The Dominion & The Brainwashed Party
As soon as the non-goblins were secured with rope around their wrists, the goblin guards formed a square around them and gently prodded them with the pikes to start moving.
Lily, Jaxx and the two small goblins walked on their own. They were conscious of what they were doing but their minds told them it's what they wanted to do. ‘Thus worked the crown of command. It fooled the brain in thinking it was its idea in the first place to do whatever Maxima wished.
Along the way, they passed by many goblins that stopped from time to time to look at them. It was a strange sight, after all, for the guards to have been mobilized to catch intruders that fast and at the same time, the guards to have been mobilized at all. Crime wasn’t a thing, who would even think of doing crime? It simply wasn’t possible.
Most of the buildings they passed were made out of obsidian stone with shiny gemstones within them giving the structures an almost ethereal and enchanting quality. The play of light on the gemstones created a mesmerizing spectacle, casting a glow that illuminated the surroundings, especially combined with the blue lights coming from above.
The ground they walked on was meticulously paved with smooth, polished stones, guiding the group through the city's intricate layout. Arched doorways led to bustling marketplaces adorned with vibrant stalls, offering rare crystals, books, and other wares.
As the group moved forward, they encountered open plazas where goblins engaged in communal activities. Luminous crystal lanterns hung from poles, casting a gentle radiance over gatherings. The air was filled with the ambient sounds of chatter and occasional musical performances.
Approaching a grand plaza, the group passed by a large structure, the great library of Obsidian Reach. Its imposing architecture featured intricate arches and colossal doors, signifying the stored knowledge within. As the procession neared, they passed by statues of Galaxor, sculpted with precision, depicting the divine being in various aspects—knowledge-seeker, creator, and protector.
The library's exterior showcased detailed reliefs, illustrating pivotal moments in the Goblin Underground's transformation into The Dominion. The statues, bathed in the soft glow of nearby crystal lanterns, added an air of calmness to the surroundings, honoring the city's divine patron.
Just before reaching the stairwells that would lead them downwards towards the 2nd level of Obsidian Reach and the throne room, the group encountered a common yet unseen sight for them—a hybrid creature resembling both horse and scarab, its black exoskeleton shimmered under the city's ambient glow. Goblins confidently rode these creatures with 12 legs.
Eventually, the group passed through the tunnels that led to the 2nd level of Obsidian Reach and started walking towards the throne room. The road unfolded with precision-laid cobblestones, lined with banners depicting symbols of knowledge, Galaxor and especially Maxima. Elaborate archways marked the transition, leading to administrative buildings adorned with carvings that celebrated the wisdom of Maxima. The atmosphere shifted to one of focused activity as goblins in official attire hurried about their duties, giving the impression that this level was the beating heart of the city's governance.
Entering the throne room, the group found themselves amidst a display of power but also, a display of history. Armors crafted from obsidian, iron, gold, and even diamonds adorned the sides. It first started with armors made out of the weakest materials, the first ones that the old GU first mined and then, as they approached the throne, the more rare and current materials were. Goblin sentinels, vigilant in their duty, stood at attention, their eyes keenly assessing the newcomers.
Courtiers lingered along the edges, awaiting a chance to present their matters to Maxima. The air hummed with a blend of anticipation and respect. At the heart of the room, upon a massive diamond throne, stood Maxima, dressed in what seemed to be humble clothes, a robe and the crown of command that hummed with divine power.
As they approached her, the aardvark and the two small goblins were taken to a side room and only Lily, Seam and Jaxx were allowed to approach.
Lifting her head, Maxima looked at the group. Still in control of their minds, she stood up from the throne and with a wave of her hand, the courtiers and the guards left the room without a word. Leaving Maxima and the newcomers to the Dominion, alone.
“Welcome, newcomers. Jaxx, Lily and…apologies, I have not been told your name, beastkin. I am Maxima, the leader of the Dominion.
