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The Sovereign IV: Savior
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:48 pm    Post subject: The Sovereign IV: Savior Reply with quote Back to top

Valmorgan was a port city; it was supposed to be bustling, busy, with plenty to do. Well, plenty for the normal people to do. For the daughter of a middle prince in a large royal family, it was quite boring.
Ellaria, sat in her bedroom, unable to remember a day with less to do. Life was such a terrible bore; sometimes a cushy life could really get on your nerves. In fact, at that moment, she didn’t think life could get any worse.
That was when they decided to let her know she was betrothed. One could imagine the pleasant shock that was. She didn’t throw things. Didn’t yell. Didn’t break things. Ella walked out, and barricaded herself in her room. The door would have to be broken down to enter.
Unless you were her annoying brat of a brother. His teleportation didn’t make a sound, but she knew he was there.
“I lock the door for a reason, Laur.” Her twin shifted and walked forward, staring out the window over her shoulder.
“It won’t be so bad, you know.” She snorted. Was that supposed to cheer her up?
“Go away.” The twins did not have a bad relationship; Ellaria loved her brother, and Laurent would protect her until death. She didn’t always need that protection though, despite his inability to see it. That often made situations tense; but they were close.
And sometimes, Ella just hated him.
“Look, El-“
“Don’t bother. I don’t want to hear it. I won’t marry him, Laurent.” She pounded her fist on the windowsill, turning to look at him. Her face was twisted in a mask of disgust, expressive eyebrows angling down. “He’s twice my age, and ugly, and - and – and he’s not even a prince. He’s a duke! I’m a princess – if they’re going to marry me off, the could at least not insult me and find royalty!” She spun back around, nails digging into the wood of the sill.And I don’t love him.
Laurent blinked. Since when did his sister care who was royal and who wasn’t? ”El, father’s not the Heir Apparent. He has four older brothers. He can’t give a dowry big enough for a respectable prince.” When he received no answer, Laur placed a hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off, still staring out the window. In the privacy of her own room, the princess had taken off the white blindfold that was often around her eyes. Having white eyes unnerved many hear in Valmorgan; the blindfold was see through for her, and earned less awkward stares. People just assumed she was blind, now.
“Aren’t you supposed to be on your way to Magicum?” Her voice was spiteful. Stung, Laur stepped away. There wasn’t a sound but, like his arrival, she knew he was gone.
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Laurent knew his sited wished it were she in his place. She’d wanted to travel to her ancestor’s home since Laur had first gone. Ella wanted to meet her grandfather – the king had been present at their births, and too busy to make the trip again. She wanted to see her mother’s brother, who was always spoken of fondly.
And Laurent knew that she wanted to meet their fabled cousin most of all. Riven, who had been the subject of teratogeny, and the victim of the truest enemy of the Magisray line. The Princess – once Heir Apparent – had not been seen for many, many years. There were even rumors that she had left Magicum, searching for a way to resurrect her former master. Though Tanasril the Broken was dead, it had been rumored that he was not completely gone. Especially from the mind of Riven, who had been the one to kill him – or, in another telling, free him.
Laurent sighed. He was beginning to believe the rumors. When he was young, he thought he’d seen someone – something – in one of the towers, as he left the kingdom – but he’d since convinced himself he’d been imagining it. Not once had he ever seen his cousin – Ellaria didn’t believe him.
The young prince shook his head, clearing his thoughts. He would arrive in Magicum soon enough, and his grandfather would jump to business (after a bit of polite prattle), as usual. Tomass paid special attention to his grandson – he’d be a fool not to. What king in their right mind would ignore the child foretold to save his kingdom?
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

