Okay, just to let you know, this is for a second-rate contest I'm entering for the health of it, and its really not my best work. There were a bunch of random requirements i had to fit, so its definitely not the best I can do. I'm not good with length requirements. I have to turn this in by January 30th, so feel free to point out anything that might be confusing/etc. if you notice a comma out of place and feel the need to mention it... go ahead. ALSO: apologies to Meteorain for using your name without permission... It's not like i'm copyrighting it or anything, hope you don't mind.. If you have any suggestions for title: please =/ The rain fell in a light mist across the small village. And what a small and insignificant village it was. Barely a hundred people lived within it, most having never left their town’s borders. None of them had left the island on which they now lived, in the company of only one or two equally miniscule villages. Here, visitors were a large ordeal, considering they only came about once every few years. Most such visitors were simply explorers lost at sea or trappers in search of some elusive piece of exotic game. So it was no small thing when two Western adventurers arrived at Mordeci, as the village was named, after the Titan of Calamandric Lore, Mordeci Exi. These two adventurers, Meteorain and Dak, as their story went, were of the town Baskerville, upon the Continent of Mi’ir. And as they claimed, they were surveyors sent by the Ulman & McDermit Company, which the uneducated villagers would not have heard of, an actual company or not. Their mission was to journey to the nearby Kalphite Caverns and map out the large network of caves there; as well as search for any ores which might be of value to the Company. But to the citizens of Mordeci, these caverns were taboo, passed down from generation to generation as a home of demons and unholy creatures. This was rooted in truth, as Dak and Meteorain knew. The Saradippian Crevices, as was the traditional name of the caverns, were the holding place of the Stone of Ages. No one, not even Met nor Dak, knew of this stone’s origin. It was a worthless artifact really, to the uneducated adventurer. While under its control, you gain no special powers, no legendary attributes. But the Elixir of Everlife, as known by many names, depended on it. Once crushed into powder and mixed with the blood of the Silver Stag of Artemis and a crushed horn of a Hornbeast, this elixir would grant eternal life when swallowed. The fact that the Stone was in these Caverns, while Met and Dak would likely disagree, was completely speculated. These two rogue treasure-hunters, as they were, had discovered a certain tome, which told of this island and these very same caverns. It told not of the Stone, but of the various folklore behind the caverns. The ‘idols’, as they were believed to be, guarding the caverns closely resembled the creatures guarding the Stag and the Hornbeast, as only Dak and Met knew. Even while they has spoken to the villagers, their packs held a bladder full of Stag’s blood and a vial full of shredded horn. But at the mention of something as unholy as these caverns, many of these villagers went into religious convulsions and most all present screamed aloud. The Medicine Man of the village went as far as to attempt an Exorcism upon them. Even in such a place as this, where visitors were seen as a great blessing, blasphemers and heretics were not welcome. Having outrun the mass of infuriated villagers, they set up their camp in the dense jungle which surrounded the village and started a small fire. “And I was hoping to receive a guide from that village,” Dak commented, clinching a skinned rabbit, dinner, in his hands. Dak was a Wood Elf, his long brown hair flowing down upon his thin chest. He wore a cloak woven of the hairs of Djinn, making it seem weightless and mysterious, while being stronger than the toughest Dwarven armor. Runes carven of bone, diamond, platinum and countless other materials were sewn tightly into the enchanted fabric. Under his robes lay countless tattoos of everything from the Alchemist’s Transmutation Circles and the Avatar’s power words to the Enchanted Kanji of the Eastern Shamans and the Blood Script of the Twilight Elves. All of Dak’s features were sharply defined, almost hawk-like, except for his brilliant blue eyes, which were deeper than the midnight sky. “Aye, coz. It looks like these Summer Islanders take their fables more seriously than I might have guessed,” Meteorain replied, preparing a second rabbit for the fire; his thick, muscular body in stark contrast to Dak’s slender form. Met’s armor, while seemingly not as