The Cleric Chronicles 8

Remember when I was doubting the Sage because I didn’t think he would have anything useful to tell us? Well, who has two horns and was right? This tiefling. Okay, well, to be fair, most of my party wouldn’t have known how to answer that one. But I was right.

It took forever to reach him and when we did, the only useful information we got was that hell was empty while the rest of the demons were waging war in the heavens. He also offered to open up a portal for us but honestly, how much can you trust someone when they say they have the power to open up a hell portal?

The only good thing to come of this blasted island was that Ari found her real father and more of the catfolk. We hung around the Sage’s hut while she spoke to her dad but judging by her frustrated expression when she got back, I can tell it went about as good as when I talk to my father.

Oh, and CAIMAN CAN READ MINDS. He can read freaking minds. Does this mean he’s known all along about what I am and hasn’t said anything or do the others know? The only thing useful that has come out of this new little habit he has is I’ve been able to teach him some Pelor’s hymns.

I think he really appreciated it.

So anyway, Ari comes back and says her dad wasn’t what she expected and that he told her that her mother is in hell. And Lainie and I were like “our mother and father are in hell too” and we also reasoned that with hell empty, now might be the only time we can save our mother and father. We left the decision on where to go next to a vote and even as I was fighting for going to hell, my fear was screaming at me. I left hell seven years ago and swore I would never go back. Once you enter father’s domain, you’re his, mind, body and for some of us, soul.

But one look at Teo and Lainie and I knew I had to be brave, had to ignore all the warning bells sounding off in my soul.

Agreeing to hell or bust, the Sage opened a portal for us to jump through. It was then that Ari decided to mention a parting gift her father left her with. He gave her a stone that allowed her to see through illusions in hell. As coldness seeped in from the portal the Sage opened, I found myself taking a step back. Not only was I going to have to face my old home but I knew now that if I stepped through that portal with the rest of them, they would all find out my secret.

The thought of Butter turning away from me for lying, of Brink’s exaggerated eyes through those ridiculous goggles of his looking on me with hurt, of Ari and Shea possibly raising their weapons at the demon that has been standing by them since the beginning of this quest, of Xi probably trying to stab me for lying to her the longest, of them all no longer trusting Lainie for sticking by me was too much to face. All for something I can’t change, for something I’ve been trying to hide my whole life.

No matter how I look at it, I know they will find out that I am the daughter of their greatest enemy soon enough and I’m not sure any of them are strong enough to shoulder that information.

For a moment, I thought I was alone, standing just outside of that blasted portal, trying to muster the courage to face my certain destiny until I turn to see Billy whispering to Xiara, who looks outwardly as terrified of that swirling purple mass as I feel on the inside.

In a few short minutes, I know she won’t trust anything I have to say so I want to give her something now, before my secret is forced out of me.

I promised her I would make sure she was safe in hell. That I would get them all out.

It was a stupid thing to say. I can already feel the weight of my words settling on my shoulders. But at the time, it was the only thing I could give her.

With nothing left holding us back, we both dive in. She’ll come out the other side seeing everything with new eyes, for the first time. She won’t know the horrors that await. I do though. I know exactly what going home means. Even if it kills me, even Pelor forsakes me, I will get them out alive. I just hope I’m still a tiefling worth saving by the time we make it to top of my father’s tower.

Pelor, please protect us,