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“Defying death has a price, one that lingers long after the living return.”

This was the warning Lillith gave Lian as she stood over the lifeless body of Corvus. Lian reflected for a brief moment, then gave the go ahead. She was Grand Magister now, the weight of her decisions were no reason to back down. As the blood magic coursed through Corvus’ rising body, she only had one thought left in her mind: how she would ensure this deal was worth it.
As weeks passed, Corvus would slowly physically recover, unlike his reputation. As far as the public knew, Corvus died a disgrace to the Magistrate, not even his father knew of his survival. This upset him deeply, however his own shame would prevent him from arguing with Lian’s recommendation of maintaining secrecy. She had offered him full forgiveness for his past transgressions, as well as a role in her Magistrate: Abyssal Researcher. As much as he wished he could deny it, it was a fitting task and his only shot at redemption; plus it restored his access to the Archives, albeit with Rei’s supervision.

After he collected his materials, he was dispersed to the Deepwerks so Vivian could oversee his work & ensure his previous…propensity for mistakes was discouraged. She happily switched sides to assist Lian as it afforded her a way to keep some control & secrets away from House Aico. As he began to share his knowledge of the Abyss, he had to relive all of the risks he had taken to defend the Realm, all the sacrifices he made to match the power Valera called upon her side. His life’s work, his defense of his father’s Magistrate, was now to be used by others.

Lillith’s terms were simple: House Aico would provide her funds to recover an artifact, one that radiated Crystal magic corrupted by the Abyss. Very few people could begin to track down something like that, but with Corvus’ experience and Lian’s manpower, the Magistrate would find them. This diadem, as Corvus would identify it as from it’s description, was in the possession of Caspian, a scoundrel associated with many of the Realm’s mercenaries.

As Lillith went to acquire her prize, Lian did not hesitate to begin her sweeping command of the Magistrate. She met with all of Karne’s advisors not only to learn of their strengths, but also their failures. She had risen from illegitimate to Grand Magister, her dedication to legacy matched only by her willingness to embrace new opportunity. Her Magistrate would be one of peace, honor, and stability. However, the road to get there was laid with many pitfalls.

Despite Lian’s vision, the Magistrate as a force is made up of a wide variety of people, many of whom had seen all the conflict prior and couldn’t help but blame others for their strife. The Ska’drin took the brunt of this misplaced discrimination, as a now empowered and unopposed Magistrate led to many cases of abuse of their role. Lian, clouded by ambition, took far too long to recognize this, and by the time she began to worry, resistance would return once more in the form of a face she’d long hoped to forget.

Zhin and his Guild began to systematically destabilize her forces, right as she had hoped to declare peace for the Realm, far away enough from Yagorath’s defeat. The people were ready for the fighting to end, and now this false king was weaponizing them against her. She rallied her troops, and called upon Khan and Rei to put an end to this before it could get out of hand. The two listened, but not without disagreement.

Now that they had achieved Lian’s goals, Rei and Khan were no longer fully aligned. Rei had set her eyes on the power of archmage, a role she had rightfully earned alongside Lian’s trust. Khan, however, took his role as bodyguard too seriously for her liking, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was looked down upon as a Leipori among her peers. Their differences aside, they both knew Lian needed them, especially as Lillith was preoccupied.

As Lillith departs from the rest of them, Corvus finds his curiosity growing as to what she was working towards. He knew the path of hiding one’s involvement with the Abyss all too well, and felt its power follow her as she left the Magistrate walls. A glimpse of purple glow confirmed what he felt was that power…the type that destroyed the town of Seris. The type he was tricked into summoning Raum. The type that led him to controlling Terminus. A puppet to others…much like him now. Like him always, he’s always been under others’ control. Now, another person was headed to make the same mistakes he had. He was no hero, and he could not stop her.

As Lian’s forces prepared to take the fight directly to the Thousand Hands, Lillith quietly made her way through the Realm. After all she had done to retrieve this, it had better been worth the risk. She slowly found her way to the remains of a prior place the rift touched, where the possession of Abby was done by the being known as Seris. A deal is a deal, and must be fulfilled. She rested the diadem between the heart of Abyssal crystals, extended her arms and took a deep breath.

“Return to us, my Queen. Rise, Nyx.”

Paladins Chronicles are short stories meant to enrich the world of Paladins & serve as context for future events. This is part of the first series, please provide us your feedback on socials!