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Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 12:45 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

"So, this is New Valmorgen," muttered Darac looking around with a sneer at the elegant buildings.
"You have never been here before," observed Amaru, as he gazed with a small smile upon the endeavors of man to match the beauty of the Celestial.
"No. I have never been out of the Central Plains before."
"Well, you shall soon go much further then that. There is the Aerodome. But first, I wish to see the Parliament building. If you will excuse me." The two seperated, Darac heading towards the fabled Aerodome, Amaru towards the rotund dome that marked the House of Lords.

Parliament Square was filled with people. Crowds stood around the edges, whispering and muttering. Even two weeks after the destruction of the House of Guilds, they could not comprehend what had happened. In the central part of the Square marble and sheets of mithril were stacked for the use of the Gnomes, Dwarves and Peasants who were rebuilding the demolished half of the building. The House of Lords was filled to capacity, as the nobles had taken up residence there while they debated the attack, the news from Mayhew, and the panic spreading throughout the land.
Amaru had a difficult time getting through the crowd. While some people pulled away from him, muttering prayers and charms, some moved threateningly towards him, cursing all teratogenics. He ignored them all. His only words were polite requests for passage when the crowds became too thick. In this manner he had nearly reached the construction site, when five roguh men moved to bar his path.
"And where are you goin', terry?" asked one, thumping a club against his hand.
"To the House of Lords. I have business there."
"Is that so?" leered the man. "What does one of you scum what in Parliament? Maybe you're going to destroy the other House, eh?"
"If that were my intention," replied Amaru, "I would not waste my time bandying words with you. Please, step aside."
"Waste 'is time!" said another. He pulled a rusty scimitar from its sheath. "Yer wastin' yer time right now, terry!"
"If it is a fight you desire, then you chose your opponents poorly." Amaru drew his own blade; the Ancients' Sword flashing in the sunlight.
"That's enough!" cried a Dwarf, running over. He swung his hammer threateningly at the five ruffians. "You! Get away from here!" The five slunk off, growling under their colllective breath. The Dwarf turned to Amaru. "Beg your pardon, Master Teratogenic. Those five have been causing trouble since that monster attacked us a fortnight again. I'm Remik Ironauger, foreman in charge of the repairs."
"Pleased to meet you, Master Remik. My name is Amaru. If you could take the time, would you conduct me to the House of Lords? I wish to speak with one of them."
"No problem!" The foreman put away his hammer, and guided Amaru through the piles of building material to the door of the House of Lords. amaru bid him farewell, and pushed open the door.

"How much does it cost to hire an aeroship?" asked Darac of the clerk behind one of the many desks in the main central portion of the Aerodome.
"That depends on what kind you want, sir. The one-man flyers cost twenty gold a day. The transports - "
"I and a friend are going to the Moon," interrupted Darac impatiently. "We need to hire a crew and a ship, or buy passage on one already bound there. How much is it?"
"You can't go to the Moon!" cried the clerk. "The Lords have prohibited all travel there and back, except for the supply shipments, and they are carefully watched."
"Then we'll go on that. I am the Prince of the Lycolongi, and my father is the Lord of Sanctuary."
"I'm sorry, there can be no excepti-argguh!' Darac had lifted the clerk bodily from his chair behind the desk. He pulled him closer, their faces bare inches apart.
"Listen, fool," he said, "we're going on to the Moon, one way or another. If you can't get that through your thick skull, then the Aerodome will get a new clerk! Understand?"
"I'm sorry!" gasped the man. "You'll have to speak with the administrator! I - "
"Where is he?" snarled Darac. The clerk pointed, and the Prince of Lycolongi dropped him across his desk.
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 PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 5:27 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

The rain was heavy, so it was only natural that every standing inn in Mayhew was filled to brim with refugees and patrons. Their heating discussion and speculation on the coming wizard duel did not die down with coming of midnight. On the second floor of luxury inn in the almost burnt down financial district, two silhouettes watched the reconstruction of Mayhew in silence.

“I don’t suggest the use of the golems unless it became necessary, Emarius.” Whispered Alexandria in human form, she peered out into the heavy rain, not looking at anything in particular.
“I doubt anything can become unnecessary when it comes to a duel with Ocimilium.” The figure beside Alexandria replied quietly. “If my intuitions are correct, He and his ilk would be bribing the entire town at the moment.”
“So much better for us, he might end up spend more then he can possibly win before the duel even start.” The feminine figure almost chuckled at the thought. “However, if you aren’t winning to start with, there is no point revealing our next invention to the blacks.”
“Do you think Ocimilium would stop at this, or anything, to acquire the secret of automation?” Emarius said in slightly elevated voice. “Since it is only matter of time before he gets his hand on the knowledge, we might as well trade it for a slim chance of victory.”
“You are wiser then I thought.” Replied Alexandria, as she closed the window. In the distance, the globe over a sorcerer’s abode glowed and flashed in the rain.

