Chapter 44: A night to remember (4)

The continent of Erlithan was one of the newly developed continents in the God Nexus. The Nexus itself had many continents spanning their world some of which were larger than others. The origin of these continents was the essence of the assimilated worlds that the God Nexus incorporated into their sphere of influence.

As such, among the many continents, Erlithan was the least developed and had only been settled for a few thousand years. This allowed many civilizations to rise but overall their strength and development was inferior to the other continents who had a much longer history.

Because of their relatively shallow history, the power levels of the citizens who lived on Erlithan were as a whole below that of other continents and the number of beings who rose beyond advanced was far less. There were of course still numerous beings above the advanced class but the number was small in comparison. This meant that the continent of Erlithan was ripe for the gods and their ilk to harvest.

Tihr, the god of Justice, had a lot of influence on the continent of Erlithan and for as long as anyone remembered it had always been this way. His cathedrals and churches were spread out throughout many cities and while he didn’t have a presence everywhere, his presence was one of the strongest on the continent. Despite this, there was no end to the competition and rivalry among the gods of different pantheons and even within their own for the souls of worshippers.

With Tihr’s influence within the republics, it was a common sight to see the Knights of Tihr throughout the city of Andor’s Edge as well as the other city states belonging to the Federation. There were a number of orders which were like sub organizations within the Church of Tihr. These orders were all united under the church but might have their own individual philosophy or purpose that conformed with the guidelines of the church. In times of trouble, these orders would be placed under the command of a Marshall.

In a more developed region, those chosen to be Marshalls would normally be at least of Master class. However, while the Church of Tihr had a number of Master class beings and even a few Legendary beings, they were currently stationed along the border with the Imperium. Many of their elite knights had also been sent there. On the surface, the conflict between the two nations may seem to be secular in nature but in reality most wars on the continent were heavily influenced by the gods and even devils.

With a lack of manpower, Paladin Arcurio was placed in charge of the church forces in Andor’s Edge. Even though he hadn’t yet advanced to a master class, he was a Nephilim who was a peak Paladin of extraordinary strength. Even against an opponent with a master class, he may still come out victorious. He was also well respected among his subordinates and had a knack for command so it was only natural for him to be placed in that role with the current situation.

Paladin Arcurio wasn’t actually a native of Erlithan and had requested to be stationed there due to discrimination he faced among the upper echelons of the Church of Tihr because of his mixed blood. He was looked down on by full blooded angels and had no real hope of advancement and so he left for Erlithan with the hope of proving himself. He had strived for a long time to grow in power and was very close to advancing after many years of hard work and faith.

The only blight on his near perfect career on Erlithan was the heretic which had almost taken his life.

“This time he will die for sure! I will not be careless.”

Paladin Arcurio gritted his teeth with determination as he rode his horse through the darkened streets of the commercial district leading towards the warehouses located at the riverfront. The district proper was well lit with many magically lit lamps but the area where the warehouses were located did not have as good coverage. This particular area didn’t see much traffic at night and so it wasn’t necessary to build as many lamps and for the sake of cutting costs not many had been built.

“Don’t worry. We have brought an entire company of Knights and there are even ten of us Knight Lords present, how could the heretic possibly escape?”

Arcurio only shook his head, “Sir Kith, you must not underestimate that evil being. I underestimated him the last time and it almost cost me my life. You may think it is overkill to bring this many Knights with us but we must complete this mission. It was not easy baiting the heretic to come to this city and if not for the looming war, it never would have even gotten to this point. What rotten luck he has.”

“You were placed in command so I will trust your judgement. Let us hurry then and finish this mess so we can return to the Cathedral. The stink of this place is almost unbearable.”

Arcurio snorted at his comment. Many of the Knights disdained walking through certain parts of the city and spent most of their days in the more pleasant areas. They had long since considered themselves above the peasants.

Arcurio suddenly came to a halt, “Something is strange. Until a moment ago I could feel the influence of Cyric, but now it’s gone. Ah! It’s him! I can feel the heretic’s presence, we must hurry!”

Arcurio motioned and the knights picked up their pace. Arcurio rode at their head and led the company of knights deeper into the district where light was beginning to become even more scarce. The ten Knight Lords rode directly behind him with the knights following closely behind. Even though they picked up their pace, they still had to ride carefully and soon the only light was the light of their own torches.

A scream broke out among the knights in the rear which startled those up front. Arcurio pulled on the reins of his horse and shouted, “We’re under attack!”

Before he could say another word a figure flashed past him and struck Sir Kith knocking him off his horse.

“Dammit! Assassins! Quickly dismount! Shields up!”

Arcurio jumped down off his horse and immediately emanated a holy aura of power which spread to the knights around him empowering them. The knights quickly assembled and raised their shields as loud clanging sounds reverberated throughout the area. They were under attack by a hail of crossbow bolts from multiple directions.

Arcurio rushed over to Sir Kith in order to help him to his feet.

“Are you okay?”

“Bastard got me pretty good. Pierced right through the side of my armor.”

“Hold on, let me heal you.”

Arcurio pressed his hand on Sir Kith and a light glow sprung forth from his hand healing some of Sir Kith’s vitality.

“Lay on hands is sure useful, I should have become a Paladin myself.”

“Enough with the talk, we need to quickly handle this situation. Take a squad of knights in that direction and ferret the assassins out.”

“Will do!”

Sir Kith ordered a squad of Knights to follow him and rushed off in one of the directions the bolts came from. Arcurio then ordered two more of the Knight Lords to each take a squad and head in different directions.

“Where the hell did these assassins come from? That heretic has more tricks up his sleeves than anyone else. The rest of you, follow me now! Shields up! Don’t let any of those bolts get through!”

With the threat of ranged attack, the knights followed the lead of Arcurio as they marched with their shields at the ready closer to the warehouse that he had sensed the heretic from. The attack from the assassins had lessened but there was still the occasional bolt flying from random directions keeping the knights from being too careless.

It wasn’t long before the column of advancing knights reached the warehouse where two solitary figures were currently standing side by side waiting for their arrival.

“Sir, there are two people up ahead.”

“That’s the bastard, we will kill him this time for sure! Men Charge!”

The knights no longer hesitated and charged straight towards Aleks who was calmly standing in the open night air. Lenia moved to the front of Aleks and raised her sword and shield as if a wall standing in front of Aleks to protect him.

“Come! Come to your deaths! ‘Soul Marionette!’” Aleks suddenly shouted raising his arms.

His body began to fluctuate with a strange power that one could only feel but not see. Only Aleks could see the ethereal and vibrating strings that burst out of his body extending into hundreds of tendril like arms which whipped towards the charging knights. The strings immediately grasped on to the intermediate class knights causing them to spasm briefly before their eyes dimmed and they no longer had their own consciousness.

The Knight Lords weren’t affected by this and they continued to rush straight towards Lenia unaware of what had happened to the knights following them.

Lenia stood firmly in front of her master, her determination firm.

“Warlord’s Aura! Knight’s Aura!”

Her two aura’s burst forth filling her with increased PHY ATK and PHY DEF. She readied her shield in front of her and rested her longsword on top of the shield facing the incoming enemies. Her eyes were filled with her intent to kill.

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