Jump to content

Photo

Omen of the Blood Moon


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
Spoiler


A sea breeze brought the smell of salt mixed with swamp fumes into the keep’s window. Talon Oomlock turned to sniff the breeze, as he stared out over Caxtla and the quagmire to its West. The orc did not know if the occasional hint of home, of Morak, could be carried all the way across the Noalca straits, but he swore sometimes he could smell burning meat on the wind.

“Talon, are you paying attention?” Sorek prompted, tapping his plate gauntlet against armguard for effect.

Oomlock grunted in affirmation and turned away from the window, returning his eyes to the meeting table. Sorek’s brother, a Mirdain scholar from Imathir, had travelled a long way to deliver this information, but the orc could not recall his name—he was nothing like Sorek—not a warrior—and not worthy of memory.

“Go on,” he growled.

After a short pause and nod from Sorek, the younger, effeminate Mirdain kept reading, “The Ithwen civilization was destroyed by Far-Loradain, the only Celestial Dragon left on Agon. Although his motives for leaving dream-sleep and attacking the Ithwen are largely unknown, some scholars in the capital speculated at the time that the Dark God, Myrkul, had a hand in the destruction.”

The scholar shifted in his seat then, as if deciding whether or not to read the next section of parchment. After another pause, he continued, “Given the recent events on Yssam and the invasion of the Undead, this council can only conclude that Myrkul did have a hand in Far-Loradain’s awakening, and that the Ithwen’s destruction was part of a larger plot. We must conclude that the Dark God is more powerful than previously considered. The council asks all agents on the jungle continent to monitor the Undead’s activity closely and report often, as a greater plot is unfolding.”

Talon’s left ear twitched as he glared at the Mirdain scholar.

Sorek knew that look and nudged his brother. “We already know that. We are the ones who reported the incursion and the unusual activity to the council. Now, tell us, did they have a response to our inquiry?”

Talon put his hand up then. “The scales. They have been slaughtering Serpentine, Dark Dragon, and Fire Dragon together, hanging their bodies as trophies, collecting their scales. Have you brought us anything about that, about the scales?”

Beads of sweat had formed on the scholar’s forehead. “No,” and then he stared at the table hard, as if wrestling with an idea, his eyes rapidly flicking back and forth.
“What is it?” Sorek asked, sensing the conflict.

“It’s nothing,” his brother replied in a strained voice, feeling the pressure of each warrior’s gaze. “Wuh-well,” he stuttered and then found sudden strength, continuing, “Well, before I left, I did speak to one scholar—a crazy old man—he does not know what he says, but he insisted I tell you. He still sits on the council, but I know not wh—“

“On with it!” Talon growled.

“He told me a theory. He thinks the Undead are trying to enslave the fallen Ithwen and reawaken the Dragon. He showed me this passage, from an old book of theory, nothing more,” he spoke fast now, pulling an old, brittle leather bound book from his satchel, “it describes a ritual believed to be carried out by a Lich, a priest of the Undead, so-to-say,” he quickly handed the book to Sorek. Talon could not read the flowing script of Mirdain words.

Sorek flipped to the mark and read aloud, “Olokth Inkria. As a blood red moon rose in the skies above, below the earth, a tall, gaunt figure clothed in long black robes entered the crypt. As he crossed the room to the altar of bones, his movements left the mist about his feet unbroken and still, as though it could not touch him. His deep hood concealed his face, and his long sleeves enveloped the entirety of his hands. Slowly and with deliberate purpose, the shadowy figure took his place at the head of the corpse, hovering over the skull. For a moment the two ghastly figures stared into the other's gaze.

In the stillness of the mausoleum, a deep yet raspy voice of grinding stones broke the quiet. ‘You still serve me, maggot.’ And as he spoke the final word he extended his limb to reveal a finger as skeletal as the ones gripping the sword. Slowly the tip of the finger moved to the skull, touching it, and once more the voice spoke, ‘Ariiiiiiiisseeee.' “

The scholar spoke then, “But what does it mean? I read it a thousand times on my journey, yet I do not understand why he would send it.”

Sorek looked up over the book at Talon, eyes heavy with realization.

Talon nodded knowingly and looked right at the scholar. “It means beware the blood red moon.”

The scholar looked up at Sorek and spoke, “But the blood moon comes sparingly, and I’d have to consult the star charts to find out when it will next appear over Yssam.”

Sorek Bladewing looked down at his brother and spoke very quietly in almost a whisper.

“The crimson moon shone last night, before your arrival.”

Edited by KeslVrys, 10 December 2011 - 09:43 AM.

"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#2
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
2

The Lord Marshal of Caxtla sat high on top of his battlehorn, gazing across the swamp below him. Plate armor that had once shone brightly now had a dull hue as if something had been eating away at it, slowly pealing back layers of metal and protection. Months before, Talon's tenure had started with wonderment, even a certain excitement over the lost continent. Now his spirit felt as his armor looked, worn and exposed. Wonderment had faded and been replaced by a hard earned understanding of what dangers could hide behind any of the great, twisted trees here.

This morning in particular, his spiked full plate shoulder guards, crafted in the forges of Andruk, seemed to weigh heavier when he gazed on the swamp below. The verdant green landscape of Yssam was broken here by an infection, a gray-green boil on the face of a continent teaming with life. The Orc Warlord had seen many tours, and even more swamps, but never one that looked so foul. His armor had been full of pockmarks and scars before the ferns and heat; blood and sweat stains marked the old leather under his breastplate, blood from slain foes and fallen friends, but the armor had never felt heavier than it did now in the humid jungles of Yssam, when he looked upon that swamp. Talon exchanged a glance with his second, the tall Mirdain standing next to him, knowing they dare not try and wade through it in such heavy armor. They would sink in the mud.

The arrival of Aristos and his Mirdain guard had lifted his spirits for a time, but the task at hand had born them down again. Since their arrival at Ehetil two nights ago, all of his Mirdain captains had agreed that Ehetil's swamp felt different and wrong. The omen of the blood moon had, up until now, been a false portend.

Since the council had met at Caxtla and heard the warning delivered, Talon had suspended further incursion into Yssam. The keep had been garrisoned, the supply rooms stocked, and the wall guard doubled, yet nothing had happened. The blood moon had shown brightly, but it only brought an eerie crimson glow to the parapets and roofs of the city. Nothing more. Talon was the fifteenth Warlord to rise from Dragrenoth, the ancestral home of the Oomlock clan, and there would not have been fourteen before him if not for their natural caution. Talon knew that the jungles of Yssam, seething with life, yet now tainted by the foul scent of the Undead, would remain long after their outpost in Caxtla. But the jungle would not reclaim Caxtla under his watch; while he still drew breath, he would see that no Undead trespassed on its walls.

So they had waited.

The warning of the blood moon had caused him to prepare for a siege, but no threat had appeared for three long weeks.
Talon now stood at the head of the first expedition into the interior of Yssam since the red moon shone. They had camped at their outpost in Ehetil for two days, exploring the surrounding area, searching for signs of more Undead, but up until now they had avoided the swamp to the North. He took a few more moments to study the quagmire in front of him. The color of the stagnant water reminded him of a rotten aubergine, a deep, dark purple that looked like it could hide any manner of creature. The Orc Warlord had been raised around such water. It did not frighten him. He could not say the same for the Mirdain captains arrayed alongside him, except maybe Giannes.

