Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 24Chapter Twenty-FourMore Like This
Having left Akthanakos and Wahisietel at the Senntisten temple to receive their own debriefings from Zaros, Azzanadra headed west. He was going in the general direction of Char, but wondered if maybe there was someone else he could stop and pick up first. Jhallan was the only other Mahjarrat loyal to Zaros. Going in order of most powerful allies would put him very far down on the list, though, even if Azzanadra knew where to find him. So never mind that. Although he wouldn't be adverse to sacrificing that fool in the Ritual if he ever showed up.
He was having a brief internal chuckle at how gullible Khazard had been when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.
He hadn't really thought about it since Zaros had shown back up, but now he realized that it was getting very close. In fact… Yes, he was pretty sure that it was going to land within the two-week mark that Zamorak and Zaros had agreed upon. By a couple of days.
He had to find S
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 23Chapter Twenty-ThreeMore Like This
It was with great relief that Zamorak teleported away from Ardougne and back to the frigid landscape of Ghorrock. Hazeel had finally shown up, and while he was more than willing to join the battle, he apparently needed some time to gather his things. Zamorak had left him with instructions to join them at Zemouregal's fortress and then gotten the hell out of that cave.
It was probably for the best. Hazeel wasn't really capable of interesting conversation, so he made a pretty terrible traveling companion.
Zamorak quickly spotted Khazard, as he was just sort of standing in the middle of Ghorrock and looking a bit lonely.
"Are you here by yourself?" Zamorak asked as he walked up. "Where did everyone else go?"
"Akthanakos was the only one here when I arrived," Khazard replied, "and he just left with Azzanadra."
Zamorak sighed. "Of course he did. I suppose Azzanadra is probably under the same orders I gave to my own people."
Khazard looked confused. "What are you
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 22Chapter Twenty-TwoMore Like This
The desert heat was stifling, as usual, and Azzanadra was becoming grumpier and grumpier the more time he spent trudging across the sandy terrain. He couldn't complain about anything without losing all of his dignity, as he had been the one to insist on walking rather than taking one of those ridiculous carpets, so his discomfort was at least tripled. Suffering in silence had never been his style.
There wasn't even any conversation to distract him. Any small talk with Akthanakos inevitably came back around to camels, Enakhra, or the state of the economy in Misthalin. (Azzanadra had no idea why Akthanakos thought the last item was relevant to anything, but he certainly seemed to get very agitated about it.) Generally speaking, Azzanadra avoided small talk, and small talk about things that annoyed him was never preferable to no talk.
They had damn well better be nearly there.
It was a good fifteen minutes later that Nardah finally grew large enough on the horizo
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 21Chapter Twenty-OneMore Like This
Azzanadra decided to start by gathering the other Zarosian Mahjarrat, both because he figured that they were more important and because he really didn't feel like going to get Char just then. He understood that any help was good help, but he had never really gotten along with her. He chalked it up to differing personalities. The truth was probably more that they were stuck in a very weird competition for Zaros' attention.
Ghorrock was strangely empty when Azzanadra teleported in. Not that it had been bursting its limits when they had been there before, but now it was far too still. He glanced around, searching for signs of life. He finally spotted Akthanakos over in a snowy corner, settled on a large chunk of stone and looking fairly bored.
"Akthanakos," he called, starting toward the other Mahjarrat.
Akthanakos looked up in surprise. "Azzanadra. Hello."
"Have you been here the whole time?" Azzanadra asked. "By yourself?"
Akthanakos shrugged. "Not entirely. Kh
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 20Chapter TwentyMore Like This
Zaros stood in front of his altar, looking around at the underground temple. Azzanadra desperately wanted him to say something about how impressive it was or how pleased he was that it had built in his honor, but the god remained silent.
Finally, he turned to where Lucien was standing, over in the corner. "What are your intentions?"
Considering the tone of his voice, Azzanadra was very surprised that he didn't add "worm" to the end of his sentence. Lucien seemed to be only barely managing not to flinch away, although even that was actually quite an accomplishment given that he was facing down Zaros.
"What do you mean?" he asked, the very slightest of tremors detectable in his voice.
Zaros glowered. "What do you think I mean? Are you intending to stay here and assist me, or are you intending to flee like the cowardly rat that you are?"
Lucien drew his shoulders back. "Neither of thothe are accurate. I do not plan to athitht you, but I will not 'flee'. I have thingt
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 19Chapter NineteenMore Like This
"Clearly he's gone insane."
Zemouregal's voice floated through the hazy blackness that was Azzanadra's unconscious, and slowly his nerve endings woke back up. He seemed to be lying on some kind of stone floor.
What had happened? He was sure he hadn't been hit over the head. He knew what that felt like and it wasn't this.
"I have not gone inthane. Your mindth jutht cannot grathp my ingeniouth plan."
Oh, right. Lucien, and his apparent sudden, intense distaste for symbols on the tops of altars.
"Would you like to bet on that statement?" Sliske asked. "Because I would assume that you realized that the altar was maintaining a link between Zaros' soul and his physical form and decided to break the link in an attempt to send the first back to the second, and I'm guessing that I would be correct."
There was a small, awkward silence.
"Well, yeth but—"
"I would also add," Sliske interrupted, "that you are unfortunately mistaken."
"No, he's not," Zemouregal said. "T
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 18Chapter EighteenMore Like This
Enakhra was fairly certain that Bilrach was about two growls of frustration away from giving the whole enterprise up and teleporting back to Daemonheim. As far as her own frustration went, she was keeping most of it at bay with the almost-certain knowledge that Sliske was just in the Shadow Realm and would be back as soon as he had figured out whatever it was that he needed to. He was sly, but she was sure he wouldn't leave this endeavor, especially now that they knew who had really been behind the plot all along.
A small part of her was tempted to leave due to a wholly different frustration, however — Zemouregal seemed determined to keep her engaged in some kind of conversation. An even smaller part of her admitted that she had moved far enough through hating his company that she had popped out the other side and was actually starting to enjoy it, and that mostly she was just annoyed on principle. That very small part of her was quickly gagged, bound, and
Shadows of a Lost Mind, Chapter 17Chapter SeventeenMore Like This
There was nothing they could do except wait to see if Sliske was going to come back. Bilrach began pacing back and forth across the entrance to the temple, muttering angrily to himself. Azzanadra caught the words "screw him" and "trekking across half the damned continent" and assumed it was some sort of indignant rant.
Enakhra and Zemouregal were over to the side of the room and appeared to be having some kind of argument—again—and Lucien seemed to be inspecting the alter, for some reason. As Azzanadra watched, he licked his finger, stuck it on the altar's symbol, then pulled his hand back sharply, frowning.
What the hell was he doing?
Azzanadra was about to go tell him off—there were delicate magicks woven through that altar, thank you very much—when he suddenly felt a strange sensation in the back of his mind.
Oh no, he thought, fear and disappointment overwhelming him. He recognized the feeling immediately. Goodbye, freedom.