When she couldn’t sleep, she felt dead on her feet. But that was often preferable to the alternative. Because, when Princess Riven laid down her equine head at night, she dreamt. The subject never changed. Always, it was the same. The material differed, at times, but always, the main character was the same.
At first, they had only been whispers. She’d been able to ignore them, drift back to a normal sleep. But, over the long years, the noise had grown.
When Riven dreamt, she was often in her present form – horse-like, with black hair, a pair of feathered black-and-green wings folded across her back, a green tail and mane, and a twisted, blue-green horn protruding from her head. Sometimes she would dream as a creature close to human – but she never lost the wings and horn. It was a rarity for her to dream as a human. So rare, that she took note of these dreams as being important.
And tonight must be important, because this dream was odd.
A running sequence. Her heart was pounding, feet flying across the ground. She entered a forest, certain she’d use her magic to loose whatever was chasing her. She didn’t know what it was – but it was horrible. But the plants didn’t shield her – they didn’t aid her in anyway. The roots pulled at her ankles, dragging her down.
She was crying. Why? Why couldn’t she control it? She felt betrayed, and she wasn’t sure if it was the flora or she that had instigated the feeling.
The vines finally succeeded in their efforts; Riven tripped, flying forward. She fell to her hands and knees, scraping herself. She tilted her head up, and screamed.
Pain. It ripped through her body, causing unimaginable damage. She had no seen what stood in front of her. But when the throbbing ceased, she craned her neck upward, panting miserably.
“Master!” The word rang from her mouth, into her bedroom. She did not notice; the land of the dreaming still held her captive.
"Master, you’ve-“ she stopped herself, mid-sentence. No, something was not right. She went to lick her lips, and found she could not. She was in her other shape, the horse-like once.
“Returned?” Tanasril leaned forward, placing a hand on her cheek. “Indeed.”
Her head jerked up. Yellow eyes blinked in the darkness of her room. Shaking, Riven’s head swung about, inspecting every corner. Her eyes faded into a pink tinged blue. Flecks of yellow still dotted those orbs. She was scared. Tanasril could not come back; he could not be her master again.
And yet, and yet…
Something had felt – wrong, since she’d red Ardania of him. She felt as if something was…missing.
A single word was echoed into her room that night, whispered for the second time: “Master.”
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Tomass slumped in his throne. Well – not slump. Tom didn’t slump. It was more like he was hunched over…but backwards.
Patience was usually his dominant virtue. But today, he was anxious, and did not want to wait. That boy had better hurry up.
Magicum had seen better years. Gods, these were probably the kingdom’s worse years. Tomass worried, constantly, that his city would fall. His – but it was not really his. It was Alhana’s, and all her ancestors before her. He was almost sorry the former queen had lived to see Magicum’s decline.
He looked upwards. Above and to the left were his cousin’s rooms.
…Magicum was Riven’s.
He had believed so since he first too the thrown, and believed it now. If only they could have traveled faster, gotten to her quicker – perhaps Magicum would not be in shambles, and would have a truly incredible ruler – instead of a merely adequate one. Him.
Tomass shook his head, clearing his thoughts as a herald opened the door, bowing. “Your grandson is here, m’leige.” The king nodded briskly, managing a smile.
“Good, good. Send him in, please.” Tom straightened up, blinking several times to clear his head, and bring forward the boy’s reason for coming.
When Laurent walked into the throne room, Tomass grinned as his grandson bowed.. Finally, a happy face to look upon.
The king slid off his seat, embracing the younger man. When he stepped back, Tom gazed at his grandson. “You keep growing,” he said, jokingly petulant. Laur smiled and shook his head, politely bashful.
“Grandfather, if you can make my hair stop growing, I would be thankful for life.” He glared upward at his bangs and blew at them. The brown tresses obligingly flew upwards briefly, before drooping back down to cover his eyes again. He grinned, and they both laughed.
The next few minutes were taken up with pleasantries, as usual. Laurent let his grandfather know what went on in Valmorgan, how the family fared – it was all simple talk. It was not long, though, till Tom’s impatience took hold.
“So,” he started after a short silence. “You’re an accomplished wizard, I hear. How’s your swordsmanship?”
Laur ducked his head, sheepish. “A bit rusty. But I haven’t forgotten a thing since I started.” Dark green eyes looked proudly at the other man. Unlike the rest of the family, Laurent did not posses the Dragon Eyes. The mixing of blood had finally halted Carmen’s Legacy. The green never changed; rarely did they even lighten or darken with emotion. Tomass sighed inwardly. The Magisray gene had always been prominent = and now, in the new generation – the generation Magicum’s savior had been born into – those genes had been muddled. The kingdom’s hero would be the first in the Magisray line since the time of Riley to have eyes that did not convey emotion.
The king’s eyes flashed a light blue, for just a moment, before returning to their usual, placid color. It could not be helped. His mother was a dryad – even his eyes were not quite as vibrant as those of his father or aunt – and especially not as bright as Riven’s.
“Well,” he said, mentally shaking himself. “Don’t neglect your sword – it is just as important as magic. Your great-great aunt always preferred her sword, you know.”
Laurent nodded politely. “I know, grandfather.” And he’d heard the stories of her heroics many times over. “I’ll be sure to practice more. How fares Magicum?”
Tomass opened his mouth to reply, but yelling from outside silenced him. As the kind stood, the doors to the throne room burst open, hinges protesting, banging against the walls. Laur’s eyes widened. In stepped a creature unlike he’d ever seen. A green mane and tail were billowing in a wind that seemed to surround only she.
“Tom!” Her eyes flashed in their sockets, a yellow orange – she was angry, and worried. And Laurent knew then, exactly who she was. “It’s a raid!”
The king paused a moment, running a hand over a short, dark blond beard. “A raid,” he echoed. Laur had moved to peer out the window.
“Gods! Looks too big to be a raid,” he said, eyes wide. Only those orbs gave away his thoughts. He stood tall, back and shoulders straight. The young man had been trained since birth for one final battle for Magicum – could this possibly be it? Who warred against Magicum? He searched for a banner.
Riven shook her head. “They raise no flags,” she said. “It’s a raid.” As she glided forward, her cloven hooves made a clipping sound against the stone. Leaning forward, she touched her horn to his shoulder. “They are after you, little cousin.” Her voice was soft, and she stared down at him when he turned. Her colorful eyes bore down into his sold ones.
“You must leave.”
“But I-“
She did not let him finish. “You are not ready to fight,” she said, shifting. She had a bad feeling. Something was wrong here, today. “Get on.” She turned, looking over her shoulder at the boy.
“Er-“ When he hesitated, wind pooled at his feet, lifting him up, bending his knees – he was floating free in the air – and then he was astride his cousin’s back. The young man blinked. “You – how did-“
“Mind your legs.” Riven spread her wings, turning to look at her first cousin. “Be careful, Tom. I’ll help as I can, but…” She gestured with her eyes to her passenger. The king nodded.
“Keeping him safe is your first priority. Gods speed, Riven.” The equine head nodded, and she trotted back. Turning, she faced the window again. A bolt of lightning came out of the quickly darkening sky, striking the glass. The window shattered. “Hold tight.” Her voice was low, and she shot forward, faster than any horse Laurent had ever ridden.
Riven leapt outside, her wings tight to her back to keep the glass shards from tearing her up. The wind pushed them upwards, despite her wings not being open. Spreading those appendages, they stood – figuratively speaking, of course – still above the oncoming raiders. Laurent stared down at them. “Aren’t we in ran-“
An arrow flew up at them, and he jerked back; but the shaft bounced harmlessly off the bubble of wind that surrounded them. He thought he heard Riven snort. “Oh,” the boy muttered, blushing lightly.
Thunder rumbled above their heads, and Laurent could see the enemy stumble. Curiously, Magicum’s forces seemed unaffected when he turned to look. Rain began to pour so fiercely that the enemy could barely see a hand in front of their faces. Finally, a wall of vines and hedges began to grow around the group.
Laurent stared down at them. It was not such a surprise that he could see. They would be trapped, and –
He straightened where he sat aster the teratogenic. He brought his hands up. Riven bucked as the energy ball shot past her, into the mass. “What are you doing?” She cried, turning to look at the boy. It was during that moment of bewilderment that gave one very dumb – and very lucky archer the chance to shoot. Her shields dropped, the arrow buried itself in her hind leg. Eyes wide and glowing yellow, she reared instinctively. Surprised, Laur could not grab on – he slipped from his winged cousin.
In more physical pain than she could remember being in for a long time, Riven could only watch the young man – Magicum’s prophesized savior – fall to his death.
And there wasn’t a thing she could do.

It was hours before the raiders had been defeated – and many had escaped. Magicum’s defenses were not what they used to be. Riven’s wound was tended to, and the searched the battlefield meticulously for Laurent – or his body. They did not find it – but little hope was in their hearts. Many of the bodies lay beheaded. Tomass was at a loss – Magicum was doomed now. They could not last a year – not without their rescuer. Laurent was supposed to save them. It had been prophesized! And now, surely, even with the help of Castle Silveredge, and D’tar Mordin – Riven – Magicum would not last.
Miles away, Ellaria’s head jerked up, feeling a knife in her heart.
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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Joined: 22 Jan 2001
Posts: 2579
Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The Embassy of Magicum was one of the newest structures in the city. It had been built after the Second Battle of Magicum as part of the reconstruction. It served as the base for diplomats of foreign powers, most especially for those who represented Magicum's long-time ally, the Empire of D'Tar Mordin.
Prince Tarkiel, heir to the D'Tar Mordin throne and ambassador from his father to Magicum, sat at the desk in his study. Outside, the town quieted after the terrible battlefield was hidden by the falling night. His right hand still rested on a letter he had just laid on the desk.
"Wethros!" he called to the servant outside his door. "Bring me Twilight. I have something to discuss."
"At once, Your Highness." Within a few minutes, the servant returned, bringing with him a slender woman garbed in robes of black and dark gray. With a gesture, Tarkiel dismissed the servant and beckoned the woman to sit.
"What is it?" she asked, leaning forward. Her eyes were the same dark grey as the designs on her robes, and her black hair melded into the dark fabric. Hanging from her neck was an amulet of mithril set with a black diamond.
"This." Tarkiel thrust the letter towards her. "Father has decided to come South early this year."
"I see. Does he say why?"
"I think you can guess, Twilight. The trouble with Shovrah-Dan is coming to a head, and Father wants to get this meeting done with so that he will be in D'Tar Mordin was it breaks. I thought that maybe you knew more of this than I."
"Hmm." Her eyes lifted from his, and gazed far off. After a minute, she shook her head. "I have not heard from Cloud in nearly a year."
"I see. You may go then, but be at the Palace tomorrow. Father is teleporting this time, so as not to waste any time. I must go and inform King Tomass."
"Until tomorow then." She rose, bowed, and lefted. Tarkiel sat for a few more moments, gazing at the letter, then he too rose. Sighing softly, he took down a silver-edged cloak and swung it around his shoulders as he left the study.