Aristos Giannes had broken as many swords as Talon himself and shed as much blood. Aristos looked determined, as always, although Talon knew he had been uncomfortable camping so close to the swamp. When they arrived, Aristos had warned him of a presence at the edge of his senses. Of all the mages Talon had ever known, Aristos was the strongest tied to the land. He had grown up under the shadow of Eryasil, the great tree that stood sentinel over Beladin's Rest. The water he shared with that tree had seemingly gifted him with senses beyond that of a normal adept. When Aristos told Talon that something stirred in the swamp ahead, he tended to believe him.

As if reading Talon's dark mood and worried thoughts, Aristos unclipped his omrog from the leather holster on his saddle. "That going to bother you riding?" he asked.

Talon carefully shook out his left arm, testing the strength in it. The field dressing and stitches were growing tight around the gash the wildling had given him two days ago when they first arrived at the camp. They had known that a forest dweller, a Mirdain hunter, occasionally inhabited their camp in Ehetil. They had seen him once before. Aristos had called the vagabond crazed, his mind probably taken by the heat. Talon suspected they had only scared him while he had been sleeping. In his frenzy, the wildling had jumped from a tree and struck at Talon, darting into the underbrush and disappearing in a rustle of ferns and insane laughter.

"It will be fine," Talon said flatly, "Review."

And with that, Aristos held up his omrog to signal the review.

Even the stifling, moist air of the jungle could not suppress the sound of true forged steel being drawn, as the other captains arrayed alongside drew their weapons. The shrill sound of selentine blades leaving scabbards was complemented by the hum of neithal and the whispers of veilron.

Talon turned his battlehorn and surveyed the company. Elswyr Reimzad had elected to ready his bow instead of draw his sword. Talon nodded to him. Elswyr was the son of a prominent Mirdain family, trained by blademasters in Adianthel, first blooded with Aristos on the snowy slopes of Cieradan, and someone he trusted to shoot an arrow over his shoulder in the thick of battle. Talon was glad Dest Locke had sent him what he requested.

Talon side stepped his battlehorn to the next Captain. Sorek Bladewing sat stifly next to Elswyr. Although they hailed from different houses, Bladewing and Reimzad had become brothers in service to the Nithron Throne. Elswyr's house belonged to the Serene Spire, the conclave of Mirdain scholars and mages that had long danced for power with the Emerald Throne in Charybdis. In decades before, a Bladewing Lord, one of Sorek's kin, had once sat upon that contested throne as Aran, yet these two warriors of rival factions were now united in their service to Talon. Sorek met Talon's gaze steadily. His justicebringer glinted in the morning sun, freshly polished and shining.

Talon studied the blade and could not find a single notch in the sword, as if it were crafted new. Talon tapped the pommel of his own sword and gestured to the tall Mirdain's blade. "Sorek, your blade is untested?"

A small smile crept its way onto Elswyr's face, as he watched Sorek shift under Talon's gaze.

Sorek straightened in his saddle then and answered flatly that "yes, Warlord. My blade was..." He hesitated for only a second. "Lost. Before our journey across the Noalca straits. Banedon has reassured me that the shards can be fashioned into an excellent Bloodleech. This weapon has not been tested, but the blade swings true, and it bears Banedon's master mark." As if to reassure him, Sorek held the justicebringer up, so that Talon could make out Banedon's sigil on the pommel.

Talon was well acquainted with the alfar mastersmith's work. Although Talon favored Orcish metalworks, he respected the Alfar's craftsmanship. "You shattered your sword, Sorek? On what?"

At this Elswyr started laughing, and Sorek's face flushed crimson. "He lost another game of dice," Elswyr blurted out, "The sword could not with stand his anger."

The other captains began snickering. Endaar Azel, the captain who stood last in line, abreast of Sorek, let out a throaty laugh.

Sorek's head snapped to Endaar and he barked, "That green lordling cheats!" He gestured behind him to the younger Mirdain wearing adjutant pips on his sleeves. The adjutant, which Talon did not know, but only assumed was here serving one of his captains, cringed at the attention, shrinking back from Sorek.

Talon gave Sorek a toothy smile and nodded, sidestepping his battlehorn down the line, stopping now in front of Endaar Azel. Although Talon's understanding and interest in Mirdain politics was fleeting, he knew Endaar was the outlier in this group. Belonging to House Azel meant he was one of the Arrowheads, this Mirdain was built more like an Orc than a Mirdain and had a much more practical approach to most things. Talon liked that. A gravesong was draped over one of Endaar's bulky shoulders, and a manus dei lay across his lap, as if the older Mirdain warrior meant to both fill his enemy with arrows and cave their heads in with his mace at the same time. Talon imagined that if Endaar could have a third hand, he would try such a thing. The Warlord noticed freshly sharpened spikes on the manus dei and offered Endaar a grin and an approving nod.

Endaar returned the nod silently.

Talon thought the heavy spiked club was better suited to Orc hands, but he had already seen how devastating Endaar could be with it, if given the chance. As Talon wielded his mount around and returned to the head of the line, he caught the adjutant's eye. "You. What's your name?"

"Silverfall, sir. Sirtas." The younger Mirdain answered quickly. Sirtas' reigns quivered slightly in his anxious hands.

Green lordling, indeed. thought Talon.


House of Silverfall, if Talon recalled, was loyal to the Emerald Throne. Although former allegiances were broken when each of these Mirdain nobles swore fealty to the Nithron Throne, Talon knew that old ties died hard. These Mirdain were no different than Bonecrushers, Blackbanes, and Oomlocks. If they sought out service, they relied on clan bonds as much as any Orc would. Although the Mirdain intricacies were often lost on him, knowing how each of his captains saw the next, he knew, was important for a commander. A Silverfall would be here serving another house connected to the Emerald, so either Bladewing or Giannes, although Giannes was unlikely. House Giannes had fallen by the wayside of Mirdain politics, and so for an adjutant from a powerful house such as Silverfall to be serving a Giannes... It just seemed unlikely. Although admittedly, given Sorek's mood and the story of the broken sword, it was equally unlikely that Sirtas served him.

"Which of my Captains do you serve, Silverfall?"

"Sorek Bladewing, sir."

Talon came to a realization. So that's why Sorek is so bitter. His house must owe Silverfall a favor, and so this lordling is here. He's stuck with him, even if the lordling takes his coin.

Talon turned to study the regiments arrayed behind his captains. He spoke loudly now, raising his voice for the entire company to hear. "Our survey around Ehetil is nearly finished. The swamp to our North is the last of these lands. Walk softly, the wails of the Undead are said to emanate from Talpec, the center of their infestation here on Yssam. Talpec is North of the swamp. We will not go past the swamp." He nodded to Aristos then.

Aristos turned his own mount and held up his hand for attention. His intricate metal armor clinked and clacked as he turned, as if anticipating his comments. "Do not venture into the water here. The soft bottom will take any metal boot and filth will rust the joints of your breastplates and leggings. We will circle the swamp once and return here to Ehetil."

