As the clock ticked to midnight in the stately homes of Regalia, and many of the weary refugees within the Northlake encampment were just finding time to tuck themselves in for rest while the guard stayed on night-watch, a long-held plan came to fruition deep in the stout forests of the Crown Isle. A single figure stood there, looking up at the sky, luminescent eyes transfixed by the very edge of the great crack in the sky wrought by the Allar of the south. Taking a deep, self-assured breath and tilting their head back, they clapped their hands together, and all about them the land lit aglow. Rising from the earth, clad in their favored weapons and armor, all who had made a pact with the Justice Arken found themselves ripped from their couches, bedrooms, and alcoves, standing now in the biting cold, with the being before them. First to appear were Harlow Ketch, Morgaine du Lierre clad as an eerie statue with blue light seeping through the cracks, Talisin Oruisin, Au’lullórëana, Abigail Tucker, and Bennet Clayton, with Therris popping in a moment later. They did not have time to greet their benefactor, for as the Justice Arken menacingly raised their hands, two more parties appeared to either side of them. Cazna Gahan, Lhoris Minarith, Gabriel Balistrieri, Ksai-en, Aldon Adeliason, Yueliang Hou, and Drulailmon to their left, atop a small ridge so that they could view better from behind, and on their right Leironse Jacyrin and Rowena Bancroft, quickly borne up into a palanquin of glittering, ghostly-blue Allorn soldiers, who left open the curtain that they might see as well. With more vigor than usual, their very Essence straining at its corporeal bonds, Justice raised a hand, spinning it above them in the air. Even their voice was changed, a sonorous call sounding like hammers striking glass; eyes blazing with unhuman conviction. “Oaths were sworn,” began the Arken, “and now they will be honored.” The area of ground the party was standing on cracked underfoot and lifted, as the Arken’s Magic sent them careening forwards on a moving piece of rock and topsoil, any trees that presumed to obstruct their path sublimating into silver flame. Soon the goal became clear. A small weathered hill, around which the night felt darker than usual, crowned by a blackened Leystone pillar which writhed with golden energy. At the party’s approach, creatures began to materialize from the air, foul demonic things which writhed on sixteen legs and bared many rows of teeth from gnashing, bestial heads, conjurations straight from nightmares. They did not leave from within a certain radius of the peak, waiting to be encroached upon, hissing, snarling. Justice touched down just outside of their reach, lowering the combatants onto the ground by breaking off a frontal piece and slowly levitating it down, while leaving the palanquin in the air, away from the fighting. The Arken began to draw a blade, a greatsword cast in silver fire which whipped into the evening wind. They leapt forward with a roar, lightning crackling through the sky: “Divine punishment!” and as the head of a Demon fell to the ground, lopped off, their companions surged forward, pressing up the hill. First to score a strike was Gabriel Balistrieri, whose eyes gleamed as brightly as the one who had brought him there. Although his familiar spells in a sense betrayed him, morphing into blue-gray fire instead of the warm orange he knew so well, they were as deadly as ever, because as he flung his mace forwards on its cord of thick leather and it wrapped around the hindlegs of the nearest Demon, they exploded in a cacophony of light and noise, unable to resist even the touch of his blows. Soon helping him was Lhoris Minarith, whose blade not only obeyed the call of her Weapon Song, but tripled with two mirror-reflections, striking the Demon simultaneously and impaling it through the side. Lhoris ran forwards and hopped atop its back, ripping her swords out, which sent the Demon prone and onto its side where right after Ksai-en approached, brandishing his own sword overhead. He shouted his target position as he had done many times before, only this time it was not the wicker sparring helmet of a partner he was aiming for; but the feral maws of a two-headed chimera. Ksai-en’s blow crunched through bone and tendon, lopping through both of the creature’s necks simultaneously and pounding a small crater into the ground, while others leapt over the carcass they had just created to push further into the fray. Indeed, as Aldon of the Song eagerly clambered forwards, possessed by the desire to kill, he found himself struck from two directions by a pair of Demons which had managed to surround him, one scoring a set of claws into his back, one into his shoulder from the front. But he was not deterred. Screaming piercing notes of glory on the wind, the Cahal grabbed the head of the nearest assailant with both palms. Much to his surprise, before he could even wrestle it, the excess Essence from his body poured into the creature like a wellspring, its skin-tone warping and mottling blue around where he held it. Aldon steeled his will, consciously taking control, pressing more and more into it, and after a moment longer, cracks began to form on the Demon’s bloating hide, soon ripping open into scars. The Shepherd then leapt up, bringing his hands down, and as his claws tore into the Demon before him, it viciously bisected, exploding into small pieces of skin and energy which sizzled to