Where the Followers Remain

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Shortly after the meeting conducted with the renowned magicians, Bright, Clef, and Xyank, the Council of Thirteen were having a quarrel amongst themselves.

"Absolutely ludicrous!" Exclaimed the 8th Grand Watcher, as he slammed the arched table with his fist.

"What exactly is ludicrous about my order, Galahad?" The 1st Grand Watcher questioned as if he was provoking him.

"'Investigations into the rogue society are to be held'? Has your feeble mind caught up to you Percival?!" The 8th Grand Watcher, Galahad, was appalled. He was not expecting Percival to order their most renowned magicians to tread into unknown territory. "You've ordered them to investigate into the Church of the Shattered! Do you not realize they may come into contact with them?!"

Galahad retorted, "The Ruins of Thalmek, where the Church of the Shattered resides, are not the only group within its quarters! Have you forgotten about those damned followers?!"

"Those outlandish freaks? Of course not. Have you forgotten that their numbers dwindled over the past years?" Percival responded in kind.

Galahad was outraged by Percival's response. The most recent interaction with a majorly powerful group ended in Pyrrhic victory, resulting in the Galahad's pride being chipped away.

Galahad screamed, "Does that not stray from the fact that they nearly eradicated the Magician's Foundation?! Should Arthur not have been there alongside the Mastermind, they would have attacked our kingdom!" His face was flaring up shades of red as his blood boiled over his quarrel with Percival.

"Galahad, compose yourself. You are not befitting the actions of a Grand Watcher." The 4th Grand Watcher said, giving Galahad a menacing stare.

Galahad quivered from the 4th Grand Watcher's gaze. Taking a deep breath, he muttered a low dispel.

"Securitas, stabilizează-mă."

A deep orange aura shrouded Galahad for a few seconds, then dispersed into thin air.

"Apologies, I was acting out of line Lamorak."

"It's quite alright, do not fret." The 4th Grand Watcher, Lamorak, responded. His glare eased off of Galahad.

"Percival, your order was certainly out of line. I believe you recall the attack of Starminius?" The 2nd Grand Watcher looked at Percival in the eye.

Percival shuddered and glanced around the room nervously before responding. "O-Of course Lancelot, how could I not forget such an unsettling event?"

The 2nd Grand Watcher, Lancelot, grinned then continued to speak. "Do you realize the damage your actions may have caused? The three of them cannot possibly engage in battle with Starminius, should he be manifested by the followers. Not only that, but the Church of the Shattered is also quite formidable in their own right."

Percival remained silent, he had realized the error of his actions. Silence filled the room, waiting for him to respond to Lancelot. Percival wanted to speak up once more, but the atmosphere of the twelve other council members quelled his voice.

"…I realize what I have done, and I shall repent for my actions." Percival replied.

"No matter. Shall we send the Mastermind and the Cursed for this ordeal?" Lancelot suggested.

"I concur, this idea is a bright one." Said the 11th Grand Watcher.

Nobody spoke up against the ruling and instead agreed with the decision.

"The vote stands, thirteen to none. Are there any other matters of urgent discussion?" Lancelot asked.

"Not that I can recall." Lamorak responded.

"Then the meeting has concluded."

During the Council of Thirteen's meeting, Bright, along with an array of mages, sat in the back of a carriage. Traveling along with him, were Clef and Xyank, albeit at five kilometers away. Each carriage had been positioned in a straight line, separated horizontally so that they would traverse as much ground to find the Ruins of Thalmek as fast as possible.

During this time, Bright's carriage stopped in its tracks. Which prompted other individuals to get off the carriage to see what had been blocking their path.

"Sir Bright! The carriage has stopped, we will have to pass the rest of Rymol on foot." Shouted one of the front line mages, approaching the carriage window.

"What's the problem this time?" Bright responded, in a slightly fed up and mocking tone.

"The Front Scouts have informed us that the rest of the Forest of Rymol appears to have overgrown with blood-red weeping willows." The mage answered.

Bright scratched his head out of frustration, "Argh, such a bother. Fine, let me take a look."

"Yes, Sir Bright."

Bright went along with the mage toward the Front Scouts. The environment around them slowly changed from a greenish-yellow hue to blood-red as they approached the scouts. The weeping willow trees around them drooped much more than usual, as well as the top of the ground beneath them seemed to gush out a blood-red liquid. The area around them reeked a tinge of iron, stinging Bright's nose.