With that, both Talon and Aristos turned together and began riding, down the slope, and forward towards the swamp. As they did, Aristos lowered his hand and the other three captains spread out behind them, the regiment following suit. The slight rustle of bows being untied from their saddles and the rattle of swords being checked in their scabbards followed them.

As they approached the swamp, Aristos' unease grew. The waters of the swamp he already knew were tarnished and would bring sickness, but beyond that, something dark seemed to stir below the still surface. He studied the foul water wearily. Aristos drew in on himself and closed his eyes, reaching out with his mind to probe the waters ahead, searching for anything alive. The clomp of hooves stopped as they reached the edge. Standing so close, the familiar odors of sulfur and water that had stood still too long filled Talon's nostrils. He breathed in deeply. They reminded him of Morak, of home. Talon and Aristos sat on their mounts side by side, one studying the water with battle hardened eyes, and the other with eyes closed, studying with the arcane sight.

"Seems harmless enough," Talon said under his breath, only loud enough for Aristos to hear, but he still checked the buckles on his breastplate, silently tightening his shoulder straps.

"Perhaps," the mage conceded, opening his eyes and offering his friend a weak smile. "Let's get this over with then."

The pair continued East and then North, wrapping around the water's edge, their battlehorns leaving giant muddy footprints. Elswyr, Sorek, and Endaar had served so long with Aristos that battle formations had become like breathing. No commands were issued or orders received. Each Captain lead a small contingent of five, and each contingent was an extension of their Captain, following slightly behind them. Elswyr and his archers rode closest to the water, following the path of Talon and Aristos. Sorek and his bladeguard rode some ten meters behind them, watching the rear. Endaar's troop hung alongside the line, distanced itself from both, riding twenty meters deeper into the jungle, watching the trees for movement instead of the swamp. The triangle formation was what Talon favored, and Aristos had prepared the other captains for it.

Any other commander would want Endaar's heavy cavalry up front, to insulate the archers and protect the Warlord and his second, but Talon was an Orc and an Oomlock. Aristos had seen him nearly cleave a human assassin in two before, taking both of the attacker's daggers in stride and moving through him, bringing his sword up and through the man, as if cutting down a sapling. Talon and Aristos had been riding at the head of a similar formation, riding patrol in Wanar Hall, West of Andruk, when the assassin had seemingly appeared from nowhere. Talon did not fall back behind the protection any of his men would offer, but stepped forward and pushed Aristos back. In three great strides of his Orcish legs, thick as tree stumps and twice as tough, Talon met and killed the man before a single word of power could leave Aristos' lips.

After Wanar Hall, word spread and his men let him ride at the head of any column he wanted. That was five years ago and no assassin since had appeared to face Talon in single combat, so the front of the column, at the head of the van, oddly had brought him peace.

Having completed half of the distance around the fetid swamp, Talon and Aristos came upon a path of dry earth that lead south through the middle of the bog. It was a skinny swath of land that bisected the swamp. At the head of it, spilling into the water itself, was an old abandoned camp. The gates of the camp were in tatters, and the flimsy bamboo walls were peppered with holes and gaps.

As they approached the camp, Talon held his fist up to signal silence and halt, gathering the column back together. He drew his captains to him and instructed them to have their men rest. They would investigate the camp while the company waited. All eyes studied the North, weary of the warned of threat from Talpec. They had heard stories of attacks even in broad daylight.

"Sorek, you're with me. Aristos, stay with the men. Elswyr, left around that wall. Endaar, right, through that gap in the wall." The instructions were simple, efficient. Uncomplicated. The adjutant, as adjutants can, had to complicate it.

"Lord Bladewing, would you have me accompany you?" Sirtas asked loudly.

Talon's ears wilted in annoyance. He turned to tell him no, but Sorek shook his head.

"The green doesn't rub off by not seeing anything."

That was true.

"Silverfall, behind Sorek. Let's go." Talon growled, loosening his sword in its scabbard as he trudged forward.

They advanced as a group, spreading out to spider over the camp. Talon sniffed the air as they approached the gates. The camp's gates had the markings of a raven standard tribe, the bastard half-cousins of the Orcs, but it did not smell lived in. It smelled of decay. Tall grass grew along the foot paths and there was only old gray ash in the cook pit. It had been abandoned for a while.

Endaar whistled for attention. "Talon, come look at this shield."

Endaar held an iron enforcer that had been badly mangled. The shield looked like it had been bent in on itself, almost in half, and in one corner there was a half moon of metal missing, as if someone had cut it out of the edge.

"Dwarven metalwork," Elswyr commented, beckoning for Endaar to pass the shield. Elswyr took it and studied the damaged shield carefully. "What's this here?" he asked, holding the section of shield with the missing edge up for closer inspection.

Endaar, House Azel, expert Arrowhead tracker, looked hesitant for once. "They look like bite marks," he said as he took the shield back and turned it over. "Yes, this section looks like it was bitten off. Look at the jagged edge of the iron." Endaar pointed to the crooked edges. "Something either bit that shield or cut it off with a serrated, like a shark's tooth blade the hob-goblins use."

Elswyr studied the shield skeptically. "So, which is it?"

Endaar looked from Elswyr to Talon, a hint of concern playing around his eyes, creasing the wrinkles at their corners and only slightly furrowing his thin eyebrows. "Bite mark I'd say."

Unconvinced, Talon gestured for the shield then, taking it from Endaar and holding it up to the noon sun, studying the silhouette of the missing piece.

Elswyr frowned at them both. "You must be mistaken. I have never heard of a creature, this cursed jungle or anywhere, that can bite through a solid iron shield."

Talon held the shield at arm length then and tried to pry it apart, tried to right its form by pulling each corner out. He grunted, his muscles coiled with the effort, but the enforcer only groaned under the pressure. Talon stopped, flexed his fingers and looked up at the two Mirdain hunters, "I've never seen a shield so thick be bent in two either."

Sorek and his adjutant joined them, noticing the gathering from afar.

Talon held the shield up for him to study. "Sorek, have you seen the likes of this damage anywhere else? A solid iron shield bent in half with a piece," and he hesitated, looked at Endaar for confirmation, to which the Arrowhead only gave the slightest of nods, "bitten out of it?"

Sorek, already in a surly mood from the adjutant's constant questions, grabbed the shield from Talon and removed his skinning knife from his belt. He scraped along the jagged bite mark and as he did, brown mucus began to collect on the knife blade. "Definitely something bit it. Something nasty. Bog imp, maybe a raptor, something with corrosive saliva," and with that simple proclamation, Sorek handed the shield back to Talon and started wiping his skinning knife on the grass.

Talon looked to Endaar and grinned. The Arrowhead had been upstaged at his own game by a Nobleborn. Sometimes even Mirdain politics could be amusing.

Endaar, eyes narrowed, said, "A raptor with corrosive saliva, really Sore--" but before he could finish the question a panicked yell rang out from behind them.

Sorek's adjutant had become wrapped in a pale green rope. Sirtas screamed again as he jumped back, trying to draw his sword, slipping and falling backwards. Coiled rope? no, snake! Talon's mind worked quickly to identify the snake. The wrong markings, the wrong scales, and the adjutant could already be dead.

Endaar and Sorek both held their hands up to calm Sirtas.