a cool on the ground. As for the one which had been threatening him from behind, it was soon menaced by both Yueliang Hou and Drulailmon, who tapped their weapons in their hands as they eyed it with violent intent. First to swing was Yueliang, who dodged a blow from the Demon’s stinger-tipped tail before flipping atop its back, digging his blade through its fur and lodging it well within. Falling on his side and forcing his weight downward, he impaled his sword through its back like a nail, which sent the creature careening to the ground with a limp cry. He looked back to spy Drulailmon, wondering why the final blow had not been dealt yet: but the Cahal was lost in a world of his own, statue head spinning unknowably about his seemingly meaningless neck as he manifested every Face of his bloodline at once. About to be thrown off, Yueliang bucked to the side, before a ghostly army of Cahal soul-lines poured forward to reinforce him, butchering the Demon by skewering it in fifteen different places. This well-needed horde of reinforcements shored up the flanks of the party as they pushed, so that they would only need to busy themselves with being the point of the spear and never worry about being surrounded. They immediately stabilized the left flank, replaced by three more even as one fell, continuously pouring forth from Drulailmon’s sung verses. Each stanza of his poem conjured another clade of allies on the wind, spectres of the fallen and the nonexistent, who took up sword and bow and claw at his command. As if on cue, a crack of thunder sounded on the right flank, which was immediately held up by apparitions of Allorn soldiers not unlike those which bore Leironse and Rowena, who still watched comfortably from the back, served grapes and Altalar wine, insulated from all the fighting and protected by curtains from excess noise. Supported now on one side by Drulailmon’s soldiers, and by the Cahal himself who sprung from foe to foe with an ever-shifting weapon of white-cast light which was a hammer one moment and a lance the next, and on the other side by Justice’s spearwall, which pushed Demons back in disciplined lockstep, the party continued to press forward, following the Arken’s cries of “Divine punishment!” as they sprung to and fro, shouting each time a Demon was felled. Cazna Gahan quickly came face to face with a Demon of her own- looking side to side, it seemed that no one had come to help her, or perhaps that they could not see the Demon at all. Its form warped and morphed, until she slowly began to understand that it was taking the shape of a Suvial Altalar, taunting her with her own desires. In a gravelly voice, the creature shouted: “Traitor!” before Cazna felled it through the throat with a super-charged beam of fire which sprung from her palms without hesitation. The Kathar’s shoulders heaved as she bitterly contemplated her own actions for a moment, but she pressed on with renewed vigor, pelting bolt after bolt into the crowd of enemies, beginning to shout “Traitor!” herself, grinning wildly with each hit she scored. Soon after she was reinforced by a conjurer of the opposing element, Therris, who rushed forward to join. The Allar raised their weapon, smiting its butt against the ground, and with each strike they made, a tide of water sprung from the earth to blast the nearest foe away, sending it crashing into a crowd of its allies. Their cause was only aided by Morgaine du Lierre, unrecognizable beneath plates of shifting white marble, who stepped forward with a single hand outstretched. This hand radiated painfully bright light, which scalded each Demon it touched. They could not even suffer to look at her as she stepped forward, drenching the backdrop of the Demons’ view in unholy luminescence, which drove them back even as they were felled by fire and waves alike. Just alongside them were the duo of Abigail Tucker and Bennet Clayton, who danced forwards in a self-contained procession of violence. Abigail was occupied in thoroughly defying the laws of physics, not just by stretching her limbs to strike enemies who were far away and keeping them off Bennet, who ducked back and forth popping crossbow rounds into Demons’ sides, but also striking uncharacteristically hard for her actual motions. She would frequently handstand and pirouette, flipping up to a Demon just so she could tap them on the shoulder as if she was asking for their attention. Only after it turned to look at her just long enough for a comedic moment of silence, it would always die in some horrible way, for example deflating, turning into a 2D image which flattened against the ground and made a funny little bell-ringing sound effect, or going flying vertically off into the sky never to be seen again. However, even this could not compare to what happened when they fused, Abigail casting her hands towards Bennet. As two Cahal blessed by the Colossi, and straddling two soul-lines, each was individually powerful. However, when sharing the same corporeal form, Abigail and Bennet possessed every single soul-line simultaneously. Under Justice’s radiating empowerment, this extended to not just the four major soul-lines present in the Regalian hemisphere of knowledge, but to every single Cahëllon soul-line in existence, including thousands of inscrutable minor varieties from the Cielothar deeping walds. The pair turned into a radiating whirlpool of violence, which eviscerated everything within Abigail’s substantial reach before