Chapter Fifty-three: The Third Trial
Brandr and his sprites watched the coming battle intently. After being chastised by the elder, the adventurers began fighting better and smarter. The dungeon core admired their ability to unerringly find the right path, cutting straight through his dungeon in their search for the Guardians. He suspected it had something to do either the elder or the woman who carried the bow. Perhaps it was both. Hopefully, not all adventurers would have that capability. It would render most of his plans and preparations moot.
Ask any sprite and they would tell you that their relationship with wisps was a complex one. Many were not even sure how they came to be. Like all things fae, will-o-wisps were neither dark nor light. To Brandr, they were simple creatures brought into being from the natural melding of yin essence and nature energy. They were born in much the same way some ghost cultivators refined spectres from yin grounds except, in this case, there was no yin ground, only stray yin essence. Also, there was no refiner only nature essence. This strange combination of life and death, joy and resentment led to the creation of emphatic beings which were intangible to mundane items and feed off the life energy of their surroundings.
To the sprites, wisps were a natural part of their lives. They collected them from around the forest corralling, taming and forming bonds with them. The wisps got to feed off the lives and emotional energies and the sprites got partners, protectors and illumination. In the dungeon’s eyes, the relationship between the two said more about the sprites than it did the wisps. The latter were creatures formed from the energies of nature and death. Yet, they were considered fae. What did that say about the fae themselves? This was especially true when you realised that the sprites were responsible for tending to the living in the forest whilst the wisps tended to its dead, guiding lost souls to the next world.
Whiles thinking of this, Brandr watched as his special wisps got into position unseen by their prey. They sought out those who posed the most threat to them, the mages and the cleric, sidling up to them until they were nearly within arm’s reach. The sprites were all on the edge of their seats and Brandr did not blame them. However, he knew that the quick and easy victory they were envisioning was not to be. Not as long as that elder was with them.
The man spied his surroundings, scanning them with an experienced eye. In a strangely voyeuristic experience, Brandr watched Gauwyn hesitate before finally yelling out an alarm moments before one of his wisps latched on to the back of the archer’s head. The entire party was instantly on high alert.
“Be careful not to let them touch you!” Gauwyn warned.
Teca shivered as she stared at the pulsating orb in front of her. As a pathfinder, she was incredibly in tune with her surroundings and yet she had felt nothing when before the Warden pulled her away. She stared at it, backing away slowly whilst her skill worked on identifying it. It was a spectre. She knew that much. However, she had never heard of an invisible spectre that could take the form of silver fire. The heady mix of fear and curiosity had her scanning the creature on impulse.
Name: Dinargh | Race: Silver Wisp Elite (Variant)
Age: Forty-three years | Sex: — | Rank: 3 | Class: Guard
Occupation: Elite of the Third Floor
Affinities: Faerie, Death, Fire
“If you have any magical or holy artefacts, use them!” the warden commanded. “They are immune to all but magic and spiritual attacks. Mana reliant skills can harm them if timed correctly. You need to hit while the skill is active and not before or after. These are variants so I cannot speak for their skills but staying out of reach to prevent them from leeching you of life should be a priority!”
As they listened to him, another one revealed itself. This one was blue and disturbingly close to Ogbad. Without hesitation, the cleric banished it with a wave of holy light.
“Begone foul thing! [Bless]” yelled the tall man with a wave of his prayer book.
The spell, originally a prayer that temporarily invigorated its target, threw the wisp back with a bright flash of light. They were treated to the sight of a wisp trembling. This action that released a whining screech similar to the sound of claws on metal. The first wisp took up the cry as well, bombarding the party with the ear bleeding sound. A third wisp joined in, appearing out of thin air to join its brethren. This wisp was noticeably larger than the others, at least three times so. Its ghostly form crackled with a strange black lightning, tendrils of which reached out to touch the other wisps.
Name: Baenre | Race: Wisp Lord (Variant)
Age: Two hundred and eighteen years | Sex: — | Rank: 4 | Class: Commander
Occupation: Guardian of the Third Floor | Lord of the Third Trial
Affinities: Faerie, Death, Lightning
Immediately the dark lightning touched its subordinates, they began to change. The silver wisp became an incandescent blaze. Teca, the adventurer closest to it, screamed and backpedalled. The second wisp followed suit, becoming a giant torch of blue fire. Verrin quickly raised a barrier whilst the others quickly prepared for battle. Only Ogbad was exempted, the cleric was doing his part by attending to Teca.
“Are you alright?’ he asked only to gasp in horror.
Teca was shivering in shock, she had been very close to the wisp when it erupted in flames. Too close, unfortunately, to escape unscathed. Her armour was covered in hoarfrost and her skin was already showing signs of frostbite. Even more worrying were the first degree burns. This could easily turn into a serious complication.
“Ware the silver one! Its fire causes frost burns!” yelled Ogbad warning his colleagues before settling in to prepare a healing spell.
Geoffrey stared at the lead wisp. His sword had a fire enchantment which he had already activated but he doubted that it would do much against the foe they were about to face. Fire was all well and good but what good would it do against a ghost?