Chapter 91 - Hellpoemer
There were three Legendary bards among myths and legends. All of them were monstrous existences that were proficient in all-around combat. They could cast Legendary spells like wizards, use Legendary combat skills like warriors, and could even enter the Plane of Shadows like rogues. The trio lived in different time periods, yet the extents of their powers and capabilities were equivalent. Bards were commonly known for being jacks-of-all-trades, meaning they could do pretty much everything, but never quite competently enough. Even so, there were three bards in history who managed to become masters of all trades. In doing so, they became frightening existences who carved their name in history.
The Hellpoemer was one of the three. Legend has it that he was once a devoted disciple and divine bard of a certain deity but was tempted by the Lord of the Hells, to whom he succumbed and turned evil.
There wasn’t much information about the Hellpoemer, but his combat records were splendid—he had slain sixteen Legendary professionals. He was also the author of one of the three forbidden songs, Revelation: Prologue of Hell. It was said that the song had six sections, and each section had power comparable to Level 8 spells. Descent of Hell, a Legendary spell which had destructive power beyond all imagination, could be cast by completing the entire song. The Hellpoemer was an active NPC during the Time of Troubles. Using his songs, he killed three weak deities, ascended, and became the evil god of music. He was also a master of blasphemous language, and many of the evil alignment would pledge their loyalty to him in exchange for knowledge and power.
If what Soran read was true, then the Hellpoemer should have performed the first section of Revelation: Prologue of Hell, which struck despair into the souls of the audience. People with insufficient willpower would gladly commit suicide.
Soran had sparse memories of the City of Psalms. All he knew was that it was somewhat far away. He had never been to such a distant city anyways.
There were many mysterious powers in the world, and some were controlled by beings unfathomable to mortals. Soran didn’t really want to dabble in these troublesome affairs too much.
Gloria stayed silent briefly and then looked Soran in the eye and asked, “Are you leaving today?”
Soran nodded and replied, “Yes.”
Gloria had a complicated expression upon hearing his reply. Her eyes glinting with disgust.
“Very well. I shall travel together with you two.”
“What?!” Soran shouted, shocked. “Why?”
Gloria glanced at him with a somewhat displeased look and said, “I’m worried about Vivian’s safety. With your current strength, you can’t always protect her. I don’t wish to see her in danger because of your stubbornness. Sometimes I really wish I could scold you, but Vivian gets really angry whenever I speak poorly of you.”
Soran was speechless, but he could tell that Gloria really cared for Vivian. There were some things that he still wasn’t sure of yet, but Soran had more of a favorable impression for Gloria now compared to his suspicious attitude before.
“I’ll travel to Elfenland with you two then teleport back to the North myself.”
For a moment, Soran really wanted to tell her that it was the North that was the center of all the chaos to come, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
Perhaps it was better to wait till the deities stopped contacting their priests and believers before disclosing things to Gloria. They had to travel for around a month together, so it should be long enough before she was informed that all gods had stopped responding to their believers. The deities’ silence was one of the events triggering the Time of Troubles, and the powerful organization of the world would realize that something was amok among the gods. It would be a good time to tell Gloria what he knew. At least some of it.
Priests of some evil deities tried to gain the attention of their gods by conducting evil rituals, but those efforts were futile. Their counterparts of the good alignment also held major worshipping events and rituals. One of the most notable ones was the ritual to request the descent of the Oak Father, and it was held by the elves. Soran remembered that specific ritual because it was supposed to summon the legendary Dryad Queen, which would then mate with a chosen human. Obviously, the gods remained silent and the ritual ended up as a failure.
“Please wait here,” Gloria said while walking towards the room in the back. “There are things I have to prepare. I’m sure Vivian must pack things up also. Let’s leave at noon.”
Soran didn’t object.
Half an hour passed, and the cute little girl appeared in front of Soran. Vivian wore her original clothes and the pair of deerskin boots Soran bought for her. She had kept them clean all this time, they almost looked like they were sparkling. She tottered over and sat on Soran’s lap, swung her legs, and happily said, “Look, big brother! I have grown bigger! These boots fit me now!”
Soran didn’t reply but instead kissed her on the forehead.
Vivian wore what seemed to be trinkets, but Soran could roughly tell that they were Rare-grade items. Soran had no doubts about how affluent a high-ranked Northern witch could be, and he was now sure that Gloria had a considerable standing, even among the Northern witches. The Witch Council ruled most of the Northern cities, and each high-ranked council member would have their own territory that served as the source of their riches.
When Gloria appeared once again, Soran was somewhat startled. It wasn’t as though she wore something eye-catching or extravagant, just a simple-looking grey robe which almost covered her entirely. If one had not observed closely, it would be hard to determine whether Gloria had been a male or female. For some reason, however, Soran felt that this attire was rather familiar, as though he had seen such a person before. Of course, it wasn’t from his memories when traveling together with her from Amber City to Whiterun, but from way back, buried deep inside his memories. Soran tried his best to remember what had happened but he couldn’t. He could only put it aside. It was difficult to remember every encounter after all.
Gloria had prepared a horse-drawn carriage, and together they left at noon. Now that the road to Autumnfall had been reopened, many merchant squads which were stuck in the city started leaving. There were still monsters here and there, but the merchants’ guards should be able to handle that much. From what Soran could remember, the ancient red dragon in the region should still be setting up its lair. For the following month or two, things would be relatively peaceful, that is, excluding the skinning incidents.
Whiterun’s state of affairs became similar to that of Amber City when the skinning incidents first began. The Whiterun guard corps, who had just engaged in large-scale combat with the ogres not long before, were flustered and exasperated. The feeling of wanting to save every last falling one showed clearly on their tired, menacing faces.
With Gloria’s power and status, they easily bypassed the checkpoint and left the city. Soran was the driver while the two ladies sat in the carriage. It must have been tailor-made and cost a fair amount, given the stability and silence when traveling.
Gloria lit incense which filled the carriage with a sweet fragrance, then laid down lazily. Vivian sat beside Gloria with a book in hand. The little girl would ask questions whenever there were things she couldn’t understand. After a while, she would peek at Soran, who was driving, or even go out and sit next to him. The scenery seemed to drift backwards as they travelled, and Vivian enjoyed looking at it.
Perhaps because the siblings were now travelling together with Gloria, a powerful witch, it felt more like a vacation. Gloria always seemed to be producing things out of thin air, including the snacks which Vivian would sometimes feed Soran, and some other miscellaneous items. She kept yawning while answering Vivian’s questions.
It was a peaceful journey, at least for now.