,” the spirit smiled. “I have been imbued by Saradomin as a soul that once wielded the great sword Silverlight. You may speak with me as you speak with your fellows. I am the Spirit of the Mind. Focus and tell me your reasons for wanting Silverlight. If they are worthy and your mind is focused, I will consider you to have passed my trial.”
The spirit asked questions about what Silverlight was, who had sent her to retrieve it, and why it was necessary. Cassie remembered the information from Gideon’s impassioned cries and told the spirit about the threat of Delrith and that she needed Silverlight to defeat him. This proved satisfactory for the spirit, who bowed and motioned for her to head back and find its counterparts, Body and Faith.
Heading straight past Silverlight to the west corridor, she saw a room containing a pile of bones yet to be buried. The Spirit of the Body was waiting there.
“You may have the mental fortitude to wield Silverlight,” it said. “But you must also prove to me that you are strong enough to wield it.”
“Your task is to clean these bones up.”
“They don’t look very strong,” Cassie said.
“Do not underestimate the task,” the spirit said with a low hint of menace. “For manual labour can be hard work.”
It motioned and the bones came to life with a start, forming a complete skeleton that drew a sword from apparent nothingness. Cassie swallowed and readied her sword as more skeletons emerged from the pile.
Despite the spirit’s claims, the skeletons were weakly put together and Cassie’s sword scattered the bones of Varrock’s long dead into more uneven piles than they had been before. She had passed the trial of the Body.
The final trial, in the northern room, seemed to consist entirely of an apparently bottomless chasm. The Spirit of Faith was standing on the other side.
“Cross,” it called. “I will protect you if you follow my instructions and stay on the path.”
“Sounds incredibly dangerous to me,” Cassie muttered.
“Step north three times then turn east for two,” the spirit began. “The power of Saradomin will protect you if you believe in where you are standing.”
Keeping her thoughts to herself about how Saradomin seemed incredibly concerned with getting people to believe in him, Cassie followed the instructions of the Spirit of Faith until she was standing on the other side of the chasm with him.
The spirit smiled, as much as an almost transparent being could. “You have passed, my child,” it said. “Head back over the chasm, and walk where you wish, Saradomin will protect you now. And claim Silverlight for yourself, it is yours now.”
Sure enough, back in the central chamber, the circle of light around Silverlight had gone and the sword had been pulled out of its stone. Cassie picked it up, admiring how beautiful it looked compared to her dull bronze swords.
The spirits gathered in front of her.
“Go now and make use of Silverlight what you will,” the Spirit of the Mind said. “It will be strong when used against demons but it will not serve much use otherwise.”
Cassie climbed the ladder, taking care with Silverlight slung over her back and her standard swords sheathed.
Ilona, Eric and Gideon were gone. A note had been left on the pew.
“To the dark-skinned swordswoman who will wield Silverlight. Your companions and I have been informed that Denath will start the ritual very shortly. Hurry to the south edge of the city and look for a disused trap-door with the horrendous symbol of Zamorak upon it, Gideon Bede”
A quick sketch had been drawn on the bottom of the note with a different hand. “It looks like this, Ilona”
Cassie set off at a run. There was a bank in the centre of the eastern portion of the city, so she ran in and grabbed some food as well as a helm that she had picked up from killing goblins. She noticed an iron dagger in her collection and decided she felt experienced enough to move on to a flashier weapon than bronze – for non-demon slaying purposes.
She ran south into the city, noting as she had when she had been seeking the Shield of Arrav how the southern quarter of Varrock was filled with poverty in comparison to the north. Through the streets, slums and homeless people lined the way, growing more concentrated as she ran. Rounding a corner, she saw a shop with a rune sign hanging over it and found herself face-to-face with Aubury.
“My dear,” he said. “Cassie, wasn’t it? You’re right by my shop. Actually, I just sold your friend Ilona a bunch of air runes, she and that ranger chap you hang around disappeared into that trap-door just beyond my shop. Something about a demon and Zamorak, I bet that illegal church of theirs over there is to blame.” He spat on the ground. “I’d get on it if I were you.”
Cassie thanked him and turned around. A door with a pitiful looking gargoyle lay across the way. It didn’t look anywhere near as grand as the Saradominist church, and she would not have known it was a church had it not been pointed out to her, upper-level living quarters seemed to be present on the upper floors and the poor of Varrock paid it no mind. The trap-door was visible though so Cassie hurried over and down it.
Below she found Ilona, Eric and Gideon. “I have Silverlight,” she said quietly. “What’s the plan.”
“Cultists are crawling these tunnels,” Eric said. “We’ll have to head past them and we might have to fight our way through. Are you ready?”
Cassie drew her dagger and one bronze sword. “Very,” she said.
