Nightfire: Prologue

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Wing Rider, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    I tried that with another book and failed...although at that time I was really crap at writing, I mean my idea of a battle was bang and pop, and the chapters took up less than a page. I suppose I could publish this, but I haven't finished it yet. :)
    There is a certain chapter (a very very long way off though) where there is the BEST fight - it takes up the entire chapter. But I haven't done that yet.

    Here's the next bit:

    Chapter 6

    The three of them were anxious to leave at once, eager to put as much distance between themselves and the dead village of people who stared at them with near-dead eyes that rolled sideways mechanically and who looked like they deserved to be completely dead. Seretia did not enter Little Chilting again, the images of her brother and her mother frozen in her mind, two more ghosts in an island of horrible death. She did not need anything at all except for her mirror and the clothes that she had worn for the past few days or so. She didn't really like having to wear the same clothes, and much preferred the clean, well-washed emerald robes that she had used back in the Temple of Lorission, but it couldn't be helped.
    Malgeron Steelmaster and the knight Vyrell were also ready to go very quickly, after salvaging a few provisions from the village that would sustain them over the next few days. It wasn't as if the townspeople would need the food anymore, anyway.
    Seretia had never ventured outside the walls (or what passed for walls in this poorly-built farming village) of Little Chilting except for the one time when she had ventured forth to become a convert to Lorission, so she had not the faintest idea of what lay without. However, Malgeron and Vyrell had been to Kurokh before, and they assured her that it was only a few days' travel on the road. There was nothing to be afraid of, they told her. There was no less danger outside than they had encountered inside.
    The three of them - Elven elementalist, Lorekki warrior and human knight, an odd company - set out across the dusty road to the vague west, trudging along the worn path as the great trees of the forest on either side passed them by. For a while, nobody talked at all, their minds focused completely on the journey ahead of them. The time passed quickly, the trees seemed to grow taller and fiercer, and the forest seemed to swallow them up, although that was in itself an illusion, a deception of the mind. A few hours passed, and they continued through the forest that rose up around them, stopping here and then for a bite to eat, and to rest their aching muscles.
    "Not more than a few days, girl," Malgeron said curtly as they continued through the dense forest along the clean path that cut through the bushes and trees. "In five minutes or so we'll even be out of this forest. I know I like trees, but even the bravest man alive feels some suspicion when these kind of trees tower high, high above you and threaten to crush you like a bug. I don't know about you, but this forest is getting pretty overcrowded.
    Vyrell grunted his agreement. "I hate trees."
    The Lorekki grinned. "That more or less sums it up for you, doesn't it? Vyrell doesn't like trees."
    "I hate them," the knight confirmed irritably. "I want to chop down the trees and burn them all."
    "We do chop down trees," Seretia said calmly, her face lowered within the bright sun of her hair. "We chop them down and make them into wood."
    "Do you burn them?"
    Seretia was slightly taken aback. She hadn't ever met a man of such a destructive kind of mind before. "We burn the wood," she admitted.
    "Good," said Vyrell coldly. "I hope you burn the whole accursed forest down."
    Malgeron sighed. "Vyrell, you're frightening the girl. Try not to speak like that, will you? If you really hate that forest so much, I'll talk to Agrilos when we get to Kurokh, and we'll see what we can do."
    "Burn it all," the knight continued in a calm icy tone, not taking the hint. "Burn it all to ashes, and then I will jump on the remains and grind them into the ground, even when they are gone, I will curse all the bones of the - "
    "Oh, shut up, will you? You're giving me a headache."
    The path came to a steep slope that took them out of the forest altogether and back onto the main road, surrounded by beautiful grasslands that spread out for miles. Seretia was understandably awed by the sight. All around her on each side of the road on which they were travelling, trees and grasslands curved away across the ground for what seemed forever. It seemed so peaceful - and so perfect. Seretia watched the grasslands pass before her as she walked on with her companions, thinking as she did so what would happen if the creatures that had ravaged her village came to this beautiful glade of peace, as they would come to everywhere. Agrilos would confirm it.
    It was well into the afternoon by now, and there several other travellers on the road, most of them coming the other way. A party of five Dwarven men passed by; and Elven couple sat by the road, laughing and joking with each other; a rich-looking merchant came by at one point riding in a large cart and sold several valuable pieces of weaponry to a group of young Elven boys that looked like they had been spoilt rotten by their parents. In short, life seemed to carry on as normal. Seretia watched the sight and liked what she saw. Would it all be destroyed? she wondered. Would everything end up like her village?
    She noticed something else, too: Malgeron Steelmaster had once again pulled his hood back on, changed his skin colour back, and immediately reverted back to the form Seretia knew him best as - the seemingly harmless storyteller in the inn of Little Chilting that had a very loud voice. He had changed back since they had left the forest, and it puzzled her.
    The Lorekki noticed her surprise and hastened to explain. "Our race are not trusted, Seretia," he said sadly. "We haven proven ourselves again and again, but we are always a little bit ahead of every other race, and so no other race ever seeks to do business with a Lorekki. People avoid us and turn away - Dwarves, Elves, Drakelings, all of them, even humans. It has always been like this. If anyone sees me as they pass by, a Lorekki, then they will spurn me and fall back. Respect they have, but friendliness, loyalty and trust they have not. Thus I must maintain my disguise so that none may recognise me for what I am."
    Seretia recognised the kind of prejudice the Lorekki had to live with and was saddened by it. She had thought herself of the same kind of thing - her, a Elf among Dwarves! - but now she realised that there were no similarities whatsoever. Malgeron Steelmaster was someone different that would be never accepted anywhere except in the country of his own race.
    They continued walking for a few miles without stopping. The number of travellers had greatly diminished, and the sunlight brightening the sky was beginning to fade. The three of them walked until they found themselves completely alone on the dusty road, the grasslands stretching on each side, and no travellers on side.
    Suddenly, Malgeron came to an abrupt halt. Vyrell, who was behind him, almost collided into the Lorekki, who glared at him with irritation and pointed into the bushes ahead on the road.
    "There," he whispered.
    Seretia stared in the direction of the finger, and saw nothing. Apparently Vyrell had the same difficulty, for he was about to protest before Malgeron gestured wildly again and stepped back, almost landing on the knight's foot in the process.
    Then, out of the dim twilight, stepped a man. He was slightly shorter than Vyrell and around the same height as Seretia. His eyes were wild and bulging and several bruises and cuts around his face suggested that he had had something of a bad day in the recent past. His clothes were torn and savaged, and he had trouble staying on his feet. However, something in the way he was walking towards them suggested that he might stay on his feet for a much longer time.
    There was a black object of some kind clutched in his right hand, a small hand-held device that was L-shaped but sharp around some of the edges. Out of the tip of the object protruded a cylinder of some kind that was directed in Malgeron's direction, but only vaguely. One of the man's fingers was wrapped around a curved attachment to the black object which was thin and sharp.
    His left hand was completely limp, but his right hand hung to the black object as if afraid it might fall off.
    The man stared at them with haunted, bloodshot eyes that might have been showing the signs of delirium. His right hand started to raise the black object a little higher, clenching tighter around the device.
    "Stop," said Malgeron sharply. "Let go."
    The object lowered for a split second.
    "Remember me? Can you see me? Malgeron Steelmaster. Do you know me?"
    The tormented man hesitated, and then the last of his resistance gave away. His right arm fell away, the device tumbled to the ground, and he started to collapse. Vyrell stepped forward just in time to catch him before he fell.
    Although he was obviously in a lot of pain and misery, the man seemed very strong of will indeed. He remained completely conscious and completely calm as the three of them fed him, forced a healthy measure of water down his throat, and cleansed his wounds. Seretia looked down at him sympathetically, instilling a sense of peace into his mind with her magic. The man's wounds were only superficial, and they were not the source of the pain. He had not very much sleep, and he looked exhausted. Something in his eyes, however, suggested that it was something much more, which puzzled Seretia. Shock, perhaps?
    The man seemed to drift off to sleep after a time, his chest rising and falling as Seretia's did its work and relieved him of his pain and shock that he had suffered. As Malgeron drew near, however, the man's eyes sprang open and he suddenly sat up bolt upright as if struck by lightning. He was looking deeply at the Lorekki with respect.
    "Thank you, Malgeron Steelmaster," he said quietly. "I have been looking for you."
    The Lorekki raised an eyebrow. "Have you really? I don't believe you."
    The man chuckled, although still in a small amount of pain. "No, actually I haven't. But I thought I'd catch your attention. In any case, I am very glad to have found you and Vyrell like this." He glanced towards Seretia, but then turned his head away, as if considering her of no importance. Then he looked back at her again, a trifle suspicious.
    "Elven magic, I gather?"
    Seretia was unable to do anything else except nod.
    The man ruffled his brown hair, smoothing it over. "Nothing but Elven magic could bring me back to my senses like that. But perhaps I should tell you what I have seen." He bent closer to them, his eyes still wild and bloodshot, although not so much as before. "A red cloud of evil has descended on the villages. The peasants are all being turned over - made so that they are worse than dead. It happened. I saw it all happen. It petrified me such that I lost my wits about me and fled, running for days without sleep." His eyes were wider now, the fear evident. "You cannot believe the horror I saw!"
    Malgeron cleared his throat and tried not to smile. "I hate to interrupt your monologue, friend," he said gently, "but we all already know that."
    The wild-eyed man stopped, his mouth opening and closing slowly whilst he struggled to find the right words. When he did find the right words, they were slightly less dramatic.
     
  2. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    "The same thing happened to your village?" he demanded in disbelief. "The red cloud came down and the peasants all started being more dead than alive, but now quite dead?" The empty silence confirmed his fears. "So it is true. You've seen those creatures, have you?"
    Creatures? Seretia remembered the kind of shock and horror she had seen in the poor man's eyes when they had found them. What he had seen, exactly? Whatever it was, she decided it was something that she didn't ever want to see in a million lifetimes.
    Vyrell was shaking his head slowly. "We saw no creatures," he said in his deep voice. "We assumed there were some. The red cloud came down, we hid and - "
    "You didn't see it!" The man was hysterical now. "You didn't see what came out of the cloud! Thank the stars you didn't, thank the stars you didn't see what I saw - creatures from the darkest realms of Hell! Claws, muscles and bone, tails, teeth, all clinging to the villagefolk, sucking out the life out of each and every one of them!"
    Seretia felt a cold shiver travel up her spine as he said that.
    "Yes, Elven girl!" The man's eyes spun to face her, fixing his gaze steady. "They suck the life out of you, leaving you for death! But death does not come, does it? No, death does not come, because life is still present - enough life to repel the stench of raw black death and keep the body alive, although death has most certainly claimed the brain!"
    Malgeron had had enough of this. "Calm yourself, will you, Kilgun? The poor girl's already seen her home reduced to her lowest opinion of life, she can do without another - "
    A sudden jolt of recognition shot through Seretia that almost paralysed her. "What?" she demanded. "What did you call him?"
    The Lorekki straightened. "I didn't say - "
    "You did! You called that many Kilgun! You know who he is!" She backed away from the three men who stared in amazement at her. "I want the truth now, Malgeron Steelmaster! Who is this man?"
    The wild-eyed man stared at her calmly, although his eyes still betrayed what he felt inside. Then he gave a great sigh and stood up, on his feet once more, much stronger than he seemed to be, kept alive by some inner strength.
    "My name, Elven girl, is Kilgun," he said simply. "But you would know me better as - " he picked up the black object that lay next to him " - the wielder of perhaps the most deadliest weapon known to man. That is what I am."
    The elementalist stared at him, still not understanding, but gradually being nudged towards what the truth was.
    "Yes, girl," the man smiled, seeming much bigger now. "I am the one they call One-Shot Kilgun."