Rudely, Seam had other things on his mind than polite introductions “What is this? Where did you take the others? How do you know who they are? Are you controlling them?” before demanding “let them go you… you… you tyrant!” only to flinch as something tried to grasp his hand only to see it had been Lilly and look ashamed for a moment before the concern returned
“It’s fine. We’re fine” she insisted, pulling her hand back sadly, but Seam just shook his head, responding “No you're not… or…. How can I know that’s not her, or whoever, just making you say that?”
Jaxx, now free, shook his head and touched Seam’s shoulder. “Seam, it would be wise if you'd refrain yourself from insulting the ruler of a city you find yourself in.
” said Jaxx in a commanding tone. Clearly on his guard. It was the first time Jaxx met Maxima, yet, he somehow sensed that she was dangerous.
Smiling at Seam, Maxima approached him. “A pleasure to meet you too, Seam. What Jaxx says is true, you definitely shouldn’t insult someone you don’t know but I can understand it must seem strange for someone who hasn’t visited us before.
” she said in a calm tone before passing by the group, getting close to one of the armors, looking at it before continuing:
“Let me answer your questions. This is the Dominion, specifically Obsidian Reach. The greatest goblin city in the underground. Galaxor himself built this place for us.
” a tone of reverence followed, it was obvious that Maxima was grateful and fully believing in Galaxor’s vision.
“The others have already been taken back to Tricity after they’ve been checked for any life threatening injuries and how do I know who Jaxx and Lily are? Galaxor, of course. How do you think you’ve teleported on my shores? What He didn't mention was who arrived on my shores.
” she said, turning around to reveal a scowl, clearly she didn't enjoy being left in the dark.
“I only found out seconds before you entered my throne room who you were. I assumed invaders, so, yes. I took over their minds to protect the safety of the Dominion. As you've seen, there isn't any crime here.
” continued Maxima with an almost apologetic tone
Jaxx stood silent the whole time, seething with anger and relief. Somehow his hero sense didn't ring non-stop anymore or actually, at all.
“She's right. The ringing has stopped since we've entered here.
” said Jaxx with a relieved tone.
“Other than the massive one of controlling people’s minds?” the birdman bit back, only for Lilly attempted to insist “Seam, please, let me handle this” but he was having none of it, turning his shock fueled vitriol on her in an instant
“You? She can control you! How can I trust anything you say? I mean what happened to your accent? And why does a God know you anyway?”
“I mean, I am a member of the council, and a representative of Tricity as a result and that requires more, well, tact than casual conversation” she replied with the airs of a dignitary, before her ears drooped, her eyes darted to and fro, and then she sighed and answered his final question reluctantly “He. Well he probably knows Mother”
“What? Why does he know your mother?” Seam replied, clutching his head with a taloned hand in confusion.
“She’s. She’s not just my mother, she’s The Mother” she clarified “I’m the daughter of a god. Not that that is unique, mind, there’s a lot of us. She’s very, well,” Lilly searched for the right word, failed, and settled simply for “fertile?”
The towering birdman just stated at her for a few moments, before collapsing down to a sitting position, fingers on his temples, thumbs on his cheeks, eyes wide as he tried to process beginning to curse “Mother’s ti-” before halting, and then resorting to “what the shit?”
Mouth agape, Jaxx looked at Lily with anger and gratitude in his eyes. On one hand, she knew very well of his hatred towards divines and their meddling, on the other hand, Asheel was the one that saved his life many years ago and stopped Galaxor.
Maxima shook her head at Seam, he clearly feared her power. It wasn't the first time she was accused of this, yet she never controlled anyone without any good reason, or so she told herself.
“The crown's jewel will shine with light if I use it. It doesn't shine, it isn't in use.
” she simply added. Of course what Seam didn't know was that she could control them without it at this range. As to prove her point, she looked at Jaxx and asked him to lift his hand up and he immediately did it, the crown shined with power for a second until the command was fulfilled then stopped.
“I would appreciate it if you wouldn't do that anymore. Neither of us would want me uncivilized.
” Jaxx said with a threatening tone, his metallic hand closing in a fist.
Lilly, having tried and failed to apologize to Seam for, well, everything, now instead stepped away, giving him space while she went full diplomat mode, or at least as best as she was able.