"Don't. Move." They said in unison. Sirtas froze, but his breathing came heavily still.

Elswyr had already knocked an arrow and drawn his bow. Talon did not remember that happening. Elswyr stood poised to shoot, bow string at full tension, arrow pointed dangerously at snake and Sirtas.

The adjutant slowly calmed down, as the snake did not strike, but curled around his leg, coiling up around his knee, flicking its tongue to test the air.

Endaar groaned and Talon confirmed his fears. "Pit viper," he whispered, as if delivering a death sentence.

"Is that bad?" the terrified young Mirdain mouthed to Sorek, unwilling to even risk a whisper. Elswyr turned to Endaar and motioned for him to get something. Endaar disappeared behind them, running out of the camp.

Talon kept motioning for Sirtas to stay calm by lowering his palms to the ground. If Sirtas died here, now, to snake bite, Sorek would have hell to pay with Bladewing and Silverfall. Talon did not want that.

Endaar returned with Aristos and a polearm taller than either warrior. One end of the weapon was covered in foot long spikes of neithal, tinted a soft blue, designed for ripping innards and piercing flesh.

Elswyr had never undrawn the bow. He still stood over the snake and adjutant, slowly tracking the snake's head, waiting for the right moment. Arms and bowstring taut, mind rushing to make calculations for wind, moisture, movement, anything that could affect his shot, even a close shot.

Endaar took the polearm from Aristos and moved closer, slowly reaching out with a spike, positioning it behind one of the snake's coils.

Sirtas tensed, realizing what was about to happen and closing his eyes.

"Wait," Elswyr whispered, still tracking the viper's rhythmic motion back and forth. Moments stretched and seemed to turn on eternity as no one spoke and the snake remained on Sirtas' leg. The only sound that could be heard was the heavy breathing the adjutant could not slow, and to keen ears, the slight creak of tension on a bow string.

A Thwapp! rang out as Elswyr took his shot. In the same lightning second, Endaar planted the ripper's spike and ripped the snake by its midsection away from the adjutant.

To Talon's eyes, it all happened at once. How the two hunters had coordinated the attack, he would never know. The viper's head split in two as the arrow found its target, and then in only an instant, the body ripped away from the head as Endaar simultaneously pulled with the polearm, flinging the decapitated snake a few feet away.

"Well done!" Sorek boomed. He sounded relieved. Talon was relieved too.

Sirtas, visibly shaken, got to his feet with Sorek's help.

"Watch where you step next time," Sorek offered dryly.

"I will, bastard snake," and the young Sivlerfall's hands glowed orange with magic.

"NO, DO NOT--" Aristos screamed, moving to stop Sirtas, but it was too late. The ball of fire issued from the adjutant's hands and erupted on the ground, engulfing the snake.

"Do not cast magic in this place!" Aristos hissed at Sirtas, but then his face changed and Talon felt like a pit viper had just crawled up his own leg. He had never seen Aristos' face go pale like that.

As soon as the young mage had drawn power to cast his fire magic, Aristos felt foreign minds stir, he felt them awaken in the waters around them, in the murky depths just over those flimsy walls. Hundreds of them, buried deep in mud, asleep, but now waking, swimming to the surface. They searched.

"We need to go. Now," Aristos took his ripper from Endaar. He whispered words of power and earth materialized around him in a shield. "Talon, the swamp awakens," and he turned, readying his ripper as he walked North towards the camp's gate. But as Aristos got to the gate, heavy footfalls could be heard outside of it.

He paused, hands tightening around the polearm, settling into a battle stance, preparing himself for whatever would come around that corner.

A massive, silver scaled head, larger than any raptor's, on top of a lizard as a tall as a man appeared in the gateway. The creature was still dripping water, and from two slits in its silver head beamed cold yellow, reptile eyes. Soulless eyes. The creature never blinked, but it stood their studying them. To Talon, it looked like the largest naeled he had ever seen, but the head was much too large. The head also looked as if it were made of metal, if that were possible. It gleamed in the sun, iron--no--theyril scales. It wore armor. Human armor, although damaged and falling apart. It even had hands. Not claws. Human hands.

Without warning, it lurched forward towards Aristos.

The Mirdain marksmen amongst them, who had been waiting with bows drawn since the creature appeared, let two arrows fly. Elswyr's arrow struck the creature in the face, but it clattered harmlessly off its thick scales. Endaar's arrow found the thing's chest, slamming into its right breast. Half of the arrow burst out of the creature's back, and it still came forward like a grotesque rag doll pierced by a needle.

Not pausing, both Elswyr and Endaar fired two more arrows before it reached Aristos. Three arrows stuck out of its chest now, yet it still came, shrieking a battle cry that forced the adjutant to cup his ears.

Aristos stepped back, planted his feet, and then lunged, transferring all his weight forward as he surged towards the creature, thrusting his ripper. Aristos entire body went into the blow, propelling the ripper forward and burying the spikes deep in the thing's chest, crushing it in, sending it backward out the gate. Aristos threw the polearm with the beast.

As the lizard's body fell backward out the gate, two more of its kind appeared to replace it. Talon saw movement behind the bamboo walls all around them. How many were there? Foot falls crunched all around them as the creatures collected outside the walls.

The top of a silver head peaked over the Southern wall, but Elswyr's arrow struck home this time, piercing a yellow eye and sending it falling backwards.

At the gates opposite, Aristos had drawn his sword. Veilron whispered in the hot Yssam sun, as it came free of the scabbard. Aristos clutched it in both hands and advanced on the two beasts ahead, but Talon bellowed a command before he could engage.

"BACK ARISTOS, EVERYONE NORTH!" The Orc commanded, grabbing Sirtas with one hand and flinging him to Sorek. "Don't let him fall behind," the Orc said, before he pulled his own sword free.

Talon lowered his visor and tightened the grip on Bloodletter, his enchanted justicebringer. The sword responded to the Orc's strength, faintly glowing in anticipation. Talon charged toward the gate. As Talon passed Aristos, the mage whispered to his friend and bands of faint blue light whirled around the Orc.

Talon met the first creature with the tip of his sword, impaling it and pushing it back. As the blade slid through the first creature's shoulder, Talon turned and with a heavy mailed fist slugged the second in its theyril jaw. As the blow connected, arcs of fire shot up through the Orc's right arm, racing up his nerves to his neck. As soon as his fist had connected, he knew he had broken bones in his hand, but the blow had knocked the thing to the ground. Stupid. The Orc managed to think between the growing spasms of pain that throbbed from his hand and travelled up his arm.

"Come on," Talon managed through gritted teeth, "let's go." His Mirdain captains listened well, even the adjutant, all moved to the gate, with Elswyr and Endaar only pausing to fire arrows behind them into the growing number of creatures clamoring over the walls.

The group sprinted North away from the camp, yelling ahead to ready the mounts.

Aristos snuck a glance behind them, but to his surprise, the creatures had not followed.

As their Captains spilled into the make shift resting spot, confused men from the regiments jumped up, and quickly made ready their mounts, lashing weapons to saddles, stowing food, and strapping on armor.

Their hasty preparations were interrupted by a chorus of ghastly wails from the underworld reverberating off the trees. A shade materialized in the middle of the camp and began whispering magic, chanting a spell at one of the men. The air crackled with lightning, as a rotating ball of energy emanated from the manifestation. It narrowly missed one of the fleeing soldiers.