Twilight gazed sadly about the city of Magicum. This had been the third raid in two months, and if the rumours were true then one of the royal princes had lost his life in the battle. Her heart bled for the people here, and she did what she could to help them, but she had other matters on her hands.
Tarmyln IV, Emperor of D'Tar Mordin, had dispatched her to magicum to investigate certain unsettling rumours. Although occupied by the threats from Sydrian and Dan, the Emperor had not forgotten the mad archmage Tanasril. Even though Tanasril himself was dead, his legacy had not been destroyed, and there were rumours that, somewhere in the downs north of Magicum, they were gathering renewed power. Never mind disturbing incidents whisered of as happening in Magicum itself. Thus she had left the Imperial City and the others of her order and come South to the ailing kingdom whose fate was bound up with that of the teratogenitors.
She sighed and walked towards the battlefield, a shadow among shadows. She was deft and cunning as well as compassionate, and was welled named Twilight Vixen. This was her name and rank among the Cadre, the elite and secretive force that had been organized in the early years of Emperor Tarmyln's reign. A former Priestess, she had mastered the arts of stealth and assassination until she was second only to Cloud, the leader of the Cadre and her husband. Having been parted with him for a year and a half, it was not entirely for the city's sake that she sighed.
Once on the battlefield, however, she banished her emotions and memories from her mind and concentrated on her task. Although she had taken place in the battle earlier, she had hardly been able to observe all the combatants. Now she paced among the slain, laid out in neat rows to be buried on the morrow. She shook her head; even the enemies of Magicum were being accorded a Hero's burial. Truly, this city deserved to prosper. If only ... again she shook her head.
She searched, but did not find what she sought. None of the raiders bore any sign that they were connected with the archmage. She smiled faintly to herself. It had been a small chance, but she could not pass it up. She debated whether to follow the fled raiders, and decided not to. These were ordinary bandits, after all. Well maybe not ordinary, but not what she was looking for. She turned from the battlefield and vanished into the night.

"His Imperial Highness Prince Tarkiel to see you, Sire." Tomass looked up from his late dinner at the servant, who stood anxiously frowning. "shall I tell him - ?"
"No," sighed the King. "Send him in."
The servant nodded and walked to the door. He bowed as he opened it. "His Imperial Highness, Prince Tarkiel of D'Tar Mordin."
"Thank you, Uilin," said Tomass. He rose and bowed as Tarkiel walked in. "Welcome, Your Highness." To the servant, he added, "You may go."
As the door closed, Tarkiel studied the Prince. Tall, dressed in black lightly embroidered with silver, the Prince was a grave young man whose face rarely betrayed any emotion. Tonight, however, his face was softened y sympathy.
"Forgive the intrusion, Your Majesty," he said, bowing in his turn. "Please, do not disturb yourself on my account. You have had a difficult day."
"An understatement," sighed Tomass as he wearily resumed his seat. Tarkiel nodded. "Yes. I heard the terrble news on my entrance into the Palace; you have my condolences on the death of your grandson. Prince Laurent's loss is a terrible tragedy. I fear, however ... "
"Yes?" snapped Tomass, his patience exhausted by the day's events.
"I fear you will have little time to mourn. My father is coming early this year. Events in the north trouble him, and he wishes to advise you about them. He will be here tomorrow."
"O gods," groaned Tomass.
"Your Majesty?" Tarkiel stepped closer, but Tomass waved him away.
"It's nothing," he sighed. "Go back to the Embassy, Your Highness."
"As you wish. Again, I am sorry for the loss of your grandson. I will gladly have my retainers aid you in the search for his body, if you wish."
"I'll keep that in min. Good night, Your Highness."
"Good night, Your Majesty." Tarkiel bowed and left the room.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Posts: 2579
Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The Inferno was the aptly named Inn that served those foolish enough to take the high pass through the Hellfire Mountains. It was run by a father and son, grizzled Warrior and master Wizard. They had seen many things, and the sudden materialization of the Emperor of D'Tar Mordin and his youngest brother Tarmoran at their door did nothing more than give them a slight surprise.
"A bit early this year, aren't you?" asked the old Warrior, serving wine to the two. Although they were dressed in nondescript brown robes, the Innkeeper knew them from long acquaintance. Every year they passed through on their way to Magicum. Usually, however, they wore the imperial robes and brought an escort of at least a score of Guards and Heroes. Never mind that, usually, they travelled by carriage, not teleportation.
"Better a bit early than a bit too late," replied Tarmyln. "Trouble is brewing, Sir Uman. Our ally has to warned, and we can take no chances that our enemies know that we are going to warn her ... him. Thus we are travelling incognito."
"All right," said Sir Uman, "I'll not bother you any more. Enjoy your dinner." Nodding, he turned and went back into the kitchen.
The two Mordines were alone in the common room, except for an old, ragged Warrior sitting in a corner. Tarmyln looked at him closely. Something about those intense blue eyes was familiar. He took note of this, and continued eating his dinner. Afterwards, he nodded to his brother and glanced over at the old Warrior. To their surprise, they saw that he had risen and was walking towards them.
"Your Imperial Majesty, I presume," he said, bowing as he drew nearer. "And -- Tarmoran, is it?"
"Yes," said Tarmyln, slightly amused as well as disturbed. "How did you know?"
"Although I have never formally met you," replied the Warrior, "I once knew your father quite well."
"Tarmyln III?" Tarmoran raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Who are you, exactly?"
"I believe I can guess," said Tarmyln. His keen eyes aswept over the weathered face. "Pale blue eyes, well-kept sword, tunic with the Magicum crest: you must be Sir Juster Silveredge. I know you by sight if not introduction, Sir Juster. Tell me, what brings you to the Hellfires?"
"I am returning from Krolm's Anvil," said Sir Juster. "Tell me, why are you here? I overheard you telling the Innkeeper that there was trouble brewing."
"Indeed." Tarmyln noted that the eyes were becoming more intense as he gazed into them. "There is a dispute going on between us and Shovrah-Dan, and possibly Caer Sydrian as well. I did not think you would be interested in politics, however."
"I'm not." The fire faded to a smoulder within the eyes. "Sorry to have bothered you." Sir Juster turned, but hesitated. Looking over his shoulder, he added, "You are going to magicum, right? By teleportation?"
"Yes," confirmed Tarmyln. "In the morning, when brother here has recovered. He is strong enough to transport us all the way from here to the Magisray Palace."
"Is he strong enough to transport one more? I, too, am on my way to Magicum."
"It should pose no problem," answered Tarmoran.
"Good." Sir Juster nodded to himself, and left the common room.
"A strange man, that," observed Tarmyln.
"Indeed," said Tarmoran drily. "Well?"
"Well, what?"
"Shall we tell them everything?"
"About the real cause of our conflict with Shovrah-Dan?"
"And the High Kingship. The Sydrians are more important, as far as Magicum is concerned."
"And the High Kingship." Tarmyln nodded. "Yes, I believe we should. Tomass and Riven deserve to know the whole truth."
"Hm. It's possible that, if you tell them, Tomass will want to withdraw from our alliance. We could be forfeiting a great deal of help."
"I will not lead them blindfold into danger," said Tarmyln. "Better to dissolve the alliance than betray it in such a manner. But I do not think Tomass will back out. Not after so many years, and certainly not now. Magicum needs D'Tar Mordin."
"Hmm. As you will, then, brother."