Ilona advanced into the next room and filled it with an air blast. “No need for subtlety,” she shrugged. A couple of cultists were blown off their feet and into the wall, where they sat, dazed. “Let’s go.”
The four advanced from one room to the next, disabling most of the cultists with non-lethal injuries, although Gideon struck a few blows with some gauntlets that Cassie wasn’t sure were intended only to wound. For herself, she aimed for the legs with her dagger, then shoved her foes up against the walls to knock them on the head. Though they were numerous and most wielded staves with flames coming out of them, the cultists were physically weak and had little control over the magic they were trying to control. It was little problem to run up to them and defeat them, even for the party of three whose combat experience before now was largely gang fights and weak undead.
“I think that’s the central chamber,” Gideon called. “Follow me. And draw Silverlight, young lady! The other two, I’d stay back. Delrith will be very dangerous.”
Cassie obediently drew Silverlight from its sheath and followed him to the chamber. A fearsome altar burned in one corner of the room. Clearly, this was a room meant for Zamorak’s true faithful. Cassie still hadn’t made a pick for which religious deity she felt like following but the darkness of the chamber and the knowledge that Zamorak’s adherents were about to unleash terror upon the city above sent a shiver down her spine.
The noise came from the room ahead. It was a powerful chant held aloft by four voices.
A man in red wizarding robes stood in the centre of the room with a group of cultists surrounding him.
They were chanting but he stopped when he saw Cassie and Gideon standing in the room, motioning to his followers to continue.
“Friends,” he called. “It looks like we have guests here. Guests who wish to witness their doom.”
“Denath,” Gideon growled. “I should have gotten the abbot to detain you when you first arrived.”
“It matters not now,” Denath laughed. “For you are too late. And I must be going.”
He nodded to the cultists and joined with them to say
DIABOLICA FRATRI, WITH CLEANSING FIRE I BREAK THE SEAL THAT BINDS THEE
Then he raised his hands and smashed some runes together. Green light overtook him and he was gone. The cultists remained, however, with their hands locked around the centre of the room.
Then a red ball of flame emerged from between them and blasted their bodies to pieces.
Before Cassie and Gideon now stood a fearsome red creature, resplendent with bone white horns and dark purple limbs, that Cassie could only assume was Delrith.
“I AM FREE,” the demon roared. “THE WORLD WILL BURN.”
“Adventurer,” Gideon called. “We’re in luck. I’m an expert on demons, they erred in the summoning. He’s weak, Silverlight will finish him no problem.”
As he said this the demon began charging an attack. Gideon muttered a chant of his own and a blue shield surrounded him and Cassie. When the demon unleashed his flame, the shield absorbed it. Cassie flinched as the flames that rushed towards her were dispelled by blue light.
The power of the gods is no myth, she thought.
She raised Silverlight and ran towards the demon, slashing with as much might as she could as she did so.
Silverlight passed through Delrith’s flesh as a knife through butter and the demon cried out in pain. He charged another attack and Cassie ran back to Gideon’s side as the monk protected her again.
The second time, there was no continuing for Delrith as Silverlight made contact with his flesh. He fell into pieces, the weak summoning not keeping him together to withstand more than a few injuries.
Gideon suddenly looked a lot less tense. “Cassie,” he yelled, using her name for the first time. “We did it! Saradomin gave us the strength to ward off the evil. Let’s find your friends.”
Back at the church, Gideon thanked each of them once more before giving Cassie a book. “I think you’ve earned this,” he said. “It’s a book on demonology, but it has been enchanted and contains this little wand in it. Your mage friend, though she is sceptical on the power of Saradomin, will show you how to use it, I’m sure. And please, keep Silverlight, I am sure you’ll slay many demons in the future.”
Cassie looked at her new possessions and was surprised to see that the wand was leaking blasts air.
“That’s a useful wand,” Ilona nodded. “Let’s hope we can use that and Silverlight to kill demons and creatures that would wish us harm for many times to come.”
The trio walked away.
“So that was pretty cool,” Eric said. “Saving the city and all.”
His eyes lit up. “But you know, while we were looking for the shield, I met this beautiful barbarian woman in the Blue Moon Inn and she invited me to her village at some point. I think we should go there next.”
He looked hesitant and nervous after making this suggestion, in case the girls didn’t think his willingness to follow a girl was worth following.
Ilona sniggered. “If you want to get with a barbarian, why not, I say, I hear their men are just as strapping!”
“We probably won’t have any demons wanting to destroy a village so I’m for it,” Cassie nodded. “And about those men Ilona, do tell me more.”
Skills advanced (remember I am playing a character incredibly slowly alongside writing this):
Skill total went over 100 I’m such a good player