“Speaking of civilized, or rather civilizations, I do not suspect you will have left the best impression of yours on ours, by way of our homeward bound companions” she said to Maxima , certainly making some assumptions about them being believed at all, but if they where, there was going to be a great deal of worrying and concern about the fact that a large percentage of the population was susceptible to being subsumed to a foreign ruler’s will.
“So I suggest maybe we try and restart this on some more even and pleasant footing so I can clear up any misunderstandings when I return home? I’m not sure how you do things down here, but in the river lands a diplomatic meeting is often done alongside a meal, small or large. ” she offered, partially because it had been three days since they’d last eaten, and also because “Its an old tradition, one reaching all the way back to the days when our ancestors were saved from the desert. By sharing a meal, a group agree that there will be no violence between them today, lest the one who breaks that pact be forever Forsworn, and turned away from every table”
Traditions, they, or at least Lilly, knew, held weight, and this one was heavy enough that the universe itself would cause the Forsworn to be unwelcome even to those who did not know their crime. Or a small number of oath breaking crimes that had similar ingrained weight and sentence. How much it mattered out here beyond the lands it had been practiced in was anyone’s guess however.
Maxima chuckled at Jaxx's threat and stared at him, right in eyes “Violence isn't permitted in the Dominion, Jaxx. Try to remember, lest I show you the difference between Galaxor’s chosen and a self-made hero.
” she said with a calm and diplomatic tone.
Before turning to Lily “I've only used the gifts bestowed upon me to avoid any incidents. As I told Jaxx, violence besides sanctioned duels, is not permitted by my will. Call it an act of self defense, you've got my apologies for that.
” she continued with an apologetic tone.
Smiling at Lily’s dinner invitation, Maxima started walking towards a small door to the side of the throne room.
“Ancestors saved from the desert? I remember that time, we were barely created by Galaxor back then. Before you ask, yes, I was alive back then. Jaxx too but from what I hear, he took a shortcut to arrive at the same timeline.
” she added as the door opened to reveal a smaller room.
Hundreds of books hung on the walls, a desk at the very end of the room and right in the middle, a large table made out of black obsidian stone. On it, plates were laid with many, many types of food. From fruits, vegetables and roots to meats of different kinds. A few of the recipes were Tricity-originals but most were Dominion based.
“Please, have a seat. Eat your fill. There’s more from where that came from. Also, please, each of you, put a bracelet on from the table.
” she said, inviting them in and taking a seat herself before starting to explain what the TADs were.
It took a bit of encouragement, but the scent of food was enough of an added incentive to rouse Seam from his confused/brooding state, and also enough that he didn’t question how a goblin could live as long as an elf-beastkin without Jaxx’s time slippage. To say he dug in with relish was an understatement, and though Lilly had more manners, food similarly vanished from her plate at a rapid rate.
When Jaxx sat down, ignoring the last retort from Maxima, he wolfed the food down as fast as he could. Clearly, manners weren’t a thing worth learning during his travels. As soon as he was done with one plate, he got another one and another one. The big goblin ate as if there was no tomorrow.
Maxima looked at them with a gentle smile. She understood their pain to a degree. Food was scarce in the Goblin Underground just before the Great Migration. Hundreds, if not thousands went unfed as the Cornucopia couldn’t produce that much food…especially without the current technology to lock food in time.
“I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the food, if you wish for more, ask away. We’ve got more than enough spare. Now, Lilly, what do you wish to know about the Dominion?
” Maxima said after she was sure that everyone ate their fill.
Lilly paused her eating, found something to wipe her lips with, and then having used that time to think asked “I suppose a start would be what is the extent of this, ah, domain? Or indeed where is it in relation to home? I lost track of where we were, after tumbling through the dark, riding a Demon’s carcase down a river, and then being miraculously transported to these shores.”
“The extent? Well, Obsidian Reach, this city, is currently housing over 300,000 goblins and thousands of dwarves, elves or beastkin over 6 levels. We also have the Library of Galaxor which houses 2000 permanent staff and some pilgrims seeking access to it. Soon a town will be formed around it.
” she started, letting the numbers sink in before continuing “And then we've got another village back where the original Goblin Underground was, our first city.