Once they had caught up, a member of the Front Scouts approached Bright.

"Sir Bright, three of our mages cast a large observational spell. We have just found the source of the problem."

"And?" Bright asked.

"It seems that a group of the Church of the Shattered has used a blood orb of thaumaturgy."

"Blood orb of thaumaturgy?…" Bright was confused, but later came to a realization, "Dear God, don't tell me they used Mekhane's blood."

"It is highly likely, Sir Bright."

"What in the fucking- that's forbidden sorcery! It's not even magic at this point!" Bright was appalled, he scratched his head out of frustration then left himself in thought for a few minutes. Shortly after, he approached the mage that had informed him of the Front Scouts' findings.

"You, what's your name?" Bright asked.

The mage, startled by Bright's sudden question responded hastily. "R-Rodney!"

"Okay Rodney, round up the rest of the mages. I've got an idea."

As Bright was stopped in his tracks, Clef had found the Ruins of Thalmek. Clef, having donned his knightly armor, jumped confidently down from the carriage. His armor clattered and the ground oozed a blood-like substance with each step. Clef observed his surroundings pursing his lips noticing that they were completely surrounded by a blood-red forest.

Clef's eyes shortly laid on the Ruins of Thalmek itself, which nearly took up a fifth of the entire forest. The ruins had an overgrown, decaying gate. Past it was a large natural pond and a small waterfall just under a bridge flowing into it. Many arches built atop each other were at the very center of the ruins, shaped in a cone-like structure as they spiraled to the top. Noticing that unmanned barracks were located around the Ruins, Clef grinned and formed a sinister plan. Taking action, Clef informed his mages to contact Bright.

"Sir Clef, we've established a connection with Sir Bright, however we could not get into contact with Sir Xyank." A mage approached Clef, pointing to the orb of communication.

"I see," Clef approached the orb and spoke to Bright in a commanding tone, "Bright, what is your location?"

"We're stuck in the middle of the Forest of Rymol. Some damned Shattered Devotees thought it was a bright idea to use forbidden sorcery and ruin the entire path."

Clef pursed his lips amusingly, yet slightly frustrated. "I assume you'll catch up to us once you've taken care of the situation?"

"Yes, yes we will." Bright replied, then brought up another topic. "What about Xyank? Where is he located, what in the hell is he doing?"

"My mages could not establish a connection with him." Clef answered, keeping his responses short and straight to the point.

"That idiot, he's got a talent for getting into fights. We'll get in touch with you once I deal with these damned devotees. Don't do anything stupid, Clef. I don't want to get reprimanded by the Council of Thirteen again." Bright warned.

"I'm not an imbecile, Bright. Should we be ambushed, we will meet up with your squadron." Clef shot back.

"Fine, whatever. Be careful."

The connection spell with Bright was cut, and Clef went back to the carriage to retrieve his magic-imbued sword. Clef, picking up his sword inspected it for a moment, running his fingers along the runes that were etched onto his blade. A twisted smile spread across Clefs face, as he sheathed his weapon and approached his squadron of mages and magic knights.

"My soldiers!"

The men around Clef snapped their attention, focusing on him. His armor rattled as blood-red ground splashed with each heavy step.

"Today, we conduct an investigation on the Shattered Devotees! Kill, ransack, and detain the rogue mages should you come across any! Do not fear them, let them fear you! For they have taken what was once ours! Do not waver, and be merciless."

Clef's squadron gave a rallying cheer. Clef smirked and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. To which he unsheathed, striking the sword down into the blood-red ground and splattering the liquid around him and on his boots. Clef's sword, which was stuck in the blood-red ground shone an icy blue light. The icy blue light emanating from his sword spread out across the ground, covering the entire area in that same light, which started to resemble the peak of an iceberg. A cold breeze could be felt in the area, as Clef and his men started to emanate an icy blue aura as a result of his original sword art.

"Follow me! We shall take care of the Church of the Shattered, and take back what was once ours!"

Clef and his men expected that they would meet the Church of the Shattered. However, the deeper within the ruins they went, they realized that they did not come across the Shattered Devotees. But rather, they encountered

The Followers of Five.

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