    It was still several hours to dawn, and the four companions seemed prepared to make the most of it. Seretia herself felt awed in the presence of the man she had heard to be a legendary hero. One-Shot Kilgun - the same man that Malgeron and Vyrell had told stories about - shouted stories about - down in the inn the day before she had left to go forth to the Temple.
    "It's something of a hobby," Kilgun mused as the rest of them sat in a circle around the burning campfire they had created from a pile of wood that Vyrell had taken great satisfaction in burning. "Malgeron here likes making a living as a very unique storyteller, but he doesn't have a very big imagination. Just about every story he makes is based upon an ancient hero that destroys an ancient evil with an ancient weapon."
    "Kilgun," the big Lorekki growled, "your popularity isn't growing in this area."
    The man grinned. "Well, it's true, isn't it? But anyway, Malgeron and Vyrell know they can't go around telling the same stories over and over again, so they use different names, vary the story a bit by adding a princess here, a castle there, and so on. I was happy to let them use my name." He seemed genuinely pleased about that. "Tell me, Elven girl, what kind of things do they say about me?"
    "My name is Seretia," the elementalist told him. "The story I've heard about you is that you have a powerful weapon that can destroy any evil creature in a single shot, and that there was a terrible war where you fought the master of evil in mortal combat - "
    There was a huge roar of laughter from all three men, a sound which shook the very trees around them.
    " - and that you remained one of the most memorable heroes of the century," Seretia finished.
    Kilgun had collapsed in helpless laughter, his blue eyes full of humour and amusement, clutching at his stomach to try and get his breathing back to normal. When he finally managed to stop laughing, the trace of a grin remained on his face. All signs of his ordeal from just a few hours ago had vanished completely.
    Malgeron looked slightly sheepish at Seretia's account of his storytelling, and he was quick to change the mood of the company. As the fire crackled and threw great sparks into the air, the great Lorekki warrior drew his friend close and told Kilgun about Agrilos' instructions to travel to the village of Kurokh, where it would be completely safe, at least for the moment. Kilgun listened to him for a while, a frown forming on his face.
    "I don't like it. I don't like running away. I know I've been running away from an unknown enemy for the past few days or so, but that was when I was driven by a fear that had taken hold of me, a madness possessed beyond all reason. I was so absolutely terrified by those - those - those things that I almost dropped this." He patted the black device held in his right hand. "And that would have been undeniably foolish."
    Seretia glanced at the seemingly harmless object, so small that it could fit in her hand, only the size of a slice of bread. "Is that thing really so dangerous?" she inquired doubtfully.
    "It can kill you twice before you can blink. All I have to do is make one movement, just a flick of movement; it reacts, and you die. It is deadly, Seretia. I should know, because I designed it." He turned back to the Lorekki. "I still don't like having to flee like this, especially now that I've got my strength back, but I saw what those things did. You didn't, although you saw what was left." Kilgun placed the black device back inside his belt and looked deeply at each and every one of them. "Believe me, you do not want to meet them."
    "I believe that, Kilgun," grunted Malgeron. "I take it you'll be coming with us to Kurokh?"
    "Yes, I suppose so. I would really like to hunt the bastards down, however."
    "Maybe we can do that afterwards," Vyrell said acidly from somewhere behind the fire. "Once we get to Kurokh, Agrilos will talk to us about history and other funny things, and then say we can all kill the bastards. And then I will talk to him personally about burning the forests down. I hate trees. I also hate those creatures, whatever they are. I wish slow death on all of them, and on all of the trees. Death to all trees."
    "Shut up, Vyrell."

    When Seretia woke up the very next day, the sun was blazing down on her face rather unpleasantly and forced her to turn over to her side to find some shade. The campfire had long burned itself out, and the familiar smell of woodlife was in the air. Somewhere in front of her the armoured figure of Vyrell slept. Seretia stared at him in disbelief. He sleeps in his armour, she realised. In full armour. Is it that dangerous? This is only the side of the road, after all.
    "Awake, girl?" called out Kilgun, appearing out of a clump of bushes with Malgeron, the latter in full battle-dress. One-Shot Kilgun seemed to have fully recovered, thanks to the influence of her magic. He seemed more at ease, his tone friendlier and more controlled, and the wild look in his eyes had faded almost completely. Apart from the few minor cuts and bruises that covered his face, he seemed unhurt. "It's time to be going."
    "Now?" Seretia was surprised. "It’s a bit early for that, isn't it?"
    Malgeron grinned, revealing all of his teeth. "It's the middle of the day, Seretia. We've wasted enough time sleeping. Then again, we wasted enough time talking half the night. I must have fallen asleep whilst I was talking, I expect." He reached down with one powerful limb and raised the sleeping knight off the ground by his throat. "Wake up, you lazy piece of metal!"
    Vyrell slowly removed the arm that held him by the throat, got to his feet, and glared at the Lorekki disdainfully. "I am awake, purple-flesh. How are you supposed to know whether I'm asleep or not?"
    "I could hear your snoring from over here, friend, and I'm prepared to wager that half the next city could as well. Now are you going to get up, are do I have to knock a few inches of metal into you?"
    Once the four of them were all ready to go, they set off down the same road once again at a fairly brisk pace. The road followed completely straight for the next several hours or so, turning here and there where the original builders of the road had decided to put some variation, but apart from that it turned out to one of the most boring journeys that Seretia had ever taken - and she hadn't taken very many in her life.
    She passed the time by counting the number of travellers she saw on the road, but even this number began to dwindle as dusk approached. Malgeron attempted to lighten the tension by describing a hundred and one different ways to kill someone with a sword, which only made it worse. Kilgun stayed silent for most of the entire journey, preoccupied with his own thoughts, although he still remained slightly cheerful. The memory of what he had seen happen when the red cloud had descended on his own village was still too recent for him not to forget it. Vyrell, however, explained in short, simple words of how he would like to destroy a tree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  3. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    It came as a great relief when they did stop - not because they were tired, but because they were sick of walking and passing the time with nonsensical chatter. They did not stop because it was getting dark, and they did not stop because any of them were tired. None of them were tired, after all, and they had only walked for a few hours, so it was only half-way into the afternoon.
    They had stopped because there was a fallen tree blocking the way forward.
    Malgeron, who had been leading, whirled around on one foot and almost knocked Vyrell flying. "What do you think?" he asked, gesturing towards the blockade.
    "A trap," said Kilgun immediately. "Someone seeks to ambush us when we reach that log."
    Vyrell shook his head in disagreement. "I don't see anyone out there."
    "You're not supposed to, you clot," the Lorekki snapped irritably. "The whole point of ambushing someone is that you are unexpected. If you are seen before you ambush someone, that makes the whole point of ambush a pretty weak one, don't you think?"
    "I don't understand," Seretia admitted. She hadn't been into the outside world for very long, after all. "Are we going to have to fight?"
    Kilgun nodded with a quick grin. "It brightens up our gloomy little day, don't you think?" He looked towards the other two. "Well, my friends, why don't we wait to be ambushed? Let's go and meet them. I don't know about you, but I'm positively itching for a fight."
    "Kilgun, Malgeron and I actually have to swing a sword to cause some damage," Vyrell argued. "Whereas you only have to fire once and the enemy comes to a complete halt. You could step in there by yourself and win the battle on your own."
    "So?"
    "Enough!" The Lorekki's voice cut through their complaining like steel. "We don't know how many of them there are. Most possibly they are renegades, probably Drakelings or Dwarves, although most Drakelings don't actually come this far south. At most there will be a dozen of them."
    "A dozen?" Seretia repeated. "The three of you against them? Just the three of you? You won't stand a chance!"
    "Never hurts to be optimistic, girl!" Kilgun laughed. He stepped forward briskly towards the blockade in the middle of the road. "Why don't we get started, then?"
    The man walked on alone to the fallen tree all by himself, seemingly harmless. Seretia realised she was holding her breath, expecting something to burst out of the surrounding trees at any second. To her complete astonishment, nothing happened whatsoever. Kilgun walked a couple of metres along the road without any trouble. Seretia exhaled gratefully.
    It wasn't until Kilgun actually reached the log that a red-skinned face covered with sharp spikes appeared from behind the log. The creature was broad-shouldered and muscular, spikes covering its entire body, and a set of claws appeared at the end of its limbs. It's mouth opened, displaying razor-sharp teeth and dark green saliva forming on each and every one of them.
    "Cregula sekh trav'sintruz!" it roared in a halo of sound, a great crossbow lifted in its arms and aimed directly at Kilgun's head.
    Seretia almost missed what happened next. She was aware of Kilgun's hand moving an inch upwards, the black object in his hand flashing once (it hadn't been there before) an explosion of sound that dwarfed that of the creature's bellow, and something slamming into the crossbow that the creature held, tearing past the wood and into the creature's heart. The creature screamed and fell backwards, dead.
    Then there was a silence, which lasted for about two and a half seconds.
    An animal of scream exploded from the trees all around, and several more of the same creatures burst onto the road, short swords raised in their claws and their spiked faces a mask of rage and madness. They came directly for the lone man standing over their dead companion in their midst. Kilgun looked all around him, one against ten or more, and stood his ground.
    Then the black weapon in his hand was firing rapidly once more, slaughtering more of the monsters before they even came close. Their cries of pain and death echoed through the trees, filling the air around them. Kilgun rotated on the spot, firing shots everywhere, standing unharmed.
    "Shouldn't you help him?" Seretia whispered to Malgeron urgently.
    "Help him?" The Lorekki's voice was filled with contempt. "He can cope by himself."
    He was right. The spiked creatures were dying everywhere from fatal wounds if not killed outright, trying to reach the man who stood untouched in the middle of the road but were unable to do so. Seretia watched in amazement.
    And then the odds changed, because more of the same creatures burst out of the trees as their dying companions fell, far too many, almost twice as much. Kilgun's eyes shifted uncertainly for a few moments, as if weighing the chances. Then his hand came up, firing shots that obliterated the monsters around him.
    A dozen more took their place and rushed at him, so close he could feel their rage and hatred steaming off them. Steel and claws reached out for him.
    "All right, Vyrell," Malgeron said quickly, standing up, "we've seen enough. Now we'll help him."
    He drew his two swords at once, howled a Lorekki battle-cry of some kind that was lost in the din, and threw himself into the fray, cutting and slashing, more of the spiked fiends dying in his path. The armoured knight followed after him, wielding a two-handed longsword that ripped through the heart of several more of his enemies.
    Seretia approached cautiously from a distance.
    There were less than six of the creatures remaining alive, but their morale and hatred had not yet diminished for some reason, and they ran directly at the three fighters that dared to defy them. The first one rushed at Kilgun and managed about half a metre before a loud shot rang out and his head exploded. The second one hit Kilgun directly in the stomach, bowling him over, and raised its sword above his head, the steel catching the glare of the sun. As it was doing so, it received a shot that shattered its weapon and tore through its chest, ending its life.
    Two more screamed with fury and charged at Malgeron, one of them dying almost immediately, cut in half by the Lorekki's two swords. The second received a sword blade through its back by the knight Vyrell, and its sword fell to the ground. It slashed at the knight with its claws, which were deflected off harmlessly by the powerful armour, and Malgeron swiftly stepped over to bury both of his swords in its neck.
    The last two creatures took everyone by surprise by charging directly at Seretia.
    She didn't have a weapon of any kind, and wouldn't know how to use one in any case, so she took the logical course of action and ducked. A sword flew from one of the creature's hands, whizzed over her head and shattered against a clump of rocks. Seretia brought her hands up and projected a bolt of magical fire from them into her two adversaries. One of them screamed and was incinerated in a single second. The other came through the burning flames, its sword aimed for her throat.
    As she tried to escape, the creature stopped and shuddered, its sword dropping from nerveless fingers as Vyrell's longsword entered its ribs and one of Kilgun's shots went through the back of its neck. It crumpled and hit the ground with an audible thump.
    Seretia shakily got to her feet, still frightened. "What were they?" she stammered, still overcome with fear at feeling death so close to her, even now. "Were those the things that took my village?"
    Malgeron laughed long and loud. "Ha! Those? Chaogri, that's all. I've fought them before." Seeing her puzzlement, he added, "Highwaymen, Seretia. Nothing more, nothing less."
    He stepped aside to let Kilgun crawl over to his side. The man had sustained a few cuts from narrow misses and where the claws of the Chaogri had brushed against him, but they were only superficial. Malgeron and Vyrell didn't even have a single scratch.
    "What is that weapon you've got?" Seretia asked him curiously.
    Kilgun grinned. "Death, Elven girl. Death and destruction and much more." He looked around impatiently. "Well, are we going to be getting on towards Kurokh or not? I for one would like to see Agrilos again. Come on, Seretia - and you two as well. We've wasted enough time here."
    Malgeron surveyed the thirty or so bodies of Chaogri that littered the road and the forest around it. Bright blood had spread across the ground in enormous amounts, its stench filling the air. A smile lit his features. "I don't think it was wasted."
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  4. Carline of Crydee