It took a sorcerer a sleepless night stem the endless rainfall. The effort of the sorcerer was not wasted, as the fairground springs to life as soon as the sun left out of the horizon. Situated on the outer fields, the fairground suffered close to no damage during the invasions. Various tents kept the seats dry during the rainy seasons. Elven Bards and Blade Dancers are already performing their art out in the open field, gaining a few cheers from a few spectators that arrived early.
By nine, the air above the fairground is already thick with noise. Most guests has arrived started socializing. Guild masters from every guild of adjacent realms have arrived, most with their guildsmen and even their families. The newly elected Mayhew senate where talking to each of them, desperate for aid or contracts, yet most of them were not interested. Their intention to come lays elsewhere.
Apparently, the first ever dragon duel involving the archon of the black citadel attracted more then interest from anyone in the region. Warriors, templar and paladins rode overnight; wizards used their most portent teleportation magic, Dwarves have come in their massive airships. By any account, by ten, the fairground is packed beyond capacity. The entrance fee has skyrocket to five hundred gold pieces, yet few cared.
The fair to celebrate the liberation of Mayhew officially began at half to ten. The archery contest started after a half an hour-long lecture by the senate of Mayhew, the lecture almost cause some nobles to fall asleep on their seats. The performance of Elven and Human rangers was mediocre. Apparently, a large number of capable heroes ended up in mausoleum during the invasion of dragons. In fact, some of them preformed so badly that some of there arrow completely missed their targets. A disappointed ranger of New Valmorgen fired an arrow from his spectator seat in protest, stroke a target across the entire field in the bull’s eye, causing cheer to erupt from the audience.
Melee on foot contests followed. Blade dancer and monks fought hand to blade on close quarter. Most Elven Blade dancers were more whistle then muscle, so monks dominated the battle. The melee was so one sided that soon the remaining blade dancer found themselves fighting a few monks simultaneously. They where quickly exhausted and carried out in bandages by guards. The only cheer in the round was given to a monk who grabbed a blade dancer by arm and threw him into another, knocking both of them out cold.
Mounted melee took place next. Squads Elite Guard and Templar charged across the field at neck breaking speed into each other and cheers from the spectators were constant and deafening. Lances splintered and men where thrown off the horse smashed into the ground. More men where moved out on stretchers after each charge. Squires ran to their masters carrying spare lances and water canteen between charges. After five charges, it was soon clear the templar are having the upper hand. Remaining Elite guard fought the remaining charges pain stalking, yet it could not save them from the fate of being thrown off their horses.
Siege weapon contest followed. Dwarves and alchemists of every ilk tried their invention against invention of others. These inventions are sometimes igneous, sometime run of the mill, sometimes plane ridiculous. By some strange account, every participating machine succeeded in starting up during this contest. In every siege weapon contest, some machines stopped working before they even entered combat; they are most likely to be smashed into junk heap hopelessly during the whirlwind of chaos once the contest starts. The steam tanks of red rock dwarf clan fought the mutilators of the crimson fire alchemist guild in a battle of spark, smoke and explosions. When the battle has ended, not a single machine remained functional. Dwarves ran in with axes to hack open the heaps of metal to rescue mutilated pilots. Meanwhile airships hovered above the fairground, loading burnt out heaps into its massive cargo hold to be sold as salvage. No cheers were given to these outrageous inventions, yet the contest was amusing never the less.
It was amazing that each of these contest lasted only a little less then half an hour. Soon the time approached midday and a magic contest was announced, there were only two contestants, yet every spectator held their breath.
A booming magical voice came out of the balcony of judges.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the wizard duel will begin in five minutes. The contestants are:”
“Ocimilium Deathwind, of the black citadel” There were no cheers, as everyone grinded their teeth at sight of the arch wizard in black robe.
“And Emarius Lightbringer, of the flying city” Applauds was sparse and quite at first, then it get louder and louder, eventually became a deafening wave washing over the fairground. Emarius appeared in human form. Blinding light shot out from his snow-white wizard robe.
“The rule of the wizard challenge is simple. Both of you have to stay in human form. Whoever shifts to other form, face death or become uncurious first loses the challenge. There are no other limitations. Do you understand?”
Both of them nodded silently. The crowed started to cheer for Emarius.
“The challenge will begin in two minutes, you will have that time to prepare your spells, but no spell should be cast before the time is out.”

Out of thin air, wizard staffs appeared in hand of the two wizards. The staff of Ocimilium is black and red runes covered its entire length. Ocimilium uses white staff; gold rings ran along it at regular intervals.
Then there was two minutes of deadly silence. Meanwhile four wizards step onto the four corners of the field and chanted as a wall of magical force shimmers into existence. Such practices are commonly used to prevent external intervention and prevent contestant’s magic from hurting spectators in magical contests.
“Begin” A word rang out and hell broke loses.

Ocimilium left his hand, and three meteors shot forward. A wall of sand rose out of the sand to block the meteor as Emarius fanned his fingers. The Meteors hit the sand with ferocity, leveling the wall and created a tornado of sand. The sand storm washed over the white figure harmlessly and shattered against the force field protecting the spectators. The consuls of Mayhew are already sweating profusely.
Emarius countered by hauling a string of eight ball lighting at Ocimilium, the lighting balls flew across the field and crash down around the black wizard, bathing him in a storm of lighting. The lighting cleared, and the black figure stood atop charred sand, not even scratched.
He waved his hand and chanted, ground near Emarius shook and skeletal hand broke out of the sand, the hands then pushed downwards as a dozen or more skeletal warriors pull themselves out of the sand. The wizard was not deterred, he drew circle around himself, and chanted, the circle glowed, and golden light shot out of the circle to form a circular wall. The wall then expanded, wash over the undead and splintering them into burning bone fragment as they clasped into ground.
Before the golden light of the wall subside, sand around Ocimilium rose and formed into humanoid shape. The dark wizard responded by drawing a few sigils in the sand. Columns of black light shot down from above, when the light cleared, six vampires stood menacingly, ready to fight. The humanoid statue of sand engaged the vampires, and was quickly taken out by sharp craws and life draining spells. The vampires then turned to Emarius and advanced. However, it was too late for them, golden light shot down from sky, and before they knew what happens, there were turned to stone and crumbled hopelessly onto the sand.
Ocimilium was surprised, but he was not out of tricks, he drew a few large circles on the sand drew runes in them while the vampires are being finished off. When all is done, he drew a sigil in the air. The sigil glowed brightly, and giant craw of bone broke out of the sand where the circles stood. When the bone craws retreated, six heavily armored death knights appeared with their steed.
Ocimilium looked up, and cursed, across the sand stood 6-iron golem. Each of the golems is more then three men high and each carries are strange weapon that resemble a large tube. As one, the golems dropped to one knee and a loud bang echoed over the field.
For a long second, nothing seemed to happen, and then, four out of the six death knights felt off their horses, missing limbs and riddled with holes. The remaining two death knight charged and was met with dissected sword twice as long as those used by paladins.
Ocimilium looked around expecting something. He was disappointed at the ripple on the force field separating him the spectators.
The golem fired again, massive ripple appeared on the force shield defending the black archon. Knowing the field will collapse eventually, he resort to his greatest spell. Darkness spread forth and fills space around him, and black shapes started to condense out of the darkness and to his surprise and dismay, the spell was interrupted.
He was turned into a giant rat.
“The winner is Emarius Lightbringer!” The judge cried out, flower shards are thrown into air and the cheer rose into a roar that is when Ocimilium figured that his force field was wakened enough for Emarius to teleport a cursed shape-shifting potion though. The separation field is not taken down as guards rush to carry exhausted Emarius out in a stretcher. He was still thinking about the failure of his bribe when Amasteryx appeared in human form, and picked him up by his tail.