The regiment was taken by surprise, and men began to scatter in all directions. Cries of “The Undead!” rang out as men fled.

Aristos turned and flung both arms at the shade. Arcane spikes thrust out of the ground in three directions, piercing ethereal flesh that could not be damaged by bow or blade. The shade withered and disappeared, remnants of it floating away into the canopy of trees above.

“TO ME!” Talon yelled, his deep Orc bass voice boomed louder than anyone. The jungle went still, men stopped, their fear withered and faded as the shade had, and the regiments returned to their commander.

His right arm hung limply at his side. The stitches that had closed up the gash on his left had broken open and blood was dripping from his shoulder, running down his elbow and collecting on the mossy floor.

Talon spoke loud but plainly, “The Undead will come from the North. We cannot go North, nor can we risk skirting the swamp East or West. Neither direction would carry us away from Talpec fast enough. There is a path directly South that cuts through the swamp. Ready your mounts. Whatever meets us South, we will ride through it.”

The captains all looked at Talon now. They knew what lay in wait to the South.

Aristos nodded in approval. Aristos would follow him through a Gardoroc’s jaws and back. “You heard him, get moving!” Aristos seconded the command, swinging a leg over his battlehorn’s back and mounting up, readying saddle quiver and omrog alike.

Talon managed to get on his own battlehorn with some help from Sorek and Sirtas. The other captains mounted and quickly circled around Talon.

“Endaar will punch through the raven camp with his company of horns. Sorek, your bladeguard will ride second. Elswyr’s archers will ride third and support you both in the push.”

“Understood?”

Nods all around.

“Move with haste then.”

The column formed as an arrow pointing south. A line of Endaar’s heavy cavalry marked the sharp edges of the arrow building to the point, while Sorek’s bladeguard and Elswyr’s archers rode behind them, making up the rest of the arrowhead. At the front rode Talon and Aristos, as was their way. Before Talon could issue the order to ride, more otherworldly shrieks cried out from the North. Talon turned in his saddle to look.

To their north, atop the nearest mountain of Talpec, stood a lone figure. Even from that great distance, Talon could feel the Undead General's gaze, he thought he could see the faint red glow of dead eyes. In the figure's right hand he held a sword that burned black flames. The blade seemed to consume light and Talon knew the weapon by only one name: Shadebringer. The Undead Lord he had heard stories of.

As the story went, his true name had been lost long ago. He who wields Shadebringer is known only as nightmare.

Following Talon's long gaze, the column saw the Undead commander as well. They needed no further command, every member wanting to get as much distance from the haunted city as they could. The column began their ride south.

Edited by KeslVrys, 15 December 2011 - 07:36 PM.

"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#3
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
3
As they approached the raven camp, Talon took their speed from canter to full gallop. He wanted to ride over the serpent-like beasts that had attacked them before. To his surprise, none of the beasts waited at the gates.

The line of battlehorns, seven wide, barreled into the bamboo walls without pause, crushing the flimsy fortifications and widening the gate. The column cut a wide swath through the camp and broke through the southern wall, crushing more of the raven’s poorly constructed battlements.

The arrow shaped column battered through and continued south unimpeded, the crash of heavy hooves splintering bamboo and crushing cloth tents. As they broke through the final parts of the camp, Talon had a disturbing thought. Were they being funneled? Was this the path to an ambush? What had seemed like coincidence was now beginning to feel like a coordinated attack.

As the column rode deeper into the swamp, the bright Yssam sun dimmed. An unnatural fog had risen from the bog, partially obscuring the sun and hiding the murky waters around them. Talon slowed their sprint back to a canter. He wanted to be out of the swamp as much as anyone else, but riding full bore into an abatis or a line of well situated pikes would be the end of all of them.

As if to confirm his fears, a shape came into focus through the gloom. The creature was running away from them, one of the lizardmen from before. Even in the reduced light of the fog, Talon could see the theyril scales of his head. Meaning to ride it down, Talon awkwardly unsheathed his sword with his left hand. Aristos saw the same and readied his omrog. Talon’s right arm had gone limp, torpid from broken bones and nerve damage, and so he relied now on his left only. As they closed on the beast running in front of them, another shape appeared in front of it, also running away. No, the lizard was chasing something. A young boy was just out of its reach, sprinting to stay alive. He could not have been older than fifteen.

The column bore down on them both, meaning to save one and end the other, but as the front riders reached the giant lizard, it gave up the chase and wielded left, pouring on speed, dodging sword and axe blows. The left most riders moved to intercept, but the beast was fast and it dove before them into the purple water, disappearing beneath the surface in a crash of bubbles and spray of silt and mud.

Aristos kept on the boy, urging his battlehorn faster, meaning to catch him before any new threat appeared. “I mean you no harm!” Aristos called out through the fog, but the boy did not heed, only running faster, as if goaded by the voice behind him.
Only feet away, the boy glanced over his left shoulder, but as he did, a wall of dark shapes appeared in front, fog unfurling around them.

Aristos cried out a warning, but the boy turned and only had time to bring up his arms, as he crashed into the lizards arrayed ahead. Aristos ducked low on his saddle and braced atop his battlehorn for impact into the enemy's line. The great animal weighed nearly a ton and should have bowled over anything short of a keep wall, but the near unstoppable force met an immovable object, and Aristos was thrown from the saddle, over the enemy line.

For a second Aristos was weightless, his vision whirling with the rotation of being flung so violently. Then in a snap of light and motion, the ground came up to meet him. There was a hard crunch, and then he faded to blackness.

Trailing behind Aristos, Talon saw the lizards in time and called the column to arms. Ten short seconds stood between the v-shaped column of battlehorns and the line of serpent-men ahead of them.

In those ten seconds, Talon's three captains made ready.

Endaar called to his men, inciting courage. He lowered his visor and unclipped his manus dei from the saddle, whispering a war blessing on it. The silver spikes of the club seemed to glitter in response.

Sorek, although second in line behind Endaar, had been gifted with strong elfsight and even through the fog had seen the boy Aristos was in pursuit of. He called back to Sirtas to recover the boy once they engaged. Pulling his sword free, the bladeguard followed suit alongside him.

Elswyr issued no orders, only drawing arrow, finding target, and letting fly. His contingent of archers needed no command either, as they followed suit naturally. Two volleys found targets, crumpling some of the lizards before either side met. Holes in the enemy's line opened up before Endaar's eyes, even travelling at such fast speeds, Sorek felt the brush of wind as arrows passed by him. Holes left by Elswyr's arrows.

Edited by KeslVrys, 11 November 2012 - 02:02 AM.

"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#4
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
4

Almost to the steps of the ruins, Talon knew something had to be done. They had managed to recover Aristos and revive him, fighting through to the Southern edge of the swamp, but the creatures kept pouring out of the swamp. Their holding action was rapidly failing. He turned with sword in hand to face a charging lizard man, but an arrow caught the creature in its gullet. It still surged towards him, but Elswyr appeared next to him in a flash of motion and cut the beast down, opening its torso from left shoulder to right hip. The black innards began to spill out before the body even hit the ground.