    Carline of Crydee Beyond eternity

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    I entirely read it this time, It's amazing, still.

    "You didn't really think that my face would appear in the mirror, did you?" Brilliant!! :D
     
  5. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    Thanks, I thought that everyone had stopped reading it! :D I'll post the next chapter tomorrow if I can.
     
  6. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    All right. A short one now, but a return to the Xargoreks.

    Chapter 7

    On the barren lands of the planet Kardria, where thousands upon thousands of monstrous Demonspawn raged across the savaged earth, the mortal Szégar stood on the top of the highest mountain of the entire world underneath him and looked down upon what he had done. He was satisfied. He was not immortal, so he would have to die someday, but for some reason the fact did not bother him in the slightest. The Xargorek considered him valuable enough to want to prolong his life for at least a bit.
    It was a planet on the side of darkness, and being created in such a place, Szégar did not feel anything at all as he watched Demonspawn devour bits and pieces from the earth as it replenished itself under his presence; fire, teeth, claws, ice and more magic of varied kinds smashing into the ground, into what used to be trees, polluting the air, contaminating it, although that didn't bother anyone in the slightest.
    A mortal from a planet on the side of light would have been horrified at the sight in front of them. However, there was only Szégar here, and his creations. There was no terror, horror or even revulsion experienced because he had not been created with those emotions built into him. It was extremely convenient that way.
    When the Xargorek known to Szégar as Ralzer appeared once again, he was not alone. Ralzer had brought another Xargorek with him, one that was much bigger, stronger, fiercer, more intelligent and much more frightening, although Szégar had never known fear before. He did, however, know what awe was, and he experienced it now as he looked up at the creature that seemed to fill everything around him, its eyes filling the universe and staring with the intensity of a thousand suns, its mouths a mass of dead blackness that seemed to swallow him up altogether, its torso dwarfing that of a hundred galaxies, and the rest of it almost beyond Szégar's comprehension.
    When he had met Ralzer, he had not been aware that it was possible for a being to exist that was more powerful than Ralzer, but he had been wrong. He stared up grimly, realising that he was in the presence of a master.
    "Szégar," the Xargorek said, its voice firing with the force of a thousand comets but somehow with less volume. "Ralzer tells me you have been doing some very good work here. Very good work."
    Szégar nodded, realising that whatever he did here, he must not do anything out of place or out of character, which could be very dangerous indeed. He wisely chose to remain silent.
    "Demonspawn," the Xargorek continued. "Powerful beings. But not good enough, not enough at all. More power is needed. When the light weakens, we will concentrate all of our efforts on breaking through, and when we do, we shall all face a challenge more deadly than anything we have faced before, ever since the dawn of time. We will have to fight.
    "But first, Szégar, you must weaken the light, as Ralzer has told me you have been attempting to do. Have you done so yet?"
    At his side, Ralzer nodded, indicating that it was safe to speak. Szégar gained some confidence from this, and opened his mouth to speak.
    "I have managed to gain a tiny link that passes through the light and into the planet beyond," he said. "A tiny link, so tiny that even I cannot go through. Nor can any of the Demonspawn you see here can gain entry. However, recently I have created a unique kind of creature that was able to pass through the light and gain access to the planet. It is released on there and is doing my bidding. The light is weakening little by little even as we speak."
    The fiery gaze of the huge Xargorek lifted for a few seconds. "We have noticed that. The light is weakening. But this is not enough, Szégar. Small weaknesses are not enough to destroy it. A breach, much wider, is necessary." He seemed to grow, expand as he moved forward, although that seemed technically impossible. "The Xargoreks are satisfied with your work, mortal, but I am not. Do you know who I am?"
    Szégar wondered but did not answer. His response was not dwelled upon.
    "I am Varrakon, elected leader of the Xargorek race. There many of us, Szégar, more than perhaps you can imagine, although Ralzer insists to me that this is not so. You will help us, mortal, and then we will give you what you want."
    "What do I want?" Szégar's voice was a tiny piece of cloth in a thunderstorm, but it was a strong piece of cloth. The Xargorek moved upwards as Ralzer continued to retreat into the dark shadows of deep space.
    "Everyone knows what you want," Varrakon thundered. "You will understand when it is given to you. You will hold it for as long as you live. Do as I command, mortal. Make further use of the powers given to you, and be imaginative. Anything is possible for you, just as anything is possible for us - but not while the light exists. We must break through, but the Xargoreks are immortal." Several hundred of the Xargorek's faces were contorted with barely controlled fury. "We could break through in the past! A single thought, a release, and we could destroy the light forever! But we were careless and inaccurate. We used the bulk of our strength and power to try and destroy the light when we should have been keeping it in reserve. The light stole the power away from us and became more powerful. Fortunately for us, it was too much for it, because it is not eternal. The combined power of us all broke its will and would have completely obliterated it, but the light did not give way somehow. It transformed into the barrier that separates us from everything, from the rest of the universe, from everything. Invisible, but exists nonetheless.
    "And so what are we to do, Szégar? How are we to combat something invisible that we are almost powerless against, something that can strip us of everything? The answer is simple - we do not. The light has one more power left to it, which is to keep us in this prison you see around you. Destroy it, and we are free from ten billion cursed years of cursed imprisonment!"
    He brought a hundred of his fingers around to point directly at the mortal before him. "You have access, Szégar. Use it and the light will be destroyed. The parts of it that are not destroyed will be dealt with by the Xargoreks, for we still have a large share of power remaining to us. The rest, Szégar is for you."
    Varrakon whirled around, eyes of multicoloured fire blazing, until their gaze locked onto the other Xargorek barely visible somewhere behind him. "Ralzer!" he barked. "You shall see to it that Szégar does as I command. He has not experienced pain before, so do not show him. Do whatever is necessary, Ralzer. The Xargorek must be free! I have waited ten billion years, and I can still continue to wait, but not for too long!"
    His mouths split across the galaxies of stars, revealing cruelly pointed teeth, an ocean of giant sharks as big as planets, all floating in space. "Soon shall the Xargoreks take back what has been stolen from them."
     
  7. Carline of Crydee

    Carline of Crydee Beyond eternity

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    Still good.
    I believe this was asked you before, but you said that you tried publishing another book, but it failed..
    But have you thought about publishing this story?? (when finished) Because it's great and you'd already have at least one buyer (me :) )

    You said you asked it to be published, I'm working on a story too, not the one on this site, but another one. Unfortunately it's not English, but how did you ask that? Did you just walked in to a publisher and asked it him? Or asked him to read it, because I have no idea.
     
  8. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    No, I mean I looked up a whole lot of publishers, wrote a letter to them saying I'd written a book, gave an outline, and would they like to look at it. Actually, I don't think any of them even bothered to look at it. The plot was so crap that they wouldn't have it in any case. But that was a rubbish book anyway, cos the whole book lasted only about 100 pages, double spacing. About as long as Nightfire is now! :D
     
  9. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    Probably will try to publish Nightfire when I do finish it. But I'm pretty certain that it will be very, very, very, very loooong...maybe even a saga of several books. :D

    Here's the next one. What I call the BEST so far...and the longest!