”. Standing up from the table, Maxima approached her desk and opened up a drawer, took a large book out of it and brought it over to the table and opened it.
Inside the book, Lily could see a sketch of Obsidian Reach, flipping a few pages, tunnels that led out of it and where they lead. There were many tunnels marked with a large, red X while others had different symbols. A goblin face, a dwarf, elf and what seemed to be a large skull.
“You came from that tunnel..
” she said while pointing at one specific tunnel beyond the Obsidian Sea “If the stories I've been told are true and my calculations are right, your city is somewhere…there.
” continued Maxima, following the tunnel with a finger, before pointing to the vicinity of a marked with a large skull which was roughly, off by a few kilometers from where the Cave of Memories are.
“Is that our current demon infestation problem, or something else?” Lilly (who had been more amazed than intimidated at the size of the underground population) asked while pointing at the skull located under her home, before, after thinking for a moment, and also asking with a hint of dread “and if it is, how long ago did you find out about it?”
“Outer Beasts we call them. When my scouts found that tunnel, we weren’t in the possession of the TADs. I’d lie if I’d say how long ago we’ve found them but what I know for sure is that my scouts got attacked and retreated straight away, as per my orders. Ask if you wish me to send an extermination crew, call it a favor for the future.
” she explained, patiently.
“Long enough that we’ve almost certainly jumped forwards in time” Lilly said, head in hands ass he groaned, dreading the consequences of her disappearance and, likely, declaration as dead,, before accepting this truth and moving on to say “I’m not sure how much of the mines are left. We ended up down here when the earth around us shook and then was torn apart for some reason, and I can’t imagine it was localized to just the one we were in” before glancing at Maxima and wondering “I don’t suppose you know anything about that?”
Before Maxima could reply, Jaxx spoke “It was that fuc–
” he started before being interrupted by Maxima “I'd advise you to refrain from talking about our creator.
” with a steel tone, the threat clear in her voice.
Taking a deep breath, Jaxx continued “If I were to guess, Galaxor made the earth shake. If we did jump through time, as you said Lily, it was probably to make space for something big. Something like…a city.
“Correct, Jaxx! I've heard tales of your prowess in battle but never of your wit.
” Maxima said with a playful smile before turning to Lily, “Galaxor created this city for us and indeed, warned us that it might cause issues for everyone above ground but he gave us the solution for the time issue. The TADs.
“So you’ve explained” Lilly replied, before continuing tersely “What would have been nice to have explained in advance would be that the underground was being redecorated, and that that might cause issues. Your god is lucky there was practically no one left in the mines, as it was a miracle we were dropped rather than crushed. Other heroes might not have been so lucky”
“The actions of divine beings are not to be understood most of the time by us mortals. But let me offer you an explanation, at least, related to your circumstances.
” she continued as she smiled diplomatically at Lily “If I understood your circumstances right, you were surrounded, tired and almost defeated. Galaxor's actions saved you, allowing you to reach this place and to receive a boon of excellence for your heroic actions. Other heroes? Only those that would've died anyway would've been killed anyway. Mercy one might call it. Don't assume that Galaxor wasn't aware of the implications of his actions. Our creator can see every strand of possible future.
“Seeing as ya live underground, ya should know as well as anyone that no amount of heroics will save ya from a collapsing tunnel” Lilly replied with wisdom and words that were not of this life, before she corrected herself slightly with “Mortal heroics anyway” given that the divine blessed Jaxx had in fact done that.
Speaking of the hero, Jaxx was pissed at this point. Very pissed. One loud bang was heard before the table broke down and the plates, food and all of it went on the floor.
“STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR HIM!
” he shouted as Heropentia almost appeared in his hand and went in a flash towards Maxima.
Almost as soon as the table broke, Maxima stepped backwards, dodging the attack before landing a few punches all over Jaxx's body, sending him back a few steps and putting him on his butt.
The other two were on their feet in a flash, and then after a brief moment of confusion, both of them came to Maxima’s defense, knives in hand, as Lilly demanded to know “what do you think you’re doing!?” with a mix of fear and outrage.
