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Serphus Aluminum; The Neverend

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Rodham stopped abruptly at the door when he saw Vex, whose back was to him. What luck. He didn’t expect to find him so soon, nor did he prepare a response, but he was confident of winging it.

“He is alive.” Rodham spoke as he approached Vex, expecting the man to turn around in surprise.

“You really should trust me more, Vex. I can handle myself. I’m just trying to help. There’s not much you can accomplish running around alone.” He said, as he sat down on the chair opposite of the demon hunter. 

“The corruption has spread further than we hoped. Large cities, small towns, none of them are spared. I think our best bet is to use the antidote developed in Lyonesse, get some people on our side and launch a counterattack.” Of course, Rodham would not allow the real antidote to be used. He would trick Vex into believing it, and when he was surrounded by the ore-tainted demons, it would be an easy job to capture him

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Vex looked up as he heard the familiar voice. As Rodham sat down into the chair opposite of him he wonder about what he said. Was it the truth? The demon hunter was not one to blindly believe words. He had seen what words did. Placing his head into his hands he didn't like the situation either.  Cities were falling to the princess as she seduced them with either  absolute corruption and power or the ore. 

"Lyonesse made an antidote? Yet no one has used it yet to free the people?! I don't see how we can even get to the people and use it now. If the cities have fallen then how can we succeed?"

Vex shook his head. Something seemed off about Rodham. When he first met the boy he wasn't as confident as he was now.  He didn't seem the type to finding cures to a cursed land. He had changed and Vex noticed. Yet he didn't bring it up, not because he wanted to frighten the lad, but he feared that Rodham would do something that he didn't like. 

"Rodham... How do you know of the antidote and the falling of the cities? You couldn't even take care of yourself when I met you. A demon was about to eat and possess you. Now you claim  you found a way?"

Vex was suspicious  and he had every right to be.

"You seem like this is so easy to do. Get an antidote and free the people. We can't just waltz in there without her spies watching our every move."

He doubts you. The ore said as it's tendrils dug deeper into Rodham's mind. It began to seep more of the dark magic into his thoughts, trying to get him to unleash his inhibitions and give in. He doesn't buy what you're selling.

Edited by Rin

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Shut up, I can handle this. 

Rodham said to the voice inside of him. Outwardly, he showed hurt at Vex’s words. “You make me sound like a useless coward. You mean Kogal? He cheated me, but he tricked you as well. We fought him together, remember?” His voice stayed calm. “Perhaps you’re the one who’s changed. You were a pillar of strength, of hope. Not this paranoid person I see now.” Vex didn’t seem the kind who would be coaxed with soft words. Perhaps a hard slap would be something that would awaken him.

“Look, I never said it was going to be easy. I only said it was possible.” He took out the vial of liquid that he had shown Rin. “I found this in an underground lab in Lyonesse. Someone has managed to produce the antidote, though I don’t know why the place has been abandoned. Fear of discovery? If we can trace the maker, we can get him to produce more.” 

If Vex would agree to finding this scientist, Rodham would delay his capture until they found him. Then he could capture them both. Rin would be pleased.

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"Antidote?" Vex asked as he looked at Rodham. "And you say ypu found this in Lyonesse? Yet you're telling me this now."

Vex sighed. It was true he eas nit a paranoid man. But with the recent reports, he knew the two wouldn't be enough. No knights were nearby to call upon to help. 

"I guess it's a start. I've heard of druids and scientists able to do this. One I know personally holing up in Yral. Name's Jouko. A good friend of mine."

Vex shook his head then as he eyed Rodham in the eyes. If they were to continue, he would have to be honest with the young man. But he felt something was wrong. That he was in danger and he couldn't shake it. 

"I am usually a stronger man. Rin however is a special case. I was romantically involved with her at some point. And I know the darkness in her heart. What Miach truly wanted her to be, a plague upon the lands."

He paused as he lowered his head then. He sighed, showing the growing frustration in his own heart. Vex didn't wish how thimgs went, how he could turn back time from that one defining moment for all involved.

"Rin is a monster. Without the shaman or the temple we have nothing to kill her with. Best bet is we seal her away which started this whole blasted affair. That antidote is a small miracle that won't do a thing. You ask me why I am paranoid. It's because I've seen the destruction she can do. What she did now. I want her dead."

Vex stood then as he tossed the coins on the table. Bearing his soul didn't comfort him, it made him even more angry. He motioned for Rodham to follow as he set out to find his friend Jouko. 

He hoped this antidote would do something more than anger an already angered girl.

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The vial disappeared back into Rodham’s pocket, after Vex had a look. It wouldn’t do for the gazes of those at other tables to fall on it. “I found it after we separated,” Vex said, which was the truth. ”You know someone? That’s good then. If we can find out what exactly is in this, we can reproduce it.”

Rodham listened intently to Vex’s woes. He and Rin were once lovers?  And still he would smite her for what she was? Vex didn’t understand Rin, didn’t understand her potential. He deserved to lose her. But he had to put on a sympathetic front for Rin to continue trusting him.

“I’m sorry. It must be hard, having to put away someone you loved.” Rodham said. “Let’s get this antidote duplicated, save some people and ask them to work with us, and get this whole thing over with.” He stepped out of the tavern after Vex, and raised his head to the skies. The dark clouds that perpetually covered Athentha now churned and folded into each other. A beautiful sight in his eyes. “This land will see better days ahead,” he commented, then climbed into the carriage that Vex had gotten on.

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The carriage road to where Jouko's cottage was. Vex was still wary of Rodan. His answers didn't quell the lingering questions that housed his insides. Where did he really go when they separated? And why wouldn't he answer that? How did Rodan actually acquire this vial, without acquiring ire from the Lyonesse? 

The carriage continued down the road as the two sat there.  How the questions formed in the silence. He hated that things progressed to this state. That the heart of Athentha and Lyonesse were dead. Left to be brought into a war unable to be fought. Vex felt something was wrong but he couldn't bring it up. And Rin at the head of this bothered him immensly. 

"I don't understand how you acquired that without being attacked by the people of Lyonesse. They have become wilder and restless because of incoming war. Maybe because you are a foreigner. But I just don't understand. Nor, I don't know what you're hiding either."

Vex sighed as he sat there. The carriage turning onto a lonely dirt road. The rain fell harder as he looked at Rodan, as he was suspicious. Was this to drive a wedge between the two? Vex didn't know. 

"You need to tell me if I can truly trust you. That you aren't tainted by Rin." He said as the carriage reached Jouko's cottage. "I don't want anyone else to be harmed by her."

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