Here follows an account of the overthrow and death of Baron von Savage, penned by Issig Sabrigen, most excellent scholar and historian, who acquired the information herein from reliable sources.
Who has not heard of Baron von Savage, the tyrant? For those readers who do not know of his various crimes and transgressions, I refer to other documents by less prolific historians; but for purpose of these documents, one must know that beside his other crimes, he also sponsored experiments in magitech. He hired many professors and savants to harness the power of Magi in great laboratories, and his greatest such laboratory was hidden somewhere in his realm, privy only to the Baron and his closest confidantes.
It was this laboratory that would become his downfall. Into his realm came two individuals, each intent on destroying this laboratory. The first was Gwendolen, a woman who had been exposed to the horrors of being a subject in such a laboratory, and sought to end the practice. The second was Gehenna, the son of Ifrith, a man possessing natural affinity for the Magi of fire and flame, who saw such laboratories as an abomination against the natural order.
Now, as is often the case with tyrants, there was a group of people opposed to him, a resistance movement. Hearing of Gwendolen and Gehenna, they arranged to contact them both, summoning them to the village of Coral. So it was that the two heroes came before Maria, a housewife who led the local resistance cell.
Maria informed them, that there was a chance the two could find the hidden laboratory, and with their powers, perhaps destroy it. The vice-sheriff of Coral, a man named Michael, had once been in the Barons’ employ, but he had displeased the Baron and been demoted. Michael, they were told, held little love for his liege, and might be persuaded to tell them.
By the aid of a guard named Jason, as well as Maria’s daughter Leesa, the two found the vice-sheriff as he was breaking up a fight. They accompanied him to his office, and learned the situation. Michael claimed not to know the whereabouts of the laboratory, but he knew a man who might: Earhart Ringholme, the man in charge of the nearby Camp Iseth. They were also told that they must approach the Baron’s heartlands carefully, for the commander of his armies was a warrior of incredible power, a legendary swordsman called Keith. Keith and Michael had once been friends, but the vice-sheriff did not speak to wish further of this matter: He mentioned him only to warn the heroes never to attempt to fight him.
Michael advised them to travel by stealth to Camp Iseth, to avoid drawing attention. Since Gwendolen was at home in the forest, they decided to make their way through the woods. Leesa wished to accompany them, but as she was only a thirteen-year old girl, they told her it was too dangerous.
They ventured through the forest for a full day, speaking as they walked. By nightfall, they made camp at an area clear of trees, and slept. They were woken by the screams of a girl: The teenager had followed them by stealth, and had now come upon a patrol of the Baron consisting of two soldiers, Biggs and Wedge.
Gwendolen approached them by stealth and snatched the girl away to safety, while Gehenna frightened them with fire. A short battle ensued, in which both Gehenna and Gwendolen were lightly injured but the two soldiers driven off, bruised and blistered.
They spoke to Leesa. She had a good reason to hate the Baron, it seemed: Maria was not her real mother, but had merely adopted her after the Baron slew her parents. The two agreed to bring Leesa to Camp Iseth, but could not promise to bring her any further. She showed skill with a knife, however, and at least Gwendolen was inclined to let her come along. Furthermore, she was familiar with the forests, and could guide them along a quicker, safer path. They stopped briefly to eat grilled salmon by the river, and arrived at Camp Iseth shortly after noon.
The first thing that met their gaze was Earhart Ringholme, a great big man, bald and bearded, holding a speech to the locals about the evils of the Baron, who had just cut off the trade routes to the Camp. Gehenna and Gwendolen wanted to speak with him, but he was obviously busy, so they spoke instead with a friend of Leesa’s – Alicia, who turned out to be Michael’s daughter. Alicia often took care of Leesa, and knew that the Baron was looking for her, because she had some special talent. This greatly worried the both of them.
The two went to speak with Ringholme. He told them that he had learned the location of the laboratory from Michael, and he guessed that Michael had only sent them to him so that they could resupply and prepare. He was glad to give them provisions, and told them he knew approximately where the laboratory was, but not exactly. Gwendolen, however, who had been inside a lab, and who had a superhuman sense of smell, thought that if she just could get near it, she would be able to smell the chemicals. Before they could leave, however, dire news arrived: Keith was marching an army on Camp Iseth!
Gehenna and Gwendolen guessed that Keith was coming for Leesa, or at least that if she stayed there, she would surely be captured. Although they were reluctant to bring her any closer to the Baron’s lab for fear she might become a test subject, Ringholme argued that the girl would be safer with them than if she stayed at the camp.
So it was that Gehenna and Gwendolen were joined by Alicia and Leesa, trekking eastwards through the wilderness towards the hidden laboratory. They traveled quickly but carefully, with Gwendolen scouting ahead while Gehenna spoke with Leesa, trying to learn more about her secret talent. He sensed that she was strong with Magi, and her magical signature reminded him of an old man he had met as a child, but he could figure out little more. The girl herself did not know. Gehenna tried to teach her, and told her to envision diving into a black circle before she went to sleep.