    Chapter 8

    Seretia awoke very early the next day, the fresh smell of the tall trees around her filling her head. Malgeron was also awake for some reason, whilst Kilgun lay dozing by the remains of their campfire and the large clump of metal that was Vyrell lay curled up in a deep sleep of some kind. She hadn't meant to wake up so early, but she couldn't really help doing so after falling asleep so early. She shouldn't even have done that - the memory of the Chaogri and her near death by the sword of one of them was still quite recent.
    But somehow she felt safe among these people who travelled with her, warriors all, veterans with years of experience behind them. One of them was a Lorekki warrior, another possessed a weapon more deadly than anything she could have imagined, even her own magic, and another was encased in metal. She shouldn't be worrying, after all. It was safe enough.
    Then again, Seretia reminded herself sharply in her own mind, she had said that in Little Chilting when she had separated herself from her own family. Whatever creatures had ripped the life out of her village had to have been very dangerous - perhaps too powerful for these four warriors to be able to combat. But could they? Could they withstand it? She still didn't know the answer.
    Kilgun rolled over and jerked her out of her thoughts.
    "I've always wanted to speak to Agrilos again," he mused thoughtfully, gazing up at the early morning sunrise. "I haven't seen him for many long years."
    "That's what you said yesterday," Malgeron grinned, leaning on one of his swords lightly. "You won't have to wait long, anyway. By the end of today we'll be in Kurokh."
    The brown-haired man nodded. "Yes. But why not talk to him now?" He shifted slightly to look at Seretia. "We can do that with that your funny little mirror, can't we? No harm in letting him know that we're on our way, and that we'll soon be in Kurokh to see just how safe it is. How about it, girl?"
    Seretia shrugged and brought out the tiny hand-held mirror inside her robes, its surface clouded by mist.
    "Wait a moment, first," Malgeron intervened quickly. He stepped past them and towards the sleeping Vyrell. "WAKE UP!" he bellowed at the top of his voice, bringing the back of one huge fist to slam into the knight's helmet.
    Vyrell stirred and removed the fist from his head. "There's no need to hit me like that," he growled. "I was awake the whole time, in case you didn't notice."
    "Well, I didn't notice, and neither did you, because you were asleep, you piece of sleepy steel. Pay attention, my friend. We're going to have a little talk with a High Priest."
    "Agrilos?"
    "How many other High Priests do you know? Try and be more alert, Vyrell. Sometimes I think that armour of yours has stopped the blood flow to your brain."
    Seretia carefully placed the delicate mirror on the ground, took a few steps backward, and released a tiny particle of energy into the object like she had done before a couple of days earlier back in Little Chilting. There was a crackling noise, a few pops, the sound of someone cursing under their voice in a loud whisper, and the tall form of the High Priest of Lorission materialised in front of them in the place of the mirror.
    "Yes, what is it?" he snapped. "I hope you haven't forgotten, Seretia, that I told you to use the mirror only when the need to do so is greatest. If you've called me up just to report that you've got a stone in your shoe, then you lot really are pathetic. You wouldn't believe how much energy it's taking to maintain the connection here."
    His eyes scanned their faces rapidly, and in the next second he realised that there their party had increased by one.
    "Kilgun?" he said bleakly, with a warm smile. "Good to see you again. I would like to shake hands with you, but unfortunately my real hands are about a hundred miles away or so."
    "Are you still in the Temple?" Malgeron exclaimed in astonishment. "You're supposed to be meeting us in Kurokh this same day!"
    Agrilos smiled. "You were the one who said I could blow up mountains just by looking at them. Or something along those particular lines. In any case, you got to me just in time, because I was just about to be going." He brought his emerald robes around him, swept sideways by a cool wind that wasn't even visible in his image. "There's been a change of plans," he said seriously, meeting their eyes. "The road ahead is unsafe, says Lorission. You cannot go that way."
    The knight snorted. "Unsafe is not a word in my dictionary, High Priest."
    "No, Vyrell, not many words are. I know what you and Malgeron are like, but what lies on the road ahead is something that you will not be able to deal with by yourselves. I can't discern exactly what it is, only that there are a lot of them, and that they have spikes."
    "Chaogri," Seretia guessed. "We met a few dozen of them yesterday."
    Agrilos stirred uneasily. "It's unusual at this time of year. You shouldn't have to meet more than twenty or so on average. The Chaogri seem to far more active than usual, and that bothers me. And that is why, Malgeron, that I want to you bypass the route and take the longer route across the south-western border and wind up to the north to reach Kurokh that way. Something's not right here, and I don’t know what it is, but I am determined to find out."
    "The same notion appealed to all of us," Kilgun grunted. "Is it really essential to take the long way round? We lose time that way."
    "Kilgun, I just finishing explaining why it was important. I strongly advise all three of you - and you too, Seretia, if you've got much more sense then they have - to do as I ask. Ignore me if you like, but you'll be half-dead if you run into what's lying to the west." Agrilos shook some dust off his robes. "And if you excuse me, I have to leave now for Kurokh. In the meantime, goodbye."
    The image of the High Priest flickered and disappeared, leaving the misty mirror lying on the ground, no other trace betraying his past presence. Seretia bent down to gather up the precious object, and then turned to the others. "I suppose we have to take the long way round, then?" she enquired.
    Malgeron whirled around angrily. "Take the longer route? Just because of a few Chaogri on the way ahead? Absolutely not, Seretia! Vyrell and I would never bypass the chance for more action and opportunity to put our swords through the body of one more Chaogri! Highwaymen will not deter us from our task, will it, Kilgun?"
    "No, I suppose not," his friend said uncertainly, "but they did almost finish me yesterday, and - "
    "Good! We'll set off immediately, then." Malgeron stood up, his huge figure towering over all of them, and the feel of his presence reminded everyone that he was a Lorekki. "The border's coming up soon. We'll be out of Dwarf country and into Drakeling country before you know it! Hell, it's been a while since I last saw a Drakeling. Some of them are the best archers I've ever seen."
    The burned-out campfire was left far behind as the four of them trudged across the western road towards the last stretches of Dwarf country. Seretia looked back from time to time. She felt as if she was leaving a part of herself in the country. True, she had already left her one true home, but the country itself was different - something she would never forget, not now, not soon, not ever.
    She wondered if Malgeron had made a mistake in ignoring Agrilos' advice. The High Priest had been very explicit about it - they were to take the other route, longer but safer. She also wondered if anyone alive could stop Malgeron from making a decision if he was completely bent on doing it.
    They continued to walk along the abandoned dusty road for half an hour more - Kilgun had informed her that they reach the border in less than five minutes afterwards - when the great Lorekki came to an abrupt halt. Predictably, Vyrell managed to keep from colliding into him, and trod on his foot instead.
    "Something's out there," Malgeron said softly.
    Seretia stared across the empty road winding ahead of them, at the dark and forbidding trees on either side of the trail, where anything could lie hidden forever. What lay in those trees beyond even her sight?
    Vyrell and Kilgun stepped forward in front of the Lorekki warrior and the Elven elementalist, weapons drawn and held tightly, steeled in preparation for what would come.
    "Reveal yourself!" the knight shouted into the trees, a small growl at the edge of his voice giving away a small portion of the hatred he had for all trees.
    A second passed.
    Then a cry went up, and dozens of red spiked creatures surged out of the trees, screaming their fury as swords and bows were raised. Chaogri, as they had thought. More and more of the creatures crawled out, edging towards the armoured knight and the seemingly defenceless brown-haired man standing there with the strange black weapon in his hand. Their crazed eyes were alight with greed and hunger, and also something that wasn't immediately discernible.
    Seretia was startled. They numbered over three times as many of the creatures that had tried to ambush them the previous day, enough for a small army. And just highwaymen? Surely not. Over a hundred of the Chaogri were bellowing in their strange language, lurching forward in an effort to stab and kill.
    Kilgun raised the black object in his hand, fired a few times, and almost the entire first line of creatures fell with mortal wounds. The next twenty that charged forward were not so unfortunate. Despite their appearance, they could be very fast when they needed to, and less than a dozen had dropped before the remainder - almost thirty or so - raised their swords high above their head and attacked.
    Then they were confronted by the knight Vyrell chopping through their numbers and slicing them into pieces, untouchable through his thick armour, easily destroying anything that even came close. Still dying, the Chaogri refused to relent and kept coming, five creatures replacing a dying one.
    As Agrilos had warned them, there were far too many. Seretia had realised that almost immediately. Even as she watched, Kilgun and Vyrell began to tire, struggling to keep on fighting. She looked up at the Lorekki beside her and wondered why he wasn't taking part.
    In the instant that that thought came into her head, Malgeron stood up, drawing his two steel swords in one fluid movement and stepped forward.
    "You cannot win!" he roared at Kilgun and Vyrell, who were struggling now to even stand up.
    The knight turned around with some mock surprise on his face and beheaded a Chaogri. "Do you know, I would never have guessed that?"
    "I know you wouldn't, Vyrell! Now listen up, both of you! You're not going to last much longer in there. When I give the word, I'm going to plunge in there and we're all going to make a dash for the border. If I remember correctly, the Chaogri shouldn't follow us."
    "What do you mean, if you remember correctly?" Kilgun shouted, his firing slightly less accurate and blowing a few holes in the chest of another Chaogri. "I would like to hope for something a bit more reassuring than that!"
    "Well, you can't have it, my friend! Get ready for when I say!" Malgeron turned hurriedly to the elementalist by his side. "We're going to have to run, Seretia. I can probably survive being attacked by metal blades on all sides, but I'm not sure you can. How good is your magic, girl? Can you do something to get you past safely? I may have only known you for a few days or so, but you mean something to Agrilos, which is more than enough for anyone."
    Seretia shook her head sadly. "I suppose I can throw a bit of fire…"
    "Excellent, girl. Let's go!"
    The Lorekki smashed through the rear rank of Chaogri like a cannonball, sending several of the creatures flying in all directions, cut and slashed where his swords had caught them. Quickly, Seretia hurried through the clear path he had made and reached him safely, panting from the effort.
    "Get to Kilgun and Vyrell, Seretia," Malgeron told her firmly. "I'll hold the Chaogri back in the meantime. It's never very pleasant to be attacked from the back."
    The Elven girl hesitated for a split second, and then did as he asked. Somewhere ahead of her, the two warriors had heeded the Lorekki's cry and were rushing forward with renewed energy and courage, cutting through any opponents in their way, trying to reach the safety of the border. Seretia followed them, throwing the occasional bolt of magical fire towards a Chaogri here and there. Behind her, Malgeron seemed to have disappeared completely, but there was no time to start looking out for him.
    At last she managed to find her way past the attackers to Kilgun and Vyrell, where they ran ahead, continuously cutting through more and more Chaogri, although the signs of exhaustion were starting to take their toll. In the next second, however, she tripped over a dozen corpses or so and stumbled. Vyrell and Kilgun disappeared from sight, and she struggled to regain her footing.
    The next thing she knew, there were about thirty Chaogri around her in a ring, charging forward all at once. Seretia took a few seconds to curse under her breath, and then went deep inside herself, fuelling one of the many cores of her magic in a jagged bolt of purple lightning. She whirled around with her robes swishing around her as the jagged bolt of lightning surged out of her fingertips and into the ring of Chaogri surrounding her. A huge, terrible scream went up, crackling filled the air, and when the smoke cleared, dozens of the creatures lay completely destroyed beyond recognition.
    She was aware of Malgeron behind her, helping her along, which was just as well, because the spell had used up most of her reserves of energy and she was on the point of collapsing. Ahead of was the dim outline of the border, only seconds away - where safety lay. She could see Vyrell and Kilgun standing on the other side of the border in Drakeling country; they were safe, the Chaogri would not cross the border. Seretia gathered up the last of her strength and propelled herself over the white line of chalk drawn into the ground.
    She shivered as Kilgun caught her on the other side, but a calm peace had come over her. She had made it. She had made it over the border.
    But where was Malgeron?
    With a shock, she realised that all of the attacking Chaogri had retreated and pulled back. All except one - a single Chaogri standing taller than the other, more powerful and fierce than any of its companions. Engraved on the back of its head was the image of a spiked skull.
    "Elite Warrior," Vyrell murmured, recognising the emblem. "Their champion."
    The single Chaogri roared its defiance of everything it didn't like, and raised its sword in both hands. Hungry red fire blazed down the steel of the blade, which Seretia recognised as being magical, although of a different kind of magic that she was familiar with.
    "Azref k'urth mazhe jigve!" it screamed.
    "A challenge," Vyrell translated. "It wishes to fight one of us in single combat."
    "Does it, now?" Kilgun mused thoughtfully. "How about we refuse? We're safely across the border, after all."
    The knight glared at him. "That would be cowardice."
    "Vyrell, cowardice is how I stayed alive. You fight this Elite Warrior if I want, but I have no wish to be dead - "
    A sudden shout stole all of their attention.
    The towering figure of Malgeron Steelmaster appeared as if out of nowhere, his two swords drenched with blood. The Lorekki was cut in a dozen places from near misses, but that was about it. To Seretia he seemed almost immortal. Above all, he was grinning. An armoured giant wielding two bloodstained swords with a great big grin on his face is enough to put anyone off.
    Malgeron stepped forward boldly and shouted two words into the distance. Although she did not understand what they meant, Seretia could feel the words bite into the air like ice. Whatever they were, they had an effect. The single Chaogri with the emblem of Elite Warrior stirred and turned around to face his adversary.
    Then the creature was moving swiftly across the ground, teeth gnashing and crunching, its flaming sword held above its head, light armour covering the bulk of its body, screaming as it did so.
    "Run, Malgeron!" Seretia cried.
    The Lorekki either did not hear her, or he ignored her completely. In the circumstances, the latter was more likely.
    Malgeron Steelmaster stepped to the right just as the Chaogri leaped through the air with a fresh howl, the fire sword slashing the air where the giant Lorekki had stood a split second ago. The Chaogri hit the ground and rolled over for a few seconds, during which Malgeron took the opportunity to bring both swords towards its unprotected head.
    At the last second, the Elite Warrior rolled aside, bringing the flat of its flaming sword upwards. The Lorekki's swords were deflected away from it. Malgeron jumped backwards, whirled the swords around his head, and then used his momentum to stab into the heart of his adversary. The Chaogri had not been expecting this move; it took the blades just below its chest and jerked back screaming, brandishing its deadly fire sword around its head.
    Malgeron stepped back just in time as the Elite Warrior flailed around, barely avoiding decapitation. His twin swords were still imbedded in the body of the Chaogri, slowly ebbing its life away. Seretia watched him from where she lay, in the safety over the border; why didn't he run? He was safe enough now.
    Then the Lorekki came down into a crouch, and one of his legs lashes out in a powerful kick that slammed into the Elite Warrior's sword-arm with crucial timing. Its arm released the flaming sword, which flew away into the distance. Satisfied, Malgeron bent down and pulled his two swords out of his opponent's body.
    The Elite Warrior glared up at him, its eyes full of pure hatred and rage, filled with a promise that it wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of dying quite yet.