It was Seam meanwhile who actually clarified their motive, saying more calmly “I know he’s dung, but he ain’t worth getting forsworn over,” which got the southsider an outraged look of his own from Lilly at the implication that sometimes it was worth it.
Still on his butt, Jaxx put his hand over his face, Heropentia clanking loudly on the floor.
“What am I doing? What am I doing?
” he started, whispering and with what seemed to be sobs then louder “WHAT AM I DOING?
” he shouted as he stood up, tears clearly visible in his eyes.
“His earthquake bullshit hurt more people than he helped! He made me eat my companions, my tribe! Asheel saved me, us, goblins, before I would've been next. He cursed me with the hero sense! Always on edge, always thinking how can I get to my destination faster! Always afraid of going crazy cause what if I don't get there in time! What if I could’ve saved a few more people if I was faster? Almost never sleeping. Always on the edge of madness. Afraid of who I'll hurt if I lose control! You've seen it yourself on the trip here. A few more hours like that and I would've cut one of you down! Do you understand how it must feel? Always afraid you're going to hurt someone you care about because you didn't move fast enough? And after all of this, she's DEFENDING HIM! She sat there making excuses for him! Always…Always…
” Jaxx shouted, almost too fast to make out the words, between sobs, the tears now flowing on his face. All his anger, all his pain, visible for all to see.
After a few seconds of uncontrolled crying, he took a deep breath, centering himself as he grabbed Heropentia once more.
“Stand aside. I'll remove his pawn from this world. Once and for all. Let the cycle have her soul. See how it feels being abandoned by your creator!
“I know what that’s like, I died in that desert” Lilly said sadly, as she uncoiled her combat tendrils and prepared for a hopeless fight, knowing that if she didn’t it would likely mean war “but in the name of Tricity I can’t let you do this”
She very much expected that she was about to die there. She did not expect to be tackled to the ground by Seam, clearing the way for Jaxx to go for Maxima without having to go through Lilly. Who exactly he was doing this for, her or him, was unclear, mostly due to the tentacle that ended wrapped around his neck as the much smaller goblin fought back against his talloned grapple.
Maxima just looked at the raw emotions on Jaxx's face and for a second, she really felt bad for him but then it was gone. After all, everything that Jaxx went through was his trial. His heroic journey. His destiny to be forged in pain and suffering.
“Lily. Stop. Move to the side. Let Seam go. Seam, don't intervene.
And that's when Jaxx activated his time slow ability. In a flash he was beyond the two but before he could strike, he heard a voice in his mind “Stop moving. Violence is not permitted here.
” and he stopped. Time came back to its usual speed and the group could see Jaxx's body next to Maxima’s. Heropentia high up in the air, ready to strike.
“There's no point fighting, Jaxx. Our creator gave me the ability to control any goblin. You cannot defy my will.
Jaxx, still crying, started to shake as he fought the compulsion yet nothing was happening.
“There's no need to fight. Accept your destiny and I will forgive your emotional outburst.
And again, Jaxx stood silent as his body started shaking even more violently. It was as if the whole world was crushing him.
“Stop it. You're going to kill yourself.
With a roar, slowly but surely the otherworldly arm of Jaxx started moving until eventually it broke free of the compulsion and Heropentia went down right towards Maxima’s neck.
To her credit, even if she didn't expect it, Maxima reacted in great speed and managed to pull away fast enough not to have her head removed off her shoulders but not fast enough to escape unharmed as a cut appeared on her shoulder.
Lilly, restrained by both Maxima’s will and Seam’s grasp, gasped in horror as blood hit the floor of the banquet hall, while the birdman himself exclaimed, with a mix of sorrow and awe “You actually did it!”
It seemed that both Jaxx and Maxima shared almost the same feelings as Seam. Confusion and awe. For Maxima, it was the first time she was ever attacked by another goblin and the first time ever hurt by one. For Jaxx, it was the realization that she’s not unbeatable. He managed to break through a godly blessing. Managed to break through Galaxor’s blessing. That alone was a feat that not many were able to boast with.