Sir Juster lay on his bed, his eyes staring at the ceiling. It was well past midnight, but still he was not asleep. His mind revolved endlessly around one question: Where was Tanasril? Sir Juster did not believe he was dead, or not permanently. The archmage had managed to cheat Krypta for centuries, exending his life long past its alloted span, and Juster knew that he could cheat Krypta again. But how? And where?
Juster had once been a teratogenic. Like Riven, he had been transformed by the mad archmage as part of his campaign to exact revenge on House Magisray. Unlike her, the transformation had been reversed, Tanasrl being forced to release him in exchange for his own freedom. Sir Juster, however, had never forgiven him.
Then came the Second Battle of Magicum. The Princess was transformed, the city nearly destroyed. Sir Juster himself was captured, and might very well have been transformed again, had not the Gold Archons intervened. Tanasril had been turned to stone ... only the stone had shattered, leaving no trace of what had happened to the archmage's spirit.
Juster knew, however. He knew that, somewhere, Tanasril was waiting. Somewhere the teratogenitor hid, preparing another stroke. And Juster had vowed his life to stopping him.
In his quest, his main aid had been, not the clues he had managed to pick up, but the dreams that led him onward. Thus he waited impatiently for sleep, when he would hear the teatogenitor's taunting voice and so follow it to its source. It was this very impatience, rather than fear, which kept him awake, but even longing for sleep will not keep you awake forever. Eventualy, he slept ... and dreamed.
He heard the voice, laughing. Quite clearly, and he knew it was Tanasril, but something was wrong. He could not quite tell how it was so, but somehow the laughter was not cracked and broken as he remembered.
"Show yourself, mage!" he cried into the void. The laughter stpped. Before him, Juster saw a light. Drawing his sword, he walked towards it.
"That's right, Sir Warrior," said a voice. Juster stopped, confused. It came from the light, it had the same cadence, but it was far different than the voice he remembered. Tanasril's voice was shrill and awful, ruined by age and madness. But this voice was deep and strong, compelling and majestic. Still, underneath Sir Juster thought he could detect an undercurrent of the same madness that marked the old Tanasril. "Why do you stop? Don't stop, Sir Warrior, don't stop! You are almost here!"
Snarling, Sir Juster bounded forward. He was in the light. Suddenly he froze. His body, his aged, human body, was changing. Renewed vigour flowed through his veins, animal fury mingled with the feverish thirst for vengeance in his brain. In horror, he saw black fur covering his hands.
"At last you have returned to me," said the voice. The light began to coalesce into a shape. "You have long sought for me, and now at last you shall have your desire."
"Shut up!" howled Sir Juster. But the shape only grew more definite: tall, slender, totally unlike the teratogenitor and yet the same. "I have come to kill you, once and for all."
"Is that really why you search? Look inside your heart! You know you cannot live without me!"
"Just watch me!" Juster lunged toward, his sword forgotten as ebony claws reached for the figure's throat.
"You cannot lie to yourself forever," said Tanasril. "Your mind may resist me, but in the end, your soul will obey!" The figure, the light, vanished.

Juster sat up in bed. He stared at his hands, pale in the moonlight. Then he collapsed, and cried in helpless rage.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The door to her room was still locked when Ellaria teleported outside. She would have gone all the way to Magicum - to her brother - in a second; but she didn't have the power. Laurent had been the one to be formally trained; Ella had only picked up the simplest things. Transportation was as complex as she could cast.
Her blindfold on, she looked out into the stables through a white haze of cloth. Her heart was pounding in her chest so feircly, she feared her veins would burts, unable to keep up with the beating muscle. Without a word to the stablehand - who was napping anyway - El saddled her mare and rode out. Twilight was falling, but Valmorgan's streets were asbusy as ever/ She did her best to be inconspicuous - but, honestly, who didn't notice a seemingly blind girl on a horse?
She paid attention to no one, and rode. She had to get there - had to reach Magicum. Laurent...If something had happened to him, if he was hurt, or - she swallowed hard - or dead...
Pressing her heels into the horse, she urged him into a gallop, leaving Valmorgan behind. She could not think about it, could not let the thought enter her mind. But tears were already spilling out of her colorless eyes, wetting the blindfold and hindering her sight. Tearing the white cloth from her face, the Princess leaned forward over her mare, pushing the creature on faster. They flew over the land, faster than Ellaria had ever moved - not as fast as her cousin, though she did not know this. She let the horse guide itseld most of the way, mind to occupid to steer.