    For a few moments, the Malgeron Steelmaster hesitated. Then, still holding his bloodstained swords, he turned his back on what remained of the Chaogri and their leader, and stalked towards the safety of the border. He did not rush, and he did not hurry. He stepped over the border without incident.
    Kilgun and Seretia ran up to him gratefully, just glad to see that he was alive. The Lorekki was barely scratched in most places they could see. Vyrell, however, looked upon his friend as if they had just had a bit of a long walk.
    "You've got to expect a bit of trouble sometimes," Malgeron Steelmaster said, shrugging. "In any case, we are here. Welcome to Drakeling country, my friends."
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006
  10. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    Thus they continued their journey as if nothing had happened, elated at being free of the Chaogri, although Seretia could tell that Vyrell and Kilgun were clearly worn out from their fight to get to the border in one piece. She was tired as well; the energy drained by her spell earlier had not regenerated itself completely. The only one who didn't seem to be exhausted or even panting a bit was Malgeron Steelmaster, although he had expended the most effort to defeat the Elite Warrior and reach safety. Seretia thought about how superhuman he seemed, wondering if there was anything in the world that could stop him.
    In any case, they had managed to leave Dwarf country and enter Drakeling country, although Seretia was unsure whether this was a good thing or not. She didn't like Drakelings much - she never had. They reminded her of swamp lizards, except that they were about three times as big so that they were the height of the average human being. They had scaly green skin, sharp teeth and alert eyes, powerful tails and webbed claws as well as a forked tongue. Seretia also remembered that they had a special ability to spit acid, although she didn't exactly understand how.
    She thought of Agrilos for a time as they trudged down the used road. Wherever he was now, which was probably Kurokh, he couldn't have had a harder time travelling than she had.
    They continued to follow the road well into the afternoon, stopping now and then for a quick bite to eat. Their provisions were almost completely depleted, but that was the general idea, because they were meant to reach their destination by the end of the day anyway. Several travellers went past them through the day, usually being cheerful about travelling, and did not seem to know that they were in any danger. Perhaps Agrilos had been right, Seretia thought to herself. Perhaps the Drakeling villages were completely safe after all. Perhaps they were the only safe places left.
    Malgeron had resumed his disguise under his white hood to conceal his Lorekki features, so there was no strange behaviour towards the four of them underneath the glowing shine of the afternoon sun. Again, Seretia felt sorry for him, a twinge of sadness that he would probably never find a place in the world where he would be accepted. She wished there was something she could do about it.
    She noticed something on the road ahead. She noticed that almost every traveller that went past them was a Drakeling.
    The realisation of that did not make her feel any better. It prodded at her that there weren't any creatures left except Drakelings, because all the Elves, Dwarves and humans had lived and roamed in the country that they had just left - and the one that every traveller was heading towards to. She felt a sudden pang of loneliness tear inside her, despite Vyrell and Kilgun on either side of her.
    Vyrell had managed to come up with a strangely original topic of conversation for them to pass the time with.
    "I hate trees," he said loudly enough to be overheard by a passing group of Drakelings that skittered around to avoid him. "I hope they all wither and die. I'll feel better when we get to Kurokh and where there's less trees. Then I can find Agrilos and the two of us can work on some plans of mine."
    "Intriguing," Malgeron growled darkly. "Tree destruction. The idea of the century."
    "I thought so too," the knight confirmed. "I will climb up the trees with squirrels in them, and I will chase the squirrels out, and I will burn the trees from branch to trunk so that they all become ash, and I will jump on top of the ashes, curse the cursed creatures, spit on them - "
    "Vyrell," said Kilgun seriously, "try and stop foaming at the mouth, will you?"
    " - until they rot, and I will watch them die, burning apart every last shred of wood until there is nothing left, nothing, nothing - "
    "Ah," said Malgeron brightly, "then when that happens you can't do anything more to them, can you? What are you going to do then?"
    Vyrell drew himself up. "I will journey to the next forest and do it again! And again, and again! Wipe out all the forests, kill all the trees! Die, you green plant things!"
    "Oh, shut up, your voice is drilling through my head. Why do you have to pick on trees on all the time? What have they ever done to you?"
    "They existed!"
    "Maybe we're just plain lucky," Kilgun muttered to nobody in particular. "I don't know what would happen if he wasn't so destructive against trees. He might have been destructive against people instead."
    "Evil, evil trees!" Vyrell sang, not seeming to know when to stop. "Death to the evil wood that inhabits the tree, and destruction of the filth that inhabits the branches of the cursed - "
    Malgeron finally snapped. He lifted one arm up and slammed a single fist into the back of his friend's head with a clang. Vyrell ignored the blow and continued to sing gleefully. With a sigh, the Lorekki shifted his blow to the knight's neck and started to throttle him. After about ten seconds, Vyrell decided to stop singing. Satisfied, Malgeron released him and hit him around the head for good measure.
    They decided to keep walking.
    As time passed and evening began to draw to a close, bright lights could be seen not too far ahead. Malgeron confirmed that what they were seeing was indeed the Drakeling village of Kurokh. Seretia couldn't help breathing a sigh of relief. She had had enough of travelling by now, what with fighting for her life against Chaogri everywhere. At least now she knew that she would be able to take a breather when they reached Kurokh eventually. It would all be over.
    Kilgun seemed just as relieved - his skirmishes with the Chaogri over the past few days had not left him unscathed, and he was very eager to put it all behind him. It was more likely, Seretia thought, that what he had experienced at his village had been much worse than what she had seen at Little Chilting. She realised that she had never dared to ask. Had he really seen what had happened? Had he actually seen the creatures, the kind of power that reduce a living person to something that might as well be death?
    It was only about ten minutes later when they first saw the guards. Two soldiers in leather armour approaching them, apparently unarmed. They did not seem to threaten, only to be marching as if their life depended on it. The guards reached the four travellers - and then marched straight past without seeming to notice them. Seretia glanced over her shoulder at them, slightly puzzled, then put it out of her mind.
    In the next second an ear-shattering scream of high intensity slashed the air. It came from directly behind them.
    Before anyone could stop to think, taken by surprise, the scream rapidly transformed into an animal roar unlike anything Seretia had ever heard before in her whole life. The sound grew louder and louder, building into high frequencies that started to become painful.
    They turned around.
    The two guards that had marched past them were no longer there. In their place were two gigantic, nightmarish beasts as big as Malgeron, creatures that Seretia had not even seen in her darkest imaginings. There was nothing human about them at all - they had blackened skin that was scaly and charred, heavily muscled limbs, and crouched on a mass of red tangle of legs that were shrouded with black sores. Four massive arms protruded from their torso - two on each side of their chest - ending in cruelly barbed claws, with twice the usual number of fingers on each one.
    Two other arms did not come out of its body, but came out of its head. Its head, however, was huge, an evil-looking contortion of twisted bones, veins and arteries, two large bulbous eyes set in the forehead. It did not appear to have a nose, any ears, or even a mouth, but in the centre of its face just below its eyes was a red hole. Whatever was inside the hole pulsed wickedly.
    Seretia fell backwards in complete shock, suddenly overcome by a wave of fear that almost paralysed her.
    Beside her, Vyrell took a step backwards, and Malgeron hesitated for a single second. Kilgun, however, did something completely uncharacteristic of himself. His face twisted in fear and recognition, the black object lifted in his hand.
    Then he was firing madly at the creatures, running down the path, away from them, looking as if he had been dropped into his worst nightmare. Several seconds later he had fled down the path completely and out of sight, shouting at the top of his voice.
    Malgeron stared at him incredulously and drew his weapon. Vyrell did so likewise.
    The two hideous abominations came at the Lorekki and the knight, lurching forward like machines, their six muscular limbs clawing at the air insanely. Steel bit into flesh, slicing through and beyond, cutting through bone and drawing blood. Malgeron and Vyrell chopped at their adversaries coldly for a few minutes with their swords, and then sprang free of the deadly claws.
    A roar echoed through the air.
    As the two horrors turned around, all of their wounds and cuts seemed to vanish. Even those limbs that had almost been hacked off began to rise up again, flexing and clawing as if not harmed at all. In the next second, the two creatures rose to their feet once more with a snarl, not a scratch on their bodies.
    The two warriors were not worried about this, but charged a second time, swinging their deadly swords at the creatures, cutting pieces of this and that, blood spurting. They fought with the care and caution of professionals, deflecting the claws easily as they sliced and hacked through skin and bone.
    The same thing happened. The two giant beasts did not seem to be harmed at all. Their wounds healed up like nothing, closing up and sealing almost as quickly as the opened. Seretia watched, open-mouthed - she had never seen anything like this and was ready to bet that Malgeron and Vyrell hadn't either.
    At last it was the big Lorekki who found an opening. Brushing the claws effortlessly aside, his two blades whistled around, one plunging into the yawning hole in the face of his attacker that appeared to be its mouth. The other sliced through its forehead all the way through.
    His adversary growled, the hole in its face widened, and the blade disintegrated into a million pieces. Then the two limbs attached to its black skull wrenched out the sword, the wound healing instantly, and the weapon was also obliterated.
    Malgeron leaped backwards, drawing two more swords from his belt. For the first time since Seretia had met him, he looked uncertain of himself he looked uncertain of his enemy. With a shout, he called Vyrell to him, and the two of them started running down the path where Kilgun had disappeared. Seretia quickly followed, her mind confused and puzzled. This was a battle they couldn't win. She didn't know what kind of creatures they were facing, but they were of something that nothing could stand against, not steel, not any metal, not even…
    Or magic?
    She hesitated. Was it possible that magic had created the beasts? Then wouldn't it make sense for her to try her own attack?
    In mid-flight, she whirled around and delivered a large fireball at medium range that engulfed the head of the first creature. It stopped, snarling its hatred within the roaring flames. Malgeron and Vyrell paused in their stride to see the effect. The intense heat of the white-hot flames flickered for a second.
    Then the pulsing red hole in the centre of its face began to pulse more intensely than before, and the flames around its head were sucked into the hole and extinguished. The monster shook its head for a few moments, then roared into the sky, an inhuman cry of delight and malice that shattered the clouds and the coming twilight.
    Malgeron recovered first, cursed, and ran. Vyrell and Seretia scrambled after him, although the Elven girl was slightly worn out by her casting of the powerful spell - magic which seemed to have no effect whatsoever. The two creatures immediately gave chase. Despite their enormous size, they moved very quickly indeed. The Elven girl, armoured knight and Lorekki warrior fled across the road, the latter striking out at his adversaries whilst he gave ground, swords slashing and having no effect whatsoever except to occasionally cause the swords to be obliterated.
    "We need to get to Kurokh!" Seretia panted, running as fast as she could. "We'll be safe there!"
    "We won't be safe there, girl, not against those things!" Malgeron snapped at her. "We have to outrun them and lose them somehow, but at the speed we're going that's going to be quite impossible."
    He pointed ahead. "But see there. A river, straight ahead. I don't know if they'll continue to follow us or not. Let's chance it, shall we? What else have we got to lose?"
    "I can think of a lot of things we have to lose," Vyrell volunteered, running quickly by their side. "They number several hundred or so."
    "Shut up, you metal stump! Just keep running. Try and make it for the river. I'll try and slow them down!"
    The Lorekki slowed down to engage their pursuers. Vyrell ran on towards the river, not even glancing back. Seretia hesitated, but her desperate need for survival ruled and she ran swiftly onwards to where the deep greenish-blue waters could be seen rolling across the near path.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006
  11. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    She reached the river an instant before the armoured knight did, and plunged into the icy waters. An instant later she realised that she didn't know how to swim very well. However, she did know how to swim badly, and that was something.
    In any case she didn't really need to bother trying to swim. Grabbing at a floating log, she pulled herself above the surface towards the open air, gasping air into her lungs. There was no sign of Vyrell. What had happened to him? she wondered. Wouldn't all that armour drag him down in any case?
    There was a sudden scream.
    Then an inhuman roar split the air around her, and the horrifying form of one of the attacking beasts appeared. It crouched there on the river bank for a few seconds, powerful arms twisting and lurching to and fro, and then a ray of sunlight glanced off metal and into its eyes.
    It howled, turned towards the metal, and the strong point of Vyrell's longsword flew through the air to wedge into the side of its head. The creature shook itself like a dog ridding itself of fleas, and the weapon began to disintegrate, throwing up a halo of sparks. But the knight had already started moving before the sword had reached its mark, scrambling through the water to reach Seretia and pull both of them to the river bank on the other side.
    Unfortunately, they didn't quite make it. The second beast appeared, caught sight of them in an instant, and sprang.
    It hit the water, flailing and splashing about in utter fury, and reached out for Seretia and Vyrell, who were still trying to swim towards the far bank. Somehow the claws missed them, swiping past their faces to whirl around in a complete circle. The creature screamed again, and seemed to disappear underneath the water altogether, but it was still moving, splashing around in its insane rage.
    With a final effort, the Elven girl and the knight reached the safety of the other shore, leaving the creature thrashing around in the river. It didn't really seem to be in any pain, but it certainly looked very angry. One thing was for certain: water affected it in some way.
    Seretia cast her gaze about wildly, searching for Malgeron, who hadn't emerged.
    The second beast, completely unharmed, leaped at them out of thin air and slammed into the thick armour that encased Vyrell, bowling him over. The knight struggled to get to his feet, but the beast was on top of him, claws extended and the yawning red hole in its face beckoning as if threatening to consume him altogether…
    In the next second, something smashed into the creature, knocking it away from Vyrell and towards the riverbank.
    Malgeron lifted his head, barely slowed by his fall, and cannoned into the beast again, which disappeared into the water. The creature gave a tremendous scream of utter hate and fury as it fell beneath the surface, its cries diminishing as the water muffled its sounds and turned them into bubbles.
    "Malgeron, you alright over there?"
    Seretia turned her head to see the tall form of One-Shot Kilgun standing in front of them. As she did so, however, a whirl of stars flashed across her vision, threatening to cripple her. The desperate escape across the river had been a little too much for her. Even as she attempted to stand, as Vyrell tried to help her up, her energy was draining from her rapidly as the effects of sheer exhaustion took its toll. Unwilling to succumb to unconsciousness, not wanting to show any more signs of weakness, she struggled to summon a particle of her magic to help her, to give her strength.
    Her poor effort failed, and her knees gave way before her as she tumbled towards the ground. In her fading vision, she was only slightly aware of Vyrell catching her swiftly, and then she blacked out completely.
     