[ 30. August 2003, 07:51 PM: Message edited by: Merlin the Black ]
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 12:57 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Amaru stepped within the House of Lords, and as softly as he could closed the little door behind him - this was not the main door, which could accomodate a twenty-foot tall giant with ease, but rather a small side used for occasions when somebody entering or leaving the chamber did not wish to provide a distraction - which was often. Now, Amaru stood gazing out over the many noblemen. They sat on benches, arranged in circular ranks about a podium in the centre of the room. A servant came up to him, and inquired what his business was.
"I wish to speak with Tarac, Lord of Sanctuary," replied Amaru. "I believe that is him, there, in the second rank on the far side of the podium."
"Ah, yes, the Lycolongus," said the servant, searching out Tarac among the many noblemen. "Quite a unique personage here, and well-respected." The servant did not say that Amaru too, seemed well worth respecting; though as a long-time servant there he had developed a native talent and become a masterful reader of character. "I will bring him to you, my lord - ?"
"Amaru," he replied. "But he will not know me or my name, unless the gods gave him a premonition."
The servant cocked an eyebrow at this, but went off silently. Within minutes he was back, leading the Lycolongus. He then left them, going off to some other task.
Tarac looked Amaru up and down, taking in the white robes, the long silver hair, the lupine ears, and the sheathed sword.
"Amaru," he said at last, feeling out the name. "What do you want of me?"
"Lord Tarac," replied Amaru, bowing slightly, "I am on a mission to put an end to the fiend which so recently attacked this Parliament, and deprived you of your wife." Tarac's face spasmed as Amaru said this, and the apparition nodded in sympathy. "I am sorry for your loss, Tarac, but I predict that worse will come unless you aid me."
"How can I aid you?" asked the Lycolongus.
"I have chosen a companion to aid me. He is both willing and capable, but he cannot accompany me into danger without your consent."
"Why? Who is your companion?"
"Your son, Darac."
Tarac blinked in surprise, and looked hard at Amaru. "Have you brought him here, against my express command to him?"
"I have. He did not wish to come, fearing your anger, but I assured him the responsibility would be wholly mine."
"And who gave you the authority to take on such a responsibility?" asked Tarac, his golden eyes flashing in anger.
"The gods themselves, O Lord of Sanctuary." Amaru gazed deep into Tarac's eyes, the two pairs of golden orbs lcoked into each.
"You expect me to believe that?" challenged Tarac.
"A green-skinned monster destroyed the House of Guilds single-handedly. Do you believe that?" Amaru's eyes pierced deeper. Tarac shuddered, and sighed.
"I believe you. I have not felt such a presence as yours in all my days, Amaru. I might also believe you were a god yourself. Very well. If you need my son, then take him with you. But see to it that he comes to no harm."
"I cannot promise that," replied Amaru gravely. "In this time all things may come to grief, and who can say whether anything will rise again? But I will watch after him."
"Do so," replied tarac. He turned, then paused, looking over his shoulder. "Was there anything else?"
"I wish to go to the Moon. Is there any difficulty in that?"
Tarac snorted. "Any difficulty? Of course there is! No one is allowed to use the void-faring ships without written permission of at least two Lords. I will give you my signature, but I do not think anyone else would."
"Perhaps," replied Amaru, smiling, "but perhaps I will get the other signature after all."
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:59 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Fire, smoke and rain
Emarius does not know where he is, but he certainly does not wish to be there. The air is thick with smoke rising from the great engagement below. Lighting flashes across the sky, illuminating flights of dragon and airships locked in deadly dogfight in the distance. There, burning airships slowly fall out of sky like shooting stars, adding to chaos below.

Emarius is sweeping over a massive battlefield. He has a desire to escape, from the war, from the chaos and from himself. Yet his mind is numb, so are his wings. His wings are moving without is volition, as if his fate forcing him to helplessly watch all the bloodshed. So he watched.

Below him, massive formations of iron golems are engaging equally impressive formation of human troops in an epic battle that stretched from one horizon to another. A thick blanket of black smoke hovered above the line of engagement. Flash from the weapons of golems stain the smoke blanket with an uncomfortable crimson. Massive explosion erupt in both formation almost continuously, rendering sky above the battlefield in the color of fire.

Behind him, a massive army of assorted undead pour down nearby hills likes a sinister flood of moving darkness. The flood was silent save the footstep, which form into a single repeating beat, as if it is footstep of doom.

More human appears on the horizon at every moment. These human fly strange banners and sing a strange song of war. The song was both heroic and sad. Strangely, while he looked the advancing humans, he could not hear the any other sound beside the song

The spirit of ancients,
Hear our call,
Is where your children fall.
We should march,
To end of all,
Under your eyes
Against the steel wall,

After hearing the song, Emarius found his vision is beginning to dim. Maybe the battle is taxing him beyond his limits. His body felt heavy, and his winds slowed, so he slowly plunged to the battle below …

Emarius woke in the white citadel. It was strangely bright, and somehow he knew the entire city is moving. He pulled himself out of his lair of coins, and flipped his wings. He is still rather sleepy but he felt there is no better time to begin a new month of work.

However, he was not surprised when he saw the gathered archons. However, he was surprised at what they were discussing. Amasteryx and Ocimilium are heatedly discussing the “fine art” of torturing while ripping huge steak of meat off some unknown sea creature. Alexandria is reading some ancient poetry from the age of United Ardania. It was more then strange that they are not debating over procession of powerful artifact of the fate or Ardania.

“Good day” Emarius said half mockingly “I see that Ocimilium still have his tail.”
“Indeed” Ocimilium shot him a stare, “And Emarius still have his head.”
“Quite now” Alexandria yelled, “we have more important thing to discuss then your “epic” contest. What Emarius saw was a vision. Was it not?”

“Nothing more then a trick of the enemy, I daresay” Amasteryx responded immediately. “He could sway us to alienate the humans out of fear.” Emarius cannot help but to wonder where does the power of the archons end.

“I dare say it is not,” Said Ocimilium, “I have pulled over some ancient records on these green skinned. Xyres they are called, an ancient nemesis of our race. Their spells are destructive in nature, and they are seldom subtle enough to attempt illusion. In fact, they did attempt to use of mind effecting spell in the known history.

“They must have grown bold indeed if they think they can reach us here” Alexandria interjected calmly. “Even they are so bold, the magic ward of citadel is impervious to any known magic. Even his lordship could not dent it.”

“Not dent it? I think not” Ocimilium replied, slightly irritated “I am sure if it would hold if my forefather really bothered to try. However, I doubt this creature would attempt anything less obvious then knocking it out of the air.”

“I do know that our enemy lacks the use of subtlety in their manners, but if this is indeed so, how do they avoid our detection though all ages of this world?” Alexandria spoke thoughtfully.

“That was painfully obvious” Amasteryx was rather amused. “How can one find something when he is not looking, the ancient records stated the Xyres race was eradicated in a massive genocide down to the last child to prevent them from coming back. They certainly missed something.”