“I…I can’t believe it.
” Maxima said, in awe before shouting “How did I ever doubt you, Lord Galaxor? You were right once again!
At that point, Jaxx managed to break through the compulsion fully and was about to make another attack at Maxima but then he heard her and just stopped, dumbstruck.
“Are you kidding me? HE FORESAW THIS? HE KNEW I’D BREAK THOUGH?!
“Wait what?” Seam said, greatly confused and not knowing what to feel for several moments, before settling on “well that’s obnoxious” while Lilly just slumped down on the ground and groaned.
“I do apologize for the whole mess but, yes. Lord Galaxor foresaw this as a potential future for our meeting but it was just a small, small chance for Jaxx to be able to break through. Almost impossible. Yet, he did it. His hatred for Lord Galaxor burned through my compulsion, so much that…I can’t believe it.
With that, Jaxx just dropped Heropentia on the floor and shook his head. The thoughts that Galaxor, once more, fooled him, once more played with him took out all his fighting spirit. Approaching Lily and Seam, he extended one arm to each of them with a sad look on his face.
“I…I apologize. I never meant for any of this to happen. I…do hope you’ll be able to forgive my outburst.
“After seeing just a fraction of what you have had to put up with? Yeah you're forgiven” Seam replied, grasping the extended hand and shaking it. Lilly however, shook her head as she got to her own two feet “you spilled the blood of someone you were sharing a meal with, I
cannot forgive you for that, forsworn.
“Lilly come on, she just admitted to deliberately goading him into it” Seam insisted, but the goblin simply shook her head again in disagreement “She knew it might happen, that didn’t mean that it had to”
Jaxx's face dropped at Lily's words. He knew what he had done, yet he hoped she'd understand. He put a hand on Sam's shoulder in thanks before “Lily, I…I am truly sorry. She…I..
” losing his words, he was at a loss. Luckily, Maxima interjected.
“Let me intervene here, Lily of Tricity. Listen to me. You are right about sharing a meal and attacking a person at the table. That would make anyone a forsworn. Yet, that's not what Jaxx did.
” she started, letting the words sink in before continuing “First of all, we finished eating. Second of all, the table was broken and as such, we weren’t sharing anything at the time, as both Jaxx and I distanced ourselves from the shattered remains of it. Third of all, Jaxx’s actions were meant to happen, yet the chance of them happening were small. He could've failed at any point in time, yet, like with all his previous challenges, he prevailed and last but not the least, if my words don't reach you, feel free to ask the creator himself.
“See, it was a set up” Seam added helplessly.
Lilly however shook her head and replied“Technicalities” with clear distaste for Maxima’s worming words, but at least her anger was directed towards the other goblin woman instead of Jaxx now. Perhaps it had always been, considering she now insisted that “If you truly think he is blameless, then take full culpability for what occurred here and apologize”
With a smile, Maxima bowed her head. “Very well. I apologize for misleading Jaxx and causing his outburst of emotions.
” with a solemn tone. Unbeknownst to the group, Maxima used her command ability to push the words, making them ring even truer than they were.
Then, a clapping noise was heard from an empty corner of the room and out of nowhere, Galaxor’s form materialized itself. Almost immediately, Maxima bent her knee, head bowed low.
As the other goblin kneeled on the floor Lilly finally allowed herself to be pulled up off it at last with a relieved look on her face, offering a swift whispered apology of her own of “Sorry, I had to set things right” before she turned to face the arriving god along with the others.
“So this is the guy huh?” Seam asked, arms folded and trying to play it cook even as his tail feathers flicked nervously.
Galaxor didn't say anything as he looked at each member of the group, in part, as if acknowledging their existence. He did spend particularly longer on Jaxx that, to his credit, seemed subdued for now. His previous anger, almost gone, even if his eyes betrayed his hatred of Galaxor.
“Lily of Tricity. Pleasure to finally meet one of Asheel’s daughters. Glad to see you haven't died when saving Seam earlier in the cave, I saw your death…crushed by rocks, terrible thing.
” he said with a wink before turning to Seam. Looking him up and down, Galaxor shook his head.
