A fun scene with Baron Arthuru Kernaghan. He’s been having a rough time even though one or two good things have happened. So here he is flexing a little muscle and letting off some steam in the opening of Charms of the Feykin. I actually removed all big spoilers this time, but there is a cut below the picture:
Sweating in the warm forest, Nyder Fortune trudges behind his master and fiddles with the buttons on his metal gauntlet. A burst of sparks erupts from the device, which he removes and stuffs into his burn-covered satchel. Cleaning his oily forehead, the gnome creates a breeze that does very little to comfort his aching muscles. In fact, the wind gives him a sudden chill due to his lime green shirt being soaked in sweat. Nyder frowns as a few trees flicker out of existence, the illusionary area becoming more difficult for him to maintain as his energy falters. With a groan, the red-eyed gnome stops to take a few sips of a foul, clear potion that strengthens his aura. Casting a quick spell, he revives the missing pieces of the landscape and takes a single step to begin catching up with his master. A muttered curse is all he has time to say as his knees buckle and the proud inventor collapses in the mud. Feeling frustrated and embarrassed, he silently wonders why he included the goopy liquid in his illusion.
“Is this really necessary, master?” Nyder asks while he rolls onto his back. He wipes the fake muck off his body, leaving only a small smear of real dirt on his bulbous nose. “I know you want to release some tension and the demons aren’t giving you a real challenge. But this entire exercise is exhausting me. I don’t use illusions very often, so this is causing a massive strain on my body and mind. Can I drop the forest?”
“I suppose fighting in a desolate wasteland will have to suffice,” the Baron replies while stripping off his clothes and neatly placing them on a rock. Left only in his underwear, the warlord draws a rapier out of thin air and takes a cleansing breath. “Thank you for humoring me, Lord Fortune. How many of your pets will you be using?”
“Only three because I didn’t have more than a few hours to prepare,” the gnome answers with a yawn. He flicks his thick goggles over his eyes and the lenses turn gold to reveal the illusion’s intricate web of magic. “They might not be the biggest challenges for you, but they should help brighten your mood. I put a few fun designs on them too. Hope you approve. Then again, you’re destroying these things, so it really doesn’t matter.”
Nyder yanks a handful of aura out of the air, which punctures the illusionary forest and turns it into a deflated mess on the ground. The energy slowly dissolves as three Weapon Dragons roar at the sky, their metal and flesh bodies creaking loud enough for all of Shayd to hear. A tired sigh escapes the Baron’s lips when he observes his mediocre opponents. The gray-scaled Axe Dragon slashes at the ground with its bladed tail and flaps its stiff wings enough to hover a few feet off the ground. A bulky Mace Dragon awkwardly balances on its club-like feet and pounds its stony wings against its fleshy sides. The only real challenge for the immortal is the limbless Crossbow Dragon circling the battlefield, the creature’s spikey frill repeatedly covering its elongated face. A barrage of toxic stakes are launched into the earth as the beast passes overhead, the deadly projectiles more of a warning than an actual attack.
“As I said, I don’t have much to offer and the sparring beasts are still . . . dead,” Nyder apologetically explains. He removes his goggles and rubs his eyes when the Mace Dragon hacks up a small puff of pebbles. “I also forgot to feed that one. Kind of hoped it would swallow a few boulders while we traveled, but this construct seems dumber than normal. I should mention that without field agents to run errands, my supplies are getting dangerously low. Do you think Yola can retrieve some materials? I know asking her runs the risk of another incident and a lot of headaches for both of us, but I’m becoming a desperate inventor. Even a genius like me needs supplies to get work done.”
“I will ask her to assist you tomorrow. She will have your factory fully stocked by the end of the day,” the Baron replies while advancing toward the roaring Axe Dragon. Two blades erupt from the beast’s mouth, both of them deflected into a nearby hill by a few swings of the warlord’s slender blade. “That actually pushed me back an inch. Either you have no faith in your own creations or I am becoming weak in my old age. Is there something written on that creature’s forehead?”
“That one is named Delvin, the flying one is Luke, and the dumb one is Sari,” the gnome replies with a proud smirk. The disappointing shrug he receives from his master causes him to kick a stone, which is staked by the Crossbow Dragon. “I was hoping to bring a smile to your face. Is this in regards to Trinity and how Yola is protecting the chaos elves? I mean, you lost one of your best agents. There isn’t even an associated target for you to take your rage out on like when you lost Stephen. I wonder if that is why you keep having me build expendable sparring partners.”
The Baron leaps into the air to kick the limbless beast in the face and send it careening several miles away. With a rushed spell, he creates a hand of stone that swats the Axe Dragon against a jagged hill. The enraged beast shatters the rocky fingers with its bladed tail and grabs the palm with its clamp-like mouth. It shatters the enchanted earth and uses the cloud of pebbles as cover to fire several spinning blades at its enemy. The warlord blocks and dodges the projectiles before catching the last one on the end of his rapier. With a fluid swing, he sends the keen blade hurtling back at the Axe Dragon, slicing off one of the beast’s wings. No longer able to hover, the large creature falls and is snared by a net of ivory vines that erupt from the cracks its landing makes in the rocky earth.
“I am well aware of that issue and it is the current cause of my limited patience,” the Baron admits through gritted teeth. He blocks one of the Mace Dragon’s feet with his blade, the impact creating a shallow crater around him before he flips the construct over his head.