“Whatever it is, the creature certainly wasn’t terribly wise.” Ocimilium spoke unwillingly “I have tapped into her inner circle, the heart of men are easily swayed with gold and magic. They have fled to the remote region in the north. And I know that the creature does not have spells that alter minds or I could not have found my way in.”
“Given the skills of Ocimilium in the darker arts” Amasteryx signed, “I would not challenge that statement, however whatever source he have might have being lying, for all that mattered.”

“Don’t you doubt my skill in mind probing” replied Ocimilium “That human was not tainted, and I know that much at very least.”

“So it is a vision then.” Alexandria replied, “The enemy wishes destroy us with the race of men. There is some cunning in them after all.”

“Not as much as I” Amasteryx replied, “It’s more like an intension to destroy the race of men with us.”

“Nether way the plan must not succeed” Alexandria was alarmed “Whoever wins the war would be greatly weakened, easy picking for the green beast.”

Ocimilium spoke after a long pause “Not if we strike fast at the mortals, let the rivers overflow with blood of all that oppose us.”

“More like our own blood” Amasteryx replied, “Krolm himself was repelled on his attack on an outlying settlement of men. The dwarves certainly helped them then. But the race of men as grown strong indeed in recent years”

“So has us” Ocimilium was excited by the prospect of war “The black citadel and legion of the dead will enforce the will of Kypta with pleasure.”

“You can enforce it alone” Amasteryx grimed and Alexandria nodded, Ocimilium frustratingly withdraw his proposal.

“So let the gutless decide” Ocimilium was not so pleased.

“I think that we will avert the fate if you can help it. Since knowing, a plan is nullifying it. I think it’s best to inform the House of Lords.”

“Unless that was in the plan all along” Amasteryx replied, “maybe our enemy knew that we would uncover his plan and releases it to the House of Lords.”

“Then it’s a dilemma instead” Alexandria spoke “Since the deity always speak in riddles, we might as well ask the next highest beings for a matter like this.”

“We are the next highest, do you doubt the strength of our minds?” Ocimilium was not impressed.

“Amaru should be the one we should meet with haste” Alexandria “the protector of all mankind should know as much about this as we do on this matter.”

“Amaru it will be then” Amasteryx agreed, “ Since he will not come, we will travel to meet him.”
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:50 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

The wind howled bitterly across the frozen waste of Krolm's Anvil, as if lamenting the doom that chained it to this barren isle. Bragor hugged his cloak closer about him; if its colour was indistinct before, it was now obliterated under the frost which formed on it.
"Why, in the name of all that's evil, are we traipsing around on this frozen chunk a' rock?" he growled, holding his cloak before his mouth to prevent the wind blowing the words back down his throat.
"Because Xyra ordered us to," snapped Iscara. She was in no good mood herself; although her main body had been able to adapt itself to the low temperatures, her antennae were becoming frostbitten, and this in turn caused her to lose her balance. After tumbling to the freezing earth for the fifth time, her temper was as deadly as the wind.
"Where is Lord Xyra?" asked Nwnllyr. He suffered the most, perhaps, but showed it the least. "He should have found something by now."
"I found sometyhing," grumbled Bragor. "A nice hill, with even a little cave in it! But no. Wasn't good enough fer His Lordship, and so here we are, being eaten by this blasted wind, and he's off - "
"Hush," said Iscara. She shaded her eyes and blinked away tears caused by the wind. "I think I see him now."
The two humans shaded their eyes as well, and discerned a greenish streak approaching them. It halted just before them, and there was Xyra, his robes unmoved by the wind.
"Tell me," he said, glancing at them in turn and causing Bragor to shiver more than he had been before, "why did we come to Krolm's Anvil? Was it to escape the Dragons?"
"Well, uh - " began Bragor.
"Was it to find shelter from the wind?"
"Well - "
"Was it to stand around with one's mouth hanging open?"
Bragor wisely shut his mouth, the inside of which was beginning to become dry and icy anyway. Xyra shook his head.
"No, fools, it was to find power and a base of operations. Since the wyrms have seen fit to drive me from your Mayhew, I was forced to find somewhere else as my, hm, Palace I believe you call it."
"Pardon me, Lord," said Nwnllyr, "But what could you possibly hope to find here?"
"The source of the aberrant creatures that you say troubled the North Coast. Such things do not happen of themselves. No, mortal ingenuity is the only thing that tampers with the creations of the gods." He smirked as he said this, though whether at gods or mortals it was hard to say.
"Did you find it?" Bragor ventured to ask.
"Yes, Captain, I did. If your eyes were any good, you could see it now: a black, twisted tower."
Iscara squinted. "I see something. It -- it might be a tower, I suppose."
"It is, though you might not know it. I wouldn't have, except for the magical energies emanating from it, and the lights in the windows. Now, stop standing around! If you truly want to get out of this wind, then take this tower!"
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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2003 1:29 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

"Threats will do you no good, Lyco!" Despite his words, the Chief Administrator of the Aerodome of New Valmorgen was sweating in his purple velvet as the Prince of the Lycolongi towered over him. Darac fingered his axe, and snarled.
"No? Pity. I would hate to make the threats become reality."
"You wouldn't dare!" squeaked the Administrator.
"Wouldn't dare what?" asked another voice from the door to the Administrator's office. Darac turned, and smiled when he saw Amaru standing there.
"Ah, apparition. This velveteen popinjay won't give us passage on a void-farer. I was about to instruct him in courtesy when you came in."
"There is no need," said Amaru, shaking his head with a smile. "Administrator, I have here a scroll granting permission for I and whatever companions I may choose to seek passage aboard your next cargo void-farer."
"You got the signatures?" asked the official doubtfully, eyeing the strange teratogenic and wondering what the Lyco meant by "apparition."
"Yes. One from Lord Tarac, and the other from Duchess Annua, Lady of Brilliance in the South. She had just arrived, and fortune chanced us to meet just as we passed each other in the House of Lords."
"Well, then, as long as its in order." The Administrator accepted the paper gladly. Then he cocked a severe eye at Amaru. "But keep a tighter leash on your friend. That Lyco's temper could land him in a lot of trouble!"

