The hallway leading to the regent’s throne room was brightly lit, burning braziers causing the bodies strewn about to cast flickering, unholy shadows on the floor and walls. Obviously the Scarlet Chorus managed to find their way inside before we had, and made quick work of the resistance they found. We ran inside to discover that diplomacy had failed and the Scarlet Chorus were embroiled in combat with the regent’s top guards.
“We want him alive!” the Chorus commander roared. “Voices of Nerat needs the Edict to stand just a little longer!”
After having uncovered the many, many underhanded tricks Voices of Nerat used to needle Graven Ashe and sabotage the Tiers campaign, the giddy exuberance of the commander sealed my decision to end the Edict once and for all, goals of the Scarlet Chorus be damned. I ordered Eb, Barik, and Verse into the fray as I drew my sword.
As his soldiers drew their last breaths, Straydus lay defeated on the ground. The Scarlet Chorus commander was nearly hopping with excitement, undoubtedly picturing the fine rewards Voices of Nerat would provide for this success. As I stepped forward to end the regent’s life, and thereby complete the Edict of Storms, a voice rang out from a nearby hallway, urging mercy. Barik turned, wide-eyed, “Amelia?” he asked.
Amelia, daughter of Graven Ashe, the woman we had been sent here to free from imprisonment?
Staying my hand, I demanded an explanation. Words began tumbling from her lips, declaring that Kyros had strayed from the “right path” decades ago and that the Tiers were the last change we had to “correct things.” She explained that by sitting out the war in this keep, she had begun to see it from a new perspective, and was no longer the Disfavored commander she once was, blindly following orders and turning her blade on her enemies without regard for the consequences. She claimed the Kingdom of Stalwart was the Tiers’, and perhaps the continent’s, best opportunity at defeating the mad tyrant Kyros had become.
I frowned. The moral question weighed on me – help Amelia with her revolution, for which her passion was abundantly clear, or fulfill the will of Kyros as I understood it. Voices of Nerat wanted the regent alive for his own twisted purposes, undoubtedly to allow the Edict of Storms to prevent the Disfavored from gaining a powerful foothold in the region by capturing the keep, but Kyros’ Edict had a specific completion clause, to signify the end of its purpose. With the regent defeated, there was no more need for the Edict.
Without ceremony or pomp, I drove my blade into the fallen regent’s chest, closing my eyes as he slumped lifeless to the floor.
Fell winds continued to rage outside the keep. The Edict held, even with the regent dead.
Opening my eyes, I glared at Amelia. “What have you done, child?” I demanded of the former Disfavored commander.
A baby’s wailing broke the uncomfortable silence, emerging from the same corridor Amelia had appeared from.
“No!” she screamed, placing herself between us and the crying infant.