“The “guy” is a divine being, Seam but you are correct, I am the creator of the goblin race. Something seems off with your whole…
” he started as he shook a hand pointing at the lack of proper armor or real weapons before snapping his fingers, a suit of the finest armor created by the Dominion appearing on him, alongside two blades, strapped on a belt at his waist “A-ha! That's better. More fitting for a hero.
“Ah hey wow what the-” Seam briefly panicked, before seeing what was now on him and having a few emotions wash over him. First amazement that this had happened, then a brief moment of annoyance because he didn’t wear armor because it was bulky and ill fitting (a common issue for non-marked beastfolk), then realization that the armor, made out of some kind of underground beast’s scales, was incredibly light and also fit him perfectly. The two diamond tipped bronze blades could hardly be sniffed at either.
“Wheels turn, this is a good bribe” he had to admit, before asking, a touch embarrassedly “can I have the knife back though? Sentimental reasons”
Galaxor chuckled at Seam's reaction before replying:
“I take it, it's to your liking. It isn't a bribe, Seam, merely a reward for completing a quest successfully. Now…
” he continued as he looked at Jaxx. Later, Seam would find that the knife was tucked inside the armor, in a hidden compartment at his wrist, ready to be used at a moment’s notice.
“Jaxx. My dear Jaxx. Let me start by saying I am sorry for the curse I placed on you when we first met. Truth to be told, I was mildly annoyed at the time. You dared not only attacking me but actually putting your hands on me. But…let's say since then I've learned a lot and after a discussion with Lilly's mom..
” he started with a wink towards Lilly as he mentioned Asheel. “Know that I'm proud of your achievements as a hero. You've proven yourself time and time again. ‘Thus…Let me first fix your hero sense.
” he continued before approaching Jaxx, who tried his best not to move back and touched his forehead.
Light spread from where Galaxor touched Jaxx. It moved all around Jaxx's bald head then retreated behind his eyes which shined with the light for a few seconds before stopping. Almost immediately, a small fairy like creature
appeared next to Jaxx, landing on his shoulder. It made a few sounds similar to a flute before laughing a gentle laugh and then stood up flying all around the room, approaching Lily and giving her a small hug on the arm before going back to Jaxx.
“Huh” was Lilly’s response to all of this, revelation and little fay creature both, before admitting that “she never really talks about stuff she does when she’s a god, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised” before requesting “I don’t suppose I can request something for my city rather than myself, if I am owed anything that is?”
With a grin, Galaxor closed the distance between the two in a flash. “If you want stories of your mother, feel free to call.
”, returning back to his spot, he lifted an eyebrow at Lily's request “Bold to ask so directly, I can see why Jaxx fancies you. Nonetheless, you are correct. You've completed a quest, a grand adventure. Ask and if it's in my power…and interests, I'll grant it.
Strangely, Jaxx was almost silent. Almost oblivious at what was happening around him. He sat on the floor and started talking with his fairy-creature, quietly.
“I, well” Lilly replied, having not quite expected to have the full might of a god at her disposal. She thought and thought, and then upon remembering an earlier complaint, came upon an answer, which was “I don’t suppose you could re-enrich our mines? We’ll need to dig a lot of them out again after your, well, remodeling, and it's not going to be worth redoing generations of digging to get back to the untapped ore“
Galaxor paced around a bit, tapping his chin with a finger before exclaiming a loud “A-ha!” “I'll do you one better. Gonna let you choose. I’ll create a holy site somewhere between Tricity and the Dominion, inside, all manner of materials that you’ll find in your mines and not only will appear, ready to be mined at a moment’s notice or, I bless one of you with the ability to transform objects into whatever material you'd wish to mine…of course, that'll be only those you'd touch. You'd not be able to turn off this ability. ‘Lest it'll be boring.
“Hmmm” Lilly hummed, as she was presented with a sparker of conflict and a lifelong, and only life long, curse. That was, perhaps, what she got for asking a god of heroes for a boon, he simply had to make things exciting it seemed. So she took the thing closest to what she had requested, and and accepted “the site will be a blessing for booth our peoples that will serve them for generations to come”
“Ah! The exciting option! Perfect! By the time you reach there, you'll find it already built up, as for managing it…I'll let Maxima discuss with your council on how you'll do that.