"Well?" demanded Darac. The two sat in an Inn, the Starfarers' Rest, which adjoined the Aerodome.
"The Aeroship we will be taking, Argent Nimbus, will not be departing until eleven tonight. We have quite a bit of time on our hands. Enough time to do some last-minute shopping. The Void is a dangerous place, and so is the Moon. We would be well-advised to stock up on provisions."
"I look forward to it," declared Darac, standing. "Void Wraiths and their ilk don't frighten me. Still, I should like some better flexor mail if I'm going to go wondering around on the Moon. How about you?"
"I'll stay here," said Amaru. "The gods may yet favour us with more companions."
Darac snorted, indicating that he would rather they didn't, and left. Amaru smiled again, and called for some wine.
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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2003 7:50 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

The moon?
She always wanted to go to the moon. But...well, everything cost money. And bounty hunting didn't earn very much. Standing, Kynoto Flagfinder made her way to the table Amaru sat at.
Sitting down, she stared at the teratogenic. Fsngs and dog ears - pleasant. Almost cute. Almost.
"Excuse me," she said, leaning forward on her elbows. "I couldn't help but overhear-" she she could have! "-But you mentioned an excursion to the moon, and that you were looking for more companions." She held out her hand, brushing brown hair out of her face. "I'm Kynoto Flagfinder, a bounty hunter. Do you have any plans for this trip?" She spoke as if it was a certainty she would go.
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 PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:56 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Amaru studied the woman. She looked rather plain, it seemed to him; brown hair and tanned skin, ater the manner of one who lived on the borders of the Central Plains. But there was something in her eyes -- a store of experience that belied her young appearance.
"Yes, I and my friend are going to the Moon," Amaru said carefully, "and you want to go too, it would seem. You are very confident that I will except you. Why?"
"Because I want to go," she said bluntly. "You will except me for, and any other reasons are my own." Amaru laughed.
"Well spoken! If you have a will to match your words, then you will be a welcome addition. But I must warn you: death awaits you on this path, and only extraordinary strength and skill can save you."
"I know about the Void monsters. I can handle them."
"I do not speak about the denizens of the Void." Amaru gazed into her eyes, his own becoming serious. "Though dangerous enough, they will be as nothing compared to what we shall face. I did not obtain special dispensation to the Moon for a pleasure outing. No; I and Tarac go to seek Luna, daughter of Lunord, in order to gain help that will enable to defeat the creature that destroyed the House of Lords. I do not need to tell you that this monster must be unimaginably strong. The Representatives were the best of each of their Guilds. And, once you join, there will be no backing out. Are you set on this course?"
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 PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 9:12 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

"I am," she said immediately. But once the words had left her mouth, she began to think. Did she really awant to go after this thing? Everything that had a flag to mark it on a map as dangerous was strong. But this thing had destroyed th House of Lords! And they, as the teretogenic said, were the strongest. How could she, a woman who had spent her life chasing flags, possibly compete?
Quite easily.
"Everything with a bounty on its head is tough," she said, smiling wryly. "And I'm sure there are a thousand bounties out on this one." Leaning back, she tilted her chair until it rested on it's hind legs. "It's the great challenge," she said, eyes nearly sparkling as she thought. Unbelievably, hunting was growing boring. She'd done it for to long, striving to be the best. And now that she was, she didn't want to do it anymore.
But - and there seemed always a but - this was new. This was strong, and it had killed. "I'll take it as quite the insult if you decline me. One way or another, I'll follow. This thing needs to die, and I can help." Not to mention take what ever bounty there may be for herself.

[ 28. December 2003, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: Raistlin, Archmagus ]
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 PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:24 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

"Yes, that you can," said Amaru. He smiled and lifted his glass. "Your health, Kynoto Flagfinder." He drained the wine, and set it back down. "Pardon me for failing to give my name. I am Amaru, and since you are to be travelling with me - " He broke off. Pushing his chair back, he stood. He shook his head slightly. "Perhaps I should not speak it here."
"Speak? What?"
"Come. There are private booths here, for the convenience of merchants who do not want their business to the Moon to be public knowledge."
Amaru led Kynoto to one such booth. It was set in a recess in the wall, joining the Aerodome proper. A hinged wooden partition seperated it from the common room; a small door opened in the back, leading into the Aerodome. Amaru drew her inside, but did not bother to pull the screen closed.
"I am not all that I appear to be," he said, continuing from where he had broken off.
"Oh? I know you're a terry, but - "
"There's more to it than that. Not only am I teratogenic, but I'm also long dead. Not - " he added with another smile " - that I'm an undead, exactly. Think of me as a solid apparition. Long ago, the gods of civilization charged me to protect humanity and the other races. It has been countless years since my death, but at my urging, Krypta allowed me to walk free again, in order to combat the threat that now looms over all."
"I . . . see," she said, as neutrally as she could. Just what had she let herself in for?
Amaru laughed quietly. "It's not as bad as all that. Anyway, my friend is ordinary enough."
"If you consider Lycoes ordinary," she muttered.
"Hmmm. And, if I must be honest, he isn;t quite an ordinary Lyco. His name, as I mentioned, is Tarac: Tarac son of Darac, Prince of the Lycolongi."
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 PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:10 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Kynoto blinked, staring at the teretogenic - no, apparition. Or...Inwardly, the bountyhunter sighed. Whatever he was, he was odd, that was for certain. Leaning back against the booth, she stared, considering. A companion of a strange race - that was odd enough. And a prince, to boot.
Kyn smiled softly. "Well, if he doesn't expect me to bow down and kiss his boots, we're on a fine standing." For a moment, she thought. Lycoes well brutal fighters. She laughed, and her smile grew, though it didn't quite reach her eyes. "And I won't be his training partner," she finished, crossing her arms. She felt the two knife sheaths concealed beneath her sleeves, finding them comforting - and she'd need all the material comfort she could get.
An old....dead...Terry, and a Lycoe prince. Gods, she thought, I've got to find all these things out before I take on a job.
Standing up, she looked down at Amaru and lifted a brown eyebrow. "When do we leave?" She wanted to check over her weapons and do a once over with a whetstone. Mentally, she check each off: a throwing dagger in each of her boots, the knives in their wrist sheaths, the much longer knife she had hidden in a sheath down her back - so long it was almost a sword - and an actual longsword at her hip. She was a walking arsenal, really. All she lacked was armor - but the weapons wouldn't fit if she had armour. Kynoto had to settle for moving quickly. Very quickly.
Gods know I'm going to need to, she thought. And if I die...well, I've always wanted to meet Krypta.
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 PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 4:29 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

"I assure you, Darac will not want you to lick his boots," said Amaru, amused once again. "In fact, if I read him aright, he cares more for battle than obsequities.
"As to when we leave, the captain of the void-farer informed me that the proper alignment of Ardania with the Moon will not take place until eleven tonight. So you have until then to make ready."
He bowed his head to her, and went back to his table.