Elswyr took the brief pause to advise his commander. "We'll run out of arrows soon! We must fall back." And with that, Elswyr drew one of seven remaining bolts from his quiver and fired into the crowd of advancing lizards. He dove forward to save Endaar, who, against his best battle sense, was wading into the enemy, moving forward, instead of back, swinging his polehammer in great arcs.

The brick of theyril afixed to the end of his polearm thumped every time it struck, shattering limbs and caving in saurian heads. With every wide arc of the weapon, half circles of space opened up in the throng of battle. Bladeguard waded into the fray behind Endaar, delivering killing blows to anything he left incapacitated on the ground. The Arrowhead warrior seemed indefatigable. The more foes that appeared, the faster and harder he seemed to swing. But Endaar's strength would eventually fail. Talon knew no warrior was invincible. The Azel's counter attack had pushed the enemy back if only by a few feet. Talon took the opportunity.

"Make for the ruins!" Talon bellowed over the din of battle. All around him, his men began falling back against the ever growing assault of the swamp creatures. Every passing moment seemed to bring more of the foul lizards out of those cursed waters and towards the retreating war band. He knew they had to funnel them through a choke or at least get to higher ground. With the reptilian horde growing ever stronger, they could not hope to stand toe-to-claw in the open field for long.

Having reached the first steps to the ruins, Talon turned to help a wounded member of the bladeguard up alongside him. As he turned, he saw the lizard men hesitating. The desperate measure had worked. The beasts, so far from water, and now on unfamiliar ground, were beginning to shy away the closer they came to the ruins.

Sorek stumbled out of the chaos towards Talon. His adjutant was holding him up, hugging him from the side, holding his body upright from underneath his armpits. Sorek had a gash across his face and dried blood covered his entire right shoulder and chest. The Mirdain's flaxen hair was now crimson and copper. Sirtas was covered in just as much blood, but he did not appear wounded. The once illustrious armor of both Mirdain bladelord and adjutant were now both caked with Sorek's lifeblood.

As Talon helped the wounded warrior up the stairs, Aristos also appeared seemingly from nowhere. He clutched at Talon's good arm. "Talon, Erodach here. We cannot be here."
Talon did not understand and made it plain on his face.

"A fallen yet possessed Mirdain high mage," Aristos managed, eyes nervously studying the dark doorway behind them. "It does not feel right here."

Talon only took a moment to consider if Aristos had suffered a concussion in his fall and was not thinking straight. A decision had to be made now. "We have no choice Giannes. Forward!" And Talon took Sorek's other shoulder, helping Sirtas carry him up the second level of stairs.

Behind them, the battle raged on.

The three ducked into the abandoned temple after Aristos. Talon put his hand on the cold sandstone wall to help balance Sorek's weight and give himself a better grip. The rock wall was cold as ice, sucking the heat from his hand. Cold? The jungle pulsed with heat outside and all around, yet these stones were as cold as Kryzerok's keep. He would find a safe place to put Sorek down, and then help ferry more wounded into the safety of the temple.
Aristos suddenly stopped in front of them. "Hood's breath." The panicked curse barely escaped his lips.

In the chamber before them, pinned against the Sandstone wall, was the Erodach. The creature that had known great power in life, and then greater pain in undeath, looked like it had met an even more gruesome end. Giant iron hooks impaled each limb. The arms were pulled apart as a bird would unfurl its wings to take flight, but they had been forced and kept that way by the iron nails that now jutted out of its decaying flesh. The Erodach's head hung limply, but when Aristos approached, it stirred, raising to meet his gaze.

As the Erodach's head came level, slowly one sky blue eye opened and then the other. The thinnest rasp, as dead leaves at the fall of winter, escaped from its mouth. "Dessstroy me," the abomination begged.

Horrified, repulsed, Aristos drew back unconsciously, color draining from his face. What was capable of doing such a thing?

As if in answer of his question, the light within the temple faded. At once, day turned to night. The hot and humid air of the jungle became dry and cold. Talon felt frost around his toes and the air suddenly hurt to breathe, stinging his lungs.

A few whispered syllables echoed from every corner.

"Adi N'Qurru." [Unlock the cage.]

Echoes of the underworld reverberated in the chamber. In the center of the room, before the Erodach, the outline of a tall figure began to materialize. A blue glow surrounded the figure as its form defined itself. The largest elf shade Aristos had ever seen came to be in front of them. The creature, instead of whispering incantations, turned and looked directly at Aristos. In a moment that would haunt the mage in years to come, the shade smiled and her eyes lit up with recognition.

She turned to the chained Erodach and extended a blue hand, silently reaching into its chest, her ethereal form passing through the creatures flesh and blood as easily as mortals enter water. The Erodach's hands and feet clenched, its eyes shot open, its mouth opened to scream, but no sound escaped. It convulsed under the spirit's exploration, and then died its last death in front of them. The skin of the Erodach desiccated, sucking in on itself, reducing to the bones, as if someone was pulling it tight like a cloth, over ribs, arms, clavicle. The creature's entire skeleton defined, as the body's fluids were sucked from it.

The exsanguinated Erodach sagged as it hung limply from the iron hooks.

As the Erodach had died and reduced, the elf shade had glowed brighter and become more real. What had, only moments before, been wisps and lines of transparent blue light, now became opaque legs and arms. Slowly hints of color had seeped into the shade's blue skin. The outline of a hand became fingers and nails. Lips the color of a rose had appeared on her face along with two emerald green eyes. Before them now stood the tallest, most beautiful Mirdain woman any of them had ever seen. She would have been naked if not for the gossamer slip that clung closely to her. The neckline of her slip plunged down lower than any fashion Aristos had seen in a Mirendil court. She was easily a whole head taller than Aristos.

The creature that materialized before them gasped and her entire body quivered. “So close,” she whispered breathlessly. Her emerald eyes looked past Aristos then, over him, lighting on the trio of Talon, Sorek, and Sirtas. Talon and Sirtas had Sorek propped between them, supporting the injured warrior’s weight as best they could. They stood frozen in her gaze.

Her lips began to move, producing no sound, slowly mouthing unheard words.

Aristos did not know the magic, but given the source, he knew it could only be necromancy.

Talon felt Sorek suddenly go limp in his arms. The shade was staring directly at Sorek, focusing. When Talon realized what was happening, he bellowed, “Aristos! She’s attacking Sorek!”

Aristos’ mind went racing for arcane spells, anything for a general counter-curse against whatever evil magic was attacking Sorek. Before Aristos could act, Sirtas let go of Sorek’s other side and surged forward, placing himself in front of Aristos, at the forefront.

The same fire magic that had summoned the legion of swamp creatures came pulsing back into Sirtas Silverfall’s hands, as he stood right in front of the tall shade.

Aristos lacked the time to even scream a warning to the foolish adjutant.

In an instant, her gaze flicked from the unconscious Sorek, being held by Talon alone, to the mage in front of her. The glow of fire magic that had engulfed Sirtas’ hands fizzled and snuffed out; the brief illumination that it had provided went with it, plunging the temple chamber into eerie twilight again. A panicked look played across the young mage’s face, as he realized the magnitude of foe he faced.

“Yes, indeed,” she rasped in response to the panic.

