Volume 6 – The Daedric Labours
Chapter #306 – El Diablo (5) : The Road Of Madness
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*Thud* *Thud* *Thud*
It felt a presence comparable to its own. ‘It’, which was bestowed no face, no eyes, no ears, no nose or anything necessary to feel with, could feel the presence of those who are supposed to stay away of the gates and it must prevent them to not approach in any way possible. That’s what it was taught by its mother. It was told to play with them as much as it wants after all.
But this time, things were a bit complicated. It rotten flesh was receiving the vibe of a strong opponent approaching… no, there was almost four strong presence but the nearest was the most confusing. As much unholiness as its own, this presence was different than any adventurer that came across the Fringe before.
In front of the [Gates of Madness], two colossal creatures stood face to face. One made of flesh and the other made of bone. One looked like a zombie crawling out from hell with an axe fused to its arm and the other looked like a death knight in a Conical Hat Samurai Armor holding a crude blade. [A/n: Basically, that cool samurai titan from Sucker Punch.]
The two creations of mad geniuses confirmed the presence of each other and their battle senses heightened. The Gatekeeper stomped the grounded with its large feet waving its left arm with the crude axe fused in it and punching the ground with its right that only had three fingers. The well designed Bone Samurai took the stance Jon installed into him by holding the crude blade with its two hands to the side.
“Damn I’m good.” Jon couldn’t help but admire the way he did things.
“That… that Blade Knight of yours, will it be enough?” Isha, who was following Jon since the beginning, asked in a worried tone.
“I have faith in my craft. Even though I didn’t grant it a good weapon or a name, I put a recovery enchantment powered by a ‘Magicka Reactor’. This is a golem more than an undead.”
“…” Isha was feeling conflicted about the undead.
Jon noticed that and spoke.
“Please! This is not Mundus… we are in Oblivion, if we don’t take every opportunity to survive, we won’t make it. I have been to two Oblivion realms before and you will never find better soldiers than the undead to go through them.” Jon said as he remembered his experiences in [Apocrypha] and [Quagmire].
“Seriously who are you, Krilon?”
Jon giggled and didn’t reply as the fight was about to start.
The Gatekeeper stepped forward with its unmatched legs waved it axe arm at the Bone Samurai, the latter didn’t dally and avoided casually and countered with an upper slash that clashed with the metal binds around the body of the Gatekeeper making a metallic cling and sparks go everywhere.
The two gigantic creatures went in another clash with their weapons but a problem appeared, the Gatekeeper was heavier than the Bone Samurai and it could push it by just a ram.
“Oh! I see.”
Jon noticed the shortcoming and started giving new commands to the Bone Samurai and its movement started to change. It became faster and more nimble as it changed its style by using fast attacks and evasive maneuvers to dismantle the Gatekeeper in front of it.
The Gatekeeper made a big slash with the axe fused in its left and the Bone Samurai ducked down and moved behind the Gatekeeper while slashing at its side. The Gatekeeper didn’t stop and kept the momentum by waving its right fist but the Bone Samurai ducked again and performed the same evasive counterattack on the other side. The movements could be described as that of an experienced fighter.
“How did it…” Isha started to disregard the nature of the Bone Samurai and focused on its movements then asked Jon.
“As you know, normal Necromancers are not your best close-quarters fighters. They only rely on the brute strength of their undead. On the other hand, I have experience with Martial Arts so I installed some techniques in Odokuro and it is performing really well.”
“Oh, I see… what did you call it again?”
“Odokuro, it a Japanese… an Akaviri word which means ‘Big Skeleton’.”[A/n: Named after a Yokai by the same name which is a skeletal titan made of the bones of those who died in starvation or battle without burial.]
Odokuro was putting the Gatekeeper in a corner as pieces of flesh started to fall from its rotten body. Jon and Isha noticed that there something gleaming tied around the neck of the Gatekeeper.
“These are the keys to the [Gates of Madness].” Jon said.
“I’ll go get them.” Isha said and dashed forward to join the fight.
“I’ll support you.” Jon also started to seriously take control of Odokuro.
The first thing he needed to do was to immobilize the Gatekeeper. Odokuro successfully managed to disarm the Gatekeeper and pin it down long enough for Isha to arrive and cut the chain holding the keys with her spear.
The Gatekeeper couldn’t be trapped for long and it used its brute strength to throw Odokuro away. Isha was still close and she was planning to hold the Gatekeeper until Jon brings Odokuro once again but what they didn’t foresee was the Gatekeeper holding to a large rock with one hand throwing it at Isha.
With no choice but to dodge, Isha jumped to the side only to find that the Gatekeeper was closer and about to stomp on her.
Swearing out loud was the only thing she could do as she covered her head and used her Aura to the best of her ability to endure the coming attack.
“FUS RO DAH!”
Yet out of nowhere, a force so domineering and a voice akin to thunder was what answered her expectations. The stomp she waited to crush her down was replaced with a loud thud of the Gatekeeper falling away from her.
Her head popped up looked at the giant that fell then turned to the source of the voice expecting to see the most terrible beast she ever saw in her lifetime only to meet with the black coated man who accompanied her into the realm of madness, Krilon. His blue eyes were gleaming under his Dragon Priest mask as he raised his hand up and charged a Flame Spell.
The flame was white ashen and its power was on a whole different level compared to the normal Flame spells.
The [Meteor] spell performed by Jon was by no means ordinary. Once the spell was unleashed towards the Gatekeeper, a thundering clash was witnessed and the fire burnt all over the place in front of the gates of madness.