As Magicum neared, Ellaria wiped her eyes, placing the white cloth around her head. The guards at the kingdom's gates let her pass unharassed - indeed, they didn't seem to see her. Unworried, the princess proceeded on to the palace. Dismounting at it's entrance, she stepped forward, paying no heed to the men who stood watch there.
They saw her, though.
The two guards stepped together, blocking her. Affronted, Ella took a step back, looking up at the two. She and Laurent were not identical twins - which was quite obvious when they stood together. Her brother was a good head taller than she.
"Excuse me," Ellariaaa said, shaking at slightly. Her nerves were frayed, and she'd just ridden miles. The horse's head was down, sides heaving; she was about to collapse. "I'm here to see the king."
The younger guard snorted, looking her up and down, shaking his head. Blinking, El glanced down at herself. If she she'd been in a stable piece of mind, she'd have blushed. The white dress she'd been wearing was mud splattered and dusty. But she was not in a normal frame of mind, and could careless what she looked like. "Get out of my way," she said.
"What could a little blind girl want with the king?"
Ellaria puilled the cloth from her eyes. Those white orbs glared out at the two guards. "This 'little girl' is not so blind - though that pimple face of yours may rectifying that." The younger guard - who did indeed seem to be suffering from acne - flushed darkly. "I am a Princess of Valmorgan, sister of LAurent Magisray, and I would like to see my grandfather now. Get out of my way."
"You little-" the guard did not have the chance to throw her several feet, as he wanted to. The arm that had been lifted to strike her lowered slowly, as if he was unsure why his hand had been up in the first place. The younger guard held a bewildered look on his face. Scratching his head, he stepped aside. The older, as of yet silent guard also seemed confused.
"Go...right on in, miss."
The men were not the only ones confused. Blinking at the sudden change, Ellaria continued warily. When the doors closed behind her, they slipped from her mind. She had to find her grandfather!

Left alone to his meal once again, Tomass had found he'd quite lost his appetite. Quitting the dining area, the king made his way to his own suite. Unable to keep them in until he reached his rooms, tears trickled down his cheeks. It was not enough that he had lost his only grandson - but Magicum had lost it's only chance at salvation.
And it was his fault. If he had been a better king, Laurent would be safe now.
Reaching his chambers, the king collapsed into the nearest chaid with a glass of the hardest liquor he could find.
And, somewhere, very far away, a boy groaned.
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere

Last edited by Raistlin Archmagus on Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Sir Juster was not the only Silveredge who dreamed that night. In the Outpost of Castle Silveredge, his cousin and one-time pupil, Baron Drexel, lay wrapped in a dark vision.
He stood in a cavern. A vein of some luminous ore criss-crossed the walls, providing a pale light. Across the chamber was a dark archway, leading to another cavern. He took a hesitant step towards it, then a figure emerged from the arch.
"Who are you?" cried the Baron. It was a tall shape, slender and lithe. Its face was human in appearance, save for the light silvery fur and the glowing, golden eyes. Luxuriant brown hair framed the face and tumbled past the shoulders; fur of the same rich brown covered the arms and legs left bear by the sleeveless white tunic that fell to the figure's knees. The hands were long-fingered and delicate, the palms bear of fur that they might be more sensitive.
"Who are you?" he repeated, drawng his sword as the figure stood smiling.
"Do you not recognize me?" asked the figure, in deep tones that matched the richness of his hair. "We met once before, Lord Baron. But you were young then, and I ... I have somewhat altered my appearance."
Drexel stood, his mithril sword clenched in his head. He thought back, but he had never seen a creature like this. Not even in Tanasril's army -- and, as he thought this, his eyes widened.
"No," he whispered, his hand tightening on the sword, "it can't be. You're not -- Tanasril?"
The creautr did not answer. Instead, he continued to walk forward, until he stood in front of Drexel. The sword, heirloom of his family, fell from his fingers as the creature reached forward and clasped his hands.
"I know the desire of your heart," whispered the creature. "You long to aid and comfort the Princess Riven, but her different nature estranges you."
"If you are Tanasril," began Drexel, and tried to break away, but the creature interrupted him.
"I can change that. I can bring you together as no-one else can. Surrender to me, and I will make all of your dreams become reality. Resist me, and your greatest nightmares will come to pass. Heed me well: Magicum's fate, as well as Riven's, are in my hands."
Drexel stared into those golden eyes, and seemed to see reflected countless shapes, but whether of people or monster he could not tell. He seemed to hear voices calling out to him, but he could not discern them clearly. Again he tried to pull away, but the creature's claws hands dug painfully into his flesh ...

The dream ended. Drexel groaned and sat up. Outside, dawn was beginning to break.
"Was it just a dream? Or is Tanasril still ... ?" He shook his head. He rose from his bed, and went over to the balcony outside the room.
Heshook his head again as he gazed out at his settlement. Ironically, Castle Silveredge was far more prosperous than it leige, Magicum. Untouched by the war, Castle Silveredge boomed as refugees from Magicum and Alhania flocked into the town. Merchants who had invested in Magicum now turned to Castle Silveredge, and diplomats had come to the Outpost while Alhana and later Tomass had dwelt there. Drexel was secretly ashamed that his city had prospered as a result of Magicum's decline, but all he could do to make amends was see that all the prosperity went to help Tomass rebuild the capital.
He eye was attracted by a lone man walking up the path to the Outpost's front gate. By his uniform, Drexel knew him to be a runner. He frowned at the man as he hailed the gates.
"A runner this early?" he murmured. "Something horrible must have happened in Magicum. Tomass would never send a messenger out at this hour otherwise.