Later, Talon and Aristos would pour over the details of that encounter, trying to remember every bit in order to piece together exactly what had happened.

The stifling cold silence was broken by an ice wind that carried with it a thousand susurrations from beyond the veil of death. In a few brief moments, the bridge between life and afterlife opened, and out came pouring a torrent of sibilant whispers from ancestors and fallen friends. The gust blew back Aristos’ hair and stung his eyes, tore at Talon’s open wound, cold seeping in between the stitches, soaking into his broken hand and right arm. With the wind came those terrible whispers, mothers and fathers long dead, calling for their children to join them in death. Aristos’ wife begged him to explain what treachery had cost her life. Fallen soldiers asked Talon why they had died under his command. Each heard their own whispers from the dead.

And with the wind went Sirtas Silverfall.

The shade lifted her long arm, lithe fingers extended and reached into his chest, as they had with the Erodach. He convulsed, passed into unconsciousness, and hung limply, suspended in the air by her grasp. In the few cold moments of that wind, while Talon and Aristos were paralyzed by calls from the grave, Sirtas' body was racked with paroxysms, as it drained of life. At the same time, the shade gained even more color and substance, solidifying into a Mirdain woman.

Then it was over. The wind went as swiftly as it came; the bridge between life and death broken; the unnatural whispers of corpses gone with it. The adjutant’s body toppled to the ground, as if it was devoid of bones, a pile of clothes, armor, weapons, and skin.

In the cold silence that returned, Talon could only hear Sorek’s labored breathing.

“Alanis, Decula, to me,” the shade commanded in strong tones, and two figures stepped out of the darkness behind her. From the sigils and emblems that marked their armor, Aristos recognized them as both highborn Mirdain, but from an age past. Figures from a history book that had seemed to materialize right in front of him. They flanked her, as an honor guard would.

The shade turned Mirdain necromancer inclined her head slightly to the left and addressed the ancient highborn male, “Decula, I will require his soul to tear the veil again and bring Lord Zers through.” She pointed directly at Aristos.

“In your name, Elustas Salina,” the tall figure, still wrapped in shadow, spoke plainly. His tone was unconcerned, the accent undoubtedly highborn but dated. Decula stepped forward, whispering incantations and gesticulating in the complicated manner of a master necromancer.

The images of those final moments in that cursed temple would burn themselves into Aristos’ brain for the rest of his life. As the one she had called Decula stepped forward, Aristos saw him in full detail.

The ancient highborn was garbed in a strange mix of pointed shrike robes and armor. Even in the twilight of that chamber, Aristos’ superior elfsight could make out intricate details. The two angular lapels of his shrike robe were tied at the top with a silver charm, worked into the shape of a man. The man was surrounded by curved silver flames, licking at his hands, arms and head. Below the broach, his robes split when he took a step forward, and Aristos saw the dull blue glint of some sort of chest piece. Armorsmiths had long forgotten how to craft in the style of that chest piece, but Aristos recognized it from history books and murals.

Decula’s hands began to move, and small glowing symbols followed in their wake, slowly fading after he moved to the next symbol, gesturing and motioning in broad arcs. The spell was coming to a close.

The paralysis that held Aristos in place was shattered by Talon’s guttural roar.




Outside the temple the battle had raged on, until suddenly the lizard creatures had, as one, all turned and retreated back to the edge of the swamp. Elswyr and Endaar could not believe their eyes as they watched an overwhelming force retreat from a smaller, weaker one.

Standing on the temple steps, overlooking the field, Endaar shook his head once, “Elswyr, you have scared them with your bow my friend.” The seemingly indefatigable Arrowhead warrior was at the point of exhaustion. He stopped to learn on his polearm, turning to Elswyr for response.

Elswyr starred in equal amazement. “I do not. I do not understand,” he trailed off, absently putting an arrow back into his shoulder quiver.

A rush of cold wind spiraled out of the temple entrance, cutting through the air, blowing the ferns and trees of the hot Yssam jungle as it dissipated in all directions. The lizard creatures cowered and moved even farther back.

Endaar turned, growling, “What was--” But he was cut off. Echoing out from the black opening of the temple, came Talon’s booming warcry.




Aristos snapped to action, shaken by Talon’s cry and programmed to react by years of training. The undead mage in front of him was just finishing his spell when Aristos threw up his arms in a defensive posture and managed to call together the white slashes of light that represented a reflection spell.

If not for Talon’s cry and Aristos’ defense, he would have been consumed immediately.

The necromancy shot forward from Decula just as the white bands of reflection whirled around Aristos. The reflection spell did not stand or directly reflect the spell, as it should, but instead the white slashes of light caught the dark pulse of energy and refracted it around the chamber.

A single streak of the spell passed through his bulwark, connecting with his left forearm, burning like acid, even through his armor. The collision of other worldly forces knocked Aristos on his back, sending him sprawling at Talon’s feet.

Talon let out another warcry, and then with a will he would never be able to summon again, he forced his broken right hand to work, grabbing the back of Aristos’ breastplate and pulling. His fingers had no strength in them. Talon grunted, and then forced his arm deeper, between Aristos’ breastplate and undershirt. If his fingers would not work, he would use his hand as a friction hook and drag the Mirdain out. Talon wedged his right hand between the cloth and metal of his lieutenants armor and dragged him backwards. All the while, he hefted Sorek in his left arm, blood now pouring from the combined force of the exertion.

“Alanis, end this,” the shade turned Mirdain woman commanded.

“In your name, Elustas Salina,” the female highborn replied, stepping forward on the other flank. She was wearing the same ancient sigils and house markings that her male counterpart had, but instead of flinging deadly magic, she drew a sword and stepped forward in sync with Decula.

Aristos lay dazed by the spell’s impact, but his eyes still worked. As Talon pulled him back out of the temple, the vision of the two undead attendants striding after him would haunt his dreams for years to come.





After hearing the warcry, Elswyr and Endaar had made to rush headlong into the temple, but as they approached the entrance, Talon’s crouched form emerged from the gloom. Although Talon’s back was to them, they could still see that he was bloody and panting from the exertion of carrying a body in his left arm and dragging another with his right. His whole back heaved as he breathed and still kept pulling, even past the entrance, into the sandstone courtyard.

Elswyr and Endaar rushed to his aid, coming up alongside him.

“Talon, what--” Endaar began, but was interrupted again.

“They’re coming,” Talon croaked through heavy breaths.

And as Elswyr and Endaar looked up, before they could ask, “Who?” Two figures emerged from the temple.

On the left, a Mirdain high mage, wearing strange armor and clothing.
On the right, a Mirdain blademaster, carrying an unsheathed sword that neither of them recognized. Elswyr thought that both of them looked out of place against the background of the ruins and temple. They looked like they belonged in a high court, as attending honor guard.

The confusion did not last, as Elswyr wasted no time, drawing arrow and letting fly, aiming square for the mage’s chest.

The mage moved with a speed akin to the arrow, easily sidestepping the incoming projectile, twisting, and flinging an orb of yellow energy back at them.

Elswyr ducked the bolt and reached for another arrow.

The blademaster hefted the curved sword and trotted forward to attack Talon. Endaar met him in stride with polearm ready, jabbing the long weapon forward. The lady blademaster took a few glancing swings at the polearm, as if testing its strength, while Endaar pushed her back with a series of quick thrusts.