  12. Carline of Crydee

    Carline of Crydee Beyond eternity

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    It took me a while to read it, due to the fact that it's too hot and my mum won't let me on the pc for more than 5 minutes. Sorry it took so long.
    It's still great, keep writing,
    thanks for the information btw
     
  13. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    Just got around to reading it. Great job!
     
  14. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    Hey, I've been away a week, but now I'm back with the next chapter, which gets better. Thanks for reading my stuff in the meantime.


    Chapter 9


    She floated as if in a dream, grasping at nothingness that seemed to evade her no matter how intense her desperation was. There was blackness all about her; she couldn't see. She seemed to be a thing of no substance at all, clawing at lifelines when she had nothing with which to reach out for, no limbs, no eyes, no body, no…
    There was a light.
    A pale green light shattering the darkness around her, giving her back her sight, letting her open what she knew to be her eyes. She remained paralysed to the spot, pain approaching her on all sides, but now she could see, through a red mist, a familiar face, the source of the green light, dressed in robes of green themselves…
    Seretia.
    She tried to keep her eyes open, even as the pain enveloped her and the blackness started to return in an enormous tidal wave.
    Seretia, can you hear me?
    Her sight failed completely, and the blackness was all about her once again, closing off everything. But now she could hear voices. Tiny insensitive voices, trying to penetrate the cloud of pain that obscured her, voices that she recognised, voices that she heard very recently…
    What's happened to her, Agrilos? Why won't she wake?
    Her magic, Malgeron, she has been weakened…that and a second factor that has not been foreseen…something more is required…
    She helped us. She must awake.
    The decision is not yours to make, Vyrell.
    I thought she was just exhausted. What really happened?
    I just told you, you clot. Let her rest.
    Yes, let her rest. Seretia, can you hear me? Can…you…hear…hear…hear…

    Even the voices were fading now. She felt her energy waning in huge amounts, her body being drained in such a way that what was left of her weakened mind protested strongly against it. What was happening? Why couldn't she stop it? Could her magic help? But somehow she knew the magic would be of little consolation, when she could not even move to invoke it.
    hear…hear…hear…hear…
    Then something changed. The green light came back into focus, the darkness receded, and she felt her energy come back - very slowly, but filling her with strength. She was no longer paralysed. She could move. Yes, she could move, but why could she not see?
    The voices returned again, vague. This time, however, they were much clearer.
    Where did you find her, Malgeron?
    Who are you? Why should I tell you?
    I know this girl, Seretia. I know her.
    I don't know who you are. Stay away from her. She needs to rest.
    Seretia, I am here. You can hear me. You probably thought I was dead. you thought everyone was dead when they took away all the villagers. But I survived.
    You stupid man, stop talking nonsense.
    Agrilos, you know me. Tell the Lorekki who I am!

    Who are you? she wondered. Who could you be?
    Who are you?
    Who do you think I am?
    Help her, Agrilos. She might not wake up.
    It may be beyond my power.
    Why should she die? She just fell over.
    Vyrell, I urge you to shut up before I kill you from sheer irritation.
    I will do my best, Malgeron, but I do not know what it will cost me.
    You don't?
    As a matter of fact, I do…and I don't like it…

    The voices began to fade away yet again, the darkness closing in yet again. She cried out in anguish, reaching out for anything, for a single hope.
    Do you see what she is doing?
    No.
    Somehow, Vyrell, I knew you would say that.
    Help her now! Now!

    "NOW!"
    The last word that shattered the darkness was a sharp voice that let open the light in a single instant. Seretia cried out again in amazement, her sight returning, her strength and magic returned to her and most of all: she was back in reality, she was back in her own body, there were faces all about her, faces that were familiar and made her want to cry with happiness.
    "Agrilos?" she murmured weakly.
    "Yes, Seretia," the robed figure of the High Priest smiled. His face was weary and tired somehow. "For a while there, we all thought we'd lost you."
    "So did I," she said softly, the memory of it almost causing her to collapse again. "So did I…"
    Her sight was started to turn blurred and hazy yet again, and she put a hand to her forehead to steady herself even as stars flashed and dizziness began to overcome her. Agrilos noticed and hurried to reassure her. "You'll just be feeling a bit dizzy after that dose of magic I induced," he explained. "It's an unavoidable side-effect."
    She struggled to make out the other faces around her. She counted six faces around her…one was Agrilos; the second wore an armoured helmet and so wore a helmet; the third was not human…who was it?
    "Seretia," said the face, and she recognised Malgeron Steelmaster's voice instantly, filling her with renewed courage and hope, which felt strange. "Good to have you back with us. For the moment, at least…"
    She felt herself beginning to fall again. With one last effort she tried to focus on the other three faces. The fourth face was a human, she could see, but she didn't recognise him; the fourth was a reptilian Drakeling; the fifth was a Dwarf. A Dwarf? she thought in wonder. What was a Dwarf doing in…and why…did…he…seem so familiar…
    Her last shred of energy crumbled, and she hit the floor hard, unable to stop herself. But just before she faded into unconsciousness, she permitted herself one last thought as her head hit the ground:
    Why didn't it hurt?

    When she opened her eyes again, she felt much better indeed, as if she had woken up from an indescribably good dream. There was no more dizziness in her at all now. Invigorated, she felt as if she could do anything, her magic restored completely.
    With some surprise she realised that she was in a stable, and that her head was lying on some hay. That was why it hadn't hurt when she'd blacked out the last time - she had landed on a thick layer of hay.
    She sat up painlessly, brushing aside her blonde hair as she did so. It was such a relief not to feel any pain. A familiar Lorekki was standing by her side, a look of relief passing across his face when he saw that she had woken up.
    "Ah, Seretia, so you've decided not to die after all," he smiled. The two swords were still at his belt. He did not wear the disguise for travelling upon the road, but the clear purple skin and the sharp violet eyes betrayed exactly who he was in this time and place. "We thought you'd not come back at all."
    "How long have I been asleep?" she asked.
    "Half a week or so. Given the circumstances you should have awakened within the hour, due to that fall. It turns out, however," Malgeron's eyes turned hard, "that you used too much energy when you invoked magic against those monsters that were chasing us across the river the other day when we were trying to reach Kurokh, and because of that you should instead awaken within a day."
    "But then," he continued in a low hiss, showing his distaste, "it also turned out that when you used magic against the creatures and they repelled it, they did something to it that I still don't quite understand…something like weakening the caster of the magic. And so that meant you almost didn't wake up at all." He leaned back on his heels and shook his dark hair. "Close shave it was."
    Without moving from where his place by the wall of the stable, he roared at the top of his voice: "VYRELL!"
    There were some muttered curses and some grumbling before the knight's face appeared at the entrance. He was carrying a horse behind him with a tether, which he led into the stables amongst the hay, which had once been bereft of horses completely; Malgeron must have chosen an empty stable to put Seretia in.
    Vyrell tied the horse to the wall unceremoniously and received a kick from one of its hoofs which sent him sprawling. Getting to his feet again, he glared at the horse, made a rude sign at it with metal fingers, and received a kick from the other hoof.
    "Awake, Seretia?" he called as pleasantly as he could, struggling to stand. "I knew you'd make it. We're in Kurokh, in case you haven't heard. We made it, girl." He may have smiled behind his helmet. Turning to the Lorekki, he grunted, "Agrilos is waiting. He's arranged a meeting with everyone - all the Drakelings, all of us, everyone - in the Hall of the Fates."
    "Seretia as well?" Malgeron said incredulously. "This is a bit sudden, isn't it? She's only just woken up. Is this really that important."
    "I already said. Everyone's coming, and that includes Seretia. And me," he muttered darkly under his breath. "That reminds me," he exclaimed, brightening up. "I need to talk to Agrilos about the destruction of the entire population of trees in the continent. And the next continent."
    The Lorekki chose to ignore this. "Where's Galder, is he about?"
    "He's waiting for us. Zerras and Haufkhin are probably already with the others. So is Kilgun."
    Seretia shook her head in confusion. She wasn't entirely sure what any of them were talking about. She had, however, picked up on the last one.
    "Kilgun?" she said out aloud. "One-Shot Kilgun? He's here?"
    "Of course," Malgeron said as a matter-of-fact. "He ran like a coward from those creatures. I've never known him to do anything of the sort. But now I understand. That was the only way he'd stood a chance. If he hadn't run, he'd be dead in seconds." He caught the Elven girl's surprise and grinned, tapping the side of his head. "Strategy, girl! retreat and attack manoeuvres!"
    In the next second, however, his smile disappeared and he stepped forward to lift Seretia off the floor. "Enough of this. Let's see what our venerable High Priest has to say. it won't be anything good, I'll wager."
    They were halfway to the door when the Lorekki stopped for a second, and then spoke again, looking at her strangely.
    "I almost forgot, Seretia. There's a friend of yours here. He claims to be the only sole survivor from your village, Little Chilting. I don't believe him. He claims to know you very well. Why don't you meet him?"
    Seretia's confusion grew. Who could he be talking about? She knew for certain that only she had survived the holocaust at her village. Was it possible that somebody else had survived? Questions buzzing in her head, she followed the Lorekki into the rest of Kurokh, the knight Vyrell following close behind her.