Drexel blanched, as did all the others assembled to hear the runner's news. Although sleepy and irritable when they had arrived, the courtiers forgot thier disturbed repose in the wave of fear that the messenger's words brought.
"Prince Laurent is dead?" repeated Treven. Once Guildmaster of the First Magicumian Warriors' Guild, Treven was now Guildmaster of the Shining Blades, as well as advisor to cousin, Lord Drexel. He was still a proficient swordmsman and a wise councillor, and normally looked young despite his white hair, but not this morning. "Merciful Agrela! Whatever ... what will happen now? Now that our saviour is gone?" He buried his head in his heads, and his old body shook silently.
"We must go to Magicum," said Drexel anxiously. "Riven will be very upset." Noticing his advisor, he stood up and put an arm around his shoulders. "I'm sorry, Uncle. It's a horrible shock to you, I know, but we must be strong."
"All hope is gone!" cried Treven. "Laurent was our last chance -- and now he's gone!"
"Nonsense," retorted Drexel, putting far more feeling into the word than he felt. "Laurent's death is an awful tradegy, but he's not the only Magisray. There are many others who can still support Ri- king Tomass."
treven straightened abruptly, a thoughtful look on his face. "Yes," he said slowly. "You may be right. And you are right; we must go to Magicum at once, and help the royal family through this calamity."
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The Inferno was still in shadow as the three men took their leave of Sir uman and his son. A light flared about them as Tarmoran cast his spell, and they vanished.
From the crags on the western mountainside across from the Inn, a shadow shifted. It sprang into a patch of sunlight, momentarily revealing itself as a tall, lanky Rogue, then vanished into a cave.
"Well?" asked a young man as the spy returned. The speaker was taller than the Rogue, over seven feet, and wore only a ragged kilt. His legs, arms, chest and back were tattooed in swirling designs of red and blue; bronze rings dangled from his ears. In one hand he held a long staff of ash.
"The travllers have gone, Lord Greffen," said the spy.
"Good." The young man turned to those behind him, a dozen or so renegades and ruffians. "Now, we will attack. If we can, we'll take the old man and his son alive. If not, we'll just take everything we can carry and burn the rest!"
With a shout, the men sprang from the cave. They bounded down the rocks and across the ravine that formed the pass between the two mountains. They were met by a blast of magic, as Sir Uman's son had learned to fight first and ask questions later. One of the men fell, but the rest pressed forward. Quickly they had the door down, but were there met by Sir Uman himself.
Two of the ruffians were slain, and the rest fell back, uncertain. Then Greffen was among them.
"You dogs!" he cried, laying about him with his staff. "It's only one old man! Now get in there and take him!"
Cringing, they jumped to obey. Two more fell, but their sheer numbers bore Sir Uman back from the door, and Greffen stepped inside.
Magic lit the dim Inn as the Warrior's son fired a blast at him. Greffen jumped aside, just as a crossbow bolt struck the other's shoulder. He grasped at it, then collapsed. The Rogue nodded, and Greffen knew that it was merely a sleeping potion.
Sir Uman was cornered by the remaining eight bandits. Fearful of his sword, they hang back. Greffen sneered and vaulted over them.
"All right then, old Warrior," he said, twirling his staff, "let's see what you've got!"
With a shout Sir Uman lunged at him. Greffen cracked his wrist with his staff and sent the sword flying into the counter. Then he thrust the end into the old man's chest, forcing him to the floor.
"You've lost, old man," he said. He smiled, his face flushing with victory. "I'm going to give you a chance to join me, and if you're smart you'll accept."
"Why should I?" demanded the fallen Warrior, anger mingling with curiosity in his voice.
"First, I'll kill you and your son if you don't. Second, you owe me for offing a third of my men. Third, I'm no ordinary bandit. My name is Greffen the Avenger, and I can offer you a rich reward if my campaign goes well."
"Campaign?" asked the Warrior, curiosity now wholly replacing the anger.
"I'm not called the Avenger for nothing. It's my life's quest to destroy the traitors who ruined my father. Perhaps you've heard of Tanasril the Broken?"
"He's your father?!"
"No, fool; he's the one who ruined my father. Him and his minions. I'm going South to deal with him and whatever scum he has left. Will you come, or do I kill you here?"
"I'll come." Greffen lifted the staff from his chest and he sat up. "But, Tanasril is dead. How will you take vengeance/"
"Dead, huh?" Greffen rubbed his chin. "I don't believe it. I'll go see for myself -- and, if it's true, fine. I'll just carve out a kingdom for myself, then."
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Raistlin Archmagus

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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Again, in her bedroom - and again, staring out the window. Riven tore her eyes from the landscape (she looked toward Castle Silveredge, without even thinking about it), walking to her bed, and then to her dresser - and back again twice. The princess walked with a limp; her right hind leg was wrapped in a clean bandage. It had been changed several times in the past hours. The bleeding had finally slowed.
Returning to her window, Riven stared out into the kingdom that would have been hers. Her wings, instead of being tucked against her back, drooped, feathers brushing the ground. How could the boy's family be told? How would they deal with it? How would Magicum go on?
Early this day had been the first time she'd ever spoken to Laurent; she had no great love for him. But - still, he was her cousin. And...
And he was dead.
Riven's legs buckled beneath her, and she fell. The was no grace in the movement; she just, dropped. "Gods," she whispered. Burying her head against her forelegs, Riven closed her sleep, wishing for once for sleep to come. Even haunted dreams, she thought, surely had to be better than this.

Ellaria stumbled through the palace, blindfold around her eyes. Where could he be? What was wrong with him? She was finally here - and she could not find him!
Already crying, she turned around and around, feeling lost and utterly helpless. Almost running, she rounded the corner; and bumped into someone. Falling back, she hit the floor, sniffling, she looked up at Tarkiel. "Sorry," she mumbled, not realizing his status - and not caring. "Could you tell me where the king is?"
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Probably in bed." Tarkiel stared at the girl; something about the blindfold tugged at his memory. "It is barely sunrise. Who are you?"
"I am Princess Ellaria," she said. "I need to find my grandfather ... I need to find out what happened to my brother."
"Ellaria ... then your brother must be Prince Laurent. I think your grandfather will not mind being disturbed. Do you know the way to his room?"
El hesitated. She did not know this man, and she hated to appear weak in front of a stranger. On the other hand, she had never been in the Magicum Palace before.
"I would be grateful," she said at last.
"Follow me, then." Tarkiel turned and walked siletnly down the corridor. Ella followed, wondering who he was. She did not have too much time for speculation, however, for in the dim light all she had to follow her guide by were the flashes of silver from his cape.
Finally he halted. HThe sunlight was just beginning to shine through the windows as he lifted his hand and knocked on the door into the King's apartments. A bleary-eyed servant answered the door.
"Yes?" he mumbled, then his eyes widened. "Your Highness! What business - ?"
"Princess Ellaria is here," Tarkiel interrupted him. "She wishes to see her grandfather."
"Princess -- Ellaria?" The servant blinked. "Here?"
"Don't gape, man. Awaken His Majesty ... if he is asleep."
The servant nodded, dumbfounded, and hurried off to rouse the King.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Raistlin Archmagus

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Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