The mage flung another ochre colored bolt of energy at Elswyr, but the archer let fly at the same time. The two projectiles passed one another, but while Elswyr ducked again, his magus opponent did not. The arrow caught him in the hand, entering his palm, the rest of the arrow jutting out the top of his hand.

The mage looked down at the arrow, but no fear or even pain registered on his face. He looked back up at Elswyr and smiled.

“ENDAAR! Let’s go!” Elswyr used his remaining two arrows to push the blademaster back and away from Endaar, creating room for his retreat.

Elswyr and Endaar both grabbed a man each from Talon, and they half carried, half dragged the unconscious Sorek and dazed Aristos back across the courtyard, down the stairs, and into the safety of their men.

Elswyr’s archers came up to meet them, passing the wounded and drawing on the determined duo that was now crossing the courtyard.

A small volley of arrows whisked across the courtyard but clattered ineffectively against the stones, as both of the advancing undead knights flicked them away. The dark curls of necromancy danced from their hands, deflecting the wooden shafts as they came. Seeing how ineffective their attacks were, Elswyr ordered them back down the stairs.

In the few moments before the enemy would be on them again, Talon had surveyed the field and counted their mounts. The lizard creatures, for whatever reason, were standing at a distance away, giving them a clear corridor to escape to the Southeast. They would have to burden some of the battlehorns by riding double, but they had enough left alive to carry everyone to safety. “We ride,” Talon said solemnly, using his left arm to help some of Sorek’s bladeguard lash Sorek to the back of his battlehorn.

The battalion had seen enough. They quickly followed suit, mounting up.

As Talon turned his horn, he saw the crowd of lizards to their North part. The lizard creatures were scrambling over one another to make a path for the lone figure, walking out of their ranks.

The undead Lord that strolled out in front of them carried the dreaded weapon, Shadebringer. The blade burned black flames, which purred as they licked up the sword and into the air, crawling up the hilt onto the plate fist that held it. The iron of the platemail gauntlet had been scarred and tarnished from years of carrying that unholy weapon.

“Known only as nightmare,” Elswyr whispered under his breath.

In his other hand, the undead General was dragging a boy. A child. The child that had been trying to escape, the one they had attempted to save, the same one that Talon had told Sirtas to recover, but he never did.

The other two undead, the honor guard, the mage and blademaster, were now standing on top of the stairs, looking down at them.

Every instinct told Talon to save that boy, but it was obviously a taunt and trap and it would put them between the three, and once again within reach of the lizard legion.

“RIDE!” He bellowed, and they turned, leaving the boy to his fate. Talon only looked back once, and he regretted the glance. The undead Lord, the commander that was said to inhabit Talpec, and who held that enchanted blade of legend, was trudging forward to meet the other two, dragging the boy by his hair, in an almost leisurely way. As he neared the steps, the shade Salina, appeared at the top of the steps, clasping her hands in glee upon seeing her prize.

On every blood moon since, Talon always remembers the look of delight she wore upon receiving the young innocent.

Edited by KeslVrys, 11 November 2012 - 02:03 AM.

"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#5
Iceman

Iceman

    Assistant Deathlord

  • UDL Knights
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,817 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Carpentersville, IL
  • Knighted in:
    Darkfall Online
Kesl you are incredibly talented! I really enjoyed this! Thank you.
Posted Image

#6
Broal

Broal

    Shadow Wyrm

  • UDL Knights
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Somewhere between madness & insanity
  • Interests:RL PvP, Moonshine, spiky leafed green plants
  • Knighted in:
    Darkfall Online
Good job bro! Hope to see you in DFUW. You Sir, fit right in.

SIG4.png


#7
Zers

Zers

    Blaster Master

  • UDL Knights
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,087 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:icecreamsexchickenbacon
  • Knighted in:
    World of Warcraft
Posted Image

Zers UDL

xersigwar1copy.jpg

 

Breathing is Irrelevant

 


#8
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
Kesl you are incredibly talented! I really enjoyed this! Thank you.

 

Ha, not really.  Sadly, this last bit is really forced.  I took a lot of time for the first chapter, and it really shows I think.  The last chapter is just.. it kind of makes me facepalm when I re-read it.

 

Good job bro! Hope to see you in DFUW. You Sir, fit right in.

 

Thanks Broal.  Miss ya buddy <3.

 

I'll have a final update for this thread shortly.  As soon as Nightmare gets me reliable ventrilo information.


"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#9
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male

 

Video documenting the in game event that was attached to this story.  Enjoy. :)


"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#10
Dunki

Dunki

    Queen Bee

  • Arch Lich
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,992 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Knighted in:
    Darkfall Online

 
Video documenting the in game event that was attached to this story.  Enjoy. :)
 
 
Haha awesome!
 
<--- Bourne btw
 
 
Not sure if you saw my last video for DF but here it is!

The screen shot that closes out the video at the end, i am wearing the Dragon helm you crafted me for this event. Server went down for the last time with it on my head! Amazing work on the video, thanks!
 
 
 
[video]

Edited by Dunki, 24 January 2013 - 01:08 AM.

1dGTQ.jpg


#11
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male
Video documenting the in game event that was attached to this story.  Enjoy. :)
 
 
Haha awesome!
 
<--- Bourne btw
 
 
Not sure if you saw my last video for DF but here it is!

The screen shot that closes out the video at the end, i am wearing the Dragon helm you crafted me for this event. Server went down for the last time with it on my head! Amazing work on the video, thanks!

 

Mr. Bourne, the original inspiration, the Predator of Xirdak, how are ya man?

 

I did see your video, but I did not realize it was my dragon helm that you had on in the final moments of the server.  That's pretty damn cool dude.  That really warms my heart, to be honest.  Glad you enjoyed the video.  I've been sitting on that footage forever, and I finally decided to do something with it.  As soon as I can get a better render (with less quality loss on youtube), I'm going to pass it over to Tourach for the official UDL youtube channel.

 

Where are the other participants?  I feel like either no one reads this forum, or maybe they're MIA.  Where's Ginko, Glass, Jackal, Kick, and Everrest?


"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#12
Iceman

Iceman

    Assistant Deathlord

  • UDL Knights
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,817 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Carpentersville, IL
  • Knighted in:
    Darkfall Online

 

Video documenting the in game event that was attached to this story.  Enjoy. :)

 

 

Kesl! That was awesome! Thank you for putting that together!


Posted Image

#13
_Kick

_Kick
  • Guests
Kesl, that was fantastic! I was out on a weekend trip. Actually watched this on my drive home... Great vid and I played it a few times just to listen to the good tunes oh the ride.

#14
KeslVrys

KeslVrys

    Elder Daemon

  • Stalker
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • Gender:Male

KIckers!!  Glad you liked it mang.

 

Glass, to you as well my friend.  Thank you both for being a part of this.  I wish we had had more time together to explore more fun ideas.


"I was emotionally compromised"
Posted Image
Signature by Duncan

#15
Salina

Salina

    Super Star

  • Admin
  • 11,086 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Knighted in:
    Ultima Online

Loved it.   Where are you Kesl?  I've been looking for you...






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users