impressive as Dak’s ethereal garment, was just as, if not more, effective. Interlocking rungs of black Mithril intertwined into a near perfect spectacle of human craftsmanship. At random places in the armor, small dwarven runes, either silver or white at random intervals, had been scratched. Overtop the mail-shirt lay a heavy leather cloak, low upon his neck like a noose, wrinkled and worn from years of wear. A helmet sat at the ground beside him, crafted into the grimace of a wolf- black as pitch. Small dents could be seen in the metal, if one looked close enough; evidence of countless blows by bludgeons and clubs. When worn, only his eyes could be seen, two glowing orbs of a deep slate grey, reminiscent of his ancestry. The pair quickly ate their supper of rabbit and Elderberries with little conversation of the following day. Neither wanted to think too deeply of the morrow. Then, with a few prayers to their respective gods, they fell into the world of sleep, awaking a few short minutes before the dawn, to the sound of Macaws and Howling Apes. Instantaneously and without words, they gathered up their belongings and set off for the caverns which awaited them in the near horizon. They both clenched their weapons, Met his axe and Dak his staff, tightly. While uneasy, they kept level heads as they traveled up the steep grade of gravel into the waiting mouth of the main cavern. The mouth was about ten or fifteen feet wide and once entered, it quickly jutted to the left. From then on, the trail went deeper and deeper underground, getting narrower and narrower as it went. It wasn’t long before they came to a small cavern which forked in two directions. Casting a spell of illumination Dak, along with Meteorain, examined the cave. Surrounding one tunnel entrance, a few markings were found. Around the other, though, was a flurry of colorful hieroglyphs depicting humans being torn apart limb from limb. It was not hard to tell which entrance was the correct one. As they continued onward, they noticed an almost immediate change. The temputure rose well into the hundreds and the air started to glow a pastel orange. “Stay close, Met.” Dak instructed, putting his staff in front of his body, causing his own aura to glow a bit brighter. It wasn’t long before the glowing form of an Ancestral Warrior came into view. An Ancestral Warrior is a mortal warrior that died near an artifact, the Stone of Ages for example. Rather than traveling into the afterlife, these souls are reborn into powerful creatures which are forced to guard the relic in their purgatory. Rather than stop to admire its beauty, Dak shot off a powerful bolt of energy towards the thing’s head, materializing its upper body instantly. “Judging by this thing’s power, we still must be quite a ways from the Stone.” Met deducted, still standing a good deal behind Dak. “That’s a refreshing thought, if I’ve ever heard one.” Dak shot back sarcastically. Meteorain simply smiled as he kept the lookout for another one of the Ancestral Warriors. His wait did not last long, for as they entered another large grotto, about a dozen or so of these glowing creatures came into view. Leaving Dak to his business, Met squared up with one of the warriors through the chalky air and rushed forward to meet the thing’s outlined form. Swinging his axe with perfect timing, he clipped the thing in the ribcage, twirling off from the blow to avoid a nasty cut from the Ancestral Warrior’s pike. Without warning, Met was knocked to the ground from a second creature’s blow. It was a clumsy blow and it simply glanced off his armor, but the force behind it was no minor thing. Now on his back, he rolled to avoid a clubbing from the second being’s maul. Getting upon one knee, Met slid his sword from its holster just in time to skewer the charging warrior. Retrieving the weapon from the frayed torso, Meteorain stood in wait for his original opponent’s attack, axe and sword at the ready. When it didn’t come, Met came to it, finishing it off with an elementary thrust-parry. In the end, Meteorain may have fared well, but nothing compared to Dak. By the time he had slain this final Ancestral Warrior, Dak had already finished off the rest of the room. “You boast! Are you trying to make me look bad?” Dak shook his head. “No! Why, I’m only trying to make myself look good.” Met nodded towards the next curving tunnel, “You first, my gallant Prince.” Dak curtsied as he floated past his comrade into the tunnel, which wound on seemingly for miles. They met countless Ancestral Warriors, slaying them with little or no effort. It was not until they came to a tunnel which was much narrower than any of the others. It was