At morning of our departure to Dragonhold, gruesome figure walked to Fallen Angel, arriving at nick of time before our departure, like it was all planned out by some greater force. Ragged and disfigured to begin with, Sinfall had gone through new stages of hell. His clothes looked like he had ran all the way to Perdition from Collegium ruins and his skin was pale and man stank even worse than normally… He also tried to cover his chest with jacket, as it seemed like his heart had been torn out by the looks of his twisted wound. It seemed fitting when I later heard story about his fate on that day, when Blake Eagle took him for dead…
Rodrico and Marcus were in for a bit of shock as they also had read letter from Blake and learned that this deadly gunfighter had perished on his mission. I should say I was taken aback too, but somehow I just felt that spirits wouldn’t let him die peacefully… I tried to ignore my dream about doors of cathedral, but I’ve seen how powerful the dark spirits are in California… and a man who is fueled by hate and feared by all, is a great instrument for those serving fear.
I knew this was a curse in blessings guise, but I welcomed it and my friend that I had feared to be lost to me.
We burned with questions, but I brushed them aside, knowing that he needed time to adjust. We leaved to Dragonhold hopeful for new clues. As we arrived we saw that Sutton Thacker knew how to skin men from their wealth.. and worst of all how to make men think that they had won by giving him their money. As we arrived, we saw maze runner belonging to Guardian Angels. Our suspicions grew, but as for town itself, it had to be said that their tame Maze Dragon Jerico seemed genuine. When we went to Thacker, he acted like a business man and told us that they also had a mark in “dangerous place” and he had to give us guardians to enter it. Of course there was a small fee to do that. We agreed to see the next day to conclude this deal. We didn’t have money to spare and we didn’t believe there was a mark, but even small chance that our search would end here was worth the money… at first it seemed as smart thing to wait for day and make a plan if Thacker was going to sell us to Guardian Angels, but quicly the high prices of Dragonhold got us thinking more about money.
I’m not too proud of my actions, but Lost Angeles had took almost every single resource I had, so I chose to take some back. By night I sneaked to their Runner and found it empty. This raised my suspicions against Thackers’ helpfulness and I chose to cripple their boat and do some debt collecting at the same time, stealing their ghost rock and selling it to sailors the next day.
I spent the night on street, talking with Ace. He told about his death. He told about the other side where he met his family. He told about living with them, being happy with them. He told about believing to this paradise… and he told how they were taken from him again. And again, for countless times, leaving him powerless and facing same torture over and over again. And how Agymah had came for him, warning that he would be taken away… but he wouldn’t see his family ever again. He asked about Agymah again, but I still couldn’t tell him the whole truth.. or that I wasn’t even sure what the whole truth was.
When morning came we got ready to go to this so-called “dangerous place”. Marcus stayed as backup, if we were walking to trap, we couldn’t get away from. Rodrico and I left our weapons as they instructed, but Ace just hid his. We might need them yet. As we came to Thackers office, there were five men with purple robes waiting for us, unarmed also. They led us to stairways starting from Thackers’ mansion and leading to tunnels below the maze. Water ran beside tunnels we walked. Place was a true maze and men leading us seemed to circle around to make sure we don’t know where are we going. At last we came to place that had a glyph on a wall… It looked exactly like the mark we described to Thacker… As in it didn’t have the brown paint over it that genuine marks had. It was a hoax. Still I needed to be sure. I knocked myself down opening my arm and let the blood flow to mark. It didn’t react…but something else reacted.
Three heads of small Maze Dragons game up from the water. They started to attack, but men in purple spread out their arms and Dragons stopped. Then we understood. Cult of a Dragon, hiding in plain sight. After this incident, they warned us and started to lead us away. We followed without notion, knowing that finding a way out without them would take days.
Then we heard pleas for help, echoing from one tunnel. Rodrico demanded to see the source. Good man, still looking to help everyone. I felt more cynical, but sided with Rodrico and we got the men to show us what was happening. We came to cell, mined to wall, having large hole with water in it. Inhabiting it were four Guardian Angels. They told us they had families. Even as I had no love lost to Guardian Angels, it haunted me when we walked away, leaving them to their cell.
And then we heard as something came from water and screaming as one of them met his doom under the surface in the teeth of Dragon. Rodrico couldn’t take it anymore. He demanded that the cultist would set Angels free… or that they gave us the light to go and free them. But we were past demanding. I gave Ace sign when they started to attack us and he killed all but two of them. We took two as captives and went to rescue our enemies from this cult. As I picked the lock and let them out, a full grown Maze Dragon came to find his food. We fled to tunnels, led by two cultists, their “god” following us relentlessly.
But we got to stairs. I and Ace watched the prisoners, as Rodrico went to use his magic, so that Angels couldn’t see it. He went to collapse this cave of worship and strike a hard blow against this cult. But as fickle spirits had given Ace back to our group, they took away the onlyone who could still be called a hero. I heard an explosion and scream and as I went to see, I saw collapsion that had happened. The magic of Rodrico had betrayed him and collapsed stairs along with him. I tried to dig it, but quicly understood how pointless it was. There must have been ten meters of stone and Rodrico somewhere under it and we had overstayed our welcome in Dragonhold. We ran to Guardian Angels runner and started our escape. We gave them one chunk of Ghost Rock, stolen from them in the first place, making them even more grateful to us and ironically, Grimme. We fled the Dragonhold before anyone knew what had happened. We asked the Angels to leave us to Perdition and then go to tell Grimme about this unholy cult, that needed to see wrong of its ways through Grimmes anger.
The lies felt empty, but they bought it. I felt empty. I wasn’t even sad, I just knew that what had happened to Rodrico, had happend to many others and would happens still. Maze roots out the heroic, naive and upright and lets the worst ones alive. I didn’t want to admit it to myself but Maze had started to warp me, make me as its picture. I longed for day when this would be over.
As rain came over us, the mocking silhouette of Lost Angels bathed in sunlight.