The thing that was expected the least was the Gatekeeper survive such a spell. Not knowing any pain or fear, the Gatekeeper stood back up while its body was falling apart in and ashen fire eating it piece by piece.
“Damn!” Jon shook his head while smiling wryly. This Gatekeeper was really durable. He then looked at Isha and spoke.
“I think you should finish it off. It is all your Labour after all.” He carried her up casually.
Nefertiti jumped down from Jon’s shoulder and ran like a black flash to the side away from the fire then her tail abnormally extended and swung twice. With each swing, a [Shadow Boomerang] was shot towards the legs of the Gatekeeper cutting them down. The Gatekeeper fell on its knees crumbling like broken building.
Isha couldn’t be baffled more. She took a deep breath and held her spear tightly and stabbed at the head of the Gatekeeper.
Rain poured down from the skies of the Shivering Isles. The Ashen Flame can withstand water and even evaporate it but Jon wasn’t really planning on keeping it for much longer so he let the rain put down the fire.
Nefertiti has long hid in his shadow from the rain she dislikes and Odokuro was sitting in a corner letting the Magicka Reactor it has put it back together.
“Good job.” Jon extended a hand for Isha who was on her resting on the ground.
“You too.” She took his hand and stood up thinking why would a mage possess such a strong grip.
“Seriously, man. Who are you?” She looked at him and asked.
He was clearly not an ordinary person. He said he ventured in Oblivion before, he can create bizarre undead and has a cat that can do weird things, his magic is terrifying and his strength as a warrior could be seen through his movements and the commands he gave to Odokuro.
“Me? Other than being too handsome to let people see my face, I am an avid enchanter and a collector of dangerous stuff. I also possess some mystical abilities that you call magic.”
“… You like showing off, don’t you?”
“Fine. Thank you for your support so far.”
“You are welcome but we are not out of the woods yet… actually, we haven’t even entered.”
“Seriously? I thought this was the last fight!” Isha almost screamed.
“Oh! You poor thing.” Jon kept the smug act. “We still have to go past the [Gates of Madness] from either Mania or Dementia which means we will go through one of two weird forests that surviving through them is going to be one pain in the ass.”
“…” Isha was on the verge of tears.
“Thath one way to make a lass cry, ya bastard! Sheesh, Ol’ Bruce is here to pat on ya, lass.”
A creepy voice came from behind Jon and Isha. They looked at the mudcrab that appeared out of nowhere with eyes filled with disdain.
“I guess we found ourselves a meal, Krilon.”
“Don’t go there just yet. I doubt a talking mudcrab will taste any good.”
“Ah! Ya get it too, huh? What a nice bloke! Tell ya what, Ol’ Bruce will give ya a discount. Told ya it would rain s’arvo, still interested in a brolly. There are no bottle shopth around here for 200 years to warm up in rain.”
“Just shut up.” Jon was having a headache from the Mudcrab.”
“Don’t go crook on me, thath the leatht I can do. No business would come in theth parts ever since thath guy moved around. Now that you turned it cactus, thingth will change around here.”
“Do you sell any maps for the Mania or Dementia?”
“I do, I do. Me maps are the best. Got them from a dead bloke trying to run. But read my lips. Ehr, Mouthparts? Read my mouthparts? Shomethin ain’t right with Mania and Dementia these days. A lot of feathers and nasty smell. Still going?”
“Yep, here. I want one of every map you got.”
Jon took out another 10 Gold Septims.
“Errr, that’s will cost ya double that, mate.”
Jon took out 20 more.
“Ah! That’s a fine bloke. Younguns these days are so impatient but you get it.” The mudcrab said and started to dig the land beneath it. It buried the coins and wooden box surfaced.
“Take it, what’re ya waitin for.”
Jon took the box and opened it taking our many old pieces of paper.
“Anything else, mate?” The mudcrab asked.
“No, bugger off.” Jon replied and started to look at the maps.
The mudcrab dug in the dirt once again and disappeared.
Jon kept looking at the maps he got and confirmed that not much has changed from the game previous to ‘Skyrim’ known as ‘Oblivion’ other than the scale of the Shivering Isles itself.
“What are these maps for?” Isha asked.
“Dementia and Mania. These are the two halves of the Shivering Isles. The northern highlands of Mania reflect the lighthearted side of its ruler’s madness. It is similar to Vvardenfell’s West Gash region in appearance, with expansive grasslands and huge mushroom trees. Overlook Road passes through the region. The marshy lowlands of Dementia represent the dark and violent side of Sheogorath, and are mostly made up of swamps and forests of dead trees. The Low Road and Pinnacle Road are the two main routes through the region. I am not sure where my friend is but what I want to reach is [New Sheoth], the Capital City of the Realm.”
“So… are we going through Mania?” Isha asked.
“Quite the opposite. I prefer Dementia. The [Golden Saints] and the residents of Mania are hard to deal with and will drive you insane but the [Dark Seducers] and the residents of Dementia are friendlier yet quite violent. Both realms are like to faces of the same coin. Just the appearance is more colorful in Mania and very gloomy in Dementia. I prefer the gloominess if we ever wanted to escape from trouble, right?”
Isha didn’t agree or disagree. As Jon seemed to have more experience with the Daedric realms, she decided to leave it to Jon.
She looked at the [Gates of Madness] in front of her and sighed. On the left is the bright Mania and on the right is the scary Dementia.
Meanwhile, Jon walked towards Odokuro and extended his hand, Magical force acted up and the large Bone Samurai was sucked in the Haven Cube.
Isha looked at Jon with a stiff face.
“Dammit, Krilon! Just don’t drive me insane before Sheogorath does.”
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