near the middle of this narrow passage that Dak felt the mental energy spike suddenly and then return to normal. He felt this several times before he decided to take action. Enhancing his aura even more, he could now feel a pulsing presence in the next room. A demon. “Met. I want you to stay a safe distance from me.” Met simply nodded in return. He could tell by the tone of his friend’s voice that he was quite serious. It was then that Dak heard a high, screeching noise pierce the air, causing his eardrums to pop, nearly to the point of injury. Pupils widening, Dak created a Forcefield around Meteorain and himself just as a jet of superheated air ripped through the air towards them. Running forward as fast as his legs could carry him, Dak entered the cavern in which the demon was housed. It was a Fire Demon, its skin a deep crimson, dozens of black horns poking from its mask-like face and arms. “Ellllf…” the thing hissed in a shrill, dark voice “Prepare to die…” A ball of red light flew from the demon’s hand towards Dak’s body. Just as it left his hand, the ball splintered into a thousand black thorns, flaming with the fires of Hell. Most of the shards hit Dak’s robe and fell to dust, but more than a few of them were able to tunnel into Dak’s skin, causing intense pain, the thorns turning molten once passing through his flesh. But putting the pain aside, it was his turn to attack. Calling upon the Holy Water upon a flask at his hip, Dak shot off a barrage of water spheres which cut into the demon, burning his unholy flesh to oblivion. Now on his knees, the Fire Demon was finished off with an intense flare of light which flew from Dak’s staff. More than impressed, Meteorain questioned the wizard, “Do you sense the Stone’s presence, now? Is it nearby?” The wizard massaged his temples, deep in thought. “It… it is very near. But I feel something else as well… A much larger energy force than I could imagine…” Meteorain raised an eyebrow but left it at that. He didn’t know whether to be worried or excited. If this truly was the Stone, there almost had to be an über- powerful guardian. Yes, he reckoned this was a good sign. Following Dak’s lead, he entered the next cave, slowly. “THIS IS NO PLACE FOR MORTALS,” boomed a deep, drum-like voice as they entered. The voice had come from some sort of Holy Warrior, identical to the ones which had been present in the hieroglyphs. The massive thing seemed to be made of stone, block-like yet flawless; its arms rippling with perfectly defined muscle; glowing glyphs painted all over its behemoth body. Behind it was the Stone, sitting, weightless, upon a pedestal of diamond and platinum. Before the creature could react, Met ran forward, bringing his sword down upon the things leg. The thing simply cackled. The blow had no effect. Dak started to chant an ancient incantation as the thing lifted its massive fist to wipe Met off the mortal plane. And in a split-second, the Holy remnant did. Met’s bones and flesh snapped and tore under the tremendous force, killing the man in a single blow. Eyes wide, sadness rippling through his body, Dak completed the enchantment. His skin was now stark white, his hair glowing a deep purple. His eyes were tinted slightly, his power now up to the par of this thing. It was time to become an avenger. Seemingly grabbing energy out of thin air, Dak shot a massive orb of purple and orange light straight at the creature’s chest. Feeling his body start to crack, the thing shot off a shockwave of rock and molten metal in the Elf’s direction. As it made impact, the blast ripped apart the skin on Dak’s face, fraying his chest and cloak. Sending off another ball of compressed rock and gravel, the beast watched as Dak fell to the cave floor. Getting up on one knee, Dak shot a blast the diameter of a hair at a crack on the thing’s chest, ripping through its eternal form. Struggling to his feet, Dak muscled off a barrage of at least twelve more discharges and watched as the thing slowly deteriorated and was dragged down into the Abyssal pits of Hell. Falling to his knees, he now looked over to Met, who was currently making the transformation from mortal to Ancestral Warrior. There would be one chance to get this right. Running to the Stone, his life’s goal, he cracked it to a million pieces and watched Met fall to the floor, mortal once more. He now mixed the Stone’s powder with the ingredients in his pack. He now had a choice. Drink the Elixir, his life’s goal and grant himself eternal life, or give it to his now dead friend, therefore reviving him, as was the Elixir’s power. Putting the oaken goblet to his friend’s lips, he watched the life come back to his cheeks.