it had time to take a breath. Even the Arken was given pause as it briefly stared in their direction, nature incomprehensible beneath flying shreds of gore which were flung with such careless over-use of power that they shredded the trees around the hill like shrapnel, sending some of them falling to the ground. This final push brought the charge very, very close to the summit, where Justice began the last stretch of their attack with the three who had stayed in the vanguard with them, Harlow Ketch, Talisin Oruisin, and Au’lullórëana. Talisin had morphed into a gargantuan bear, driven up to the size of an adult male Wódbehaeri, which was so large that it could in fact subdue Demons on its own without the use of a shred of Magic, being naturally stronger and more fierce than them. Having occupied himself with grabbing the nearest enemy he could find and tearing it apart limb by limb, he was ridden by Au’lullórëana, who spun in slow circles atop his back and conjured all about them, fields of briar and bramble which tripped up Demons and lured them into snare traps primed for the kill, healing any who fell temporarily amid the surge and sending them right back into the fight. The druid, at the peak of their form, expertly protected their Sachem. But Harlow was not with them. Long had he sought the satisfaction of fighting alongside his father, and on that day he finally found it, pushing forward alongside them. The Bloodcast practically flew on his Righteous Wind, never once touching the ground, leaping from invisible jumping-off points to score devastating blows cast in fire. He found himself shouting in tune with Justice each time a Demon was felled, and to all who looked upon them from behind, it was impossible to tell them apart. As Justice bisected a Demon from one angle, their son perfectly copied and repeated the spell from the other side, Silven eyes distended, glowing with sickly light much more like an Arken’s would. Together, Justice and Harlow were the first two to reach the peak and stand before the corrupted icon, finishing the final Demonic guard with a series of lightning bolts torn from the sky, which plummeted through its head and body and nailed it to the ground in a hundred different places before it exploded into dust. With the pillar reached, the Demons began to fade away, either retreating or being struck down where they stood. The entire party caught up, and stood in a small crowd before Justice, waiting to see the spell they had promised. Even the palanquin was called up, its levitating perch soaring up the hillside at a comfortable speed so that it could bear closer witness. The Arken did not bother to explain itself, but instead put a hand onto the smooth, stony surface in front of them, raising two fingers and pointing them at a distant point on the horizon. At the Red Spire in Regalia, Essence crackled from the font of power beneath it, coiling up its sides and pooling at the very top, where it bathed the nearby Crookback in red light. That red light then sprung into motion, soaring in an arched beam towards where, far away, Justice stood. Their companions were witness to the energy funneling into the rock, which morphed by their will, began to glow blue instead. The beginnings of a silver tower sprung up around them, white marble willing itself from the soil, with decorations of pale metal and eerily perfect blue crystal. The original stone was subsumed into the structure, the rock that the palanquin was carried on joining it, as Leironse and Rowena were comfortably lowered to their feet, and all were raised up surrounded by what was left of their ghostly reinforcements so that they stood on its top. With each moment Justice channeled, more and more light departing from the Red Spire and flowing into their structure, it continued to develop, small gardens springing up around it, the formerly dull and unnatural marble gaining that familiar shine, rough edges gaining new faces, shaping themselves. After a short few minutes, the tail of the long transfer of energy rushed from the Red Spire, and the rest ceased to flow. Justice lowered their hands, stepping back to face the crowd, and spoke. “A Spire of Silver and Light. Such is my gift to you. A bulwark of magnificent righteousness, for the loyal folk who remain.” They explained briefly the providence of having such a thing, its particular utility, and that they could not be found there whenever they were wanted and would instead for the most part be leaving the Exist Loyal to their own devices, with a routine control device called the Blue Queen, a mirror of the Conduit and the Red Spire’s Red Queen, to address their needs when necessary. As their explanation concluded, the Justice Arken regarded those who had aided them, both their ghost-soldiers and Drulailmon’s fading away into nothingness. They parted without a word, a double-strike of lightning ripping them away into the sky. All who had aided them woke up where they had been torn from a short thirty minutes ago, panting and heaving with sweat like they had just been affected by a particularly bad dream, their armor and weapons back where they had been, everything untouched. But as each of them rushed to their windows and curiously pressed their faces to the glass, there was an unmistakable pillar of silver-blue light on the horizon at the Silver Spire’s location, where Exist Essence briefly spewed into the sky to indicate its complete activation. The vision had been reality.