Apart from finding Biggs and Wedge once more – asleep in the forest – they encountered no danger that day. The two soldiers were easily circumvented, and the four travelers made their own camp under a great tree. They kept watch in shifts, for fear that one of the Barons’ agents might find them. Nothing such happened. Shortly before dawn, however, it seemed Leesa was having a nightmare, and perhaps due to Gehennas’ teachings, her powers were made manifest: Great wings of light appeared on her back, and electricity arced across her body. Gwendolen was keeping watch at the time, but she didn’t dare wake the girl, so she played a lullaby on her flute to keep her pacified.
When Gehenna woke up, and saw this, he deduced the spectacular truth of the matter: She was a half-esper like himself, and her father was likely the esper Alexander, wielding the power of light. Like himself, though, she had a secondary power. As Gehenna wielded darkness beside his fathers’ power of fire, so did she wield lightning beside her fathers’ power of light. When Leesa woke up, she was told some of this.
The four had little time to marvel at her power, however. She was told just enough so that she might be able to wield it consciously, if she would have to. Then, they set off to find the lab. It didn’t take long until the found a secret door, hidden in the ground. Gehenna heated it up with his powers, making it malleable, and Gwendolen then bent it open without a sound. They entered quietly.
They made it almost all the way down to the main laboratory before they were interrupted. The doors closed abruptly around them, and a tall, dark man appeared blocking the path. He introduced himself as Keith. For a moment it seemed as though they would have to fight him, but then another man appeared. Michael stepped into the room.
Facing his old friend, Keith stepped aside. Gwendolen, Alicia and Leesa stepped past, and Gehenna – who was cloaked in shadow – slipped past like a shadow, unnoticed by even Keith. Beyond the door he was blocking was the laboratory itself, a great chamber full of strange contraptions, with a glass cylinder dominating the room. Four people were inside. Ryana, the knife-fighter, Fredrik, the lancer, and the Baron himself, a great fat man with a moustache. The fourth person, Gwendolen recognized as Professeur Siegg – a scientist who had initiated the experiments on her.
She leaped into the room, punching open the great glass cylinder. From inside fell a blue-skinned woman that Gehenna recognized as the Esper Shiva, and seeing this, the half-esper was furious. Still hidden in shadows, he let a rain of fire fall upon the Professor, but the man seemed hardly shaken by it. Horrified, Gehenna realized that he had drained the Esper Shiva of her powers, and now commanded ice and frost. A second later, Gwendolen got to experience this first-hand as she tried to punch him and was frozen into a block of ice.
A furious fight ensued. Gehenna continued to rain fire upon the Professor, while Gwendolen – freed from her icy prison by Gehenna’s flames – saw to the blue-skinned woman, whom she thought a mortal experiment subject. She spoke to her, trying to encourage her to fight, and she woke up.
With the Esper awake, Gehenna managed to spur her into action. She attacked the lancer, and kept the Professor distracted. While this happened, Alicia and Leesa defeated Ryana with lightning and fire – her swift knives proving quite ineffective against them. Soon, the fight had ended: The Professor was trapped in flaming hands, then sent into the air by an uppercut from Gwendolen, and finally bound with flames of darkness so that Shiva could take her stolen powers back. Fredrik had been neutralized by a kick to the face, and Ryana by lightning to the backside.
Just then, Keith and Michaels’ fight burst into the room. Keith stepped into see Gwendolen lifting the fat Baron above her head, and he tried to strike her – but Michael blocked his blow just barely. She had the time she needed, and snapped Baron von Savage’s neck. With his death, Keith’s loyalty ended. He sheathed his sword, and explained what had been happening.
Keith and Michael were two of the five heroes who had originally united the world under the Emperor, over a century ago. Keith owed the Baron a debt, and had served him because of this. As a result, their friendship had been irreparably damaged. Michael had thereafter saved Alexanders’ daughter when the Esper himself had been attacked, and had placed her in the care of Maria. Now that her powers had awakened, however, the place would no longer be safe for her. Shiva instructed Gehenna to take care of her.
Gwendolen now broke open all the containers of chemicals, and Gehenna set them aflame, guaranteeing that the laboratory would never be used again. The Professeur, however, was nowhere in sight: He had disappeared after the Espers’ powers had been returned.
Together with Michael, they walked away from the burning lab. They made their way back to Coral to speak with Maria, who understood that this day would eventually come. Michael promised to stay and protect Coral, instating Ringholme as new leader of the land, and Gehenna left the village together with Leesa, to teach her about her heritage and powers. Gwendolen came with them, having destroyed the Barons’ laboratory and his reign, for their goal was the same: To make sure nobody ever abused Magi in such a horrible fashion again.