Darac was having a hard time of getting what he wanted. Which is to say, he enjoyed himself immensely. The five ruffians that Remik had scared away from the Parliament were hardly the only people in New Valmorgen whose suspicion of teratogenic, or "terries", had been flamed into hatred. Darac had knocked out half-a-dozen before he got directions to a Blacksmith's -- directions he extracted from a Rogue who had tried to pick his pocket, but had found only Darac's hand-axe forthcoming.
At the Blacksmith, he purchased his new flexor mail; mail of artemite fibers mixed with cloth-of-mithril and the best that any amount of money could buy.
The Blacksmith opened onto a fairly large Marketplace, and Darac spent his time there, standing before a potion-brewer, and arguing over the price of Healing Potions. In the end, he got a dozen, as well as a potion which had the interested properties of dispelling and disrupting magic. The latter's top was specially designed to dispense the potion as a either a fne mist or a thin stream that could be sprayed at a Wizard, Sorceror, or anything you desired to rob of magic.
Lastly, he went to a Wizards' Guild. He was met by a dark-skinned magician, whose braided hair and slanted eyes hinted at the mysterious land beyond the Eastern Sea. His hair was on the verge of becoming grey, and his eyes on the verge of becoming black.
"Ah, a Lyco," said this man as Darac entered. He rose from a chair and set aside a scroll. "How may we help you?"
"My axe has an enchantment of lightning laid on it," said Darac, looking hard at the foreign Wizard. "I want you to strengthen it."
"I will summon Jiskyl," said the Wizard. "If you will be so kind as to be seated?"
"Ha," replied Darac, and leaned against the marble wall. The Wizard shrugged and left the room. In a moment he returned, leading a vacant-looking Wizard who might have seen the Cataclysm from the looks of him.
"Master Jiskyl will take your weapon<' said the first Wizard. Darac snorted.
"That dotard? You expect me to believe that he can improve my axe?"
"Master Jiskyl has a great deal of experience," said the first Wizard. "True, his mind may wander, but not when he has something to work on. Ah, then, he is transformed." He nudged the elderly spell-casting. "Master Jiskyl, you may ask for the subject now."
"Eh?" The ancient man blinked. He stared at the impatient with empty, filmy eyes. Suddenly a light sparked in them, and he held out a hand. "Give me the implement," he said, his voice strong with almost youthful vigour.
Darac raised his eyes, but made no more protests. He took out his axe and threw it to the dark Wizard. He caught it gracefully, and handed it to Jiskyl. The elderly Wizard studied it, nodded, and went back into the inner chambers of the Guild.
"If I might ask your name, Lyco?" said the first Wizard, who had taken up a jeweled pen and stood poised over a ledger. "It is our custom to inscribe the names of our customers here."
"Hmph. All right. I am Darac son of Tarac, Prince of the Lycolongi. And you?" he added, lowering his eyebrows over his suddenly intent golden eyes.
The Easterner did not look up, though he raised his own eyebrows at the title. He wrote the name down, then set aside the pen and ledger. Only then did he look up, his dark brown eyes meeting the golden gaze.
"My name? My name is Nan Liang. My father was a Wizard well-known and at one time respected, but alas he fell into evil ways. It is left to me to clear our family's honour -- but I am sure you are not interested in this."
"On the contrary," said Darac. He held the other's gaze when he would have turned away. "Something about you intrigues me, Nan Liang. Maybe it is your family history, though I doubt it. Your manner, perhaps. I don't know. But, if wouldn't pain you too much to leave Master Jiskyl, I'd like you to come with me."
"You are very honest, Master Darac," said the Wizard, "and very generous. I might be willing to accept your offer -- if you will say where you are going?"
"Oh, we're heading for the Moon at present. Afterwards I can't say. I'm not the leader of our little group."
"No? You begin to intrigue me as well, Master Lyco. Lyco." He paused. He raised a hand to his chin, stroked it. "Yes. Yes, I should much like to travel with you to the Moon, and meet your companions."
"I only have one so far, or at least that I know of." Darac shrugged. "He said he was going to wait and see if 'the gods' would grant us more companions. His name is Amaru, and he claims to be a spirit sent from the Celestial Realms to aid us in our plight. You see, our end goal is to destroy that green creature that attacked this city." His hands suddenly clenched, and added in a growl, "And killed my mother."
"I . . . see," said Nan Liang. "A most lethal quest, even for a Lyco." He smiled for the first time since Darac had met him. "Now I must surely go."
"Good. Master - Nan?"
"Liang. As you may have guessed, my family from the East, and it is our custom to put our given names last."
"I should have known. One or two of the Magelords were from the East, as well." He did not elaborate to the effect that it had been one of those very Easterners that had created his teratogenic race. Master Liang, from his expression, knew that just as well.
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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:57 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Xyra surveyed the trio of his followers, huddled wretchedly on the jagged peak that served as roof and parapet to the odd tower. He smiled, his eyes sparkling cruelly.
"Disappointing, but not unexpected. I suppose if you're to be any use at all, I shall have to take you in hand myself. Pathetic as you are, you couldn't even hope to stand up to a single puling Hero. Ah well. At least you see why I am destined to rule the cosmos." He turned away from them. Lifting a hand, he pointed at the rough substance beneath them. A thin beam of light sprang forth, and evaporated a sizable hole in the roof. Without turning, Xyra spoke to them again.
"Stay here. You can't jump off the edge, unless you want to see whether Krypta has truly returned to the underworld, and unless you fancy being caught in the crossfire you won't follow me. Try not to let an Ice Dragon carry you off." He vanished, a faint green-and-silver afterimage flickering down the hole.

