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Session 145 - No Fate But What You Make

posted May 20, 2018, 8:28 AM by Will McCain
After claiming responsibility for what happened, the Maladroits continued to question the Norn. Each cryptic answer only left them more confused. The Norn sensed their hesitation and forced their hand by attacking. Her first moves banished Callon to the labyrinth of the Maze spell and gave Lucas a deadly heart attack via Phantasmal Killer. Fortunately, the rogue's Determination armor brought him back, though still on death's door. Knox tried a spell which was unable to get past her defenses and was hurt for his efforts. Alera gave her teammate some much needed healing, only for the Norn to assault him again and once more send the life from his body. His rogue's resiliency helped bring him back this time, but the pattern was growing old quick. 

Not only had the Norn avoided attacking Alera, it had been staring at her the whole fight. Even when a casting of Destruction ravaged its figure, it still seemed like it was expecting her to do something. Alera felt the tug of intuition leading her to a realization and tried to put the pieces together. The Norn said she had been responsible for what had happened to her monastery. And what had happened? A kind of program or long term plan to achieve some great, lasting power. What were the means to that? Children brought in regularly, often from terrible circumstances, and raised with strict training and harsh expectations. Now how did the Norn fit in? She was a being tied to fate itself. Ancient, and possessing knowledge and insight beyond any mortal. What had she been trying to achieve? Or, if everything involved training people, WHO had she been trying to achieve?

Alera, a cleric adored and nearly worshipped among her fellow believers, stood there. She brimmed with the power of her patron, to the extent that any mortal would be capable. She could weave Miracles. Before her, the Norn also stood, not as some unassailable force, but another foe to be dealt with. Had ALERA herself been the end goal this whole time? Had the Norn seen what was coming to pass with the Shards and knew that defenders were needed? Had she tugged on the strings of fate that lead to the accidents that lead to so many orphans? Had she orchestrated the meeting of the Maladroits themselves?

Alera thought back to her brothers and sisters. If true, it meant that they had somehow been lacking. It pained her to even think of it, but the truth was as firm as the sword and shield she held raised. She was here; they were not. She had a chance to act, to make a difference. Had she done enough? Had she made the right choices? No, it didn't matter. Right now, she had choices to make, and an enemy that was waiting on her to do so.

Climbing onto the backs of the pews, Alera took long strides across them until the towering woman was before her. Drawing back her scimitar, she attacked. The Norn did not surrender or give ground, but she no longer assaulted the rest of the Maladroits, as if trying to remove the distractions that kept Alera from taking action. Callon had finally returned from the confines of the maze, and was surprised to see hesitant Alera locked in combat with the Norn. Sensing her determination, he followed her lead and joined her in the fight. 

The Norn, already weakened, didn't last long. Even in its death, however, there was a strange calm and acceptance. Inscrutable to the end, the Maladroits thought there was a contentedness in its visage as the woman fell, seeing her goals realized and all her long work vindicated. The price had been high, but against the weight of the world, had it been worth paying? Standing in the silence of the long abandoned temple, the adventurers heard no answers.