During the silent moment in which the king was roused, Ella turned to peer up at Tarkiel. "Highness?" The word was murmered, more to herself than the Prince. Obviously, the attendent had not meant her. The topic slipped to the back of her mind, though, as Tomass came to the door. He looked haggard - as if he'd only just slept, with the aid of a good deal of wine. He blinked, running a hand through thinning hair.
"Tarkiel?" Tom blinked again, at the younger man. "I thought you were going back to the Embassy."
The Mordine Prince nodded. "Yes, your majesty, until I ran into this young lady - your granddaughter, as I'm told."
The king stared for a moment, before turning his gaze downward, to see the princess's face. There was a pause, as if he has to think to remember her name; then, "Ellaria?" His voice came out in a whisper, almost cracking. "Oh, Gods." Leaning against the door frame for a moment, he covered his eyes with a hand.
What could he possibly tell her? She must know something had gone horribly, terribly wrong. Drawing a deept breath, Tom stepped to the side, gesturing his guests in. "Please, I'm being rude, and I think the use of chairs will be needed."
Ella felt her insides turn cold. Numbly, she walked in and took a seat, oblivious of her dirtied dress. Now that she was here, she didn't know how to begin. This was the first view of her grandfather she could remember having - and the circumstances were horrible.
"Um-" How was she supposed to address him? Sir? Majesty? Laur had always referred to him as grandfather - would he be offended if she did the same?
She deciding to forgo titles completely. "Where is my brother?"
The silence was so thick, Ella couldn't breathe. That, or she was holding her breath. She couldn't remember.
"He's dead, Ellaria."
And she stopped listening. Tomass continued on, trying to exlain, but she didn't hear him. Standing, she walked to the door, listening to her body. Her heart was pounding before - she would be surprised if it was beating at all now. She paused, pulling the blindfold from her face. When she turned, she stared hollowly at the two royal men from ice-white eyes. Tomass was still speaking, stumbling through his words.
"He's not dead," she said. The king, interrupted, blinked, halting his flow of words abruptly. "He isn't. He's - hurt, and something's...something is wrong but..." She shook her head. "Everything hurts. My legs, my arms, my shoulders - not half as bad is it was hours ago. But we feel eachother." She paused, shaking her head. "Well, sort of. I felt what he was feeling. So he has to be alive. He was in pain. If he was dead..." she shook her head again, pressing the heels of her palms to her eyes. She would not say that again. If Laurent was not dead - then, he was in a lot of pain...and perhaps dying. "What happened?"
Moving to the otherside of the room, to peer out the window, Ellaria listened to him tell the story of the raid. Holding her bottom lip wetween her teeth, El's eyes unfocused. "I need to find him." But, where was she supposed to start? Shaking her head, dismayed, she turned to the king. "I'm sorry to impose...Grandfather." She looked up at him from beneath her eyelashes. "But would it be too much trouble, to ask to stay here?"
Laurent was in the forefront of her brain, make no mistake; but in the background, she thought - well, at least she wouldn't have to meet her "betrothed."

Stunned, Tomass nodded slowly. Few pleasantries were traded before he indicated a servant to guide her to a spare room. If asked to recall what he said that night, the king could not answer. But when his guests were gone, he could remember only sitting in his chair, not moving for hours.

Outside, Ellaria asked the servant to wait, stopping Tarkiel as well. "I'm sorry," she said, bowing slightly. "Through the drama -" she blushed lightly. "-I did not catch your name."
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"My name is Tarkiel Mordine," he answered, staring thoughtfully at her blank white eyes. "I am the Crown Prince of D'Tar Mordin."
"The C-Crown Prince?" Ella stuttered. Tarkiel nodded.
"Yes ... so, you believe your brother is alive? But his body was not found on the battlefield."
"I ... " Ella stared at the Prince. She had bumped into he Crown Prince of D'Tar Mordin, ignored him during the talk, and he passed over it so easily? "Yes," she said, collecting her thoughts. "I'm sure of it. Like I said, I felt his pain. And -- and I just know."
"A psychic connection." Tarkiel nodded thoughtfully. "Was there not a prophecy at your birth?"
"Yes," answered Ella, frowning in confusion. "Why - "
"If your hearts and minds are connected in this manner, it means that the gods must have something very special planned for you."
"For my brother," she muttered. Tarkiel cocked his head.
"And for him only? If you were born at nearly the same time, how do you know the prophecy was not for you both? It seems that your fates are connected." He bowed to her. "Good night, Princess; or perhaps good morning. I trust I will see you in the throne room later."
He turned and left.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Day dawned over Magicum, but its light was denied to the unwholesome land known as the Black Valley. Shrouded by magic and dead leaves upon dying trees, the Black Valley ran like a scar, seperating the Dryad Forest from the North Downs to the west. Once it had been the home of evil Wizards; Tanasril and other who used their magiks to corrupt and twist the Valley's residents until nothing natural remained. Having run out of resources, the teratogenitors left, leaving behind a legacy of pain and darkness.
In the events leading up to the Second Battle of Magicum, the Black Dragons had erected Spires of Death in a line that marched from the Valley's end towards Magicum. The Dryads of the Forest, allied to Magicum through marriage, managed to hold back the tides of monsters the Spires unleashed, and the elusive Warder managed to destroy their power. However, the Spires, too, had left their mark on the Valley.
Tanasril's defeat in Magicum was caused in part by the defection of one of his chief lieutenants: Ephinmor, dark Wizard and leader of the magefels. Of all these feline spell-casters under Ephinmor, only one had remained loyal: Relfiras, a budding teratogenitor in his own right and apprentice to Tanasril. Helpless to prevent Ephinmor's betrayal, Relfiras had fled the battle via teleportation, attempted to reach Tanasril's fortress on the North Downs.
However, the ethereal maelstrom unleashed by the fall of the Spires had interfered with his spell. Instead of the fortress, Relfiras found himself trapped in a shifting labyrinth formed by the Spires' collapse and the lingering teratogenic magiks. For forty years, he had tried to escape, forced to battle for his life against the monstrous denizens of the Valley.
This day, however, was different. Unable to teleport out of the labyrinth, Relfiras had carefully studied it. He noted the patterns in the ethereal sotrm, using them to predict the shifts in the labyrinth. He catalogued the weaknesses of the monsters who dwelt there. Using his own teratogenic skill, he modified some of the creatures caught, heightening their awareness so that they could guide him out. This day would indeed be different. For this day, he would escape.
"And soon, my nemesis," he said, addressing an imaginary Ephinmor, "very soon I shall have vengeance for what you did to the Master. Whatever remnants of his armies are left, I will gather, and I will hunt you down. You thought the transformation the master performed was painful, but it will be ecstasy compared to what I shall put you through!"