The Tower of Chaos appeared to be an ancient structure, although it had in fact been reared barely sixty years ago. The erratic power of Fervus had wrenched the pillar of rock from the unstable core of Krolm's Anvil, providing the southern outpost and sanctum that the Chaos Mages, his most powerful modern followers, quickly moved into. There they pursued entropic magiks, warping and twisting reality to strengthen their insane master. The Tower had been carved by them to fit their needs -- or their whims. Its coridors twisted in the same fashion as their minds, opening suddenly into vast chambers which were sometimes empty or sometimes filled with mystical paraphernalia.
Xyra paid no heed to either the artifacts or the construction. He could sense the greatest centre of energy in the Tower; its heart, as it were, throbbing deep below the surface of the Anvil. The powers emanating from it were some five times as strong as before, leading him to guess that the Chaos Mages were performing some great spell or ceremony. He blasted his way straight down, ignoring the consequences as the stone framework of the Tower was weakened behind him. In minutes, he had reached the bottom chamber -- the heart chamber.
He floated unseen near the ceiling. Not for lack of light; torches, braziers, lamps, and lanterns, candalabrae and even chandeliers illuminated every inch of the enormous cavern in a clashing assemblage of styles and shades of light. The place reeked of incense, sweet, bitter, and unidentifiable. The entire cavern was also polished smooth, so that the footsteps of the mages and their eerie chanted echoed everywhere. In the centre of the room stood an altar the size of a trestle table; ranged around it in vaguely concentric shapes were lines of Chaos Mages. They shuffled, clicked mithril-shod heels, and chanted, hummed, hooted, or sang. All directed at the comatose shape laying on the altar.
It was, by its appearance, another Chaos Mage. A man's figure, he lay on his back, eyes closed, body twitching in a rhythm conterpoised to at least some of the chanting.
Nothing apparently was happening to him, but Xyra could feel the tremendous amount of magical power focused on him. Intrigued, Xyra continued to hover, moving slightly so that he was just above the altar. The other Mages, intent on their casting, did not notice him. Indeed, the ceremony was apparently approaching its height, for the tempo was picked up by the majority of the Mages (the rest slowed down), and all stopped their movements. Then, as one, they clapped their hands. The song ceased, and the ether winds swirled violently around the figure on the altar. There was a pop, and the man's skin changed from pale pink to bright red.
The man opened his eyes, and stared straight up at Xyra, whose monstrous form was outlined by a platinum chandelier hangng above him. The man let out a whistle, whereupon the other Mages also looked up. They made no sound for a second, and before they could, Xyra raised in own voice -- in laughter.
"What?" he said over the echoes of his amusement. "You spent all that time and energy just to change his skin colour? Foolish humans. Maybe I'll spare you just so I can have my own troupe of entertainers." He raised a hand. A ball of energy formed there, glowing evilly. "Or maybe not. What do you say?"
"Release the beasts!" was the overwhelming response, though Xyra's sharp ears caught cries of "Yes!" and "Entertainers!" and "Say what?" The one on the altar said nothing, but continued to stare up at him.
The Mages who were clamouring for the "beasts" busied themselves opening large doors that stood on the north and south sides of the hall. Out of these doors came pouring a confused wave of foul creatures, mutated beyond description by Chaos magiks. Xyra, lifting his free hand to suppress a yawn, threw the enrgy ball with his other. It burst in the midst of the north wave, blasting it into its component parts. Then he turned to the south wave, firing two more energy blasts and tearing it to subatomic pieces. Turning again, he finished off the north wave.
The Chaos Mages, their pets destroyed, sent up a howl of protest that made Bragor, sitting atop the Tower, shiver so badly he nearly fell down the hole. The Mages vanished, each one replaced by a ball of energy, and flung themselves together. The supersized globe, pulsating with their various magiks and life-energies, then threw itself upward at Xyra.
He hissed his breath in between his fangs. A most impressive attack, given their low enregy levels individually. When combined, however, it seemed that they multiplied each other's strength. He assumed a defensive stance, and the energy burst apart him.

Hifhim looked up from the altar with a look of marked interest on his newly scarlet face. Hifhim, or Hifhim Yimabaaph for his full title, had never seen them use this trick before. His brethren had developed it on the model of the attack the other gods used to take out Fervus, so long ago, and they boasted it was unstoppable. He could sense the massive force that roiled inside its visible exterior. But suddenly, even as it filled all his sight, he felt the stranger's energy jump upward to unguessable heights. He was not surprised, that when, energy all dissapated, the stranger was still there. He was surprised when the dead bodies of the other Mages, their life-force expended, fell from the ceiling to splatter around the altar.
Nifhim was considered a younger member of the Cult of Fervus. He had served as a Chaos Mage only for seven years. Never before had he seen or felt such power, from either his fellows or anyone else. Indeed, never had he felt any power at all. He guessed it must have been part of the Rite of Transmutation, the last ceremony before being fully inducted into the Cult. The Rite was different for each Mage, and occurred at different points in their training -- sometimes even before the other Rites. He thought it odd that it should happen just in time, before the other Chaos Mages were killed by this thing.
The thing was now approaching him. He opened his mouth, a natural question burning on his mind. "Say, man, how do you fly without wings?"

"Where is he?" growled Bragor, stomping his frost-rimed boot on the black rock of the Tower's top. It was ridiculously warm up here, given that a blizzard raged all around and they were several hundred feet higher than before, and without shelter. Still, his feet seemed reluctant to thaw. "I'm not waiting all year."
"What else can we do?" asked Iscara drily.
"Patience, my lord," said Nwnllyr. "I am sure Lord Xyra - "
"Has conquered, triumphed, and utterly annihilated his foes," said the now familiar voice. Xyra appeared, floating above the hole he had made a bare fifteen minutes ago. Dangling from one hand was a red-skinned creature wearing a striped green-and-black robe. "Say hello to Hifhim, last of the Chaos Mages on Krolm's Anvil."
"Hello," said Iscara. Bragor drew a dagger, the only weapon he had salvaged from Mayhew.
"Ha! Let's kill him and finish 'em off," he cried. He quailed, however, under Xyra's violet gaze.
"I've joined the Xyres Guard," remarked the red creature. He wriggled free of Xyra's grip, landing on his feet in front of the others. "My name's Nifhim Yimabaaph, so you can't kill me."
"But," said Bragor, groping for words, "but, don't you wanna die?"
"Not yet," replied the Mage. "I want to leanr Xyra's secrets. He's cool."
"I doubt you can," replied Xyra. "But I'll teach you what you're capable of. It's pointless to have an elite guard if they can't fight."

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:59 am    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

And then the stranger's energy jumped upward to unguessable heights . . .

Infernuvar was rudely awakened from his slumber by the ripples in the Ether Winds. He could vaguely recall a similar power in the Winds when the upper House of Parliament was brought down. He thought that the pattern was somewhat different, but could not quite tell.

However, the pattern was far clearer to those with greater intuition and power. In the great hall of the White Citadel, the magnificent figure of Ocimillium towered over the Orb of Seeing, his outstretched wings illuminated by the intense light emitted from the powerful scrying device. Yet surprise was in his expression, and fear mixed with his perpetual pride.
The entrance of the other Archons did not surprise him a bit. There was little to communicate; doubtless the others had felt the same act of the enemy.