” he said as a slight burst of divine power came out of him.
“Now, it's time for me to leave. Ta-ta mortals! I'll be watching you.
” and disappeared from view, as he teleported away, leaving the group.
“Well, now. You’ve received your gifts. Now that the godly business has been concluded, Lily, Seam of Tricity, and Jaxx…I’ll send a group of bodyguards with you to open up the way to Tricity and Lord Galaxor’s newest temple. We can discuss the terms of trade and so, afterwards.
“That sounds good. As much as I’d be interested in learning more about the Dominion, I’m worried about how much time has passed back home, so the sooner we return, the better” Lilly replied already thinking about the consequences of returning after being assumed dead, not to mention who knew what new changes and crisis could have hit the city in however much time it had been.
With a nod, Maxima replied “I understand. My door will always be open for you and yours, I'm sure there will be time later to discuss. But, I can help with the time problem. I'll send with the bodyguards a few boxes of TADs and a craftsman to teach your people how to make more. Feel free to spread the knowledge of their making.
With a clap, a group of goblin soldiers entered the room.
“I've taken the liberty of already summoning them and got supplies ready for the trip.
” she added.
Jaxx, standing up for the first time, approached Lily and Seam.
“Lily, Seam. Please, meet Lady N. My hero sense made incarnate.
” he said, his voice calm. Calmer than ever before. It was as if a veil that covered him ever since the fateful day he attacked Galaxor was suddenly lifted. His whole body language was different too, relaxed. No longer a constant ringing in his mind.
Lady N, waved at the two and made a small curtsy in greetings almost immediately.
Seam waved back a little awkwardly while Lilly leaned in a little in fascination as she said “hello there” before addressing the elder hero’s calm by saying “you sound a lot better. Are you?”
A smile, a proper smile was what greeted Lily “I am. It’s like I had this ringing, non-stop for 20 years straight in my mind. Even when I just completed a quest, it would still be there…I guess I learned to ignore it with time but now, for the first time in decades, it’s quiet. My thoughts are my own. It's strange. I’m free.
“No you’re NOT! You’re with me! Me! ME!!!! And let me tell you mister! There won’t be any slagging off on my watch!
” immediately interjected Lady N with a nasal voice like an overexcited munchkin.
“I’m, ah, definitely starting to see a pattern with Galaxor’s boons” Lilly commented, only to get a confused look from Seam who had, somehow, managed to get out of all this potential downside free. Unless you counted his most valuable possessions now being things encouraging him to get into more danger that was.
“Regardless, I am very happy to hear that you are not, well, hearing that any more” she said to Jaxx, before telling Lady N to “maybe go easy on him? He deserves a vacation I think”
“Vacation? What’s that? Can we eat it?
” she said with a laugh as she flew up into the air making a few loops in the air.
“I’m sure she’ll give me a day off or two.
” said Jaxx before bending over to Lily and whispering “Or I’ll convince her that a vacation is actually a heroic quest.
” which got a smile out of her for sure.
“What? What? Why are we whispering? Is there a secret???
” Lady N said as she flew down towards them to see what they’re talking about.
“No, no. Just…telling Lily that I’ll miss traveling with them. Lady N and I have decided that we're going to go up, see Arbor and then…I don't know.
“Wait you are?” Seam broke in in surprise, before after a beat adding “well I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as we met like a week ago, but still. Feels like longer”
“It does,” Lilly agreed, before telling Jaxx that “you’ll be welcome to visit and stay if you're ever back in our area. It’s the least we can do, for a hero of our city, and for a friend”
“Adventures do strengthen the bonds of friendship more than anything.
” Jaxx agreed before putting a hand and each of their shoulders “Be sure I'll visit. You ain't getting rid of me yet but drinks are on you Seam.
The birdman gave an ‘ack’ of horror at having this cost foisted upon him, while Lilly just laughed and pulled all three of them into a proper farewell hug before they parted ways for who knew how long.