Yquellar Vanathael groaned as the harsh trumpets of the Aergoblins sounded reveille. The ancient Eldwarf rolled over on his bed, stuffing his blanket into his pointed ears. But it was no good. Sighing, he sat up and ran over the list of things he had to accomplish. Then he remembered the dream.
"Oh yes!" he cried, rubbing his hands together. "Must consult with Lord Narjok! He will be most interested!" Chuckling, he bounded from bed, and hurried over to the mirror.
After finishing his toilette, Yquellar bounded out the of his tower room and down the stairs. He ignored all the landings, continuing his pace until he had reache a level of the compound far below the earth. For this was the fortress of Tanasril, constructed by the Eldwarf engineers and their moronic Kelnome workers. Both were races bred by the teratogenitor to build and construct, just as the Aergoblins and Equestrodens were bred to fight and the magefels to cast spells. And, just as each race had survived its maker, so too had his fortress grown since his demise. Both above and below Ardania's surface, the massive compound sprawled, concealed from prying eyes of the two amgefels captives, who had been caught communicating with the traitor Ephinmor. The two had been worked to their deaths, but all had been accomplished. Tanasril's fortress was impregnable, the mightiest stronghold in Ardania.
The room for which Yquellar was headed was the old council chamber. Here, long ago, Tanasril had sat with his lieutenants: Sir Maris, Grannok, Ephinmor, Dragun, and Yquellar. Of those then gathered, Sir Maris and Grannok had died, while Ephinmor and Dragun had betrayed Tanasril. Yquellar was the only one left, and he sometimes wept to himself when he thought of the days gone by. Still, he always consoled himself with the hope that one day the Master's will would be carried on. Dead though he was, neither Yquellar nor Grannok had ever given up on Tanasril, believing that somehow the Master would return. And now that hope seemed to be vindicated.
"He's alive!" cried Yquellar, bursting into the council chamber. Narjok, son of Grannok, was already there, and the Aergoblin Commander stood in surprise as the little creature bounded into the room.
"'He'? Do you mean -- the Master?"
"Of course!"
"But, how can that be? My father said he felt him die."
"Of course he did. But we always said he'd return, did we not?"
"Yes, but ... " Narjok rubbed his chin. "But I had believed that the Master's will would be carried on through an apprentice. Are you certain that the Master himself has -- come back?"
"He appeared in a dream to me," said Yquellar. he nodded vigourously. "There was no mistake. He said he had come back, and told us to wait just a little longer."
"We shall indeed." Narjok sat back down. "I am not convinced. I shall await a sign. In the meantime, we shall wait. I shall inform the army, though. if your dream was true, we should be prepared for battle."
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Aergoblins: winged Goblins of surpassing strength, size and intelligence. Eldwarves: a cross between Dwarven and Elven blood; mentally and emotionally unstable, but diligent and inventive engineers. Neo-wolves: Lycanthropic humans with black fur and their personalities intact. Equestrodens: tailless Ratmen bred for horsemanship, strength, and loyalty. Kelnomes: Gnome morons with only basic cognitive skills and immense strength. Magefels: Wizards transformed into feline creatures of agility, strength, and animal cunning.
These were the races that Tanasril had created and bred for his attack on Magicum. Of them all, only three, Aergoblins, Eldwarves, and the mindless Kelnomes, had remained loyal in their entirety. The Neo-wolves, had, for the most part, been returned to their human shape; the few who, as a punishment for their crimes, remained lycanthropes still bore no love for Tanasril, living in the deeps of the Dryad Forest. As for what could be considered his greatest racial creations, the Equestrodens and the magefels, they no longer served him or his memory. The magefels, save for those caught in the fortress, had vanished under the leader of the traitor Ephinmor. The Equestrodens had split, those who condemned Tanasril as dishonourable fleeing his ranks under Knight Captain Skraxis, and the loyal fighting to their deaths in magicum under Knight Commander Maris.
What had happened to these two renegade monster races? Traitor to the Master who spawned them, enemies to mankind by birth of choice, where had they vanished two?
East of Magicum lies the small, Barbarian Outpost of Alhania, ruled by Chieftain Merung, the son of the old Chieftain Mung. Once prosperous, it was decimated by the Thaman clan in their bid to conquer Magicum. Still further east lies a desolate land. Once the rich kingdom of Ferring, this region had been first oppressed by the Thamans and then deserted after the Emperor had leveled the capital city of Ferringburg and the Thamans' power was broken in Magicum. Yet, even though the people had fled, the hills and valleys of Ferring were not wholely deserted.
Mists shrouded the rubble of the once mighty city of Ferringburg. Few were those who dared go near, and those few never returned. Ferringburg, it was widely believed, was haunted by the spirits of those who had died though under the Thaman regime and the Emperor's attack. This was true, in part, but the whole truth was far more sinister. For Ferringburg was haunted, not just by restless spirits, but by an army of zombies, Vampires, and Black Phantoms. An army was a purpose, whose course was directed by a black ring encircling a black-furred finger.
Ephinmor sat upon the salvaged throne of Ferringburg in the ruins of the Library, murmuring to himself the words of the scroll he held. As he did so, the Ring of Twilight on his hand flashed and flickered with red energy. For this was a scroll dealing with necromancy, the magical art forbidden to all save the chosen of Krypta. It was indeed ironic that, when Tarmyln III had razed the Library, he had neglected to destroy the vaults beow where all the dangerous works were kept. Thus, Ephinmor had been able to delve deep into the mysteries of necromancy, using his knowledge and the Ring to gain control over life and death.
Nearby sat Quathil and Sarras, his lieutenants, also engaged in study. They had been with him from the first, since before Tanasril had offered to augment their abilities with his transformation. Quathil was a Summoner, a Wizard who specialized in transporting objects from one place to another via the Ether Winds. Such a spell could be as simple as teleportation, or as complex -- and unholy -- as summoning a spirit from the Netherworld. Sarras, called the Insightful, was a seer; his ability to scry distant locations and the minds of others was unmatched. All had black fur, untouched by age through the necromantic prowess of their lord.
Apart from these three, there were twenty other magefels; some old, some just out of kittenhood, but all adept in spell-casting. Ephinmor's dream of building an assembly of Wizards to rival that of Ardania's Guilds was coming to fruition.
"Mortem est; ut in morte semper teneatur." Ephinmor let the scroll roll up, and set it gently down beside him. "It is dead," he translated to himself. "Let it be held in death forever. There will be no returning for you, Tanasril. You have played your part in my ascension, now you may rest in peace."
"I think it might be too late to banish him, my lord," said sarras, looking up. "My visions are growing more and more vivid. I think he might have already managed, somehow, to bring himself back to life."
"Then I will return him to death," replied Ephinmor. The Ring of Twilight sparked. "And then, eternal requiem for the Master." Purring filled the ruins of the Library, as Phantoms watched from the shadows.

North of Magicum lies the great Dryad Forest. Bounded on the west by the Black Valley, on the east by Ferring, the Dryad Forest ends to the north in a high, nameless plateau unexplored as yet by civilized man. Thus, it must have surprised the wild creatures that dwelt there to see a large company of horsemen ride up the cleft that led up out of the Black Valley and on to the highland. Only, they were not truly horsemen.
"We have finally come this far," said Sir Ferriton, gazing out across the vast expanse as the dawn's light played across it.
"Yes," said the silver-furred Equestroden riding on his left. "Forty years in that treacherous vale, and now at last our destiny lies before us. This was Sir Skraxis, leader of the Equestroden rebellion and self-appointed Knight Commander. Although aged, the trek through the accursed Valley had kept his wits and his sword sharp. Ferriton was his nephew and lieutenant, although he had not yet formally been given the title of Knight Vice-Commander. "Now we can search for a suitable site, and begin construction of our city."
"Leave it to me, Commander," said a clear, high-pitched voice. This was Lady Verchiil, black-furred daughter of Sir Ferriton and head of the Knight Mystics. "The lady will show me the way."
"Hmm." Skraxis nodded, and looked out at the land. "well then, let us go. Destiny awaits!"
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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