But Amasteryx spoke out with his usual share of mockery regardless. "So much for their stealth; now every being with eyes will probably be able to pinpoint their location."
Ocimillium replied immediately, in an irritated tone. "What good is knowledge when one cannot act upon it? Are you tone-deaf, Fire Drake? All of us together might hesitate to fight that, that . . . "
Alexandra spoke then, her voice both gentle and resounding in the hall. "I did not think bickering is the greatest skill of Dragons."
"Then it most certainly is the greatest skill of yours," Amasteryx mocked. Apparently, the Gold Dragon ignored that statement entirely.
"Our greatest skill is not mastery of magic, or strength, but reason. Unlike other races who act upon instinct, we act upon observation and reason. That is our strength and our superiority over the rest of Ardania." The great gold dragon spoke again; the voice flowed like song in the air.
"I am sure Andraxal-Kerlazor would appreciate someone coming up with his quote, too bad, since His Majesty is dead now! What relevance does this have to do with our current crisis?" Amasteryx snorted in replied.
"Then I guess you can’t do more then mock, then," Ocimillium cut in, rudely speakly before Alexandra could reply. “The greatest skill of the enemy is apparently mastery of the Ether Winds; it will be powerless if we destroy the Ether Wind all together."
"You must be mad," sneered Amasteryx. "The ending of all magic will not end the enemy alone; it would also be the end of our some of our greatest powers. That includes our immortality.”
"Precisely!" replied Ocimillium. His eyes glowed as he inclined his neck to lock eyes with the Fire Dragon. "Xyra is the last of its kind, by ending all immortality in this world; it will come to death sooner or later. Without magic, it cannot hope to extend its bloodline. And all threat it could possibly pose will end sooner or later, even if it does have skills beyond magic."
Alexandra spoke again at last. "I wonder, Ocimillium. What do you hope to gain from this? Xyra may well have powers beyond magic. Even when he uses the Ether Winds, the patterns generated are . . . anomalous. Ending magic over all Ardania will may well weaken us without weakening him. You most especially, Ocimillium. Your undead legions will be the first to fail if magic annulled."
"I assure you," snapped Ocimillium, "I have only the good of Ardania at heart. The fact that I am willing to lose my powers is proof enough of that! This is hardly the time for suspicion, Alexandra -- and you are the last I would think it of."
"She's right, you know," said Amasteryx drily. "You plan of winning by attrition is flawed, Ocimillium. Xyra might not maintain his existence by magic, as we do; and where would be then? Also, the mortal races cannot wait."
"Since when has your kind cared for Men?" relied Ocimillium, sneering in his turn. "I thought that the Fire Drakes had more sense than that."
"Now it is you who are right." Amasteryx raised his head, staring down at the Black Dragon thoughtfully. "Very well. In order to save the horde, lesser gems must be left behind. But we should not burn all our bridges. Once Xyra dies, we must be able to undo this. After all, am I not right in thinking you speak of the infamous Orb of Dysjunction?"
"Yes," hissed Ocimillium impatiently. The Orb was an artifact of extreme power, attempted during the reign of Andraxal-Kerlazor as a means to weaken Krolm. The Elder God, however, struck down the Dragon King before he could complete the artifact. What there was of it had remained lost for ages, and thught destroyed, but the other two Archons now guessed, by one means or another, Ocimillium had aquired the unfinished Orb.
"So be it." Amasteryx half-spread in wings in resigned acquiescence. "However, we must be cautious, as we will no longer be able conceal ourselves from Mankind's growing might.”
"Might you say? But, without magic, the race of Men will be hopelessly weakened." Ocimillium countered. "All spells will cease to perform, constructs will cease to function, and even artifacts will cease to be effective."
"So, maybe you have not confronted dragonslayers first-hand then." Amasteryx commented. "We will all come to regret this one day, yet it matters not now. The power of the enemy is growing each day magic stays in operation."
"You might regret it, if you can," said Alexandra calmly, "but not if I can stop you. You have not satisfied me of your motives, Black Archon, nor do I like the tenor of your willingness to sacrifice everything in an uncertain bid to stop Xyra. I will see to it that your mad plan is thwarted, and if you go along, Fire Archon, I shall not spare you." So saying, she vanished, and to the surprise of the other two Dragons, so did the White Citadel, leaving them suspended deep in the Southern Sea. Only Ocimillium's quick thinking and spell-casting saved them from drowning under the oppressive weight of the deep sea.

Despite this setback, the two Archons wasted no time working out their plan. They moved their operations to the Phantom Fortress, capital of the Black Dragons, for its proximity to the heartland of Ardania. Over the next few months, Black Dragons clandestinely fetched many powerful artifacts from throughout Ardania; many were crafted by the ancient Kingdom of Dragons, preserved perfectly in the treasure hordes of their owners from one generation to the next. With time, the great Orb of Disjunction would take shape; with the Dragons' unrivaled precision and skill, the ancient object was being remade.

[ 05. March 2004, 08:20 AM: Message edited by: Merlin the Black ]
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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Apocalypse Reply with quote Back to top

Amaru bowed his head to her, and went back to his table.

That is when he has noticed the cloaked and hooded figure sitting by an adjacent table. His entire face was concealed yet Amaru could unmistakably sense a pair eye staring straight at him from under the cloaks. There is something predatory or even reptilian about these eyes. The cloak is fashioned in the way of an enforcer, yet the stranger carried a sword.

Amaru pretended to take no notice, yet one look is all that is enough for the stranger to make up his mind. He stood and walked quietly, too quietly, towards Amaru and passed a note to him. To anyone else, that note looks like the insane scribble of a cultist or a Warrior of Discord. But to the guardian, the text was immediately clear, it’s written in ancient draconic. The text reads


Ardania’s greatest minds should unite with its strongest body and with magically forged steel

And the sentence ended abruptly there. Amaru wondered, even the guardian could not resolve the riddle. That is when he noticed the stranger have situated himself on a chair across the table and laid his sword upon it. One peak at the sword gives enough hints to answer the riddle. The sword is fashioned after the manner of swords of the Sydrian era. And the ancient rune carved upon it indicates it’s none but a dragonsmiter, the only weapon known to cleave the hide of a noble dragon beside the blade of Krolm. Amaru had wasted no time composing his reply and magically inscribed into onto a napkin.


For the good of the land

And the reply from the stranger came Immediately as if he has prepared every scroll before hand.


where countless others have failed

Amaru thought briefly, and looked deeply into the eyes staring at him, Then he composed his note, which was equally brief and cryptic:


Before the kingdom becomes

The stranger then passed another note to him after surveying the response briefly, the note reads


Your compassionate leadership is an inspiration

When Amaru looked up, the stranger has disappeared, another note was left under a cup of ale, and the guardian was no less surprised by this note.


Act with

What surprised him was not the difficulty of the riddle, but implication of the content. Anyone who comes up with these quotes must have the access to no less then the entire Sydrian archive, and only one known kind of creature lives in now abandoned Sydrian region:

The dragons

[ 07. March 2004, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: Merlin the Black ]
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