    It had been years since she had ever seen a Drakeling before, the reptilian race that inhabited not only this village, but the entire country all the way east. Then there was only Lorekki country, and beyond - the Outer Sphere, where dark creatures dwelled in places she did not wish to imagine. Drakelings here, however, in Kurokh - there were so many of them! Every creature she could see was a Drakeling. In truth, she didn't know much about them, but this was a good time to find out.
    No, she corrected herself correctly, it was not. This meeting that Agrilos had organised was evidently very important. She wondered what it would entail - the creatures destroying the villages they had seen? That was most likely.
    She noticed for the first time that Kurokh was heavily fortified with huge, thick palisade walls looming around the exterior, and reptilian guards bearing heavy armour and short swords. As if that would stop anything, she thought sadly to herself. A poor defence against the kind of creatures she had seen coming towards them.
    There was hardly anyone on the streets, in any case. The Drakelings who remained were rushing quickly on scaly feet in the same direction as everyone else - to the so-called Hall of the Fates, as Vyrell had called it, to gather for the meeting that Agrilos had called up. It was a time of pain and sorrow, and something had to be done to destroy what was threatening them. Perhaps the High Priest had indeed found a way. It was possible.
     
  15. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    After ten minutes of trudging through the village, with the faces of dozens of Drakelings crowded around them in a mixture of desperation and hope, the three of them came to an enclosed wooden building that was full of several hundred more - a huge crowd of them, all bustling and shouting, trying to push their ways in. Seretia struggled through the wave of people with difficulty. A sharp green tail swished towards her face and she twisted away hurriedly.
    With a sudden shock she realised the abilities of Drakelings to spit acid, and huddled closer to Malgeron and Vyrell, desperate not to lose them in the terrified crowd. They were just ahead of her, helping her through to the entrance. The Drakelings parted easily as the big Lorekki came forward, awed whispers escaping their throats.
    Seretia and Vyrell followed in his wake, reaching the entrance of the wooden building. The two Drakeling guards there stepped aside for Malgeron, and then for Seretia as well, but hesitated when Vyrell came forward.
    "He may not pass," said the guard in a voice of steel.
    The knight raised his head with a clink of metal. "And why not?" he demanded.
    "We don't recognise you. There could be anyone inside that suit of armour. You could be an enemy seeking to gain entrance."
    Malgeron sighed wearily. "This is a knight, my friend. A knight lives in armour. Vyrell here never takes his armour off, and he won't now. Sometimes I think it blocks off the blood flow to his brain."
    "Thank you very much, Malgeron," Vyrell said icily. He turned back to the guards. "Agrilos chose me specifically to bear his message. I demand that you let me in so that we can all hear what he has to say."
    The Drakeling guards were still hesitant, their tails swinging to and fro restlessly. Then Malgeron hissed a warning to them out of the corner of his mouth, and they reluctantly gave way, stepping back to allow the armoured knight passage into the building.
    It was much quieter inside. There were barely a dozen people assembled in what appeared to be one of the smallest rooms that Seretia had come into contact with. She looked around her expectantly at the plain walls and scuffed floor. There was no sign of Agrilos.
    One of the figures looked up, a familiar face with a scarred face and brown hair that Seretia recognised.
    "There you are, Malgeron," said One-Shot Kilgun with satisfaction. "I was wondering when you'd turn up."
    The Lorekki grunted. "Had to wait for Seretia to wake up first. I wasn't sure if she was going to live or not."
    "I thought so." The man's eyes twinkled. "Tell me, Seretia, do you feel alive?"
    "No, not really," she answered. "I never have." Just as she had never been content in her own village, in her own family even, in her own country, in her own mind sometimes. She had wanted to be something that she could never readily identify.
    Kilgun still wore the strange black weapon at his belt, the mysterious object that could deliver death in a single shot. It never seemed to stray far from him. He seemed exactly the same man. But if he noticed her appraisal of him, he kept it to himself. Speaking to Malgeron now, he said, "We've been waiting for you for quite a while now. Agrilos is waiting - where you can't see him, of course. He seems to like it. Galder's here too."
    Seretia was beginning to feel irritated. "Who," she said testily, "is Galder?"
    "Galderos," Vyrell replied with a tight smile behind his helmet, a barely audible clinking of steel. "Perhaps you remember? We mentioned him once."
    Malgeron grinned. "Told a story about him. In the last ever storytelling we ever did in your village, Seretia - that was him. Like I told you before, we tell stories about real people, people we know. Good men."
    Seretia was feeling slightly uneasy about all of this, but at the same time she couldn't help feeling her hopes rise a little higher. The more people they had, the better their chances were. For someone of almost no hope and almost a hundred percent devotion to what she had started over a month ago, she found that strange.
    "There's someone who wants to meet you, girl," said Kilgun suddenly. He lowered his voice a little. "He's been waiting longer than any of us. I'd say he's been waiting longer than Agrilos, because he reached Kurokh before any of us. He was pretty anxious to see you, if you ask me. Claims to know you very well, he says."
    "Who?" she asked impatiently. Malgeron had mentioned this to her only five or ten minutes ago. "Who is he?"
    Kilgun shrugged. "He says you recognise him."
    With that he turned and gave a shout, calling for somebody to come out of the chambers inside. There was the sound of heavy footsteps, the breathing of somebody who was not human, not a Drakeling, not even a Lorekki. The door opened and the person stepped into the hall.
    Seretia's breath caught in her throat.
    A Dwarf she knew, even by his matted beard and hair that was in disarray, although she remembered his friendly brown eyes so well now…that same person who must have survived…but how could he have?...It wasn't possible, was it?
    "Uncle Radrick?" she whispered.
    The Dwarf smiled and took a step forward towards her. She could see that rain and weather had torn into his boots and jacket, but it didn't stop him. "Seretia," he said in a voice full of wonder, as if he could not fully believe that he was actually seeing her.
    "I thought you were gone…" she breathed.
    He uncle nodded. "I survived. I spoke to you whilst you were unconscious, and maybe you heard me, but maybe you didn't. I wasn't in the village. I wasn't anywhere near Little Chilting. Your auntie and Kortis and everyone else…they all perished. I thought you had been taken as well, when I came back and saw…"
    He couldn't finished, seeing the tears welling up in his niece's eyes. With a distinct effort, he turned to Malgeron, a smile on his face. "I cannot thank you enough. It's thanks to you she's alive."
    Seretia was almost crying with happiness, so sure she had been that absolutely everybody had perished at Little Chilting. Uncle Radrick? He had survived, and although had not come to as close to death as she had, he had still survived. Happiness was something of a rarity in this past week. The last time she had been so happy was when she had been serving Lorission…
    She stopped. Her tears froze down her face. The Temple of Lorission. She knew, then, that she should never have left the Temple at all. She should have continued serving the Goddess of Peace, so that she could live in on peace and harmony and not have to see any of the horrors stare at through unblinking eyes as she had seen…
    And then what? It would catch up with you, sooner or later. The creatures that ravaged the villages, all those that lay in ruins, they would have reached the Temple, and what would she do then? She could only run so far, until the fate of her fellow villagers came back to claim her. Seretia wiped away the tears, replacing her sadness by solid determination. There must be something we can do, she vowed silently. There must be something.
    "There must be something we can do," she said out loud, the single thought so powerful that it broke into reality.
    Vyrell shook his head. "There is always something. But it is not always effective."
    "There is definitely something," Kilgun said with a twisted smile. He took a step towards the door that Uncle Radrick had come in. "And the man who brings us the answer awaits within. Come, my friends. Let's see what Agrilos can tell us. Enter the Hall of the Fates."
    He disappeared through the door and was gone.
    Vyrell stared after him, uncomprehending. "You mean," he said slowly, "that we're not actually in the Hall of the Fates?"
    "We're in the hallway," Malgeron snapped. "Get that into your head. The Hall of the Fates lies within."
    As one, the Lorekki warrior, human knight, Elven girl and Dwarf stepped through the doorway and into what can only described as eternity.

    Eternity.
    That was Seretia's first thought.
    There were so many hundreds of creatures, perhaps thousands of them, occupying row upon row of seats that stretched from the ceiling to the floor. The floor itself could not be seen, and the ceiling appeared to be alive with pulsing green stars. The sheer scale and size of the place was enough to create the illusion that the entire world lived inside this shabby, ramshackle building.
    Most of the creatures were Drakelings, a great amount humans, and a great many Elves. There were no Lorekki visible save for Malgeron Steelmaster, and no Dwarves either except for Uncle Radrick. An enormous wave of green faces stared at them from hundreds and hundreds of places, eyes filled with wonder.
    Seretia's next thought was that probably the entire Drakeling population lived inside here. It certainly seemed so, seeing scores of reptilian faces gazing down at them at where they walked. Where did they walk, indeed? Did they walk on the floor? Or was it, like the ceiling, another illusion, another trick of the mind?
    In the centre of the huge mass of people stood the proud figure of one man dressed in emerald robes, a man that Seretia recognised immediately.
    "Agrilos!" she cried out, unable to help herself.
    It was a mistake. Instantly every eye in the hall was upon her. Hundreds of faces turned towards her, their expression indecipherable, but their eyes glowing with the threat that they did not care who she was, but they would always see her for what she was, and would remember her face forever.
    Seretia shrank away from them desperately.
    "Be seated," the High Priest of Lorission said calmly.
    Malgeron looked around quickly and saw nowhere to sit. The eyes of Drakelings glared at them from all directions, and even the Lorekki began to falter under their challenging stares.
    "Here!" a voice hissed to them from somewhere to the right. "Over here!"
    Malgeron turned in the direction of the voice, uncovering about half a dozen seats with a good view. Vyrell hurried after him in the gap that had been opened, followed by Kilgun. Seretia and Uncle Radrick were quick to follow suit.
    "Thanks, Galder," the Lorekki whispered to the man who had spoken out to them. "I was starting to get desperate there."
    The man that Seretia knew to be the mighty warrior Galderos merely nodded in response and gestured that Agrilos was about to speak. Her curiosity still present, the Elven girl tried to catch a glimpse of the war hero but received a pain in the neck for her troubles. Eventually she gave up and turned all her attention to the High Priest in front of them. In front of everyone.
    "Now that we are all here," Agrilos said softly, his voice echoing in the huge hall and reaching the ears of the hundreds of creatures listening, "we can begin. I have called you altogether today so that we may address our plight, determine the cause, and find a solution to it. So that it shall cease. So that it shall end.
    "I have searched for the answers to those three things, but in that I have not been entirely successful, I must confess to you all." Some muttering began to arise in the lower rows, but it soon faded away. Agrilos seemed unperturbed. "Patience. We cannot have everything. I have spoken to the Great Goddess of Peace, Lorission. With her help, I have succeeded in determining what kind of an enemy we face - for the moment at least - as well as where they are from and what they want from us, both of which are more complicated than they seem.
    "The cause, however, the cause of this evil, these monstrous creatures…this continues to elude me. Strange, is it not? I can determine where they have come from, but not how they have come about. Strange indeed.
    "And the solution. Yes, the solution. The usual strategy, I think, is "kill the bastards", isn't it, Malgeron Steelmaster?"
    A rumble of laughter echoed among the hall. Next to Seretia, the Lorekki scowled.
    "Yet," Agrilos continued, "it is not the answer, which is indeed a great pity." The laughter died away. "Again," he sighed, "it is much more complicated than most things.
    "Let me tell you, first, of what we have seen. Villages, all ripped apart by creatures of the like that we have not seen before. But why are the villagers not touched? Oh yes, they certainly seem to have something done to them. They do not see, do not speak, do not feel. They seem to be almost dead. It would have called them the walking dead, but they do not even walk.
    "These creatures, I have determined, come from a specific place. They travel as a horde, in a different form. When not in their real forms, they appear as a single being that can move very fast indeed. And why can it move so fast? Because it flies! Flying through the air, believe it or not, is so much faster that travelling on the ground. But let us not dwell on that. Let me continue.
    "There are survivors among us, my friends. Thanks to those survivors, they have been able to pinpoint exactly what form this one being takes. Their name for it is "Hell's Breath". It is usually seen as an enormous cloud of red, settling down over villages, releasing the creatures within, which enact their horrible work."
     
  16. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    There was frightened murmuring in the Hall of the fates now. Uncle Radrick was cursing under his breath, and Malgeron was shouting something that could not be heard over anyone else. Seretia remembered the last thing she had seen before Little Chilting had been destroyed, before the screams began…a huge red cloud coming down…it was now so clear in her memory.
    "Peace," Agrilos said swiftly, and silence was restored once more. "I have studied these creatures intensely. I believe I have worked out what their purpose is. Neither myself or the Great Goddess can even conceive what could have created them, but the likeliest answer to that question would be a dark magic of something we have never seen before - but nothing like that has ever existed, as far as we know.
    "The creatures are virtually invincible. They regenerate faster than you can wound them, and pain seems not to bother them in the slightest. They can reduce steel to mere scrap, and even magic seems to be of little help, because the caster of the magic will suffer greatly in the process. The only weakness they appear to have, however…" Agrilos turned towards Malgeron himself, but not meeting his gaze completely. "…is water, as some of us have discovered. We do not know why, or even how, but obviously it seems to affect them in some way.
    "Now for the purpose of these creatures." The eyes of the High Priest grew hard. "They do not kill, as their primary function, but they are well within their abilities to do so. What they do - which they have done to countless people in the Dwarf country to the West - concerns the opening in the centre of its face. With the help of the valiant One-Shot Kilgun, we have been able to deduce what happens."
    He drew himself up, steadying his mind, and deliberately keeping his tone devoid of emotion. The general idea was not to sound panicked. "The creatures feed on the souls of other living creatures. They attach themselves to the victim and suck out their soul through the red hole in their head. The body of the victim then becomes wasted and virtually destroyed - still with a mind, however, which is why it is not completely dead, because the brain will keep the body going - but the body will not live with no soul to supply it with sufficient life-force. What happens to the soul afterwards, we do not know - perhaps it is consumed and turned into energy, perhaps, to strengthen the creatures - or perhaps something else, as is my belief."
    There was a dead silence at these words, for a few moments, and then every Drakeling was on their feet, shouting immediately, their faces stricken and terrified. Several dozen of the Elves were also shouting something, as was Kilgun, whose face was hard and might have been carved of stone. Uncle Radrick did not move, and neither did Malgeron Steelmaster. Seretia felt the horror within her mount to an almost intolerable level, and had to fight down an urge to scream. If something like that were to happen to her…she bitterly fought the revulsion aroused in her. It wasn't right. It didn't seem right at all.
    The shouting in the Hall of the Fates rose to a deafening roar, hundreds of creatures shouting in defiance. Agrilos waited patiently for a few minutes, and then raised his hands high, and in a voice of thunder, shouted, "SILENCE!"
    Gradually, the cries abated.
    The High Priest of Lorission waited a moment longer, and then continued, the pain mirrored in his eyes that was present in the eyes of everyone. "As I said, my friends, I cannot determine the cause of these creatures. A suitable name that we have come up with for these creatures is to call them Soulsuckers, for that is exactly what they do is it not? These Soulsuckers, as we call them, are approaching. Malgeron Steelmaster and the knight Vyrell encountered them just inside the border of this country."
    People began to start shouting again, but Agrilos quickly silenced them. "There is more," he said sadly. "We have reason to believe that the Soulsuckers are connected directly to those of the Outer Sphere, the dark creatures of our own world that are not human, not Lorekki, not Elf, not Dwarf, not Drakeling. The two different kinds known outside the Inner Sphere are the Vampires and the Shadowpirates. The Vampires we suspect, but are not certain about.
    "The Shadowpirates, however…they are definitely acting. Scouts report that they are massing an army to march against our lands. As if the Soulsuckers are not enough to handle by themselves, the Shadowpirates now also threaten us.
    "As I believe, the Drakeling armies can stand against the Shadowpirates for a very long time, being skilled in such matters. They do not, however, possess enough power to defeat them. There are far too many of them and far too few of us - "
    Malgeron stood up so suddenly and unexpectedly that Seretia, who was next to him, almost tumbled off her feet. Heads turned as the unavoidable figure of the Lorekki appeared in their midst.
    Agrilos paused. "You have something you wish to say?" he asked.
    "Yes," the Lorekki said bluntly. "We are not alone, Agrilos. The Lorekki armies of Trakset - armies that I can command - will also stand against the Shadowpirates. There are far more of them. We would then be able to push the enemy back."
    The High Priest nodded slowly, even as murmuring began to grow throughout the hall. Malgeron hurriedly sat down, almost knocking over Vyrell in the process.
    "I thank you," Agrilos said curtly. "That would be a wise course of action, indeed. If the Lorekki and Drakeling armies were to unite against the Shadowpirates, we would definitely stand a good chance.
    "But," he continued even as Seretia formed the question in her mind, as she was sure everyone else was doing, "that leaves the Soulsuckers. We could never hope to stand against them, since it is just about impossible to slay one of them, and there are so many of them."
    Seretia held her breath, expecting the High Priest to confess that they had no hope against that particular army, that they must do the best they could. She was caught completely unawares, then, at what he said next:
    "Thankfully, my friends, I believe I have possible solution to the Soulsuckers."
    A cry of astonishment burst up from the Drakelings and Elves, with some of the humans on their feet. There was hope in their eyes, the hope that they had yearned for and that they were desperate to have.
    "Listen," Agrilos urged them. "And listen carefully, for what I have to say is very important. With the insight of the Great Goddess Lorission, I have discovered that there is an ancient weapon that may well serve against the Soulsuckers. It is only legendary, however, so do not hold your breath. But many legends do come true.
    "This weapon is a mighty sword of enormous power, power perhaps not of this world, but of somewhere beyond the stars. The old books call this weapon Nightfire, a sword to be wielded by those who would know to use it correctly and for the right purpose. I believe it could be our weapon against the Soulsuckers."
    This time, when everybody was shouting again, Malgeron did come to his feet, as well as the warrior Galderos next to him, shouting to the High Priest in hope and desperation. Seretia felt herself becoming more desperate than she ever had been.
    "Patience," the High Priest said sharply. "Do not be so hopeful. I am quite sure that Nightfire exists, but as for its actual location, I have no idea."
    One-Shot Kilgun was on his feet, fury in his face, and not even bothering to be polite. "Do you mean," he shouted across the suddenly silent hall, "that there is this legendary weapon, this Nightfire, and you do not even know where it is?"
    Malgeron quickly pulled his friend back into his seat before everybody else was on their feet, a rage of conflicting feelings that Seretia could not quite make out. People were angry, very angry. Some of them were crying tears of fury.
    "Silence!" Agrilos commanded. "All is not lost, I tell you. The solution is simple: we must find Nightfire and wield it against the enemy approaching from the West! And how will we find it? Why, how would you find anything in this world? You look for it? You, Vyrell, how did you find your way into this hall?"
    The knight was slightly taken aback, but mustered enough courage to speak. "I followed Malgeron in," he replied, rather sheepishly.
    "Exactly! If you don't know where to find something, you ask someone who knows where it is. And thankfully, my friends, there are creatures who do know such things. There are creatures who know everything.
    "Creatures not of this world are attacking our lands. We wish to combat them with a powerful weapon, also not of this world. And so, who indeed would know where this weapon is? Creatures not of this world. There are such creatures here, my friends, but they are difficult to find. They come in spirit form, coming here and going there.
    "Once, they lived in the sun, as the Goddess tells me. They were made of light and heat. But somehow they have come into our world, unseen by any of us but Lorission herself. They named themselves after where they were last. They called themselves the Spirits of the Sun.
    "Here is my solution to you, then, countrymen. Here is the solution you have been seeking for so long. Seek out the Spirits of the Sun, and speak to them. Find out from them where the ancient weapon Nightfire is. Then recover Nightfire, and we can defend ourselves against the Soulsuckers!"
    There was discontent in the Hall of the fates, and people were muttering to each other, unhappiness shining in their faces. The High Priest noticed this and moved quickly to quell it.
    "I do not see any other solution, my friends. I did, in fact, state how complicated it all was. Do you accept what I say?"
    The muttering and grumbling gradually died away. The frantic hope, however, was still strong in everybody's hearts.
    The warrior Galderos stood up. Seretia tried to turn her head to study him in further detail, but Malgeron's long dark hair restricted her eyesight.
    "Yes?" Agrilos asked, looking up expectantly.
    "Do you know where these so-called Spirits of the Sun can be found, High Priest?" the warrior said.
    Agrilos smiled. "Oh, yes I do. In a place known as the Forgotten Tomb, where only the brave may walk. In a place in the Outer Sphere, far, far away in the Outer Sphere…"
    With a flash, Seretia understood what he was going to say next, and immediately wished that she didn't.
    "…in the heart of the greatest Shadowpirate city. In the middle of the enemy, where no man has ever ventured before."
     
  17. Borael

    Borael Prophet of Arka

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    Ive only gotten to chapter three but so far it is great, im going to print it of so i can read it on paprer instead fo the computer. I started reading this forum later then most so I have a lot of reading to do!
     
  18. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    WOW! A lot of reading, but it was worth it. Great job! :)
     
  19. Carline of Crydee

    Carline of Crydee Beyond eternity

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    Really good, Wing! Please keep on writing and posting it here :D
     
  20. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    Will do when I've finished the chapter I'm on. I should warn everyone: the chapters are getting longer and longer! They are out of control!!! :D